Sir Jim Ratcliffe spoke of the need for Manchester United to qualify for the Champions League at the end of the season in an interview at the end of February, before the Red Devils lost their next two Premier League games.
Ratcliffe completed his partial takeover of the club, buying a 27.7 per cent stake in the Premier League giants, with his INEOS group taking control of the team’s football operations.
Much speculation surrounds Erik ten Hag’s future at the club after a difficult second spell marked by off-field issues, and the Red Devils currently face a tough challenge if they are to return to Europe’s premier competition.
However, failure to do so could hamper Ten Hag’s prolonged presence in the dugout, with images of Ratcliffe emerging in late February making it clear that the Champions League was the target in no uncertain terms.
“We really want to get to the Champions League next year; it’s very important for FFP,” Ratcliffe told the BBC. ‘It is a challenge of two or three seasons to get the organization and environment right to produce results.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe told the BBC he believes Manchester United need to get into the Champions League.
After the interview, Erik ten Hag’s team lost the next two games.
Your browser does not support iframes.
‘Our focus is absolutely on the field, on winning football games, but the first thing is the organization: the design of the organization must be correct. “If we take the current example, where the coach reports directly to the CEO, that doesn’t make any sense.”
Man United’s new co-owner was quick to outline what he believes is the best plan to achieve that goal, stating that the caliber of staff appointments will be crucial to the success of the project.
‘You need to populate that organization with people who are the best in their class, the best people in that world in that class. United are a huge club and it’s going to be a big challenge to get them where they are going, so in my opinion they will attract the best people in the world.
‘We have to find the best people in the world and make sure they have the right character and personality so they can work positively in a structure. We don’t like bullies, we don’t like egos; people who are really good at their jobs and have the right kind of personality.
“So we need to create the right kind of environment for elite athletes to be successful, because all they are doing is trying to drive performance on the field. “It’s an elite sport, it needs to be motivated and competitive, it’s going to be intense from time to time. when, but it should still be friendly, it should be done with a little warmth and support.
“You have to be able to put your arm around players from time to time instead of hitting them with a stick all the time. It’s a combination of the organization, the right people, the right environment, and I think the results will fall out of the bottle. “If you look at United today, they don’t tick all those boxes.”
After an impressive first term at the helm, Ten Hag and company have struggled for the 2023-24 campaign.
They managed to win the Carabao Cup last season, beating Newcastle in the final at Wembley to end a six-year wait for titles, as well as securing a place in this season’s Champions League.
Ratcliffe has completed a partial acquisition of 27.7 per cent of Man United and will oversee the club’s football operations.
United had remained unbeaten in their opening games of 2024 before two successive defeats in the Premier League.
However, a number of off-field issues have arisen this season which have raised questions over Ten Hag’s suitability for the role when combined with his team’s poor form.
Jadon Sancho publicly fell out with the former Ajax manager before being loaned out to Borussia Dortmund after not appearing since August, while Marcus Rashford was spotted on a night out in Belfast before calling in sick to training.
Sunday saw them once again beaten by arch-rivals Manchester City in the Manchester derby, Phil Foden and Erling Haaland scoring after a Rashford goal to inflict a humiliating 3-1 victory over Ten Hag.
The manager himself backed his team to reach the Champions League after the match, however, the Red Devils are currently 11 behind fourth-placed Aston Villa in sixth place.