A calamitous season for United saw them drift away from title contention by the November internationals – while they were also unable to obtain Champions League qualification as they finished a staggering 35 points behind City with their neighbours crowned as Premier League champions on the final day.
Liverpool missed out on the title by a single point and those two sides – under Guardiola and Klopp – have pushed the 100-point mark regularly over the last four or five campaigns to form a duopoly at the summit. Carragher admits he is excited to see Ten Hag arrive in the UK in time for next season.
However, with such fierce competition domestically and across Europe for the biggest trophies, that intrigue also comes with a clear warning for the incoming 52-year-old former Ajax coach.
Writing in his regular column for Sky Sports last month, Carragher said: “No one is expecting them to win the title next season, but Manchester United shouldn't be in a position where they're fighting for a top-four position. With the money they spend and the calibre of club they are, they should be cemented in the top-four – and challenging the top-two.
“It didn't take long for Thomas Tuchel to turn things around when he came into Chelsea. This idea it needs four or five years to turn a club around, Manchester United don't need that. If they get the recruitment right, get the right manager in, a couple of years – at the most – they should be challenging for the biggest honours.”
Carragher added: “People talk about Manchester United changing managers a lot, but a lot of their managers have had two or three years. Jose Mourinho had three years, Louis van Gaal was the same, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had two or three, I don't think you can expect more than that out of a manager at a top club anywhere now.
“You're not going to get five years unless you're making really good progress year-in, year-out. Two years is enough for any manager. If there's no sign of progression it should be changed.”
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