LONDON. — Manchester United legend Patrice Evra has labelled Antonio Conte as a “genius” and questioned why the club did not appoint him as manager.
Conte was considered to take over from the axed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer before the Red Devils decided to bring in Ralf Rangnick as interim boss instead.
United registered their worst ever Premier League points tally under Rangnick and finished a whopping 35 points behind Manchester City.
Conte meanwhile guided Tottenham to a Champions League spot after taking over in November before securing early deals in the transfer window, while United are yet to sign anyone.
And Evra has been left thinking what could have been.
He told the Mirror:
“It hurts my heart. Because I think Conte, (Jurgen) Klopp, [Pep] Guardiola — all those managers are the best in the world right now and we could have had him at Manchester United.
“But some people at the club, they said: ‘It’s not our style, it’s not what we’re looking for.’”
Former full-back Evra is backing new gaffer Erik ten Hag to succeed — but as an ex-player admitted he would support anyone who was handed the role.
He continued: “So let’s see, now we have Erik ten Hag. Let’s see what he’s going to do. He has my support. But then, even if you brought a chef in, as the manager of Man United, he’d have my full support.”
Evra joined Juventus the same summer Conte left the club and praised the mentality of the Italian, who has won 10 trophies as a manager.
He added: “It’s a massive disappointment because he could have done something at Man Utd.
“And you can see with Tottenham, he helped them to qualify for the Champions League spot. They have the same players, so that’s why this manager is a genius.
“When I arrived at Juventus, every player told me: ‘Patrice, this guy is a genius.’ He’s addicted, he’s so passionate about football. So you’re going to run really hard. He’s going to make you sweat.’”
Five-time Premier League winner Evra suggested Conte is so charismatic as a boss that Spurs fans aren’t concerned by results on the pitch as they know the players give everything for him.
Evra concluded: “But if you look at the Tottenham fans, they are so happy because when they see the players now, win or they lose, they give everything. That’s the mentality of Antonio Conte.
“That’s why I say it hurts. Not because it’s Tottenham — I love every team — but it’s just because Conte could have done something.” — The Sun.