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Manchester United owner Ratcliffe admits it could take three years to improve fortunes

Ratcliffe also admitted the coach was not the issue at Old Trafford, backing suggestions Erik ten Hag will be staying

Old Trafford

It will take “two or three summer windows” to get Manchester United into a “better place”, according to new minority shareholder Jim Ratcliffe.

Ratcliffe’s £1.3billion acquisition of 28 per cent of United earlier this year came with responsibility for the playing side at Old Trafford and his Ineos group have already carried out several internal reviews on how to transform a club that could only manage an eighth-placed finish in the Premier League last season.

And while reports suggest manager Erik ten Hag will stay, Ratcliffe has admitted there will be no quick fix.

He told Bloomberg: “There’s room for improvement everywhere we look at Manchester United, and we will improve everything. 

“We want to be where Real Madrid is today, but it’ll take time.

“We’re sort of a bit handicapped in that sense, so I think we’ll do a fairly good job. It will take two or three summer windows to get to a better place.”

The decision to stick with Ten Hag – the Dutchman is set to open talks over a new deal – was perhaps explained by Ratcliffe suggesting the club’s problems run far deeper than the man in the dugout.

He added: “The coach isn’t the central issue at Manchester United.

“It’s a sports club. It needs to be competitive, it needs a degree of intensity, but with a supportive side to it because you are dealing with players who are relatively young. It hasn’t had that type of environment historically.”

Recruitment has been an ongoing issue at United in recent seasons with hundreds of millions of pounds spent on building a squad that continues to fall behind Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal.

That has led to a shake-up behind the scenes with Jason Wilcox brought in as technical director, while a move for Newcastle United’s Dan Ashworth to become sporting director is expected to go through once compensation is agreed.

Ratcliffe said: “Manchester United doesn’t have any players that are valued at €100m or more,” while adding that one superstar ‘isn’t going to solve the problem at Manchester United.”

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Jon Fisher

Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.