‘It hurts my heart’: Patrice Evra says Man United will regret not moving for Antonio Conte last year after the Italian led Tottenham into the Champions League… but Old Trafford legend will be backing Erik ten Hag
- Tottenham appointed Antonio Conte after sacking of Nuno Espirito Santo
- Italian had been linked with the Man United job around that time last year
- But they’d missed out by the time Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked in November
- Conte duly led Spurs to a Champions League spot as United only finished sixth
- And Old Trafford legend Patrice Evra has a sense of what might have been
Spurs appointed Conte in early November after sacking Nuno Espirito Santo and went on to finish fourth in the Premier League standings, ensuring a return to Champions League football next season.
United fired Ole Gunnar Solskjaer later in November and by which time had missed out on Conte, who had been linked with them.
Antonio Conte led Tottenham into the Champions League after he was appointed late last year
Man United, who missed out on Conte, could only finish in sixth place under Ralf Rangnick
They opted to bring in Ralf Rangnick as an interim manager and could only finish in sixth, with Erik ten Hag their new permanent appointment.
And Old Trafford legend Evra, while fully supportive of the Dutch coach, can’t help but wonder what might have been for his former club.
He told the Daily 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.’
‘So, let’s see, now we have Erik ten Hag. Let’s see what he’s going to do. He has my support.
Patrice Evra (right), seen playing in Soccer Aid, believes United could regret their Conte call
Erik ten Hag has come in as the new Manchester United manager with a big rebuilding job
‘But then, even if you brought a chef in, as the manager of Man United, he’d have my full support.’
Evra added on Conte: ‘It’s a massive disappointment because he could have done something at Man United.
‘And you can see with Tottenham, he helped them to qualify for the Champions League
‘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.’
Conte rejuvenated Spurs last season as they pipped rivals Arsenal to finish in fourth spot
Conte has already been active in the transfer market as Spurs look to kick on next season, paying £25m for the Brighton midfielder Yves Bissouma and signing Ivan Perisic on a free from Inter Milan and Fraser Forster from Southampton.
United have yet to seal the first signing of the Ten Hag era, with discussions ongoing for the Holland and Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong, who is the new manager’s No 1 priority.