The legendary Scot was replaced by compatriot David Moyes in 2013, but former England and Red Devils defender Rio Ferdinand, who was a senior member of the dressing room at the time, wanted him to be replaced by Jose Mourinho.
"I thought that [Mourinho should take over] at the time," Ferdinand said. "I thought Mourinho would have been the one the one to come in then to carry on what the manager was doing."
Mourinho was at the helm at Chelsea between 2004-2007, winning two league titles during that time. He further went on to collect domestic and European trophies at Inter Milan and Real Madrid. After Moyes was hired at Old Trafford, however, the Portuguese returned to Chelsea, winning another league title in 2014.
Ferdinand believes he has the right experience with clubs the size of Manchester United and players with great ability.
"He had the experience of that type of player, that stature of club etc but it never materialised. At that time I would have been punching the air if Mourinho came through the door," the Englishman added.
"Mourinho has the experience, he’s won the league, won the Champions League, managed at Inter, Real Madrid, Chelsea – they’re all big clubs man."
Mourinho knew what he was coming into, but that doesn't guarantee success at Manchester United: Ferdinand
Jose Mourinho was eventually hired by Manchester United in 2016, and in a two-and-a-half year stint with the Red Devils, he won both the Europa League title and the League Cup.
However, things were far from easy for the Portuguese at Old Trafford, and his time at the helm was marred by controversial remarks and apparent standoffs with the hierarchy, as Ferdinand asserted while speaking about the manager.
"He (Mourinho) knew what he was coming into but that doesn’t necessarily guarantee you success at Manchester United as we saw when he came at the time he did," the 42-year-old said.
Mourinho was sacked by the Red Devils in December 2018, after a poor run of form in the Premier League, shortly after which he was hired by Tottenham Hotspur to replace Mauricio Pochettino in the hot seat.