Shrewsbury Town manager Micky Mellon laughed off suggestions that Sunday’s FA Cup fifth-round opponents Manchester United are experiencing tough times ahead of their match.
The Premier League giants are in real danger of missing out on Champions League qualification after a title challenge looked more likely in November, but Mellon said he’d happily trade places as he told reporters about the struggles of managing a relegation-threatened League One club.
“I think I have built my fourth team this season. I started the season with people asking about my philosophy. I keep redoing it. I lost probably five players in the first month,” he said.
“So you have to get others, but you can’t buy them.
“We don’t have a training ground, we come 29 miles to here, we get sandwiches from the local butty shop, the soup arrives just about half warm and we wash our own training kit.
“But we still count ourselves very fortunate we are in football.”
And Mellon is feeling particularly fortunate for having drawn Manchester United.
“I am like a big schoolboy when it comes to football,” Mellon said with a smile.
“I still dream, I have ambition, I have managed against Manchester United about 1,000 times in my playground career, this time I’m doing it for real.
“I want my players to believe. I hate it when a player loses ambition. What sometimes happens at this level is that the ambition goes, then the imagination goes, and you can’t improve them.”
Should Mellon do the unthinkable and post a win over United, it could very well spell the end of Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford, and the Shrewsbury man does not think they have to look too far for a replacement.
“I don’t buy into the idea that [United assistant manager] Ryan [Giggs is] not forceful enough. I think he’s very steely-minded, very clear about how he wants the game played, has a good presence about him,” he said.
“But I don’t believe you’ll know if anybody’s going to be a manager until they’re in that technical area, they get beat and certain things get thrown at them, how they deal with it – that’s when you’ll know.”
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