What makes a good manager?
Yes to all three.
However, more than anything else, a manager must be able to make the most of the resources available to them.
They must make one plus one equal three. They must be able to punch above their weight, make the sum greater than the parts.
While Sir Alex may have had some of the best players of modern times at his disposal, he endured more than his fair of injury crises and was frequently asked to fill round holes with square pegs.
Think of the time he picked John O’Shea and the Da Silva twins in midfield and still beat Arsenal 2-0.
The ability to perform this trick is something all good managers have in common.
Think of Bill Belichick whose policy of selecting average players and maximising their potential has led him to eight superbowl finals, winning five.
Billy Beane pulled off a similar feat with the Oakland A’s when he led group of virtual castaways to 20 consecutive wins, a record at the time for Major League Baseball .
However, making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear is a skill that not every manager is adept at, with the glaringly obvious example being Jose Mourinho, who somehow added 1+1 and got zero during his tenure at United.
The Special One had some of the best attacking talent in the league at his disposal during his reign at Old Trafford and failed to make the most of them.
Imagine what Fergie, Pep or even Pochettino could do with the likes of Lukaku, Rashford, Martial , Sanchez, Pogba, Mata…the list goes on.
Instead of accepting his lot of extremely talented players and moulding them into something that could win silverware, he routinely degraded and shamed them in public and by all accounts in front of each other. While certain players seemed to have (eventually) flourished under this backwards system (Luke Shaw and Martial to a certain extent), it led to a toxic atmosphere within the squad which caused them to play within themselves.
Admittedly there are areas of the side that require more investment, which Jose routinely reminded us of, but a manager of his self-proclaimed brilliance should be able to make more from less.
So when United go to pick their next manager they should look out for one skill in particular: resourcefulness.
They have the players, and the history.
All that is required now is the right person at the helm.