United shake up back room as Wembley hosts European Final

Posted by Mark Payne

Matthew Peters/Man Utd via Getty ImagesGoalkeeping coach Eric Steele, left, and Assistant Manager Mike Phelan will not be back with Manchester United next season.

Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund take the pitch at Wembley tomorrow night to play in Europe's biggest football game and will do so on the front lawn of English football. Meanwhile, new Manchester United manager David Moyes has started reshuffling United's back room staff as he attempts to bridge the gap to Europe's elite.

This afternoon United confirmed that assistant manager Mike Phelan and goalkeeping coach Eric Steele would be leaving the club. "I would like to put on record the club's thanks for everything Mike and Eric have done. I will be looking to appoint my own members of coaching staff at some point in the future," said Moyes in a statement.

- Phelan and Steele leave United

United begin a new era next season, but the essential objectives remain the same. A top three finish is a minimum requirement and a decent assault on the Champions League and the Premier League titles is expected.

Although United were beaten in contentious circumstances by Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid this season, that seems like a blessing in disguise now. After watching the manner in which Dortmund and Munich eviscerated Spanish giants Barca and Madrid in the semi-finals, many United fans now feel their result saved them a few blushes down the line.

In particular, Bayern are the model United should aspire to, both in on-the-field prowess and off-the-pitch management. The Bundesliga winners have an ownership model that allows them to take advantage of their popularity and reinvest profits into the playing squad. United are still paying the interest payments on the debts that were leveraged onto the club during the Glazer takeover.

In addition to this, Bayern's hierarchy is populated by ex-players who have served the club with distinction, including Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Franz Beckenbauer. This is something that Sir Alex Ferguson has taken note of and a culture he has tried to encourage at Old Trafford. Several ex-pros are now working for United as ambassadors, including Bryan Robson and Dwight Yorke.

At Wembley on Saturday, it will be on the pitch that the most telling differences can be seen, specifically in central midfield. United's best partnership in the middle this season was comprised of Tom Cleverley and Michael Carrick, with Ryan Giggs as back up. Good as those players are, none can hold a candle to Bastian Schweinsteiger or Javi Martinez. It is no wonder that new boss Moyes is said to be weighing up a move for Marouane Fellaini.

Moyes' next task will be to sift through Wayne Rooney's entourage to see if all this talk about Paris-Saint-Germain has any substance. If Rooney does indeed want to leave, money from his sale could be astutely reinvested in a purchase of Dortmund's Robert Lewandowski.

The Polish striker destroyed Real Madrid with four goals in the Champions League semi-final last month and he is surely Dortmund's great hope in this final. He has refused the sign a new contract and his departure from the German team this summer is widely accepted as inevitable.

Whoever lines up for United at the start of next season will be taking their orders from a new manager and a new coaching team. Whatever instructions are given, they will all be aiming to match the standards set at Wembley this Saturday. And there is a long way to go.

Follow Mark on www.twitter.com/markjpayne

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