Brazilian brothers Rafael and Fabio da Silva have lifted the lid on Manchester United’s spectacular fall from grace following Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.
United have burned three managers since Ferguson stepped down in 2013 after winning his 13th Premier League title – and the Reds have not been champions since.
Now the 31-year-old twins have penned a joint autobiography that lifts the lid on their time at Old Trafford – and goes into no-hold-barred detail on why David Moyes and Louis van Gaal failed to build on the legacy left by Ferguson.
Moyes, dubbed the Chosen One when he succeeded the Scot, is portrayed as a manager who was out of his depth when he left Everton to become United boss.
He lasted less than a year before being succeeded by Van Gaal, the notoriously obsessive Dutchman who is accused by Rafael of turning the club into an army camp and treating his players with no respect.
By the time Jose Mourinho arrived in 2016, the Da Silva siblings had been sold.
United were defending champions when Moyes arrived at Old Trafford after a decade at Everton.
Rafael, a three-time title winner during his seven seasons with the club, says: “When he (Moyes) came to United, you could say he made decisions that many managers would make at a new club – but every single one of them turned out to be a mistake.
“David has complained that he wasn’t given a fair chance. I am inclined to agree but I have to add that I still didn’t think he would have been the right man to manage Manchester United over a longer period.
“His Everton team were not renowned for playing beautiful football.
“His attacking style was very old fashioned and typically British with the big striker and long balls.
“That style wasn’t compatible with United. It isn’t natural.”
Brother Fabio was sold by Moyes to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Cardiff in January 2014, after turning down the offer of a new two-year contract such was his disillusionment at Old Trafford.
He explains: Fabio: “He (Moyes) came from Everton and I think he came with an expectation that he was going to see perfection in every training session.
“For him to come into the club and tell us what the standard was supposed to be was just one sign that the job was too big for him.
“Rio (Ferdinand) was just one of the players who were – and there is no other way to put it – bigger than him in football.
“You have a manager who hasn’t won anything who came in and tried to tell a squad with a history of winning, without getting to know them, what their own standard was.
“Long ball was Plan B for Manchester United. But it was used as David’s Plan A.”
The Da Silva twins were signed by Ferguson from Fluminense in 2008.
Fabio, capped 13 times for his country, now plays for Nantes after a two-year spell with Cardiff was followed by another two seasons at Middlesbrough.
Rafael is with Turkish club Basaksehir after spending five years at Lyon following Van Gaal’s ruthless decision to sell him after succeeding Moyes in the summer of 2014.
He recalls: “The second day he (Van Gaal) was at the club he called me and Ryan Giggs into his office.
“Van Gaal was straight to the point. ‘I don’t think I’m going to use you a lot this season, so you can go.’
“Gone in the space of five seconds.”
Giggs urged the full-back to prove the Dutchman wrong, but Rafael found Van Gaal’s methods once again at odds with Ferguson’s philosophy.
He says: “You don’t achieve the things Van Gaal did in the game by being a bad coach. It was a matter of compatibility.
“At Manchester United, you are expected to play expansive and expressive football.
“When Van Gaal came in, it felt as if he was teaching us how to play.
“He hated tricks. He hated instinct. I think he thought that as time passed people would just become robots and accept his instructions without discussion.
“Life started to feel as if we were in an army camp and Van Gaal was the captain.”
The Sunshine Kids, the autobiography of Rafael and Fabio Da Silva, published by Pitch Publishing, is out now