Nine months on, the decision to sell Marouane Fellaini looks a bigger mistake by the day.
Manchester United are floundering, they are desperately short in midfield and Fellaini is enjoying a new challenge in the Chinese Super League.
But the man himself believes they made an even bigger error when they got rid of Jose Mourinho with the honeymoon period for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer already well and truly over.
Fellaini, 31, who joined Shandong Luneng in January, has questioned the mentality at the club, says they lack experience and insisted Mourinho deserves far more credit than he is given for his two and a half year reign at Old Trafford.
Former United midfielder Fellaini said: “Mourinho, for the first season, he did amazingly, he improved the team, won things. OK, the second season, was a bit more difficult but he tried, you know, and did his best to help the team. Then they decided to sack him and that’s football.
“For me, yes (they were too quick to sack him) because a manager like that comes and he needs a lot of players to do his own philosophy. He wanted to build his team and after two and a half years they decided to sack him because the results were not there.
“They brought in one of the best managers in the world in Jose Mourinho, he wanted to build a team and they sacked him. It’s not easy to build a team in that time, you need more than two years.
“I don’t know what they will do with this manager (Solskjaer)) but, for me, to win things and to improve, you need time. That’s the problem with the coach and the direction, they have to find a solution together.
“Now you have a new manager, they wanted young players and that’s what happens when you play with just young players. They will be up and down, up and down, that’s football.
“Of course in football, you can’t play with just young players, you need a mix. To win games, to win titles, to win big games you need experience. Of course, you can win with young players but not every game.”
It was Solskjaer who decided to sell Fellaini and even United legend Gary Neville claimed last weekend they would have been far better off with the Belgium international. They sold the big names of Romelu Lukaku and loaned Alexis Sanchez to bring in young players.
Fellaini was United’s Plan B during his six years at Old Trafford, their go-to guy for big goals and they now miss his presence in midfield with Fred struggling, Paul Pogba looking unhappy and Scott McTominay unable to carry the team on his own.
But bigger than all of that, Fellaini is concerned about the way football is going in general.
“They are like, they said, in transition, they want to build a team, but for a good team, you need time and to make the right decisions. You need the right players,” said Fellaini.
“It’s always nice to receive a comment (from Gary Neville) like that. I did my time there, I won things, OK we didn’t win the league but we finished second.”
Fellaini helped United win an FA Cup, League Cup, the Europa League and their second-place finish under Mourinho – which the manager was mocked for calling his greatest achievement – now looks completely different.
But Fellaini knew his time was up at Old Trafford when Solskjaer did not even pick him for the FA Cup games.
“The players who left are players of experience,” he said. “So the coach decided he didn’t need them that’s the choice of the coach. You can’t judge the things of the coach. He decided he don’t need Sanchez or Lukaku. That’s his problem.
“No he (Solskjaer) didn’t have a conversation if I will play or not. I was thinking I would start in the FA Cup but I didn’t because he put young players in. After that, in my mind, I knew I would not be part of his team and I accept that that’s his choice. No problem.”