Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has rejected suggestions that he left his successor, David Moyes, with a squad on the decline when he stepped down in 2013.
Ferguson retired in 2013 after 26 trophy-laden years at the helm, in which he brought 38 titles to Old Trafford. Moyes was named as the man to replace him, having been given Ferguson's stamp of approval.
However, Moyes struggled and did not see out a dismal 2013/14 campaign, United's worst ever Premier League season, with former United player Ryan Giggs taking charge on an interim basis before Louis van Gaal stepped in the following season.
While Moyes has to shoulder much of the blame for his failed tenure, many have pointed to an aging squad as one of the reasons why the former Everton boss was unable to live up to expectations.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Ferguson has said that he never stopped looking to build at United, even when he knew his time was coming to an end.
"Even when I knew I was retiring we still tried to put some things in place, with players coming in," he said. "Like everything I say about Manchester United, the bus was still moving forward. No one was getting left behind. Everyone was optimistic about where we were going."
The 73-year-old added that he would not have stepped down when he did had it not been for a family bereavement. Ferguson made the decision to retire so that he could be with his wife, Cathy, after her twin sister, Bridget Robertson, passed away.
"I definitely would have carried on," Ferguson said.
"I saw she [Cathy Ferguson] was watching television one night, and she looked up at the ceiling. I knew she was isolated. Her and Bridget were twins, you know?
"But when I told her this time I was going to retire she had no objection whatsoever. I knew she wanted me to do it."