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Exclusive: Burton defender Mancienne adamant MLS must implement relegation

Michael Mancienne has an answer to Major League Soccer's problems.

The 33-year-old spent three years with New England Revolution before returning home to England with League One side Burton Albion last month.

Mancienne made 33 appearances in total for the Revolution, with injuries unfortunately curtailing his impact during the 2020 season.

This meant Mancienne was not picked to play for Revolution in the MLS play-offs, a unique experience for European footballers who are used to the league champion being decided by table position.

Another unique aspect of American soccer is the lack of relegation.

Although the country has a second tier competition in the USL Championship, teams do not transfer up and down.

And for Mancienne, lacking the threat of relegation has an impact both on and off the field.

Asked how what he would do to improve the league, Mancienne told Tribalfootball.com: "Bring in relegation.

"To bring in that incentive to want to stay in the league, because then it has a different feel to the league and to the games.

"They are more important, they are more vital because you're not going to want to go down. It adds more pressure to the games.

"Every team wants to win but you're still kind of relaxed because you haven't got in the back of your mind that we need to win this game, we need these three points because we don't want to drop into the bottom three, you never have that thought in your mind.

"If relegation was involved, knowing you need to beat the teams around you, it makes more pressure in the games but it's more interesting for the fans as well."

Despite enduring a tough final year in Boston, Mancienne enjoyed a positive experience stateside.

The veteran defender, who came through the ranks at Chelsea, added: "It was difficult [the final year] because when [new coach Bruce Arena] came in, I was injured and the boys were doing really, really well.

"He kind of had his team in mind from when the boys were doing well, so that made things difficult for me but it was still a good experience and I was still happy to have been there. It's an experience I would recommend to people for sure."

The reality of implementing relegation and promotion in America is a deeply complex issue.

MLS enjoyed its 25th campaign last year and owners, such as Inter Miami's David Beckham, believe it needs continued stability to implement a traditional pyramid structure.

"On the relegation system, you know that's one thing that I've thankfully never experienced: being relegated," Beckham said, via Bleacher Report.

"Luckily I always was always fighting to win leagues and to win championships.

"But it's something that I've been used to, you know, over the years, being part of league being part of leagues where there is a relegation system within whatever league I played it.

"It makes it exciting, but when you're talking about a league that's only been around for 25 years there needs to be a real stability in the league before you get to that point."

Andrew Maclean
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Andrew Maclean

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