Solskjaer managed to lift the gloom after Jose Mourinho’s toxic endgame, but what exactly was the culture the Norwegian instilled at Old Trafford?
During the duration of Solskjaer’s reign, and especially in the last gloomy months, United has become more of a nostalgic project or entertainment brand than a fully functioning football club with ambitions to win.
Solskjaer’s sacking has, ironically, sparked discussions about the need for another cultural reboot and perhaps a move away from Sir Alex Ferguson cult towards a bold new identity.
If United really want a manager who can instill a top-to-bottom culture in the club, there is no one better than Mauricio Pochettino, which is surely one of the reasons they are so determined to move the club away. Argentinian from Paris Saint-Germain.
When he joined Tottenham in May 2014, Pochettino quickly changed the whole club, transforming the culture, the atmosphere and the mentality in N17.
The former Southampton boss has found a sparkling, state-of-the-art training ground, but Hotspur Way left him cold, and he immediately got to work making Spurs more warm and collegial – and even more fierce, ruthless and professional.
Helped by President Daniel Levy’s distraction with the club’s new stadium project, Pochettino has influenced almost every aspect of club football, and no one who has worked on the training ground or at White Hart Lane has missed out on notice its remarkable impact.
This is the kind of influence Pochettino wants to have on clubs – and could have for United – so it’s no surprise that he is eager to step away from dark domestic politics and PSG’s inflated egos.
Sources at United say the new manager must tick three boxes: to play football “United style”; to blood young players and to compete for silverware. There is no doubt that Pochettino meets the first two requirements.
At their best, his Spurs squad were far greater than the sum of their parts, playing exhilarating attacking football, based on fierce running and creative flair.
Pochettino’s PSG also showed flashes of collective brilliance, especially in the latter stages of the Champions League last season, even though his favorite pressing game is so much more difficult to implement with a galactic trio of Lionel Messi , Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
Certainly, he is able to organize defense and train the highly structured possession football that is the key to success in modern club play in a way Solskjaer never could.
Pochettino’s record with young players also needs little embellishment. Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Kyle Walker, Danny Rose, Eric Dier and Harry Winks all became England internationals under his watch, while he improved almost every player who worked under him at Spurs.
His record for silverware wins remains questionable, however, especially after PSG failed to hand Lille back to the Ligue 1 title last season following his January appointment.
He has shown, however, that he will get a side of United’s quality defying the trophies after reaching the Champions League final with an exhausted and stale Spurs side, and twice approaching the Premier League title. .
Considering how Pochettino has improved on Spurs, it’s fascinating to think of what he could do with a quality United squad, while a move to Manchester would rekindle his latent rivalry with Pep Guardiola, which he will face as PSG boss in the Champions League on Wednesday. night.
But there are plenty of coaches who would improve this star-studded Red Devils squad and there is a feeling that what United really need is someone to transform the habits of a dysfunctional, backward-looking club.
If allowed to work as he wishes, Pochettino would be the perfect man for the job.