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The pros and cons of Man United managerial selection: from Pochettino to Ten Hag

Patience is the order of the day, with only an interim wanted to see the final seven months of the season before a permanent full-time manager steps in to oversee a long-term project.

This gives the club time to be a bit more ambitious in their research, effectively broadening the scope to include anyone not taking a national team to the 2022 Winter World Cup.

But the clear and obvious, utterly flawless candidate still does not exist, and here Standard Sport takes a look at the best managerial candidates to determine their pros and cons.

Mauricio Pochettino

Advantages: There are very few coaches United could potentially pursue who are truly at the elite level – like Pep Guardiola or Jurgen Klopp. For years, Pochettino has been knocking relentlessly on that door and could finally break it with a Champions League trophy at Paris Saint-Germain. That he is capable of it makes him the most naturally gifted of the candidates.

A triumph at PSG could also work in United’s favor as Kylian Mbappe’s summer exit and aging Lionel Messi could make this year a win or a failure for the Parisians – combined with tougher financial rules coming to Ligue 1 .

Additionally, he’s open to deploying young players, doesn’t make too many fuss in public, is a strong club ambassador, can commit to a long-term plan and is tactically sound.

AFP via Getty Images

The inconvenients: It’s a matter of waiting, as Pochettino has made a career of delivering A-level performances to his clubs. Tottenham made the first four and the Champions League final, PSG made the semi-finals … but they didn’t to win a lot. This real feat of Manager of the Year A + is missing from his CV and the tools are certainly at his disposal this season. Fail in Europe this year and question marks will arise if United wants a true manager at the top of the world.

Snatching the Argentinian away from PSG could also prove to be incredibly difficult. The French side showed complete distaste for Real Madrid’s pursuit of Mbappe and refused to negotiate a departure when Marco Verratti and Neymar attempted to leave. With a contract until 2023, can Pochettino actually force the exit?

Brendan Rodgers

Advantages: the promotion of Swansea and the comfortable beat of relegation; the sudden challenge for the Liverpool title; Leicester’s FA Cup victory and several top-four pushes. These are all examples of teams hitting over their weight under Rodgers.

If United want a man with a philosophy they don’t need to look any further and passing football will be the name of the game if the Northern Irishman agrees to move to Old Trafford. If he can achieve that controlled domination of the games by working with the fireworks that Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford et al can produce, United could be unstoppable.


The inconvenients: Leicester have undoubtedly run out of steam to some extent this year, possibly due to injuries and their summer recruiting which does not yet match Rodgers’ demands. United may not want to know if it’s their leadership that’s causing the slowdown.

If the defense was Solskjaer’s downfall, Rodgers himself isn’t a baseline specialist. Leicester conceded 50 goals last year, part of the explanation for their late collapse into the top four, and only two teams have left more so far this campaign – their total of 21 is tied with United.

Erik Ten Hag

Advantages: The man who came minutes after refusing Pochettino’s Tottenham in the 2019 Champions League semi-finals, Ten Hag has a European record with this run, which included the elimination of Real Madrid, saved this year. Ajax are already Group C winners after bulldozing Borussia Dortmund, Sporting Lisbon and Ajax.

Goals haven’t come at the expense of defense either, with the Dutch club shattering 42 in their 13 Eredivisie appearances this year while leaving just two. Last year’s title was won with a goal difference of plus-79.

ANP / AFP via Getty Images

The inconvenients: These exploits happened in a good league, but not in a big league. The Eredivisie is a far cry from Ligue 1, from Pochettino, a division in which PSG should let off steam this year for barely a shrug at Stretford End.

Ten Hag therefore also has little experience dealing with the mega-personalities that have allegedly hampered Solskjaer in recent weeks. Such stars may not have much patience for a coach to find his feet in the cauldron of the Premier League.

Zinedine Zidane

Advantages: Real Madrid have won three Champions League crowns and two La Liga titles in the Frenchman’s two stints at the club, his only stints in senior management so far. Currently on sabbatical, former Ballon d’Or winner Zidane could whet his appetite by delivering similar silverware to Old Trafford.

A key facet of his reign at the Bernabeu was his handling of men, with people like Cristiano Ronaldo believing in the big picture and happy to make unheard of sacrifices – like being replaced or rested – knowing the trophies were coming.

AFP via Getty Images

The inconvenients: While Blancos have been very successful under Zidane, there was a constant feeling that they never really played. this good. The tactics were often a bit simple, and any deviation, such as a return to three, was often unfortunate.

Then there is whether he really wants to come. Reports suggest not, with life in Manchester potentially unsuitable for a man who has spent his entire career in sunnier and more familiar climates.

Michael carrick

Advantages: There is a long line of midfielders who have remained loyal to their club after retirement and have been successful in the dugout. Think about Guardiola, Zidane and maybe soon Xavi. Carrick just might be about to show the world he can cut the mustard after getting the chance as a Guardian.

A low-key character off the pitch, appreciated at the club and a good understanding of the game, the 40-year-old could fulfill the mantra of “Solskjaer, only better”.

Manchester United via Getty Imag

The inconvenients: Carrick was among the coaching staff who categorically failed to improve upon extremely talented young players such as Paul Pogba, Sancho and Aaron Wan-Bissaka. His fate as a keeper could demonstrate that a more radical culture change is needed in the canoe.

From a tactical point of view, he has also declared his intention to continue where Solskjaer left off – because if he wasn’t fiercely on that, the Norwegian wouldn’t have done so in the first place. .


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