Premier League English

Mauricio Pochettino’s ‘No’ to Barcelona heaps even more pressure on Man Utd

Once again two familiar names, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Mauricio Pochettino, are cropping up in the Premier League this season.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is invariably linked with the sack once again after a dismal run in the new Premier League season and an unexpected loss to Istanbul Basaksehir in the Champions League.

As for Mauricio Pochettino, it’s been a pretty busy week since the out-of-work former Spurs manager surprised many with his timely appearance on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football, only two days after Manchester United’s defeat to Arsenal, with his sheer presence more than enough to leave United fans wanting more. Not to mention the smoothness in which he cooly discussed how to manage a club, work with a board and get the best out of an underperforming team.

Pochettino has been jobless since his removal by Tottenham in November. A disappointing start to the 2019/20 season was enough for owner Daniel Levy to swing his axe, despite Poch leading the club to a Champions League final that same year.

The Argentine, having also enjoyed success at Southampton, deserves all the credit for turning Tottenham into title and European serious contenders, which is why for some Spurs fans, Levy’s decision is still a bitter pill to swallow.

The timing of Pochettino’s appearance on Monday Night Football was perhaps more than just opportune, if not perfectly timed. United had just lost excruciatingly to Arsenal two days before and their league form dismal, to say the least.

Which is why many had expected the Argentine’s name to inevitably crop up after Solskjaer’s side were embarrassed by unfancued Istanbul Basaksehir on Wednesday, with one goal in particular highlighting United’s shoddy defensive capabilities and general lack of leadership and organisation.

And all this came to a head on Thursday when the Manchester Evening News reported that United have indeed approached Pochettino over becoming the club’s next manager.

United’s Vice President, Ed Woodward, isn’t exactly enamoured of the idea of United being a sacking club but since the end of Sir Alex Ferguson’s 25-year rule, they’ve since axed David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho. Which means they will sack if they need to, sentiments aside.

United’s issue with Solskjaer is two-fold with the first being that, as a club legend, the Norwegian holds sentiment as a player since Fergie’s days. Hence it’s difficult to sack a popular figure who is a part of the early United glory days. The second issue is that as soon as the pressure mounts, United suddenly and unexpectedly displays the resistance and will to forge a victory, like they did against RB Leipzig in their recent 5-0 win in the Champions League. It would therefore not be a total surprise if United beat Everton at the weekend with the heat taken off Solskjaer again.

However, the main issue now at hand for United is that Pochettino will not be around forever and there will only be so many jobs he turns down before accepting one.

According to Forbes, the 48-year-old actually turned down the chance to manage at Barcelona because he would prefer managing the United squad.

This delicate predicament adds yet more pressure onto the top brass at United going forward.