Mauricio Pochettino discusses Manchester United job
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Current caretaker manager Michael Carrick began his interim reign at Manchester United with an impressive win against Villarreal in the Champions League. But while the Englishman was celebrating Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho’s goals, United’s officials were reportedly holding talks with another interim option.
Unlike Carrick’s playing days, progression into the Champions League knockout stages is no longer a given for United.
They were worked extremely hard by Unai Emery’s stubborn side yet again, and the result would have been different were it not for a couple of defensive howlers from Emery’s men.
However, while United celebrated their victory in Spain, club officials were holding talks with a possible interim solution not too far away.
Reports from the Manchester Evening News claimed the Red Devils have opened talks with former Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde.
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With two La Liga titles, including a league and Copa Del Ray double in the 2017-18 season, there is little surprise Valverde is being considered by United.
He has been available since his arguably harsh dismissal by the Catalans in January 2020, and with plethora of experience managing Athletic Bilbao, Valencia, Olympiacos, and Villarreal, his credentials are notable.
Yet the 57-year-old’s name is only being uttered in the same breath of interim solutions, rather than the more noteworthy names such as Mauricio Pochettino, Zinedine Zidane, and Brendan Rodgers.
When Solskjaer was first drafted in to snatch the reins from Jose Mourinho, he was expected to merely occupy a place at Old Trafford until a more glamorous options presents themselves.
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Yet, their performances under the Norwegian were nothing short of outstanding, and the United wheel was Solskjaer’s to keep. Carrick’s next contest will be a Premier League baptism of fire against Thomas Tuchel’s rampant Chelsea side.
Yet, United are a bogey side for the Blues, whose last domestic victory over the Reds came in November 2017. While the Blues have overcome United in the FA Cup in the 2020 semi-final and the 2018 final, United’s record over the west Londoners is very solid.
Carrick could very well steer his side to an impressive away victory against Chelsea and follow it up with another three points against Arsenal.
Victory for the Englishman against the reigning Champions League holders and Mikel Arteta’s hot and cold Gunners could potentially see United retake their place in the top four, depending on other results.
United’s performance carried the guile, intensity, and freshness normally felt amidst a new manager bounce. Except Carrick is not the new manager, and if current notions are to be treated seriously, Carrick’s eventual replacement will also not be the new manager.
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Everything at United unfortunately feels very temporary and far too imminent, and with an enormous transfer window on the horizon, the Red Devils could be in danger of talking themselves out of some huge deals.
An interim manager, whether it is Valverde or even Carrick himself, will likely need the Winter window to refresh a woefully inconsistent United side. Top players such as Franck Kessie of AC Milan could be available on the cheap due to their expiring contracts.
Unfortunately, if the manager at the helm of Old Trafford is an interim place holder for a so-called bigger name, than any player linked with the club could feel like an interim solution themselves.
It does not matter if it is Pochettino, Zidane, or Erik Ten Hag, the next permanent United boss will want to bring in their own players to match their own style of football.
As long as there is an interim manager at the helm of Old Trafford, a move to United will appear as a short-term gamble. Managerial musical chairs is in full flow on the red half of Manchester at present, and United’s January targets may just be scared off by their predicament.
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