The appointment of Ralf Rangnick was meant to be an exciting change for Manchester United; a chance to experiment with a bold new direction, even if only until the end of the season. Six games in, and you couldn’t blame fans for already looking ahead to whoever succeeds the German tactician as the club’s new permanent manager next season.
Mauricio Pochettino appears to be the obvious candidate, but Red Devils fans may want to temper their expectations slightly, according to Ed of PSG Talk.
Even if Pochettino’s reputation in England is strong, he’s far from won everyone over in his time at PSG, with Ed’s comments bound to make some Man Utd fans think twice about the Argentine’s suitability for this kind of job.
“I was surprised to hear Mauricio Pochettino’s name linked with the Manchester United job,” Ed tells CaughtOffside. “He hasn’t exactly set the world alight at Paris Saint-Germain since arriving last January. He didn’t win Ligue 1 and was completely dominated by Manchester City in the Champions League semi-finals last season.
“This year, with all the new additions in the summer transfer window, the results have been there, but the performances on the pitch have been absolutely dreadful. Seriously, it’s some of the worst football you’ve ever seen, with Kylian Mbappe often having to be the one to turn a draw or defeat into three points. That said, I don’t think PSG will make a change before the end of the season unless they can secure the services of Zinedine Zidane.”
All I want is Rangnick upstairs and Pochettino or Ten Hag in the dugout. https://t.co/X4zoiaWCip
— Will Perry-Parks (@willperryparks) January 3, 2022
United may well be pursuing Pochettino as a priority, and it seems that they faced difficulty in luring him to Old Trafford in the middle of the season due to PSG’s stance on his future.
But as far as the fans are concerned, Ed is not sure too many tears would be shed if the former Tottenham boss were to leave, especially if Zidane could be appointed as his replacement.
“When it comes to Pochettino at PSG, fans are in two camps,” Ed says. “The first camp wants Pochettino sacked right now because of how poor PSG have looked this season. They ignore the results and focus purely on his tactics and inability to get the most out of arguably the most talented squad ever assembled. The second camp looks at the results and is fine with uninspired play as long as the team keeps winning.
“How long can Pochettino keep relying on his luck and grinding out results? Who knows? But, it certainly feels like he’s playing with fire and PSG’s season could go off the rails quick, fast, and in a hurry.
“Personally, I would pack Pochettino’s bags and drive him to Manchester if it meant Zidane would take over. What PSG needs is someone who can manage all of the egos in the dressing room. The club needs a well-respected figure leading the players and they’ve never had that. Zidane has every credential imaginable and I think PSG would instantly improve with his arrival. Publicly, PSG executives have backed Pochettino and claim they haven’t talked to Zidane, but that’s what they have to say. I think they’re going to continue to work back channels and try and gauge Zidane’s interest. If it feels like it’s a deal that can get done, they’ll cut ties with Pochettino in a heartbeat.”
— Chris Spencer (@ChrisSp03041064) January 3, 2022
If Pochettino is struggling with the big names and egos in the PSG dressing room, doesn’t it seem inevitable that a similar struggle awaits him if he has to work with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes next season?
At Spurs, Pochettino was not working with big names like that, and it enabled him to implement a system that they all bought into. Ed warns that there’s little sign of that at PSG, and feels that the United job is similarly just not suited to Pochettino’s strengths as a coach.
“It’s hard to argue with the results, the problem is how those results come about,” Ed says. “PSG’s big wins are rarely because of Pochettino’s tactics and have more to do with an incredible individual performance from Mbappe, Neymar, Verratti, etc.
“Overall, PSG plays a very boring brand of football and at times, it feels like the squad has tuned out the manager. Personally, I don’t think Pochettino has any idea how to manage superstar players and I definitely think the lack of trophies on his resume plays a part in his inability to get them to buy into his system.
“At United, the pressure would be the same, if not more. He will have to be competing for the Premier League title and the Champions League. For a manager yet to win anything of substance, he might be better suited for a return to North London, not Manchester.”