5 takeaways Man Utd bosses learned from Mauricio Pochettino’s visit to Manchester

Mauricio Pochettino’s PSG squad lost to Man City on Wednesday night after speculation that the Argentine coach will take over at Man Utd with Old Trafford bosses keeping a watchful eye on matters.

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Manchester City vs. PSG match pictures

Mauricio Pochettino was in Manchester on Wednesday night – and some may be hoping to make the city a permanent home.

The current PSG boss has been linked with the vacancy at Old Trafford, as the club’s top manager is looking for a successor to Ole Gunnar Solskjær.

Pochettino was previously on their radar back in 2018 after Jose Mourinho’s departure.

His work at Tottenham marked him as a skilled operator and he is high on the list of potential candidates.

Pochettino moved quickly to shut down any talk of leaving PSG, insisting he was happy in the French capital.

Mauricio Pochettino becomes strongly associated with the Man Utd job

United have signaled their intention to appoint a temporary boss until the end of the season before pursuing a main goal, potentially the Argentine, for the summer.

The 49-year-old’s current task is to deliver the Champions League to the Parc des Princes – and his team qualified for the quarter-finals despite losing 2-1 in the blue half of Manchester.

Nevertheless, leading lights at Old Trafford will no doubt have kept an eye on the events at the Etihad Stadium.

We take a look at five things that they might be left to consider.

Dealing with egos

This is more of a question mark than a statement, but Pochettino has at least some experience in doing so.

At the time he was the Tottenham boss, he did not have much to do with big names and the inevitable politics that came with it.

At PSG, however, Pochettino has had to manage Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe. It is not an easy task where every man wants to be the leading light.

Should he take over at United, he will again have to deal with several big names, with Cristiano Ronaldo being the biggest, while Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba, if he stays, are also big characters.

He does not have a stature of e.g. a Zinedine Zidane, but going into Old Trafford with his Paris experience behind him would be good for him.

People like Donny van de Beek will hope for more opportunities after Solskjær’s firing


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Rotates the team

Again, when he was at Tottenham, Pochettino enjoyed continuity in the start-11. At top clubs, however, the squads are inevitably deeper and of more quality.

At the Etihad, Argentine Angel di Maria, Sergio Ramos and Gini Wijnaldum all left on the bench.

That’s the kind of call he would have to make in Manchester, where the Red Devils have a wealth of options in multiple positions.

Pochettino would expect to go deep into most of the competitions he participates in, and as a result he will have to keep the players fresh.

He has already made the courageous call to take Messi off during his tenure, showing that he is his own man and ready to do what he thinks is best.

Kylian Mbappe’s pace was not enough to give PSG a chance

Stand for the counter

Top clubs often expect to become bosses in games, which is understandable. Against City, however, PSG spent long periods without the ball, especially in the first half.

If Pochettino takes charge of United, he will no doubt use a possession-based style, much like the one we saw in north London.

Rarely, however, did we see Tottenham hit teams during the break.

But with people like Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood at his disposal, playing on the counter is a huge weapon.

We saw with PSG that Pochettino, when needed, is willing to put his team up to suck pressure before hitting teams at the break – a hallmark of United teams in the past.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s lack of work outside the ball has been mentioned as a problem


AFP via Getty Images)

Urgent perks

Ronaldo’s signing has divided opinions, although he has come up with big goals. Some critics believe that the 36-year-old’s lack of pressure has upset the balance of the team and ultimately regrets some of Solskjær’s good work before his dismissal.

That is why some have questioned why United would pursue a coach at Pochettino who would demand high intensity from his team out of possession, just as we saw at Tottenham.

Ronaldo would find himself, again, facing similar problems and criticism.

However, you only need to watch PSG at the Etihad to see that the Argentine boss is ready to relieve strikers of urgent duties if he deems it appropriate.

At times when City were in attack, Messi and his attackers were seen rolling back without putting any pressure on the ball. It then seems possible to suggest that he can allow Ronaldo the same luxury.

Keylor Navas was elected in front of Gianluigi Donnarumma

Goalkeeper calls

This was one of the most important calls of the Solskjær era – to stick to David de Gea in front of Dean Henderson.

Sorting out who United’s No. 1 – both in the short and long term – will be part of the new manager’s inbox.

Pochettino, however, is no stranger to the situation when he had to chop and switch between Keylor Navas and Gianluigi Donnarumma.

The Italian was signed this summer for big money and with a big reputation, but that has not stopped the PSG boss from sticking to the man he had last season. In fact, Navas has actually played more regularly than its teammate.

United find themselves with a goalkeeper in De Gea who pockets large sums, but Henderson may think his chances could be improved if Pochettino arrives.

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