Mauricio Pochettino appeared as a pundit on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football for the Leeds vs Leicester game to discuss Marcelo Bielsa’s style of football and his experiences playing under the legendary coach. Of course Pochettino also spoke about how things could go when he next becomes a manager at a new club.
It was a real coup for Sky Sports to have Mauricio Pochettino as an analyst for the Leeds United vs Leicester City Premier League Monday night game. It was very interesting hearing how it was to play under Marcelo Bielsa both at Espanyol and for the Argentinian national team. Pochettino gave insight into how tough the man-to-man style Bielsa demands of his players is and spoke of the respect he has for his former manager.
Pochettino has been so strongly linked with a move to United to take over the hot seat since even before Solksjaer took over and the rumours have only intensified this season after the tough start to the campaign for United.
When asked about his spell at Tottenham Pochettino also revealed his thoughts around taking over at a new club, the former Espanyol, Southampton and Spurs manager said:
“Tottenham was a team with 33 players, was a team that was trying to create an identity or maybe to change the period until there and that is why they find a young coaching staff and to train and develop a different approach to the games,”
“In the same way that I am talk highly about Nicola [Cortese] and the club Southampton, Tottenham was an amazing journey, five years, we really enjoyed from day one.
“Again, in that case Joe Lewis, the owner Daniel Levy, and all the board and staff that helped us from day one. Then the players, the players were amazing too. We find a group with different habits.
“The players are not responsible for the habits they adopt. Always who leads the club, who lead the companies need to be strong in how to create the habit and translate the principals to your team.
“You need to create a line from the top. Be strong in your principal, in the way you’re going to develop, in the way you’re going to lead, for the thing happening in the way that you want.
“That was amazing to have this possibility, to feel free, to create something special at Tottenham. That was amazing.
“Change is always painful. It is really painful. When you arrive at a new club you have to make changes.
“If you arrive at the beginning, easier. If you arrive in the middle, the same. You need to start to build. That is why it is so important to create a big platform and that is what we really the believe.
“The coaching staff is to create a platform where the player can feel comfortable and improve. It’s so important.”
So Pochettino reveals taking over a new club at ANY time will mean he has to make serious changes requiring patience and the creation of structure with a belief system which runs throughout the club from top to bottom. For United fans if the Argentine was to become the Red-Devils manager replacing Ole Gunnar Solksjaer improvement would require time and there would likely be a different squad put together. This is unsurprising as no coach is going to give it the “big one” and say he can improve things almost instantly and never look back.
Whoever is the manager at Old Trafford this season will have a tough job to do and ask yourself do United really want the turmoil of removing Ole and appointing a new boss mid season? Solksjaer probably deserves the opportunity to see what he can do with the likes of the ever improving Bruno Fernandes, sensational starlet Mason Greenwood, a now fully fit Marcus Rashford, the improving Anthony Martial, under-rated new signing Donny van De Beek, Brazilian attacking full-back Alex Telles and company over the course of a full campaign given the nature of this highly unusual season.
United are inconsistent to say the least after beating PSG and Leipzig in the Champions League but drawing 0-0 with Chelsea and losing 1-0 to Arsenal (both at home) in the past 4 games. Ole needs to stick with a solid formation and line-up as much as he can so the players can get settled and gain confidence. Making the wide positions more productive seems crucial as both Wan-Bissaka and Shaw are not the best going forward so Alex Telles should get a run in the side.
Pochettino would be a great choice for United if they make a change but should they relieve Solksjaer of his position now? With solid managers in charge of top 6 rivals Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool, Mikel Arteta at Arsenal, Pep Guardiola at Man City, Carlo Ancelotti at Everton and Frank Lampard at Chelsea would Pochettino take over at any other PL club? He could join another European team but he seems settled in England having been here since 2013.
So United can afford to be patient with Ole and know Pochettino will most likely be available at the end of the season should they elect to make the big move of appointing their 6th manager since Sir Alex Ferguson left the club in 2013. Solksjaer deserves the backing of the club with most fans seemingly willing to be patient for now.