The news that Tottenham have sacked Mauricio Pochettino will not have gone down well in the manager’s office at Manchester United. The pressure on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to win every week has now been ramped up massively.
There can be no doubt it has been a poor start to the season for the Red Devils. Four wins, four draws and four defeats have meant they have made their worst start since the 1980s.
However, in recent weeks, the calls for Solskjaer’s removal have been relatively muted. There have been a series of good wins, bar the defeat to Bournemouth, but they do still sit nine points off the top four.
Even so, despite their position in the table, the mantra coming out of Old Trafford, from Ed Woodward in particular, is that this is a long term project which needs time to come to fruition.
Solskjaer’s first three signings have all been successes but the squad still requires a massive overhaul to be competitive at the top of the league. That may require successive transfer windows in order for the changes to be made.
But the fact is modern football fandom requires immediate success. Reactions on Twitter to the latest loss are usually full of responses calling for sacking managers, and with Pochettino now available; his spectre will loom large over every defeat.
The problem for Solskjaer, though, is Pochettino looks to be the right fit for the long-term project that United are putting in place. He has developed young players at Spurs, like Dele Alli and Eric Dier, but he also has a better track record with clubs than the man currently in the United hot-seat.
During his five and a half years in charge at Spurs, the Argentine has finished 5th, 3rd, 2nd, 3rd and 4th with a budget the fraction of the size of the Red Devils.
Pochettino was the prime candidate when Jose Mourinho was sacked in December last year, and the worry among supporters is that he could now be snapped up by the likes of Barcelona, PSG or Bayern Munich before United realise Solskjaer isn’t the right man to lead them forward.
That anxiety combined with poor form on the pitch could lead to a pressure cooker for the United manager, and it will be interesting to see how he handles it over the next few weeks.