Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be aware of the importance of Sunday’s game against Tottenham. He will know a win will take Manchester United right back in the race for a much-needed top four finish. He will also know that a triumph over opposite number Mauricio Pochettino will increase his chances of retaining his dream job in the Old Trafford hot seat come August.
Naturally, Pochettino is seen as the ideal candidate to replace José Mourinho as permanent United manager. The Argentine has done wonders at Tottenham, reaching the Champions League in each of the past 3 seasons on nothing short of a shoestring budget. Pochettino has managed to maximise potential of all of his assets, while effectively playing the past two seasons’ home games at a neutral ground.
Although expressing frustration of transfer funds (via Manchester Evening News) is understandable given Pochettino practically has his hands tied behind his back under Daniel Levy, the Glazers and Ed Woodward will be thrilled to employ someone who can get the best out of the players he has already got. This was not the case for Jose Mourinho.
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Pochettino also guarantees an attacking style of football for United, a trait which has to be on the top of the criteria for next manager. He has created a distinct Spurs direct way of playing, which is fantastic to watch.
The ex-Espanyol boss clearly has his admirers at Old Trafford, having also met with Sir Alex Ferguson previously, as reported by Sky Sports.
However, for the time being, Ole is at the wheel. And it feels good. Solskjaer has almost single-handedly transformed the mood of the fan base this past month. United are back to their old ways of beating teams rather easily and Ole now has 5 wins out of 5, the first United manager to do so since the great Sir Matt Busby. Granted, slip ups were hardly expected against Cardiff, Huddersfield, Bournemouth, Newcastle and Reading. But would you have expected such convincing wins with attacking football under Jose Mourinho?
This is the first real test for Ole as boss and it will be fascinating to see how it pans out. Many fans and outsiders have reserved judgment so far as we ‘haven’t played anyone good yet’ but the outcome of this one could help make their minds up.
Ole must set up with the same attacking intent as previous games and really try to hurt Spurs on the break with the likes of Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.
The game also resembles huge significance for Spurs as they aim to keep tabs on title contenders Liverpool and Man City. Pochettino will be wary of United’s attacking threat but also defensive frailties which Harry Kane and co will look to exploit.
We should expect a hugely entertaining game with chances at either end. And if United do manage to secure victory, we may well have a new fan favourite for next Man United manager.