Mauricio Pochettino reemergence shows Manchester United board have let Solskjaer down

The current Man Utd boss already finds himself under pressure but the club's transfer window is to blame as much as results. The yellow ...

The current Man Utd boss already finds himself under pressure but the club's transfer window is to blame as much as results.

The yellow ticker tape on Sky Sports News was swirling, the transfer window was still open, and the first story mentioning the 'P' word had just dropped.

Pochettino.

You can only hope that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wasn't watching. The Manchester United boss would be forgiven for tearing his hair out, given what has transpired in the past few months.

It has not been a fulfilling summer for Solskjaer, that much has become clear following United's inability to land his top target Jadon Sancho, or sign a left-footed senior centre-back as he wanted.

The club may protest that they were unwilling to pay Borussia Dortmund's exorbitant asking price for Sancho, they may argue that Donny van de Beek, Alex Telles and Edinson Cavani are all solid signings, but the bottom line is that Solskjaer wasn't backed in 2020 like he was in 2019. A net spend of £35million on the first team (that's discounting the youth additions of Facundo Pellistri and Amad Diallo) tells its own story. You can feasibly argue that none of United's new signings actually get into their first 11, therefore where is the squad enhancement?

This was the David Moyes 2013 summer all over again, so no wonder chatter about Solskjaer's job security is rife. He will surely suffer the same fate as Moyes if another miraculous top four finish is not looking likely.

It all seems rather unfair on Solskjaer. If anything, he deserved more backing this summer than he did last, having steered United to a very respectable third-place finish and Champions League qualification. That was achieved thanks to the excellent signings he recommended to the club, such as Bruno Fernandes. That was achieved in spite of United making a terrible start to the season, picking up just two wins from their opening nine league matches.

The 6-1 shellacking by Tottenham has not helped Solskjaer's cause, but you cannot help but feel that result in itself was the result of a lacklustre summer window. There has been no new impetus at the start of this season, in the way Fernandes inspired United from January onwards.

Solskjaer toed the party line, refusing the criticise Ed Woodward or United's Glazer owners in the press conference before the Spurs defeat. And his words quickly came back to bite him.

"When I talk about the squad depth, we’ve got a big squad," Solskjaer said. "Of course the performances last season didn't warrant me giving too many of them more options because I think the 11, 12, 13 players who played and played well really deserved to play more and that means when you don’t want play you don’t get that fitness and sharpness that you need to knock on the door to get into the team.

"I think it's a different scenario now. After two games already I’ve seen many of the players who didn’t play too much last season performing really well."

Very few United fans bought into Solskjaer's comments. His squad may be in a better shape than it was 12 months ago, but it certainly wasn't strengthened in the way the Norwegian would have liked.

And it's ironic that a heavy defeat by Spurs should bring Pochettino's name back into the spotlight. The Argentine's name was never very far from social media after any kind of United defeat last season; there's a sense that he possesses the tactical acumen to get the most from a perennially under-performing squad. 

Some of that may be true. Pochettino is undoubtedly a fine manager, as his Tottenham tenure proved. But Solskjaer should be allowed to live or die with the squad that he wanted. Sancho and a new centre-back would have been a start. Instead, he must work with one hand tied behind his back and if he makes a mistake, he'll be made to walk the plank.

United's board ought to give Solskjaer time after their failure to fully back him in the summer. The P-word will keep cropping up every time a bad result comes along, otherwise. Some of the defeats may be Solskjaer's fault directly, but there is the lingering sense that the blame lies higher up the chain of command.

COMMENTS

BLOGGER: 1
  1. Believe it or not Mauricio pochettino is a better manager than oLe,,,, , He(ole)lacks tactics and foresight...
    My take though

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