2019-01-11 by W.M.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Praises Mauricio Pochettino Amid Manchester United Links | Bleacher Report
OLI SCARFF/Getty Images
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said “there is a reason” Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino has been linked with the Old Trafford job.
Following the departure of Jose Mourinho, Solskjaer was put in charge of the Red Devils until the end of the season. There has been plenty of speculation surrounding Pochettino too, with Mark Ogden of ESPN FC reporting he is the club’s top target in the summer.
The two teams meet on Sunday in what promises to be a fascinating Premier League encounter, and Solskjaer was naturally asked for his thoughts on Pochettino prior to the match, per the Guardian.
“The speculation is there for a reason, because he’s done well,” said the Norwegian. “But it’s not my job to rate different managers. My focus is on me and my team.”
Since arriving at White Hart Lane in 2014, Pochettino has transformed a team with unfulfilled potential into a consistent presence in the UEFA Champions League.
Alex Livesey – Danehouse/Getty Images
Despite not bringing in a single player in the previous summer transfer window, Spurs have remained competitive under his guidance.
They are just six points off Premier League leaders Liverpool, into the knockout stages of the Champions League and have a 1-0 lead after the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final with Chelsea.
To be in such a strong position is largely down to the work done by Pochettino, who has showcased the value of man management and astute coaching during his time in north London.
Football journalist Raj Bains commented earlier in the campaign on the fine job the manager has done in getting the best out of Moussa Sissoko, who appeared to be a lost cause:
Raj Bains @BainsXIII
So…erm, Mauricio Pochettino appears to have made a footballer out of Moussa Sissoko…no, I’m not quite sure how either. It’s been a long time coming, but nobody ever saw this run of form ever happening. Amazing what a bit of confidence can do, isn’t it? Remarkable #THFC #COYS
Despite the job he’s done at Tottenham, there’s no doubt the prospect of a move to Old Trafford to coach one of the world’s biggest clubs would be appealing to Pochettino.
Recently, the Spurs boss said his current team need to spend more in order to compete for the major prizes consistently:
Solskjaer will feel as though he can put a case forward to get the job on a full-time basis, though, despite the scepticism from some quarters that greeted his appointment.
So far the Molde permanent manager and former Cardiff City boss has brought a freshness to his former club, which has put together five wins in succession and found a vibrancy in the final third that was absent under Mourinho.
Sky Sports’ Adam Bate believes games like Sunday’s will be crucial in determining whether or not Solskjaer is in the frame for the full-time post:
Adam Bate @ghostgoal
Massive game for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer against Tottenham. For all the talk of this being an interim job, if he wins the big matches too that could soon change. Join me as I speculate wildly. https://t.co/OAaqzrbNca
Tottenham represent a major step up in class compared to the other teams United have faced in recent weeks. It means Solskjaer will have a chance to showcase his tactical knowledge and decision-making skills in high-pressure circumstances.
For Spurs it’s crucial they keep the pressure up on Premier League leaders Liverpool, as a win would be enough to take them ahead of Manchester City into second spot.