Thursday 27 June 2019

Gary Neville backs Mauricio Pochettino for Manchester United

Jose Mourinho has left Old Trafford after a poor start to the season.

Mauricio Pochettino (pictured) has the backing of Gary Neville (PA Wire/Simon Galloway)
Mauricio Pochettino (pictured) has the backing of Gary Neville (PA Wire/Simon Galloway)

By Press Association Sport staff

Former Manchester United captain Gary Neville believes the club should try to bring in “outstanding candidate” Mauricio Pochettino as Jose Mourinho’s replacement.

United sacked boss Mourinho on Tuesday morning, two days on from the 3-1 Premier League defeat at Liverpool, which left them 19 points behind the table-topping Reds in sixth place and 11 points off the top four.

Tottenham boss Pochettino has been frequently spoken of as a potential United manager.

And Neville told Sky Sports News: “I said last season that the next manager of Manchester United should be Mauricio Pochettino.

“When I look at the values of Manchester United, you look at Mauricio Pochettino’s belief in young players at (previous club) Southampton and with Tottenham. You look at his performance levels and the style of play, the way in which he carries himself at all times, publicly and in private.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to spend two or three days at Tottenham’s training ground and to me he just feels like the most ideal candidate.”

Neville added: “Manchester United have tried managers that have won European Cups, they’ve tried managers that have won multiple leagues, they’ve tried managers that have, to be fair, had that solid grounding in the Premier League.

“They need someone who meets the three key principles of that football club: the promotion of youth, entertaining football and to win football matches.

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Mauricio Pochettino is Gary Neville’s preferred choice (Steven Paston/PA)

“People suggest he hasn’t won a trophy yet at Tottenham but with a net spend of minus £29million or something over the last four years, I’m not sure he could have done more.

“I do think he is the person who is the outstanding candidate.”

In the last three seasons, Tottenham have finished third, second, and then third again under Pochettino.

Another name heavily linked with United is former Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane, who left the Spanish giants over the summer having guided them to the Champions League title in each of the last three campaigns.

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Zinedine Zidane is another favourite for the role (Nick Potts/PA)

Neville said of the Frenchman: “I don’t think anyone could argue with his pedigree. He’s been world-class on the pitch and now been world-class in the dugout at Real Madrid.

“He wouldn’t be my choice in the sense I would choose Mauricio Pochettino, but on the other hand, you couldn’t argue with the introduction of Zinedine Zidane because of his record.”

Mourinho took charge at United in the summer of 2016 and they won the Europa League and League Cup in their first season under the Portuguese. They then finished second in the league last term, before making a troubled start to this season, winning only seven of 17 top-flight games and being knocked out of the League Cup at home by Championship club Derby.

While the club signed midfielder Fred, full-back Diogo Dalot and goalkeeper Lee Grant over the summer, Mourinho was left frustrated by the failure to recruit the centre-back he craved.

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Jose Mourinho brought Fred to the club over the summer (Martin Rickett/PA)

Neville believes Mourinho is not the only person who needs to take responsibility for the club’s fortunes.

He said: “The players take responsibility, the board take responsibility, the manager and the coaching staff, obviously.

“There have been years of poor decisions and poor recruitment. I’ve no idea who makes the decisions in the football club from a point of view of recruitment and structure – who has the final say? Who is it that is telling Jose Mourinho that those players shouldn’t be signed? I can’t see anybody in the football club that has the qualifications to do that.

“My personal view is that the club needs to reset.

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Gary Neville has given his thoughts on the departure of Jose Mourinho (John Walton/PA)

“This is not just a moment to sack Jose Mourinho and appoint another manager, this is a moment for the club to take stock of what they’re doing, to reset the structure in terms of recruitment, in terms of the decision making in the football club and make sure what they do next is the right move.”

Neville also responded to Paul Pogba’s deleted social media posts which came minutes after the news about Mourinho.

United midfielder Pogba had posted a photo of himself to Instagram and Twitter looking at the camera with the words: “Caption this!”, before swiftly deleting it.

That prompted Neville to tweet:  “”Caption This” You do one as well!”

There has been plenty of talk this season about the relationship between Mourinho and Pogba, who was stripped of the vice-captaincy in September and left as an unused substitute on Sunday.

Former United defender Patrice Evra tweeted: “The thing that is annoying me the most right now is why are people so focused on @paulpogba and Jose Mourinho.

“Let’s focus on rebuilding something solid instead of being in a playground. Doing this is only disrespecting the badge, from now we only need positivity. #ManUtd #MUFC”

When asked for his thoughts at a pre-match press conference to preview Chelsea’s Carabao Cup tie against Bournemouth, the Blues’ assistant manager Gianfranco Zola said: “Well, it’s never pleasant to see a coach being dismissed from a job. It’s not pleasant for anyone.

“Especially it’s not pleasant for someone like Jose who has won so much in the game and so much for this club.

“I want to wish him the best. I’m sure he will have more adventures.

“Nowadays getting the sack is part of the job, for everyone, from the small coaches to the big ones. Knowing the character and personality of Jose, I’m sure he’ll want to bounce back.”

Coach Michael Carrick is due to take training on Tuesday, but United plan to name a caretaker manager from outside the club by the end of the week to see out the season, with a permanent appointment to follow in the summer.

Press Association

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