Tuesday 22 January 2019

'That speculation is there for a reason' - Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has his say on Pochettino link to Man United

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer makes a point to his Manchester United players during their training camp in Dubai. Photo: Matthew Peters/Man Utd via Getty Images
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer makes a point to his Manchester United players during their training camp in Dubai. Photo: Matthew Peters/Man Utd via Getty Images

Mark Critchley

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted that he can see why Mauricio Pochettino has been widely linked with the Manchester United job.

Solskjaer will meet Pochettino at Wembley on Sunday when United travel to play Tottenham Hotspur, in what is arguably the biggest test of his caretaker spell to date.

The Norwegian hopes this temporary stint in charge will earn him the full-time job this summer, but despite winning his first five games, Pochettino remains the favourite to replace Jose Mourinho permanently.

Solskjaer kept answers regarding Pochettino brief at his pre-match press conference last night, preferring to focus on Tottenham and the task at hand.

However, he conceded that his Argentinian counterpart has done an excellent job in north London and understands why he may be linked with the role.

"He's done a very good job," he said. "That speculation is there for a reason. It's not my job to rate different managers. My focus is on me and my team."

After victories over Cardiff, Huddersfield, Bournemouth, Newcastle and Reading, the trip to Wembley represents Solskjaer's first encounter with a 'top-six' rival.

"We have had tests," the United caretaker boss said. "Newcastle away is a test. The first game, how everyone reacted, is a test. First home game with the crowd is a test.

"Every single game you get tested, but this is against top, top side. If we want to go closer and get past them we need a good performance and a good result."

Solskjaer added: "Every single day and every single game will get us closer and we will get more understanding about how we want to play.

"The last five games haven't been too bad but there is always things to work on, the relationship between players, the cohesion and the understanding, so hopefully we will see a positive team."

Paul Pogba has been rejuvenated since Mourinho's departure but has been struggling with a knock of late, missing the start of United's warm-weather training camp in Dubai this week.

Solskjaer expects the midfielder to be fit for Sunday's meeting with Tottenham (4.30) after participating in the final training sessions of the camp.

Problems

"He looked OK towards the end, so he will be fit," Solskjaer said. "He did have some problems but came through the last couple of sessions well so he should be OK."

Marcos Rojo, meanwhile, has travelled back to his native Argentina in order to return to full fitness.

The Argentinian has struggled with injury problems for the past two seasons and has made just three United appearances in the current campaign, his last coming against Valencia on December 12.

"How long will he be out for? How long is a piece of rope? For him it was mentally important to go away and come back fresh again," Solskjaer said.

Independent News Service

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