Monday 16 September 2019

The contenders: Who will be the next permanent manager of Manchester United?


Mauricio Pochettino. Photo: PA
Mauricio Pochettino. Photo: PA

Colin Young

There is no shortage of candidates to take the hot seat at Old Trafford

Mauricio Pochettino

The Tottenham manager, who signed a contract to 2023 in May, is overwhelming favourite as his reputation continues to grow at Tottenham Hotspur. Second two seasons ago, Champions League qualifiers last season and in the knock-out stages of this year's competition as they prepare to move to a new stadium, the 46-year-old has taken them to new heights with youth, vigour and bright, attacking football.

A former Argentina international defender, Pochettino played most of his career at Espanyol and his 20 caps included the 2002 World Cup finals. He later managed Espanyol for three seasons. He was their third coach in the 2008/2009 season and after drawing his first game in the cup against Pep Guardiola's Barcelona in the Nou Camp, guided them away from relegation. Espanyol managed the first league win in their esteemed neighbour's stadium for 27 years. It was here he developed his tactical style of a high-pressing game in a 4-2-3-1, imposed throughout the club and with youth players promoted to the first team.

Frustrated by finances, he left by mutual consent in November 2012 and two months later joined Southampton, replacing Nigel Adkins, and led the club to eighth, their highest Premier League finish before becoming Spurs' 10th manager in 12 years in May 2014.

Teams managed

Espanyol (Jan 2009-Nov 2012)

P W D L Win %

161 53 38 70 32.9

Southampton (Jan 2013-May 2014)

P W D L Win %

60 23 18 19 38.3

Tottenham (May 2014- )

P W D L Win %

244 138 53 53 56.6

Zinedine Zidane

The former France captain was on Alex Ferguson's radar after Euro 96 but joined Juventus where he won the Champions League. Juventus faced Manchester United six times in three seasons, including United's semi-final victory in 1999 when Roy Keane's booking for a foul on Zidane in his brilliant second leg performance ruled him out of the final. There were also rumours of a move to Old Trafford when Zidane left Turin, but he chose Real Madrid.

One of the world's greatest ever players, he hardly seemed cut out for management. Now 46, he spent a year as Carlo Ancelotti's assistant and failed to gain promotion as coach of Castilla, Real Madrid's B team, in the 2014/15 season. But he was parachuted into the Bernabeu hot seat in the wake of Rafa Benitez's sacking and after a shaky start, including a defeat to Atletico Madrid, a Ronaldo and Bale-inspired Real clicked under Zidane.

They recorded a club record 16 consecutive wins in his first full season and a Spanish-record 40 game unbeaten run as they won their first Spanish title in five years and their 11th Champions League. Zidane's Madrid beat Liverpool to become the first team to win the Champions League three seasons running in May.

Zidane brought calm and common sense to his team but was he a lucky coach or inspirational? They did score 393 goals in his 149 games in charge. He unexpectedly quit the Bernabeu five days after the Champions League final and would find the United job an entirely different challenge.

Teams managed

Castilla (June 2014-Jan 16)

P W D L Win %

57 26 17 14 45.6

Real Madrid (Jan 2016-May 2018)

P W D L Win %

149 104 29 16 69.8

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

The 'Baby Face Assassin' enjoys legendary status at Old Trafford and after his appointment as the interim manager is in the driving seat to take Manchester United forward.

The Norwegian, 45, started his coaching career at United and managed the reserves after retiring 11 years ago before returning to his native country in 2011 to coach Molde. He joined United from Molde for £1.5m in 1996 and made 366 appearances, scoring 126 goals and winning six Premier League titles. He underlined his supersub status with the dramatic late winner in the 1999 Champions League win over Bayern Munich, striking with typical instinct in injury-time to complete United's remarkable comeback.

Solskjaer led Molde to their first two Norwegian League titles in his first two seasons. Molde won 98 of his 183 league games but did concede 222 goals, which is not great news for David de Gea. He seemed a good choice for Cardiff City when they replaced disgraced Malky Mackay in a bid to avoid relegation from the Premier League. But after a bright start, his chaotic regime registered just five wins in 25 league games. After signing 10 players in the summer, owner Vincent Tan initially kept faith, but sacked him after seven games with the club 17th in the Championship. He has been back at Molde since 2015.

Teams managed

Molde (Mar 2011-Jan 2014)

P W D L Win %

125 69 25 31 55.2

Cardiff City (Jan 2014-Sept 2014)

P W D L Win %

30 9 5 16 30

Molde (Oct 2015- Dec 2018)

P W D L Win %

118 66 19 33 55.9

Antonio Conte

The former Chelsea manager is still out of work after last season's early exit from Stamford Bridge, just over a year after lifting the Premier League trophy and two months after winning the FA Cup. A Champions League winner and five times Serie A winner as a central midfielder and captain of Juventus, Conte was in the Italy sides which finished runners-up at the 1994 World Cup and Euro 2000.

He started his coaching career 12 years ago at Bari, leading them to the Serie B title in his first season. He won promotion with Siena two years later and returned to Juventus as coach in 2011, implementing a 3-5-2 system which took the club to three successive league titles, the third with a record 102 points. He introduced the same system to the Italian national team when he took over for the Euro 2016 tournament, securing qualification with ease. Despite the embarrassment and criticism which followed Ireland's magnificent 1-0 victory over Italy in Lille, Conte took his country into a knock-out phase for the first time since 2006 and they beat Spain 2-0 in the last 16. They went out on penalties to Germany in the semi-final and, as arranged with the Italian FA, Conte, who turns 50 in July, left his post to join Chelsea.

After a rigorous pre-season, a drilled, fit, determined Chelsea powered to the title with the rediscovery of David Luiz crucial to his plans. His team's energy is matched by Conte's own touchline enthusiasm. His departure after two seasons was premature but not unexpected after a breakdown in his relationship with Chelsea's board who eventually appointed Maurizio Sarri in the summer.

Teams managed

Arezzo (Jul 2006-June 2007)

P W D L Win %

12 3 5 4 25

Bari (Dec 2007-June 2009)

P W D L Win %

67 32 20 15 47.8

Atalanta (Sept 2009-Jan 2010)

P W D L Win %

14 3 4 7 21.4

Siena (Jul 2010-May 2011)

P W D L Win %

44 22 14 8 50

Juventus (May 2011-Jul 2014)

P W DL Win %

152 102 35 15 67.1

Italy (Aug 2014-July 2016)

P W D L Win %

25 14 7 4 56

Chelsea (July 2016 to July 2018)

P W D L Win %

106 69 17 20 65.1

The other contenders

Diego Simeone

Atletico Madrid's Argentine coach, aged 48, is favourite to take over Inter Milan next season after seven years in charge with Atletico. A tenacious, hard-working midfielder with more than 100 caps, Simeone's side match his spirit as a player and have been transformed. He has won seven trophies with Atletico, including La Liga, Copa del Rey and two Europa Leagues. They have also reached two Champions League finals.

Teams managed

Racing Club (Feb 2006-May 2006)

P W D L Win %

14 5 3 6 35.7

Estudiantes La Plata May 2006-Dec 2007)

P W D L Win %

60 34 15 11 56.7

River Plate (Dec 2007-Nov 2008)

P W D L Win %

44 20 12 12 45.5

San Lorenzo (Apr 2009-Apr 2010)

P W D L Win %

48 21 9 18 43.8

Catania (Jan 2011-June 2011)

P W D L Win %

18 7 3 8 38.9

Racing Club (June 2011-Dec 2011)

P W D L Win %

20 8 10 2 40

Atletico Madrid (Dec 2011- )

P W D L Win %

403 248 90 65 61.5

Eddie Howe

Bournemouth's manager is the only British/Irish contender as former United players and coaches Mark Hughes, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt, Steve Bruce and Roy Keane are to be ruled out. Howe, 41, made 200 appearances for Bournemouth before becoming manager in January 2009 when he rescued them from relegation from the Football League after the club had started his first season with a minus 17 points deficit due to financial rules. After a brief and forgettable spell as manager of Burnley, Howe returned to the south coast and led them to two promotions, reaching the Premier League in 2015. Since then, the highly-regarded Englishman has taken Bournemouth to finishes in 16th, ninth and 12th last season and is recognised as one of the brightest young coaches in the game.

Teams managed

AFC Bournemouth (Dec 2008-Jan 2011)

P W D L Win %

102 51 18 33 50

Burnley (Jan 2011 to Oct 2012)

P W D L Win %

87 34 19 34 39.1

AFC Bournemouth (Oct 2012- )

P W D L Win %

292 127 65 100 43.5

Massimiliano Allegri

The current coach of his former club Juventus, the 51-year-old ex-Italy international has managed seven Italian club sides including AC Milan and took over in Turin four seasons ago. He helped Milan to their first Serie A title in seven years when they won the title in 2004 and has won four consecutive domestic doubles with Juventus, the first coach to do so in Europe's top five leagues. Building on Conte's achievements and tactics, Allegri has also enjoyed some Champions League success, reaching two finals, in 2015 and 2017, but losing to Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Teams managed

Aglianese (Jul 2003-June 2004)

P W D L Win %

38 10 13 15 26.3

SPAL (Jul 2004-May 2005)

P W D L Win %

40 13 15 12 32.5

Grosseto (Jul 2005-Oct 2005)

P W D L Win %

11 2 6 3 18.2

Grosseto (Apr 2006-Oct 2006)

P W D L Win %

17 4 9 4 23.5

Sassuolo (Jul 2007-May 2008)

P W D L Win %

42 23 6 13 54.5

Cagliari (May 2008-Apr 2010)

P W D L Win %

74 27 15 32 36.5

AC Milan (June 2010-Jan 2014)

P W D L Win %

179 92 49 38 51.4

Juventus (Jul 2014- )

P W D L Win %

242 175 37 30 72.3

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