Wednesday 13 November 2019

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer edges closer to Manchester United coronation as Mauricio Pochettino makes his intentions clear

Mauricio Pochettino and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer are the leading contenders to be the next permanent Manchester United manager (Mike Egerton/PA)
Mauricio Pochettino and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer are the leading contenders to be the next permanent Manchester United manager (Mike Egerton/PA) Newsdesk Newsdesk

Mauricio Pochettino is determined to lead Tottenham into the first full season at their new stadium and has made it clear that he will not walk away from the club next summer, according to a report on the back page of the Sunday World.

Pochettino was installed as favourite to take over at Manchester United after Jose Mourinho was sacked last month and is still believed to be a strong contender for that post, despite Ole Gunnar Solskjaer overseeing an impressive eight-game winning run since he took over as the club's interim manager.

Yet news that the Argentine tactician is eager to continue his reign as Tottenham manager and resist the overtures of United and Real Madrid is both a major boost to Spurs and a blow to United chiefs who are still believed to be keen to pursue an attempt to lure him to Old Trafford.

The report suggests Pochettino has let it be known via a close confidant that he is happy at Tottenham and will only consider his future if the club sells key players in the next few months against his wishes, with the control he is afforded at Spurs believed to be one of the key factors in his eagerness to remain in his current post.

A compensation package of around £50m would be required to release Pochettino and his close-knit backroom staff from their long-term contracts at Tottenham, but it appears his eagerness to be part of the club's folklore as they move to their new stadium remains a burning ambition.

That move may now not take place until next season as test events have yet to be planned for Tottenham's new 62,062-seater home, with Pochettino also believed to have been been promised a bumper transfer kitty when the stadium is fully operational.

Manchester United’s interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has every reason to smile (John Walton/PA)

News of Pochettino's commitment to Tottenham will pave the way for Solskjaer to press his claims to be the next permanent United manager, after he secured his latest victory against Arsenal in the FA Cup fourth round on Friday night.

Support for Solskjaer to land the role on a full-time basis has gathered momentum in recent days, with United club ambassador Andy Cole suggesting his former team-mate should get the job and midfielder Ander Herrera lavishing praise on Mourinho's replacement.

"Ole brought that belief to the team from the first day," said Herrera. "He said we want to be a team that controls the game and you can see the impact he has had.

"Paul (Pogba) makes those runs, Ash (Young) and Luke (Shaw) too; everyone is allowed to go and attack, so of course when we are playing we think that anything is possible.

"Even in the tough moments, we have the feeling that we can hurt our opponent. We are playing with no limits.

"You can see that, when we are playing free with a smile and everyone is playing for each other, the results come easier. We are doing great. Sometimes we have to defend, but, when we defend, we know anything can happen because we have so many quick, attacking, offensive players.

“Now I am allowed to go into the box soon after I defend. Even Nemanja Matic is allowed to shoot. Our feeling is that, if we perform at our best, we can beat anyone.

"It doesn't mean we are going to beat every team. But we have that belief – because we have the quality to do it."

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