In Brief

Mauricio Pochettino is Man Utd’s ‘manager-in-waiting’

It’s now ‘when’ and not ‘if’ Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is sacked

Manchester United’s 3-1 defeat at home to rivals Manchester City in Tuesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final looks likely to bring down the curtain on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s spell as manager.

The Sun says that United were “laugh-out-loud bad” against City, an “embarrassing” defeat that followed their 2-0 loss to Arsenal, who are not exactly at the height of their powers at the moment, but who still “bullied” the Red Devils on New Year’s Day.

Calling Pochettino

The Sun says it’s only a matter of time before United contact Mauricio Pochettino, described as the club’s “manager-in-waiting”. 

Old Trafford’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward apparently had wanted to hire the Argentine in December 2018 when United parted company with Jose Mourinho, but at the time Pochettino was tied to Tottenham. 

Ironically, Mourinho has replaced Pochettino at Spurs and Woodward doesn’t want to miss the boat for a second time.

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Getty Images

Respect

Woodward has allegedly concluded that Solskjaer doesn’t command “respect and dedication” from the United players, and he’s convinced that would change under Pochettino. 

Furthermore, the Sun says the consensus within Old Trafford is that the Norwegian has neither the “tactical expertise or the strength of personality to cure United’s long-term malaise”. 

The extent of that malaise could be painfully exposed on Sunday 19 January when United travel to Premier League leaders Liverpool, and the Sun predicts Solskjaer will be gone by the end of the month. 

The club will have to compensate Spurs if they do hire Pochettino, as per the terms of his severance deal with the north London club, but that is not expected to be an obstacle for United.

Max the man?

The Daily Mirror agrees that Solskjaer is living on borrowed time, but the paper says that Max Allegri is also a contender for the United job. 

The former Juventus boss is “monitoring” the situation and is keen to test himself in England. Allegri has turned down several offers since leaving Juve last summer - allegedly including the Arsenal one - “in the hope of landing the Manchester United job”. 

Today’s back pages

Harry Maguire injury blow rocks Man Utd

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