Former right-back Gary Neville believes Manchester United will be looking to appoint Erik ten Hag over Mauricio Pochettino as their next permanent manager because he will fit their long-term vision better.
Neville made the admission after watching United fall to a dismal 4-1 defeat at the hands of cross-city neighbors Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Although United showed signs of promise in the first-half, City were a class above in the second and cruised their way to all three points.
Not for the first time this season it highlighted United’s desperate need to appoint a new manager as soon as they can ahead of the summer and a new era getting under way. Currently, Ajax boss Ten Hag and Paris Saint-Germain head coach Pochettino have been sounded out as the frontrunners for the post.
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Although both managers are experienced, they are still considered as up and coming, with their best years still lying ahead of them. For Neville, however, he believes United will be “favouring” Ten Hag over Pochettino because of the long-term vision that they are hoping to implement from this summer onwards.
Neville told Sky Sports: “Manchester United need a longer term approach for a manager, they’re not going to appoint a short-term manager like they did with Jose [Mourinho]. They went against the grain with that and won’t do it again.
“They want to appoint Ten Hag or Pochettino, a young, up and coming manager for the long-term. They can’t put all their eggs in one basket.
“I suspect they’re favoring Ten Hag for what they want moving forward, but they won’t appoint Rangnick – he was only ever coming in for five months, gathering information around the structure of the club, the people at the club and at the end of the season he’ll hand over his report and move into a consultancy role next season, with the club either taking his advice or not.
“I think a lot of things he’ll have to say about the players in that dressing room won’t be favourable.
“They’ve got a real risk with Pochettino. Paris Saint-Germain could let him go if they get knocked out of the Champions League, but if they go and win it then it’s harder for United to go and get him because PSG don’ don’t need the money, they’ll just hold onto him.”
Sitting alongside Neville in the Sky Sports studio was fellow former United ace Roy Keane. For him, the Reds, if they want Pochettino, must pay whatever is needed to lure him from the French capital.
“If United want Pochettino, then go and get him,” Keane said. “I know people will say ‘oh he’s expensive,’ but it doesn’t matter; it is the biggest decision United have to make in donkeys years.
“Go and get the right man and pay the money, whatever it costs.”
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.