Gary Neville feels Mauricio Pochettino is still best-placed to become Manchester United’s new manager, but believes Erik ten Hag will get the job.
Ten Hag looks to be the favorite to be named United’s new permanent manager in the summer, with the Ajax boss having emerged as the club’s preferred candidate. The Reds are still aiming to have their new man in before the end of the current season.
A final decision is yet to be made though, and Pochettino remains one of the frontrunners for the job. The Argentine is expected to be sacked by Paris Saint-Germain following their exit from the Champions League, having thrown away a 2-0 lead against Real Madrid.
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Supporters though appear to favor Ten Hag for the role, with Pochettino’s cause having been damaged by his spell with PSG. Neville himself ran a poll to see which candidate fans preferred, with the Ajax boss coming out overwhelmingly on top.
Speaking on his The Overlap Youtube channel, the former United captain though believes Pochettino still holds an edge over his Dutch counterpart. Nevertheless, he expects his former club to sway with public opinion.
“I think Manchester United fans are demanding a fresh start, they’re demanding a fresh name,” Neville said during a live fan debate with Roy Keane and Jamie Carragher. “They want something that’s completely different than they’ve not seen before.
“That’s probably gone against Pochettino in some ways. I think I’ve got a soft spot for Pochettino because of the fact I’ve seen him work close-hand. I spent a week at Tottenham five or six years ago when he was there, and it was incredible in terms of the work he was doing, the coaching was fantastic.
“It’s incredible, he goes to Paris, deemed a failure, doesn’t win the Champions League, didn’t win the league last year, and all of a sudden he’s not right for Manchester United. I actually think it makes him more right for Manchester United.
“The big thing for Pochettino, other than the fact he hasn’t won a trophy, is that he hadn’t worked with star players, he hadn’t worked with big names. He’s now got that experience under his belt, so I think he’s more rounded, I think he’s better prepared to come and deal with the big players Manchester United have got.
“He’s more suited to come in and do what I think he wants to do at a club like Manchester United with the scrutiny on him. I think Pochettino is best-placed, still, because of what he’s done at Southampton and Tottenham, he knows the Premier League, there’s no shock.”
Neville added: “But you look at the weight of opinion towards Ten Hag, and it’s huge, absolutely huge. That’s something the club can’t consider because they’ve got to be professional and do their job diligently in terms of their interviews, and get it over and done quickly. You can’t start an interview process and then finish it two months later, they have to finish this process quite quickly.
“They (United) do sway with the wind, and the wind’s blowing towards Ten Hag, so I think they’ll go with him.”
The Overlap is a YouTube channel from Gary Neville in partnership with Sky Bet.
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