Man Utd’s rejected Pochettino approach ‘part of the tactic’ as Ed Woodward ‘has a plan’

Mauricio Pochettino discusses Manchester United job

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Manchester United chief Ed Woodward will reportedly remain unphased by PSG’s negative response to the club’s approach for Mauricio Pochettino. It was believed that the Red Devils were searching for an interim boss to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer until the end of the season, but with Pochettino representing a long-term candidate, anything could happen over the coming days. 

It has been a rollercoaster period for United, who sacked Solskjaer on Sunday, and saw caretaker boss Michael Carrick mastermind a crucial Champions League win on Tuesday. 

Behind the scenes, the hunt is on for either an interim manager to take charge until the end of the season, or a long-term solution who can step in now. 

Pochettino slots into the latter category, and the club supposedly went as far as approaching PSG on Wednesday. 

However, the Parisians did not welcome their contact with open arms, and it was reportedly turned down. 

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Still, according to MEN reporter Samuel Luckhurst via the Manchester Is Red podcast, the situation is not only in hand, but it may have been part of Ed Woodward’s plan all along. 

“They’ve finally got a plan now, which is the most encouraging thing about the whole matter,” he said.

“I don’t think they will be too discouraged by PSG rejecting that enquiry, it’s probably part of the tactic. It’s now on Pochettino to tell PSG that he wants to go to Man Utd.

“It could still happen sooner rather than later – I think it is going to happen, that’s just an inevitability.”

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Indeed, it is believed that Pochettino would be keen on a Premier League return, but as with other high-profile candidates, the issue of leaving a club mid-way through the season is not without complications. 

As such, the United hierarchy are seemingly smart enough not to put all their eggs in one basket, and contingency plans are ongoing. 

“They have to have a plan in place if they don’t get Pochettino, that’s why they’re holding discussions and interviewing candidates,” continued Luckhurst.

“At least one candidate flew into Manchester on Tuesday, Ed Woodward and Richard Arnold missed the Villarreal game so that they could conduct these interviews with potential interim managers.”

The likes of Ralf Ragnick and Ernesto Valverde are two names in the mix to take on the interim role if it remains available. 

Whether any appointment is made before Sunday’s tie with Chelsea remains to be seen, although caretaker boss Carrick impressed during his dugout debut against Villarreal. 

With a change of formation, a first goal for Jadon Sancho and recalls for forgotten stars like Donny van de Beek, a 2-0 victory was not the only positive to take for the Red Devils in their triumph that secured knockout qualification. 

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