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Why haven’t Man Utd appointed Solskjaer? Pochettino still in the picture, says Redknapp

12:19 EAT 18/03/2019
Mauricio Pochettino Man Utd 2018
The former Tottenham midfielder believes the current boss at Spurs remains of interest to a club yet to decide who their next permanent boss will be

Manchester United’s decision not to announce Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as their new permanent manager suggests that Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino remains in the frame, says Jamie Redknapp.

The Red Devils have been working under the guidance of an interim coach since parting with Jose Mourinho in December.

At that stage, Pochettino – as a proven Premier League tactician – was considered to be the leading contender to take the reins at Old Trafford.

No deal could be done at that point, though, and United turned to the familiar face of 1999 Treble winner Solskjaer to help steady the ship.

The Norwegian has done just that, seeing the Red Devils back into top-four contention and through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, but no decision has been made on his future.

“Timing is everything in football. Manchester United had the perfect opportunity to announce Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as their permanent manager,” ex-England international Redknapp said in the Daily Mail.

“It was the morning after their sensational victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League when their interim manager’s stock could not have been higher.

“Instead, they held off. What are they waiting for? Are the club still to be convinced that he is their man?

“Solskjaer has more than exceeded expectations, propelling United into contention for the top four and getting them through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League against all odds.

“He has made a group of players who were performing well below par look like the multimillion-pound assets they truly are.

“He clearly has the support of his players, many of whom have gone on the record saying he should be appointed full-time.

“Solskjaer will feel he has more than proved himself but the longer United wait, the greater the risk that the feel-good factor begins to fade.”

Redknapp wonders whether United’s reluctance to commit to Solskjaer is down to their preference for a more experienced appointment to be made.

The former Spurs midfielder said of the other names to have been mentioned: “Matters have been complicated by the return of Zinedine Zidane to Real Madrid. Now that door has closed to Mauricio Pochettino, United are in pole position to try to tempt him away from Tottenham.

“Pochettino was the No 1 candidate to replace Jose Mourinho. He has an outstanding track record when it comes to improving players and has established Spurs as a top-four side, despite having his hands tied in the last two transfer windows.

“Regardless of Tottenham’s recent poor run of form, he remains the strongest candidate and would become an even more attractive option should United’s season not finish on a high.

“Whatever happens between now and May, Solskjaer’s reputation as a manager has been significantly enhanced.

“Whether he is sitting in the Old Trafford dugout next season, though, may depend on his ability to deliver Champions League football.”