The Argentine coach saw his side narrowly lose out to Manchester City in this week’s Champions League quarter final first leg having progressed past United in the Round of 16
Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone has explained what Manchester United are lacking that “all managers want” in their team.
The Argentine guided his side to victory over United in last month’s Champions League Round of 16 tie against United, who are without a permanent manager. However, Simeone identified this week how United are behind city rivals Manchester City, who on Tuesday won the first leg of their quarter final 1-0 against Atleti thanks to Kevin De Bruyne’s second-half strike.
Ajax boss Erik Ten Hag, 52, met with United bosses last month to talk about becoming their new manager and is thought to be the leading candidate to take the job on a permanent basis this summer. He has however been dissuaded from taking the job by former United boss and fellow Dutchman Louis van Gaal.
Paris Saint-Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino is also in the frame. Pochettino had initially been the favourite for the United job, as reported in February. Mirror Football later revealed that the Argentine was the preferred candidate among the players in United’s dressing room. Pochettino has also met with United officials, following on from the club’s talks with Ten Hag.
Simeone – who has been on United’s radar previously regarding the possibility of him taking the Old Trafford hotseat – has now spoken about how the club are lagging behind their domestic rivals. Speaking ahead of this week’s clash at the Etihad, the Atleti boss told reporters: “United had different characteristics than City. They are more direct, and quicker. City are more positional, and in all areas, they manage things well. We have to increase and be better at the good things we did (against United).
“What I like most from teams like City is the effort they have to win the ball back and continue to play attacking. They are lovely to watch. They continue evolving because they have great players, but what wakes me up, the important things are Sterling, De Bruyne. They’re always active, and never leave a ball lost. All managers want that.”
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United are set to ramp up their talks to appoint a new permanent manager in the weeks to come with Ralf Rangnick’s interim role set to expire at the end of the campaign. The German will then take up a two-year consultancy role within the club’s hierarchy, although the specifics of this role remain unclear and Rangnick’s role in the process to appoint a new boss is also uncertain.
Ten Hag and Pochettino are now the frontrunners for the position, with other candidates such as Spain boss Luis Enrique and Julen Lopetegui of Sevilla believed to no longer be serious contenders for the role.