Mauricio Pochettino ‘mistake’ cost him Man Utd job as Erik ten Hag announced


Fresh details have emerged on why Mauricio Pochettino missed out on the Manchester United job after Erik ten Hag was officially appointed by the club on Thursday morning

Mauricio Pochettino's decision to 'keep his powder dry' in the race for the Manchester United job has ultimately come back to haunt him
Mauricio Pochettino’s decision to ‘keep his powder dry’ in the race for the Manchester United job has ultimately come back to haunt him

Mauricio Pochettino’s decision to stay quiet on interest from Manchester United late last year has been outlined as a ‘mistake’ that ultimately played a part in costing him the United job, according to a new report.

The Paris Saint-Germain chief’s name had been in the frame at United ever since a string of rotten results cost Ole Gunnar Solskjaer his job back in November. However, the 50-year-old has been pipped to the post by Erik ten Hag, who Manchester United formally confirmed as their new manager on Thursday morning.

Now that Ten Hag has finally been confirmed as United’s fifth permanent manager since Sir Alex Ferguson stepped down back in 2013, fresh details have emerged over the meticulous recruitment process that has dominated the narrative at Old Trafford over the past few months. And it appears that Pochettino’s own conservative reaction to being linked with the job in the immediate aftermath of Solskjaer’s dismissal has ultimately come back to haunt him.

The Manchester Evening News has outlined that Pochettino was United’s primary target after Solskjaer was sacked, with the club even approaching PSG in a bid to thrash out an agreement for the highly-rated coach. However, the French giants were in mood to lose the Argentine – and Pochettino himself made the mistake of ‘keeping his powder dry’ after being linked with the coveted job.

Pochettino’s decision to not ‘agitate’ for the job that he’d had his eye on for six years meant that PSG were under no pressure to relent to United’s demands; leaving the Old Trafford hierarchy to instead focus on an interim appointment.

And while Pochettino has remained in the frame for the United job since then, his stock in Paris has plummeted after PSG were dumped out of the Champions League in the last-16 by Real Madrid. Zinedine Zidane – as he was late last year when United were sniffing around Pochettino – is currently available and is the frontrunner to replace Pochettino in the summer; even if he guides the club to French title.

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Erik ten Hag was announced as Manchester United’s new manager on Thursday
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But while Pochettino’s long-term future is currently unclear, Ten Hag has profited from the PSG chief’s mistake and is now set to tackle one of the biggest rebuilding jobs in football after penning an initial three-year deal with United.

And Football Director John Murtough could hardly hide his delight after the appointment, insisting that the club had bagged “one of the most exciting and successful coaches in Europe.” He said: “During the past four years at Ajax, Erik has proved himself to be one of the most exciting and successful coaches in Europe, renowned for his team’s attractive, attacking football and commitment to youth.

“In our conversations with Erik leading up to this appointment, we were deeply impressed with his long-term vision for returning Manchester United to the level we want to be competing at, and his drive and determination to achieve that. We wish Erik the best of luck as he focuses on achieving a successful end to the season at Ajax and look forward to welcoming him to Manchester United this summer.”

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