Manchester United's legends prefer Pochettino to Ten Hag... but they must give Dutchman a chance if hired
A growing split appears to be emerging over Manchester United’s next choice of manager.
Erik ten Hag is the popular choice of Manchester United supporters. A poll conducted by Gary Neville showed 82 per cent of respondents preferred Ten Hag to Mauricio Pochettino.
Neville on his part, had a differing view, writing on Twitter: “Personally I would go for Pochettino.”
Former United star Paul Scholes told BT Sport he wanted either Antonio Conte or Thomas Tuchel, taking a different view, while still veering away from Ten Hag.
United’s former stars must back Ten Hag if hired
At this point there appears to be a clear divide. Opinions are fine, as nobody really knows who will be proved right eventually.
But where this does potentially become an issue, is that somebody is not going to get their way.
United’s former players have been a critical bunch in the media in recent times. Ralf Rangnick has endured more criticism from Scholes in a few months than Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ever received from him.
Jose Mourinho and Louis van Gaal were both heavily criticised, and former star Zlatan Ibrahimovic called out the ‘Class of 92’ in 2019, telling The Mirror: “They are not there anymore. They are on TV and complaining all the time because they are not active in the club.
“Everything that happens is judged by the era of Ferguson. They are saying if Ferguson was here, this would not happen, Ferguson would not do it like that.”
You would think then, that if Pochettino was hired, as a more popular choice than Ten Hag in the media, then you would suspect he would get more leeway if United get off to a poor start.
It is easy to envision Ten Hag being criticised from the moment results start to slide, with pundits keen to point out their preferred option would have been a better choice.
United’s former players owe it to the club, to not add to the noise and create extra pressure on whichever manager lands the job.
It would be easy for them to turn on the board and blame them for following the fan feeling for Ten Hag, rather than listening to their advice.
Fans must also get behind Pochettino if hired
The other side of the coin applies to Manchester United’s supporters, who must give Mauricio Pochettino the same time as Ten Hag would get, if he is hired.
With Ten Hag the popular choice, it is easy to imagine #PochOut trending on social media from disgruntled supporters if Pochettino gets the nod.
There will be more scrutiny on Pochettino from supporters because Ten Hag did not get the nod, and any early defeats will prompt an online meltdown.
Patience required from all parties
The real message here is that Manchester United need to be united, and everybody has to get behind the fresh start and back the new manager, whoever it is.
There is no overnight fix coming, Ralf Rangnick has said he believes United could require up to three transfer windows to start competing again, this means 2024.
So there is going to be a fair bit of pain along the way, draws, defeats, along with the wins, while this next United project finds its feet.
Not everybody will be happy with the next choice, and this shouldn’t be the board’s concern, their task is to rebuild the club after nine years of failure. United fans won’t want to be patient, or enjoy it, especially considering the two teams at the top of the table after Liverpool and City, but this is the reality of where we are.
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