Manchester United legend Gary Pallister has backed current PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino to take the permanent reins at Old Trafford in the summer.
There is no certainty as to who will be occupying the dugout come the start of next season, with interim manager Ralf Rangnick set to step down in the summer and take up a two-year advisory role behind the scenes.
The German’s short reign has done little to abate the growing frustration from Man Utd’s stuttering start under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, which culminated in his eventual dismissal.
The Red Devils are currently fourth in the Premier League table but successive 1-1 draws with Burnley and Southampton — and that FA Cup exit to second-tier Middlesbrough — in the last four games across all competitions has just amped up the pressure on Rangnick.
There is belief that the makers and shakers at Old Trafford will be hoping to have a permanent appointment lined up before the end of 2021/22, and Pochettino, as well as Ajax manager Erik ten Hag, are thought to be the two leading candidates for the job.
Pochettino, who famously guided Tottenham to the Champions League final in 2018 and recently oversaw a 1-0 victory over Real Madrid in the round-of-16 first leg on Tuesday, would be the “ideal” man to succeed Rangnick in the dugout, according to Pallister.
Speaking to Squawka on behalf of OLBG, the four-time Premier League winner said: “I was an advocate of Pochettino after Jose [Mourinho] was sacked and I think he ticks a lot of the boxes.
“If I’m honest I don’t know an awful lot about Ten Hag, but I’ve seen Pochettino manage here.
“He had an instant impact with Southampton and an instant impact with Tottenham.
“He created the best Tottenham side I’ve seen since the days of Glenn Hoddle, Steve Perryman, Pat Jennings and the like.
“A lot has been said about Tottenham having a weak underbelly and I believe he changed that.
“He plays with a bit of style, he wants to entertain, plays attacking and aggressive football, and I think he handles the press really well.”
Pallister, who represented Man Utd for nine trophy-laden years under Sir Alex Ferguson, believes his former club would be getting one of the top five tacticians in world football if they manage to poach Pochettino from the Parisians.
He continued: “I think you look at him as one of the top five managers in world football.
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“I believe Ten Hag has a good CV and the work he’s done at Ajax is incredible.
“It’ll come down to who they think is best behind the scenes at Manchester United and whether you can get these managers in.
“I think Pochettino would be my ideal choice because he knows the Premier League and he’ll know what is expected from the Manchester United crowd. I think he could actually deliver that.”
‘Man Utd Champions League win would be a minor miracle’
Having been eliminated from both the FA Cup and League Cup already this campaign, Rangnick’s job in the coming months will be to secure a top-four Premier League finish, and navigate a potentially awkward Champions League round-of-16 tie with Atletico Madrid.
Pallister knows just how testing an opponent Atleti can be, having been part of the 1991/92 European Cup Winners’ Cup defeat to the Spaniards, losing 4-1 on aggregate as the competition’s holders — and he thinks Diego Simeone’s side represent a similarly “difficult task”.
Pallister said: “It would probably be a minor miracle, if Manchester United won the Champions League.
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“We need to be a better team rather than individuals before we can be in with a shout, but who knows. The final is a few months away so there’s time.
“It’s a difficult task to get through Atletico because they’re a hard side to beat, but it’s one tie at a time, if they can get through it then it might give the players belief.
“You take that confidence into the next game, but if I was a betting man, I would probably keep my pound in my pocket.”