Mauricio Pochettino Would Not Be Enough to Solve Manchester United Woes

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Times are really tough at both Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur. How tough? Well, articles that openly question whether or not the former team can escape relegation, and whether the latter team has completely quit on manager Maurcio Pochettino can seriously be written published.

These are not click-bait narratives, but legitimate concerns as we sit here on the second international break. On the heels of a loss to the league’s penultimate side yesterday, United currently sit 12th, just two points from the drop zone. No, United are not going to find themselves relegated at the end of the year, but they’re not going to finish in the top four either.

Off to their worst league start in nearly three decades, United have just eight points from eight games and have only scored five times in total since opening day. As for Tottenham, they currently sit ninth and head into the break after a week that was about as nightmarish as possible.

There is talk of the sack coming for Pochettino and it it happens, it’s really a shame because the north London side has issues that go well above and beyond the manager position.

Pochettino tried to warn his superiors of what was coming, but they didn’t listen and now he could be the one who pays for their mistakes with his job.

He’s been consistently linked to Old Trafford over the years, and although he would be a massive upgrade over current boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, he couldn’t magically turn around the Red Devils. United, like Tottenham, have severe issues at the top of the club, and you can see right now that Poch can’t stop the bleeding in this kind of situation; no manager could.

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So what do you do? Well, I can’t claim to have all the answers, but I do know that staying the course at United is definitely the wrong thing to do. For Tottenham, well that’s another article entirely. Let’s take a look at where it’s gone wrong at the Theater of Dreams and what could be done to try and right the ship.

What isn’t Working/Won’t Work

-The Status Quo

For whatever reason, this team was playing lights out when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took the reigns on an interim basis from Jose Mourinho. Then, once he became full-time manager, they fell apart. I can’t explain why, but it is what it is and this side has not achieved a road victory (11 games) since last March when they won 3-1 at Paris Saint-Germain in UCL competition.

They have taken just 17 points from their 17 league games since then. Yes, they are beset by injury right now, but this team has been failing to get even results even when fit for some time.

They are missing some of their key players, yes, but this is a squad with a lot of high priced talent. There is no excuse for them to be outside the top four race; ever.

-The Paul Pogba Era

While it’s unfair to single out the Frenchman, he is still the team’s most talented and gifted player. He’s also the most expensive footballer in English history. So the impetus does fall on him to be a leader, but he is definitely not. He looks quite disinterested at times and that is unacceptable.

He wants out of the club, and it’s clear that the problems with him went well beyond his awful relationship with Mourinho. The team should just grant him his wish and let him go. His value in the transfer market is very very high- time to cash in and truly start a legitimate rebuild.

paul pogba

-Simply Throwing More Money at the Problems

You can label Pogba in the bust category. Although he has produced, he just hasn’t lived up to his ginormous price tag. Ditto for Fred, Angel Di Maria, Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez and more. For years, the board has just decided to buy the biggest names available, without really doing due diligence on

a.) where those players are in their career arc b.) how they fit in at United c.) how they would gel with each other.

This isn’t a fantasy football team and spending for spending sake doesn’t work.

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What Might Work

-Pick a Transfer Window Lane

See above, and continuing off that, it’s time to really embrace true transfer window strategy. We saw the first traces of one this summer, as they went for young, homegrown talent. It does seems like going with young, overlooked talent might work out in the long run, but there is no need to confine oneself to England.

Great Britain’s got talent, not enough to keep your roster rebuild in a very narrow box.

-Make Ed Woodward Stick to Finances, Find a Football Man

The real problem at United isn’t the manager, it’s the Executive Vice President. Ed Woodward, an investment banker who knows nothing about football, needs to stay in his fiscal ledger sheet lane. United need a real Football Director, with actual power, to take over roster reshaping, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.

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The fact that this search has carried on so long, with no end it sight, just makes it look like a farce; a potential lip service to placate fans. Of course, the biggest issue with the club are the Glazers, but we’ve been over how poor the owners are already, and in great detail.

-Trying to Escape the Shadow of Sir Alex Ferguson

There’s no doubt about it, the shadow of the great Scot looms all over the place with this club. It’s time to end comparisons to the ’90s and 2000s, as that’s not coming back any time soon. Other than Sir Alex and Sir Matt Busby, this franchise hasn’t truly been that all consistently elite over time.

Solskajer is like David Moyes; simply happy to be there, in way over his head. Mourinho was like Louis van Gaal, someone with a CV who just couldn’t make it work.

sir alex old trafford man united

It’s time to redefine expectations at Man United downward, at least a little, in the near term. Solskajer is saying all the right things, but he comes off like a real life version of the “this is fine” dog in a burning house meme.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No,  I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

You can follow Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com on Twitter here and his cat on Instagram at this link.

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