Premier League

Manchester United

Solskjaer: Pochettino speculation is there for a reason

By David Charlesworth, | 12d
Favourite meets caretaker this weekend.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer understands why Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has been heavily tipped to take the reins on a permanent basis at Manchester United.

Pochettino has led Spurs to top-three Premier League finishes in each of the last three seasons while his brand of attacking football has earned plenty of admirers both in this country and on the continent.

The Argentinian is the favourite to be appointed the full-time successor to Jose Mourinho in the summer although Solskjaer, who is in caretaker charge until the end of the season, has made an encouraging case for retention.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer knows why Mauricio Pochettino is rated (Martin Rickett/PA)

The Norwegian has equalled Sir Matt Busby's record in winning his first five fixtures at the helm of United and he could further his cause when he pits his wits against Pochettino and Tottenham this weekend.

Assessing his potential rival, Solskjaer said: "He has done a very good job. That speculation is there for a reason – because he has done well.

"But it's not my job to rate managers, my focus is on me and my team."

Solskjaer rejected the consensus that Sunday's showdown at Wembley marks the first acid test of his reign.

Pochettino is the favourite for the United job (Peter Byrne/PA)

United have seen off Cardiff, Huddersfield, Bournemouth and Newcastle – all of whom are in the bottom half of the table – in the league while they defeated Reading in the FA Cup last weekend to extend Solskjaer's perfect start.

Solskjaer said: "No we have had tests, Newcastle away is a test and first game how everyone reacted is a test, first home game with the crowd is a test, every single game you get tested.

"But this is against top, top side. If we want to go closer and get past them we need a good performance and a good result."

The former Red Devils striker has been handed a boost with Paul Pogba set to return from injury.

Paul Pogba is fit (Martin Rickett/PA)

Pogba has looked rejuvenated in recent weeks, with four goals in as many games under Solskjaer, but he sat out the win over the Royals after injuring the back of his right leg following a challenge by Newcastle midfielder Jonjo Shelvey last week.

Pogba initially remained in Manchester for treatment as his team-mates went to Dubai for a warm-weather camp before then jetting out to the Middle East.

Solskjaer said: "He looked OK towards the end there, so he'll be fit.

"He did have some problems but he came through the last couple of sessions well, so he should be OK."

There was more unwelcome news on Marcos Rojo, however, with Solskjaer revealing the defender has returned to his native Argentina to continue his recovery from injury.

Rojo has made just three appearances all season and is unlikely to add to that anytime soon.

Solskjaer added: "He's gone back to Argentina for a while because of his injury.

"Mentally it was important for him to get away and then come back fresh again."



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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool23193154134160
2Manchester CityMan City23182362174556
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs23170648232551
4Chelsea23145440192147
5Arsenal23135548321644
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd23135546331344
7Watford239683232033
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves239592731-432
9Leicester CityLeicester2394102929031
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham2394103034-431
11Everton238693433130
12Bournemouth2393113342-930
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2375112532-726
14Crystal Palace2364132332-922
15Southampton2357112540-1522
16Burnley2364132343-2022
17Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2356121931-1221
18Cardiff CityCardiff2354141944-2519
19Fulham2335152151-3014
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2325161340-2711
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Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool23193154134160
2Manchester CityMan City23182362174556
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs23170648232551
4Chelsea23145440192147
5Arsenal23135548321644
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd23135546331344
7Watford239683232033
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves239592731-432
9Leicester CityLeicester2394102929031
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham2394103034-431
11Everton238693433130
12Bournemouth2393113342-930
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2375112532-726
14Crystal Palace2364132332-922
15Southampton2357112540-1522
16Burnley2364132343-2022
17Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2356121931-1221
18Cardiff CityCardiff2354141944-2519
19Fulham2335152151-3014
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2325161340-2711
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