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Jose Mourinho or Mauricio Pochettino is reportedly being lined up to manage Manchester United next season.
The former Chelsea manager and current Tottenham boss have completely contrasting styles but both have enjoyed different kinds of success in the Premier League and beyond.
Here is a look at how they rate in the key areas United chiefs will assess including experience, trophies, personality, developing players and ability to take on Pep Guardiola ahead of a potential approach from Old Trafford…
Pochettino cut his teeth with Espanyol in Spain saving them from relegation and ensuring a comfortable mid-table finish, but it was at Southampton that he made his name with victories against Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City in his first season as Premier League safety was earned and an eighth place finish in his only full season at St. Mary’s. At Tottenham he has continued to build his reputation with a fifth-placed finish in his first campaign and he has Spurs in contention for the title and Champions League football this time around.
In 15 years as a manager Mourinho has managed in four countries with great success and proven himself capable of consistently winning honours. His greatest achievement still remains back to back league titles and European honours with Porto where he won the UEFA Cup and Champions League in successive seasons – the kind of success United fans dream of.
Pochettino is yet to win anything as a manager but considering the size of the clubs he has managed this is forgivable. However, Tottenham remain in the Europa League, FA Cup and Premier League title race so that could all end in the coming months.
Mourinho is practically in a league of his own when it comes to delivering silverware. He has won eight league titles, three European honours, including two Champions Leagues and seven domestic cup competitions – plus a few other pots besides.
Pochettino is calm, collected and doesn’t make much fuss. He is not known for his rants and prefers to let his teams do the talking on the pitch although his career trajectory suggests he is ambitious and capable of handling himself expertly in the Premier League.
Mourinho by comparison is one of the biggest personalities around. Known for his man management techniques, rants and ability to woo or alienate the media, the Portuguese’s larger than life persona has been his undoing on more than one occasion, but things are never boring with him around.
A steady stream of young talent has been given time and space to develop throughout Pochettino’s career. At Tottenham he has built his team around Harry Kane and Dele Alli while the likes of Luke Shaw, Calum Chambers and Nathaniel Clyne flourished under him at Southampton.
It is a different story for Mourinho though, who has been consistently criticised for his failure to give youngsters a chance, preferring to focus on short-term gains rather than the long haul. Most recently at Chelsea Mourinho looked set to give some of their award-winning academy stars game time but the opportunity didn’t materialise.
Style of play
Pochettino is known to favour younger, fitter players who can adapt to his high-intensity and quick pressing style. This is not dissimilar from the tactics Sir Alex Ferguson used and would go down well with the crowd at Old Trafford.
Mourinho is tactically flexible and able to deliver success against top teams domestically and on the European stage but one consistent criticism has been his tendency to favour results over an attractive style of play – something that may not sit too easily with United fans.
What does Sir Alex Ferguson think?
Tottenham MP David Lammy reckons Sir Alex speaks highly of Pochettino, saying “About six weeks ago, I sat next to Sir Alex Ferguson at a dinner in support of grassroots football abroad. He said to me, ‘I think you guys have got the best manager in the Premier League’. Alex Ferguson said that.”
Meanwhile, in a 2011 interview with Sports Illustrated Fergie said this of Mourinho “He’s at the top, there’s no doubt about that. You have certain criteria in terms of top management, and that is longevity of success – which is very difficult today – and what you win. You have to regard his achievements as really first-class.”
How would they fare against Pep Guardiola?
Pochettino would likely strike up a mature and healthy rivalry with new Manchester City boss Guardiola, both managers have similar philosophies and outlooks and would keep it professional.
Mourinho, however, is a known rival to the former Barcelona boss – a situation that would likely result in intense competition between the two Manchester clubs played out on and off the pitch.
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