How the managers on Man Utd’s shortlist compare as Southgate joins Zidane, Pochettino and Solskjaer among contenders

How the managers on Man Utd’s shortlist compare as Southgate joins Zidane, Pochettino and Solskjaer among contenders

January 13, 2019

Jose Mourinho's exit in December leaves the managerial position vacant.

There are a handful of potential candidates for the role, with as many as seven coaches in the running for the Old Trafford hotseat. The latest reports suggest England manager Gareth Southgate is now in the running.

But who is the leading contender and best suited to start a new era at the club? SunSport looks at how the magnificent seven compare.

Laurent Blanc

Managerial record: Won 234; Drawn 66; Lost 56

Major honours: Ligue 1 title x4, French Cup x 2, French League Cup x4, French Super Cup x5


Blanc is one of the most decorated candidates to replace Mourinho.

Experience with France and Paris Saint-Germain means he knows what it takes to manage big-name players.

His 15-major honours also suggest he knows what it takes to perform in the biggest of games.

And as a former United defender he would be relatively well-received by the Manchester faithful.


The relative lack of competition while at PSG means his triumphs in his homeland should be taken with a pinch of salt.

They were knocked out at the quarter-final stage of the Champions League in each of Blanc's three campaigns in charge.

Towards the end of his three-year spell at the Parc des Princes there were concerns over his tactics.

And having under-performed with France at Euro 2016 and since overlooked by the likes of Chelsea, there are concerns over his ability.

Mauricio Pochettino

Managerial record: Won 219; Drawn 53; Lost 54

Major honours: None


Having scaled the Premier League with Southampton and Tottenham, the Argentine appears ready for the next step up.

An attractive philosophy and focus on young English players also fits the ethos at United.

And after Mourinho publicly attacked many of his players, the club's hierarchy will not be fearing Pochettino creating any negative headlines.

Having fostered a close relationship with his Spurs squad, it is likely several stars could follow him out of the exit door.


The lack of a major trophy is a major chasm on Pochettino's CV.

A chequered record in the transfer window is also worrying with United bidding to rebuild, particularly if he is unable to lure any of his former charges.

A genuine lack of experience of dealing with the pressure of managing at a global superpower could also be deemed to be a drawback.

Requiring nearly £40million to prise him away from Spurs makes him the high-cost option too – but SunSport understand he is the No.1 option.

Marco Rose

Managerial record: Won 134; Drawn 47; Lost 24

Major honours: Austrian Bundesliga x1


Rose, linked with the United job on New Year's Day, focuses on gegenpressing which will see United's approach updated and align them with Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool.

Having reached the Europa League semi-finals, it is also clear the 42-year-old sees the importance of a deep run in continental competition.


United fans will be asking whether seven years in the sport with one major honour is enough to justify becoming their new permanent boss.

An onus on a 4-3-1-2 formation which includes a diamond midfield would also require a major tactical shift for the squad.

Additionally, some of Red Bull Salzburg's success can be attributed to their shrewdness in the transfer market.

That was underpinned by an impressive scouting network, but at United he will be forced to adapt to their existing recruitment structure which is led by Ed Woodward.

Diego Simeone

Major honours: Argentina Premier League x2, La Liga x1, Spanish Cup x1, Spanish Super Cup x1, Europa League x2, Uefa Super Cup x2


There is little doubt that Simeone is one of the most non-nonsense coaches on the circuit.

No slip in standards would be accepted at United.

Simeone has broken Barcelona and Real Madrid's grip on Spanish football with Atletico Madrid and reached two Champions League finals too, all with a vastly inferior budget.

His teams play with a high intensity which would make them tough to match in the Premier League.


While Simeone is a passionate individual he has been known to play hard and fast with the rules.

And whether that would sit well with the United board, who have a beady eye on how the club are viewed, remains to be seen.

Though Simeone likes his sides to press high, there is an onus on defensive stability and would see some players' attacking instincts curbed.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Managerial record: Won 149; Drawn 49; Lost 80

Major honours: Norwegian Premier League x2, Norwegian Cup x1


Part of the way through a virtual interview for the permanent position, Solskjaer has another six months to impress United's decision-makers as caretaker boss.

Knowledge of the club's philosophy and academy is vital to his long-term job prospects and gives him the edge over his rivals.

Having given license to the team to express themselves it appears the days of free-flowing attacking football is back

And as a legendary figure at United his appointment would also be well-received among supporters.


Despite an encouraging start to life as interim manager, Solskjaer has a chequered record as a coach.

Having taken Cardiff down he is yet to win a trophy since returning to Molde.

How he would deal with a major transfer budget also requires consideration.

There must also be questions over whether he possesses the tactical nouse to improve United beyond his honeymoon period.

Gareth Southgate

Managerial record: Won 89; Drawn 54; Lost 72

Major honours: None


Has developed a way of playing and an identity with England which United are badly in need of.

Furthermore, he has got the best out of players who have previously been sub-par and changed the feeling around the national team.

A commitment to promoting young players and not being afraid to ditch older stars also ties in with the club's traditions.


Southgate's only previous experience in club football saw him relegated from the Premier League at Middlesbrough.

And having departed the Riverside 10 years ago it would take a significant adaptation if United did come calling.

There would be questions over his ability in the transfer window and style of play, which during the World Cup was often turgid.

Zinedine Zidane

Managerial record: Won 130; Drawn 46; Lost 30

Major honours: La Liga x1, Spanish Super Cup x1, Champions League x3, Uefa Super Cup x2, Fifa World Club Cup x2


Record-breaking success with Real Madrid in his first and only senior management position bodes well for the future.

The way he shepherded an ageing squad to three successive European Cups begs the question what he could do with greater resources.

The World Cup winner also represents the calibre of name which would appease the superiority complex of United fans.

Currently unattached, the Frenchman has no release clause and is also learning English.


There are accusations that having inherited a star-studded squad, Zidane's influence at Real was minimal.

Zidane could call upon Cristiano Ronaldo, Luke Modric and Sergio Ramos throughout his tenure.

He only signed six players while at the Santiago Bernabeu and will need to prove he can work his magic in the window.

While he enjoyed great success in Madrid, his ability to create a team and build is largely unknown.

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