How Mauricio Pochettino could set up if he replaces Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as Man Utd boss

Manchester United have reportedly made an approach to Mauricio Pochettino about becoming the successor to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The Manchester Evening News say that the Argentine has been identified by the club as an ideal replacement for the under-pressure Solskjaer.

Of course, the incumbent in the post may hold on for some time yet, but only if there is an immediate upturn in results. A negative result for United against Everton today could have significant ramifications for the Norwegian’s future, with Pochettino waiting in the wings.

United have already fallen to four defeats this season and they are languishing 15th in the Premier League, as the storm clouds begin to gather over Old Trafford.

What impact would Pochettino have if he took the reins at United? How would he look to set up his side and what would be the most notable changes from the current regime?

Pochettino prefers to play his sides in a 4-2-3-1 formation, a setup Solskjaer has deployed frequently this season.

Indeed, WhoScored have analysed how United have played that exact setup in five of their six Premier League matches to date, but in just one of their three Champions League outings.

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Perhaps the greatest criticism of Solskjaer right now is the lack of continuity in the system. The midfield diamond worked perfectly against RB Leipzig but failed miserably four days later against Arsenal.

Meanwhile, a 3-5-2 formation has also occasionally been deployed, including in the win at Paris Saint-Germain last month.

Such unpredictability would not exist under Pochettino, who is likely to stick to his guns.

His 4-2-3-1 places an emphasis on building attacks from the back. His sides hunt in packs across the pitch, pressing opponents high and winning turnovers in dangerous areas.

When asked about pressing, Pochettino told The Guardian in 2016: “You show on the pitch who you are. If you are brave in your life, you cannot behave in a different way on the pitch.

“I don’t understand how to play in a different way. Always, be brave. I like to be brave.”

While there were tweaks during his time at Spurs – he switched to a back three for a spell and also occasionally played with a more compact midfield – these were mainly due to injuries and suspensions.

Such an issue should not prove as problematic at United due to their greater squad strength, although Pochettino would likely stick to a more settled line-up than Solskjaer.

It is trickier to determine which players would thrive under the Argentine, although he does have a track record of developing young talent.

This was true at both Southampton and Tottenham, with the likes of Luke Shaw, Danny Rose, Kyle Walker, Adam Lallana, Nathaniel Clyne, Eric Dier, Harry Winks, Dele Alli and Harry Kane among the array of stars who were developed by Pochettino.

This, along with Pochettino’s ability to build success over the long-term, would be hugely beneficial to United’s younger crop of players.

There is a notable group of highly-talented youngsters at Old Trafford who could provide the bedrock of their squad for years to come: Dean Henderson, Axel Tuanzebe, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Brandon Williams,

Daniel James, Scott McTominay, Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Anthony Martial are among those whose best years are ahead of them.

In the short-term, there is unlikely to be any drastic changes to the starting XI. The combative nature of Fred and Scott McTominay is likely to appeal to Pochettino.

Fred’s strength is hunting down opponents and disrupting play, while McTominay’s presence and vocal leadership will be admired by the Argentine. Nemanja Matic is in the mould of ex-Spurs man Victor Wanyama, although his lack of mobility may prove an issue.

The big questions will surround Paul Pogba and the preferred attackers. Martial will hope to retain his place as a central striker, but Greenwood may have designs on that role.

With Facundo Pellestri yet to make his first-team debut and Amad Diallo set to join in January, there are plenty of promising youngsters at Old Trafford who would be ideally suited to a long-term project.

Pochettino is a coach who seems ideally suited to this squad: he could make improvements both individually and collectively, while developing young players along the way.

He is unlikely to demand any major overhauls to United and will instead focus on evolution over revolution.

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