In pictures: Watford v Man Utd
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Manchester United have hit a significant early stumbling block in their bid to find a new permanent manager after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked on Sunday. Both Zinedine Zidane and Mauricio Pochettino, two targets on United’s hit list, face obstacles to the Red Devils hotseat which could prompt the club’s hierarchy to search elsewhere.
A humiliating 4-1 loss at Watford proved to be Solskjaer’s last game in the job, capping off a torrid run of results and performances.
The total absence of a replacement plan became apparent thereafter, with Michael Carrick placed in temporary charge until an interim boss is found for the remainder of the season.
Exactly who that will be remains unclear, but the usual suspects make up the list of who could become the next permanent boss, including Zidane and Pochettino.
When it comes to the Frenchman, BBC Sport claim that he is not interested by the Old Trafford vacancy.
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Most recently, Zidane was at the helm for his second spell in charge of Real Madrid, and the same report claims that he would only be tempted back into management by PSG or France.
That could set off an advantageous chain reaction for the Red Devils, with PSG boss Pochettino also heavily linked to United.
If they could prise him away from Paris, Zidane could slot straight in as his replacement and all parties could be left satisfied.
However, the French outfit have allegedly made no movements to sack Pochettino as the side sit 11 points clear in Ligue 1.
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The Argentine arrived in France with a stellar reputation from his time at Tottenham, and although results have been solid this season, talk has consistently bubbled on about discontent between himself and PSG.
The Parisians are very much on the hunt for silverware this season though, and with a terrifying front three of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, Pochettino may well choose to stay on and see what can be achieved.
When summer rolls around, he will have just one year remaining on his contract which should make compensation payments manageable if United decide to make a move.
United are believed to admire the former Spurs boss, who overachieved with the north London side before departing in 2019.
His attractive brand of football makes for an enticing prospect, particularly in light of the board’s supposed preference for a free-flowing, attacking philosophy.
Whoever comes in will have a star-studded squad at their disposal, buoyed by a big-spending summer which included the arrivals of Cristiano Ronaldo, Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho.
However, United are already 12 points off the pace and have significant ground to make up for a top-four spot.
If Pochettino and Zidane are deemed unworkable candidates, efforts could step up for the likes of Brendan Rodgers and Erik ten Hag before the end of the campaign.
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