Manchester United would be making a mistake by focusing all of their efforts on appointing Mauricio Pochettino and the board should ‘open up’ the process as they could be ‘surprised’ by other candidates.
That’s according to former United forward Dimitar Berbatov, who believes the board should leave no stone left unturned as they look to make the appointment of a new long-term manager.
Pochettino, the Paris Saint-Germain boss, is the favourite to take charge at Old Trafford and his position in the French capital is under threat following the club’s Champions League defeat to Real Madrid.
Should PSG sack Pochettino, that would significantly boost United’s chances of appointing the Argentine as they would no longer have to pay a compensation fee for the former Southampton boss.
Pochettino is thought to be keen on moving to Old Trafford but, though Berbatov is a fan of the 50-year-old, he believes United would be negligent not to conduct a thorough search for a new manager by interviewing other candidates such as Erik Ten Hag.
Asked who United should appoint this summer, Berbatov told Metro.co.uk he doesn’t have a preferred choice and just wants United to cast a wide net.
‘Honestly I don’t have a favourite because it’s been so hit and miss with coaches and United, said Betfair Ambassador Berbatov.
‘You are afraid to say who will be the right one. I mean great coaches have come to United and failed in a way that they didn’t bring the Premier League title. This is how I judge a coach at United. That’s why I can’t say this is the right guy.
‘In the case of Pochettino, he has been the favourite for so long and maybe at one point he’s going to get the job because he’s well respected in England, everyone loves him as a coach and as a human being and maybe he’s going to be the coach at some point.
‘But my advice is just to open up and interview other people, see what they can bring. Maybe someone can surprise you with what they can bring and then this time lets hope it is the right person.’
Paris Saint-Germain’s capitulation at the Bernabeu has not only raised serious doubts about Pochettino’s future at the club but also the Argentine’s ability to get his teams over the line.
Pochettino worked wonders at Tottenham, guiding Spurs to the Champions League final in 2019 despite working on a tiny budget compared to his rivals.
But Berbatov believes there can be no excuses for Pochettino’s failure at PSG and that his reputation has undoubtedly taken a hit.
‘Honestly I don’t see any excuses here to be honest,’ said Berbatov.
‘You get the lead, you have great team with great players, you’re leading 1-0 and overall 2-0 because of the first leg and this should be enough for you to go to the next phase even though it is Real Madrid who also have great players but that’s why I say there’s no excuses.
‘Credit to Real Madrid of course for doing what they did but this can be damaging for Pochettino’s reputation because he is working with a great squad, full of great players and he should be doing something in the Champions League.
‘Now, the French league which I have been part of as well and know very well PSG is above everyone else so it’s bit more easy there. Champions League is where you test yourself and again they have failed. It stings. It stings for him and it’s painful for him. He will have a bad rep but overall I don’t think it’s going to damage his coaching skills.
‘Some will say the ‘Spurs curse’ is with him like not winning something and I said before that he’s working with great players in PSG, with great personality and ego. I mean the front three is unbelievable but at the same time you need to know how to manage them and get the best out of them and at this moment in time it’s not working quite well for him in PSG.
‘Is he still the right man for United? Also a big, big question and this is where the directors at United getting forward and looking for someone who they will appoint next summer, they need to think carefully and I hope they will not be concentrating on one name in this case Pochettino.
‘They should open up a bit more and interview them, see what they can bring to the table and at the end of the day make the right choice. Are they going to make the right choice? We will find out in the summer.’