Pogba dropped, Van de Beek’s new role and Cavani starts


Manchester United have approached Mauricio Pochettino’s representatives about the former Tottenham manager replacing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should he be sacked, talkSPORT understands.

Solskjaer, though, appears safe in his role as of now as Man United pulled a win out of the bag on Saturday afternoon with a 3-1 defeat of Everton.

Solskjaer’s time at Man United could end if their form doesn’t improve quickly

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Solskjaer’s time at Man United could end if their form doesn’t improve quickly

But whether this win was a return to form or just a one-off remains to be seen, and the impending international break means Solskjaer has a fortnight to wait before his side take to the pitch again.

And if beating Everton was a one-off, the pressure will soon mount on Solskjaer again – with Poch waiting in the wings.

Pochettino is believed to be keen on taking the Man United job as he approaches the year anniversary of his sacking at Spurs, which came six months after leading them to their first Champions League final.

Prior to Solskjaer’s appointment, when the Red Devils were looking to replace Jose Mourinho, the Argentine was at the centre of speculation but the Premier League giants, in the end, opted for their legendary striker.

Now he’s set to be offed if his players fail to suitably improve their poor start to the season domestically.

But can Pochettino get a tune out this squad at Old Trafford? talkSPORT.com takes a look at how Man United could line-up under him.

Manchester United fan Dave wants Sir Alex Ferguson back to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as manager at Old Trafford

Pochettino has been out of work since being sacked by Tottenham last November

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Pochettino has been out of work since being sacked by Tottenham last November


In the opening years of Pochettino’s reign in north London, the main formation he played as he built the side was this one.

It highlighted their weaknesses in central midfield to begin with but once he had coached Mousa Dembele into playing a deeper role, with a defensive midfielder alongside him, success soon came.

Christian Eriksen was often the No.10 and while he started with two wingers who cut inside. He would later use Dele Alli off the left in a roaming role.

The attacking midfielder had the ability to get up alongside Harry Kane while Danny Rose filled the space he vacated and Dembele dropped in to offer protection between Rose and the defence.

On some occasions Eriksen and Alli did swap roles as Pochettino looked to tweak the areas where Spurs created.

Eriksen and Alli were key for Tottenham under Pochettino

Eriksen and Alli were key for Tottenham under Pochettino

When it comes to using this formation and moving it to the United squad, it’s clear Bruno Fernandes will be the key and Donny van de Beek, who could possibly be compared to Alli, may play off the right thanks to his excellent off the ball movement.

We might also see a change in Paul Pogba, if Pochettino is able to coach him, with a Dembele role suiting the Frenchman, which is intriguing given the two battled often before the Belgian left Spurs.

There is only room for one forward, and right now you would suggest Edinson Cavani might be the man to take it, given all his experience and his hard work.

The defence takes care of itself but given the issues face recently by United in recent matches we won’t see both full-backs quite so attacking.


As Pochettino’s team evolved in 2015/16 and 2016/17 we saw a 3-4-3 or a 3-4-2-1 system employed.

Having Alex Telles now at Old Trafford, wing-backs might be a sensible way to go, allowing them to maximise having two excellent attacking midfielders in Fernandes and Van de Beek, while offering protection behind them.

At Tottenham, it was Dembele and Wanyama who offered the protection in defensive midfield, allowing both the exterior centre-backs to progress the ball in the correct situation.

Mousa Dembele (central midfield) 6/10

Demebele was key for Pochettino and his displays are hard to be replicated

It does, though, mean it’s less likely we will see Pogba in the team but he could potentially thrive in one of the attacking midfield roles and the freedom afforded to him could unleash his talent.

Playing a back-three with two defensive midfielders could lead to them inviting on pressure and we could see the counter attack employed more often, which would mean using Rashford as a striker instead of Cavani.

4-4-2 Diamond

At points, Pochettino turned to this system, even if most of the time it was more for function over style.

Spurs fans don’t really hold too much fondness for the performances from their team when he set-up with a narrow midfield, although a 6-2 win over Everton did come from it.

By this point, though, Wanyama and Dembele were both out and Eric Dier out injured, leaving no true No.6 – United, though, have Nemanja Matic and can develop Scott McTominay in the role too.

Fred and Pogba fit the bill as No.8s in this formation with both able to muck in with defensive duties.

Can Pochettino help Pogba regain his form at Manchester United?

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Can Pochettino help Pogba regain his form at Manchester United?

Up top, United are well stocked with forwards making this a somewhat sensible solution to getting more of them into the team.

Cavani and Rashford, the time being, are perhaps likely to be favoured by Pochettino, but having Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood able to come in shows their fantastic depth in the position.


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