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Poch 'so happy' at PSG and will ignore Man Utd 'rumours'

Sky Sports logo Sky Sports 23/11/2021 skysports.com
Mauricio Pochettino has been linked with the vacant managerial role at Manchester United © Associated Press Mauricio Pochettino has been linked with the vacant managerial role at Manchester United

Mauricio Pochettino has said he is "so happy" at Paris Saint-Germain and will not allow Manchester United's interest to distract him from his current role.

Pochettino remains United's first choice this summer, but the club are not ruling out the possibility of making an earlier move for the Argentinian.

United are aware Pochettino has major issues with PSG sporting director Leonardo, but are also wary the former Tottenham boss has flirted with the idea of moving to Old Trafford before.

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Speaking in Manchester ahead of PSG's Champions League match at Manchester City, Pochettino said: "I am focused. I am very focused on football. I am not a child, I spend my whole life playing football, and now my 12th year being coach, we're in a business that the rumours are there. I understand what is going on.

"This kind of thing cannot distract. Rumours are there, we need to live with that. We are so focused, giving 100 per cent to get our best from the club and the players. I am so happy at Paris Saint-Germain, for tomorrow we are so focused to get the best results we can."

Pochettino took charge at PSG in January and pointed out his current contract runs out at the end of the 2022-23 season.

He added: "What another club are doing is not my business, I need to be focused on PSG. I'm not going to make the mistake of talking. You know everything we'll say, it was in the past when at Espanyol when I said my dream was to meet Sir Alex (Ferguson), anything I say now is going to be misunderstood and out of context. I was a PSG player. I love the club. I love the fans. We are fighting in Ligue 1 and the Champions League.

"My contract is to 2023. This season and one season more. I don't say nothing different. I am very happy at PSG. That is a fact."

Meanwhile, United are continuing their search for an interim manager and have had numerous expressions of interest, with Michael Carrick in caretaker charge for the time being, and making a winning start as the 2-0 victory at Villarreal on Tuesday evening saw United qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League.

Is Poch really happy at PSG?

Sky Sports News reporter Paul Gilmour:

"This was a good performance from Pochettino, he was saying all the right things. He is of course under contract like he said until 2023.

"We have not heard the end of this. There was no clear denial, the closest we got was him denying these reports he's unhappy in Paris.

"Clearly the focus will shift onto United as he is under contract. If United desperately want to get him, it's a case of bringing PSG to the negotiation table.

"There is something going on behind the scenes, you just get a feeling for it. I was speaking to one influential person in world football, and it's their belief Pochettino won't be PSG head coach for much longer.


Video: Michael Carrick pleased with Man Utd players character in Villarreal win (Evening Standard)

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"But Pochettino is trying to block all that noise out, focus on the game, and on what he's doing for PSG."

How much would Man Utd have to pay PSG for Poch?

United would have to pay £8.4m if they want to prise Pochettino away from PSG, according to French football expert Jonathan Johnson.

"No move has been made by any party at this time - that's my understanding," he told Sky Sports News. "But if United were to knock on PSG's door, willing to pay the full compensation for Pochettino - which I believe is upwards of €10m [£8.4m] - then that might bring PSG to the table.

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"PSG are aware that there might be another candidate interested in replacing Pochettino in Zinedine Zidane, who would probably be the only viable candidate for PSG for any potential succession of the Argentinian.

"There's not going to be a repeat of last year, when PSG sacked Thomas Tuchel mid-season. From a sporting point of view, it's impossible to justify because of the results that the team is getting on the pitch, and also from a financial point of view, because the compensation would be even greater than that of the German.

"The only real option is for United to come to PSG and say that they are willing to pay out the entire duration of his contract."

Ten Hag flattered, but says no United contact

United's second choice behind Pochettino for a permanent successor to Solskjaer is Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag.

The Dutchman has said that while it is nice to be linked with such a big club, there has been no approach from United for his services.

"Look, I am busy with Ajax and I have no other interests," said Ten Hag, ahead of Wednesday's penultimate Champions League group game against Turkish side Besiktas.

"Also, let me say that no one contact me, and I don't know about anything about the plans and strategies. I only know about Ajax and we want to win the title this season. We must be focused on that."

Pressed on if he was flattered by the reports, he added: "It's always nice when you are put in connection with the club with such significance."

'Ronaldo signing threw plan out the window'

Paul Merson believes the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo threw Solskjaer's United plan "out of the window".

"I feel sorry for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer," Merson said. "He had a plan at the start of the season, having finished second last season. He's chased Jadon Sancho for a long time, got him in, and he's given Edinson Cavani another year.

"You could see his plan: you play Cavani every other game, you have Sancho on one side, Marcus Rashford on the other, you have Mason Greenwood coming in and swapping around, you have pace, power, energy, youth, skill, the lot.

"Then, just before the season starts, he gets given Ronaldo. I think he's thrown it all out of the window. From day one, they're not a better team with Ronaldo in it.

"You don't go 29 games unbeaten away without playing a certain way, and bringing Sancho in gave them another weapon to play that way. With Ronaldo up there, you don't have that weapon to play on the counter-attack any more. And Bruno Fernandes was their best player last season - he's hardly had a touch this season!

"It's all snowballed for Solskjaer. He had a plan, and the Ronaldo situation threw it all out of the window, just before the season started. They only went for him because they heard Man City were after him. It's not like United were calling Juventus to ask if he's available because Ronaldo is the missing link for United winning the Premier League. He isn't!

"They thought: 'We can't let him go to Man City - it's bad enough them finishing above us every year in the league anyway!'"

Paul Merson said signing Cristiano Ronaldo changed Solskjaer's plans at Manchester United © Associated Press Paul Merson said signing Cristiano Ronaldo changed Solskjaer's plans at Manchester United
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