See you soon, Mauricio? PSG manager Pochettino looks VERY upbeat despite PSG’s loss to Manchester City as he greets fans at the airport, with United making him their number one managerial target.
A jovial Mauricio Pochettino greeted fans and signed autographs as he and his PSG team arrived at Manchester Airport to catch their flight back to Paris on Thursday morning.
The Argentine coach went out of his way to sign his signature for fans in the starting hall, as he remained optimistic despite watching his side squander a one-goal lead before losing 2-1 to Manchester City in the Champions League.
The 49-year-old smiled at the various fans and photographers who were there to see him off, while other members of the PSG team didn’t look so happy.
Mauricio Pochettino (right) greets fans as he arrives at Manchester Airport on Thursday.
The PSG boss signed autographs for fans as he made his way to the departure hall.
Kylian Mbappé, Lionel Messi and Neymar displayed tired and dejected figures as they made their way through the airport departure lounge early Thursday morning.
Mbappé scored the first goal for the Etihad, but PSG’s ridiculous three forwards could not prevent their team’s defeat in Manchester.
Raheem Sterling appeared at the back post in the second half to convert a City draw before Gabriel Jesus finished a fine passing play to hand Pep Guardiola’s men all three points at the Etihad.
Pochettino’s disappointing return to England stems from his being linked to the vacant managerial position at Manchester United, and the Red Devils continue their search for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s successor.
The former Tottenham boss is wanted by United and is also believed to be open to the idea of making the mid-season switch to Old Trafford after being restless in the French capital.
Neymar (left) and Kylian Mbappé (right) arrive and pass through Manchester Airport.
Lionel Messi (left) and Leandro Paredes (right) on their way back to Paris
While Pochettino remained optimistic when he arrived at the airport, he refused to blame his team’s 2-1 loss on speculation about his future.
“The players know our situation very well,” said Pochettino, when asked if he needed to reassure them about his commitment to PSG.
‘We know your situation. We live in a business where there are rumors, sometimes negative, sometimes positive. That’s not something to talk about: rumors.
Pochettino is one of the favorites for the United post, but may have a hard time getting him away from the Parc des Princes with PSG with the intention of retaining him. The signs suggest that PSG would be reluctant to let the Argentine leave mid-season and interrupt his campaign.
Pochettino is known to be interested in the post and was even happy to sign United jerseys on Wednesday at The Lowry Hotel, where PSG were staying before their clash with City.
(From left to right) Messi, Mbappé and Neymar cut down figures in their 2-1 defeat against City
United will now focus on the strategy put in place after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was fired at the weekend, and will intensify their search for an interim manager to replace interim Michael Carrick. He led them to the knockout phase of the Champions League round of 16 on Tuesday night with a 2-0 win at Villarreal.
Former Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde and former Lyon manager Rudi García have already had talks with United director of football John Murtough. Garcia said: ‘I will not say anything on the subject. I neither confirm nor deny it.
Lokomotiv Moscow director of sports and development Ralf Rangnick, former Borussia Dortmund boss Lucien Favre and former Rome boss Paulo Fonseca are among the other names linked to the temporary position.
But sources in Germany said Wednesday night that Rangnick is calm with the idea of a short-term period.
Pochettino has been linked to the vacant managerial position at Manchester United
Pochettino refused to blame his team’s defeat on speculation about his future.
Although committing to two separate managerial appointments is a peculiar strategy, the Old Trafford hierarchy is said to be satisfied that an interim would provide stability and momentum while giving them the freedom to install a permanent replacement at the end of the season.
It also suggests that United know their preferred target won’t be available until the summer, be it Pochettino or someone else.
Ideally, they would have kept Solskjaer in charge until then, but United’s alarming decline in form forced the club to change plans.
As the search for an interim continues, Michael Carrick will remain in charge of Sunday’s trip to Chelsea after beating Villarreal with goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho.