Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur meet again. It is sort of becoming a tradition that these two sides meet earlier in the season, especially as they were the ones to open it a couple years back. Now, the teams enter the match in different moods. Spurs want to do what Watford, Liverpool and Chelsea have done so far – win all of their three opening matches. United, on the other hand, have to stabilize themselves after a loss at Brighton.
Mauricio Pochettino talked very positively about Mourinho prior to the Monday night clash.
“For every single manager who is younger than him, he was an inspiration. I took a lot of things from him. He is an unbelievable manager. He is an inspirational manager for a manager like me. I respect him very much”, said the Argentine in the build-up to the visit to Old Trafford.
The respect he holds towards Mourinho has been obvious in the recent seasons, too. He always spoke very highly of the Portuguese and it is obvious he would want to be as successful as Mourinho has been.
Can Mourinho Do It Again Against Pochettino?
However, Mourinho will now want to do something similar to what he did last year. Manchester United were in a similar position to the current one. After drawing 0-0 against Liverpool, United lost away from home against Huddersfield. It was a very similar performance from the Devils to the one they showed against Brighton. What followed was a typical Mourinho victory: a 1-0 win at home to a top six side. Tottenham were contained and even a bit bullied out of the game.
Spurs did not really have enough chances, except from the one Dele Alli did not convert, but apart from that, United were resilient and tactically aware of their every move. Mourinho needs something like that once again.
A Different Summer Of 2016
Mourinho’s and Pochettino’s relationship is also interesting because of everything the media had been writing in the summer of 2016. It was then that Louis Van Gaal was leaving the club and the new manager was expected to arrive. Plenty of news outlets were thinking Pochettino had the best chances of getting the job. Instead, it was Mourinho who arrived.
Thus, whenever these two managers have met since, some whispers of ‘what if’ are murmuring around. Had Pochettino got the job and left Spurs for United, we maybe would not even talk about this match as a clash of two top 6 sides.
It is very possible that Spurs would have been in a far worse position right now, without Pochettino’s steady hand to lead them to overachievement. After all, Tottenham are the 6th Premier League team in terms of the wages they pay to their players, but have finished second and third in the past two seasons.
Who knows where Manchester United would have been if it was Pochettino in the dugout. Maybe the situation would be a better one, but also, maybe the club would struggle similarly to the way it does now, with Ed Woodward often making odd moves. Maybe the club would turn out to be a too big of a task for the Argentine.
Whatever you might think, the result of this match could be one of the answers to whether going for Jose Mourinho was a good idea.