Manchester United v Manchester City Match in Pictures
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Manchester United’s board reportedly think Zinedine Zidane ticks three boxes as the Glazers consider relieving Ole Gunnar Solskjaer of his duties. The Norwegian has overseen a difficult season so far, with the Red Devils losing six of their last 12 matches across all competitions. And they could be about to turn to a three-time Champions League winner when it comes to replacing their manager.
United gave Solskjaer huge transfer backing in the summer, with the Norwegian securing the services of Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo.
However, their campaign has gone from bad to worse with recent humblings to Leicester, Liverpool and Manchester City increasing the doom and gloom mood around the place.
United had expected to challenge for the Premier League title but, after 11 matches, they’re already nine points behind Chelsea at the top of the table.
To make matters worse Solskjaer’s side are already out of the Carabao Cup, too, having lost 1-0 to West Ham in September.
And with the Red Devils faltering, talk of a managerial change has started to gather momentum.
Now, the Daily Record have claimed United are interested in Zidane and, what’s more, they think the 49-year-old ticks three boxes.
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The Glazers are said to admire the Frenchman for his record as a serial winner, with Zidane scooping the lot during his time in charge of Real Madrid.
He won two La Liga titles, in 2017 and 2020 respectively, while also claiming three Champions League trophies during his two spells in charge.
Zidane also guided Real Madrid to UEFA Super Cup glory, in 2016 and 2017 respectively, as well as the FIFA Club World Cup in the same years.
United are said to rate Zidane for his reputation with young players, too.
The Frenchman regularly gave youth a chance during his time in charge of Madrid, with Federico Valverde a particularly big success.
And a third box the Red Devils think the 49-year-old ticks is the fact he’s less combative than Antonio Conte.
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Conte had been interested in replacing Solskjaer at United, having left Inter Milan back in the summer.
However, he ended up replacing Nuno Espirito Santo at Tottenham instead – meaning he’s not in the frame to replace Solskjaer.
As well as Zidane, Brendan Rodgers and Mauricio Pochettino are potential options for the United job.
But no change is likely to happen just yet, with Solskjaer expected to be in charge for Saturday’s Premier League clash with Watford at Vicarage Road.
The Red Devils will go into that match aiming to bounce back after Manchester City beat them 2-0 last time out.
And whether United can do that remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, Andy Cole has defended Solskjaer amid the links to Zidane – insisting he’s done a good job.
“The flak that Ole gets disappoints me,” he said.
“I don’t think any manager should take that kind of flak; whether it’s United or non-league.
“I think they are trying to work to the best of their ability. He’s trying like everybody else who tried previously.
“Whether he is my ex-team-mate or not, even if it was someone I didn’t know, I wouldn’t like people to talk about them like that.
“But I don’t like it because when I played with him I got on very well with him. To see him in this position now doesn’t sit well with me.
“We all want Manchester United to be back where they were, but that takes time.
“We can talk about ‘how much longer?’ But the previous managers have found themselves in the same position. The stick that Ole takes is, at times, not nice.
“Things are never going to be easy for a club like Manchester United. To succeed Sir Alex Ferguson was always going to be difficult for whichever manager takes over – and what are we now, four managers in?
“And we are still talking about United not being in the position they would like to be.
“But other teams have got to move forward. Look how long it took Liverpool to win the league.
“I’m not saying United are going to be in that position, but you can’t be kept by history. Manchester United have to get stronger as a team and go from there.”
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