Football

Berbatov: Keep Carrick for rest of the season, but aim for Pochettino

Manchester United should appoint Michael Carrick as interim manager until the end of the season , but also target Mauricio Pochettino to become their long-term manager, according to the club's former striker Dimitar Berbatov.

Berbatov's former United teammate Carrick has been put in temporary charge at Old Trafford in the wake of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's sacking last Sunday.

United coach Carrick, 40, appears to be just holding the fort while the club seek an interim manager to take them through to the end of the season.

Former Tottenham Hotspur manager Pochettino, 49, is long-admired by United but it seems unlikely that Paris Saint-Germain would entertain allowing him to leave this season.

Ex-Bulgaria striker Berbatov believes Carrick, who will take the team for this morning's (Singapore time) crucial Champions League tie at Villarreal, is the ideal man to steady the ship.

"If United want to appoint an interim coach for the remainder of the season, then Michael Carrick is the guy,"Berbatov said.

"He's been at the club for a long time, first as player then as a coach under Jose Mourinho and Solskjaer.

"I know Carrick well and, across his career, he's learned from some of the best managers. He is an experienced leader and an excellent communicator who has earned the respect of his fellow professionals.

"The United players will listen to him and play for him."

Pochettino is under contract at PSG until 2023 but has been widely touted as the perfect fit for United, with their former defender Gary Neville suggesting the Argentinian would jump at the chance.

Berbatov shares that opinion.

"United have long admired Mauricio Pochettino but, as he is currently the manager of Paris Saint-Germain, it is difficult to see how he could be appointed at Old Trafford any time soon," the Bulgarian said in an interview with betting firm Betfair.

"The only solution I can see would be if (former Real Madrid coach) Zinedine Zidane were to go to PSG. If he is open to that, then I could see a switch for Pochettino happening soon."

Le Parisien reported that PSG have already approached Zidane on at least one occasion and is their prime target should Pochettino leave. RMC Sport added that the ex-Spurs boss is not entirely satisfied with his situation in the French capital and would consider leaving for Old Trafford.

His PSG players, according to Marca, believe that Zidane's arrival is imminent. - REUTERS

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