Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a golden opportunity to further his credentials for the permanent manager’s job at Manchester United when he goes head to head against Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino on Sunday.
The Norwegian interim manager has enjoyed a perfect start to his Old Trafford career, winning all five matches and transforming the mood among players and fans.But in the opposite dugout at Wembley will be Pochettino, who remains the favourite to be named to the United hot seat after keeping Spurs on the fringes of the Premier League title race against considerable odds.
United have beaten Cardiff, Huddersfield, Bournemouth and Newcastle in the league and Reading in the FA Cup since Solskjaer replaced Jose Mourinho last month.
But third-placed Tottenham in London will be a different proposition and the match will be a severe examination of how far United have come under their temporary leader.
Solskjaer has revitalised a number of players including Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford, but bristles at suggestions he has had an easy ride so far.
“Newcastle away is a test and the first game was a test as to how everyone reacted. The first home game with the crowd is a test.
When we have the ball we have to be ready to play well with it and we have to use the whole pitch because Wembley is a decent size pitch as well,” Solskjaer said.Spurs have amassed 48 points after 21 matches, just two behind Manchester City and six shy of leaders Liverpool.
Pochettino believes neither he nor Solskjaer will need any extra motivation than the three points on offer on Sunday.
“Of course for him (Solskjaer) it’s a massive motivation or challenge to manage Manchester United, like for me it’s a massive challenge to be in front for this football club, Tottenham,” Pochettino stated.