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There is no chance that Manchester United will hire Mauricio Pochettino now

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However the season ends (if it isn’t just canceled), a managerial change is now out of the question

Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata v Central Cordoba - Superliga 2019/20 Photo by Rodrigo Valle/Getty Images

[Disclaimer: Obviously in the grand scheme of the world anyone who is healthy and not struggling financially is doing just fine. We’re talking strictly in terms of football here.]

Did anyone lose out more from this coronavirus outbreak than Mauricio Pochettino? Last January, 15 months ago, he looked a lock to land the job at Old Trafford. That didn’t happen, but as recently as this past January it looked like that may have still been in line for next year.

But now? That job is definitely off the table. If the season never resumes and we just start again in August, United can’t possibly sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. He had the team on the periphery of overtaking Chelsea for fourth place. Sure, it could have been another false dawn, but unbeaten in 11 straight with nine clean sheets suggests that the form was there.

If the season does resume (in July or whenever) it becomes even murkier. Again, based on form you’d fancy United to climb into the top four. We’ve played 29 games so far, and this is the table over the last 14 (just over half).

Now, let’s say the opposite happens. United come back well rested, but so does everyone else. United struggle and fall down in the table. Is this really a fair atmosphere in which to judge a manager?

Who knows in what kind of format the Premier League will resume (Five a side, anyone?). It’s most likely going to be behind closed doors. You’ll probably be playing every two or three days, which means there will be zero time spent on the training ground. You can go over tactics in a meeting, but there won’t be any on field preparation.

The idea that’s gaining a lot of traction is to put all the clubs into World Cup style camps for about a month. Who knows what kind of mental strain that will cause on the players. Being away from their families for 4-6 weeks during these times? All just to play a bunch of closed door football matches? No one can predict how the players will cope with that.

How can you say a manager isn’t right when no manager has ever and hopefully will never (again) have to deal with these circumstances.

And then there’s the last bit. Time. If the season does get finished, you bet your ass the turnaround time to next season will be quick. Probably only two or three weeks. You want to change a manager then?

The whole point of hiring a new manager at the start of the season is to give him a summer to settle in, make some signings, then have a preseason with his team to implement his new style. That ain’t happening this year. Imagine finishing this super weird 4-6 week tournament in July and then being told “see you in three weeks, and oh by the way, we’re going to have a new boss.” How do you think that will go over in the dressing room?

Changing a manager after this season will essentially be the same as changing one during an international break. That’s not all bad. Statistically speaking, managers do better with the teams they inherit than the ones who have all the signings the manager wanted. That’s more applicable to managers in the middle or at the bottom of the table — where the revolving door is frequent — than those at the top (well, except for Chelsea). Nonetheless it applies to Pochettino as well. His best players at Tottenham and Southampton were the ones he inherited, not the ones he signed.

I’m sure some teams will still fire their manager at the end of the season, but who?

Perhaps West Ham will (again) decide David Moyes isn’t the guy, but is that where Poch would go? West Ham? After being heavily linked with jobs at Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Bayern Munich he’s going to go to West Ham?

Pochettino knew he would have to wait until June to get his next job, but now how much longer will he be waiting? That’s the other thing I think about. Not so much the professional side, i.e., not getting the job he wanted, but the personal side of this.

This is a man who took some time to recharge after being fired by Spurs, but by December/January he was raring to go again. He knew he’d have to wait until May to get a new job (such is the way his severance package was structured) but he just wanted to get back into football.

Now, how long is he going to have to wait? Even if a job opens up at the end of “this” season, when exactly will that be?