Ian Holloway talks Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Mauricio Pochettino and Brendan Rodgers

Ian Holloway by Ian Holloway / 26 September 2019, 14:14

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Mauricio Pochettino and Brendan Rodgers have experienced differing starts to the new season. While the ‘Rodgers Revolution’ is taking hold at Leicester City, Solskjaer and Pochettino have both come under-fire at Man Utd and Tottenham respectively.

In his latest column, Ian Holloway has had his say on the aforementioned trio of top-flight gaffers, starting with Solskjaer...

These days players get away with murder. Everyone’s talking about Ole Gunnar Solskjaer being under-pressure, but where were his players during the 2-0 defeat to West Ham - where was their urgency? How it that Solskjaer’s fault?

What’s wrong is the balance in his squad. There’s no leaders, and there’s no drive, as was evident in the lacklustre loss last weekend. It’s probably the worst I’ve seen Juan Mata play. I was expecting him to take up a leadership role on the pitch, but he kept giving the ball away.

Roy Keane was absolutely seething, but he didn’t blame Ole, he blamed the players and rightly so. Graeme Souness was the same, he was critical of the players too.

Player contracts have got to change, they are too strong. If high-profile players put in deflating performances on a regular basis it’s them who should be sacked, not the manager!

Managers get blamed all the time but what can Solskjaer do? I think he’s made three good signings in the summer, but the trouble is he probably needed to make 12 signings, and get rid of 12 players!

More often than not Man Utd got the players they wanted Under Sir Alex Ferguson, who completed his business quickly. There was power, there was continuity. They were growing and progressing all of the time. Sir Alex’s position was rarely ever questioned but questions are consistently asked of Solskjaer. It’s nonsensical at times.

Mauricio Pochettino...

If you strip it all down Mauricio Pochettino has not had a good start at Tottenham this season.

I think that there were, and still are, some problems behind the scenes that he won’t be allowed to tell us about.

Reading between the lines, when he was asked a few months ago about signings, he came out and said [BBC Sport]:

"Sell, buy players, sign contract, not sign contract - I think it is not in my hands, it's in the club's hands and [chairman] Daniel Levy.

"The club needs to change my title and description. Of course I am the boss deciding the strategic play, but in another area I don't know. Today, I feel like I am the coach."

I think that was very, very poignant. I think that’s the issue behind it all. You’ve got to bear in mind that he’s toed the line for that club, over and over again. He didn’t sign anyone last season, which was down to the new stadium.

I think Pochettino understands that for Tottenham to move forward they needed that ground, but when that was all completed I then felt there was then a huge issue because of how he publicly spoke about his contract - as a manager you aren’t normally allowed to talk about your contracts!

I’ve never heard any of the other top managers ever say something like that.

Have you ever heard Sir Alex Ferguson not answer a transfer question, and instead say ‘look at my contract, that is not in my contract’? It’s not a normal state of play.

I hope for Tottenham’s sake that Pochettino stays there, and everything gets resolved. I think he’s a fantastic manager, I really do. I think he has Spurs at heart, he cares about his players, he plays the high-pressing modern way. He’s excellent. But as a manager, things can get to you.

You wonder whether deep down does he want to stay in England? Or does he want to go and manage a top club in Europe? Could he be tempted by Real Madrid?

I’d love to interview him and ask him these questions! All I do know is there is something not quite right there at the moment.

Brendan Rodgers...

At first I was a little bit critical of Brendan Rodgers’ decision to leave Celtic back in February.

I would have preferred him to stay and get ‘nine in a row’ but I now understand why he moved to my old club Leicester City, and I believe that the club have done a fantastic piece of business in recruiting him.

Rodgers is used to winning. He won numerous trophies at Celtic, and he almost won the Premier League with Liverpool.

He must have looked at Leicester as an absolutely perfect opportunity for him. They’ve got some cracking young lads and he’s gone in there and got them playing superbly. If anyone can break into the top-6 or even the top-4 it’s Rodgers’ Leicester.

I haven’t seen anything to dissuade me from that fact that Leicester could upset the traditional top-6 monopoly. I thought Harry Maguire would be a huge loss but Çağlar Söyüncü has been absolutely fantastic, he’s been one hell of a good replacement. His ball-playing ability is excellent.

Jamie Vardy continues to flourish, but I just hope Leicester can keep hold of James Maddison - who knows. What is for certain is Rodgers will be doing all he can to secure that top-6 finish.

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