LONDON — Mauricio Pochettino believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s motivation to beat him and his Tottenham Hotspur side on Sunday will have little to do with the managerial situation at Old Trafford.
Sources have told ESPN FC that Pochettino is the leading candidate to take the job full-time in the summer, and United’s caretaker manager Solskjaer said on Thursday: “That speculation is there for a reason because he has done well.”
Solskjaer could boost his chances of keeping the United job if he masterminds a victory over Pochettino at Wembley, but Pochettino told a news conference on Friday: “The motivation is always going to be there.
“Of course when you’re a manager or coach you cannot be focused on all the rumours. The most important thing is the motivation that we have to do our job in our best way.
“Of course for him 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. Always the motivation is to win because we’re so competitive. We’re people that love to win and hate to lose.
“The motivation is going to be there because in the Premier League always the motivation is about winning.”
Solskjaer’s most famous moment in a United shirt came when he scored the winner in injury time against Bayern Munich in the 1999 Champions League final at the Camp Nou.
“I have good memories because I remember when he scored after 90 minutes at the Camp Nou, I was with Tony Jimenez, my goalkeeping coach — we were then at the Camp Nou in 1999,” Pochettino said.
“I remember him when he scored the second goal in injury time and how I shouted the goal of Manchester United. That was unbelievable. We were neutral people watching a fantastic game. I have good memories of him.
“On Sunday we’re going to meet at Wembley when 20 years ago I was shouting a goal that he scored for Manchester United.”