‘Speculation is there for a reason’ – Solskjaer praises United job rival Pochettino

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Tottenham beat Manchester United 3-0 at Old Trafford in August

Manchester United interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says the speculation around Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino “is there for a reason”.

The pair head the betting to take over as United’s next full-time manager, with Pochettino still rated the more likely to replace Jose Mourinho.

Solskjaer is in temporary charge and has won his first five United games.

“It’s not my job to rate different managers but he has done a very good job,” said Solskjaer.

“The speculation is there for a reason.”

The pair go head-to-head at Wembley on Sunday, with United looking to avenge a 3-0 home defeat by Spurs in August.

In May, Pochettino signed a new contract with Tottenham that runs to 2023 and on Monday said he hoped to be Spurs boss for 20 years.

Able Kane

Harry Kane scored the first of Tottenham’s three goals against Manchester United in January

Although Harry Kane has scored only twice in 10 appearances against United, the Tottenham and England captain represents their most obvious threat.

He was on target at Old Trafford in August and, along with Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, is joint-top scorer in the Premier League with 14 goals and well placed to win another Golden Boot following his successes in 2016 and 2017.

As the 16th-highest scorer in United’s history with 126 goals, and the man responsible for the last-minute Champions League winner against Bayern Munich in 1999, Solskjaer is well placed to assess the merits of Kane.

“He’s not bad is he?” said the Norwegian.

“He is a fantastic goalscorer, one of the best in the world. From the outside it looks like he never misses chances really. We have to make sure he doesn’t get any against us.”

‘Top side’

After missing the FA Cup win over Reading through injury, which also meant he was a late arrival to United’s training camp in Dubai, midfielder Paul Pogba will be fit for the Tottenham game.

Solskjaer accepts the game represents the first significant test of the positive impact he has made since agreeing to stand aside from his work at club side Molde to guide United through until the end of the season.

He has already reduced the gap to fourth spot from 11 points when he took over to six, with United 10 points behind third-placed Tottenham.

“They are a top, top side and if we want to get close to them or go past them we will need a good result,” he said.

Solskjaer also revealed defender Marcos Rojo has returned to Argentina for treatment on a long-standing injury.