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'How could Pochettino not be motivated?' - Leonardo denies Man Utd-linked PSG boss has asked to leave

2:40 PM IST 03/03/22
Mauricio Pochettino
The Argentine has long been linked with a Premier League return although the director of football in Paris is adamant he will stay

Mauricio Pochettino has never asked to leave PSG amid constant rumours of him heading to Manchester United, according to Leonardo, the Ligue 1 club's director of football.

PSG are clear at the top of France's top-flight league and are also competing for a long-awaited first Champions League title, although Pochettino's future at the club has been a matter of constant debate.

Not for Leonardo, however, who says the club never considered changing manager and that Pochettino never indicated he wanted to go.

What has been said?

Speaking to L'Equipe, Leonardo said of Pochettino: "He still has a year left on his contract [until June 2023]. Honestly, we never thought about changing coaches. We never contacted [Zinedine] Zidane or anyone.

"Before coming here, Pochettino was in the top five coaches [in the world] and he still is. We see the progress [being made], even if a lot of things have happened. I always see him more involved because, over time, you understand the context better.

"I think he may have had moments of doubt, but he never asked to leave. He may have had difficult times, in February or March [for example], he had Covid. Then, during the summer, there were rumours of leaving. But no club asked for him and no one called us."

Pochettino spent some of his playing days at PSG, and Leonardo thinks that connection, plus being able to coach a side featuring Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi and more, makes it seem implausible that he wouldn't be motivated to stay put.

He said: "I have no problem with Pochettino. We are very clear, we talk about everything. He never asked to leave. A coach in his situation, how could he not be motivated?

"You have a squad like that, you are at PSG where you played yourself. I don't even see how this is a topic of discussion."

Do Man Utd want to hire Pochettino?

The PSG boss remains one of the favourites to land the top job at Old Trafford at the end of the season, once Ralf Rangnick's spell as interim manager comes to an end.

The Red Devils have had a long-standing interest in appointing the Argentine, who is liked by members of the United board, with Pochettino having earned plaudits for the work he did during his time at Tottenham.

Indeed, GOAL reported in February 2022 that Pochettino isn't entirely happy at Parc des Princes and there remains the possibility that he could walk away from the club at the end of the season.

And on March 1, United confirmed they are conducting a 'thorough process' for the appointment of their next manager, with Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag also in the running.

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