The pros and cons of Manchester United replacing Jose Mourinho with Zinedine Zidane

Jose Mourinho retains the faith of the Man Utd board despite a poor start to the season but rumours persist of Zinedine Zidane's interest in succeeding him.

The pros and cons of Manchester United replacing Jose Mourinho with Zinedine Zidane

Jose Mourinho retains the faith of the Man Utd board despite a poor start to the season but rumours persist of Zinedine Zidane's interest in succeeding him.

02 September 2018 Sunday 12:52
The pros and cons of Manchester United replacing Jose Mourinho with Zinedine Zidane

Speculation linking Zinedine Zidane with the Manchester United manager's job refuses to go away - and it won't do until current boss Jose Mourinho turns the team's on-field fortunes around.

The stance of the United board after Monday's humbling by Spurs at Old Trafford was that Mourinho retains the club's faith, and recently a club insider batted away a question about Zidane possibly replacing the Portuguese, saying: "Why would we discuss Zidane when there is no job available?"

Despite this, the bookies have Mourinho priced up as favourite to be the next Premier League manager to leave his post, while Zidane is the bookies' favourite to replace him.

Here, we take a look at the pros and cons United chiefs must weigh up if they are to consider replacing Mourinho with Zidane.

Pros

Champions League record

Two-and-a-half Champions League campaigns, three Champions League trophies.

That's quite a record, isn't it?

Real Madrid's call to sack Rafa Benitez in January 2016 wasn't surprising but their decision to replace the Spaniard with their relatively untested B-team boss was.

Zidane's Castilla record was underwhelming and there were significant doubts that he would be able to make the step up to the most demanding managerial job in club football.

He did exactly that, though, winning the European Cup in his first few months in charge before replicating that success in 2017 and 2018 to become the competition's joint most-successful manager of all time.

Respect he would command

The recency of Zidane's managerial achievements will mean the players are more likely to buy into his methods than Mourinho's.

For all of Mourinho's success over the previous 15 years, there is a growing feeling that he may be becoming yesterday's man, with his pragmatic style proving less effective than the expansive approaches of Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp.

Zidane would also command the respect of United's players as a result of his vast successes as a player and a manager.

Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial are stagnating at the moment and the French pair would likely get a boost from the arrival of their esteemed countryman.

Change in approach

The football at Old Trafford since Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement has been a turgid watch for some sections of the fanbase.

David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho have all been guilty of lowering the excitement factor at Old Trafford over the last five years and the appointment of Zidane, a more attack-minded coach, would get United back on the right track.

Zinedine Zidane could help United return to a more vibrant attacking style

There are no guarantees of success in football management but Zidane's approach suits United more than Mourinho's and a change might be just what the Reds need.

Cons

Still, bizarrely, an unknown quantity

The 46-year-old was thrown in at the deep end at the Bernabeu and thrived in a manner that nobody could have predicted but, incredibly, questions about his managerial credentials still remain.

Zidane inherited a far better squad in the Spanish capital than he would find at Carrington were he to replace Mourinho and his ability to transform a club in crisis is untested.

Zidane enjoyed unprecedented success on the European stage during his time at Madrid but his domestic achievements were less impressive.

Madrid won La Liga in the Frenchman's first season in charge but followed that success up with a disappointing title defence last term, finishing in third place and 17 points behind champions Barcelona.

Could be a short-term appointment

Whether this is a con or not is subject to opinion, but Zidane lasted less than 30 months at Madrid before walking away.

Be it Sir Matt Busby or Sir Alex Ferguson, United's most successful periods have come when there has been somebody in charge for a lengthy period of time.

Managers don't tend to last long at Madrid regardless of how well they perform, though, and Zidane might well last much longer at United, where the pressure isn't quite as intense as it is at the Bernabeu.

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