Tag Archives: Luis Enrique

Who should replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as Manchester United manager?

It’s been a long time coming, but the Premier League is another manager down following this weekend of fixtures.

Manchester United sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer following a 4-1 defeat to Watford on Saturday afternoon, meaning they are now on the hunt for their fifth permanent manager since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013.

There are several names being touted for the role currently, although it seems as though United will wait until the summer to make a permanent appointment. But which of the names being touted most are the best fit? These are my thoughts on the top five names linked with the role.

Zinedine Zidane – Unattached

A three time Champions League winner and two time La Liga champion, Zidane seemingly completed the football management game during his time at Real Madrid across two stints in charge.

The Frenchman left on his own accord on both occasions after successful spells, where his side were quite rigid with their style of play but always very tough to beat. His record in big games spoke for itself, with his willingness to rotate his team and trust young players also very impressive.

Zinedine Zidane Head coach in action during La Liga match round 38 between Real Madrid and Villarreal CF at Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium. .

A superstar in his own right, Zidane was able to keep big egos in check at Madrid and would be able to do the same at Old Trafford too. However with a lack of interest in the Premier League and no real interest in the job itself, if he did arrive you can only assume it’s for the wrong reasons and that never bodes well.

Tactically he is adaptable, willing to play different ways and systems depending on his team and the opposition and he would suit the superstar reputation that fans like too.

Head Coach Mauricio Pochettino during the Ligue 1 Uber Eats match between Paris Saint Germain and FC Nantes at Parc des Princes on November 20, 2021...

Mauricio Pochettino – PSG

A manager who has forever been linked with the manager’s position at Old Trafford, Pochettino currently sits in the hot seat at Paris Saint-Germain.

Managing the likes of Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe, Neymar, Marco Verratti and Marquinhos, it’s hard to see why Pochettino would be interested in potentially moving to United at the current time but reports suggest that he is.

Attacking football with high intensity and rigid defensive structure, based around possession Pochettino is an excellent fit to the traditions of Manchester United, and now is as good a time as ever to finally get him in the job.

Leicester City Manager Brendan Rodgers during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Chelsea at King Power Stadium on November 20, 2021...

Brendan Rodgers – Leicester City

I’m probably a bigger Brendan Rodgers fan than most, and this appointment doesn’t seem like the worst thing in the world to me.

A big advocate of possession football, Rodgers is happy to bring youth players through too while he has proven himself as one of the better managers in England since moving to Leicester. He surpassed expectations while with Celtic, and then came to Leicester and won the club’s first ever FA Cup while missing out on top four twice because of final day defeats.

A former Liverpool connection will put some fans off, but he would come in and add to the foundations that Solskjaer has left behind. Unfortunately though, we already know that he isn’t really one to be able to compete with Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel which is what United need so he probably shouldn’t be among the top candidates for the role.

Luis Enrique, coach of Spain celebrate winning during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualification football match between Spain and Sweden at the...

Luis Enrique – Spain

Enrique’s reputation has only grown since he took over as Spain manager for a second time following the tragic passing of his daughter due to cancer, but it’s all to do with his team’s performances on the pitch.

After winning the treble at Barcelona with the legendary ‘MSN’ striker trio, he has taken over the role of national team manager and implemented a style that has caught the eye of many. They pushed a France side all the way to the limit during the Nations League and Italy were pushed all the way at Euro 2020 too, before they got a win back over them to end their unbeaten run.

High intensity, fast-paced possession football with the sole intent to score as many goals as possible, Enrique likes to work with young talent and with pace. While he’d be a brilliant fit for what United need, he is likely to have no interest and with the World Cup not far away now this is dead before it even takes off.

Head coach Erik Ten Hag of Ajax Amsterdam looks on during the Dutch Eredivisie match between Ajax and Go Ahead Eagles at Johan Cruijff Arena on...

Erik ten Hag – Ajax

The man at the top of a lot of fan’s wishlists, Ajax manager Erik ten Hag is one of the hottest prospects in European football for the work he has done with the Amsterdam giants.

His brilliant young team are constantly bringing through young players as is tradition with the club, while still performing to a high level both domestically and in Europe. A true coach, he is constantly tweaking the team to improve which shows just how adaptable he is.

Always looking to play attacking, front-foot football, ten Hag could potentially be the man to challenge the elite coaches already in the league. He is obviously untested in the Premier League, but if his Champions League record with a lesser side is anything to go by, then it could be a master-stroke by the board.

Luis Enrique showing he is one of the best coaches around with Spain

International managers are usually those who can’t cope at club level, or those who have been managing so long they want a part-time role now.

But currently the international scene is filled with quality managers who while they’ve got their stripes already with clubs domestically, still have plenty to prove.

Germany are managed by treble-winning Hansi Flick, European champions Italy are managed by multi-time Premier League and Serie A winner Roberto Mancini, world number one ranked Belgium are managed by Roberto Martinez. But the one catching the eye the most right now is Spain’s Luis Enrique.

The Spaniards were by far the most entertaining team to feature at Euro 2020 and were so close to making the final, only losing on penalties to eventual winners Italy after a brilliant semi-final contest.

But Enrique and his side got their revenge against Italy on Wednesday in the UEFA Nations League, beating the European champions 2-1 thanks to a brace from Ferran Torres in the first half.

But more than the result was the performance, as Spain dominated the play for the most part and had a clear style and plan that they never wavered from, even when Italy were reduced to ten men after Leonardo Bonucci was given his marching orders for a second yellow card.

Enrique’s vision is clear. He wants possession football, with movement in attack, control in midfield and stability in defence. Everyone must be comfortable in possession and they must trust each other, with a big emphasis on fitness to ensure that the tempo is high at all times.

When he implemented this style at AS Roma years ago, the side initially started well before falling off. He was a young, up and coming manager and was still finding his feet. People make mistakes. But what counts most is how you bounce back from those errors, and Enrique has done that perfectly.

He went to Barcelona and won the treble, although much of the credit for that went to the infamous ‘MSN’ attacking trio of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.

But it was Enrique who introduced Ivan Rakitic to the side on a more regular basis and ensured that there was always that control in midfield, even when the maestro Xavi wasn’t around.

The football Barcelona played was more than just ‘MSN’ though, they were mesmerising to watch. They scored 171 goals in all competitions across 61 games, averaging 2.8 goals per game and conceding just 39 goals, an average of 0.63 goals per game.

Head coach Luis Enrique of Spain gestures during the UEFA Nations League Semi-Final match between the Italy and Spain at San Siro Stadium on October...

He’s now taken that up a level with Spain, by managing to implement that style in a shorter period of time with his squad but also to do it with a squad that is lacking in superstars.

This is arguably one of the weaker Spain squads in recent memory, but Enrique has got everyone singing from the same hymn sheet and has been able to bring a club-like spirit to the team as well as quality performances on a consistent basis.

At only 51-years-old, Enrique has still got the world at his feet in terms of club football management.

Yes he’s won it all, but better than that would be to win it all again. He’s good enough, his methods clearly still work, and there will be plenty of clubs knocking on his door in the near future should they part ways with their boss.

Italy vs Spain – Euro 2020 semi-finals prediction

The European Championships has it’s final four participants and they have set up two huge semi-final clashes at Wembley Stadium.

Italy, Spain, England and Denmark have seen off competition from 20 other teams to make it to this stage of the tournament and now must go head-to-head to make it to the final on Sunday night.

First up is Italy vs Spain on Tuesday night and here’s everything you need to know about the fixture and then my prediction to go with it.

Last time out:

The quarter-final stage threw up some truly brilliant games of football, filled with high drama and quality across the board.

Italy took on world number one ranked Belgium in their last eight clash and came out on top in a highly entertaining encounter. Roberto Mancini’s side played fast-paced, intense pressing football and were able to keep the ball for much of the game.

Unai Simon and Mikel Oyarzabal of Spain celebrating during the European championship EURO 2020 between Switzerland and Spain at Gazprom Arena. .

They scored two finely worked goals and other than a slightly late challenge that allowed Romelu Lukaku to score a penalty, they were imperious defensively in their traditional way to earn a 2-1 win inside 90 minutes.

Spain on the other hand found themselves up against Switzerland and while they dominated the ball for large portions of the game they once again struggled to turn chances into goals.

They took the lead early on through Denis Zakaria’s own goal and while they missed several chances again, it allowed the Swiss to get back into the game following an error from Pau Torres for Xherdan Shaqiri to slot home.

The game was open and back and forth from that point on which led to a penalty shootout after 120 minutes of action, which they came out on top of 3-2 after five penalties each.

Team news:

Italy unfortunately lost their player of the tournament so far in Leonardo Spinazzola against Belgium when he suffered a ruptured achilles tendon in the second half, ruling him out for the rest of 2021.

Leonardo Spinazzola of Italy is carried off on a stretcher during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Quarter-final match between Belgium and Italy at...

His absence means we should see the arrival of Emerson Palmieri of Chelsea into the starting lineup at left-back, meaning a natural left-footer and just as much attacking impetus. Marco Verratti’s form since returning from injury has been excellent so he should continue to start ahead of Manuel Locatelli while Federico Chiesa is likely to keep his place out wide ahead of Domenico Berardi.

Spain on the other hand have no new injury worries ahead of the semi-final clash, but they are likely to make changes after being taken to extra-time in both of their knockout ties so far.

The midfield three of Sergio Busquets, Koke and Pedri will likely remain intact but Eric Garcia could return to centre-back ahead of Pau Torres while Jose Gaya could take the place of Jordi Alba, although that is less likely.

In attack however Dani Olmo and Ferran Torres are pushing for starts ahead of Pablo Sarabia and Gerard Moreno, while Adama Traore and Mikel Oyarzabal are yet to start any games at this tournament.

Predicted lineups:

Italy: Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Emerson; Jorginho, Barella, Verratti; Chiesa, Immobile, Insigne

Spain: Simon; Azpilicueta, Laporte, Garcia, Alba; Busquets, Koke, Pedri; Torres, Morata, Olmo


This game is set up to be absolutely brilliant. Two teams who work relentlessly when out of possession to win it back and look to dominate the ball.

Players of Italy celebrate at the end of the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Quarter-final match between Belgium and Italy at Football Arena Munich on...

Normally you’d expect a battle for ball possession to be won by the Spanish, but this Italy squad is incredibly gifted on the ball and for my money they’re more likely to have the edge there. They’re also better defensively by a country mile, but the pace and energy of the Spanish side could cause them some issues.

Overall though, this is Italy’s tie (and tournament) to lose. They’re the better team overall, playing the better football currently and will have fitness and momentum on their side to reach the final.

Italy 2-1 Spain