OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER has strengthened his grip on the Manchester United job with Mauricio Pochettino now edging closer to joining Real Madrid.
SunSport revealed this morning that Tottenham fear their manager is being tempted to quit North London to take over the Spanish giants.
Pochettino, 46, had initially been United’s first choice to take over from Jose Mourinho on a permanent basis when they sacked their former boss in December.
But Solskjaer’s impact since taking control on an interim basis has been such that the Old Trafford board have not even contacted any other potential candidates.
We reported exclusively last month how executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and his colleagues had already decided that Solskjaer should get the job on a full-time basis.
But they were waiting until the end of the season to rubber-stamp his appointment to cover off any alarming drop off from the United team.
That hasn’t happened – and the lack of any interest from the North-West has led to Pochettino realising that Real Madrid is the most likely option if he decides his time is up at Spurs.
The Argentine is growing increasingly frustrated at not being able to deliver trophies with the club – and the way they have fallen away from the title race.
He criticised his players openly for the first time in the build-up to the Chelsea match, accusing them of lacking the mentality to be champions.
And those concerns were further bolstered by a dismal display as they lost 2-0 at Stamford Bridge this week.
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In contrast, Solskjaer has continued to get results and performances out of his players, despite being hit by a spate of injuries to senior players.
The goalless draw against Liverpool was followed up by an impressive 3-1 win at Crystal Palace on Wednesday to leave United firmly in the hunt for a top four finish.
Now, only a huge downturn in form and squad unity looks likely to stop Woodward and the Glazers from confirming the Norwegian as their permanent boss at the end of the season.