Manchester United “should have broken the bank” to prise Mauricio Pochettino away from Tottenham, says Lee Sharpe, with the wrong call made in handing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the reins.
The Red Devils have awarded a three-year contract to a former striker who initially impressed after filling an interim coaching post at Old Trafford.
Sharpe believes that decision may have been a little hasty, with questions already been asked of the man at the helm following a run of seven defeats in nine games across all competitions.
The former United winger told Sportingbet : “I’m not particularly confident that Solskjaer is the right choice to be trusted with taking Manchester United back to where they belong.
“I have the utmost respect for him, but I fear the job is too big at this stage of his managerial career. However, now that the decision has been made, the club have no choice but to give him lots of time and lots of money in the transfer market.”
Sharpe added: “I’m very surprised that Manchester United chose to confirm Solskjaer as manager as soon as they did. I don’t know why the club decided to appoint him when they did or what they had to gain from rushing the decision.
“Solskjaer wasn’t going to go anywhere and the club weren’t competing for his signature so there’s no doubt in my mind that they should have waited until the end of the season.
“I think the club has been guilty of making a lot of premature decisions since Sir Alex Ferguson retired, such as giving [Jose] Mourinho a new contract, and those decisions have cost them badly. I really hope this doesn’t prove to be another costly mistake, but only time will tell.”
United are considered to have missed a trick in not pursuing the option of luring Pochettino away from a Premier League rival, with Sharpe saying: “Manchester United are one of the biggest clubs in the world and I think they should have broken the bank to get the best manager. That man is Pochettino.
“It would have taken a lot of money to prise Pochettino away from Tottenham, especially with the new stadium and likely Champions League football next year, but Manchester United have that financial muscle if they had chosen to flex it.
“I would have gone down the Pochettino route. My biggest concern with Solskjaer is how few boxes he has ticked due to his lack of experience. Pochettino has that Premier League and Champions League experience, as well as a reputation that would attract star signings and a track record of improving players.
“His teams punch above their weight, he is good tactically and he gets the best out of young players. We can’t say for sure that Solskjaer ticks any of those boxes because he hasn’t done it before. There’s no such thing as a guarantee in football, but Pochettino was the safest option we could have dreamed of.
“I assume that Manchester United received feedback that Pochettino wouldn’t be looking to move this summer so they decided to bite the bullet with Solskjaer.”
Under Solskjaer, United are now sweating on a top-four finish and know a positive result must be taken from a home date with fellow hopefuls Chelsea on Sunday in order to keep them in the hunt for Champions League qualification.