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Opinion: Manchester United should consider appointing Leonardo Jardim

ANALYST
Feature
14 Oct 2018, 16:07 IST

Leonardo Jardim was recently sacked by Monaco after a horrendous start to the season
Leonardo Jardim was recently sacked by Monaco after a horrendous start to the season

Manchester United's poor start to the season is down to a lot of factors - Jose Mourinho, the players, the board, and a bad transfer window.

But when the time comes for someone to take responsibility for the mess, it's going to be Mourinho's head which rolls, in spite of a large part of the fan base backing him.

Speculation has been rife about the possible candidates to replace him at Old Trafford, with some of the popular names being Zinedine Zidane, Ryan Giggs, and even Rafa Benitez.

Leonardo Jardim was recently sacked by Monaco after a horrendous start to the season, and Thierry Henry has taken over the reins of his childhood club.

He is perhaps best known for guiding Monaco to their first top flight title in 17 years
He is perhaps best known for guiding Monaco to their first top flight title in 17 years

Jardim doesn't really have the experience at a top club, having only managed notably Olympiacos, Sporting CP and SC Braga before Monaco, but his tactics and style of play might actually suit United.

How he could fit in

He is perhaps best known for guiding Monaco to their first top flight title in 17 years in the 2016-17 season. His side played a brand of attacking football that took Ligue 1 by storm.

Jardim generally employs a 4-4-2 formation, with a few tweaks of his own.

One of his central midfielders plays the typical box-to-box role (Pogba/Fred), with the other one occupying a deeper position (Matic/Herrera).

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The ball-playing defensive midfielder almost becomes a 3rd centre back at times, and is responsible for commencing attacks from the back.

United have suffered from a lack of quality out wide lately. Jardim's system uses two wingers, but not in the traditional sense of the word.

He often asks his wide men to drift inside and be more involved in build-up, and The Red Devils have players like Mata, Martial, and Sanchez who have a natural tendency to do that.

Of the two strikers, one is the traditional target-man inside the box (Lukaku), while the other is allowed to roam free (Rashford or Sanchez).

His full-backs occupy the wide channels vacated by the wingers, pushing forward to offer width, and supply crosses into the box.

While 4-4-2 formations generally get caught on the counter, Jardim avoids that by asking his men to press high when they lose possession. His centre backs also occupy deeper roles.

In his own defensive half, he employs an almost obsessive man-marking strategy that reduces passing options for opponents.

A wildcard to consider

Jardim's recent failings at Monaco are more a reflection of the club's faulty transfer strategy, than his own management skills.

Monaco have sold some of their best players in the past few seasons, and while they have made tremendous profits by doing so, its left them with an ageing, sub-par squad, languishing in 18th place in Ligue 1.

Jardim could potentially thrive at United. The players at his disposal would be perfectly suited to deploy his tactics.

With time running out for Mourinho at Old Trafford, Jardim should definitely be a wildcard to consider for Manchester United's high command.

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