Barcelona could force Man Utd hand with Real Madrid El Clasico victory

Barcelona prepare to take on Real Madrid in the first El Clasico of the new season this afternoon (3pm) but a victory for Ronald Koeman’s side could intensify the pressure on Manchester United.

Zinedine Zidane is under pressure and faced questions over his future heading into the showdown.

But he explained that the situation is nothing new as he has fought off the sack before.

“If I stake the position? It is what it is, but nothing has changed compared to previous weeks,” the Frenchman said.

“Last year I already lived this, as in my first stage. This does not change. I just do my job, I give 100 per cent and nothing else. The rest, nothing.”

Zidane’s position has been called into question because Real lost to newly-promoted Cadiz last weekend and followed that up with a 3-2 Champions League defeat against Shakhtar Donetsk.

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A loss against their arch rivals would also intensify the pressure on the former midfielder.

Reports in Spain this week suggested that Los Blancos chiefs have already started looking at potential replacements.

Legendary Real forward Raul is in contention to replace his old team-mate should results continue to deteriorate.

As is Argentine Mauricio Pochettino, who was axed by Tottenham last December after failing to bring any silverware.

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Pochettino’s stock rose substantially for the job he did at White Hart Lane and he is on the radar of many of Europe’s top clubs.

United are one of those who have been keeping in touch with the 48-year-old’s representatives in case they need to swing the axe on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The Norwegian has come under fire already this season after losing both of United’s two home league matches – including a 6-1 drubbing against Tottenham.

The midweek victory over Paris Saint-Germain seems to have bought Solskjaer a little more time but there are still many doubters over his long-term credentials.

If Barcelona beat Real and Zidane’s position becomes untenable then they may start to ramp up their efforts to capture Pochettino.

That could put United in a tricky position and force them into making a decision over rivalling the La Liga club or sticking with their current head coach.

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