Mauricio Pochettino open to taking manager’s job before summer


Manchester United begin the post-Ole Gunnar Solskjaer era this week with interim boss Michael Carrick primed to take charge of the team for their Champions League match against Villarreal on Tuesday.

Following one of the worst displays of the Norwegian’s tenure, going down 4-1 at Watford, United have opted for a change, leaving a complicated legacy for Solskjaer due to his failure to deliver silverware.

It had been a long time coming, too, with The Independent learning that the 48-year-old was made aware that he was under renewed pressure ahead of the trip to Vicarage Road, with United chiefs increasingly concerned about the mood of the players, made worse by the damaging defeat to Manchester City in the derby at Old Trafford. Cristiano Ronaldo’s feelings appear to have ultimately been relevant in the decision too, with the Portuguese superstar growing increasingly agitated by the worrying decline, feelings replicated by his compatriot Bruno Fernandes.

In terms of a longer term interim appointment, rather than an immediate long-term successor, Laurent Blanc has emerged as a strong candidate, before the club make a permanent decision on a figure such as Ajax’s Erik ten Hag in the summer. Blanc was mooted as an option when Solskjaer first arrived to stand in for Jose Mourinho in December 2018, and he has a good relationship with the hierarchy and Sir Alex Ferguson having spent two years at United as a player.

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Story continues

13:00 , Karl Matchett

We heard earlier the rumours linking Sevilla boss Julen Lopetegui to the Manchester United job – but judging by the press conference he has just spoken in, that’ s not a likely occurrence.

Some brave soul asked him in the build-up to their Champions League match about the prospect of a move to Old Trafford and his reply was a short and to the point one.

“No, please, just ask me about the illusion to win at Wolfsburg. The rest, with all due respect, seems absurd to me,” he replied.

That’s that, then!

Latest Pochettino to Manchester United details

12:50 , Karl Matchett

Melissa Reddy has described how Manchester United can appoint Mauricio Pochettino at the third time of asking if they move fast and get their big calls right this time.

They’ve already missed out on him twice and the former Saints and Spurs boss doesn’t want it to happen again – he’s less-than-delighted at the current situation in Paris and the club have their own eye on another man entirely.

Woodward could delay Manchester United exit to aid new manager search

12:42 , Karl Matchett

Manchester United excutive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is potentially set to delay his departure from the club, which is due to come at the end of the year.

Sky Sports report that he was “instrumental” in the call to sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and will play a “key role” in the decision-making at the club for months to come, including both the short-term interim boss appointment and the longer-term decision over who to hire as the Norwegian’s more permanent successor.

He has reportedly told the current coaching staff they are all safe in their jobs until season’s end, at which time an overhaul is possible depending on the manager ultimately appointed.

Premier League sackings on the increase?

12:32 , Karl Matchett

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was the sixth Premier League manager to be fired this season and it’s still November. He’s the fifth the get the chop in just 32 days.

He follows Daniel Farke, Steve Bruce, Nuno Espirito Santo, Dean Smith and Xisco Munoz in departing top-flight teams this term.

Coincidentally (or not), none of the other five sides who have changed boss this term suffered defeat at the weekend – one of them, Watford, were of course the team to ultimately end Solskjaer’s time in charge.

Manchester United manager search headlines Monday’s rumours

12:24 , Karl Matchett

No surprise to see the lead stories on Monday are all about the manager search at Old Trafford.

The names we’ve quickly become familiar with are all involved: Pochettino, Rodgers, Zidane and Ten Hag are all mentioned.

These, and the rest of the day’s transfer rumours, are in our round-up:

Football rumours: Pochettino and Rodgers linked with Manchester United role

Man United linked with Sevilla double deal

12:12 , Karl Matchett

A surprise name in the frame is Sevilla manager Julen Lopetegui, who has reportedly been suggested to the Manchester United board by agent Jorge Mendes.

The Athletic say he was in touch with the Old Trafford club after the weekend defeat to Watford and talks have been ongoing for two weeks, with the former Spain boss one of several names in the frame.

And, in a twist, other reports suggest if they do land him they’d be front-runners to sign Jules Kounde, Lopetegui’s centre-back at Sevilla who has been chased by Chelsea.

Brendan Rodgers’ release clause revealed if Man United want him

12:01 , Karl Matchett

Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers remains heavily linked with the Manchester United job.

He’s not faring too well himself this season in the league – the Foxes are 12th and lost a fifth game of the Premier League season at the weekend – but he did an excellent job in the previous two campaigns and has been linked with Newcastle and Tottenham recently, too.

Several reports now claim that the Northern Irishman has an £8m clause in his contract if clubs want to take him from Leicester – though he has previously said he didn’t want to discuss any mid-season moves, too.

Zidane holds ‘slight interest’ in Man United manager job

11:52 , Karl Matchett

Conflicting reports are all part of the process, aren’t they? Earlier we heard how Zidane wasn’t interested in Old Trafford; here we hear he is, at least marginally – and because of two former stars at Real Madrid.

“They’re saying in Spain [Zidane is] intent to go work with [Cristiano] Ronaldo and [Raphael] Varane again,” LaLiga pundit and analyst Terry Gibson told TalkSport.

“I think there might be slight interest now from Zidane.

“There’s been other managers at Real Madrid that have tried to be more complicated, more technical, more tactical but they’ve had nowhere near the amount of success he had.

“So I think where they over-complicate the game, Zidane certainly doesn’t but he knows exactly what he wants and he knows exactly what he’s doing.”

Man United’s cost of getting it wrong

11:43 , Karl Matchett

The cost to the club is in trophies, points and performances of course, but Manchester United keeping on getting it wrong in their managerial appointments is hitting them hard in terms of financial cost, too.

David Moyes (£7m), Louis van Gaal (£8.5m), Jose Mourinho (£15m) and now Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (£7.5m) means they have paid out £38 million in compensation for sacking managers since Alex Ferguson’s retirement.

That’s about enough to get them the defensive midfielder they apparently still need.

Mauricio Pochettino ready to leave PSG for Manchester United job before summer

11:25 , Karl Matchett

Melissa Reddy brings us the latest news in the potential job search – with a suggestion that the Old Trafford bosses can fill the void before the summer if they act decisively.

There’s a potential exchange of head coaches in the works which might see all parties end up happy, with Mauricio Pochettino open to a return to the Premier League and a mid-season switch to Old Trafford.

United have twice botched the opportunity to hire Pochettino, but The Independent understands that the 49-year-old does not want a third shot to be compromised by waiting until the summer.

Mauricio Pochettino ready to take Manchester United job before summer

Man United club shop needs a refresh

11:22 , Karl Matchett

Well, give the store workers time, it’s only been one day!

Manchester United must learn from Liverpool’s mistakes to return to English football’s summit

11:20 , Karl Matchett

It feels like we have been here before. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking has underlined how far and how fast Manchester United have fallen since Sir Alex Ferguson stepped down eight years ago. The situation has echoes of Liverpool’s decline in the 1990s.

Both clubs were the dominant power in English football for almost two decades and abdicated that position when the tenure of an iconic manager came to an unexpected end.

At first it seemed like a blip. Then a creeping malaise set in. United are now eight seasons away from their last title. There is no prospect of the next one being delivered to Old Trafford in May. At a similar point in their history, Liverpool still had more than 20 years to wait before returning to the summit of the domestic game.

Man United must now learn from the Reds’ mistakes if they want a return to the top of the game, writes Tony Evans.

Can Manchester United learn from Liverpool mistakes?

Roy Keane could ‘do a job’ as interim Man United boss

11:02 , Karl Matchett

It’s unlikely to be the case, but another former player who has been mentioned in connection with the interim role at Old Trafford is Roy Keane. He was Alex Ferguson’s captain for years and won a vast collection of silverware as a player, but has not been in a coaching role since ending his time as Republic of Ireland assistant boss.

Now a Sky regular as a pundit, one of his colleagues Micah Richards suggested he could bring much of what the club require right now – but his on-air comments about under-performing players at the Manchester United means Keane is perhaps a case of right person, wrong time.

“I mean, probably not at this time. I think Roy Keane would be a great manager,” Richards said. “I’m not saying it couldn’t do it. I’m talking about the relationship with the players.

“He’s slagged off half the dressing room!

“But in terms of what they need, I think he could do a job. Course he could do a job.”

Gary Neville: New manager must ‘build from roots up’ at Manchester United

10:46 , Karl Matchett

The right appointments in the hierarchy are required more than a playing staff overhaul, Neville continued.

“You can achieve the values and a culture of a football club without necessarily being the biggest fan in the world. Jurgen Klopp has done that at Liverpool, Pep Guardiola has created a culture and vibe at Manchester City that is special. It doesn’t need to be the local kid or ex-legend coming back home, it needs to be somebody who can grasp what this football club means,” he said on his podcast.

“Sir Alex Ferguson came down from Aberdeen in 1986 not knowing what Manchester United was; he’d never lived in Manchester and had never worked at the club before, but he grasped it, he got it straight away, understood it and put it into everybody else and created a dynasty.

“I’m not saying Manchester United need to create a dynasty, but they need to find a manager who can build something from the roots up, communicate with the fans, and understands the culture, the values, principles, the entertainment, the risk – everything that Manchester United is.’

“At the end of the season, I would imagine Manchester United are going to appoint a brand-new manager, and he will have to take them forward. But I don’t think Manchester United need upheaval in the dressing room. They maybe need strengthening in central midfield, you could argue there is a right-back issue developing and Aaron Wan-Bissaka needs some competition. But, other than that, I would say if Manchester United could get the players they have got fit on the pitch, they will have a great chance of winning a lot of football matches.”

Gary Neville compares Man City ‘football empire’ to Man United’s ‘poor’ decisions

10:41 , Karl Matchett

Gary Neville continues to have his say on matters related to Manchester United and his latest podcast suggests they need only look across the city for how far they’ve fallen behind on and off the pitch.

“I see a new 25,000-seater music arena being built [on the Etihad campus by Man City], there’s a world-class football academy, world-class facilities, there’s a mini stadium which the academy and women’s teams use,” he said.

“They have built a football empire here, where everything threads through, and they make good decisions on and off the pitch.

“Yet over the road at Old Trafford, where they have got the best asset in the world in Manchester United, the biggest football club in the world in my opinion, and certainly the biggest football club in this country, you’ve had a lot of money being spent over the past eight years, but the decision-making has been really poor.

“Three out of those four [most recent] managers were given long-term contracts or extensions and sacked within a few months. It can happen, once, but it can’t happen three times.”

Manchester United losing ‘puts pressure on everyone’

10:26 , Karl Matchett

Former Man United midfielder Kleberson has had a few words to say on the events unravelling over the weekend.

“The last few games have been tough for Manchester United. They are used to winning and being at the top, so when they lose a few games in succession it puts pressure on everyone at the club,” he told Paddy Power.

“Manchester United haven’t put in great performances in their last 10games, but they’ve tried their best. Unfortunately, they just haven’t won them, and winning is vital. When you aren’t winning, doubts over the players are raised.

“It’s very difficult for Manchester United, but it’s up to the players as a team to change that. It won’t be easy. It’s going to be very hard for them, but this is a good challenge for a big club like United.”

He also appears to feel the club’s veteran front pairing should be the ideal one at present:

“Edinson Cavani and Cristiano Ronaldo make a top-class combination up front for Manchester United. Cavani had a superb game against Tottenham Hotspur, and everybody knows about the quality he possesses.

“He works well with Cristiano Ronaldo and although he’s not as quick or mobile as some of Manchester United’s other strikers, he’s the player who always tries to make something happen in the final third with his movement and hold up play.

“Cavani has that ‘never give up’ attitude. He uses his strength and power to fight for the ball, open up space and create chances. Cavani’s ability to occupy centre backs gives Ronaldo more space and more freedom to run in behind, up front.”

Steve Bruce ‘very keen’ on short-term Manchester United role

10:14 , Karl Matchett

A new name in the frame for the remainder of the season: recently sacked Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce is “very keen” on the role of interim boss and “believes he could help stabilise the dressing room”, reports the Athletic.

The former Man United centre-back was removed from his role at St. James’ Park shortly after the recent takeover, following his 1000th match as a manager. Given he was in the relegation zone and without a win all season at the time, it feels improbable that his 1001st game would be in charge at Old Trafford, but stranger things have happened.

Manchester United’s January transfer rumours

10:01 , Karl Matchett

Of course, with a new manager comes new opportunities for some players – and Donny van de Beek might be one who isn’t overly concerned at Solskjaer’s departure, given he hardly featured for most of his tenure.

He did score the last goal under the Norwegian, ironically, after netting off the bench in the hammering by Watford.

Spanish media rumours have been linking him with Barcelona over the past few weeks, but today Sport are reporting that new head coach Xavi Hernandez has told the club that he doesn’t need or want a new midfielder, including Van de Beek, and would rather the Camp Nou club strengthen elsewhere.

(Manchester United via Getty Imag)

Manchester United switch focus to Champions League

09:51 , Karl Matchett

Michael Carrick leading the team, the players have made their farewell comments on social media and the outgoing boss has given his rather unexpected exit interview.

Now it’s time to move on for United…

The end of Solskjaer’s reign at Manchester United

09:38 , Karl Matchett

While the longer-term thinking is of course about who will replace Solskjaer and what United become next, there’s a more immediate issue: they have to start winning games. Two Champions League group stage matches remain and their Premier League placing makes for unhappy reading for fans too – they’re down to eighth and could be easily in the bottom half before they next play, which is away to Chelsea next Sunday evening.

Solskjaer’s most recent run of results highlight how much work there is needing to be done on the training ground to turn things around:

Drew 1-1 vs Everton

Lost 4-2 vs Leicester

Won 3-2 vs Atalanta

Lost 5-0 vs Liverpool

Won 3-0 vs Tottenham

Drew 2-2 vs Atalanta

Lost 2-0 vs Man City

Lost 4-1 vs Watford

Eight ‘points’ across two competitions from the last eight games.

Four points taken in the Premier League from the last 21 available.

The turnaround has to come very quickly indeed if the season isn’t to slip away entirely.

Latest odds on Solskjaer replacement at Manchester United

09:23 , Karl Matchett

So after all the initial fallout, the quickfire reports and an overnight for one or two names to settle…how is the race for the Old Trafford hotseat looking?

Here are the latest odds for Ole’s replacement at the wheel, via Betfair:

Mauricio Pochettino 5/2 FAV

Brendan Rodgers 7/2

Michael Carrick 7/2 (would United really just repeat their own history there?)

Zinedine Zidane 7/1

Erik ten Hag 7/1

Ralf Rangnick 12/1

Laurent Blanc 14/1

Luis Enrique 20/1

Diego Simeone 20/1

Darren Fletcher 20/1

Julian Nagelsmann 25/1.

There are a whole load more also named as potential successors, including Jogi Low, Graham Potter, former Man City boss Roberto Mancini, which feels improbable to say the least, and even Unai Emery, who beat United in the Europa League final last season and faces them in midweek with Villarreal.

Zinedine Zidane ‘not keen’ on becoming Manchester United manager

09:08 , Karl Matchett

The rumours and reports of who the eventual long-term successor will be is no doubt going to run and run – but the early suggestion is that Zinedine Zidane wants no part of it.

Guillem Balague reports that the former Real Madrid head coach “would not be keen on a move to United right now”, while the odds on him being the appointment slipped from initially being favourite, too.

Zidane fits the bill in terms of being a title-winner, having picked up three Champions League medals and two La Liga trophies while in Spain, but he has yet to take a job outside the confines of the Santiago Bernabeu club, where he has coached twice, been assistant to Carlo Ancelotti and been in charge of the B team, Real Madrid Castilla.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was by no means Manchester United’s only problem

09:02 , Karl Matchett

When Jose Mourinho’s scorched-earth series was finally canned by Manchester United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was given caretaker charge of the wheel, a select group of journalists had an off-record audience with Ed Woodward.

Naturally, an enquiry was made over the club’s big picture for the managerial position and their confidence over landing primary target Mauricio Pochettino, then at Tottenham, in the summer.

United’s executive vice-chairman is understood to have sniggered as he retorted: “You all think we want him, but that would be the easy choice. Too easy. It’s Julian Nagelsmann we like.”

Melissa Reddy reports on how it’s the decision-makers who have now fired Solskjaer who remain the bigger issue at Old Trafford.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was by no means Manchester United’s only problem

Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: Michael Carrick to face media

08:14 , Jack Rathborn

Michael Carrick is the next former player taking temporary charge of Manchester United after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked.

The first-team coach has stepped into the breach after United ended Solskjaer‘s three-year reign following a run of poor results which included a 5-0 defeat to arch-rivals Liverpool and a derby loss to Manchester City before the final straw of the embarrassing 4-1 reverse at Watford.

Carrick’s first job as caretaker boss while the club’s hierarchy find an interim manager to take them through to the end of the season is to face the media on Monday ahead of a crucial Champions League tie in Villarreal.

Solskjaer, himself brought in as caretaker in December 2018 following Jose Mourinho’s exit before getting the job on a permanent basis, admitted he paid the penalty for not being able to “take the next step” after some encouraging progress.

Last season United finished a distant second to Manchester City – 12 points behind in the Premier League – and lost the Europa League final to Villarreal after a marathon penalty shoot-out.

“I wanted us to take the next step to challenge for the league, to win trophies… but unfortunately I couldn’t get the results we needed and it’s time for me to step aside,” a clearly emotional Solskjaer told MUTV.

“Second place last season ahead of arguably one of the best teams in Europe (Liverpool), I think that’s a great achievement as well.

“And we were so close in Europe. Sometimes that’s the fine margin for you, one penalty.”

Man United sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: Brendan Rodgers would be foolish to ignore Red Devils

08:08 , Jack Rathborn

He knew the questions were coming, even before Watford had hammered the final nail into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s coffin.

In normal circumstances, Brendan Rodgers is as jovial and as friendly as any Premier League manager during their post-match media duties, greeting regular reporters by their first names, no matter how intrusive or leading the question posed.

But after witnessing his Leicester side put in the meekest of displays in their 3-0 loss at home to Chelsea on Sunday, Rodgers’ demeanour had darkened when facing the post-match media, with a furrowed brow a permanent fixture throughout.

Brendan Rodgers would be foolish to ignore Manchester United amid Leicester woes

Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: Rio Ferdinand criticises Ed Woodward

08:00 , Jack Rathborn

Rio Ferdinand has criticised Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward’s track record and accused the hierarchy of “shocking management” in a damning assessment of the club.

United sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as manager on Sunday morning following a 4-1 humiliation by Watford which left the team seventh in the Premier League table amid a dismal run of form.

Former United centre-back Ferdinand believes the lack of decisiveness in axing Solskjaer and appointing a replacement – with the club set to look for an interim head coach until the end of the season with Michael Carrick initially taking caretaker charge – revealed there are flaws in how the club is being run.

Rio Ferdinand criticises Ed Woodward and ‘shocking’ Manchester United hierarchy

What legacy does Ole Gunnar Solskjaer leave as Manchester United manager?

07:55 , Jack Rathborn

When Ole Gunnar Solskjaer returned to Old Trafford on an interim basis nearly three years ago now, his track record as a manager consisted of two Tippeligaen titles, a Norwegian Cup and a handful of honours at reserve team level which still carried [citation needed] tags on his Wikipedia page.

The most recent of those trophies had come in 2013, six years earlier. Since then, Solskjaer had suffered one relegation at Cardiff City and a few seasons without distinction back in Norway. It was not the CV of a Manchester United manager. Perhaps that is why some of his former players at Molde began removing United players from their fantasy football teams.

They would soon be rushing to bring those same players back in, though, as the most improbable, the most intoxicating but mainly the most bewildering episode of United’s post-Sir Alex Ferguson era began far better than they could ever expect. In fairness, they were not the only ones to be taken by surprise.

Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Sunday 21 November 2021 20:14 , Lawrence Ostlere

The full story of Solskjaer’s farewell interview:

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer breaks silence following Manchester United sacking

Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Sunday 21 November 2021 17:19 , Lawrence Ostlere

A rare ‘farewell interview’ from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, in which he talks about the way he has reconnected with the club, made old and new friends, and pays tribute to the fans:

Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Sunday 21 November 2021 16:14 , Lawrence Ostlere

Solskjaer’s former Manchester United teammate Peter Schmeichel: “It’s really sad, I am seriously really sad. On Ole’s behalf, on the football club’s behalf, on all the fans’ behalf. It’s too many managers we’ve had to dismiss in too short a period of time,” Schmeichel said at the Qatar Grand Prix.

“We’ve been used to 27 years for one man (Alex Ferguson) to be in the hot seat and I just feel for Ole. He’s done everything he could, but in this modern day football it’s been deemed not to be enough.”

Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Sunday 21 November 2021 15:30 , Lawrence Ostlere

Former Manchester United striker and pundit Michael Owen reacts:

“There were bigger managerial names than him that tried and failed in recent seasons and he leaves the club with the most talented collection of players it’s had in a while. It’s the next manager’s job to get the best out of them,” Owen said on Twitter.

“It has to be the worst possible time for Manchester United to be looking for a new manager. Early in the season with hardly any top managers available.

“The only obvious one available is (Zinedine) Zidane but the language barrier is surely a huge issue. An interim manager looks likely – again.”

Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Sunday 21 November 2021 14:58 , Lawrence Ostlere

Former Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney, now in charge of Championship strugglers Derby, distanced himself from early speculation linking him with a return to Old Trafford in a coaching capacity.

“Firstly it’s always sad when a manager loses his job, especially a former team-mate of mine,” Rooney told Sky Sports after his side’s 3-2 win over Bournemouth. “I feel for Ole.

“In terms of myself, I’m committed to this club until I’m told otherwise. I’m Derby County manager and I’ll keep working hard to get the best results on the pitch for this team.”

Manchester United consider Laurent Blanc as interim

Sunday 21 November 2021 14:30 , Lawrence Ostlere

Laurent Blanc is seen as a strong candidate to become Manchester United‘s interim manager, before the club make a permanent decision on a figure such as Ajax’s Erik ten Hag in the summer.

Full story from The Independent’s chief football writer Miguel Delaney:

Laurent Blanc emerges as strong candidate for Manchester United job

Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Sunday 21 November 2021 14:01 , Lawrence Ostlere

Full story on Rio Ferdinand’s damning assessment of the state of Manchester United:

Rio Ferdinand criticises Ed Woodward and ‘shocking’ Manchester United hierarchy

Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Sunday 21 November 2021 13:46 , Lawrence Ostlere

Rio Ferdinand on Manchester United’s out-of-form captain Harry Maguire: “Sometimes you need to be taken out the firing line. He’s had a long summer, a successful summer with England to a certain degree. He’s played a lot of football, comes back to United and physically and mentally it looks like there’s a hangover there.

“He won’t take himself out of it, I wouldn’t either, I’d try and play myself through it, but at the moment his performances haven’t been up to the level required, for him, for Man United. The bar he set himself wouldn’t be there.”

Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Sunday 21 November 2021 13:41 , Lawrence Ostlere

More from Rio Ferdinand on Manchester United’s “shocking management”:

“We don’t look organised, no clear plan on or off the pitch at the moment. If there haven’t been conversations [about a change of manager] since at least the Liverpool game behind closed doors, I’d be surprised. There must have been some conversations going on.

“The international break was the perfect time to do it [sack Solskjaer], I don’t know why they are dilly-dallying and waiting. That’s the big thing for me, that’s shocking management of the club. It’s all rush, rush, rush now. What frustrates me is, wow, there’s not a candidate out there who’s out of a job. It smacks of unorganised chaos really.”

On Ed Woodward: “If you look at the mangers he’s brought in, have any been successful? No. Has recruitment of players worked out? No. All of that falls into his lap, he’s got to take responsibility for that.”

Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Sunday 21 November 2021 13:33 , Lawrence Ostlere

Speaking on Rio Ferdinand Presents FIVE, the former United centre-back says Solskjaer did a “very good job” in his time at the club up until this season, but that his position became untenable.

“There’s so many different emotions. Disappointment, sadness, upset with it. Firstly I’ve seen a couple of my former teammates thank Ole for his time and I’m exactly the same. From where it was to where he got the club at the beginning of the season, he gave the hope back. Obviously things have gone backwards but up until that point Ole had done a very good job and done his remit, to stabilise the club.

“The biggest, most alarming thing was coming to a game and not knowing what formation we were going to play, having no real identity. The game yesterday was a terrible, terrible, terrible game. The fallout from that was only going to end one way.”

Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Sunday 21 November 2021 13:20 , Lawrence Ostlere

The Independent’s chief football writer Miguel Delaney has the inside story on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking by Manchester United. He writes:

When Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes were away with Portugal last week, the two naturally discussed Manchester United at length. Both liked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but neither felt he was up to it. That feeling had spread around the entire dressing room.

Outgoing executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward was well aware of this. It was why there was greater pressure on Solskjaer going into the Watford game, and a sense of unease. Still, nobody expected it to get as bad as that at Vicarage Road.

Then again, that has been the story of the modern Manchester United, and particularly Solskjaer’s time. They have frequently been blindsided by developments, due to bad decisions.

Read the full piece here:

Manchester United’s Ole Gunnar Solskjaer mistake leaves them back where they started

Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Sunday 21 November 2021 13:11 , Lawrence Ostlere

Sky Sports say Mauricio Pochettino is Manchester United’s top target, but the Paris Saint-Germain manager is not available right now which is why they are looking to appoint an interim coach until the end of the season. Erik ten Hag, the Ajax manager, is thought to be the back-up option.

Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Sunday 21 November 2021 13:00 , Lawrence Ostlere

Reuters Sports News and Football Correspondent Simon Evans has written some analysis of the club’s predicament. He writes:

In most top clubs, the search for a manager would be the responsibility of a Director of Football, or senior leadership figures such as Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain at Manchester City.

But at United the structure, and individual roles and responsibilities within it, is far from clear with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward heading out of the club, John Murtough the director of football and Darren Fletcher the technical director who also helps out on the training ground.

Co-chairman Joel Glazer would also be expected to sign off on any appointment and there are other figures in the club, such as managing director Richard Arnold, who might expect to be involved.

The Florida-based Glazer family have owned United since 2005 and have faced fan opposition from the moment they completed their takeover and the leading role they played in the failed attempt to launch the European Super League.

The late Malcolm Glazer, the family patriarch who made his fortune in real estate and stocks, bought United in May 2005 for £790m, after entering the sports business in 1995 with a takeover of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Since his death in 2014, his two sons Joel and Avram have been co-chairmen of United with the former playing a prominent part in the recent Super League controversy — he was named the short-lived breakaway’s founding vice-chairman.

United fans have been reluctant to vent their frustration against Solskjaer, a Champions League winner and popular player with an amiable personality, but they have no such reservations when it comes to Woodward and the Glazers.

United are badly in need of clear direction — on and off the field — but the fact that they are now searching for a short-term fix till the end of the season will do little to inspire confidence that a defined strategy is in place.

‘This was supposed to be a season where United would mount a proper challenge’

Sunday 21 November 2021 12:44 , Lawrence Ostlere

Andy Mitten, editor of United We Stand fanzine, says United fans will always love Solskjaer but he had to go.

“Fans still sang his name and got behind him but they had major doubts. Ole will know it’s easier to sack a manager rather than underperforming players. This was supposed to be a season where United would mount a proper challenge and far more impressive than they have been. His place in history is assured for what he did in Camp Nou in 1999. Fans will be extremely welcoming of him in the future, he gave it a really shot and there were some brilliant moments, some really good results in Europe, but a team like United really should be winning trophies.

“What happens next is going to be very interesting. It looks like there has been very little planning there, because there hasn’t been.”

Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Sunday 21 November 2021 12:33 , Lawrence Ostlere

This interim manager plan – haven’t we been here before?

Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Sunday 21 November 2021 12:28 , Lawrence Ostlere

More on Gary Neville’s assessment of United’s woes:

Manchester United have ‘no plan’, says Gary Neville

Gary Neville: ‘Solskjaer rebuilt United’s soul’

Sunday 21 November 2021 12:18 , Lawrence Ostlere

Neville adds: “What has gone wrong in the past couple of months? Why does a team who were progressing in the last two seasons – third, then second – suddenly look like they’ve never passed a ball to each other? The confidence is shot to piece. Ole will reflect with sadness but I think he will be proud. I’m not saying he rebuilt the club, but he rebuilt the soul of the club. It was in a dark place at the end of the last reign under Jose Mourinho.”

Gary Neville: ‘United don’t have a plan’

Sunday 21 November 2021 12:10 , Lawrence Ostlere

Gary Neville, speaking on Sky Sports, thinks the club is being poorly run at the moment.

“I’ve never been there where the players have been so drained in confidence. I don’t think the players don’t care, they’re a good group of lads. What’s happened recently I can’t explain. They looked so open, they’ve not been able to get right since. Rudderless on and off the pitch. No one, when Ronaldo signed, thought this would happen.

“Michael [Carrick] takes over now. If there was a world-class manager sat on the shelf then they could but they haven’t got anybody to appoint. I don’t think [Antonio] Conte would have been a fit for United and I don’t think there’s a perfect fit available at the moment. They don’t have a plan for the next manager at this moment in time. The planning hasn’t been great, and you have to ask serious questions. I think the club is run on the business side OK, but culturally and from a football perspective it leaves a lot to be desired.”

Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Sunday 21 November 2021 12:05 , Ben Burrows

To recap: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been sacked as manager of Manchester United.

United, who made the decision in the wake of United’s 4-1 defeat at Watford, have put Michael Carrick in temporary charge while the club look to appoint an interim manager to the end of the season.

A statement said: “Manchester United announces that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has left his role as manager. Ole will always be a legend at Manchester United and it is with regret that we have reached this difficult decision.

“While the past few weeks have been disappointing, they should not obscure all the work he has done over the past three years to rebuild the foundations for long-term success.

“Ole leaves with our sincerest thanks for his tireless efforts as manager and our very best wishes for the future. His place in the club’s history will always be secure, not just for his story as a player, but as a great man and a manager who gave us many great moments. He will forever be welcome back at Old Trafford as part of the Manchester United family.”

Carrick’s first assignment after stepping up from his role as assistant manager is a Champions League clash away to Villarreal coming up on Tuesday.

Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Sunday 21 November 2021 11:52 , Ben Burrows

Solskjaer was aware he was under renewed pressure ahead of the Watford game, as club executives have been growing increasingly concerned about the mood of the players.

Most have long felt a change was required. Particular attention has also been paid to Cristiano Ronaldo’s feelings, and he has been increasingly anguished by the nature of displays.

Similar applies to Bruno Fernandes, who very publicly defended Solskjaer on the pitch at Vicarage Road.

(REUTERS)

Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Sunday 21 November 2021 11:40 , Ben Burrows

It’s understood that, along with Michael Carrick, Mike Phelan and Kieran McKenna are remaining with the club despite Solskjaer’s exit.

That will of course depend on the make up of the new manager’s backroom team, of course, although that may not come until the summer.

An interim manager is set to be appointed until then, the club have confirmed.

(EPA)

Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Sunday 21 November 2021 11:28 , Ben Burrows

A timeline of Solskjaer’s time in charge:

December 18: Jose Mourinho sacked as United manager.

December 19: Solskjaer appointed as caretaker manager, initially until end of 2018-19 season.

December 22: Wins first match in charge – 5-1 against former club Cardiff.

2019:

February 12: After 10 wins and one draw in all competitions, Solskjaer suffers his first defeat as United boss – a 2-0 home loss to Paris St Germain in the Champions League.

March 6: United overturn first-leg deficit to reach Champions League quarter-finals with 3-1 away win at PSG.

March 28: Solskjaer appointed full-time boss.

2020:

January: United suffer a 3-1 home defeat in the first leg of their Carabao Cup against rivals Manchester City at Old Trafford, a loss followed by a 2-0 Premier League reverse at Liverpool and a chastening home setback against Burnley. On the positive side they sign Bruno Fernandes, beat Tranmere 6-0 in the FA Cup and overcome City in the second leg, but they miss out on the final.

March 12: In their final match before football is halted because of the coronavirus pandemic, United take control of their Europa League last-16 tie with a 5-0 first-leg win at LASK in Austria in front of a crowd of just 500.

July 19: United are beaten 3-1 by Chelsea in their FA Cup semi-final.

July 26: United beat Leicester to take third place in the Premier League, 15 points behind champions Liverpool.

August 16: United suffer their third semi-final defeat of the season, losing 2-1 to Sevilla in the Europa League.

October 4: United are thrashed 6-1 by a Tottenham side managed by Mourinho and the result leaves them 16th in the Premier League.

December 8: United lose 3-2 at RB Leipzig to exit the Champions League at the group stage and drop into the Europa League.

2021

May: United finish second in the Premier League but are beaten 11-10 on penalties by Villarreal in the Europa League final.

July 24: Solskjaer signs new three-year contract to remain at the Old Trafford helm, with the option for a further 12 months.

October 24: Solskjaer appears on the brink after United are humiliated 5-0 at home by arch-rivals Liverpool.

October 30: Solskjaer earns a reprieve after a 3-0 win at Tottenham, a result which precipitates the sacking of Nuno Espirito Santo at Spurs. The Portuguese is swiftly replaced by Antonio Conte, who just days earlier was being heavily linked with United.

November 6: The heat on the Norwegian increases yet again after United are completely outplayed in a 2-0 home derby loss to City.

November 20: United fail spectacularly to return to winning ways following the international break as a heavy 4-1 defeat at Watford signals the end of Solskjaer’s reign.

(PA Archive)

Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Sunday 21 November 2021 11:21 , Ben Burrows

Gary Neville has paid tribute to his former teammate after his dismissal at Manchester United.

“Thank you Ole. You did us proud,” he tweeted.

“The last two months were tough but before that you restored some soul into the club.”

Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Sunday 21 November 2021 11:14 , Ben Burrows

Solskjaer’s departure comes with United seventh in the table after Saturday’s defeat having won only one of their last seven Premier League games, while Solskjaer won 54.2 per cent of his games in charge.

That is lower than predecessor Jose Mourinho’s 58 per cent but a better win rate than United’s other permanent managers in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era, David Moyes (52.9 per cent) and Louis Van Gaal (52.4).

Solskjaer’s initial spell in caretaker charge after Mourinho’s dismissal was an overwhelming success, with 14 wins from 19 games making it a foregone conclusion he would be given the job on a permanent basis.

They scored 12 goals in his first three games in temporary charge, won the first eight and beat Tottenham and Arsenal along the way, and had 10 wins and a draw in his first 11 before Paris St Germain inflicted a first defeat.

An astonishing 3-1 win in the return leg of that Champions League tie saw United through on away goals and was the third straight win with three goals scored as United netted 40 and conceded only 17 in the 19-game spell – though curiously, Solskjaer’s eventual long-term appointment came after back-to-back defeats to Arsenal in the league and Wolves in the FA Cup.

Crunching the numbers of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Man Utd reign

Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Sunday 21 November 2021 11:07 , Ben Burrows

United finished second behind Manchester City last season but currently lie seventh, six points off West Ham in fourth and 12 behind leaders Chelsea.

Solskjaer insisted he could still turn things around in the wake of another chastening afternoon at Vicarage Road, but it appears the club disagree.

United keeper David De Gea gave a damning verdict on United’s display at Watford, telling the BBC: “We don’t know what to do with the ball. We don’t know how to defend properly.

“It was embarrassing, the way we played. The first half was very poor – it’s not acceptable for this club and the level of players that we have.

“It’s another nightmare. There’s been some difficulties but I don’t really know what to say.”

Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Sunday 21 November 2021 11:01 , Ben Burrows

The decision comes at the end of a torrid run of results for United under Solskjaer, the club great who himself took over on an interim basis back in December 2018 after the sacking of Jose Mourinho.

He rode out a chastening 5-0 home loss to Liverpool and appeared to be back in calmer waters after a 3-0 win at Tottenham, but a comprehensive derby loss to Manchester City meant that the Watford game was essentially a must-win.

The writing was on the wall for Solskjaer when Watford flew into a 2-0 lead through Josh King and Ismaila Sarr.

Substitute Donny van de Beek pulled one back but United’s under-fire captain Harry Maguire was sent off after 69 minutes and late goals from Joao Pedro and Emmanuel Dennis piled on the misery.

The struggles were not widely expected back when Solskjaer became the first United manager to win his first six league games, beating a record held by Sir Matt Busby, and was handed the permanent role in March 2019.

(PA Wire)

Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Sunday 21 November 2021 10:56 , Ben Burrows

To recap: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been sacked as Manchester United manager.

United, who made the decision in the wake of United’s 4-1 defeat at Watford, have put Michael Carrick in temporary charge while the club look to appoint an interim manager to the end of the season.

A statement said: “Manchester United announces that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has left his role as manager. Ole will always be a legend at Manchester United and it is with regret that we have reached this difficult decision.

“While the past few weeks have been disappointing, they should not obscure all the work he has done over the past three years to rebuild the foundations for long-term success.

“Ole leaves with our sincerest thanks for his tireless efforts as manager and our very best wishes for the future. His place in the club’s history will always be secure, not just for his story as a player, but as a great man and a manager who gave us many great moments. He will forever be welcome back at Old Trafford as part of the Manchester United family.”

Carrick’s first assignment after stepping up from his role as assistant manager is a vital Champions League clash away to Villarreal coming up on Tuesday.

Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Sunday 21 November 2021 10:50 , Ben Burrows

The defeat at Watford leaves United in seventh and now 12 points off the pace to Premier League leaders Chelsea and struggling to even stay in touch with the top four.

Having succeeded Jose Mourinho at the time, Solskjaer quickly injected fresh vigour into the club and brought a feel good factor to the club.

The United legend, who scored the stoppage-time winner in the 1999 Champions League final triumph over Bayern Munich, inspired another historic night in Europe as manager.

A stoppage-time penalty from Marcus Rashford earned a 3-1 victory to knock Paris Saint-Germain out in the round of 16 in 2019, having trailed 2-0 from the first leg at Old Trafford.

The victory seemingly clinched a permanent role at the club, which saw him guide the Red Devils back to Europe’s top competition with a third-placed finish in 2020 after a first full season in charge. The 48-year-old improved on that position last term as runners-up behind Manchester City.

But despite United’s evident progress, which included a 29-game away game unbeaten streak in the Premier League, there was an element of disappointment after a penalty shoot-out defeat to Villarreal in the Europa League final, as Solskjaer fell agonisingly short of earning his first piece of silverware in charge of the club.

The return of Cristiano Ronaldo, as well as big-money summer signings Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane, sparked fresh hope of a first title in nine years.

But a 4-2 defeat to Leicester City and the 5-0 thrashing to Jurgen Klopp’s Reds left Solskjaer feeling like he had hit “rock bottom” before the one-sided Manchester derby.

Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Sunday 21 November 2021 10:43 , Ben Burrows

Michael Carrick has been put in temporary charge and will lead the team against Villarreal in the Champions League on Tuesday.

The club’s next Premier League game is against league leaders Chelsea next Sunday.

The club confirmed they are looking to appoint an interim manager to the end of the season.

Next Manchester United manager odds

Sunday 21 November 2021 10:41 , Ben Burrows

Here are the current bookmakers’ favourites to be Manchester United’s next permanent manager:

Zinedine Zidane – 11/10

Brendan Rodgers (Leicester) – 6/4

Darren Fletcher – 6/1

Erik ten Hag (Ajax) – 10/1

Laurent Blanc – 20/1

Mauricio Pochettino (PSG) – 25/1

Michael Carrick – 25/1

Ralf Rangnick – 33/1

Massimiliano Allegri (Juventus) – 40/1

Diego Simeone (Atletico Madrid) – 50/1

Gareth Southgate (England) – 50/1

Graham Potter (Brighton) – 50/1

Julen Lopetegui (Sevilla) – 50/1

Luis Enrique (Spain) – 50/1

(PA Wire)

Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Sunday 21 November 2021 10:35 , Ben Burrows

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been sacked.

A club statement read: “Manchester United announces that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has left his role as manager.

“Ole will always be a legend at Manchester United and it is with regret that we have reached this difficult decision. While the past few weeks have been disappointing, they should not obscure all the work he has done over the past three years to rebuild the foundations for long-term success.

“Ole leaves with our sincerest thanks for his tireless efforts as Manager and our very best wishes for the future. His place in the club’s history will always be secure, not just for his story as a player, but as a great man and a Manager who gave us many great moments. He will forever be welcome back at Old Trafford as part of the Manchester United family.

“Michael Carrick will now take charge of the team for forthcoming games, while the club looks to appoint an interim manager to the end of the season.”

Manchester United set to sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Sunday 21 November 2021 10:25 , Ben Burrows

In the Vicarage Road dressing room, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was already talking to some players about how he didn’t know if he’d be in charge for the next Manchester United match.

Most of the squad feel it is done. Most, in truth, want it done. Many around United would argue the performance in a pitiful 4-1 defeat to Watford said that more than anything.

This was no longer a team fighting for their manager, no matter how much they profess to like him in private. It was barely a team at all. It could really have been 4-0 to Watford at half-time.

The final collapse that made it into the rout it should have been felt like a final nail. It was all the worse because Watford had looked nervous at 2-1. They looked there for the taking.

United just didn’t have it in them.

Here’s Miguel Delaney’s take from Vicarage Road:

Defeated Ole Gunnar Solskjaer left with no way back as Man United surrender

Manchester United set to sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Sunday 21 November 2021 10:05 , Ben Burrows

Manchester United are preparing to sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as manager.

The club’s board convened an emergency meeting on Saturday night after the 4-1 defeat at Watford, one of the worst displays of the Norwegian’s tenure.

It is understood that they came to the consensus that the nature of the performance was unacceptable, and Solskjaer now fears he will not be in charge for the crucial Champions League game away to Villarreal on Tuesday.

The Independent has been told the 48-year-old was aware he was under renewed pressure ahead of the Watford game, as the United executives have been growing increasingly concerned about the mood of the players.

Most have long felt a change was required. Particular attention has also been paid to Cristiano Ronaldo’s feelings, and he has been increasingly anguished by the nature of displays.

Similar applies to Bruno Fernandes, who very publicly defended Solskjaer on the pitch at Vicarage Road.

(PA Wire)

The favourites to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Sunday 21 November 2021 09:48 , Ben Burrows

Outgoing executive vice chairman Ed Woodward is said to see Zinedine Zidane as a potential replacement for Solskjaer but the French legend is understood to be cool on the idea of taking over.

If that proves to be the case, United may instead accelerate plans to try and get Erik ten Hag from Ajax, who was previously seen as an option for the summer.

Brendan Rodgers was not considered as a top target in the last few weeks, although circumstances may see events change. United have been impressed with his work at Leicester City and Celtic but he has always been seen as below other options.

Current first-team coach Darren Fletcher is likely to step in as interim manager, with trips to Villarreal on Tuesday in the Champions League before a meeting with Premier League leaders Chelsea next Sunday.

Manchester United set to sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Sunday 21 November 2021 09:32 , Ben Burrows

Bruno Fernandes believes everyone is to blame for United’s current run.

“In these games in the Premier League it’s not enough playing for just one half,” he said after the game yesterday.

“Watford is a good team with quality, they are aggressive upfront and if you give them enough chances you will concede goals, that is a problem for us for many games.

“I think the attitude in the second half was there but in the first half, it was too slow for everyone.

“We don’t tackle, we don’t win our duels and against these teams, you have to win that. You have to show the same intensity as them and afterwards try to show your quality and why you play for Manchester United.

“It’s everyone’s fault. It’s not the coach, one player or two, it’s everyone. Everyone has to take the responsibility because everyone has to do better.”

Manchester United set to sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Sunday 21 November 2021 09:15 , Ben Burrows

Solskjaer was appointed caretaker boss in December 2018 to replace Jose Mourinho.

The Norwegian became the first United manager to win his first six league games, beating a record held by Sir Matt Busby, and was handed the permanent role the following March.

United finished second behind Manchester City last season but currently lie seventh, six points off West Ham in fourth and 12 behind leaders Chelsea.

(Manchester United via Getty Images)

Manchester United set to sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Sunday 21 November 2021 09:00 , Ben Burrows

After the game United keeper David De Gea gave a damning verdict on United’s display, telling BBC Radio 5 Live: “We don’t know what to do with the ball. We don’t know how to defend properly.”

Watford manager Claudio Ranieri urged the United board to be calm and give Solskjaer time.

He said: “I think he must be calm, also the chairman must be calm because football is up and down. I understand United can’t do up and down but he must have time to build his actions as a team.”

The Italian added: “I think all my players played very well.

“I am also very happy with Sarr because after two penalty misses, he scored the goal and I think he is a little less sad today.”

Next Manchester United manager odds

Sunday 21 November 2021 08:50 , Ben Burrows

With Tottenham successfully swooping for Antonio Conte, one of the major candidates to succeed Solskjaer is now off the market.

Zinedine Zidane is well liked by Ed Woodward while Diego Simeone is another who is high on the shortlist as well as Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers, who has been spoken about as a possible candidate.

Current first-team coach Darren Fletcher is likely to step up as interim head coach until a permanent replacement can be found.

Here are the current favourites to be United’s next permanent manager:

The favourites to become next Manchester United manager

Manchester United set to sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Sunday 21 November 2021 08:40 , Ben Burrows

In the post-match press conference, Solskjaer backed himself and his staff to turn United’s fortunes around.

He said: “I always have belief in myself but of course at the moment it’s a difficult time for us.

“I can trust every single one out there to give what they have, the staff are fantastic, but the results at the moment are difficult but I believe we can turn this around.

“I understand fans who’ve supported the club through thick and thin, they’ve been fantastic over the past few years, it’s a difficult period, we’ve had a hard time since Sir Alex [Ferguson] left the club.

“The fans who have been with us the last few years since I came in, they’ve been unbelievable, they’ve understood the situation.

“After being second last season, we hoped to kick on and at the moment we can’t seem to find our form so I understand and that’s their right to show their opinion.”

Manchester United set to sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Sunday 21 November 2021 08:29 , Ben Burrows

Solskjaer apologised to the away support after the game for the manner of his team’s performance with a number of the travelling fans voicing their displeasure during the match and after.

“I feel for the fans and I feel the same as them – we’re embarrassed by losing the way we do,” he said.

“We know we are in a very bad run and a bad situation, but that’s football and I know they’ll support whoever is on the pitch every day, and sometimes you’ve got to say sorry.”

Solskjaer shrugged off the inevitable speculation about his future, adding: “I’m working for and with the club and I’ve done that for 18 years.

“We’ve got a good communication and if the club were thinking about doing something then that is between me and the club.

“The results are not good enough, we know that. We’ve gone 30 games unbeaten away from home and now we’ve lost two on the bounce and conceded four goals in both of them, so of course something’s wrong.”

(PA Wire)

Manchester United set to sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Sunday 21 November 2021 08:27 , Ben Burrows

United travelled to Vicarage Road on Saturday having lost four of their last six Premier League games before the international break and this heavy defeat only piled more misery on the beleaguered Norwegian.

In the match, Josh King and Ismaila Sarr put Watford 2-0 up at the break before substitute Donny Van De Beek pulled one back.

But United’s under-fire captain Harry Maguire was sent off after 69 minutes and late goals from Joao Pedro and Emmanuel Dennis punished the Red Devils.

Read Miguel Delaney’s match report:

Harry Maguire sent-off as Watford thrash dismal Manchester United

Manchester United set to sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Sunday 21 November 2021 08:26 , Ben Burrows

If it is confirmed Solskjaer is sacked, then Darren Fletcher is likely to step in as interim manager, with trips to Villarreal on Tuesday and Chelsea next Sunday.

Outgoing executive vice chairman Ed Woodward is said to be interested in Zinedine Zidane as a potential replacement but that is seen as almost impossible, with the French legend still cool on the idea of taking over at Old Trafford.

If that proves to be the case, United may instead accelerate plans to try and get Erik ten Hag from Ajax. Brendan Rodgers was not considered as a top target in the last few weeks, although circumstances may see events change. United have been impressed with his work at Leicester City and Celtic but he has always been seen as below other options.

The idea had been to try and wait on any major decision until the summer, but events may now have taken on a life of their own.

Many felt a landmark moment was Solskjaer being booed by United’s travelling support at Vicarage Road after the game.

Manchester United set to sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Sunday 21 November 2021 08:23 , Ben Burrows

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is on the brink at Manchester United although the final decision will be taken by owner Joel Glazer.

Club executives convened after one of the worst displays of the Norwegian’s time so far, a dismal 4-1 defeat at Watford.

The consensus was that the nature of the performance was unacceptable, and Solskjaer now fears he will not be in charge for the crucial Champions League game away to Villarreal on Tuesday.

The Independent has been told the 48-year-old was aware he was under renewed pressure ahead of the Watford game, as the United executives have been growing increasingly concerned about the mood of the players.

Most have long felt a change was required. Particular attention has also been paid to Cristiano Ronaldo’s feelings, and he has been increasingly anguished by the nature of displays.

Similar applies to Bruno Fernandes, who very publicly defended Solskjaer on the pitch following the 4-1 loss to Watford.

If it is confirmed Solskjaer is sacked, then Darren Fletcher is likely to step in as interim manager, with trips to Villarreal on Tuesday and Chelsea next Sunday.

(AFP via Getty Images)



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