Manchester United ended Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s three-year reign as manager at Old Trafford following a run of one win in seven games.
Saturday’s 4-1 embarrassment at the hands of struggling Watford was the final straw for the United board, who had stuck by Solskjaer in recent weeks despite humiliating home defeats to Liverpool and Manchester City.
The Reds suffered their fifth Premier League defeat in seven games at Vicarage Road on Saturday as goals from Joshua King, Ismaila Sarr, Joao Pedro and Emmanuel Dennis sealed United’s fate.
Former midfielder Michael Carrick, who was part of Solskjaer’s coaching team, will take charge of the forthcoming games while the club look to appoint an interim manager till the end of the season.
“Manchester United announces that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has left his role as Manager,” the club said in a statement.
“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.”
United also spent over £100 million ($134 million) on Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane as they looked to build on finishing second in the league to Manchester City last season.
However, Solskjaer was unable to assemble the pieces of his star-studded squad into a collective unit despite Ronaldo’s return of nine goals in 14 games.
“We don’t know what to do with the ball, we don’t know how to defend properly and we’re conceding a lot of goals,” said United goalkeeper David de Gea, whose double penalty save from Watford’s Ismaila Sarr counted for nothing.
“It’s not acceptable for this club and the level of players that we have. It’s another nightmare.”
Solskjaer had ridden out storms before in a rollercoaster but ultimately trophyless three years.
Solskjaer guided United to successive top three finishes in the Premier League and two of the club’s best seasons since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013. The team reached four semi-finals and a Europa League final in Solskjaer’s two full seasons in charge and club figures have trumpeted his win ratio – the third-best for a post-war United manager – as well as United’s 29-game unbeaten away record in the league between January 2020 and October 2021.
United sources have rigorously defended Solskjaer’s trophyless tenure, specifically the ‘cultural reset’ and reshaping of the squad. United are confident Solskjaer’s permanent successor will have a strong foundation to build on.
There are no plans to modify the current structure that was finalised in March with the appointments of John Murtough as football director and Darren Fletcher as technical director. United believe their presence will minimise disruption during the period of transition.
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