Cardiff City set to show Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the exit door

Bluebirds manager on the brink of sacking

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The Independent Online

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s brief spell as Cardiff City manager was on the brink of ending last night, with the Norwegian’s departure from the struggling Championship club set to be announced today.

Tony Pulis was last night installed as the early favourite to replace Solskjaer, just weeks after he walked out on Crystal Palace on the eve of the Premier League season.

Pulis’s success with Stoke City – taking them into the Premier League and keeping them there – and then last season with Crystal Palace, whom he comfortably saved from relegation, mark him out as a strong candidate should the controversial Cardiff owner, Vincent Tan, be able to convince him to take over.

Solskjaer was in talks with Cardiff City’s chairman, Mehmet Dalman, for much of yesterday, with input from Tan. It is believed they were putting the final touches to the terms of his departure.

Solskjaer was in charge for just 26 games and oversaw Cardiff’s relegation from the Premier League to the Championship in May.

The club started the season hoping to make an immediate return to the Premier League, but are languishing in 17th place in the Championship with eight points from their first seven games. Their last league win was on 19 August and three defeats in the last four league games have led to Solskjaer’s departure, just over nine months after his appointment.

Things really turned sour on Saturday when they lost 4-2 at home to Norwich after being 2-0 up at half-time. Another defeat at the Cardiff City Stadium, 1-0 to Middlesbrough on Tuesday evening, prompted sections of the fans to boo Solskjaer.

The Norwegian was appointed amid high hopes on 2 January after the acrimonious and drawn-out dismissal of Malky Mackay, who had guided Cardiff to promotion seven months before.

Cardiff were just outside the bottom three and Solskjaer immediately sought to put his stamp on the team with a number of signings in the January transfer window, including Fabio da Silva and Wilfried Zaha on loan, Kenwyne Jones and the Norwegian pair Magnus Eikrem and Mats Moller Daehli. However, few of the buys proved successful.

Despite winning his first game in charge – an FA Cup third-round tie at Newcastle United – Cardiff soon slipped into the relegation zone and a run of just two wins in 13 games sealed their fate.

Further restructuring of the squad occurred during the summer and Solskjaer was aware that only a promotion challenge would be tolerated.

However, he struggled to decide on his best side and Tuesday’s defeat to Middlesbrough was the final straw for the club’s owner.

It makes for a disappointing end to Solskjaer’s first senior management role in England. He arrived at Cardiff with a fine reputation, having won two Norwegian league championships and one cup at Molde – their first titles in years – and having been a successful coach of Manchester United Reserves before then.

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