Manchester United news LIVE: Mauricio Pochettino keen on job, Michael Carrick press conference

The Red Devils have appointed Michael Carrick to lead the team on an interim basis for the Champions League match against Villarreal on Tuesday

Karl Matchett
Monday 22 November 2021 18:01
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fired as Manchester United manager

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. 

Follow all the latest updates and reaction:


Michael Carrick’s upcoming run of Manchester United fixtures

Michael Carrick is in place for now, then, though he doesn’t know how long for. What’s on the agenda beyond Tuesday’s Champions League group stage? Here’s the club’s upcoming fixture list:

  • 23 November (CL) Villarreal vs Man United
  • 28 November (PL) Chelsea vs Man United
  • 2 December (PL) Man United vs Arsenal
  • 5 December (PL) Man United vs Crystal Palace
  • 8 December (CL) Man United vs Young Boys

A tough couple of away games and it’s no easier thereafter, though they will at least be back at Old Trafford. Beyond those matches it’s the likes of strugglers Norwich, Brentford, Burnley and Newcastle within a five-match run which could make for a nice start for whoever the new boss is.

Karl Matchett22 November 2021 14:20

Harry Maguire says Manchester United players must ‘take responsibility’ for Solskjaer sacking

Harry Maguire has addressed the media ahead of Man United’s Champions League clash with Villarreal.

“The players need to take responsibility for everything on and off the pitch. We were in this together. We are all so disappointed. We need to get this club back to where it was,” he said.

“It’s been a hard time for us as players given the respect we had for him. We’ve been on a journey together. The emotion around the place was difficult to be in.

“We wanted to succeed and the result wasn’t good enough. It’s a result business. The players need to take responsibility. We are in this together.

“Ultimately the manager has paid the price, we are all so disappointed by that. We know we haven’t been good enough. We have spoken about that. The lads want to succeed.”

Karl Matchett22 November 2021 14:12

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

“Letting Solskjaer go was put off for as long as possible because the spotlight would effectively turn to those who unnecessarily let him in on a permanent basis, unnecessarily handed him a new three-year contract when there were significant question marks against his capabilities, and unnecessarily allowed the nostalgia experiment to go on despite a series of crisis points colouring the past three years.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was far the only problem at Manchester United and the issues haven’t departed with him, writes Melissa Reddy

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

While the Norwegian was part of the problem, those above him have proven to be the real issue at Old Trafford

Karl Matchett22 November 2021 14:00

Latest news on Manchester United manager search

Right, time for a run-down on where we are after an evening of reaction and a morning of reflection following Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking by Manchester United:

Karl Matchett22 November 2021 13:50

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

Solskjaer leaves having failed to win a trophy or elevating United to the level of genuine contenders for major honours, but also having achieved what he was brought in to do.

So what legacy does he leave at Old Trafford? Mark Critchley explains all.

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

Solskjaer leaves having failed to win a trophy or elevating United to the level of genuine contenders for major honours, but also having achieved what he was brought in to do

Karl Matchett22 November 2021 13:43

Michael Carrick talks ahead of Man United’s Villarreal test

The new, pre-interim interim boss is speaking as he prepares to lead the team into his first game. Carrick says improvements can be made and he’ll bring his own approach, even after being Solskjaer’s assistant for some time.

“I know in my own mind what I could’ve done better, what could’ve been improved. I think it’s important everyone looks at themselves. As a player I was the same, look at yourself, what can you do better, what’s next.

“I’ve worked closely with Ole for a long time now and we have very similar beliefs, we did as players and we do as coaches and managers. I have my own personality compared to Ole. I’m not giving too much away in terms of plans but we’re clear in what we want to do.”

Karl Matchett22 November 2021 13:28

‘No progress’ for Man United under Solskjaer

More from Carragher on how judgement was clouded at Old Trafford:

“We have seen how quickly the atmosphere at Old Trafford can turn toxic during the Glazer era, so when Solskjaer initially replaced Jose Mourinho he was a useful shield. The fans were never going to completely turn on him, no matter how much their reservations grew.

“But you can’t tell me anything under Mourinho and Louis Van Gaal was worse than the last five defeats in seven Premier League games, United taking four points from the last 21. Mourinho won the Europa League and the League Cup, Van Gaal the FA Cup.

“Let’s not rewrite history and forget that Mourinho finished second in the Premier League, even if his style of play was not considered suitable for United’s supporters. Yes, United were runners-up last year too, but only because Liverpool had no senior defenders for a season. They were in a false position.

“In terms of results, the team has made no progress at all in the last three years.”

Karl Matchett22 November 2021 13:20

Manchester United should have sought out replacements last month - Carragher

Jamie Carragher says it was obvious from the defeat to Liverpool onwards that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would not turn matters around at Man United and the club should have been speaking to alternatives from then onwards.

“It was obvious after United were hammered by Liverpool in October that the current position was unsustainable,” he wrote in his Telegraph column. “Soundings to possible replacements ought to have been made then, the international break presenting an opportunity to reset. It is embarrassing that United could not see that, while Tottenham Hotspur, Aston Villa, and Norwich City could.”

Going on to discuss what comes next now that they have made the call, Carragher says a strategic plan must first come on what they want to be - a Ferguson type simply isn’t out there any longer.

“What exactly do United want? Are they so naive as to believe there is another Sir Alex Ferguson out there, who will run the club in his image for the next 25 years? Wake up! The football world has changed. Those managers do not exist anymore.

“United have missed out on so many brilliant coaches who were available over the last three years, including Conte, Pochettino and Thomas Tuchel; managers who could have delivered title bids and successful Champions League campaigns here and now, given the talent in the squad and the vast sums spent.

“Instead, the club has hidden behind the notion of a gradual rebuilding, when they have spent £312 million on new players under Solskjaer - the highest in the Premier League - and have the highest wage bill.”

Karl Matchett22 November 2021 13:12

Lopetegui labels Man United job links ‘absurd’

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!

Karl Matchett22 November 2021 13:00

Latest Pochettino to Manchester United details

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.

Karl Matchett22 November 2021 12:50

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