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:


Manchester United consider Laurent Blanc as interim

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

The club are keen to install an interim manager with the Frenchman seen as an option before a decision over a permanent successor to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is made

Lawrence Ostlere21 November 2021 14:30

Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

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

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

Solskjaer did a ‘very good job’ in his time at the club up until this season, Ferdinand believes, but his position became eventually became untenable

Lawrence Ostlere21 November 2021 14:01

Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

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.”

Lawrence Ostlere21 November 2021 13:46

Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

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.”

Lawrence Ostlere21 November 2021 13:41

Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

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.”

Lawrence Ostlere21 November 2021 13:33

Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

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

The club needlessly gave Solskjaer the permanent manager’s job only for him to prove time and again he wasn’t capable of doing it

Lawrence Ostlere21 November 2021 13:20

Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

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.

Lawrence Ostlere21 November 2021 13:11

Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

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.

Lawrence Ostlere21 November 2021 13:00

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

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.”

Lawrence Ostlere21 November 2021 12:44

Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

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

Lawrence Ostlere21 November 2021 12:33

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