Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: Manchester United sack manager following Watford thrashing

The Norwegian’s time at Old Trafford comes to an end after almost three years following the 4-1 loss at Vicarage Road

Miguel Delaney,Mark Critchley
Sunday 21 November 2021 13:22
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'We can turn this around' -Solskjaer hopeful despite 4-1 thrashing at Watford

Manchester United have sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as manager following the 4-1 thrashing at Watford.

The Norwegian’s time at Old Trafford comes to an end after almost three years in charge following a successful stint initially as caretaker boss from December 2018.

Solskjaer was seen apologising and applauded the away fans at Vicarage Road with Bruno Fernandes desperately attempting to show the result was the players’ fault.

A 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.”

The decision follows a humiliating 5-0 defeat at home to Liverpool before another comprehensive loss at Old Trafford in the derby to Manchester City.

And the 48-year-old has been unable to arrest United’s slide since the international break.

The defeat 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 with the club six points behind West Ham United in fourth place.

Having succeeded Jose Mourinho at the time, Solskjaer quickly injected fresh vigour into the dressing room 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 shootout 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.

Former player and current coach Carrick will now take temporary charge with United next in action against Villarreal in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Former Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane and current Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers are early frontrunners for the job although United insist they are looking to install an interim manager until the end of the season.

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