November 22 – Even managers with legendary status are not immune from being sacked when they fail to progress or deliver silverware.
Manchester United’s Ole Gunnar Solskjaer discovered that to his cost on Sunday when he was fired after three years in charge following the club’s fifth defeat in seven Premier League games. His severance has reportedly cost the clubs £7.5 million.
The axe came 24 hours after a 4-1 thrashing by Watford which left United seventh in the Premier League.
Michael Carrick, a member of Solskjaer’s coaching staff, will take charge of the team for Tuesday’s Champions League match away to Villarreal with the club saying they will then look to appoint an interim manager to lead the side until the end of the season.
“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,” United said.
“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.”
Solskjaer, who gained legendary status as a United player when scoring the stoppage-time winning goal in the 1999 Champions League final against Bayern Munich, posted a tearful farewell message on the club’s TV station.
“This club means everything to me and together we’re a good match, but unfortunately I couldn’t get the results we needed and it’s time for me to step aside,” he said.
United finished third in the league in 2019-2020 and then second the following season. But after a good start their form has imploded in the current campaign despite having signed Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo in August, and they have not won the Premier League since Alex Ferguson’s last season in charge in 2013.
Whilst it is standard practice for elite clubs to place a member of the coaching staff in temporary charge while they search for a new permanent manager it is extremely rare they appoint someone on an interim short-term basis.
That has fuelled widespread speculation in the British media that Mauricio Pochettino, formerly of Tottenham Hotspur and now at Paris St Germain, will take over at the end of the season.
Former Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane, currently out of work, is another who has been touted as getting the job on a long-term basis.
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