CONFIRMED: ~ Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been sacked

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer leaves the Manchester United hotseat

I take no pleasure in seeing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer leave United. I said two weeks ago that, if he stayed past the international break, I would back him to the end and hope he can turn it around. When he wasn’t let go during the break, I didn’t think he would only last one more match. But the 4-1 defeat to Watford was humbling, disgraceful and amateur. The first 15-20 minutes was frantic and sloppy and the rest of the first half was no better. The second half could have sparked a comeback with Van de Beek’s 50th minute header but Maguire stupidly got himself sent off and United conceded two late goals to embarrass themselves further.

Ole looked broken at the end of the game, holding his hands up apologetically and almost waving goodbye to the fans. It was a sad sight to see and certainly the post-match interview showed it too. Reports last night claim Ole has been sacked and the board will call it a ‘mutual agreement.’ However, this only demonstrates once again how negligent this board has been over the last eight years. If they didn’t believe Ole could turn things around then why not sack him during the international break and get someone in? Now United have a crucial midweek game against Villarreal and then face Chelsea and Arsenal. Utterly disgraceful.

What next for Manchester United?

Reports indicate that Michael Carrick will take the team on an interim basis until someone can be appointed as the official interim or the full-time manager. Again, it’s the incompetence of the board and owners to do this now. They could have had a whole two weeks to sort something out and find the right manager. Now it will all be done in a rush and panic ahead of the match against the league leaders, Chelsea.

In the meantime, against Villarreal, all United have to do is win. There’s no need to play brilliant football or destroy Villarreal 3 or 4-0. Just get the win and move on to the next task. The fact United are playing at 17:45 on Tuesday, gives them a lot of time to sort themselves out for Sunday’s match.

After Tuesday, the real challenge kicks in. United have to appoint a manager and they have to sort out the mess that has almost inexplicably occurred. The midfield has to be the priority as the sloppy and disjointed midfield performances have led to the defence being stretched and vulnerable every match. The individual errors that United continue to suffer from need to be cut out and the team needs to click and come out of this dark patch.

Who comes in to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer?

As I said in a previous article, it doesn’t seem clear whether United have a top target. Ten Haag would be the best option for me as he is a great tactician, plays exciting, expansive football and integrates young academy players into the first team. Brendan Rodgers for me would be a step sideways. Zidane would be an exciting prospect but has only managed a team with an elite player in every department. Especially the midfield. Other managers have been linked to an interim position such as Ralph Rangnick and Laurent Blanc. While I remember Blanc’s stint at PSG as being a hugely successful one, I cannot remember much else.

Manchester United do need a change and it’s a damn shame it had to be the manager. But now they have decided to do so, they have to pick the right man. They cannot go through another eight years of looking for the right person long-term. They have to get it right.

Thank you Ole

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer didn’t deserve to go out like this. He transformed the club from the darkness left behind by Jose Mourinho. He rebuilt the squad from a midtable side to one that should be competing for titles and trophies. The fact it hasn’t worked out this season still baffles me. Truly I don’t understand how a team that played so well last season has fallen so far this season. Solskjaer got the team playing wonderful football and got the fans dreaming again.

For that, I say thank you to a legend who got us closer to the title than any other manager post-Sir Alex. Unlike some of the vile people out there, I don’t celebrate his departure. I am saddened that, for all the good Ole did, he didn’t win a trophy at United. I am disappointed he wasn’t able to kick on from the Europa League defeat and I am disgusted that once again, the higher powers at United have failed another manager and keep getting away with it.

Ole was succeeding in spite of their negligence and incompetence but failed at the final hurdle. The next manager has to improve on Ole’s solid foundations. Whoever it is that takes this position has a difficult task but has all the right tools set up by Solskjaer, to bring United back to the heights they reached under Sir Alex.


Author: Arjun Handa