Manchester United have sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is to be relieved of his duties after a 4-1 defeat away to Watford on Saturday.
Solskjaer to be sacked by #mufc. Story up soon.
— Samuel Luckhurst (@samuelluckhurst) November 20, 2021
Solskjaer's team won two of their previous seven games. It was their third time conceding at least four goals in their last five Premier League games.
Despite the loss, the players continued to support him. Bruno Fernandes did so on the field when fans booed the manager and goalkeeper David De Gea offered a robust defence in his post-match interview.
Solskjaer began his career in management as the Manchester United reserve manager. He retired as a Manchester United player in 2007 before beginning as the reserve team manager in 2008.
He then returned to his native Norway to manage Molde FC. Three successful years brought him to back to the Football League with Cardiff. Solskjaer failed at Cardiff and returned to Molde for a second successful three-year spell. That positioned him to become the caretaker manager at Old Trafford in 2018.
Jose Mourinho was fired in December 2018. After a successful spell as caretaker manager, Solskjaer became his full-time replacement in March 2019.
He signed a controversial contract extension this year that tied him to the club until 2024.
Manchester United are seventh in the Premier League table on 17 points. They are six points off West Ham in the final Champions League place. Their next game is against Villareal in the Champions League on Tuesday. United need to get positive results in their final two Champions League games. They have seven points after four games and are not guaranteed to progress.
By waiting until now, Manchester United's board have put themselves under unnecessary pressure. They just had a two-week international break.
The squad is talented. But it's also got major flaws. As much as Solskjaer was at fault, he wasn't the only problem. Harry Maguire still can't defend, Aaron Wan-Bissaka offers nothing and the midfield is lacking quality regardless of what formation they play. Is this a good job?
And is there a good option to take it?
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers is the favourite to replace Solskjaer. But Rodgers dismissed any links to Manchester United this week. Rodgers' Leicester side lost 3-0 to Chelsea this weekend too. Mark Lawrenson described that performance as Solskjaer-esque. Leicester are 12th in the table with 15 points and are severely underachieving this season.
Zinedine Zidane is available and makes sense. He was once the best player in the world, he's a Champions League winner as a manager and a player. But it's unclear how Zidane would cope when asked to build a team from the ground up.
Brighton boss Graham Potter built his team, but is he good enough for Manchester United? Erik Ten Hag is intriguing at Ajax, but more of an unknown.
Mauricio Pochettino is still at PSG and Antonio Conte is now the manager at Tottenham. Manchester United would have had more options if they had made this move earlier.
Whoever takes over won't have an easy start.
United face Chelsea and Arsenal in their next two Premier League games. Then Crystal Palace, Norwich City and Brentford, which are tougher tasks than they seem for this team. Potter's Brighton kick off the Christmas period before Newcastle and Burnley finish out the year.
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