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Highlights on Off The Ball


Manchester United hierarchy buying themselves time with Michael Carrick appointment | Brian Kerr

Manchester United have finally pulled the trigger on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and appointed Michael C...

Manchester United have finally pulled the trigger on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and appointed Michael Carrick as a caretaker manager in his place.

Reacting to the news, Brian Kerr argued that the hierarchy at United are attempting to buy themselves time by putting Carrick in charge while they find an interim manager for the rest of the season. While a fantastic player in his own right, Carrick, like Solskjaer has very limited experience as a coach and as a manager.

"It seems like there is no plan," Kerr said on Off The Ball on Sunday.

"Michael Carrick, in you go, you do the job now.

"My read on it is it is all very rushed.

"It is like there have not been many deep discussions about what they are going to do next.

"It sounds like they are thinking 'well we better put out a statement and say something but it might not really be the truth. It sounds like they are trying to give themselves time and they have suddenly discovered that there is nobody available that might be prepared to take the job on immediately.

"It does not seem like there was any thought put into what happens next."

Manchester United directors, Avram and Joel Glazer Issue date: Wednesday October 6, 2021.

As things stand, United will go into a challenging week with Carrick at the helm. They face Villareal on Tuesday evening in Spain in the Champions League before travelling to league leaders Chelsea on Sunday.

Kerr questioned the credentials of a largely inexperienced staff that were assisting Solskjaer and now will have to rally around Carrick.

"I have always felt looking in at the staff, in the last couple of seasons, the developments on that side of things [has been lacking]," Kerr continued.

"Darren Fletcher is now technical director. Kieran McKenna, I do not know what his title is, probably first-team coach. Michael Carrick was also a first-team coach.

"Mike Phelan is a very experienced guy who was around when Alex Ferguson [was there]. He worked in the Premier League with Norwich City as a manager in his own right and then came back to Manchester United.

"The rest of them are young coaches, two with excellent playing careers at Manchester United. I always felt it just looked a bit lightweight and too easy to go down that road rather than getting really, really experienced people to go in and back up a youngish manager without massive Premier League experience.

"I felt it was a bit too cosy. I have seen little conferences when things are not going well, conferences between Carrick, McKenna and Solskjaer with no sign of Phelan even though he was supposed to be assistant manager.

"It just did not look right to me."

Manchester United sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Sunday Issue Date: Sunday November 21, 2021.

With any prospect of a title challenge all but over and a significant chunk of the season remaining, it is difficult to envision Manchester United employing a long-term coach before the end of the season. A talented squad that desperately needs a leader, United will not be able to attract any big names unless they are offering them more than an interim contract at this juncture.

This makes the lack of foresight by Ed Woodward et all, all the more baffling.

"Surely they had to be thinking [of a permanent manager] after they lost 5-0 to Liverpool, after they lost 2-0 to Manchester City and after they lost 4-2 to Leicester City," Kerr continued.

"Brendan Rodgers is not going to leave Leicester on a temporary job. Mauricio Pochettino is not going to leave Paris St-Germain for an eight-month contract but he might if he is offered a four-year contract knowing that PSG generally sack their manager if they do not win the Champions League.

"Zinedine Zidane might say 'yes, I would have a go at that gig. I was in the madhouse at Real Madrid, it cannot be as mad as that. He has worked with Raphael Varane, he has worked with Cristiano Ronaldo, I know a lot of the rest of them, it is a decent squad of players, a big club."


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Read more about

Cristiano Ronaldo Darren Fletcher Ed Woodward Manchester United Michael Carrick Mike Phelan Mufc Old Trafford Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Premier League