Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Solskjaer refused boardroom ‘support’, stayed loyal and fell on his sword

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 2021

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is understood to have rejected the chance to reshuffle his backroom staff and instead ultimately fell on his sword at Manchester United.

The Old Trafford legend was relieved of his duties on Sunday after a 4-1 defeat to Watford left United’s hierarchy with not much option. Heavy recent defeats to Manchester City and Liverpool had left the Norwegian hanging by a thread. And Saturday’s heavy defeat at Vicarage Road, in which United mustered nine shots to the hosts’ 20, was the final straw for the Glazers.

Solskjaer was just a month away from celebrating three years at the helm. And his emotional goodbye interview, aired by MUTV, showed just how much being United manager had meant to the 48-year-old.

However, he simply could not get the performances or results which his cult status deserved. And his diminishing influence was becoming more evident week after week.

ESPN claimed that “senior players had lost faith in Solskjaer and his coaches” after the 5-0 mauling by Liverpool. Apparently one source claimed the training was “too British” and was failing to improve the squad.

Solskjaer’s backroom team was made up of Michael Carrick, who has now taken over the reins, Mike Phelan, Martyn Pert and Kieran McKenna.

Solskjaer also had goalkeeper coaches Richard Hartis and Craig Mawson and set pieces coach Eric Ramsay. Darren Fletcher is the technical director and all will remain at the club for the time being.

ESPN claim that Solskjaer was given the scope to make changes to his staff.

Ed Woodward was aware of the concerns of some of the players over the lack of diverse training methods. And Woodward and the United board had “offered Solskjaer every level of support and told him he could have whatever he needed to put it right”.

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Solskjaer though was loyal to his staff and believed his coaches were not the problem. The Norwegian refused to make them the scapegoats and instead ended up paying for United’s poor form with his own job.

Seven defeats from 13 in all competitions was enough to see the end of the former Cardiff boss.

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Carrick issues

Carrick, 40, has been given the opportunity to lead the team in the short-term.

The former United and Spurs midfielder will take charge against Villarreal and for the immediate future.


“I haven’t got into the next couple of weeks at all. All about tomorrow night. A big game of football. For me it is a new challenge, one I am looking forward to. Everything geared towards tomorrow night,” said Carrick on Tuesday.

And the rumblings from behind the scenes remain.

The Daily Mail report that senior stars at United are opposed to Carrick taking charge, albeit on a temporary basis.

They state that senior players in the squad are concerned that very little will change under Carrick. Indeed, there is a ‘belief’ among stars that United are partially in the mess they are in because of a lack of direction from Carrick and McKenna.

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