With the return of Christiano Ronaldo to Manchester United, the preseason expectations of the club to perform well were lofty. And with Manchester United losing five out of their last seven pre-season fixtures with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the helm, his departure was one that fans of the team were likely expecting.
The news came less than 24 hours after United’s disastrous 4-1 defeat at Watford. It was announced that Former Manchester United midfielder-turned-assistant coach Michael Carrick will temporarily take on the role previously held by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, before the team appoints an interim manager to see out the year.
“Manchester United announces that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has left his role as manager,” a club statement read.
“Ole will always be a legend at Manchester United and it is with regret that we have reached this difficult decision. While the past few weeks have been disappointing, they should not obscure all the work he has done over the past three years to rebuild the foundations for long-term success.”
“Ole leaves with our sincerest thanks for his tireless efforts as Manager and our very best wishes for the future. 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.”
The Norwegian manager was formerly a striker for United from 1996-2007 under Alex Ferguson, with many attributing the fact that he withstood doubts regarding his pedigree as a manager due to his popularity as a player. Originally hired as caretaker manager to replace Jose Mourinho in December 2018, he was handed the job permanently after the team had a promising start; it was believed that Solskjaer brought a calmness after the disaster that was the ending to Mourinho’s tenure.
United finished third and second in the last two seasons of the Premier League, suggesting that Solskjaer had the team headed in the right direction. The regression this season has unfortunately been pretty stark. Solskjaer’s tactical limitations can now be attributed to a staggering 21% of Manchester United’s home defeats in Premier League history.
Unfortunately, it seems that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will leave Manchester United as an appointment based too heavily on nostalgia.