Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after the Watford game. Credit: Getty.
On Sunday morning, the club said in an official statement: “Manchester United announces that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has left his role as manager.
“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.
“Michael Carrick will now take charge of the team for forthcoming games, while the club looks to appoint an interim manager to the end of the season.”
It means Solskjaer leaves United after nearly three years in charge. He was appointed on a temporary basis in December 2018, before the role was made permanent a few months later.
Since then, it’s been boom or bust in his managerial tenure at Old Trafford, with his job security constantly under the spotlight.
In recent weeks, crushing home losses to Liverpool and Manchester City have resulted in reports that Solskjaer was nearing the end, as well as poor performances against Leicester City and Atalanta.
Yet ultimately, it was the 4-1 defeat at the hands of Watford which sealed his fate. Goals from Joshua King, Ismaila Sarr, Joao Pedro and Emmanuel Bonaventure netted for the hosts on Saturday, while Donny van de Beek scored on a rare outing for United.
Solskjaer admitted after the defeat that United’s performance was “nowhere near good enough” while David De Gea branded the result “embarrassing.” The keeper kept the scoreline from being a 5-1 humiliation with two first-half penalty saves at Vicarage Road, after the initial spot-kick had to be retaken.
In total, Solskjaer took charge of 168 games and it was his failure to win a trophy in three years that also led to his demise, as well as an increase in expectation among supporters after the summer signings of Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo.
What next for United?
First and foremost, the hunt will be on for a new manager, with Brendan Rodgers and Zinedine Zidane among the frontrunners, according to the bookmakers.
The Red Devils are next in action on Tuesday when they face Villarreal away in the Champions League, before travelling to Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea at the weekend.
United next play at Old Trafford on 2 December, in a Premier League encounter against Arsenal.