Manchester United confirm Solskjær exit and target interim for rest of season

·2-min read
<span>Photograph: John Walton/PA</span>
Photograph: John Walton/PA

Manchester United have confirmed the departure of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and said they are looking to appoint an interim manager to the end of the season.

Solskjær fate was sealed at an emergency board meeting on Saturday night after the team’s 4-1 defeat at Watford.

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United said: “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.”

Solskjær had been allowed to continue despite a 5-0 hammering by Liverpool and a meek 2-0 reverse against Manchester City, but the loss at Vicarage Road was a step too far for the club’s owners.

Watch: Watford hammer a woeful Manchester United side

United’s board decided a change was imperative to try to ensure their minimum target of qualifying for the Champions League is met. The club are well off the title pace despite the summer signings of Jadon Sancho, Cristiano Ronaldo and Raphaël Varane, who has barely played since early October because of injury.

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Five goals let in against Liverpool followed two conceded in the comeback Champions League win over Atalanta and four at Leicester, raising serious questions about Solskjær’s coaching. Although a rare clean sheet was then achieved in the win at Spurs, the failure to beat Atalanta or Manchester City in the following two games put him in a precarious position.

Solskjær took over in December 2018, initially on a caretaker basis, and last season the team finished second in the league and as runners-up in the Europa League.

United’s board spent time discussing Solskjær’s future after the defeat by Liverpool and stood by him after shows of support from Sir Alex Ferguson and the directors Ed Woodward and Richard Arnold. He was allowed to carry on but without improvements, the club felt the need to step in and pursue a replacement.

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