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What does the season hold for Manchester United after the departure of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer?


Manchester United have finally decided to let go of their Norwegian manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on the back of their humiliating 4-1 defeat at Vicarage Road against Watford.

This decision by the Man Utd board comes after the Red Devils have won just once in their last seven Premier League games. Their only win came against Tottenham where they won 3-0 in a game which saw Ronaldo, Cavani and Rashford sealing the deal at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium.

Man Utd have faced Aston Villa, Everton, Leicester City, Liverpool, Man City and Watford in their other six Premier League games.

They've managed to get just 4 points out of their last 7 Premier League games which is a horrible stat for a Man Utd fan to even consider at this point in time.

Ole and his side have not been performing at the standards that Liverpool, Chelsea and Man City have set. In fact, Man Utd have lost against all the big boys they have faced so far this season.

Taking away the results against the big boys, Ole's boys have failed to get winning results against (out of due respect) Southampton, Aston Villa, Everton and Watford. Those results are not an indicator to let the fans know and believe that "Ole's at the wheel." In reality, he's totally lost control of what's happening "on" the pitch.

With the pattern of results that have come in the last few weeks, this decision by the board should not be a surprise to anyone bleeding red. It's a decision that was on the cards, it's been coming close, it should've been done much earlier while things were clearly visible on the field.

In their 5-0 thrashing at home against Liverpool, Man Utd were nowhere in the race to compete with Jurgen Klopp and his men. They were way below par against their eternal rivals and it was a result that will go down in history, but it's a scoreline that cannot be accepted at all for a club like Manchester United.

Just before the International break, in their 2-0 loss against Manchester City, the scoreline didn't give us a complete picture of what actually happened in the game. Man City would have nailed the Red Devils in that fixture, but as always, they lacked the figure of a central striker as they couldn't capitalise on the number of chances they created.

That 2-0 result at home must have given Ole additional time to remain in charge of the first team squad while other clubs such as Norwich and Aston Villa have been quick to look for solutions elsewhere in order to resolve the crisis in their respective clubs.

Post the international break came a trip to Vicarage Road in a Premier League fixture against Watford. You may think that Ole has planned and prepared the game very well to get his side perform at optimum standards.

However, there was no sign that Man Utd were in control of proceedings throughout the game. They were outplayed and they were open at the back on many occasions. Their defensive woes continue to grow as they have been outclassed by a newly promoted Watford side. Harry Maguire was sent off after receiving two yellow cards as his misery continues as the captain of Manchester United.

The Fan's perspective!

If you're a Man Utd fan, you must've asked yourself,

"Why has it taken so long"?

It seems as though the Man Utd board tried everything to make it work, but this recent string of results marked the finishing line for Ole in charge at Old Trafford.

You could say that the Glazer's were very kind in giving Ole a lot of time to settle, grow and build the team he wanted. Well, as Jose Mourinho said, "Good Guys?! They don't win!" in the Amazon documentary, "Spurs - All of Nothing."

That has exactly been the case here with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Manchester United. The board and the Glazer's have been patient, but that begs the question, "How much patience can you have when you're at a big club?"

Yes, good things take time, but there were no signs that Solskjaer was building an empire at Old Trafford. Man Utd were built to be contenders for Europe as Kings. It's been a while since they've lost their crown.

The fact that this decision to part ways with the manager has taken so long is another surprising factor, especially after the embarrassing defeats against Liverpool and Man City.

Solskjaer might be your "baby-faced" assassin, but the way his team went out and played was a clear example of "men against boys."

Ole has always stated that he has a "clear and open communication" with the members above him in the hierarchy. Well, it's one of the last things that we'll hear from him.

He's had his chances. He was given a lot of chances to prove himself and it has always been the case where, whenever the team is down, Ole found a way to get results which kept him in charge at Old Trafford.

After the result against Liverpool, Man Utd travelled to London and defeated Spurs, which extended Ole's stay at the club. That fairytale is finally coming to an end now.

You could say that Ole had a good track record as the manager of Manchester United, but in reality, he mostly found a way to get results only due to "individual brilliance."

Let's take a look at this season:

  • In the Premier League, in the game against Wolves and West Ham, it was the individual talent of Mason Greenwood and Jesse Lingard that got the Red Devils over the line.
  • In the Champions League, Manchester United have 7 points in the bag, thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo who has won them all by himself by scoring the winning/equalizing goal in the dying minutes of the game.

For a team like Manchester United, there has to be consistency in their performances and their results. "Consistency" was never a benchmark for Man Utd under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The Player's perspective!

For the players, it must've been really hard for them to go out there on the training field and train when you know that it's difficult to submit yourself to Ole's plans when the "writing is on the wall" for Solskjaer.

In recent months, Man Utd have demonstrated that they have "no identity" while they perform on game days.

Against Watford, the players had no confidence, they were out of idea's, they were just not sure of what they were doing. They had no defensive structure around them as Ismaila Sarr and Joshua King ran riot at the open spaces in behind the Man Utd backline.

When things don't go your way, you want a change. The player's must've certainly felt that they needed a change. They must've constantly asked themselves,

  • "How much longer?"
  • "How long do I need to keep a plastic smile on my face in front of the manager"?

That feeling of disbelief in the player's has certainly caused a lot of harm to the performances on game day.

The players have come to a point where they didn't believe in Ole anymore. They certainly knew that Ole didn't have the answers to get the club out of the crisis that they are in.

The "fight" that they have shown to work hard for the manager has been nowhere near the expected levels.

The "hunger" shown by the player's on the field just shows that there is a lack of winning appetite in and amongst this core set of players. That just doesn't sound good.

Once you've reached this stage (as mentioned above) as a player, then you're just not going to go anywhere as a manager.

Who's up for grabs?

It seems as though Darren Fletcher or Micheal Carrick are in line to take charge of the first team squad. It sounds weird, but with the way things look in the managerial market, there are not many alternatives up for grabs.

Zinedine Zidane is eyeing to be the manager of the French national team after the 2022 FIFA World Cup while Mauricio Pochettino, Erik ten Hag and Brendan Rodgers are the other candidates in line.

But the appointment of those mentioned above are far from happening as they are well-respected individual's who don't look like they'll leave their respective clubs right in the middle of the season especially when they are all competing in various European competitions this season.

By the looks of it, Darren Fletcher is poised to take temporary charge of Manchester United ahead of their Champions League fixture on Tuesday against Villarreal.

The retired midfielder who is 37 now, was announced as the technical director in March after he had breif stints with the academy and the first-team coaching staff. It is further understood that Micheal Carrick may be his assistant on the sidelines.

Darren Fletcher has no managerial experience at all of a first team squad. It sounds bizarre that he is in the driving seat to be announced as the interim manager, but hey, "Desperate times call for desperate measures."

The Man Utd board have a huge task at hand in front of them to find the right match for hiring a manager. In their wait, they've lost many big name managers over the last few years.

Three weeks ago, Antonio Conte was up for grabs as he was interested in the job after his tenure in Italy as the head coach of Inter Milan. He's gone to London now where he manages Tottenham Hotspur.

The Glazer's and the Man Utd board have had "blind faith" in Ole for far too long now. They've got a huge situation at hand to bail themselves out from.

Possible alternatives:

1. Zinedine Zidane?

His English isn't good and he just doesn't seem interested in the job. Look the difference in "ambition" that the French national team has to offer while compared to Manchester United. There are enormous levels to that.

2. Brendan Rodgers?

Ex-Liverpool manager. He won't really fit in well with the fans as he's managed their eternal rivals in the past.

However, he is a well-respected individual which could be the only positive for the Man Utd fans to consider.

3. Erik ten Hag?

He's built an Ajax side that is much more recognizable to the modern generation. He's a good attacking manager whose style of play comes to terms with the way Man Utd have played their football in their glory days. The Glazer's may have to throw a fortune cookie in case they need to appoint him.

4. Mauricio Pochettino?

He's managing a much healthier and ambitious side at PSG. You can't expect anything from him unless he really decides to surprise the football world and come back to England to manage a Premier League side.

Does it sound Promising?

With Darren Fletcher and Micheal Carrick in line, it just doesn't sound promising. It doesn't sound like the stuff that's built for the "Theatre of Dreams."

Both those individual's have been under the guidance of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Defensively, Ole has been horrible in the way he has set his side. There is no structure with the way that Man Utd played under Ole.

Fletcher and Carrick have been learning from Ole! As a Man Utd fan, you just need to hope that Darren Fletcher or Micheal Carrick will not be as miserable as Ole has been in the last few months with the way the team performs and with the way they structure the side on game days.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been poor in his man-management skills as he has isolated Donny Van De Beek and Jesse Lingard so far this season. Even Jadon Sancho has been slightly isolated since his arrival in the summer transfer window.

Even though it sounds salty, the fact that Donny Van De Beek was the last player to score a goal for Ole in his final game in charge of Manchester United will certainly rub salt to Ole's wounds.

Manchester United need time to find the right replacement, but with the next two games against Villarreal and Chelsea coming thick and fast, the outcome of those games will determine further proceedings.

At this point in time, the only aim that is there in sight for Man Utd will be to win the Carabao Cup and the Champions League, but at the same time, they need to start thinking for next season as well.

The time has come, the time is now!