Man Utd left ‘scrambling and reacting’

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November 23, 2021
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    MOTD2: Solskjaer should be walking away with his head held high, says Jenas

    Manchester United are "scrambling and reacting" by sacking Ole Gunnar Solskjaer just months after he signed a new long-term contract at the club, says former captain Gary Neville.

    Solskjaer was dismissed on Sunday, a day after United lost 4-1 at Watford.

    The Norwegian had signed a new deal until 2024 in July, and Neville believes his departure now highlights a lack of planning at the club.

    "They've obviously tried to crawl to the end of the season," he said.

    Neville told Sky Sports: "They have not got an option there. There is nobody waiting to take over. They were never going to appoint Antonio Conte.

    "They are scrambling and reacting. It is three times now that they have given a manager a long contract or extension and then sacked them within a few months. So the planning at the club has been poor."

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    First-team coach Michael Carrick has been placed in temporary charge while United seek an interim manager to the end of the season.

    However, Neville fears it would be unwise for the club to wait until their main target becomes available.

    "I do worry a bit about the last few weeks and how that dressing room has disintegrated," he added.

    "They are waiting on Mauricio Pochettino not being successful at another club. If he did win the Champions League, Paris St-Germain would not let him go.

    "He is the only name I have really thought suited Manchester United."

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    'Solskjaer never felt like the right fit'

    Solskjaer, 48, replaced Jose Mourinho on an interim basis in December 2018.

    He was then given the job full-time in March 2019, becoming United's fourth permanent manager since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.

    Solskjaer led the club to a runners-up finish in the Premier League last season and also oversaw a 29-game unbeaten run away from home – the longest in English football – before it was ended by Leicester last month.

    However, he departs without having won a trophy during his three years in charge.

    "Manchester United are the same as everyone else now," said former Liverpool and Tottenham midfielder Jamie Redknapp on Sky Sports. "They are in the rat race. They need to win games.

    "I don't think anyone has a clue about what they are doing. I don't think the Manchester United board know what they are doing.

    "Ole Gunnar Solskjaer never felt right the right fit. This has not just crept up on Manchester United."

    Former England midfielder Jermaine Jenas said on Match of the Day 2: "People are very quick to forget the job he has done at that club, and where he picked it up from.

    "He did a fantastic job in bringing back some belief and making a club that fans were proud of again.

    "I think where it was going to break down was Ole's experience. Maybe his tenure lasted six months to a year too long and going the way it did, it ended on a really negative note."

    'There doesn't seem to be any long-term plan'

    With United looking to appoint an interim manager, the indication is they are in no rush to make their next permanent appointment.

    As well as being linked with Pochettino, former Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane – currently out of work – is an early favourite with bookmakers to replace Solskjaer – although he has ruled out any interest in the job.

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    Former Manchester City defender Nedum Onuoha told BBC Radio 5 live: "What happens if the interim manager who comes in does really well? Do they offer him a contract? Will the caretaker be replacing the caretaker?

    "There doesn't seem to be any sort of long-term plan."

    Ex-Leeds, Newcastle and Tottenham defender Jonathan Woodgate believes United should go all out to appoint Zidane.

    "As a manager, three Champions League titles is really good going," he told BBC Radio 5 live.

    "He doesn't get enough credit as a manager, everyone remembers him as a player.

    "Who would be prepared to give Cristiano Ronaldo the hairdryer treatment? The two had unbelievable success together at Madrid."

    Former United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel, a team-mate of Solskjaer's during their playing days, is unsure where the club goes next.

    "I look everywhere and I'm not sure I see that person there," he said.

    "I think so many other things have got to happen before we can say that we can be in that position. It's a really really difficult day today. It makes me very very sad."

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