By Rob Picheta and Matias Grez, CNN
Manchester United have confirmed the departure of manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, one day after the club suffered a humiliating 4-1 Premier League defeat at Watford.
Solskjaer has overseen a disappointing start to the season, with the club sitting in seventh place in the Premier League. They have lost four of their past five league matches, including a 5-0 home thumping at the hands of rivals Liverpool.
The former United striker took over as an interim boss in 2018 and was subsequently given a permanent contract, but his position has been under scrutiny for several weeks.
“Ole will always be a legend at Manchester United and it is with regret that we have reached this difficult decision,” the club said in a statement.
“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.”
Assistant coach Michael Carrick will take charge of the team for their upcoming fixtures, while the club searches for a permanent replacement for Solskjaer.
United board mull successors
United’s recent downturn in form has seen the team lose seven of their last 13 matches, with Saturday’s chastening defeat to Watford the final straw for the club board.
Solskjaer was initially drafted in from Norwegian side Molde in 2018 to right the ship after Jose Mourinho’s tumultuous tenure at the helm of the side. He was awarded a permanent contract after an impressive run of results as the team’s interim manager.
Despite that early promise, however, Solskjaer was never able to lead the team to further success and he leaves having failed to win a trophy in his three years at the club.
The pressure had been mounting on the Norwegian coach for several weeks, but the team was able to pull off big results when Solskjaer‘s job was seemingly on the line.
The board even stuck by the 48-year-old after last month’s embarrassing 5-0 defeat at home to bitter rivals Liverpool, with the team following up that result with a big 3-0 win at Tottenham.
But that was as good as it would get for Solskjaer as United limped to a draw at Atalanta in the Champions League, before losing on home soil to Manchester City.
“Ole leaves with our sincerest thanks for his tireless efforts as Manager and our very best wishes for the future,” the club said.
“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 club will now look for Solskjaer‘s successor, with former Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane and current Leicester City coach Brendan Rogers reportedly in the frame for the job.
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