‘The club is run by clowns’: Reaction as Man Utd sever ties with Solskjaer
There are mixed feelings among Man United supporters following Sunday's sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with some hailing him for his efforts while others have castigated the club's leadership for their handling of the situation.
After a dismal run which has seen the Premier League's most expensively assembled squad repeatedly humiliated in recent weeks, United's board finally conceded on Sunday morning what much of the football media has been screaming for months: the Norwegian, as nice a guy as he is, simply isn't fit for purpose to guide one of the world's top clubs to the summit of the world's most competitive league.
The 4-1 capitulation to Watford on Saturday was the final straw for the club's Florida-based ownership, as they called time on Solskjaer's near-three year tenure as manager following an emergency board meeting on Saturday night and installed Michael Carrick as an interim boss in advance of another temporary manager, set to be announced in the coming days.
Thank you Ole. You did us proud . The last two months were tough but before that you restored some soul into the club. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/cseYVIFgqK— Gary Neville (@GNev2) November 21, 2021
The seemingly haphazard nature with which United have approached the final days and weeks of Solskjaer's reign has led to a torrent of criticism aimed at the deeply unpopular board – particularly the timing of it, coming after a two-week international break which could have been theoretically used to bed in a new manager.
The failure of the club to pursue now-Spurs boss Antonio Conte has also been cited by some as a manifestation of the famous club's inertia and a sign that United's decisiveness left the club along with Alex Ferguson nearly a decade ago.
But some, such as Solskjaer's chief cheerleader, former teammate and Sky Sports analyst Gary Neville, were sad to see the inevitable occur.
"Thank you, Ole. You did us proud. The last two months were tough but before that you restored some soul into the club," Neville wrote alongside a selection of pictures of the pair in happier times.
17 - Manchester United have won just 17 points in their opening 12 league games this season; their second-worst start to a Premier League campaign, ahead of only 2019-20 when they had 16 points under Ole Gunnar Solskjær. Theme. pic.twitter.com/EwgDgAgzXX— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 21, 2021
13% - 26 of Manchester United's 195 Premier League goals under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer were penalties (13%); the second-highest ratio for a manager with 100+ games in charge of a team, after Crystal Palace under Roy Hodgson (14%). Helping.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 21, 2021
"[The board] have not planned for this. They have not prepared for it. I don’t think anybody would have done. It has deteriorated so badly and so quickly," added Neville to Sky Sports on Sunday.
"He has always had that result in the past that has pulled him out of the mire when you thought it might get a little bit too tricky for him. But this time the results have just got worse and worse. The worst thing has been the performances.
"Yesterday, some of the defending is absolutely woeful: the goalkeeper, the defenders.
21 – Through 12 games of the Premier League season, Manchester United have conceded 21 goals; they’ve never previously conceded more at this stage of a season in the competition. Wheel. pic.twitter.com/YleGFnzYuI— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 21, 2021
Time for the people who sacked Solskjaer to be held accountable, too. They are the ones who have squandered the legacy of Ferguson.— Oliver Holt (@OllieHolt22) November 21, 2021
"It is a back four or back five that have played together a number of times and Watford are not the best team in the league by a long stretch. They mauled Manchester United. Ole could not get a performance out of them in the end. The players looked drained of confidence.
"I am not surprised today that it has ended."
Solskjaer's dismissal has once again placed the club at the same crossroads they faced when they first jettisoned David Moyes and then Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho – and with countless millions spent and almost precisely nothing to show for it, the blame for United's barren run doesn't just lie with Solskjaer.
Man Utd started assessing options seriously after the Liverpool defeat. So to be unable to identify an interim, let alone a manager, in over a month is a remarkable development— Mark Ogden (@MarkOgden_) November 21, 2021
The great irony of Man United being run solely off the fumes of their own history is they have now damaged and utterly tortured a legend of said history. The club is run by clowns— Gavin Cooney (@gcooney93) November 20, 2021
"Time for the people who sacked Solskjaer to be held accountable, too. They are the ones who have squandered the legacy of Ferguson," wrote Oliver Holt, of the Mail on Sunday.
"Man Utd started assessing options seriously after the Liverpool defeat. So to be unable to identify an interim, let alone a manager, in over a month is a remarkable development," added ESPN's Mark Ogden, while another football writer, Gavin Cooney, slammed the club's pursuit of 'Manchester United DNA' at all costs.
"The great irony of Man United being run solely off the fumes of their own history is they have now damaged and utterly tortured a legend of said history," he wrote. "The club is run by clowns."
Too late. Damage done. You should’ve done this ages ago and you’d now have one of the best coaches in world football in Antonio Conte in the dugout.— Raj Chohan (@rajsinghchohan) November 21, 2021
Such a disorganized club. no direction , no strategy now you have to appoint Carrick a 69 to Ole when you had the whole international break to have new manager come and try work something during that time. You probably don’t even have a new manager in line. nonsense.— uncle p (@ryanprince_c) November 21, 2021
It should also be noted, meanwhile, that there has been little but silence from Manchester United's players in the wake of Sunday's news. Some three hours after Solskjaer was cast aside, several of the club's top players have refrained from comment.
That means silence from club captain Harry Maguire, who was sent off during's United's miserable defeat to Watford. Nothing from Bruno Fernandes either, a figure who indicated to booing fans on Saturday that the players and not he coach were to blame. And as for Cristiano Ronaldo? Nada.
But when it comes down to it, it seems as if the Red Devils' faithful acknowledge that the correct decision was made – but that it shouldn't have come to this.
Thank you for 1999 but we needed more than just vibes . All the best pic.twitter.com/dZx5EZmhEF— Päppy🗯 (@Utd_Kobby) November 21, 2021
"Too late. Damage done. You should’ve done this ages ago and you’d now have one of the best coaches in world football in Antonio Conte in the dugout," one fan wrote.
"Such a disorganized club," said another. "No direction, no strategy. Now you have to appoint Carrick when you had the whole international break to have a new manager come and try work something during that time. You probably don’t even have a new manager in line. Nonsense."
"Thank you for 1999," wrote another, referencing Solskjaer's last-gasp goal which won the Champions League for United against Bayern Munich. "But we needed more than just vibes. All the best."