Manchester United

Man Utd have butchered Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sacking with no obvious successor

Jude Summerfield
Solskjaer has finally been sacked
Solskjaer has finally been sacked / Charlie Crowhurst/GettyImages
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Sometimes in life, it's obvious that things aren't going to work out but you persist anyway.

Tackling some flat-pack IKEA furniture solo is never accomplishable in any situation, but you persist because you don't want to admit defeat. Eventually, you crumble over by the side of something that barely looks like a set of drawers, weeping and fondly remembering the furniture you had as a kid that was just there automatically, that didn't give you any grief, that was just solid and gave you the results you wanted.

It's somewhat of a convoluted analogy, but Manchester United have hit that breaking point. They've tried to slide the annoying knobbly bit into the kind-of hole that the instructions tell you is definitely a hole, but it's just not working. Nothing's sliding into place and everything is taking large amounts of effort when the assembly should be easy and straightforward.

Eventually, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer just took far too long looking at the instructions. The landlord had seen enough of the scrabbling and the excuses and needed to step in to get it done. I know, nice landlord, right?

The truth of the matter is that United have seriously screwed up over the past few months. They have no discernible style of play and their signings are still yet to settle, even if Cristiano Ronaldo is still scoring goals like only he can.

Signing Jadon Sancho and leaving him on the bench while the team plays 3-5-2? Giving Donny van de Beek the bare minimum of game time despite his evident talent? Making Fred a vital player in central midfield? It's all ridiculously messy.

While United's statement which confirmed Solskjaer's sacking was nice and paid homage to a club legend who stepped in during a turbulent time for the club in the wake of a Jose Mourinho disaster, it shows those in charge have little clue of where to turn to next.

There was one obvious candidate: Antonio Conte.

The Italian left Inter in the summer and had been heavily linked with United after their disastrous defeat to Liverpool, but the Red Devils saw the victory over Tottenham as green shoots of recovery rather than what it really was - a bang average performance aided by a woeful Spurs managed by Nuno Espirito Santo.

The north London side saw things getting toxic and acted, Fabio Paratici using his old relationship with Conte to lure him to the club as Nuno's replacement. How that appointment works out remains to be seen, but it means an excellent option for the Old Trafford vacancy is off the table for United, and that is a massive failure on their part.

Michael Carrick is the interim boss now, but how can he really change things? As part of Solskjaer's coaching team, the former England international was partly culpable in United's failings and has now been tasked with leading the side out of this rut they find themselves in.

Had United ditched Solskjaer before the international break, they might have given themselves enough time to line up a successor for the Watford game before their huge trip to Villarreal in the Champions League.

They didn't, and while sacking Solskjaer eventually had to happen, the lack of foresight and football knowledge from top United officials may end up costing them a lot in a season where they were expected to challenge for the top honours in both England and Europe.

They've been replacing each flappy plaster with another for years, and now their ambitions lie in ruins.


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