Manchester United have sacked manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the wake of losing to Watford in the Premier League, compounding an awful recent run of results and performances.
United have won only one of their last seven league games, including embarrassingly comprehensive home defeats to Liverpool and Manchester City. The Watford result, which saw the limp Red Devils go 2-0 down before half-time, proved to be the final straw with club officials meeting late on Saturday night to decide Solskjaer's fate.
In charge for two years and 11 months, Solskjaer was United’s longest serving manager since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, as well as making more of a positive long-term impact in the job than predecessors David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho.
But despite overseeing improved Premier League finishes year on year and good domestic and European cup runs, tangible success in the form of trophies eluded Solskjaer and the team failed to kick on this season even with Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo arriving.
Michael Carrick is set to take charge of the next few games while United line up a successor.
A club statement reads: "Manchester United announces that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has left his role as manager.
"Ole will always be a legend at Manchester United and it is with regret that we have reached this difficult decision. 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.
"Ole leaves with our sincerest thanks for his tireless efforts as Manager and our very best wishes for the future. 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.
"Michael Carrick will now take charge of the team for forthcoming games, while the club looks to appoint an interim manager to the end of the season."
Great Solskjaer moments in the past included eight wins on the bounce when he first took over, a remarkable comeback against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League and multiple victories against Manchester City and Chelsea.
But his tactics as United boss were always been heavily scrutinised, especially in games against more favourable opposition when his team should have dominated. His man management skills were also increasingly called into question towards the end, particularly over the handling of players like the aforementioned Sancho, Donny van de Beek and the resurgent Jesse Lingard.