Ole Solskjaer thanking Manchester United fans after a game

Ole’s time at the wheel: what’s next for Manchester United?

After Manchester United’s tough 4-1 defeat against Watford last week, the club announced the departure of manager Ole Solskjaer. As a former United player, Ole’s heart belonged at Old Trafford, but what exactly went wrong for the Norwegian manager?

Ole bid United farewell after nearly three years at the club, and he was the fourth permanent manager that the club appointed since the departure of managerial legend Alex Ferguson at the end of the 2012/2013 season. Since then, the likes of David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and now Ole Solskjaer, were all unable to live up to the Scot’s achievements.

Ole managed a total of 168 games for United, winning 92, losing 41, and drawing 35, having a win rate of 54.8%. 323 goals were scored while he was leading the team, conceding 198. He didn’t manage to win any trophies as manager, with his highest Premier League finish at 2nd place (2020/2021), and his lowest finish at 6th (2018/2019).

A highlight of Ole’s career at United has to be THAT Champions League round of 16 tie against Paris Saint-Germain, where Manchester United made an astonishing comeback from 2-0 down in the first leg, beating Tuchel’s PSG side 3-1 to qualify for the next round. This was possibly the result that scored Ole his permanent position and United’s manager. He also came close to winning the Europa League final last season but missed out on penalties.

We can all agree that he restored some order to Manchester United when he first started in December 2018 after Jose Mourinho’s departure, but things started taking a turn for the worse this season, particularly after the humiliating 5-0 loss against Liverpool. With five defeats in the last seven Premier League games, United trail 12 points behind leaders Chelsea, and are out of the title race after only 12 games. With the club investing heavily into star players such as Sancho, Varane and golden boy Ronaldo in the pre-season, as pundit Jamie Carragher put it, “…you can’t lose to Watford, you can’t.”

Former United midfielder Michael Carrick will lead the club temporarily for the next few games, and a permanent replacement is set to be made. A few of the names that have been linked to United include:

Zinedine Zidane, former Real Madrid manager who moulded a dangerous team, winning two La Liga titles, and three of Ronaldo and Varane’s Champions League titles. Zidane is said to be the favourite to lead the team.

Mauricio Pochettino, former Spurs, and current PSG manager. The Argentine was closely linked to the club back in 2019, but the position didn’t come through for Pochettino. With his current tiffs with PSG sporting director Leonardo, he might be favoured to return to England.

Brendan Rogers, former Celtic, and current Leicester City manager. Yes, he was also Liverpool’s former manager and United fans would probably have to accept the Irishman with a pinch of salt, but Rogers has proved worthy, winning a stellar seven domestic trophies in his three years at Celtic, and coming close to Champions League spots with Leicester.

Other names in the mix include Erik ten Hag, Luis Enrique, Julen Lopetegui, and Laurent Blanc, but we’re just going to have to keep our eyes peeled to see who the Glazer family have in store. According to multiple sources, United have agreed to a 6-month deal to appoint Ralf Rangnick as interim manager. The German won’t be in charge of their game against Chelsea this weekend.

For now, Carrick’s at the wheel, and after United’s recent 2-0 win against Villarreal, with goals from star signings Sancho and Ronaldo, and the appointment of the ‘godfather’ of modern coaching in Germany, things might just be looking up for Manchester United.

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