Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hugs Manchester United fans waiting for him outside Carrington as he leaves the training ground for the last time after being sacked in the wake of the humiliating Watford loss
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer left Carrington for the final time on Sunday afternoon, but not before stopping for an emotional farewell embrace with some Manchester United fans.
The Norwegian’s final act was a horrendous 4-1 defeat at Watford, waving goodbye to the travelling support at Vicarage Road before getting the sack less than 24 hours later.
Solskjaer’s three-year tenure has been a trophy-less roller coaster of results tied together by the former striker’s connection to the Old Trafford faithful – a bond stretched to breaking point across an alarming two-month implosion.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer stopped his car outside Carrington to say goodbye to fans on Sunday
The Norwegian drove out of the training ground for the final time a day after defeat to Watford
While most turned on the 48-year-old, some stuck by him and one of those loyal supporters received Solskjaer’s final Carrington goodbye.
The forlorn manager pulled his car over outside the training ground after exiting the gates and United fan Luke claims he said: ‘It’s been an honour to be manager.’
Ole then got back behind the wheel of his Range Rover and drove away – as the club step up efforts to replace him with an interim manager.
Michael Carrick will take charge in the meantime, assisted by Solskjaer’s carefully built staff including Darren Fletcher.
Solskjaer waved goodbye to fans at Vicarage Road after being thrashed 4-1 by Watford
Zinedine Zidane, Erik ten Haag and Mauricio Pochettino are all early front-runners for the role, as United’s search for their 21st Premier League title claims its fourth boss.
The historic 5-0 defeat to Liverpool at Old Trafford was expected to signal the end for Solskjaer but the disaster-class rolled on.
United’s board needed to watch a limp 2-0 defeat at home to Manchester City and the final Vicarage Road mess before they could be convinced of the obvious – and were forced to fire their 1999 Champions League final goalscorer.
Gary Neville, who backed his former team-mate throughout the final implosion, gave his reaction on Sky Sports: ‘They’re scrambling, they’re reacting now and it’s three times they’ve given the manager a long contract or extension and sacked him within a few months.
‘The planning has been poor, the decisions since Alex left have left a lot to be desired.
‘I said the worst it could be for Solskjaer was being a bridge from the dark and moody days of Jose being sacked. I hope they can get someone in quick enough to keep the momentum going but I do worry about how that dressing room has disintegrated in the last few weeks.
United’s two-month collapse has been a shock with the likes of Ronaldo, Pogba and Varane
‘I actually think that dressing room actually like Solskjaer and I think Solskjaer likes the players. I’m a worried as to how it’s got so bad so quickly, 8 weeks ago it was euphoria in Manchester and eight weeks later a manager has lost his job.’
The atmosphere of hope around Old Trafford has been replaced with an contrasting hue of doom, with the job of Cristiano Ronaldo’s second debut almost forgotten.
It’s all been downhill since that festival of all things Man United in September, when Ronaldo bagged a double on his second debut as Steve Bruce’s Newcastle were slammed 4-1.
Ronaldo thought Juventus were bad, but he could never have anticipated this. The forward thought his team-mates weren’t putting the effort in, and faces a tough task to lead a revival this season.