Officially dismissed from his post on Sunday, the Norwegian left Manchester United without having gleaned a single title, an implacable barometer in a club of this stature.
The end of the adventure was inevitable. More untenable than ever since the routs at home against enemies Liverpool (0-5) and Manchester City (0-2), Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s position has become inextricable after the debacle suffered at Watford on Saturday (1-4) , biggest defeat of the club against a promoted since… 1989. After a little more than two and a half years at the head of Red devils, “OGS” was therefore invited to leave Old Trafford, a Theater of Dreams where his end of mandate turned into a nightmare. “It’s the darkest day of my coaching career here“, Had recognized the Norwegian after the humiliation suffered against Liverpool at the end of October.
Stuck in a search for a high caliber coach combined with the long-term contract of their manager, the leaders of Mancunia will therefore have waited another month before cracking down. And this despite the heavy support of Sir Alex Ferguson, one of the fervent defenders of his former “supersub”. But he will not spend the winter, dropped by his players at Watford. “You know what this club means to me and what I wanted to accomplish here, said the person in a fond farewell at the microphone of MUTV. (…) Unfortunately I couldn’t get the results we needed and it’s time for me to step back. ”
Driving a losing Ferrari
His status as a club legend, acquired three years after his arrival (1996) thanks to his decisive goal in the C1 final during the “Barcelona Miracle” against Bayern (2-1, 1999), was not enough. “Ole will always be a Manchester United legend“, Maintains the club in the press release announcing the”difficult decision“. But Solskjaer, who will be temporarily replaced by his assistant Michael Carrick, another former day of the club (464 matches, 24 goals), pays a mixed record, illustrated by the absence of a title since his appointment in March 2019. “I wanted us to take the next step to fight for the title, win trophies», He regretted.
If the 48-year-old technician remains in the average of victories of his predecessors (54% of victories in 168 matches), he is the first head coach of MU without a title since… 1972. Apart from the titles, his season debuts are equally problematic. So if United currently points to an anonymous 8e Premier League place, he owes it to a record of 17 points in 12 matches, the second worst total in club history at this stage after the 2019-2020 season (16 pts), already under Solskjaer.
And if MU shone outside under his orders (29 unbeaten matches outside his bases), the club remains on 14 matches without clean sheet (game without conceding a goal) at Old Trafford (worst series in 62 years), where he rarely lived up to Solskjaer. But the Norwegian remained defended against all odds by his followers, such as the former converted player consultant Gary Neville (Sky Sports), and by… the opposing supporters, who took pleasure in making fun of the slogan “Ole at the wheel»(Ole at the wheel).
“Ole without ideas”
So behind the wheel of a car in decline. Still on the hunt for a first English league title since the end of the Ferguson era (2013), the record holder for domestic titles (20) is less dashing in the Premier League, despite a 2e place behind City last year. And under OGS, United never really progressed. Regularly criticized for the lack of background play, Solskjaer also seemed to constantly undergo the course of meetings, until being nicknamed “Clueless Ole(Ole without ideas). And the recruitment of the Portuguese Bruno Fernandes then Cristiano Ronaldo will have participated in fueling the idea of a game caricatured to the excess, where the team is dependent on the exploits of its headliners.
Returned with great fanfare last summer, “CR7”, who greeted this Monday the “exceptional human being” before the coach, however embodied this desire for greatness of a club that does not skimp on means. Without counting Ronaldo, MU has spent some 400 million euros on the transfer market. Spending cut to shine on the European scene, where the Norwegian is not counted for only weapon to have overthrown PSG in the eighth of C1 for his debut, as well as a Europa League final lost on penalties. last summer.
In addition to a non-existent game, MU Solskjaer sauce shone with his defensive mistakes, highlighted this season more than before. Hardened since September, Harry Maguire, the most expensive defender in history (87 million euros), recruited and then inducted captain by the former coach of Molde (Norway), concluded his story with the Norwegian on a cataclysmic performance punctuated by a red card on Saturday. Symbol if necessary of the mandate of Solskjaer, marked by a litany of fierce choices, such as that of exiling Paul Pogba on the left side or on the bench for the benefit of Fred and McTominay in the middle, or even to limit playing time the highly anticipated Jadon Sancho and Donny Van de Beek. Ironically, it is the latter, arrived against 39 million euros in September 2020 and placarded since, who will have scored the last goal of the Solskjaer era.