Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar after Watford defeat
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When Manchester United sacked Jose Mourinho in December 2018, many expected them to make a play for Mauricio Pochettino. The Argentine was interested in taking over, despite being contracted to Tottenham at the time. But the Red Devils then appointed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer out of the blue, shocking world football in the process.
A repeat can’t be ruled out.
United sacked Mourinho in December 2018 because he’d sucked the life out of the place. Like a Dementor in Harry Potter, he made the players feel cold inside.
Furious at not receiving sufficient transfer backing, the current Roma boss couldn’t hide his displeasure. He didn’t make any attempt to, either.
Mourinho was downbeat in press conferences and, behind the scenes, took aim at Paul Pogba. Pogba, for all of his flaws, is immensely popular at the club.
In the end, the Glazers had no choice but to bring the axe crashing down.
Immediately afterwards, many were tipping United to go after Pochettino – having previously pondered the 49-year-old during his time at Southampton.
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Though he was contracted to Spurs, United intended to go for him at the end of the campaign. There was a confidence, too, that he was attainable.
Yet then came the bolt from the blue.
When it became apparent United would be going for an interim boss, someone to steady the ship, Laurent Blanc was installed as the frontrunner to take over.
There was also mooted interest in Ralf Rangnick, like now, too.
But then, out of nowhere, United turned to Solskjaer to take the reins. Prior, he hadn’t even been mentioned as a possible candidate.
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And it’s possible the Red Devils will do something similar this time around when it comes to finding a temporary successor to the Norwegian.
United are confident of hiring Pochettino in the long run, despite the Argentine currently being stuck at Paris Saint-Germain.
But they’re still adamant they’re looking for a temporary replacement at the current moment in time.
Solskjaer’s return to United was such a surprise that even the players weren’t aware until he walked in the door.
Borrowing Daley Blind’s old suit for a Christmas party, the 48-year-old impressed – particularly given his warm personality, in stark contrast to how Mourinho conducted himself.
And it’ll now be interesting to see what United decide to do.
Blanc is again being linked with the job, though he’s currently working in the Middle East with Al-Rayyan.
Steve Bruce has been put forward, with some reports even suggesting Sir Alex Ferguson was advocating for the 60-year-old to be interim.
And, speaking today, Mark Hughes also revealed his interest in the job.
“Well there’s a lot of people who’ve got my phone number at United and I haven’t had a call yet, so let’s put that one to bed I think!” he said.
“I’ve been available for a long time.
“It’s whether or not people think I am right for a number of roles that have come up of late.
“I’m still an acting professional football manager, so if anybody wants a little bit of experience and my knowledge of the game, I’m here and available.”
Hughes also added: “I think it’s surprised the club just how bad they’ve been in terms of their performances this season.
“They weren’t anticipating that they would have to make a change this early. Clearly it’s been enforced as a consequence of the Watford performance.
“I think they thought they could get over the international break and come back strong, regroup and get back on track.
“But that clearly didn’t happen against Watford and the news around the club and Ole just became too loud and something had to give.”
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