What the papers say

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Updated: 3 hours 12 min ago

Manchester United players share ‘big responsibility’ for Solskjær’s sacking

Mon, 11/22/2021 - 14:44
  • ‘We haven’t been good enough,’ says captain Harry Maguire
  • Caretaker manager Carrick focused on beating Villarreal

Manchester United’s captain, Harry Maguire, said the players must share a “big responsibility” for manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s sacking following a dreadful run of results.

The Norwegian parted company with the club on Sunday after nearly three years as permanent manager – a shambolic 4-1 Premier League defeat at Watford proving the final straw.

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Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action

Mon, 11/22/2021 - 08:04

Liverpool stepping up their title charge, Manchester United old boys scuppering Solskjær and Brighton letting it slip

It is a footnote to the weekend’s biggest story, but the final nail in Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s coffin was partly hammered in by four players who were at various points deemed not good enough for Manchester United. Ben Foster, Craig Cathcart, Tom Cleverley and Joshua King all made vital contributions to a Watford performance that brimmed with energy, intent and endeavour. United’s class of 2021 lacked all those qualities, and plenty more. They were simply overrun and, while Solskjær’s departure was both inevitable and correct, they might wonder whether a better engagement with the basics might have helped their old manager’s cause. After the final whistle Bruno Fernandes communicated to the away support that United’s players should take the brunt of their ire. In truth the blame for an unholy mess can be shared throughout the club, but Watford’s gang of old boys cast their successors’ efforts into stark relief. Nick Ames

Watford 4-1 Manchester United

Liverpool 4-0 Arsenal

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Zidane and Pochettino on Manchester United list after Solskjær’s tearful exit

Sun, 11/21/2021 - 20:41
  • Search for interim and full-time manager begins after sacking
  • Spain manager Luis Enrique distances himself from role

Manchester United are considering candidates including Zinedine Zidane, Mauricio Pochettino, Erik ten Hag, Luis Enrique and Brendan Rodgers to take charge from next summer after sacking Ole Gunnar Solskjær.

Solskjær lost his job a month short of his three-year anniversary as manager after Saturday’s dismal 4-1 loss at Watford. On Sunday the Norwegian gave an emotional farewell interview to the club, tears welling in his eyes, as United also started searching for an interim coach to take over for the rest of this season.

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Removal of doomed Solskjær will not solve Manchester United’s problems | Barney Ronay

Sun, 11/21/2021 - 20:30

The least qualified manager in the club’s modern history is gone but the real concern is how he got the job in the first place

Ever feel like you’ve been had? As the final notes in Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s long goodbye play themselves out, as statements are issued and narratives massaged, it is worth taking a step back from all that background noise. For all the dead energy, and the ultimate humiliations of the Solskjær era, this has also been an uncomfortable note in English football’s modern history. What exactly just happened?

Solskjær to Manchester United was a weird, doomed appointment from the start, one that bled into a weird, doomed, half-life as United’s sixth-longest-serving post-war manager. It will surely be a relief for all concerned that it is now concluded, not least for Solskjær, who seemed increasingly diminished by his appearances on the touchline – the sadness, the boggling eyes – an ancient mariner tied to the bridge of this zombified ship.

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Solskjaer 'honoured and privileged' to have been Manchester United manager – video

Sun, 11/21/2021 - 18:47

An emotional Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said it had been an honour and privilege to manage Manchester United and that he hoped he left the club 'in a better state' than when he arrived.

Solskjaer was sacked on Sunday after a run of two victories in eight matches, including a a 5-0 humiliation at home against Liverpool and a 2-0 derby defeat by Manchester City. A 4-1 reverse at Watford on Saturday proved the final straw for the club's hierarchy. Solskjaer praised the club's 'amazing' fans and said: 'We'll see each other again.'

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Structure, midfield and focus: what Manchester United must sort now | John Brewin

Sun, 11/21/2021 - 16:10

Making a clean break from the past and cutting the Ronaldo cord are also crucial after Solskjær’s departure

Manchester United’s Premier League peers have achieved success through different means. Manchester City were purpose-built for Pep Guardiola, with Txiki Begiristain and Ferran Soriano in place as executives before his arrival. Jürgen Klopp is the frontman at Liverpool but works in tandem with Michael Edwards, a sporting director who has occasionally overruled the German on transfers. Edwards will be succeeded by his deputy, Julian Ward, this summer.

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‘He rebuilt the soul of the club’: Gary Neville leads reaction to Solskjær exit

Sun, 11/21/2021 - 13:56
  • Former United defender: ‘The worst thing is the performances’
  • Rio Ferdinand adds: ‘It is unfortunate for someone like Ole’

Gary Neville says Ole Gunnar Solskjær has “rebuilt the soul” of Manchester United but admits the time had come for the club to replace his former teammate and believes Mauricio Pochettino is the ideal long-term candidate.

United parted company with their 1999 treble hero in the wake of their 4-1 defeat at Watford and have put Michael Carrick in temporary charge while the club look to appoint an interim manager to the end of the season. The decision comes at the end of a torrid run of results for United under Solskjær, the club great who himself took over on an interim basis in December 2018 after the sacking of José Mourinho.

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Ronaldo is the biggest problem for Manchester United’s next manager | Jonathan Wilson

Sun, 11/21/2021 - 12:28

Forward is seemingly impossible to fit into a modern system and his signing symbolises a flaw holding back the club

So, what next? Ole Gunnar Solskjær has gone, and with him perhaps Manchester United’s most visible problem, but a sentimental appointment wasn’t the only issue holding the club back. United are institutionally dysfunctional and it will take more than a change of personnel in the dugout to change that.

Solskjær was a fine appointment as caretaker, perhaps the last good decision Ed Woodward made as United CEO. The return of a popular club legend, the sunshine man whose rays of decency could dispel the acrimony of the latter days of José Mourinho’s reign, made sense. The problem was that rather than waiting until his short-term contract expired, Woodward gave him the job on a permanent basis.

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Ole Gunnar Solskjær sacked: what went wrong at Manchester United? – video

Sun, 11/21/2021 - 10:55

Ole Gunnar Solskjær's time as Manchester United manager is over after just under three years in charge. During his time at the club there have been many highs and lows but doubts persisted over whether he was the right person to take United to the next level. The Guardian's Jamie Jackson takes a look back at his time at Old Trafford and what has gone wrong under the Norwegian's leadership

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Manchester United confirm Solskjær exit and target interim for rest of season

Sun, 11/21/2021 - 10:40
  • Manager goes after Saturday’s 4-1 defeat at Watford
  • United say ‘Ole will always be a legend’ at the club

Manchester United have confirmed the departure of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and said they are looking to appoint an interim manager to the end of the season.

Solskjær fate was sealed at an emergency board meeting on Saturday night after the team’s 4-1 defeat at Watford.

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Ole at the wheel: Solskjær’s Manchester United managerial timeline

Sun, 11/21/2021 - 10:24

From the start of his caretaker stint in 2018, we chart the ups and downs of Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s tenure at Old Trafford

19 December 2018 United name Solskjær caretaker manager a day after sacking José Mourinho. The Norwegian had signed to manage Molde earlier in the month. Pundits aren’t convinced. “Is this where United are really at?” asks Robbie Savage. “Really, the biggest club in the world appointing an interim boss who manages Molde?”

22 December 2018 United beat Solskjær’s former club, Cardiff, 5-1 in his opening game. He then becomes the first United manager to win his first five games in charge since Sir Matt Busby in 1946, and is named manager of the month. “Honestly, I’m a little bit against individual team awards for a team sport,” he says. “We want to move up the table and this is the start of it.”

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Manchester United board decide to sack Solskjær at emergency meeting

Sun, 11/21/2021 - 00:46
  • Joel Glazer agrees to decision after 4-1 loss to Watford
  • Parting of ways set to be termed as mutual agreement

Manchester United’s board decided to sack Ole Gunnar Solskjær at an emergency meeting on Saturday night and Joel Glazer, the co-chairman who heads the American family’s ownership, has agreed to rubber-stamp the move.

A meeting, which lasted several hours, was called after the team’s chastening 4-1 defeat at Watford. The plan is for an announcement to avoid describing Solskjær as sacked and refer to a mutual agreement. Compensation and other final touches were being attended to after the board completed their discussions.

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Dysfunctional Manchester United have bigger problems than just Solskjær | Jonathan Liew

Sat, 11/20/2021 - 22:30

United have an imbalanced squad and a muddled long-term strategy did not help a manager who was clearly struggling

Manchester United are a club hooked on instant highs and short-term fixes, where memories are short and judgments are definitive, right up until the moment they aren’t. New episodes arrive twice a week. Redemption is – usually – only ever 90 minutes away.

United’s 4-1 defeat at Watford on Saturday, proved a watershed moment for Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s management, the final straw – except the humiliation against Manchester City was supposedly the final straw. So too the 5-0 trouncing at home to Liverpool. Or the time they conceded a goal to Istanbul Basaksehir without a single defender in their own half.

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'I have belief in myself': Ole Gunnar Solskjær defiant after Watford defeat – video

Sat, 11/20/2021 - 19:30

Speaking after his side lost 4-1 away to Watford, the Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær said he 'has belief in myself' and that his team could turn around their season after a series of disappointing results. Watford had only scored in one of their previous five games.

The result at Vicarage Road fuelled speculation around Solskjær's future, with the club hierarchy reportedly meeting to discuss the situation on Saturday evening.

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Manchester United thrashed by Watford to leave Ole Gunnar Solskjær on brink

Sat, 11/20/2021 - 17:12

This time there was to be no rescue act, no papering over of the cracks. Deploy any pejorative you wish and it would probably fit: Manchester United were dire, derelict, dreadful and, by the end, thoroughly demeaned. That is hardly a novel outcome on recent evidence and it proved the final straw for the club’s board. A sizeable number of the away support made their own opinions clear at the end, booing Ole Gunnar Solskjær when he fronted up to applaud their backing; at the time it seemed an ominous shift in sentiment and, within hours, the manager’s fate would rest entirely on the say-so of co-chairman Joel Glazer.

In an increasingly crowded field, this was a brand new low for modern-day United. They were fortunate to only concede four: Watford, whose fine performance must not be airbrushed, met their endemic sloppiness head on and exposed them repeatedly, particularly in a first half in which the one-sidedness beggared belief. “Nightmare after nightmare after nightmare,” David de Gea called it: his meaning was clear but this was yet another vividly lived experience and no trick of the imagination.

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Manchester United could be without Paul Pogba for up to 12 weeks

Fri, 11/19/2021 - 22:30
  • Midfielder injured thigh on international duty with France
  • ‘Stalwart’ Harry Maguire backed by Ole Gunnar Solskjær

Paul Pogba could be out until February because of the thigh injury sustained with France, leaving Manchester United to try to arrest their slide without their record signing.

The midfielder is beginning his recuperation in Dubai and Ole Gunnar Solskjær accepted that Pogba would be sidelined until 2022, meaning he will miss at least 11 games. Pogba, who started the season with seven assists in four games, was already suspended for Saturday’s trip to Watford after he was sent off in the 5-0 defeat by Liverpool.

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Watford v Manchester United: match preview

Fri, 11/19/2021 - 17:18

The international break seems to have cooled the heat on Ole Gunnar Solskjær a little but the temperature dial would be cranked right back up if Manchester United squander any more points at Vicarage Road. United’s form may be suspect – together with their defence and midfield – but they did sweep aside Tottenham in their last away game and a Watford side that has failed to score in four of their past five games would appear even less of a threat than Spurs were during the dying embers of Nuno Espírito Santo’s ill-fated reign. Stephen Hollis

Saturday 3pm

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Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend

Fri, 11/19/2021 - 00:02

Arsenal might fancy their chances at Anfield and three new managers begin survival bids

This will be the fourth meeting between Leicester and Chelsea this calendar year, clubs of differing resources whose fortunes nonetheless seem tangled together. Leicester went top after beating Chelsea 2-0 at home in January, James Maddison scoring the second goal before cheerfully claiming: “We knew they switched off at set pieces,” an observation that felt terminal to Frank Lampard’s employment. Having played some part in Thomas Tuchel’s arrival, Leicester won the FA Cup final against him in May, before league defeat at Stamford Bridge three days later helped to ensure the Foxes would narrowly miss out on the Champions League yet again. Chelsea are now European champions and Premier League leaders, but did not look at full power before the international break. Tuchel will demand a statement performance after the 1-1 draw against Burnley. Leicester are a long way off the title race now and while Brendan Rodgers would dearly love to upset Chelsea again, the absence of the injured midfielder Youri Tielemans means the odds are against them. LM

Leicester v Chelsea, Saturday 12.30pm (all times GMT)

Aston Villa v Brighton, Saturday 3pm

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Anders Lindegaard: ‘I lay on the ground crying – my world was falling apart’

Mon, 11/15/2021 - 12:30

Helsingborg goalkeeper on injury at Manchester United after being told he was No 1, chaos in his life and becoming sick of England

Anders Lindegaard is strikingly honest, open and self-reflective. A member of Manchester United’s last Premier League champions of 2012-13, the Helsingborg goalkeeper has a vivid recall, too, of a 15-year career that has also taken in Odense, Aalesund, West Bromwich Albion, Preston North End and Burnley.

As an illustration, the 37-year-old outlines the moment Sir Alex Ferguson called him in 2010 when Lindegaard was with Aalesund, a first-tier Norwegian club. “I was in a grocery shop and had to walk out and call my parents. I was like: ‘What the fuck is happening?’ It was not just taking a step from playing Scandinavian football and going to a better club. It was going to my end destination. Where I’d always dreamed of. Manchester United. It was Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, Sir Alex Ferguson. The ones I’d followed since I was a tiny kid.”

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West Ham burst Liverpool’s bubble, plus Smith and Farke off – Football Weekly

Mon, 11/08/2021 - 14:31

Max Rushden is joined by Barry Glendenning, Jonathan Wilson and Troy Townsend after a busy weekend on and off the pitch.

Rate, review, share on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Audioboom, Mixcloud, Acast and Stitcher, and join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and email.

On the podcast today we ask: has David Moyes turned West Ham into genuine top four contenders? The Hammers are third after their 3-2 win over Liverpool at the London Stadium. Meanwhile his former club Manchester United were humiliated once again, this time by local rivals Manchester City.

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