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Inside Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s doomed Man Utd reign with players stunned by poor coaching and refusal to drop flop stars

OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER’S two-and-a-half Manchester United reign came under constant scrutiny before it finally ended on Sunday.

The 4-1 humiliation at the hands of Watford was the final nail in the coffin for Solskjaer, but a combination of other factors also led to his sacking.

Solskjaer taking a seat on the training ground

Had the Manchester United battled back from two goals down to salvage a draw then Solskjaer may still have been in the job, according to The Athletic.

But the players knew the writing was on the wall for their boss after defeat and some were unable to contain their emotions on the trip back to Manchester.

Although the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes had lost faith in the Solskjaer and felt a change was needed, with German Lokomotiv Moscow boss Ralf Rangnick the latest candidate for the interim position.

When it came to training Solskjaer was barely involved.

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He left much of the practical work to assistants Michael Carrick and Kieran McKenna, who also took pre-match tactical talks, The Times report.

It meant Solskjaer barely featured when it came to the nitty gritty of coaching, with huge question marks over how much tactical knowledge he actually had.

But where else did he falter when it came to the overall running of the club?

Here SunSport take a look at exactly why the Norwegian was doomed to fail in the Old Trafford dugout.


Donny van de Beek

Van de Beek has been an outcast since his £40million signing from Ajax in the summer of 2020 – but there were doubts from Solskjaer and his staff right from the very start.

According to reports, the coaching team were unsure Van de Beek had a strong enough personality to put up with the pressure that comes attached when playing for Manchester United.

Perhaps that’s why the Dutchman has barely featured for the club, despite pleas from fans to give him a chance.

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Van de Beek has barely had a look in since signing for United

Players not given a chance

Solskjaer has persisted with identical team selections, regardless of some of the horror shows put in by his players.

Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Fred and even Fernandes have been poor this season – but still Solskjaer chose to start the quartet.

Meanwhile Jesse Lingard and Van de Beek have impressed in training, yet have been restricted to substitute cameos that at times lasted just seconds.

Lingard is expected to leave in January after

Axel Tuanzebe captaincy

Manchester United took on city rivals Rochdale in the Carabao Cup in September 2019.

And despite naming a side that included Paul Pogba, Mason Greenwood, Fred, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Marcos Rojo and Lingard, the Solskjaer bizarrely handed the captain’s armband to Tuanzabe.

The academy youngster barely led the Red Devils to victory either, as United scraped through on penalties following a 1-1 draw in normal time.

Phil Jones contract

This one can’t be blamed on Solskjaer, with the decision made in the boardroom to hand injury-prone defender Jones a FOUR-YEAR deal in 2019 with the option to extend for a further year.

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Jones hasn’t played since an FA Cup tie in January 2020, but is still contracted to the club for another two years.

Although it’s safe to say he’s unlikely to have the one-year extension triggered…

Solskjaer forces a smile as Jones pens a new deal

Signing Odion Ighalo

What an absolute moment of madness this was.

Ex-Watford striker Ighalo was brought in on loan from Shanghai Shenhua in January 2020 with just minutes remaining of the transfer window.

He scored five times in 23 appearances during the six-month deal but was nowhere near good enough for Manchester United.

Then signing Edinson Cavani

Cavani was then signed in October 2020 following Igahlo’s loan, despite being available when Ighalo was signed in January.

It begs the question, why didn’t Solskjaer sign elite striker Cavani ten months earlier instead of bringing in Ighalo.

Doubts over Raphael Varane transfer

Reports suggest PSG centre-back Marquinhos was actually first choice for Solskjaer and his staff before Varane was signed in the summer.

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There were doubts regarding ex-Real Madrid centre-back Varane’s ability to adapt to the Premier League, but the club couldn’t afford a move for Marquinhos.

Varane has endured a stop-start beginning to his United career

⚽ Read our Manchester United live blog for the latest news and transfer gossip from Old Trafford

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