Updated: November 21, 2021 4:33:29 pm
The wheel seems to be coming off for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United. The pressure on the Norwegian manager reached new levels Saturday after the team’s latest Premier League setback, a dispiriting 4-1 loss to struggling Watford.
The result was bad enough but the performance was so lackluster — even before two late goals padded the scoreline for Watford — that it left Solskjaer’s future in in serious doubt, with United dropping to seventh place in the standings.
👋 Ole Gunnar Solskjaer apologises to the Manchester United fans at full-time as Man United suffer an embarrassing 4-1 defeat to Watford pic.twitter.com/Tlt5dKaqfi
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) November 20, 2021
Solskjaer has been able to ride out previous stretches of underperformance, in part because of his popularity with fans — whose chants of “Ole’s at the wheel” used to be a display of confidence in the former striker’s ability to turn United back into a title challenger. However, that line is now chanted with glee by opposing fans whenever United struggles — which is increasingly often.
This was United’s fifth loss in their last seven Premier League games — the previous two coming to biggest rivals Liverpool and Manchester City.
1989 – Manchester United have suffered their biggest league defeat against a promoted side since September 1989, a 5-1 loss against Manchester City at Maine Road. Collapse. #WATMUN
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 20, 2021
This one could have been even worse, but Ismaila Sarr missed two chances to convert an early penalty — both of them saved by David De Gea — after the first was retaken because of encroachment.
Joshua King still put Watford ahead in the 28th and Sarr made amends by netting the second just before the halftime break for Claudio Ranieri’s team.
Solskjaer responded by making two halftime substitutions — including bringing on the little-used Donny Van De Beek, who has struggled to get chances under the Norwegian since signing for United last year. The Dutch midfielder responded by pulling a goal back in the 50th after being set up by Cristiano Ronaldo.
United captain Harry Maguire was then sent off for a second yellow card after a clumsy challenge in the 69th, with Ronaldo having an equalizer ruled out for offside shortly afterward. Watford then added two goals in injury time to complete the rout.
Ole high 5s maguire after that red card. That tells you everything you need to know about this club. pic.twitter.com/yc88Opo6aD
— Saddam (@Saddam_KE) November 20, 2021
New Newcastle manager Eddie Howe, who tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday, had to watch from home as his team twice came from behind to draw 3-3 with newcomer Brentford.
Meanwhile, on Sunday Manchester United fired Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after three years as manager on Sunday after a fifth loss in seven Premier League games. “Ole will always be a legend at Manchester United and it is with regret that we have reached this difficult decision,? United said a day after a 4-1 loss to Watford.
Former midfielder Michael Carrick, who was on Solskjaer’s coaching staff will be in temporary charge, starting with a trip to Spain for a Champions League match at Villarreal in the group stage on Monday. United said it would look to then appoint a manager only until the end of the season.
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