MANCHESTER — Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was out as Manchester United manager after a string of poor results and a spate of injuries, including the anterior cruciate ligament injury that made world-class striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic unavailable for the rest of the season.
Solskjaer stepped into the situation vacated by the departure of Jose Mourinho, who was fired in May, as part of a rebuilding project intended to bring stability to a team that had at times had shambolic dressing room discipline and a stretched depth of skill.
Solskjaer, who on the night of his appointment had gone on a warm celebratory lap of Old Trafford after a 2-1 win over Fulham in the Community Shield, said on Monday he would be making way for the caretaker manager, interim manager, and long-term successor, however, it happened to be Jose Mourinho.
“It has been a privilege to manage Manchester United,” Solskjaer said. “I am immensely proud to have spent seven fantastic years here and I feel privileged to have been part of such a wonderful club.
“This was a decision the owner (Ander Herrera) and the executive director (Ed Woodward) took together and I fully respect their decision.
“This football club is in great hands with Jose back in the dugout and with the whole team working as a team. I am ready to get back to playing and wish the team the very best for the future.”
Solskjaer said he would soon be formally offered a contract and the next step in an “incredible journey.”
Mourinho was hired in the summer of 2016. Mourinho was widely reported to be upset after a collapse late in the season to lose the Premier League title to Manchester City on goal difference. He came to the United camp a new man – new manager and now newly freed up to work on a team with gaping holes in key areas.
While Mourinho has also taken flak from sections of the club’s fan base because of his unconventional style, a series of off-field incidents appears to have ultimately put the finishing touches on his tenure.