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Man United's football director John Murtough lifts the lid on Solskjaer's final days as manager

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‘We felt Ole had earned a chance… we didn’t approach others’: Man United’s football director John Murtough lifts the lid on Solskjaer’s final days as manager, his sacking and the search for the next boss

  • Manchester United’s football director John Murtough spoke of ‘turbulent time’ 
  • He has lifted the lid on the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as manager 
  • Murtough credited the Norwegian with resetting the culture of the club 
  • He insisted they did not approach any other managers until legend departed 


Manchester United’s football director, John Murtough, has opened up on the ‘turbulent period’ at Old Trafford from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking to Ralf Rangnick’s appointment. 

Murtough insists that United did not speak to any other managers about taking over until Solskjaer departed, out of respect to the club legend. 

He told a fan forum, as reported by the Mirror: ‘Out of respect for Ole, we did not approach other managers before he left. 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked as Manchester United manager after defeat by Watford

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked as Manchester United manager after defeat by Watford

John Murtough (pictured left with Darren Fletcher) spoke about the period from Solskjaer's sacking, Michael Carrick's interim appointment and then Ralf Rangnick's recruitment

John Murtough (pictured left with Darren Fletcher) spoke about the period from Solskjaer’s sacking, Michael Carrick’s interim appointment and then Ralf Rangnick’s recruitment 

United were at a real low point when the club decided to cut ties with Solskjaer last month

United were at a real low point when the club decided to cut ties with Solskjaer last month

‘Our plan then was to appoint an experienced interim manager and Ralf was our clear first choice.’

And Murtough, who started out as a sports scientist at Everton under David Moyes, went on to talk through the timeline of Solskjaer’s departure from the heady optimism of the summer to that crushing final defeat by Watford. 

He went on: ‘We were all feeling optimistic at that time about the strong start to the season. 

‘There were grounds for confidence that we were going to continue building on the progress we saw in the prior two seasons. 

‘After the promising early-season results, things went off plan. 

‘As a club, we felt Ole had earned the right to be given the chance to turn things round, but didn’t get a reaction after the international break, and the Watford game made it clear change was needed.’

Ralf Rangnick was appointed and will be a consultant when he ends his coaching stint

Ralf Rangnick was appointed and will be a consultant when he ends his coaching stint

Despite the painful sacking of Solskjaer, Murtough credits the Norwegian with putting the foundations in for the club to now thrive. 

He added: ‘We’re all disappointed at Ole’s departure, but he deserves to be judged on his record over the past three years, not his last few weeks.

‘He secured our first back-to-back top-three finishes since Sir Alex Ferguson retired and came so close to winning silverware in the Europa League Final last May.

‘He re-set the club’s culture and reshaped the squad, leaving us in a stronger position today than when he returned in 2018.’

‘Michael Carrick came in and did a very good job during the three games he was in charge. Thanks to him from everyone at the club,’ Murtough added.

United have enjoyed an upturn in form since Rangnick took the helm just a few weeks ago

United have enjoyed an upturn in form since Rangnick took the helm just a few weeks ago 

Rangnick has helped boost Cristiano Ronaldo and Co up to sixth in the Premier League table

Rangnick has helped boost Cristiano Ronaldo and Co up to sixth in the Premier League table 

‘We wanted him to stay but understood Michael’s reasons for wanting to step away. It’s important to note that he made his decision before Ralf arrived as interim manager.’

And the Old Trafford chief says the appointment of Rangnick will afford the club a lengthy process of selecting the next boss, to make sure they are right for the job. 

‘By bringing in Ralf, we can now take time to run a thorough process for our next permanent manager,’ he said. 

‘Recruiting a manager is one of the most important decisions a football club makes so we want to do it in a careful and considered fashion.

‘We have an agreement with Ralf to stay on for a further two years in a consultancy role – allowing us to continue drawing on his expertise and advice to support our longer-term goals.’

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