Manchester United have “no plan” for replacing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, according to Gary Neville, who has criticised the club’s hierarchy in a withering assessment of their recent record.
Solskjaer was sacked on Sunday morning following a dismal 4-1 defeat at Watford which left United seventh in the table, having lost four of the past five league games.
The former Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has been reported as among the leading contenders to take over at Old Trafford, but United said in a statement announcing Solskjaer’s sacking that they are searching for an interim coach to take over until the end of the season.
“Michael Carrick will now take charge of the team for forthcoming games, while the club looks to appoint an interim manager to the end of the season,” the club said.
Neville, speaking on Sky Sports, thinks the club is being poorly run at the moment. “Michael [Carrick] takes over now. If there was a world-class manager sat on the shelf then they could but they haven’t got anybody to appoint. I don’t think [Tottenham manager Antonio] Conte would have been a fit for United and I don’t think there’s a perfect fit available at the moment.
“They don’t have a plan for the next manager at this moment in time. The planning hasn’t been great, and you have to ask serious questions. I think the club is run on the business side OK, but culturally and from a football perspective it leaves a lot to be desired.”
Neville could not explain how United went from progressing steadily under Solskjaer in his first two seasons at the club to falling away sharply during this campaign, despite the highly paid additions of Raphael Varane, Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho in the summer. But he said Solskjaer could hold his head high after rebuilding the club’s “soul” during his tenure.
“I’ve never been there where the players have been so drained in confidence,” Neville said. “I don’t think the players don’t care, they’re a good group of lads. What’s happened recently I can’t explain. They looked so open, they’ve not been able to get right since. Rudderless on and off the pitch. No one, when Ronaldo signed, thought this would happen.
“What has gone wrong in the past couple of months? Why does a team who were progressing in the last two seasons – third, then second – suddenly look like they’ve never passed a ball to each other? The confidence is shot to pieces. Ole will reflect with sadness but I think he will be proud. I’m not saying he rebuilt the club, but he rebuilt the soul of the club. It was in a dark place at the end of the last reign under Jose Mourinho.”
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