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6 winners and losers as Man Utd sack Solskjaer and begin new manager search

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was finally given his marching orders by Manchester United on Sunday after yet another pitiful performance.

It felt as though Solskjaer had been on the brink of losing his job for an eternity following a miserable run of results.

But Solskjaer couldn’t escape his fate after United were thumped 4-1 by struggling Watford on Saturday afternoon.

That result means United are already 12 points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea; meaning their hopes of mounting a serious title challenge are dead and buried long before Christmas.

Michael Carrick has been handed the reins on a temporary basis whilst the Old Trafford hierarchy start planning for life without Solskjaer.

Mirror Football takes a look at three United players who look set to benefit from the Norwegian’s exit and three who could suffer without Solskjaer around…


Donny van de Beek

Have Your Say! Who should replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the next Man Utd manager? Comment below

Donny van de Beek should benefit from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s exit

It almost feels ironic that Donny van de Beek ended up netting the final goal of Solskjaer’s regime.

The former United chief’s reluctance to use the £40million man bordered on ridiculous; especially given United’s glaring issues in midfield.

Van de Beek has started just four Premier League games since arriving from Ajax last year, with the 24-year-old frozen out under Solskjaer.

There had been talk that Solskjaer was set to hand the Dutch midfielder his first league start of the season for the trip to Watford – with Solskjaer himself even talking up the playmaker in midweek, hinting that van de Beek was set to start.

But Solskjaer instead snubbed him – at least until the interval. After being tasked with coming on to save the game, and Solskjaer’s job, van de Beek showed his then-boss, and United fans, just what they’ve been missing after netting a goal and running the game for United before Harry Maguire ‘s stupid red card.

With Solskjaer now gone, there’s a good chance that van de Beek’s exile could be brought to a merciful end.

He’ll have certainly done his chances of featuring more prominently under Solskjaer’s successor, whether that’s interim or permanent, no harm with his cameo role against the Hornets.

And let’s face it, he can hardly be used any less often than he was under Solskjaer.

Jadon Sancho

Jadon Sancho could salvage his Manchester United career under new management after an awful start to life in the Premier League



Despite being pursued by United for over two years, Jadon Sancho ‘s move to Old Trafford has descended into a nightmare.

And whilst not all of that can be attributed to Solskjaer, he certainly can’t be immune from some of the blame for Sancho’s slow start.

Recent reports indicating that Solskjaer had been utilising Sancho as a right wing-back to wedge him into his new 3-4-2-1 shape were nothing short of absurd.

It’s not hard to see that that Sancho has struggled to adapt to life in the Premier League. And although that’s not Solskjaer’s fault, you can’t help but feel a different manager would have been able to coax more out of the 21-year-old.

Even if he still isn’t fully up to speed with the rigors of English football, Sancho should still be relieved that Solskjaer has departed; something that should spare him the indignity of trying to fit in as a makeshift wing-back.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo could get his wish of winning more trophies at United following Solskjaer’s exit


Getty Images)

Despite being brought in as Solskjaer’s marquee signing this summer, Cristiano Ronaldo ‘s arrival was pretty much the beginning of the end for the ex-United chief.

Maybe that reflects badly on Ronaldo, who hasn’t disgraced himself by any means.

But Solskjaer struggled to strike the right balance to facilitate Ronaldo’s inclusion upfront, and as a team, United have paid the price.

Despite refusing to publicly pile pressure on Solskjaer, Ronaldo hasn’t exactly helped him out off the pitch either.

Public strops after disappointing results and reports of dressing room outbursts have silently undermined Solskjaer; whether intentional or not.

And it’s recently emerged that Ronaldo’s agent, Jorge Mendes, has been seeking assurances from the Old Trafford hierarchy that the situation under Solskjaer would change given recent results.

Now aged 36, Ronaldo didn’t return to Manchester to quietly see out his twilight years. He’s still hungry for more silverware – and whether he got on with Solskjaer or not, he’s far more likely to achieve that goal with Solskjaer gone.


Harry Maguire

Harry Maguire has been woeful in recent weeks for United


AFP via Getty Images)

It’s hard to pinpoint just where things have gone wrong for Maguire.

He was an absolute rock for England during their run to the Euro 2020 final in the summer, yet he’s been a liability for his club this season.

It’s hard to recall any player going through such a sudden and horrific collapse in form.

Despite his calamitous displays, Solskjaer stuck with his underfire captain until the very end – it’s just a shame that Maguire chose to repay that unwavering faith with another dire display in Hertfordshire, capped with an utterly outrageous error that led to his dismissal.

With reports in recent weeks claiming that players even questioned Solskjaer’s decision to hand Maguire the armband back in 2020, it’s not a guarantee that the 28-year-old will retain his spot in the starting XI under Solskjaer’s successor, let alone the United captaincy.

Despite costing United an eye-watering £80m fee, it’s not inconceivable to think that Maguire could be out in the cold now that Solskjaer has been given the boot.


Fred could be sidelined following Solskjaer’s exit after struggling to impress during his four years at United

Fred has probably been one of the most criticised players of Solskjaer’s regime.

Solskjaer’s persistence with the combination of Fred and Scott McTominay in United’s midfield has been slammed time and time again.

It’s been almost four years on since Fred arrived at Old Trafford in a £47m deal, but it’s hard to think of any United transfer in recent memory that has panned out so badly. It’s tough to count van de Beek in that bracket because, unlike Fred, he’s hardly been given a chance.

It seemed that the penny finally dropped for Solskjaer, who omitted Fred from his starting XI for the Watford clash.

Although it was too little too late for Solskjaer, it’s hard to see Fred featuring anywhere near as often as he did under Solskjaer.

And it’s not inconceivable that he’s moved on in the summer should United, as expected, make their move for an elite defensive midfielder.

Bruno Fernandes

Bruno Fernandes went missing when Solskjaer needed him most this year

It’s impossible not bring up Bruno Fernandes when discussing the players who have badly let Solskjaer down this season.

The Portuguese talisman racked up an unbelievable 45 goal contributions last season and even netted a hat-trick in United’s thumping opening day victory over rivals Leeds.

But since then, Fernandes has gone horribly off the boil.

And after practically becoming Solskjaer’s great defender last year by continually digging him out of holes with important goals, Fernandes is surely one of the most culpable for Solskjaer’s demise this year.

Fernandes has gone missing when Solskjaer needed him most this year – and there are no guarantees his replacement will stick by Fernandes as he bids to rediscover his form.

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