Manchester United will sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after the embarrassing 4-1 defeat to Watford.
A 4-1 defeat at Vicarage Road has sealed the fate of manager Solskjaer, who has overseen a run of five losses in his last seven Premier League games.
That run has dropped Manchester United to seventh, level on points with Brighton and three off the Champions League qualification places.
The performance at Watford was dreadful as Josh King, Ismaila Sarr, Joao Pedro and Emmanuel Dennis cancelled out Donny van de Beek’s second-half goal and forced the Manchester United board into finally acting.
An emergency board meeting was called after the game and The Times report that it was decided for Solskjaer to be sacked.
Richard Arnold, group managing director, was ‘instructed to negotiate the precise terms of Solskajer’s departure with the Norwegian’ during talks, which also identified Zinedine Zidane as the ideal replacement.
It is said that Manchester United will ‘accelerate attempts’ to entice the Frenchman to Old Trafford, including making a better financial offer.
Mauricio Pochettino, Erik ten Hag and Brendan Rodgers are other candidates to take over as head coach.
The Manchester Evening News add that the club’s player now ‘expect’ Solskjaer to be removed from his position, with members of the squad and staff reduced to ‘tears’ by the Watford defeat.
In a further story, the website corroborates the claim that the decision has been made for Solskjaer to go, with Darren Fletcher ‘expected to take temporary charge’.
The former midfielder was appointed technical director at the club in March, with Solskjaer signing a new three-year contract with Manchester United five months later.
The Daily Telegraph adds that ‘Solskjaer and his players are due to report for training on Sunday’ but the manager ‘fears’ he has taken charge of his final game, while The Guardian say co-chairman Joel Glazer must first officially ‘approve the decision,’ the public announcement of which ‘may avoid describing Solskjaer as sacked and refer to a mutual decision’.
“I’ve never said I feel safe. I will never say that I feel safe,” he said after a chastening defeat on Saturday. “I work for the club and with the club as hard as I can with a great staff and any conversation between me and the club is not for me and you. It’s between us.
“I’m the manager and I will take the flak and take the responsibility – the players are working as hard as they can. The fans are really disappointed. I understand. We all understand. They’ve supported us through thick and thin, they’ve been with us through this rebuild.
“We get to this season after finishing third and second and we sign top players, expectations go up and we’ve not had a result or the performances.
“They’re right to say their opinion, I’m not surprised after a day like this because for the first half we were way below what we can do and what we should do.”