Manchester United football director John Murtough has offered an insight into the club’s decision to sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and appoint Ralf Rangnick as his replacement.
United had backed Solskjaer, who had been criticised for some time, until it became clear after the 4-1 defeat to Watford that the Norwegian wasn’t able to alter their fortunes, as Murtough explained at a fan forum, as per Mirror.
“It’s certainly been a turbulent period since we last met in September,” Murtough said. “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.
“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 – 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 then briefly became caretaker boss before Rangnick was announced as the interim manager, leading to Carrick’s departure from the club.
“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 explained. “We wanted him to stay but understood Michael’s reasons for wanting to step away. Important to note that he made his decision before Ralf arrived as interim manager.
“Both Michael and Ole will always be United legends and we’re hugely grateful for the work they put in over the past three years.”
Rangnick is now set to take charge until the summer, and Murtough said the club will look for a permanent replacement in a “careful and considered fashion”.
“Out of respect for Ole, we did not approach other managers before he left. Our plan then was to appoint an experienced interim manager and Ralf was our clear first choice.
“By bringing in Ralf, we can now take time to run a thorough process for our next permanent manager.
“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.”