Ole to be sacked after Watford thrash hapless Man Utd
Dismal 4-1 defeat reportedly the last straw as Man Utd board convene an emergency meeting
The Manchester United board have decided to sack manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at an emergency meeting following a 4-1 shellacking at the hands of newly-promoted Watford. An official announcement will soon follow after Joel Glazer, co-chairman and member of the Glazer family who owns the club, signalled his approval for the change.
The decision comes after a string of unimpressive results, culminating in an almost comically dreadful performance at Vicarage Road. Manchester United looked more like a non-league side as Watford sliced through them with ease.
There were early signs that this would be a long day for the visitors. The Hornets were awarded a penalty in the 6th minute when Scott McTominay brought down Josh King, sent through on goal after an error from Bruno Fernandes. Ismaila Sarr’s weak penalty was saved by David de Gea, but Kiko Femenia reacted quickly to slot home the rebound.
However, VAR pointed out that Femenia had reacted too quickly, creeping into the box before the kick, and the penalty was retaken. Sarr’s effort was again kept out by de Gea, the ball deflecting away from any yellow shirts.
But the Red Devils failed to make the most of their reprieve, allowing Watford to run rampant. The Hornets opened the scoring in the 26th minute after Aaron Wan-Bissaka failed to deal with a cross from Femenia. Emmanuel Dennis collected it and fizzed a low pass to King, who slotted the ball home under de Gea.
Ben Foster dealt with the only first-half chance for the away team at the other end, repelling a half-volley from Marcus Rashford. Watford then doubled their lead in the 44th minute, Sarr finding himself in all sorts of space in the opposition box before lashing home a fine finish into the opposite corner.
At the interval, Solskjaer took off Rashford and the disappointing McTominay for Anthony Martial and Donny van de Beek, with the latter’s arrival enthusiastically applauded by the away support. Van de Beek has rarely been given a chance in this team and he showed why he deserved more by halving the deficit in the 50th minute. Jadon Sancho sent over a cross that Cristiano Ronaldo leapt to cushion across goal, with van de Beek applying the finishing touch.
The Dutchman’s first goal for the club in 16 months galvanised him and his teammates. Another famous comeback looked on as van de Beek slipped Ronaldo through on goal, but the striker’s shot deflected off Foster’s shoulder and flew over the bar.
Things then took a turn for the worse. Harry Maguire, already the recipient of a yellow card at the hour mark, dawdled in possession at the back. He was robbed by Tom Cleverley and, in an attempt to win the ball back, hacked down the Watford man. Referee Jon Moss had no hesitation in showing Manchester United’s captain a second yellow and sending him for an early shower.
The fight went out of the visitors then and, though van de Beek buzzed around menacingly, they were unable to finish several chances. Watford inflicted further pain in stoppage time, first through substitute Joao Pedro and then the excellent Dennis. Both players scored from acute angles, although de Gea should be disappointed with the way Pedro’s shot went through him.
At the end, Solskjaer went over with his players to applaud and apologise to the away supporters. As the fans aimed their discontent at the Norwegian, Bruno Fernandes remonstrated with them. The Portuguese argued that the players should also take the blame and had to be led away by a teammate. But Solskjaer himself simply raised a hand in apology and, as it turned out, goodbye.