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Mourinho leaves united... Solskjaer replaces him


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Why the harassing man like that 


He had been expecting to take training at Carrington, but instead José Mourinho was sitting alone at a table in the restaurant at the Lowry Hotel at 2pm yesterday afternoon.

Wearing cream chinos and a black jacket, the sacked 55-year-old sipped a cup of tea while looking out of the window. Behind him stood a grand piano, but alas Alexis Sánchez was not there to tinkle the ivories for his manager before he checked out of the hotel that he has called home for the past two-and-a-half years.

After a while Ricardo Formosinho joined Mourinho at the table, but his former boss barely spoke to him. Instead, Mourinho’s erstwhile assistant coach just sat as his compatriot’s phone pinged incessantly. According to those present, Mourinho fielded call after call, then he was replying to WhatsApp messages from those comforting him after his sacking.

After the pair had finished eating, staff members approached Mourinho to wish him all the best. They had got to know him since he moved in.

Five hours before eating, Mourinho had learnt his fate. Ed Woodward, who spoke to players on Monday, delivered the coup de grâce at Carrington shortly after 9am. The players found out when the club issued a statement at 9.48. According to those in the dressing room, no tears were shed. You could count the number of United players who like Mourinho on one hand. Nemanja Matic, Romelu Lukaku, Ashley Young and Marouane Fellaini were fans, but the others? Forget it. David Moyes and Louis van Gaal addressed the squad on their final days as United boss. That was not the case with Mourinho. A few went up to see Mourinho in his office, but that was it.

The United manager was not a popular man at Carrington. In text exchanges, some players often used four-letter words to describe him. When asked to describe Mourinho in a few words, one representative of a player said he was “a bit of a t***”.

The first signs of Mourinho’s impending departure came on Sunday evening. Shortly after United’s woeful 3-1 capitulation against Liverpool, Woodward, David Gill and Sir Alex Ferguson — among others — congregated in a circle in the directors’ lounge at Anfield. They did not mix with their opposite numbers. To those present in the room, it looked like they were discussing Mourinho’s departure.

In some ways, Mourinho and United seemed the perfect match when they joined forces in the summer of 2016. Here was a born winner, a blockbuster name for a blockbuster club. Just 18 months earlier, he had won the Premier League with Chelsea.

But in many other respects, he was such a bad fit for United. Mourinho, as we all know, is a stubborn character. If he wants something done, he will do it his way, with little thought given to the opinions of others.

When Mourinho turned up to the 60th anniversary memorial of the Munich air disaster wearing dark trainers with a garish white trim on them, and a hoodie under his club suit, some senior figures were appalled. Nobody had the gumption to tell him to put on a pair of smart shoes and ditch the hoodie, though. This was Mourinho. He did what he wanted. When he wanted his son, José Mario Mourinho Jr, to sit with him on the bench for the match against Swansea City in April, he made it happen, even though it bemused long-serving members of staff. “What is he doing here?” one asked.

Mourinho’s first year passed off without major incident. He won two trophies, including the Europa League for the first time.

In the summer of 2017 there was a little annoyance from Mourinho towards Woodward when he refused to pay the £45 million asking price for Ivan Perisic, the Inter Milan winger, but overall his second season went smoothly. Finishing in second place to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City was not such a bad achievement.

The cracks in Mourinho’s relationship with the board began to appear in this summer.

Mourinho did not look crestfallen when he walked out of Wembley after the FA Cup final defeat by Chelsea in May. When one board member was asked how he felt, he replied: “Rubbish after watching that”.

Then the gloves came off on United’s pre-season tour of the US this summer. Mourinho started off by shaking the hand of every English reporter at the JD Morgan Center at UCLA before his first press conference, but that is where the bonhomie stopped. By the end of the tour, Mourinho was sitting in reception at the St Regis Bal Harbour hotel, Miami, shouting: “This is shit, this is shit”, down the phone.

The atmosphere between Woodward and Mourinho had become toxic by that point. On a personal level, Mourinho likes Woodward. The two enjoy joking and have meals together, but professionally Mourinho does not rate his old boss, particularly when it comes to his dealings in the transfer market.

In the summer Mourinho was annoyed that Woodward had failed to sign a centre back. Woodward pointed out that he already had signed two in two years at a cost of more than £60 million.

By July, the battle lines had been drawn. There were two sides briefing against each other inside one club. That does not make for a harmonious relationship. When Team Woodward briefed that they were confident that Anthony Martial would sign a new contract, Mourinho countered, letting it be known that he was willing to let the Frenchman go. When Mourinho complained that he needed a centre half to avoid a catastrophic season, Woodward briefed that nobody was available at the right price.

Senior sources confirmed there was a schism between the two when it came to their respective approaches in the transfer market. Woodward vetoed the signings of the 29-year-olds Jérôme Boateng and Toby Alderweireld.

When the season began, Mourinho tried to emphasise his point further by playing Ander Herrera at centre back against Tottenham Hotspur.

Mourinho’s relationship with Paul Pogba then began to deteriorate. Mourinho blamed the player’s agent, Mino Raiola, for trying to engineer a move for his client. Mourinho told friends that Woodward should “shut Raiola down” and never conduct deals with him again. “Ed really did get in too deep with the devil when he started working with Raiola,” a source close to Mourinho said.

By the end of September, shortly after the defeat by West Ham United, the atmosphere within the dressing room had hit an all-time low. “Nobody is taking responsibility,” one player confided in a friend.

Woodward took note of the players’ anger towards Mourinho and he came close to sacking him in October, but thought again. Still, Mourinho’s long-term future was by no means assured. One sponsor asked last month if Mourinho could appear in a promotional video, but the club said no.

When Mourinho claimed in an interview aired last month that four of his young stars, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford, Martial and Luke Shaw lacked the “character” and “personality” to compete, Woodward was dismayed. “We would have rather he didn’t mention any names,” one senior source said.

By that point, Mourinho’s constant calling out of his players had begun to grate on the board. The next manager will need to “build a positive atmosphere” and “create a united dressing room” one source said yesterday.

The style of play under Mourinho, described as “boring” by one senior figure, also led to the decision to sack the Portuguese. Another was keen to point out that Mourinho had spent almost £400 million on 11 signings during his tenure, which suggests that he was backed sufficiently.

It can be revealed that close friends advised Mourinho against taking the job in 2016 because they were afraid that certain aspects of the club had not been modernised since Ferguson’s departure. Mourinho hated the scouting structure. He felt it was too bloated. Why did none of United’s 50-plus scouts spot Harry Maguire’s potential when he was at Hull City, he complained.

Mourinho also did not get on with some members of the medical department. They were affronted by Mourinho’s decision to communicate via email. Some senior members of United’s medical staff have not spoken to Mourinho face to face in 18 months.

Mourinho was also dismayed at the lack of protection he felt he was receiving from the club’s communications department. When former managers and former players rounded on him, Mourinho felt United should have shot down their claims and backed him publicly. “The lack of communications is the thing that José remembers the most about United,” one source said. “He was left to be vilified.”

Mourinho’s mistrust of the class of ’92 stretches back to when he took the job. Woodward was keen to keep Ryan Giggs on, but Mourinho vetoed the idea because he did not think the Welshman was a man he could trust because of his extra-marital affair with his brother’s wife.

By the end of last week, the United board had had enough of Mourinho’s complaints. They felt that Mourinho was quick to blame others for United’s woes, rather than himself. The Lowry Hotel accountants will miss Mourinho, but United’s board will certainly not.

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Ole on the homecoming

Thanks first of all, it’s great, it feels like coming home I have to say. It’s been a few whirlwind days over the course, it has been very hectic but it’s just great to see everyone again.

Ole on the next six months 

Well it’s six months, I’m going to enjoy the ride. I’m back home. It’s about seeing the players, seeing the staff and of course just being myself. I know the club is in the process of finding a new manager and I’m just going to be myself in the meantime. With me of course is Kieran and Michael and the rest of the staff we just want to get the players enjoying football I’m looking forward to seeing the supporters again.

Ole on festive period

You certainly get to see the players in a game, in a pressure situation, but I think just the amount of games coming up is no problem because you have got this squad, an amazing squad of players we have got. We have got 23, 24 players, they are all quality and they will all get a chance with the amount of games coming up and they will have a chance to show they are Manchester United players. 

Yeah of course, we are in the result business, we want to win games of course that is mine and the staffs job to make sure the players do. We just want to see them play the football they can do.

Ole on the set-up behind the scenes 

We have got a great setup at the club. The analysts came in this morning, they watched Cardiff. Of course I have watched Premier League, I’ve seen all the teams so I know a little bit about them but it’s not about the opposition, it’s about us. It’s about Manchester United and making sure the players know what they can do, we want to see them express themselves, so my main focus will be on us and how we want to the team to play and then we will give them one of two things about the opposition.

Ole on rotation

Playing games is the best time of your life. The more games you get the better it is. For me as a manager now it is great because you have to rotate so you get to see many players and they will get the chance and everyone in the squad knows I’ve got a chance now because whatever has happened it has happened so from now everyone starts on a clean slate and we want players to perform and to give them the chance.

You have got to start somewhere, of course you look at a couple of performances I’ve seen in the last few games but you look at the team, you pick a team now and you move on but they will all get chances.

Ole on his pride as a United player and now manager 

Yeah how long will that last. You know as a player I gave everything I had and now walking out, leading this team and being a part of this team, that’s what I am. I’m a part of a huge team. We are playing for our supporters, playing for pride, playing for the club, its history, but to be honest it is going to be very, very special I have to say. I’m good at controlling emotions so I won’t be that emotional, but when I came back with Cardiff a few years ago in 2014, it was a strange, strange feeling. It was one of the most unrealistic ones I have ever had being on the other side, now I’m on the right side and I can’t wait for it.

Yeah you are proud but it is not about my pride, I’m proud of my career as a player, I feel like I’m a part of this club, I know this club and I understand this club but of course being in the gaffer’s seat is special.

Ole on past memories and relationship with the club

Wow. I can’t just talk about just one [memory at Old Trafford] but of course my debut when I came on and scored. I turned around, Eric’s the first one who celebrated with me. It was a weird feeling but suddenly it became part of you, you know you look forward to coming out at Old Trafford. That’s what you want the players to be, how I want to feel now. I think I will feel at home when we go out there, I think more it’s about the players being proud about their performances and the supporters being proud when we walk off the pitch.

Yeah it’s home. I’ve got to say it is home. There are so many here that are still here from when I was a player and a coach in the reserves and I have brought some Norwegian chocolate for them so I think they are happy.

Ole on Ferguson's influence 

Time flies when you enjoy it, I think I have had about 300, 400 first team games now as a manager and at the reserves so yeah 10 years more or less I have been coaching a team. You become more confident of course, the more mistakes you make the more you learn. I have made a few mistakes through the years but I have won the league, I have won cups, I have been relegated, so I feel I’m getting to know the occupation but it’s about man management, it’s about managing players, managing people, managing staff, talking to everyone and getting the best out of everyone and I have to say I had the best teacher. The boss (Sir Alex Ferguson) is and will always be the best at how you manage people so my management involves around what I learned from him.

Yeah, he’s been the biggest influence but then again I’m a different personality. I have just got to be myself, you have to ask the people I have managed. I like people, to speak to people, engage with people. I want to see them express themselves whether it’s working in the canteen, being a physio, a player, a coach, I just want to see everyone express themselves, so that makes me happy and when your team plays well and express themselves.

Ole on Mike Phelan 

You know the first thing I thought about, I’m youngish still, Kieran and Michael, young, and I thought I want some experience with me. I rang Mick [Phelan] but he was doing a coaching course up in Burnley so I couldn’t get hold of him until it must have been 3, 4 O’clock in the afternoon. I had got the phone call earlier on in the morning, so it was one of them hectic ones, but he has been here, he has done it all, he’s worked with the gaffer more closely than I have. He’s an incredible, calming influence around me and his football knowledge is really, really good.

Ole on Michael Carrick 

It’s strange again. When he (Carrick) was signed, of course I played with him for a season, I was a coach in the first team and in the reserves and I watched Michael evolve, develop, he has been a top, top player for us. He filled Roy Keane’s boots, it’s not easy coming in and taking his number and to be honest, a couple of days when I was home and last night on Wednesday, I have spoken with him lots on the phone recently and he’s been great.

That was his debut yeah. That was rainy. I actually had the captain’s armband on when I came on and scored the goal. Louie (Saha?) passed me the ball. I remember that game so he came in and you know we had three years without winning a trophy, 03-04, 04-05, 05-06, we didn’t win the league in those three years. He came in and we won the league 06-07. Michael knows what it is about being a Manchester United player and being a winner because we have got to get used to winning again and challenging for trophies.

Ole on young players 

 Yeah I have done and I have always been interested and of course being a manager in Molde in Norway that kind of you know that range of players, I have been trying with Nicky a couple of times to get players on loan to Molde a couple of times so yes I have kept an eye on the academy. Kieran’s done a great job with the academy, now he’s in with the first team and is really highly regarded. It’s the same with coaches, us players, you want them to know what Manchester United is about and he’s been there now for a few years and I think that link between the academy and the first team is crucial, it’s because we bring players and develop players in a certain way and then they know when they get to the first team this is how we want to play.

Ole on United's tradition 

That’s the identity, that’s our identity, I was in the reserves as well myself so I’ve been on that side of it. The link between the first team and the academy, I know first-hand how important it is that me and Nicky, me and Ricky and me and Neil that we speak a lot because it’s in our tradition. That doesn’t just go back to the Class of 92, it goes back even further than Sir Alex and to Sir Matt Busby. He had a saying and I will never forget it: “If you’re good enough, you’re old enough”. I really hope that I can be a part of that tradition and there are some great youngsters coming through I have to say. I watched the Chelsea game the youth cup game here the other day and that was a fantastic result and performance.

Ole on David De Gea 

Yeah, I have spoken to David and Emilio [Alvarez] (goalkeeping coach) and he loves Emilio, he really, really is so complimentary about him. We have one of the best goalkeepers, the best goalkeeper in the world. He has been player of the year so many times over I think eight years, and he is still a young keeper developing so that’s fantastic for me to come in. Maybe I’ll have to do some finishing training with him just to peg him down a little bit.

Ole on Jesse Lingard, Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford

Of course yeah. I remember I gave Jesse Lingard his debut in the reserves away to Burnley and because the youth team just had a game the day before, he didn’t play in the youth game so he played in my team in the reserves. We were playing Burnley and within two minutes, this little tiny kid, he goes into a 50-50 with this massive 6 foot 5 centre back, who is now playing at Burnley as well, Kevin Long and I remember it still he absouletly clattered him that little kid. There was no fear in him and I thought you’ve got a chance. Kevin Long had to come off unfortunately but Jesse showed me then there was something and Mark Dempsey with me at Molde, he had Jesse since he was seven and it’s one of them we spoke about a lot when I was over in Molde, but the way he has developed is fantastic and of course I had Paul [Pogab] in the reserves, not for long because he went past the reserves and up to the first team very quickly he was that special of a talent. Marcus [Rashford] I knew about, I watched Marcus when he was very young. He was three or four years younger than Jesse so he was just on his way up and I knew about him so those are the three that I have seen since they were kids. It’s great to see them now playing like they do. 

Ole on speaking to the squad 

That’s one of the first things you do as a manager, you get to know the people, you get to speak with them. I have spoken with most of them today, I just haven’t had the time to get round to everyone, I have got a few other things to do but it seems like a great set of lads, professional, just wanting to do well and want to learn. Of course I spoke to Kieran and Michael about them, but I will spend a lot of time over the next few weeks to get to know the players. 

Ole on facing PSG in the Champions League 

Yeah we beat Sevilla actually the year they won, the third year they won the Europa League, we beat them in Molde. Ahh fantastic you know, that was Monday I was watching not knowing anything about what’s happening here and you think PSG, what a fantastic chance. You know the special nights at Old Trafford, you know the floodlight nights, like the manager always talked about, the boss, you’ve got top talents to play against our great top talents, you’ve got Neymar, Mbappe, Cavani, those types of players, those are the nights Man United come to the fore, that’s when I can’t wait for it but we have got many more games before that. We want to build a foundation now and go into the game against PSG with confidence. If we can do that, great.

Ole on his Treble winning goal in 1999 

There has been a few times I've been reminded yeah and I have had a few pats on the back. That was the best night of my life and I have to say it was a great night. Twenty years on the 26th of May, there’s a reason behind these grey hairs, it’s not just about worry and management, it’s been 20 years. It’s unbelievable how time flies.

Ole on what makes Man Utd's DNA 

First thing I felt when I came to Manchester United is that it’s a family club. I was so amazed when I got to see how close-knit everybody was. It’s a family but then again then I developed and you see the winning instinct and it’s about giving youngsters the chance. I have built, not me building Molde, call it my Molde, this is my Molde. Manchester United is Molde. History, tradition, giving youngsters a chance to play football and winning and it’s unbelievable how it’s developed since I came in 1996. It’s huge. It’s the biggest club in the world, the best supporters in the world, we have got the best players in the world.

Ole's message to fans 

It’s great being back home, I just, as I was when I was a player, I promise I will give it everything I have got for us to have success. I will do my very best along with the staff to get the players playing and to enjoy themselves I can’t wait to get it going.


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  • 3 months later...

Ole gone by xmas ?

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  • 2 years later...

Still in the job 

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  • 3 months later...

Same shit different day.

We sign average players for double they are worth.

We don't sack managers at the right time when it's clear they are out of their depth,we give players that have clearly not performed new contracts.

Rewarding mediocrity.


We have no plan for the future and we seem to be given a bunch of unproven people important roles at the club.

Carrick,Fletcher etc


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