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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Man United career in stats before his sack

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Man United career in stats before his sack

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s managerial stint in charge of Manchester United came to an end on Sunday morning, long after it had been speculated that his neck was on the chopping block.

Manchester United’s board of directors decided to remove Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after the team’s humiliating 4-1 loss to Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday, a conclusion that many had been calling for since the 5-0 home loss to Liverpool.

Solskjaer, a former United striker, was appointed temporary manager at Old Trafford in December 2018 to replace Jose Mourinho.

He leaves United with the second-best victory record of the post-Ferguson era, having won 91 of his 168 games in charge in all competitions, a higher percentage return than David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, or Jose Mourinho.

Both Van Gaal and Mourinho, on the other hand, have won titles. Mourinho led United to a Europa League and EFL Cup double in 2017 after the Dutchman won the FA Cup soon before being ousted.

None of United’s previous four permanent managers have been able to return the club to the Premier League title. Ferguson’s 13th and last trophy, which he won in 2013, is United’s final one.

Solskjaer led United to two top-three Premier League finishes in his two full seasons in command. They finished third in 2019-20 before finishing second to Manchester City the previous season. In May, though, he was denied a title when his team fell on penalties to Villarreal in the Europa League final.

The Norwegian finished with a 54.2 percent victory rate, trailing only Mourinho’s 58.3 percent in 144 games, but ahead of Moyes (52.9 percent), Van Gaal (52.4 percent), and fellow ex-player Ryan Giggs, who won two of the four games he oversaw as temporary coach.

United did, however, score 64 more goals under Solskjaer than they did under Mourinho in just 14 extra games, indicating that he was hired to better reflect the club’s philosophy, which includes an aggressive tradition.

United has scored a lot of goals under Solskjaer, but they have also surrendered far too many. In 168 games, his squad allowed 183 goals, an average of 1.09 per game. United have conceded 121 goals in 144 games under Mourinho, an average of 0.84.

Only the current top four teams have scored more goals than United this season, while only Norwich City and Newcastle United have conceded more.

United has only kept two clean sheets in 12 league games. So, what’s the deal?

 A high number of defensive errors is one factor. Their 11 errors leading to shots on goal are tied for second-worst in the league with Arsenal, and only three teams have made more errors resulting in goals.

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Another problem is that Solskjaer’s team has thrown the ball away far too frequently in critical situations, only to lose it again. Only Leicester City have more missed passes in their own half than the rest of the Premier League, and only four teams have a lower tackle success rate.

United’s pressing tactics were heavily criticized in the aftermath of a humiliating 5-0 home loss to Liverpool in October, and the statistics suggest Solskjaer’s team lacked in this area as well.

They’ve only regained control in the final third 45 times this season, which is less than four times per game and fewer than all but five other Premier League clubs. Liverpool has won the ball back deep in opposition territory 74 times this season, the most in the Premier League.

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