Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been sacked by Manchester United in the wake of their 4-1 loss to Watford on Saturday.
Solskjaer, who returned to the club as caretaker manager in December 2018 before being appointed on a permanent basis in March 2019, departs with the club seventh in the Premier League having only won three of their last 11 games in all competitions.
The 48-year-old has paid the price for failing to turn Manchester United into genuine title challengers but how does his record compare to the managers who came before him?
Saturday’s defeat to Watford was Solskjaer’s 168th game in charge of the club. In total, he won 91 of them, drawing 37 and losing 40.
Of Manchester United’s four permanent managers since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure from the club, including David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho as well as Solskjaer, the Norwegian’s overall win rate of 54 per cent puts him second.
Mourinho’s win rate is the highest of the four at 58 per cent, while Moyes and Van Gaal trail on 53 per cent and 52 per cent respectively.
Manchester United’s recent derby defeat to City, when they were comprehensively outplayed by Pep Guardiola’s team only a couple of weeks after a 5-0 humbling by Liverpool, underlined the gulf between Solskjaer’s side and the teams competing for the title.
Overall, Solskjaer’s record against the traditional big-six – Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham – is mixed, with 14 wins, 10 draws and 12 losses.
His win rate of 39 per cent in those games is higher than Mourinho’s and considerably higher than Moyes’ but it is lower than Van Gaal’s. The Dutchman won 10 of his 23 meetings against the big-six – giving him a success rate of 43 per cent.
Solskjaer’s win percentages put him on a similar level to his predecessors but therein lay the problem for him.
He was originally appointed on an interim basis in order to provide short-term improvement, which he did in the second half of the 2018/19 campaign, but the remit changed when he took the job permanently.
From there, the challenge was to turn Manchester United back into Premier League title challengers but the defeats to Manchester City and Liverpool showed they remain a long way off their rivals.
Indeed, a big-six mini-league of head-to-head meetings since Solskjaer’s appointment puts Manchester United 18 points behind City and 23 behind Liverpool.
That, of course, is despite heavy investment in the squad. This summer, Manchester United brought in Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane at considerable expense.
The idea was to turn the side into title challengers but instead they find themselves 12 points off the summit. Performances have largely been even worse than their standing suggests.
Their latest round of spending pushed their net spend under Solskjaer to GBP312m – GBP33m more than any other Premier League side and GBP196m more than City and Liverpool’s combined.
Manchester United have long been lavish spenders in the transfer market but they have now invested more under Solskjaer (GBP441m) than they did under Mourinho (GBP430.8m) or Van Gaal (GBP309.2m).
Expectations have risen accordingly and Solskjaer was unable to meet them. He kept the side at roughly the same level of his predecessors but more was required. Manchester United will now pin their hopes on a new manager to restore their former glories.