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Solskjaer fired by Manchester United

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer tried to take positives from Manchester United's second-half performance but admitted they were "in a bad situation" after a 4-1 defeat to Watford.

Following their shocking 4-1 defeat at Watford, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been fired by Manchester United.

United confirmed that Solskjaer was fired early on Sunday and said that an interim boss will be in charge until the end of the season.

Current assistant coach Michael Carrick will take temporary charge until that interim boss is found.

[ MORE: Watford vs Manchester United recap, highlights ]

“Manchester United announces that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has left his role as manager. Ole will always be a legend at Manchester United and it is with regret that we have reached this difficult decision. While the past few weeks have been disappointing, they should not obscure all the work he has done over the past three years to rebuild the foundations for long-term success.”

“Ole leaves with our sincerest thanks for his tireless efforts as Manager and our very best wishes for the future. His place in the club’s history will always be secure, not just for his story as a player, but as a great man and a Manager who gave us many great moments. He will forever be welcome back at Old Trafford as part of the Manchester United family.”

Solskjaer departs United after 168 games in charge in all competitions, 91 of which were wins as he had a 54.2 percent win percentage. Only Jose Mourinho (58.3 percent) had a higher win percentage as United boss in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era.

Who next for Manchester United?

Various reports stated that Manchester United’s board held an emergency meeting less than two hours after the Red Devils’ disappointing defeat on Saturday.

Per the initial report from the Sunday Times, the Glazer family have instructed club executives to “further accelerate attempts to persuade Zinedine Zidane,” the former Real Madrid boss and three-time Champions League-winning manager, to take over at Old Trafford.

However, given that United said they will appoint an interim boss until the end of the 2021-22 season, it appears they may move for Erik ten Hag and Mauricio Pochettino to become available.

But what we do know is that this is the end of a nearly three-year spell in charge of United for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, as his initial caretaker role has lasted a lot longer than anyone expected.

From back-to-back top four finishes, plus reaching the Europa League final, and multiple cup semifinals, the legendary United player took them as far as he could.

Now it’s up to United’s board to appoint a long-term manager with a clear vision. Solskjaer was constantly trying to clean up previous messes and deal with an erratic recruitment process.

Below is live reaction (via the BBC and our partners in the UK at Sky Sports) from Vicarage Road following Watford vs Manchester United, as Solskjaer fell to a new low and managed his last game at the club.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, on whether or not he feels his job is safe…

“I’ve never said I feel safe. I will never say that I feel safe. I work for the club and with the club as hard as I can with a great staff and any conversation between me and the club is not for me and you it’s between us.

“I’m the manager and I will take the flack and take the responsibility - the players are working as hard as they can. The fans are really disappointed I understand we all understand. They’ve supported us through thick and thin, they’ve been with us through this rebuild. We get to this season after finishing third and second and we sign top players, expectations go up and we’ve not had a result or the performances. They’re right to say their opinion, I’m not surprised after a day like this because for the first-half we were way below what we can do and what we should do.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, on the disappointing performance…

“The positive reaction was too late — it was at halftime. Second half was a good performance until we got the sending off. The first half is the worst we’ve played and it’s hard for me to explain why we played the way we did and allowed them to get in our box from nothing. The goalkeeper could go up to the halfway line and put it in the box — we were out-fought.

“Very hurt — when you play in the Premier League, you have got to turn up against good players and good opposition like this. The boys are in a terrible place in their heads now — we have let ourselves down and the fans down. It’s hard to stand here and explain that but that’s football and we have to take the flack for it.

“You look at the chances they created and the goals they scored, they out-fought us, they won challenges they won second balls. Nothing you would be surprised about them trying to do. I’m just disappointed we couldn’t deal with it better.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, on the Manchester United fans…

“I feel for the fans and I feel the same as them. We’re embarrassed losing the way we did. We are in a very bad run and bad situation but that’s part of football. They’ll support the team and whoever is on the pitch and sometimes you have to say sorry and that was a sorry for the performance.”

Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea, on the disappointing performance…

There’s not much to say - it was embarrassing to see Man United play like we did today. It’s not acceptable - the way we were playing and doing things. It’s easy to blame the manager or the staff but sometimes it’s the players. We need to show much more than we are doing.

“Embarrassing first half - we could’ve conceded four goals in 45 minutes. It was hard to watch the team playing today - it was nightmare after nightmare. It’s not acceptable.

“We are trying to give our best and fight for the team but for sure something is very wrong. You can see in the games - it’s very low level, very poor. Sorry to the fans, once again.

“I’ve been in difficult moments and always believe in myself but there are difficult moments we have to be strong in mind and body. We are paid to play for United and to do better than that.

“This is not Manchester United or the way we ought to play - it’s difficult to say more than that.

“It’s been very bad for a long time - a club like Man United we have to be fighting for trophies and fighting for big things and to be honest we are far from that. Let’s see - we have to keep working hard and stick together. We always say the same things but it’s the truth - we have to look at ourselves and see where we can improve.

Follow @AndyEdMLS