Laurent Blanc leading race to be Man Utd interim boss with ‘good relationship’ key

Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar after Watford defeat

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Laurent Blanc is leading the race to be Manchester United’s interim manager in the wake of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking, reports say. The Frenchman is currently working in the Middle East with Al-Rayyan. But a blockbuster return to Old Trafford could be on the cards.

Manchester United were battered by Watford on Saturday, with the Hornets winning 4-1 at Vicarage Road.

And Solskjaer has now lost his job at Old Trafford, with the club releasing a statement that read: “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.

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“He will forever be welcome back at Old Trafford as part of the Manchester United family.

“Michael Carrick will now take charge of the team for forthcoming games, while the club looks to appoint an interim Manager to the end of the season.”

Now, the Independent claim Blanc is leading the race to be United’s interim boss.

It’s claimed the 56-year-old’s Champions League experience is a factor, with the Frenchman previously working with Paris Saint-Germain.

Blanc also supposedly has a good relationship with the United hierarchy, something that also bodes well.

The Glazers are said to feel United’s season is salvageable, despite the defeat to Watford leaving them 12 points off the top of the Premier League table.

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And while Mauricio Pochettino has been mooted as the frontrunner to take the job on a permanent basis, the publication actually claims Erik ten Hag has backing at boardroom level.

The Dutchman won’t, however, leave Ajax for Old Trafford midway through the season.

And that’s why United are eyeing Blanc, who previously spent two years at the club between 2001 and 2003.

Speaking earlier this year, Blanc admitted he wished he’d joined the club sooner than he did.

“I was 36 years old when I arrived in Manchester,” he said.

“And I had a more than done career, but the funny thing is that when I arrived in Barcelona [in 1996], Sir Alex Ferguson called me.

“He asked me to sign for United, but I couldn’t go, I had already signed with Barca.

“Five years later, he came back for me and convinced me.

“He told me: ‘I want you to work with more for at least one year. I have very young defenders, like the Neville brothers, Rio Ferdinand, West Brown… and you have a lot of experience’.

“It was incredible, and now I regret not having gone to England earlier.”

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Rio Ferdinand, meanwhile, has admitted he’s disappointed things didn’t work out at United.

“The team has gone backwards since the start of the season after a very, very excitable transfer window with some huge names coming in,” he said on BT Sport.

“It’s not gone the way we want it to go.

“It’s looked inevitable the last few weeks, especially Man United losing at home to Liverpool in the manner they did and again the manner they did against Manchester City.

“I thought then was maybe the time and then the international break comes, you wait, and you think ‘actually I can get things right, things can change again’.

“And then what you saw against Watford yesterday was terrible.

“So I’m not surprised. Disappointed, obviously, in the way the team has performed.

“It’s unfortunate for someone like Ole but it’s the way football goes, it’s the world of football, it’s a cutthroat industry.”

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