Manchester United planned to officially confirm Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as their new interim manager on Wednesday morning but it seems as though someone at the club could not wait that long.
On Tuesday night, less than 12 hours after Jose Mourinho had been sacked, United’s website posted a video with the caption: ‘Solskjaer becomes our interim manager, 20 seasons after clinching the Treble with THAT goal at Camp Nou…’
The video, which refers to the former striker’s winner in the 1999 Champions League final, did not appear on the club’s homepage but was posted under the URL ‘www.manutd.com/en/videos/detail/highlights-of-the-1999-champions-league-final-and-ole-gunnar-solskjaer-winner’.
United later removed the content but are expected to republish the video when the Molde boss is unveiled as the man to replace Mourinho for the rest of the season.
The Norwegian Prime Minister also jumped the gun by congratulating Solskjaer on Tuesday night. In a tweet that she later deleted, PM Erna Solberg wrote: ‘Great day for Norwegian football. Good luck keeping control of the Red Devils, @ olegs26_ole’.
Solskjaer, who scored more than 100 goals in 11 years as a player at Old Trafford, will be assisted by Sir Alex Ferguson’s former No 2 Mike Phelan for the rest of the season as United reach out to their glorious past.
But it is understood that Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino remains the club’s long-term target and United sources have been aware for some time of his desire to take the Old Trafford job.
The Argentine was Ferguson’s preferred choice before Mourinho was appointed in 2016, and Sportsmail understands that United have already made the first moves to lure him from Spurs in the summer.
But they will face fierce opposition from Tottenham chief Daniel Levy, a notoriously tough negotiator who signed Pochettino to a five-year contract in May.
There is no escape clause in the deal meaning that United may have to pay up to £40million to get their man.
They could also face opposition from Real Madrid who were ready to offer the former Espanyol boss the job at the Bernabeu last summer and could do so again.
Like United, they see 46-year-old Pochettino as the ideal coach to take their young squad forward with his brand of progressive, vibrant football.