Man United legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in line to take charge until end of the season
Man United are hoping to appoint a caretaker boss, with links to the club, in the next 48 hours, and are considering fans' favourite Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, currently manager of Molde.
The club today sacked Jose Mourinho after two-and-a-half seasons in charge.
"Manchester United announces that manager Jose Mourinho has left the club with immediate effect," a club statement said on Tuesday morning.
"The club would like to thank Jose for his work during his time at Manchester United and wish him success in the future.
"A new caretaker manager will be appointed until the end of the current season, while the club conducts a thorough recruitment process for a new, full-time manager."
First-team coach Michael Carrick took training on Tuesday after Mourinho was told the news by executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward in a face-to-face meeting at the Aon Training Complex. He left in a car around 1225.
Talk of the manager's impending departure appeared to be building in the United dressing room before the announcement, but the news sent shock waves around the footballing world.
The club have quickly set about finding an interim replacement for Mourinho, with former United striker and reserve team coach Solskjaer fitting the profile the club are looking for.
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The 45-year-old signed a new three-year deal at Norwegian club Molde at the start of December, extending his second spell at a club he rejoined after an ill-fated spell at the helm of Saturday's opponents Cardiff.
Talk of former Paris St Germain manager and United defender Laurent Blanc coming in as interim replacement appears wide of the mark.
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino is believed to be the main target to take the reins next summer, but the club will be undergoing an extensive and thorough process over the coming months as they belatedly rejig things.
United intend to finally bring in a head of football, reporting to executive vice-chairman Woodward, to oversee football operations - a role that it is understood Mourinho had a long-standing reluctance about.
But such changes in the long-term interests of the club are why United's hierarchy felt it was important to act now, with a period as unsettling as it has been disappointing leading to concerns growing over the lack of progress in terms of results and style of play.
The decision to sack Mourinho will be costly - reports suggest the pay-off could be as high as £22.5million - but that figure pales into insignificance when it comes to the 11 players that he was allowed to bring in at a cost of circa £400m.