Manchester United planned to make Mike Phelan caretaker manager following the dismissal of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Sunday but eventually decided against the move after fearing a backlash from supporters, sources have told ESPN.
Solskjaer was relieved of his duties following the 4-1 defeat to Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday with assistant Michael Carrick set to take charge for the Champions League clash against Villarreal on Tuesday.
But sources have told ESPN that United bosses initially intended to hand the reins to Phelan before deciding Carrick, a popular former player who made more than 450 appearances for the club between 2006 and 2018, would likely get more support among players and fans.
Carrick will take training at Carrington on Monday and will hold a new conference at 1pm local time ahead of the trip to Spain.
Sources have told ESPN that several players have been left baffled by the club’s decision to sack Solskjaer but keep the core of his coaching team including Phelan, Carrick and Kieran McKenna.
There are fears that despite the Norwegian’s departure not much will change in the short term because much of the coaching and preparation for games was already being delegated to those members of staff.
Sources have told ESPN that it was only on Sunday that United began their search for an interim manager to take the team until the end of the season.
The former England midfielder is looking to arrest a slump in form that has seen United lose seven of their last 13 games in all competitions.
Ajax manager Erik ten Hag is another name in the frame while United will also look closely at Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone.