‘I’d rather have a hole in the squad than an a***hole’: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fires warning to his Manchester United stars that egos will not be tolerated after getting rid of likes of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez in Old Trafford clear out
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Man United players have become more positive
- He admits there have been players with ‘personal agendas’ at Old Trafford
- The Norwegian now believes there is not a single ‘bad apple’ in his dressing room
- But Paul Ince wants Solskjaer to rid United of Paul Pogba’s ‘damaging behaviour’
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hailed the progress made by his Manchester United players this season but warned ‘personal agendas’ will not be tolerated at Old Trafford.
The Norwegian was appointed United boss in December 2018 and swiftly set about changing the culture at the club, selling Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez in the summer transfer window.
Now the 47-year-old has spoken candidly about the standards he demands from his players.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has stressed the importance of having a positive attitude at Man United
In an interview with United We Stand fanzine, Solskjaer said: ‘I’d rather have a hole in the squad than an a**ehole. Personality is so important. We’re a team in a team environment.
‘You want players to have a bit of ego and edge but they have to be able to adapt.’
‘In March 2019, players were physically tired, mentally tired and we had injuries. The players started with negative thinking, whereas now it’s positive thinking.
‘There were other things I didn’t like last year, some personal agendas which couldn’t be sorted out until the summer.
The Red Devils boss decided to sell Alexis Sanchez (left) and Romelu Lukaku last summer
SOLSKJAER’S MANAGERIAL RECORD AT UNITED
Win percentage: 47.3
‘There will always be players who want to play more in football, but if a team is to be successful then players have to be available at different times.
‘I feel in this group we don’t have one bad apple.’
United went 12 Premier League games unbeaten at the beginning of Solskjaer’s reign, but cracks reappeared in the spring after an unlikely Champions League round of 16 win over Paris Saint-Germain.
The Red Devils lost five of their final nine league matches in 2018-19, with multiple players encountering hostility from home fans after a final day defeat by already relegated Cardiff.
United’s form dipped in 2018-19 after a thrilling Champions League victory over PSG
It is during this period that Solskjaer learned the most about his squad.
‘When you win, everything is easy. It’s when you hit difficult times that you can see who you want and who has the right mentality.
‘We didn’t see that until after Paris, when we went into a bad run.
‘That’s when I saw who I could build a long-term, successful squad around. You need some egos in football, but it has to be team first.
‘I could see more and more at the end of the season what needed improving.’
United midfielder Paul Pogba has been ridiculed by pundits during his lengthy injury layoff
Solskjaer made wholesale changes last summer, offloading 19 players. But he was criticised by some pundits for not selling midfielder Paul Pogba.
Injury has restricted the Frenchman to eight appearances this term, but former player Paul Ince says ‘his behaviour damages the rest of the team,’ and United should ‘just let him go’.
Moreover, Paul Parker believes it is time for the club to ‘move on’ from the Pogba saga.
Results have been mixed in 2019-20, and Solskjaer will undoubtedly look to make further changes to his ‘team environment’, but impressive wins over Chelsea and Manchester City before the sporting lockdown represent green shoots of recovery.
If the season is to be resumed after the coronavirus pandemic, Solskjaer will have FA Cup and Europa League glory left to strive for.
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