Man Utd: Solskjaer responds to European Super League news
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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted Manchester United players were unhappy at the European Super League plot. The Red Devils were one of the founding members of the competition. But they withdrew following a huge backlash from fans and pundits alike.
Manchester United announced on Sunday they would be joining the ESL.
But, within 48 hours, the plan was dead in the water.
The Red Devils’ owner, Joel Glazer, apologised to fans with Ed Woodward also stepping down as executive vice-chairman following eight underwhelming years.
It’s been a huge story across the world and Solskjaer, speaking to Sky Sports, has now revealed how the players reacted – insisting they weren’t happy.
He said: ”They had a couple of days where I think their heads were going, ‘what’s going to happen with football? What’s going to happen with us?’
“Of course, it was difficult.
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“When we met on Wednesday morning, you worried whether the concentration was going to be there. You wondered what kind of session you were going to be able to do.
“But we let them play and compete, and they were fine.
“It took some time in the warm-up, maybe, to get their heads on training. But since then they have been as good as gold.”
Solskjaer admitted he was happy the ESL was cancelled, too.
“It seems like a historic period in football,” he said.
“It has brought fans together, coaches, managers. They have all let their voices be heard and we all agree that the outcome is good.”
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The Norwegian also touched upon his mentor, Sir Alex Ferguson, admitting he was trying to base his game around what he learned from the iconic Scot.
“We had a squad full of internationals and to get the best out of every one of them, to challenge them and challenge the group, you need to observe and learn what triggers them,” he said.
“Where do they come from? What’s their background? How can you get the best out of them?
“Sometimes there are players who you have to praise and cajole but there are other players who need stick more than praise because they can get complacent and lose their concentration.
“You have to help the players be the best possible versions of themselves, which will then make the team better.”
Another subject touched upon was Jesse Lingard.
The England international was down in the dumps a few months ago but has flourished since joining West Ham on loan, playing a key role in their surge towards the top four.
And Solskjaer insists United were right to let Lingard go.
“I don’t think anyone can perform at their best level if they are unhappy,” he said.
“This is not playing Football Manager on the computer. We are dealing with human beings.
“They’ve got a private life. They’ve got wives, they’ve got kids, they’ve got friends, they’ve got mums and dads who might be ill.
“There are so many things that you have to take into consideration as a manager when you pick a team. If a player doesn’t feel right, sometimes you’ve just got to sit down and listen to them.
“Sir Alex was the best at that. Even though Silje [Solskjaer’s wife] sometimes struggled to understand his accent when he rang, he still rang and spoke to wives and asked how I was doing and how she was doing. He’s a role model for me in that sense.”
The Europa League is in sight for United – and Solskjaer wants to win the trophy.
“We need to keep getting better at what we are good at, keep improving our weaknesses, and keep getting the relationships between the players more instinctive because we are a young team,” he added.
“We’ve added some good players and we are gradually getting to know each other.
“We want to come back strong when next season starts and get consistency because consistency is key for any team that is going to win the league. You cannot be up and down, up and down, up and down, within days or within weeks or within months.
“You will have a little wobble for two or three games but that’s the maximum. You cannot win the league without consistently performing at your best level.
“We’re a year older than last year and next year, again, we’ll have more experience. Hopefully we can finish this season with a trophy in the Europa League which would give us more belief and confidence.”
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