What Solskjaer’s former Man Utd team-mates have said about him

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Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer talks to Gary Neville.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under heavy pressure at Manchester United following their embarrassing 5-0 defeat to Liverpool

Initially appointed on a temporary basis in December 2018, Solskjaer was handed the manager’s job at Old Trafford after a few successful months and has enjoyed a rollercoaster reign since.

But the calls for him to be sacked have intensified after a stuttering start to the season turned into humiliation against their biggest rivals. We’ve collected what some of Solskjaer’s former United team-mates have said about the job he’s doing at Old Trafford.

Gary Neville

“In any other club, he’s in massive trouble tonight. In any other part of United’s recent history, he would have been in trouble,” Neville said after the Liverpool defeat. “But because of what happened with (Louis) Van Gaal and (Jose) Mourinho, it’s not going to happen.

“Mourinho was the best manager in the world when he came to United. The best manager in the world! And he didn’t do it here. (Antonio) Conte is available and I wouldn’t bring him into Manchester United. I wouldn’t.

“I don’t think he’s a fit. I might be wrong, they might bring him here tomorrow and I’d get behind him but I don’t think he’s a fit. We’ve seen a coach with a specific style like Louis van Gaal and it didn’t work here.

“I’m not saying there isn’t a manager who can come to United and do well and one day if Ole isn’t here I hope that happens but today, I personally feel it would be wrong to sack Solskjaer today.”

Mark Bosnich

“It was a disaster. There is no other word for it,” Bosnich told Sky Sports after the Liverpool game. “It was devastating. There was a time during the first half that it was ugly but I thought it was going to get to six, seven or eight.

“It is a very dark day, there is no doubt about it. He is an ex-team-mate and I want him to do well, but I don’t think he had any other choice than to say that (he is still the right man).

“If this continues there is no other choice for the board – we don’t know whether Manchester United have already approached people about the possibility of taking over.

“There are three tough games coming up – Tottenham away, Atalanta and then Manchester City before the international break.

“If they lose those three games, which right now is a massive possibility, I don’t really see there being any other choice.”

Paul Scholes

“He [Ole] will feel responsible for that,” Scholes said after the Liverpool game. “To be fair, I think when you’re playing against a team like Liverpool, the way the team was set up wasn’t quite right.

“I and a few people saw it on Wednesday night against Atalanta. Everyone got carried away a little bit with the performance in the second half from what was a first half that was really disappointing against a poor team.

“And we played exactly the same way against Liverpool which I found surprising and we got what we deserved really.

“Can he turn it around? I hope so. We played with Ole for years and he’s a resolute character. He came out fighting and at the end of the day, it’s only three points. You don’t get anything more, you don’t get anything less.

“It’s a little bit embarrassing but now he’s got to try and galvanise the team and try and find a way forward.

“I think we’ve got the players and the talent in the squad. Yesterday, yeah, you could say the gap was massive, but I think it was the way the team was set up.”

Rio Ferdinand

“It was an embarrassment,” Ferdinand said on his Vibe with Five YouTube show after the Liverpool defeat. “I’ve been there, we got beat 6-1 at home by Man City. But we had an identity to fall back on in a couple of weeks.

“This is the problem for this team, they’re struggling to find an identity and who they are. These are the questions when you watch the game, you think “what are we?”

“Is the manager giving the players the right information? And if so, are the players not taking on the information? That’s what the manager needs to get to the bottom of because at the moment it looks like a team just thrown together.”

Andy Cole

“I think at the moment, it hurts me to say, I think it’s a bit of round holes, square pegs,” Cole recently told Premier League Productions. “We’ve got loads of talent, and I mean loads of talent, but how do you try to fit all that talent in?”

Wes Brown

“I think it is too early to talk about anything like that [sacking Solskjaer],” Brown told the Daily Express before the Liverpool game.

“He has got some new players in who are still blending in and working out everything. I think the main thing for Ole now is just getting a little bit of consistency and pushing on that way.

“If someone has had three or four bad games it happens. If it wasn’t us, it will be someone else, that is just the way it goes, it’s football.

“Nobody wants it to go that way, but at the same time, we do have to push on and get a little bit of consistency. The squad is there now, Ole has brought three fantastic players in the summer who have boosted the squad.”

Teddy Sheringham

“Without a doubt, there is pressure on him this year to win something. If he doesn’t win something, he knows the writing is on the wall,” Sheringham told Sportsmail in September.

“They have made the big signings in [Raphael] Varane and [Jadon] Sancho. That would be enough but then Ronaldo becomes available, United acquire him and they need to see results now.

“Ole is still a young manager and he is gaining experience while on the job. At the top level he only knows United and that is a hard job to leave. I think he is progressing but he needs to take it to the next level.

“I think everybody is willing him to do well, they want him to do well because he is a Manchester United legend. That gives him some scope but you have to emphasise, he needs to win something. It’s not rocket science.”

READ: How Teddy Sheringham won over Man Utd fans as The King’s replacement

Dwight Yorke

“I find it frustrating when you have that sort of talent going forward, that you can’t push teams right back,” Yorke said recently.

“It’s just unbelievable. [Anthony] Martial can come on, [Marcus] Rashford still has to come back into the equation.

“We are a serious threat, this team going forward. You’ve got Bruno [Fernandes], [Paul] Pogba is included in that. You’ve got Ronaldo. I mean, what more do you really need?

“Unfortunately, everybody can’t play at the same time. I think we have enough to send shockwaves around the Premier League, and certainly Europe as well.”

Peter Schmeichel

“The problem Ole has is that in this world of quick fixes and fast news he has to win yesterday,” Schmeichel recently told The Times. “It has to be delivered now. But it’s not the real world. We stopped that development for a period and our competitors closed the gap then ran away.

“We have to catch them but I believe — in the way we have done in the biggest periods with Sir Matt [Busby] and with Sir Alex — that if you build and take time then you get it right for a very long time. That’s what I meant with that line about heart and soul.

“Liverpool, how long did it take them to get it right? Only when they found a manager who understood the club. Ole is there now and I hope he stays.

“But if there is a change in the next couple of years, I hope the club really does the due diligence.”

Wayne Rooney

“Cristiano [Ronaldo] is still one of the best players in the world and has won titles everywhere he’s been so he’s going to be huge,” Rooney said in August. “He still wants to be the best and I’m sure he will have a big impact on them this season.

“Ole will certainly know that he’s in a position now where he needs to start winning these big titles with the players that he’s brought in.

“For their development, to get to the next step now is to start winning titles.”

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte holds the Premier League trophy in May 2017.

READ: Comparing Conte’s PL record at Chelsea to Solskjaer’s at Man Utd

Mikael Silvestre

“Ole Gunnar Solskjær must win a trophy this season,” Silvestre told MyBettingSites in August. “For the players, the manager and for the club as it is in the DNA of Manchester United. They were so close last season with the Europa League and I’m sure they’ll use that as extra motivation for this year to push them over the line.

“The team has all the ingredients to win trophies and be successful, but it’s about turning up on the day and finishing the job. If they can have a season where they don’t suffer many injuries and can keep the team fit, then they can give it a good go.

“Ole Gunnar Solskjær must win a trophy this season and he’ll be aware of that.”

Denis Irwin

“There’s always pressure on the manager of Manchester United to go and win things,” Irwin told Daily Star Sport in August. “He came so close last year in the Europa League final losing on penalties and he’s had a few semi-finals in the last couple of seasons.”

“We’ve seen a lot of progression in the last two or three years since he came in. The club have shown great support for Ole and given him another contract because I think they can see what he’s trying to build.

“We’ll always be under pressure to win a trophy, but Ole is a clever man – he knows exactly what kind of pressure is on him.”

Jaap Stam

“Sometimes I text him, but I think Ole is doing a great job, even last season,” Stam said on the Off The Ball podcast following the League Cup exit against West Ham. 

“It’s not easy to step in there and immediately perform. The club came from a certain position and they’re trying to build it up, and Ole is contributing very well in doing this.”

READ: What 16 Man Utd players have said in praise of Solskjaer: ‘We love him’

Gary Pallister

“We hear that every year and we all thought he would get that one in the final against Villarreal,” Pallister told TribalFootball.com when asked if Solskjaer needs to win a trophy.

“I think if we improve on last year and edge closer to the title then I think that can be seen as an improvement. But the demands are very high at Manchester United and they haven’t won enough trophies in recent years.

“I’m sure Ole feels the pressure of that, but I will say this is the closest we’ve been to a Manchester United I recognise since Sir Alex left.

“He’s trying to bring in an exciting and attacking brand of football that is associated with Manchester United and has been missing for quite a while. I hope the club has patience with him and that he can see the job through.”

David Beckham

“You know, I’ve seen some of the criticism,” Inter Miami owner Beckham told ESPN in March of his fellow 1999 treble-winner.

“But I suppose when you are a manager at Manchester United and when Manchester United have had the success over the years that they’ve had, there was always going to be a point where people get criticised – whether it’s players, whether it’s owners, whether it’s the manager.

“Ole’s been in the game for long enough to be able to take any kind of criticism. He’s very quiet, he gets on with his job, and I think he’s done an incredible job down at United.”

David Beckham Manchester United. Old Trafford, May 2003.

READ: 17 of the best quotes on David Beckham: ‘True winners are relentless’

Nicky Butt

“Things are getting better and Ole has done a very good job,” Butt said in an interview with The Athletic in October 2021.

“There’s a lot of love for Ole from fans, but that only takes you so far with fans. The biggest challenge for Ole now is to go and produce — to win a title or trophies. He’ll know that deep down, he’s a very intelligent guy.

“It’s a business that needs to win and there has been huge investment into that business so it’s calling out to win.”


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