EXCLUSIVE: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told Man United stars to ‘fight’ in a do-or-die rallying cry after their Liverpool humiliation, urging them to stick together, with him as boss, in a dressing room call to arms
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s role as Manchester United manager appears uncertain
- But he has told his players that they need to fight back together this week
- United were mercilessly crushed 5-0 by Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer warned his players to brace themselves for a week of intense external pressure as he issued a heartfelt rallying cry to his disgraced Manchester United players following the embarrassing loss to Liverpool.
In the aftermath of the 5-0 humiliation to their deadly rivals, sources claim United boss Solskjaer, who is facing growing doubts from within his squad over his suitability as head coach, was just as stunned as anyone in the confines of the team’s Old Trafford dressing room after the full-time whistle.
But Solskjaer, it is understood, did call on his players to ‘fight’ their way back from one of the darkest days the club has suffered in their illustrious history.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under intense pressure after Liverpool beat Manchester United 5-0
There are growing concerns in the United squad that Solskjaer is not up to the job
Insiders have revealed Solskjaer warned his players to prepare for days of major criticism following the capitulation – but said the only way they would come through is by sticking together and responding.
‘It was made clear to the players that they all, including the manager, would get battered this week’, said the source.
‘But the message was that the team either fights each other or fight back together.’
Whether the Norwegian’s impassioned plea is enough to muster a response from his players remains to be seen.
United travel to Nuno Espirito Santo’s Tottenham on Saturday, where defeat would pile huge pressure on either manager, evening before a trip to Atalanta on November 2. Solskjaer’s side then face champions Manchester City in the derby on November 6.
Three positive results will ease the pressure and scrutiny on Solskjaer’s position – but the United boss will have to guide the club through its latest crisis amid significant misgivings about his coaching attributes from within his squad.
Solskjaer is believed to have told his United side they fight each other or fight back together
A number of United players feel they were not prepared for a pressing game before Liverpool
There is a concern among senior members of the squad that Solskjaer is not up to scratch tactically, certainly in comparison to other top managers in the managers in the Premier League.
Having asked his players to implement a pressing style against Jurgen Klopp’s side at the weekend, a number of players believed the team were not prepared to play in that way because they had not particularly focussed on the tactic in training in the days leading up to the game.
Assistant coach Kieran McKenna has played a more influential role in training this season – but it appears clear that the players – at least in terms of trying to playing a pressing style – are not responding.
Indeed, there is a growing acceptance from a number of players that the club’s fortunes on the pitch, which ultimately means winning trophies, is unlikely to improve while Solskjaer remains in charge.
United return to Premier League action in Saturday’s late kick-off away to Tottenham
Solskjaer has warned his players that they will get ‘battered’ in the build up to Tottenham
United were 4-0 down at half-time against Liverpool on Sunday, and sources claim the message from Solskjaer ahead of the second half was for his players to keep a clean sheet in the second half. Salah completed his hat-trick within five minutes of the restart.
There is said to be no animosity towards Solskjaer, not something that can be said about some of the head coach’s predecessors in the post Sir Alex Ferguson era.
But it is claimed there is an increasing feeling that the club will not revisit their former glories while the Norwegian is in charge.