Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted that he is delighted with the progress of his squad since the end of last season, adding that he was happy to have dealt with some ‘personal agendas’ in the summer transfer window.
After an impressive start to life under Solskjaer following his arrival in December 2018, United soon found themselves in turmoil. Before the season ended, they had fallen to countless disappointing defeats, and the boss rarely shied away from suggesting he would sell some of his underperforming stars.
“I’d rather have a hole in the squad than an a**ehole,” he said. “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.
“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.”
Yikes. Shots fired.
It’s no secret that things weren’t great at Old Trafford last season. Recruitment was disappointing and player performances were even worse, but the desire to change that is a large part of why Solskjaer was hired on a permanent basis and why he wasn’t sacked earlier in the season when results were at their worst.
Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has always cited the club’s ‘long-term ambitions‘ as the reason behind his faith in Solskjaer, and the Norwegian responded by leading United on an 11-game unbeaten run before football was postponed.
The Red Devils currently sit fifth in the Premier League table, so they are well in the race for Champions League qualification, and they will hope to get back to Europe’s top competition when football makes its long-awaited return.