Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed his “passion” behind the scenes at Manchester United after an extraordinary week of turbulence in the wake of the doomed European Super League.
The United boss had to deal with the fall-out from the Glazer family’s decision to sign United up to the ESL. Fortunately for fans and players the plans were quickly derailed when, one by one, the six Premier League teams withdrew. Ed Woodward then resigned as executive vice-chairman, in what was believed to have been a resistance to the plans. The Glazer’s then issued a public apology. However, they are unlikely to sell the club, as supporters have demanded in the wake of this week’s news.
A group of United supporters also gathered outside the Carrington training complex on Thursday, blocking both entrances. The move came in response to the chaos over the ESL.
“That’s football management for you. All the coaching courses and management courses you go on can’t prepare you for all these scenarios,” he told Sky Sports.
Solskjaer has revealed he prides himself on his relationship with his players and admits he has other coaches that are better than himself on the training field.
“I’ve never hidden the fact that I’ve got coaches who are better than me on the pitch. The main chunks of the sessions, that’s Kieran [McKenna], Michael [Carrick], Martyn [Pert] and Fletch [Darren Fletcher]. They do them,” said Solskjaer.
“But man-management is my passion. I’ve got other skills, of course, but you’ve got to look at what other people can bring to the table that you can’t. For me, to get the best out of every single player, by hook or by crook, by praise or by stick, that’s an art and a science.”
Speaking about the departure of Woodward, who resigned from his role at Old Trafford shortly after the collapse of the European Super League, Solskjaer said: “We’ve gradually built, layer by layer.
“John and Fletch, I speak to them daily. We’ve had a very close and very good working relationship.
“Ed Woodward brought me here, backed me and supported me, so of course it’s going to be a change for us all when he leaves.
“But we’ve had to move on before and, for me, we’ve got to move on again. Manchester United is always bigger than individuals.
“It seems like a historic period in football.
“It has brought fans together, coaches, managers. They have all let their voices be heard and we all agree that the outcome is good.
“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. 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.”
Ole hails Pogba, Shaw
Solskjaer also hailed Paul Pogba and Luke Shaw, insisting they are “unstoppable” when they are on top of their game.
“I’m quite strong and strict on discipline and fitness because it doesn’t cost anything to be the fittest version of yourself,” he added
“To work hard costs absolutely nothing. When you’ve got the talent of those boys and you are fit, you feel better about yourself, you play better and you do more.
“It’s quite simple but of course, you also need to speak to them, and you need to give them a role that can maximise their qualities.
“You need to allow them to grow and perform in that role in a way that makes them feel, ‘this is the best possible me’.
“Paul and Luke are two players who, when they play to their best level, are unstoppable at times.”