Solskjaer pinpoints ‘petty’ tactic Manchester United stars employed to avoid accountability

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reveals that several Manchester United stars were unwilling to step up when needed

The Ole Gunnar Solskjaer era as manager at Manchester United came to an unceremonious end and it would appear that the Norwegian had several issues to deal with at Old Trafford. The Red Devils ace took over from Jose Mourinho in 2018 originally as a caretaker before earning the job on a permanent basis.

His time at the Theatre of Dreams had its highs and lows. The former failed to materialise into silverware but captured the imagination of the Red Devils fanbase and acted as a reminder that we might not be too far off the top as imagined.

However, the Norwegian was sacked in 2021 following a poor run of results. He has now shed inhibitions and has given us a candid look at the issues he dealt with behind the scenes in a bare-all talk on The Overlap via YouTube.

One revelation especially showed the rot that runs deep, especially in the playing squad. Sir Alex Ferguson’s success at Old Trafford was not just built on his charisma and spirit but also on the back of several leaders who fought for the badge on the field.

Solskjaer has now revealed that some players refused to step up as leaders when needed and flat-out refused to take the armband. Rather than come out and admit it themselves, they made sure that the message got through to the manager via his coaches.

Addressing the issue, the Norwegian admitted that such antics showed not just ‘petty’ but also lacked ambition.

“They didn’t want to say it themselves, they had other people come up to me and say it. It was disappointing. It’s a different generation, it’s Gen Z. It’s petty and shows a lack of ambition.”

“1. It was petty, 2. It showed they lacked cojones”

Solskjaer’s remarks were made in the presence of two other Manchester United greats- Roy Keane and Garey Neville. Alongside the Norwegian, the duo are also used to seeing players stepping up for the club, rather than taking on the passive approach we see today.

It is fair to say that this shift in attitude has played a key role in our decline. One only has to take a look at how Manchester City and Liverpool function to understand the importance of players who take accountability for their actions.

Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola’s sides adapt and learn on the field, making snap decisions on the spot. It is no surprise that they have dominated the domestic scene for the last few years. Given how our current crop are playing under Erik ten Hag, it is fair to assume that the act of not turning up has not been entirely eradicated.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reveals that several Manchester United stars were unwilling to step up when needed .
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was not backed well by his players. (Photo by Peter Powell – Pool/Getty Images)

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United’s problems do not just in poor recruitment and squad building but also at the shift of mentality at the club. Leaders on and off the field are needed and it remains to be seen even if the likes of Bruno Fernandes have it in them to drag a side that appears rudderless over the line. Wearing the armband is easy enough, but to rise as a leader takes something else. As things stand, that bottle appara empty at Old Trafford.