A senior Man Utd star voiced his lack of belief in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the aftermath of their 4-2 defeat to Leicester City last month.
The Red Devils lost a Premier League match on the road for the first time since January 2020 when Brendan Rodgers’ Foxes romped to a thrilling win in mid-October.
Mason Greenwood’s stunner put Man Utd ahead, only for Youri Tielemans to equalise in similarly impressive fashion after captain Harry Maguire was caught out on his return from injury.
Caglar Soyuncu kicked off a wild conclusion when deservedly putting Leicester ahead, with substitute Marcus Rashford temporarily restoring parity before Jamie Vardy struck from the resulting kick-off.
Sub Patson Daka wrapped up a triumph that left Solskjaer – who left the club on Sunday – and his players involved in a dressing room inquest after the defeat.
The Athletic claim that at least one player addressed ‘the real issue’ once Solskjaer had walked out of the dressing room. The report said:
‘For some close to the team, Solskjaer’s reign had become a “circus” by the time United were limping away from the King Power Stadium on October 16.
‘In the dressing room following that chaotic defeat, where United got it back to 2-2 on 82 minutes only to promptly concede again before their hosts added a late fourth, Solskjaer asked his players: “What’s the problem?” Their silence in response told a story.
‘Eventually, Eric Bailly stood up and questioned why fellow centre-back Harry Maguire, with one training session under his belt after missing three weeks with a calf strain, had been picked to play rather than him.
‘Solskjaer is said to have become defensive, insisting that as manager he made the decisions. This caused confusion, given his initial request for feedback. When the manager left the room, Fernandes spoke at length, encouraging his team-mates. Eventually, a couple of them suggested any pretence should end and the real issue addressed. A very senior player is said to have quietly replied to that: “We all know what the problem is.”
‘While never becoming openly mutinous, a silent lack of belief in Solskjaer spread among the squad from that point, diminishing his authority. Bailly’s protest also speaks to a criticism of Solskjaer’s treatment of players. He has deftly handled Mason Greenwood’s development, offering patience when the young forward lost focus, but there are some on the fringes who feel misled.’
Last season Man Utd finished a distant second to Man City – 12 points behind in the Premier League – and lost the Europa League final to Villarreal after a marathon penalty shoot-out.
Speaking to MUTV after leaving the club, Solskjaer said: “I wanted us to take the next step to challenge for the league, to win trophies… but unfortunately I couldn’t get the results we needed and it’s time for me to step aside.
“Second place last season ahead of arguably one of the best teams in Europe (Liverpool), I think that’s a great achievement as well.
“And we were so close in Europe. Sometimes that’s the fine margin for you, one penalty.”
- Zidane ‘warming to’ Man Utd as ‘lure’ reels him in
- Maguire puts the ‘responsibility’ on Man Utd players for Ole sack
- Report claims Man Utd would ‘be forced’ to pay Ole £7.5m if he’s sacked