Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been under public scrutiny of recent with the latest coming from Robin Van Persie. Solskjaer wasn’t going to let it go as he has hit back angrily at Robin van Persie after the former Manchester United striker criticised him for smiling after the defeat at Arsenal.
Van Persie made the comment as a pundit for BT Sport after the Norwegian’s post-match interview at the Emirates on Wednesday night. Solskjaer bristled when it was brought up at his weekly press conference on Friday.
The United manager insisted that he won’t alter his approach and issued a sharp put-down to Van Persie, who inherited Solskjaer’s No 20 shirt at Old Trafford in 2012, five years after the Norwegian had retired. “I don’t know Robin and Robin doesn’t know me,” snapped Solskjaer. “He probably doesn’t have a right to criticise my management style and I won’t change.”
United boss also added, “Robin, he took my No 20 and that’s probably all he’s going to take from me as well… because I’m not in medieval times.” The final words were delivered as Solskjaer left the room, implying that he believes Van Persie’s views are outdated.
The Dutchman had said in the wake of United’s 2-0 defeat at Arsenal: “When I listen to Ole, he sounds like a really nice guy. I would like to see him a bit more mean at times just be angry. I see him smiling now after a game like that. This is not the moment to smile.”
They weren’t the only comments that demanded a response from Solskjaer on Friday, creating an unwanted distraction from this evening’s FA Cup third round tie at Wolves. He was also asked about accusations by Paul Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola that the problems at United are wrecking players’ careers.
“I wouldn’t take anyone there, they would even ruin (Diego) Maradona, Pele and (Paolo) Maldini,’ said Raiola. “Paul needs a club and a squad, one like Juventus was before.”
Asked if agents should be commenting on clubs, Solskjaer replied with a curt ‘no’ before adding he is likely to address the issue personally with Pogba, who had ankle surgery on Thursday after just two comeback appearances.
As if all the criticism is not enough, United’s problems have been compounded by an illness in camp. Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard were sent home from training on Friday.