Red Devils are 'a great group'

Solskjaer leaps to team's defence after Keane says players are 'nowhere near good enough'

Harry Maguire.
Harry Maguire.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has insisted he is satisfied with the options available for every position in his squad, after former captain and teammate Roy Keane derided the current players as "nowhere near good enough".

After the Red Devils lost 1-0 to Arsenal at Old Trafford on Sunday, the pundit said: "Ole will lose his job working with these players - that's what is going to happen."

United have now suffered defeats in three of their opening six Premier League matches and sit 15th in the table but Solskjaer still believes he has enough quality to turn things around.

"Roy has always been outspoken. I'm very glad that I've got the players that I have here with us," Solskjaer told reporters at his virtual prematch press conference before they travel to Istanbul Basaksehir for their Champions League Group H tie today.

"We've got different jobs. Roy's job is to give his opinion. I always listen to Roy but we move on here with a great group of players, a strong group of players.

"I'm sure we'll see a response."

United skipper Harry Maguire was equally protective of his teammates at the same press conference yesterday, claiming "we don't bring the negativity into the place, we stay positive".

On Keane's criticism, the England defender said: "I haven't seen his comments.

"But we don't look at what's happening, especially after a negative result... I can say, for sure, there are a lot of leaders in this squad.

"I'm the captain, I've got a lot of leadership around me as well, staff and players. So, for sure, there are a lot of leaders in this squad.

"Obviously, as the captain I focus more on the team than the individual.

"Since (losing 6-1 to Tottenham), we've been really good and not conceded many chances at all. We feel like we're on the right track and we've got the balance right. The main thing is... coming into training each day, trying to improve. We want to be consistent."

Solskjaer also defended Paul Pogba's recent on-field struggles, saying the Frenchman remains on the right path to finding his best form at United.

He conceded a penalty on Sunday - the third time he has done so since Solskjaer has been in charge - leading pundits to question his future, especially after a disappointing injury-hit 2019-20 season.

However, the Norwegian still feels the French World Cup winner will come good, saying: "Every player is frustrated after the defeat. We need consistency from every one of our players.

"Paul has had a difficult period with injury, with Covid (he was infected earlier this term), so I think we have seen plenty of positives."

Despite their poor domestic run, United are enjoying a bright start in the Champions League, winning their opening two matches against last season's finalists Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig.



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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 04, 2020, with the headline 'Red Devils are 'a great group''. Subscribe