Solskjaer feels Reds will have right response
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says the Manchester United players have 'been in the trenches' together this week after so much media coverage reacting to the fall-out from the 5-0 defeat to Liverpool.
The Reds boss is demanding a response in Saturday's teatime kick-off at Tottenham, in order to rebuild morale following the loss against the Merseysiders, with games to come against Atalanta and Manchester City before the final international break of the year.
Ole appreciates it may be important to build a siege mentality in the wake of such fierce criticism and the best way to answer any questions is out on the pitch at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, scene of an excellent performance and 3-1 victory last season. However, he did lift the lid on what needs to be done at the club, whenever we find ourselves in situations like the current predicament, following back-to-back defeats in the Premier League.
"The players come in," said the boss at his press conference. "They're proper professionals, good players, good people. They come in and do their best. As I've said, the environment in and around the place here, we have loads of respect for each other.
"Sometimes when you come in for criticism like we do, you get into the trenches with your team-mates and that’s the reaction I’ve seen this week. This club with whatever we’ve been through before, it’s always about getting through with courage, togetherness, teamwork, self-belief and sticking together. This group has done [that].”
When asked about the effect the relentless media coverage has had on him, Ole admitted: “I think it affects everyone around, of course. I spoke about it last week, I think Mikel [Arteta] said something about what we have to deal with, managers in high-profile situations, it's what we've got used to.
“For me, I'm as focused as ever. I’ve come in and I’ve had players coming up to me. So for example, I don’t tend to read social media, but Paul [Pogba] came up to me angry, we expect to be criticised, hands up, the performance wasn't good enough, you expect to hear it from right, left, centre but we can't accept when lies are being made up.
“Paul came to me and told me what he's put on his social media account. We’re better than that as a group. The culture is better here, the environment is better. When it's blatant lies, they've got to stand up and say so. All the opinions and reports, fine, but don't make up lies about the players or me.”
United will be missing Pogba, through suspension, for the game against Spurs but, otherwise, Ole has reported a clean bill of health with Raphael Varane and Anthony Martial available again.
With the manager stressing it has been a good week on the training pitch, with the rare situation of no midweek fixture on the calendar, it will be a case of putting everything into practice in the capital, with a view to providing the perfect response to last Sunday's result at Old Trafford.