By Conor Laird Published: November 8, 2021 11:15 pm
Last Updated: November 8, 2021 11:23 pm
The pressure on Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has continued to mount on Monday, as a pair of the club’s former stars speak out over the Norwegian’s situation at Old Trafford.
‘Might be the time…’ First up comes Rio Ferdinand.
Red Devils icon Ferdinand is of course a former teammate of Solskjaer, having lined out alongside the club’s current boss for five years from 2002 to 2007.
Even the 43-year-old, though, a long-time vocal supporter of Solskjaer’s, has now begun to express his doubts.
Speaking on the Rio Ferdinand Presents Five Youtube channel this evening, Ferdinand first revealed his concerns with the United manager’s ‘philosophy’, or rather lack thereof:
‘I sit here now and I don’t think we can challenge to win this league. I look at our team every week and I’m wondering what we’re going to do tactically, I don’t see any philosophy or identity in the United way of playing, whatever that should be from the management and I sit here confused looking at the team.’
‘When you look at it like that with the transfer window we had… we were all sitting here excited thinking, “Wow! This is where we’re meant to be!’
‘But Ole was brought in with the remit to get us back to a point, a moment where you think he’s brought some foundation back. At the end of the season we were thinking: “Yes, that’s it!’
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 25: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Manager of Manchester United with Bruno Fernandes after the Premier League match between Manchester United and Aston Villa at Old Trafford on September 25, 2021 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Perhaps most significant of all, though, was the former English international’s admission that perhaps the time has come ‘for the baton to be handed to somebody else’:
‘I was always deep down a bit sceptical, could he [Solskjær] take us on to be champions? I wasn’t fully convinced – I wasn’t sure he could do that.’
‘The showing with the squad that he [Solskjær] accumulated, to the beginning of this season – and what I’ve seen this season – I just feel it might be about the time now for the baton to be handed over to somebody else who can take us on now.’
‘Taken the p**s’ As outlined above, however, Ferdinand is not the only ex-Manchester United star to have made his concerns with the situation on the bench at Old Trafford crystal clear on Monday.
Joining the one-time defensive stalwart in criticising Solskjaer this evening has been Paul Ince.
The gripes of midfielder Ince, who departed the Theatre of Dreams the year prior to Solskjaer’s arrival, however, surround his treatment of Donny van de Beek.
Dutch international van de Beek has of course endured another hugely disappointing opening to the campaign, amid struggles to establish himself as first-choice in the United boss’ midfield ranks.
And Ince is evidently one who feels as though VDB has been hard done-by across his stint in Manchester to date, with the late-game cameos afforded to the 24-year-old in the Reds’ last two outings having culminated in the suggestion that, at this point, Solskjaer is simply ‘taking the p**s’ out of a player whom he pushed hard to bring to the club in the first place:
‘Donny van de Beek gets four minutes against Atalanta. What worries me is the choices Ole makes,’ Ince explained to the United Stand podcast.
‘This is a player who Ole said, ‘come to Old Trafford, you’re going to start in my team, you’ll cost £40million, you’re going to be the centre hub of the midfield’.’
‘This is what he said and Donny thought, ‘f*** me, this is my dream, this is what I’ve been waiting for’.’
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 24: Donny Van De Beek of Manchester United reacts during the UEFA Champions League Group H stage match between Manchester United and İstanbul Basaksehir at Old Trafford on November 24, 2020 in Manchester, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
‘Two years [sic] down the line he’s on the bench. Ole’s actually taken the p*** out of him.’
‘Not only has he taken the p*** out of him, he gives him four minutes against Atalanta and then goes, ‘oh by the way, here’s your chance, go and have 10 minutes against Manchester City where we’ve not touched the ball for 85 minutes and show me what you can do’.’
‘If I’m Donny van de Beek I would’ve said, ‘f*** that, I’m not going on now, you want me to go on for 10 minutes when we haven’t touched the ball for 88 minutes?’
‘Now you’re taking the p*** out of him even more. It’s decisions like that baffle me, they really do. I don’t understand’
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