London (AFP) – Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer vowed on Friday to “fight back” after his side’s humiliating 5-0 drubbing by Liverpool left him in a perilous position at Old Trafford.
The Norwegian boss has been under intense scrutiny since last week’s home defeat, which left United seventh in the Premier League table after taking one point from a possible 12.
At his press conference ahead of United’s trip to Tottenham, Solskjaer was asked if he had spoken to former manager Alex Ferguson since the Liverpool loss, and whether he believed he could emerge from the current predicament and be successful as his old boss.
And he said: “Yes, on both accounts. We had a commercial day, and Alex came to do some commercial stuff. I met him and spoke to him, just for a brief moment.
“I’ve been through some very bad moments here as a player and when I’ve been a coach and a manager as well.
“I’ve had to deal with setbacks, there’s probably been two or three crises at least since I became the manager here. One thing I can say is that I’ll always give it a good shot and fight back.”
Solskjaer also described a report that Paul Pogba, who was sent off in the Liverpool match after coming off the bench at half-time, did not speak to him afterwards and had put contract talks on hold as “blatant lies”.
– ‘Lies’ –
Pogba earlier this week tweeted an image of the report’s headline with the words “fake news” over the top of it, and the message “big lies to make big headlines”.
“We expect to be criticised, because hands up, the performance wasn’t good enough, you expect to hear it from right, left and centre,” said Solskjaer.
“But we can’t accept when lies are being made up, and Paul came to me and told me what he had put out on his social media account.
“We’re better than that as a group. The culture is better, the environment is better. When it’s blatant lies, they have to stand up and say so. All the opinions and reports, fine, but don’t make lies about players or me.”
Solskjaer admitted the days since the Liverpool defeat had been difficult but said his players had had a “good week” on the training ground ahead of the match at Tottenham on Saturday.
“We need a reaction and it’s my job to put the players in the right frame of mind,” he said.
“I’m responsible for the reaction, for the result, for the performance, and we’ve worked on the pitch.
“We’ve worked on everything that needs to be sorted for a footballer — and that’s not just one bit, it’s not just frame of mind, it’s game plan, tactics, technically. We’ve had a good week and I feel the boys are ready to give their best.”
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