Former Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has criticized former players and claimed that re-signing Cristiano Ronaldo was a mistake. The coach made the assertions during a recent interview with The Athletic. It was his first in-depth discussion with the media since being fired from United nearly two years ago.

The Norwegian coach told the news outlet that some of his former players had inflated views of themselves. “Some weren’t as good as their own perception of themselves. I won’t name names, but I was very disappointed when a couple turned down the chance to be captain,” proclaimed Solskjaer. “I was also disappointed when others said they wouldn’t play or train because they wanted to force their way out.”

Coach claims Ronaldo signing ‘turned out wrong’

Solskjaer helped bring Cristiano Ronaldo back to the club in the summer of 2021. The Portuguese superstar made a return to Old Trafford after 12 years away from the team. While there is no doubting Ronaldo’s ability, many questioned the move, particularly as time went on.

“It was a decision that was very difficult to turn down and I felt we had to take it, but it turned out wrong,” said Solskjaer about signing Ronaldo. “It felt so right when he signed and the fans felt that at that Newcastle game, when Old Trafford was rocking (after Ronaldo scored twice in a 4-1 win). He was still one of the best goal-scorers in the world, he was looking strong.”

“When you have a group, you need everyone to pull in the same direction. When things didn’t go right, you could see certain players and egos came out.”

Solskjaer has empathy for current United manager amid issues with players

The news outlet then asked Solskjaer about ten Hag’s current position at the Red Devils. The current boss is struggling in his second season at the helm. United has managed just two wins in their opening five Premier League fixtures of the season. Although still early days, the club currently sits 13th in the top-flight table.

“I know what [ten Hag] is going through. It’s a dream job, but it’s difficult,” stated Solskjaer. “You’re dealing with humans with all their problems and backgrounds — this isn’t a computer simulation. But most are good professionals who want to do well. Some think about number one first, most think of the club.”

Solskjaer is set to start his new position as a UEFA technical observer on Wednesday. This allows the former manager to watch and analyze Champions League matches during the season. Nevertheless, the former United boss claims that he wants to get back to coaching soon. Solskjaer has not managed a club since departing the Red Devils in November of 2021.