Tuesday 23 July 2019

'It is a different era' - Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on player power and why managers have to change

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Manchester United interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted a shift in player power in the modern game has forced managers to change their approach, as he suggested 'old school' management may now be redundant.

Jose Mourinho's efforts to enforce his authority at United appeared to backfire as key players turned against him, while Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane were also accused of failing to engage with their players in their final months in charge of the Republic of Ireland team.

Solskjaer appears to have lifted the gloom that was hovering over Old Trafford during Mourinho's final few months in charge and he has admitted managers need to adapt to a changed world since his days as a player.

"Times are changing," said Solskjaer. "I'm old enough to have worked with older players and older managers so I know that type of player and management school.

"But I'm young enough to see how it works now.  I've got kids - an 18-year-old - myself, and I have worked now with young players back home. It is a different era.

"I wouldn't say they are more powerful but it's different because with social media the society they grow up in - I sound so old now - it is such a different era.

"Now everything is just on Twitter, Facebook or whatever it is straight away. As long as it is not malicious (it's okay), that's just the reality we live in.

"They still have to have the values of a team. If players want to help the team, they deserve to be here. If they don't want to help the team, they don't deserve to be here. Those values and beliefs don't change."

Solskjaer's comments back up Mourinho's assertions that modern players no longer respond to an authoritarian approach.

"The club without the structure, which creates a situation where the player is not anymore in a situation of a direct relation with the manager, but instead a relation with the structure," Mourinho told beIN Sport.

"A club must have an owner or president, a CEO or director executive, a sports director or football director, and then the manager. And this is a structure that can cope with all the modernity that football brings us.

"For me the club must be very well organised to cope with these type of situations. Where the manager is only the manager and not the man that is trying keep the discipline and trying to get the players.

"Everything I was saying – it was not like 'your generation was perfect and the new generation is not perfect,'" Mourinho added. "It's just the way it is.

"When I was a kid, if my father told me to go buy a newspaper, I go immediately and the only thing I ask him is if I can keep the change.

"If today, I tell my son to go and buy the newspaper, he tells me, 'why?'"

"It's a generational change and I don't think it's fair to say one was good and that those professionals were all top and the next generation are all bad boys with a difficult situation to manage. It is not true at all.

"You have to share the leadership. It can no longer be unidirectional. You need the structure.

"And when I was speaking before, I was not speaking about my experience with Manchester United. I'm speaking in general."

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