Monday 21 October 2019

'There will be consequences' - Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's passionate interview with Gary Neville ahead of the Manchester derby

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer demanding a response from his players against Manchester City (Martin Rickett/PA)
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer demanding a response from his players against Manchester City (Martin Rickett/PA)
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Gary Neville shared a dressing room for more than a decade, so it was no surprise that the Manchester United manager opened up to his old friend in a passionate interview ahead of the Manchester derby on Wednesday night.

Sky Sports pundit Neville didn't hold back in his criticism of the Solskjaer's players after their 4-0 drubbing at Everton on Sunday and as he sat down with his fellow Old Trafford legend for an extended interview, the pair were clearly eager to see a response from the United players.

Neville suggested the Manchester derby and the clash against Chelsea on Sunday are make or break for several high profile United star names, with their hopes of qualifying for next season's Champions League likely to be decided over the next few days.

It's a message Solskjaer and Neville have been keen to get across to the United players via their alternative platforms since the defeat at Goodison Park, with the United manager confirming he will make changes to his line-up as a result of Everton defeat.

"Of course there'll be consequences," Solskjaer told Neville. "We're not going to see exactly the same team against City.

"It's about a reaction, a response. We can't work on fitness - it's mindsets. I know the players; they're very good, talented players. Everton outran us, outworked us. We have to bring something different now.

"We know the quality of their team but our fans need to know we've given absolutely everything - tactically, mentally, physically, as well as handling the ball.

"For me it's the best game we could have. There's no hiding place. The world's watching. The whole of Manchester is watching. Liverpool is watching!

"Our players' pride has been hurt badly - my pride, the club's pride. The game is a great chance to put things right. We know we have a way to go to get where we want to be but it's a step; we can show the standards we want to have."

 

Solskjaer went on to reveal he staged a team meeting with his United players after the Everton game, as he insisted he expects a response from them.

"We spoke honestly at half-time and after the game," he added. "We know that performance is not acceptable if you want to get to the top where we think we belong. I can say only twice we've really let ourselves down this year in terms of performance - that game (against Everton) and the game against Wolves in the FA Cup.

"What disappointed me? More or less everything. We'd set the plan out. All four goals were avoidable but that's not where it went wrong.

"It was the application. You know that going to Goodison Park is going to be tough. You've got to fight for every inch, second balls, long balls, every challenge and they wanted it more.

"It's been difficult but you have to look forward. You have to think as quickly as possible through what happened and you have to focus on the next game because it's a big, massive game. Of course there are things that will happen and we'll change things but you can't do it overnight.

"I can see so many good things about this squad - things that we can improve on - and I have 100 per cent confidence that we can find the right players to come in and fit our mould of the personality and quality.

"You need stability, consistency, a long-term plan. Short-term results is always important because short-term gains make it easier to sell your long-term ideas. We want to find that identity within the group we have. You can't compare but Jurgen (Klopp) and Pep have been very successful in building a team over the years and I think everyone knows that part of the success is having time to build that continuity.

"The work, the ambition, the drive in the coaching staff - both short- and long-term is unbelievable. We're planning pre-season - we're planning to get fitter - and in terms of the squad we'll see where we feel players will be in two, three years' time because you have to have that long-term planning."

United need a positive result in the Manchester derby game to bolster their hopes of a top four finish in the Premier League, yet taking points off City could hand their rivals Liverpool a chance to seal their first domestic league title in 29 years.

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