Speaking on BT Sport, former Manchester United striker Robin van Persie has delivered his verdict on what he wants to see Ole Gunnar Solskjaer do.
The Red Devils fell to a disappointing 2-0 defeat to rivals Arsenal on Wednesday night, a result that saw them fail to capitalise on the likes of Chelsea and Tottenham both dropping points in the race for the top four. And having enjoyed a fine December that saw them head into the New Year with wins over Newcastle and Burnley respectively, United may have been confident of getting all three points against the Gunners.
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Instead, in an uninspiring performance, they had just four shots on target and lost possession 134 times – 17 times more than the north Londoners. And speaking after the match, Van Persie appeared critical of the way in which Solskjaer conducted himself in his post-match interview.
He said (as quoted by The Manchester Evening News): “When I listen to Ole, he sounds like a really nice guy but I would like to see him with a bit more energy, sometimes angry. It’s part of his job sometimes. I see him smiling now after a game like that. This isn’t a moment to smile.”
Whilst it may sound like such a trivial point, Van Persie certainly has a valid point. The ‘Nice Guy’ act that Solskjaer appears to be putting on can unintentionally have an adverse effect on his players, who may see it as a sign of weakness. Even though not everyone is inclined to being throwing teacups around when they’re in a mood, the Norwegian could do with some brutal honesty in front of the cameras.
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No more protecting players, or acting all ‘pally’ with them. Laying down a marker by admitting that he wasn’t impressed by what he saw, or calling out individuals who deserve a rollicking. A change in approach would perhaps garner a greater respect from his squad, and ensure that they don’t slack off.