Solskjaer – ‘I’d rather have a hole in the squad than an asshole’
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has discussed the importance of personality in his Manchester United squad, insisting he would ‘rather have a hole in the squad than an asshole’.
The Norwegian has notably attempted to change the culture of the club since his arrival as manager in 2018, largely targeting emerging talent in the transfer market and allowing high-profile and underperforming stars to leave.
Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez were two of the leading names moved on last summer, and Solskjaer has spoken of his desire to remove players with ‘personal agendas’ from the Manchester United dressing room.
“I’d rather have a hole in the squad than an asshole,” Solskjaer told the United We Stand fanzine.
“Personality is so important. We’re a team in a team environment. You want players to have a bit of ego and edge but they have to be able to adapt.
“In March 2019, players were physically tired, mentally tired and we had injuries. The players started with negative thinking, whereas now it’s positive thinking.
“There were other things I didn’t like last year, some personal agendas which couldn’t be sorted out until the summer.
“There will always be players who want to play more in football, but if a team is to be successful then players have to be available at different times.
“I feel in this group we don’t have one bad apple.”
Solskjaer has revealed how the club’s poor run of form towards the end of last season provided evidence of the changes needed to be made, the Red Devils losing five of their final nine Premier League fixtures after a memorable Champions League win at Paris-Saint Germain.
That poor run of form followed an initial resurgence following Solskjaer’s appointment, though it was a period in which 47-year-old believes he learned the most about the ‘mentality’ of his squad.
“When you win, everything is easy. It’s when you hit difficult times that you can see who you want and who has the right mentality,” he added.
“We didn’t see that until after Paris, when we went into a bad run. That’s when I saw who I could build a long-term, successful squad around. You need some egos in football, but it has to be team first.
“I could see more and more at the end of the season what needed improving.”