April 20, 2021

Man Utd

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Man United’s players sold by Solskjaer and what they really think of him

6 min read

It is fair to say Manchester United have seen plenty of comings and goings since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took charge of the club.

The manager has overseen a squad overhaul since being appointed permanent United boss, signing the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Edinson Cavani and Harry Maguire.

That has also involved letting players leave the club, with Solskjaer ruthless in moving on those he did not feel would be playing much.

Selling squad members can often lead to some bad blood, with the outgoing player disgruntled at a lack of football or not being given a chance to prove themselves.


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Yet, as shown below, a lot of United’s outgoing players have often spoken highly of their former manager Solskjaer.

Romelu Lukaku



Romelu Lukaku of FC Internazionale looks on during the Serie A match between FC Internazionale and Juventus

Lukaku opted to seek a move away from United in 2019, with Solskjaer granting his request.

After moving to Inter Milan, Lukaku has become one of the most prolific strikers in Europe, helping Antonio Conte’s side to go six points clear at the top of Serie A this season.

In a recent Twitter Q&A, the Belgian forward said he holds Solskjaer in the highest regard.

“You guys have to know I love him as a manager and as a person and I wish him nothing but the best,” he said.

Alexis Sanchez

Another player Solskjaer sold to Inter was Sanchez, with the Chile international initially moving on loan in August 2019 after a dismal 18 months at Old Trafford.



Alexis Sanchez of FC Internazionale during the Serie A match between SS Lazio and FC Internazionale at Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy on 4 October 2020. (Photo by Giuseppe Maffia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Alexis Sanchez left United on a permanent deal in the summer

It meant his time working under Solskjaer was limited to the back end of the 2018/19 season, yet during that time, the former Arsenal attacker retained the trust of his manager.

Speaking in 2019, Sanchez hailed the way Solskjaer had been able to improve the atmosphere at Old Trafford after the ill-tempered end of Jose Mourinho’s reign.

He said: “In the end, results in football make the difference and so we are happier than we were before.

“It’s not only on the pitch. In the stands, I see an even better atmosphere at Old Trafford.

“The fans trust us more and that’s very positive for everyone. It helps you keep on improving.”

Ander Herrera

United opted to let Herrera leave on a free transfer in 2019 despite his popularity at Old Trafford.

After moving to PSG, the midfielder appeared to hold no ill will towards Solskjaer over the decision to let him go.



Ander Herrera during his time at Man United.
Ander Herrera during his time at Man United

“I am a fan of Ole,” he said shortly after his exit. “There’s still a way to go to fight for the title right now because I think Liverpool and Man City, they are very strong right now, but I think Man United are on the way.

“They have made some good decisions and they’ve signed some players who can give a lot to the club.”

Chris Smalling

Smalling moved to Roma on loan in 2019 in a move that was so successful it resulted in a permanent stay in the Italian capital.

The defender has been critical of the way United and Solskjaer handled his initial loan, arguing it would have been nice for the club to have allowed him to leave earlier.

“I knew that my days under Ole were pretty much numbered,” he said. “I was just a bit frustrated.

“One, I would like to have been told earlier and then, secondly, I was only able to go with just a day left of the Italian window being open.

“The English window had shut. I was left in a very s*** situation. I had to decide. After I had that chat it was a case of, ‘I’m not sure when your next game will be’.

“In an ideal situation I would have known early in the summer and made plans and it almost got to the stage where I had a day left.

“My wife had just had a kid as well. There was a lot going on that happened at the last minute.”

Prior to his departure, Smalling opened up on Solskjaer’s manner at United, revealing the manager was not always so easy going.



STADIO FERRARIS, GENOVA, ITALY - 2020/11/08: Chris Smalling of As Roma during the Serie A match between Genoa Cfc and As Roma. As Roma wins 3-1 over Genoa Cfc. (Photo by Marco Canoniero/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Chris Smalling has opened up on leaving Manchester United.

He said: “I think Ole has got that sort of nasty side. I think every manager has that, the so-called hairdryer treatment when things need a little turnaround.”

Timothy Fosu-Mensah

Fosu-Mensah struggled for football under Solskjaer before leaving for Bayer Leverkusen in January.

Yet the young defender paid tribute to the manager on his departure, thanking Solskjaer for helping him to overcome injury problems.

He said: “Ole has been very good to me. I spoke with him because he had a big injury as a player so he knew exactly how I felt.



Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with Timothy Fosu-Mensah

“When I played against Crystal Palace after 16 months out he was very happy for me. These were very good moments.

“He knew I had the quality. I have no bad things to say about him because he has been very good to me.

“But Bayer Leverkusen is a very nice club with tradition, good people and good players.”

Matteo Darmian

The full-back departed United in 2019 after four years at the club, moving to Parma before joining Inter Milan last summer.

He only has good thing to say about Solskjaer as both a person and a coach.

“I can only speak well about Solskjaer, believe me,” Darmian said. “I would give him a long-term contract.



Darmian lifts the Europa League trophy

“He’s a very prepared coach and Manchester United has started this project, this journey, with many young players, many British players and they will continue with this project.

“Because of the person I got to know, I hope Solskjaer has success at the club.”

Ashley Young

United’s former captain departed the club in January 2020 after almost nine years of service.

Having played under Sir Alex Ferguson, Young revealed that Solksjaer was reminiscent of his former boss.



Ashley Young celebrates the Inter win

Manchester United updates



Henderson and McTominay celebrate at full-time

Manchester United secured a memorable 2-0 derby victory over Man City at the Etihad Stadium.

Bruno Fernandes and Luke Shaw scored the goals to clinch an unexpected, but empathic, victory for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s troops against the league leaders.

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“But it was like I said before, when he arrived it was like the boss had walked back through the door,” Young told MUTV. “When he gets down the business, it’s serious.

“At times in the dressing room, he’s had to lose it, and I think that’s right when things aren’t going well. You need to be told that.

“He’s got a nice side and a horrible side, which I feel you need. A lot is said about managers, but it’s down to the players at the end of the day.”

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