Soccer

Jose Mourinho’s ‘puppet’ verdict for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Man Utd remerges

Jose Mourinho’s prediction for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United could be coming true.

The sacked Portuguese boss has since taken up the top job at Tottenham after being replaced by the Norwegian at Old Trafford, but he had some words of warning before his return to the game.

Mourinho believed that his methods were not the issue for the drop in form at United during his third season in charge – blaming a sense of ‘erosion’ that the players felt as a result of pressure from the club.

He went on to suggest that no United manager would end up being successful if they were too much of a nice guy, stating that they could end up turning into a puppet for the club after a matter of months.

He told L’Equipe in May 2019: “Generally, the players can feel a certain erosion, especially when you ask a lot of them.

“When I say that the second season was fantastic, I say it because the potential and the objectives were met.

"I really squeezed, like an orange, to achieve them. When you have a very professional group of players who are ambitious, hard-working and talented, at a structured club, you don’t have that erosion.

“When you are almost alone, in that you don’t have the support of the club close to you, while certain players go somewhat against the coach, who is the nice guy.

“I don’t want to be the nice guy, because the nice guy, after three months, is a puppet and that doesn’t end well.”

When asked about the problems at the club, he offered a cryptic response by adding: “The problems are there, you can say that these are the players, the organisation, the ambition.

“I only say that I cannot say ‘yes’ when you ask if Paul was the only one responsible.”

Solskjaer is currently under pressure at United after a poor start to the new Premier League season, and he is quick to blame himself for his team selections when results don’t go their way.

Mourinho suggested that the coach will be the one to take the blame when players start dropping tools, mentioning that Paul Pogba’s form might have been part of the problem.

There has been little change on that front since his departure, with Pogba still out of form at United by feeling a sense of relief when going on international duty with France.

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