Manchester United: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says some players need a 'reality check'

Mark Critchley
The Independent

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has warned some of his Manchester United players that they need a ‘reality check’ after a poor run of results of late.

United slipped to their fifth defeat in seven games on Tuesday night, losing 3-0 to Barcelona at the Camp Nou to be eliminated from this year’s Champions League.

Solskjaer’s only hope of qualifying for next season’s competition is a top-four Premier League finish but United currently sit sixth, two points off fourth-placed Arsenal.

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The Norwegian dismissed the idea that United’s form has suffered due to his appointment as permanent manager at the end of last month.

But Solskjaer did suggest that some members of his first-team squad needed to improve their attitude, reminding them that there is “no hiding place”.

“I’ve learnt a lot about them over the months I’ve been here now and you get to know them,” Solskjaer said on Friday, while previewing Sunday’s trip to Everton.

“Most of them, I have to say, have really impressed in their attitude. Of course, there’s some who need to get a reality check on where they’re at. But most of these know they can improve if they keep working as they do.”

Solskjaer added: “Every day in training, every game. When you’re playing there’s no hiding place. You can’t hide and everyone can see what your level’s at.

“We’re also working in training here with fantastic staff to create this culture that we want. You want players to take ownership over what’s happening here as well.

“It’s the performances on the pitch will determine where they’re at in their careers, whether that’s short term or long term.

“That’s what we spoke about at Barcelona as well. When you’re at big stadiums, you’ve got to step up, make good decisions and I’m looking forward to this period.”

Anthony Martial was one of several United players criticised for their performance at the Camp Nou on Wednesday night.

Martial signed a new five-year contract at the end of January but his form has tailed off in the weeks and months since.

Solskjaer refused to say whether Martial was one of the players he was referring to when mentioning a ‘reality check’, but said that he, Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku had standards to uphold.

“I’ve spoken to individuals and they know and Anthony is one I’ve spoken to. I’ve spoken to all of them individually [about] what we expect from them.

“Anthony’s got a massive talent, he’s signed a new contract and he knows we believe in him, so just keep on working.

“I think anyone that plays for Man United has to deliver, to stay in the squad and stay in the team. Anthony is no different to Rashy or Rom or Alexis [Sanchez] or the many forwards we have to choose from.”

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