“It just all seems too friendly to me.”
Paul Merson has criticised the atmosphere at Manchester United, suggesting that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is too concerned about potentially upsetting his players.
Merson believes that Solskjaer was “embarrassed” by Villarreal in the Europa League final for failing to react to the Spanish side’s changes, with the Arsenal legend hinting that Solskjaer’s hesitancy regarding substitutions boiled down to a desire to keep everyone happy.
Merson claimed that Solskjaer failed to take off Marcus Rashford out of fear of upsetting the forward and also put Fred on because he thought it was fair.
“Villarreal have got no legs in their team. They were playing for one thing only, in my opinion, and that was penalties, but Solskjaer brings on Fred and leaves Donny van de Beek on the touchline. Why is that? Is it because it’s the easy thing to do?” Merson wondered on Sky Sports.
Paul Merson on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
“Fred’s played a lot of games this season and does Solskjaer think he’s got to bring him on to be fair? And he doesn’t think he’s got to put Van de Beek on because he’s hardly played?
“It just all seems too friendly to me. It seems like he doesn’t want to upset anyone. Everyone is waiting for someone else to do something.”
Merson rejected any suggestion that United were gaining ground in the Premier League title race, claiming that Solskjaer simply appears to be happy to be in the job.
The Sky Sports pundit insisted that Solskjaer’s former teammate, Roy Keane, would not be willing to stand for what the Norwegian would at Old Trafford.
“They haven’t won the league for eight years now and that can easily turn into nine next year. It’s turning into a bit of a worry for United,” Merson continued.
“It’s a hard one because Solskjaer is great for the club. He’s nice.
“Could you imagine Roy Keane as manager at Old Trafford and the board saying we’re not going to buy anyone this year? He would go mad. He would kick up a stink and that is what a top manager would do.
“But with Solskjaer, I don’t see that happening. He’s happy to work with what he’s got. He’s grateful to be there.”