Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is of the opinion that players are not more powerful than they used to be, contradicting claims by predecessor Jose Mourinho on Thursday.
Speaking publicly for the first time since his sacking from Old Trafford in December, Mourinho told beIN Sports that the balance of power has shifted at football clubs in recent times.
“Sir Alex Ferguson used to say the day a player is more important than a club, goodbye,” Mourinho said. “Not any more. The manager ought to be there to coach the players, not to keep the discipline at any cost.
“You need a structure to protect the manager and keep everything in place, so that the players do not arrive in a situation where they feel more powerful than they used to be… Everything good I did with players is not news any more. News in modern football is when you have problems.”
But Solskjaer believes the natural order remains, so long as the values of the team are considered sacrosanct.
“I wouldn’t say more powerful but it’s different because you know with the social media and the world and society younger players grow up in compared to what I did; I sound really old now but it is such a different era and now everything’s just on Twitter or Facebook or whatever it is straight away,” Solskjaer told a press conference ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash with Brighton.
“As long as it’s not malicious, that’s just the reality we live in. But they still have to have the values of a team, they want to have to improve because I have to say no one deserves to be in a better team than what they would give to the team, if you know what I mean.
“If they want to help the team they deserve to be here, if they don’t want to help the team they don’t deserve to be here. So those values and beliefs and principles don’t change.”
Meanwhile, Solskjaer has warned that the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez may have to get used to being part of a rotating front line as the Norwegian comes to grips with having six star attackers to fit into just three positions and Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard currently in favour for the starting spots.
“Lukaku’s a big part of the squad definitely, with his personality around the place. There’s no one scoring as many goals as him in training so I have the three that have played the most but then you have got Rom, you’ve got Juan [Mata], you’ve got Alexis, so I’ve got a front six there that I can rotate with. And Rom is definitely going to be playing games.
“I used to be one of four strikers when we played with two, and now we have six forwards and we play with three most of the time, so it’ll be ok to be able to rotate and there’s enough games and playing time.
“It’s about taking your chances when you get them and to be fair Rom has scored three already, but Marcus has scored four and Paul Pogba has scored four since I came so it’s up to the strikers to pip them.”
United will be looking to extend their six-game winning run under Solskjaer when Brighton visit on Saturday afternoon, with a 15:00GMT kick-off.