Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hit back at criticism of the club in the wake of Sunday’s defeat to fierce north west rivals Liverpool, even insisting that the game was proof his team are heading in the right direction.
In reality, United were very much second best at Anfield and it was perhaps fortune that ensured Liverpool were not out of sight long before the decisive late second goal. There were chances for United to equalise, but the now 30-point gap to their foes tells its own story.
United legend Gary Neville took aim at executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and the Old Trafford hierarchy in the wake of the defeat, declaring that assembling a squad incapable of challenging for major honours on the world’s second highest wage bill is ‘unforgivable’.
“It’s unforgivable, it really is,” Neville said. “I can’t believe the investment that’s been put into the squad in the last five, six, seven years and you end up with that out on the pitch.
“If you don’t lose your job for essentially overseeing that investment, that wage bill, and putting that team out on the pitch then I have to say something is really wrong.”
But Solskjaer rejected the criticism, framing the Liverpool defeat as a significant success because it represented ‘strides forward’. It is a take that will definitely not sit well with fans.
“For me now, we’ve lost to Liverpool, a team that you [reporters] all say are fantastic and we’ve been in the game until the last kick of the ball. And for me that’s strides forward,” he argued at his latest press conference ahead of facing Burnley on Wednesday.
“Of course we’re disappointed losing the game. We don’t want to be behind them in the league, but there were signs that we are on the right track, definitely.
“Now is not the time to speak about recruitment. We’re always looking to improve the squad but for my mind now is not the time, Gary, to start this discussion.”
For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter and Facebook!