Solskjaer defends his coaching staff amid criticism

Manchester United’s lack of a clear identity has come under the spotlight recently.

That meant that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was asked to assess the performance of his coaching staff ahead of the Champions League clash with Atalanta.

United often look like a team who are not micro-managed in the same way other elite English clubs are.

But Solskjaer told his pre-match press conference – streamed at 1.30pm on the club’s official website – how pleased he is with his coaching staff.

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“Every team will go through a patchy period and we’re in one now. We hold our hands up and know we need to improve. We’ve come through it stronger,” said Solskjaer when asked about his coaching staff.

“As I’ve said so many times, the coaching staff that we’ve got are absolutely amazing.

“Their attention to detail, the sessions they put on, the preparations they do – I don’t think I can ask for better staff.

“They’re good, Man United people with one intention in mind; help the team and improve the players. We go through difficult times together and we’ve spoken as a group about what we need to do. Hopefully the reaction will come tomorrow.”

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Assistant manager Mike Phelan’s contract was recently renewed, in what was a show of faith in Solskjaer from the board.

Kieran McKenna and Michael Carrick are reportedly in line for new deals too.

But United do not have a clear style of play which underpins everything they do. There is not a clear philosophy from Solskjaer.

Solskjaer has defended his coaching staff but McKenna and Carrick are young coaches and perhaps a more experienced, technical coach is needed alongside Phelan.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.