Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has demanded a reaction from his Manchester United players and has compared the club’s ‘punch drunk’ display against Liverpool to Tyson Fury.
Manchester United were thrashed 5-0 in an embarrassing home defeat to Jurgen Klopp’s side last weekend, the club’s heaviest ever defeat to their Merseyside rivals and the first time the Red Devils have conceded five without scoring at Old Trafford since 1955.
The defeat has increased the pressure on Solskjaer’s position as manager and extended the club’s winless run to four fixtures, with the Norwegian insisting his side must produce a reaction ahead of this weekend’s trip to Tottenham.
“We need a reaction. It’s my job as well to put the players in the right frame of mind,” Solskjaer told his pre-match press conference.
“I am responsible for the reaction, for the result, for the performance and we have worked on the pitch and worked on everything that needs to be sorted. That’s not just one bit.
“It’s not just frame of mind. It’s the approach into the game, it’s strategy, game-plan, tactics, technically. We have had a good week and I feel that the boys are ready to give their best as they always do. Of course the performance… nothing went to plan and that was nowhere near our best.”
Solskjaer has urged his players to stick together amid the criticism faced this week, demanding ‘togetherness and self-belief’ from the Red Devils ahead of a testing trip to Spurs.
“When you come in for criticism like us, you go into the trenches with your teammates.
“That’s the reaction I’ve seen this seen, whatever this club has been through before, it’s always about getting through it with courage, togetherness and self-belief.”
Solskjaer assessed his side’s defeat last weekend to heavyweight boxer Tyson Fury’s recent world title defence, comparing Naby Keita’s fifth-minute goal at Old Trafford to an early knockdown in a championship fight.
🗣 "The proper players, professionals, come in and do their best."
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says the Manchester United squad have stuck together after the difficult week pic.twitter.com/EJSnVE92Xv
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) October 29, 2021
Fury was twice knocked down in fourth round of his recent fight with Deontay Wilder, before getting up and going on beat the American with an 11th round knockout.
Solskjaer believes his side were to frantic following the early setback of Liverpool’s opener and has called for his players to follow Fury’s example in showing greater calm in the face of adversity.
“Of course you have to hold our hands and that performance is not acceptable,” he said. “You have to look at why it went as it did. I used the analogy of it feeling like we were a boxer, punch drunk, knocked down in the first four minutes.
“We had a chance, we conceded a goal and we wanted to sort it out and went a bit too open, too frantic against a good team. You see Tyson Fury when he gets knocked down a couple of times. It’s remarkable how calm and composed he is when the count gets to six, seven, eight and he gets up and he’s ready to go again.
“Maybe we got up too early. Minds have to be better and we have had to look at different things as well and you have to be upfront and honest and the communication has to be direct.”