Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists he ‘enjoys’ criticism and has hailed Manchester United’s attitude as ‘spot on’ against Tottenham.
United returned to winning ways with a convincing 3-0 win at Spurs on Saturday evening, goals from Cristiano Ronaldo, Edinson Cavani and Marcus Rashford ending a four-game winless run and relieving some of the pressure on Solskjaer.
The Norwegian had come under-fire following the Red Devils’ indifferent recent performances, culmination in the 5-0 defeat at home to Liverpool last weekend.
Solskjaer saw his side bounce back with a strong performance in the capital and has praised the attitude of his players following the win at Spurs.
“The attitude was spot on,” he told his pre-match press conference ahead of then Champions League trip to Atalanta tomorrow.
“The players want to play, nobody is happy when they don’t. It is the team before any individual.”
United altered their formation for the win at Spurs with Solskjaer opting for three central defenders, keeping only their second clean sheet in 21 fixtures across all competitions.
Solskjaer discussed the tactical change – which saw Raphael Varane return from injury – and says his squad has the personnel to be adaptable to ‘different systems’, but said the ‘execution’ was more important than the system itself.
“We have players to play many different systems,” he said. “We felt to get control of the game we needed to play that system. But the execution is more important than the system. The reaction was more important.”
Solskjaer also spoke on his desire to greater consistency amid a ‘relentless’ fixture schedule, before speaking on the recent criticism of his side and how he enjoys the pressures of the job.
“We know when we get consistency we will get results and performances. We will keep focusing on what we did well. [The schedule] is relentless. It is a chance tomorrow to prove we can go again,” he said.
“Criticism can make you doubt yourself or you can stand up for yourself. I enjoy criticism. Keep it coming. It is their job to give their opinion. I am not here to fight with them.”
United’s win at Spurs on Saturday proved the final fixture of Nuno Espirito Santo’s reign at the North Londoners, with the Portuguese coach sacked after a run of five defeats in seven fixtures.
Solskjaer sympathised with the departed coach following the news of his exit, admitting it is ‘never nice’ to see a Premier League counterpart dismissed.
“It’s never nice to see good men lose their jobs,” Solskjaer said on Nuno.
“I don’t know the situation at Tottenham but as a colleague you are never happy when that happens. You try to get in touch with him and tell him your feelings.”