Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has declared he’d prefer a gap in his squad over an “asshole” as he alluded to “personal agendas” that held the club back last season.
Solskjaer oversaw a significant squad overhaul heading into this season with the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling all departing Old Trafford.
In their place has arrived Harry Maguire, Bruno Fernandes and Odion Ighalo, with all three impressing since signing on.
With Solskjaer’s side now back in training following the coronavirus pandemic, he has stressed the importance of a good team environment, noting that any players with personal agendas aren’t welcome.
“I’d rather have a hole in the squad than an asshole,” Solskjaer told United We Stand.
“Personality is so important. We’re a team in a team environment. You want players to have a bit of ego and edge but they have to be able to adapt.
“In March 2019, players were physically tired, mentally tired and we had injuries. The players started with negative thinking, whereas now it’s positive thinking.
“There were other things I didn’t like last year, some personal agendas which couldn’t be sorted out until the summer.
“There will always be players who want to play more in football, but if a team is to be successful then players have to be available at different times.
“I feel in this group we don’t have one bad apple.”
After a strong start to life as manager at Old Trafford, Solskjaer suffered a form slump at the tail end of last season but he looks back on those results now as a crucial learning curve.
“When you win, everything is easy. It’s when you hit difficult times that you can see who you want and who has the right mentality,” he said.
“We didn’t see that until after Paris, when we went into a bad run. That’s when I saw who I could build a long-term, successful squad around. You need some egos in football, but it has to be team first.
“I could see more and more at the end of the season what needed improving.”
Manchester United were sitting fifth before the Premier League season was suspended due to Covid-19 with the competition now aiming to restart in June.