Bruno isn't the worst loser at Man United - I am, says boss Solskjaer

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's smiley public image doesn't always tally with the bad loser Manchester United players see behind closed doors.
Solskjaer takes his perfect record to Stamford Bridge on Sunday with United five points clear of Chelsea in their race for the top four.

The Norwegian has silenced critics who likened him to a P.E. teacher but still believes his competitive nature is underestimated by outsiders.

Midfield general Bruno Fernandes has earned comparisons with Roy Keane by wearing his heart on his sleeve in an incessant desire to win – and expressing irritation and frustration on the pitch.

In contrast, Solksjaer usually keeps a placid poker face in front of the cameras, an image he says can be misleading.

'If you are at Man United and enjoy losing, you are at the wrong place,' said Solskjaer.

'I don't show my frustration maybe so much as Bruno but I think maybe I am the worst loser at the club. You have probably not seen it but some of the players have.'

Solskjaer doesn't go out of his way to act tough but there is an inner steel about him that's starting to be appreciated with United unbeaten away from home this season.

He even backs Thomas Tuchel's right to take off substitute Callum Hudson-Odoi at Southampton last week which saw the Chelsea boss accused of being heavy handed.

'Managers live by results and if you feel something has to change, you change it,' said Solskjaer.

'You have got to make some tough decisions because at the end of the day it's down to results which are down to the manager. It doesn't really matter if it's someone who has played 75 minutes or 30 minutes.'

Having beaten Maurizio Sarri and Frank Lampard in three previous visits to Chelsea, Solskjaer now faces Tuchel whom he's met four times in the Champions League.

United famously beat PSG in the knockout stages in 2019 and Solskjaer knows his rival can spring a surprise.

'I can't remember if Thomas played the same way twice against us with PSG! He is one of these coaches who knows his football and is prepared for every game and opposition. We have to prepare for different scenarios.'

Solskjaer, who turned 48 on Friday, is already the 28th longest-serving of the 92 league manages despite this being only his second full season.

United appear to be reverting to the tradition of being a manager-led club again having turned over David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho in relatively quick succession, something not unusual at Chelsea who sacked Lampard in January.

Solskjaer doesn't consider himself fireproof – and stressed he didn't want to compare his own situation to how Chelsea run things – but Ed Woodward and the board have given the Norwegian time to build. The panic button wasn't pressed when United failed to qualify for the latest knockout stages of the Champions League.

'We had a very open, honest discussion when I came in and laid down my plans. The club made a decision and agreed with me some of the changes we had to make.

'Of course I am not going to say it will never happen that we change course, you need results and to see improvements, and hopefully we have proved to the club and fans what we want as a staff from the team and our players.

'I feel my squad now is more full of younger players that can improve. I have a strong squad, a deep squad. I can't say if it's going to be X amount of signings in the summer. We still look at players and it has to be the right one.

'We look at the squad every window and see what is out there, see what we feel we need.'

Edinson Cavani didn't join in training before Thursday's Europa League draw against Real Sociedad because of a muscular complaint leaving the Uruguayan unlikely to start at Stamford Bridge with Solskjaer saying: 'He is one of those who wants to train really hard before he plays.'

Paul Pogba last appeared three weeks ago because of a thigh problem and won't return until next weekend's Manchester derby at the very earliest. More likely is the start of next month after the international break.

It leaves Anthony Martial with another opportunity despite failing to score in 13 of his last 14 games.

The Frenchman has received abuse, racial and otherwise, but the United boss says the player doesn't read it.

'I am 100 per cent confident that Anto doesn't look through the social media, what people are saying about him,' said Solskjaer.

'I have had discussions with him about the latest abuse that he got, the racial abuse, and he had not seen it because he just focuses on himself, works hard.

'He knows he is going through a difficult patch but he knows that he will come through it because he has the quality to.'

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