Man Utd players TURNED DOWN chance to be captain as sacked former boss slams ‘disease of modern football’

MANCHESTER UNITED stars turned down the chance to wear the captain’s armband, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed.

The former United boss lifted the lid on his ill-fated final season at the club in an interview with The Athletic.

GettyOle Gunnar Solskjaer has lifted the lid on his time at Manchester United[/caption]

PAHe claimed there was a ‘disease’ in football with players being told they are better than they are[/caption]

Solskjaer spoke about a number of topics, including the return of Cristiano Ronaldo, the club’s transfer strategy and his own return to football.

However, he also opened up on his relationship with his players by the end of his tenure.

The Norwegian was sacked after a 4-1 thrashing by Watford in November 2021, but he admitted his disappointment at the way some players perceived themselves.

He even revealed some players had turned down the chance to be captain.

Asked whether he felt the players had thrown him under the bus – as had been suggested by some of Solskjaer’s former team-mates – he said: “No. Not really.

“Some weren’t as good as their own perception of themselves. I won’t name names, but I was very disappointed when a couple turned down the chance to be captain.

“I was also disappointed when others said they wouldn’t play or train because they wanted to force their way out.

“There was stuff in the media after I left about how I treated some players, which were complete lies, but I had a solid, honest relationship with most of them.”


Solskjaer was succeeded at Old Trafford by Ralf Rangnick, who was originally meant to join in a consultancy role behind the scenes.

But things did not improve under the former Schalke boss as United laboured to their worst-ever Premier League season.

Rangnick didn’t hold back in his assessment of the club, declaring it needed “open-heart surgery” and a drastic overhaul of the squad.

Solskjaer attributed this to a loss of the collective mentality within the team, as well as the “disease” of footballers being told they are better than they are by agents and family members.

He explained: “The club he [Rangnick] found in November 2021 was different from September 2021. I told him when I gave my opinion on every player.

“Things had soured, the collective had been lost and that’s not Man United, where teams are built on the collective.

“Some players felt they should’ve played more and weren’t constructive to the environment.

“That’s a huge sin for me. When I didn’t start games I wanted to prove to the manager he’d made the wrong decision.

It’s a disease of modern football.

Ole Gunnar SolskjaerThe Athletic

“Now, a lot of players aren’t like that. Agents and family members get into their heads and tell them they’re better than they are because they have a vested interest. It’s a disease of modern football.

“We had a great group to work with by the end of the 2020-21 season. We got to the FA Cup semi-final in 2020 and the Europa League final in 2021.”

Now current boss Erik ten Hag is facing a mounting crisis with injuries, results on the pitch and player dissent.

It has also been revealed club chief Richard Arnold and owner Joel Glazer refused to green light a deal for Harry Kane after factoring in his age.

And Solskjaer has sympathy for the Dutchman, considering the off-pitch issues he is facing and the failure to land five of Solskajer’s own top targets.

He added: “I know what he’s going through. It’s a dream job, but it’s difficult.

“You’re dealing with humans with all their problems and backgrounds — this isn’t a computer simulation.

“But most are good professionals who want to do well. Some think about No 1 first, most think of the club.”

United visit Bayern Munich tonight for their opening Champions League group stage clash.

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