PA Images/INPHO. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Roy Keane.
# clearout
Solskjaer agrees with Keane that United need 'right characters' as Rashford criticises side
‘These are the same players who threw Mourinho under the bus and they will do exactly the same to Ole,’ Keane said last night.

OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER said he respects Roy Keane’s explosive assessment of Manchester United’s situation after their derby defeat at home to Manchester City.

Second-half goals from Bernardo Silva and Leroy Sane, with David de Gea arguably at fault for both strikes, earned City a 2-0 win at Old Trafford which sent them back to the Premier League’s summit.

In an appearance as a pundit on Sky Sports, Keane was highly critical of United’s performance, accusing midfielder Fred of “cheating” and claiming players “threw former boss Jose Mourinho under the bus”.

“These are the same players who threw Mourinho under the bus and they will do exactly the same to Ole,” the Corkman said.

“Leopards don’t change their spots. There’s too many bluffers at this club to get United back to the very top.”

Solskjaer has indicated he will embark on a long-needed clearout of United’s squad at the end of the season, with the initial new-manager bounce he provided having faded fast.

United have lost seven of their past nine games in all competitions and are three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea in the race for the last Champions League qualification place.

And Solskjaer accepted former treble-winning team-mate Keane may have a point about the problems at United, who have now lost each of their past three league Manchester derbies at home to Pep Guardiola’s City.

“With Roy I’ve always had a great relationship with him,” Solskjaer said at his post-match news conference. “And, how do you say, I value his opinion very highly and he’s got his opinion.

“We played together for many, many years and he’s a Man United guy, as well, he hurts just as much as anyone else connected to us, that we are so far behind City as we are.

“And that’s my job, to make sure when we come back for pre-season that I have the right characters in and around [the squad]. Because that should never be allowed.

“Because when you’re at Man United the spotlight will be on you, headlines, and you’ve got to make sure you come into work every single day with the effort like they gave today. That’s your duty.”

Striker Marcus Rashford criticised United’s mentality after their derby defeat and Solskjaer said players have to learn to handle the pressure of being at the club.

Manchester United v Manchester City - Premier League - Old Trafford Mike Egerton Rashford takes a tumble against City. Mike Egerton

“It was quite clear who the better team was,” Rashford said. “We didn’t play like Man United and the last few weeks it hasn’t felt like Man United. It’s not right.

“The bare minimum should be to work hard and give your all for the supporters and the badge. 

“It’s been a tough road to get to where we are, we weren’t expected to get to this position. But to not be putting in the performances from the beginning of January is disappointing.

“We need the mentality and willingness of running for your team.”

The Norwegian manager added: “That’s what you sign up for when you play for Man United – the expectations. Of course, the history, you can look back on that.

“But we are where we are now and as I’ve spoken to you [the media] about in the last few weeks, we have to take step by step and make sure we’re on the right track, and do it quickly.

“Because you can’t linger along for many, many years, because the Premier League is so competitive and you’ll suddenly be caught up by other teams.”

Defeat left United, in sixth, 25 points behind City in the table, with Guardiola’s men set to defend their title if they take maximum points from their last three games.

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