London – Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hit back at criticism of his management style from former Red Devils striker Robin Van Persie, saying: “I’m not in medieval times.”
The Dutchman felt Solskjaer appeared too upbeat in the aftermath of the 2-0 defeat to Arsenal on New Year’s Day that left United five points behind fourth-placed Chelsea in the Premier League.
Van Persie said Solskjaer “seems like a really nice guy” but that the Norwegian needed to be more “mean at times” and “more angry” and added: “You need to have fear as well for your coach.”
Solskjaer, who is also having to handle fresh speculation surrounding the future of star midfielder Paul Pogba, said Van Persie was not in a position to judge his methods.
“I don’t know Robin and Robin doesn’t know me,” he said ahead of his side’s FA Cup third-round tie away to Wolves.
“He probably doesn’t have a right to criticise my management style and I won’t change. That’s definite. Robin took my number 20 (shirt) and that’s probably all he’s going to take from me as well. Because I’m not in medieval times.”
The “medieval times” remark was perceived to be Solskjaer defending his man-management methods, which appear far removed from the more autocratic approach of his old United boss Alex Ferguson.
Solskjaer was also asked about criticism of the club in general from Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola.
The Italian is reported to have told La Repubblica he would stop sending his clients to United, saying they would “ruin” even a great player.
Coming in the context of a fresh injury setback for Pogba, who will be out for three to four weeks after surgery to remove bone fragments from his ankle, the comments have been interpreted by some as Raiola seeking to engineer a move away from Old Trafford for Pogba.
“Paul Pogba is our player and agents are hired by players, not the opposite way around. It’s not ‘agents’ players’, it’s ‘our players’,” said Solskjaer.
“What me and Paul are talking about I don’t have to talk to you about. That will be between us.”
United travel to Molineux on Saturday to take on the team that knocked them out in last season’s quarter-finals.