José Mourinho has appeared to suggest Ole Gunnar Solskjær has become “a puppet” at Manchester United, with the former manager admitting certain players at the club have too much power.
Solskjær’s promising start at Old Trafford after succeeding Mourinho initially on an interim basis in December was undone after United lost six of their 10 matches following the decision to reward him with a three-year contract at the end of March.
Mourinho insisted he had not been surprised by their struggles, which culminated with the home defeat to Cardiff on the final day, and took a thinly-veiled swipe at the “nice guy” who replaced him.
“Generally, the players can feel a certain erosion, especially when you ask a lot of them,” Mourinho told L’Equipe. “When I say that the second season [when United finished second behind Manchester City] was fantastic, I say it because the potential and the objectives were met.
“I really squeezed, like an orange, to achieve them. When you have a very professional group of players who are ambitious, hard-working and talented, at a structured club, you don’t have that erosion. When you are almost alone, in that you don’t have the support of the club close to you, while certain players go somewhat against the coach, who is the nice guy? I don’t want to be the nice guy, because the nice guy, after three months, is a puppet and that doesn’t end well.”