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Highlights on Off The Ball


'Michael Carrick, Darren Fletcher should be embarrassed to still be there' | Paul Scholes on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Paul Scholes believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's staff didn't show him loyalty when he was fired from Manchester United.

Paul Scholes joined BT Sport ahead of the Manchester United-Villareal game to discuss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a lot of friends in national media in England.

Gary Neville openly refused to criticize his friend. Rio Ferdinand famously got behind Solskjaer as a great manager long before he should have. Even Roy Keane holds back his usual flamethrower comments when it comes to Solskjaer. Paul Scholes has never heavily criticized Solskjaer or called for his job, but he's come closer than most.

Scholes predicted the Liverpool debacle last month. After the Atlanta home win, everyone was excited but Scholes said the same performance would result in a 4/5-0 loss against a good team. So Solskjaer's side lost 5-0 to Liverpool in the very next game.

Now that Solskjaer is gone, Scholes surveyed over his time at the club and the future prospects for the team.

"He probably couldn't take us to that next level," Scholes said.

"He got us to second in the Premier League, which isn't bad. Numerous semi-finals. A final as well last year, but he just couldn't make that final step. I have to say it's difficult. You think of Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, there's a lot of quality in this Premier League.

"Whoever comes now, it's not going to be easy to get Manchester United to where they want to be."

Significantly, Scholes also points to Solskjaer's staff rather than just pointing the blame on him. Scholes argues that those taking over the team for the Champions League game against Villareal are as responsible as Solskjaer was for previous results.

"Will they be any better tonight? It's the same people running the team. It's the same people who'd been given massive responsibility to put that team on the pitch. Arguably it's more Kieran McKenna and Michael Carrick who'd been preparing the team. Ole gives them the responsibility to do that.

"Four weeks ago that Liverpool game, that was the time that we knew that Ole was going to go. It was plainly obvious. Then the people above had to prepare the next manager and batch of staff. I'd be almost embarrassed to be on the staff now."

Scholes thinks the staff should have been loyal to Solskjaer. He doesn't believe they should be in charge of the upcoming games. Instead, they should have left when Solskjaer did. Manchester United did not have a succession plan in place. Joel Glazer was not ready to remove Solskjaer, which created this scenario.

"I think they all should have gone.

"They were part of Ole's team. Ole trusted them each week to prepare a team for games. They've let the club down, they've let the players down just as much as Ole has."

Michael Carrick picked the team against Villareal. He dropped Bruno Fernandes in favour of Donny van de Beek. Dropping Fernandes is a huge decision that Solskjaer never made.

Mauricio Pochettino wants to take over at Manchester United. Pochettino is still the manager at PSG. But the French side will hire Zinedine Zidane to work with Lionel Messi and Kyliann Mbappe. If Pochettino takes over, Solskjaer's former staff might stay until the end of the season, but likely no longer than that.

Manchester United will be in the same place they are now at the end of the season if Pochettino can't force his way out.

That is unless they pull the trigger on a Brendon Rodgers or Erik Ten Hag out of nowhere. It seems unlikely at this early stage.

Mauricio Pochettino has the personality to bring back Manchester United glory days | Daniel Harris


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Read more about

Darren Fletcher Manchester United Michael Carrick Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Paul Scholes