You might not think Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would be criticised after getting Manchester United back to winning ways, but some supporters were unhappy that he selected a number of senior players against Leicester — prompting former defender Paul Parker to come out in defence of the manager.
United edged a narrow encounter against the Foxes and were far from impressive but came out with all three points in a game they were tipped to slip up in. The result was impressive considering the number of players who were out injured; but some fans were unhappy that Ashley Young and Nemanja Matic were called in to the first team.
Parker, however, believes it was sensible man-management from Solskjaer, who risked causing a rift with those senior players if he had opted for rookies with little first team experience.
“You have to become a good manager, a good coach and a good man manager,” Parker, speaking exclusively on this week’s WeAreTheBusbyBoys podcast, said. “Part of that is learning to get the best from your senior players and the most important thing is to ensure they’re happy. A lot of them aren’t, but he has to keep them involved.
“He will know himself from being a player that some won’t be happy but it’s about how you’re treated and how you’re respected. He was stuck with a tough decision but he got it right because the result made it the right decision.”
Parker explained that throwing inexperienced players in at this stage could have a hugely detrimental effect on their career at the club.
“If he bypassed the senior players and went with the kids, and then they lose and the kids get bullied, everyone might say because he played the kids it was alright, but that (it would prove) you don’t want to use them too much because they’re getting battered around if the results aren’t going,” Parker said. “If that happens and he goes back to his senior players they’ll mentally down tools for him. You can’t be like that, unless they’ve done something that disrespected the manager or the club. They didn’t, so he had to go with them and hope they would be professional and do a job. And they did. Just because people want them to play it doesn’t mean the kids will suddenly become ‘the class of 2019’, it doesn’t happen like that. People have to forget about the class of 92, it’s about what is happening now.”
Parker was speaking exclusively on the WeAreTheBusbyBoys podcast, on which he appears weekly.