Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says it was unfair of Khabib Nurmagomedov to broadcast his private post-match discussion with Sir Alex Ferguson, which showed the former Manchester United manager question the decision to bench Cristiano Ronaldo against Everton. Ronaldo was surprisingly named as a substitute for United’s 1-1 draw two weeks ago and, in the directors’ lounge after the match, Ferguson told the retired mixed martial artist, Nurmagomedov: “You should play your best player.” The conversation was filmed and uploaded with sound to Nurmagomedov’s 30.9 million Instagram followers, who were able to effectively earwig on a private conversation involving Ferguson. Nurmagomedov was the latest high-profile guest of United’s as they maximise online engagement through their social media accounts and the invite backfired.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said: “I’m quite relaxed about it but, of course, it’s not really fair on the gaffer that something like this gets broadcast. You always have opinions and you speak to people, you speak to people in confidence. I disagreed with the gaffer quite a few times and I told my wife quite a few times that I disagreed with him but that never made headlines as a player. I’m sure Sir Alex knows that it doesn’t bother me. We all want to see Cristiano. We all want to, because he’s unique, he’s different, he’s had a career and everyone wants to come and watch him. But the plain fact of it is he cannot play every single game that we play, that’s just physical nature, human nature. But he knows how difficult this job is anyway, the gaffer. He didn’t always play the same XI. He took some risks at times to rest Ryan Giggs, Wayne Rooney or David Beckham, the best players that we had. Sometimes it works, sometimes it didn’t.”
Solskjaer’s former teammate Gary Neville suggested Ronaldo’s unhappy reaction to the draw, in which he mumbled in Portuguese as he headed towards the tunnel, applied more pressure on the United manager. Ronaldo was prone to despondent or petulant outbursts during his first spell at United and Solskjaer, a former teammate, was unmoved by his body language at full-time a fortnight ago.
Ole Gunnar Solskjae added: “No, not at all. I know him from before and if you lose two points later like Cristiano felt like there and then, that’s natural. I want my players to not be happy with a situation. I spoke to him before the game, spoke to him after the game and he was ready to come on when he was called upon. Unfortunately when we don’t win Cristiano is not happy and that’s a mindset that you want from every player. That’s absolutely no problem whatsoever.”
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