Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insisted Manchester United will not be divided by outsiders following reports Bruno Fernandes had lost faith in him.
United suffered a 6-1 thrashing at the hands of Tottenham at Old Trafford in their final game before the international break, with Fernandes substituted at half-time after the Red Devils were reduced to 10 men.
Asked about the situation while on international duty, the Portugal midfielder denied suggestions of a rift with Solskjaer, suggesting such claims were intended to “destabilise” the group.
Solskjaer was proud of the response from Fernandes and insisted the team will remain united in the face of criticism.
“It’s one of those things. You have to get over it as soon as you can and move on,” Solskjaer said of the defeat to Tottenham.
“We know that any little chance from outside you want to create a division. I think Bruno spoke really well the other day about, ‘We are united, we have to stay together’. We can’t listen to everyone outside, we’ve got to just get on with it.
“Bruno has now lost two league games and he came to the club in February, but it’s been two in quick succession so he’s not used to losing league games.
“But now Bruno, welcome to United, this is what happens when you lose a couple. They try to create a division between us, but that’s not going to happen because this group is a group that wants to work hard together and stick together.”
01:37 – Bruno Fernandes has scored the earliest penalty goal in a Premier League match (01:37) since Sergio Aguero against Newcastle in February 2015 (01:12). Blocks #MUNTOT pic.twitter.com/UoGSEjF956
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 4, 2020
United will look to get back on track at Newcastle United on Saturday but they could be without Harry Maguire, who came under fire for his performance against Tottenham and was shown a red card in England’s 1-0 defeat to Denmark on Wednesday.
“When Harry is part of the England team that beats number one ranked Belgium that’s just a normal day, and then you get the headlines when you get the sending-off. That’s just football,” said Solskjaer.
“There’s so many ups and downs, we’ve got to deal with it individually and as a group. Harry has great resilience. I know he’ll bounce back. I know he wants to play, he wants to work his way out of the last couple of games he’s been criticised.
“He picked up a knock just before he came off so I’m just hopeful he’ll be fit. We had a look at him yesterday and we’ll give him a test again today.”
“We look forward to integrating the new signings,” says Ole.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) October 16, 2020
Edinson Cavani will not play as he is yet to train with the team due to COVID-19 protocols, while fellow new signings Alex Telles and Facundo Pellistri are unlikely to be involved.
“We’re looking forward to integrating them into the group,” the United boss said of the deadline-day additions.
“Facundo, he’s been training with us two days, very exciting, young, enthusiastic player with some attributes we don’t have. He’s maybe one more for the future, not for now, because he’s still 18.
“Alex came in yesterday [Thursday], did his recovery after a long flight from Sao Paulo having come on twice for Brazil, so we’re looking forward to integrating him.
“Edinson still has not been with the group because of his quarantine.
“All three of them have something different to what we have and they’ll definitely come in and help us. I think the group are looking forward to having them join in.”