Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs has aimed a subtle dig at Jose Mourinho even as he praised Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for the work he is doing at the club.
Solskjaer took charge as caretaker manager with the club in turmoil following Mourinho’s dismissal back in December 2018 and the Red Devils lost just one of their next 17 matches under the Norwegian.
However, United badly struggled towards the end of last term – after Solskjaer took over on a permanent basis – and there were calls for the 47-year-old to lose his job after a dismal run of results across all competitions.
But Solskjaer kept hold of the position and brought in Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James last summer and United’s faith has been rewarded in the latter half of this season following the January arrival of Bruno Fernandes, with the side winning eight of their last 11 games before the coronavirus crisis struck.
Giggs, who spent his entire playing career at Old Trafford before working as Louis van Gaal’s assistant from 2014 to 2016, has been massively impressed with how Solskjaer has created a squad that ‘wants to play’ for United again – which he suggests wasn’t the case during Mourinho’s reign.
‘He’s done really well, because it wasn’t easy [going into that job]. He had a tremendous run when he first took over and then a bit of a dip,’ Giggs told talkSPORT.
‘I’ve been really pleased and happy with the signings he’s made. ‘They’re not only good players, but they look like they are good characters who want to play for United and maybe that was missing for a couple of years, so to get that back has been great.
‘Everyone is interested to see what happens now and if they can get in that top four, considering how well he was doing before the coronavirus pandemic.’
Former United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel agrees that Solskjaer has done a ‘tremendous job’, picking up the pieces after ‘too many directions’ under previous managers David Moyes, Van Gaal and Mourinho.
‘I think he’s done a tremendous job,’ the former United goalkeeper said during a recent Instagram Live with CNN‘s Amanda Davies.
‘I think he’s far exceeded my expectations on what could be done in a relatively short period of time, it has to be said. Basically what he’s taken over is six years of too many different directions.
‘He’s taken over players that were with Sir Alex, he’s taken over players that were with Moyes and Louis Van Gaal and then Mourinho.
And all of them are different. They’re different in their approach, their different in the players they like. So he’s not really had an opportunity to build what he wants but he has.
‘I think he has been helped by circumstances for absolutely sure but he’s given opportunities to players who you always thought that they were good, they could do the job but because of the lack of patience or understanding of the players ability they weren’t given a chance.’
Mourinho’s Tottenham will welcome United on Friday as the Premier League returns from the coronavirus break.