Ole Gunnar Solskjaer goes ultra defensive over Van De Beek criticism
"It's nice for some commentators to have a little go"
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has defended his sporadic use of Donny van de Beek in Manchester United's first few games of the season, saying he still has an important part to play.
Van de Beek joined from Ajax for a fee of around £35 million in the summer but has not yet started a game for the Red Devils, as fans and pundits grow increasingly frustrated with lacklustre displays from Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matić in central midfield.
“When Donny has played, he’s played really well,” Solskjaer said ahead of United's Champions League game against RB Leipzig.
“It says a lot about our depth of quality that we don’t have to use him every single game.
Gary Neville, Patrice Evra and Marco Van Basten have all been vocal in their criticism of Solskjaer's use - or lack thereof - of Van de Beek this season. Solskjaer took a swipe back, saying:
"I realise the topic is Donny van de Beek and it’s nice for some [former] players or commentators to have a little go. I know you’re short for time when you’re on telly and you have to put your points across very quickly, but you have to know that you don’t have to start the first [league] games to be a very important player in the squad.”
Referring to his own role as an impact substitute for most of his playing career at Old Trafford, Solskjaer said he would be "disappointed if some of my teammates said that I wasn’t important at Man United but I didn’t start many games."
“It’s going to be a long season,” he added.
“To leave players out like for the last game – Donny, Nemanja and Paul started on the bench – they are all experienced international footballers: it’s not easy. But I don’t feel that pressure. The pressure is on getting results and picking a team that we think is going to win the next game and even planning the next two, three, four games because we need to win more than one game.”