Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has advised his Manchester United side to take inspiration from heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury and use it to bounce back following a dreadful week where his team lost 5-0 to Liverpool and his job was put on the line.
The Red Devils travel to Tottenham for another huge clash on Saturday and speaking at his pre-match press conference, Solskjaer insisted his players must show some of Fury’s ‘composure’ under pressure in the face of huge criticism.
‘The performance wasn’t acceptable. I’ve used the analogy – it felt like a boxer being punched drunk, being knocked out in the first minutes, first round,’ he said.
‘We went too open and too frantic against a good team, you see Tyson Fury when he gets knocked down. It’s remarkable how composed he is when he gets knocked down, maybe we went too early.
‘We have to be better, we have to be up front and honest and the communication has to be direct.’
‘The players are proper professionals, good people, they do their best,’ the Norwegian said.
‘The environment in and around the place, we have loads of respect for each other. When you’re criticised you get into the trenches with your team-mates.
‘It’s always about getting through with togetherness, self-belief – it’s about sticking together, and that’s what we’ve done.
‘It’s been a difficult week of course. We’ve had to deal with the result and performance against Liverpool which we know wasn’t good enough. We have to deal with it, that’s why we’re in this game.
‘You have to look forward to the next game. We’ve had a good week on the training field, I have to say that.’
Asked if he had spoken to Sir Alex Ferguson this week and whether he believed he could survive this rough patch the way his old manager once did, he said:
‘Yes, on both accounts, if that’s short and sweet.
‘We had a commercial day and Sir Alex came in to do some stuff. I met and spoke with him for a brief moment because he was in there with Cristiano [Ronaldo].
‘I’ve been through some very bad moments as a player here and when I’ve been a manager I’ve dealt with setbacks.
‘There have been two or three crises at least since I became manager here and one thing I can say is I’ll always give it a good shot and fight back.
‘It’s been a difficult week, of course. We’ve had to deal with the result and performance against Liverpool which we know wasn’t good enough and that’s something that footballers have to deal with.
‘That’s why we’re in this game. You have to look forward to the next game, and when you get to that next game sort it out and challenge the problems. We’ve had a good week on the training field.’