Lyon defender and former Manchester United player, Rafael da Silva has attributed the resurgent form of the Old Trafford side in the post Jose Mourinho reign to the ability of interim manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to make Paul Pogba and other players happy again.
Mourinho’s time at Manchester United was blighted by poor relationship with some of key players, and Pogba was the most disenchanted of the lot.
The France star was already planning a premature transfer away from the Old Trafford before the Old Trafford chiefs pragmatically halted the tide rocking the tide by sacking Mourinho, and replaced by Solskjaer as interim manager in December.
United’s fortunes have been boosted immensely with Pogba’s rich vein of form since the exit of Mourinho, scoring eight goals in all competitions
Rafael says his former Machester United teammate, Solskjaer should take the credit for the positive transformation of United.
“I wasn’t surprised, not at all, because I know Ole very well,” Rafael told Omnisport of Solskjaer’s positive impact as United’s interim manager.
“He’s the one who bought my brother (Fabio) at Cardiff City, and I was training with him in the reserves (at United), I played some games with him.
“He’s very strong mentally, he’s smiling, he’s making the players play for him. In today’s football, this is very, very important. Many players have the skills, but they need a coach who’s going to make them play for him.
“This is what happened to Pogba. He wasn’t happy, he wasn’t smiling. A player like Pogba, if he doesn’t smile, if he doesn’t want to play, it’s hard. Now, they all want to play.
“Mourinho, in truth, it seems like this is the opposite, the players were not happy, they were thinking about defending too much all the time.
“Some players know how to defend, but when you talk too much, ‘you have to defend, defend’, they get tired. Maybe, I’m saying maybe, this is what happened, I don’t know.
“The thing about players smiling, [Alex] Ferguson was like that as well. Of course, some games he was telling you, ‘be careful, you have to defend’, but he was never saying, ‘defend, don’t attack’.
“He was never saying that. It’s important for the players, because if they think only about defending, you can’t even defend, because you’re thinking too much, and then it’s over.”
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