Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has defended Cristiano Ronaldo after questions were raised of him following Manchester United losing to Leicester City at the weekend.
United suffered a 4-2 defeat to Leicester on Saturday. They will have to shake it off quickly as the attention turns to their next Champions League match. On Wednesday, they host Atalanta in their third match of the group stage.
After losing their first group game and winning their second, a positive result against a confident side will be required.
But their preparation for the game has been overshadowed by a variety of doubts about the direction in which they are heading. For example, Ronaldo has been criticised recently for a perceived lack of effort off the ball.
Solskjaer, though, defended the ex-Juventus forward and insisted he is giving his all.
He said at a pre-match press conference for the Atalanta game: “We have got 11 players out there with different roles. We put a team out we think will win a game. If we don’t win there will always be criticism.
“He is doing everything he can to help the team.”
Even so, Solskjaer cannot skim over some of the wider issues that have been affecting a team with increased expectations this season.
The United boss, ahead of a tricky run of fixtures, knows they are going through some difficulties. However, he feels he has the right people behind him.
Solskjaer said: “Every team will go through a patchy period. We are in one now. We know that.
“The coaching staff we have got is absolutely amazing, the attention to detail, training sessions, preparations. I don’t think I could ask for better.
“They are Manchester United people with intention of helping the team grow.”
The Norwegian was also unafraid to admit there may be pressure on him, even though Man Utd insist his job is safe.
Solskjaer thinks things are heading in the right direction overall, but vowed that any discussions within the club would be honest.
He added: “We’ve progressed over the years. Sixth in half season, third, second. You can see the progress.
“We have signed players which have raised expectations but we are in same boat as other top teams. Pressure on me of course but we have been through this before.
“I am in dialogue with club all the time. It is an open and honest discussion.”
Solskjaer outlines Amad plan; previews Atalanta
The game against Atalanta will see Man Utd face the club they bought Amad Diallo from.
Amad has not had a huge amount of chances since and was ready to go on loan this summer. However, an injury scuppered his hopes of getting more gametime elsewhere.
The winger is now nearing a return, although this game will come too soon for him.
Solskjaer revealed the plan for Diallo is still to be determined in relation to the January transfer window.
He said: “Amad trained his first session last week before Leicester. Still continuing his rehab, will probably play in the U23s when he is ready for that.
“His development has been exactly what we wanted from him, learning the language.
“We have to make the decision before Christmas, whether he is going to play here or elsewhere. The injury was bad timing.”
Diallo was yet to become a key player for Atalanta, who will be a dangerous opponent still without him.
They have won half of their opening eight Serie A games and some feel they can push on further after establishing themselves among the top teams in Italy.
Solskjaer said: “I am very impressed by their way, their style, the way they develop players. The manager is clearly very strong.
“Of course we signed Amad and watched them quite a lot. They have an attacking philosophy which many fans of football would like.”