Ole Gunnar Solskjaer played down the heated incident between Manchester United teammates Harry Maguire and Fred in their draw with Leeds on Sunday.
Man Utd came away from Elland Road with a point after a 0-0 draw that was far less entertaining for them than the reverse fixture. With a lack of goalmouth action, one of the biggest talking points was when Maguire was heard calling Fred a “f***ing idiot” in the second half.
It is not the first time the United captain has been heard using explicit language towards his teammates. He also was involved in a similar incident with Marcus Rashford last month.
However, manager Solskjaer played down any notion of disharmony among the ranks. Instead, he insisted it was simply due to the demands the players place on one another.
“We have got a group that demands a lot of each other,” Solskjaer said.
“The standard is high, both in training and in a game. It is not just about being a nice guy. We demand maximum effort.
“I was really proud of how strong we looked. I never thought they threatened our goal in the second half but we missed a little bit of spark to win.”
United will now turn their attention to their Europa League semi-final with Roma on Thursday. Maguire – who did not speak about his incident with Fred – knows how important it is for their season.
“We had control of the game without punishing them,” he said.
“We knew how they would play. Our attacking players love a one v one but today it wasn’t to be.
“Bruno Fernandes had the best chance of the game and on another day he puts it in the back of the net and we take the points.
“It’s a big week for us.”
Maguire blasted by Ince
Someone who did not agree with Maguire’s assessment of the game was former Man Utd player Paul Ince.
Ince believed the game showed United’s inconsistencies and he did not think Maguire was right about their intensity.
“Sometimes you can be fooled by a result and think a team’s playing well,” Ince said. “But you saw against Burnley last week, we saw again today, they’re just so inconsistent.
“Harry mentioned about tempo and intensity that they had. I didn’t see it. I don’t know what game he was playing in.
“It’s a tough place to go, you can understand that. But when he talks about the tempo was there, the intensity was there, it wasn’t there.
“It was that bad, the ref blew up before the four minutes of injury time. It was just a bad performance from both teams, the quality was poor, sometimes it was like watching a kids’ team play.
“They were giving it away, to me to you, kick it out of play. They need to play a lot better on Thursday.”