Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reaction after Alan Shearer criticised Wilfried Zaha in 2014

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will take charge of his first match as Manchester United’s interim manager on Saturday evening.

The Norwegian, who is currently ‘on loan’ at Old Trafford from Molde following Jose Mourinho’s sacking, returns to his former club Cardiff City and will be expected to lead the Red Devils to all three points.

United have endured a dismal season so far and currently find themselves sixth in the Premier League table, 19 points behind league-leaders Liverpool, following Sunday’s 3-1 defeat at Anfield.

The club’s owners have replaced Mourinho with Solskjaer until the end of the season in an attempt to improve results and performances while also lifting the mood of the playing squad and supporters.

The reaction from fans to Solskjaer’s return has been largely positive, despite the fact the former striker failed to keep Cardiff in the Premier League back in 2014.

However, United’s youngsters will surely be encouraged by the way Solskjaer reacted when Alan Shearer criticised Wilfried Zaha during his time at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Zaha, who was just 21 at the time and on loan from Man Utd after failing to convince David Moyes, was singled out by Shearer following his performance for Cardiff against Sunderland.

"I'd be slightly concerned with what I saw from Wilfried Zaha," he said, per Wales Online. "He had to do more for me when he came on.

“His team desperately needed a shift from him but he didn't track back, there was a lack of work rate and he had to get closer to the ball. He was walking around and there wasn't really 100 per cent effort there.”


Keen to defend the youngster, whose confidence was shot to pieces at the time, Solskjaer responded in style.

"Being singled out like that hurts, because I don't think it's fair,” he reacted, per BBC Sport. “Wilf is a young player; this is the first time he's in the Premier League.

"If he [Shearer] wanted to, or if anyone wanted, they could have highlighted two or three things that Wilf did great.

'[He's] come on, 10 men, and he's ran more than anyone else in that half.”

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Solskjaer didn’t stop there, either. He went on to defend Zaha’s efforts to improve off the pitch.

"My apartment overlooks the training ground and on Thursday, five, six o'clock, he is there again, training, finishing," he added.

"He is just a boy who wants to play football, wants to do his best, wants to improve.

"I think he will have a very good career, wherever he plays."


Now that’s how you defend a young player struggling for form and confidence.

Rather than throwing him under the bus, Solskjaer displayed his excellent man-management skills and must have earned Zaha’s complete respect in the process.

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