Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he has no problem with Donny van de Beek showing his frustration at a lack of playing time at Old Trafford but has warned the midfielder that he cannot let it negatively affect the dressing room.
Cameras caught Van de Beek throwing away his chewing gum after being left as an unused substitute during the 2-1 win over Villarreal on Wednesday night. He was quickly consoled by both Paul Pogba and Dean Henderson.
Van de Beek struggled for opportunities last season following his move from Ajax and has started just two of United’s nine games in all competitions this season.
“You know, we manage a squad full of international footballers, competitive footballers who want to make a difference and want to play, they all want to be on the pitch,” Solskjaer said. “Donny was ready to come on.
“I’ve been a sub more than anyone at this club properly and you have to be ready all the time. I’ve been unhappy a few times. I understand the frustration. Every player is keen to play, that’s got to be built into energy and determination for when you get on and show me.”
Van de Beek started just four Premier League games last season and has played only five minutes in the league this term. Solskjaer said the Netherlands international’s mood has never been a problem during his time at the club but said he will not tolerate “sulkers.”
“It’s not just Donny, it’s players,” Solskjaer said. “I’ve got a squad of internationals and if we’re going to be successful we need positive energy, no sulkers.
“Donny has never affected his teammates negatively. As soon as I see players affecting the team negatively then that’s a different scenario and I’ll probably be firmer.”
Solskjaer’s team will play in the 12.30 pm BST (7.30 a.m. ET) slot on Saturday despite playing Villarreal on Wednesday night at 8 p.m. BST (3 p.m. ET). It’s in contrast to title rivals Liverpool and Manchester City, who face each other at Anfield at 4.30 p.m. BST (11 a.m. ET) on Sunday despite playing in the Champions League on Tuesday.
“We’ve had absolutely no explanation,” Solskjaer said. “It’s T.V., no common sense at all. Us and Chelsea played Wednesday night.
“It could easily have been played on Sunday and Liverpool against City on Saturday. Common sense might not be so common.”