Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has vowed not to get drawn into mind games with Jose Mourinho and expressed how entertaining he finds the man he replaced at Old Trafford.
United host Tottenham in the Premier League on Sunday and Solskjaer expressed his respect for the Spurs boss, whose job he filled in December 2018.
Solskjaer had begun the back and forth after last week’s narrow 3-2 win over Brighton and Hove Albion in which Graham Potter’s side hit the woodwork five times.
In reference to Mourinho discovering the goalposts were too small and requesting a change prior to a Europa League tie with Shkendija, the United boss joked he was fortunate the Portuguese had not been involved at Brighton.
Mourinho replied with a jibe of his own, insisting Solskjaer was not concerned with goalposts, but the size of the penalty box, saying United played with one that was “22 yards” after the club were awarded 15 Premier League penalties since the start of last season.
Ahead of a key meeting at Old Trafford, Solskjaer discussed how he has enjoyed Mourinho’s news conferences for years.
“We are in strange times and sometimes you’ve got to have a bit of fun as well,” he said about the exchange with Mourinho.
“It’s just a couple of innocent comments, for me. Jose’s a very charismatic coach and manager. You’ve enjoyed in the media talking to him, I’ve enjoyed watching him. He’s a winner.
“I’m not one of these that really goes into these mind games. I’ve got ultimate respect for him as a coach and, of course, his results and everything he has given football.
“The rules are as they are in football, aren’t they? I didn’t really think more about that one. It’s more for you and the media.
“It’s important that we have a bit of entertainment, and Jose’s always throughout the years given us all some fantastic moments in football – both in his press conferences and on the pitch.
“But as a striker, I didn’t mind how big the box was. When I got in there, it was just a strike on goal.”
Solskjaer is hoping captain Harry Maguire can shake off an ankle knock to face Spurs and insisted he respected Gareth Southgate’s decision to drop teenage striker Mason Greenwood.
Greenwood was left out of the latest England squad having been sent home with Phil Foden due to a coronavirus protocol breach after making his international debut against Iceland last month.
“Mason is one of the top strikers of the future for England,” added Solskjaer. “I’m sure he’s going to play many games for England.
“This now has obviously been a learning curve for him. Mason needs to reflect where he’s at, what he needs to do, how to get where he wants to get.
“I had a very nice chat with Gareth about our players, the England possibles.
“Games at this point are important for players to get minutes but we’ll get loads of training into Mason. I respect Gareth’s decision, definitely.”