Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has asserted that being a substitute is part and parcel of the job and Donny Van de Beek's actions didn't affect the team negatively. The midfielder returned back to the bench and threw his chewing gum in anger after not being brought on as a substitute.
Donny Van de Beek moved from Ajax to Old Trafford in September 2020 but the midfielder has failed to establish himself in the first XI with fierce competition from both Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba. The Dutch international was one of the first names on the team sheet at his previous club where he made 175 appearances but things have changed since the move to Old Trafford. It has seen the 24-year-old struggle for consistent game-time with just four starts in the league and 36 appearances across all competitions.
Not only that, the Dutch international's second season also paints a similar picture as he has only played 141 minutes across three games with his only full game coming in the defeat to West Ham in the League Cup. Furthermore,, video footage came out which showed Van de Beek storming back to the bench, throwing his training bib to the ground and flinging his chewing gum in anger after not being brought on as a substitute in the club's Champions League win over Villarreal.
Yet despite that, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has played down the incident and admitted that it was just frustration that invoked the reaction from the former Ajax player. The Manchester United boss also added that he has a squad "full of international footballers" who always want to play and he needs to make the right decisions.
"I manage a squad full of international footballers, competitive footballers, who want to make a difference, to play, they all want to be on the pitch of course they do. Donny was ready to come on, as all players should be. I have been a sub more than anyone in this club probably, I must have the record, and you have to be ready all the time. I have been not very happy a few times, but that is just a decision the manager makes,” Solskjaer told reporters at a press conference.
I have a squad of internationals and if we're going to be successful together we need positive energy, we can't have energy sappers or sulkers. Donny has never ever affected his team negatively, just so that is said, but as soon as I see players affecting the team negatively that is a different scenario. Then I will probably be a little bit firmer," he added.