Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been ruthless at times as Manchester United manager.
The Norwegian has offloaded a number of first-team squad players not deemed good enough, but has also shaped relationships with those he knows will be important in his rebuild.
It is claimed 31-year-old midfielder Matic was becoming disillusioned with a lack of game time at Old Trafford, with Solskjaer preferring the likes of Scott McTominay and Andreas Pereira in midfield.
But after a series of midfield injuries, Matic was required to step into the role to fill the void in the centre of the park. And it was a conversation between the Serbian and the United manager that made Solskjaer feel confident that he was committed to the cause.
Matic has since revitalised his United career by asserting himself as the dominant presence in midfield. He has been a mainstay in Solskjaer ‘s 11 game unbeaten run and deservedly had his contract extended until the end of next season.
His partner in Solskjaer’s midfield pivot has been Fred, who is also enjoying his best football since he arrived at Old Trafford from Shakhtar Donetsk.
However, Fred had a lengthy spell where he was failing to live up to his price tag at United and the Brazilian hinted at a lack of experience from his manager in an interview.
After discussions with United staff, Fred accepted that he should have chosen his words more carefully. One of Solskjaer’s team, Portuguese-speaking coach Martyn Pert, has also had a big influence in finally helping Fred settle and grow confidence at United. His performances since the turn of the year speak for themselves and he has been of the most improved players in the Premier League this season.
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