Manchester United manager Ole Solskjaer
Manchester United manager Ole Solskjaer applauding supporters at the end of his squad's defeat at the hands of Arsenal. Photo by Andy Rain.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hit back at former Manchester United striker Robin van Persie after the Dutchman criticised the manager for smiling after his recent defeat to Arsenal.

Red Devils chief Solskjaer saw his side slip to a 2-0 loss at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday, but Van Persie felt discontent with the Norwegian for smiling on the pitch at full-time. He appeared on broadcast and said he wanted to see Solskjaer “more mean at times.”

United’s incumbent boss spoke to reporters before his side make the trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday, suggesting his style is his own choice:

“I don’t know Robin and Robin doesn’t know me. He probably doesn’t have a right to criticise my management style and I won’t change. That’s definite. He took my No. 20 shirt and that’s probably all he’s going to take from me because I’m not in medieval times [so don’t need to have an angry modus operandi].”

Clearly not in the mood to entertain critiques from a fellow United alumnus, Solskjaer’s retort reinforced his sentiment to manage the club in the manner he chooses. The “Babyfaced Assassin” is almost certain to look to former mentor Sir Alex Ferguson for inspiration in the job, though his style of man-management in particular seems more mild-mannered on the surface.

Van Persie took Solskjaer’s old No. 20 shirt when he moved to Old Trafford from Arsenal in August 2012. He won the Premier League in his first season with United and left the club in 2015, enjoying spells with Fenerbahce and Feyenoord before retiring at the end of last season.