Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has defended Harry Maguire after he was heard calling Fred a ‘f***ing idiot’ during Sunday’s stalemate against Leeds United.
In a largely boring game at Elland Road lacking in quality, Maguire’s clearly audible tirade at Fred midway through the second half became the main talking point after the clash.
The two players had clashed after Fred seemed to take umbrage with a run Maguire had made, with the defender lashing out at the Brazilian.
However, Solskjaer played down the exchange after the match and says the on-field bust-up was simply the by-product of two teammates who demand the maximum from each other.
‘We have a group that demands a lot of each other,’ said the United manager when asked about the argument between Maguire and Fred.
‘The standards are high, in training and in the game. ‘It’s not just about being a nice guy and cajoling each other.
‘We demand maximum effort and I was really proud of the second half. ‘I am really happy with the boys’ focus. They have such a determination to finish the season strong.’
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The Red devils had been on a perfect run before visiting Leeds, winning five games in a row and closing the gap to Premier League leaders Manchester City.
But, their slim hopes of making a late comeback in the title race now seem to be over after dropping two points at Elland Road, with Man City now 10 points clear with just five matches remaining.
On the loss of momentum, Solskjaer said: ‘Of course you’re disappointed that we don’t get the three points, but I think the boys know they put a shift down.
‘We really have a lot of respect for the way Leeds play, and we know the results that they’ve had lately. So this is not something we’re going to look back on as derailing our season. Definitely not.’