Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists his side do not lack togetherness as they battle to avoid their lowest ever Premier League points total.
Brazil midfielder Fred claimed the club has “lots of problems” and the squad lacks “the sticking together mentality” in an interview on YouTube channel De Sola last week.
Following a drab 0-0 draw with Wolves at Old Trafford before the winter break United sit eighth in the table on 35 points, 38 behind runaway leaders Liverpool and on course to gather fewer points than their previous lowest tally of 64 in 2013-2014.
Responding to Fred’s claims ahead of Monday’s trip to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, Solskjaer said: “This group sticks together, don’t worry about that.
“I haven’t seen the interview or I don’t understand what he’s saying anyway. Fred knows this is a group that wants to give everything for each other.
“I don’t know how to interpret what he said but I’ve got no issues with Fred at all and I’ve got no issues with the group not giving everything for each other.”
Deadline-day signing Odion Ighalo will be part of the squad at Stamford Bridge and Solskjaer has backed the former Watford striker to make an impact, despite an unorthodox start to his loan spell at the club.
Ighalo has not been working at United’s training base since his surprise switch from Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua due to concerns over the coronavirus.
The 30-year-old did not join up with the squad at a training camp in Spain as United were concerned he might not have been allowed back into the UK due to a tightening of regulations regarding people who had been in China within the previous 14 days.
“I never said he was going to be ready to play on Monday, he’ll be involved with us and travel down with us,” Solskjaer said.
“He’s out of that two-week period of precaution we made and let’s see if he’s involved or not.
“We’ve kept in touch with him and of course we’ve done our own programme, he’s done his, and it was always going to be a case of him having to integrate having been out in China.
“He needs to get used to the players, the team, up to speed as quick as he can. He’s probably been pinching himself at times, being at his favourite club at the age of 30 but he’s earned it and hopefully he impresses us so we can see him play.
“With the injury to Marcus Rashford we needed another forward and when we got the chance to get Odion on loan, the top scorer in the African Nations last year, we thought he can help the club.
“He is a very professional player, a good lad and will give something to the group.”
With most of United’s players returning to Manchester on Friday afternoon, Ighalo will have just one session with his new team-mates on Sunday, but Solskjaer added: “Well, it didn’t take me too long.
“I didn’t have to have a training session to come on and do something. As a striker you get thrown out there and do what you can. It might be he’ll have to come off the bench to get us a goal.
“Against Wolves we lacked that bit of spark, but we hope that adding Odion will give us a different type of striker, a chance to rest Anthony (Martial) or Mason (Greenwood), play in a different way maybe.”
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