Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he would "rather have a hole in the squad than an a*****e" as he praised the improved mentality at the club. (More Cricket News)
After an impressive start to life in the Old Trafford dugout, initially as interim boss in December 2018, Solskjaer endured a miserable end to last season, with two wins in their final 12 games in all competitions.
A humiliating 4-0 defeat to Everton at Goodison Park prompted Solskjaer to state that certain players would not be a part of his planned rebuild of the squad.
In the next transfer window, the United boss allowed Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez to leave for Inter without signing a replacement forward, while the loaning of Chris Smalling to Roma was also sanctioned.
United spent big on Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James before landing Bruno Fernandes in January for an initial fee of close to £47million.
The Red Devils have endured mixed form this term but seemed to be back on track before the season was suspended amid the coronavirus pandemic, with United on an 11-game unbeaten run that included a 2-0 derby win over Manchester City.
Solskjaer says the mental fortitude of his squad is far more positive now that there are no more "personal agendas" among the players.
Thursday's Reds Check-In is silky pic.twitter.com/w9FHBpD7se— Manchester United (@ManUtd) May 21, 2020
Speaking to the United We Stand fanzine, he said: "I'd rather have a hole in the squad than an a******e. Personality is so important. We're a team in a team environment.
"You want players to have a bit of ego and edge, but they have to be able to adapt.
"In March 2019, players were physically tired, mentally tired and we had injuries. The players started with negative thinking, whereas now it's positive thinking.
"There were other things I didn't like last year, some personal agendas which couldn't be sorted out until the summer.
"There will always be players who want to play more in football, but if a team is to be successful then players have to be available at different times. I feel in this group we don't have one bad apple."
United's poor form at the end of 2018-19 came after their shock 3-1 win away to Paris Saint-Germain that saw them reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
"When you win, everything is easy. It's when you hit difficult times that you can see who you want and who has the right mentality," said Solskjaer.
"We didn't see that until after Paris, when we went into a bad run. That's when I saw who I could build a long-term, successful squad around. You need some egos in football, but it has to be team first.
"I could see more and more at the end of the season what needed improving."