FORMER Super Eagles striker Odion Ighalo has accused Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer of being unfair to him with the way he was treated during his one year stint at Old Trafford.
Ighalo, 31, joined Manchester United a year ago from Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua, initially on a six month loan. Due to a combination of issues including getting him back to fitness and ensuring he was not affected by the coronavirus, Ighalo did not start any game following his arrival on January 31 until February 27 last year.
Then, the coronavirus pandemic altered things dramatically as the suspension of the league meant Manchester United did not get much use of the striker during his loan spell. When the league resumed, Manchester United made fresh request to Shanghai Shenhua that Ighalo’s loan spell be extended, leading to the striker remaining at the club for a full calendar year.
However, Ighalo saw very little action at Man United as he only made 23 appearances for the club in 12 months at the club. He also failed to play for the full 90 minutes in a Premier League match, resulting in him not scoring any league goal throughout his sojourn at Old Trafford.
Ighalo would later endure a torrid time in final months at the club, making just one substitute appearance for the Red Devils in the league this season. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer kept faith with Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and new signing Edison Cavani, meaning that a lot of the time, Ighalo did not even make the bench.
“Every player wants to play but I always respect my coach. I’m a hard worker in training and match situations, it’s painful though but the decision is not yours.
“No player wants to be on the bench, particularly when you know you are fit or even better than those selected ahead of you. However, I respect Ole, he gave me the chance to live my dream, so I can’t feel bad or hold any grudge,” Ighalo said.
He added that he remains grateful for the opportunity to play for his dream club but he feels Solskjaer was not fair to him sometimes. Odion Ighalo has since left the club for Saudi Arabia premier league side Al-Shabab FC after the expiration of his loan deal.
He opted against returning to his parent Shanghai Shenhua and decided to put pen to paper on two and half year deal. When asked if rumours of discrimination may have informed selection decisions at the club, said he does not believe it was that.