'Thin ice' - TalkSPORT pundit argues extraordinary bust-up between Steve Bruce and Matt Ritchie could spell 'disaster'
It is understood the pair were involved in a heated training ground exchange in the aftermath of the 1-1 draw against Wolves last weekend, with Ritchie unhappy at being criticised for failing to pass on instructions to his teammates after being brought on in that match.
But O’Hara, who played with Ritchie during his own career, has suggested that the Scotland international was right to feel aggrieved with his manager’s public condemnation.
Speaking on talkSPORT, he said: “I don’t think Bruce should have come out and slaughtered him in the media.
"I think at the moment, where you’re at as a team, as a a club, he’s kind of on thin ice I think in terms of his job.
"You’ve got to be really careful how you talk about your players in the press. When a player has not been involved and he’s coming on, and then he’s the person who’s getting dug out for basically making a mistake, you’ve got to be really careful when you single out people in the press.
"I don’t really understand why managers do it. Slaughter him in the dressing room, slaughter him on the training ground, but you’ve always got to be very careful because players now are quite sensitive.
"I think he made the right decision in saying, ‘I’ll speak to you Monday’. After a game, your emotions are high, both of you. I think Bruce saying, ‘I don’t want to talk to you now, I’ll speak to you Monday about it’, I don’t think that’s a problem, and Ritchie should respect it.
"Ritchie’s not a bad egg. I played with Matt at Portsmouth when he first started out, and he wants to work hard. He's had a great career. I don’t think he’s someone who would come into a training ground and cause problems – he’s not that kind of player.
"I’m surprised that he’s said, ‘No, I’m not going to see him’ and then Bruce has come out and they’ve had it on the training pitch.
"That to me spells disaster. When you’re in a difficult period as a manager and results aren’t going your way, you need the dressing room”.