Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admits his stars are being hurt by the ‘mood’ at Manchester United with fan protests contributing to back-to-back home defeats… as he calls for ‘no violence’ when crowd returns this week
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes fan protests have negatively impacted the players
- Manchester United supporters have demonstrated against Glazer ownership
- United boss admits disruption to preparations partly to blame for defeats
- Solskjaer is hopeful fans back in the ground will be a positive experience
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer claims the anti-Glazer protests at Manchester United are having a negative effect on his team — with more demonstrations expected on Tuesday night.
Fulham’s trip to Old Trafford will see the return of 10,000 United fans, many of whom will wear green and gold scarves to show their opposition to the Glazer ownership, and the club have warned they will clamp down on any disorder inside the ground.
In an exclusive interview with Sportsmail, United legend Bryan Robson urged supporters not to tarnish the club’s reputation with a repeat of the violent protests which led to Solskjaer’s side having to play three times in five days last week, ending with back-to-back defeats by Leicester and Liverpool.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted the protests against the Glazers has impacted the players
Manchester United fans have made their views against the owners very clear in recent weeks
Solskjaer believes the impact to the players’ preparations is partly to blame for the defeats
And Solskjaer suggests the demonstrations against United’s American owners contributed to his team’s poor recent form.
‘I didn’t want to use it as an excuse because we lost two games, but surely it’s the reason behind the performances,’ said the United manager. ‘Physically it’s impossible to turn up and play at the intensity that’s required because of the number of games.
‘I’m not saying it didn’t affect them but I was impressed with how professional the players were. The mood in any club, and the relationship between the team and the fans, is vital to what happens on the pitch. We’re all human beings and we will react to getting our supporters back in a positive way.’
United can secure second place in the table with a win, and Solskjaer encouraged the fans to behave themselves.
The United boss praised the professionalism of his side despite a disappointing run of results
‘We’ve been waiting a long, long time to welcome the fans back,’ he added. ‘Of course, the last few home games — especially the Liverpool ones with the protests — it’s never nice to see a club that is not united.
‘We’re hoping it is going to be a positive day and that we move together, that we play a good game of football. You hope that the game will not be marred by violence or over-the-top things.
‘I know the United fans, they’re the best fans I’ve had and I’ve got such a great relationship with them. They know how to support the team so I don’t expect any of the fans coming here to make any trouble.’
Fans will return to Old Trafford on Tuesday against Fulham for the first time since March 2020
Fans are planning to gather outside Old Trafford at 4pm to demonstrate against the Glazers, with Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) calling for a show of solidarity between protesters who may have decided to boycott games and the 10,000 match-going fans.
Those with tickets are being asked to wear their anti-Glazer scarves and twirl them in the 51st minute of the game in support of the ‘50+1’ rule that gives fans a controlling interest in their club.
MUST have been in consultation with United, who will allow anti-Glazer banners into Old Trafford and fans to sing protest songs.
While continuing to tolerate peaceful demonstrations, the club warned that any fans guilty of anti-social behaviour or vandalism — including setting off flares inside the ground or going on the pitch — will face a stadium ban and criminal prosecution.
The United boss urged his team to not be distracted by the upcoming Europa League final
United’s chief operating officer Collette Roche said: ‘We remind everyone that inconsiderate, reckless or anti-social behaviour by anyone visiting Old Trafford will not be tolerated.
‘Our aim is to ensure that the match passes peacefully and that fans with tickets get to enjoy their return to Old Trafford.’
United will use a digital ticket system for the first time and fans will be subject to strict ID checks. They will be allocated time-slots to arrive at Old Trafford up to 75 minutes before kick-off, and will only be able to enter at two checkpoints — at the south-east corner of the ground and in front of the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand where barricades were put in place last week.
The barriers have been scaled back but it is understood an increased security operation will remain in place.