Solskjaer: Man Utd fans at fault for defeats after anti-Glazer protests


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admits the anti-Glazer protests at Manchester United have been a factor in his team suffering back-to-back home defeats.

United were handed a punishing schedule of four games in eight days after the fixture against Liverpool was postponed due to violent demonstrations against the club’s American owners.

Further attempts to disrupt the re-arranged Liverpool fixture meant United’s players were forced to arrive at Old Trafford seven hours before kick-off which impacted their preparation as they lost to Jurgen Klopp’s side two days after a defeat to Leicester.

‘I just didn’t want to use it as an excuse because we lost two games, but surely it’s reason behind the performances,’ said Solskjaer.

‘Physically it’s impossible to turn up and play at the intensity and the level that’s required because of the amount of games, then you look at the preparation in between: we haven’t had the recovery, the same routine as you normally do, we haven’t done the tactical prep in the same ways.

‘I’m not saying it didn’t affect them but I was impressed with how professional they were and how they went about it.

‘None of them complained and that’s one of the big things for me, we never complain we just look at what we can do and how could we maximise the situation. We tried to do that but we couldn't get the results.

‘I think 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 will let 10,000 fans back into Old Trafford for Tuesday night’s final home game against Fulham after Trafford Borough Council issued a safety certificate for the game following talks with their safety advisory group.

It will be the first time in more than 14 months since the derby win over Manchester City in March 2020 that fans will be in the stadium, and Solskjaer urged them to get behind the team rather than cause more trouble.

‘Since the last time we’ve had fans in against Man City – it was the best atmosphere I’ve ever felt it at Old Trafford in a league game – the next time we can welcome the fans back in we need to make sure it’s a positive one,’ he added.

‘We’ve been waiting for a long long time to welcome the fans back. Of course, the last couple of home games, especially the Liverpool ones with the protests, it’s never nice to see a club that is not united.

‘So we’re hoping Tuesday is going to be a positive day that we move together, that we play a good game of football. That’s my job to prepare the team to play well and that they enjoy the day because that’s important that we get back and enjoy being together.

‘Of course, you hope that the game against Fulham will not be marred by any violence or over-the-top things. I know the Manchester 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 making any trouble

Solskjaer revealed that Anthony Martial could be back in the squad against Fulham after it was initially feared the Frenchman would miss the rest of the season with a knee injury sustained on international duty at the end of March.

Martial is now in contention for the Europa League final against Villarreal on May 26, and Solskjaer warned his players that they are still playing for places in Gdansk over the remaining two league games with Fulham and Wolves.

‘Maybe the Fulham team will be the final team, maybe not,’ he said. ‘I’m hoping to get Anthony and Dan (James) back involved in this game which is a very good boost for us. Maybe they can even start against Wolves and then maybe they’re sensational. It’s hard to leave players out if they really perform at their highest level.

‘You pick a team to win a game and we need to pick for the final, so if you want to go to the final in 10 days you want players confident and in form and players who I know I can get everything from.

‘So these last two games are a chance for everyone if there’s any doubt in my head. I think everyone knows I feel I’ve got quite good competition in most areas so I don’t think going into these last two games saving your energy for the final, no. You need to show against Fulham that I’m ready to do my bit for the team.

‘Whatever team I pick it has to be a team and they have to be players that give everything. If you go into a game tentative or if you have something else in your mind, if you don’t fly into the tackles as you should, if you don’t sprint as normal or make focus as much there’s more of a danger of getting hurt in that kind of position.

‘We want to build momentum and confidence because we have lost the last two at Old Trafford. We don’t want to go into an important game with a bad momentum or a bad feeling.

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