Solskjaer worried fans’ anger will disrupt United’s progress

Manager says supporters’ voices must be heard but Sunday’s protest went too far

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: ‘Our focus is on playing well and getting to a final now.’ Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: ‘Our focus is on playing well and getting to a final now.’ Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted Manchester United fans’ disgruntlement with the club’s owners is a “difficult” situation for him and he is concerned it could disrupt his team’s progress.

The manager said the behaviour of some fans at Sunday’s protests went too far and that supporters had to conduct themselves in a “civilised manner”.

Fans’ unhappiness at the Glazers over loading debt on to the club was heightened by their joining the now-defunct European Super League. There is also upset at a lack of communication during their 16-year ownership.

Solskjaer was asked whether one of the Glazers should directly speak with supporters. “It’s a difficult position to be in for me, this,” he said. “I’ve always had a good relationship [with the owners] and they do listen to fans and I am sure there’ll be better communications coming.

“I’ve been communicating with the owners, I’ve got an apology personally. My job, my focus, has to be on results, but you don’t need to be a rocket scientist [to see] we have challenges and there are frictions. I have to have laser focus but also understand there are views and challenges ahead.”

Joel Glazer has apologised for the Super League episode and promised to listen to fans and “communicate better”. This is yet to happen, with his co-chairman, Avram Glazer, declining to speak to a Sky News reporter on Tuesday in Florida when asked whether he had anything to say to supporters.

‘Scarred’

“We have to listen, to hear the fans’ voice,” Solskjaer said. “It’s everyone’s right to protest but it has to be in a civilised manner. Unfortunately when you break in, when police officers are scarred for life, that’s a step too far. Then it’s a police matter, it’s not about showing your opinions any more.”

United are second in the Premier League with five matches left and travel to Roma for Thursday’s Europa League semi-final second leg with a 6-2 advantage. With fans considering further action, Solskjaer does not want progress to be interfered with. Sunday’s game against Liverpool was called off because of the protests.

“I would be sad if all the good work the players have done is disrupted,” Solskjaer said. “Our focus is on playing well and getting to a final now.”

The Lowry hotel, where the team stay before matches, was also the site of a protest on Sunday. Bruno Fernandes was asked for his view on the issue.

“Of course for us it was hard because we want to play football,” the midfielder said. “But this happened; we have nothing to say about that. The fans have their own word [opinion] and they think that was the best for them.”

– Guardian

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