Football

Fan protests in last 2 matches affected United, says Solskjae

The recent protests by Manchester United fans against the club’s owners did affect the players and contributed to a downturn in results, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said yesterday.

United, who are second in the  English Premier League table  and host relegated Fulham  tomorrow morning (Singapore  time), lost to Leicester City and  Liverpool at home last week,  after going unbeaten in their previous 14 league games.

EPL
MAN UNITED FULHAM

The match against Liverpool  was originally scheduled for  May 2, but was postponed after  fans forced their way into Old  Trafford and stormed the pitch  to protest against the club’s owners – the Glazer family.

The protest followed  United’s decision to join the  European Super League. They  were beaten 4-2 by Liverpool in  the rescheduled game last Thursday, 48 hours after losing 2-1 to  Leicester.

“I just didn’t want to use that  as an excuse because we lost the  two games, but surely it’s a reason behind the performances  and the results we’ve had,” Solskjaer told a news conference.

“Physically, it’s impossible  for them 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.

“You haven’t had the recovery, you haven’t had the same  routine as you normally do. We  haven’t done the tactical prep in  the same way as we’ve had.”

 Despite the tensions off the  pitch and the potential for further protests tomorrow, Solskjaer is pleased that around  10,000 supporters will be  allowed into Old Trafford to  watch the Fulham game.

“I think the mood in any club  and the relationship between a  team and the fans is vital to what  happens on the pitch,” Solskjaer  said.  “They’ve always been back  there, giving us extra energy and  hopefully the players will give  the fans a reason to cheer.” Red Devils captain Harry  Maguire is still out due to ankle  ligament damage, but Anthony  Martial and Daniel James are  back in training.

“We had a couple of days off  after the Liverpool match and  we’ve welcomed Dan James  back and Anthony Martial back  so that’s big, big plusses for us,”  Solskjaer told MUTV.  

While the duo are unlikely to  start, they could get some game  time to get them ready for next  week’s Europa League final  against Villarreal. – REUTERS

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