The originally scheduled match against Liverpool had to be postponed over massive protests outside Old Trafford.
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said on Monday that the massive protests by Manchester United fans have probably had an impact on the players’ mentalities, thus contributing to their two successive losses in the Premier League. The Red Devils sit second in the table, confirmed of a place in next season’s UEFA Champions League, and are scheduled to play in the final of the UEFA Europa League on May 27 against Spanish side Villareal. United had been on an impressive 14-game unbeaten run before falling short against Leicester City and Liverpool. Their next game will on Tuesday against a relegated Fulham.
“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,” the Norwegian said at a press 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 in-between, 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,” he added.
United were drawn a fairly tight schedule after their match with Liverpool had to be postponed. Solskjaer made 10 changes in the match against Leicester City which they lost 2-1, and brought back the first team, against Liverpool. The Reds won that game 4-2, and a loss to his arch-rivals must have had an effect on the manager.
The originally scheduled match against Liverpool had to be postponed over massive protests outside Old Trafford. Fans in their thousands demonstrated in front of the stadium and the team hotel. A number of protestors even breached security and found their way onto the pitch. The anger over United’s owners, the Glazer family, is the sole reason for the protests. Fans have been calling for their club to be sold.
The United faithful have been against the Glazer ownership from the days of Sir Alex Ferguson. Their primary complaint is that the owners bought the club on a loan and are now using the club’s resources to repay that loan. Participation in the failed European Super League was the final nail in the coffin for fans as they let their disdain be known in a grand fashion.
However, Solskjaer said that he was looking forward to having fans at Old Trafford for the match against Fulham dispute the unrest. United will welcome 10,000 fans into the stadium after what seems like ages.
“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. “We’re all human beings, we’ll react to getting our supporters back in a positive way. They’ve always been back there, giving us extra energy and hopefully, the players will give the fans a reason to cheer,” he concluded.