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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he never liked the European Super League concept

The Manchester United manager is happy with fans voicing their opinion and feels that every team should earn the right to be in Europe

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in a file photo; Credit: Manchester United Twitter page
By Karthik Raman | Apr 24, 2021 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

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Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said that he was never on board with the concept of the European Super League. United were among the 12 founding clubs which confirmed the plans of the breakaway competition on Sunday. Owing to severe backlash from fans and former players, the six English clubs – Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, and Tottenham Hotspur – pulled out of the league in no time.

Few days ago, Manchester United co-chairman Joel Glazer has issued an apology to club fans after their withdrawal from the European Super League. Speaking for the first time since the apology, Ole said, “First of all, I’m very happy that the fans have voiced their opinion. And that we’ve listened to them.”

Speaking at a press conference ahead of Sunday’s Premier League fixture at Leeds United, Solskjaer said, “In a strange sort of way, it’s brought the football pyramid or community together. I think that’s important and I’m very happy as I’m a supporter myself and there will be a day I come back and watch Man United and I want to watch a Man United team even with a fear of failure, you know, that’s what I thought about it.”

“I didn’t like the concept anyway. It has to be on sporting merit. I want to earn the right to play in Europe. We know we have been pioneers and have been in Europe many, many years since the Busby Babes. That’s one part of it and we want to be part of a successful European campaign again.”

‘Earn the right’

The manager has stressed on the importance of earning the place to be in Europe. “One of my best nights has been in Europe and it’s something we worked really hard towards, to get that. There’s that feeling of fear of failure,” he added.

“You cannot just be given it because your name is such and such. You have to earn the right to be there and to get the best possible performance, I’ve always felt and believed in stepping out of your comfort zone. Being afraid of failure, and living on the edge a bit, spurs you on. For me, this wasn’t part of it and I’m very happy that all the clubs have admitted their mistakes. This was a bad idea, and the way that it came out as well,” he said.

“Just when we’re talking about bringing fans back into the stadium, we get this. We were getting them back for the last two games of the season, and then we weren’t able to look forward to it. We have a banner at Old Trafford which says ‘football is nothing without fans’, and we’ve felt that for more than a year. It’s been a difficult year.”

Down the memory lane

Stressing on the importance of being in European football, Ole reminisced about how United came from so far behind to seal a Top-4 finish last season. “And now, when we’re just going to welcome the fans back in, we get this. So the preparation for Leeds was a bit different but that’s a part of being in this industry and this club as well,” he added.

“United is the biggest club in the world and we want to be part of European football, but we want to do that [in the way] my players did it last season. I think they were excellent, my players, because when I talk about this fear of failure, they were afraid of not making the Champions League.”

“We were so many points behind but they pulled themselves together, we came together as a team, and we achieved third place, which was a very good achievement. This year, we’ve worked hard, we’re striving towards trophies, and we’re currently in second place.”

Being a “competitive sportsman”, Ole believes how “fear of failure” keeps pushing them to greater heights. “I back my team to be at the top in Europe but I still think fear of failure is helping us to [achieve] that. Being a competitive sportsman, it’s not in my nature to just be handed things. We cannot be handed a place [in a competition]. That’s my opinion,” he concluded.



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