Premier League

Solskjaer’s doing top juggling job of keeping fans on side after Glazers left him to handle ESL fallout on own

OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER IS doing a magnificent job of tip-toeing through the broken glass of Sunday’s protest.

On the one hand he does not want to affect the place he has in the hearts of Manchester United fans around the world.

Old Trafford manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is caught in the middle as Man Utd fans vent their frustration at club owners Joel and Avram Glazer
Protests from Man Utd fans forced the postponement of Sunday’s home Premier League game with fierce rivals Liverpool
Legendary Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson never criticised the Glazers

A place sealed with his extra-time winner on that glorious night in May 1999 at the Nou Camp as the European Cup was claimed after a 31-year wait.

But then how can anyone seriously expect him to hit out at his own employers, the very people who have given him the chance to manage the club he served so well as a player?

After all his mentor Sir Alex Ferguson never had a bad word to say about them during his eight years under their charge.

That was as protests initially raged, season ticket prices soared and there was a huge under investment in the squad.

Solskjaer has been left to do a juggling act.

Shamefully he has been left to do it on his own with not one of the owning Glazer family publicly addressing the disgruntled fans over their ownership model or the bid to break away into a European Super League.

They left Ed Woodward to face the brunt of a fans forum last Friday.

One open letter of regret from Joel Glazer, the first communication since the day they took charge, is all they got from their co-chairman.

Solskjaer went as far as he could in criticising the concept of the ESL when first questioned on it as did Jurgen Klopp and most forcibly Pep Guardiola at City.

But Liverpool and City fans have largely remained quiet while United’s marched on the training ground and then in their thousands on Old Trafford on Sunday forcing their match with Liverpool to be postponed.

Solskjaer said: “The right to protest, peacefully, everyone has a human right to be heard but it has to be peacefully.

“When you step out of line when you break onto the pitch and into the dressing room that’s one step too far and when it becomes police matters that doesn’t help.”

It is a shame of course for Solskjaer that the protests are the main focus as they stand on the brink of his first final as a manager of United.

They take a 6-2 lead to Rome tonight with travel plans for the final in Gdansk already being made with either Arsenal or Villarreal the opponents.

He said: “I would be sad if the players’ focus was disrupted after their good work.

“I know our fans want a team that is likeable, that is playing attacking football, scoring goals, winning trophies, be humble, working hard towards getting better results, so they can identify with them.


“I understand fans want to see results and trophies and hopefully they can see this team is moving forward, hopefully we can get to a final, that’s the short term fix and then we’ll have to take it from there.”

Of course United fans will celebrate triumph in the Europa League.

Their anger with the owners, however, will remain unless they dramatically change tack or go.

And neither seems likely.

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