Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Says Fan Protests Have Adversely Impacted the Team

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It was a natural eventuality that the impassioned prolonged protests against the ownership of Manchester United would take their toll on the team. With the protests getting out of hand earlier this month and forcing the cancellation if the home against Liverpool, the fixture had to be rescheduled, and that was an add-on to already congested slate of fixtures.

With United playing three league fixtures in five days this past week, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was forced to massively rotate his side and pick one match in which he fields an extremely weakened side. Essentially that’s conceding a match, and well, United did in fact lose that one, 2-1 Tuesday night to Leicester City, as they put out a side of kids and reserves.

Manchester United vs Fulham FC FYIs

Kickoff: 6pm GMT, Tue. May 18, Old Trafford

Team news for both sides: go here

Manchester United Starting XI Prediction: go here

Series history: Manchester United wins 52, Draws 19,  Fulham wins 14

Odds: Manchester United win -260,  Draw  +410,  Fulham win +600

Premier League Position:  Manchester United 2nd, 70 pts   Fulham FC 18th, 27 pts

United then lost the next one as well, to arch-rivals Liverpool, meaning they’ll head into the home finale against Fulham riding a two game losing streak. Naturally, having to play all those games so close to each other would yield bad results, but Solskjaer doesn’t want to use that as an excuse right now.

However, it is what it is, and simply put, the fans who stormed Old Trafford adversely impacted the team they love and support.

“I didn’t want to use it as an excuse because we lost two games but surely it’s a reason behind the performances,” Solskjaer said today in his prematch media availability.

“I’m not saying it didn’t affect them but I was impressed with how professional they were and how they went about it.

“I think the mood in any club and the relationship between the team and the fans is vital to what happens on the pitch. The players are all human beings, we’re all human beings, and we will react to getting our supporters back in a positive way.

In addition to what we’ve seen with the results on the pitch, it’s only natural to assume that the distraction of the protests being a media spectacle has hindered the players, mentally, as well. Now the Theatre of Dreams will welcome in fans, in limited numbers, for the first time in 14 months, tomorrow night.

The Norwegian hopes the fans come in peace and spread positive vibes.

“They have always been giving us extra energy and hopefully the players will give the fans a reason to cheer and that’s what we have to focus on. It’s a big game for us in that respect,” OGS continued.

The last time we had fans in was against Man City. It was a great game and the best atmosphere I’ve ever felt at Old Trafford in a league game, so the next time we welcome the fans back in we need to make sure it’s a positive one.”

We’ll see how it goes, but it will be interesting either way.

sir alex old trafford man united

Prediction: United 2, Fulham 0

United’s home finale could be a weird one, and why not as 2020-21 have been weird years.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports IllustratedChicago Tribune and SB NationFollow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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