The Manchester United boss begged for questions about the upcoming game against Roma, or anything football related, as he admitted out loud that he was in a ‘difficult position’ when speaking about the protest anti-Glazer.
It was hard to shake off the idea that this was incredibly unfair, asking Solskjaer to speak virtually on behalf of the Glazer family, when the owners themselves refuse to answer questions about United.
Not for the first time, Solskjaer was ideally placed as the downfall guy. Less than 24 hours before the Norwegian sat down, via Zoom, to speak to the media ahead of the return leg against Roma, Avram Glazer had cleared a Sky News reporter asking him about the protest and the failed plans for the European Super League (ESL). .
Yet despite all of this, Solskjaer hit almost all the right notes, sympathizing with the peaceful part of Sunday’s mass protest and insisting that United need to communicate better with their supporters.
He condemned the violent and criminal aspects of the protest, but he also fired a few shots at experts who he said cite further unrest within United’s fan base.
“When it becomes a police matter, it’s not nice and it hasn’t been helped by some individuals,” Solskjaer said. “I have to say that’s another part of it, it’s your [the media’s] end of it. ”
Reports emerged on Thursday morning suggesting the United boss was not happy with his former United team-mate Gary Neville.
The former United right-back has not been shy in the media since the ESL proposals first aired, criticizing the owners of the Big Six clubs and calling for a massive backlash from supporters – which he has had at the shovel compared to the Super League. , which was quickly scrapped.
But Neville and his Sky Sports colleagues Jamie Carragher and Roy Keane also vehemently supported the anti-Glazer protests on Sunday, which resulted in the Liverpool game being postponed. As the Sky trio stopped by before tolerating the stadium break-in, they admitted they found it difficult to criticize United supporters.
“Look, I never thought they were brilliant owners, but I’ve seen in football that there are worse owners than the Glazer family,” Neville said.
“However, I think all football fans should unite today behind what Manchester United fans have been doing because honestly what they [the Glazers] fact two weeks ago was really dangerous for English football, it should not be forgotten.
If comments like these, however, angered Solskjaer, then perhaps the United boss needs to reassess his own, admittedly delicate, position.
The latest reports suggest that Solskjaer even made personal contact with Neville in an attempt to persuade him to calm down his rhetoric.
But Solskjaer didn’t need to call anyone in the media and would have been better served by not responding to the experts’ comments at all.
Neville was hardly “calling a lynch mob” as had been suggested, ridiculously by former Crystal Palace president Simon Jordan, on a certain radio station this week. He approved of the sentiment behind the protests, which reflect a fan base unhappy with their owners’ callous, aloof and stingy management of their club; a fan base who want the power to return to their hands to preserve the future of their beloved club.
Deep down, Solskjaer knows all this. But, again, it’s tough for him given the Glazers are his payers and ultimately decide his personal future in his dream job, at the helm of United.
It doesn’t help the cause for Solskjaer and Neville to be on different sides of the argument. The time has come, despite the difficulty of the situation, to stand united.