Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: Manchester United boss says fan protests have affected team

By Simon StoneBBC Sport
Football fans protest outside Old Trafford
Football fans hold a banner during a protest against the Glazer's ownership of Manchester United

Manchester United players have been affected by the fan protests about the club's ownership, according to manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Last week, Solskjaer's side were beaten by Leicester and Liverpool in the space of 50 hours as a congested fixture list combined with fan discontent to disrupt their planning.

United's players spent hours in the stadium and beds were delivered so they could rest ahead of the Liverpool game amid fears of major demonstrations.

"I didn't want to use it as an excuse because we lost two games, but surely it's reason behind the performances," he said.

"Physically it's impossible to play at the intensity that's required because of the amount of games. Then you look at the preparation in between and we haven't had the recovery and the same routine as we normally would and we haven't done the tactical preparation."

Victory against Fulham, whose relegation was confirmed over a week ago, will cement United's status as runners-up for only the second time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.

That would allow Solskjaer to leave all his main players out of the final-day trip to Wolves, which comes four days before his side's Europa League final with Villarreal in Gdansk.

And he is hoping the return of fans can bring some positivity back to the club.

"It's never nice to see a club that is not united. We're hoping Tuesday is going to be a positive day and that we move together.

"The mood in any club and the relationship between the team and the fans is vital to what happens on the pitch. Hopefully the players will give the fans a reason to cheer. That's what we have to focus on.

"It's a big game for us in that respect."

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