Irish Daily Mail
SOLSKJAER SEES RED!
Ole claims United stars couldn’t see each other... just like Fergie!
OLE GUNNAR Solskjaer has always been happy to follow the example of Alex Ferguson, as the Manchester United manager admitted again on the eve of tonight’s Europa League quarter-final second leg against Granada.
So, almost 25 years to the day since Ferguson ordered his team to ditch their grey away kit at half-time at Southampton because they couldn’t see each other on the pitch, it was apt that Solskjaer revealed United have changed the colour of the red banners around Old Trafford for the same reason.
The club made the switch at the start of this month, covering the empty seats in the lower tiers of the stadium with black-and-white ‘United Against Racism’ banners as part of the See Red campaign.
According to Solskjaer, seeing red has been a problem for United, with the team’s shirts clashing with the old backdrop.
The Norwegian believes it is one reason why United have been better away from home, putting together a 23-game unbeaten run on the road in the Premier League and progressing to the last eight of the Europa League on the back of away wins against Real Sociedad and AC Milan.
‘You’ll see a change now,’ said Solskjaer. ‘You see the banners round the club, they’re not red any more. We’ve looked into this.
‘There shouldn’t be any reason really, but some of the players have mentioned that split-second decision you have to make — looking over your shoulder to see if your team-mate is there or not — and the red shirt is on a red background with the red seats. So we have changed that along with an anti-racism campaign. It was important it wasn’t red any more.’
After establishing a 2-0 first-leg lead in Andalusia, United should reach the semi-finals for the second year in a row, despite being without Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Scott McTominay through suspension tonight.
Solskjaer felt the five yellow cards shown to his players in the first leg — which brought a £6,000 fine from UEFA for ‘improper conduct’ yesterday — were a little harsh. He defended the club, recalling a lesson from Ferguson following an incident in 1998 when he was sent off at Old Trafford for racing almost the length of the pitch to hack down Rob Lee in a game against Newcastle.
‘Every manager has certain values,’ said Solskjaer in response to a question about simulation and his criticism of Tottenham’s Son Heung-min on Sunday.
‘When I got sent off against Newcastle, I thought I’d done the right thing for the team. Sir Alex absolutely lambasted me after the game and said, “We don’t win that way at Man United”. I’ve lived by that ever since. We want to win in the right manner. We want to win playing by the book.’
Meanwhile, Solskjaer revealed United want to keep Jesse Lingard following his sensational performances on loan at West Ham. He said: ‘Jesse has been brilliant since he left. He’s never once caused me a problem and he deserved a chance to play more football.
‘Of course we want him back. I hope he goes to the Euros.’
P.S MAYBE someone should have told Granada about the banner change at Old Trafford, because the Spaniards have only packed their black away kit for tonight’s match.
They will wear black shirts, black shorts and their first-choice white-and-red socks to avoid clashing with United.