Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists he was never a fan of the proposed European Super League and is glad fan pressure has ended Manchester United’s involvement in the project.
The breakaway competition, which sought to establish a closed-shop competition featuring 12 of the continent’s elite clubs, collapsed this week 48 hours after its launch, in the face of widespread opposition.
Solskjaer had been guarded when asked about the competition on Sunday, the news having only emerged as United were defeating Burnley 3-1 in the Premier League.
All six English clubs have since ended their involvement and Solskjaer joined the likes of Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola in stating his opposition to the project.
Solskjaer feels the concept of teams being guaranteed entry goes against what football and United stand for.
“First of all, I’m very happy the fans have voiced their opinion and that we’ve listened to them,” Solskjaer said ahead of Sunday’s trip to play rivals Leeds United.
“In a strange sort of way, it’s brought the football pyramid and community together. I think that’s important, and I’m very happy.
“I’m a supporter myself, and there’ll be a day when I come back and watch Man United and I want to watch a Man United team with a fear of failure.
“I didn’t like the concept anyway, it has to be on sporting merit, I want to earn the right to play in Europe.
“We know we’ve been pioneers and we’ve been in Europe for many, many years, with the Busby Babes, we want to be part of a successful European campaign again.”
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) April 22, 2021
The Champions League winner continued: “One of my best nights was something we worked really hard towards.
“To get to that, that fear of failure, you can’t be given it because your name is such and such, you have to earn the right to be there.
“And I’ve always felt and believed in stepping out of your comfort zone, being afraid of failure. That spurs you on, living on the edge a little bit, and that wasn’t part of this.
“For me, I’m very happy all of the clubs that have admitted their mistake.
“This was a bad idea and the way it came out as well – it has been a difficult year and then just when we’re talking about getting fans back into the stadium, we get this.
“We were looking forward to getting fans back in the stadium the last two games of the season and then weren’t able to look forward to it.
“But the fans – we have a banner at Old Trafford that ‘football is nothing without fans’ and we’ve felt that for a year.
“The preparation for the Leeds game was a little bit different, but then again that’s part of being in this industry and this club.
“Man United is the biggest club in the world, we want to be part of European football. I am so happy all the owners have agreed it was a mistake.
“I have always had good working relationship with the club and the owners. We speak and they listen to my opinions.”
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) April 23, 2021
In the aftermath of the club’s withdrawal, United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward announced he would step down from his post.
Co-chairman Joel Glazer, meanwhile, apologised to fans in an open letter – the family’s first direct communication to supporters in 16 years.
Nevertheless, a fresh round of anger directed towards the American family has shown no sign of abating, with United great Gary Neville demanding they sell up.
A group of supporters gained access to the club’s training ground to stage a protest on Thursday, with manager Solskjaer acting as a mediator.
The United boss was asked about Woodward and the Carrington protest.
Solskjaer added: “Football is emotions. I have had a very, very good working relationship with Ed but we have to move on without him.
“I will work as long as United want me here and hopefully we can end the season successfully. Ed would be part of that.
“I will always listen to the fans and I thought it was the right thing to do to listen to them and have a nice discussion with them. A peaceful discussion.
“It was a good 10 minutes and I was happy with that of course. We didn’t shake hands, we gave a fist bump and then we parted. Football without the fans is nothing.
“We have to listen to them. We have all been voicing our opinions this week. That is part of my job to speak to them, showing them that we want to be a better team.”
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