Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said that football in its present format is “not football as it should be”, and that matches lack a competitive edge without fans in the stadiums.
As part of a wide-ranging press conference ahead of his side’s Europa League tie with FC Copenhagen on Monday (August 10), the Manchester United manager gave a candid response when asked his opinion towards playing big tournaments in empty venues. The Norwegian also expressed the importance of fans being able to return in the future.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: Football Has Become Less Competitive of Late
Manchester United Manager Impatient for Fans’ Eventual Return
“I think it is strange. It is not football as it should be, and I think it has changed a little bit. The passion and the edge to the game is missing, because the fans have to be there,” said Solskjaer on the eve of his side’s quarter-final encounter with their Danish opponents.
“I have to commend our players; they’ve done really well. They’ve handled the situation really well, and I know our fans can’t wait to get back to Old Trafford and support us. We’ll just have to try to make the most of this Europa League now and hopefully get as far as we can”.
Solskjaer Delighted With Pogba Fitness Levels
Paul Pogba recently celebrated the fourth anniversary of his return to Old Trafford, and Solskjaer is pleased to have the Frenchman fit again at the end of a frustrating season for the player fitness-wise.
Pogba only managed 16 Premier League appearances in 2019/20 as a result of persistent ankle problems.
“We’re delighted that he’s back playing. He’s fit, he’s enjoying his football, he’s got to make up for lost time and he’s trying to do that,” Solskjaer told the media.
“He’s training extra, he’s always a great personality in and around the place, and hopefully we can see him lift this trophy as he’s done before.”
Potential Europa League Reunions for United
Manchester United won the Europa League under José Mourinho in 2017. That is the most recent major trophy the club has won, and Solskjaer is keen to bring silverware back to Old Trafford.
Should they reach the final of the competition this season, United may face a semi-final battle with fellow Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers. A final date with Inter Milan could also be on the cards as the tournament concludes in Germany. Antonio Conte’s Inter currently boasts ex-United stars Ashley Young, Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez in their ranks.