Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was in a difficult predicament when Manchester United fans’ anti-Glazer protests were at their most vociferous last season.
As whispers about possible protests outside Old Trafford were swirling around ahead of United’s planned home game against Liverpool, Solskjaer struck all the right notes when he condoned supporters’ rights to protest peacefully.
He did the right thing in meeting a group of supporters who had stormed United’s Carrington training ground,
using his trademark charisma to chat matters through with them. He came across as responsible and also understanding about the fans’ concerns. He was an outspoken critic of the European Super League proposals.
But Solskjaer could not condone the violent elements of the protests that did occur by Old Trafford and United’s team hotel on the day of the (scheduled) Liverpool game.
Some fans believed, and still believe, that the Norwegian was defending the Glazer family when he was critical of the way the protests unfolded. Some accused him of being an apologist for the unpopular American owners.
Yet all of the manager’s public utterances about the summer transfer window — which is about to open — and the need for United to strengthen their squad would suggest he is putting his own form of pressure on the owners.
The dust had barely settled on United’s agonising Europa League final defeat to Villarreal when Solskjaer boldly voiced his intention to sign three first team players this summer.
His desire to improve on a progressive but not perfect season at Old Trafford was plain for all to see. Not settling for mediocrity or resting on his laurels.
He said: “We are here now, we need to do better, we need to work better, work harder, cleverer.
But as I said two or three players to strengthen the starting XI and the squad all together is important for us to go even further.
Because I’m sure our contenders or challengers will also want to improve and we want to improve as much as we can.”