Manchester United cannot ignore fan mood after Europa League final

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As Manchester United matchgoers have demonstrated in recent months, actions speak louder than works and presence trumps a hashtag.

‘#Glazersout’ or ‘#Oleout’ are not movements that will unsettle the United hierarchy, however visible they are to billions online. The truest gauge of fan opinion is from the hardcore contingent who got off their backside and mobilised.

The approval ratings for Solskjaer on the flights out of Gdansk were low. A supporter on one of the club’s day trips said he had ‘never seen such emotion in the airport’ post-match as in the early hours of Thursday morning: “So many slating Ole.”

United followers had waited 15 months to legally watch their team on the continent and none could quite believe they could perform so abjectly. At least in Rome United had Barcelona under the cosh for the first 10 minutes and offered false hope at half-time at Wembley.

Emotions are always running high after such a bad defeat but those nagging doubts about Solskjaer’s suitability to make United a force again have always lingered. Solskjaer was serenaded in Poland and at Old Trafford last week and, whatever the fan feeling, they will also support him on matchday once the dust has settled.

There was a shrug from some in the Gdansk airport departures lounge when they mentioned Marcus Rashford’s name. There is a feeling Rashford has become untouchable when his form has been on the downward spiral for many months and the Europa League final was his professional nadir.

Rashford’s entourage have insulated him and a former teammate of Rashford’s noted three years ago he does not respond well to criticism. Solskjaer’s man-management has buoyed Rashford and their fortunes have become so aligned they are practically inseparable.

Those fans drowning their sorrows mustered some gallows humour at the prospect of Solskjaer receiving a new contract. United are trophyless two-and-a-half years into his watch and second hardly merits a reward yet the club has form for doling out undeserved deals. It is only a matter of time until the announcement.

Solskjaer has 13 months left on his existing contract and is not an in-demand coach. Ed Woodward yielded with Jose Mourinho after he fluttered his eyelashes at Paris Saint-Germain but it is not like Real Madrid are hovering for Solskjaer.

The managerial merry-go-round has started but United are not about to jump on it. Madrid, Juventus and Inter Milan are in need of a new coach, Ronaldo Koeman is not safe at Barcelona and Mauricio Pochettino could flee Paris after failing in Ligue 1 and the Champions League.

United only need to recall the ramifications of prematurely promoting Solskjaer to permanent manager in March 2019. United won two of their last 10 games, dropped out of the top four and ended up in the Europa League. They need to keep on their toes.

“That disappointment is the worst feeling,” Solskjaer said at just gone 1am on Thursday. “These are the moments you remember most as a player and as a manager

“And there are two ways: you can feel sorry for yourself, go on holiday and don’t do anything about it or you can go home, do something about it, come back better, stronger, more hungry, ready from the first minute.

 

That is inaccurate. United reached the Premier League summit at the halfway stage, got dizzy and collapsed. The squad was not ready to challenge and some supporters just do not see Solskjaer as The Man to wrest the Premier League trophy out of Pep Guardiola’s clutches.

United prefer a minimum of three signings each summer to go straight in the first-team – the minimum amount required before next season. United have failed to do that in the last four windows.

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