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‘This isn’t how it should be’ – Solskjaer condemns racist abuse aimed at players

A 41-year-old man was arrested on Sunday.

Fred was struck by missiles as he took a corner during Saturday’s Manchester derby (Mike Egerton/PA)
Fred was struck by missiles as he took a corner during Saturday’s Manchester derby (Mike Egerton/PA)

By PA Sport Staff

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has condemned the alleged racist abuse some of his Manchester United players suffered in their Premier League clash with Manchester City.

United midfielders Fred and Jesse Lingard were subjected to alleged racism during last weekend’s 2-1 derby win at the Etihad Stadium, with the former also being hit by missiles as he went to take a second-half corner.

A 41-year-old man was arrested on Sunday in connection with the allegations, before being bailed pending further investigation.

Solskjaer told a press conference on Wednesday: “We have spoken with the boys, of course.

“They are the same as me. This isn’t how it should be in football but what we can do is go out onto the pitch next time and prove we are all equal. It has been a tough couple of days for Jesse and Fred.”

The victory at City completed a fine week for Solskjaer after he defeated Jose Mourinho on his first return to Old Trafford – since his dismissal last December – with a 2-1 win over Tottenham on Wednesday.

Consistency is vital in football. If we want to win trophies this young team needs to learn how to put performances in when they don’t feel great. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

But the former United striker insisted he never doubted his side’s ability despite an indifferent start to the season, and Solskjaer is targeting top place in Group L of the Europa League when they host AZ Alkmaar on Thursday.

He added: “Results are the proof in the end. Inside we have always believed in what we are doing. It is going to be ups and downs but we are on the right track.

“I see these boys in training every single day — I see their skills and attitude so I’m not worried. Of course I am bothered (about finishing top). I am not going to send these boys out and say, ‘I don’t care if you win or lose’.

“Every game at Man United, you have a chance to prove to your team-mates, to me, to the supporters that you deserve to be part of this team for a long time.”

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Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is targeting top spot in Group L (Richard Sellers/PA)

Solskjaer called for consistency from his squad after successive Premier League victories got their top-four aspirations back on track.

He said: “Consistency is vital in football. If we want to win trophies this young team needs to learn how to put performances in when they don’t feel great. It doesn’t happen that you feel great every time you walk onto the pitch.

“We have had some games this year where we have not been able to perform as well as we would like but that is a learning curve.

“The young boys will improve that as well in the next few years and hopefully the rest of the year. We are looking brighter now.”

United are set to name an academy player in their matchday squad for the 4,000th successive match when they host AZ – a record that the Norwegian is proud of.

Solskjaer added: “It’s in our DNA to give young players a chance. They can only surprise you and impress you when you put them in. It goes without saying that we have a great academy.”

Nemanja Matic is set to return to the Red Devils’ midfield having not played since the trip to Alkmaar on October 3, but Paul Pogba is unavailable as he recovers from an ankle problem.

PA

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