“That was straight after the game.”
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists he meant no disrespect to Roma after comments he made led to a group of the Italian club’s supporters unveiling banners outside their training ground.
Solskjaer angered Roma’s fans when he claimed to know nothing about the team ahead of their Europa League semi-final meeting on Thursday evening.
After United had seen off Granada in the quarter-finals, Solskjaer said: “I don’t know them and I haven’t seen them play.”
📸 Roma fans have put up posters of Solskjær, quoting “I don’t know them and I haven’t seen them play.”
The bottom of the poster reads “make sure he remembers us.” pic.twitter.com/dCtLWUzJM9
— UtdDistrict 🔰 (@UtdDistrict) April 27, 2021
Roma fans put up posters of Solskjaer outside the Serie A side’s training base which quoted the United boss while adding ‘make sure he remembers us’.
But speaking ahead of the semi-final first-leg encounter between United and Roma at Old Trafford, the Norwegian clarified his comments.
“Of course, that was straight after the game and with all the games we’ve had I was just relieved we’d gone through,” said Solskjaer.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
“Of course I’d watched them but hadn’t analysed and hadn’t seen them in-depth to give them enough respect, probably.
“It’s a fantastic club with a great history. I’ve actually got two prized possessions back home, a Francesco Totti shirt and a Daniele De Rossi shirt that I’ve swapped with them and they’re actually signed, so I know about the history, I know about the quality.
“With Chris Smalling being there last season, we followed them, then they signed Chris and we’ve not watched them as much, but we have analysed them down to the ground since we drew them.
“We’re ready for them. It was not meant as any disrespect, I think everyone knows that. I’ve got loads of respect for them.”
Solskjaer hoping to see off Roma and reach first final
United are targeting a first trophy under Solskjaer having lost four semi-finals under the former striker, including last season’s Europa League last-four clash with Sevilla.
And Solskjaer admits reaching the final ‘would mean so much’ as the 48-year-old attempts to secure his first piece of European silverware as a manager, 30 years after Alex Ferguson led United to the European Cup Winners’ Cup.
“You know, when you come to the business end of the season, the main thing is arriving there, being there, being in and around the important games, being in good form and having confidence and belief like we do have now,” said Solskjaer, who confirmed that Marcus Rashford will be available for Thursday’s game.
“It’s also to have that little bit of luck, but also that quality that’s needed.
“We’ve done remarkably well to get to five semis in a little bit more than a season, but of course now we’d like to go all the way.
“That would mean so much to the end of the season, if we have a final to look forward to.”
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