Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Wednesday tried to placate angry fans of Europa League semi-final opponents Roma, who have accused the Manchester United boss of disrespecting their club.
Comments made by Solskjaer after the quarter-final triumph against Granada have angered some Giallorossi supporters, who have put up posters of the Norwegian near the Serie A club’s training ground alongside the quote: “I don’t know them and I haven’t seen them play”.
The fans have added the caption “Make sure he remembers us!”
Solskjaer, who is seeking to win his first trophy as United boss, told his pre-match press conference that the remark should be put in context.
“That was straight after the game and with all the games we’ve had I was just relieved that we’d gone through,” he said.
“Of course I’ve watched them but I hadn’t analysed and hadn’t seen them in depth to give them enough respect probably with analysis.
“I could’ve said, which I truly mean, ‘it’s a fantastic club with a great history’.”
Solskjaer said he even owned two treasured shirts worn by Roma greats.
“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, actually signed,” he said.
“I know about the history, I know about the quality.”
“It was not meant as any disrespect and I think everyone knows that. I’ve got loads of respect for them,” he added.
Solskjaer said forward Marcus Rashford should be fully fit for Thursday’s first leg at Old Trafford.
United suffered semi-final heartbreak three times last season — in the League Cup, FA Cup and Europa League — and again this term in the League Cup.
“It will be a dream come true the day I can lift a trophy for this club as a manager, of course,” said Solskjaer, who won multiple trophies as a player at Old Trafford.
“That’s what we’re building for. We’ve been close, we’re building step by step…. But for this team and myself, our ambition this season is to finish with lifting a trophy and being able to celebrate.”