Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Backs Pep Guardiola Criticism of Fan Behaviour in Derby

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistJanuary 30, 2020

Manchester City's head coach Pep Guardiola, right, and Manchester United's manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, left, react during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Etihad stadium in Manchester, England, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
Rui Vieira/Associated Press

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer joined Manchester City counterpart Pep Guardiola in condemning the fan behaviour that marred Wednesday's Manchester derby.

United beat City 1-0 at the Etihad Stadium in the second leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final tie, but the Sky Blues advanced to the final because of their 3-2 aggregate win.

Nemanja Matic scored the only goal of the game in the first half and was also sent off for a second bookable offence in the 76th minute.

The fixture was soured by some home fans making aeroplane gestures—a reference to the 1958 Munich air disaster, the anniversary of which is on February 6—and throwing seats.

The crowd trouble came on the back of an attack on United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward's home.

Per Dan Sansom of Sky Sports, City boss Guardiola condemned the behaviour after Wednesday's loss:

"I don't like what happened with Ed Woodward at home because this is football. I am pretty sure you see the squad for United, it's really good. Honestly, it's really good so that is not the way to do it. When you talk about what happened, I didn't know it. If it would happen, that is not nice. Absolutely not."

Manchester United's Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reacts during the English League Cup semi-final second leg football match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on January 29, 2020
PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

Solskjaer backed up his opposite number with a similar sentiment:

"I've just got to stand behind Pep there. You know, football is a game. It's a game we should all enjoy - spectators, the ones who watch it on telly, the ones playing. I keep telling the players every time 'go out with a big smile and enjoy yourselves'. Work hard, yes, and fans should always try to enjoy the games.

"Yeah, we want rivalry but let's keep it at a sane level and let's make sure we eradicate that now. So, yeah, I stand behind Pep there and I think all of us do. We want to make this a nice game."

City have won the Carabao Cup two years running and will face Aston Villa in the final at Wembley Stadium on March 1.

If they beat Villa, they will become only the second side to win the trophy three years running. Liverpool won four consecutive finals from 1981.

The cup competitions are City's main focus given they are 19 points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool but in no danger of dropping out of  the top four.

Before the Carabao Cup final, Guardiola's side face the first leg of their UEFA Champions League last-16 tie against Real Madrid on February 26.

If City can win Europe's biggest club competition for the first time in 2019-20, it will go down as a hugely successful season, even though Liverpool look set to run away with the title.