Stop online spread of hate, says Man Utd manager

Written By: BBC/Oscar Nyagah
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Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says social media companies have to stop the spread of hate, after his midfielder Paul Pogba received racist abuse online last week.

The Frenchman became the third player in a week to be racially abused on the platforms following a penalty miss against Wolves.

“Paul is a strong character – it makes him stronger,” said the Norwegian.

“We have to do something about it and authorities have to do something.”

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Solskjaer is the latest figure from the club calling for stronger action, following defender Harry Maguire and striker Marcus Rashford.

Former defender Phil Neville also suggested that players quit social media in protest.

“Social media is a place where Harry [Maguire] said people hide behind fake identities – it’s not down to me to change it,” added Solskjaer, who also said players would not be banned from using social media.

Last week, Chelsea condemned “abhorrent posts” aimed at Tammy Abraham after his decisive penalty miss in the Super Cup against Liverpool.

Then on Sunday, Reading striker Yakou Meite called out racist abuse sent to him on social media after he had a spot-kick saved.

Earlier this week, Twitter stated it would meet United representatives and anti-abuse campaigners Kick It Out.

Solskjaer, who said he was on social media but wouldn’t be if he was a player today, added: “We need to protect individuals and we need to protect people.

“When there are death threats and racism, that is serious.

 What can we do about it? We aren’t going to ban our players on social media, we have to spread the good word instead.

There is so much good on social media, but we have to stop those instances, definitely.”

Asked how his players could cope, he added: “You become thick-skinned playing football and being as high-profile as our players are.

Apart from using common sense and being sensible, sometimes you have to turn a blind eye to it.

“You don’t have to read it. When I spoke to Paul I didn’t get the feeling he’d struggled with it and some, like Paul, become stronger with criticism.

 I enjoyed criticism [when I was playing] but when it’s gets personal and gets to race that’s different.”

‘There’s no fighting between Pogba and Rashford’

Meanwhile, Solskjaer said he would not change his policy on two penalty-takers following the negative reaction to his tactics during the 1-1 draw against Wolves.

With the chance of going 2-1 up in the match, Pogba won a penalty and, after a discussion with Rashford, decided he would take the spot-kick. However, his effort was saved by Rui Patricio.

A week earlier, Rashford had scored from the spot in the 4-0 win over Chelsea.

Solskjaer said: “I’m sure you’re going to see Pogba score a penalty for United again.

“Don’t be surprised if Marcus or Paul score the next one. There’s no fighting among them.”

The Norwegian also clarified the situation regarding the future of forward Alexis Sanchez, who has been strongly linked with a loan move before the transfer windows in Europe shut.

“There are still talks on Alexis with some clubs,” he added. “He played in a behind-closed-doors game – he’s working hard so let’s see in September.”

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