Ole Gunnar Solskjær has blamed Old Trafford’s red banners for Manchester United’s erratic home form – after his players complained the colour was too distracting.
The Old Trafford boss is promising improved shows at the Theatre of Dreams now that black seat-wraps have replaced red ones.
Solskjaer’s startling explanation conjures memories of legendary ex-United manager Alex Ferguson famously swapping their grey kit for blue-and-white stripes at half time against Southampton in 1996.
Fergie believed his players struggled to see each other’s gear clearly enough for long-distance passing.
And 25 years later Solskjaer is expecting instant dividends from his own colour swap, starting in Thursday’s Europa League quarter-final at home to Granada when United defend a 2-0 first-leg lead.
The Norwegian is gambling it all on black rather than red off the pitch.
He said: “You’ll see a change now. If you see the banners around the club it’s not red anymore. We’ve looked into this. There shouldn’t be a reason, really.
“But some of the players have mentioned that split-second decision you have to make where you look over your shoulder to see if your teammate is there or not and the red shirt is on a red background with red seats.
“So we’ve tried to change that, along with the anti-racism campaign. It was important that it wasn’t red anymore.”
Second-placed United have won 27 points from their 15 home Premier League matches, losing four times and conceding 20 goals.
In contrast, they have 36 points from 16 unbeaten away games.