Premier League: Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer claims red seats behind home struggles

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has concocted a colorful explanation for his side's home struggles during the current COVID-restricted season.

Apparently, the seats at their Old Trafford stadium are too red.

Since the resumption of English football from the UK's first COVID-19 lockdown last year, all clubs have played in largely empty stadiums.

But while most have had to make do with no spectators for nearly a year, United boss Solskjaer says that the empty stands at Old Trafford are playing a part in his side's home struggles.

"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," Solskjaer says.

Old Trafford's lower-tier seats had been wrapped in red for most of this season, but that recently changed to black as part of an anti-racism campaign.

As a result, United claimed a 2-1 victory over Brighton in their next outing - and Solskjaer has taken note of the change.

"We've tried to change that, along with the anti-racism campaign," he says. "[It] was important that it wasn't red anymore."

Notably, fellow Premier League managers Jurgen Klopp of Liverpool and Mikel Arteta of Arsenal have not made the same argument, despite both sides also playing in front of red seats. 

Sitting second on the overall competition table, United drop to third when only taking home matches into account.

The Red Devils have accumulated 27 points in their 15 home matches so far this season - winning eight, drawing three and losing four - behind Manchester City (38 points) and West Ham (31). 

On the other hand, United's away record is nigh on perfect. In their 16 away matches, United are unbeaten, winning 10 and drawing six, and are level on points with City, both on 36. 

United currently trail runaway leaders and crosstown rivals City by 11 points, with a game in hand and seven matches remaining.