Although Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has finally seemed to hit his stride at Old Trafford, Manchester United's season hasn't been without hiccups. Some stuttering performances at home has left the Norwegian's side trailing rivals Manchester City by 11 points.
Before tonight's Europa League clash with Granada, Solskjaer offered an – ahem – interesting explanation regarding his team's displays at their home ground. Apparently, red banners that have lined the stadium's lower tiers in the absence of fans have caused problems for his players.
"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, that was important that it wasn’t red anymore."
It's rather outlandish, but he makes a fair point.
That being said, it's not the first time a Manchester United team struggled with unintended camouflage. Famously, Alex Ferguson ordered his team to change out of their grey strip in a Premiership clash against Southampton in April 1996.
United were cruising to the title that year, but had suddenly found themselves 3-0 down at half-time against the relegation-threatened side.
Ferguson made his team play the second half in a changed blue-and-white kit, which would ultimately result in a £10,000 fine from the FA. Ferguson maintained that his players could not see each other due to grey strip against the south coast sunshine. Fergie later described it as "the best £10,000 I ever spent." Whatever you say, Sir Alex.
Matt Le Tissier, who scored for Southampton that day, said it was "probably one of the worst excuses I've ever heard." No one has come for Solskjaer's explanation – yet.
United would never play in the infamous grey kit again. Don't be expecting to see block red coronavirus-era banners in Old Trafford anymore, either.