London (AFP) – Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer defended Paul Pogba and Amad Diallo for holding up a Palestine flag after Tuesday’s match with Fulham, saying they have a “right to have a different view.”
United midfielder Pogba appeared to be given the flag by a fan as the players made their way around the pitch during the traditional lap of honour after the 1-1 draw in the club’s last home game of the Premier League season.
French World Cup winner Pogba and Ivorian winger Diallo, who are both Muslim, displayed the flag in support of Palestine, with around 10,000 fans at Old Trafford watching on after coronavirus restrictions were lifted.
“We have players from different backgrounds, different cultures, different countries and we need to respect their views if they differ from someone else’s,” said Solskjaer.
“If my players think about other things than football, that’s a positive thing.
“We have seen that with some of my players before, that they do care. You see Marcus Rashford, for example, the difference he has made.
“So, no, we respect their right to have a different view.”
Israel’s bombing campaign on Gaza has killed at least 219 Palestinians, including 63 children, in over a week of fighting against Islamist group Hamas, according to the territory’s health ministry in Gaza.
Palestinian rocket fire has killed 12 people in Israel, Israeli police said.
Pogba and Diallo are the latest footballers to show their support for the Palestinians.
English midfielder Hamza Choudhury and French defender Wesley Fofana held a Palestinian flag on the pitch at Wembley after Leicester’s 1-0 win over Chelsea in the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday.
A social media post from Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny showing his support for the Palestinian people has been hit by a backlash from Jewish fans.
The Egyptian posted on his Twitter account: “My heart and my soul and my support for you Palestine.”
Arsenal confirmed to Sky Sports that they have spoken with Elneny after concerns about the post were raised by one of the club’s sponsors, coffee maker Lavazza.