"No offence intended" - Man Utd boss clarifies "average teams" comment

Marc Skinner has moved to clarify comments made following the defeat to Paris Saint-Germain. Cr. Getty ImagesMarc Skinner has moved to clarify comments made following the defeat to Paris Saint-Germain. Cr. Getty Images
Marc Skinner has moved to clarify comments made following the defeat to Paris Saint-Germain. Cr. Getty Images | Manchester United via Getty Imag
Manchester United boss Marc Skinner has moved to clarify comments he made following the UEFA Champions League qualifying loss to Paris Saint-Germain.

Manchester United boss Marc Skinner has clarified comments made by himself following his side's loss to Paris Saint-Germain during the week after they received strong backlash.

The Red Devils failed to qualify for the group stages of the UEFA Champions League after a 4-2 aggregate defeat to Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday night and Skinner was explosive with his comments as he criticized the current Champions League format.

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"I hope something is changed because we want the best teams in the Champions League, not just a spread of some average teams" said the head coach following the game.

"There are teams going through to this competition (group stage) that are not good enough. Our standard is better than that standard, and it’s crazy that we have to play PSG at this qualifying round, crazy. And it needs to be something that’s addressed" he added.

The comments were met with scorn by many women's football fans who claimed they were disrespectful to sides who have won their league and/or have a long history in the comment and Skinner moved to clarify his comments ahead of Sunday's clash against Everton.

"I'm not clarifying what teams I'm talking about. I believe at this level has to have a broader, much broader, depth of teams. If you place those teams in those group stages - and only the group stages will tell us - if any disrespect was made, then obviously I take that back as that wasn't what it was about.

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"My comment was much more about the breadth and quality that I believe now that there is a need for more teams to be in this competition and then we will see who is average and who is not. We might have been average in the group stage, we don't know that? But we played a good team.

"It's easy to twist words, but if there was any offence taken then I am sorry for that. But that isn't what I meant. What I meant was I believe there should be a broader scale of teams and there should be more teams in this competition so we can then see where the elite level lies within Europe" said Skinner.

Many women's football fans were outraged at the comments by Skinner earlier in the week and he was asked if he could understand the frustration, to which he added: "To be clear, we've got teams that if they were in this league, it would be a harder place to navigate then it would be if they win their leagues. That's the reality, right?

"From our perspective, we have a tougher qualifying competition, a tougher way of going through to that qualifying round so what I need to have is - and again, I apologise if I have caused offence - to clarify, congratulations to the teams that have qualified, there was no offence intended but when I talk about those comments it is about how hard it is to qualify for Europe from our league.

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"We have to qualify from a harder group and I think that if we got the chance to play other teams in a different breadth then we'd see where we're at. From our perspective, we don't get that opportunity based on us having to qualify from a really difficult league.

"I think I have seen that before, we talk about who gets through to the latter stages of the competition and when I see that it tends to be English, German and French teams with the Spanish obviously winning it, it tends to be from them. That might be investment, opportunity.

"To be clear, apologies for any offence caused with that, it is much more from a frustration point of our qualification seems to be a lot more difficult and I think if there was a breadth of representation that is bigger than there is currently - you'd see the really true levels of Europe and how people grow" added Skinner.

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