Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has responded to the controversy surrounding Edinson Cavani’s Instagram post.
The Uruguay international had a superb game for United against Southampton at the weekend, scoring twice and setting up another in a 3-2 win at the St Mary’s Stadium.
After the game, however, Cavani made a major social media blunder as he replied to a friend’s message on Instagram with “Gracias n*****” – the same word notably used by fellow Uruguayan Luis Suarez when he was charged with racial abuse of Patrice Evra back in 2011.
Speaking at his press conference today, as quoted by Goal, Solskjaer said there was nothing malicious about Cavani’s use of the word, but that the player has also had it explained to him that it’s not seen as acceptable in this culture.
“We’ve communicated with Edinson and he’s deeply sorry for the mistake he made. There was no malicious intent at all, it was just an affectionate greeting to a friend of his,” he said.
“We explained to him and he’s been asked by the FA to explain so of course he will cooperate with them and we will support him. It’s one of those unfortunate situations. He’s just come into the country, in Uruguay it’s used in a different way than what we have here.
“We will support him but we support the FA too. It’s important that the FA has asked him to explain and it’s out there for everyone to see because we want to be in the fight against discrimination with everyone.
“I saw Gary (Neville) said something about all players coming from different cultures should be educated and I’m sure Edinson has learnt the hard way.”
Solskjaer added that Cavani is still ready to play for Man Utd against his old club Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League on Wednesday night.
“Edinson is ready to play. Of course, it’s special for him to play against PSG, his old club where he is the top scorer, so that will affect him mentally,” he added.
“From knowing him I think that will give him energy and he will be ready. He is so professional, experienced and he will work on his mindset today and tomorrow to be ready for the game.
“The same goes for the FA… he’s learnt a lesson. It might affect him but he’ll have to put it to one side when the game’s on and the best players can put problems, or other thoughts, away for a while and perform when he has to.”