Manchester United cult hero Park Ji-sung believes the "psychological pressure" of being knocked out of the Champions League was the reason for the Reds' poor finish to the season.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side won just two of their final 12 games of the campaign in all competitions — a stark contrast to how the Norwegian inspired them to eight straight wins when first appointed.

United's only defeat in Solskjaer's first 17 matches after replacing Jose Mourinho as boss was the first leg of the Champions League last 16 tie with PSG, though they would overturn that in a dramatic second leg.

But Park, who played alongside Solskjaer at Old Trafford, pinpointed the subsequent exit from Europe — 4-0 on aggregate to Barcelona — as the moment where it started to go wrong for United.

 

“I believe there was a psychological issue,” said Park in an interview with Goal.

“At the beginning of his time as a manager at Man United, there was a strong motivation for finishing top four and also Champions League.

“But, after they were knocked out of the Champions League, and lost a game in the league, they suffered from the pressure. I believe that kind of psychological pressure was hard for the players."

Park then argued strongly that Solskjaer deserves backing from United over the summer and into next season.

United are expected to sign a number of players to help Solskjaer with a rebuild on and off the pitch.

Solskjaer and Park were United teammates

"About next season, it's important for Man United to support their manager," Park added. "Supporting the manager to get the players he wants. The quicker, the better, so that new players can spend the pre-season together with the current team.”

"I believe he was the best man at that time.

"He was interim manager which was a very good option for both the club and Ole because they both have an opportunity.

"Ole was different in the way he watches football. When he was watching the game from the bench, he was always thinking about 'how can I change the game when I get into the pitch'.

“It's not an easy way of thinking, and I believe it was a perfect attitude for every player."