Football

Solskjaer pleads with fans for 'civilised' protests

Red Devils boss says they have the right to be heard, but must not go overboard

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer called for protests to remain "civilised" after last Sunday's anti-Glazer demonstration forced the postponement of Manchester United's league match against Liverpool.

Fan anger at the American owners has been stirred up by the European Super League fiasco, with thousands of protestors descending on Old Trafford before the scheduled kick-off.

A number of supporters broke into the stadium and invaded the pitch while another group made their frustrations clear at the team hotel in the city centre.

    SEMI-FINAL, 2ND LEG
AS ROMA MANCHESTER UNITED

A police spokesman said six officers were injured as flares were let off and bottles thrown during the protests. One officer sustained a fractured eye socket and another a facial wound.

A 28-year-old man was charged with offences such as throwing fireworks and use of threatening behaviour.

"It was a difficult day for us," said Solskjaer, speaking ahead of the second leg of United's Europa League semi-final against AS Roma.

"Of course we wanted to play, we wanted to beat Liverpool for the fans because our job has to be getting good performances, good results on the pitch.

"That's the players' focus, that's my focus but, as I said before the game, we have to listen. We have to hear the fans' voice.

"It's everyone's right to protest. It has to be in a civilised manner, though. It has to be in a peaceful manner."

The English Premier League said yesterday that the postponed game has been rescheduled for May 13.

The Norwegian added: "Unfortunately, when you break in, when police officers get injured, scarred for life, that's too far.When it gets out of hand like this, it's a police matter. It's not about showing your opinions any more."

United, seeking their first silverware since 2017, won the first leg against Roma 6-2 and are almost certain to reach the final, where they will play Arsenal or Villarreal.

Midfielder Bruno Fernandes said winning a trophy would show the club's progress.

"It's still not enough for us but it is... a sign that we are doing a little bit better. We will improve," said the Portugal international. - AFP

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