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Manchester United boss says fans can speak out as long as they back the team
Ralf Rangnick insisted supporters can voice their opinions, with a protest expected ahead of the Norwich game.
Manchester United’s interim manager Ralf Rangnick insisted that fans are entitled to voice their opinions ahead of an expected protest against the club’s ownership before Saturday’s Premier League match against Norwich.
The 1958 Group has announced plans for supporters to meet at the Tollgate in Stretford on Saturday morning before marching to Old Trafford. They plan to remain outside the stadium until the 17th minute of the match, marking one minute for each year of the the Glazer family’s ownership.
There was a heavy security presence around United’s Carrington training ground on Friday after around 30 fans congregated with an anti-Glazer banner before the gathering was dispersed by the police.
“We know that football is a game of passion and emotion,” Rangnick said. “I think we can all understand our supporters are disappointed both with where we stand in the table but also the performance which we showed against Everton.
“But I believe our supporters are one of, if not the, best in England and as long as they protest in a peaceful way and as along as they still support the team in the stadium I think they have the right to express their opinion. I can understand they have been disappointed.”
Regarding Friday’s protest, a club spokesperson said: “There was a small and peaceful protest outside the Carrington training ground today. We respect the opinions of fans and remain committed to strengthening our engagement with them.”
On May 2 last year, Liverpool’s visit to Old Trafford was called off after a planned peaceful protest – estimated to be 1,000 strong – escalated, with fans breaking into the stadium and causing damage.
Feelings against the Glazer family have risen again since the failed European Super League project, but the sense of frustration has also increased amid United’s onfield struggles.
Last week’s 1-0 defeat at Everton, coupled with Tottenham’s 4-1 win at Aston Villa, has left United six points off the top four with seven games left to play, although Rangnick insisted the side had improved since he took over from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in late November.
“I think we did,” he said. “We had moments, situations and games and spells where we played well, where we showed the team would be able to play on a higher level.
“If I can think about games we played against Crystal Palace, West Ham, Tottenham, away at Leeds, until the 70th minute against Aston Villa, we had quite a few games we played well as a team.
“What we couldn’t do is do it in a sustainable way and a longer period of time. I’m disappointed by that, I thought we could have played sustainably on a higher level. I’m not happy with that for sure but this is what we will try to do for the rest of the season.”
They are likely to have to do that without England left-back Luke Shaw, who is now expected to miss the rest of the season following an operation to remove metal bolts from his leg.
Rangnick last week said he expected the 26-year-old to miss two to three weeks, but the procedure has proven more complicated than expected.
“As it seems, he will be out for at least another four or five weeks,” Rangnick said. “It will be difficult for him to be available for the remaining seven games.”
Rangnick also confirmed that Fred, Scott McTominay, Raphael Varane, and Edinson Cavani will also miss Saturday’s match, with concern they will also be out against Liverpool on Tuesday night.
“Five players will still be missing for tomorrow, and some of them for the Liverpool game as well,” he said.