Manchester United secured a 3-2 win over Norwich City which turned out to be a big three points in regards to the top four race but the positive result was marred by scenes before and after kick-off
It was a toxic afternoon at Old Trafford as Manchester United fans made their feelings clear about the Glazer family and Paul Pogba.
The Red Devils secured a 3-2 win over Norwich City which turned out to be a big three points in regards to the top four race as both Tottenham and Arsenal slipped up. But the positive result was marred by scenes before and after kick-off.
The Glazer’s were the focal point as supporters staged a protest outside Old Trafford before the game to express their disgust at the club’s American owners.
That poisonous atmosphere then carried over into the match with Pogba predominantly on the receiving end of their anger with the midfielder’s contract expiring at the end of the season.
Here’s how it all unfolded in Manchester on what was a day to forget for everyone associated with the club.
Man Utd fans stage protest
The 1958, a recently-formed supporter group organised a protest that started at Tollgate in Stretford before marching to Old Trafford with thousands of disgruntled supporters outside the ground before kick-off.
Flares were set off, as well as chants about the Glazer family in the Munich tunnel as police stood outside the closed directors’ entrance. Fans were holding yellow and green scarves aloft including ones that read ‘Glazers and Woodward out’, with the latter’s name scored out after Ed Woodward left the club in February.
Police spotters and horses were in place outside the East Stand and fans chanted “love United, stay outside” as The 1958 said supporters should not take up their seats before the 17th minute – one minute for every year of the Glazers’ ownership.
Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
Fans boo Pogba and told to “f*** off
Pogba was jeered by a section of fans when he was replaced by Marcus Rashford with 15 minutes left of the match with his future hanging in the balance
The former Juventus star – who has been linked with a return to Turin and a move to Paris Saint-Germain – looks destined to leave United as a free agent in the summer.
There were also ironic cheers from large sections of the home crowd as “f*** off Pogba” chants came from the stands.
Pogba aims gesture towards fans
The boos continued after the final whistle as the players made their way off the pitch with Pogba still being targeted.
The France international reacted as he was spotted cupping his ears in the direction of the fans. But Ralf Rangnick defended his player after the match and believes fans shouldn’t be targeting individual players.
He said: “I didn’t hear, but I was told after the game. I can totally understand the fans being frustrated, but I don’t think they should be targeting players individually. This is not right or fair.”
Players “not fit to wear shirt”
The level of toxicity could have been unbearable if it wasn’t for Cristiano Ronaldo. United appeared to be in cruise control as the Portugal star fired his side into a 2-0 lead before the hosts inexplicably let Norwich back into the game as they got back on level terms.
At this point, it wasn’t just Pogba who was in the firing line as with 20 minutes to go fabs chanted “You’re not fit to wear the shirt”.”
Ronaldo made sure United did not blow their lead with another hat-trick to seal the hard-fought win, taking his goal tally to 21 this season.
Man Utd release statement
Manchester United released a statement once the dust had settled as they empathised with supporters vowing to improve their relationship with the Old Trafford faithful.
“We are working hard to create the conditions for renewed success on the pitch while strengthening our engagement with fans,” a club spokesperson told BBC Sport.
“We respect the right of fans to voice their opinions peacefully and we will continue to listen to them, with the aim of working together to get the club back to where we all want it to be: competing for trophies.”