Manchester United are set to take a round of acclaim in their final game of the season at Old Trafford tonight, despite supporters’ fury at the players over a somber campaign that has seen Champions League football slip away from them.
The Brentford clash will be the last home game for interim manager Ralf Rangnick, while Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata and Edinson Cavani are all out of contract this summer and could have a chance to say goodbye to Old Trafford even if they are not selected.
However, United fans are planning pre-game protests against their owners, who have overseen the club’s decline over the past decade.
They have called for a strike with 17 minutes remaining, the same number of years that the Glazer family have been in control at United.
While numbers could be down after the final whistle against Thomas Frank’s team, United are expected to still be on the pitch after the game to applaud fans during a lap of honor towards the end of a season that has seen players targeted by fans became.
Pogba, who is injured and will miss the game, was mocked by his own fans when he was substituted against Norwich. Marcus Rashford issued a statement after colliding with a supporter in the Old Trafford car park earlier this season while Harry Maguire was the victim of a bomb threat last month.
The Glazers have been the main target of fan trouble in recent years but it could still be an uncomfortable home final for the players, who will conclude their campaign with trips to Brighton and Crystal Palace.
Following the departure of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Rangnick was signed to end the season before the arrival of a permanent manager. Erik ten Hag should take charge of a squad that is low on confidence and relies on Cristiano Ronaldo’s goals for their only two wins since February.
The interim manager said it would take a player overhaul to bring United back to the top of the Premier League. He says the club can no longer compete with Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea in the transfer market and need to find younger, hungry players.
He has dropped Jadon Sancho with tonsillitis, Lingard for personal reasons, Maguire with a knee complaint and Aaron Wan-Bissaka with a knock and will review later if they’re worth risking tonight.
“Jadon will almost certainly not be available for the next few games,” said Rangnick. “Hopefully they can get this inflammation under control and if the tonsils need to be taken out and removed, that can happen at the end of the season.”
Manchester United v Brentford, Live, Sky Sports, 8pm
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https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/premier-league/angry-united-supporters-plan-walkout-before-players-lap-of-honour-41606128.html Angry United supporters plan strike ahead of players’ lap of honor