fan unrest | 

Ralf Rangnick refuses to be drawn on Glazer's ownership of Manchester United

Some Man Utd fans turned up at the club’s training ground on Friday while a larger protest is planned for Saturday’s match against Norwich.

Ralf Rangnick declined to offer his own views on the Glazer family ahead of planned fan protests (Martin Rickett/PA)

By Ian Parker, PA

Ralf Rangnick declined to offer an opinion on the Glazer family as Manchester United’s interim manager backed fans’ right to protest about the club’s ownership.

A small number of fans turned up at United’s training ground on Friday to make their anti-Glazer feelings known before being moved on by police, while a larger protest is planned ahead of Saturday’s match at home to Norwich.

The 1958 Group has called for fans to gather at the Tollgate in Stretford before marching to Old Trafford, and said supporters should not take up their seats before the 17th minute – one minute for every year of the Glazers’ ownership.

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Rangnick – who is contracted to remain at United as a consultant once a permanent manager is appointed this summer – said fans were entitled to voice their opinion, asking only that they continue to support the team on the pitch, and would not be drawn on his own views on the hierarchy.

“There is no point in speaking or talking about that right now, that’s not the issue,” he said. “The issue is how can we win the game? It’s not my job to speak about our ownership.

“I had a long conversation before I came over here at the beginning of December with the owner. Right now it doesn’t makes sense to speak about that.”

Previous demonstrations have turned ugly – United’s Premier League match against Liverpool was called off last May as a planned peaceful protest escalated when fans broke into the stadium and caused damage.

Though there is potential for a repeat, Rangnick said he had not felt any negativity around the team as they look to bounce back from last week’s 1-0 defeat to Everton, a result which has seen them drop six points off the top four with seven games left to play.

An anti-Glazer protest forced the postponement of United’s fixture against Liverpool last May (Barrington Coombs/PA)

“I don’t think so far we’ve had to deal with that,” he said. “The support of the fans has been massive, no matter if it’s home or away. So far we haven’t had that situation where they turned their emotions against the team.

“I can understand it, it’s a game of passion and emotion.

“Whenever we come to the ground be it away or at home they’re receiving the players with love and passion but it’s up to us, to them, that we still care, that the coaching staff care and that the players care and try and get the best out of it and try and win the game.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked in November with United seventh in the table, the same position they find themselves in ahead of the weekend fixtures, but Rangnick insisted he had seen signs of improvement and had no regrets on taking on a job more difficult than might have been anticipated.

“No regrets whatsoever,” he said. “I would do it over and over again. As a manager you always have to question and ask yourself what you could have done better, if I could have played with a different formation in certain games, if a substitution could have been done earlier…

“I think we are all aware it’s not an easy squad, the whole situation was not easy or I would not be sitting here and Ole would probably still be here.

“I think we have shown in the past couple of months we were able to raise the level but not in the same sustainable way that I would have wished. That’s the reason I’m not happy at all with what we’ve done and achieved so far.”

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