Manchester United gets police escort to airport to fly to Rome amid fears of more disruptive fan protests ahead of Europa League semi-final after chaotic scenes saw Liverpool clash postponed
- Manchester United flies to Rome for the semi-finals of the Europa League
- There were fears that protesters intended to prevent them from boarding
- As a result, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side was given a police escort to the airport
Manchester United were given police escort to the airport on Wednesday afternoon for fear of further fan protests against the team.
United will travel to Rome to meet Roma in the second leg of their Europa League semi-final, but there have been suggestions that some supporters would try to prevent the team from boarding their plane.
As a result, a tactical support unit was deployed to ensure that the team’s coach reached the airport smoothly.
The Manchester United team bus was given police escort to Manchester airport on Wednesday
Paul Pogba gives his thumbs up to one of the security details that helped their trip
It follows angry scenes on Sunday when United fans broke into Old Trafford and stormed the field in protest against the club’s owners – the Glazer family.
Six police officers were injured during the rally and supporters called on the owners to sell after their decision to make the club a founding member of the fateful European Super League.
The violent scenes, which resulted in the game with Liverpool being called off, were condemned by Solskjaer on Wednesday when he spoke ahead of the clash in Italy.
“It was a difficult day for us,” he told reporters. ‘Of course we wanted to play and beat Liverpool.
There was a strong police presence outside the airport from where United was due to depart
Police vehicles followed the team coach as he headed to the airport
Nemanja Matic (L) and Marcus Rashford were among the United contingent flying to Italy
Edinson Cavani walks past an airport worker with his luggage for United’s flight to Rome
‘We have to listen and hear the voices of the fans. Everyone has the right to protest, but it must be done in a civilized way.
‘If you break in and police officers get injured, that is unfortunately a step too far. When things get that out of hand, it’s a police matter, no longer about showing opinions.
“The right to protest peacefully, everyone has a human right to be heard, but getting out of line and entering locker rooms is a step too far if it becomes a police case.”
As it was, there were no signs of trouble on Wednesday, with players like Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford and Edinson Cavani arriving at the airport with minimal fuss.
Solskjaer’s side are 6-2 higher than the first leg after a dominant game in the second half at Old Trafford last Thursday.
If they win and advance to the final, fans are expected to visit the showpiece in Gdansk, where they will compete against Villarreal or Arsenal.
Hundreds of fans breached security on Sunday and entered Old Trafford to run onto the field