Manchester United march on but face plenty of hurdles over coming weeks

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (PA Wire)
14:10pm, Fri 07 May 2021
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Manchester United have made it through to their first final under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but there are some issues to get through before their shot at Europa League glory.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at some of the hurdles they face before the Gdansk showpiece on May 26.

Intense schedule

Manchester United face a packed fixture schedule (PA Wire)

Last Sunday’s Premier League clash with rivals Liverpool was called off after fans got into Old Trafford and onto the pitch as supporters demonstrated against the Glazers, who controversially took over the club in 2005. That fixture has been rearranged to next Thursday, leaving furious Solskjaer facing a run of four matches in just eight days. United lost the first of that run 3-2 at Roma on Thursday but progressed to the Europa League final 8-5 on aggregate, with a trip to Aston Villa coming hot on the heels this Sunday, before hosting Leicester on Tuesday and then Liverpool. Premier League matches against Fulham and Wolves follow before heading to Poland.

Injury fears

Manchester United were made to work in Thursday's 3-2 Europa League semi-final loss at Roma (PA Wire)

United have to play seven matches across a 21-day period, which culminates with the Europa League final against Arsenal’s conquerors Villarreal in Gdansk. Solskjaer is also looking to wrap up second spot in the Premier League, with his side currently four points ahead of third-placed Leicester with a game in hand and next week’s fixture against them still to come. But managing workload and avoiding injuries will be tough, with Solskjaer warning he is prepared to change all 11 players from game to game in the coming week. International managers will be watching through their fingers with the Euros looming large.

Threat of further anti-Glazer protests

Fans let off flares as they protest against the Glazer family, owners of Manchester United (PA Wire)

The despised owners’ standing hit an all-time low in the wake of last month’s botched European Super League proposal. While the plans did not even last 48 hours, there is no sign of fan anger dissipating. United co-chairman Joel Glazer admitted they got it wrong in attempting to join the breakaway league and promised to rebuild trust – a comment fans found laughable given there was not any trust in the first place. The Glazers were conspicuous by their absence from the emergency fans’ forum organised in the wake of the Super League fiasco and Avram Glazer did not apologise when doorstepped in the United States days after the Liverpool protest. Talk is abuzz of another demonstration before Thursday’s rearranged fixture at Old Trafford.

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