United Briefing: Get the fans back in!

Monday 17 May 2021 08:00

Scott McTominay says he and his Manchester United team-mates are ‘desperate’ to see the return of fans, ahead of Old Trafford's first match with supporters for 14 months.

The Theatre of Dreams has not hosted the Red Army since 8 March 2020, when McTominay himself memorably scored the clinching goal in famous 2-0 win over Manchester City.

But on Tuesday (18 May), up to 10,000 are set to be inside the famous old stadium to watch United take on Fulham (kick-off 18:00 BST). And McTominay says the squad cannot wait.
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“Get the fans back in, man!” enthused the midfielder. “I think it was after the game the other day, I said: 'We're desperate for the feeling of adrenaline from all the people inside the stadium.' To see everyone smiling and back enjoying football again.

“The last year has been so difficult. We’ve said that, as players, just because we can do what we love it doesn’t mean we’re still not hurting for everyone else who can't come to the stadiums. We feel the emotion and want everyone there again. Obviously for us it’s friends, family, really pushing yourself for everybody in the Man United family. It’s something I can’t wait for again.”
Despite the lengthy absence of crowds from football stadiums, McTominay still recalls that win over City like it was yesterday - and wants more moments like his injury-time stunner.

“Every time we play Man City, the atmosphere is electric, to be fair. Liverpool and the rest too,” said McTominay. “That day was special.

“I was on the bench, there was a no sulking, no moaning. I’d just come back from injury. I wasn’t in the state to be saying… I’m obviously desperate to play, but you just want the lads to do well and when you come on you’ve got to do your bit as well.

“It's so important that in a team full of winners, there has to be some sort of sulking, but sulking in the right way, where they want to be playing and want to be involved and always on the pitch all the time. For me, that was the feeling I had that day. To score a goal like that, it was special. Looking back, it was the lads who did the hard work and I was just fortunate enough to get the headlines.”

We'll start the week with our daily Media Watch round-up of all the big stories and transfer rumours from over the weekend.

You'll then hear from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ahead of our penultimate Premier League game of the season, against Fulham (kick-off 18:00 BST). Expect plenty of build-up to Old Trafford's first match with fans in 2020/21, too, as the Reds aim to defeat the Cottagers and confirm a second-place finish in the league.  We'll also be counting the votes for the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award and our Goal of the Season prize. The voting closed at 23:59 BST yesterday, and the winners will be announced later this month.

Additionally, it's the 31st anniversary of Sir Alex Ferguson's very first trophy success as Manchester United boss: the 1990 FA Cup final replay win over Crystal Palace, which was decided by Lee Martin's second-half goal.
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Ole sat down to address the media for his pre-Europa League final press conference, ahead of our meeting with Villarreal on 26 May in Gdansk, Poland. The boss gave an update on Harry Maguire, as the captain steps up his bid to regain fitness, and also elaborated on what winning a first piece of silverware could do for his young, growing squad. You can read every word of the press conference here, if you missed it.

We also revealed the winner of the Manchester United Women Player of the Season award for 2020/21. Sadly, the women's season ended with a disappointing 3-2 defeat to Leicester City in the fifth round of the Women's FA Cup, in what was Casey Stoney's final game after a highly successful three-year spell as manager.