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Man Utd discuss protocol ahead of Partizan Belgrade tie after racist abuse of England aces | Football | Sport

Marcus Rashford and Harry Maguire have spoken to their Manchester United team-mates about their experiences in Bulgaria ahead of Thursday night’s potentially combustible Europa League clash against Partizan Belgrade (5.55pm).

UEFA and both clubs go into the match on high alert for trouble at a venue which has just completed a two-match behind closed doors for racist abuse at a qualifying game in August.

And while United and Partizan both appealed for a “celebration of football”, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted his club have discussed what they will do if the “the worst case scenario” plays out.

“In the aftermath of what happened in Bulgaria we had a meeting with the boys and we’ve gone through the protocol,” said Solskjaer.

“We’ve spoken in general on subjects but of course Harry and Marcus who were there, they were freer to talk about the atmosphere, how it was and what we can expect and what is the worst case scenario.”

Maguire admitted he was appalled by the abuse directed at black players in the England side in the Euro 2020 qualifier in Sofia.

He explained: ”It was a sickening atmosphere. It was something I don’t want to be part of again. 

“We’re positive it will be a great atmosphere and one we’re all looking forward to playing in.

“If something does go off then we’ll follow the three-step protocol and I’m sure there will people on and off the pitch doing their bit to make things better for the future.”

United have been briefed that UEFA will employ spotters provided by the Fare network (formerly Football Against Racism in Europe) and they are also happy to put their faith in the governing body’s three-step protocol.

It involves a graduated response starting with a public address announcement to what is expected to be a 30,000 attendance, moving through taking players to the dressing room for a cool-off period, then ultimately the referee abandoning the match.

Solskjaer is also keen to place his faith in human nature.

He added: “I believe in people and I’m sure the atmosphere will be fantastic and we’ll try to keep them quiet by playing good football.”

Partizan manager Savo Milosevic, the former Aston Villa striker, called on fans to be on their best behaviour. 

“We are aware of the importance of the game and we are also aware of the problems we have had in the past,” he said.

“But tomorrow will be a celebration of football so I don’t expect any problems in that regard.”

United will be without David de Gea who has not travelled with the squad as a precautionary measure but will be available for Sunday’s trip to Norwich.

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