Fulham-Manchester United Preview
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Manchester United's recent loss of form could be partly due to off-field issues but is hoping supporters can give his side a lift against Fulham on Tuesday.
The Red Devils lost back-to-back Premier League home games against Leicester City and Liverpool last week in a little over 48 hours amid a backdrop of fan protests against the club's ownership.
Supporters forced the initial clash with Liverpool two weeks ago to be postponed late on after demonstrating inside and outside Old Trafford, where United have now lost their last two games.
Solskjaer admits the disruption affected his squad and, ahead of United welcoming fans to Old Trafford for the first time in 14 months, the Norwegian has called for unity.
"I didn't want to use it as an excuse because we lost two games but surely it's a reason behind the performances," Solskjaer said. "I'm not saying it didn't affect them, but I was impressed with how professional they were and how they went about it.
"I think the mood in any club and the relationship between the team and the fans is vital. We're all human beings, and we will react to getting our supporters back in a positive way.
"They have always given us extra energy and hopefully the players will give the fans a reason to cheer and that's what we have to focus on. It's a big game for us in that respect."
Fulham have already been relegated, with Scott Parker's team coming off the back of a 3-1 defeat to Southampton.
"Tomorrow night we're playing the second best team in this division," Parker said. "We need to end the season in the right way.
"It's been a big disappointment this year, not being able to stay in the league, but there's still a job to do, and that's be professional and have some pride in our performance."
Manchester United - Marcus Rashford
Marcus Rashford's next goal will be his 100th in his senior career for club and country (88 for Manchester United, 11 for England). 50 of his 99 strikes so far have come at Old Trafford.
Fulham - Alphonse Areola
Alphonse Areola has impressed in the Premier League, and the Paris Saint-Germain loanee may well be getting looked at by several other clubs ahead of next season. A strong display at Old Trafford would only help his cause.
- Paul Pogba has scored in both of his Premier League games against Fulham (three goals in total), including the winner at Craven Cottage in the reverse fixture.
- United have lost their last two Premier League home games - they have not lost three consecutive league games at Old Trafford since February 1979.
- Fulham are winless in their last nine midweek (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday) Premier League games (D4 L5), with their last such win coming at Brighton in January 2019.
- United's Premier League games have seen more goals scored than any other side's this season (112 - F70 A42). Meanwhile, Fulham's games have seen fewer goals than any other's this term (76 - F26 A50).
- United have won 18 of their last 22 Premier League meetings with Fulham (D2 L2), and are unbeaten in their last 12 against them in the competition (W10 D2).
Updated May 17, 2021