Interim manager Ralf Rangnick urged Manchester United fans not to pick on individuals after Paul Pogba was targeted for abuse during Saturday’s 3-2 win over Norwich.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick rescued Rangnick’s men from another embarrassing afternoon against the side rooted to the foot of the Premier League table.
Pogba was making one of what could his last few remaining appearances at Old Trafford with the Frenchman’s contract expiring at the end of the season.
There had been protests before the game even began among the United support, frustrated at a fifth consecutive trophy-less season.
And it was Pogba who bore the full front of their ire when he was substituted 17 minutes from time with the game level at 2-2.
“I can fully understand that the fans are frustrated, so are we and so are the players and the staff, but I don’t think they should target individual players,” said Rangnick.
“We have a collective responsibility, everybody here and that’s why I don’t think it’s right or correct to take on individual players.”
Ronaldo’s 60th career hat-trick kept United’s season alive as they closed to within three points of the Premier League top four and a place in next season’s Champions League.
However, the ease with which the Red Devils were easily opened up by the lowest scoring side in the league does not bode well for a daunting trip to face title-chasing Liverpool on Tuesday.
Ronaldo’s double put the home side into a commanding lead, but goals either side of half-time from Kieran Dowell and Teemu Pukki brought Norwich level.
David de Gea then needed to make a brilliant save to deny Pukki putting Norwich in front before Ronaldo completed his hat-trick from a free-kick.
“We didn’t defend well. Both goals we should have defended much better and David de Gea kept us in the game with a brilliant save,” added Rangnick.
“Overall, it was highly important to win the game, but the way that we played defensively after being 2-0 up was not enough.”