Manchester United have issued an official response to reports that some of their fans were heard chanting about the Hillsborough disaster during their Europa League tie against Liverpool on Thursday.
The Red Devils have condemned those who took part in the offensive chants, and vowed to help avoid the same thing happening in the return leg next week.
The statement read: “It has always been the position of Manchester United that chants of this nature, which refer to historical tragedies, have no place in the game and do not reflect the values the club holds. We are in discussion with our fans’ groups to seek their support in preventing this type of behaviour in the future.”
UEFA are awaiting an official match report before they decide whether to take action against Manchester United over the behaviour of their fans.
Former Liverpool midfielder Ray Houghton condemned the chanting, telling BBC Radio 5 Live: "There were people in the crowd who lost loved ones at Hillsborough and that’s really hard to take. It’s something we don’t want to hear. It’s happened in the past with Liverpool fans to Manchester United with what happened at Munich. It’s uncalled for.
“When you lower yourself to that level [of those fans], it’s quite remarkable. It should have been a night of celebration - they haven’t played each other in a European tie before. The fans should have been getting behind their own team. When you stoop as low as they did, for me, it’s dreadful.”
96 supporters lost their lives during the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough ground. Initially, Liverpool fans were blamed for causing the disaster but extensive campaigning prompted an enquiry which placed the blame with the police, and led to an apology from Prime Minister David Cameron in 2012 over the "double injustice" of the tragedy.
Thursday's match between Liverpool and Manchester United marked the first time that the two rivals had met in a European competition, and it was Jurgen Klopp's side who emerged as winners. Goals from Daniel Sturridge and Roberto Firmino have put Liverpool in control going into the second leg at Old Trafford next week.