Barcelona icon Andres Iniesta reveals ex-Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal was his most important manager — The Scottish Sun

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ANDRES INIESTA has revealed his most important manager during his time at Barcelona — and the answer will surprise many.

The midfield legend is leaving the club in the summer, more than two decades after graduating from the famous La Masia academy.

Andres Iniesta has described Louis van Gaal as his 'most important manager'
Andres Iniesta has described Louis van Gaal as his ‘most important manager’
Marca Media
Andres Iniesta will leave Barcelona over 20 years since playing in La Masia
Andres Iniesta will leave Barcelona over 20 years since playing in La Masia
Offside Sports

Ahead of his departure, Iniesta, 34, was asked by Mundo Deportivo to describe various former team-mates and coaches in a sentence.

And “my most important manager” were words he used about former Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal.

The answer is surprising given he established himself as one of the world’s greatest midfielders, and enjoyed the most success, while working under Pep Guardiola.

However, it was Van Gaal who gave him his professional debut back in 2002, and that is clearly something he remembers fondly.

Andres Iniesta takes in the applause after last-ever Copa del Rey final
Andres Iniesta takes in the applause after last-ever Copa del Rey final
EPA
Andres Iniesta has described Barcelona legend Lionel Messi as 'unique'
Andres Iniesta has described Barcelona legend Lionel Messi as ‘unique’
AP:Associated Press

Asked for his thoughts on Guardiola, Iniesta replied: “A master for me.”

He insisted Frank Rijkaard, under whom he won his first Champions League title, was “the ideal coach for that period of my life.” While he described Tito Vilanova as an “exceptional manager and person.”


ARD TIME Barcelona loanee Arda Turan slapped with record 16-game ban for shoving linesman


Iniesta also labelled Luis Enrique “a friend” and Ernesto Valverde “wise”.

He was also asked about his Spain bosses, insisting Luis Aragones was a “professor” and Vicente Del Bosque is “exemplary.”

via Barcelona icon Andres Iniesta reveals ex-Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal was his most important manager — The Scottish Sun

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Stat shows how Jose Mourinho has helped turned Manchester United into the Premier League’s most boring team — Metro

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Manchester United’s goalless draw with West Ham on Thursday night will not live long in the memory.

A United side which included the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Paul Pogba toiled for 90 minutes against obdurate opponents and could muster just six shots on target, with Mourinho opting to leave youngsters Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford on the bench for the entire match.

Mourinho was without top scorer Romelu Luakaku, whose ankle injury has rendered him a doubt for next Saturday’s FA Cup final, but the result and the performance left a sour… Read the full story

via Stat shows how Jose Mourinho has helped turned Manchester United into the Premier League’s most boring team — Metro

Man United clinch 2nd place in PL with 0-0 draw at West Ham – AP

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pdj136-ap.jpgLONDON — Manchester United clinched second place in the Premier League with a 0-0 draw at West Ham on Thursday.

In a dull game with few quality chances, United defender Luke Shaw came closest to scoring when he had a shot turned onto the post in the first half.

The point means United are ensured of finishing second behind runaway champion Manchester City, while David Moyes’ West Ham remained in 15th place — but just two points from 10th with one game remaining.

United manager Jose Mourinho reacted to Friday’s 1-0 loss at Brighton by making eight changes, introducing a back three and utilizing fit-again Alexis Sanchez as his main striker.

West Ham’s Marko Arnautovic hit an early strike straight at David De Gea before the Austria international could only head over from six yards after Chris Smalling made a mess of clearing Aaron Cresswell’s cross.

Jesse Lingard forced West Ham goalkeeper Adrian into his first save as the visitors started to take control of the contest, with Sanchez drawing another stop before the Spanish keeper turned Shaw’s follow-up strike onto the post.

It was the closest either side came to scoring, although the match flared up toward the end Paul Pogba’s foul on West Ham skipper Mark Noble led to a fracas.

Both players grabbed hold of one another but it was Noble who was arguably the luckier of the pair to only be booked following his angry reaction.

The away supporters in attendance paid near-constant tributes to former manager Alex Ferguson, the 76-year-old now out of intensive care having had an operation on a brain haemorrhage over the weekend.

 

Manchester United star Romelu Lukaku handed nickname ‘Rocky’ by team-mates due to incredible training ethic — The Scottish Sun

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ROMELU LUKAKU has been given the nickname ‘Rocky’ by his Manchester United team-mates because of his incredible training ethic.

The Belgian striker is battling to be fit for the rest of the season at present after picking up an ankle injury.

The 24-year-old was forced off late on in the last-gasp 2-1 win over Arsenal last Sunday afternoon.

But his Red Devils pals are cheering him up having handed the ex-Chelsea ace the affectionate name after bulking up in training.

An Old Trafford source said: “He has been absolutely smashing training and wants to be peak for the World Cup and Belgium.

“He’s one of the first in for the warm-up on the bikes and is then hitting the gym for an hour after normal training has finished.

“They say he is more ripped than normal at present and knows he isn’t going to have a full pre-season this summer.

“He is trying to kill two birds with one stone. Jose is obviously loving it, as it is setting a firm message out to the others.

“He is is full on ‘Rocky’ training mode and seems to be preparing more for 12 rounds of boxing than a game of football.”

via Manchester United star Romelu Lukaku handed nickname ‘Rocky’ by team-mates due to incredible training ethic — The Scottish Sun

I will gladly Welcome Martial to Arsenal – Pires

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pire

‘I would welcome him at Arsenal!’ Robert Pires urges former club to sign Manchester United forward Anthony Martial.

anthony-martialRobert Pires insists he would ‘welcome’ Anthony Martial at Arsenal (Picture: Getty)

Robert Pires has urged his former club Arsenal to attempt to sign Anthony Martial from Manchester United.
France international Martial joined the Red Devils in 2015, becoming the most expensive teenager in history when he left Monaco for a fee of over £50million.
The 22-year-old has struggled to live up to his price-tag, however, failing to nail down a place in United’s team under Jose Mourinho.
More: Football

 

Report: Manchester United Given Boost in Sergej Milinkovic-Savic Pursuit

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Report: Manchester United Given Boost in Sergej Milinkovic-Savic Pursuit

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Lazio's midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic from Serbia celebrates at the end of the Italian Serie A football match Torino Vs Lazio on April 29, 2018 at the 'Grande Torino Stadium' in Turin. (Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP)        (Photo credit should read MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images)

MARCO BERTORELLO/Getty Images

Manchester United have reportedly moved to the head of the queue to sign Lazio‘s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic after Barcelona cooled their interest due to his €80 million (£70 million) price tag.

According to Mundo Deportivo (via MailOnline’s Robert Cottingham), Red Devils manager Jose Mourinho is eager to add two more midfielders to his squad over the summer, and United sent scouts to cast their eye over Milinkovic-Savic last month.

The Serbian has a number of other suitors including Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, but United are now said to be leading the race as Barca have balked at Lazio’s hefty asking price.

Milinkovic-Savic, 23, has been a key part of the Lazio first team for the last three seasons and is enjoying a successful 2017-18 campaign.

In Serie A this term he has netted 11 goals and provided three assists in 32 appearances from his central midfield role.

He is able to operate as a No. 10, particularly in a 4-2-3-1 formation, but his preferred position is in the middle of the park, perhaps in a 4-3-3 system, where he can contribute both in defence and attack.

Along with his fantastic technique, passing range, ball control and maturity, he is also a physically imposing player and threatening in the air, per WhoScored.com:

United are one of few clubs who boast the financial clout to meet Lazio’s asking price, and Milinkovic-Savic has previously labelled Mourinho as “the best manager in the world,” per Sky Sport Italia (via Football Italia).

United are not short on options in midfield. But Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic are more defensive minded in the middle of the park, Michael Carrick will be retiring at the end of the season and Marouane Fellainicould depart Old Trafford as his contract expires in the summer.

The prospect of Milinkovic-Savic playing alongside Paul Pogba in United’s midfield is an exciting one for Red Devils fans, and it could yet become a reality if Barca have pulled out of the running for the Serbia international.

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May 2, 2018 at 03:03AM

Gary Neville backs Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino to succeed Jose Mourinho at Manchester United — Metro

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Gary Neville wants Mauricio Pochettino as Jose Mourinho’s successor (Picture: Getty)

Gary Neville has backed Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino to succeed Jose Mourinho at Manchester United.

Mourinho, 55, is nearing his two-year anniversary as United boss and won the Europa League and EFL Cup in his debut season at Old Trafford.

The former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss was linked with a departure earlier in the season but committed his long-term future to United by signing a contract extension in January.

via Gary Neville backs Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino to succeed Jose Mourinho at Manchester United — Metro

Jose Mourinho Blames Chelsea For Selling Liverpool Star Mohamed Salah – And Says The Blues Lied About His Departure

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https://wp.me/p9fesW-23C.

 Mo Salah was sold by Chelsea after a failed two-year spell at Stamford Bridge

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has laid the blame squarely at Chelsea’s door for selling Mo Salah in 2016.

The Egyptian star left Stamford Bridge under Mourinho’s reign after a failed two-year spell.

But the Manchester United boss insists he didn’t make the decision to sell Salah, who has lit up Europe this season with 43 goals for Champions League chasing Liverpool.

 Jose Mourinho said Chelsea are to blame for selling Mo Salah in 2016

Salah left Chelsea for Roma in 2016 before the Reds brought him for £40million last summer.

Mourinho told ESPN Brazil: “People say that I was the one that sold Salah and it is the opposite.

“I was the one that bought Salah. I was the one that told Chelsea to buy Salah.

“But he came as a young kid, physically he was not ready, mentally he was not ready, socially and culturally he was lost and everything was tough for him.

“We decided to put him on loan and he asked for that as well.

“Chelsea decided to sell him, OK?

 Mo Salah has forced his way into Ballon d'Or contention with his stunning performances for Liverpool this season

“And when they say that I was the one that sold him it is a lie.

“I agreed to send him on loan, I thought it was necessary, I thought that Chelsea had wingers.

“Some of them are still there like Willian, [Eden] Hazard and all those players already in a different level.”

Mourinho added: “But effectively I did buy Salah, I didn’t sell Salah, but it doesn’t matter.

“What matters is that he is a fantastic player, and I am really happy for everything that is happening for him and especially because he scores against everyone and he didn’t score against us in two games.”

Arsenal and Manchester United fans react to shock Louis van Gaal announcement — Metro

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Louis van Gaal claims he has an offer he cannot refuse and is in line for a return to management (Picture: Getty)Former Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal claims he has been offered a chance to return to management and it’s one he cannot refuse. The Dutchman was sacked by United shortly after he masterminded…

via Arsenal and Manchester United fans react to shock Louis van Gaal announcement — Metro

Former Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal claims he has been offered a chance to return to management and it’s one he cannot refuse.

The Dutchman was sacked by United shortly after he masterminded the club’s first FA Cup success in 12 years, paving the way for Jose Mourinho’s appointment.

Van Gaal has since been critical of the way in which he was treated and of his former protege’s Mourinho’s methods, particularly with regards to the way in which Bastian Schweinsteiger was exiled.

Real? Barca? No, Pogba prefers another club — INKLING LEAGUE

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25 April Paul Pogba has an idea in mind as to where he wants to go if he leaves Manchester United. The Frenchman has scored only ten EPL goals since joining the Red Devils in the summer of 2016 for a massive €105 million. Recently left on the bench in a number of key games – including […]

Paul Pogba has an idea in mind as to where he wants to go if he leaves Manchester United. 

The Frenchman has scored only ten EPL goals since joining the Red Devils in the summer of 2016 for a massive €105 million.

Recently left on the bench in a number of key games – including the Mancunians’ Champions League Round of 16 elimination at the hands of Sevilla – the rumour is that Pogba isn’t getting on well with Mourinho.

With Paris Saint-Germain sniffing around, however, it appears that the 24-year-old wants to return to his old stomping ground Juventus.

Tuttosport write that, while the French international prefers the Bianconeri, the latter can’t really afford him.

It was recently rumoured that Real Madrid and Barcelona are also interested in the French star, who was linked to both clubs before choosing to return to Old Trafford, where he was a youth team player back in Alex Ferguson’s days.

 

via Real? Barca? No, Pogba prefers another club — INKLING LEAGUE

Man United vs Chelsea: Jose Mourinho fears being ‘killed’ — High Velocity Sport

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Man United vs Chelsea: Jose Mourinho fears being ‘killed’ https://ift.tt/2K8oZgW Manchester United vs Chelsea Who will win the 2017-18 FA Cup final? Following the weekend’s matches, Man United will take on Chelsea in the showpiece at Wembley on May 19. Of course, many will dub this the ‘Jose Mourinho final’. Prior to joining Man United, […]

 

Manchester United vs Chelsea

Who will win the 2017-18 FA Cup final?

Following the weekend’s matches, Man United will take on Chelsea in the showpiece at Wembley on May 19.

Of course, many will dub this the ‘Jose Mourinho final’. Prior to joining Man United, Mourinho had two spells in charge of Chelsea.

Yet the final will also be a tribute to Ray Wilkins, who also played for Chelsea and Man United in his playing days.

The Red Devils beat Spurs 2-1 in their semifinal, while Chelsea beat Southampton 2-0.

United 🔴💯 #MUFC #EmiratesFACup

A post shared by Manchester United (@manchesterunited) on 

Jose Mourinho fears being ‘killed’

How much pressure is there on Jose Mourinho to win the FA Cup final?

In the Times on Monday, fresh quotes from United’s boss reveals the stress he’s under to win a trophy again this season:

When I don’t win [a trophy] you kill me. Because I almost do that all the time, when I don’t do it you kill me, which you are ready to do if I don’t win the final.

Last season Man United won the League Cup and the Europa League.

Would winning the FA Cup and finishing second in the Premier League signal a successful season for Mourinho at the Theatre of Dreams?


FA Cup winners odds

Unibet: 2018 FA Cup winners odds


Man United’s summer recruitment

Mourinho has also given more information about how Man United may act in the summer transfer market.

While the Special One admits United will make signings, he’s warned supporters not to expect massive spending this summer:

We are going to invest the basic to improve our squad.We need to find a replacement for Michael Carrick; if Marouane Fellaini leaves we need to find a replacement for him; and there is always in a squad, a player or a couple of players that are not playing a lot and will try to leave.

So we will touch our squad and believe that rather than spend, spend, spend, it is [about] the evolution of our players.

We have some young players that need to get with both hands opportunities for their evolution.

Also see: What Alexis Sanchez did after hearing Arsene Wenger’s leaving Arsenal.

‘Don’t compare Arsene Wenger with Man United & Liverpool legends’ – Graeme Souness.

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via Man United vs Chelsea: Jose Mourinho fears being ‘killed’ — High Velocity Sport

Jose Mourinho explains why Manchester United returned late for the second half of their FA Cup semi-final Simon Rice

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FA Cup Semi-Final - Manchester United v Tottenham HotspurJose Mourinho on the touchline at Wembley (Getty)

Jose Mourinho has explained that he had a lot of talking to do at half-time during his side’s FA Cup semi-final with Tottenham, so much so it caused Manchester United to emerge late for the second period. Whatever he said must have worked, as the Red Devils went on to win the match 2-1 with a dominant second-half display. Having gone behind to a Dele Alli goal, Alexis Sanchez equalised soon after with a headed finish from Paul Pogba’s cross.

Giroud celebrates stunning FA Cup semi-final goal with huge Conte high five Arsene Wenger hits out at ‘hurtful’ Arsenal fans Alexis Sanchez scored the equaliser for Manchester United (AFP) The sides went in at the break with the score at 1-1, but Mourinho wasn’t happy. ‘We lost control after the 1-0,’ he said. ‘At half-time we spoke – we came back late for the second half because we spoke a lot – and organised ourselves.’

amou2.jpg

Mourinho wasn’t satisfied with the first half performance (Reuters)

Manchester United went on to win the game thanks to an Ander Herrera strike midway through the second half. They controlled the game after that, with Tottenham failing to have an effort of note on David De Gea’s goal. ‘We deserve it,’ said Mourinho, whose side will face either Chelsea or Southampton in the final. ‘If we split the match into periods we were the best team for many of these periods. Even when they had the ball when we were winning we were totally in control.’

 

 

 

Jose Mourinho Backs Paul Pogba Amid Criticism After Man Utd Beat Bournemouth

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Jose Mourinho Backs Paul Pogba Amid Criticism After Man Utd Beat Bournemouth

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Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has defended Paul Pogba amid criticism from Red Devils legend Paul Scholes, who branded the Frenchman’s poor performance in the 1-0 defeat to West Bromwich Albion on Sunday as “disrespectful.”

Speaking after United’s return to winning ways against Bournemouth on Wednesday, Mourinho responded to Scholes’ criticism and said he did not believe Pogba’s supposed lack of effort against the Baggies showed disrespect towards him, per PA Sport (via Sky Sports): “I don’t agree. I agree that it wasn’t a good performance at all [against West Brom]; with that I agree.”

He also praised the midfielder’s performance in the 2-0 victory against the Cherries, with Pogba having played a key role in the second goal, scored by Romelu Lukaku, which effectively wrapped the game up: “Top performance. Top performance. Obviously the performance against City was special, coming with two goals. But this performance was a very similar level. So top performance. He can do it.”

Chris Smalling opened the scoring against Bournemouth before Lukaku came off the bench to ensure United earned all three points and took a firmer grip on the Premier League’s second place.

Mourinho made seven changes from the West Brom clash for the visit to the Vitality Stadium.

Is Raheem Sterling as good as Thierry Henry and Cristiano Ronaldo?

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Is Raheem Sterling as good as Thierry Henry and Cristiano Ronald

Is Raheem Sterling as good as Thierry Henry and Cristiano Ronaldo?

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Is Raheem Sterling as good as Thierry Henry and Cristiano Ronaldo?

 

Raheem Sterling netted in Manchester City’s title-winning display at Wembley Stadium, for his 17th Premier League goals whilst aged 23-year-old.

The former Liverpool winger has now scored as many league goals as Arsenal legend Thierry Henry managed at the same age, according to Sky Sports Statto.

Sterling has now equalled or bettered Henry’s goalscoring, between the ages of 18 and 23, on four occasions and he is currently enjoying the most prolific year of his life.

Ronaldo vs Henry vs Sterling

This season under Pep Guardiola, Sterling has flourished transforming into one of the Premier League’s best performers and showing every reason as to why City shelled out £50m to acquire his services back in 2015.

Incredibly, Sterling turns 24-years-old in December and is already halfway towards reaching Cristiano Ronaldo’s most prolific goalscoring age in England’s top flight, already matching Henry’s number of goals scored whilst aged 23.

The winger has played an integral role in seeing City crowned champions of England and his impressive goalscoring record pays testament to Sterling’s development under Guardiola.

Manchester City crowned champions

City romped to victory at Wembley on Saturday evening, comfortably seeing off a lacklustre Tottenham side 3-1 to achieve the three points needed to place the pressure on Manchester United who played the following day.

United were unable to follow up their win in last Saturday’s Manchester derby as they slumped to shock defeat at home to bottom-side West Bromwich Albion to hand their bitter rivals the title.

Guardiola’s side are now going in search of six Chelsea records achieved in a single season which include; highest Premier League points tally, most Premier League wins, most Premier League away wins, most Premier League goals, highest Premier League goal difference and most Premier League home goals.

 

WEST BROM SHOCK WIN AT Old Trafford – MAN CITY ARE EPL CHAMPIONS

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West Brom win at Man Utd – Man City are champions

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Jay Rodriguez scored his 11th goal of the season to secure victory for West Brom at Old Trafford

Manchester United lost to bottom side West Brom in a result which saw Manchester City crowned as Premier League champions.

West Brom secured the victory at Old Trafford thanks to a Jay Rodriguez header from Chris Brunt’s corner as United failed to clear their lines.

City now have an unassailable 16-point lead over Jose Mourinho’s side at the top of the table.

United’s best chance of the game was a Romelu Lukaku header, which was superbly saved by Albion goalkeeper Ben Foster.

City manager Pep Guardiola had claimed he would be on the golf course on Sunday afternoon and would not watch the game.

The win was West Brom’s first since a 2-0 success over Brighton on 12 January and only their fourth all season.

However, Premier League survival still looks unlikely for the Baggies, who are nine points adrift of 17th-placed Swansea with four matches to play.

Man Utd leave the handbrake on

Last weekend saw United complete a stunning comeback victory over City as they came from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at the Etihad Stadium.

In that match, Mourinho’s side produced a poor first-half display before they rallied to deny City what would have been the sweetest of coronations as champions.

United should have been surfing the crest of the wave following that victory, but instead they fell flat against West Brom.

At times, there is the unerring sense Mourinho’s United begin matches with the handbrake on, with players shackled by the Portuguese’s tactical straitjacket.

It is almost as if they need a cause to rally against before they deliver the kind of attacking play that Old Trafford yearns for.

With the exception of the chance for Lukaku – and a penalty appeal when Ander Herrera was caught by Craig Dawson – it was a soporific first half for the home fans.

It is hard to imagine United would have approached a home game against the bottom club in such a way under Sir Alex Ferguson’s management.

Ferguson would have trusted United’s players to play with freedom and blow West Brom away, which begs the question of whether Mourinho has the same faith in his squad to deliver.

“Attack, attack, attack” was the call from the Stretford End in the second half and while United were more purposeful with the directness of Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial, they could not find an equaliser.

Perhaps the only comfort for United supporters is that City were denied the kind of thrilling champagne moment that fans crave.

Instead, the title was decided on a wet Sunday afternoon when the new champions were not playing. It is hard to imagine City’s players and Guardiola being too bothered by that, though.

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GOSSIP: LIVERPOOL, MONACO & PSG IN FOR FELLAINI

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Gossip: Liverpool, Monaco & PSG in for Fellaini

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Liverpool have drawn up a three-year deal for Manchester United and Belgium midfielder Marouane Fellaini, with Paris St-Germain and Monaco also interested in the 30-year-old, who is out of contract at Old Trafford in the summer. (L’Equipe – in French)

Manchester United are hoping to beat rivals Manchester City to the signing of Shakhtar Donetsk and Brazil midfielder Fred, 25, this summer. (Mirror)

Everton want to make a £25m summer move for West Ham and England left-back Aaron Cresswell, 28. (Sun)

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho says Pep Guardiola claimed Manchester City were offered Paul Pogba in January to get back at the France midfielder’s agent Mino Raiola. (Mirror)

Mourinho was struck by a pound coin thrown from the crowd during Manchester United‘s derby victory over City on Saturday, but the Portuguese did not report the incident. (Star)

Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen says there have been arguments in the dressing room over whether he or Harry Kane got the final touch on Spurs’ second goal against Stoke on Saturday. (Independent)

Bayern Munich will offer new contracts to Frenchman Franck Ribery, 35, and Dutchman Arjen Robben, 34, with their current deals expiring at the end of the season. (Bild – in German)

Sheffield Wednesday‘s 19-year-old forward George Hirst – son of ex-Owls striker David – is set to join Manchester United, with the Championship side due compensation for the move. (Mirror)

Dutch league leaders PSV Eindhoven say Everton have made an approach for their director of football Marcel Brands. (Sky Sports)

Former QPR midfielder Stephane Mbia, 31, is set to move to Major League Soccer side Atlanta United on a free transfer. (ESPN)

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Pogba challenged by Mourinho after Man Utd derby heroics – Chris Burton

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pogbaThe Frenchman enjoyed a welcome return to form as he inspired a thrilling win over Manchester City, but has been told he must maintain those standards

Jose Mourinho has challenged Paul Pogba to find a level of consistency which allows him to repeat his derby heroics for Manchester United on a more regular basis.

Having faced plenty of criticism heading into a crunch clash with Premier League champions-elect Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, the French midfielder picked the best possible fixture in which to rediscover his spark.

After seeing United fall behind to leave themselves in danger of being unwelcome guests at a raucous title party, Pogba produced a two-goal showing to turn the tie on its head and inspire a stunning 3-2 victory.

VALENCIA: POSITIVES WILL PUSH US ON

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VALENCIA: POSITIVES WILL PUSH US ON

valenAntonio Valencia says there has been “a great vibe” around the Manchester United dressing room in the wake of last weekend’s derby comeback and the full-back insists it’s another positive on which to build for next season.

After overcoming leaders City last weekend, the Reds will face bottom-placed West Bromwich Albion on Sunday at Old Trafford, with Jose Mourinho’s men looking to finish the season as strongly as possible.

Valencia reflected on the derby win during a sit-down interview with United Review, the official matchday programme, and talked about the confidence it, and other excellent victories over Liverpool and Chelsea recently, have given the squad.

“After the game on Saturday, of course it was a fantastic feeling and, two days later when you come back into training, it still felt brilliant and that great vibe stays with you,” he explained. “You carry it with you into the next training sessions which is what we’ve done.

“I think we’ve done really well in key games. Those good results and performances only serve to motivate us even more for the rest of this season and especially for next season as well.

“It’s like a message that we’re sending to ourselves and it has extra motivation for us. It reinforces the fact we have a great squad, a great team and a strong dressing room, ahead of the next season, which will hopefully be a great one for us.”

Mourinho pointed out recently that his side have made very positive steps forward this term with more points recorded, more goals scored and fewer conceded. And Valencia feels the team have made important progress which the Reds will aim to build on further in 2018/19.

“I think it’s positive thoughts throughout when you look back on things,” he declared. “We’ve scored more goals, picked up more points, conceded fewer and I think we’ve played better. You want to take that forward into next season and try to put things right that maybe haven’t gone so well this season and improve upon results in games.

“We want to win even more games and not slip up in the type of the matches where we might have slipped up this season. All that considered, it’s looking good for next season and let’s hope we can be fighting for every trophy that’s available to us.”

Read the full exclusive interview with Antonio in Sunday’s United Review. Pick up your copy at the ground or order it online now.

JOSE: “FOOTBALL IS AN INCREDIBLE SPORT”

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JOSE: “FOOTBALL IS AN INCREDIBLE SPORT”

joseJose Mourinho spoke with MUTV at the Aon Training Complex, as the Reds continue our preparations for Sunday’s Premier League clash against West Brom.

Read what the boss had to say about Alexis Sanchez’s form, United’s positive Premier League momentum and this weekend’s ‘dangerous’ match against West Brom…

Has this week been a good one in training, Jose?
“Yeah, a good week. One week of five days of training sessions, which is good to prepare the team.”

Alexis has been involved in four of the last five goals – how pleased are you with his form?
“Hopefully next season will be better, which is what we think is going to happen. I’m not a big fan of buying players in the winter market, exactly because of that period of adaptation, especially for attacking players. But he’s obviously improving; he’s obviously getting more comfortable to play with the team, and I’m pretty sure that, next season, will be better.”

You’ve now beaten every team in the Premier League this season. That’s a fantastic accolade that I’m sure you’re proud of?
“Yeah, it’s good. We have, I think, a lot of positive things during the season and that’s one of the things. No team was able – in two matches against us – not to lose one against us, so we beat every team. We have a very positive record against the top-six teams; we have a very positive record also at home. Many more goals scored than last season, already more points so lots of positives, in my opinion.”

West Brom are at the bottom of the league, fighting relegation. Is it much different preparing for a game like this when you know a team is fighting for everything?
“I think it’s a dangerous week for us, because we come from a very good result, and also I think a few consecutive victories in the Premier League, so our moment is good, playing against a team that is still fighting, and they will fight until mathematically it’s not possible. I think it’s a dangerous match, but probably what happened this week in the football world maybe opened the eyes for everyone that, in football, anything is possible.”

Do you remember a week like this in football, with so many crazy results?
“In every competition, [it] was in the Champions League, it was in the Europa League. In Austria, three goals in six minutes, what happened with Roma, what happened with Real Madrid-Juventus. So many results that give me reason, when I always tell my players that, in football, anything in possible – both ways. You can be winning 3-0 and the result is not safe, you can be losing two or three-nil and the match is not lost. Big teams, small teams – what is that in football? Football is an incredible sport.”

West Brom have a new caretaker manager. How different is that, because you don’t know how a manager prepares, how he sets up his team and his style of play. Does that make it tricky?
“Yeah, it’s more difficult. Because, by one side, we analyse the team and what the team was with [Alan] Pardew for many weeks, and then we have [Darren] Moore, caretaker manager, one match, and we have only one match to look at it. Are they going to follow the same direction of the last match, in tactical terms? Are they going to go back to things that they did many, many times in the season – playing with three centre-backs, with five in the back. What are they going to do? I think in these occasions we have to focus more in what we want to do and forget a little bit the opponent, but knowing, obviously, their qualities.”

You’ve won every Premier League game in March and April has got off to a good start, too. How keen are you to keep that momentum going?
“We have to try. As I was saying: this is a very difficult league and all the top-six teams, we knew in advance that two of them would be outside the Champions League positions. We knew that only one of the six would win the title, and we were second for months and months and months, so obviously it’s better to be second than third or fourth. As I was saying, we have mathematically to make the top four, which is compulsory – and we need four or five points for that – but I think we deserve to finish second and we are going to fight to get the points for that.”

And finally, how is the squad looking ahead of the game?
“Everyone is perfect, apart from Sergio Romero. All the few players [who were injured] are ready to play.”

 

Manchester United News

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Mourinho look at Kroos as replacement for unavailable Matuidi

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mourJosé Mourinho has made no secret of the fact he is far from happy with the current make up of his Manchester United squad, believing that several new signings are required this summer in order to challenge Manchester City for the Premier League title next season.

Indeed, the Portuguese tactician recognises the fact that his midfield has looked disjointed at times throughout the current campaign, and he is determined to put this right come the opening of the transfer window.

Blaise Matuidi is considered unsellable by Juventus directors Beppe Marotta and Fabio Paratici, which has forced Mourinho and his colleagues to search for alternative options. Real Madrid superstar Toni Kroos has now emerged as a potential target, with his long-term future in the Spanish capital said to be in doubt.

matuidiSimilarly to Mourinho, Los Blancos president Florentino Pérez has set his sights on conducting a revolution of Zinedine Zidane’s playing staff which inevitably means that some high-profile names will be heading for the Santiago Bernabéu exit door.

Jordan Russell (@JordRuss96)

 

 

United Can Still Win Premier League, Admits Guardiola

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man uuuManchester City manager Pep Guardiola has admitted that city rivals Manchester United may pip them to the Premier League crown.

The Etihad outfit are guaranteed the Premier League crown if they win three of their remaining league game this term.

And as the side square off against  face Tottenham on Saturday at Wembley, the Spaniard is hoping his side does not slip again after three straight losses.

“It can happen. Football is emotional. We can only try to focus and win at Tottenham and then Swansea, ” the former Barcelona manager added.

“The fact is that since November or December we were already champions. When I heard pundits and fans in November they said it’s all done, it’s impossible for City to drop points. In one week we lost three games, that happened.

“We are able to win the two games [we need to confirm the title] and we will do that. We handled the pressure between the good and bad moments for the entire season, not just in this period.”

According to him, “Dealing with the end of season pressure is good for our future. We have to handle that. If we are not able to in the end and United win the league then all we can says is ‘congratulations’.

“Of course it can happen, I assure you. Real Madrid, many years ago, lose six games in a row and didn’t win the league. Of course it can happen, no doubts about that. The players know that, I don’t need to tell them.

“Never before in the NBA had one team in the final recovered from 3-1 down. One year ago Cavaliers won 4-3 against Golden State Warriors, winning three games in a row.”

MANCHESTER UNITED TRANSFER NEWS: RYAN BERTRAND RUMOURED AS DANNY ROSE BACK-UP

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Danny.pngManchester United will reportedly turn to Southampton left-back Ryan Bertrand if they fail to recruit Tottenham Hotspur misfit Danny Rose this summer.

The Sun (h/t Metro) reported Bertrand is “likely to request a transfer” in the summer, which is sure to be true in the event the Saints make the drop down to the Championship come the end of this term.

The Red Devils are currently dealing with one faltering investment from Southampton, in Bertrand’s position no less, with former Saints star Luke Shaw making 19 appearances this season, only seven of which have been in the Premier League.

United manager Jose Mourinho has therefore turned to converted midfielder Ashley Young as his stand-in in the role for much of his almost two years in charge, and blogger Liam Canning recently indicated why:

It’s mentioned Bertrand could be available for £25 million, an affordable sum for United, but at 28 years of age, the Englishman brings neither long-term potential or an elite presence to the role.

Mourinho could decide to cut ties with Shaw this summer, four years after he was brought to Old Trafford, and Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News suggested it’s down to character differences:

Ben Davies has taken the reins as Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino’s go-to left-back in recent times, with Rose’s position at the club in some state of fluc for a while now.

The 27-year-old is regarded as one of the best full-backs in the Premier League on his day and was named in each of the last two PFA Premier League Teams of the Year (2016-17).

Rose was coping with injury issues at the start of this season, but his most recent appearances on the Tottenham bench now look to merely be down to selection from his boss.

Pochettino recently touched on the topic of he and Rose’s relationship, per ESPN FC’s Ben Pearce, which has been affected since his comments regarding Spurs’ transfer activity and ambition last summer, per the Guardian:

Former Chelsea fringe figure Bertrand has flourished for parts of his Southampton tenure and found a home on the south coast that’s allowed him to shine in ways he couldn’t while at Stamford Bridge.

That being said, a move for the player this summer looks like it could be more out of convenience than anything else, with the Saints eyeing the possibility of having to sell their stars if they drop to England’s second tier.

Breaking Sports News

via Bleacher Report – Front Page https://ift.tt/yO6Sgr

bert.jpg

Sheffield Wednesday Confirm Manchester United Interest in George Hirst

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hirst

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Sheffield Wednesday manager Jos Luhukay has admitted it will be hard to keep young forward George Hirst at the club beyond this summer, with Manchester United interested in signing the striker.

The England under-21 international is considered one of the most exciting prospects in the Championship and has been linked with a number of Premier League clubs. Speaking about the player to BBC Radio Sheffield (h/t PA Sport, via Sky Sports), Luhukay said United were in the hunt for his signature.

“It’s a decision George will have to make himself,” said the Owls boss. “I think it’s really difficult when a club as big as Manchester United has an interest in him to say no. George must decide how he sees his future and I respect that. A good decision or not a good decision, I cannot answer that.”

As noted by PA Sport, the likes of Everton and Leicester City are also said to be admirers of the 19-year-old.

Hirst is set to be available for nothing in the summer, as the youngster is out of contract at the end of the season having rejected a contract offer from Wednesday. George is the son of David Hirst, a legend at Hillsborough, having played for the club 294 times, scoring 106 goals.

Football author Alan Biggs commented on the recent speculation linking the young striker with a switch to Old Trafford:

It was reported by Neil Moxley of the Sunday People (h/t the Sunday Mirror) that United were leading the race to secure the player ahead of Leicester.

As noted by Moxley, given his reluctance to sign a new contract with the Sheffield club, Hirst has not been considered for the first team at Wednesday this season. He has only made one senior appearance for the club, which came in the 2016-17 season.

Hirst did showcase his potential at the Toulon tournament last summer, though, as he helped England under-20s win the competition and netted four goals in the process.

Luhukay confirmed last month that a contract offer is on the table for Hirst to sign with Wednesday should he change his mind, per Rob Staton of BBC Radio Sheffield:

The temptation to sign for a club like United would be understandable for Hirst, even if it means walking away from his boyhood team for nothing. The Red Devils would be delighted to pick up an exciting prospect for no transfer fee in the summer.

Still, the move would carry some significant risk, as Hirst is at a point in his career where regular senior football is important for his development, and that’s been scarce at Hillsborough during this campaign. It’s difficult to see him getting much more time on the field at Old Trafford.

Breaking Sports News

via Bleacher Report – Front Page https://ift.tt/yO6Sgr