What the papers say

John Stones sinks Manchester United and returns City to Carabao Cup final

What the papers say - Wed, 01/06/2021 - 21:52

Manchester City will take on Tottenham in April’s Wembley showpiece aiming to win the Carabao Cup for a remarkable fourth consecutive year, a feat only Liverpool have achieved.

For Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Manchester United this was a fourth successive semi-final reverse: losing at the stage is becoming a habit they have to break. What killed them were the two latest episodes of slack defending from set-pieces. Each presaged John Stones and Fernandinho’s strikes. Here, too, is another bad practice that the manager bemoaned afterwards but the simple fact is that it is on him to eradicate.

Related: Guardiola's caution helps Stones shine and get back on England radar | Barney Ronay

Related: Pep Guardiola dedicates Man City's semi-final win to 'special' Colin Bell

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Solskjær brushes off penalty complaints from Manchester United rivals

What the papers say - Tue, 01/05/2021 - 22:33
  • Manager hits back at criticism from Jürgen Klopp
  • Solskjær says United have ‘no excuses’ in derby semi

Ole Gunnar Solskjær has dismissed complaints from Jürgen Klopp and José Mourinho regarding the number of penalties Manchester United win, saying it is up to the Liverpool and Tottenham managers if they want to “spend time worrying” about it.

Solskjær suggested Klopp may have been trying to influence referees when he said after Liverpool lost at Southampton on Monday that United had won more penalties in two years than his team have had during his more than five years at Anfield. Klopp felt Sadio Mané had been denied a clear spot-kick. Mourinho has previously questioned United’s penalty count.

Related: Football transfer rumours: Sergio Ramos to Manchester City or PSG?

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Uruguay players' union calls on FA to overturn Cavani's three-match ban

What the papers say - Mon, 01/04/2021 - 15:01
  • Manchester United forward suspended for using word ‘negrito’
  • Players’ union says FA has ‘committed a discriminatory act’

The Uruguayan players’ union has called on the Football Association to overturn Edinson Cavani’s three-game ban for using the word “negrito”.

The Manchester United forward used the term in an Instagram story after scoring twice in a 3-2 victory at Southampton in late November. The 33-year-old received a three-match ban, missing United’s victory over Aston Villa on Friday, and said his “heart is at peace” because there was no racist intent behind his use of the word.

Related: The Guardian Footballer of the Year Marcus Rashford: 'My mum is everything'

¡Estamos con vos @ECavaniOfficial!#GraciasNegrito pic.twitter.com/hPJZKT6Zy1

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The Guardian Footballer of the Year Marcus Rashford: 'My mum is everything'

What the papers say - Mon, 01/04/2021 - 12:00

The Manchester United forward reflects on an extraordinary year where he improved the lives of millions of people – all, he says, inspired by his mother, Mel

The Guardian Footballer of the Year is an award given to a player who has done something remarkable, whether by overcoming adversity, helping others or setting a sporting example by acting with exceptional honesty.

Marcus Rashford is mulling over a quite extraordinary 2020 when his words and deeds have made him the only choice to be named as the Guardian’s Footballer of the Year. The Manchester United and England forward has excelled on the pitch, as usual, but the day job no longer defines him. How can it do so when he has done more than anyone to look after the poorest and most vulnerable children in the United Kingdom?

Related: Megan Rapinoe: ‘Everybody has a responsibility to make the world a better place’

Marcus Rashford MBE is the Guardian’s Footballer of the Year for 2020. Rashford is honoured for forcing the issue of child hunger in the UK on to the national stage; persuading ministers to extend free school meals into the summer holidays; raising money to enable FareShare, the food charity he works with, to distribute nearly 10 million meals for children and families in need; launching the Child Food Poverty Taskforce; and launching a book club to support children’s reading. He has made his own experience, living in a home where food was scarce, count. And he has transformed perceptions of what role models in football can achieve.

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Solskjær’s spirit of unity is building real momentum at Manchester United | Jamie Jackson

What the papers say - Sun, 01/03/2021 - 15:25

Pieces of the puzzle are coming together and fans are beginning to believe a first title win since 2013 is a genuine possibility

Harry Maguire’s resurgence. Marcus Rashford’s consistent menace. David de Gea’s riposte to Dean Henderson’s threat. Bruno Fernandes being Bruno Fernandes. Alex Telles vying with Luke Shaw. Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s new attacking potency. Edinson Cavani’s pursuit of excellence. Scott McTominay maturing. Paul Pogba’s virtuosity. And two years of Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s clear managerial vision.

These are some of the reasons Manchester United stand level on 33 points with the leaders, Liverpool, and firmly in the title race, as close to the top as they have been after 16 games since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in May 2013. Then the great Scot guided the club to their 20th league championship. In the seasons since, the closest any United side has been to the leaders at this stage is six points, the deficit of Louis van Gaal’s team to Leicester in 2015-16.

Related: Manchester United must improve to challenge for title, says Solskjær

Related: Premier League fans’ half-term reports. Part two: Liverpool to Wolves

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Premier League fans’ half-term reports. Part two: Liverpool to Wolves

What the papers say - Sun, 01/03/2021 - 08:00

Fans rate the best and worst of the season so far – the stars, the flops and what needs to change in 2021

Part one: Arsenal to Leicester

Always good to be top of the league, can’t get much higher than that. We dropped points in our last two games, but all things considered, I’m happy. The downside has been the injuries. To lose Van Dijk and Thiago away to Everton’s School of Science – or was it Dogs of War? – so early in the season was tough. But Thiago is back: I’m looking forward to seeing him on a regular basis. 9/10

Related: Men's transfer window January 2021 – all deals from Europe's top five leagues

Related: The alternative 2020 sports awards: quotes, storms and animal cameos

Related: David Squires on … the endless joyride that was football in 2020

Related: David Squires on … a tale of two Jordans and rough justice on Merseyside

Related: Premier League fans’ half-term reports. Part one: Arsenal to Leicester

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Manchester United v Aston Villa: Premier League – live!

What the papers say - Fri, 01/01/2021 - 23:30

Bruno Fernades scored the deciding goal as Manchester United prevailed in a white-kuckle ride of a game at Old Trafford

11.30pm GMT

Related: Manchester United must improve to challenge for title, says Solskjær

10.37pm GMT

“First half we were miles off it,” he tells Sky Sports. “First 15 minutes felt like a testimonial. Then they injected some pace into it and deservedly went ahead.

“I asked for more at half-time and we deserved to get back in the game. Our goalkeeper has had to make some good saves but they were all from outside the box.

10.25pm GMT

Premier League: Jamie Jackson was at Old Trafford to see Manchester United win an exciting game by the odd goal of three and go level on points with league leaders Liverpool.

Related: Fernandes fires Manchester United joint top after win over Aston Villa

10.21pm GMT

Aaron Wan-Bissaka speaks: “That win shows how much work we’re putting in, how much of a performance that was,” he tells Sky Sports reporter Geoff Shreeves.

On his cross for Anthony Martial’s opener: “I could just hear voices - back post, front post,” he said. “I just went with the front post and put it there.”

10.04pm GMT

Manchester United, who travel to Liverpool on 17 January, began the game well, before Villa wrestled control from them after about 20 minutes. A very entertaining game see-sawed, with Anthony Martial giving United the lead by catching three Villa defenders napping as he converted an Aaron Wan-Bissaka cross.

Bertrand Traore restored parirty in a helter-skelter second half, as Villa capitalised on some Aaron Wan-Bissaka naivety at a free-kick, before United restored their lead soon after. Bruno Fernandes slotted home from the spot after Douglas Luiz tripped Paul Pogba in the penalty area.

9.59pm GMT

Peep! Peep! Peeeeeeep! It’s all over at Old Trafford, where Manchester United have beaten Aston Villa by the odd goal of three to go level on points with Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table.

9.57pm GMT

90+5 min: Rashford embarks on a counter-attack but runs for the corner. He plays the ball inside to Pogba, who is more reluctant to run the clock down. He gives the ball back to Villa who get forward one last time, but to no avail.

9.56pm GMT

90+4 min: United finally get to clear their lines, when Watkins is unable to reach a cross. United substitution: Axel Tuanzebe on for Fred.

9.55pm GMT

90+3 min: From that set piece, Cash is teed up for a rising shot from distance, which De Gea puts out for a third corner in quick succession.

9.54pm GMT

90+2 min: Villa win a corner after good work down the right from McGinn and Cash. Grealish’s delivery is put behind for another corner by Dan James.

9.52pm GMT

90 min: Matic gets booked for a foul on Grealish. We’ll have five minutes of added time.

9.51pm GMT

89 min: Rashford rampages forward with Villa’s defence backing off. He plays the ball wide – ac little too wide – to Dan James and the substitute’s cross come shot fails to trouble Martinez.

9.50pm GMT

89 min: Luke Shaw is booked for a foul on Douglas Luiz.

9.49pm GMT

88 min: James is straight into action, his low shot hitting traffic on its way through to the warm embrace of Emiliano Martinez.

9.48pm GMT

86 min: Man Utd substitution: Dan James on for Bruno Fernandes. The Portuguese midfielder, who has been outstanding, looks very displeased by his withdrawal from the action.

9.47pm GMT

86 min: Matic fouls Cash just down by the technical areas and is perhaps lucky to escape a caution.

9.46pm GMT

84 min: Villa substitution: Keinan Davis on for Anwar El-Ghazi.

9.45pm GMT

82 min: Villa win a free-kick in a wide area after El Ghazi is blocked illegally by Shaw. Matty Cash curls a cross to the far post, where Mings heads narrowly wide. It was a fantastic cross and a brilliant scoring opportunity, but the defender headed wide with plenty of goal to aim at.

9.43pm GMT

81 min: Man Utd substitution I missed earlier while in a Chris Kamara-esque reverie: Nemanja Matic on for Scott McTominay.

9.41pm GMT

79 min: El Ghazi switches wings, presumably to give Matty Cash a dig-out, as he’s being given the run-around by Luke Shaw.

9.40pm GMT

79 min: Villa substitution: Jacob Ramsey on for Bertrand Traore.

9.40pm GMT

78 min: From this corner, the ball is cleared to Rashford. He sends an good effort fizzing just over the angle of post and crossbar.

9.39pm GMT

77 min: The corner is cleared but only as far as Fernandes outside the area. He advances before sending a dipping shot goalwards. Martinez paws it over for a corner.

9.38pm GMT

76 min: Luke Shaw drills another cross from the left towards the near post. Ezra Konsa intercepts to put it out for a corner.

9.37pm GMT

75 min: Another curled Grealish cross for Watkins, who outjumps Bailly but skims his header wide of the upright from five yards out.

9.35pm GMT

73 min: A loose pass from Cash is pounced on by Shaw, who gallops down the left unopposed. He combines with Martial before crossing for Pogba, who shoots low, hard and wide of the upright when scoring looked easier.

9.34pm GMT

72 min: After good foraging work for Traore, El Ghazi shoots low and hard from distance, forcing David De Gea to dive low to his right and save. This is very entertaining stuff.

9.33pm GMT

69 min: Matty Cash comes perilously close to giving away a penalty, getting in a tangle with Luke Shaw on the edge of his own area as the Manchester United full-back beat him for pace down his inside. Referee Michael Oliver sees no foul and neither, apparently, does his VAR Paul Tierney.

9.29pm GMT

67 min: Bissaka goes some towards redeeming himself, taking an inch-perfect cross from the outstanding Grealish off El-Ghazi’s head when the Villa man looked certain to score at the far post.

9.28pm GMT

64 min: Going back to the Villa equaliser, it was Aaron Wan-Bissaka who was guilty of tomfoolery, electing to try – and fail – to stop John McGinn taking a quick free-kick towards Jack Grealish, rather than getting back into position to help his team defend the dead ball. There was a giant hole for Grealish to run into, exactly where Bissaka should have been.

9.25pm GMT

63 min: There was a pause for a VAR check before that penalty was taken but it was never going to be overturned.

9.24pm GMT

United retake the lead! Fernandes arrows the ball into the bottom left-hand corner. Martinez guessed the right way, but didn’t get a finger to the ball.

9.22pm GMT

Douglas Luiz is penalised after a tangle of legs with Paul Pogba when the Manchester United midfielder had got wrong side of him on the edge of the Villa penalty area.

9.20pm GMT

Villa equalise. Bertrand Traore fires home low and hard from about six yards, contrrolling and then converting a Jack Grealish cross from the left as Manchester United’s defence fell asleep at a free kick.

9.18pm GMT

55 min: Eric Bailly gets booked for a late challenge on somebody or other.

9.16pm GMT

54 min: Anwar El-Ghazi fires narrowly wide from distance after being picked out by Jack Grealish with a ball played from right to left.

9.15pm GMT

53 min: Tyrone Mings is forced to head away from his own goal after twisting in mid-air to connect with a Luke Shaw cross.

9.14pm GMT

52 min: Ollie Watkins brings a good save out of De Gea, stretching every sinew to steer a Grealish cross goalwards with his forehead, forcing the Manchester United goalkeeper to tip the ball over the bar. Nothing comes from the corner.

9.13pm GMT

50 min: Lovely play from Bernard Traore after picking up a wonderful crossfield ball from McGinn. He picks out Grealish on the overlap with a backheel but his cross is too high.

9.12pm GMT

50 min: Marcus Rashford does Matty Cash for speed down the left and drills the ball towards the near post. Emiliano Martinez is on hand to block.

9.11pm GMT

48 min: Michael Oliver shows his first yellow card of the game and Harry Maguire is the recipient. He can’t complain, having shoved Grealish off the ball in instalments.

9.09pm GMT

47 min: Good tracking back by Martial, who puts a stop to a Matty Cash gallop down the left, forcing the Villa full-back to play the ball backwards.

9.08pm GMT

46 min: Harry Maguire clips a free-kick from just inside his own half wide in the direction of Fernandes. He proceeds to lose possession.

9.07pm GMT

46 min: Play resumes at Old Trafford, with no changes in personnel on either side. If United can hang on for the win, they’ll go level on points with League leaders Liverpool.

8.57pm GMT

A word on Ross Barkley: The midfielder was expected to feature for Villa tonight but it seems he hasn’t fully recovered from his injury. Apologies for the slightly confusing photo I posted earlier, which shows him training before a previous game.

8.55pm GMT

Liverpool’s highly decorated captain gets a grilling from Donald McRae, one of the best interviewers in the business. Read on ...

Related: Jordan Henderson: 'I was in a very dark place. It made me a lot stronger' | Donald McRae

8.53pm GMT

Premier League: Spare a thought for Andy Hunter, who had to chisel out 1,000 or so words on one of the most dreary Premier League games ever played earlyier this evening. Here’s how he got on ...

Related: Tomas Soucek leaves it late as West Ham stun lacklustre Everton

8.51pm GMT

Peep! Man United win a corner but there’s no time to take it. Michael Oliver blows his whistle to bring an entertaining first half to a close. Anthony Martial’s header separates the sides.

8.49pm GMT

45 min: Fred plays the ball wide to Shaw, who tries to pick out Martial. Matty Cash clears.

8.47pm GMT

43 min: Villa corner. Bernard Traore swings the ball outwards but it’s headed clear by Pogba, who is having one of his better games in a United shirt.

8.45pm GMT

Anthony Martial stoops to conquer between three Villa defenders, powering home a header from the edge of the six yard box after getting on the end of an Aaron Wan-Bissake cross from the right. He had no business scoring there, with three defenders between him and the goal as the ball came in.

8.41pm GMT

38 min: Bruno Fernandes tries his luck from distance, sending the ball flashing wide of the Villa goal. Good effort.

8.40pm GMT

36 min: Eric Bailly swings a petulant hand in the direction of John McGinn’s face as he attempts to grab the ball to take a free-kick. He doesn’t connect and is very lucky - I suspect he’d have been in line for a red card if he’d made contact.

8.38pm GMT

35 min: A Grealish through ball to the edge of the United penalty area is met by Cash, who has to stretch to get a toe on it. United clear.

8.38pm GMT

34 min: Grealish sends the corner kick deep, where it’s met by Ezri Konsa, who sends a looping header towards the edge of the six-yard box. United clear.

8.36pm GMT

33 min: Luke Shaw puts a Matt Targett cross from the left out for a Villa corner.

8.34pm GMT

31 min: Nursing a cut lip, Pogba leaves the field of play after receiving medical attention, before returning immediately.

8.34pm GMT

30 min: Matt Targett heads clear at the near post, contesting the corner kick with Pogba behind him. The Frenchman goes down injured, holding his face - Mings, it was, who caught him with an arm to the the head.

8.32pm GMT

28 min: Tyrone Mings boots a Fernandes cross clear as Manchester United start to reassert their authority. Paul Pogba fails to pick out Martial with a cross but does win his side a corner.

8.29pm GMT

25 min: Nothing comes from the corner but Villa are getting more and more confident. Paul Pogba reminds them they’re in a game on somebody else’s turf, shooting over from the edge of the box after receiving a pass from Rashford.

8.27pm GMT

23 min: More good play from Villa who are visibly growing into the game. McGinn, Grealish, Cash and McGinn combine beautifully with some crisp, neat passing before Eric Bailly is forced to dive in at the near post to prevent Ollie Watkins connecting with a cross from deep. Corner for Villa.

8.25pm GMT

22 min: El Ghazi runs on to a Grealish pass down the left and squares the ball. It’s blocked and cleared.

8.25pm GMT

21 min: A little period of sustained possession for Villa, which abruptly ends by the time I type that comma. They’ve definitely got more of a foothold in this game after a slightly sheepish start.

8.20pm GMT

17 min: Paul Pogba dummies on the edge of the area, allowing Fred to shoot over from further out after connecting with an Aaron Wan-Bissaka cross. The Man United full-back had combined to good effect with Marcus Rashford down the right flank, but Pogba probably should have taken the shot.

8.19pm GMT

15 min: United deal with two Villa corners in quick succession in the wake of that McGinn shot. David De Gea appears to be unhappy with some roughhouse treatment he was getting as the players waited for Jack Grealish to deliver the ball into the penalty area. He complains at length to referee Michael Oliver.

8.17pm GMT

14 min: John McGinn brings an excellent save out of De Gea with an excellent controlled volley towards the bottom left-hand corner. He connected with a cross from Cash, who had given Paul Pogba the slip down the right flank.

8.16pm GMT

14 min: A tip of the hat to the excellent Fernandes, who is already the standpout player in this game. It was he who picked out Martial for that shot on goal, with an excellent pass tyhreaded between defenders.

8.15pm GMT

12 min: Maguire gets his head to that Luke Shaw outswinger, but there isn’t enough pace on the ball for his effort to trouble Martinez.

8.14pm GMT

11 min: Martial spanks the ball goalwards from the edge of the Villa penalty area, but Martinez is equal to his goalbound shot. He getsa a strong hand to the ball, putting it out for a corner. From that, United win another.

8.13pm GMT

10 min: A curled Fernandes cross from the right is headed clear by Cash. United continue to pressurise their visitors.

8.12pm GMT

9 min: It’s pretty even in these opening minutes, although Manchester Un ited are probably having the better of things and looking a little more assured.

8.11pm GMT

7 min: A low, hard Scott McTominey pass towards the Villa penalty area is miscontrolled by Ezri Konsa. Martial can’t quite capitalise and the Villa defender recovers.

8.10pm GMT

7 min: A Bruno Fernandes cross from the right is deflected towards Martinez off Tyrone Mings.

8.09pm GMT

6 min: Villa play it out from the back, under pressure from United. Moments later, the ball is hoofed long and ends up back with David De Gea at the other end of the pitch.

8.08pm GMT

4 min: A foul by Fred on Jack Grealish earns Villa a free-kick just inside the United half. Moments later, Targett’s cross from the left is cleared by Maguire.

8.06pm GMT

2 min: Fred plays the ball down the inside left for Briuno Fernandes to chase. He rifles a cross into the chest of Emiliano Martinez at the near post and the ball breaks for Pogba, who eschews a shooting opportunity. Early panic stations for Villa following a great pass from Fred.

8.04pm GMT

1 min: Another throw-in, this time for United. Luke Shaw takes this one.

8.04pm GMT

1 min: Manchester United get the ball rolling, with Bruno Fernandes doing the honours. It’s immediately lumped out for a Villa throw-in on the left flank, which Matty Cash takes.

8.02pm GMT

A minute’s silence: There’s a pre-kick-off pause to remember the former United and Villa manager, Tommy Docherty, who died a day or two ago. May he rest in peace.

8.01pm GMT

Not long now: The teams are out on the pitch, with Aston Villa first out, their players wearing black shirts, black shorts and ... I’m going with “light blue” socks. United follow them, their players wearing their customary home colours: red shirts, white shorts, black socks.

7.48pm GMT

Exciting news: We have a Big Interview with the Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson going live imminently, which will be posted here for your half-time reading pleasure.

7.45pm GMT

7.37pm GMT

A diabolically dull game of football has come to a merciful end at Goodison Park, where West Ham made off with the points courtesy of a Tomas Soucek stab from the edge of the six-yard box in the 86th minute.

7.22pm GMT

Those teams: One change for Villa, for whom Tyrone Mings replaces Kourtney Hause.

Manchester United have four changes in personnel. Fred and Scott McTominay return in central midfield, while Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial also start.

7.10pm GMT

Manchester United: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw, Fred, McTominay, Pogba, Fernandes, Rashford, Martial

Subs: Henderson, Greenwood, Mata, James, Van de Beek, Tuanzebe, Telles, Matic, Lingard

6.58pm GMT

6.57pm GMT

Ross Barkley and Tyrone Mings return from injury and suspension respectively and could go straight into the starting line-up. Having instantly hit his stride with Villa, Barkley has not played since 21 November.

Trezeguet remains sidelined with a hamstring injury and has yet to participate in full training since pulling up the day before his side’s game against Wolves in mid-December.

6.57pm GMT

Victor Lindelof remains sidelined with a back injury, which means Eric Bailly is likely to deputise alongside Harry Maguire in the heart of United’s defence.

With Edinson Cavani suspended for three games after using a racial term in an Instagram post, which he swiftly removed and apologised for, Anthony Martial could start up front for United.

Related: Edinson Cavani's 'heart at peace' after three-game ban for Instagram post

5.31pm GMT

Happy New Year and welcome to our minute-by-minute coverage of the action from Old Trafford as Manchester United entertain Aston Villa. Both sides are flying high in the table, with Manchester United second behind Liverpool and Aston Villa scaling the unexpectedly dizzy heights of fifth after 14 games. Kick-off tonight at Old Trafford is at 8pm (GMT). Stay tuned in the meantime for team news and build-up.

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Categories: What the papers say

Manchester United must improve to challenge for title, says Solskjær

What the papers say - Fri, 01/01/2021 - 23:16
  • United level on points with Liverpool after beating Aston Villa
  • Villa’s Dean Smith unhappy at Paul Pogba penalty award

Ole Gunnar Solskjær praised Manchester United for beating Aston Villa and drawing level with Liverpool on 33 points but insisted his team need to improve if they are to maintain their title challenge.

Related: Manchester United go joint top after Fernandes penalty sinks Aston Villa

Related: January transfer window: a guide to every Premier League club's plans

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Categories: What the papers say

Manchester United go joint top after Fernandes penalty sinks Aston Villa

What the papers say - Fri, 01/01/2021 - 22:05

Manchester United have moved level with Liverpool, separated from the champions by goal difference only. Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side did so courtesy of Bruno Fernandes’s 15th strike of the season, United finding a way to claim victory as they did against Wolves, the Portuguese’s winner coming moments after Aston Villa had levelled.

Related: Jordan Henderson: 'I was in a very dark place. It made me a lot stronger' | Donald McRae

Related: Manchester United must improve to challenge for title, says Solskjær

Related: Tomas Soucek leaves it late as West Ham stun lacklustre Everton

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Categories: What the papers say

January transfer window: a guide to every Premier League club's plans

What the papers say - Fri, 01/01/2021 - 12:00

Loans, not big-money buys, are likely to be flavour of the month, but from top to bottom managers want to do business

Arsenal need to shift a formidable bulk of dead wood before they can make significant efforts to address, among other things, an enduring lack of creativity. Sead Kolasinac has joined Schalke on loan and is among several they hope to move out, at least temporarily. At this point any incomings are likely to be loans, too, with Isco among the names considered before Mikel Arteta looks longer-term in the summer. Nick Ames

Related: Football transfer rumours: Jadon Sancho to Chelsea? Isco to Arsenal?

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Categories: What the papers say

Football transfer rumours: Jadon Sancho to Chelsea? Isco to Arsenal?

What the papers say - Fri, 01/01/2021 - 00:05

Today’s tittle-tattle is taking back control

The dust sheets are off, some engineers in overalls have hit various bits with a large spanner and the giant lever has been pulled. Yes folks, after months on the sidelines that clunk-whirr-clunk sound you can hear is the sound of the Rumour Mill cranking back into action after wheezing its way through a late fitness test.

With English football’s transfer window due to open tomorrow, our return hasn’t come a moment too soon; fighting fit, raring to go and ready to bring you daily digests from the frontline of transfer speculation, much of which will inevitably prove to be misguided, if not downright incorrect.

Related: Women's transfer window January 2021 – every deal in Europe's top five leagues

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Categories: What the papers say

Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend

What the papers say - Fri, 01/01/2021 - 00:05

Sam Allardyce takes aim at Arsenal, Danny Ings could return to haunt Liverpool and José Mourinho must change tack

Ole Gunnar Solskjær has taken significant stick from laymen convinced their footballing expertise trumps his, but even they must concede that Manchester United are better now than at any stage in the Post-Fergie Wilderness YearsTM. Though it’s hard to envisage United winning the title, they must attack games as if they intend to, and should they fail, it will not be because they were too cautious. Solskjær’s side are too ruthful in attack and defence, but can offset these weaknesses by dominating opponents in midfield. Before their midweek win with Wolves, the Norwegian said “we need to go after them and get after that ball,” but it was not until the final quarter of the game, when Paul Pogba moved further forward, that United did that. They got away with it against Wolves, just, but to achieve the improbable this season, they must be braver from the outset in every game. DH

Related: Newcastle, Liverpool, Villa, meat and the EFL – Football Weekly Extra

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Tommy Docherty: colourful, complex coach with a formidable football brain | Ewan Murray

What the papers say - Thu, 12/31/2020 - 21:06

The former manager of Scotland, Manchester United and many others was an unconventional and outspoken coach

Tommy Docherty spent a lifetime breaching convention. From a loft – a “doocot” to Docherty – atop the main stand at Stamford Bridge, he could be found peering down on Chelsea. Docherty, the club’s manager from 1961 until 1967, determined he could have a better view of play from on high.

If that was a footballing break from the norm, Docherty’s departure from Manchester United in the summer of 1977 because of an affair with the physiotherapist’s wife dominated Britain’s news agenda. Docherty later married Mary Brown – the pair remained together until his death aged 92 – and apparently bore no grudges at all about his sacking but the scenario was tabloid gold. It helped that Docherty was and remained one of football’s great personalities.

Related: Tommy Docherty, former Manchester United and Scotland manager, dies aged 92

I will take you places no other man could. First stop, the Old Bailey

Related: A life in pictures: Tommy Docherty

If Manchester United had kept me for another couple of years the trophies would have been rolling in

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Categories: What the papers say

Tommy Docherty obituary

What the papers say - Thu, 12/31/2020 - 20:42
Former Scotland and Manchester United manager known for his ebullient humour and his peripatetic career

Tommy Docherty, who has died aged 92, often liked to say that he had “had more clubs than Jack Nicklaus”– a joke that referred not to his successful playing career as a hard-tackling, intelligent international right-half, but to his peripatetic existence as a manager. Beginning with six years at Chelsea in the 1960s, which started brightly but ended in chaos, he had more than a dozen spells in management, including at Aston Villa, Queens Park Rangers, Derby County, Porto, Wolverhampton Wanderers and his own national side, Scotland. His most celebrated period came at Manchester United in the mid-70s.

Although he was one of the highest profile football managers of his generation and remained highly marketable well into the 80s, Docherty’s returns were actually rather slight, amounting over three decades to a Second Division title and FA Cup win with Manchester United and a League Cup victory with Chelsea. He took all the ups and downs with his trademark ebullient humour, and was ever willing to tell a story against himself. In 1967, after the Chelsea directors had called him to the boardroom and told him he was being released, he disappeared momentarily before returning with several bottles of champagne, with which he cheerfully toasted those who had just dismissed him. His enemies would say of him that you always knew he was lying because his lips moved – but he would make jokes about that as well.

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A life in pictures: Tommy Docherty

What the papers say - Thu, 12/31/2020 - 18:45

The former Manchester United and Scotland manager has died following a long illness

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'You can't fake your way into this team': Solskjær praises Manchester United mentality – video

What the papers say - Thu, 12/31/2020 - 17:09

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær believes there has been a shift in his team’s mentality in recent weeks. Speaking ahead of their game against in-form Aston Villa, Solskjær believes the club’s recruitment, alongside the players within the squad, has contributed to the change in mentality which sees United sit in second. The 47-year-old also praised the job Dean Smith has done at Aston Villa and described the job done by his opposite number as ‘brilliant’.

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Tommy Docherty, former Manchester United and Scotland manager, dies aged 92

What the papers say - Thu, 12/31/2020 - 16:29
  • Former Scotland player managed national team and 12 clubs
  • Docherty’s family say he has died after a long illness

The former Manchester United and Scotland manager Tommy Docherty has died at the age of 92 after a long illness, his family have announced.

Docherty, who was known as “the Doc”, spent nine years as a player with Preston after joining them from Celtic in 1949 and won 25 caps for Scotland. He went on to manage 12 clubs, including Chelsea, Aston Villa and Derby, and had a stint in charge of Scotland. But he was best known for his five-year spell at Old Trafford, overseeing an FA Cup final win over Bob Paisley’s Liverpool in 1977.

Related: A life in pictures: Tommy Docherty

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Manchester United's Edinson Cavani gets three-game ban over Instagram post

What the papers say - Thu, 12/31/2020 - 15:09
  • Striker misses league game against Aston Villa and two cup ties
  • United say Cavani had no racist intent in using word ‘negrito’

The Football Association has suspended Edinson Cavani for three games and fined Manchester United’s Uruguay striker £100,000 for his use of the word “negrito in a social media post.

Cavani, who must also complete a two-hour face-to-face online education course, maintained his message lacked racist intent but had pleaded guilty to an FA charge of using insulting and/or improper words. According to United he decided not to contest the case “out of respect for the FA and the fight against racism in football”.

Related: Solskjær puts Manchester United's resurgence down to change in mentality

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Solskjær puts Manchester United's resurgence down to change in mentality

What the papers say - Thu, 12/31/2020 - 13:30
  • United three points behind Liverpool with game in hand
  • Solskjær says competition for places is healthy

Ole Gunnar Solskjær has insisted no Manchester United player can “fake” their way in his team because of the transformation in mentality since he took over two years ago.

United will begin 2021 in second place, three points behind Liverpool and with a game in hand on the leaders, after the late victory against Wolves at Old Trafford on Tuesday. Solskjær’s side were below par yet still claimed all three points with Marcus Rashford’s stoppage-time strike.

Related: David de Gea hails Manchester United's form but calls for calm amid title talk

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David de Gea hails Manchester United's form but calls for calm amid title talk

What the papers say - Wed, 12/30/2020 - 16:14
  • ‘We now have a winning mentality,’ says De Gea after Wolves win
  • Goalkeeper also happy with improvement in own performances

David de Gea is excited about Manchester United’s progress and feels confident about his place in the team as Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side head into 2021 in the Premier League title race.

A topsy-turvy year that started with poor results and fan discontent ended with an improving United bringing the curtain down on 2020 with a late win against Wolves in front of empty stands. Marcus Rashford’s deflected stoppage-time strike secured the 1-0 victory at Old Trafford on Tuesday, propelling them up to second spot and within two points – temporarily at least – of the leaders, Liverpool.

Related: Manchester United go second after late Marcus Rashford winner sinks Wolves

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