What the papers say

Alex Iwobi’s late reply stuns Manchester United as Fulham conquer Old Trafford

What the papers say - Sat, 02/24/2024 - 17:19

On this showing the “perch” Sir Jim Ratcliffe wishes Manchester United to knock Manchester City off is atop a kilometre-high skyscraper and the new 27.7% owner’s side is peering up from ground level as, from 88 minutes here, chaos ensued. It was bookended by Alex Iwobi’s 97th-minute winner after the Harry Maguire equaliser that had cancelled out Calvin Bassey’s opener.

Iwobi’s strike came from the latest Fulham break to punch through Erik ten Hag’s side. Adama Traoré, on as a substitute, skipped infield from the right and tapped to Iwobi. With no United defenders anywhere near, he teased André Onana with a dawdle, then beat the goalkeeper to his right to send Fulham into raptures.

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Erik ten Hag denies Højlund injury will derail Manchester United’s season

What the papers say - Fri, 02/23/2024 - 22:30
  • Striker could miss up to five matches over next three weeks
  • Ten Hag: ‘But [Højlund] the main man? I don’t see it that way’

Erik ten Hag has denied that Rasmus Højlund’s muscle injury will derail Manchester United’s season, with the manager claiming it is naive to believe two strikers could have been signed in the summer owing to financial fair play constrictions and Anthony Martial’s “high” wage.

Højlund will miss up to three weeks, meaning United may be without their top scorer for five matches: Saturday’s Premier League visit of Fulham, Wednesday’s FA Cup fifth-round trip to Nottingham Forest and three other league games – at Manchester City and at home to Everton and Sheffield United.

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Guardiola endorses Ratcliffe’s view that United must learn from Manchester City

What the papers say - Fri, 02/23/2024 - 16:07
  • United minority owner wants to knock City “off their perch”
  • “If they want to deny the reality that’s their problem.”

Pep Guardiola says Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Manchester United are right to use Manchester City as a benchmark if they are to challenge them for trophies. The new minority owner at Old Trafford said the club had “a lot to learn” from their rivals after having his purchase of 27.7% of shares ratified this week.

City have won the Premier League title on six occasions since United last achieved the feat in 2013, and will be aiming to close the gap at the top to one point by defeating Bournemouth on Saturday.

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Premier League and Carabao Cup final: 10 things to look out for this weekend

What the papers say - Fri, 02/23/2024 - 00:00

The first major English trophy of the season is up for grabs, a new era begins at Palace and Everton are in a hole

Forest are in trouble, four points above the relegation zone and with their only win in their past five games coming against West Ham, the league’s current crisis-club. So a visit to Villa Park is the last thing they need because, after a dodgy few weeks, the home side righted themselves at Fulham last weekend, focused on converting a fine season into a Champions League place. Forest do, though, know how to play these kinds of matches, having won at Newcastle and given Arsenal and Manchester United scares. In Morgan Gibbs-White, they have a ball-carrier of pace and aggression, while Anthony Elanga and Callum Hudson-Odoi bring tricky directness and Taiwo Awoniyi converts his chances at a better rate than any striker in the division. All of this means Forest are well-placed to exploit Villa’s high line, but only if they can get enough of the ball to make it happen while staying solid at the back – both of which are far easier said than done. Daniel Harris

Aston Villa v Nottingham Forest, Saturday 3pm (all times GMT)

Brighton v Everton, Saturday 3pm

Crystal Palace v Burnley, Saturday 3pm

Manchester United v Fulham, Saturday 3pm

Bournemouth v Manchester City, Saturday 5.30pm

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Jesse Lingard lands in Korea with club and player in search of former glories

What the papers say - Thu, 02/22/2024 - 08:00

Former Manchester United midfielder has a chance to make an impact with FC Seoul in the physical K-League

Apart from rumours of the original Ronaldo’s agent offering his client to South Korean clubs towards the end of the Brazilian’s career, the K-League has not had a sniff of the high-profile players who have gone to China and Japan. Now, though, Jesse Lingard has joined FC Seoul to become the biggest name to head to the Land of the Morning Calm. This is no new Asian market muscling its way, Saudi-style, on to the global scene but the transfer is perhaps the most intriguing this year.

The former Manchester United forward was last seen playing for Nottingham Forest in April and arrived this month at Incheon International Airport, where he was handed a traditional wind instrument and an opportunity to breathe new life into a career that has stalled and a club that has been falling. Adding a new tune to Asia’s oldest professional league also wouldn’t go amiss.

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Manchester United’s Luke Shaw facing months out of action with injury

What the papers say - Wed, 02/21/2024 - 22:27
  • Left-back picked up injury in win against Luton on Sunday
  • Club to assess Shaw but expect him to miss ‘a few months’

The Manchester United defender Luke Shaw is expected to be out of action for “a few months” with a muscle injury.

Shaw had to come off just before half-time on Sunday in the 2-1 victory at Luton, a match for which he had been a doubt. The 28-year-old left-back had been substituted at the break in the 2-1 win at Aston Villa a week earlier in what the manager, Erik ten Hag, said was a precautionary move.

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Swagger, soul … and patience: inside Ratcliffe’s plans for Manchester United | Sean Ingle

What the papers say - Wed, 02/21/2024 - 21:36

Billionaire says he wants to bring glamour back to the club but warns fans success will not happen overnight

On the second floor of the Ineos office in west London, there are lingering reminders of Manchester United’s glory days. You see it in Eric Cantona’s No 7 shirt, collar upturned, hanging in the main meeting room. In the pristine match programmes from those famous European trophy nights. And, most of all, in the eyes of Jim Ratcliffe, as he promises to restore a swagger and soul to the club he has supported for 65 years.

“The Manchester United style of play is attacking football, exciting football, bringing the youth through,” he says, speaking publicly for the first time since acquiring a 27% stake in the club. “You want players that are committed. You want players that play 90 minutes or whatever the number is. At the end of the day we are in the entertainment business. You don’t want to watch bland or characterless football.”

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Ratcliffe vows Manchester United will knock City and Liverpool ‘off their perch’

What the papers say - Wed, 02/21/2024 - 16:30
  • Billionaire talks of ‘three-year plan’ to revive club
  • Ratcliffe says decision is needed over Greenwood

Sir Jim Ratcliffe has outlined his plans to put Manchester United back on top of Europe, with a combination of glamorous football and hard-headed realism which he believes can knock Manchester City and Liverpool “off their perch” within three years.

Speaking less than 24 hours after taking control of football operations at Old Trafford, the 71‑year‑old ­billionaire admitted that United would have to learn stark lessons from the way their rivals had moved so far ahead in the 11 years since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure.

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Sir Jim Ratcliffe says Manchester United culture not set up for success

What the papers say - Wed, 02/21/2024 - 11:34
  • Ratcliffe certain positive results will come in new environment
  • He wants every person in management to be ‘world-class’

Sir Jim Ratcliffe says he needs to embark on a culture transformation at Manchester United because the club is not geared for success. The British billionaire’s 27.7% minority shareholding purchase was completed on Tuesday and he has set about making key appointments as part of a restructure.

Omar Berrada will join as chief executive in the summer from Manchester City and talks continue to bring the Newcastle sporting director, Dan Ashworth, and Southampton’s director of football, Jason Wilcox, into senior roles. A deputy chief executive is also wanted as Ratcliffe aims to make “world-class” appointments to help facilitate change on the pitch.

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Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s Manchester United buy-in gets official sign-off

What the papers say - Tue, 02/20/2024 - 21:27
  • Ineos owner’s acquisition of 27.7% of shares completed
  • Ratcliffe vows to take United ‘back to top of world football’

Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s 27.7% buy-in at ­Manchester United has been officially completed. Confirmation of the Ineos owner’s purchase has been a formality since the announcement on Christmas Eve that his offer of a little more than £1bn for a quarter of the club had been accepted by the Glazers, the majority shareholders.

Ratcliffe, who has gained control of United’s football policy, completed his acquisition of 25% of the club’s Class B shares and 25% of the club’s Class A shares. The deal makes him the largest individual United shareholder.

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Is Dan Ashworth a marquee signing that Dan Ashworth would recommend? | Jonathan Liew

What the papers say - Tue, 02/20/2024 - 08:00

The lines of credit and responsibility in football are unclear, so how can Manchester United put a value on a sporting director?

Newcastle United are demanding around £20m from Manchester United for their sporting director, Dan Ashworth. That’s a lot of money, and I wanted to know whether he could possibly be worth it, but it was hard to tell for sure.

I went on the popular search website Google and there were lots of articles saying that he definitely was, that Dan Ashworth is a genius who buys footballers for tiny amounts and sells them for hundreds of millions. And lots of articles saying that Newcastle wouldn’t miss him at all, that football is played on a pitch by actual players, and so in an ideal world you probably want to be spending your £20m on them, instead.

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Football Daily | Newcastle’s Dan Ashworth, a very expensive suit and a pair of secateurs

What the papers say - Mon, 02/19/2024 - 17:28

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As the days get longer and the temperatures warmer, there’s plenty to be getting on with for those of a green-fingered bent. Vegetable beds need to be prepared, seed potatoes need to be chitted ahead of planting and fruit crops need to be netted to protect them from our hungry feathered friends. Once you’ve taken care of all that grunt work, your winter-flowering shrubs and wisteria will need pruning, while heaven forfend you should forget to cut back your deciduous ornamental grasses to make sure there’s plenty of room for spring’s new growth. With so much to do and so little time to do it, Dan Ashworth can consider himself lucky to have been put on gardening leave by his employers at Newcastle United after being approached by Manchester United to become their new director of football.

I wonder how many readers plugged 하나를 수행 into Google Translate to make sure you’d got it right (Friday’s News, Bits and Bobs). I was one who checked and was hoping for some conjugation error that would’ve translated to something like ‘He done did one’; but you were spot on. Well done one!” – Jim Christie.

For a very brief moment I had the notion to check the translation of 하나를 수행. After an even briefer moment I decided getting a life would be more beneficial” – Kevin Worley.

Is there anything more mind numbing than the ongoing, revisited, regurgitated Kylian Mbappé leaving PSG saga? Well is there?” – Russell D Pulford.

As far as I’m concerned, the only way the everlasting and tired Mbappé transfer saga can be made even remotely interesting again is if Wolverhampton Wanderers were suddenly rumoured to gazump Real Madrid. The Boy Who Cried Wolves!” – Peter Oh.

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Manchester United baulk at £20m fee for Newcastle director Dan Ashworth

What the papers say - Mon, 02/19/2024 - 10:24
  • Magpies’ sporting director placed on gardening leave
  • 52-year-old currently prevented from taking new job until 2026

Dan Ashworth has been placed on gardening leave by Newcastle after finally telling the St James’ Park ­hierarchy he wants to join Manchester United. It seems the starting pistol signalling an intense period of ­haggling between the two clubs has been fired, with Newcastle wanting £20m in compensation.

Ashworth has been sporting director at St James’ Park for 20 months and Newcastle’s majority Saudi Arabian owners will not allow a man they poached from Brighton to depart ­easily or cheaply.

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Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action

What the papers say - Mon, 02/19/2024 - 08:00

Erling Haaland had an off-day in front of goal while Liverpool and Arsenal’s attacking units kept firing

Erling Haaland had nine shots and failed to score a single goal against Chelsea. It will get many people supremely worked up, so they can knock down one of the best strikers in the world. Has Haaland lost his powers? No, he’s just had an underwhelming game. There were a couple of poor finishes, a fine save and a few last-ditch blocks to prevent Haaland adding to his 16 Premier League goals this term. How will Haaland recover from this heinous 90-minute slump? Probably by taking his frustration out against Brentford on Tuesday where he should get a similar number of chances. He is the top scorer in the league for a reason and has the best goal-to-game ratio around, so there’s little need to be too harsh. Annoyance might have taken hold on Saturday but Haaland knows how to harness that. Will Unwin

Match report: Manchester City 1-1 Chelsea

Match report: Luton 1-2 Manchester United

Match report: Burnley 0-5 Arsenal

Match report: Sheffield United 0-5 Brighton

Match report: Brentford 1-4 Liverpool

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Rasmus Højlund will ‘score even more’ for Manchester United, says Ten Hag

What the papers say - Sun, 02/18/2024 - 20:38
  • Striker’s early double earns three points at Luton
  • ‘He can improve but his scoring ability is clear’

Erik ten Hag said Rasmus Højlund’s hot streak is just the start after the striker continued his outstanding form with both goals in Manchester United’s 2-1 win at Luton.

United moved five points shy of fourth-placed Aston Villa and three behind Tottenham, in fifth, thanks to Højlund’s early strikes. Nobody has scored in six successive top‑flight games at a younger age and it is a far cry from a stuttering start by the £72m signing, who did not break his ­Premier League duck until ­Boxing Day. Ten Hag praised his ­resilience and predicted further heroics from the Dane.

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Luton Town 1-2 Manchester United: Premier League – as it happened

What the papers say - Sun, 02/18/2024 - 20:04

Rasmus Højlund’s early double put United in charge, but they had to hold off a spirited comeback after Carlton Morris’s goal

1 min Luton kick off, and get into the box. But…

Elijah Adebayo picked up an injury in the warm-up, so he drops out of the starting XI. His place at centre-forward is taken by Cauley Woodrow, whose last Premier League start came (for Fulham) in 2014. He scored that day, albeit for a team that had already been relegated.

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Rasmus Højlund feels joy of six as United hot-shot repays Ten Hag’s faith

What the papers say - Sun, 02/18/2024 - 19:52

Manchester United striker’s early goals beat Luton and set a new Premier League record at a hostile Kenilworth Road

In years to come, Rasmus Højlund may reflect on a conversation he had with Erik ten Hag just before he broke his Premier League duck against Aston Villa at the 15th attempt on Boxing Day. “I pointed out you scored for Denmark a lot, you scored in the Champions League, so you demonstrated ability,” remembered the Manchester United manager. “You can do it, believe in it, it will come. I am sure now the first goal is in, more will come.”

How that faith has been repaid. It took just 36 seconds in front of an expectant Kenilworth Road crowd that was baying for United blood for Højlund to become the youngest player in Premier League history to score in six successive matches – at 21 years and 14 days, beating Erling Haaland, Thierry Henry and Ruud van Nistelrooy in the process to take Joe Willock of Newcastle’s previous record of 21 years and 272 days old.

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Manchester United extend winning run after Højlund hits early double at Luton

What the papers say - Sun, 02/18/2024 - 18:44

The bottom line from a ­suitably intense, frayed and at times ­alarmingly open encounter is that the clouds around Manchester United are clearing. This was their fourth league win in a row and it offered the latest confirmation that, in Rasmus Højlund, they have a centre‑forward worthy of the handsome investment paid to Atalanta last summer.

When Højlund converted twice in the first seven minutes, becoming the youngest player to score in six successive Premier League games, United appeared to have laid the platform for a straightforward evening.

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Manchester United ‘back in the race’ but have work to do, claims Erik ten Hag

What the papers say - Sat, 02/17/2024 - 22:30
  • United seek sixth win in last seven matches against Luton
  • Ten Hag: ‘I think that now we are going in the right direction’

Erik ten Hag has warned that Manchester United’s turnaround is a long way from being complete despite being on a four-match unbeaten run that has put them back in the race for a Champions League spot.

The Dutchman takes his side to Luton on Sunday aiming to add a sixth win in seven matches in all competitions. United have been aided by the return to fitness of Casemiro, the emergence of Kobbie Mainoo and Rasmus Højlund finding form after a tough start to his career in England - the Dane has scored in each of his past five Premier League appearances after not finding the net in the first 14.

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Rashford, Højlund and Garnacho: power trio leading Manchester United revival | Jonathan Wilson

What the papers say - Sat, 02/17/2024 - 20:00

Erik ten Hag’s potent forward trident all have room to improve and are offering the club hope of a brighter future

These are strange times at Old Trafford. Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s 25% investment in Manchester United has been ratified by the Premier League. They have won their last four games in all competitions and haven’t lost this year. They have a forward line that is young and dynamic and that, while you wouldn’t yet trust it not to spin out of control, nuts and bolts dropping off until it finally collapses into a heap of shattered potential, is beginning to look as though it could be extremely effective. Are things finally beginning to look up for United?

Everything, of course, is relative. It feels every detail comes with a caveat; everything remains subject to multiple interpretations. With the top five likely (but not guaranteed) to qualify for next season’s Champions League, United are still sixth in the Premier League but at least have a four-point cushion over Newcastle in seventh. They are eight points behind Aston Villa in fourth – but the gap would have been bigger had Scott McTominay not scored an 86th-minute winner at Villa Park last Sunday. They did concede three goals in the final 20 minutes at Wolves two weeks ago, but at least they won 4-3.

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