What the papers say

Chaotic Manchester United remain in thrall to strolling Cristiano Ronaldo | Jonathan Liew

What the papers say - Tue, 11/02/2021 - 22:48

Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s star player rescued him again but his team looked confused and overrun in a 2-2 draw with Atalanta

The genius of the modern Manchester United is that for all the attention lavished upon them, for all the granular analysis they attract, they remain a largely unknown quantity. When they take the field, you genuinely have no idea what to expect from them. And not just in terms of results, either: tactics, personnel, effort and mood are all equally unforeseeable. They are the hyperactive toddlers of English football, equally capable of moments of startling insight and unfettered joy as they are of throwing valuable household ornaments into the toilet.

Naturally, this is a quality greatly prized by Ed Woodward and the Glazer family, whose entire strategy has seemed to revolve around reimagining this working-class football club as a brandable entertainment product.

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Cristiano Ronaldo saves Manchester United from dismal defeat at Atalanta

What the papers say - Tue, 11/02/2021 - 22:10

This was the same tired story of Manchester United’s season. A powder-puff rearguard, an errant midfield, an overreliance on Cristiano Ronaldo to somehow pull the result their way.

And he did it: yet again. For the third time in Group F the Portuguese levelled at the last, his fifth strike of the group stage a low volley that avoided the amateurish United being consigned to their second defeat.

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Atalanta v Manchester United: Champions League – live!

What the papers say - Tue, 11/02/2021 - 19:12

A reminder of how things stand in Group F at the halfway point. Manchester United lead the group with six points, two ahead of Atalanta and Villarreal. Young Boys prop up the section with three points. A win for United tonight would put them in a very strong position, one step closer to winning their group for the 16th time in their history.

Manchester United make three changes to the XI sent out to beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 last Saturday evening. Eric Bailly replaces the injured Victor Lindelof, while Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford step up in place of the benched Fred and Edinson Cavani.

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‘Keep that coming’: Solskjær insists he enjoys criticism at Manchester United

What the papers say - Mon, 11/01/2021 - 16:17
  • Manager preparing to face Atalanta in Champions League
  • Solskjær says he has ‘players to play many different systems’

Ole Gunnar Solskjær conceded “one swallow does not make a summer” after Manchester United’s 3-0 win over Tottenham, and said criticism fuels his drive for success.

The Norwegian’s job was in the balance after United’s 5-0 humiliation by Liverpool yet Solskjær survived and responded by leading his team to Saturday’s emphatic victory in north London. Yet with United at Atalanta for Tuesday’s fourth Champions League Group F match before hosting Manchester City on Saturday in the Premier League, Solskjær knows United must put a string of displays together.

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Crystal Palace stun Manchester City and Nuno sacked mid-pod – Football Weekly

What the papers say - Mon, 11/01/2021 - 14:31

Max Rushden is joined by Barry Glendenning, Jonathan Wilson and Jordan Jarrett-Bryan to discuss Manchester City and Liverpool dropping points at home – before they react (mid-pod) to Tottenham’s sacking of Nuno Espírito Santo

Rate, review, share on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Audioboom, Mixcloud, Acast and Stitcher, and join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and email.

We begin at the Etihad, as Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace produced one of the shocks of the season so far to beat champions Manchester City by two goals. Why did we all underestimate the former Arsenal midfielder’s managerial credentials? And is this result a blip for Pep’s men, or maybe indicative of a wider issue?

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

What the papers say - Mon, 11/01/2021 - 08:08

Solskjær pulls off a tactical trick, Potter gives Brighton fans a treat and De Bruyne endures a rare horror show

Ole Gunnar Solskjær deserves credit for Manchester United’s win over Tottenham. The switch to a back three worked and a front two with a combined age of 70 proved far too good for Spurs, whose defenders were thoroughly outclassed by Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani. Ronaldo opened the scoring with a banger and Cavani was impressive on his second start of the season, offering intelligent movement and producing a cool finish after being set up by his strike partner. The question now is whether this is sustainable. Is the 3-4-2-1 system the way forward for Solskjær or an emergency solution? Will it work when United have to attack defensive opponents? What will it mean for Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Mason Greenwood? And what happens when Paul Pogba, who was not missed against Spurs, is back from suspension? There are still issues for Solskjær to solve; he is not out of the woods yet. Jacob Steinberg

Match report: Tottenham 0-3 Manchester United

Match report: Newcastle United 0-3 Chelsea

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Spurs have one of the great stadiums and all it cost them was the team | Jonathan Wilson

What the papers say - Sun, 10/31/2021 - 14:36

Fans’ fury at Daniel Levy is understandable – the on-pitch stagnation is only highlighted by the luxury surroundings

There were always going to be boos from one end of the ground or the other and, as Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side pulled off another of those increasingly familiar job-saving victories, they came from Spurs fans. At half-time, at full-time, and probably most significantly, when Lucas Moura was taken off for Steven Bergwijn. By the end there were chants against the chairman Daniel Levy. It seems absurd to say it 11 games into his reign, but already for Nuno Espírito Santo the situation feels critical.

Manchester United were more solid than they have been. There may be problems ahead if Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood, Jadon Sancho and Paul Pogba have to go without regular football for a protracted spell, but for now the 3-4-1-2 has brought short-term relief. Solskjær at least has the fallback of good players who can do brilliant things.

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Low-key Ronaldo theatre gives way to second act of beautiful precision | Barney Ronay

What the papers say - Sat, 10/30/2021 - 21:27

Centre-forward’s sensational performance seemed to step outside Old Trafford’s doom-laden tides of the past week

Money won’t make you happy. Money won’t solve all your problems. But it certainly helps. Or at least, it does when that weekly debit comes in exchange for talent on the Cristiano Ronaldo scale.

Ronaldo was sensational here, producing a performance that seemed to step outside the doom-laden tides of the last week, most notably in a startling finish for Manchester United’s opening goal.

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‘Criticism doesn’t bother me,’ says Solskjær after victory over Spurs

What the papers say - Sat, 10/30/2021 - 21:24
  • United manager delighted after 3-0 win over Tottenham
  • ‘I’ve stayed away from most of the noise’

Ole Gunnar Solskjær hailed his side’s performance after Manchester United eased the pressure on their manager with a clinical 3-0 victory against Tottenham.

Goals from Cristiano Ronaldo, Edinson Cavani and Marcus Rashford saw United bounce back from their 5-0 defeat to Liverpool and earn Solskjær some breathing space. The manager was in danger of being sacked after the humiliation last Sunday and he was a relieved man after his switch to a 3-4-1-2 system proved inspired at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

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Solskjær’s reshaped Manchester United prove too good for Tottenham

What the papers say - Sat, 10/30/2021 - 19:41

The one note of concern for Manchester United must be that this forceful, mature and tactically intelligent display has only delayed the inevitable. There have been too many false dawns under Ole Gunnar Solskjær and while there was much to admire about the way his team came out fighting after a horrible week, it is too soon to know if exposing Tottenham’s flaws means a corner has been turned.

There have to be more of these performances from United before anyone can say that Solskjær’s job is safe and it must be acknowledged that this victory, sealed by clinical finishes from Cristiano Ronaldo, Edinson Cavani and Marcus Rashford, had something to do with the level of the opposition.

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Tottenham v Manchester United: Premier League – live!

What the papers say - Sat, 10/30/2021 - 18:55

Manchester United get the ball rolling ... but only after everyone takes the knee. Warm applause greets the gesture. There’s no room for racism.

Before the big match, an emotional rendition of the Last Post. Players, managers and fans alike bow their heads in remembrance of the fallen. Rest in peace.

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Solskjær insists he can emulate Ferguson and fight back from the brink

What the papers say - Fri, 10/29/2021 - 22:30
  • Manchester United manager given no guarantees about job
  • Solskjær: ‘I’ll always give it a good shot and fight back’

Ole Gunnar Solskjær insists he can emulate Sir Alex Ferguson and “fight back” from his precarious position as Manchester United manager to win trophies there but admits he has no guarantees regarding his job security.

Facing the media five days after Sunday’s 5-0 loss to Liverpool a weary-looking Solskjær said his team had been “punch-drunk” in that humiliating defeat. He will take United to Tottenham for Saturday’s late kick-off and was defiant but honest about his position.

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Manchester United must finally dump Fergusonism and make a clean break | Jonathan Liew

What the papers say - Fri, 10/29/2021 - 20:30

Club remain weirdly in thrall to a 79-year-old man who has not coached in almost a decade when a cultural reset is needed

It was a few months into David Moyes’s ill-fated reign at Manchester United, and with results in freefall and the dressing room in mutiny, Patrice Evra decided to go to see the only man he knew who could fix things.

“Boss, you have to help David,” he pleaded with Sir Alex Ferguson on a visit to his home in Cheshire.

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'I’ll always give it a good shot': Solskjær vows to fight back after Liverpool loss – video

What the papers say - Fri, 10/29/2021 - 16:13

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær has said he is ready to fight back after the 5-0 defeat to Liverpool. Responding to a comparison between his situation and Sir Alex Ferguson's near-dismissal in 1990, he said he could emulate the legendary former manager.

Solskjær also addressed claims that the club had suspended contract talks with Paul Pogba, which the Frenchman later refuted in a social media post. 'When it’s blatant lies, they have to stand up and say so. All the opinions and reports, fine, but don’t make lies about players or me' he said.

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Tottenham v Manchester United: match preview

What the papers say - Fri, 10/29/2021 - 15:19

It seems an age ago that these two teams were flying high in the Premier League but it was only 11 September when Manchester United thumped Newcastle 4-1 to replace Tottenham at the top of the pile. Things have not exactly gone to plan since for either Ole Gunnar Solskjær or Nuno Espírito Santo with United winning once in the league while Spurs are only a place and a point above them in sixth. Solskjær will hope the return of Raphaël Varane will help shore up United’s calamitous defence while the absence of the suspended Paul Pogba might not be a bad thing. Stephen Hollis

Saturday 5.30pm Sky Sports Premier League

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Do we go too far when we call for football managers to be sacked?

What the papers say - Fri, 10/29/2021 - 13:32

Whatever you think about the ethics of demanding that managers lose their jobs, this is nothing new

By Chris Evans for The Set Pieces

As Ole Gunnar Solskjær stands on the Old Trafford touchline with his arms folded and the sternest of looks painted across his face, there are few people in the world who would want to swap places with him. His Manchester United side are losing 5-0 at home to Liverpool, down to 10 men and facing one of the most humiliating defeats in Premier League history. But all he can do is stand there, motionless in his technical area, knowing a swirl of abuse and criticism is heading his way.

Social media is already abuzz with hurtful messages and comments, while pundits and journalists question if the death knell is tolling on his time in charge. Well, not quite all of them. In the ensuing hours and days, Solskjær’s former teammates refuse to call for his head, triggering more online reaction as people question that bias.

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Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend

What the papers say - Fri, 10/29/2021 - 00:01

Harry Maguire is struggling for form, Brentford will miss David Raya and West Ham look to continue their surge

Back-to-back league wins over Manchester United and Brentford suggest Leicester City have hit their stride after a shaky enough start to the season and Brendan Rodgers’s side are likely to provide a stern test for an Arsenal team that have also improved but were perhaps overpraised for their most recent league win against a surprisingly meek Aston Villa. Saturday’s early kick-off should provide a stern test of what currently passes for both teams’ mettle. Locked together on 14 points, a win for either would send them fifth for a few hours at least. That would constitute dizzy heights at the 10-game mark when the league table is generally accepted to be taking shape, not least for an Arsenal side that began the current campaign with three straight defeats. BG

Leicester v Arsenal, Saturday 12.30pm (BST)

Tottenham v Manchester United, Saturday 5.30pm (BST)

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Rashford stayed off social media as he was ‘embarrassed’ by Liverpool defeat

What the papers say - Thu, 10/28/2021 - 09:22
  • Rashford: ‘as a Manchester United fan, I didn’t know what to say’
  • Forward adds fans did not deserve hammering by Liverpool

Marcus Rashford said he stayed away from social media over the past few days because he was embarrassed by Manchester United’s 5-0 defeat by Liverpool but the forward promised fans the team were working hard to turn things around.

Mohamed Salah scored a hat-trick as Liverpool romped to a stunning victory at Old Trafford, with United slipping to seventh after a fourth straight Premier League match without a win.

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Survival guide: Maguire, midfield and other problems Solskjær must sort

What the papers say - Wed, 10/27/2021 - 12:00

We assess key issues facing Manchester United’s manager after he was given at least one more match in charge

When Harry Maguire is good he is excellent and when bad he can be amateurish in a way the very best centre-backs never are. Think Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk or Manchester City’s Rúben Dias, whose errors are collectors’ items, and who are yet to be witnessed in farcical defensive mode when it really counts, as Maguire was in his calamitous outing against Liverpool on Sunday. In 7,164 minutes of Premier League play since joining in summer 2019 the (supposed) defensive linchpin has the highest error-leading-to-chance tally of Manchester United’s outfield players: seven. The maligned – and dropped for Raphaël Varane – Victor Lindelöf is not in the top four, and Maguire’s two mistakes leading to goals is again the most of any non-goalkeeper. Last term Maguire was a model of consistency. But this season he is back to the Maguire of his opening campaign: inconsistent on a consistent basis. Maybe Ole Gunnar Solskjær should consider that a match or two out of the XI would shake Maguire up.

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Solskjær backed by Ferguson and directors but fate rests with Joel Glazer

What the papers say - Tue, 10/26/2021 - 12:57
  • Woodward and Arnold support Manchester United manager
  • Glazer to decide whether Solskjær takes charge for Spurs game

Alex Ferguson, Ed Woodward and Richard Arnold are supportive of Ole Gunnar Solskjær continuing as Manchester United manager, though the final decision rests with Joel Glazer, the co-chairman who heads the American family’s ownership.

Ferguson believes Solskjær, who was mentored as a young coach at United in the mid-noughties by the Scot, should be given the chance to turn fortunes around. This comes after United’s 5-0 humiliation by Liverpool on Sunday at Old Trafford and the taking of one point from the past 12.

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