What the papers say

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Updated: 2 hours 36 min ago

Manchester United charged over conduct towards referee in Fulham tie

4 hours 48 min ago
  • Chris Kavanagh surrounded by players before penalty decision
  • Fulham’s Marco Silva and Aleksandar Mitrovic already punished

Manchester United have been charged by the Football Association for surrounding the referee Chris Kavanagh in Sunday’s fiery FA Cup quarter-final win over Fulham at Old Trafford.

United’s players appealed to the referee for a handball after Kavanagh originally awarded a corner when Willian blocked Jadon Sancho’s shot on the line – a decision that sparked a chaotic few minutes.

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Manchester United bid chaos leads to growing fears Glazers may not sell

7 hours 45 min ago
  • There is a concern Glazers are trying to create leverage for loan
  • Eyebrows raised over reports that eight bidders are involved

Concerns are growing among some parties involved in the Manchester United sale that the Glazers could be trying to “play them”– and that instead of selling the club they are trying to push up the price to create leverage for a loan.

Eyebrows also continue to be raised over claims that up to eight bidders are interested in the club given that only two, the Ineos owner, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, and the Qatari consortium of Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani, have gone public.

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The Joy of Six: sporting heartbreak

12 hours 32 min ago

Sport gives us an opportunity to see people at the greatest moments of their lives, but also at their sometimes-tragic worst

One of sport’s many affirming beauties is its intimacy: we get to see people experience the most ecstatic and most mortifying moments of their lives, live. Yes, they’re seeking fulfilment and validation in the wrong places and yes, this is your super soaraway Joy of Six about to volunteer an unsolicited self-help tip but, immeasurably wise though The Awakened Family is – if you’re a parent or a person, read it – how many titles, belts or majors has Dr Shefali Tsabary won? Exactly.

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Manchester United takeover chaos as bid deadline is dramatically extended

Wed, 03/22/2023 - 23:41
  • Deadline for second round of bids pushed back at last minute
  • Offers may still be below Glazers’ asking price of £5bn to £6bn

The battle to take over Manchester United was plunged into chaos and confusion on Wednesday night after the deadline for the second round of bids for the club was dramatically extended at the last minute.

Representatives of the Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani and the Ineos owner, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, had earlier claimed that their bids had gone in before Wednesday night’s 9pm deadline. However, it later emerged that it was not the case and that at least one bid – Ineos – had asked for more time.

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Sheikh Jassim set to submit second bid for Manchester United before deadline

Tue, 03/21/2023 - 15:53
  • Glazer family have set deadline for bids of 9pm on Wednesday
  • Reports that as many as five different bids may be submitted

Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani will make a second bid to buy Manchester United before Wednesday’s 9pm deadline.

Representatives of the Qatari businessman were at Old Trafford and the club’s Carrington training ground last Thursday to hold more talks and receive further information to help them conduct due diligence.

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Sir Jim Ratcliffe adamant he will not pay ‘stupid price’ for Manchester United

Mon, 03/20/2023 - 22:34
  • Ineos chief executive held talks with club last week
  • Ratcliffe already owns French club Nice

Prospective owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe says he will not pay a “stupid” price for Manchester United.

The Ineos chief executive and his team held talks with the club last Friday during a visit to Old Trafford and the Carrington training complex.

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FA warns standard ban for Aleksandar Mitrovic’s red card ‘clearly insufficient’

Mon, 03/20/2023 - 21:37
  • Forward faces lengthy ban after FA Cup quarter-final incident
  • Manager Marco Silva accused of several infractions

Aleksandar Mitrovic is facing a lengthy ban after the Football Association announced the standard punishment for his dismissal against Manchester United would be “clearly insufficient”.

Mitrovic gave Fulham the lead in Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final at Old Trafford but was sent off after pushing referee Chris Kavanagh during a chaotic couple of minutes.

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

Mon, 03/20/2023 - 08:00

Antonio Conte comes out swinging, Rob Holding steps up for Arsenal and Brighton’s talent conveyor belt keeps rolling

Will Antonio Conte be in charge of Tottenham for their next fixture, on 3 April at Everton? Those in the St Mary’s press room on Saturday evening were in little doubt that his instant-classic rant – two questions batted away during 10 minutes of fury – was a kiss-off, an ejector seat activated. Conte levelled blame at everyone but himself and even threw an olive branch to his predecessors, a list including arch-rival José Mourinho. “They can change the manager, a lot of managers, but the situation cannot change,” Conte declared in a critique of the club’s culture, and by extension, the owners Enic and the chairman, Daniel Levy. It was the players who received the most bilious invective, creating a potentially awkward situation post-international break, should Conte still be around. “They don’t want to play under pressure, they don’t want to play under stress,” he hissed. Listening back to the tape, it was amusing to hear Conte entering the room with a demure apology for being late. John Brewin

Premier League report: Southampton 3-3 Tottenham

FA Cup report: Manchester United 3-1 Fulham

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Marco Silva pleads mercy for Mitrovic after Fulham’s red-card meltdown

Sun, 03/19/2023 - 21:03
  • Fulham coach hopes referee push is not blown out of proportion
  • Silva on ultra-defensive claiming ‘unhappy’ past with Kavanagh

The Fulham manager, Marco Silva, has said Aleksandar Mitrovic should be spared a lengthy ban despite pushing the referee, Chris Kavanagh, during a tumultuous 3-1 FA Cup defeat at Old Trafford.

Mitrovic, as well as Silva and Willian, were sent off in the 70th minute after Kavanagh awarded United a penalty for a handball by the Brazilian. The Serb will definitely be suspended for three games for violent conduct but could face a more severe punishment for his actions.

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Silva says 'players have to control their emotions' after red card chaos at Old Trafford – video

Sun, 03/19/2023 - 20:29

Fulham players Aleksandar Mitrovic and Willian as well as manager Marco Silva were all sent off in Fulham's 3-1 defeat to Manchester United. 

The trio all saw red with less than 20 minutes to go with their side 1-0 up.

Willian was dismissed for handball on the line and Silva was then shown a straight red card for approaching the referee while he was about to review the penalty decision on a monitor. After the penalty was awarded, Mitrovic exchanged words with referee Chris Kavanagh before pushing him and seeming to square up to him. The Serb was also shown a straight red.

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Fulham have three sent off as Fernandes settles stormy tie for Manchester United

Sun, 03/19/2023 - 18:48

Bruno Fernandes’s added-time goal for Manchester United crowned a scintillating comeback after this tie exploded on 70 minutes via a close‑to-surreal passage that featured three red cards in 40 seconds for Fulham: their manager, Marco Silva, plus Aleksandar Mitrovic and Willian.

At this juncture the visitors were leading 1-0 but it was all change as United emerged from what followed in the lead and heading for the last four of the FA Cup.

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Manchester United v Fulham: FA Cup quarter-final – live

Sun, 03/19/2023 - 18:13

“As the match is on what used to be known as terrestrial TV I can watch Fulham go down to, I hope, honourable defeat,” says Richard Hirst. “Equally pertinently, I can test out whether the MBM coverage is as accurate and unbiased as I assume - no pressure!”

Who told you that goddamn lie?

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Ten Hag impressed with Maguire’s ‘dominant’ displays for United

Sat, 03/18/2023 - 22:30
  • Defender ‘showed leadership’ in Europa League win in Betis
  • United take on Fulham in FA Cup quarter-final on Sunday

Erik ten Hag is impressed by how Harry Maguire has developed since the head coach’s arrival at Manchester United, even though the defender has struggled to get into the starting XI on a regular basis.

The club captain has been forced to spend much of the season watching from the bench, making 12 of his 23 United appearances in cup competitions, and will be aiming to add to that figure when Fulham visit Old Trafford in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Sunday.

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Paul Pogba’s targeting by criminals is a human tragedy, he needs support | Jonathan Wilson

Sat, 03/18/2023 - 20:00

Midfielder deserves football’s understanding for the kidnapping and threats that are damaging his life and career

It is seven years since Paul Pogba joined Manchester United from Juventus for a then world-record fee of £89m. He was 23 and had already won four Serie A titles. He had been named young player of the tournament at the previous World Cup. He was a star on the rise, the sort of player who might conceivably drag United out of their post-Alex Ferguson slump.

Pogba had apparently only one fault: he seemed a player out of time, a box-to-box midfielder in an age that had outgrown them. Midfields had split into two bands, and he didn’t quite have the tight technical ability to play in the more advanced line, receiving the ball often with his back to goal, but wasn’t quite disciplined enough to operate consistently as a holder (which, anyway, felt a waste of his profound creative gifts). What he needed was to operate on the left of the midfield three as he had at Juve, but that was not how United played. That quibble, though, was only the start of it.

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Sheikh Jassim examining Manchester United books as Ratcliffe visits club

Fri, 03/17/2023 - 17:20
  • Size of Qatari’s second bid will be driven by what accounts show
  • Ratcliffe and Sir David Brailsford at Old Trafford for talks

Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani’s financial experts are examining Manchester United’s accounts before making a second bid for the club, with no guarantee this will constitute an increased offer.

The Qatari banker’s advisers are assessing the books after visiting the club on Thursday and holding constructive discussions with the United hierarchy, which was headed by the CEO, Richard Arnold. Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the only other publicly declared bidder, was at Old Trafford on Friday for his talks.

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Champions League: Chelsea draw Real Madrid, Manchester City land Bayern

Fri, 03/17/2023 - 12:27
  • Winners of those ties to face each other in semi-finals
  • Manchester United to play Sevilla in Europa League

Chelsea will play Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals and Manchester City will face Bayern Munich after Friday’s draw gave the Premier League’s two remaining clubs among the hardest possible tasks.

The teams that progress from those ties will play each other in the semi-finals, raising the possibility of an all-Premier League meeting for a spot in the final, which will be played in Istanbul.

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FA Cup and Premier League: 11 things to look out for this weekend

Fri, 03/17/2023 - 00:01

Subplots abound among the seven key top-flight games and four intriguing Cup quarter-finals this weekend

Who can forget Vincent Kompany stepping up to power in a 71st-minute winner v Leicester for what was his final Manchester City goal in a game Pep Guardiola’s side had to win to set up the chance to seal the title in their next and final match of 2018-19? They did, City subsequently became champions, and the captain, Kompany, had a dream end to a garlanded 11 years at the club. Now it could be reverse-fortunes time as the Belgian plots Burnley’s elimination of Guardiola’s team from the FA Cup. Can he do so? Why not: Kompany’s Clarets are the 13-point runaway leaders of the Championship and knockout football is all about romantic upsets. Jamie Jackson

FA Cup quarter-final: Manchester City v Burnley, Saturday 5.45pm

FA Cup quarter-final: Sheffield United v Blackburn, Sunday 12pm

FA Cup quarter-final: Brighton v Grimsby, Sunday 2.15pm

FA Cup quarter-final: Manchester United v Fulham, Sunday 4.30pm

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Rashford strike eases Manchester United past Real Betis into last eight

Thu, 03/16/2023 - 19:51

Two minutes before 8pm local time, 55 minutes into this game, the Benito Villamarín rose to its feet and began to applaud, Real Betis’s fans then breaking into song of praise for their players. They had not scored; Manchester United had, Marcus Rashford sending an astonishing shot spearing past Rui Silva to make him the Europa League’s top scorer and, they knew, take Manchester United through, 1-0 up on the night, 5-1 on aggregate. But they had always suspected that would happen and although there was half an hour left now it was over, so they stood, recognition and resignation in their reaction.

“Once you have scored the first goal the game is gone for them. They don’t have the belief any more and you have to manage that,” Erik ten Hag said. “I am very pleased.” Ultimately, his United team had eased into the quarter-finals, where they will surely be favourites. They also escaped the greatest risk they had faced, Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes avoiding suspensions.

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Real Betis v Manchester United: Europa League last 16, second leg – live

Thu, 03/16/2023 - 16:55

Real Betis coach Manuel Pellegrini makes three changes to the side named for the 4-1 defeat at Old Trafford. Rui Silva replaces Claudio Bravo in goal, while Edgar González and Aitor Ruibal step in for Luiz Henrique, who drops to the bench, and the hamstrung Luiz Filipe.

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag makes four changes to his starting XI from the first leg. In come Harry Maguire, Tyrell Malacia, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and, making his long-awaited first start for the club, Facundo Pellistri. Raphael Varane, Diogo Dalot and Luke Shaw drop to the bench, while Antony is ill.

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Inshallah United: ‘If only the Class of 92 had a Nassar Butt instead of Nicky’

Thu, 03/16/2023 - 08:00

If Manchester United had Muslim or Asian representation in the 1990s, an extract from a new book says, it could have led to great things for a generation of youngsters

I sometimes wonder what it would have been like to have an Asian football role model growing up. How would that feel? How amazing would it be? To have a brown footballer to look up to and maybe even aspire to emulate. When the hype started around Manchester United’s Class of 92 – winning the FA Youth Cup against Crystal Palace in 1992; losing in the final against Leeds in 1993; one by one making a name for themselves in the first team – I felt a huge sense of pride and emotional investment in them. Of course there tends to be a collective soft spot among fans for players who’ve graduated through the academy, but for me it wasn’t really that.

They were older than me, so I wasn’t going easy on the kids. For me it was more that a lot of them were local. I’d read all about the Busby Babes in the books I’d borrowed from the library and bought for a pittance at jumble sales. I knew that a fair few of them were local lads too. Then with the Class of 92 there was this sudden arrival of similarly local lads in the first team. Paul Scholes was born in Salford; Nicky Butt was from Gorton; and Phil and Gary Neville were from Bury, where I went to school. Even Ryan Giggs sounded like he was from here with his Swinton accent. Granted David Beckham was from Essex and sounded extremely Essex but he had a fanny parting and wore baggy jeans so he was basically an honorary Manc.

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