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Updated: 2 hours 51 min ago

Maurizio Sarri clings on to job after furious Chelsea fans lose patience

Mon, 02/18/2019 - 23:43
• FA holders beaten 2-0 at home by Manchester United
• ‘I am worried about results, not the fans,’ says Sarri

Maurizio Sarri is clinging to his job after Chelsea’s defence of the FA Cup was wrecked by Manchester United and the home supporters took out their frustrations on the manager.

Boos greeted the whistle at half-time and full-time, with discontent at Sarri’s substitutions spilling over in the second half of the 2-0 fifth-round defeat.

Related: Manchester United and Pogba extend Chelsea’s misery as fans turn on Sarri

Related: Chelsea 0-2 Manchester United: player ratings from Stamford Bridge

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Chelsea 0-2 Manchester United: player ratings from Stamford Bridge

Mon, 02/18/2019 - 23:27

Marcus Rashford a joy to watch and a constant menace while Eden Hazard must be running low on patience

Kepa Arrizabalaga 5 No chance with first goal but should have done better to prevent Pogba’s header creeping in.

Related: Manchester United and Pogba extend Chelsea’s misery as fans turn on Sarri

Related: Vision plus precision – a swaggering Paul Pogba slices through Chelsea | Amy Lawrence

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Vision plus precision – a swaggering Paul Pogba slices through Chelsea | Amy Lawrence

Mon, 02/18/2019 - 22:17
The French maestro’s dominant personality now seems so reassuring for United. Previous suspicious of it was madness

On nights like this it makes no sense at all to think a manager would not search high and low for the key to Paul Pogba and then turn it to the fullest degree. The slow-burning intensity of this FA Cup tie was wrapped up in the chasing and harrying, the bundling challenges and hopeful pot-shots, until Pogba suddenly elevated himself, the game, and Manchester United’s vibrant Cup run.

In a 14-minute spell at the end of the first half they carved out an unassailable lead thanks to the blend of vision, technical precision and physical force that is Pogba at his swaggering best. First, the cross: Ander Herrera set off on a sudden sprint up the right, anticipating that United might be about to unleash an invaluable weapon. Pogba with the ball at his feet on his current form always presents the possibility of a stirring touch.

Related: Chelsea 0-2 Manchester United: FA Cup fifth round – live!

Related: Manchester United and Pogba extend Chelsea’s misery as fans turn on Sarri

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FA Cup quarter-final draw: Manchester sides kept apart

Mon, 02/18/2019 - 22:08
• Manchester City face Swansea, United draw Wolves
• Millwall v Brighton and Watford v Crystal Palace

Both Manchester clubs were kept apart in the draw for the FA Cup quarter-finals.

Manchester City will travel to Swansea for another trip to south Wales after beating Newport in the fifth round.

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Manchester United and Pogba extend Chelsea’s misery as fans turn on Sarri

Mon, 02/18/2019 - 21:32

Chelsea will not stand for much more of this. Maurizio Sarri, isolated and alone, shuffled around his technical area as his team were out-muscled, out-manoeuvred and out-classed by Manchester United to leave the FA Cup. The Italian’s eyes never left the pitch but he could not have been deaf to the repertoire of chants, whipped up by the fans in the Matthew Harding stand where faith in the current regime is wrecked beyond repair, which damned their own head coach. The humiliation was brutal.

They veered from “You don’t know what you’re doing”, via an industrial and scathing assessment of Sarri-ball, to bellowed praise of Frank Lampard, a favourite figure whose candidacy as a potential replacement, for all that his current focus is with Derby, has been enhanced by Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s startling success with United since December.

Related: FA Cup quarter-final draw – live!

Related: Chelsea v Manchester United: FA Cup fifth round – live!

Related: FA Cup predictability, trouncings and wild finales – Football Weekly

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Chelsea v Manchester United: FA Cup fifth round – live!

Mon, 02/18/2019 - 18:40

6.39pm GMT

Pre-match reading

Related: Alexis Sánchez goals will start to flow like ketchup, says Ole Gunnar Solskjær

Related: Ryan Giggs: ‘It didn’t work for United but Van Gaal was brilliant for me’

6.36pm GMT

A reminder: VAR is in use for this game and there will also be extra-time and penalties if it ends in a draw. No replay! The quarter-final draw will also take place once this is over.

6.34pm GMT

Chelsea start in their Sarri-approved 4-3-3. Antonio Rudiger, Marcos Alonso, N’Golo Kante, Eden Hazard and Gonzalo Higuain replaces Andreas Christensen, Emerson Palmieri, Ross Barkley, Willian and Olivier Giroud, all of whom make way after deputising in last Thursday’s away win against Malmo in the Europa League.

Manchester United make four changes after last week’s defeat to PSG. Sergio Romero starts in goal instead of the rested David De Gea and Chris Smalling replaces Eric Bailly, while Romelu Lukaku and Juan Mata come in for the injured pair of Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard. We’ll have to wait to see if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can squeeze any ketchup out of Alexis Sanchez, who starts on the bench.

6.29pm GMT

Chelsea: Kepa; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Rudiger, Alonso; Jorginho, Kante, Kovacic; Pedro, Higuain, Hazard. Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Zappacosta, Hudson-Odoi, Barkley, Willian Giroud.

Manchester United: Romero; Young, Lindelof, Smalling, Shaw; Matic, Herrera, Pogba; Mata, Lukaku, Rashford. Subs: De Gea, Bailly, Dalot, Fred, McTominay, Pereira, Sanchez.

6.21pm GMT

Hello. Who’d be a football manager in 2019, eh? Offered the chance, probably all of us. After all, most of them get paid pretty well. The pay-off when you’re fired after two seconds would be wonderful. But don’t get too excited. Nobody likes being fired. You’d actually be pretty upset. All those millions, but you’d just want to get back out on the training ground again and smell the grass, lay out the cones, get involved with the banter, bark out some orders, slice some oranges. You’d just want someone to refer to you as The Gaffer again. Or The Gaffa.

The problem is nobody gets much time to do much coaching these days, especially at the highest level, which makes it hard to maintain a sense of perspective when things aren’t going to plan. Everybody wants success and everybody wants it now. The demands simply grow louder, more intense and harder to ignore, because we all need to Have Our Say, which is how we get ourselves into the situation where this FA Cup tie between Chelsea and Manchester United is being billed in some quarters as an audition for the managers of both teams to prove that they deserve to still be in a job this time next week.

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Alexis Sánchez goals will start to flow like ketchup, says Ole Gunnar Solskjær

Sun, 02/17/2019 - 22:30

• Manchester United manager backs his Chilean forward
• Sánchez looks to rediscover form against Chelsea in FA Cup

Ole Gunnar Solskjær has denied Alexis Sánchez is past his best, saying that once the Chilean forward scores it will be like squeezing a “bottle of ketchup” and his best form will be released.

Related: Ryan Giggs: ‘It didn’t work for United but Van Gaal was brilliant for me’

Related: The Dozen: the best FA Cup fifth round pictures

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Ryan Giggs: ‘It didn’t work for United but Van Gaal was brilliant for me’

Sun, 02/17/2019 - 19:00
The Wales manager discusses the loneliness of his job, what Manchester United should do next and why he turned to a psychologist

“I think every manager feels that loneliness,” Ryan Giggs says as he identifies the usually unspoken difficulty at the core of his work. The manager of Wales since January 2018, Giggs has had nine games to get used to the isolation.

“I’m lucky to have great staff around me and, during the week, you’re constantly in meetings and on the training ground. But it’s that hour before the game, when the coaches take the lads out to warm up, that you feel it. You’re alone in the dressing room and you’ve done everything you can. That’s a lonely time. There’s nothing left to do. You’re on your own.”

Related: Arjen Robben: ‘If you ask what is the worst stadium for me, it’s Liverpool’

If it is Ole, keep it among the club and start planning. Our problem the past few years is we were always playing catch up.

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Manchester United and Chelsea seek some salvation in a Wembley return | Paul Wilson

Sun, 02/17/2019 - 09:00

The clubs are meeting in the FA Cup’s tie of the round after sobering defeats last week

The fast-moving world of football has managed to overtake what promised to be an FA Cup treat at Stamford Bridge on Monday night. When the draw was made, Chelsea’s pairing with Manchester United was the obvious fifth-round highlight, but that was before both clubs suffered chastening setbacks.

Chelsea suffered their heaviest defeat of the Premier League era at the hands of Manchester City last Sunday, a 6-0 thrashing that left Maurizio Sarri in a state of shock. It is highly unlikely that Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s United will be quite so ruthless and relentless, though with a Carabao Cup final against City due at the end of the month one could readily understand Sarri and his players feeling apprehensive about the possibility of setting up another meeting in a different competition.

Related: Maurizio Sarri still seeking solutions for Chelsea’s mental fragility

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Related: How Swansea City went from model club to desperate cautionary tale | Stuart James

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Chris Smalling says Manchester United are once again a team to be feared

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 17:59
• Defender says team playing their best since Alex Ferguson era
• United away to Chelsea in FA Cup on Monday

Chris Smalling can draw on his own challenging childhood when talking to the pupils of Salford City Academy. He is there as the new patron of Football Beyond Borders, a charity that hopes to provide stability and hope for disadvantaged youngsters. Smalling’s glittering career shows how difficult beginnings can be overcome. The 29-year-old lost his father as a child and was raised on a council estate, the family requiring social security.

“I grew up with my mother and brother and was in education to 18, so I feel hopefully I can relate to them all,” he says, speaking at the comprehensive school the day after Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s team lost 2-0 to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League. “Football was always a dream, but a distant dream until when I was about to go to university. I’d had a couple of trials, but it wasn’t a realistic dream, it was a kid’s dream.”

Related: Kylian Mbappé’s teleportation device leaves Manchester United floundering | Barney Ronay

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Manchester United’s Martial and Lingard ruled out for three weeks

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 15:21
• United pair suffer groin and hamstring problems respectively
• Gomes, Chong, Sánchez and Lukaku in line to deputise

Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard are out for up to three weeks because of injury, with Ole Gunnar Solskjær saying that means a chance for Alexis Sánchez and Romelu Lukaku to step up for Manchester United.

Martial and Lingard were forced off during Tuesday’s 2-0 defeat by Paris Saint-Germain at Old Trafford because of groin and hamstring problems respectively.

Related: Sportswashing and the tangled web of Europe's biggest clubs

Twitter: follow us at @guardian_sport

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Eric Harrison, the man to whom the Class of ‘92 owe it all

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 15:39
The Manchester United youth coach turned talented youngsters into household names and ‘good human beings’

Originally they were called Fergie’s Fledglings, then the Class of ’92, though it was fitting that Eric Harrison’s death at the age of 81 led everyone at Manchester United to acknowledge where the credit for a remarkable generation was due.

“Eric we owe you everything,” Gary Neville said. “We’ve lost our mentor, our coach and the man who made us. He taught us how to play, to never give up and how important it was to win your individual battles.”

Related: Eric Harrison, Manchester United’s Class of 92 coach, dies aged 81

He instilled values that stood us in good stead for the rest of our lives. I'll be for ever indebted to him

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Manchester United reveal £19.6m payoff for José Mourinho and his staff

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 12:46
• Manager compensated following his sacking in December
• Portuguese’s next move will be to host show on Russian TV

Manchester United have revealed that José Mourinho and his staff received a £19.6m payoff following the Portuguese’s sacking at Old Trafford.

The staggering sum was disclosed in figures released on Thursday in the club’s half-yearly accounts. It was called an “exceptional item relating to compensation to the former manager and certain members of the coaching staff for loss of office”. The other coaching staff thought to be compensated are senior goalkeeping coach Silvino Louro, opposition scout Ricardo Formosinho, fitness coaches Stefano Rapetti and Carlos Lalin and analyst Giovanni Cerra, although Mourinho is expected to have received the bulk of the money.

Related: Eric Harrison, Manchester United’s Class of 92 coach, dies aged 81

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Football transfer rumours: João Felix to Manchester United for £100m?

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 09:06

Today’s fluff has got apple pie in the sky hopes

João Félix, the 19-year-old Benfica forward, is in the kind of form that was bound to attract somebody’s notice. In each of his last three league appearances he has scored and assisted a goal, helping his team to 5-1, 4-2 – over Sporting, no less – and 10-0 wins. And according to the Sun he has been watched “on a number of occasions” by scouts representing Manchester United, who have bought some decent Portuguese teenagers in the past and feel ready to dip their toe into that market once again. United “are looking to launch a bid in the next transfer window” and Benfica “would be willing to sell the youngster”, with the only thing standing in the way of an easy deal being the fact that As Águias value him at an eye-popping £100m. “The club went to see Félix in action and it was all positive,” an Old Trafford source tells the Sun. “He is definitely someone who is increasingly of interest.”

Related: Maurizio Sarri still seeking solutions for Chelsea’s mental fragility

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Eric Harrison, Manchester United’s Class of 92 coach, dies aged 81

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 08:04

• United pay tribute to ‘mentor of young players’
• Harrison helped produce Fergie’s Fledglings

Eric Harrison, the coach credited with producing Manchester United’s famous Class of 92 youth side, has died at the age of 81.

News of his death was confirmed on Thursday by United, where Harrison spent 17 years as a youth team coach after moving from Everton in 1981.

Related: Manchester United's most influential Eric speaks

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Manchester United charged by Uefa after bottles thrown at Ángel Di María

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 15:05
• United can expect fine when case dealt with on 28 February
• PSG face series of charges over the conduct of their fans

Uefa has opened disciplinary proceedings against Manchester United after two bottles were thrown from the stands towards Ángel Di María during Paris Saint-Germain’s win at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

Related: Did Neymar’s absence help PSG to prosper at Manchester United? | Jonathan Wilson

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Did Neymar’s absence help PSG to prosper at Manchester United?

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 11:00
Brazilian’s refusal to track causes problems and PSG’s discipline suggested it may be unwise to play him, Mbappé and Cavani against top sides

Whisper it – and try at least for a while to ignore the enormous Brazilian ego that has temporarily vacated the room – but might Paris Saint-Germain finally have worked it out? The difference between their performances at Anfield in September and at Old Trafford on Tuesday could hardly have been more pronounced. Perhaps this PSG are contenders after all.

Certain issues, it’s true, remain. Gianluigi Buffon is 41. However agile and dominant he remains, he has the feet of a goalkeeper who grew up in the 90s; a sweeper-keeper he is not and, in a world in which almost everybody presses, that restricts how high the defensive line can play while in turn making PSG susceptible to opponents who press them.

Related: Kylian Mbappé’s teleportation device leaves Manchester United floundering | Barney Ronay

Twitter: follow us at @guardian_sport

Related: Manchester United 0-2 PSG: Champions League player ratings

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'We need to step up': Solskjær demands response from players after PSG loss – video

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 02:12

Ole Gunnar Solskjær urged his players to raise their game after suffering his first defeat as Manchester United manager against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.

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Ole Gunnar Solskjær tells Manchester United to pick up spirits quickly

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 00:01

• ‘This is a reality check for us,’ says Solskjær after PSG defeat
• United may face Uefa action over bottle thrown on pitch

Ole Gunnar Solskjær said Manchester United cannot afford to feel sorry for themselves after Paris Saint-Germain inflicted a first defeat of his caretaker tenure.

Asked what his message to the players was after a 2-0 defeat that was United’s heaviest at home in European competition, Solskjær looked forward to their next game, in the FA Cup on Monday, saying: “Not to be sorry for themselves. Anyone who feels sorry for themselves probably won’t play against Chelsea.

Related: PSG prove too good for Manchester United and Paul Pogba is sent off

Related: Kylian Mbappé’s teleportation device leaves Manchester United floundering | Barney Ronay

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Kylian Mbappé’s teleportation device leaves Manchester United floundering | Barney Ronay

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 23:39
PSG forward shows his repertoire of speed and skill, including scoring the second goal that may have already ended the tie

For all the complexities of elite sport, some things don’t change. In his novel End Zone, Don DeLillo obsesses about the speed of NFL running backs. “Speed is the last excitement left,” he writes. “The one thing we haven’t used up, still naked in its potential.”

In which case DeLillo could do a lot worse than have a peek at Kylian Mbappé, who glided around the edges at Old Trafford for half an hour; who scored a decisive second-half goal; and who by the end had provided some moments of exhilaration so natural and easy in among the collisions you could almost feel the stadium goggling each time he began to glide away.

Related: PSG prove too good for Manchester United and Paul Pogba is sent off

Related: Ole Gunnar Solskjær tells Manchester United to pick up spirits quickly

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