What the papers say

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Erik ten Hag tells Manchester United to keep feet on ground after derby win – video

Sat, 01/14/2023 - 17:47

Erik ten Hag told Manchester United fans they can 'dream' of a title challenge but he will not be carried away despite Saturday’s rousing 2-1 comeback derby win over Manchester City at Old Trafford. 'The fans may dream but we’re not. We have to keep our feet on the ground and then face that our game has a lot to improve,' he said.

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‘The fans may dream but we’re not’ – Erik ten Hag parries United title talk

Sat, 01/14/2023 - 16:37
  • Manchester United one point behind City after derby victory
  • United manager: ‘We have to keep our feet on the ground’

Erik ten Hag told Manchester United fans they can “dream” of a title challenge but he will not be carried away despite Saturday’s rousing 2-1 comeback derby win over Manchester City at Old Trafford.

The victory takes United to 38 points, one behind second-placed City, with Arsenal, who have played a match less, another five ahead. United have also beaten the Gunners this season and play them again next Sunday while the champions are still to face the north Londoners in the league. It was put to Ten Hag that his side is in the championship race.

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Absurd offside law cannot disguise shifting of sands in Manchester | Jonathan Wilson

Sat, 01/14/2023 - 16:07

United’s controversial equaliser exposed a major flaw in the rules but also gave them a platform to close the gap on City

A forward makes a run for a through-ball. The defender steps up. The ball is played and the forward is in an offside position. The forward chases the ball, following it, escorting it. Something in his head – perhaps Bruno Fernandes screaming – warns him that he might be offside and so he pulls away, allowing another forward (let’s call him “Bruno Fernandes”) to sweep the ball into the net. Is that forward offside?

He hasn’t touched the ball but can he be deemed to not have been interfering? Did his presence not prevent the initial defender charging back and trying to hook the ball away? It’s the sort of question that could have kept medieval theologians occupied for a lifetime. Duns Scotus and Thomas Aquinas would have written controversial tracts upon it, then those tracts would have been analysed and those analyses themselves analysed. Whole libraries would have been devoted to the theme. To what extent, if God is omniscient, can we have free will? If our thinking is flawed, can any revelation escape flaw? What is interfering?

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

Sat, 01/14/2023 - 14:54

United came from behind to win the Manchester derby, thrusting themselves into the title race as a result

The teams are out! United in red, City sky blue. A lot of friendly banter between both sets of players in the tunnel. Some post-World Cup catching up no doubt. In a studio somewhere, Roy Keane and Gary Neville are studies in apoplexy. Amid all the friendly hubbub, Erling Haaland stands tall, alone at the back, staring straight ahead in a world of his own, in the zone, preparing for action. Jock Wallace would approve. We’ll be off in a couple of minutes.

… and while we’re on the subject of fans telling it the way they see it …

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Rashford stuns Manchester City as United comeback seals derby honours

Sat, 01/14/2023 - 14:28

Marcus Rashford: who else? The Manchester United striker scored a 16th goal in a scintillating season and a seismic 82nd-minute derby winner that gave Erik ten Hag’s team a memorable victory.

It came when Alejandro Garnacho, on as a replacement, twisted and turned in Manchester City’s area before rolling the ball into Rashford who was never going to miss.

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Fernandes sought assurances on club’s ambition before new Old Trafford deal

Fri, 01/13/2023 - 22:30
  • Playmaker agreed four-year Manchester United contract in April
  • ‘The club said they have a plan … we can achieve much more’

Bruno Fernandes had to be convinced Manchester United were intent on challenging for trophies before he signed his new contract in April.

The 28-year-old agreed a fresh four-year deal with an option of a further 12 months only after John Murtough, the football director, and Darren Fletcher, the technical director, assured him United had a clear plan despite then having an interim manager, Ralf Rangnick.

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Manchester United sign Netherlands forward Wout Weghorst on loan

Fri, 01/13/2023 - 21:33
  • Dutchman ends Besiktas loan early to move to Old Trafford
  • ‘I feel privileged to be joining,’ says Weghorst

Manchester United have confirmed the £2.6m loan signing of Burnley’s Wout Weghorst, with the delighted striker calling his move a “privilege”.

United will cover all of the wages of the Dutchman, who had been on loan at Besiktas from Burnley. The Lancashire club will pay €2.825m as a cancellation fee to the Besiktas as Weghorst had joined them for the whole 2022-23 season. United have no option or obligation to buy the player.

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Manchester United head into season’s second derby transformed by Ten Hag

Fri, 01/13/2023 - 19:00

United were blitzed 6-3 at the Etihad in October but their revival since has been remarkable and they should test City

Manchester United’s turnaround between October’s derby with Manchester City and the return fixture on Saturday suggests Erik ten Hag can be the man who finally casts Sir Alex Ferguson’s gilded era in sepia.

At the Etihad Stadium United were blitzed 6-3 by the champions, going 4-0 down before half-time and 6-1 down after 64 minutes, on a dark afternoon for the club that featured hat-tricks from Erling Haaland and Phil Foden. Ten Hag’s men were fortunate not to suffer a double-digit defeat, and the Dutchman’s verdict was pithy: “We were not on the front foot and we were not brave in possession. [There] was a lack of belief.”

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Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend

Fri, 01/13/2023 - 00:21

Mitrovic returns for firing Fulham, Manchester United are flying into the derby and Coutinho looks finished at Villa

Manchester United’s resurgence since being trounced 6-3 by Manchester City in October’s reverse fixture helps to set up the 189th derby as the most fascinating in recent years. Pep Guardiola’s champions have dropped four points from the last 12 while Erik ten Hag’s ever-improving side have claimed 23 from the last 30 available. Guardiola has recent form for questionable calls: he didn’t start Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne in the Carabao Cup defeat at Southampton on Wednesday and left it until too late to make changes when drawing with Everton last month. In Marcus Rashford – 15 goals in all competitions – United have the type of pacy forward that can expose their rivals’ high line but City have a fine record of responding to mid-campaign dips. In true sat-on-the-fence fashion, the view here is that this local joust is incredibly difficult to call. Jamie Jackson

Manchester United v Manchester City, Saturday 12.30pm (all times GMT)

Tottenham v Arsenal, Sunday 4.30pm

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Wout Weghorst due in England to complete Manchester United move

Thu, 01/12/2023 - 16:02
  • Striker leaving Besiktas to join on loan until end of season
  • Everton step up interest in United forward Anthony Elanga

Wout Weghorst is due to fly to Manchester on Thursday for a medical with a view to signing for Manchester United until the end of the season. The Netherlands striker, who is on loan at Besiktas from Burnley, was identified by his compatriot Erik ten Hag as the ideal solution to United’s search for a forward.

United have agreed to pay Besiktas €3m (£2.7m) as compensation for ending his spell early. The Turkish club have been adamant they would not let Weghorst go without a suitable replacement and have been working to try to bring in Vincent Aboubakar from Al Nassr in Saudi Arabia.

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Lisandro Martínez’s hostility and agility help bring steel back to United | Daniel Harris

Thu, 01/12/2023 - 16:00

Defender overcame a slow start and ahead of Saturday’s derby is contesting aerial challenges like a piranha on a trampoline

After one minute of Manchester United’s game against Liverpool in August, you knew: Lisandro Martínez is for real. Because that was when he clattered, then barged through Mohamed Salah for no apparent reason and no obvious gain.

English football’s frequently toxic and forever self-mythologising rhetoric tells us this is just how big men behave. But reality is different: save, perhaps, an airport, there’s nowhere safer to start a row than on a Premier League pitch, because the chances of reprisals are almost zero. Consider, for example, Martin Keown and Ruud van Nistelrooy: jumping on someone from behind works well in football’s posturing pantomime, but in a square go the sensible money would be on the martial artist able to exercise self-control because he knows there’s no serious threat.

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Guardiola ponders ‘ridiculous’ plans for Manchester City’s derby date at United

Tue, 01/10/2023 - 22:30
  • ‘I have a few ideas, thoughts – ridiculous ones,’ says Guardiola
  • Coach urges Kalvin Phillips to push Rodri for starting place

Pep Guardiola says he is considering “ridiculous” plans for Manchester City’s derby at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Saturday.

City first play at Southampton in the Carabao Cup quarter-final on Wednesday, but the manager is already assessing strategies to try to defeat their crosstown rivals.

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Rashford’s late Manchester United double ends Charlton’s cup resistance

Tue, 01/10/2023 - 22:10

Manchester United made this Carabao Cup quarter-final far more attritional than they might due to Erik ten Hag’s shuffling his team selection.

Having an eye on Saturday’s 189th derby with Manchester City meant the manager sent out a weakened XI but they still kept up their bid to end United’s six-year trophy-drought alive in the competition.

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Manchester United reach agreement with Besiktas over Wout Weghorst loan

Tue, 01/10/2023 - 18:56
  • Club will pay Besiktas €3m to end his loan in Turkey early
  • Besiktas want to find replacement before agreeing to deal

Manchester United have reached a verbal agreement to sign Wout Weghorst. They have a deal in principle to pay Besiktas about €3m (£2.7m) to end the striker’s loan early and take him from his parent club Burnley for the rest of the season.

Besiktas will give final approval only if they find a suitable replacement for the Netherlands international, who has scored eight goals in 16 Turkish league games and was due to complete the campaign there.

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League Cup: predictions and previews for the quarter-finals

Tue, 01/10/2023 - 12:21

The lowdown on Newcastle v Leicester, Manchester United v Charlton, Forest v Wolves and Southampton v Manchester City

By Ben McAleer for WhoScored

Manchester United signed Jack Butland on loan from Crystal Palace last week and he could be thrust straight into the starting XI to give David de Gea a break. Erik ten Hag is without Donny van de Beek, Jadon Sancho and Axel Tuanzebe. Van de Beek would almost certainly have started because Bruno Fernandes has to serve a one-match ban after he received his second booking in the competition against Burnley last month.

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Football transfer rumours: Wout Weghorst to join Manchester United?

Mon, 01/09/2023 - 09:33

Today’s whispers are doing pick-ups and drop-offs

Odion Ighalo. Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Radamel Falcao. Cristiano Ronaldo. The arrivals door at Old Trafford has revolved with plenty of odd short-term striking solutions in recent years. Erik ten Hag may have ushered in a new era at Manchester United but it appears that old habits die hard. Wout Weghorst is the latest name to be linked with spearheading United’s attack, with the Dutchman hoping to taking the not-so-well-trodden path from Burnley, via Istanbul, back to the north-west.

Weghorst is currently at Besiktas, on loan from Burnley, and had the temerity to wave goodbye to the BJK fans on Saturday, apparently forgetting he has a contract to fulfil until the end of the season. Any deal with Manchester United would not be straightforward, with Besiktas sporting director, Ceyhun Kazanci, unimpressed with Weghorst’s wave.

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FA Cup third round: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action

Mon, 01/09/2023 - 08:18

Newcastle need to invest in squad depth, Bryan Gil is in derby contention and Coventry count cost of ‘embarrassing’ loss

Half a week is a long time in football. On Thursday, for 45 minutes, Chelsea were good enough to make Manchester City look pedestrian. On Sunday, they were so poor that City located their unstoppable mode, which had gone missing since mid-October. Chelsea are now out of both domestic cups, and in the Premier League, after scraping one win from their past eight games, they are closer to the bottom (13 points ahead of Southampton) than the top (19 behind Arsenal). Top four? They’re not even in the top four in London, with Brentford and Fulham lording it over them, never mind Arsenal and Spurs. The new owners may say the days of hire-and-fire are gone, but Graham Potter seems to be all tinkering and no rapport with his squad. If he loses at Craven Cottage on Thursday, will he still be there to face Palace on Sunday? Tim de Lisle

Match report: Manchester City 4-0 Chelsea

Match report: Cardiff 2-2 Leeds

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Dropping Marcus Rashford essential for United discipline, insists Erik ten Hag

Sat, 01/07/2023 - 22:30
  • Forward was demoted to the bench against Wolves
  • ‘It is a risk but you have to create a winning attitude’

Erik ten Hag says it was worth the risk of dropping Marcus Rashford to the bench for Manchester United’s win at Wolves to ensure a lack of discipline did not “blow back” on the manager’s plans for the club.

The forward, who scored his 13th goal in 24 appearances this season in Friday’s 3-1 FA Cup victory over Everton at Old Trafford, overslept before the Premier League game on New Year’s Eve and the United manager felt compelled to act. “Maybe it is a risk but if you want to develop something to create a winning attitude and culture you have to go this way,” Ten Hag said.

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FA investigates alleged homophobic chanting aimed at Frank Lampard

Sat, 01/07/2023 - 12:38
  • Chants heard during Manchester United’s win over Everton
  • United say they ‘will continue to campaign for inclusivity’

The Football Association has launched an investigation into homophobic chanting which was heard during Manchester United’s 3-1 FA Cup victory over Everton on Friday night.

The chant was seemingly directed at Everton’s manager, Frank Lampard, during the second half of the match at Old Trafford, referencing his long association with Chelsea where he was both a player and manager.

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Manchester United 3-1 Everton: FA Cup third round – as it happened

Fri, 01/06/2023 - 22:28

Marcus Rashford continued his purple patch with two assists and penalty as United won an entertaining game at Old Trafford

“Good evening,” says Jeff Sachs. “You deserve a weekend off.”

I need to do overtime so that I can afford to buy you this.

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