What the papers say

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Updated: 42 min 1 sec ago

'Don't compare me to Cantona': Bruno Fernandes focuses on Europa League

Sat, 08/15/2020 - 18:37
  • Manchester United face Sevilla in Sunday’s semi-final
  • ‘I need to do much better to be compared with Cantona’

Bruno Fernandes has shrugged off comparisons with Eric Cantona and is focusing solely on Manchester United’s Europa League challenge, which continues with Sunday’s semi-final against Sevilla.

Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side face opponents unbeaten in 19 games, having last lost in early February, 2-1 to Celta Vigo, and who knocked out English opposition to reach this stage, edging out Wolves 1-0 with a late goal. United required extra time to knock out FC Copenhagen in their quarter-final, with Fernandes’s decisive 95th-minute penalty his 11th goal since joining in January in an initial £46m deal from Sporting Lisbon.

Related: Barcelona's disintegration and the decadence that can befall a super-club | Jonathan Wilson

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Europa League semi-final previews: Sevilla v Man Utd and Inter v Shakhtar

Thu, 08/13/2020 - 11:55

The tie between Sevilla and Manchester United will be tight, but Inter are big favourites against Shakhtar Donetsk

By Martin Laurence for WhoScored

Manchester United booked their place in the semi-finals the hard way and the task will only become more difficult from here. Their surprising failure to beat FC Copenhagen inside 90 minutes in the quarter-final on Monday night was perhaps down to them underestimating the Danes, but they cannot afford to be complacent against Sevilla. Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side must improve, and fast.

Related: Solskjær relieved as Manchester United avoid Europa League shootout

Related: Three seasons at B71 Sandoy: promotion, champions and relegation

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Jadon Sancho happy to help 'special young players' develop at Dortmund

Thu, 08/13/2020 - 10:28
  • Sancho excited about teammates such as Jude Bellingham
  • Comments cast further doubt on move to Manchester United

Jadon Sancho has cast further doubt on a move to Manchester United by expressing his enjoyment at helping some of his fellow young players develop at Borussia Dortmund.

Sancho has been heavily linked with a move to United having agreed personal terms on a basic salary of around £250,000 a week. But a return to England for the 20-year-old Manchester City youth product was put in doubt after Dortmund’s sporting director, Michael Zorc, insisted he would not be sold this summer, and the player himself has now suggested he is content to remain in Germany for another season at least.

Related: Borussia Dortmund insist Jadon Sancho will not leave this summer

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Manchester United will not suffer bubble boredom, says Victor Lindelöf

Tue, 08/11/2020 - 15:00
  • Defender says strict Europa League covid rules not a problem
  • Players used to long stays in hotels from international events

Victor Lindelöf is confident that Manchester United players will not suffer from being in the bubble that constricts players to their Cologne hotel due to Uefa’s Europa League coronavirus rules, the defender pointing to his experience of playing at the World Cup and European Championship.

After knocking out FC Copenhagen in Cologne on Monday Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side have a wait of six days until their semi-final. Yet Lindelöf is not concerned by the potential for boredom despite the strict regulations that state all players and technical staff cannot leave the hotel.

Related: Martial provides the drive to prolong Manchester United's endless season | Barney Ronay

Related: Solskjær relieved as Manchester United avoid Europa League shootout

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Martial provides the drive to prolong Manchester United's endless season | Barney Ronay

Tue, 08/11/2020 - 00:01

The forward was the inspiration as United summoned some energy in the dog days of midsummer to reach the Europa League semi-finals with victory over Copenhagen

At times watching this two-hour game of knockout football felt like sitting through an increasingly entertaining migraine. The RheinEnergieStadion was a mid-August firepit from the start.

The colours swirled across the deep green spaces. And 12 months on from the start of the season, in the dog days of midsummer, Manchester United and FC Copenhagen fought with heartening vigour for the right to progress to the semi-finals of this Europa knockout period.

Related: Manchester United seal semi-final spot as Bruno Fernandes sinks Copenhagen

Related: Manchester United 1-0 FC Copenhagen: Europa League quarter-final – as it happened

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Solskjær relieved Manchester United avoid Europa League shootout

Mon, 08/10/2020 - 23:52
  • Bruno Fernandes scores only goal of the game in extra time
  • United will play Wolves or Sevilla in semi-final

Ole Gunnar Solskjær expressed delight after Manchester United reached the Europa League semi-finals, knocking out FC Copenhagen in extra time via a Bruno Fernandes penalty.

After the tie remained goalless for 90 minutes the manager’s introduction of Juan Mata for Mason Greenwood proved pivotal, the former’s pass to Anthony Martial leading to the winning spot-kick. Fernandes dispatched this for his 11th goal since joining in January and United now face the winner of Wolves against Sevilla on Tuesday.

Related: Manchester United seal semi-final spot as Bruno Fernandes sinks Copenhagen

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Manchester United seal semi-final spot as Bruno Fernandes sinks Copenhagen

Mon, 08/10/2020 - 22:45

Manchester United struggled to put away a doughty FC Copenhagen before doing so in extra time, Bruno Fernandes again the hero for Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side.

The manager introduced Juan Mata for Mason Greenwood ahead of the extra half-hour and this proved prescient. On 95 minutes Anthony Martial was slipped in by Mata and while the superb Karl-Johan Johnsson saved from the Frenchman, a moment later Andreas Bjelland pulled him down.

Related: Manchester United v FC Copenhagen: Europa League quarter-final – live!

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Manchester United v FC Copenhagen: Europa League quarter-final – live!

Mon, 08/10/2020 - 21:18

9.18pm BST

56 min Wan-Bissaka beats Falk on the right but crosses too close to the keeper. Despite that, United’s passing has been much sharper in the last few minutes.

9.16pm BST

55 min After a nice one-touch move from United, Fred hits a miserable low shot straight at Johnsson from 20 yards.

9.14pm BST

52 min Martial’s snapshot is blocked by Nelsson. United are dominating possession, as they have since the drinks break, but Copenhagen look fairly comfortable defensively.

9.13pm BST

51 min Williams is a bit slow to react to Fernandes’s pass into the area. One area where United are weak - incredibly weak compared to the world’s best teams like Bayern and Liverpool - is attacking full-back.

9.12pm BST

50 min “I’m trying to write you a fun email, but I’m back teaching in the classroom this week, so I’m not at my thrilling best,” says Mac Millings. “I am looking forward to the 2020-2021 season, though, if only because we get the unusual privilege of saying ‘twenty’ four times in a row. It’s not much, but it keeps me going.”

I like that you’ve brazenly ignored the usual convention (2020-21) just to treat yourself to an extra twenty.

9.11pm BST

49 min Pogba shoots high and wide from the edge of the area after a good run from Rashford and a lay off from Fernandes.

9.07pm BST

46 min Peep peep! Copenhagen begin the second half.

8.58pm BST

Half-time chit-chat

“Southgate can pick who he likes next summer, Rob,” says Simon McMahon. “But everybody knows it’s Scotland that’ll be bringing it home, though. Winking/laughing emojis.”

8.52pm BST

Half-time reading

Related: Wolves hope to buoy up injured Jonny Otto against Sevilla in Europa League

8.52pm BST

Peep peep! It’s still goalless after a tepid half of football. FC Copenhagen kept United at arms length for the most part and had a few half-chances to take the lead. The assumption of an easy United looks, well, assish. See you in 15 minutes for the second half.

8.50pm BST

45+4 min Five minutes of added time by the way.

8.47pm BST

NO GOAL! Man Utd 0-0 Copenhagen Replays show he was a yard or two offside. No armpits were involved in the cancellation of this goal.

8.47pm BST

It was an emphatic finish, thumped in off the post with his right foot from a tight angle. It’s still being checked for offside.

8.46pm BST

GOAL! Man Utd 1-0 Copenhagen (Greenwood 45)

Another clinical finish from Mason Greenwood puts United ahead - but he might be offside.

8.46pm BST

45 min Rashford’s awkward, wobbling shot from the left edge of the box is shovelled away by Johnsson.

8.45pm BST

44 min Wan-Bissaka’s deflected cross kicks up at Martial, who controls it on the chest but then falls over and can’t get a shot in.

8.42pm BST

40 min United’s good spell has petered out. I can’t decide whether they look rusty or tired; either way their guilty feet have got no rhythm.

8.38pm BST

37 min Varela’s dangerous cross is cleared behind for a corner by Bailly, who just got in front of Daramy at the near post for the second time in the match.

8.38pm BST

36 min “Do you think Gareth Southgate will pick Greenwood as a potential super-sub at next year’s European Championship?” asks Robert Lin. “Also, is Shaw second choice left-back behind Chilwell in your opinion?”

I think Greenwood will definitely go, maybe even as a starter. I’m not so sure about Shaw – I think he’s better than Williams at that stage but still not good enough. It depends partly on where Bukayo Saka is used next season.

8.33pm BST

33 min Greenwood makes a bit of space on the edge of the area to rifle a shot that is headed behind by Bjelland. For the first time in the match, Copenhagen are under sustained pressure.

8.31pm BST

30 min Pogba floats a lovely pass to find Rashford on the left of the area. He takes his time to assess the options and then curls a nice ball in that just evades the stretching Martial at the far post. United have been sharped since the break.

8.29pm BST

29 min “Matic,” writes my colleague Tim de Lisle, “is playing a blinder.”

8.29pm BST

28 min Fernandes lifts the free-kick well over the bar.

8.28pm BST

27 min The match resumes and immediately United look more purposeful. After a snappy passing move, Greenwood is hacked down 22 yards from goal. There’s been another goal in Dusseldorf: Kai Havertz has made it Internazionale 2-1 Leverkusen.

8.26pm BST

25 min It’s time for the drinks break. Meanwhile, Dave Jackson has sent a link explaining the Cologne/Loch Lomond connection.

8.24pm BST

24 min Apparently the referee did point to the spot during that earlier incident, and then VAR overturned the decision because of an offside against Maguire.

8.23pm BST

22 min Romelu Lukaku has made it Inter 2-0 Leverkusen in Dusseldorf.

8.23pm BST

21 min: There’s a VAR check for a United penalty. I’m not sure exactly what happened because my TV briefly turned blue, but I think the upshot is that they would have had a penalty but for an offside against Maguire in the build-up.

8.21pm BST

20 min A loose clearance from Wan-Bissaka in his own area is blocked by Wind and almost ricochets to Daramy. Romero has to charge from his line to claim the ball.

8.20pm BST

19 min This United team often start games slowly, and tonight is no exception. FC Copenhagen have been the better team so far.

8.19pm BST

17 min: Chances galore for Copenhagen! Fred’s dismal pass was intercepted by Wind, who eased it forward to Daramy in the area. He twisted Bailly inside out before hitting a shot that was blocked desperately by Maguire, and then Wind’s follow-up was blocked by Pogba in the six-yard box.

8.17pm BST

17 min In the other match tonight, Nicolo Barrella has made it Internazionale 1-0 Bayer Leverkusen.

8.17pm BST

16 min Falk’s corner from the left is flicked on at the near post, by a United player I think, and headed away by the flying Williams on the line. The ball wasn’t going in, though Nelsson was behind him waiting to score.

8.16pm BST

15 min Pierre Bengtsson replaces Boilesen, who must have pulled a muscle or some such.

8.15pm BST

13 min Biel’s deflected cross from the right so nearly falls for Daramy in the six-yard box. Bailly does really well to comes across and get a block in. Moments later, Wan-Bissaka is knocked off his feet when Boilesen’s hard-hit cross smacks him in the coupon. Weirdly, Boilesen seems to have injured himself in hitting the cross. He’s sitting down, a picture of frustration, and a substitute is being prepared.

8.11pm BST

11 min It’s been a fairly low-key start. United have had the more promising openings, but it’s certainly not a one-sided match.

8.10pm BST

9 min “I watched a Cologne match last season on the telly box, and my ear immediately picked up on the song being played as the team came out,” says Simon McMahon. “It was unmistakably Loch Lomond, the traditional Scottish folk song. The Cologne fans were belting it out, in German of course, but I couldn’t help wondering what the origins were. Anyone know?”

8.09pm BST

8 min A free-kick to United 30 yards from goal, slightly to the right of centre. Rashford drives it a few yards wide.

8.07pm BST

6 min Pogba rakes an outrageous crossfield pass to Wan-Bissaka to set United on the wall. Eventually Fred drives a pass over the defence to Bruno Fernandes, whose header across the face of the goal is cleared by a Copenhagen defender. Martial wasn’t able to catch up with play.

8.04pm BST

4 min ... and Jonas Wind heads it away at the near post. Copenhagen have made quite a fast start. Their formation is more of a 4-4-2 than 4-2-3-1, with Wind and Daramy up front.

8.04pm BST

3 min United win an early corner on the left. Bruno Fernandes strolls over to take it...

8.01pm BST

1 min Peep peep! After the players on both sides take a knee - what did happen at the Etihad the other night - United get the game underway. It’s 32 degrees apparently.

7.58pm BST

The players emerge on a sultry evening in Cologne. Both teams are in their home strip: United red (Chevrolet), Copenhagen white (Carlsberg).

7.53pm BST

“Here in Germany it was never quite clear why Sancho should leave a young, dynamic team with Champions League qualification and the promise of better things to sign for Manchester United,” writes Paul. “I find it regrettable that certain sections of the Manchester United heavily biased press (no names), are even calling on Sancho to go on strike. Their arrogance, particularly in these Corona-stricken times, and the idea that Chelsea and United can buy everything in the Bundesliga, shows how far they are removed from reality.”

While I take your point, especially about the arrogance, I’m not sure they’re that far removed: do you not think Havertz and Sancho will end up at Chelsea and United this summer? As unpleasant as it is, this stuff has been going on since Moses wore short pants.

7.49pm BST

“Hi Rob,” says Peter Oh. “It looks like Netflix star and former Sunderland player Bryan Oviedo is among Copenhagen’s substitutes.”

It’s an omen.

Related: Manchester United 0-1 Everton | Premier League match report

7.37pm BST

“Hi Rob,” says Lars Bøgegaard. “Could I interest you with a remarkable stat? Copenhagen has played 30 European games in a row without conceding more than one goal. That is seven more games than the second best on the list, one of the great Milan sides from the 90s.

“The last team to score more than one European goal against Copenhagen was Atletico Madrid in 2018. That record row surely will come to an end tonight, no? Here at the pub in Copenhagen we hope not!”

7.35pm BST

“No BT Sport for me so I’ll be with you throughout this gripping high stakes encounter,” says Neil Carter. “Good to see Bailly playing tonight, it always adds excitement in this house predicting the moment he either injures himself, a teammate or gives away a penalty/gets a red card. It gives these European nights extra spice. Greenwood to have a good game and score the winner for me tonight footballing gods. GGMU!!”

7.31pm BST

“Is it really such a surprise that Fred is selected this evening?” says David Wall. “Even when they were inconsistent in the first half of the season he was unarguably one of the few successes of the season (alongside Rashford and Martial). He seemed to have developed a decent relationship with Fernandes before the hiatus that gave Pogba time to regain fitness.

“Much as I was impressed by their post-lockdown form I thought it a shame that he was the one missing out in the new midfield three. He was pretty good evidence for the view that sometime players arriving to a new league just need a bit of time and, crucially, support from their manager to adjust and show the form that justified buying them in the first place.”

7.27pm BST

It’s a really warm night in Cologne, over 30 degrees, so there should be drinks breaks during both halves.

7.26pm BST

Pre-match reading (and listening)

Related: Solskjær hoping Anthony Martial can stay on target against FC Copenhagen

Related: The Champions League and a return for the witch's curse – Football Weekly

7.14pm BST

If the match level after 90+4 minutes, it will go extra-time and potential penalties. The shorter format definitely increases Copenhagen’s chance of causing a shock.

7.10pm BST

“Would have picked McTominay over Fred - his forward thrusts cause the opposition problems,” says Francis Mead. “And Bailly always gives me the willies - he’s an accident waiting to happen.”

I assume Lindelof is only fit enough for the bench. The Fred decision is interesting; I didn’t see that coming.

7.05pm BST

Pre-match buzz-harsher

It’s all part of the game.

Related: Borussia Dortmund insist Jadon Sancho will not leave this summer

7.03pm BST

Eric Bailly continues alongside Harry Maguire, with Victor Lindelof on the bench, and Fred is preferred to Nemanja Matic. That’s a bit of a surprise. If I was going to play Fred it would have be instead of Pogba rather Matic.

FC Copenhagen’s XI includes the former United right-back Guillermo Varela, one of the 327 youth players given their Old Trafford debut by Louis van Gaal.

6.00pm BST

Hello. We’re all desperate to get back to normal life, and I don’t know about you but I’m Jonesing for a pedicure. There are, though, are a few aspects of Covid life that are superior to the old normal. Exhibit A: the two-week festival of European football that starts in Germany tonight. It’s the best of all worlds. We get the splendour of European football with the thrill of a novelty format – and without the affront to tradition that would usually accompany such a TV-friendly mega-event.

The two mini-tournaments to decide the 2019-20 Champions League and Europa League are a bespoke response to a unique situation. There will be European football – knockout, cut-throat, business-end European football – on TV for 12 the next 14 nights (or days, depending on where you reside). It’s an orgy of jeopardy and everyone’s invited, just as long as they have the right TV package.

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Borussia Dortmund insist Jadon Sancho will not leave this summer

Mon, 08/10/2020 - 16:16
  • Forward had already agreed terms with Manchester United
  • Dortmund’s Michael Zorc: ‘He will play for us next season’

Borussia Dortmund’s sporting director, Michael Zorc, has said Jadon Sancho will not be transferred to Manchester United this summer and that he will stay at the Bundesliga club for the 2020-21 season.

The England international is United’s No 1 target in the current transfer window and has agreed personal terms with the club on a basic salary of around £250,000 a-week. The 20-year-old flew to Switzerland on Monday for Dortmund’s pre-season training camp.

Related: Champions League quarter-finals: tie-by-tie analysis and verdicts | Jonathan Wilson

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Solskjær hoping Anthony Martial can stay on target against FC Copenhagen

Sun, 08/09/2020 - 20:09
  • Manchester United forward enjoying best season in front of goal
  • Manager will face a familiar foe in the form of Ståle Solbakken

Ole Gunner Solskjær has praised Anthony Martial for building up his physique in extra gym sessions that have transformed him into a “powerhouse” centre-forward.

The Frenchman’s goal in Wednesday’s 2-1 Europa League win over Lask was his 23rd of the season, putting him one ahead of Marcus Rashford’s tally in what is a career-best campaign.

Related: Angel Gomes signs for Lille after leaving Manchester United

Related: Manchester United ready to listen to offers for Jesse Lingard

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Angel Gomes signs for Lille after leaving Manchester United

Sun, 08/09/2020 - 12:29
  • Gomes will head on loan to Boavista for the 2020-21 season
  • Phil Jones ruled out of Europa League squad with knee injury

Former Manchester United youngster Angel Gomes has completed a move to Lille but will spend next season on loan with Portuguese club Boavista. Gomes has signed a contract until 2025 with the Ligue 1 club.

Related: Manchester United ready to listen to offers for Jesse Lingard

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Alexis Sánchez seals Inter switch in move saving Manchester United £40m

Thu, 08/06/2020 - 10:41
  • Forward turns loan at Inter into permanent deal to 2023
  • Chilean’s £390,000-a-week United contract had two years left

Alexis Sánchez has completed his free transfer from Manchester United to Internazionale on a contract to 30 June 2023.

The Chile international has been on loan at Inter since August but United have been covering a significant portion of his £390,000-a-week wages. The Italian club are understood to have committed to matching that salary for the first season of their deal.

Related: Martial strikes late against Lask then United finally offload Alexis Sánchez

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Martial strikes late against Lask then United finally offload Alexis Sánchez

Wed, 08/05/2020 - 21:59

Manchester United stuttered while keeping Lask at arm’s length in a last-16 second leg that was the very definition of a non-event given their five-goal advantage from the first game. They will not care, though, as thoughts for Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side turn to Monday’s quarter-final against Copenhagen, the Danish champions, in Cologne.

That is a straight knockout tie, as will be the remainder of the Europa League competition United won three years ago in Stockholm. For the manager and his emerging sideit now represents a golden chance to claim their first trophy and that will be the focus when they arrive in Germany.

Related: Manchester United v LASK: Europa League last 16, second leg – live!

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Manchester United v LASK: Europa League last 16, second leg – live!

Wed, 08/05/2020 - 21:38

9.38pm BST

80 min Another LASK substitution: Andres Andrade off, Petar Filipovic on.

9.37pm BST

79 min “Hi Rob,” says Matt Burtz. “If only because it might be my favourite Everton goal, I just want to note the similarities between Wiesenger’s goal and the one scored by Phil Jagielka at Anfield in 2014. Minus hitting the bottom of the crossbar, of course.”

Jagielka’s was much better I’d say - not just because of the crossbar porn, but because he cut across the ball where Wiesinger had the easier task of hitting it with the inside of the foot. Still a damn fine goal, mind.

9.35pm BST

77 min Mata has been much bettter in the second half, with lots of those familiar first-time passes into space. It’s still a dog of a game, but he has made it slightly more watchable.

9.34pm BST

75 min “In 2016, Mourinho inherited Martial and Rashford whilst Guardiola inherited/acquired Sane and Sterling,” says Digvijay Yadav. “By the time Mourinho left, the United duo were so far behind. Almost scandalous what Mourinho was allowed to do to them. Should have shown patience with them like Fergie did Rooney and Ronaldo from ‘04-‘06. Instead he went and bought Lukaku and Sánchez. Still fuming about that.”

One thing in Mourinho’s defence – he realised very early on, a lot sooner than most of us, that Rashford was a left-sided forward rather than a No9. But this is the first season in which they have both thrived since van Gaal’s last few months, albeit having swapped positions.

9.32pm BST

73 min Another LASK change. The teenager Thomas Sabitzer, cousin of the marvellous Leipzig midfielder Marcel Sabitzer, replaces the goalscorer Philipp Wiesinger.

9.30pm BST

73 min “Hi Rob,” says Craig Foley. “As a Swansea fan I’d bite your hand off if you offered us Dan James back on loan next season. He probably doesn’t need to worry about spot in the Wales squad for the Euros, but he’s still young (this is only his third season after all) and needs regular games to develop. Also, I saw John Williams play in a charity game last year. He still had a burst of pace but it was just the one burst in the entire game!”

That put him one up on most 52-year-olds, and me.

9.30pm BST

72 min Tahith Chong comes on for Brandon Williams.

9.30pm BST

71 min A fierce low shot from Reiter is saved at the near post by Romero, though I’m not sure he knew that much about it. He got in a bit of a tangle and the ball hit his leg before deflecting away.

9.29pm BST

71 min I pity the fool who has to write a ‘Five Things We Learned’ on this game.

9.28pm BST

70 min Pereira plays a good one-two with Mata but then crosses too close to Schlager.

9.27pm BST

67 min “How has OGS been vindicated on Lukaku?” says Tim Stappard. “Ridiculous statement. If Utd get to the final he could well be awaiting. Scored a brutal goal v Getafe.”

The clue’s in the word ‘Getafe’. I just think Martial is a much better No9 if you aspire to win the Premier League and Champions League. You disagree, which is fair enough, but in no way it is a ridiculous statement. Saying it’s a ridiculous statement is ridiculous, I’ll give you that, and now I feel ridiculous for pointing out the ridiculousness of you saying it was ridiculous!

9.24pm BST

66 min A LASK chance: Dominik Reiter for Husein Balic.

9.23pm BST

63 min Jesse Lingard and Fred are replaced by Paul Pogba and Andreas Pereira. Both don’t look thrilled to be substituted, Lingard in particular, but I would suggest their removal is a good sign given what’s to come.

9.22pm BST

62 min “Wondering how you feel Solskjaer is vindicated on Lukaku?” says Michael Bradbury. “He’s been banging them in for Inter (23 in 36). I guess because his absence has allowed Rashford and Martial to flourish?”

More Martial than Rashford, I think. Solskjaer effectively replaced Lukaku with Martial, who had the best season of his career and even managed a personality transplant. I don’t think you can win the Premier League with Lukaku in the team, but you might with Martial. It was a brave decision because the safer short-term bet would have been to keep Lukaku to score cheap goals against the weaker teams and buy Solskjaer some time. But it wouldn’t have done anyone much good in the medium term.

9.21pm BST

61 min Mata has a shot blocked and then Fosu-Mensah blazes a drive into orbit.

9.20pm BST

60 min On reflection, maybe it is Lingard’s goal. There is a split-second between Lingard’s shot and Wiesinger’s tackle, so if the original shot was going on target it will count as his goal.

9.18pm BST

59 min The goal may well be given to Lingard, which would be his second in two games, but I reckon that was Wiesinger’s goal.

9.17pm BST

Wiesinger does get his second goal of the game, but this one’s at the wrong end. Lingard, put through on goal by Mata, took an age to decide what to do. When he eventually had a shot, Wiesinger tackled him simultaneously and diverted the ball through Schlager’s legs.

9.15pm BST

56 min Wiesinger almost scores again! He ran onto a square pass, 25 yards out again, and this time drove a low shot just wide with Romero scrambling across his goal.

9.14pm BST

That was a spectacular strike from Philipp Wiesginger. A corner from the left was headed away by Fosu-Mensah at the near post and ran to Wiesinger 25 yards from goal. He had time to take a touch or three but instead sidefooted a booming first-time curler that beat the diving Romero and flew into the top corner.

9.13pm BST

Pick that out!

9.11pm BST

53 min Mata clips a nice first-time pass out to Williams, who moves into the area and slides a low cross that just evades the stretching James in the six-yard box. Williams had so much time there, almost too much.

9.09pm BST

51 min “Why this obsession with playing Maguire?” says Tim Stappard. “Whatever you think of him, and to me he’s the most overpriced defender ever, he needs a rest.”

I suspect Solskjaer gave the regular first XI the option to play tonight, and Maguire was the only one who said yes. Paul Scholes made the point that he looks like the kind of player who likes the rhythm of regular games, and this was never going to be the most taxing night.

9.09pm BST

50 min: United have their first shot on target Lingard and Mata combine neatly to find Ighalo, who evades Michorl with those deceptively quick feet but then shoots too close to Schlager.

9.05pm BST

47 min Lingard slides a good pass to find James, whose cross towards Ighalo is too close to the keeper. United’s final ball has been desperate.

9.04pm BST

47 min “Hi Rob,” says Peter Oh. “The visitors were riding high at the top of the Austrian Bundesliga before the pandemic-induced shutdown, but have endured a chaotic time during lockdown and the restart. They were docked six league points for violating lockdown restrictions, their manager was fired and they lost numerous matches (including their final three league fixtures on the trot) to finish well off the pace.”

9.03pm BST

46 min Peep peep! United begin the second half.

8.56pm BST

Half-time reading

Related: Solskjær needs more than Jadon Sancho to challenge for the big prizes | Jamie Jackson

8.56pm BST

“How many of these players do you think are in the shop window?” asks Digvijay Yadav. “I’d say Lingard and the absent Dalot, at least. More impressive than the incomings have been the outgoings under OGS: Fellaini, Darmian, Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez, Herrera etc. With the exception of Sánchez, not technically good enough for United.”

I liked Herrera, though I realise I’m in a minority. I’m really pleased Solskjaer has been vindicated on Lukaku, which was a brave decision and one for which he received pelters in the winter. As for this lot, I think most of them will stay next season. I’d say the only ones who might be sold this summer are Mata, Lingard and Bailly, plus Pereira on the bench.

8.52pm BST

“Hiya Rob,” says Adam Kline-Schoder. “Ever since that video surfaced of Dan James falling madly in love with a puppy, the mere thought of him being low on confidence makes me sad. More seriously, he was such a bright spark when he first came; hopefully he’ll be given the time to rediscover his mojo.”

I doubt he’ll make it at United, which is a shame as he seems a decent lad and I love the idea of United having somebody who is even faster than John Williams. I’d be tempted to send him out on loan next season.

8.49pm BST

Britain’s Nuclear Secrets: Inside Sellafield in on BBC Four at 9pm, you know.

8.48pm BST

45 min “If the last 20 minutes of the first half of this near meaningless Europa League tie against significantly weaker opposition is any guide, Jesse Lingard is BACK, baby,” says Barry Bryan. “Clearly the man to add depth to Fernandes’ position.”

He’s played nicely, hasn’t he. The thing that really stands out is his confidence, especially that lovely flicked pass to Ighalo.

8.47pm BST

44 min United will doubtless bring on some of their best XI in the second half, to give them a little workout ahead of the quarter-final, so LASK may have missed their chance of an historic yet kinda pyrrhic victory at Old Trafford.

8.46pm BST

43 min McTominay’s fizzed through pass almost finds Mata, but Renner comes across to cover on the edge of the area.

8.44pm BST

41 min “Hi Rob,” says Matt Burtz. “Re: Jesse Lingard, there’s a subsection of the Everton fanbase that thinks that he’s nailed on to come to Goodison. I disagree, but there is ample evidence of Everton taking the rejects of ‘bigger’ clubs and putting them on high wages (see Iwobi, Delph, Schneiderlin, Sigurdsson if you count his time at Spurs, etc.). I don’t think Carlo Ancelotti will operate this way, but as Jerry Seinfeld once noted, anything’s possible.”

I did think of Everton, then I was overwhelmed by an image of cuddly Carlo wagging a finger at me with a stern look on his coupon. It’s certainly not beyond the realms that he will join them, but I don’t expect it to happen. Lingard’s playing well tonight and looks very confident, so maybe that weird goal at Leicester will give him a new lease of life at United. The more I think about it, if he leaves United he’ll go to Spurs, where Mourinho will buy all the players who have done well under him elsewhere. Lingard and Mesut Ozil will float behind Harry Kane, with Ricardo Carvalho and Pepe setting a new Premier League record of 17 consecutive red cards clean sheets.

8.40pm BST

39 min McTominay is booked for introducing Balic to the lush Old Trafford grass.

8.40pm BST

36 min Lingard eases a through pass down the inside-right channel to James, whose low cross is put behind for a corner. United’s final ball has been very poor so far.

8.39pm BST

35 min Michorl is booked for a two-footed tackle on Lingard. He should have been sent off. I genuinely have no idea whether they are using VAR tonight, and am only too happy to share my expertise in this area.

8.35pm BST

32 min Lingard flicks a lovely first-time pass to Ighalo, who cuts back inside Trauner in the area and is about to shoot where Renner appears to poke the ball to safety.

8.34pm BST

30 min Mata’s gentle outswinging corner is headed a few yards wide by Maguire. That wasn’t much of a chance, because there was no pace on the ball and he was 12 yards from goal. Maguire only scored one goal in the league last season; he should really be getting six or seven, such is his set-piece threat.

8.31pm BST

28 min Another chance for LASK. Renner on the left curls in a terrific cross towards the near post, where Balic forces his way into front of Maguire and flicking a looping header that drifts just over the bar.

8.30pm BST

27 min “Dear Rob,” says Nick Gatto. “Re: your preamble. Rangers fan here. I seen what you did there.”

I did say the likeliest route to winning a trophy. Actually, I’ve just realised I didn’t say the likeliest route, but I should have done.

8.28pm BST

26 min James hares into space down the left, cuts into the area but then runs into trouble. He looks so low on confidence.

8.27pm BST

25 min Balic leaves it to - yep - Michorl, whose free-kick hits the wall.

8.26pm BST

24 min Fosu-Mensah fouls somebody 25 yards from goal. The free-kick is to the left of centre, and Balic is over it...

8.26pm BST

23 min LASK have had the better opening, such as they are. Trauner clips a good pass over the defence to Ranftl, who drives a low cutback towards the penalty spot. Balic gets to it first, just in front of Fosu-Mensah, but the ball slices off the outside of his foot and away. That was a chance.

8.24pm BST

22 min “Will the lesser-spotted Jesse Lingard be a United player next season if Sancho joins the already overcrowded forward roster?” asks Justin Kavanagh.

I think United will struggle to get rid of him even if they want to. He’s on pretty big money - £100,000 a week, reportedly – and I can’t think of an obvious fit in the Premier League. I might have said Brighton before they signed Adam Lallana. Actually, Mourinho might take him – Lingard played his best football, by far, under him.

8.24pm BST

21 min Nothing much is happening. But you knew that would be the case before the game.

8.19pm BST

17 min “Fosu-Mensah is, if not quite someone I’d carry a candle for, a player I really liked the look of when he first came about,” says Christopher Faherty. “Cover at right-back is an issue fpr us, Dalot’s a solid enough player when he lines out but appears to be made of biscuits.”

You were there at his birth? But seriously, Ole clearly doesn’t trust Dalot, rightly or wrongly, and Fosu-Mensah is certainly worth keeping. He’s still only 22. I’m not sure he’ll ever be good enough to be a regular but at this stage of United’s development I think he’s fine as a squad player.

8.18pm BST

16 min Michorl belts a first-time shot into orbit from 30 yards. He wants a goal at Old Trafford, doesn’t he.

8.16pm BST

14 min United haven’t really got going yet. Lingard looks quite bright, as does Fred, but James has been peripheral and Ighalo hasn’t had any decent service.

8.13pm BST

10 min LASK are bright and breezy in possession, and look like they have come to enjoy themselves. A long throw is headed behind by Maguire for LASK’s first corner. It’s booted behind for another by Fosu-Mensah. The second corner is whipped in dangerously by Michorl and headed up in the air by one of a number of bodies on the six-yard line. Andrade runs onto the loose ball and loops a header against the crossbar. The rebound eventually comes to Wiesinger, who whistles a shot just wide of the far post.

8.08pm BST

5 min Michorl receives possession 50 yards from goal, inhales the rarefied Old Trafford air and tries to drive a chip over Romero. It drifts well wide.

8.07pm BST

4 min Fred sprays a superb 60-yard pass across the field to Mata. He moves into the area and tries to find the unmarked Ighalo in front of goal, but his square pass is unusually scruffy and Andrade stretches to concede a corner.

Mata swings the corner to the far post, where Maguire heads over the bar. That was a decent chance.

8.05pm BST

3 min While LASK can’t go through, they can still win a match at Old Trafford, and that would mean plenty. Their odds (14/1 last time I looked) are pretty generous given they are playing against United reserves.

8.03pm BST

1 min Peep peep! After a minute silence, the players on both sides take a knee. And then LASK get the match under way, kicking from right to left. They are in white; United are in their new 2020-21 home strip. It’s not great, I can’t lie to you.

7.59pm BST

The players emerge on a cool evening in Manchester. There has been a bit of talk about players potentially forcing their way into the team for the Europa League mini-tournament, but realistically that’s not going to happen. With the possible exception of the goalkeeper, we all know what the starting XI will be against FC Copenhagen on Monday: de Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Williams; Pogba, Matic; Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford; Martial.

7.57pm BST

It’s been 146 days since the first leg, and for once Uefa aren’t to blame. No, I can’t remember much about it either. Happily for both of us, Tim de Lisle has turned an apparently everyday match into a memorable piece of writing.

Related: My favourite game: Lask Linz v Manchester United, Europa League | Tim de Lisle

7.49pm BST

FC Copenhagen 3-0 Istanbul Basaksehir (agg: 3-1) is the final score in Denmark, so United will play Copenhagen in Cologne on Monday.

Shakhtar Donetsk have also qualified with a 3-0 win over VfL Wolfsburg (agg: 5-1). It was 0-0 after 88 minutes. Shakhtar will almost certainly play Basel, who lead Eintracht Frankfurt 3-0 from the away leg, in the last eight.

7.18pm BST

It looks like United will face FC Copenhagen in the quarter-final on Monday. They are 3-0 up against Istanbul Basaksehir, an aggregate lead of 3-1, with 25 minutes to play in Denmark

7.17pm BST

Pre-match reading

Related: Solskjær needs more than Jadon Sancho to challenge for the big prizes | Jamie Jackson

7.00pm BST

With a couple of exceptions, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has picked his B team. Harry Maguire and Brandon Williams are the only survivors from the team that started against Leicester 10 days ago. The big hitters are all on the bench and will probably stretch their legs in the last half hour.

Man Utd (4-2-3-1) Romero; Fosu-Mensah, Bailly, Maguire, Williams; McTominay, Fred; Mata, Lingard, James; Ighalo.
Substitutes: Grant, Pogba, Martial, Rashford, Pereira, Fernandes, Greenwood, Wan-Bissaka, Matic, Garner, Chong, Mengi.

1.35pm BST

Good evening. Look, let’s not get carried away: if LASK go through tonight, it will only be the most astonishing result in football history. They trail 5-0 from the first leg, and now they have to go to Old Trafford. They have two chances, and slim is self-isolating.

For Manchester United, this is a warm-up for the Europa League mini-tournament in Germany that starts next week. United’s potential route to a first trophy under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sn’t easy, but nor should it keep them awake at night:

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Categories: What the papers say

Solskjær needs more than Jadon Sancho to challenge for the big prizes | Jamie Jackson

Tue, 08/04/2020 - 18:00

The Manchester United manager needs funds to buy defenders for his team to compete domestically and in Europe

Jadon Sancho has 11 England caps. He was in the Bundesliga team of the season at 19. He makes in-game decisions as prescient as a teenage Wayne Rooney. He is a two-footed, goalscoring assist maker with a Harry Houdini array of tricks.

Yet if Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s pursuit of the Borussia Dortmund forward is not backed by further transfers then Manchester United have only a distant hope of being contenders next season. Sancho is an expected £100m-plus signing who has to be the start, not end, of United Phase Two under Solskjær.

Related: Manchester United close to £90m deal with Dortmund after Sancho agrees terms

Related: Harrogate Town to groundshare with Doncaster while 3G pitch is removed

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Categories: What the papers say

Manchester United close to deal with Dortmund after Sancho agrees terms

Tue, 08/04/2020 - 14:01
  • England forward set to move for initial £90m
  • Sancho to earn about £250,000 a week on five-year deal

Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund are close to agreeing a fee for Jadon Sancho, with the England forward having agreed personal terms on a five-year contract at Old Trafford.

Both clubs are understood to be confident a deal to make Sancho the most expensive English player in history is nearing completion, with United expected to pay an initial €100m fee (£90m) over three annual instalments and a further €20m in performance-related add-ons. Dortmund would prefer to have the transfer completed by next week to help them bring in a replacement.

Related: Football transfer rumours: Chelsea to go for £18m Reguilón over Chilwell?

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Categories: What the papers say

Football transfer rumours: Chelsea to go for £18m Reguilón over Chilwell?

Tue, 08/04/2020 - 09:10

Today’s talk comes with clearing skies and drying eyes

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s heroics at Wembley have convinced Frank Lampard’s Chelsea that they need a defensive clear-out. Kurt Zouma, Andreas Christensen, Emerson Palmieri, Marcos Alonso are for the out, as is keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, who cost so much he will have to be loaned out. N’Golo Kanté is also being considered for sale as Frank looks to sign Declan Rice from West Ham and Atlético’s José Giménez.

Related: Manchester United in advanced talks with Dortmund over £90m Sancho

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Categories: What the papers say

Manchester United in advanced talks with Dortmund over £90m Sancho

Mon, 08/03/2020 - 14:12
  • Talks ongoing over record fee for English player
  • Sancho expected to sign five-year deal at Old Trafford

Manchester United are in advanced negotiations with Borussia Dortmund to sign Jadon Sancho for an initial €100m (£90m) - a fee that would set a new transfer record for an English player.

United have been tracking Sancho for some time, with talks over a move for the former Manchester City player having intensified in recent weeks. While there is no agreement yet with Dortmund as it stands, it is understood that the German club could accept a deal that would see United pay the fee in instalments over the next two or three seasons for the England forward, with a further €20m potentially due in performance-related add-ons.

Related: Jadon Sancho: ‘It hasn’t been easy. I’ve had to work for this’

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Categories: What the papers say

Premier League 2019-20 fans’ verdicts, part two: Manchester City to Wolves

Sun, 08/02/2020 - 08:00

Fans review the season, and set out their transfer wishlists
Part one: Arsenal to Liverpool

A strange season. Whether it’s judged as a success or not will depend on the Champions League. Winning the Carabao Cup again was great, but nine league losses is unforgivable for this City team, and the less said about the FA Cup semi the better. The decision not to sign a replacement for Kompany last summer was a huge error: the club needs to get the squad composition right for next season. Pep didn’t get much wrong, but could have blooded García and Foden earlier in the season.

Related: Premier League 2019-20 fans’ verdicts, part one: Arsenal to Liverpool

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Categories: What the papers say

The 1985 English Super Cup – podcast

Wed, 07/29/2020 - 05:00

The best stories from the beautiful game that you may never have heard before, written by some of the world’s leading sports journalists, and spanning more than 100 years of sporting history from across the footballing planet.

In this episode: after English clubs were banned from Europe in 1985, the Football League created a consolation competition for them.

Read the text version here.

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Categories: What the papers say

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