What the papers say
Carry on then, Marouane. After some suggestions this week that Marouane Fellaini might be on his way out of Old Trafford, Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s Friday press conference went the other way. Instead Solskjær offered what newspapers like to call “a vote of confidence” in the gangling Belgian utility-menace, talking up Fellaini’s continued presence through this, his sixth year as a Manchester United player.
It isn’t hard to see why some said his time was up. Under Solskjær Fellaini has played three minutes in the Premier League. His basic footballing presence has seemed at odds with a more mobile, fluid style. Plus there is of course a wider symbolic aspect to all this.Continue reading...
If Manchester United can reel off the seventh straight win under Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s tenure they will gain ground on Arsenal or Chelsea whatever the result in the fixture between them. Do so and suddenly United’s bid to earn a Champions League berth is realistic, the Norwegian having taken over with the gap 11 points. Jamie Jackson
Saturday 3pmContinue reading...
A bullish José Mourinho insisted he will return to club management at the elite level despite his underwhelming spell at Manchester United. In his first major interview since leaving the club in December, he also claimed last season’s second-place finish was one of his ‘best achievements in football’. At 55, he said he was too young to retire from club managementContinue reading...
• Solskjær cautions against complacency at home to Brighton
Ole Gunnar Solskjær believes Marouane Fellaini has an “X-factor” for Manchester United and has indicated the midfielder will not be sold in this transfer window.
Fellaini, who is injured, has played only 31 minutes of the interim manager’s six games yet Solskjær believes the 31-year-old can have an important role under him.Continue reading...
When it comes to their next full-time manager, United really need to make a ‘head’ rather than ‘heart’ decision
I’ve been intrigued to see the reaction to Manchester United’s win against Spurs at the weekend, with lots of supporters and pundits already making a case for why Ole Gunnar Solskjær should be given the job full-time. Prior to the Spurs game, many said “Manchester United haven’t played anyone yet” but the Norwegian quickly showed how far his side have come in defeating a title-challenging Tottenham team.Continue reading...
• Portuguese says his next job will be in ‘top-level football’
• ‘People don’t know what is going on behind the scenes’
José Mourinho has rejected criticism of his time at Manchester United, amid reports of player unrest and a fallout with Paul Pogba.
Speaking on beIN Sports he said: “Sometimes we comment on what we see, but we don’t know what is behind the scenes and influences what we see. I think that is a fundamental thing.Continue reading...
• ‘It is a pleasure to play again. Now I am always smiling’
• Jesse Lingard urges David de Gea to stay at Old Trafford
Paul Pogba has paid tribute to Ole Gunnar Solskjær for bringing the sunshine back to his life at Manchester United. “Before the coach arrived I was in the shadows, on the bench, and I accepted that,” he said. “It is a pleasure to play again. Now I am always smiling.”
The Frenchman’s charismatic performance at Tottenham, coming from a positive place and more proactive position, was one of the catalysts of United’s most impressive victory since Solskjær took over.Continue reading...
He could smile, be gracious, look pleased to be there and deliver the letter U in a pleasing Scandi-Manc. He could make some of the best footballers in the world seem happy to be paid million of pounds a year to play for one of the biggest clubs in the world – a feat of psychological alchemy quite beyond his predecessor. But could Ole Gunnar Solskjær do it on a chilly Sunday evening in January, against one of the Premier League’s sharper tactical minds? It turns out, just about, that he could.Continue reading...
The England captain was injured at the end of the match after being caught in the middle of Phil Jones and Victor Lindelof. Any lengthy absence for Kane would leave Spurs short of attacking options, with Son Heung-min going away on international duty, Lucas Moura still injured himself and Fernando Llorente and Vincent Janssen expected to leave the club this month.Continue reading...
No doubt someone somewhere will bring up Napoleon’s line about a good general being a lucky one, in the wake of this fun, helter-skelter, ultimately rather frantic 1-0 defeat of Tottenham.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s limber-looking Manchester United did have their share of fortune too, in the course of a game that saw United attack with elan for an hour and collapse into a state of dogged near-exhaustion by the end.Continue reading...
Ole Gunnar Solskjær lauded David de Gea after a breathtaking display at Tottenham that underlined to the Manchester United caretaker manager that he has the 'best goalkeeper in the world'.
Marcus Rashford's sublime first-half strike sealed a 1-0 win against Mauricio Pochettino's Spurs and extended Solskjær's winning start to a club-record sixth successive match in all competitions, but the main subject of conversation afterwards was De Gea.
After a quiet opening period, the United goalkeeper pulled off 11 saves in an exceptional second-half display to earn plaudits aplenty.
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• Goalkeeper crucial in Manchester United’s 1-0 win over Spurs
• ‘The players are playing well and the team is very strong now’
David de Gea said the Premier League was now seeing “the real Manchester United” after they won 1-0 at Tottenham to extend Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s perfect start to his time as the club’s caretaker manager.
De Gea was United’s hero, making 11 saves – the most he has made in a top-flight league game – with some of them taking the breath and the wind from Spurs’ sails. Solskjær has won all six of his matches since he stepped in for the sacked José Mourinho.Continue reading...
Both sides had their moments but David de Gea was the outstanding player on show in United’s victory
Hugo Lloris Fingertips could not repel Rashford’s winner and had his hands full keeping out a series of efforts. 6Continue reading...
Contrary to some of the pre-match hype, this result will not decide anything with regard to who succeeds José Mourinho on a permanent basis at Manchester United in the summer. Mauricio Pochettino and Tottenham lost but it is not curtains for the Argentinian’s candidacy. He will remain of great interest to the power-brokers at Old Trafford.
What the result did do was swell the feelgood factor at United that has built under the caretaker management of Ole Gunnar Solskjær. Remarkably he has now won each of his first six matches in charge – no United manager has ever done that – and this was a big one in what was the first acid test of his tenure.Continue reading...
Marcus Rashford scored the only goal of the game at Wembley but Manchester United equally had David de Gea to thank after extending their unbeaten run
Marcus Rashford’s brilliant goal is the difference at Wembley. The feelgood factor rolls under Ole Gunnar Solskjær, who has eclipsed Sir Matt Busby’s record of winning his first five league games in charge by making it six on the bounce. Paul Pogba was majestic in a superb first-half performance, though they had to work hard to hold on in the second and, ultimately, had the unbeatable David de Gea to thank for a series of classy saves. A worry for Spurs fans at the death too, with Harry Kane shaking his head in frustration and limping with what looks like a groin or hamstring problem.
90+4 min: There is almost a late sting in the tail for United, but Kane cannot reach Llorente’s lofted through ball. Spurs have been aching for an equaliser, but United are very nearly there. A fifth straight win is seconds away from their grasp.
90+4 min: United clear their lines. Can they cling on?
90+3 min: Shaw does really well to block Trippier’s low ball into the box as Spurs get everybody forward. Lamela will swing in the corner ...
90+2 min: Paul Pogba is replaced by Scott McTominay.
90+1 min: Herrera has a timely bout of cramp. Luke Shaw gives him a helping hand, after the Spaniard had played in Lukaku, whose shot was blocked by Davies.
90 min: There will be a minimum of four minutes added time.
89 min: Llorente spurns a golden opportunity! He actually does really well to take the sting out of the cross from the right with his first touch, before prodding at goal with his second. De Gea watches it all the way and cradles the ball like a newborn baby. Llorente has his head in his hands but it was not sitter it may have looked.
88 min: It’s attack v defence, Spurs v United.
86 min: Another instinctive stop by David de Gea! Llorente did well, cushioning a header into the path of Kane just inside the edge of the box. When Kane wriggled away from Lindelof to earn himself a yard of space, he powered at goal but de Gea was equal to it once more, with his right foot this time sweeping away the danger. There will be few arguments over the man of the match at Wembley.
85 min: It’s kitchen-sink time. United are camped inside their own half.
83 min: A plucky foul by Rashford gifts Spurs a free-kick deep inside their own half but Tottenham cannot make the most of it. Ander Herrera cuts the ball out with a cute interception before Alderweireld returns the favour, with United winning a free-kick which David de Gea will wallop downfield.
82 min: Llorente, just on, is pulled up for a foul on Ashley Young. United attempt to calm things down, with Dalot replacing Jesse Lingard, who had just walked to the very far side of the Wembley pitch. Lovely stuff.
80 min: Fernando Llorente replaces Harry Winks. Down in the United dugout, Mike Phelan reacts and orders Diego Dalot to be readied.
78 min: Fed up and frustrated at Spurs’ failure to breach United’s back line, Harry Kane rushes an effort at goal and it sails towards Row Z.
77 min: Dele Alli is grounded after a poor tackle by Pogba, whose left boot was very high. The United midfielder vehemently disagrees and is booked for kicking the ball away. A touch of petulance after his magnificence a little earlier.
75 min: Solskjær is deep in conversation with Mike Phelan, frantically trying to work-up a plan to stop Eriksen wreaking further havoc.
74 min: Another chance for Spurs, another David de Gea save. Christian Eriksen crafted the opening, lofting a cute pass in for Dele Alli but the midfielder cannot beat the United goalkeeper. After composing himself, nudging the ball on to his right foot, Alli failed to wrap the ball into either corner, instead powering the ball towards the centre of de Gea’s goal. And, of course, the United goalkeeper inevitably repelled his effort. Spurs have done everything but score.
73 min: Solksjaer summons Lukaku in place of Martial. United appear to have switched to a 4-3-3, with Lukaku flanked by Rashford and Lingard.
71 min: Yet another fine stop by de Gea, this time from Harry Kane’s curled free-kick. This was a more routine stop, but nevertheless.
70 min: De Gea with an absolutely sublime save! The goalkeeper keeps Alderweireld’s effort out at the near post, clearing the ball with his left leg. The Spurs defender did well, beating Rashford to Trippier’s corner. But then it was all about whether de Gea could do anything about it – and the United keeper came up trumps. Again. He has been in inspired form.
69 min: And now Son has a go, but Lingard blocks his effort. The ball loops away for a Spurs corner as the hosts continue to pile on the pressure.
68 min: Eriksen plays a neat give-and-go with Harry Kane but the striker cannot get his feet sorted or fashion an effort at goal. Spurs are beginning to turn it on.
66 min: Eriksen has a pop, but his right-footed effort drops a couple of yards wide of the post. Spurs have gone through the gears a bit and are looking much more dangerous. As for United, they could do with taking some of the heat out of this game.
65 min: De Gea with another great save! Kane frees Dele Alli but, with Nemanja Matic for company, he fires straight at the Manchester United goalkeeper. United survive and then Ander Herrera hauls down Eriksen on the edge of the box. Spurs win a free-kick, 25 yards from goal. It’s Eriksen and Trippier territory.
64 min: Spurs pour forward, but Eriksen’s shot from distance is too ambitious.
63 min: Vertonghen lashes a high ball straight out of play, causing Pochettino to grimace. But United fail to seize the territory and Spurs counter ...
61 min: Lloris prevents Pogba from doubling United’s lead. The midfielder powers a venomous effort goalwards but the Spurs captain is equal to it, despite the ball taking a nick off Ben Davies. It was brilliant buildup play by Anthony Martial who unselfishly drove into the box before centring the ball to tee up his team-mate.
60 min: Lamela must do better – the Argentine ends up shouldering the ball out play instead of burying a header beyond de Gea. The ball in was again clever by Trippier but after Kane failed to reach it, there was Lamela behind him, though the Spurs substitute seemed to be caught cold.
58 min: De Gea saves from Kane’s header! Spurs pass up another opportunity as Kane nods his header into the ground after beating Phil Jones at the front post. A quick corner by Lamela fooled United, with Eriksen’s delivery as wicked as ever. Kane does well, but is punished for making too clean a contact if anything. De Gea with another instinctive save, but he will feel it was a routine one.
57 min: Spurs pressure United into a mistake, as Young slides a wayward pass out of play. Tottenham try to conjure up an equaliser, with Eriksen winning a corner out of Pogba, who does well tracking his man after Trippier freed the Dane.
55 min: Another alert stop by Lloris! Pogba follows up on his own shot, rampaging through on goal after his initial shot was blocked by Alderweireld. It was not pretty but Pogba bulldozed his way through, before outmuscling Jan Vertonghen to dink an effort over the goalkeeper. Lloris is equal to it, though.
54 min: An almighty “Come on you Spurs!” echoes around Wembley as United patiently probe in search of an opening. Ashley Young has had a busy start to this second half, at both ends.
53 min: Lloris handles Pogba’s header! It was a lovely cross by Young, whose corner was headed away by Davies. When the ball came back in, Pogba held his ground to power at goal, but in the end his effort is too tame to trouble Lloris. The Spurs goalkeeper gathers and back come United, via Shaw.
52 min: Pogba buys a corner out of Ben Davies ...
51 min: Davies clatters into the back of Ashley Young, and United win a free-kick deep inside their own half. Eriksen and Alli are beginning to pull the strings for Spurs, though. Tottenham have started this second half far sleeker.
49 min: And now de Gea saves from Dele Alli! The midfielder rises highest to meet Trippier’s hanging ball and the Manchester United goalkeeper gets down well low to his left to push the ball away with both hands. This is much better, much crisper from Tottenham. Alli then scythes down Pogba on halfway, earning United a little respite. Whatever Pochettino said at half-time, it seems to have worked.
48 min: De Gea makes a superb save to deny Harry Kane! It was a wonderful move by Tottenham, who carved open the United defence, with Alli fizzing in a cute pass into the striker after intricate play with Son. Kane eludes Phil Jones but a brilliant stop by de Gea denies the England skipper with his feet.
47 min: United break forward nicely, with Lingard helping the ball on neatly. But Martial cannot fashion a clear-cut chance.
46 min: Lingard gets the second half under way. Spurs seem to have switched formation, with Eriksen joining Winks deep in midfield.
Some half-time reading before the restart at Wembley:
An intriguing half-time stat for your perusal, courtesy of Opta: no player has been involved in more Premier League goals since Solskjær became caretaker manager at Manchester United than Paul Pogba (eight – four goals, four assists).
A stunning goal by Marcus Rashford is the difference at the break, with United taking a deserved lead on the brink of the interval. But, as much as the finish was coolness personified, Paul Pogba’s architected pass made it. Pogba had a quick look up before curling an exquisite pass into Rashford, who did the rest without breaking sweat. Tottenham’s performance has been a little half-hearted, while United look hungry to extend their run of four consecutive league wins. They look slick on the break and, simply, really in the mood to do damage. Plenty of food for thought for Pochettino, whose side have been second-best.
45 min: There will be two added minutes. The delirious United fans will serenade their team throughout the next 120 seconds or so.
It’s an incisive finish, but what a devastating world-class ball into Marcus Rashford by Paul Pogba. From inside his own half, the Frenchman bends a wonderful, irresistible searching through ball into the path of Rashford, who steadies himself before firing across goal beyond Lloris. It has been a brilliant first-half by Manchester United. Rashford scores for the third Premier League game in a row. A brilliant, cool finish by the striker.
43 min: Erik Lamela replaces the injured Moussa Sissoko.
42 min: Trippier makes a brilliant challenge on Anthony Martial, and then Frenchman retaliates after the Tottenham defender refuses to lash the ball out of play after Sissoko goes to ground once more. It’s handbags, and Mike Dean’s soon along to hoover up any bad energy.
40 min: Sissoko looked a spent force, but the powerful action man is back on the pitch to a warm ovation from the home faithful. He is limping, though.
39 min: Sissoko is intent on running it off. Let’s see.
38 min: Ah! Moussa Sissoko is down, appearing to strain his hamstring or groin after switching on the afterburners to leave Luke Shaw in his wake. Sissoko winces and he looks in trouble, with Spurs summoning Oliver Skipp to warm up.
37 min: A swell of boos from home supporters as David de Gea takes an age to take a goal-kick. Time-wasting, already? United have got a bit sloppy in midfield. Up in the posh seats, Dimitar Berbatov is sat alongside Ledley King.
35 min: Kane does well to flash a ball across the box but Spurs have nobody there to meet it. The striker managed to hold off Lindelof before forcing the ball across goal. Alli and Eriksen arrived too late.
34 min: Harry Winks lets fly from distance – and it sails miles over. But this is much better from Spurs, who appear more confident after a cagey start.
33 min: Young slows things down from a throw-in, as United attempt to steal back control. Pogba and co have undoubtedly been stifled in the last few minutes.
32 min: Spurs seemed to have hushed United in the last 10 minutes or so, with Eriksen, Son and Kane growing into the game. United are being forced to repel Spurs more often now.
30 min: Kane has the ball in the net – but his goal’s disallowed! Trippier plays a delightful ball in towards the back post, where Dele Alli meets it, with the ball bobbling goalwards off his knee. At that point, Kane gets involved, prodding home but, before he has the chance to wheel away, the linesman’s flag halts celebrations. It all stemmed from a silly foul, a tug at the shirt, by Matic on Son on halfway. He has not been involved too often, but when he has, Trippier has been lethal.
28 min: Kane takes an age to free Ben Davies down the left. When Davies eventually picks it up, he nudges the ball inside to Son, who slaloms beyond Matic before teeing up Eriksen, whose shot is blocked. And then frankly every Spurs player has a go, but United stand firm before Son is flagged offside second time round. United’s appetite to quickly quell the slightest whiff of danger is clear.
26 min: Moussa Sissoko does well to niggle back at Pogba and nick the ball away. The Spurs midfielder has grown into this team in recent weeks and months; he has been one of their most consistent performers of late.
25 min: Spurs, so often dominant in possession, have been made to work really hard for the ball. They are not having it all their own way, far from it, with United looking deadly on the counter. It is easy to see why Solksjaer opted for pace over power – and Rashford over Romelu Lukaku – on this evidence.
23 min: Spurs dance into the six-yard box – but Alli gets caught in two minds at the crucial moment. Eriksen kickstarted the move, spreading the ball out to Son, via Ben Davies. Son has certainly been lively when involved so far. The forward jinked inside and then out before feeding Alli, who drove towards the byline. But Alli ends up trickling a ball into Kane which is eventually cleared. Trippier delivers the corner, but Kane’s shot cannot breach the crowd of United shirts. And United will counter through Rashford.
21 min: United look a different beast to a few weeks ago, fizzing the ball about with confidence. They are quietly probing, with Spurs struggling to get close enough to panic United. Rashford, over the top, looks a real threat.
19 min: Davies and Lindelof collide, but it is just a coming together. Spurs have not seen quite so much of the ball after making an early impression.
18 min: Harry Kane clears the United corner as Spurs pull everyone back to get their house in order. United, fresh from a Dubai camp, look full of energy. There is no bus in sight.
16 min: Matic slides in Rashford – but is flagged offside. The forward failed to hold his run, after eluding the Spurs defence who do look vulnerable. They seem unsure who should be marking who, with Vertonghen and Davies looking at one another to pick up the pieces. And now United win another corner after Martial forces a save out of Lloris from an acute angle. United are in the mood.
15 min: Young’s cross flies into the heart of the Spurs six-yard box but Sissoko clears. Spurs attempt to get back on track but United seize back possession. Pogba, Herrera and Matic are winning the midfield battle at present.
14 min: And now Pogba buys United a corner out of Alderweireld ...
13 min: United are suddenly in on the counter again, this time through Martial after Matic cleared Trippier’s corner. Ben Davies climbed highest but could not direct a header on target. United look electric on the break, though Martial failed to control the ball after being released by a revved-up Rashford.
12 min: End-to-end stuff, with Son teeing up Trippier to deliver another cross. Spurs have to settle for a corner ...
11 min: Lloris saves comfortably from Rashford! United pour forward again and, slipped in down the channel on the counter, Rashford is forced wide and, in the end, his effort is relatively tame. No problem for Lloris in the Spurs goal.
10 min: Lingard shoots high and wide! Pogba floated a ball towards the back stick and when Young fizzes it back in, Lingard leans back and drives over after collecting the ball from Toby Alderweireld’s headed clearance.
8 min: Son does superbly – but Harry Winks drags wide! The Spurs forward is slipped in behind a static Phil Jones with a marvellous sweeping ball by Eriksen and, once he gets to the edge of the 18-yard box, Son does well to hold the ball up before playing a wonderful reverse pass in for Winks, with Jones again left for dead. The Spurs midfielder is one-on-one with David de Gea from the angle, but his execution is ultimately wayward. United survive the resulting corner. That was a warning, if United indeed needed one.
6 min: Kane goes to ground after tangling with Pogba, with the Frenchman lucky not to be pulled up for a clumsy challenge on the striker. Then a collision with Luke Shaw goes against Kane. Manchester United hammer it long in search of Rashford. Solskjær jumps down into his technical area, drawing the Wembley arch with his hands, presumably urging the ball to played quicker over the top.
5 min: Eriksen picks the ball up just outside the Spurs half, gets his head up and attempts to slide in Kane down the left. Eriksen frees the England captain but the ball runs a little too quickly for him to latch on to it. Spurs will re-build.
4 min: Spurs build nicely but Trippier thrashes a wild cross-field ball out of touch in search of Ben Davies. Sir Alex Ferguson is among the crowd at Wembley.
3 min: United attempt to float the ball into Jesse Lingard over the top, but Hugo Lloris reads it and smothers. Lingard is playing close to Rashford, as a No 10.
2 min: Kieran Trippier whips in a dangerous cross from the right flank, with the overlap of Moussa Sissoko forcing Luke Shaw to stand off the Spurs full-back. But his delivery is too powerful if anything, flashing beyond Harry Kane at the back post.
1 min: Matic does well to oust Christian Eriksen aside on halfway after Spurs build down the left through Alli and Kane. United snuff it out.
Harry Winks gets things started from the centre circle for Spurs.
Ashley Young is geeing up his United troops, as he and his team-mates proceed to do the formalities of the pre-match handshakes.
The teams are in the tunnel at Wembley. Kick-off is imminent.
Solskjær speaks. “We have had a great week training over in Dubai, we had some time to get the tactics right and the principles laid down,” he says. “When you sign for Manchester United these are the games you look forward to, walking out a Wembley for a final or to play against Spurs, a big team at the moment that are flying. It’s a big challenge for the boys. We are playing against one of the best strikers in the world, you have got Son who is unbelievable and Eriksen is one of the best playmakers around. We have got to defend but we have to attack with balance. The surface does not look the best and we know we have to protect the space behind us.” Pochettino, meanwhile, has been bizarrely effusive about running out at the national stadium. “I think every single game at Wembley is a special occasion to enjoy, the best place in the world to play football, for us. We cannot find any excuses, we need to be ready, we must be ready to challenge Manchester United and I think we are so confident that we are going to match their motivation and freshness. I am not worried.”
With Spurs back at Wembley, Mauricio Pochettino has of course been speaking about the need to move into the new White Hart Lane sharpish. Pronto. Their home game against Crystal Palace on 16 March looks the most likely suspect to usher in a new era in north London. “To move to our new stadium will be massive, massive for our fans,” Pochettino says. “I cannot wait to move. I told Daniel [Levy], he always listens and arrives in my office and says ‘do you know what will be good, to move there or not?’. I said 200% we have to move there as soon as possible.”
David de Gea or Hugo Lloris? Paul Pogba or Christian Eriksen in midfield? And Harry Kane or Marcus Rashford up top?
Team news news: Romelu Lukaku is named among the substitutes for Manchester United as Ole Gunnar Solskjær opts for pace over power, with Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial preferred in attack. There are also starts for Jesse Lingard, in for Juan Mata, and Ashley Young. Alexis Sánchez, meanwhile, is absent altogether, sidelined through injury. For Tottenham, a boost in the shape of Jan Vertonghen, who returns to the Spurs back line after a thigh injury, paired alongside Toby Alderweireld. Ben Davies is favoured to Danny Rose at left-back by Mauricio Pochettino.
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies, Winks, Sissoko, Eriksen, Alli, Son, Kane
Subs: Foyth, Lamela, Sánchez, Rose, Llorente, Gazzaniga, Skipp
A trip to Wembley is supposed to provide Ole Gunnar Solskjær with his first stern test as caretaker manager of Manchester United, a team who have failed every assignment against top-six opposition so far this season. The Norwegian boasts a 100% record since replacing Jose Mourinho, seemingly transforming United from a nervous wreck, ready to crumble at any given moment, into an invincible force, with Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford, in particular, reborn. United should feel refreshed after a warm-weather training camp in Dubai, while victory would see Solskjær match Sir Matt Busby’s record of winning his first five matches in charge. At the moment, everything Solskjær touches turns to gold and there is no doubting victory against Spurs would further boost his credentials for the gig on a permanent basis. But, with everybody pointing the finger at this match, quite how special Solskjær and this United team is will come under the microscope against one of the best teams in the division in Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur. It is a showdown of sorts between one manager who really could not make it any clearer that he wants the job at Old Trafford and one who is remaining intriguingly tight-lipped. Tottenham will be desperate to hush United’s strides under Solskjær but, at the same time and, privately at least, probably wish Pochettino could steer Spurs to a masterclass against different opposition. As for United, they must find a way of keeping Harry Kane quiet. “He’s not bad, is he?” Solskjær said of the England captain. “He is a fantastic goalscorer, one of the best in the world. It looks like he never misses chances really. We have to make sure he doesn’t get any.” In terms of team news, Spurs will call upon the in-form Son Heung-min for the final time before the South Korea forward joins up with his country at the Asian Cup, though the midfielder Eric Dier is still sidelined after appendix surgery. Chris Smalling is doubtful for United.
Kick-off: 4.30pm (GMT)Continue reading...
Manchester United’s caretaker manager has won his first five games, but the Tottenham side honed by his possible successor represents a step up in class
“It’s not about me, it’s not about him,” Ole Gunnar Solskjær says, dismissing the notion that his side taking on Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham amounts to some sort of audition for the job of next permanent manager at Manchester United. “We don’t kick a ball at all.”
He would say that, wouldn’t he? And so would Pochettino, most probably. Yet even without the background noise that suggests the Spurs manager is the only name in the frame as far as Headhunters United are concerned, Sunday’s meeting at Wembley would still be both a test and an opportunity for a caretaker who has made a flying start.Continue reading...
With two contenders for the permanent job at Old Trafford meeting at Wembley on Sunday, we look at who has the stronger squad at his disposal
One area where Manchester United are probably stronger. Both David de Gea and Hugo Lloris are excellent goalkeepers and regular internationals for Spain and France respectively. There is not a great deal to choose between the two except that De Gea has been playing behind a less settled and more porous defence of late and has had to come to his side’s rescue more often. He has managed that with a minimum of fuss and significantly keeps winning the club’s player of the year award. De Gea would most likely get into the Spurs side, whereas United would not swap him for Lloris.Continue reading...
Tottenham looked jaded in their Carabao Cup semi-final against Chelsea, while Manchester United ought to be refreshed after their training break in Dubai. Yet Mauricio Pochettino could be encouraged at how his team still toughed out a 1-0 win. It was a sign, he said, of their greater maturity and competitiveness. United are resurgent under Ole Gunnar Solsjkær but after wins over bottom-half clubs, this is a first major test for him. David Hytner
Sunday 4.30pm SSPLContinue reading...
The Spurs manager is a target for Manchester United but Daniel Levy would oppose any move with iron fists
It was the moment that enshrined Ole Gunnar Solskjær into Manchester United legend. David Beckham’s corner, Teddy Sheringham’s flick and, well, you know the rest. What has remained a secret until now was that up in the Camp Nou directors’ box – following an outrageous piece of blagging – was Mauricio Pochettino. And when Solskjær did what he did, to win the 1999 Champions League final against Bayern Munich, Pochettino found himself celebrating as crazily as any United fan.
The way the Tottenham manager tells it, he was simply carried along by the emotion of the moment. Pochettino was an Espanyol player at the time and, together with his teammate, Toni Jiménez – who is now the goalkeeper coach at Spurs – he had watched the first half from seats that were not so great. And so he and his partner-in-crime decided to upgrade.Continue reading...