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Updated: 14 hours 17 min ago

Nottingham Forest sink Manchester United thanks to late Gibbs-White goal

Sat, 12/30/2023 - 19:36

Seconds after Morgan Gibbs-White curled in Nottingham Forest’s fantastic winning goal with 82 minutes gone, he celebrated by soaking up the adulation from the Trent End and putting his index fingers to his ears. It is a tactic Erik ten Hag may need to employ to shutout the never-ending noise surrounding his position and this flaky and unpredictable Manchester United side. The volume will only increase after this, a damning 14th defeat of the season in all competitions. The last time they lost as many games before the turn of the year? That was 1930-31, when they were relegated to the Second Division.

Marcus Rashford cancelled out Nicolás Domínguez’s second-half strike, giving United hope of staging another late comeback, but Gibbs-White wrapped his right foot around the ball from the edge of the box, in effect throwing another log on United’s fire. In 10 days Nuno Espírito Santo, who replaced Steve Cooper with Forest lurking above the relegation zone, seems to have built a more fluent and spirited operation than Ten Hag has mustered in 20 months. Nothing embodied Forest’s togetherness more than Ryan Yates, the Forest captain, and the substitute Neco Williams teaming up to win the ball from Alejandro Garnacho close to the corner flag nearest the away end with a couple of minutes left.

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Will Ratcliffe’s arrival put United back on an even keel or add to the circus?

Fri, 12/29/2023 - 22:30

Ineos owner has a breadth of experience of running successful sports teams but tensions could manifest with Glazer family

“Football is a very complicated sport, especially at the top, so I’m sure they [Ineos] will contribute,” Erik ten Hag said on Friday. “They will help us to achieve our high ambitions.”

In throwing bouquets at Sir Jim Ratcliffe following his 25% purchase of Manchester United that gains the Ineos owner control of football operations, the manager employed an apt phrase that shone a light on the crux of the deal.

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‘I’m focused on the games’: Ten Hag yet to meet Ineos trio at Manchester United

Fri, 12/29/2023 - 13:25
  • Manager says new 25% owners can inspire everyone at club
  • ‘Ineos wants to work with me … I want to work with them’

Erik ten Hag has so far rejected the opportunity to talk with Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his Ineos advisors because he wants to focus solely on Manchester United’s hectic schedule on the pitch but the manager believes the new owners “can inspire” everyone at the club.

Despite Ratcliffe’s 25% purchase becoming official on Christmas Eve, Ten Hag is yet to speak with Sir Dave Brailsford – the Ineos director of sport – or Jean-Claud Blanc, the Ineos CEO, both of whom are expected to take seats on the football board.

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Afcon 2024 squads: Onana makes cut for Cameroon but Choupo-Moting dropped

Thu, 12/28/2023 - 21:28
  • Manchester United keeper recalled, Bayern forward left out
  • Amrabat in Morocco squad, while Ivory Coast omit Zaha

The Cameroon coach, Rigobert Song, has included the Manchester United goalkeeper André Onana but dropped the Bayern Munich striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting from his squad for next month’s Africa Cup of Nations finals.

Onana, 27, had walked out on Cameroon after a row with Song at last year’s World Cup in Qatar but returned after a reconciliation with the coach to help Cameroon qualify for the Cup of Nations finals in Ivory Coast, which get under way on 13 January. Choupo-Moting, who made his debut for the Indomitable Lions at the 2010 World Cup, paid a price for having missed Cameroon’s past three outings.

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‘I’m a happy man’: Højlund admits relief after breaking Premier League duck

Wed, 12/27/2023 - 13:01
  • Landmark goal secured Manchester United win over Villa
  • Højlund said he has remained focused under pressure

Rasmus Højlund’s reaction to scoring his first Premier League goal for Manchester United to secure a comeback victory over Aston Villa said everything about his emotions, according to the forward.

The Denmark international took 15 league appearances to find the net for the first time, causing many to question his suitability as United’s first-choice striker after arriving for £72m from Atalanta in the summer. But the 20-year-old’s instinctive strike inside the box completed United’s turnaround from being 2-0 down to bring euphoria to Old Trafford.

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'Keep believing and we will win': Manchester United comeback delights Ten Hag – video

Wed, 12/27/2023 - 03:38

Manchester United staged a second-half comeback to beat Aston Villa 3-2 in the Premier League after conceding two goals inside 26 minutes at Old Trafford. In the club's first game since billionaire Jim Ratcliffe agreed to buy a stake, Erik ten Hag’s team had been booed by their own fans after a "sloppy" first half before two goals by Alejandro Garnacho and a late winner by Rasmus Højlund sealed victory.

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Erik ten Hag ‘looking forward’ to working with Sir Jim Ratcliffe

Tue, 12/26/2023 - 23:49
  • Ten Hag denies protracted deal had effect on players
  • ‘Ineos have a lot of experience in sport – they can help us’

Erik ten Hag praised his Manchester United team for their belief after they staged a stunning second half comeback to beat Aston Villa 3-2, with the manager adding that he is looking forward to working with the club’s new 25% shareholder, Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

Rasmus Højlund’s strike on 82 minutes – his long-awaited first Premier League goal – proved the winner. It came in front of the watching Sir Dave Brailsford, who will take a place on United’s board and report to Ratcliffe, whose stake in United was finally confirmed on Christmas Eve.

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Threat of downsizing has desired effect but Manchester United still have hope | Barney Ronay

Tue, 12/26/2023 - 23:42

Garnacho and Højlund scoring the goals against Aston Villa was a sign that the club can still look forward with some optimism

Buy low: always a good start in any deal. With 25 minutes gone at Old Trafford, Manchester United’s players certainly seemed to have been reading their investment briefings, skimming the handbook, underlining exactly the right parts.

Eighth in the league and out of Europe, the corporate scythe about to swing, even the stadium threatened with a righteous bulldozing. Add to that a 2-0 deficit to a finely grooved Aston Villa team, and at best this felt like a timely pitch for a little new investment; at worst like an act of self-immolation, United’s players trailing about the pitch like unwanted chattels, like a hastily scribbled redundancy list, like the Roy brothers trying to tank a takeover deal.

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Manchester United v Aston Villa: Premier League – live

Tue, 12/26/2023 - 22:35

Erik ten Hag: “In every game, they have to step up,” said the Manchester United of his players in the buildd-up to this game. “I said the word two or three times now: the players have to take responsibility. I have to take responsibility and the players have to take responsibility.

“Maybe in moments you expect from the seniors even more with young players around. But if you are good enough, you are also old enough. We have to do it together. It doesn’t matter what age it is. We have to put a team [out] who has to win the game.

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Højlund seals Manchester United’s thrilling comeback win over Aston Villa

Tue, 12/26/2023 - 22:06

What a time for Rasmus Højlund to break a 14-match Premier League duck: on 82 minutes, his left-foot volley pinballed in off Emiliano Martínez’s right-hand post to bring sheer delight to the young No 9. It brought relief for Erik ten Hag too and began the Sir Jim Ratcliffe-era of partial ownership of Manchester United in precisely the same fashion that preceded it: breathless and chaotic.

Højlund’s intervention came after Alejandro Garnacho had equalised on 71 minutes, via, too, his left boot. Before this, boos had greeted Aston Villa’s second strike and these, plus the sight of a stony-faced Sir Dave Brailsford watching United’s opening 45-minute debacle, threatened to tell the very sorry tale of a fifth defeat of December.

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Jim Ratcliffe could cut 300 jobs at Manchester United in streamlining

Tue, 12/26/2023 - 13:50
  • Ineos will instruct external auditor to assess club’s structure
  • Ratcliffe believes staff of 1,000 can be reduced by 25-30%

Sir Jim Ratcliffe is expected to ask an external auditor to assess Manchester United’s structure and expenditure with a view to a major streamlining exercise, meaning as many as 300 jobs are potentially under threat. Ineos executives have been in discussions with United over the past weeks regarding Ratcliffe’s plans before his purchase of 25% of the club becoming official on Christmas Eve, with the club’s management already having been reminded to curb rising costs to ensure maximum funds for transfers within the strictures of financial fair play.

Ratcliffe believes the staff, who number at least 1000, could be reduced by 25-30% and so the 71‑year‑old will instruct a blue chip accountant to audit the club. This may be one of the so-called big four of KPMG, Deloitte, Ernst & Young or PwC. In 2019 Ineos changed from PwC, its longstanding auditor, to Deloitte but whether the latter company will work on United is unclear.

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Ten Hag urges Manchester United to ‘take responsibility' as Ineos deal raises pressure – video

Tue, 12/26/2023 - 11:58

Erik ten Hag has urged his players to step up when Manchester United host Aston Villa and look to end a run of four games without a goal. The problems for United continued when they slipped eight points off the top four and dropped to eighth in the Premier League after losing 2-0 at West Ham on Saturday. Ten Hag’s future is in the spotlight after Sir Jim Ratcliffe completed a deal to buy 25% of the club on Christmas Eve

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Ten Hag’s fate may depend on ability to re-energise struggling Rashford | Ed Aarons

Tue, 12/26/2023 - 10:00

Forward’s form similar to malaise at end of Solskjær’s reign – once again, Manchester United desperately need him to fire

“I don’t want to pin myself to a number,” said Erik ten Hag. It was the day before Christmas last year and the Manchester United manager had just been asked how many goals Marcus Rashford was targeting as the domestic season resumed. “I think he is capable of scoring 20 goals in the Premier League. He got three in the World Cup so we know the potential to score those numbers in the Premier League.”

Seventy-two hours later against Nottingham Forest at Old Trafford, it took Rashford 19 minutes to register his 10th of the campaign when he slammed home from a corner routine with a sweet first-time finish – the fifth successive home game in which he had found the net. Although he didn’t quite fulfil his manager’s prophecy, ending up with 17 Premier League goals, a career-best 30 in all competitions as United qualified for the Champions League and reached two domestic cup finals seemed to confirm that the boy from Wythenshawe had emerged as a truly world-class star.

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Ten Hag urges Manchester United to ‘step up’ as Ineos deal raises pressure

Mon, 12/25/2023 - 22:30
  • ‘In moments you expect from the seniors even more,’ he says
  • United have failed to score in their past four games

Erik ten Hag urged his senior players to step up when Manchester United host Aston Villa and look to end a run of four games without a goal. The problems for United mounted when they slipped eight points off the top four and dropped to eighth after losing 2-0 at West Ham on Saturday, and Ten Hag’s future is in the spotlight after Sir Jim Ratcliffe completed a deal to buy 25% of the club on Christmas Eve.

While United have been in flux there has been no structure to sack the manager and Ratcliffe will decide whether to keep faith with the Dutchman after a miserable first half of the season. United are out of Europe after finishing bottom of their Champions League group. Sir Dave Brailsford, the sporting director at Ratcliffe’s company Ineos, will hold discussions with key United personnel before making decisions, including about Ten Hag.

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From Ten Hag’s future to a leaking roof: Ratcliffe’s Manchester United in-tray

Mon, 12/25/2023 - 10:00

As the billionaire takes control of football operations we assess key decisions he faces – and how he could win over a disgruntled fanbase

Erik ten Hag’s team are treading water at precisely the wrong moment: as Sir Jim Ratcliffe takes charge of Manchester United’s sporting department before making sweeping changes in the posts that will directly affect the manager. Richard Arnold has left despite officially staying until the end of the year and into his role may come Jean-Claude Blanc, the CEO of Ratcliffe’s Ineos Sport, as the man Ten Hag reports to. Ten Hag’s line manager may change too, as Ratcliffe considers whether a new football director is required, a position held by John Murtough. Ten Hag may have a first clue of his status in Ratcliffe’s new empire if he is sounded out for his view of a prime factor in his ability to coach and manage the side to success: United’s transfer policy. This leads us to Murtough …

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Ten January transfer targets – from Guirassy and Toney to André | Ed Aarons

Sun, 12/24/2023 - 18:00

Before the European window opens we select players likely to be in demand, including a record-breaking Mexico forward

The Guinea striker’s record‑breaking start to the Bundesliga season that brought him 14 goals in his first eight league games has caught the attention of teams across Europe. Manchester United and Newcastle are among a number of English clubs to have expressed interest in signing the player who joined Stuttgart on a permanent basis from Rennes in the summer having initially moved there on loan. His club have made no secret about his release clause of €17.5m (£15.2m) and may be forced to cash in on Guirassy after the 27-year-old’s representatives indicated he would be keen to leave if a Premier League side comes calling. His expected involvement at the Africa Cup of Nations, which starts on 13 January, could complicate things, however.

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Will Jim Ratcliffe’s stake in Manchester United lighten damp air at Old Trafford? | John Brewin

Sun, 12/24/2023 - 16:13

A minority shareholding can hold significant power but investment may not mark the beginning of the end for the unpopular Glazers

The beginning of the end for the Glazers or a consolidation of their hold over Manchester United? It is the key question attached to Sir Jim Ratcliffe taking a £1.3bn, 25% stake in the club and its answer may take years to shake out. For now, the main issue addressed is closing off the “full sale now” demand made by fan activists during the 11 months since the Florida family commenced “a process to explore strategic alternatives”.

Was a full sale ever realistic? That depends on your faith in Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani. As the Qatari billionaire withdrew in October, more details of his thwarted plans for the club were revealed in Jim Bowen “what you could have won” fashion than had been during his courtship. Complaints of “a fanciful and outlandish valuation” featured prominently within what became an admission Ratcliffe had “won” the process.

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Sir Jim Ratcliffe completes deal to buy Manchester United 25% minority stake

Sun, 12/24/2023 - 16:00
  • Ineos billionaire now controls football operations
  • Move throws spotlight on future of Erik ten Hag

Sir Jim Ratcliffe has completed a deal to buy a minority stake in Manchester United. The British billionaire has spent just over £1bn to acquire 25% of the club and gain control of football operations. He will provide a further $300m (£237m) for investment in infrastructure at Old Trafford.

Ratcliffe’s arrival will throw a spotlight on the future of Erik ten Hag. While the club has been in flux there has been no structure to sack the manager and Ratcliffe will decide whether to keep faith with the Dutchman after a miserable first half of the season. United are out of Europe after finishing bottom of their Champions League group and go into the Boxing Day game at home against Aston Villa eighth in the Premier League. They have not scored in their past four matches.

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Arsenal top at Christmas and a big win for Luton – Football Weekly podcast

Sun, 12/24/2023 - 13:18

Max Rushden is joined by Barry Glendenning, John Brewin, and Will Unwin to discuss the festive fixtures in the Premier League and Manchester City

Rate, review, share on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Audioboom, Mixcloud, Acast and Stitcher, and join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and email.

On the podcast today: the panel discusses the 1-1 draw between title rivals Liverpool and Arsenal, with the Gunners holding on to clinch the No 1 spot in the Premier League.

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Premier League fans’ half-term reports, part two: Liverpool to Wolves

Sun, 12/24/2023 - 08:00

Fans rate the best and worst of the season so far – the stars, the flops and what needs to change in 2024

A good start, which is why we’re up at the top. We haven’t always played brilliantly, and often left it till late – Darwin Núñez at Newcastle, Harvey Elliott at Palace and Trent Alexander-Arnold against Fulham at home spring to mind – but mostly we’ve found a way to win and surprised a few along the way. Our new boys have settled in well, and after a few below‑par games we properly rediscovered our touch against West Ham, with five top-class goals to make the Carabao Cup semi-final. Alisson has been outstanding in goal again and Salah passed goal No 200. We’ve lost just once, away to Spurs, but would need a whole page to dissect that one.

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