What the papers say

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Updated: 1 hour 55 min ago

'Dreams do come true': Odion Ighalo on his last-minute Manchester United move – video

Wed, 02/05/2020 - 15:10

Lifelong Manchester United fan Odion Ighalo describes his love for the team after joining as a striker on loan until the end of the season. Ighalo grew up a fan of United and said he used to watch Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke play for the club on TV in Nigeria during his childhood. Manchester United pulled off the last-minute loan signing of Ighalo on a frantic transfer deadline day, as Ole Gunnar Solskjær became ever more desperate to sign a replacement centre-forward. The new striker joins from Shanghai Shenhua and the deal will not include an option to buy. 


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Odion Ighalo reveals he took pay cut to make 'dream' Manchester United move

Wed, 02/05/2020 - 12:18
  • Striker told agent to secure loan from China whatever the cost
  • Ighalo says he was a United fan when growing up in Nigeria

Lifelong Manchester United fan Odion Ighalo has said he had no hesitation in taking a pay cut to complete his dream deadline-day switch to Old Trafford.

United secured a late loan deal for the former Watford striker, who has joined until the end of the season from the Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua. He described the move as “very dramatic”, having been informed by his agent the day before of United’s interest and sought a translator to assist him.

Related: The unpredictables: Liverpool, Leicester and Sheffield United make fools of us all

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Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action

Mon, 02/03/2020 - 08:28

Olivier Giroud’s absence is a mystery, Hugo Lloris proves his worth and Manchester United’s defence continues to wobble

The debutant Steven Bergwijn will rightfully claim the headlines for Spurs but the contribution of Tottenham’s current third-longest serving player against Manchester City should not be forgotten. Hugo Lloris made one of the saves of the season to deny Sergio Agüero in the first half, somehow getting a big toe to turn a deflected shot on to the post, before he also denied Ilkay Gündogan from the penalty spot (the fourth spot-kick City have missed in their past six). Lloris rode his luck – he was clearly off his line when palming Gündogan’s effort away and fortunate not to concede another penalty when challenging Raheem Sterling for the rebound – but his performance is a reminder that the World Cup-winning captain is a big-game player. His return to form in time for the Champions League knockouts bodes well for José Mourinho. Michael Butler

Related: The beguiling power of football behind Manchester City’s loss to Spurs | Jonathan Liew

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Bruno Fernandes’ debut for Manchester United ends in frustration against Wolves

Sat, 02/01/2020 - 19:31

Bruno Fernandes’s debut began brightly then dulled as Manchester United and Wolves failed to take advantage of Chelsea’s draw earlier in the day. It means each remain six points behind the west Londoners in the race for a Champions League berth before the winter break.

Judging by the uninspiring fare on show, a freshening-up is required, a point Ole Gunnar Solskjær made repeatedly afterwards. “I don’t think it’s confidence,” he said. “We have just come off a 6-0 [win] versus Tranmere, we beat Man City [in midweek]. Wolves had 10 days’ rest to prepare, we’ve had two games on a muddy pitch and at City. Sometimes you get games that look a bit flat.”

Related: Jürgen Klopp says Liverpool ‘not close to being perfect’ despite unbeaten run

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Manchester United v Wolves: Premier League – live!

Sat, 02/01/2020 - 19:16

7.16pm GMT

88 min: Before the corner is taken, James and Mata are replaced by Lingard and Dalot. Then there’s a game of head tennis in the Wolves box. Wolves eventually clear.

7.15pm GMT

87 min: Neto clumsily brings down Shaw, who was going nowhere on the left. Suddenly this is a free kick in a very dangerous position. A big moment coming up in the race for fourth place. Martial hooks it long. Maguire tries to force home at the far post, but has to settle for a corner.

7.13pm GMT

85 min: Neves finds the busy Podence down the right. Podence crosses towards Doherty at the near post. Maguire is forced to come across and block out for a corner. From the set piece, Saiss heads the ball against Maguire, and it pings clear. Moutinho hoicks it straight back in, and Jimenez is free, one on one! De Gea saves brilliantly, though, and the flag goes up for offside anyway.

7.12pm GMT

84 min: Podence prepares to zip up the right wing, and is unceremoniously brought down by Shaw, who scythes him from behind. A no-brainer booking.

7.11pm GMT

83 min: Fernandes puts Shaw in all sorts of trouble with an overly ambitious crossfield pass deep in his own territory. Shaw does extremely well to ride a 51-49 challenge with Moutinho and clear.

7.10pm GMT

82 min: Now it’s Wolves’ turn to overthink a corner. There’s something to be said for occasionally putting it straight in the mixer.

7.09pm GMT

81 min: A corner for United out on the right. Fernandes and Mata confuse each other, allowing Neto to tear up the other end. He feeds Jimenez, who earns a corner off Wan-Bissaka.

7.08pm GMT

79 min: A nightmare minute for Lindelof nearly results in a goal. First he’s booked for hauling back Doherty on the left. Then from the resulting free kick, he’s beaten in the air by Saiss, who really should get his header on target from six yards. But no. It sails harmlessly over the bar.

7.07pm GMT

78 min: Greenwood cuts in from the right and shoots. A double deflection nearly foxes Rui Patricio, but the keeper readjusts just in time.

7.06pm GMT

76 min: Traore gets up and departs, to be replaced by Podence. The home fans didn’t appreciate that break in play, and you can’t really blame them. Do they rock up for work half-dressed, wearing only string vest and pants? (We do on the MBM, admittedly, but you get the point.)

7.04pm GMT

75 min: Traore is again in some discomfort, this time gripping his left ankle. He limps off, ready to be replaced by the new man Podence. But the new Wolves winger isn’t ready, so Traore goes down, buying his team-mate time to tape up his shinpads and pull on his shirt.

7.01pm GMT

73 min: Moutinho, out on the left, tries a curler towards the top right. Nope.

7.00pm GMT

72 min: Pereira, on the left-hand edge of the box, latches onto a deflected Shaw pass and curls a low shot straight down Rui Patricio’s throat. It’s his only real contribution so far, and it’s also his last of the evening. He’s replaced by Greenwood.

6.59pm GMT

71 min: Moutinho is booked for a cynical move-jiggering handball in midfield.

6.58pm GMT

70 min: The resulting corner, taken after Wolves replace Jota with Neto, is no good at all.

6.58pm GMT

69 min: Traore bursts down the middle from deep. He slips the ball wide right for Jimenez, who nips past a wrong-footed Maguire and sprints down the channel. He enters the box and lashes a riser towards the top right from a tight angle. It’s a great effort, and met with an equally impressive save by de Gea, who tips over.

6.56pm GMT

68 min: Fernandes sends a bouncer goalwards. It’s easy meat for Rui Patricio, but the keeper takes his eye off the ball as he gathers, and nearly spills it into the bottom left. The ball squirts inches wide, and the resulting corner comes to nothing. That would have been a farcical way for United’s new boy to score his first goal for the club, not that he’d have complained on aesthetic grounds.

6.55pm GMT

66 min: Fred shoots from distance. The shot hits Moutinho, and United want a penalty for hand ball. They’re not getting one. Wolves tear up the other end, Traore and Jota nearly making hay on the break. Neither can work the proper space for a shot.

6.53pm GMT

65 min: This has got extremely scrappy. As things stand, it’ll be a good result for Sheffield United, who leapfrogged both sides into fifth earlier today after beating Crystal Palace. The Blades will stay there if nobody here finds a winner.

6.51pm GMT

64 min: Wolves boss Nuno is booked for showing too much displeasure at the award of a free kick to his own team, Traore having been in a position to take advantage.

6.50pm GMT

62 min: United continue to do not very much. A nice ball into the box from the right by the new boy Fernandes, but there’s nobody in the middle making a run to meet it. “United’s fans on the edge here,” suggests Stephen Carr. “We’re not quite at the ‘Hodgson at Liverpool’ stage but we’re not a million miles away either. It’s only Solksjaer preventing it from happening.”

6.48pm GMT

60 min: Wan-Bissaka drops a shoulder to make ground down the inside-right channel. He slips a little pass infield for Mata, who whistles a low shot roughly one inch wide of the right-hand post. So close to the opener.

6.47pm GMT

59 min: James zips down the right and sends a deflected shot towards Rui Patricio.

6.46pm GMT

58 min: Fernandes whips the free kick over the wall and towards the top left. It’s got power and swerve, but Rui Patricio is right behind it. Still, United fans seem to like what they’ve seen from their new signing so far. He’s certainly felt like a genuine threat, and always involved in the play.

6.45pm GMT

57 min: Mata has space to shoot from distance. His effort is easily blocked, but Neves comes sliding in and upends him, earning a booking and gifting United a free kick in a central position, 25 yards out. Fred and Fernandes stand over it.

6.43pm GMT

55 min: A debut booking for Bruno Fernandes, as Jimenez spins past Fred on the right and sashays infield. There are options for him ahead, so Fernandes tugs him back in the cynical style. He doesn’t bother complaining about it.

6.42pm GMT

53 min: Suddenly Jota bursts down the inside left, a stunning dribble that only ends when he loses his footing, six yards from goal. He was preparing to poke home, but the presence of Maguire and Wan-Bissaka was enough to put him off. Wolves claim for a penalty for this one as well, but again, it’s a big resounding NAH from the ref.

6.40pm GMT

52 min: United are struggling to retain possession. The home fans are getting ever more pensive.

6.39pm GMT

50 min: Neves and Jimenez combine down the middle, a couple of simple passes nearly opening United right up. Wan-Bissaka does extremely well to get in the way and deny Jimenez the chance to shoot, though the ball does rear up and hit his hand. Wolves scream for a penalty, but the ref’s not interested, and no wonder: Wan-Bissaka was trailing his arm behind and didn’t have a clue where the ball was.

6.37pm GMT

49 min: Boly high-kicks Martial out on the left, and this is a chance for United to load the box. Fred takes the free kick ... but it’s pretty aimless and easily cleared by the visitors. The away fans are making the most noise right now, though that particular bar is low. To be fair, neither team has done much to excite the crowd.

6.35pm GMT

47 min: United pass it around awhile. Martial feeds Wan-Bissaka down the right. The full back’s cross is no good. He has another run. He trundles the ball out of play.

6.33pm GMT

United get the second half underway. Some good news for Wolves: Traore is back out, sore shoulder and all. No changes.

6.21pm GMT

Half-time entertainment. At last! It’s the 1949 show! Courtesy of Nigel Moore.

6.17pm GMT

Nothing much happens in them, and that’s a wrap for the first half. Neither team have seriously looked like scoring. Improvements, please!

6.16pm GMT

45 min: Eventually Traore is back up and running, though they’ll be sure to run the rule over him during the break. That’s coming along after two extra minutes.

6.15pm GMT

44 min: Maguire pulls back Traore’s left arm, both hands on. It’s a garden-variety tussle, but Traore’s felt that, gesticulating towards his occasionally troublesome shoulder and wincing with pain. The physio comes on. Traore doesn’t look comfortable.

6.13pm GMT

42 min: Wan-Bissaka accidentally stands on Moutinho’s foot. VAR checks, but it’s nothing more than a foul. Poor old Moutinho has been in the wars this evening. He’ll be fine to continue, again.

6.10pm GMT

40 min: This is better, though, as Shaw bursts down the left and pulls one back for Fernandes, who pearls a rising shot goalwards from the edge of the box. But it’s straight at Rui Patricio, who gathers.

6.09pm GMT

39 min: James threatens to break clear down the inside left but stumbles just before he reaches the box. United keep hold of possession, they pass and probe, but can’t work a way through. A few grumbles from the faithful.

6.07pm GMT

37 min: United are struggling to make any space whatsoever in the Wolves final third. The visitors are happy to sit back and wait for each move’s inevitable breakdown.

6.06pm GMT

35 min: Jonny and Jota work the ball well down the left. Jota then glides infield and switches play towards Traore, who bombs into the box from the right and slaps a wild shot wide right. He should have done much better. A suddenly worried Old Trafford had been waiting for the net to ripple.

6.04pm GMT

34 min: Jimenez is sent scampering clear down the right. United are light in defence, and are very pleased to see Jonny flagged offside. The hosts are looking the most likely to score.

6.03pm GMT

33 min: Fernandes takes his first shot in anger in a United shirt. He screws it harmlessly wide right from distance. Rui Patricio had it covered all the way. United have yet to make the Wolves keeper work.

6.02pm GMT

32 min: It’s high-octane stuff, this. But my word, it’s scrappy. Both teams seem stuck in Counter Mode, and all the moves are breaking down in short order.

6.01pm GMT

30 min: A free kick down the other end, Pereira needlessly bowling Jota to the ground, 25 yards out. Neves tries to show Fernandes how to do it. He doesn’t, though. The ball sails deep into the Stretford End.

5.59pm GMT

29 min: Fernandes sends the ball in the general direction of the far post, but hoicks it harmlessly out for a goal kick. Onwards and upwards. “What a waste of money,” trill the Wolves supporters, earning a perfect 10 for both comic timing and predictability.

5.58pm GMT

28 min: But suddenly James slips a pass down the inside right for Martial, who spins adroitly and draws a foul from Saiss. This is a free kick in a dangerous position, 30 yards out, just to the right of goal. A chance for Fernandes to showcase his dead-ball skills.

5.57pm GMT

27 min: United stroke it around for a bit, but don’t really go anywhere. Wolves are happy to sit back and see what the hosts can do. At the minute, that’s not very much.

5.56pm GMT

25 min: Maguire, buoyed by his howitzer at Tranmere, has another pot from distance. He shanks it miles wide right. Still, buying lottery tickets, all that.

5.55pm GMT

24 min: Neves rakes a ball down the right for Traore, who slips. The crowd cheer and jeer. Traore simply gets up and starts tormenting Shaw, hooking a long cross towards Jota, who should do much better at the far post than chesting down and launching it straight back at Traore and out of play. United are giving Traore too much time, and asking for trouble.

5.53pm GMT

22 min: United are passing it around at a notably faster pace than of late. Fernandes and Mata very much at the heart of it. They push Wolves back. But then Neves, Jimenez and Doherty combine deliciously, long-pass one-twos opening United up down the right. Doherty can’t find anyone with his cross, but Wolves don’t half play some pretty football at times.

5.50pm GMT

20 min: This one’s hit long. Doherty rises mighty high, looping a header towards the top right. It’s dropping in, and de Gea does extremely well to claw it out. The flag then goes up, fingering some offside lurkers.

5.49pm GMT

19 min: Traore wins a Wolves corner on the right. Fred hacks it clear. Neves whacks it back in. Moutinho wins another corner on the same side.

5.48pm GMT

18 min: Martial scampers down the inside left after a sliderule pass by Fernandes. He earns himself a corner. The set piece itself isn’t much to write home about, but Fernandes and Mata combine well down the left as United come again, crisp passes that eventually tee up Pereira, who slices a shot from the edge of the box wide left. Promising early signs from United’s new midfielder. He’s clipping it around nicely.

5.46pm GMT

16 min: Good news for Wolves. Moutinho is back up and about after running repairs by the physio.

5.45pm GMT

15 min: Moutinho is down, having come off worse in a 50-50 duel with Fernandes. Has he pulled a muscle? He’s certainly holding his hamstring and grimacing quite a lot.

5.44pm GMT

13 min: Traore flies past Maguire down the right with ease. He reaches the byline and cuts the ball back. Jimenez can’t quite connect with a diving header. Say what you like about Maguire’s lack of pace, but Traore’s speed from a standing start is unreal.

5.41pm GMT

11 min: Martial has a wee look down the right. Nothing doing. United haven’t got going as an attacking force yet.

5.39pm GMT

9 min: Jota drifts down the left, cuts inside, and very nearly finds Jimenez free in the box with a simple pass. Lindelof, the only United defender in the same postcode, steps across to clear. Wolves are having the better of these early exchanges.

5.38pm GMT

7 min: Fred’s miserable midfield pass is intercepted by Neves, who shuttles the ball forward for Jimenez. It’s then sent down the inside-right channel for Traore to chase, but Shaw cleverly/cynically brushes him to knock the lightning winger off his rhythm. Lindelof mops up.

5.35pm GMT

5 min: The resulting corner is missed by a combination of Shaw, Lindelof and Maguire. The ball breaks to Saiss on the penalty spot. He’s facing the wrong way, though, and after spinning he lashes harmlessly over the bar.

5.34pm GMT

4 min: The resulting free kick is a non event. But Wolves come back at United, Traore exploding form a standing start down the right and hooking into the box. Lindelof is forced to hysterically slice a clearance into the stand behind.

5.33pm GMT

3 min: Space for Jonny and Jota out on the left. Jota looks to roll Pereira, and is held back by the United midfielder. A free kick out on the left. Everybody congregates on the edge of the United box.

5.32pm GMT

2 min: It’s all a bit hectic. United are seeing more of the ball, but Wolves aren’t letting them do much with it.

5.31pm GMT

39 seconds: Another huge cheer as Fernandes takes his first touch in a United shirt.

5.30pm GMT

Here we go, then! The visitors get the Saturday teatime match underway, after a huge welcoming cheer for the new boy Fernandes.

5.27pm GMT

The teams are out! A fine afternoon-spent-in-the-public-bar atmosphere at Old Trafford. Manchester United are in their famous red shirts, wearing black armbands in remembrance of the Babes. Wolves sport their storied old gold ... but only on the trim of their black change shirts. We’ll be off in a minute or two. Don’t move!

5.18pm GMT

Nuno Espirito Santo on the return of Willy Boly. “It is good. He’s a good player. We dealt with his absence well, but today he’s ready to go. Jota and Neto are both well, both give us different things, so it’s a good option, it’s about the idea we have for the games. We have to be organised, we have to play a very good team, we have to play very well. We compete against everybody, it’s about us trying to do the things we have planned. Daniel Podence is ready to go.”

5.13pm GMT

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on his two new signings. “There have been loads of fans waiting for Bruno Fernandes to come, and the player himself has been a very good influence since he’s come. Of course it’s been a few hectic days for him, but the boost of him being around has been good for everyone. He’s ready to go, he wants to play, and we need some fresh legs. We’ve had 18 games in the last two months, it’s been a big demand for these boys. In Odion Ighalo we’ll get a proper man, a great lad, a good goalscorer. It’s not long ago he was top scorer in the African Nations Cup. I know him from way back in Norway, and he gives us a different option, so I’m delighted that he wanted to come for a few months. It’s great to have him around, and I know he’s a Man United fan.”

5.06pm GMT

The Busby Babes. Supporters have this afternoon attended a memorial service for the legendary Babes, forever young after perishing at Munich in 1958. This is the nearest home match to the 6 February anniversary, and it’s apt that Wolves are the visitors today, for the Babes had been travelling home to welcome Stan Cullis’s side to Old Trafford for a title summit meeting two days later. It would have been a must-win for United, with Wolves firmly in control of the First Division that season. When the rescheduled game was eventually played, a makeshift, threadbare United lost 4-0 to the champions-elect. The result that day was less significant than the bittersweet return to the team of survivor Dennis Violett.

4.42pm GMT

Manchester United hand a debut to their new £47m midfield maestro Bruno Fernandes. He’s one of four changes to the team that won at the Etihad on Wednesday night. In come Daniel James, Juan Mata and Andreas Pereira; out go Brandon Williams, Jesse Lingard, Mason Greenwood and the suspended Nemanja Matic.

Wolves make two changes to the side that lost at home to Liverpool nine days ago. Willy Boly and Diogo Jota take the places of Pedro Neto and Leander Dendoncker. Their new winger Daniel Podence is named as a sub.

4.33pm GMT

Manchester United: de Gea, Wan Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, Bruno Fernandes, Fred, James, Mata, Andreas Pereira, Martial.
Subs: Jones, Lingard, Dalot, Romero, Greenwood, Chong, Williams.

Wolverhampton Wanderers: Rui Patricio, Coady, Boly, Saiss, Doherty, Joao Moutinho, Neves, Jonny, Traore, Jimenez, Jota.
Subs: Bruno Jordao, Pedro Neto, Daniel Podence, Gibbs-White, Ruddy, Dendoncker, Kilman.

5.00pm GMT

Manchester United, Wolverhampton Wanderers, two names blessed with that incandescent wow and sparkle of old-school glamour. It’s all about the 1950s, really, both sides florescent under the floodlights, opening our hearts and minds to Europe. Sigh.

In an ideal world, this fixture would be live on ...

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Manchester United’s ‘fiery’ Bruno Fernandes is ‘similar player to Scholes’

Fri, 01/31/2020 - 22:29

• Ole Gunnar Solskjær compares new signing to club great
• ‘He will give us the X factor we have been missing,’ manager says

Ole Gunnar Solskjær believes Bruno Fernandes has a similar X factor to Paul Scholes in his ability to create and score while also having the former Manchester United midfielder’s fiery temperament.

Scholes, who retired in May 2013, is considered one of United’s greatest players, having won 11 titles in a career at the club that spanned 20 years. Fernandes was signed from Sporting Lisbon on Thursday for an initial £46.5m and will be in Saturday’s squad for Wolves’ visit.

Related: Manchester United investigating loan signings as King pursuit drags on

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Manchester United v Wolves: match preview

Fri, 01/31/2020 - 13:27

Nemanja Matic’s suspension increases the prospect of Bruno Fernandes making a full Manchester United debut following his £46.5m move. Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side have already lost twice and won once against Wolves this season: their temperamental nature means that despite Wednesday’s win at Manchester City there are no guarantees in this final game before the winter break. Jamie Jackson

Saturday 5.30pm Sky Sports Premier League

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Manchester United consider new King bid as Howe says matter out of his hands

Fri, 01/31/2020 - 10:38
• United want to bring Joshua King back to Old Trafford
• Howe indicates player wants move and club could sanction it

Manchester United are considering another bid for Joshua King after Bournemouth turned down their approach for the striker.

United were given reason to believe an increased offer could succeed when Eddie Howe said on Friday morning that, much as he did not want to lose King, the decision on whether to sell was not in his hands.

Related: Transfer deadline day: latest on Joshua King, Mertens, Giroud and more – live!

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Nemanja Matic keen to extend his contract at Manchester United

Thu, 01/30/2020 - 22:30

• Serbia midfielder: ‘I’m open to talks if they think I can help’
• ‘We have a chance to win the Europa League’

Manchester United’s Nemanja Matic is keen to extend his contract, which runs out at the end of the season, but says no discussions have taken place.

Earlier in the week Ole Gunnar Solskjær indicated that United were hoping to keep the midfielder and talks were in progress, adding that Matic was playing his best football since joining the club, though the player maintains he is unsure about his future.

Related: Pass master, goals, tempo: what Bruno Fernandes brings Manchester United

Related: Sheffield United break club transfer record to sign Sander Berge from Genk

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Pass master, goals, tempo: what Bruno Fernandes brings Manchester United

Thu, 01/30/2020 - 17:03

Manchester United’s new midfielder gained plenty from a spell in Italy before blossoming at Sporting to secure his big move

In a relatively small country, nothing stays a secret for too long. As Bruno Fernandes stepped outside his home and on to the street, he was swiftly doorstepped by a reporter from the television news station SIC. “It’s not the moment yet for my final message to Sporting fans,” he said with an amiable smile. Would he at least confirm that going to England was his preference? “It always was,” said Fernandes, without a second’s hesitation.

All things come to those who wait and how Sporting Clube de Portugal’s now-erstwhile captain has waited. In the past year it was abundantly clear that Sporting couldn’t hold him much longer, and with his talent demanding a wider audience it would have been so even if they had been in better financial shape. So Sportinguistas savoured every moment over that period, from last April’s stealthy rocket from range to oust Benfica from the Taça de Portugal in the semi-final to the deflected drive that put them on the road to victory in the Taça final against Porto.

Related: Transfer window January 2020 – every deal from Europe's top five leagues

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Emotional Bruno Fernandes gives final Sporting interview – video

Thu, 01/30/2020 - 15:29

Bruno Fernandes cried during his farewell interview with Sporting. Fernandes, who joined in 2017 from Sampdoria, has scored 64 goals in 137 games for the club. He is set to join Manchester United in a deal worth up to £67.5m including add-ons. 'It is hard to find words to describe what I have gone through here,' he said. 'I was not born a Lion, but I will be one from now on'

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Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Pep Guardiola condemn taunts and fan trouble

Thu, 01/30/2020 - 00:12

• Footage showed two City fans making Munich gestures
• Solskjær: ‘We want rivalry but keep it at a sane level’

Manchester City plotted a nervy course into the Carabao Cup final against Aston Villa after losing 1-0 on the night to Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium for a 3-2 aggregate victory, although the occasion was marred by trouble in the stands.

Related: Manchester City reach Carabao Cup final despite Matic’s winner for United

Related: No fairytale comeback but Solskjær’s tactics prove testing for Guardiola | Jamie Jackson

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No fairytale comeback but Solskjær’s tactics prove testing for Guardiola | Jamie Jackson

Thu, 01/30/2020 - 00:07

With Manchester City threatening to overrun United in the first half, Solskjær tweaked United’s shape and earned his reward with the winning goal

In this second leg a place in the Carabao Cup final beckoned for the team whose manager plotted the better gameplan. Whether Manchester United’s Ole Gunnar Solskjær possesses the tactical vision to outmanoeuvre a coach of Pep Guardiola’s ilk has become a prevailing debate regarding the Norwegian. The argument goes that a man who failed badly at Cardiff City and whose two titles as a No 1 “only” came with Molde in Norway’s top flight is a babe in a land of managerial giants embodied by the Spaniard who leads Manchester City.

Related: Manchester City reach Carabao Cup final despite Matic’s winner for United

Related: Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Pep Guardiola condemn taunts and fan trouble

Related: Salah and Oxlade-Chamberlain sink West Ham to keep Liverpool rolling on

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Manchester City reach Carabao Cup final despite Matic’s winner for United

Wed, 01/29/2020 - 21:52

Remember Paris, Pep Guardiola had cautioned after his Manchester City team’s 3-1 first-leg victory in this Carabao Cup semi-final. Remember Paris, Ole Gunnar Solskjær had trumpeted in the countdown to the second leg. It could be done.

His Manchester United had done it before – in last season’s Champions League last 16, when they overturned a two-goal deficit from the home leg to upset Paris Saint-Germain in frankly ludicrous fashion.

Related: Manchester City 0-1 Manchester United (3-2 agg): Carabao Cup semi-final, second leg – as it happened

Related: Van de Donk puts Arsenal into League Cup final at Manchester City’s expense

Related: Salah and Oxlade-Chamberlain sink West Ham to keep Liverpool rolling on

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Manchester City v Manchester United: Carabao Cup semi-final, second leg – live!

Wed, 01/29/2020 - 20:24

8.24pm GMT

37 min: City have been the better side. But United have held firm at the back, and now look. Suddenly the Etihad is a very nervous place. Bravo hesitates over a simple clearance and is nearly closed down by Greenwood. A collective sharp intake of breath, but the keeper clears eventually.

8.22pm GMT

Fred curls the free kick in from the left. Silva can only eyebrow a clearing header towards Matic, level with the right-hand post, just inside the box. Matic meets the dropping ball first time, and sweeps a glorious shot into the bottom right! Bravo had no chance, and this semi-final is back on!

8.21pm GMT

34 min: Rodri comes sliding in on Lingard as he races down the left. He clips him, and is slightly fortunate not to go in the book. Just a free kick. From which ...

8.20pm GMT

33 min: City have had nine efforts to United’s zero, and 69% of possession. But look at the scoreline. United will be happy enough so far. More of this, and City may get frustrated. And then if United were to somehow nick a goal, the nerves may kick in. On the touchline, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks relaxed enough.

8.18pm GMT

32 min: Otamendi, accidentally or otherwise, gave De Gea a wee nudge in the ribs there. The keeper also landed painfully on his boot when the pair fell. A sore one, but he’s a big man and is soon up and about again, fine to continue.

8.16pm GMT

30 min: De Bruyne clips a pass down the inside-left channel to release Sterling, who should get a shot away upon reaching the box, but hesitates, allowing Maguire to slide in. The resulting corner ends in a free kick to United, with Otamendi and De Gea falling in a tangle. The keeper’s landed awkwardly, and looks in some pain. On comes the physio.

8.15pm GMT

29 min: Fred loops it towards the far post. Matic tries to meet the high ball, but falls over under a pincer movement launched by Rodri and Cancelo. He wants a penalty but it’s shoulder to shoulder to shoulder and he’s not getting it.

8.14pm GMT

28 min: Lingard drifts in from the left and pings a pass to Greenwood, who is clumped from behind by Otamendi. A free kick to the left of centre, 35 yards out. Everyone lines up on the edge of the box, waiting for Fred’s delivery.

8.12pm GMT

26 min: Walker sprays a long pass down the right. Walker springs the offside trap and whips a cross towards Aguero, who is denied a close-range header by the presence of Lingard. The resulting corner comes to nought.

8.11pm GMT

24 min: City are playing with the patience and confidence you’d expect from a superior team two goals to the good. Pass, pass, passity pass. Suddenly they spring forward en masse, Silva and Aguero combining before teeing up De Bruyne just to the left of the D. De Bruyne looks for the top left, but his fierce rising shot is a wee bit too high.

8.08pm GMT

22 min: City stroke it around the middle of the park, re-establishing control.

8.07pm GMT

20 min: Some good work by Williams down the inside-left channel, as City are pushed back a little. His attempt to work a cute, crisp move with Shaw and Lingard doesn’t quite come off, but full marks for ambition.

8.05pm GMT

19 min: Mahrez fires it long down the middle, but his pass is too meaty for Aguero. City are happy to mix it up. United don’t look comfortable in defence, whatever they do.

8.04pm GMT

17 min: Upon taking the corner, City ping it around awhile. Eventually Sterling peels off down the left and looks like bursting clear into the box. But he runs it out of play with a heavy touch. A wry smile as he picks himself up.

8.03pm GMT

16 min: Gundogan, Silva and Aguero shuttle the ball upfield at speed. Suddenly Aguero is drifting left to right, across the face of the box. He launches towards the top right. De Gea claws it out for a corner.

8.01pm GMT

14 min: Fred spins out of trouble in United’s final third and suddenly there’s a lot of space to work with, City’s press beaten. First Wan-Bissaka nearly breaks clear down the right, then Williams crosses from the left, only just failing to find Martial in the middle. Some hope for United; all they need to do is beat City’s press. All they need to do!

7.59pm GMT

13 min: Sterling whips in low from the left. Aguero nearly gets a toe to the cross but misses it by an inch and the ball sticks to De Gea.

7.58pm GMT

12 min: United spend a little time in the City half. They don’t really go anywhere but that’s not the point of the endeavour. It’s their first prolonged period away from their own third.

7.57pm GMT

10 min: VAR isn’t interested. It’s just a corner. The fact that Maguire slipped clumsily might have swayed the decision, but it’s VAR, so who knows. The corner comes to nothing.

7.56pm GMT

9 min: De Bruyne crosses from the left. Under the ball, Sterling wants a penalty kick as he’s bowled over from behind by Maguire, who took him down while slipping. This is going to VAR.

7.55pm GMT

8 min: Now De Gea is forced to kick a Mahrez snapshot clear. United are finding it difficult to get out of their final third. City have flooded the midfield and are all over them.

7.54pm GMT

7 min: Bernardo, quarterbacking from deep on the left, floats a diagonal ball into the box. Aguero breaks clear of Shaw down the inside-right channel, guiding a header across De Gea and towards the bottom left. De Gea sticks out a strong arm to parry clear. Stunning save.

7.51pm GMT

5 min: City are beginning to find their groove. Rodri has a whack from distance. It’s charged down and half cleared. City come straight back at United. De Bruyne nearly breaks through down the middle. Bernardo then overhits a pass that would have released Sterling down the left.

7.49pm GMT

3 min: Wan-Bissaka launches long. The ball bounces off Martial’s chest. Poor control. Had he taken that down, he had Greenwood to his left, ready to assist in attack, with City light at the back.

7.48pm GMT

2 min: All a bit frantic in the opening stages. A poor clearing header by Maguire gives De Bruyne the chance to scoop a pass down the middle with the view of releasing Aguero, but Matic reads the play well to intercept and clear United’s lines properly this time.

7.46pm GMT

Here we go, then! A quick blast of Blue Moon, then United get the ball rolling in front of a full house at the Etihad. A derby-day roar. The semi-final is happening!

7.43pm GMT

Here come the teams! City wear their famous sky blue shirts, United sport their legendary red. The home fans enjoy their usual pre-match singalong of Hey Jude. We’ll be off in a minute or two!

7.34pm GMT

Pep talks! He looks extremely relaxed in contrast to his slightly more edgy opposite number. “We have 2-0. They have to play the game to score goals. But we are going to try to score goals and play our game.”

7.19pm GMT

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer speaks. First on the Bruno Fernandes transfer: “We’ve agreed with the club so we can hopefully announce it very soon. That’s of course exciting.” Then last night’s attack on Ed Woodward’s house: “Everyone at the club and proper supporters were disgusted with what had happened. Fans can be passionate and opinions can be voiced in different ways. We’ve got to stick together and stay united.” And finally on tonight’s upcoming spat: “We need to score two more goals than them! We’ve done it before. We need to match our performance six weeks ago. PSG away is always a good memory. But we need a proper performance with and without the ball. We will throw loads of energy at it.”

7.01pm GMT

United have also announced the impending arrival of Bruno Fernandes. This is what they’re getting for their £47m, subject to a medical.

6.56pm GMT

There are two differences to the side City put out in the first leg. Joao Cancelo and Sergio Aguero come in for Benjamin Mendy and Fernandinho.

United make four swaps from the first leg. Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Nemanja Matic and Anthony Martial come in for Daniel James, Andreas Pereira and Phil Jones, who drop to the bench, and the injured Marcus Rashford.

6.49pm GMT

Manchester City: Bravo, Walker, Rodri, Otamendi, Joao Cancelo, De Bruyne, Gundogan, Bernardo Silva, Mahrez, Aguero, Sterling.
Subs: Stones, Gabriel Jesus, Zinchenko, Silva, Ederson, Foden, Garcia.

Manchester United: de Gea, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, Wan Bissaka, Fred, Matic, Williams, Lingard, Greenwood, Martial.
Subs: Bailly, Jones, Mata, Andreas Pereira, Dalot, James, Romero.

6.16pm GMT

This may not be the greatest Manchester United side of all time, and Manchester City might look well in control of this tie. But if you believe in the spiritual - things like club DNA, that kind of stuff - this League Cup semi-final remains in the balance.

Pep Guardiola certainly thinks so: “It’s Manchester United. They can do it. They have done it.” Twice in the Champions League recently, in fact, coming back from two goals down to beat Olympiakos in 2014 under David Moyes, then repeating the trick against PSG last year with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the wheel. Say what you will about the current state of United; they’re still a club who know how to turn around a cup tie.

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Categories: What the papers say

Six of the best: the players Premier League clubs should sign this week

Wed, 01/29/2020 - 15:00

Options for Chelsea, Manchester United, Spurs, Villa, West Ham and Watford before the transfer window closes on Friday

By Martin Laurence for WhoScored

A host of Premier League clubs are still trying to patch up problem areas in their squads before the transfer window closes on Friday night. We assess a handful of these clubs and propose a player who could fit the bill for them.

Related: Transfer latest: Fernandes heads for United medical, Bergwijn joins Spurs

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Categories: What the papers say

Manchester United fans have a right to be angry but attacking Woodward’s home was outrageous | Paul Wilson

Wed, 01/29/2020 - 12:10

United fail a little more every year and nothing is done about it but turning up at a director’s house was beyond the pale

Remember the good old days, when Manchester United supporters used to be characterised by their uncomplaining politeness and fondness for prawn sandwiches? There were clear signs that attitudes had hardened last week, when many fans left Old Trafford early and others used the Burnley defeat as an opportunity to hope dire fates might befall the unpopular Glazer family and their representative in the north-west of England, though it is still a shocking progression to go from chanting nasty things about Ed Woodward inside a football ground to finding out where he lives and attacking his home.

The club have quite properly responded to the attempt to put the frighteners on United’s executive vice-chairman with a pledge to ban anyone found responsible for life. One would expect nothing less, yet it is entirely possible that those who turned up at Woodward’s home with flares and fireworks are not regular attendees at Old Trafford anyway. Far from being representative of the prawn sandwich brigade they are more likely to be people disenfranchised by either the price of season tickets or the difficulty of gaining admission to mainstream games nowadays.

Related: Transfer latest: Fernandes heads for United medical, Bergwijn joins Spurs

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Categories: What the papers say

Transfer latest: Fernandes heads for United medical, Bergwijn joins Spurs

Wed, 01/29/2020 - 10:52
  • Bruno Fernandes due to fly to England after agreement struck
  • Spurs make Olivier Giroud inquiry but chances of deal are slim

Bruno Fernandes is due to fly to England on Wednesday for a Manchester United medical after the final details of the midfielder’s transfer from Sporting Lisbon were settled.

It is understood the Portugal international will cost United a basic €55m (£46.5m) plus up to €25m in add-ons and that he has agreed a four-and-a-half year contract with the option of an extra year.

Related: Police investigating after fans attack home of Manchester United's Ed Woodward

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Categories: What the papers say

Fans attack the home of Manchester United vice-chairman Ed Woodward

Tue, 01/28/2020 - 23:51
• Woodward understood not to be at home at the time
• ‘Anybody found guilty will be banned for life by the club’

The home of Ed Woodward was attacked on Tuesday night in a sickening escalation of the tensions between supporters and the Manchester United executive vice-chairman.

Fans, who are unhappy at the way in which the club is being run, have recently sung songs celebrating the death of the 48-year-old who has become a figure of hate among some sections of the United support. However, the situation took a sinister turn on Tuesday night when a group wearing balaclavas launched flares at Woodward’s Cheshire home. One video was then posted on social media with the caption: “Ed Woodward’s gonna die.”

Related: Jay Rodriguez’s bolt from the blue for Burnley shatters Manchester United

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Categories: What the papers say

Bruno Fernandes set to join Manchester United for £46.5m plus add-ons

Tue, 01/28/2020 - 19:10
• Significant breakthrough in talks between the two clubs
• Sporting could receive as much as £21.2m in add-ons

Manchester United are close to agreeing a deal for Sporting Lisbon’s Bruno Fernandes that will cost a basic €55m (£46.5m) plus a possible €25m in add-ons.

Although personal terms are yet to be agreed there is an expectation this will be a formality.

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Categories: What the papers say

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