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Updated: 2 hours 5 min ago

Pogba says Manchester United must be ‘killers in front of goal’ to stun Barça

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 10:00
• United saw ‘a Barcelona team we can beat’ despite losing
• Paul Pogba feels win in Paris could play on Barça minds

Paul Pogba said Manchester United can win at Barcelona and progress to the Champions League semi-finals if they can be “killers in front of goal”.

Related: Manchester United defence proves no match for Messi’s footballing third eye | Barney Ronay

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Solskjær: PSG result gives Manchester United hope after home loss to Barça – video

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 01:12

Ole Gunnar Solskjær insists Manchester United’s spectacular win over PSG in Paris in the last round of the Champions League will give them belief that they can overcome Barcelona in their quarter-final second leg. United slumped to a disappointing 1-0 loss at Old Trafford courtesy of Luke Shaw’s early own goal, and now must win at the Camp Nou, where Barça have been in sublime form this season

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Manchester United should look to 1999 for Camp Nou inspiration, says Solskjær

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 00:16
• Manager hopes Champions League win can spur side on
• ‘We’ve scored there before from corners and crosses‘

Ole Gunnar Solskjær pointed to Manchester United’s famous 1999 Champions League triumph as evidence they can score the goals needed to knock Barcelona out in next week’s quarter-final second leg after losing Wednesday night’s opening game 1-0 at Old Trafford.

Luke Shaw’s 12th-minute own goal gave Barça victory yet the manager believes United can still progress to the semi-finals despite failing to score in a home Champions League tie for the fourth time this season.

Related: Advantage Barcelona as Manchester United’s Luke Shaw scores own goal

Related: Manchester United defence proves no match for Messi’s footballing third eye | Barney Ronay

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Manchester United 0-1 Barcelona: Champions League player ratings

Wed, 04/10/2019 - 23:36
Scott McTominay continues to show promise for United, whose defence struggled to cope with Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez

David de Gea Helpless for Barça’s opener and later made an impressive save from a Coutinho piledriver. 7

Related: Advantage Barcelona as Manchester United’s Luke Shaw scores own goal

Related: Manchester United defence proves no match for Messi’s footballing third eye | Barney Ronay

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Manchester United defence proves no match for Messi’s footballing third eye | Barney Ronay

Wed, 04/10/2019 - 22:43
Even on a relatively poor night, the greatest club footballer of all time was impossible to tame

It is the sign of an undeniably great player. Even when you take away his space, push him to the fringes for 80 minutes, make him look a shadow of his true universe-boss self; he still somehow ends up winning the day.

Related: Advantage Barcelona as Manchester United’s Luke Shaw scores own goal

When the hour strikes Messi o’clock you are simply an algorithm in his game, another zombie in his shoot-em-up

Twitter: follow us at @guardian_sport

Related: Ronaldo ruthless for Juve but Neres leveller gives Ajax fighting chance

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Advantage Barcelona as Manchester United’s Luke Shaw scores own goal

Wed, 04/10/2019 - 21:59

After Paris in the last round Manchester United are going to take some convincing that this result need necessarily be conclusive, and they will travel to Catalonia next week with hope. In their hearts they must know that Barcelona are not Paris Saint-Germain, however, and unless they can find a way to assert themselves at Camp Nou by seeing more of the ball and using it to greater effect they could end up with what they handed out to Lionel Messi: a bloodied nose.

Related: Manchester United defence proves no match for Messi’s footballing third eye | Barney Ronay

Related: David Neres strike gives Ajax fighting chance in second leg at Juventus

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Manchester United v Barcelona: Champions League quarter-final, first leg – live!

Wed, 04/10/2019 - 21:05

9.05pm BST

46 min: Here we go again. No personnel changes during the break.

9.02pm BST

Here are some latest scores from a crucial round of games in the Championship. So far, it’s good news for Leeds, as Birmingham are holding Sheffield United to a draw. Aston Villa, meanwhile, are a man down but have come back from a goal behind to lead 2-1. And Reading are doing their survival hopes a power of good by leading at Norwich, no less! There is about half an hour to go in all these games.

Birmingham 1-1 Sheffield United

8.59pm BST

“You spend all that money on players and end up fielding a donkey like McTominay against Barcelona in Champions League quarterfinal,” fumes C Noyes. That’s a rubbish comment, to be fair, because McTominay has played well so far. Busquets has been the most donkey-looking midfielder out there. I’d take him off at half-time to avoid him being red-carded later. He can’t seem to handle the pace any more.

8.53pm BST

“I was resigned to United getting hammered tonight, I could live with it,” writes Oliver Atkinson. “But if we lose whilst actually being the better team but making terrible defensive mistakes and not being able to finish I’m going to be fuming.”

8.50pm BST

For a while United looked to be in danger of embarrassment .. and then Barcelona scored. Since then, United have rallied to such an extent that they can go into the break with the conviction that they are capable of turning this tie around. When they play on the front foot, they make Barcelona look shaky at the back.

8.47pm BST

45 min: Messi picks up the ball mid-way inside the United half and pings it low to Coutinho, who flicks it through to Suarez. The striker fires first-time from the edge of the box but gets it all wrong, shanking wide.

8.45pm BST

43 min: Corner to Barcelona. Coutinho takes it short and works it back to Alba. The Messi tries to one-two his way into the box but Rashford intervenes to clear.

8.42pm BST

41 min: That’s better from Dalot! A lovely cross from the right, which ter Stegen does well to punch away.

8.42pm BST

40 min: Rashford curls a cross from the right all the way over to the far post, where Dalot comes in with a free header. But he fails to guide it towards goal and, unlike for Suarez at the other end, no one diverted his effort into the net.

8.41pm BST

38 min: Moments before that cross by Young, Busquets conceded a freekick for unceremoniously ending a strong run by Pogba. That could easily have been a second yellow card for Busquets. he’s unlikely get away with another foul like that.

8.40pm BST

38 min: McTominay holds off Coutinho and Busquets mid-way inside the Barcelona half and then spreads the ball wide to Young, whose cross from the right is cleared.

8.39pm BST

36 min: Lenglet opens up United’s defence with a lofted pass from the back. Lindelof makes a mess of his attempt to cut it out and actually helps it on to Suarez. Smalling sticks a foot in to tip the ball away from Suarez but it falls to Coutinho, who unleashes a low first-time shot from the edge of the area. De Gea makes a superb save with his feet!

8.36pm BST

34 min: The last few minutes have been much more encouraging for United, and the home fans are responding with loud encouragement. Solksjaer’s side are starting to play the way the manager said they he wanted them to: not dominating, by any means, but certainly making the visitors uncomfortable with aggressive attacking.

8.35pm BST

30 min: Messi is off the pitch receiving treatment after being dispossessed by Smalling. A little wipe of the nose and he’s back on.

8.32pm BST

28 min: McTominay bursts into the left-hand side of the box and tries to check on to his right foot. He goes down in proximity to Piqué but there was no significant contact from the defender so the home crowd’s cries for a penalty are in vain.

8.30pm BST

27 min: Lenglet gets caught trying to play out from the back, but escapes when Young’s ensuing cross floats straight into the keeper’s arms. Again, however, there are clear signs of Barça vulnerability when United put the pressure on.

8.28pm BST

25 min: Dalot makes good ground down the let and then lays it back for Pogba, who flights a reasonable cross towards the back post. He’s fractionally too high for Lukaku. Despite being dominated, United have hinted at a threat when they go forward. They’re still in this.

8.26pm BST

24 min: A decent attack by United, insofar as they made some progressive passes in the Barcelona half, with Fred orchestrating them. But it fizzled out with a loose cross from the left by Lukaku. Meanwhile, Matt Dony has had another look at the goal. “As soon as Messi makes his run for the ball over the top, Suarez heads for the back post, entirely untroubled by any of the defenders in the box,” he notes. “It’s great forward play, but such slack defending. When you’re against players of the calibre of Messi and Suarez, you have to accept that there’s the chance they will beat you by doing something vaguely unbelievable with the ball. But that was so avoidable. Did someone say, ‘Bring it on’?”

8.23pm BST

22 min: Rashford jinks past Arthur and lets fly from 25 yards. He hits it with plenty of power but not enough precision, so it whizzes several yards over.

8.22pm BST

20 min: Shaw booked for obstructing Messi. For that he gets a yellow that rules him out of the second leg. And on that note, the goal has just been officially attributed to him, too.

8.20pm BST

19 min: Fred curls a weak freekick into the wall.

8.20pm BST

18 min: Busquets gets the booking he should have got earlier, this time for an immoral foul on Pogba. Another promising freekick for United, from over 20 yards out, to the left of the D. Barcelona put up a three-man wall...

8.19pm BST

17 min: By the way, it is now clear that Young is at right wingback and Dalot is wide on the left. Shaw is a left-centreback in a defensive three. That, at least, is how they’re lining up when Barça are in possession.

8.18pm BST

15 min: No sign of Barcelona taking their foot of the pedal here. They continue to dominate possession. United’s first task is to hang in there and avoid being blasted out of the tie in the first half here.

8.16pm BST

13 min: Uefa is crediting that goal to Suarez but it looked like he was trying to direct the header across goal rather than into the net. Shaw’s touch seemed decisive. Not that the defender could have done anything to get out of the way.

8.15pm BST

After prolonged possession, Busquets releases Messi with a clip over the top from deep. Messi chips a cross to the back post, where Suarez tries to head it back across goal and it takes a nick off the shoulder of Shaw and carries on into the net! Var is consulted to see whether Suarez was offside ... but he wasn’t.

8.12pm BST

10 min: Rashford knocks the ball past Piqué down the left and tries to sprint past him. But Piqué read his intentions and got there first. Still, there’s promising signs for United on the break.

8.10pm BST

8 min: Pogba plays a lovely pass from the left wing through towards Rashford, who runs past the last defender ... but is beaten to the ball by Ter Stegen, who charges out of the box to welly clear.

8.09pm BST

6 min: Fred does well to close down Messi on the edge of the area, preventing him from getting off a shot after Semedo fed him. McTominay then followed up with an important tackle, too. Those midfielders are going to have to be as dynamic and precise as that all evening judging by how much possession Barcelona have had so far.

8.07pm BST

5 min: Rashford bangs a wobbly freekick a couple of yards wide of the far post. Interestingly, Barcelona erected only a small wall. Always wonder why more teams don’t do that when the freekick is far out, given that walls often block keepers’ views rather than the attackers shot.

8.05pm BST

4 min: Busquets concedes a freekick with a wild tackle from behind on McTominay. He should have been booked. Perhaps United can apply punishment from the setpiece, which is about 25 yards out, a little to the right of the D.

8.04pm BST

3 min: United are struggling to get the ball as Barça set up camp in their half. Pogba is the most left-leaning of the midfield quartet (in formation terms, no idea about his political views).

8.03pm BST

2 min: Suarez is booed as he scurries down the left wing, and then Smalling gets a cheer for dispossessing him. Meanwhile, it looks like Dalot is at right-back, with Young in front of him.

8.02pm BST

1 min: We have kickoff! Barcelona do the necessary and immediately begin knocking the ball about, just like in their warmup

8.00pm BST

Old Trafford is uncharacteristically loud as the teams enter the arena. United fans are in good voice. Their team are wearing their famous red jerseys and white shorts and socks, while Barcelona are clad in fluorescent yellow.

7.57pm BST

The teams are in the tunnel. De Gea is embracing most of the Barça team. Ashley Young, United’s captain, reaches over for a quick hug with his counterpart, Lionel Messi. That’s what peers do, you see.

7.55pm BST

“This Barcelona team are always going to be strong in attack but Man U can trouble them,” trumpets Lee Madden. “Although they top La Liga, Barcelona have conceded more goals than Atletico Madrid (+10) , Getafe (+4) and Valencia (+5). Man U’s front line should be aiming to score at least twice, as you’ve got to assume Barca will score once in any given game.”

7.52pm BST

There’s a fan in the crowd wearing a big Bulgaria flag. Is he pining for Dimitar Berbatov? Or maybe he’s trying to give United flashbacks to the time Hristo Stoichkov took them to the cleaners?

7.48pm BST

“We need to improve on the first leg [of the PSG tie]. We know we need to play better at home. It’s down to us to try to dominant the game. If we let them dominate, we’re in for a hard game. So that’s part of the battle, to maybe take control of the ball.”

He’s unsure how long Rashford will be able to last because he’s just recovered his fitness. “But you know Rash, he lives for these games.”.

7.42pm BST

The teams are on the pitch at Old Trafford going through their pre-game stretches and what not. “Lionel Messi warms exactly how he wants to warm up,” announces Steve McManaman, almost swooning. That warm-up, by the way, seems to involve some gentle stroking the ball about and the occasional caress of a baroque tattoo on his left leg (the tattoo appears to feature a ball and a hand, no doubt Messi’s own tribute to Diego Maradona).

7.32pm BST

If things go well today, this match could be worthy of a recap by Rob Smyth, who’s done a splendid Joy of Six on great United-Barcelona meetings. Lookit:

Related: The Joy of Six: Barcelona v Manchester United

7.26pm BST

BT’s pundits reckon United will play a 4-5-1, with Dalot at right-back and Young in midfield in front of him. That would be less risky than the other version being bandied about, which has Dalot as a Messi-tracking midfield operative. So, United fans, on a scale of one to Zlatan, how confident are you?

7.21pm BST

“Presumably Coutinho is in the starting XI in the hope that someone in the UK will like what they see?” parps Charles Antaki. “Surely some will take pity and free him from His Barcelona Hell?” Indeed. Pray for Coutinho.

7.18pm BST

Ander Herrera is not available for United today and that’s something they’re going to have to get used to - because he’s close to agreeing a move to Paris Saint-Germain. Let Jamie Jackson tell you more:

Related: Manchester United’s Ander Herrera close to joining PSG in summer

7.07pm BST

Are you United playing a back three? Or is it a back four with Dalot deployed as some fashion of protective midfielder, probably towards United’s left, where Messi will be looking to make merry.

United: De Gea; Young, Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw; Fred, McTominay, Pogba, Dalot; Lukaku, Rashford

11.21am BST

Hello. How do you follow up a miracle? Maybe by beating the team powered by Lionel Messi. Manchester United can always look back fondly on a thrilling night in Paris in the last round but they have lost three of their four matches since then and there is a risk of their sensational comeback against Paris Saint-Germain being recorded by historians as the set-up to an epic humiliation at the hands of Barcelona. Unless, of course, United actually overcome today’s visitors to Old Trafford, which would mean surpassing anything they have done so far under Ole Gunnar Solskjær or, indeed, Jose Mourinho and Louis Van Gaal. United haven’t even been at this stage of the Champions League since the glory, glory days of David Moyes.

Today United are going to have to strike a dicey balance. They will want to get at least a narrow lead to take to the Nou Camp and that will require scoring, something they have only managed once in four Champions League matches at Old Trafford this season. But they won’t want to leave themselves too open, otherwise Barça could kill the tie with a salvo of away goals. Solskjær must know, however, that no matter how he approaches the game, Barcelona are capable of tearing his defence apart. And Barcelona know the importance of an away goal, because failure to score even one has led to them being eliminated at this stage of the competition in each of the last three years. That fact alone shows that Barça are not quite as mighty as they once were, but they’re still pretty darn good. And they’ll still got Messi. And Luis Suarez, who, you’ve got to think, would take much pleasure in scoring at Old Trafford. David De Gea is going to have to be in top form. And so, too, is Paul Pogba. The eyes of the world, including Real Madrid, are on him. So then, to quote Chris Smalling, bring it on.

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Manchester United’s Ander Herrera close to joining PSG in summer

Wed, 04/10/2019 - 19:06

• Spaniard is out of contract at end of season
• Herrera failed to agree terms on new deal with United

Ander Herrera is closing on a move to Paris Saint-Germain in the close season after discussions with Manchester United regarding a new contract reaching an impasse.

Related: Ander Herrera: the Spanish scrapper who gives Manchester United a feisty edge | Paul Wilson

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Manchester United 'need to step up game' against Barcelona, says Solskjær – video

Wed, 04/10/2019 - 11:48

The Manchester United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, has said that his side need to perform at their best level to have a chance of beating Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-final. Solskjaer also insisted it is not impossible for his team to stop Lionel Messi: 'He is one of the best individual players ever. He’ll be difficult to stop but it’s never impossible'

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Manchester United must be streetwise against Barcelona, says Solskjær

Tue, 04/09/2019 - 16:42

• Manager says players must learn lessons from PSG defeat
• Chris Smalling looking forward to facing Lionel Messi

Ole Gunnar Solskjær has warned Manchester United they will need to be “streetwise” to knock Barcelona out of the Champions League, with the manager hoping lessons will be learned from their first leg defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16.

Related: The Joy of Six: Barcelona v Manchester United

Related: Manchester United priced Barcelona out of Pogba move, says club president

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Champions League quiz: English clubs in the quarter-finals

Tue, 04/09/2019 - 13:27

England has four representatives in the quarter-finals. How well do you remember their previous outings at this stage?

Who were the first English club to lose a European Cup quarter-final (they were thrashed 9-2 on aggregate)?

Manchester United

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Tottenham Hotspur

Ipswich Town

Which two English clubs were knocked out of the European Cup in the quarter-finals in the 1982-83 season?

Manchester United and Manchester City

Liverpool and Aston Villa

Everton and Watford

Wolves and Ipswich Town

This is not the first time four Premier League clubs have made it to the last eight. When did four English teams make it to the quarter-finals, with three three making it to the semi-finals, two making to the final and one becoming champions?

2005

2008

2009

2012

Which other country has provided four quarter-finalists in the same season?

Germany

Italy

Spain

No other country has done it

Manchester United thrashed Roma 7-1 in the second leg of their quarter-final back in 2007. Which of these players did not score in that game?

Michael Carrick

Alan Smith

Ryan Giggs

Cristiano Ronaldo

Wayne Rooney

Patrice Evra

Lionel Messi wreaked havoc against Arsenal in the quarter-finals in 2010, scoring all four goals for Barcelona in a 4-1 rout at the Camp Nou in the second leg. Who gave Arsenal the lead that night?

Andrey Arshavin

Samir Nasri

Theo Walcott

Nicklas Bendtner

Who were the only English club to reach the quarter-finals in the 2016-17 season?

Arsenal

Tottenham Hotspur

Leicester City

Manchester City

Which other English club were knocked out at the quarter-finals in their only appearance in the European Cup?

Derby County

Burnley

Blackburn Rovers

Newcastle United

Leeds made it past the quarter-finals in 2001 thanks to a 3-0 win over Deportivo la Coruña at Elland Road in the first leg. Ian Harte got things going with a thunderous free-kick, but which other players scored that night?

Robbie Keane and Darren Huckerby

Mark Viduka and Harry Kewell

Michael Bridges and Lee Bowyer

Alan Smith and Rio Ferdinand

Which player has scored a hat-trick in a quarter-final in England?

Andy Cole

Gareth Bale

Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo

2 and above.

Oh dear

3 and above.

Don't worry. It was a tough one

4 and above.

Don't worry. It was a tough one

5 and above.

Don't worry. It was a tough one

6 and above.

That is an impressive score. Nice work

7 and above.

That is a very impressive score. Nice work

8 and above.

That is an extremely impressive score. Nice work

9 and above.

That is an extremely impressive score. Nice work

10 and above.

Perfection. That is very impressive indeed

0 and above.

Oh dear

1 and above.

Oh dear

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The Joy of Six: Barcelona v Manchester United

Tue, 04/09/2019 - 09:00

From the majesty of Atkinson’s cup specialists to the might of Cruyff’s dream team, six epic battles between these Euro giants

Sir Matt Busby and Sir Alex Ferguson brought glory and trophies to Manchester United on an industrial scale, yet they never had an Old Trafford European night such as this. Ron Atkinson’s cup specialists overcame a 2-0 first-leg deficit to overwhelm a Barcelona side that included Diego Maradona and Bernd Schuster. United’s three goals, two from Bryan Robson and one from Frank Stapleton, were scored from a combined distance of around six yards, an apt reflection of a night on which they stormed the Barcelona goal like it was a medieval fortress. Barcelona, used to a slower pace domestically, simply could not cope with United’s top-gear football.

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Manchester United priced Barcelona out of Pogba move, says club president

Mon, 04/08/2019 - 18:25
• Josep Maria Bartomeu says Barça wanted then-Juventus player
• Ousmane Dembélé out of Champions League quarter-final

Barcelona’s president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, has revealed that they were priced out of signing Paul Pogba by Manchester United’s £90million bid.

The La Liga leaders were determined to recruit Pogba in 2016 and held advanced negotiations with Juventus that were ultimately undone when United offered a then record transfer fee that was accepted.

Related: Unbowed by racism, Moise Kean continues to show his huge talent

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Sergio Busquets: ‘The recognition from opponents is the highest praise’ | Sid Lowe

Mon, 04/08/2019 - 00:01
The Barcelona midfielder rates Pep Guardiola’s 2011 European Cup win as the club’s pinnacle and, if they can beat Manchester United again, would relish facing Guardiola’s current side

The last time Manchester United and Barcelona met it ended with a plea for mercy. There were 10 minutes left in the 2011 European Cup final when Wayne Rooney approached Xavi Hernández and, the way the Catalan recalls it, said something like: “That’s enough, you’ve won. You can stop playing the ball around now.” Sergio Busquets, who was alongside him that day, smiles at the memory, laughing a little. Eight years on he is one of only three of the 26 men who played at Wembley who remain as the clubs prepare to meet again on Wednesday and there is nostalgia as well as joy in reliving the moment he calls “the culmination of everything, the highest point”.

Time passes but nothing passes quite like that team. Busquets attempted 82 passes against United during the final, misplacing only five; Leo Messi 100, Andrés Iniesta 115, Xavi 148. The eight players with the most passes were all Barcelona’s, collectively completing almost 700. “They do mesmerise you the way they pass it,” Sir Alex Ferguson said. “No one has given us a hiding like that.” In the film Take the Ball, Pass the Ball, Michael Carrick describes Barcelona as “just too good” – words that made it all the more worthwhile, validating an ideal that Busquets represents.

Related: Rivals’ grand designs put Glazers’ neglect of Old Trafford in spotlight | Daniel Taylor

Of course I miss them; everyone misses them. They’re unique, once-in-a-lifetime players and I spent years with them, sharing everything

Related: Tottenham and Manchester City prepare to join the All England Club | Paul Wilson

Everyone wants to win the Champions League. It’s the most prestigious trophy there is, especially how we were eliminated last season

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Rivals’ grand designs put Glazers’ neglect of Old Trafford in spotlight | Daniel Taylor

Sun, 04/07/2019 - 10:00

As Tottenham move in while Real Madrid and Barcelona show off their plans, Manchester United’s home – all but untouched under the current owners – looks increasingly tatty

There is a scene in Fawlty Towers when one of the customers is checking out of the hotel and wants to tell Basil how much he has enjoyed his stay. So much, in fact, that he passes on what he thinks is a dead cert for the afternoon race at Exeter and puts a few coins into the tip box on his way to the door. At which point Sybil appears and Basil turns to his wife with a slightly startled expression on his face. “Satisfied customer,” he explains. “We should have him stuffed.”

If the Glazer family have spent long enough in England to understand that kind of humour, you wonder whether Manchester United’s owners would appreciate that line. They, too, don’t get many satisfied customers, which probably should not come as a surprise given the way they run the club and the mountains of debt they have stacked up in the process. Or the way, perhaps, they promised to keep an open line of communications and, 14 years on, we have not heard a peep from them since.

Related: Astonishing new stadium brings hope and fear to Tottenham Hotspur | Barney Ronay

Related: Manchester United criticised by council for failing to deal with mice infestation

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Tottenham and Manchester City prepare to join the All England Club | Paul Wilson

Sat, 04/06/2019 - 11:59

The Champions League quarter-final is latest in a line of often spine-tingling English derbies in Europe’s top competition

A new chapter in the colourful history of English teams meeting each other in the Champions League is set to open on Tuesday, when the first European game at Tottenham’s shiny new stadium is bound to generate an atmosphere all of its own.

In such circumstances anything can happen, and all-England European nights already have a reputation for taking on a life of their own, sharing a similarity to derbies in which form and league placing are temporarily set aside.

Related: Quadruple is on for Manchester City as the impossible becomes a reality | Paul Wilson

Related: Football’s final furlong: our writers predict how the season will finish

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Ole needs a sporting director with United in his veins – Gary Neville | Eni Aluko

Thu, 04/04/2019 - 20:19

Ole Gunnar Solskjær could do with help at Manchester United and Gary Neville is a club legend with business experience

In the week Ole Gunnar Solskjær was confirmed as Manchester United’s permanent manager, I’ve been in New York to complete my executive master for international players, which is run by Uefa. It’s been an important commitment for the past two years and I’ve really enjoyed learning about the business side of sports organisations and seeing how they do things differently to football.

One of the biggest aspects I’ve noticed is the importance of sporting directors in US sports – for example all the teams in the NFL and NBA have been using that model for several years and it is now becoming a crucial role in football as well. It’s so important to have someone who is a steady presence and is going to set the culture of the club regardless of who the manager is.

Related: Alexis Sánchez set to lead Manchester United exodus that may include De Gea

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Alexis Sánchez set to lead Manchester United exodus that may include De Gea

Wed, 04/03/2019 - 22:29
• Ole Gunnar Solskjær wants to sign two new defenders
• United may sell De Gea rather than lose him for nothing in 2020

Alexis Sánchez could head a close‑season exodus from Manchester United of at least five players, with Ole Gunnar Solskjær targeting a new right-back and central defender.

The summer window will be Solskjær’s first as the permanent manager and he is willing to sell Sánchez, who has proved a failure since joining from Arsenal in January 2018 in a swap deal involving Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Related: ‘We created our own downfall,’ says Manchester United’s Solskjær

Related: The Premier League signings of the season ... are not who you might think

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‘We created our own downfall,’ says Manchester United’s Solskjær

Tue, 04/02/2019 - 23:10

• Ole Gunnar Solskjær: ‘We should have been three up’
• ‘We need 15 points from six games for Champions League spot’

Ole Gunnar Solskjær said Manchester United contributed to their own downfall after they were beaten by Wolves for the second time in less than three weeks. A 2-1 defeat at Molineux in which Ashley Young was sent off for two bookable offences means United have little margin for error if they are to finish in the top four.

Related: Own goal costs dear as Wolves rip into Manchester United’s top-four bid

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Own goal costs dear as Wolves rip into Manchester United’s top-four bid

Tue, 04/02/2019 - 21:52

Ole Gunnar Solskjær must be sick of the sight of Wolves. Only 17 days after being dumped out of the FA Cup quarter-finals by Nuno Espírito Santo’s increasingly impressive team, Manchester United suffered a defeat that could have severe ramifications for their hopes of finishing in the top four.

A match that could not have got off to a better start, after Scott McTominay scored in only 13 minutes, ended with a third defeat in four matches and Solskjær’s first since he was appointed the club’s permanent manager. That United were their own worst enemies compounded his sense of frustration.

Related: Fulham relegated after Watford’s Will Hughes opens the floodgates

Mike Dean’s first Premier League red card was dished out to Newcastle’s Nolberto Solano in their 1-0 defeat to Ipswich in April 2001, and his 100th went to Ashley Young for a second yellow card in the 2-1 loss at Wolves. It was Young’s second Premier League dismissal – his first was also by Dean, for Aston Villa in January 2009.

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