What the papers say
• Manager recalls PSG comeback and recent victory at City
Ole Gunnar Solskjær has admitted Manchester United require a “perfect performance” to knock Manchester City out of the Carabao Cup and reach the final.
United have to overturn a 3-1 deficit in Wednesday’s semi-final second leg against the holders at the Etihad Stadium.Continue reading...
- United’s first offer for midfielder rejected by Lisbon club
- Compromise needed on asking price for deal to happen
Manchester United are considering a fresh bid for Sporting Lisbon’s Bruno Fernandes, with negotiations set to be ramped up before Friday’s 11pm transfer deadline.Continue reading...
Our picture editors choose their favourite images from the weekend’s actionContinue reading...
• United thrashed their League One opponents 6-0
Ole Gunnar Solskjær sarcastically thanked the Tranmere goalkeeper, Scott Davies, for firing up his Manchester United players ahead of their emphatic FA Cup fourth-round victory at Prenton Park.Continue reading...
Prenton Park promised a depressing pitfall for Ole Gunnar Solskjær but instead it provided respite. His Manchester United team eased into the fifth round of the FA Cup with a comprehensive victory at Tranmere Rovers – the club’s biggest since the 8-2 defeat of Arsenal in 2011 – as a troubled week at Old Trafford ended without a fresh sense of crisis.
Tranmere, 21st in League One and tiring throughout, were no match for United from the moment Harry Maguire struck his first goal for the club in the 10th minute. The visitors were three up by the 16th minute and any trepidation that Solskjær may have felt at visiting a lower league opponent operating on a mud bath of a pitch evaporated.Continue reading...
- Live updates from 3pm GMT kick-off at Prenton Park
- Solskjær hopes win at Tranmere can kick-start United’s season
- Get in touch with John via email or on Twitter @JohnBrewin_
Ole’s hopes spring eternal.
For Manchester United, Romero. Dalot, Lindelof, Shaw, Lingard, Martial and Greenwood come in; it looks like Ole has opted for three centre backs, unless Phil Jones is going to resurrect his central midfield role of yore. Luke Shaw played at centre back last week so perhaps Ole has opted for a Pulisian/Allardici/Sgt Wilko approach of playing as many defenders as possible.
There has been one hell of an effort from volunteers and the club to get the pitch ready for this match, really quick turnaround. It looks like the centre of the field is where the best surface is. Prenton Park also hosts the Liverpool women’s team and a waterlogged pitch caused the cancellation of a women’s Merseyside derby not too long ago.
Here are the teams.
Ian Muir, Dave Challinor, Stuart “Barndoor” Barlow, Kenny Lunt, Wayne Allison, Aldo, Friday nights at Prenton Park, Half Man Half Biscuit blowing out an appearance on The Tube so they could stay on the Wirral to watch their heroes, reaching the semis in that weird Mercantile Credit Festival thing in 1988: how’s about that for all the Tranmere cliches?
After coming through an epic two-parter with Watford in the finest traditions of the FA Cup, now for not so-mighty Manchester United, the club - ‘cloob’ in the case of Ole Gunnar Solskjær - going through more crises than a series of The Colbys.
The pitch is a throwback to the Baseball Ground of the 1970s, and might even redouble as a location for the film 1917, so it could be a great leveller...and here comes the gag about how it could reduce Tranmere to Manchester United’s level. There is a shock in the offing here, though would it really be a shock if Micky Mellon and his men were swigging champagne in celebration at full-time?
Kick-off is at 3pm UK time, join me
The good news for Manchester United supporters seeking a little uplift at the end of a depressing week is that Ole Gunnar Solskjær is looking forward to playing on the notorious Tranmere Rovers pitch. “A game on the Prenton Park surface sums up the romance of the FA Cup for me,” the United manager said. “We should be able to go to a League One side and outplay them but, if the state of the pitch makes that impossible, then we’re up for a scrap. We want to go as far as we can in this competition, I’d love to get to the final.”
Solskjær knows perfectly well, of course, that Louis van Gaal not only reached the final but won at Wembley in 2016 and was still sacked the same weekend, but he is not about to break the habit of the past 12 months and start feeling sorry for himself.Continue reading...
Twenty-five years have passed since Cantona launched himself into the crowd at Selhurst Park. It remains his best moment
Eric Cantona scored 82 goals for Manchester United. He won four league titles and two Doubles, and was a catalyst for the most successful period in the club’s history. None of that will keep him warmest in his dotage. “My best moment? I have a lot of good moments but the one I prefer is when I kicked the hooligan.”
Cantona always refers to Matthew Simmons, with a delightful, absent-minded contempt, as “the hooligan”. It’s a neat way of dehumanising the gobby fan he dealt with when he tried to kick racism out of football on 25 January 1995. Twenty-five years later, the footage and images of his kung-fu kick retain an exhilarating power. It was the definitive example of what Alex Ferguson called Cantona’s “defiant charisma”. His defiance that night defined his career, and also his life.
Related: The targetContinue reading...
News and previews for the weekend’s games as Liverpool visit Shrewsbury, Chelsea go to Hull and Southampton host Spurs
Friday 8pm BT Sport 1 Venue Sixfields
Referee Darren England VAR No Odds H 10-3 A Evs D 11-4
Head-to-head Derby six wins, Northampton none; four draws
At around 11pm on Thursday Paul Mullin was standing on the bog of a pitch at Prenton Park reliving his match-winner for Tranmere against Watford while, outside, fans had started queuing for tickets to the prized draw of an FA Cup date with Manchester United. Hopefully with more luck than the avid Liverpool fan Mullin had trying to attend United’s visit to Anfield last weekend. Going toe-to-toe with Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s fragile team on Sunday offers ample compensation.
“That and Barcelona last season are the only games in two years I haven’t been able to get a ticket for,” lamented the 25-year-old, who was in the same Liverpool youth team as Raheem Sterling before their careers took very different paths.Continue reading...
• ‘Klopp spent four years building his team,’ Solskjær claims
Ole Gunnar Solskjær believes managing Manchester United demands more mental strength than at any other club and insists he is up to the challenge.
The Norwegian hopes to avert United losing three consecutive games for the first time since April in Sunday’s FA Cup fourth-round tie at Tranmere Rovers. After defeats by Liverpool and Burnley Solskjær is facing renewed questions regarding his job. David Moyes and Louis van Gaal were convinced they would be granted time to turn around United’s fortunes but were sacked.Continue reading...
• Manager dismisses idea United will be vulnerable in FA Cup tie
• Mellon: ‘We will be up against a formidable outfit’
Micky Mellon said Tranmere would embrace their lucrative fourth-round FA Cup tie against Manchester United but denied Sunday represented an ideal opportunity to increase Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s problems.
Rovers, languishing 21st in League One, secured a home tie with Old Trafford’s fallen giants by overcoming Watford in extra time at Prenton Park. Mellon was manager of Shrewsbury Town when Louis van Gaal’s team won a fifth-round encounter en route to claiming the FA Cup in 2016 and insisted first-hand experience taught him not to treat United lightly.Continue reading...
The protest songs began around the hour mark, shortly after Burnley had scored their second goal: swelling and swirling around the tired, peeling old ground like hymns to a hazily-remembered past. One was about wanting their United back. Another proposed chopping Ed Woodward up from head to toe: the same grisly verse that had greeted the Glazer family when they first rolled into Old Trafford in the summer of 2005. Another beseeched fans to stand up if they hated the Glazers. Thousands of fans got to their feet. To be fair, they might simply have been heading for the exits.
For his part, Ole Gunnar Solskjær is very much a ground-half-full rather than a ground-half-empty kind of guy. After being pasted by Manchester City in the Carabao Cup semi-final, he took heart from the fact City had put out their strongest team. After being outclassed by Liverpool, he paid tribute to the fact they had been “in the game until the last kick”. And again, despite going down 2-0 to Burnley at Old Trafford amid an unprecedented fan exodus and the worst start to a league season for 30 years, the Manchester United manager was keen to look on the bright side.Continue reading...
On Wednesday night Ed Woodward discovered another problem with the appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjær as Manchester United’s manager. The Norwegian, the hero of the Camp Nou in 1999, is all but unimpeachable even if his team play lumpen football and a series of ill-conceived decisions have exposed an unsuitability for top-level management.
And so United’s fans’ ire must be directed elsewhere, and while the club’s executive vice-chairman has been in the firing line for much of his near-seven years running the club, Solskjær is not David Moyes, Louis van Gaal or José Mourinho, a hired hand who doubles as a human shield for Woodward. “He’s gonna die, Ed Woodward is gonna die”, as sung during the 2-0 home defeat by Burnley, is a repurposed chant historically aimed at Manchester City, less a threat than a vivid, unseemly expression of hatred.Continue reading...
- United have no intention of sacking manager
- Club want to give Solskjær more time to improve team
Manchester United have given Ole Gunnar Solskjær their unequivocal backing in the wake of the dismal home defeat by Burnley that prompted calls for change at the club.
Solskjær’s team have lost eight times in the Premier League this season and are 30 points behind the leaders, Liverpool, who have two games in hand.Continue reading...
Further pressure mounts on Ole Gunnar Solskjær after his Manchester United side suffered a 2-0 defeat to Burnley, the first time the Clarets have won at Old Trafford since 1962. ‘You can lose to teams that out play you, but tonight should have been a game we should have won,’ admitted Solskjær. As well as trouble on the pitch, fans off the field could be heard chanting against club owners the Glazers and Ed WoodwardContinue reading...
• ‘I can understand supporters are disappointed’
Ole Gunnar Solskjær described himself as “disillusioned” following Manchester United’s insipid 2-0 defeat by Burnley and said he could understand the disgruntlement shown by supporters.
It was Burnley’s first win at Old Trafford for 58 years and home fans chanted against the club’s owners, the Glazers, and the executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward. It was also United’s eighth league defeat of the season and Solskjær was asked how fans could be convinced United can turn their form around.Continue reading...
Burnley have a famous first win at Manchester United since 1962 and Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side must again regroup somehow. This was a defeat that spoke of their deep callowness and their inability to turn possession into goals.
Burnley were sharper at the business end of the pitch, leaving United to rue a chance to close the gap to fourth-placed Chelsea to three points. Instead the deficit is six and United’s one-step forward, one-step back form continues.Continue reading...
- Premier League updates from the 8.15pm GMT kick-off
- Live scores: all the goals from the UK and Europe
- And email Barry here or tweet @bglendenning
44 min: Another shot from Pereira, who pulls a harmless low, diagonal effort from distance across the face of goal and into the waiting arms of Pope. A nearby pitchside microphone picks out a contemptuous cry of “SHITE!” from a nearby spectator with a Mancunian accent.
43 min: A hopelessly optimistic Andreas Pereira tries a shot from distance that prompts whistles of derision from the fans behind Nick Pope’s goal.
40 min: Well, that could scarcely have been more direct, but whatever works, eh? Very much against the run of play, United have conceded from yet another set-piece. The ball was wellied to the edge of the penalty area, where Ben Mee headed it into the mixer. Wood’s finish was excellent, his reactions commendably quick as the ball sat up for him about 10 yards from goal.
Burnley take the lead. A free-kick from the centre-circle finds Ben Mee, who flicks it on. The ball sits up nicely for Chris Wood, who swivels and smashes the ball past De Gea.
37 min: Lowton sends a hopeful ball from deep towards the Manchester United penalty area, trying to pick out Chris Wood. David de Gea claims the ball with a minimum of fuss.
36 min: More crisp, quick passing from Manchester United as they unsuccessfully try to find an opening in the Burnley defence. They make it to the edge of the final third before Matt Lowton intervenes and wellies the ball 60 yards down the pitch.
33 min: Charlie Taylor dives in with a perfectly timed tackle to prevent Anthony Martial from opening scoring after being teed up in the Burnley penalty area. A poor first touch from the United striker didn’t help his cause.
31 min: More good play from Wan-Bissaka, who gets the better of McNeill down the right and sends a cross arcing into the Burnley penalty area. The ball goes out for a corner, with Pope diverting Dan James’s header wide. Nothing comes from the set-piece.
30 min: Dearie me. Burnley win a free-kick just outside the Manchester United penalty area in a great position, but Dwight McNeill balloons his effort high over the bar.
28 min: No sooner do I type that than Juan Mata misses a glorious opportunity to put Manchester United ahead. Aaron Wan-Bissake sends in another cross from the right and it takes a slight deflection off a defender. On the edge of the six yard box, Mata completely misses the ball when he looked certain to score.
27 min: As we approach the half-hour mark, you’d have to conclude the people who chose not to occupy their seats tonight made a very wise decision. THere’s not much in the way of entertainment here, with neither side providing any cutting edge.
24 min: Chris Wood heads a good chance narrowly wide from the edge of the six year box. Burnley had a free-kick a long way out, the ball was lumped into the box, where Wood was teed up by a knock-down from Mee. Had he hit the target he would have scored, although the pointy-heads at VAR HQ might have had something to say about either his (a) possibly being offside and (b) sly shove in the back of Harry Maguire as the ball came in.
23 min: ANthony Martial tries to pick out Dan James, who is on a gallop down the left wing. His pass is intercepted by Tarkowski.
23 min: Nick Pope gets down quickly to save a low left-footed drive from Fred.
21 min: Empty seat watch: There are visible clusters of unoccupied seats dotted here and there around the ground. Unsurprising, I guess, seeing as it’s a school night and the opposition aren’t particularly glamourous.
19 min: Manchester United continue to dominate, with Burnley having got just one touch of the ball inside their hosts’ penalty area. Pereira picks out Wan-Bissaka on the right and United work the ball across the face of the Burnley penalty area. Excellent pressure from the defence sends them backwards again, with Harry Maguire forced to pass the ball back into his own half. Good, well organised defending from the visitors.
16 min: Dan James plays the ball wide to Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who squares the ball for Anthony Martial. It’s on a plate for the Frenchman, who sticks out a toe and somehow steers the ball well off target when scoring looked easier. A poor miss, or is he still lame from his injury in the opening minutes?
15 min: Manchester United are forced back into their own half by the Burnley press, with Matic eventually passing the ball back to his goalkeeper, David de Gea.
13 min: Manchester United have started well and are moving the ball around quickly and largely accurately, their full-backs fully involved as they play high up the pitch. No chances of note for either side yet, mind.
11 min: Aaron Wan-Bissaka gets the better of Taylor and sends a low cross fizzing into the Manchester United penalty area from the right. Andreas Pereira is unable to turn and shoot, trapped as he is in the shackles of Jack Cork. Good defending from the midfielder.
10 min: Brandon Williams jinks this way and that on the inside left, before sending in a cross. Fred shapes to pull the trigger, but his shot is blocked by Charlie Taylor.
9 min: Manchester United corner. Andreas Pereira sends the ball into the penalty area, where Nick Pope claims comfortably.
8 min: Matt Lowton hoofs the ball long for Jay Rodriguez to chase, but the Burnley forward runs it out of play under pressure for a throw-in.
7 min: There’s a pause in play as Anthony Martial receives treatment after landing awkwardly. He gets to his feet and hobbles to the touchline and then limps back on when summoned by the referee. I’m not sure he’ll be able to continue for much longer, although he may just run the injury off. It looks like he’s twisted his ankle.
6 min: United fans concerned about the presence of Phil Jones in their team’s ranks will be relieved to hear the defender has started reasonably well in this, only his second Premier League start of the season. He’s had a couple of good clearing headers and made one interception on the deck so far.
4 min: Manchester United play the ball out from the back, with assorted Burnley players pressing hard. Their pressure and hard work pays off as Harry Maguire sends a wayward pass out for a throw-in.
3 min: Juan Mata gets forward down the right touchline, with Andreas Pereira in support. A promising looking move breaks down when Aaron Wan-Bissaka is flagged for offside.
2 min: Fred shoots from just outside the Burnley penalty area, but fails to get any power on a shot which rolls tamely wide.
1 min: Juan Mata gets the ball rolling with Manchester United playing into the Stretford End. Jack Cork clatters into Fred, going right through the Manchester United midfielder and conceding a free-kick. That should have been a booking, but he gets that one for free early doors.
Phil Bardsley: The Burnley defender is out with a back injury. He wanted to play, according to his manager Sean Dyche, but the Burnley manager didn’t want to risk him doing a Rashford and making things worse.
Not long now: Out march the teams, with the players of Manchester United wearing red shirts, white shorts and black socks. Burnley’s wear light blue shirts, shorts and socks, perhaps in the hope it will lend the occasion a derby feel and help them play like Manchester City.
A win for Manchester United ... would move them within three points of Chelsea in the battle for fourth place, following the failure of Frank Lampard’s side to see off 10-man Arsenal last night.
Into the dragon’s den: This is not something I’ve noticed before - Manchester United training tops festooned with a dragon motif to celebrate the 2020 Chinese New Year. A quick Google reveals they were debuted ahead of their match against Norwich City earlier this month. Weirdly, 2020 is the Year of the Rat, but I suppose a giant rodent motif wouldn’t look quite as ... em, fetching.
An email: “Here in the U.S. there is a brand new commercial on NBC Sports promoting their coverage of the Premier League in which the voice over man declares ‘Manchester United’s resurgence has them climbing back up the table;,” writes JR in Illinois. “For real. What a world we live in, eh?” Resurgence, eh? Nurse! The screens!
Growing apathy at Old Trafford? It may just be the particular echo chamber of Twitter that I inhabit, but I couldn’t help but notice a few Manchester United-supporting folk mention today that they either weren’t bother going to tonight’s game, or knew other fans who couldn’t be bothered to go. If the sight of empty seats at Old Trafford becomes a regular one, the Glazers and Ed Woodward would not be best pleased, even if they are almost entirely to blame for this apparent apathy.
The Phil Jones klaxon has been sounded loud and clear over Old Trafford, with this match perhaps coming a little too soon for Eric Bailly, who has been out all season with a knee injury. Mason Greenwood starts on the bench, with Andreas Pereira and Juan Mata getting the nod ahead of him. Luke Shaw also drops to the bench.
Man Utd: De Gea, Wan Bissaka, Jones, Maguire, Williams, Fred, Matic, Andreas Pereira, Mata, James, Martial.
Subs: Bailly, Lingard, Dalot, Romero, Shaw, Greenwood, Gomes.
Manchester United target Bruno Fernandes will not still be at Sporting Lisbon after the summer and Paul Pogba may decide to leave Old Trafford, according to the players’ agents.
Having been sent on to play against Wolves last week despite suffering from a back injury that he promptly made worse, Marcus Rashford is expected to be out for up to three months, while Victor Lindelof is also a doubt after being sent home early from training by club medical staff yesterday. With Marcos Rojo and Axel Tuanzebe also injured, Eric Bailly or Phil Jones could start in the heart of Manchester United’s defence. Midfielders Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay also remain sidelined.
While Burnley eased the pressure on themselves with a much-needed win over Leicester at the weekend, Manchester United had no such luck. While there was no shame in only going down 2-0 to Liverpool, the gaping chasm in class between the two sides could scarcely have been more apparent and they Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s men could easily have lost by five or six.
While Manchester United fans are desperate for Ole to succeed, one suspects that anything less than a win against their visitors from Turf Moor could result in their patience wearing thin. Their anger at the club’s stagnation in the face of massive financial outlay is currently being vented at the club’s owners, the Glazers, and their executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, who are ultimately responsible for the club’s disastrous transfer policy over the past five or six seasons.Continue reading...
• Timeframe for recovery unclear with Euro 2020 in doubt
Marcus Rashford is confident of returning to action for Manchester United before the end of the season. The United and England striker is facing a lengthy lay-off after suffering a stress fracture of the back in last week’s FA Cup third-round replay against Wolves.
Thanks guys, I’ll be back before the season ends to hopefully help my team claim top 4 https://t.co/JhTUi8yzLOContinue reading...