What the papers say

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Updated: 59 min 55 sec ago

Leeds v Manchester United: match preview

Sat, 02/19/2022 - 09:00

The likely duel involving Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes and Robin Koch is likely to form a key sub-plot as Marcelo Bielsa aims to atone for his side’s 5-1 defeat at Old Trafford back in August. Manchester United have changed managers since then but Fernandes, the scorer of a hat-trick in that dissection of Bielsa’s defence, remains and is likely to operate as the advanced playmaker in a 4-2-3-1 visiting formation. With Kalvin Phillips still sidelined by injury Koch is likely to anchor the Leeds midfield, with his principle task being to stop Fernandes. Given that the visitors are desperate to secure a Champions League place and Bielsa knows his side are too close to the relegation zone for comfort, much is at stake. Louise Taylor

Sunday 2pm Sky Sports Premier League

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Leaks and lost leads are haunting Manchester United under Rangnick | Karen Carney

Sat, 02/19/2022 - 08:00

An upturn appeared inevitable when the interim manager came in but little has changed for a fragile and cautious team

When Manchester United lost 4-1 at Watford in November, a defeat that cost Ole Gunnar Solskjær his job, things were that bad I thought it could only get better for the club. Since then not much has changed at Old Trafford.

The squad available to Ralf Rangnick should be finishing in the top four of the Premier League. They are fourth but could relinquish that position to teams who have games in hand. If they fail to qualify for the Champions League there will be a lot of blame to go round, not just for those in the dugout or on the pitch, but in the boardroom, too.

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Rangnick: atmosphere at Manchester United better without ‘unhappy’ players

Fri, 02/18/2022 - 15:28
  • Manager says squad was too big before transfer window
  • Harry Maguire to continue as captain for rest of season

Ralf Rangnick has admitted the atmosphere at Manchester United is better after “unhappy players” left in last month’s transfer window.

In January the first-team squad members Anthony Martial, Donny van de Beek and Amad Diallo made loan moves. Rangnick, who did not speak of anyone by name, said: “There were players unhappy, the squad was too big, players realised they wouldn’t get game time and the atmosphere is better than it used to be a couple of weeks ago. Now, for us it’s about performing well, showing togetherness on the pitch, winning games and those are the things we can influence.”

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Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend

Fri, 02/18/2022 - 00:01

Tottenham’s players out to do talking at Etihad, Dan James in the spotlight and Arsenal’s chance to make amends

Antonio Conte returns to the Etihad, a stadium that helped announce him to English football. Chelsea’s 3-1 defeat of Manchester City in December 2016 came midway through the 13-match winning run that seized control of that title race. Like Conte, Pep Guardiola was in his first Premier League season, and his team had no answer to Chelsea’s vigour and power. More than five years on and Guardiola is master of all he surveys, part of the furniture, commanding a bespoke, multifunctional squad. Conte has gained a reputation for blowing up and blowing out when all is not to his satisfaction. His Sky Italia interview this week was explicit in its opinion of Tottenham’s January transfer window. Conte taking on Guardiola in a battle between two of the game’s finest coaches should be an enticing prospect, but the Italian does not appear to believe his squad is capable of making it a contest. JB

Manchester City v Tottenham, Saturday 5.30pm

Arsenal v Brentford, Saturday 3pm

Crystal Palace v Chelsea, Saturday 3pm

Aston Villa v Watford, Saturday 3pm

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Cristiano Ronaldo ends drought to spark Manchester United win over Brighton

Tue, 02/15/2022 - 22:26

After 588 minutes of football and 47 days, the great drought is over. Cristiano Ronaldo, the scorer of more goals than anyone in the history of football, scored a goal, his first of 2022 and his first as a 37‑year‑old. In the process a serial Champions League winner put Manchester United in the position to return to the European elite.

Ronaldo had not gone seven games without a goal since 2008-09 and Brighton have never won at Old Trafford. The first half suggested history could be made but Albion ended up ruing a disastrous three-minute spell when Ronaldo struck and Lewis Dunk was sent off. And on a night when the other Manchester team vanquished Portuguese opponents, two Sporting alumni sent United up to fourth after Bruno Fernandes joined his compatriot on the scoresheet.

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Manchester United's 'ambition' is top four, says Ralf Rangnick – video

Tue, 02/15/2022 - 15:37

Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick has said that reaching the Premier League's top four is his side's main ambition this season. ''This is the highest possible achievement we can get,'' Rangnick said during a pre-match press conference ahead of the visit of Brighton. Despite a string of disappointing results for United, Rangnick is adamant that his players are absorbing his ideas. ''I think it's pretty obvious that the players are getting the ideas across the pitch.'' 

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Rangnick turns to sports psychologist to end Manchester United’s drawing habit

Mon, 02/14/2022 - 14:51

• Rangnick says he ‘speaks regularly’ with Sascha Lense

• United have surrendered leads in three successive matches

Ralf Rangnick has turned to his sports psychologist Sascha Lense to try to rebuild Manchester United’s confidence and end their habits of losing leads. United have drawn 1-1 in their past three games, all after scoring first and having an advantage at the break, resulting in the loss of four points and their elimination from the FA Cup. In Rangnick’s brief reign, they have drawn five times after being ahead and the interim manager accepted their belief has suffered.

He brought in Lense, who had worked with him at RB Leipzig, to address the mental side of the game and has turned to an old ally to address his players, ndividually and as a squad, in an attempt to make United more resilient.

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As Manchester United falter again, will Wolves go fourth? - Football Weekly

Mon, 02/14/2022 - 13:00

Max Rushden is joined by Jonathan Wilson, Troy Townsend and Paul MacInnes after a busy weekend at both ends of the Premier League table

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

On the podcast today; we look back at all the headlines from a busy Premier League weekend. Manchester United throw away yet another lead against an impressive Southampton. West Ham and Spurs also fail to register wins as Wolves emerge as a contender for the final Champions League spot.

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

Mon, 02/14/2022 - 08:00

Frank Lampard finds a new protege, Dan Burn makes a triumphant return and the race for fourth starts to look messy

Jürgen Klopp has described this as the strongest Liverpool squad he has had at his disposal. That Joe Gomez, Curtis Jones, Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi could not even make the bench supported the theory. Sean Dyche has lesser resources but by his own standards, he had a luxury of riches. Dwight McNeil was dropped for the first time this season. Tuesday’s scorer Jay Rodriguez and new signing Wout Weghorst started in attack. But both missed chances and the reality is that Burnley have scored three goals in nine games. Meanwhile, Maxwel Cornet took McNeil’s spot on the left. The Ivorian can seem a one-man goal-of-the-season contest, but a berth on the wing gave him less chance to let fly. Cornet rarely formed much of a strike partnership with the sold Chris Wood, but at least he offered explosive shooting. For Dyche, the decision is whether to restore him to the forward line. Richard Jolly

Match report: Burnley 0-1 Liverpool

Match report: Tottenham 0-2 Wolves

Match report: Norwich 0-4 Manchester City

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Ralf Rangnick says Manchester United players still 'care' after draw with Southampton – video

Sat, 02/12/2022 - 17:06

Manchester United interim manager, Ralf Rangnick, has insisted that 'no one should think players don't care' after their 1-1 draw with Southampton in the Premier League. The result means United have now drawn their last three games 1-1, including the FA Cup tie with Middlesbrough which they went on to lose on penalties, after leading in each of them at half-time. Rangnick had previously called on his players to score more goals with Cristiano Ronaldo, the top scorer with 14, now having not scored in six matches. 

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Che Adams strikes to grab point for Southampton at Manchester United

Sat, 02/12/2022 - 14:48

This was not quite the tale of two halves that was Manchester United’s draw at Burnley and penalty shootout defeat by Middlesbrough. In those last two outings Ralf Rangnick’s men were cruising before the interval and lost the plot after it. Today they did concede again after the tea and oranges but then held firm against a Southampton whose spirit impressed.

This was a very differerent Ralph Hassenhüttl side to the one that lost 9-0 in this fixture last season. Instead, United ended with a draw that cannot be categorised as a disaster: their opponents achieved the same result against Manchester City home and away.

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Manchester United v Southampton: Premier League – live!

Sat, 02/12/2022 - 12:24

Ralph Hasenhuttl talks to BT Sport. “Hopefully we will do better than last time! This is always a tough place to go. We have had some good games here. We have not had a long time to prepare, Wednesday evening to Saturday lunchtime is not so long, so it’s hard for the players, but we are ready. The guys are full of self-confidence, so let’s keep on going.”

Ralf Rangnick speaks to BT. “A consistent 90 minutes is exactly what we need against an in-form team like Southampton. We played extremely well in both first halves against Middlesbrough and Burnley but only being 1-0 up you are never on the safe side, and that’s why we need this level of performance today for 90, 94, 95 minutes. We have had 66 shots on goal in the last three games and just scored three, and that’s not enough.”

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Manchester United v Southampton: match preview

Fri, 02/11/2022 - 16:27

Fourteen goals in 11 matches tells a tale of Ralf Rangnick as Manchester United interim manager. His team may now start games quicker but a win, loss and draw from their past three games is poor. Southampton, with draws home and away against Manchester City, should present a challenge and as they also shut out the champions in the meeting at the Etihad Stadium United could again struggle to score, against Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side. Jamie Jackson

Saturday 12.30pm BT Sport 1

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Rangnick tells Ronaldo and Manchester United’s other forwards to score more

Fri, 02/11/2022 - 14:55
  • ‘It needs to get better,’ says interim manager
  • Rangnick urges team not to lose shape and composure

Ralf Rangnick is clear a lack of goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United’s other forwards in recent games has cost the team victory.

United have managed a single strike in each of their past three matches, drawing two – 1-1 against Middlesbrough, who beat them on penalties, and Burnley – and winning one, 1-0 against West Ham. There have been 14 United goals in Rangnick’s 11 matches as interim manager.

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Manchester United show few signs of improvement under Ralf Rangnick

Fri, 02/11/2022 - 10:43

United are just as mediocre and unreliable now as they were under Ole Gunnar Solskjær

By Josh Wright for WhoScored

Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s demise as Manchester United manager was drawn out and, by the end, humiliating. The curtain was not brought down on his time at the club after a 5-0 hammering at home to Liverpool, but an embarrassing 4-1 defeat to bottom-of-the-table Watford a month later. Fast forward 12 weeks and United have again stumbled against a side who are at the foot of the league. Their 1-1 draw at Burnley on Tuesday night, coupled with midweek wins for West Ham and Arsenal, leaves them sixth in the table.

Ralf Rangnick was meant to be an upgrade on Solskjær, who was questioned and mocked throughout his time in charge, but the team has not benefited from the same upturn in form they enjoyed when Solskjær took over in 2018. United won 10 of their first 12 league games under Solskjær, while also making it to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and Champions League. Rangnick has won five of his nine league games so far, while taking United out of the FA Cup after being drawn at home to a Championship club.

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Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend

Fri, 02/11/2022 - 00:00

A mouthwatering match-up on Tyneside, early pressure on Frank Lampard and the issue of crowd conduct

There could be no quibbling with Ralf Rangnick’s decision to drop Cristiano Ronaldo for Tuesday’s game at Burnley. The 37-year-old provided evidence in the manager’s defence by adding to Manchester United’s catalogue of bungled opportunities after being introduced from the bench. Earlier in the season Ronaldo’s sharpness regularly saved United. Now he has gone five matches without a goal and Rangnick cannot ignore the fact that, when Ronaldo is not scoring, he does not offer much else, unlike Edinson Cavani. With a resurgent Southampton visiting Old Trafford this weekend and United still chronically fragile at the back, Rangnick will need to field forwards who can be relied upon to convert most of their chances if they are to avoid falling further behind in the race for the top four. Does he have any? PD

Manchester United v Southampton, Saturday 12.30pm (all-times GMT)

Norwich v Manchester City, Saturday 5.30pm

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Rooney review – reputation rehab for former boy wonder and his off-pitch antics

Wed, 02/09/2022 - 21:30

Documentary designed to cement Wayne Rooney’s status as a sporting great and a family man, along with a healthy dose of public humiliation

Wayne Rooney’s playing career is barely cold in the ground and now we have this official-version documentary profile. It could all be a little premature, as Rooney-the-manager looks as if he will be just as interesting as Rooney-the-player, if not (yet) so stellar. But his current travails at Derby County are no doubt too recent, and certainly not triumphal enough, to make the grade in a film designed to reboot the collective memory banks and secure his status as a footballing great.

Despite his spectacular achievements – a boy wonder, leading goalscorer for both Manchester United and the England national team – Rooney was never exactly a glamorous figure, either on or off the pitch. This image was reinforced by a series of sleazy incidents that ensured he became grubby tabloid fodder. There is a strong element of reputational rehabilitation here, with lengthy sequences showing Rooney engaging in wholesome family activities, meekly accepting criticism from his wife Coleen, and interviews in which Rooney does his best to be frank. His natural defensiveness doesn’t help, though – along with his extensive deployment of the established footballers’ deflection technique of talking about themselves in the second and third person.

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FA contacts Wayne Rooney over claim he set out to hurt Chelsea player

Wed, 02/09/2022 - 08:18
  • Rooney changed studs to ‘try and injure someone’ in 2006
  • He says he left hole in John Terry’s foot with Manchester United

Wayne Rooney has been contacted by the Football Association after claiming he set out to injure a player in Manchester United’s Premier League match at Chelsea in 2006.

In a recent interview Rooney admitted he changed his studs to “big, long metal ones to try and hurt someone”. It is understood that the FA has moved to seek observations from the the Derby manager regarding his comments.

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Jay Rodriguez delivers Burnley point against wasteful Manchester United

Tue, 02/08/2022 - 22:04

Manchester United are in surrender mode. This was the latest second‑half capitulation, which is clearly not good enough, sparked by elite players such as Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Raphaël Varane, Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes being unable to kill off opponents who sit bottom of the Premier League.

As against Middlesbrough when being knocked out of the FA Cup on Friday, the plot was lost in the contest’s second 45 minutes. Burnley ended with a precious point handed to them by weak defending for Jay Rodriguez’s strike that cancelled out Pogba’s opener, and by United’s inability to fire thereafter.

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Burnley v Manchester United: Premier League – live!

Tue, 02/08/2022 - 20:29

The teams are out. Burnley is their famous claret and blue, Manchester United in their changed strip of dark blue with a neon yellow trim. Interesting to see Weghorst going around geeing up his Burnley teammates, sporting a black eye. Looks like a real leader, already!

The latest from David Squires, featuring Ed Woodward and Ralf Rangnick.

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