Red Rants Archives for January 2013

Former coach reveals United keeper’s struggle

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Eric Steele, the former United goalkeeping coach, has revealed David De Gea's career at Old Trafford didn't get off to a flying start, due to the Spaniard's "lazy" attitude towards learning English and to his penchant for eating "too many tacos".

Steele is widely credited with being the figure who turned De Gea from a young, promising yet unreliable goalkeeper into one of the best shot-stopper in the world in the space of two years, after De Gea arrived from Atletico Madrid for £17.

United manager writes off European chances

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The morning after the day before, United find themselves three points clear of the relegation zone, having not scored a Premier League goal from open play since the opening day of the season and with an unfamiliar feeling borne out of some the abject performances offered in the first six weeks of the campaign.

Abject United stumble again

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"There'll be more days like last Sunday" said David Moyes during the week, as he illustrated the transition Manchester United are going through at this moment in time. Well, David, thanks for the reminder but you shouldn't have bothered to press your point home so swiftly.

Today's defeat against West Bromwich, United's first at Old Trafford against the Baggies since 1978, won't hurt as much as last Sunday's derby shellacking but is, in many ways, much, much worse than the abject performance that led to capitulate against a side that lost to Aston Villa today.

Spain starlet yet again on United’s radar

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Manchester United are set to revive their interest in Athletic Bilbao's midfielder Ander Herrera, with club scouts due to monitor the 24-year-old in action this weekend, as David Moyes looks to make sure the January transfer window doesn't bring the same disappointment United had to face at the beginning of the month.

Defiant Moyes’ confident about the future

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David Moyes vowed to turn things around at Old Trafford after Manchester United got off to a rather unimpressive start to their league campaign this year, and Moyes believes the way his players responded in last night's Capital One Cup against Liverpool was the first step towards redemption.

Having lost to Liverpool and drawn against Chelsea earlier this month, the manner of Sunday's embarrassing defeat at the hands of Manchester City had piled pressure on the United manager, but Moyes revealed the criticism hadn't hurt him, despite coming only five weeks into his first Premier League campaign in charge of the club.

Did Fergie’s decision make Mourinho “cry”?

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Jose Mourinho cried when Manchester United appointed David Moyes as Sir Alex Ferguson's successor, according to a respected Spanish journalist.

In his new book, Prepare to Lose: the Mourinho Era,Diego Torres, a sport journalist for the popular El Pais newspaper, claims that the current Chelsea manager was so certain to be the man Sir Alex Ferguson would choose to replace him that he broke down in tears when he was told he had been overlooked.

Beating Liverpool, a Peautiful feeling

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If Sunday's capitulation against Manchester City had been United's lowest point for quite some time, more for the manner through which the defeat arrived than for the result itself, tonight was the perfect response as far as David Moyes was concerned.

Granted, United did not exactly play entertaining football and, at times, were pegged by Liverpool and perhaps a tad lucky to escape with a clean sheet but while Moyes' could have rightly criticised his players' performance on Sunday, the effort his players showed tonight can't be faulted.

“There’ll be more days like Sunday”, says United manager

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David Moyes has warned United fans that the club are in a transitional phase and that those thinking that Sunday's derby day shellacking at the hands of Manchester City was a one-off occasion could be hugely disappointed.

The United manager told the Guardianthat failing to adequately strengthen the squad over the summer has made the transition from Sir Alex Ferguson to him even more difficult and that it will take time to start seeing results.

Barca midfielder on United’s radar

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Having lost out to Bayern Munich in the race for Thiago Alcantara and having had three offers for Cesc Fabregas rebuffed, Ed Woodward and David Moyes could be knocking on Barcelona's door yet again this winter.

The Daily Express reports that United have expressed an interest in Barca's Alex Song, the former Arsenal midfielder who moved to the Catalan giants for £16m a year ago but has been struggling to secure a spot in the starting XI ever since.

Time for Moyes to throw caution to the wind

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The knives that had been duly sharpened throughout the summer finally began to come out after Sunday's derby collapse. Having stepped into the most difficult job in English football, David Moyes' first Manchester derby was the stuff of nightmares for United fans who watched on as their team was torn apart with mercurial precision by Manchester City.

Rooney: “United not good enough”

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Wayne Rooney has criticised United's performance or rather, lack of against Manchester City on Sunday, as the Reds suffered one of the most embarrassing derby defeats in recent years.

United ensured David Moyes' first Manchester derby was one to forget as they surrendered four goals in the first 50 minutes, with City punching holes through United's midfield at will, Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand buckling under pressure against Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo and Danny Welbeck never involved in the game.

United’s deficiencies are laid bare by City

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When it rains, the saying goes, it pours. United didn't so much have to negotiate some heavy rain, rather they endured a torrential downpour as they produced one of the most abject derby performances in recent years.

A day that had started badly with the news of Robin Van Persie missing out because of a thigh strain became progressively worse as United's limits were laid bare and repeatedly exposed by an impressive City side which, painful as it is to admit, thoroughly deserved the win and could have even scored a couple of more goals.

Title rivals go head-to-head

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Four games in, and United and City are level at 7 points. Predictions for City this season are sky high with conventional wisdom that Pellegrini will be able to steady the club, and increased spending expected to turn into points.

This is a team many expect to win the title or come very close.

“Derby not our biggest game”, says United star

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Wayne Rooney has addedto the fire ahead of Sunday's derby by claiming it is not the biggest game of the season for Manchester United.

Rooney, who's enjoyed a timely return to form, with three goals in his last two appearances, has told the Mirror that, while City's emergence as title contenders in recent years has added further interest to an already important fixture for both sets of fans, City aren't United biggest rivals.

Attack’s Derby Day best form of defence

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It's that time of the year again. Sunday sees this season's first installment of one of the two fixtures that I'd happily scrap from the calendar Liverpool away being the other as it gets him stupidly excited on the Friday, utterly pessimistic on the Saturday and terribly nervous on the Sunday feel free to arrange the feelings and the days accordingly in the case of a Monday or Saturday kick-off.

Striking partnership pleases team-mates

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Ahead of Sunday's first derby of the season at the Etihad, Michael Carrick and David De Gea have expressed their belief that Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie are on course to develop into a fearsome partnership.

Van Persie and Rooney were both on target against Crystal Palace on Saturday and they delivered again on Tuesday, as United put four past Bayer Leverkusen in their opening Champions League match of the season.

“Rooney’s fantastic”, says Fergie

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Wayne Rooney has found a surprise ally in quest to win back even the most stubborn among the United supporters, as Sir Alex Ferguson has offered an unexpected olive branch to the striker who spent the summer trying to engineer a move away from the club.

After his final game at Old Trafford last season, the former United manager claimed that Rooney had asked to leave the club, unhappy at the treatment he had received by Ferguson and at being played out of position.

We only sing when we’re winning

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As news broke out yesterday that United are planning to trial a singing section during the Champions League against Real Sociedad next month, my phone and Twitter feed were bombarded by non-Reds friends expressing their rather predictable opinions about the club's latest attempt to generate some atmosphere at Old Trafford.

“Dear fans…” United’s unapologetic letter

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In football, it's not unheard of fans writing to their club. Whether to request a ticket, to have their name flashed across the big screen on their birthday or simply to vent their anger and frustration, in the past many fans have wrote letters and sent emails addressed to the club they support.

Obviously clubs do their fair bit of correspondence too, but their letters and emails are normally aimed at advertising the latest merchandise product or to inform fans about ticket availability.

200 not out for fickle fans’ favourite

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It would have been the perfect opportunity to clear the air once and for all.

Nobody expected an apology, nor demanded one, for Rooney's character is as proud as it is complex and the 27-year-old was never going to crawl back towards the Stretford End waving a white flag and begging us to take him back.

United star hints at stay

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After a turbulent summer during which he was denied a move to Chelsea, Wayne Rooney has admitted he must now knuckle down and work hard to regain the fans' faith nor that he needs to, judging by the scenes that unfolded on Tuesday night and, for the first time in a long time, has hinted his future might lie at Old Trafford.

Rooney makes history for United

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"He was afraid," said Roy Keane of one his teammates prior to the second leg of the semifinal in the 2001-02 season when United were knocked out on away by Leverkusen. "Played for his country, won championships, big star, fucking afraid of taking the big step up."

There was no place for fear ahead of David Moyes' first Champions League game in charge of Manchester United, certainly not in the man who, after signing for the club, stated his desire to emulate the belligerent Irishman's achievements in a red shirt.

Match Preview: The road to Lisbon starts here

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Manchester United open their Champions League campaign at home against Bayer Leverkusen tonight, as David Moyes' men look to take the first step on the road to Lisbon, after two disappointing seasons in Europe.

David Moyes will be in charge of Manchester United in a European game for the first time in his career, as the Scotsman makes his managerial debut in the competition proper, having previously managed Everton in their third qualifying round defeat against Villareal in the 2005-06 season.

United enter uncharted territory

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"The big challenges are the biggest stage and it is a true test of all footballers in Europe," said former United manager Sir Alex Ferguson who, like Sir Matt Busby had done before him, immediately grasped the notion that, for all their desire to succeed domestically, Manchester United live and die by the European Cup.

Cross-town rivals set to pounce on United’s starlet

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In news that will surprise nobody, given the club's ever-growing reputation for handling contracts issues with the same composure and efficiency of a man desperately needing the toilet while stuck underground on the Tube, Manchester United face losing Adnan Januzaj to Manchester City.

The Belgian was the latest academy product to make the step up to first team when he made his debut against Crystal Palace on Saturday, as he enjoyed an impressive 30-minute cameo after replacing Ashley Young.

European chance excites United manager

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Manchester United kick off their Champions League campaign against Bayer Leverkusen at Old Trafford this evening, the first time United enter the competition with a different manager other than Sir Alex Ferguson.

The game also marks David Moyes' debut in the competition proper, as the former Everton manager's only previous experience in the competition dates back to the 2005-06 season when the Toffees were knocked out in the third qualifying round by Villareal, who would then go on to reach the semifinals that season.

Moyes sets target for striker

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David Moyes has claimed that Wayne Rooney should set himself a target of around 30 goals per season and that he believes Rooney and Robin Van Persie could develop into a fearsome partnership, now that the England striker is seemingly on his way to redemption, after agitating for a move away from the club throughout the summer.

United talisman keen to extend deal

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After a summer of disappointment, United fans might at last have something to cheer about as Robin Van Persie has announced that he's keen to extend his stay at Old Trafford beyond the remaining years of his current contract.

The Dutchman, who arrived from Arsenal for £24m in August 2012 and signed a four-year deal, won the Golden Boot in his first season at the club, proving a crucial factor in United's title winning campaign and becoming the number one striker at the club.

Moyes to fight Young’s old habits

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David Moyes has stated he'll have a word with Ashley Young after the United winger's embarrassing behaviour saw him getting booked for simulation against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Young, who has developed a reputation for tumbling to the ground rather too willingly and rather too often, brought his personal pantomime to a whole new level against Palace as he stuck out his leg to make sure it made contact withKagisho Dikgacoi's shin, before theatrically and pathetically tumbling to the ground.

Big spending rivals set sights on United star

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The transfer window might have shut two weeks ago, but the rumours surrounding players and clubs haven't stopped and, if anything, are likely to grow increasingly louder between now and January.

Having been linked with a move away from the club over the summer, Wayne Rooney seems to be gradually endearing himself again to team-mates and fans alike (personally, the "Rooooooooooney", "Rooooooooooney" chants remain utterly patheticand are definitely premature) but he could find himself at the centre of another transfer saga this winter.

Wigs, dives and three points

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A promising debut for an 18-year-old, an exquisite freekick from a player who had looked poised to join one of United's direct rivals throughout the summer and the first glimpse of the only significant signing to arrive in the transfer window would, normally, be enough reason to be cheerful.

Except that the 2-0 win matured against a newly-promoted side who spent the entire second half playing with 10 men after conceding a rather dubious penalty and that United barely looked to be playing with the handbrake on for large spells of the game.

United look to get back on track against Palace

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Manchester United host Crystal Palace in today's early kick-off looking to get their Premier League campaign back on track, after picking up only a point from the last two games and having failed to score in back-to-back Premier League games for the first time since August 2007.

Having failed to significantly bolster their squad this summer, with the exception of Marouane Fellaini, and with the Manchester derby looming large on the horizon, David Moyes knows United can't afford to slip up at home against newly promoted Palace, who boasted a rather unimpressive away record in the Championship last season, as they picked up 25 points from 23 games on the road.

Fellaini’s impact could mirror United’s very best

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50 years ago today, George Best made his debut for Manchester United and even those who don't have United rushing through their veins respectfully acknowledge the brilliance of the late Northern Irishman and the impact he had not just on United, but on football as a whole throughout a career cut short by excesses.

United captain not missing the hairdryer

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Nemanja Vidic has admitted that despite a somewhat lacklustre start to the campaign which has seen United drop five points in three games, David Moyes is still to unleash his own version of the "hairdryer" onto his players.

After a promising opening day at Swansea where United trounced Michael Laudrup's side 4-1, David Moyes' men were held to a 0-0 draw at home by Chelsea before slumping to a 1-0 defeat against Liverpool as the former Everton manager returned to Merseyside for the first time since joining United.

Fergie’s recipe for success

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Sir Alex Ferguson has explained his managerial blueprint, highlighting the factors that are crucial to succeed in football but has admitted that the conditions he found during his 26 years are extremely difficult to replicate and, in all likelihood, they never will.

In a series of interviews with the Harvard Business School professor Anita Elberse, the former United manager stressed the importance of setting high standards within the club, from its personnel, to the players' behaviour on and off the pitch, to ensure the club remains competitive.

United star could sit out derby

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Despite still not having returned to full training, Wayne Rooney has a 50/50 chance of being fit for this season's first Manchester derby as United take on City at the Etihad a week on Sunday.

The United striker has been working with the club's physios as he aims to recover from the severe cut to his head he suffered after accidentally colliding with Phil Jones in training over 10 days ago.

United midfielder puzzled over exclusion

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Shinji Kagawa has expressed his frustration at the lack of playing time he has had to endure in the first month of the season as the Japanese playmaker has played only seven minutes of David Moyes' first four official games in charge of Manchester United.

Having come off the bench in the closing stages of United's Community Shield game against Wigan, the former Dortmund is still to make his league debut this season and was left out of the squad that traveled to Anfield 10 days ago, as United stumbled to a 1-0 defeat after a rather unimpressive and insipid performance.

United monitoring Blade runner

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The transfer window might have shut over a week ago in rather farcical fashion as far as those of a red allegiance are concerned and the international break has managed to bore the majority of us out of our minds, but United seem to be rather active beyond the scenes as David Moyes has begun the process of identifying some of his targets for the January transfer window.

The fools on the hill

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Day after day,
Alone on a hill,
The man with the foolish grin is keeping perfectly still
But nobody wants to know him,
They can see that he's just a fool,
And he never gives an answer,

But the fool on the hill,
Sees the sun going down,
And the eyes in his head,
See the world spinning 'round.

Breaking down David Moyes’ United

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Now 'silly season' is over I agree with many that the time is right to stop griping about the horror show transfer window and focus on how David Moyes can maximize results with the squad we have.

These are my own theories as to what I hope David Moyes does with the team by breaking down the positions, players and formations.

United’s summer of sheer ineptitude

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The morning after the night before felt discouraging and underwhelming, the disappointment amplified by a summer of empty promises.

United fans went to bed dreaming of Ander Herrera and Sami Khedira and woke up to the news that Marouane Fellaini had become a Manchester United player overnight.

United confirm signing after window shuts

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Manchester United did in fact sign Mrouanne Fellaini for £27.5m making him the only Signing of the clubs farcical summer.

The fee is an embarrassing £4.5m more than the buy-out clause which expired at the end of July.

Reports are also confirming the club tied up the season-long loan deal of Real Madrid's Fabio Coentrao.

Embarrassing United fall woefully short of minimum expectations

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Fucking shambles, nothing more nothing less. Fellaini unconfirmed, Herrera fell through, Mata to PSG so possibly not a single player brought in.

I've tried to back the club all summer while others suggest there's no money and no intention to buy anyone. Even as the incompetent clowns behind the scenes find original ways to make a mess of every single thing they do (bar finding new sponsors) I've been confident they would get it right eventually.

United in Deadline-Day disaster movie

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First there was "The Poseidon Adventure" then "The Towering Inferno" followed by other noteworthy disasters like "Earthquake, "The Day After Tomorrow", "2012″ and of course everyone's favourite, "Titanic". Now it seems the right time to add another to the list. The long anticipated but highly dreaded "Manchester United 2013 The Summer That Never Was".

United finally make their first signing of the summer

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Reports are emerging that United have signed Ander Herrera on a 5yr deal from Atletico Bilbao.

The reports are of Spanish origin and just like everyone else we're waiting for official confirmation.

Earlier today Guillem Balague suggested Herrera was the best midfielder in Spain last year and United have a great player on their hands well worth the £30m+ transfer fee.

United within hours of purchasing their THREE main deadline day targets

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Manchester United are on the verge of securing their THREE main transfer deadline day deals leaving enough time to sprinkle a bit of luxury on the squad during the final few hours.

Ander Herrera and Marouanne Fellaini are deals which just require the T's crossing before becoming 'confirmed' while Juan Mata is working hard to push his transfer out of Chelsea before the window closes later today.

Herrera deal almost finalised

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A deal between Manchester United and Athletico Blibao to bring Ander Herrera to Old Trafford has almost been reached after United offered his £30.5m buy-out fee.

Rumours linking United with the talented Spanish midfielder only began to circulate late last week but have gathered pace over the weekend and now look ominous as the player also agreed to lower his wage demands in an effort to make his United move a reality.

United linked with a new striker on final day of the window

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Manchester United are expected to make a deadline-day move for FC Porto striker Jackson Martinez.

Martinez scored 26 goals in 30 league games for the Portuguese outfit last season, catching the attention of several top European clubs in the process.

A Colombia international, Martinez is delaying on signing a new contract with Porto as he is believed to be keen on a move abroad.

Deadline day likely to be the busiest in history?

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Having purchased no one to strengthen the squad so far this summer, Manchester United look likely to do all their business in the final few hours of the window.

Marouanne Fellaini, Leighton Baines, Ander Herrera, Juan Mata, Mesut Ozil and even Yohan Cabaye are all rumoured to be possible targets for David Moyes whose long term future could hinge on the outcome of today.

Will Moyes hit the panic button after Anfield defeat?

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I have to say it was not my intention of writing a review of today's match but seeing as Dan is on vacation, I guess it is important that somebody does fill in and offer a take on what happened, so here goes nothing.

I have to start off by saying that things looked ominous and very suspect before the kickoff.