Red Rants Archives for January 2015

Has Rooney’s time come and what does the future hold?

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Wayne Rooney has been awarded a testimonial by Manchester United, to be held next summer, and it has fuelled rumours that the United captain is coming to the end of his United career.

Testimonials are usually given to players at the end of their career and the money raised gave some security to footballers at a time when they could earn more in an everyday job.

Five things we’ve learnt from United vs Middlesbrough

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Manchester United were knocked out of the Capital One Cup after losing on penalties against Middlesbrough on Wednesday night, as they produced an utterly dreadful performance that will heap further pressure on Louis Van Gaal.

With Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo the only survivors from Sunday's 0-0 draw against City, United looked lethargic, sluggish in possession and absolutely devoid of ideas for the best part of the 120 minutes and squandered a host of glorious chances to secure progression to the next round.

Van Gaal hints at January signings

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Louis Van Gaal has hinted he might add a signing or two to his side in January, as he looks to bolster his squad.

United signed Morgan Schneiderlin, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Matteo Darmian and Memphis Depay last summer, before splashing £36m on Anthony Martial on deadline day, but Van Gaal remains keen to strengthen his options.

United defender determined to justify praise

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Chris Smalling said he's determined to justify the praise Wayne Rooney and Louis Van Gaal have heaped on him after some brilliant performances this season.

The England defender has been in fine form for United so far and has been singled out for praise by his manager and captain, with Rooney describing him as one of the best centre-backs in the world.

Rooney hails “incredible” Martial

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Wayne Rooney has heaped praise on Anthony Martial, after the Frenchman's career at Old Trafford got off to a blistering start since signing from Monaco on deadline day.

The Frenchman did not score against Manchester City but was again of the best United players on the pitch, despite being deployed out wide on the left to accommodate Rooney up-front.

Smalling: “United still in the title race”

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Chris Smalling believes Manchester United's stalemate draw in the Manchester derby does not rule them out of a title challenge this season.

United missed the chance of joining Arsenal at the top of the table as they failed to create any meaningful scoring chances until late in the second half and remained two points adrift of the league leaders.

LVG: “United should have had a penalty”

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Louis Van Gaal said he was disappointed by Mark Clattenburg's decision not to award his side a penalty in the Manchester derby on Sunday.

The United manager felt Raheem Sterling's challenge on Ander Herrera in the second half should have been punished with a penalty, although the match official had a different view on the incident.

Five things we’ve learnt from United vs City

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Manchester United missed the chance to leapfrog City at the top of the table as they were held to a stalemate draw by their local rivals.

In what was a largely subdued Manchester derby, United and City outplayed each other and, in the end, the draw probably had Manuel Pellegrini feeling happier than Louis Van Gaal.

The development derby

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Realistically this United team are suffering an identity crisis. The crisis is entirely based on consistency. One week they're world-beaters, capable of dispatching any opponent. Other weeks they're just a fart in the bath.

Like the bags of skin hanging from Alan Sugar's face United can't decide whether they're coming or going.

The key stats ahead of United vs City

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Sunday afternoon sees the first instalment of the Manchester derby this season, as United host City at Old Trafford knowing a win would take them top of the table.

Last season United won the corresponding fixture 4-2, taking a crucial step towards securing a top four finish and securing their first league win at Old Trafford against their local rivals since 2011.

Herrera: “United have the best away fans in the country”

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Ander Herrera has heaped yet more praise on United's travelling support, revealing earlier this season he had wished to be in the away end.

The Spaniard, who reiterated his feelings about the away fans after last weeks' 3-0 win at Everton, said he was impressed by the support United received away at Southampton earlier in the season.

LVG: “My players love playing City”

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Louis Van Gaal has claimed that his players love the challenge posed by playing in a derby, ahead of Sunday's all-Mancunian affair.

United, who beat City 4-2 in the corresponding fixture last season, welcome the league leaders at Old Trafford tomorrow afternoon knowing that a win would take them above City and the Dutchman has insisted his players relish this kind of occasion.

Van Gaal hits out at Premier League schedule

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Louis Van Gaal has claimed the lack of a winter break in England is detrimental to Premier League teams' chances of succeeding in Europe.

United have a good chance of progressing to the knockout stage after securing a precious away in Moscow on Wednesday night but the Dutchman insisted English teams were disadvantaged compared to their European counterparts.

Five things we’ve learnt from CSKA vs United

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Manchester United returned from the freezing grasp of Moscow with a precious point after they secured a 1-1 draw against CSKA on Wednesday night.

After not even remotely looking at the races for the first 45 minutes, United slowly grew into the game and Anthony Martial's superbly taken equaliser delivered a point that had seemed unexpected at the break.

Rooney: “I’ve got a lot of years ahead of me”

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Wayne Rooney has claimed he feels he has a lot more to give to Manchester United and that he feels fitter than at an any stage in his career.

The England captain, who will celebrate his 30th birthday on Saturday, a day before the Manchester derby, has attracted a lot of criticism for a string of disappointing performances this season but he remains adamant there's a lot more to come from him and that fitness is not an issue.

Schweinsteiger hails “unbelievable” fans

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Bastian Schweinsteiger hailed Manchester United fans as "unbelievable" after the travelling fans generated a rousing atmosphere at Goodison Park on Saturday.

United clinched their first win away at Everton in four years, as goals from Morgan Schneiderlin, Ander Herrera and Wayne Rooney kept them two points behind league leaders City ahead of next week's derby.

LVG: “Rooney is an example”

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Louis Van Gaal has hailed Wayne Rooney as an "example" after the Manchester United captain scored against Everton on Sunday.

It was Rooney's first goal on his former home turf since 2007 and it was the first time the United number 10 had scored away from home in the Premier League in 11 months.

Five things we’ve learnt from Everton vs United

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Manchester United put the defeat against Arsenal behind them, as they clinched a 3-0 win against Everton after a superb performance at Goodison Park.

On a ground that had rarely been a happy place for United in recent seasons, Louis Van Gaal's side showed remarkable composure and secured a result that few would have expected ahead of kick-off, which keeps them in touching distance with City ahead of next week's derby.

A trip to the United burial ground

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After the start to the season and all the reinvention of the side over the summer the performance against Arsenal was about as disappointing as a dry January with Amy Winehouse.

Lethargic, naïve and amateurish. Like a member of fat fighters being de-flowered, United's midfield were appalling at the Emirates.

United made offer for Barcelona star

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Neymar's dad has confirmed that Manchester United did submit a bid to Barcelona during the transfer window last summer.

In the final weeks of the transfer window, rumours suggesting United might be plotting a sensational move for the Brazil striker intensified, as Ed Woodward and Louis Van Gaal looked to secure a star signing before the transfer deadline.

Martial scoops prize

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Anthony Martial has won the Premier League's Barclays Player of the Month award for September, after making an impressive start to his Manchester United career.

The 19-year-old arrived at Old Trafford on deadline day, with fans sneering at Louis Van Gaal's decision to sign an unknown teenager rather than an established international, while pundits and media had a field day as they criticised United for spending £36m on the Frenchman.

Rooney backed to start scoring again

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Wayne Rooney will soon rediscover his form and embark on a goalscoring run, according to Sir Alex Ferguson.

The United captain has become England's all time top goalscorer earlier this season but has endured a torrid time at club level, scoring just one Premier League goal so far.

More worryingly, Rooney, who clinched a hat-trick against Club Brugge in the Champions League playoff in August, has never looked threatening and calls for Louis Van Gaal to drop him have grown louder in recent weeks.

United’s summer signing has “attitude problem”

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Former Holland international Youri Mulder has claimed Memphis Depay has an attitude problem, suggesting "people" at Old Trafford were beginning to show signs of frustration with the youngster.

Depay left PSV Eindhoven for United last summer in a £27.5m deal but has so far failed to replicate the sparkling form that inspired his former side to the Eredivisie title last season.

Fergie: “United can win the league”

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Manchester United have a chance to win the Premier League title this season but Louis Van Gaal's new signings need more time to settle into a new reality, according to Sir Alex Ferguson.

United, who are two points adrift of league leaders Manchester City after suffering an embarrassing 3-0 defeat away at Arsenal before the international break, face a difficult trip to Goodison Park on Saturday as they aim to reverse a trend that has seen them losing their last three league games on the blue half of Merseyside.

De Gea “I’m in the form of my life”

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David De Gea says he's been playing the best football of his career and he's adamant he will take his sparkling form for Spain back with him to England.

The Spaniard was superb on Monday night, helping his side to clinch a 1-0 win in Ukraine with a number of spectacular saves he stopped 11 of Ukraine's shots that frustrated the hosts as the defending European champions ended their qualifying campaign on a high.

Why this is a pivotal season for Phil Jones

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With limited options in defence, could Phil Jones finally fulfil his potential? As the 3-0 defeat at Arsenal suggested, all is not rosy at the heart of Manchester United's defence. After an extremely impressive start to the season, United's back four were left badly exposed.

Phil Jones is fully fit for the first time this season, which could result in Daley Blind being moved to left back in Luke Shaw's absence, a position he flourished in during the second half of last season.

Ex Barca legend claims Van Gaal is “underrated”

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Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi has claimed Louis Van Gaal is underrated, insisting the Dutchman will win a trophy at Old Trafford.

The Spaniard first broke into Barcelona's first team when Van Gaal chose to promote him to the senior side and went on to play two seasons under the former Holland manager.

“Madrid is behind me,” says De Gea

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David De Gea has said the saga linking him with a move to Real Madrid last summer is now behind him and has thanked the fans for their support.

The Manchester United keeper looked set to return to the Spanish capital before the end of the trasfer window, with Real Madrid adamant to secure his services after he refused to sign a new deal at Old Trafford.

Beckham: “United are on the right track under LVG”

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David Beckham believes Louis Van Gaal has Manchester United on the right track and that trophies will soon return to Old Trafford.

United have not won a trophy since they clinched a 20th league title in May 2013 but Beckham said his former side was making progress under Van Gaal, even though they suffered an embarrassing 3-0 defeat at the Emirates on Sunday.

Why Rooney should imitate Giggs

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David Beckham has suggested Wayne Rooney should follow Ryan Giggs' example and adapt his style of play, if he is to extend his career and overcome his recent struggles.

The Manchester United captain has scored just one Premier League goal since 4 April and has been consistently disappointing this season, coming under fire for a series of below par performances, while Louis Van Gaal's refusal to drop him has also been scrutinised.

Mourinho: “Fergie couldn’t convince me to manage United”

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Jose Mourinho has claimed Sir Alex Ferguson knew he could not convince him to replace him at Old Trafford when he retired at the end of the 2012-13 season.

The Portuguese was widely thought to be the man to replace Fergie once United's former manager announced his intention to bring his 26-year tenure at Old Trafford to an end.

Fergie defends Moyes’ appointment

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Sir Alex Ferguson has defended the decision to appoint David Moyes as his replacement, even though the former Everton manager lasted only nine months at Old Trafford.

In an interview with the BBC as part of theBBC's new documentary, Sir Alex Ferguson: Secrets of Success, the former United manager yet again insisted the process that led to Moyes' appointment in July 2013 was extremely thorough and was a decision taken by the whole club.

Five things we’ve learnt from Arsenal vs United

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Having returned to the top of the table last week, Manchester United came crashing down to earth on Sunday, as they suffered their second defeat of the season, losing 3-0 away at Arsenal. Goals from Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil within the first 20 minutes obliterated United, who were lucky not to suffer a bigger defeat and will now have to regroup ahead of a difficult trip to Goodison Park after the international break.

Rooney: “Winning title harder now than under Fergie”

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Wayne Rooney has warned that Manchester United face their toughest ever challenge to a Premier League title this season.

Last week, United returned to the top of the table for the first time in over two years but Rooney believes winning the league is a much more difficult proposition now than it was at any stage during Sir Alex Ferguson's era.

United gunning for the title

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It has all suddenly gone very quiet. The ripple of silence is almost deafening. Similar to the reaction following an announcement that the Eurostar is delayed, no one is saying anything.

The media have put away their pens, binned their headlines and deleted their drafts. The critics have been silenced.

Five things we’ve learnt from United vs Wolfsburg

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Manchester United picked up their first three points in the Champions League as they overcame a good Wolfsburg side on Wednesday night. Following their 2-1 defeat in Eindhoven, United found themselves a goal behind after less than five minutes but restore parity through a Juan Mata penalty in the first half, before Chris Smalling scored the winner soon after the break.