Red Rants Archives for January 2015

Van Gaal plays down Rooney worries

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Louis Van Gaal has dismissed concerns over Wayne Rooney's fitness, suggesting his decision to replace the striker on Saturday against Leicester was not motivated by an injury problem.

Against Claudio Ranieri's side, Rooney, who has scored just two league goals in 12 appearances this season, was again anonymous before he was substituted with 68 minutes played.

Van Gaal warns of “nasty” Vardy

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Louis Van Gaal has warned Manchester United will have to pay particular attention to Jamie Vardy when they travel to Leicester tomorrow afternoon.

Claudio Ranieri's side are surprisingly top of the table with a third of the season already played and the United manager knows all about the threat Vardy poses after the England international scored in Leicester's win over United last season.

Rio: “There were times United were boring under Fergie”

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Rio Ferdinand has admitted that Manchester United were a pragmatic side under Sir Alex Ferguson, although they showed more ambition than the current team.

Speaking about the criticism Louis Van Gaal has received this season for what many perceive to be a too rigid and defensive brand of football, Ferdinand revealed United were more concerned with substance than style during Ferguson's final seasons, but were an altogether more ambitious side.

Keane blasts “awful” Rooney

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Roy Keane has branded Wayne Rooney as "awful" and said the Manchester United striker should take a long look at himself after his side failed to score against PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday night.

United's 0-0 draw against the Dutch champions has seriously jeopardised their chances of reaching the knockout stages of the Champions League as they will need to beat Wolfsburg away in their final group game in two weeks to go through, as PSV are expected to beat CSKA Moscow at home.

Five things we’ve learnt from United vs PSV

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Manchester United will need to win away at Wolfsburg in two weeks if they're to reach the knockout stage of the Champions League after they delivered arguably their worst performance of the season against PSV Eindhoven.

Knowing that a win would take them through to the next round, United started brightly before fading away and failing to create a single chance in the last 20 minutes.

[PICTURE] PSV fans to unveil Shaw banner

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PSV Eindhoven will unveil a banner in support of Luke Shawwhen they face United at Old Trafford this evening.

The England international suffered a season-ending injury when the two side met in the first game of the Champions League group stage earlier this year, as an horrendous challenge from Alberto Moreno left Shaw with a broken leg.

Memphis backed to shine against former club

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David De Gea has backed Memphis Depay to haunt his former club on Wednesday night when PSV Eindhoven travel to Old Traffordin the Champions League.

On Saturday, the Dutchman was handed a first start since United suffered a 3-0 defeat at the Emirates in October and he seized his chance beautifully, scoring United's first goal in their 2-1 win at Watford and looking a more confident player than he had done at any stage over the last two months.

Mata confident ahead of crucial week

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Juan Mata is confident Manchester United can take an important step forward in what promises to be a very delicate week for Louis Van Gaal's side.

On Wednesday, United welcome PSV knowing that a win would secure qualification to the knockout stages of the Champions League, before travelling to top of the table Leicester City on Saturday afternoon.

United send out message to rivals

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Jesse Lingard believes Manchester United's last-gasp win against Watford on Saturday sent out a strong message to their rivals, as Louis Van Gaal's side looks to be developing the winning mentality it needs.

United were top of the table for a few hours after Troy Deeney's own goal ensured the Reds picked up maximum points at Vicarage Road and will travel to Leicester next week for what is one of the unlikeliest top of the table matches in recent memory.

LVG has found Memphis’ best role

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Louis Van Gaal has heaped praise on Memphis Depay after the Dutchman scored his first goal in two months as United beat Watford 2-1 on Saturday.

With Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney out through injury and illness respectively, Van Gaal deployed Memphis as a striker, a decision that was immediately rewarded after the former PSV man put United ahead within 10 minutes.

Five things we’ve learnt from Watford vs United

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Manchester United leapfrogged Arsenal and Manchester City into second place on Saturday after a late own goal earned Louis Van Gaal's side three points at Watford.

Despite not having a single striker available, United went ahead early through a Memphis Depay goal and controlled the game for over an hour before allowing the hosts back into the game until a Troy Deeney's penalty looked to have rescued a draw for Watford.

Watford vs United preview: The ambulance arrives

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Piss jousting is not a sport for everyone. A gentleman's game usually involving two players, but sometimes a third. The winner is the one who can urinate the longest, therefore establishing himself as the dominant male. A king among men.

There is very little that compares to such a war of attrition, surviving the International break may be the only thing.

United face strikers crisis

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Manchester United will be without Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial for their trip to Watford on Saturday, as Louis Van Gaal faces a serious striker shortage.

In his press conference on Friday, the United manager confirmed Martial hasn't recovered from the knock he took to his left foot against England on Tuesday, while Rooney didn't train on Thursday because of illness.

Midfielder urged to leave United

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Belgium manager Marc Wilmots has advised Marouane Fellaini to leave Manchester United in January or else he could jeopardise hisspot in the national team ahead of the European Championships next summer.

After a difficult debut campaign, Fellaini seemed to have turned his United career around last season when he established himself as a regular in the starting XI but the Belgian has since fallen off the radar, starting only one Premier League game and two League Cup matches so far this season.

LVG: “I don’t do anything, I get paid to delegate”

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Louis Van Gaal has revealed he does "nothing" as Manchester United manager but simply gets paid to delegate tasks to other members of his coaching staff.

Speaking at the annual League Managers Association event on Wednesday night, the Dutchman lifted the lid what it is like to be a modern football manager before, inevitably, touching on his philosophy.

Beckham: “Memphis should not be intimidated by wearing number 7″

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David Beckham has urged Memphis Depay to use the number 7 shirt as a motivation to rediscover his form, adding the Dutchman had the potential to follow in the footsteps of his illustrious predecessors.

Since joining from PSV Eindhoven in the summer, the Dutchman has failed to live up to his £27.

United suffer Martial blow

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Manchester United have been dealt yet another injury blow as Anthony Martial left Wembley on crutches on Tuesday night, after he suffered a knock to his left foot.

United had already lost Michael Carrick in this international break, after the England midfielder looked to have twisted his ankle against Spain last week but Martial's absence could be a lot harder to absorb, given the Frenchman's impact since joining from Monaco on deadline day.

Xavi: “I thought Van Gaal was an idiot”

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Former Spainmidfielder Xavi has admitted he thought Louis Van Gaal was an "idiot" when the Dutchman first arrived at the Nou Camp.

The former Barcelona great was given his chance to cement a place in the Catalan giants' starting XI by the current Manchester United manager, but he revealed the start of Van Gaal's adventure with the Blaugrana was far from auspicious.

Beckham: “Ronaldo should crawl back to United”

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David Beckham has suggested Cristiano Ronaldo should return to Manchester United on his hands and knees, if he ever decides to leave Real Madrid.

Over the last couple of weeks, the Portuguese has again been linked with a move back to Old Trafford after refusing to rule out he might leave Real Madrid in the future.

Beckham: “United was the best part of my career”

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David Beckham will return to Old Trafford on Saturday night, as he takes the field alongside a host of international stars to raise funds for UNICEF.

The former United midfielder said he's excited at the prospect of playing on the turf he called home for so long and opened up about his relationship with the club.

United dealt injury blow

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Manchester United have been dealt a serious injury blow after Michael Carrick was stretchered off the pitch just before the end of England's friendly against Spain.

The United midfielder appeared to turn his ankle and could be set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines after England manager Roy Hodgson hinted he might have suffered ligament damage.

Fans’ favourite has no issues with LVG

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Ander Herrera has praised Louis Van Gaal as a very demanding manager, adding his relationship with the Manchester United manager remains positive, even though the Spaniard has often been overlooked for selection.

Despite impressing when given the chance, Herrera has struggled to secure a spot in the starting XI given Van Gaal's preference for adopting a system that includes two holding midfielders.

De Gea is a genius, says Herrera

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Ander Herrera has heaped praise on David De Gea, describing his teammate as a "genius" and reiterating he was very happy to see him staying at Old Trafford last summer.

De Gea looked set to leave Manchester United before transfer deadline day, only for his proposed move to Real Madrid to collapse at the eleventh hour, leading to a heated confrontation between the two clubs, who blamed each other for the failure to reach an agreement.

United midfielder not seeking spotlight

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Since arriving from Southampton in the summer, Morgan Schneiderlin has been one of Manchester United's most consistent performers this season, justifying the fee Louis Van Gaal paid for him.

The Frenchman's no-nonsense approach has injected a new lease of life into United's midfield, which had for too long gone without a midfielder capable of winning possession with impressive regularity, even though he rarely grabs the headlines.

Van Gaal warns England over youngster

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Louis Van Gaal has warned England boss Roy Hodgson that it would premature to hand Jesse Lingard an England cap ahead of next summer European Championships.

The 22-year-old has delivered a couple of really encouraging performances after been given a spot in the starting XI by Van Gaal and scored his first ever goal for the club with a brilliantly taken finish against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

Van Gaal keen to invest on youth

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Louis Van Gaal has hinted he would rather promote youngsters through the ranks at Manchester United than simply splashing out big fees on proven players.

The Dutchman has spent £250m in his first two transfer windows since arriving at Old Trafford in July last year but, despite fears he might veer away from the club's ethos of handing young players a chance, he's promoted a number of players from the youth ranks into the first team.

Smalling reveals secret of United defensive record

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Chris Smalling hasadmitted that working as a unit has been the key behind Manchester United's excellent defensive record this season.

For all their issues in the final third of the pitch, United have been rock-solid at the back, something few would have predicted when Louis Van Gaal failed to recruit the world class centre-back many thought his side needed in the summer.

LVG keen to sign winger in January

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Louis Van Gaal is expected to be in the market for a winger in January, after revealinghe deems United in need of pacy wide players capable to make a difference.

United bolstered their attacking options by signing Anthony Martial on deadline day but the Frenchman isn't a traditional winger, even though he's been deployed out wide by Van Gaal a number of times so far this season, while Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata aren't traditional wingers either.

United vs WBA: the bus arrives at Old Trafford

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It would probably be fair to argue that in a world where a photograph of an avocado is the most popular image on the internet, there clearly isn't enough bleach on this planet. If there were we'd have culled the human raceand successfully wiped out over population.

There isn't and we haven't, which goes a long way in explaining why grown men would boo their own team at a football match.

United defender determined to seize chance

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Marcos Rojo is determined to make the left-back position his own, insisting he's desperate to make the most of the opportunity handed to him by Luke Shaw's serious injury.

With the former Southampton man in fantastic form at the start of the season, Rojo looked set for a place on the bench, with some rumours going as far as suggesting the Argentina international could even leave Old Trafford after just one season.

Ronaldo: “United not on the same level they were under Fergie”

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Manchester United are not on the level they were six years ago as the retirement of experienced players has hurt them badly, according to Cristiano Ronaldo.

The former United number seven said United have changed since Sir Alex Ferguson's departure and while Louis Van Gaal has steadied the ship since arriving at the club, a lot of work remains to be done.

Van Gaal unfazed by boos

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Louis Van Gaal said he was unfazed by the criticism aimed at his decision of replacing Anthony Martial and keeping faith with Wayne Rooney on Tuesday night.

The United manager's decision to replace the Frenchman with Marouane Fellaini halfway through the second half with the score still 0-0 was soundly booed by a large section of fans.

Five things we’ve learnt from United vs CSKA

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Manchester United took a potentially decisive step towards reaching the knockout stages of the Champions League after a late Wayne Rooney goal secured a precious 1-0 win against CSKA Moscow.

United looked more enterprising than they had done at any stage against Middlesbrough and Palace butremained too prone to spell of sterile possession, whilefans vented their frustrations again as Louis Van Gaal replaced Anthony Martial with Marouane Fellaini.

Former United winger slams “disgusting” Van Gaal tactics

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Former Manchester United midfielder Andrei Kanchelskis has dismissed Louis Van Gaal's tactics as "disgusting", accusing the Dutchman of forcing his players to play like robots.

United have failed to score in their last three consecutive games and Kanchelskis, who watched United's 1-1 draw against CSKA Moscow two weeks ago, was extremely critical of his former side.

LVG: “Rooney is an example”

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Louis Van Gaal has yet again come out in defence of Wayne Rooney, claiming the Manchester United captain should not simply be judged on his contribution in front of goal.

Rooney has scored just two Premier League goal this season so far and has come under intense scrutiny for a series of disappointing performances, which have seen fans calling for him to be dropped.

Strongest XI: Man United vs CSKA Moscow

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Strongest XI: Man United vs CSKA Moscow

There is no denying that Manchester United have a problem right now and although Louis van Gaal doesn't seem to accept it, fans are well aware how much Wayne Rooney‘s presence is hindering the team.

It's more the indirect presence of him than his performances themselves because of how it displaces Anthony Martial's position.

Fergie was “sure” of Ronaldo return

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Patrice Evra has claimed Sir Alex Ferguson was absolutely certain Cristiano Ronaldo would return in the summer of 2013.

Ferguson announced his retirement soon after United clinched their 20th title in April 2013 and was replaced by David Moyes, who only lasted nine months in the job before being sacked in April 2014, with United languishing in seventh.

Five things we’ve learnt from Palace vs United

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Manchester United slipped four points behind the league leaders on Saturday, as they produced another mind-numbingly performance against Crystal Palace, which exposed all their attacking limits.

It was the third consecutive game in which United have failed to score and they could consider themselves lucky not to have lost the game, given Palace tested David De Gea in more than one occasion.