Republik Of Mancunia Archives for January 2014

Five key thoughts following United 3-0 Hull City

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Louis Van Gaal's impressive home record as Manchester United manager continued as they eased to a 3-0 victory over Hull City at the weekend. The Red Devils are unbeaten at Old Trafford since the opening day defeat to Swansea City and are finally beginning to dominate games that they should be dominating.

VIDEO: Smalling, Rooney and Van Persie’s goals vs Hull

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Van Gaal: Herrera was fantastic

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Manchester United were completely dominant in their 3-0 win over Hull this afternoon and Ander Herrera, who replaced the injured Angel di Maria after quarter of an hour, played his part.

I have to say Herrera came in and did fantastic, I was very pleased with how he did. He is a very fit player which is why I also let him play in the Reserves.

Herrera: The fans love Falcao

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Whenever Radamel Falcao came to the touchline to warm up this afternoon, Old Trafford was united in singing his name. The amount of worship he gets is something unrivalled by any of the big signings in the past.

Ander Herrera, the man of the match in United's 3-0 win over Hull, has sung the praises of the striker, and reflected on the moment that Falcao returned to training this week.

CONFIRMED LINE-UP: United vs Hull

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De Gea, Smalling, Carrick, Rojo, Valencia, Fellaini, Mata, Di Maria, Young, Rooney, van Persie.

PICTURE: Falcao carried in to training by teammates

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Ander Herrera and Anderson carried Radamel Falcao in to training this week. Louis van Gaal has confirmed today that the striker could be in the squad for tomorrow's game against Hull.

Herrera: I’m lucky to be at Manchester United

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Before breaking his rib, Ander Herrera looked like one of the most impressive players in the squad, seamlessly settling in to the Manchester United team.

However, he has had just 45 minutes on the pitch since the injury in a poor performance against West Brom. He has since played for the Reserves and is looking forward to proving his worth in the first team again.

Hull Preview: Taming The Tigers

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Last weekend's 2-1 victory over Arsenal could be described as many things; undeserved, lucky, a robbery, a tactical masterstroke? Whichever way you'd wish to label it, it was undeniably both hilarious and brilliant at the same time. With some firmly set in panic stations wondering how a fourth placed finish could possibly be attainable after a start worse than under David Moyes left pondering as three points at the Emirates leave United in fourth place (who would have thought), two points ahead of Arsenal and Everton and five clear of both Liverpool and Tottenham.

Young: We want the title, not top four

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Ashley Young has sung the praises of new manager Louis van Gaal and has claimed the players still haven't given up on the title yet.

I think the manager has said obviously we want to break that top four. But you know players and staff at the club, we want to win the league title.

Rojo and Falcao back but Shaw is out

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Louis van Gaal has confirmed that Radamel Falcao and Marcos Rojo could return to the 18 man squad for this weekend's game against Hull, but Luke Shaw is out for a few weeks yet.

We have to wait and see until the last training session of course. It's always difficult to say but we have good news, yes.

Evans: Don’t know what to do about these freak injuries

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Manchester United have suffered from more injuries than any other club in the league this season, particularly in defence.

Jonny Evans has revealed they are unsure what to do about these "freak injuries".

Players don't get injured on purpose. There have been injuries with the odd hamstring or groin, there have been quite a few of those, but Rojo dislocated his shoulder and I had a fracture in my foot.

Fortune: City wasting United’s place in Europe

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Manchester United haven't featured in the Champions League for the first time in over two decades after David Moyes guided the club to a seventh place finish last season.

Quinton Fortune has claimed that the competition isn't the same without United in, and criticised Manchester City for wasting their place in Europe.

Rooney: Mata in my dream 5-a-side

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Wayne Rooney has given a short interview with the official site where he talks about training at Manchester United.

Who would you play alongside in your ideal five-a-side team?
Do you have to have a goalkeeper? If not, I'll go for Angel, Falcao, Robin and Mata.

Who scored the best goal you have ever seen in training?

Five key thoughts following Arsenal 1-2 United

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Manchester United picked up their first away win of the season with a 2-1 victory over Arsenal at the Emirates.

After a cagey first period, Kieran Gibbs turned Antonio Valencia's sharply struck cross into his own net just after half time to give United something to hang onto. A solid and gritty defensive performance laid the foundations for Wayne Rooney to run through unchallenged and make it two from Angel Di Maria's pass, before substitute Olivier Giroud scored a late consolation for the Gunners.

Van Gaal: Welbeck had to join Arsenal because he wouldn’t play here

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Ahead of Manchester United's 2-1 win over Arsenal, Louis van Gaal claimed he had no regrets over the decision to sell Danny Welbeck.

The Mancunian striker had struggled to nail down a starting place in his preferred position during his time at United and, under Van Gaal, didn't even make it as one of the starting wide players.

Young: Watching videos of Arsenal prepared us for victory

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Ashley Young was brought on in the first half in yesterday's 2-1 win over Arsenal yesterday as a replacement for the injured Luke Shaw.

Young had a good game on the lefthand side of the field when making his first appearance in over a month thanks to injury.

After the game, he revealed that Louis van Gaal had them well prepared for the match and the tactics paid off.

Rooney: Van Gaal’s game plan worked against Arsenal

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Wayne Rooney scored the all-important second goal in United's 2-1 victory over Arsenal yesterday. Not for the first time, Rooney scored at the Emirates on the counter attack, with the home side chasing the game after Kieran Gibbs' own goal.

Rooney has talked about the tactics for the game and is delighted we were able to pull it off.

How did Wilshere get away with it?

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With an hour left to play yesterday, Arsenal should have gone down to 10 men after Jack Wilshere tried to headbutt Marouane Fellaini.

Standing at just 5 foot 7, Wilshere's forehead could only reach Fellaini's chest, but obviously the height difference between players isn't mention in FIFA's laws of the game when giving criteria for red cards.

VIDEO: Fellaini – what the…

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Thankfully we got the win regardless, but how did Jack Wilshere not get sent off for telling the referee to "f**k off" then trying to headbutt Marouane Fellaini?!

VIDEO: United’s goals in 2-1 win over Arsenal

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CONFIRMED LINE-UP: Arsenal vs United

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De Gea, Smalling, McNair, Blackett, Valencia, Carrick, Fellaini, Shaw, Di Maria, Rooney, van Persie.

Subs: United's subs at the Emirates Stadium: Lindegaard, Fletcher, Herrera, Young, Mata, Januzaj, Wilson.

Arsenal: Szczesny, Chambers, Mertesacker, Monreal, Gibbs, Arteta, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Alexis, Welbeck.

Rooney: Welbz is a Manchester lad so it’s weird seeing him at Arsenal

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Ahead of United's game against Arsenal, and Danny Welbeck's first match against his boyhood club, Wayne Rooney has discussed his former teammate's start to life in London.

Of course, Danny has been here all of his life. He is a Manchester lad so it is weird seeing him [there]. But that's football nowadays and players move on.

Arsenal Preview: All’s Well That Ends Welbz

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In the modern era, any Arsenal v Manchester United offering has signified a table topping battle for domestic glory and all-important bragging rights. This season's first serving may represent a slightly less appealing dish as a result of each side's positively under-whelming beginning to proceedings.

Hugo Borst explains comments about Van Gaal’s wife

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Hugo Borst, a Dutch journalist who used to be a good friend of Louis van Gaal before a falling out, has recently published a biography on the Manchester United manager.

The way he treats Truus in company is ungentlemanly and sometimes downright disgraceful. In the company of friends and acquaintances, Louis has made comments that in nine out of 10 marriages would have been grounds for divorce.

Rooney: It was great beating Arsenal in the Champions League

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Ahead of United's game against Arsenal, Wayne Rooney has reflected on some of the better moments against the North London club, including the 2009 Champions League semi-final victory over them. United beat Arsenal 1-0 at Old Trafford then thrashed them 3-1 at the Emirates.

We've had some great memories.

Hugo Borst: Ridiculous to claim Van Persie is finished

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Hugo Borst, the journalist who has written the recent biography on Louis van Gaal, has given his thoughts on Robin van Persie's future.

Excelsior are Van Persie's team in the Holland. He's said he'd like to play there again before he retires.

Yes. There is a stand there [with his name on it] at Excelsior stadium.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Hugo Borst on Van Gaal’s aim at United, almost joining Liverpool and English football

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Print journalists, radio presenters, biographers, TV personalities, pundits; there are a lot of jobs in football, even if you are not a former professional. Hugo Borst has done it all though. Starting out as a journalist for esteemed Dutch football magazine Voetbal International, Borst made his strides through journalism before ending up at Algemeen Dagblad, Esquire, Unibet and Panorama among others.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Hugo Borst on Van Gaal’s history in Holland, Verheijen’s criticism and influence on Guardiola

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Print journalists, radio presenters, biographers, TV personalities, pundits; there are a lot of jobs in football, even if you are not a former professional. Hugo Borst has done it all though. Starting out as a journalist for esteemed Dutch football magazine Voetbal International, Borst made his strides through journalism before ending up at Algemeen Dagblad, Esquire, Unibet and Panorama among others.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Hugo Borst on Rooney, Van Gaal’s philosophy and Fergie comparisons

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Print journalists, radio presenters, biographers, TV personalities, pundits; there are a lot of jobs in football, even if you are not a former professional. Hugo Borst has done it all though. Starting out as a journalist for esteemed Dutch football magazine Voetbal International, Borst made his strides through journalism before ending up at Algemeen Dagblad, Esquire, Unibet and Panorama among others.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Hugo Borst on Van Gaal obsession, signing Strootman and Gay Pride

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Print journalists, radio presenters, biographers, TV personalities, pundits; there are a lot of jobs in football, even if you are not a former professional. Hugo Borst has done it all though. Starting out as a journalist for esteemed Dutch football magazine Voetbal International, Borst made his strides through journalism before ending up at Algemeen Dagblad, Esquire, Unibet and Panorama among others.

LvG: Di Maria and De Gea will face Arsenal but Shaw and Carrick might not

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Louis van Gaal has given an update on United's injury status following a fairly disastrous International break for United. Daley Blind is out for weeks, whilst Luke Shaw and Michael Carrick are doubts.

On the upside, David de Gea and Angel di Maria should be available.

It's difficult to say if anyone is back because we have to wait for tomorrow's training session to decide if players are coming back.

Falcao: Media have no credibility after reporting on my injury

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This afternoon, Louis van Gaal confirmed that Radamel Falcao will be out of action for a further two weeks with a calf injury.

The striker says that he is feeling better and will be ready to play soon, despite reports in the press suggesting that he was suffering with a reoccurrence of his knee injury.

VIDEO: United dressing room after victory over Juve ’99

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The Wayne Rooney of old could bring joy back to Old Trafford

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Something very peculiar appears to have happened to Wayne Rooney. You may have noticed it during Manchester United's defeat at the Etihad, then again when England beat Slovenia at Wembley, only for the strange phenomenon to be repeated on Tuesday night, as England were victorious once again, against Scotland.

Nani: Good to be back with United fans

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Last night, Nani returned to Old Trafford for the first time since leaving Manchester United for his loan spell at Sporting Lisbon. He played in Portugal's 1-0 win over Argentina.

There had been rumours that after good form in Portugal that he would be returning to Manchester in January, but the winger doesn't think that will be the case.

Shaw a doubt for Arsenal after playing on injured

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During this International break, Manchester United have seen David de Gea, Michael Carrick and Daley Blind all pick up injuries. Angel di Maria was hurt after a tackle from Nani in Portugal's game against Argentina last night and is therefore a doubt for this weekend's game against Arsenal.

Luke Shaw, United's only left-back in the squad, has revealed that he played on with an injury in England's 3-1 victory over Scotland and may also be unfit for the Arsenal match.

Di Maria: Ronaldo told me to come to Manchester United

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Angel di Maria has revealed in this month's Inside United that Cristiano Ronaldo advised him that he should join Manchester United after leaving Real Madrid.

Before we knew I was coming to Manchester for sure, he told me it was a massive club and that I would be very happy here and it would be good for me.

VIDEO: Van Persie goal for Holland vs Latvia

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Bale could have signed for United

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During the summer transfer window of 2013 there was a time when Ed Woodward was walking around like the cat who had got the cream. After bumbling his way through the summer, jetting home from the pre-season tour to take care of pressing transfer negotiations, only for nothing to happen, he believed he was about to redeem himself.

De Gea on bench for Spain’s game last night

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Following reports that David de Gea could be out for a month following dislocating his finger, he was named on the bench in Spain's 3-0 win over Belarus yesterday.

Isco, Busquets and Pedro were all on the scoresheet for the Spaniards.

Whilst there are no further updates on the extent of De Gea's injury, you would presume it is not as bad as first thought if he could be named as a substitute.

Di Maria: I’m very happy at United

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Angel di Maria has given an interview with French broadcaster, Telefoot, where he has discussed his decision to leave Real Madrid.

"It's a different style of football here at Manchester United," he said. "I'm very happy. I don't have regrets about leaving Real Madrid. I think I won everything I wanted with Real: La Liga, the Champions League and the Copa Del Rey.

Rojo: I was living the dream when I heard United wanted me

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Marcos Rojo has reflected back to when he first heard Manchester United wanted to buy him last summer. When Sporting Lisbon seemed unprepared to negotiate with United, the defender refused to play, until Juan Sebastian Veron told him to go back to training and wait for the deal to go through.

It was a huge surprise when I was told United wanted to buy me.

VIDEO: Rooney’s goal vs Slovenia

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Spain to assess De Gea’s injury

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David De Gea will have to wait a bit longer to make his mark as Spain's #1 following an injury he picked up in their final training session ahead of their Euro 2016 qualifier with Belarus.

De Gea has dislocated his finger and some reports have suggested he could be out of action for up to a month.

Rooney: Great honour to represent England 100 times

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Wayne Rooney was awarded with 100th cap for England tonight and marked the occasion by scoring a goal to make him the 3rd joint highest scorer for his country.

It was a good day in the end. It was tough as they took the lead and we had to show character but it will be good for us.

VIDEO: Has Rooney forgotten about the “support” of England fans?

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Wayne Rooney has thanked England fans for their support over the past 100 games on his official Instagram account.

He clearly forgot about the time he slated them after they booed him following a 0-0 draw with Algeria in the 2010 World Cup.

RoM Reads

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Scott writes for ESPN about David Moyes.

The Guardian talks about Anderson's career.

The Independent has Paul Scholes' thoughts on Rooney's England career.

The Telegraph discusses the 100 most memorable Premier League moments.

The Mirror reckons we're signing Depay in January.

Blind: I’m best in midfield

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Until last season, Daley Blind was used as a left back at Ajax, but thrived in the 2013-14 season in the centre of midfield. He was given the player of the year award in the Eredivisie and claims this is the position that suits him best in an interview with the official site.

I think midfield is a good position for me and it's also where I can help the team the most.

De Gea: I watched Schmeichel a lot growing up

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David de Gea has spoken to MUTV about his top five goalkeepers of alltime.

Peter Schmeichel: "He was one of the best in the world and an unbelievable goalkeeper. He was admired by everyone who watched him. I watched him a lot growing up and now on MUTV! I enjoyed all his saves it's difficult to pick one out as the best.

VIDEO: Januzaj assist in Belgium victory

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VIDEO: Blind and Chicharito goals in Holland vs Mexico

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Rooney snowballed journo behind Anfield then walked him to his car

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Wayne Rooney makes his 100th appearance for England tonight which has lead to several newspapers looking for weird and wonderful ways to mark the occasion.

Jeff Powell, a journalist who has been going since England won the World Cup, has remembered his favourite memory of United's striker.

The first day of March, 2006, was unusually wintry, even for Liverpool.

TOP FIVE: Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United League Title Wins

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On the 6thNovember 1986, Alex Ferguson set about rebuilding Manchester United in his own image. We all know what happened next. For November's top five, in honour of its proximity to his anniversary, it seemed like it might be fun to pick out Fergie's five best league title wins.

NumberFive – "I Would Love it if we Beat Them": 1995/6

Newcastle United were a heck of a fun side under Kevin Keegan.

De Gea: I spend a lot of time with Mata and Herrera

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David de Gea has answered questions from fans on Facebook.

What do you like to do when you're not playing football?
I like to relax at home and I also spend a lot of time with Juan and Ander – we watch a lot of football together on TV. I also love to play on the PlayStation.

Fellaini: I was scapegoat during Moyes’ season of failure

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Marouane Fellaini has revealed that he felt like a scapegoat last season when David Moyes dragged the champions of England to 7th in the title, below Fellaini's former club Everton.

Asked if he did feel like a ‘scapegoat' last season,' he replied: "Yes, a little bit. That is a difficult question.

RvP: I’m keeping Dutch captaincy

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Since Louis van Gaal left the Dutch national team for Manchester United, the country have been struggling in their bid to qualify for Euro 2016.

Guus Hiddink's team now sit six points behind group leaders Iceland and Czech Republic, but Robin van Persie insists he is not taking the blame for that and will remain as captain.

De Gea: It makes me very happy when the fans sing my name

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David de Gea has answered questions from fans that were sent to him on Facebook.

How does it feel when the whole of Old Trafford is singing your name?
It's very difficult to put that sensation into words. I can only say it makes me feel very passionate and very happy when I'm playing.

Fellaini: It was great celebrating goal with fans

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Marouane Fellaini scored his first Manchester United goal minutes after coming off the bench against West Brom a few weeks ago.

The United midfielder has reflected on how it felt to see the ball hit the back of the net.

Scoring the goal was a great feeling. I had waited a long time for it!

Mata: Impossible to describe feeling of scoring at Old Trafford

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Juan Mata has spoken about how it feels to score a goal at Old Trafford, following his winner against Crystal Palace at the weekend.

Today, following our important win on Saturday, it seems a bit easier to be here writing these lines about what has happened during the week.

The feeling of scoring a goal in Old Trafford is nearly impossible to describe, but I can tell you that is very special.

Five key thoughts from United 1-0 Crystal Palace

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Manchester United laboured to a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace to move up to sixth position in the fledgling Premier League table. Substitute Juan Mata's second half strike was enough to seal all three points for the Red Devils who had previously gone three games without a win. The result is Louis Van Gaal's fourth victory in 12 competitive games as manager, with all four coming at Old Trafford.

McNair: I grew up wanting to play for United

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Paddy McNair started training with Manchester United when he was 12-years-old so grew up wanting to play for the club. He can hardly believe that now he has played in a Manchester derby.

"When I was growing up, I always wanted to play for Manchester United, and now I am playing in Manchester derbies, so it's been good and I've loved every minute of it," he said.

RoM Reads

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Scott writes for The Metro about LvG's 3 months to 3 years statements.

The Telegraph talks about Rooney's 100th cap for England.

The Independent discusses Radamel Falcao.

ESPN reports on Queiroz's claim that he didn't recommend Bebe to Ferguson.

Win a retro Manchester United shirt.

Mata: One of my most important goals

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Juan Mata came off the bench to win the game for United today against Crystal Palace and hailed the goal as one of his most important.

It was probably one of my most important goals. It was a very difficult game. We needed the three points and I am very happy because we got them and that is exactly what the supporters deserve.

VIDEO: Mata’s goal vs Crystal Palace

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CONFIRMED LINE-UP: United vs Crystal Palace

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De Gea, Valencia, McNair, Blind, Shaw, Fellaini, Carrick, Januzaj, Rooney, Di Maria, van Persie.

Rooney: Captaincy means I have responsibility with youth

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Wayne Rooney has revealed that the captaincy has seen him have a more influential role with the young players at Manchester United.

There are different things you have to get involved in, in terms of meetings outside the club and trying to have an influence on the youth development in the club.

LvG: Wilson and McNair could be the key to our success

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Louis van Gaal has been singing the praises of James Wilson who was given his debut at the end of last season when Ryan Giggs was manager.

"He has already been knocking on the door for a long time, that I have said in many press conferences," he said. "That is not only because he substituted Robin van Persie in the last match.

STATS: United’s injuries this season

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RvP: Fergie was furious with us even when we were 15 points clear

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In Rio Ferdinand's recent autobiography, he claimed the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson hit Robin van Persie harder than any of the other players.

The Dutchman has today confirmed what Rio said and talked of his admiration of our former manager.

Rio is a great guy. He talks a lot but there is some truth in that.

LvG: Exceptional circumstances drew me to touchline on derby day

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Like Sir Alex Ferguson towards the end of his career, Louis van Gaal is rarely found on the touchline. He has today explained that he can't get his message across to his players during the game, especially thanks to the noise at Old Trafford, but exception circumstances following Chris Smalling's red card meant he was required to give instructions to his players.

Rojo could be back in less than six weeks

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Louis van Gaal has claimed that Marcos Rojo could be back in less than six weeks after confirming surgery isn't required to fix his dislocated shoulder.

Marcos dislocated his shoulder but did it in a positive way. We don't need to operate on him. It's a relief but maybe, with this injury, it is very difficult to prevent it from happening again.

Palace Preview: Making Up For Lost Ground

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It would be nice to say that last Sunday's derby defeat had been completely forgotten about but unfortunately that isn't the case. The defeat at the Etihad can however be looked back upon for some positive reasons despite the Reds leaving empty handed and a further two defenders down for the visit of Crystal Palace on Saturday.

COMPETITION: Classic Retro United shirt

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We have come together with Campo Retro to offer Manchester United fans from all around the world a fantastic opportunity to win a classic retro shirt of their choice, complete with any name & number on the back.

Campo Retro sell classic retro football clothing from yesteryear and not only do they offer a comprehensive range of classic football shirts, they tell the stories behind the shirts; the great moments, the near misses, the icons, the nostalgia and have a wide range of classic United shirts and track jackets ranging back from 1957 through to 1999.

Wilson: Great watching Ruud score for the team I supported

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James Wilson has spoken to MUTV about which strikers have been his favourite.

Wayne Rooney "He broke through at Everton when he was 16 or 17 which was a similar age to me [when I made my debut]. Then he got regular first-team football from then on, so that's an inspiration for me.

Mata: Manchester derby is really intense

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Juan Mata was left out of the team for yesterday's derby after the return from suspension for Wayne Rooney. He has written his weekly blog and revealed how upset the team is.

Today I'm writing to you from home after a defeat that is not easy to take.

A derby is always special and the one in Manchester is really intense, you can feel it in the streets during the week.

Five key thoughts following United’s 1-0 loss to Manchester City

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Manchester United were condemned to their third league defeat of the season by neighbours Manchester City on Sunday. Sergio Aguero's second half strike was enough to separate the sides in a 1-0 victory for the hosts after a strange game which saw United reduced to ten men in the first period. Chris Smalling was sent off for two yellow cards in the first half, which exasperated Louis Van Gaal's defensive problems.

Fellaini denies spitting at Aguero

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The press loves to invent the stories when there aren't any. Thanks the journalist. #ferity #tospit

- Marouane Fellaini (@fellainiM) November 3, 2014


The backpage of most newspapers this morning contained a picture of Marouane Fellaini shouting at Sergio Aguero.

LvG: Smalling wasn’t very smart

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Chris Smalling cost United any points in the derby with two ridiculous yellow cards and was deserving of being sent off.

At the time of being interviewed, Van Gaal hadn't seen Smalling's pathetic first yellow card, but it would be interesting to witness the conversation the manager has with the player when he does.

Rooney: We were in control with 10 men

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Wayne Rooney is pleased with how United did today in the 1-0 defeat away to City after playing with ten men for an hour.

We responded well and defended well [after falling behind]. I felt for long periods of the game we were the better team. We took control of the game with 10 men and created the better chances.

Val Gaal: These players are prepared with give everything for the United shirt

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Louis van Gaal has sung the praises of the players after the derby day defeat. Despite playing with ten men for an hour, United for dominated for large periods of the game, and finished the day with an impressive 48% possession of the ball.

I said to the boys their willpower and labour were unbelievable and they can be very proud.

LIVE BLOG: Manchester City v Manchester United

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Good afternoon comrades, and welcome to Republik of Mancunia's LIVE BLOG coverage of the Manchester derby. There was once a glorious period the entire 1990′s when United fully ruled the roost when it came to the derby spoils, 14 games played, 14 games without defeat...

City Preview: Make Mine a Bitter

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Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal will take charge of his first Manchester derby on Sunday, as the Reds travel to Wastelands looking to close the gap between the two sides to just a point.

Vast improvements in the side are plain to see, and though the last two matches have resulted in only a single point in each, they've demonstrated United's never say day attitude and willingness to keep going until the end after a year's absence.

Moyes: Fellaini’s dad cried tears of pride when he joined United

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David Moyes has reflected on signing Marouane Fellaini for Manchester United.

Technically he's very good. He has fantastic chest control, for instance. And he's very professional; hard working with a great attitude. He will do anything you ask and all you'll ever hear from him is a ‘thank you, coach' at the end of a training session.

CONFIRMED LINE-UP: City vs United

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De Gea, Valencia, Smalling, Rojo, Shaw, Blind, Fellaini, Januzaj, Rooney, Di Maria, Van Persie.

PREDICTIONS: Derby day – journos and fans on City vs United Part II

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Danny Taylor, The Guardian's chief football writer

PREDICTION: 3-2 City

The strange thing is that while everyone has been obsessed with United's defence and let's not pretend it's been pretty City have kept only two clean sheets from their nine Premier League matches as well.

Has Pellegrini not watched United this season?

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Speaking ahead of Sunday's derby, Manuel Pellegrini has claimed that United aren't any stronger this season compared to last.

Similar. I think that both teams are similar. We are not stronger. I think Manchester United bought very important players this year. I think also they are at the moment where you start with a new manager and new players which is not easy.

Di Maria: I’m defending pride of United’s colours on Sunday

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Angel di Maria's Argentine teammates Pablo Zabaleta, Sergio Agüero and Martín Demichelis will be on the opposite team on Sunday.

Di Maria says that, of course, they will all remain friends off the pitch, but on the pitch it's something different.

You are defending the pride of your colours.

The Month: United remain fun to watch in October

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Manchester United could do with more points, at least to avoid the annoying, if true, suggestion that it's going the same way as it did under Moyes. Thing is, even with all that's happened, United are a lot more fun to watch and to think, talk and write about this season, an opinion that admittedly will be tested a couple of times as the whole thing drags on.

Di Maria: No way I’d go anywhere but United

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After Angel di Maria left Real Madrid for Manchester United in the summer, his former club's president claimed that he only joined us for the money.

Di Maria has repeatedly claimed he came to United because he wanted to play somewhere he felt loved. First it was Gareth Bale and then it was James Rodriguez, and our winger realised he was never going to be their star player.