Republik Of Mancunia Archives for January 2014

LvG: I want to thank amazing United fans

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Louis van Gaal has sung the praises of Manchester United fans, particularly after the difficult start to the season, with him pointing to the support as the thing that has stood out to him the most since joining the club.

The thing that has pleased me most is the fans, they are amazing.

De Gea: Gym turned me in to Captain America!

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David de Gea has spoken to the official site about his development since joining Manchester United

Which area of your game has improved most since you joined United?
I have been here for four years now and I think that every aspect of my goalkeeping has improved. It is hard to single out one area because we have worked and improved on everything.

Rooney: Festival schedule needs to change

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Wayne Rooney has complained about the Christmas schedule after United played two games in less than 48 hours. The second half at White Hart Lane was particularly poor, with Louis van Gaal referring to it as a "struggle for life", leading Rooney to call for the fixtures to change next year.

It's not easy playing two games in three days.

Rojo: I want to be back for this important part of the season

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Marcos Rojo has been missing with an injury since United's fortunate 2-1 win away to Southampton at the beginning of the month.

The defender is frustrated to have missed the past four games but is focussing on returning as soon as possible.

It's something you never want to go through.

Spurs Preview: Ending The Year On A Good Note

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Is it just me, or are things beginning to feel a little 2012/13? Robin van Persie is consistently scoring, Wayne Rooney is effective in a central midfield position (minus the transfer request), Liverpool flirt with mid-table mediocrity and – most importantly of all – United are consistently winning matches.

Carrick: We’re not satisfied with third

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Michael Carrick has spoken about Manchester United's recent good form and has reiterated the players' desire to compete for the title this season.

The signs have been good in recent weeks. We were bitterly disappointed not to win last week [at Aston Villa] but we beat Newcastle and now have two big away games.

United players who feature in the most booked players in PL history

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4. Paul Scholes (97 bookings)

The former Manchester United midfielder was not unfamiliar with seeing a referee reach for his pocket. Arguably his most famous yellow card did not arrive in the Premier League, though.

It came in the semi final of the Champions League. Scholes was cautioned against Juventus, ruling him out of their win in the 1999 final against Bayern Munich at the Nou Camp.

What’s gone wrong with Nick Powell?

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Nick Powell signed for Manchester United in the summer of 2012 for a deal that was worth up to £6 million for Crewe Alexandra.

Most United fans didn't know much about him but had seen his brilliant goal at Wembley against Cheltenham Town which secured his club's place in League One for the following season when he was just 18 years old.

RoM Reads

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Scott writes for ESPN about today's game against Spurs.

The Telegraph reports on the similarities between Ferguson and Van Gaal.

The Mirror talks about Tim Howard's claims that Ferguson is scarier than Obama.

The Mirror reports on Harry Kane's claims that Spurs aren't scared of United.

Carrick: Our attack is world class

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Michael Carrick has sung the praises of Manchester United's attacking forward line following the 3-1 result against Newcastle. Wayne Rooney, Radamel Falcao, Juan Mata and Robin van Persie linked up brilliantly for the goals and Carrick is hoping for more of the same against Tottenham Hotspur today.

CONFIRMED LINE-UP: Spurs vs United

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De Gea, Jones, McNair, Evans, Valencia, Carrick, Rooney, Mata, Young, van Persie, Falcao.

Subs: Lindegaard, Rafael, Smalling, Shaw, Fletcher, A.Pereira, Wilson.

VIDEO: Rooney and Van Persie goals vs Newcastle

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Rooney: My position is like Scholesy’s

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Wayne Rooney scored twice in United's 3-1 win over Newcastle, despite playing much deeper in a midfield role. The United captain has claimed he is familiar with the role and is happy to play there.

It's a role that I've played many times and I know I can play. The manager has given me even more licence to get forward and get into the box from that role.

CONFIRMED LINE-UP: United vs Newcastle

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De Gea, Jones, McNair, Evans, Valencia, Carrick, Rooney, Mata, Young, van Persie, Falcao.

Bench: Lindegaard, Rafael, Smalling, Blackett, Fletcher, A.Pereira, Wilson.

Remember when we played Newcastle during Christmas 1995?

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The day after Boxing Day during the 1995-96 season, Manchester United took on Newcastle at Old Trafford. Ahead of kick-off, the visitors were 10 points clear at the top of the table, with a goal difference superior by 10, and with four more wins to their name.

Of the previous five games, United had drawn three, before losing two on the bounce, with painful defeats away to Liverpool and then Leeds.

Happy Christmas

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VIDEO: Giggs wants fans’ help

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Find out how your money can help kids this Christmas on the official United site.

Ferguson: The spirit of United comes from developing our own players

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Sir Alex Ferguson has claimed that at the core of Manchester United is the club's philosophy of bringing through their own players.

Many people have different interpretations of what I've made Manchester United over the last 26 years, with great players, Rooney, Ronaldo, Cantona, Keane, Robson, Schmeichel, there's too many to talk about.

VIDEO: LvG toasts journos at press conference

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VIDEO: Ferguson – Cantona was different

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Sir Alex Ferguson was speaking to Clare Balding as part of a BT Sport Christmas Day double-bill of ‘Clare Balding Meets' which features exclusive interviews with Sir Alex and Jose Mourinho. Watch the full interviews on BT Sport 1 from 3.30pm on December 25th.

Rojo: My face changes when I get on the pitch

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Marcos Rojo has been settling in well to life at Manchester United and has done a decent job when on the field. He has revealed in the latest United Review that he look a serious character when on the field but off it he is completely different.

I'm totally different off the field to what I am on it.

Ferguson: LvG is a great coach and will do well at United

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Sir Alex Ferguson has sung the praises of Manchester United's latest manager, Louis van Gaal, and insists that the team will only get better once the injuries calm down.

First of all, Louis Van Gaal, I don't know how he can expect to get the best results with the injuries he's had.

LvG: No good news on injuries

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With Luke Shaw, Marouane Fellaini, Ander Herrera, Marcos Rojo and Chris Smalling all injured for United's game against Aston Villa, Louis van Gaal has claimed he doesn't think of them will be back in time for Newcastle on Boxing Day.

I don't think so, I am sorry. Maybe Smalling.

Ferguson: I loved getting ‘Fergie time’ wins for the fans

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Manchester United never knew when they were beaten when Sir Alex Ferguson was the manager and came back deep in to injury time to win games so often.

Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed exactly what it was like when his team won in "Fergie time".

That's why I used to go to my watch.

RoM Reads

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Scott writes for The Metro about Falcao.

The Telegraph looks at bogey teams.

Squawka looks at Juan Mata's performances away from home.

The Evening News reports on Luke Shaw's return.

RoM Christmas newsletter is coming out today. Sign up here to receive it.

Five key thoughts following Aston Villa 1-1 United

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Manchester United's six-match winning streak came to an end against Aston Villa on Saturday afternoon. The Red Devils were held to a 1-1 draw by their hosts as Radamel Falcao's powerful header cancelled out a stunning strike from Christian Benteke in the first half.

The result means United are now seven points behind neighbours Manchester City and leaders Chelsea in the Premier League table.

RoM reads

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Scott gives his player ratings for ESPN.

Scott discusses the idea of United winning the league for Irish Independent.

The Express reckons we're signing Bale.

The Guardian sings the praises of Michael Carrick.

Inside Futbol says Inter Milan are looking to loan out Nemanja Vidic.

Falcao has predator instinct

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Michael Carrick has sung the praises of Radamel Falcao following his equalising goal yesterday in the 1-1 draw at Aston Villa.

"He's scored so many goals over the years and you always feel that when he gets that chance he will score," Carrick said. "He's scored a terrific header again today and I'm pleased for him.

Evans: We should have beaten Villa

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Manchester United draw 1-1 with Aston Villa yesterday after Radamel Falcao equalised following a first half goal from Christian Benteke.

Jonny Evans, who was at fault for the Villa goal, has spoken of the team's frustration at not getting all three points in a game that they dominated.

We felt we should have gone on to win, especially with them going down to ten men.

After the dark days of David Moyes, the future looks bright at the Theatre of Dreams

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When it comes to the Premier League, the Christmas period is an unforgiving time. Matches come thick and fast; fixture after fixture as the football calendar waits for no man. Pressure mounts as title-challenges and relegation battles are made and broken. Nothing is ultimately decided at this time of the year, but it can certainly feel like it.

VIDEO: Falcao goal vs Villa

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Live Blog: Aston Villa v Manchester United

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Carrick replaces Fletch as United’s vice captain

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Louis van Gaal has confirmed that from this point on, Michael Carrick will be Manchester United's vice-captain, not Darren Fletcher.

Villa Preview: The Season To Be Jolly

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Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? A resounding 3-0 victory over Liverpool last week sees United travel to Villa Park on Saturday having put together six wins in succession.

Further woes for Southampton leave Louis van Gaal's side three points ahead of fourth placed West Ham, with the Saints and Arsenal a further two points adrift.

Falcao: My mum wasn’t impressed that dad named me after Brazilian footballer

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Radamel Falcao has talked about the early years of his life and how he became a footballer, following on his father's footsteps.

"I am chilled and laid-back but very passionate about football and pretty much everything in my life," he said. "The most important thing is that I give my best wherever I go.

Falcao: Cantona, Van Nistelrooy, Giggs and Scholes were my heroes

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Radamel Falcao has revealed that he looked up to several former Manchester United players when he was growing up, particularly Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy.

"I was always told that the Premier League would suit my playing style and England has always attracted me," he said. "Ever since I was a child, I always wanted to come here so much so that I learned the language so I was preparing myself in some way for a future move to England.

Carrick: We DID try last season

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Manchester United went from being champions to seventh in the league last season after Sir Alex Ferguson was replaced by David Moyes.

Michael Carrick insists that despite the dreadful displays, the players hadn't given up and were still trying, but it just didn't work out.

It was unusual.

Fellaini: It was difficult getting blamed last season

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Marouane Fellaini was appalling in his first season at Manchester United and his reputation wasn't helped by being the only signing of David Moyes, who had a dreadful time at the club too.

The midfielder has played much better this season and managed to keep Cesc Fabregas, the best performing player in the league up until his visit to Old Trafford, in his back pocket during United's 1-1 draw against Chelsea.

RoM reads

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Scott talks to ESPN about whether United can win the league this season.

Scott writes for The Metro about gloating against Liverpool.

The London Evening Standard reports that Javier Hernandez will not be returning to United in January.

The Telegraph looks at derby day traitors.

Carrick: Valencia is a pure athlete

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Michael Carrick has sung the praises of Antonio Valencia, who has done a good job of filling in at right-back during the injury crisis.

Antonio is a pure athlete. He is immense. It is the work he does that doesn't get noticed, things like carrying the ball up the pitch for 30 or 40 yards when you have been defending.

RvP picks Falcao over Di Maria in dream 5-a-side team

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Robin van Persie has spoken to the official site about training at Manchester United.

Which part of training do you enjoy the most?

I like short games when we play four against four or five against five in short, four or five minute-games. We also do a lot of finishing drills some very nice ones, especially when we work on quality finishing when, instead of doing four or five reps (repetitions) in a row, we do just one or two and then have a rest.

PICTURE: Massive Park Ji-Sung banner at PSV

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Park Ji-Sung was announced as a Manchester United ambassador in October after retiring last season. Park signed for PSV in 2003 before joining United in 2005.

After leaving United in 2012 he returned to PSV on a season long loan.

United fans the loudest in the league

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United didn't away from home until November 22nd but Carlsberg have revealed that we have the loudest away fans in the league.

1. Man United; 2. Newcastle; 3. Liverpool; 4. Crystal Palace; 5. Chelsea; 6. Man City; 7. Arsenal; 8. West Ham; 9. Southampton; 10. Stoke; 11. Cardiff*; 12. Norwich; 13.

Di Maria beats Messi and Aguero to Argentina’s player of the yea

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Angel di Maria has been named Argentina's player of the year. He was given the Olimpia de Plata at a ceremony on Tuesday, where he was celebrated for his successes for both club and country.

It is the first time since 2006 that Lionel Messi has not won the award.

Falcao: I really want to stay at United

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Radamel Falcao hasn't had the ideal start to his time at Manchester United but the striker is hoping that now he is fit he can prove himself and convince the club to sign him on a permanent basis.

We talk a lot, the coach and I. He has a philosophy that I respect. I have had an injury, and I have had to wait for the opportunity to play.

PICTURES: United’s second Christmas night out

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WIN signed RvP shirt

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Join our FREE ENTRY fantasy football league to win a 2014/15 Manchester United home shirt, signed by Robin van Persie.

​We are delighted to announce that the Republik of Mancunia have teamed up with FootballFanager.com The all new fantasy football platform which allows managers to play daily and weekly games, without any season-long commitments.

Mata: United support was amazing against Liverpool

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Juan Mata has sung the praises of Manchester United fans following a noisy afternoon on Sunday as we beat Liverpool 3-0.

In contrast, the away end were silent for most of the game and left with 10 minutes left to play.

For Manchester United, the games against Liverpool are always special.

Rooney: We can win the league

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Following our 3-0 win over Liverpool, Wayne Rooney has talked up United's chances of winning the league, despite still being eight points behind Chelsea.

I think we have to believe that we can win the title. We are eight points behind and coming into a busy period. If we can win our games and the others have one bad result then there's nothing in it.

Rooney: De Gea is the best in the world

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David de Gea has been making saves that most other keepers wouldn't be able to get near to on a weekly basis now.

Wayne Rooney has the sung the praises of our goalie, claiming he is the best in the world.

In my eyes he is the best keeper in the world. The performances he has shown for us have been fantastic.

Mata: We won a big game for United fans

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Juan Mata has sung the praises of teammate and compatriot David de Gea after United's 3-0 win over Liverpool.

"We scored three goals, but David was very important for us today," he told MUTV. "It's tough to find anyone better than him, he's been in top form since the beginning of the season and has saved a lot of points for us.

De Gea: I’m really happy we beat Liverpool

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David de Gea was presented with his PFA Fans Player of the Month award ahead of kick-off. If anyone was in doubt of whether he was deserving of the award or not, he certainly answered those questions with his performance in United's 3-0 win over Liverpool today.

United's goalkeeper spoke of his delight at beating their hated rivals.

Van Gaal: We deserved to beat Liverpool

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Louis van Gaal wasn't totally satisfied with United's performance today but stressed the importance of picking up all three points against rivals Liverpool.

Today, I thought we were the better team, and we deserved to win. So, it wasn't the same as the Southampton game we pressed more from the front, and that was the key.

Van Persie: Fans were our 12th man today

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Robin van Persie scored one and assisted another in Manchester United's win over Liverpool. In this same fixture last season, United lost 3-0, and the home fans were fantastic. It should come as no surprise that we were in full voice as United won 3-0, and the Dutch striker was full of praise for us.

VIDEO: Rooney, Mata and Van Persie goals vs Liverpool

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Five key thoughts following United 3-0 Liverpool

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Manchester United gave themselves a cushion in the top four of the Premier League with a solid 3-0 win over rivals Liverpool. After missing several chances of their own, Brendan Rodgers' men were put to the sword as goals from Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Robin Van Persie sealed a comfortable win for the Red Devils at Old Trafford.

CONFIRMED LINE-UP: United vs Liverpool

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De Gea, Valencia, Jones, Evans, Young, Carrick, Fellaini, Mata, Rooney, van Persie, Wilson.

Liverpool Preview: The Joy Of Six

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United welcome the visit of bitter rivals Liverpool to Old Trafford this afternoon having now put together a run of five consecutive wins. A 2-1 victory at St Mary's on Monday evening ensured the Reds moved back into the top three after an injury-ravaged opening to the season.

In truth, besides the three points it's hard to take too many positives away from night's lacklustre performance.

INFOGRAPHIC: United vs Liverpool

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Meulensteen: Van Gaal is not my cup of tea

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Rene Meulensteen has joined the list of former Manchester United employees to stick the boot in. Meulensteen admits he doesn't like Louis van Gaal, meaning his criticism shouldn't come as a surprise, but he claims he is worried about the future of the club if Ryan Giggs leaves.

I find it a big surprise that Van Gaal has not managed yet to make the team play better.

RoM Reads

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Scott writes for The Metro about the difference in spending between United and Liverpool.

The Guardian questions why Manchester United haven't supported the fans who got battered in Rome seven years ago.

The Telegraph looks at which players would make a combined United/Liverpool XI.

Rojo: Teammates laughed at me for trying to steal Mata’s goal

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Against Stoke, Juan Mata scored a brilliant goal from a freekick, although Marcos Rojo ran away and started celebrating. The Argentinean believes the goal is his, even if his teammates have enjoyed laughing at him since.

"I certainly felt that I got a touch on it," he said. "It didn't change the trajectory of the ball, it didn't look as if I'd made good contact with the ball but I've seen lots of photographs!

Rojo: I’m doing better than Di Maria in our English classes

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Marcos Rojo has stressed the importance of good communication between the back four which is why he is going to English classes. He goes with teammate and compatriot Angel di Maria, but both think they are doing better than the other.

"Obviously we've not had the chance to play with the same players too often, there have been many changes, and yes, it can be a bit difficult," he said.

Time to dig out on old chant for Sunday?

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Imagine just how horrendous tomorrow would have been if Liverpool had won the title last season. Had Steven Gerrard not miscontrolled that pass against Chelsea and fallen over, Liverpool would be coming to Old Trafford tomorrow as the champions of England. Whatever the scoreline, nothing would stop them lauding last season's success over us.

RoM Reads

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Scott writes for The Metro about how Liverpool have fallen since last season.

The Guardian talks about the difference in Sunday's game now that no title challenge is involved.

The Independent assesses whether Neville is right about us being a pub team.

The Telegraph reports that Ravel Morrison has been put up for sale by West Ham.

Van Gaal: Sunday’s game like El Clasico

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Louis van Gaal has likened Sunday's game against Liverpool to El Clasico in Spain, between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

"It is like that, of course," he said. "Barcelona versus Real Madrid was [in front of] 102,000 in the first time I was working there. The stadium adapted to 102,000 and they were all sitting there.

Fletcher: I owe everything to Ferguson

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Darren Fletcher has spoken today about his life since being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2008, an illness which threatened to finish his football career.

United's vice-captain has singled out Sir Alex Ferguson for praise, thanking the manager for everything he did for him and his family.

Van Persie: Finally I’m feeling good physically

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Robin van Persie had a difficult start to the season and struggled to find the back of the net. After the appointment of Louis van Gaal, fans assumed that the striker would return to playing as well as he did in his first season, but his form was poor.

Over recent weeks, Van Persie has been looking a lot sharper, and the Dutchman claims that he's been feeling a lot fitter in this time.

Xavi’s British CL Dream Team dominated by United players

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Goalkeeper: Fraser Forster

Defenders: Rio Ferdinand, Sol Campbell, John Terry

Midfielders: Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Paul Gascoigne

Forwards: Theo Walcott, Wayne Rooney

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Louis Saha on starting Wilson against Liverpool and O’Shea’s goal at the Kop

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Louis Saha played in six games against Liverpool, including the game at Old Trafford which saw Rio Ferdinand score an injury time winning header, as well as when John O'Shea scored at the death in front of the Kop, which put United nine points clear at the top of the table.

In an exclusive interview with The Republik of Mancunia on behalf of 888Sport.

RoM Reads

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Scott goes head to head with a Liverpool fan on ESPN.

The Telegraph suggestions United vs Liverpool isn't the biggest game in England.

The Independent talks to Scholes about his thoughts on youth football in Manchester.

The Guardian reports on Phil Jones' return.

RoM has suggestions of what to buy your friends and family this Christmas.

Mata: It’s great playing with Herrera

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Juan Mata has sung the praises of his United team mate and his campriot, Ander Herrera, claiming that the two players want the same thing out of the game.

"I think maybe we see the game in the same way," Mata told the official site. "We are different players but we like to play the same way, which is to try to pass, to assist, to move and to find the gaps in the opposition defence.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Louis Saha on Cantona, United fans and injuries

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Louis Saha signed for Manchester United halfway through the 2003-04 season after scoring 15 goals in 22 games for Fulham.

He quickly became a fans' favourite and probably would have spent several more years at the club if not for the amount of injuries he sustained.

In an exclusive interview with The Republik of Mancunia on behalf of 888Sport.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Louis Saha on replacing Van Nistelrooy in League Cup final and Falcao injury advice

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Ruud van Nistelrooy was one of the greatest strikers Manchester United has ever seen but left the club in the summer of 2006 after a falling out with Sir Alex Ferguson.

After being the top scorer in the competition, Louis Saha was chosen ahead of the Dutchman when United took on Wigan in the League Cup final.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Louis Saha on Moyes’ failure and plans to become a manager

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Louis Saha joined Everton in the summer of 2008 after struggling to maintain his fitness at Manchester United. As he was injured at the time of signing, Saha offered to train for free at Everton until he was available to play.

In an exclusive interview with The Republik of Mancunia on behalf of 888Sport.

TOP FIVE: Seasonal Manchester United Games

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Christmas is a time, as we all know, for family, presents, roast potatoes in unreasonable quantities and, of course, football. Louis might have said recently that it's a bit of a shame footballers don't get to spend much of the festive season with their families, but they are doing a service for those who want to get away from theirs.

RoM Reads

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Scott wrote for ESPN about the return of Robin van Persie.

The Guardian reports on Van Gaal's reaction to Gary Neville's "pub team" comment.

The Telegraph reports on the Kevin Strootman link.

Red Rants talks about Phelan's claim that Van Gaal is at fault for United's injuries.

Falcao: Van Nistelrooy and Cantona were stars I looked up to

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Radamel Falcao has talked about the former Manchester United players who he used to look up to when he was growing up, with Eric Cantona and Ruud van Nistelrooy the strikers he singles out for praise.

"I always admired Ruud van Nistelrooy in my position," he said. "He was a star attraction for me.

Van Persie: United fans are unbelievable

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Robin van Persie scored two goals on Monday night in United's 2-1 win over Southampton.

United were dominated for most of the game but still the travelling fans outsung the home support throughout the match.

Van Persie has sung the praises of the United fans and thanked them for their support.

Valencia: Vidic was a rock

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Antonio Valencia has answered questions from the fans for the official site.

Are you the fastest player in the United squad?
I'm not sure. Wayne Rooney is quick, as is Adnan Januzaj – I think it's between them...

What has Radamel Falcao brought to United's dressing room?

Van Persie: We’re looking forward to Liverpool game

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Robin van Persie scored two vital goals in Manchester United's 2-1 victory over Southampton on Monday night.

After struggling for form this season, despite the important injury time goal against Chelsea and fantastic strike against Hull last week, the goals against Southampton showed possible signs of him being back to his best.

Five key thoughts following Southampton 1-2 United

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Manchester United made it five wins in a row in the Premier League after coming out of a poor match against high flying Southampton with a 2-1 victory. The result moved the Red Devils up to third position in the Premier League, with just Chelsea and Manchester City above them in the table. Robin Van Persie scored a neat brace as Louis Van Gaal's men leapfrogged their hosts.

VIDEO: Van Persie’s goals vs Southampton

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FA CUP DRAW: United to face Accrington/Yeovil

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In the FA Cup 3rd round United will face Accrington/Yeovil.

CONFIRMED LINE-UP: Southampton vs United

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

Subs: Lindegaard, Evans, Herrera, Fletcher, Januzaj, Wilson, Falcao.

Southampton: Forster; Clyne, Fonte, Yoshida, Bertrand; Davis, Mané, Wanyama; Long, Tadić, Pellè.

What happened with Koeman vs Van Gaal?

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During his first stint as Barcelona manager, Louis van Gaal invited Ronaldo Koeman to become a part of his coaching staff, giving him his first taste of training players after retiring from playing.

Van Gaal had been warned that Koeman was egotistical but this didn't stop him from giving the 35-year-old some important experience.

RoM Reads

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Scott writes for ESPN about the importance of keeping the goalie that could become our greatest ever.

The Guardian reports on Falcao's position on the bench.

The Independent talks about which players are likely to leave United this summer.

RoM preview for Southampton vs United.

Mata: Special reunion with Koeman

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Juan Mata will be hoping to make the starting line-up again tonight as United travel to Southampton.

The opposition manager, Ronald Koeman, was the manager of Valencia when Mata won his first trophy.

It's going to be a special reunion, since Ronald Koeman was my manager in Valencia when I won my first title as a professional footballer: the Copa del Rey.

Young: Confidence is sky high

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Ashley Young has been playing well at left-back when filling in for the injured Luke Shaw. Ahead of United's game against Southampton, Young has claimed that the squad is in great spirits following a run of four wins on the trot.

When you are winning games then confidence is always sky high.

Southampton Preview: Give Me Five

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A fourth consecutive victory for United on Tuesday night leaves the Reds on the cusp of returning to the top three of English football, remarkably for the first time since the opening weekend of last season.

Marouane Fellaini continued his impressive form scoring the game's opener, before a teasing Juan Mata free-kick found its way past Asmir Begovic to seal United's victory after a Steven N'Zonzi equaliser and continue their crusade to return towards the Premier League's summit.

Pelle: Van Gaal made me a better player

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Graziano Pelle joined AZ Alkmaar from Lecce, the club he had signed for as a young boy, because of the promise of giving young at chance. Louis van Gaal convinced the 22-year-old that the Dutch club was on the one for him.

Pelle has today sung the praises of his former manager, whilst admitting that Van Gaal frustrated him at times.

Van Gaal: Rooney will play against Southampton

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Louis van Gaal has got good news on the injury front. After previously ruling out Wayne Rooney, the manager has confirmed that the captain will be available for Monday's game against Southampton and Angel di Maria isn't far behind him.

On Rooney: The news is very good, he shall play.

On Di Maria: It (his return) shall be quickly but not for Monday.

Di Maria: No complaints about the food in Manchester!

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Angel di Maria has reflected on his start to life at Manchester United, claiming that he still has to do more to adapt to playing in a new team and in a new league.

"I must adapt to my team-mates because there are still moments in the game in which I feel I am not fully adapted yet," he said.

PICTURE: Vidic has United badge on his Inter shin pads

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Our former captain, Nemanja Vidic, may have left Manchester United but he hasn't forgotten about the club. After his emotional goodbye to the fans on his final game at home last season it is clear that United still has a place in his heart.

Here, in the Inter Milan dressing room, is Vidic's kit with the United badge on his shin pads.

Herrera: I want to score against De Gea

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Ander Herrera has spoken to the official site about his best goal in training, his ideal 5-a-side team and his most competitive teammate.

Who has scored the best goal you've ever seen in training?
I'd say Wayne or Juan because they spend a lot of time practicing free-kicks – they score some fantastic goals.

PICTURES: United players partying at Christmas do

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Red Christmas

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With Christmas around the corner, here are some United themed presents that would be ideal as stocking fillers for your red friends and family.

The Manchester United Collection from Form & Glory

The Form & Glory design collective has created a range of unique and stylish United-inspired Christmas gifts.

Five key thoughts following United 2-1 Stoke City

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It may have been a struggle at times but Manchester United managed to make it four wins on the trot on Tuesday night with a 2-1 win over Stoke City at Old Trafford. A towering Marouane Fellaini header was cancelled out by Steven N'Zonzi's powerful strike from the edge of the area before half time.

Vote for Van Persie for the FIFA Puskas Award

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Robin van Persie's goal in the World Cup against Spain has been shortlisted in the top three goals in the world for 2014.

After scoring, he ran to the manager's dugout to high five Louis van Gaal.

Vote for Van Persie's goal here.

CONFIRMED LINEUP: United vs Stoke

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De Gea, Valencia, Smalling, Rojo, Young, Herrera, Fellaini, Carrick, Mata, van Persie, Wilson.

Van Gaal: I want to win the FA Cup

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It has been over ten years since Manchester United last won the FA Cup and Louis van Gaal has claimed that whilst the league is the priority, he will be taking the cup seriously in the new year.

The league is our priority but the draw for the FA Cup will be made after this coming weekend's matches.

Ronaldinho: I was on the brink of signing for Manchester United

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In the summer of 2003, Manchester United agreed a deal with PSG to sign their talented young Brazilian, Ronaldinho. Barcelona had also been in the running.

Peter Kenyon, the chief executive at the time, heard that Barcelona's smaller bid had been entertained, so when he faxed through the final paperwork, he amended the agreed fee.

Herrera: I’m thankful to United fans

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Ander Herrera came on with 15 minutes played in Saturday's 3-0 win over Hull and was voted Man of the Match. The midfielder has spoken of his delight at the fans' recognition, particularly after all the great players our supporters have seen before.

"I am very happy," he said. "I am grateful because I know the Manchester United fans have seen a lot of good players at Old Trafford and I am happy.

Stoke Preview: Without Our Guardian Angel

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Stoke City are the visitors to Old Trafford this evening as United look to put together a fourth straight victory with Southampton's third place coming increasingly within touching distance for Louis van Gaal's side.

United's emphatic victory over Hull City on Saturday was marred only by a hamstring injury suffered by Angel Di Maria, which will rule the Argentine out of tonight's visit of Stoke.

The Month: That’s better, Manchester United

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In the month that Andy Townsend peaked, we say: That's better. And, well, it is:Manchester United have played at such a poor standard in the past 16 months that a run of wins precisely three is considered good progress, only slightly damning since they'd held aloft a Premier League title not too long before.