Republik Of Mancunia Archives for January 2015

RoM Reads

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Scott wrote for ESPN about the ever improving Ander Herrera.

The Guardian reckons Adnan Januzaj's United future is in doubt.

The Telegraph reports on how United have had more injuries than any other team this season.

The Mirror claims Van Gaal ripped in to the players after the Everton defeat.

STATS: Mata is United’s hardest worker

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The Telegraph have published stats today showing that Juan Mata covers more ground than any other player in the squad. His average over 90 minutes is 11.3km.

He is closely followed by Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini.

United’s pre-season tour dates announced

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Manchester United have confirmed their pre-season tour dates for the summer, playing against the teams that put Chelsea and City out of the Champions League this season.

PICTURE: Januzaj is a snooker fan

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Adnan Januzaj has been pictured with snooker player Shaun Murphy this evening after reaching the semi-finals of the World Championship after defeating Anthony McGill in Sheffield.

VIDEO: Van Persie and Rothwell’s goals for U-21s

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Robin van Persie and Joe Rothwell both scored two goals in United's U-21 win over Fulham's U-21.

Five key thoughts following Everton 3-0 Manchester United as Van Gaal’s men are given a major reality check

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It was a very disappointing day for Manchester United as they suffered a humbling 3-0 defeat at the hands of Everton at Goodison Park. James McCarthy, John Stones and Kevin Mirallas goals condemned United to back-to-back league defeats for the first time under Louis van Gaal and put their quest to finish in the top four on hold.

LIVE BLOG: Everton vs United

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PICTURE: The city is yours

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20,000 empty seats, are you f**king sure?

The champions of England can't seem the sell out their stadium but are still expanding it and hiking up ticket prices. Good luck with that.

Fergie: Ronaldo could score for any team… unlike Messi

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Sir Alex Ferguson has sung the praises of Cristiano Ronaldo, who has 39 league goals to his name this season, 50 in all competitions, saying he could score goals for any team.

In contrast, he believes that Messi, who is on 35 league goals and 47 in all competitions, could only thrive as he does at Barcelona.

LvG: Ryan Giggs will be the next United manager

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Having spent his entire career playing for Sir Alex Ferguson, and now getting experience from being Louis van Gaal's number two, Ryan Giggs is setting himself up nicely for a future career in management.

Patrice Evra revealed this week that Ferguson told him just two players in his final squad were made to be managers, Evra and Giggs.

Fellaini: Moyes wasn’t my best friend

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All eyes are on Maraouane Fellaini ahead of Manchester United's game against Everton tomorrow. The former Everton midfielder, who joined United with David Moyes, was a figure for ridicule on Merseyside last season. United had paid over the odds for him, after allowing his clause to expire, and he had been fairly dreadful.

LvG: We’ve offered De Gea a lot of money to stay

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Louis van Gaal has put the pressure on David de Gea by revealing to the press that the goalkeeper has been offered a lot of money by the club to extend his contract.

While unconfirmed, there have been suggestions that De Gea is waiting until United's place in the Champions League next season has been settled before committing to the club.

Fellaini: The fans are with me this season

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Marouane Fellaini has reflected on how different football is for him this year compared to last. Under David Moyes, Fellaini looked dreadful.

When Louis van Gaal took charge, fans presumed the player would just be written off and shipped out. In a pre-season friendly, Fellaini's every touch was met with ironic cheers and some boos from the crowd.

LvG: I believe in Shaw

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Luke Shaw had arguably his best performance in a United shirt in our game against Chelsea last weekend. Louis van Gaal has claimed this came as no surprise to him, and that he is expecting even more from the left back next season.

I believe in Luke Shaw so, for me, it isn't a surprise.

Fellaini: LvG has a special presence

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Marouane Fellaini has sung the praises of Louis van Gaal, claiming that the manager has brought more intelligence to United's game.

Football is about the brain, too, no? Van Gaal has brought that here. He tells us how important it is to read the game. When we have a meeting, he will ask why we did certain things, and then we get his opinion.

Fellaini: United is a massive club

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Marouane Fellaini has reflected on the shock of how big Manchester United is, and how he had to learn that quickly when signing for the club the summer before last.

It is better for me. I know my team-mates, I know my manager, I know the club. It was new to me, when I joined. It is a big club, I knew that, and I knew we had to win every game, but it was still different.

Rooney is richest footballer in UK

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The Times rich list has been published today and shows that Wayne Rooney is the richest footballer in the country. United's assistant manager, Ryan Giggs, and former defender, Rio Ferdinand, also feature in the top 10.

RoM Reads

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Scott wrote for ESPN about which defenders should stay or go this summer.

Sport Witness reports on Depay's meeting with United.

The Telegraph reckons West Ham are trying to lure David Moyes.

Paul Scholes write for The Independent about who he thinks is the player of the year.

STATS: Rafael’s injury record

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Louis van Gaal has confirmed today that Rafael da Silva is out for the rest of the season, after breaking his ribs when playing for the U-21s as part of his rehabilitation.

This season, he has been in the match day squad just 18 times from a possible 39 in all competitions. He has played the full 90 minutes on just five occasions, the last of those in the 1-1 draw against Chelsea at Old Trafford.

Everton Preview: Five Keys To Victory

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United's six-game winning run came to a cruel and unfortunate end last week at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea edged a 1-0 victory courtesy of an Eden Hazard counter. Late injuries to Michael Carrick, Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones didn't look to hamper United's performance too much besides a shift in the side which saw Wayne Rooney back in a midfield role, with Paddy McNair, Radamel Falcao and Luke Shaw all returning to the starting XI.

PICTURES: United players as kids

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Wayne Rooney, Luke Shaw, Robin van Persie, Adnan Januzaj, Ander Herrera and Ashley Young gave pictures of themselves as kids to the official site.

Moyes: We played well in Everton defeat which lead to my sacking

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On Sunday, Manchester United face Everton at Goodison Park. It was this game last season, which saw Everton go 2-0 up before half-time, which lead to the sacking of David Moyes.

In true Moyes style, being in complete denial about the shocking job he did as United manager, Moyes claims United played well in that game.

Smalling: I will always remember joy on fans’ faces on derby day

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Chris Smalling scored United's fourth goal in the recent derby day, with United beating Manchester City 4-2 at Old Trafford.

When reflecting on his favourite moments at the club, the win over City in 2011, where Rooney scored an overheard kick, is up there for Smalling.

Winning my first league title of course, but I'd also say my first Manchester derby at Old Trafford when Wazza scored that overhead kick.

Mata’s dad says son is “really happy” at United and “likes” Manchester

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Following Real Sociedad's 1-0 defeat on Monday night, Juan Mata's dad paid a visit to David Moyes in the dressing room after the game.

The former United manager reveals that Mata's dad told him how happy his son was playing for United.

Juan Mata's dad was at the game and came to see me afterwards.

Smalling: No other clubs sell out massive stadium like United

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Chris Smalling has just signed a contract extension with the club and has reflected on what the club means to him. What he enjoys most about being a Manchester United player is getting to play in front of a full house every week, with United selling out Old Trafford for every game.

I'd say playing in front of a full stadium, nearly 80,000, every week.

Blomqvist: Fergie

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After playing for 67 minutes in the 1999 Champions League final against Bayern Munich, Jesper Blomqvist never played for Manchester United again. A serious knee injury kept him out of the next two seasons, and his contract expired.

Sir Alex Ferguson reasured Blomqvist that he had nothing to feel guilty for though and helped organise a move to Everton.

Blomqvist: I lost my medal when celebrating at the Nou Camp

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Jesper Blomqvist signed for United in the summer of 1998 and at the end of his first season he was celebrating the Treble.

He played 67 minutes in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich, before being substituted for goalscorer Teddy Sheringham, but has revealed that he temporarily lost his medal when celebrating after the game.

Smalling: I’m so proud to play for this great club

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Chris Smalling has signed a contract extension which will keep him at the club until 2019, and has expressed his delight at lengthening his stay.

I'm delighted to sign my new contract. I am so proud to play for such a great club. We have developed as a team over the course of the season under Louis van Gaal and we are now playing as a complete unit.

PICTURE: Di Maria gets United inspired tattoo

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Angel di Maria has had a number '7′ tattoo, inspired his Manchester United shirt number.

Evra: Fergie said I’d make a great manager

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Patrice Evra has revealed that before Sir Alex Ferguson retired, he told our former vice-captain that he would make a great manager one day.

Interestingly, Evra claims Fergie only singled out himself and Giggs as players with potential to succeed as managers.

Before he left, Ferguson called me into his office.

What a difference a year makes

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It is almost a year since Manchester United sacked David Moyes and, for fans of the club, hearing that news was something of a 'Where were you when..,' JFK moment.

I was abroad with my family. After watching United's abysmal defeat to Moyes' old club, Everton, I felt (or hoped) that the writing was on the wall for the Scot.

PICTURE: Andy Cole goes out with Giggs, Scholes and Butt after Chelsea game

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After United's game against Chelsea, Andy Cold enjoyed a meal out with Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and Nicky Butt.

Rooney: We should have beaten Chelsea

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Wayne Rooney has reflected on United's defeat against Chelsea and claimed we should have won the game. United had 70% possession and more than double the shots the home side had, yet lost 1-0 after referee Mike Dean failed to spot John Terry's foul on Radamel Falcao in their lead up to the goal.

I thought it [the performance] was excellent, we dominated from start to finish.

LvG: We played Chelsea off the park

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Louis van Gaal has spoken of his disappointment at leaving Stamford Bridge with no points, after battering the champions elect on their own ground. United enjoyed 70% possession and had more than double the attempts on goal of Chelsea, yet lost after Mike Dean failed to spot a foul by John Terry on Radamel Falcao in the lead up to their goal.

Rooney: Our youngsters were great against Chelsea

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Wayne Rooney has sung the praises of teenagers Luke Shaw and Paddy McNair following their excellent performance against Chelsea.

He praised McNair for how well he handled Didier Drogba, who Jose Mourinho described as a "different animal". Drogba only completed 13 passes over 90 minutes, with a dreadful accuracy of just 46%, so it would be unfair to credit McNair with marking a good player out of the game, but he played with great composure and had a couple of decent efforts on goal too.

Five key thoughts following Chelsea 1-0 United – Hazard the difference as Van Gaal’s men are unlucky in defeat

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Manchester United fell to a 1-0 defeat to a sturdy Chelsea side, who moved one step closer to the Premier League title. It was a harsh defeat but the Red Devils will have learnt a massive lesson after failing to break down Jose Mourinho's men. David De Gea's main rival for PFA Player of the Year, Eden Hazard, scored the only goal as he slotted the ball under the Spaniard.

LIVE BLOG: Chelsea vs United

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CONFIRMED LINE-UP: Chelsea vs United

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De Gea, Valencia, Smalling, McNair, Shaw, Mata, Rooney, Herrera, Young, Fellaini, Falcao

RoM Reads

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Scott writes for ESPN about how and why De Gea will sign an extension this summer.

Scott has written for The Metro about how Mourinho should regret selling Mata to us.

The Independent interviews Danny Ings and discusses his future after strong links to a United transfer.

The Mirror reports on Jose Mourinho's claims that it is easier to manage United than it is Chelsea.

VIDEO: Falcao needs another game like this against Chelsea today

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With the injuries to Daley Blind, Michael Carrick, Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones, rumours this morning suggest that Wayne Rooney will be moved back in to midfield and Radamel Falcao will start up front.

If that's the case, we could do with the Falcao of old returning, particularly the one that managed a first half hattrick against Chelsea in the Super Cup in 2012.

Welbeck: It was weird playing against my team

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Danny Welbeck has scored as many goals as Chris Smalling this season, but when he returned to Old Trafford with his new club, he scored and celebrated wildly.

When you consider that Cristiano Ronaldo faced United a couple of years earlier, a club he had played six seasons for, and refused to celebrate, it shows Welbeck up.

LvG: Mata will play against Chelsea

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After being named Chelsea's best player for the two years he was at the club, Jose Mourinho sold Juan Mata to Manchester a few months in to his second stint at the club.

Chelsea fans were devastated but the manager believed that with Oscar in the squad, there was no need for Mata. United bit Chelsea's hand off, forking out £37m for the lovely Spaniard, and Mata has gone from strength to strength since moving to Manchester.

Scholes: Mata is so cool

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Paul Scholes has sung the praises of Juan Mata today, ahead of his trip to former club Chelsea at the weekend, hailing the Spaniard for the impact he has made recently.

For all the attention after the derby win over Manchester City on Fellaini and Young, a lot of the credit has to go to Mata.

RoM Reads

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Scott has written for uMAXit about the credit Louis van Gaal deserves for Marouane Fellaini's improvement.

ESPN reports on how Mata is thriving in Manchester.

Goal.com discusses the mistake Jose Mourinho made in letting Juan Mata go.

The Telegraph wonders whether United can join the title race this weekend.

Scholes: I always thought Moyes was using Fellaini in wrong position

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Paul Scholes has looked at the change in Manchester United over the past few weeks, and praised Louis van Gaal for playing Marouane Fellaini in the position that gets the best out of him.

When I was coaching under Ryan Giggs at the end of last season, we always felt that Fellaini's best position was as an unorthodox No 10 – the role he is playing now.

STATS: De Gea is better than Chelsea’s keeper

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David de Gea is the only goalkeeper shortlisted in the PFA Player of the Year award, with Pat Jennings the only goalkeeper to win the award, back in 1976.

De Gea is also on the shortlist for the PFA Young Player of the Year award, and is joined by Chelsea goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois.

The official United website has collated stats to compare the two, ahead of the match against Chelsea on Saturday, which show that De Gea has had the most effective season.

Chelsea Preview: Five Keys To Victory

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So... It happened again. Van Gaal's carpet has been lifted as high as possible, with a sub-standard beginning to his tenure and ridiculous David Moyes comparisons swept underneath and into the darkest crevises and beyond reach following a rousing 4-2 derby win last weekend. With United holding down third place with an eight point advantage over Liverpool in fifth, Champions League qualification would seem all but wrapped up.

Disastrous injury news ahead of Chelsea game

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Louis van Gaal has confirmed that Michael Carrick, Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones are all injured for tomorrow's game against Chelsea.

It looks as though United will be lining up with a back four of Luke Shaw, Chris Smalling, Paddy McNair and Antonio Valencia.

If this isn't another opportunity for David de Gea to prove why he deserves to be named PFA Player of the Year, I don't know what is!

Scholes: We have Di Maria’s red card to thank for United’s revival

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Paul Scholes has acknowledged his mistake in believing that Louis van Gaal couldn't turn United's season around. United were struggling for a top four finish just a few weeks ago but now their place in next season's Champions League is almost secured.

I have been critical of my old club Manchester United under Louis van Gaal this season and I have to say that I did not see this change in fortune coming.

De Gea in PFA Player of the Year shortlist

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PFA Player of the Year nominees: Diego Costa, Philippe Coutinho, David De Gea, Eden Hazard, Harry Kane and Alexis Sánchez

PFA Young Player of the Year: Philippe Coutinho, David De Gea, Eden Hazard, Harry Kane, Thibaut Courtois and Raheem Sterling.

RoM Reads

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Scott has written for ESPN about the improvement in Ashley Young thanks to Louis van Gaal.

Scott wrote for The Metro about the change in United over the past year.

The Guardian looks at Rooney's comments on the captaincy.

Sport Witness reports on Di Maria's link to PSG.

The Telegraph reports on FC United's imminent promotion.

Richardson: We watched Keane’s banned interview and we agreed

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Following United's 4-1 defeat against Middlesbrough, Roy Keane went on MUTV and ripped the team apart. It was this interview, that was never aired, that lead to Keane's exit from the club.

Kieran Richardson, one of the people singled out for criticism, claims the team watched the interview together and agreed with what Keane said.

PICTURE: De Gea posts selfie with Valdes

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David de Gea has posted a selfie of him and fellow goalkeeper Victor Valdes, who is yet to make his debut for the club after signing in January.

VIDEO: City fans singing about Munich after derby day thrashing

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Manchester City fans were applauded for respecting the one minute's silence in 2008 which marked the 50th anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster. They also sang a chorus of "there's only one Frank Swift", the former City goalkeeper who died in the crash, for the first and what would appear to be the last time.

Shaw: Young didn’t like what we did after bird poo incident

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Ashley Young is the joker in the dressing room. We still laugh about the time he got bird poo in his mouth against Swansea. If you ask him now, he'll say it wasn't bird poo. In the changing room we hung a fake bird above his place as a joke which he didn't like.

Shaw: Of course I’d celebrate a goal against Chelsea

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In Match of the Day magazine, Luke Shaw claimed he would struggle to know what to do about celebrating if he scored against Chelsea, the club he grew up supporting.

I used to watch Chelsea every week. It was really good when I got to play at Stamford Bridge, I would say that's my favourite away stadium to go to.

Shaw: United is the biggest club in the world

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Luke Shaw has had a frustrating first season at United, picking up several injuries and struggling for good form. Ashley Young, whose natural position is a winger, and Daley Blind, who prefers to play in the centre of midfield, have both kept Shaw out of the team when he has been available.

Shaw, speaking to Match of the Day magazine, has reflected on his first season at the club.

Cantona: I prefer United to City and Chelsea because they develop youth

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Eric Cantona has claimed that he prefers clubs like Manchester United and Barcelona, who can afford to buy the best players in the world, but who also put time and effort in to developing youth players.

Louis van Gaal has given debuts to seven academy players this season, while City don't play any of their academy players and Chelsea just have John Terry as a regular, who made his debut over 15 years ago.

Shaw wouldn’t celebrate a goal against Chelsea?

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Luke Shaw has had a disappointing first season for Manchester United, spending too much time out injured and, when he has played, been some way short of the performances you would expect from a player with his pricetag. The player himself rates the past year as 'C-' more him.

However, in an interview he has given with Match of the Day magazine, Shaw has discussed his feelings on playing against the team he grew up supporting, Chelsea.

Rooney: Fellaini is being used in the right way this season

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Marouane Fellaini was considered a safe purchase for David Moyes, after the Belgian midfielder had done such a good job for him at Everton.

However, Fellaini was dreadful in his first season at the club and became a symbol of Moyes' failure. He couldn't even get his own players to do well, let alone the rest of the squad.

Smalling: Giggs motivated us for victory over City

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Chris Smalling was a surprise scorer on derby day, putting in United's fourth of the afternoon and equalling Danny Welbeck's goal tally for Arsenal.

The United defender has revealed that Ryan Giggs, who has played in more Manchester derbies than any other player, had a few words for them at half-time to motivate them for the second half.

RoM Reads

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Scott writes for The Metro about United's dominance over City.

ESPN discusses Gary Neville's claim that Van Gaal has changed Rooney.

The Mirror reports on Zidane's belief that Bale will not be sold to United.

The BBC has the apology from the female City player who posted a picture with a celebrating Van Gaal on derby day.

Cantona: United are the kings of Manchester

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Eric Cantona watched the Manchester derby on Sunday and was pleased to see his former club win the match and announce themselves as 'kings of the city'.

I was proud and very glad. It's good because now they are the kings of the city. The two clubs are two of the best clubs in England, so it's very important to win this game.

Rooney: Time was right for me to address the dressing room

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Following United's impressive win over Tottenham Hotspur, the start of the recent run of good form, Marouane Fellaini revealed that Wayne Rooney gave an impassioned speech to the dressing room.

Speaking with the club's official site, Rooney has discussed why he believes it was time for him to address the dressing room.

Young: Atmosphere in the dressing room was electric

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Ashley Young, who scored United's important equalising goal in the derby yesterday, has revealed that the atmosphere in the dressing room was "electric" after the match.

As you can imagine the atmosphere in the dressing room was electric [after the game]. A win in the derby, especially in the way we did it, meant there were fantastic celebrations.

LvG: De Gea got assist for our first goal

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Louis van Gaal has sung the praises of his team after the fantastic win over Manchester City yesterday. The manager singled out Ashley Young and Marouane Fellaini for praise, and also noted how well David de Gea did in the lead up to the first goal.

When Phil Jones passed the ball back to De Gea, there were groans all round the stadium, with the fans wanting to keep the ball in City's half.

Young: Felli has been brilliant

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After Ashley Young equalised against Manchester City yesterday, it was Marouane Fellaini who put United 2-1 ahead. The midfielder, who Louis van Gaal claimed was "undroppable" before the game, has been enjoying some great form and Young has spoken in praise of his team mate.

Felli has been brilliant.

Smalling: Teams have to put two players on Felli to stop him

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Chris Smalling has sung the praises of his teammate and fellow derby day scorer, Marouane Fellaini, claiming that opposition teams don't know how to cope with him.

Felli's been a handful for every team, and there hasn't really been an answer to him. He needs two players to mark him so he frees up a lot of space.

Young: We kept the noisy neighbours quiet

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Ashley Young scored the important equalising goal yesterday as United went on to destroy City on derby day. Young, who has gone from strength to strength under Louis van Gaal's management, has spoken of his happiness at keeping City quiet.

We feel we can beat anyone on our day.

LvG: Our fans can walk around Manchester with heads held high

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Louis van Gaal has praised his team for having the mentality to come back and batter Manchester City yesterday after going a goal behind early on. He is pleased that the supporters now have the bragging rights after such a convincing victory.

We have showed that [strength of character] often.

RoM Reads

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The Guardian discusses the huge change in Ashley Young's performances.

The Telegraph looks at how we turned our season around.

The Independent laughs at Mario Balotelli for his premature mocking tweet yesterday.

The Mirror reports on Gary Neville's comments

RoM newsletter is going out today with all the reaction to derby day.

Mata: The atmosphere at Old Trafford is incredible

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Juan Mata scored an important goal on derby day yesterday, putting United 3-1 up, and making a name for himself in the big games. With two goals at Anfield and a goal against City, his status amongst the fans is certainly rising.

In his usual Monday blog, Mata has spoken about the atmosphere inside Old Trafford for derby day and looked ahead to next weekend's game, as we take on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Five key thoughts following United 4-2 Manchester City as Young and Fellaini shine

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Manchester United defeated local rivals Manchester City 4-2 at Old Trafford to solidify third position in the Premier League table. A Sergio Aguero brace sandwiched goals from man of the match Ashley Young, Marouane Fellaini, Juan Mata and Chris Smalling, who erased bad memories of the reverse fixture in which he was sent off.

CONFIRMED LINE-UP: United vs City

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De Gea, Valencia, Smalling, Jones, Blind, Carrick, Fellaini, Herrera, Mata, Young, Rooney.

Subs: Valdes, Rafael, Rojo, McNair, Januzaj, Di Maria, Falcao.

City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany (C), Demichelis, Clichy, Fernandinho, Toure, Navas, Milner, Silva, Aguero

City subs: Caballero, Mangala, Kolarov, Fernando, Nasri, Lampard, Dzeko




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WIN a signed Wayne Rooney shirt.

VIEW FROM THE ENEMY: City fan on sacking Pellegrini, picking De Gea over Hart, and predicting a City win

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It's derby day! Rob Pollard is a City fan and a freelance writer who's taken time out to answer a few questions on today's game and City in general.

Scott: Rob, what are your favourite memories of derby day?

Rob: The 3-1 win at Maine Road when Goater nicked the ball off Gary Neville will always be special because, in those days, beating United never felt like it was on the cards.

Jones: We want to win this game of passion

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Phil Jones has spoken about today's derby against Manchester City. He claims they are trying to prepare as they would for any other game, but realises that's difficult to do when there's so much at stake.

I don't think it [City's recent form] matters one bit when you look at the quality of their players and what they can do.

PICTURE: United’s form since last derby defeat

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The last derby was a real opportunity missed for Manchester United, which Chris Smalling's first half sending off preventing us from claiming points in a game we deserved to.

In the final 15 minutes, despite City having a man advantage, they were really clinging on. But United couldn't find that equalising goal.

RoM Reads

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Scott answered questions on the derby for ESPN.

The Guardian previews the derby.

The Telegraph looks at Rooney's favourite derby moments.

Journalists on Sunday Supplement discuss the Glazers.

The Mirror says we're after Edison Cavani and Thiago Silva.

RoM newsletter will be going out later today with reaction to the derby.

Jones: Our foreign players understand how important derby day is

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For today's game against Manchester City, you would imagine that players like Ander Herrera, Juan Mata and Daley Blind are going in the starting line-up. While they're not Mancunians, and haven't grown up caring less about Manchester City, Phil Jones insists the foreign players at the club fully understand how important a win for us is today.

Klopp: I don’t know if we can keep Hummels

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Jurgen Klopp has today responded to rumours linking Mats Hummels with a move away from Borussia Dortmund. The defender has previously conceded that he is thinking about his future and Klopp has today confirmed the club has replacements lined up.

He told me that he thinks about his future.

City Preview: Five Keys To Derby Delight

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You'd scarcely have believed it to be possible this time last year, let alone last month, but with the Premier League undergoing more twists and turns that Alton Towers' Nemesis, Manchester United enter this weekend's derby ahead of Manchester City with just seven games remaining.

The teams come into the game in starkly contrasting form, highlighted largely by United presence in third, ahead of City, after the Blues held an eight point advantage just five games back.

LvG: I dream of derby day victory

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Louis van Gaal has claimed that he is dreaming of winning the Manchester derby on Sunday, with our focus now fully on finishing as high up in the table as possible.

I dream of it. That is not a problem, every player shall dream of victory. I have been thinking with my staff and my players already for many days about how we have to beat Manchester City.

RoM Reads

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Scott has written for ESPN about the upcoming derby.

The Mirror reports on Maradona calling Louis van Gaal the devil.

The Telegraph has Gary Neville's team of the year.

The Guardian has a Louis van Gaal phrase generator.

One RoM reader will win a signed Wayne Rooney shirt.

Rooney: More spice to derby day now

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Wayne Rooney has claimed that there is more spice to the derby now, compared to when he first came to Manchester United.

City finished just two places above the relegation zone when Rooney joined United from Everton, but now that they are competing for the title, the rivalry has increased.

In the first few years after I came here City were never a threat to the title or to us.

GNev: United will win the title again before City

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Gary Neville, in his column in the Telegraph, has discussed Sunday's derby and how FFP may stop City's progression.

Not since the 1989-90 season has the PFA Team of the Year failed to include a player from United or City, so the fact that only De Gea makes my team offers an indication of the state of both clubs as they prepare to meet at Old Trafford.

Hart: Rooney is a good guy and I rate him highly

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Joe Hart has sung the praises of Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney ahead of Sunday's derby.

Rooney in a good place and is playing really well at the moment. He's taken the responsibilities of being captain for his club and country really well – he's a player I rate really highly and he's a good guy, too and I'm looking forward to playing against him.

LvG: Everyone in Manchester is talking about the derby

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Louis van Gaal has confirmed he knows how important derby and hears people talking about it everywhere they go in Manchester.

When you are walking the streets of Manchester everybody is talking about the derby and also the players – the English players and also the Spanish players.

Rooney: We are playing for pride on Sunday

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Wayne Rooney has scored more goals in the Manchester derby than any other player. Now, as captain, he insists that his teammates are playing for pride when they meet City on Sunday, and he wants to give the fans something to celebrate.

I think it's a very important game for Manchester United and Manchester City.

Young: It was brilliant when Van Persie scored against City

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Ahead of the derby on Sunday, Ashley Young has reflected on the last time we beat Manchester City. Robin van Persie scored an injury time freekick to give United a 3-2 win and the United winger is looking for something like this to celebrate at the weekend.

I remember the year we beat them 3-2 with Robin's free-kick right at the end.

TOP FIVE: Manchester United Bromances

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It was truly beautiful. Once Juan Mata had set Ander Herrera up for United's third goal on Saturday, he celebrated with the Stretford End, meaning he was separated from the group of players surrounding his friend. Ander, spotting Juan across a crowded box, broke away from the pack and jogged over to his mate, before lifting him off the ground in an embrace.

Depay has “very high chance of leaving”… for Manchester United?

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PSV director, Marcel Brands, has revealed there is a high chance his side's star player, Memphis Depay, will leave in the summer.

The chances are very high that he leaves. If you see what clubs are enquiring about him, they really are the best in Europe. When I talk for PSV I would say he is not ready and should continue here for another year.

Savage: City playing United at the wrong time

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Robbie Savage has told the BBC that the Manchester derby has come about at the wrong time with City, contrary to Vincent Kompany's claims after their recent defeat against Crystal Palace.

Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany is wrong when he says Sunday is a good time for his side to be facing local rivals Manchester United.

Martinez: Decision on Cleverley will be made in the summer

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Tom Cleverley is out of contract with Manchester United in the summer and has spent the season on loan at Aston Villa, after also being linked with a move to Everton.

Roberto Martinez, who is a fan of Cleverley thanks to the time the player spent at Wigan when Martinez was manager, has insisted that no deal is in place but they will make a decision at the end of the season.

Rio: United are back

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Rio Ferdinand, who has endured a horrible season at QPR, has been singing the praises of Manchester United. He claims the recent good form has come as a result of Wayne Rooney being played up front again.

Carrick returning has obviously helped but the biggest of the lot is playing Wayne Rooney up front.

PICTURE: Smalling joins Twitter

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Chris Smalling has joined Twitter. Follow @ChrisSmalling.

WIN: Signed Manchester United shirt

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The bwin Manchester United casino app gives you the feel of being in a real casino, or, as much as you get the feel of being there through a smart phone at least. The likes of Wayne Rooney and Rafael da Silva greet you in the "lobby", with the background sound of casino chips being played and conversation.

PICTURE: Van Persie is available for Manchester City game

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Back to training with the group today. Was a great session. Happy to be fit and able to play again. Looking forward to my next game!

- Robin van Persie (@Persie_Official) April 8, 2015


Robin van Persie has declared himself fit for Sunday's derby, after being unavailable to play through injury since our defeat against Swansea.

Mata: Herrera and I know what the other will do before we do it

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One of the reasons for Manchester United's recent run of good form is the relationship that Ander Herrera and Juan Mata have on the pitch.

Mata has today explained their understanding of each other and praised his teammate for playing so well.

I think it's because of the relationship we've had over the years and because we understand football and life in more or less the same way.

RoM Reads

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Scott writes for ESPN about how Rooney has grown in to captaincy role.

The Mirror has pictures of what could be our kit for next season.

The Telegraph lists the best 20 players in the league.

Beautifully Red has the best GIFs from our win against Villa.

Campo Retro has all the best old school United shirts.

VIDEO: United U-21 goals vs West Ham

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After going a goal behind, Joshua Harrop made it 1-1 before Joe Rothwell put United ahead.

United: J.Pereira; Rafael, McNair, Love, Kellett; Rothwell, Grimshaw, Harrop, Goss; Januzaj, Wilson. Subs: O'Hara, Tuanzebe, Fosu-Mensah, Willock, Weir.

Clattenburg to referee the derby – how’s he treated Manchester’s teams this year?

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Mark Clattenburg will be the referee for the derby this weekend. What's his record been like this season?

Anything of note this season?

Clattenburg was in charge for our 5-3 defeat against Leicester. While our players hit self-destruct, they were aided by the referee.

STATS: Average age of United’s team compared to City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs

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The average age of United's 10 most regular starters is 26.8. At the older end of the scale is Robin van Persie (31) with 24 starts, Antonio Valencia (29) with 22 starts and Radamel Falcao (29) with 12 starts.

Daley Blind (25), Marcos Rojo (25), Chris Smalling (25), Phil Jones (23) and Adnan Januzaj (20), amongst others, are not included in the average as they are outside the top 10 for number of starts.

PICTURE: What a difference 5 games make

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Five games ago, Manchester United were eight points behind Manchester City. Now, going in to the derby, we are one point ahead of them.

PICTURE: Why does this referee only send off United players for touching him?

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Joe Hart went head to head with Michael Oliver on derby day this season, but the referee dealt no punishment.

Cesc Fabregas shoved Oliver out of the way this season, but the referee dealt no punishment.

Vincent Kompany put both hands on Oliver when complaining about Crystal Palace's first goal this evening, but the referee dealt no punishment.

Nike or Adidas on pre-season tour?

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While Nike have provided United fans with the odd great shirt during their 13 years as our kit providers, there have been far too many cheap and nasty looking jerseys. Often they grow on the fanbase as the season progresses, but all too often, when the first pictures have been leaked, United supporters have been disappointed.

Herrera: It’s my dream to be at United and I want to stay

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After scoring two goals for United against Aston Villa on Saturday, Ander Herrera has revealed it's a dream come true being a United player and he hopes he can stay for a long time.

I'm very happy. Even when I was not playing, I was also happy. I am at Manchester United. I feel really lucky to be here.

Mata: Genius Herrera was very happy on Saturday

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Juan Mata has taken to his usual Monday blog to sing the praises of his team mates. Mata is good friends with Ander Herrera, who scored two goals in our 3-1 win over Aston Villa, and has hailed him as a "genius".

I'm writing to you after a weekend full of good feelings. As you know, the Premier League, and all the European leagues, resumed after the international break and I was eager to play again after the good vibes we had in Anfield.

Hummels: I’m reflecting on my future possibilities

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Mats Hummels has been strongly linked with a move to Manchester United over the past few weeks, so was asked in an interview with Kicker last week whether he was considering a move abroad.

As matters stand, I think about what is good for me and what I want to do. Everyone knows that I very much like it here in Dortmund, but I also want us to have a powerful squad and a powerful approach.

David Beckham will always be “one of us”

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The rise of David Beckham through the Manchester United youth system was, in some ways, a curiosity. He was not one of the fiercely humble local lads that have come to symbolise the famous Class of 92 of which he was a member. He was a Londoner, a little bit flash even then with his sculpted hair, among the no-nonsense crew dominated by Nicky Butt and the Neville brothers.

VIDEO: Mata strike wins Goal of the Month

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Match of the Day have named Juan Mata's second goal at Anfield against Liverpool as the Goal of the Month for March.




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Jones: Rooney is our leader and we all follow him

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Wayne Rooney's teammates have been singing his praises over recent weeks, particularly following the inspirational speech he gave to them ahead of the fantastic display against Spurs a few weeks ago.

Phil Jones has joined in with claim Rooney is a fantastic captain, pointing to his talk ahead of the victory over Villa.

Mata: Every game is like a final now

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Manchester United find themselves third in the league after beating Aston Villa yesterday, but Juan Mata insists their attention has already turned to the game ahead. Every game now is like a final, with United keen to finish as high up in the table as possible.

The season has gone so quickly – it seems we were in pre-season only a few months ago.

STATS: Ander Herrera’s season so far

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Ander Herrera has scored five goals and has four assists in 19 appearances (12 starts). That works out at as one goal/assist every 138 minutes he's been on the pitch so far this season.

For comparison, Cesc Fabregas has one goal/assist per 129 minutes, Eden Hazard per 140 minutes (or one every 157 minutes if you don't count penalties), David Silva every 140 minutes, Oscar every 146 minutes, Santi Cazorla every 159 minutes, Aaron Ramsey every 163 minutes, Samir Nasri every 190 minutes and Yaya Toure every 234 minutes.

RoM Reads

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Scott gave his player ratings to ESPN for United's victory over Aston Villa.

SPORT reports on Chicharito's frustration at Real Madrid.

The Telegraph talks to Zaha about his time at United.

The Mirror reports that United will have to take their Nike and Adidas kits on pre-season tour in the summer.

Herrera: It will be great to play City in front of our own fans

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Ander Herrera, who put in a match-winning performance against Aston Villa today, has said now the team are turning their attention to Manchester City.

United are currently above City in the league, which could change on Monday, assuming City avoid defeat against Crystal Palace. However, next weekend, a victory for United could see us keep our position above them in the table.

Jones: We’re looking forward to derby day

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Phil Jones put in a good shift this afternoon in United's 3-1 win over Aston Villa. The defender is pleased with the result, particularly following an international break where players have travelled all over the world.

It was a big win especially when you have players coming back from international duty on Thursday and Friday.

Herrera: This is one of my best ever days

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Ander Herrera put in a fantastic shift today in United's 3-1 win over Aston Villa. As well as scoring two goals, for the first time in his career, he bossed the game from midfield.

The Spaniard has today hailed this game as one of the best days in his life.

It was a great day, one of the best in my professional career.

LvG: I kissed Herrera at half-time

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Louis van Gaal has spoken of his delight in Ander Herrera taking on board his advice and scoring just before half-time.

However, the Spaniard showed that he can still score without listening to the manager, as he proved with his second goal.

[Ander] has a very good kicking technique and he should only be more composed.

Five key thoughts following Manchester United 3-1 Aston Villa

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Manchester United secured another impressive victory with a 3-1 win over Aston Villa at Old Trafford. In a game in which they dominated for the majority, United moved, perhaps temporarily, ahead of rivals Manchester City in the Premier League table. Ander Herrera scored twice and Wayne Rooney scored a spectacular volley to make it five straight wins in the league.

VIDEO: Herrera and Rooney’s goals vs Villa

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CONFIRMED LINE-UP: United vs Villa

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De Gea, Valencia, Jones, Rojo, Blind, Carrick, Herrera, Mata, Fellaini, Young, Rooney.

Subs: Valdes, Rafael, McNair, A Pereira, Januzaj, Di Maria, Falcao.




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Villa Preview: Five Keys To Victory

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Where oh where did it all go right? After ridicule from all quarters this year at the prospect of Manchester United going a second season in succession with as many managers, missing out on a place at Europe's top table, things have taken a drastic and fairly unforeseen turn in our favour.

Unforeseen refers more to the nature of the victories over Tottenham and Liverpool, more so than the points themselves, as Louis van Gaal's side have often ground out results this term despite at times serving up some fairly unsavoury offerings.

LvG: Comments from legends like Neville are important

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Following United's convincing win at Anfield ahead of the international break, Louis van Gaal has spoken of his appreciation of the praise of Gary Neville. Our former captain said he couldn't remember a first half from United like that away to Liverpool.

However, Van Gaal claims that he knows that he will have really made it when Sir Alex Ferguson is the one giving the praise.

Herrera: Rooney is our leader

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Ahead of United's fantastic performances against Spurs and Liverpool, Wayne Rooney gave a passionate speech to his teammates, which seemingly worked wonders.

Ander Herrera has sung the praises of the United captain and hailed the impact he has on the players.

Yes, it always has an impact.

LvG: I can’t drop Fellaini now

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Louis van Gaal sung the praises of Marouane Fellaini and claimed that, with the way he's been playing, there's no way the Belgian could be dropped.

It is only the player [who has made this happen]. The manager, staff and the players are helping him, but he is the main reason, by himself.

RoM Reads

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Scott writes for uMAXit about whether changes should be made to the team on Saturday.

The Telegraph reports

The Independent claims Hummels has told his teammates he's joining United.

The Express talks about Phil Jones' performance for England.

Join the RoM chatroom on your phone.

PICTURE: Falcao’s karaoke evening with Mata, Di Maria, Herrera, De Gea and Rojo

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On Thursday, Radamel Falcao posted an old picture of a karaoke evening he enjoyed with the fellow Spanish speaking players.




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Manchester United vs Aston Villa Preview, Possible Lineups & Key Stats

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Manchester United will be looking to build on their 2-1 victory at Liverpool before the international break with a home win over lowly Aston Villa.

Three points for Louis van Gaal's side would see them either extend their lead over fifth place, overtake Arsenal, or both with the Gunners meeting Liverpool in Saturday's lunchtime game.

Mata: I’ll never forget scoring for United at Anfield

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Before the International break, Juan Mata scored twice at Anfield to give United a 2-1 win. He has today claimed it was one of the greatest days of his career and he'll never forget it.

It was a very special moment. I don't know how to explain it because I just did what came into my mind.

RoM Reads

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Scott writes for The Metro about Liverpool fans attacking Alan Smith's ambulance.

The Guardian reckon Carrick is England's man for Euro 2016.

The Telegraph argues why Di Maria has not been a flop.

The Independent talks about Van Gaal going to see Depay play for Holland.

Campo Retro are selling old school United shirts.

Young: The team spirit at United is brilliant

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Ashley Young has talked about his reputation in the dressing room, as well as his appreciation of the fantastic team spirit at the club.

I was looking around and thinking I was in the top six or seven who have been here the longest now. Whereas I used to say I was a youngster, now I can only say that by my name!

Smith was unconscious when Liverpool fans attacked his ambulance

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When Manchester United played Liverpool at Anfield in the FA Cup in 2006, Alan Smith broke his leg in the final minute when blocking a shot from John Arne Riise. He was given oxygen on the pitch and stretchered off.

As the ambulance left the ground, taking Smith to hospital, it was ambushed by a group of Liverpool supporters.

Smith: How could I turn down Manchester United?

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When Alan Smith was a Leeds United player, he was asked if there was a club he would never play for. His response was: "yeh, Man United."

Smith signed for United in the summer of 2004, after Leeds were relegated, and spent three seasons at the club. Looking back at the decision, he says he couldn't turn down the chance of playing at Manchester United for Sir Alex Ferguson.

RoM Reads

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Scott writes for The Metro about the myths surrounding Welbeck's improvement.

EuroSport looks at how Giggs and Keane are remembered.

The Guardian reports on Hummels' denial of agreement to sign for United.

The Telegraph looks at how many English players each Premier League club has provided.