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Man Utd chief Ed Woodward ‘prepared to sack’ Ole Gunnar Solskjaer


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s position is under threat after Manchester United’s poor start (AFP via Getty)

Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is willing to sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer if results do not improve, according to reports.

United have lost two of their three Premier League games so far and have entered the international break after being hammered 6-1 at home by Tottenham last Sunday.

Former Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino has already been linked with replacing Solskjaer as United boss.

And according to the Sunday Mirror, Woodward has ‘privately insisted’ that he is prepared to remove Solskjaer from his position if United’s form worsens.

The report claims that Woodward uses Liverpool as an example of a club legend being sacked in the right circumstances after they fired Kenny Dalglish in 2012.

Solskjaer faces a tough task in the next few weeks as United face both Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig in the Champions League, while they will host both Chelsea and Arsenal in the Premier League.

Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward (AFP via Getty Images)

United are reportedly keeping tabs on Pochettino’s situation as the Argentine remains out of work since Spurs sacked him last November.

Speaking after United’s heavy defeat to Spurs, Solskjaer said: ‘It’s nowhere near good enough.

‘And when you have a defeat like this, which has happened at the club before, you’ve just got to look yourself in the mirror.

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They’re lucky now, the boys, or I don’t know if it is lucky, but they’re going away on international duty some of them and for the ones who are staying here, we’ve got a good [amount of] time to work.

‘But we don’t see each other for ten days and that’s hard now because we need to batten down the hatches and get together because that wasn’t anywhere near good enough as a squad or a team.’

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Arsene Wenger opens up on recent friendship with Man Utd rival Sir Alex Ferguson


Legendary Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed that one of the only people he still keeps in touch with from football is former rival Sir Alex Ferguson.

Wenger enjoyed many heated clashes with Ferguson’s Manchester United over the years as they shared a domination of the Premier League.

There pair shared a number of fiery moments on the touchline throughout their respective tenures before retiring, including one memorable food fight in 2004.

But Wenger, who has since taken a up a role with Fifa as their chief of global football development, insists those disagreements are firmly in the past now.


He told The Times: “These people are all very busy. I’m not close enough to them… except [pause] Ferguson, yes.”

“I have Ferguson’s number, yes.

“We have a lot of respect for each other now. We had a period when it was very tough, very hot.

“After you’re not competing any more, everyone becomes a bit more objective.

“He knows better wine than I do. Ah, we had some good battles. He’s an intelligent man. You don’t make a career like this guy if you’re stupid.”

Former United boss Ferguson had some famous clashes with Wenger

Wenger also made a startling revelation about Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, who he admits he is not in touch with at the moment.

“When Guardiola was still a player he came to my home to ask to play for Arsenal,” the 70-year-old revealed.

At the time I had Vieira. I had Gilberto Silva. I couldn’t take him.”

Wenger also revealed that he has been offered the main job at United in the past, which he obviously declined.

When asked when, he replied: “I don’t tell you that.

“But I can tell you Man Utd offered me the job but I don’t tell you when.”





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Rio Ferdinand’s brutal assessment of Man Utd mistakes after Europa League defeat


Rio Ferdinand slammed Manchester United’s performance in both boxes as they lost in the Europa League semi-final to Sevilla.

Bruno Fernandes’ early strike was cancelled out by goals from Suso and Luuk de Jong.

But United were made to pay after they fluffed several big chances early in the second-half as Bono performed impressively in the Sevilla goal.

De Jong’s winner then came after a lapse in concentration at the back for United and Ferdinand said they only had themselves to blame on social media.

He tweeted: “You don’t take ya chances you get punished. You don’t defend well you get punished. No need for insight tonight!”

Man Utd’s lack of cutting edge cost them dear

Fernandes, Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford all missed chances to put the English side ahead when the game was in the balance.

Defeat was United’s third semi-final defeat this season after they fell short in both domestic cup competitions.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side had only lost the once since the restart, but were dealt a harsh lesson by a side who are accustomed to success in European competition.

Sevilla defended a 100 per cent success rate in Europa League quarter finals and United captain Harry Maguire confessed that they paid the price for their lack of cutting edge.

Did Man Utd deserve to lose their semi-final? Have your say below

“The best team lost. They punished us for missing chances. We conceded from two crosses which is not good enough,” he said.

“We worked our socks off and deserved to win and get through. We fell short in a semi-final for the third time this year.

“Perhaps that bit of inexperience cost us – we shouldn’t have conceded that second goal.”

Solskjaer echoed that sentiment as he said: “It’s very disappointing, hard to take. We played fantastic stuff at times and created chances but couldn’t get the goal we deserved.”





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Emile Heskey sends warning to James Maddison over Man Utd transfer


Maddison has impressed during his two seasons in the top flight (Picture: Getty Images)

Emile Heskey has advised James Maddison not to rush a move to a ‘bigger club’ like Manchester United and instead stay at Leicester City for another ‘two or three years’.

The 23-year-old has emerged as one of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s top priority targets for the next transfer window, with the Norwegian boss aiming to add another creative midfielder to his squad.

Maddison has been instrumental in the Foxes’ push for the Champions League places, registering six goals and three assists in the Premier League this season.

However, former Leicester striker Heskey warned the midfielder that although a move to a top club is on the horizon, he still has room to grow under the tutelage of Brendan Rodgers.

Speaking exclusively to 888sport, he said: ‘Maddison has to look at himself and find out where his pathway lies. He is still a young lad with many years ahead of him and a lot of learning still to do.

‘He has a great teacher in Brendan Rodgers, but at some stage he will be wondering what his next path will be.

‘That he has taken it so far at Leicester and now what is the next path, so at some stage he will be looking to move to a bigger club.

‘Right now though I don’t see why he can’t stay for another two or three years, that will still only take him to 25.’

Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish is another midfield target for Solskjaer (Picture: Getty Images)

Northern Irish boss Rodgers has turned the Midlands club’s fortunes around since taking over from Claude Puel in February 2019, and Heskey isn’t surprised he is being linked with big clubs.

‘I just think Brendan Rodgers is a very good football coach and they have bought into his philosophy,’ he added.

‘He’s got a great philosophy that he implemented at Swansea, Liverpool and Celtic and he got results.

‘Now he’s doing the same at Leicester and he’s still getting good results. Now everyone is being linked to so-called bigger clubs, that’s how you know how well he is doing.

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‘I think Leicester are a little bit away from being a top four club consistently, that’s because I don’t think Spurs, Chelsea, and Arsenal will have another bad season as they’ve had.

‘So top four no. But top six, one hundred per cent. I don’t think top four is Leicester’s priority right now.

‘Their priority is taking things one step at a time and cementing themselves in the top eight and then saying, “Okay, where’s the next one? Top six. Right, let’s move up to that one”. You can’t just jump into the top four.’

Read the full 888sport interview with Emile Heskey here.

MORE: Gary Neville reveals the real reason Ravel Morrison didn’t make it at Manchester United

MORE: Paul Ince claims ‘diabolical’ Paul Pogba has been shown up by Manchester United new boy Bruno Fernandes

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Man Utd ‘have shirt number ready’ if they seal Jadon Sancho transfer


Manchester United reportedly have a shirt number ready for Jadon Sancho if the Borussia Dortmund winger signs for them this summer.

United are confident they can lure Sancho to Old Trafford this summer – despite the coronavirus pandemic having halted negotiations with the 20-year-old.

There is a feeling at United that if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side secure Champions League football, they will beat the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and PSG to Sancho’s signature.

And in a bid to convince him star he can have a great future with United, club chiefs are ready to offer him the iconic number seven shirt, according to the Evening Standard.

Sancho would be following in the footsteps of United legends George Best, Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo by wearing seven.

Jadon Sancho is Manchester United’s top target this summer

The current incumbent, Alexis Sanchez, has been less successful than his predecessors in the shirt and was shipped out to Inter Milan on loan last summer.

United hope to sell the Chilean this summer, but if they fail to do so they could strip him of the seven shirt anyway and hand it to Sancho, according to Metro.

Sancho has been in superb form again this season, with the player scoring 17 goals and creating 17 assists in all competitions for the Bundesliga side.

It is thought Dortmund would be willing to let him go if they receive an offer they can’t refuse, and they value the 20-year-old at around £130m.

United are set to offer Sancho the iconic number seven shirt worn by Cristiano Ronaldo

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United and PSG could therefore be set for a bidding war for Sancho, who is one of the most highly-sought after young players in the world.

Liverpool have also been linked with a swoop for Sancho in recent months, but it is understood Jurgen Klopp is prioritising a move for RB Leipzig star Timo Werner.





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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirms Man Utd transfer interest in Erling Haaland


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed that Manchester United are interested in signing his fellow Norwegian Erling Braut Haaland.

The Red Bull Salzburg forward, 19, has been in prolific goalscoring form this season, scoring 24 goals in 20 games in all competitions including eight in the Champions League.

That has led to him being linked with several clubs across Europe, but United are always said to have had an advantage due to Solskjaer’s knowledge of the teenager from their time together at Molde.

Haaland has also been linked with a move to Borussia Dortmund as well as staying within the Red Bull framework at RB Leipzig, but Solskjaer appeared hopeful of signing the teenager when he spoke after United’s 3-0 win over Colchester United in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.

Haaland has been strongly linked with a move to United

“He is a player I like,” Solskjaer told Norwegian TV channel Viasport .

“We are looking for good players all the time.

“Erling has had a good development, so he has to develop further wherever he decides.

“I don’t need to talk so much about him, but we as a team always look for players who can complement the others we have, and then we see what we end up with.”

Solskjaer has confirmed the interest

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Solskjaer has previously stated that he believes Haaland has already made his mind up about where his future will lie, and says that the crucial thing is that the forward goes to the club that is best for him.

“It’s the most important thing with all the players, after all, wherever they go, that they thrive where you are.” he said.

United will face Manchester City in the two-legged semi-finals of the Carabao Cup in the New Year, with Aston Villa taking on Leicester in the other last four tie.





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Man Utd boss Solskjaer will be handed £250MILLION to rebuild club – with Sancho and Haaland top of his shopping list – The Sun


OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER will be handed a staggering £250million next year to rebuild Manchester United.

The Old Trafford boss wants established stars who would walk into the first-team — with Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland on his hitlist.

 Red Bull Salzburg striker and Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho are targets of Man Utd

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Red Bull Salzburg striker and Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho are targets of Man Utd

He said: “We are going to strengthen. We are going to get starters into this team — we need to.

“We are one or two players down in numbers.

“But it doesn’t have to be this window, it might be the summer window.”

The Old Trafford transfer kitty could swell to £400m if Paul Pogba leaves for the £150m asking price.

Solskjaer shelled out almost £150m to bring in Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Dan James last summer.

But he has also invested time in youth with budding stars like Mason Greenwood, 17, and Brandon Williams, 19, coming through.

Yet he knows he needs more creative options and at least one more top defender.

Dortmund’s £100m-rated Sancho and RB Salzburg whizkid Erling Haaland, 19, who is priced at £70m, are among Solskjaer’s targets.



Centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly, who would cost £80m from Napoli, and £70m midfielder Bruno Fernandes at Sporting Lisbon are some of the others on his hitlist.

Pogba could be back by Christmas after playing only six games this season due to ankle problems.

It is understood Solskjaer and executive vice–chairman Ed Woodward may reconsider their stance over the French star leaving the club.

How Man Utd could line up with Havertz, Haaland and Tuanzebe as captain with best academy prospects in world





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Man Utd fans ‘deserved’ Man City win as Harry Maguire targets top four finish



Harry Maguire has the top four in his sights after Manchester United’s thrilling derby triumph at Manchester City .

A week that started with scrutiny and mounting pressure on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the wake of an alarming home draw with promoted Aston Villa ended with a second memorable victory in a matter of days.

Fresh from deservedly seeing off Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham 2-1 on Wednesday evening, Man Utd won by the same scoreline across town at the Etihad Stadium thanks to a roaring start and impressive game plan.

Few connected to City could have complained had Solskjaer’s side added to goals from Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial in a fine first half that laid the foundation for a victory that secured more than just bragging rights.

The 2-1 win in the 179th Manchester derby moved United up to fifth and within five points of the Champions League spots after fourth-placed Chelsea fell to a surprise loss at embattled Everton.

“I think you need to look after your own results, don’t look elsewhere, keep winning games,” Maguire, the world’s most expensive defender, said.

“We’ve won back-to-back games against Spurs and City. We’ve got another big game next week now.

“The top four is in sight but we just keep looking after our own results, keep trying to get the three points and keep improving.”

United return to action on Thursday as they close their Europa League group campaign at home to AZ Alkmaar, when Solskjaer will want to keep his in-form attackers fresh ahead of next weekend’s league clash with Everton.

The Reds had been hampered by their lack of cutting edge during the early months of the season, but the front three of Rashford, Martial and fleet-footed Daniel James showed they can scare any side on Saturday.

“Over the last month or so, I feel like as a defender I look at the forwards and think they’re going to score goals,” Maguire told MUTV.

“At the start of the season we didn’t really score more than one goal in a game but now I think it’s a few games on the spin where we’re back to scoring goals.

“They’re a big threat, they’re top players, great talent and I think it’s all coming together now.

“But, no, we’re not getting carried away.

“It’s a big three points, it’s a special win, one for the fans, I’m really happy for them.

“We just keep moving up that table and keep chipping away.”

United are unbeaten in five Premier League matches and secured their first back-to-back league wins since things spectacularly unravelled in March.

There is a growing confidence within Solskjaer’s squad and Maguire is targeting more improvements after captaining the side to victory in the blue half of Manchester.

“Proud,” the England international said. “Really proud to the lead the boys out at the Etihad and to get the three points. It was an important game for us.

“We feel like this year we haven’t got results in some games where we feel we deserved the three points.

“I think the last two games, I don’t think no-one can question that we’ve deserved both victories.

“Great start from the lads. The front four in the first half was frightening and when they’re on their game like that, they can cause any defence problems.

“The disappointing thing probably at half-time was that it was only 2-0!

“We knew they were going to come strong, they were going to throw everything at us.

“I think we held out really well. I don’t think they created too much in the second half.

“We knew we were going to have a lot of bouncing passes and David made a good a save late on and to concede from a set play is really disappointing. Something that we’ve got to tighten up on.

“Like I said, to come to the Etihad and them not to score from open play but to concede from a set play as a defender, and I am sure for David as well, it’s disappointing.

“The victory is for the fans. They deserve it this season.”

Solskjaer was proud of United’s performance at the Etihad Stadium, where they displayed the “quick, attacking football” he always knew his side were capable of in the right shape.

The Norwegian also praised their “great character and attitude” on an afternoon when missiles were aimed at Fred, who produced his best performance in a red shirt.

The Brazil midfielder was also subjected to alleged racist abuse along with Jesse Lingard, who again showed he is getting back to his best at the end of a tough year.”

He’s Man United through and through,” Solskjaer said of Lingard. “He’s a red, he’s got a great attitude and a great workrate.

“Every one of us have things to deal with on and off the pitch and what he has had to deal with, that will be between us. It’s great to see him back.”

Put to Solskjaer that fans do not see off-field issues, he said: “Exactly. That’s the privilege some people think they have.

“You can criticise anyone about anything but, for me as a manager, I have to look after these boys in the good and the bad times.

“It’s great to work with him. I had him in the reserves, I gave him his debut in the reserves against Burnley. It’s good to see him back to his old self.”



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Man Utd vs Tottenham LIVE: Jose Mourinho returns, Solskjaer under pressure and more



Jose Mourinho returns to Old Trafford tonight as the new Tottenham boss looks to heap more pressure on his ​Manchester United successor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Mourinho was relieved of his duties last December, and it will be a little under a year to the day that the Special One heads back to the Theatre of Dreams in charge of a new club.

Tottenham have enjoyed the so-called ‘new manager bounce’ with three wins out of three for Mourinho to leave them fifth in the Premier League table – though that says as much about the likes of Arsenal and United as it does about Spurs.

Mourinho’s return could not come at a worse time for Solskjaer, who contrived to draw against Sheffield United (3-3) and Aston Villa (2-2) with Mauricio Pochettino waiting in the wings.

While United are keen to back Solskjaer’s long-term vision for the club, a humbling home defeat to Mourinho of all people could force Ed Woodward to pull the trigger once again in December.

Follow LIVE updates ahead of tonight’s clash below!

Live Updates

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Prediction

Manchester United 1-1 Tottenham: Despite his warm words for United of late, Mourinho would dearly love to inflict a convincing defeat on them on their own turf.

The saving grace for United is that Solskjaer and his side are better in big games, and should have a decent game plan – so a draw is most likely.

Team news

Man Utd

Anthony Martial is a major concern for Manchester United ahead of Mourinho’s return to Old Trafford. 

The France forward suffered a muscle strain late on against Aston Villa on Sunday, making him doubt for Tottenham.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hoping for better news with Scott McTominay, who is still recovering from the ankle injury he picked up before the last international break. 

If Martial fails to recover in time, it could see Solskjaer opt for a three-man central defence, with Marcus Rashford and Daniel James playing as a wide front two.

Tottenham

Mourinho will be missing Hugo Lloris until the New Year, while Michel Vorm’s absence means Paulo Gazzaniga is certain to keep his starting role in goal.

Erik Lamela is sidelined with a thigh injury along with Ben Davies (ankle).

Despite three wins out of three, Mourinho has concerns over a defence which has conceded two goals in each of those matches.

It will be fascinating to see whether the Portuguese coach attempts to constrict such a high-stakes game in his usual manner, or if he sticks with how Spurs are currently winning – by forgetting about defending and looking to outgun a similarly shaky United back line.

Predicted lineups

Man Utd XI: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Tuanzebe, Maguire, Lindelof, Williams; McTominay, Fred, Pereira; Rashford, James​

Tottenham XI: Gazzaniga; Aurier, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Vertonghen; Ndombele, Dier; Sissoko, Dele Alli, Son; Kane

How to watch Man Utd vs Tottenham

(Amazon)

Along with every Premier League match in gameweek 15, the game will be available to live stream online on Amazon Prime.

Existing and new Prime members can watch on devices using the Prime Video app, across mobile, Fire TV, games consoles, Virgin’s V6 TV Box, BT TV, TalkTalk TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, online and more.

Amazon Prime is available for £7.99 per month/£79 a year, but you can watch any game this week if you start a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime.

You can follow all the action on Standard Sport’s LIVE match blog with James Robson and Dan Kilpatrick at Old Trafford.

Head to head (H2H) results history

United have a great record against Tottenham with 91 wins to Spurs’ 52 victories, and 48 draws.

However, their recent history is more evenly split with the last nine meetings alternating between Spurs and United wins.

Last season, Spurs thrashed United 3-0 on their last visit to Old Trafford – a result which sparked the beginning of the end for Mourinho in Manchester – but the Red Devils got their own back with a 1-0 win in north London the last time they met.



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Arsenal and Man Utd ‘interested in Ezequiel Barco transfer’ in January


Arsenal and Manchester United are among the clubs interested in Argentina youngster Ezequiel Barco, according to reports.

The Atlanta United star is attracting interest from Europe after an impressive season with the MLS team.

He has also caught the eye in Argentina’s youth teams and Record (via Sport Witness ) reports that Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon are weighing-up an approach for the 20-year-old.

According to the publication, Sporting view the Atlanta man as an ideal replacement for star playmaker Bruno Fernandes if they lose the Portugal international in January.

However, it is claimed that club could be faced with serious competition, with the Gunners and Red Devils also believed to have shown interest.

Ezequiel Barco is believed to be attracting interest from clubs across Europe

It is claimed that the two Premier League giants feature on a long list of admirers that also includes Benfica, Lille and Valencia.

Barco, who is considered one of the South America’s most exciting youngsters, joined Atlanta from Independiente for a reported $15million (£11.6m) fee in January 2018 – an MLS record at the time.

However, it is expected that Atlanta would expect a much bigger sum after an impressive start to his spell in the United States.

Despite seeing his season interrupted by injuries and international commitments, the midfielder finished the recent campaign with four goals and three assists in 15 MLS appearances for Atlanta.

Barco (left) represented Argentina at the recent U-20 World Cup

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He helped Frank de Boer’s side to the play-offs, where they made it all the way to the Conference Finals before they were beaten by Toronto FC.

Barco also featured for Argentina at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland earlier this year.

He started all four of his country’s games, scoring a brace in their opening 5-2 win over South Africa, before they lost to Mali on penalties in the last 16.





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