Ashley: come and get us if you can

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Despite the lack of an official announcement regarding Paul Pogba’s new deal, Tuesday’s sport pages run plenty of stories regarding Manchester United.

Let’s start with the…..

Telegraph, where former Arsenal striker Alan Smith believes that United will edge City to the title by a single point, despite predicting that the Reds will draw at Wolves and Blackburn and at home against Everton and lose the derby at the Etihad. It’s fair to say that most fans would rather avoid such a roller-coaster, particularly as games at Molineux and Ewood Park, while tricky, are surely not beyond Fergie’s men.

The title race occupies the pages of the tabloids as well. In the Sun Ashley Young says he’s convinced that now that United have regained top spot, it’ll be extremely difficult for City to topple them, as the Reds know everything about the pressure of being in the box seat.

Over to the Mirror, Wayne Rooney praises his side attitude that has allowed United to close the gap point-by-point. The England striker believes that patience and belief were key elements in the comeback but warns that the race is far from over:  “There’s a long way to go, but it’s nice to get to the top of the league and be looking down. Hopefully we can stay there now.”

Finally, both the Sun and the Daily Mail, run a story over Anderson’s fitness problems. The Brazilian could miss the return leg against Athletic Bilbao but, according to the Mail, the remainder of the season could be in danger for him.

Daniele (@MUFC_dan87)

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18 Comments

  1. It is good to see that the lads are in fighting spirit. Europe has been disappointing but we have been hugely impressive in the Premier League this season and if it were not for our blip in the new year largely brought on by midfield injuries we’d be five or six points clear.

    Honestly I do not know how much longer we are going to put up with Anderson’s injury problems. It is clear to me that he never fully recovered from his leg break while he was at Porto. Having a major injury at such a young age usually spells trouble for the future. Just like Hargreaves rather than waiting to see if he made a full recovery from his injury we jumped in and signed him prematurely.

    Anderson has made zero progress at the club since joining and I believe his injuries are a huge reason for that.

    • @colver: “Anderson has made zero progress at the club since joining and I believe his injuries are a huge reason for that.” couldn’t say that better. Hazard is on the market, we should snatch him from Spurs!

  2. The two previous comments are both very true but I would be shocked if we signed Hazard, While he is a great player and I would love him to be at United he is not played in central midfield and I doubt fergie will pay that much money for a player then play him out of position. I’d say go after Modric or if we can’t get him get Javi Martinez who is a good defensive minded center mid who can fill in at center back so we never have to see Carick play center back again.

    • @Moscow is my heaven: haha please come back to reality. A fit Ando and Cleverly will be like “new signings” plus you will get a promoted tunnicliffe as a reason to not buy a shiny new midfielder. It is against fergies religion to pay for a new midfielder.

      • @johnsom33: Mate I can’t for the life of me think of more insults for Anderson. Just don’t bring him up again, he is perhaps the worst midfielder I have ever seen in a United shirt. His passing makes me lose hope in football 😐

  3. Bayern giving us a welcome level on how to beat Basel. It just goes to show how star players who can show up in the big games can make a real difference against well organized but mediocre opposition.

    • @colver: exactly my thoughts when i saw the game highlights! also shows how bad we have been at home for CL !! could have been another united vs bayern matchup!

  4. Football bloody hell. Just goes to show how important experience is in Europe. In the Premier League Chelsea look washed up but that was a hugely impressive performance to overturn Napoli

    • @colver: Looks like Chelsea are picking up form at the right time to beat City 🙂 Btw Napoli have been hugely impressive in CL this year. If not for poor finishing (here is your CL experience) Chelsea would not stand a chance against them. Napoli though soft at the back are absolutely loaded in the front. I’m curious if they will be able to hold on their front line this summer. I wouldn’t be surprised if Abramovich broke the bank to bring Cavani, Lavazzi and probably Hamsik.

  5. Moscow that is just sour grapes 🙂

    The AC Milan-Arsenal tie was fascinating. The Chelsea-Napoli game both legs were an interesting contest. Bayern showed that Basel are very ordinary after all (and what does that say about our inability to beat them in the group stages!). All in all the last sixteen was quite instructive and involved way more goals than usual.

  6. What is this all fuss about Hazard?, Very talented player but United need defensive midfielder who can get the ball out from defenders not another winger.

    Experienced CM is the first priority. Adding offensive mind player will not make any difference. Look at Bibao game, John was MIA, Giggs is not good at defense, If our midfielder keep moving and make themselves available for the pass then, we can keep the possession.

    Problem is that our player’s off the ball movement is not so good that every player marked out in the middle. Our players are easily isolated with aggressive close down with cutting off possible passing routes, Every player need to move around to avoid pressing. Positioning and movement is severely lacking.

    I think United somewhat too get used to attack directly, In Euro game, we need more slow tempo game, We should not playing basketball tempo in Euro because if we make mistake then we will get punished not like usual league game.

  7. We’ve probably left it too late to salvage anything out of our European campaign. Winning by two goals away from home against an incredibly disciplined, hard working and well drilled Athletic team with one of the best coaches in the world is going to be almost impossible especially with all our injury problems.

    I am really angry at Ferguson for treating our European campaign like the Carling Cup. As a bare minimum he owes the fans the fielding of a team strong enough to win with players in their correct position and tactics which are suited to the game in hand (which given the tendency of European teams to load the midfield means 4-5-1 every time)

    Instead Ferguson goes through the following thought process:

    “Oh Europe. What a pain when we have a Premier League game at the weekened. OK 4-4-2. Who is short on games? Oh yeah Ji Sung Park! Yeah Fletcher hasn’t played in ages and has a severe medical condition. Big deal. The group stages will be perfect training games for him to get his fitness back. Michael Carrick? Nah, can’t risk him. He is one of our best midfielders. It is only a must-win final group game against Basel. Giggs and Jones will do. Oh shit we are in the Europa League. What an inconvenience. I know! I will rotate. Surely if I make eight changes to my team it will not impact our performance levels? And yes I still think Jones has the making of a fine central midfielder. Oh wait we lost at home to Athletic? Well it wouldn’t be the first time we have been humiliated by a Basque team. Besides we are top of the table. And that is all that matters!”

    • @colver: If Giggs, Park and Jones play in midfield at the same time tonight, I guarantee you we will be slaughtered.

      If we play 4-4-2 against this outfit again, there will be some disturbing scenes unless Carrick is playing.

  8. Incidentally Bielsa gives a great explanation of the Spanish tactics that we cannot seem to handle on the BBC website:

    “Our simple ethos is this: we try and win the ball back as quickly as possible from our opponents as far up the field as we can,” Bielsa told me. “And by that I mean everyone is involved in regaining the ball, from the forwards through to anyone else.

    “Then once we have the ball, we try and find a way of getting forward as quickly as possible, in a vertical direction if you like. But we don’t get frustrated if we can’t get it forward immediately, we aim to be comfortable on the ball, and if it’s not a case of going forward straight away, we keep it.”

    Pressing and ball retention. Sounds just like Barcelona.

    • @colver: my 10yr old nieces team uses these same tactics. everyone try to win the ball back asap. try to get it forward. if you cant go forward keep the ball. 😆 surely her team will be promoted to the prem soon 8)

  9. De Gea, Evra, Ferdinand, Evans, Rafael Da Silva, Park, Carrick, Cleverley, Giggs, Rooney, Young.

    Subs: Amos, Smalling, Hernandez, Welbeck, Fabio Da Silva, Scholes, Pogba.

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