Manchester United

Manchester United F.C. - Latest Team and Transfer News | Mail Online 10 Dec 02:30

Henrikh Mkhitaryan is back on track at Manchester United - There can't be any disputing the Armenian's talent

JAMIE CARRAGHER: Henrikh Mkhitaryan was an outstanding performer in Germany and the signs are he will be the same for Manchester United. Everything he is doing bodes well for the future.

Manchester United F.C. - Latest Team and Transfer News | Mail Online 10 Dec 02:19

Leicester City are ticking every box for the drop right now, but that can't be the end to this remarkable story†

JAMIE CARRAGHER: The last time Leicester squared up to Manchester City, all eyes were on Claudio Ranieri’s team. The assumption was that it would all unravel at some point.

ESPN FC - Manchester United News 10 Dec 02:18

Man United 'have to beat' Tottenham

ESPN FC's Jason Dasey and Paul Parker preview the importance of the upcoming Prem clash between Man United and Tottenham.

Manchester United F.C. - Latest Team and Transfer News | Mail Online 10 Dec 02:08

Europa League is killing us and our title ambitions, admits Manchester United star Zlatan Ibrahimovic

CHRIS WHEELER: Zlatan Ibrahimovic claims Thursday night football on the Europa League trail is killing’ him and damaging Manchester United’s Premier League challenge this season.

Manchester United F.C. - Latest Team and Transfer News | Mail Online 10 Dec 01:51

Martin Keown's Big Match Analysis: Henrikh Mkhitaryan can do damage for Manchester United while Toby Alderweireld is vital for Tottenham

MARTIN KEOWN: There is an argument that Jose Mourinho needed to play Henrikh Mkhitaryan sooner but maybe this was how the Armenian needed to be managed.

Manchester United F.C. - Latest Team and Transfer News | Mail Online 9 Dec 23:39

Manchester United vs Tottenham: Team news, kick-off time, probable line-ups, odds and stats for Premier League clash

Get the latest team news and stats ahead of the Premier League clash between Manchester United and Tottenham at Old Trafford.

ESPN FC - Manchester United News 9 Dec 23:30

Ibrahimovic: Man United must score more than one goal to get victories

Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand discusses what's at stake at Old Trafford on Sunday. Dan Kilpatrick discusses Mauricio Pochettino's comments ahead of Spurs' clash with Manchester United. The FC crew explain why they're unconvinced by the odds-makers' prediction for Manchester United's clash against Tottenham. Zlatan Ibrahimovic claims Manchester United must develop a killer instinct in front of goal if they are revive their hopes of Champions League qualification. United face Tottenham at Old Trafford on Sunday having scored just 19 league goals this season -- a poor return that sees them go into the game already nine points adrift of fourth-placed Manchester City. Manchester United Tottenham Hotspur 2:15 PM UTC Game Details Home: 6/5  Draw: 12/5  Away: 13/5  Odds from bet365 bet365 PickCenter GameCast Lineups and Stats Ibrahimovic, 35, has so far bucked the trend at United by scoring 13 goals in all competitions, but the rest of Jose Mourinho's squad fall...

ESPN FC - Manchester United News 9 Dec 23:30

Jose Mourinho meeting helped my coaching career - Mauricio Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino says Jose Mourinho isn't doing anything wrong and is over scrutinised as Man United manager. The FC crew explain why they're unconvinced by the odds-makers' prediction for Manchester United's clash against Tottenham. LONDON -- Jose Mourinho warned rookie manager Mauricio Pochettino of the perils of the job, and the Tottenham manager has not forgotten the advice as he prepares to face Mourinho's Manchester United in this weekend's biggest Premier League match. Pochettino began his coaching career with Spanish club Espanyol in 2009 and on Thursday he described Mourinho as one of his first "references" as a manager. The following year, Mourinho took charge of Real Madrid and went on to beat Pochettino four times...

ESPN FC - Manchester United News 9 Dec 22:50

Robson: Eriksen can affect games

Stewart Robson defends his selection of Christian Eriksen in a combined XI of Man United and Spurs players.

ESPN FC - Manchester United News 9 Dec 19:21

Mourinho: Rooney needs more goals

Jose Mourinho has challenged Wayne Rooney to score more goals, along with his other attacking players.

SkySports | Manchester United 9 Dec 19:20

Premier League Daily Podcast

Welcome to Friday's Premier League Daily Podcast.

SkySports | Manchester United 9 Dec 18:30

'Man Utd can't afford to lose'

A win over Spurs could shift the mood at Man Utd - but defeat will leave them a long way off the top four, says Jamie Redknapp.

SkySports | Manchester United 9 Dec 17:19

Zorya Luhansk charged by UEFA

UEFA have opened disciplinary proceedings against FC Zorya Luhansk following their match against Manchester United on Thursday in Odessa.

SkySports | Manchester United 9 Dec 16:52

Jose: League position unfair

Jose Mourinho says it is "unfair" that Manchester United have collected fewer points in the Premier League and is adamant their rivals are not better than his side.

SkySports | Manchester United 9 Dec 16:40

Mourinho: Spurs test so tough

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho expects a "very difficult" test when Tottenham visit Old Trafford on Super Sunday.

Manchester United ‚Äď teamtalk.com 9 Dec 15:47

PL team news: Injury boosts for Arsenal, Spurs, Man Utd and Chelsea

Check out all the latest team news ahead of the weekend’s Premier League fixtures, with injury boosts for Tottenham, Man Utd, Arsenal and Chelsea…

Watford v Everton

Saturday 10 December 2016 (12:30)
Vicarage Road, Watford

Watford team news to follow…

Seamus Coleman

Everton defender Seamus Coleman is fit for the trip.

The Republic of Ireland international was forced off in Sunday’s draw with Manchester United after a clash with Zlatan Ibrahimovic but returned to training on Thursday.

Winger Yannick Bolasie is out for the season with knee ligament damage but midfielders Ross Barkley and James McCarthy may have to settle for a place on the bench again.

 

Arsenal v Stoke City

Saturday 10 December 2016 (15:00)
Emirates Stadium, London

Arsenal could have Hector Bellerin back for the visit of Stoke.

The right-back has been missing with an ankle injury but is back in training and may come straight into the side to replace Gabriel.

Petr Cech will return in goal after David Ospina deputised in the Champions League win over Basle on Tuesday, while Santi Cazorla (Achilles), Per Mertesacker and Danny Welbeck (both knee) are all definite absentees.

hector-bellerin

Bruno Martins Indi and Marko Arnautovic will be fit for Stoke.

Defender Martins Indi was sent for precautionary X-rays after he was elbowed in the face by Burnley striker Ashley Barnes last weekend but he has been passed fit along with midfielder Arnautovic, who was also nursing a knock following the 2-0 home win against the Clarets.

Ryan Shawcross remains a major doubt with his calf complaint and Geoff Cameron (knee) is still a couple of weeks away from getting back to fitness.

 

Burnley v Bournemouth

Saturday 10 December 2016 (15:00)
Turf Moor, Burnley

Goalkeeper Tom Heaton is likely to return for Burnley.

The England international has missed two games with a calf injury but has trained well and should take over from Paul Robinson.

Winger Johann Berg Gudmundsson is out with a hamstring injury, while Steven Defour and Sam Vokes could return to the XI.

Tom Heaton Burnley

Bournemouth will have left-back Charlie Daniels available following a hip problem.

Junior Stanislas has an ankle injury which is expected to sideline the midfielder for a few weeks.

Midfielder Andrew Surman, who has not featured since October, continues his rehabilitation from a hamstring problem.

 

Hull City v Crystal Palace

Saturday 10 December 2016 (15:00)
KCOM Stadium, Hull

Hull could have Shaun Maloney back in their squad.

The 33-year-old midfielder has been out since mid-October due to a back problem but has been back in training ahead of a possible return for Mike Phelan’s men.

Abel Hernandez (groin) is still out, as are the likes of Will Keane, Moses Odubajo and Allan McGregor, while striker Dieumerci Mbokani serves the second game of a three-match ban.

Yohan Cabaye: Crystal Palace midfielder

Crystal Palace will have midfielder Yohan Cabaye back from a one-match suspension.

Goalkeeper Steve Mandanda has undergone surgery on a knee injury and is set for around five weeks of recovery.

On-loan Chelsea striker Loic Remy continues his rehabilitation from a calf problem, while forward Connor Wickham (knee) and defender Pape Souare (broken thigh bone) are also long-term absentees.

 

Swansea City v Sunderland

Saturday 10 December 2016 (15:00)
Liberty Stadium, Swansea

Swansea are again without Ki Sung-yueng and Federico Fernandez.

South Korean midfielder Ki has missed the last two games with a broken toe, while Argentina defender Fernandez suffered a similar injury before last weekend’s 5-0 defeat at Tottenham.

Leon Britton, Wayne Routledge and Fernando Llorente are all in contention to return for a Liberty Stadium game, which has taken on extra importance for under-fire Swansea boss Bob Bradley after the Spurs debacle.

Ki Sung-yueng: Out injured for two weeks

Sunderland boss David Moyes has to decide on who should replace Duncan Watmore.

Watmore will miss the rest of the season with cruciate knee ligament damage and the likes of Wahbi Khazri, Seb Larsson and Adnan Januzaj are all vying to take his place.

Fabio Borini (groin) may also play some part for the first time since August but Lee Cattermole (hip), Jack Rodwell (hamstring) and Paddy McNair (knee) remain on the casualty list.

 

 

Leicester City v Manchester City

Saturday 10 December 2016 (17:30)
King Power Stadium, Leicester

Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel could make a surprise return against former club Manchester City after a fractured hand.

Boss Claudio Ranieri is prepared to let the Denmark international make his own call on his fitness after being sidelined for over a month.

Danny Drinkwater remains suspended for the Premier League match but Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez, Islam Slimani, Robert Huth and Andy King are all set to return after being left at home for the Foxes’ 5-0 Champions League defeat in Porto on Wednesday.

Kasper Schmeichel: Underlines family values

Raheem Sterling is in contention to return to the Manchester City side after recovering from a knock.

Midfielder Fabian Delph, who last featured in August, is also fit having overcome a groin injury but City will be without Sergio Aguero, Fernandinho and Nicolas Otamendi through suspension.

Aguero was sent off for a tackle on Chelsea’s David Luiz last weekend that sparked the melee in which Fernandinho was also dismissed while Otamendi collected his fifth yellow card and must sit out one match.

 

Chelsea v West Bromwich Albion

Sunday 11 December 2016 (12:00)
Stamford Bridge, London

Nemanja Matic has beaten a calf problem to be fit for Chelsea’s Premier League clash with West Brom.

John Terry remains sidelined with a gluteal strain, but Matic and Fabregas will battle it out for a start in Antonio Conte’s midfield.

Chelsea could still however field the same starting XI for the eighth successive Premier League match.

Nemanja Matic: Reports claim he could be sold for £18m

James Morrison and Gareth McAuley are doubts for West Brom.

The pair have not trained this week as they are suffering with what boss Tony Pulis described as knocks and will be assessed ahead of the game.

Saido Berahino continues to train with the squad but is unlikely to feature as he regains fitness having not played since September with the club having already sent him to France for a personal fitness camp.

 

Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur

Sunday 11 December 2016 (14:15)
Old Trafford, Manchester

Luke Shaw and Chris Smalling remain absent for Manchester United.

The defenders continue to be sidelined through injury, but those that featured in Thursday’s Europa League win at Zorya Luhansk, including Eric Bailly, have emerged unscathed.

Michael Carrick, Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmian come back into contention after being rested for the trip to Ukraine.

Luke Shaw & Chris Smalling; Duo criticised

Toby Alderweireld is set to make his first start in eight weeks when Tottenham take on United.

Alderweireld has been out with a knee injury but came off the bench in Wednesday’s Champions League win over CSKA Moscow.

Erik Lamela is unavailable as he is still in Argentina attending to his brother, who is in hospital. Vincent Janssen remains out with an ankle problem.

 

Southampton v Middlesbrough

Sunday 11 December 2016 (14:15)
St. Mary’s Stadium, Southampton

Southampton will be without forward Charlie Austin because of a shoulder injury.

Serbia midfielder Dusan Tadic could be in line for a return to the side after making a substitute appearance in the Europa League tie against Hapoel Be’er Sheva on Thursday night following his broken nose.

Forward Jay Rodriguez and midfielder Sofiane Boufal may feature having been rested from the European tie, when captain Jose Fonte was left on the bench.

Alvaro Negredo: Celebrates his first goal for Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough have doubts over attacking trio Gaston Ramirez, Alvaro Negredo and Jordan Rhodes.

None of the three trained on Friday due to unspecified knocks but manager Aitor Karanka will allow them time to prove their fitness, with David Nugent and Cristhian Stuani standing by.

George Friend (knee) is close to a return but may not be ready until next week.

 

Liverpool v West Ham United

Sunday 11 December 2016 (16:30)
Anfield, Liverpool

Liverpool defender Joel Matip is set to return for the visit of West Ham having missed last weekend’s defeat at Bournemouth with an ankle injury.

Midfielder Adam Lallana is pushing for a start having made his comeback from a groin problem as a substitute on Sunday.

Striker Daniel Sturridge has been ruled out of the next two matches as he continues his recovery from a calf injury.

Michail Antonio West Ham v Bournemouth 1

West Ham have had a boost as Michail Antonio and Aaron Cresswell are fit enough to return to the squad.

The pair have been out due to groin strains and have been back in training this week but the game comes too soon for Cheikhou Kouyate (groin) who is still recovering.

James Collins (muscular injury), Reece Oxford (ankle) and Diafra Sakho (hamstring) are all unavailable.

As another weekend of Premier League football approaches, we have writen another betting preview for Betsafe, which includes Alan Mcinally, Paul Dickov, Harry Redknapp and Ricky Hatton’s tips.

The post PL team news: Injury boosts for Arsenal, Spurs, Man Utd and Chelsea appeared first on teamtalk.com.

Manchester United ‚Äď teamtalk.com 9 Dec 14:37

?We need him in the team?, says United ace Pogba

Paul Pogba says the Manchester United squad know how good¬†Henrikh Mkhitaryan is and believes “we need him in the team”.

Pogba is likely to start again at the weekend and Mkhitaryan has bolstered his chances with another fine display in the 2-0 win over  Zorya Luhansk.

Initial struggles after his summer arrival from Borussia Dortmund appear to be behind the Armenian, who scored a superb solo goal that Zlatan Ibrahimovic added to late on to secure a 2-0 win in Odessa.

“Well, we know him,” Pogba told MUTV. ” We train with him every day.

“We know how good he is. You just have to be confident and now he’s playing more, he has more games on his legs.

“He is just getting going, he is just going that way and that’s what we want.

“We need him in the team like we need everyone in the team, but the performance of Micki tonight is just unbelievable. It just helped the team – that’s what we want.”

Buy a No 6 Pogba Man Utd home shirt

Jose Mourinho’s first campaign has been a topsy-turvy one to date, with progress to the EFL Cup semi-finals and Europa League knockout stages tempered by disappointing Premier League results.

United have entertained far more than under Louis van Gaal, but a lack of cutting edge means they are 13 points off the top after just 14 matches.

A nine-point gap to fourth has already opened up after four successive league draws at Old Trafford – a run Pogba is determined to change when fifth-placed Spurs arrive this Sunday.

“We know how hard it is to play against Tottenham,” the midfielder said.

“We are playing at home, we didn’t win for four games at home and we had four draws. We just want to win this game and get to the top of the league.

man-utd-miki

“When you are playing in those competitions, when you are playing every three days, you have the team to change, we have the team to be ready,” Pogba said.

“We have to be ready for those games so we know we have to be ready for this.

“When we prepare like the pre-season, it is to play in those games every three days and be fit for those games.”

 

The post ‘We need him in the team’, says United ace Pogba appeared first on teamtalk.com.

Latest Stories, Video, and Commentary about Manchester United | BBC 9 Dec 14:24

Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur

Preview followed by live coverage of Sunday's Premier League game between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.

Manchester United ‚Äď teamtalk.com 9 Dec 13:12

Rumour Mill: Three-way fight for Van Dijk; Mbappe in demand

Man Utd and Man City are among the five Premier League clubs chasing Monaco’s Kylian Mbappe, with the Manchester clubs also fighting over Virgil van Dijk…

Arsenal

Arsenal are among a number of Premier League clubs interested in signing Kylian Mbappe from Monaco, with Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham and West Ham are also keeping tabs. (HITC)

Arsenal are reportedly interested in signing Wolfsburg twins Davide-Jerome and Gian-Luca Itter. (Kicker)

Arsenal youngster Daniel Crowley is to undergo a trial with Go Ahead Eagles before a potential loan switch to the Dutch club. (Go Ahead Eagles’ website)

Kylian Mbappe Monaco

Bournemouth

West Ham are weighing up a move for Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson in January. (ESPN FC)

 

Burnley

Sean Dyche admits striker Lukas Jutkiewicz could complete a permanent move to Birmingham. (Burnley Express)

Chelsea

Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are both keen on signing 17-year-old AIK striker Alexander Isak, who is also interesting Chelsea, Manchester City and West Ham (Marca)

Chelsea face competition from Tottenham and Juventus for 19-year-old Atalanta midfielder Franck Kessie (Gianluca Di Marzio)

Chelsea are eyeing Napoli left-back Faouzi Ghoulam, although Atletico Madrid are also interested. (Calciomercato)

Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic will not leave the club in January. (Bleacher Report)

Manchester United and Chelsea will battle for Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk, who has a £25m release clause. (The Times)

Franck Kessie: Hot prospect for Atalanta

 

Everton

Everton could try to sign Leicester winger Demarai Gray, 20, in January after losing Yannick Bolasie to a serious knee injury, which could keep him out for over a year (Daily Mirror)

Watford, West Brom, Swansea and Everton want Manchester United winger Ashley Young, 31 (Manchester Evening News)

Romelu Lukaku says an English club ‘who was really keen to buy me’ in the summer. (Sport/Voetbalmagazine)

 

Hull

Southampton forward Jay Rodriguez has been linked with Hull, but West Brom and Swansea are also interested. (The Mirror)

Leonardo Ulloa: A more than capable deputy for Jamie Vardy

Leicester

Leicester City striker Leonardo Ulloa, 30, who is a target for Sunderland, is prepared to leave the Premier League for China (Sunderland Echo)

 

Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp is preparing a summer bid for Atalanta star Franck Kessie. (Corriere dello Sport)

Galatasaray want Mamadou Sakho but the Liverpool defender is only interested in staying in the Premier League. (Hurriyet and BipSpor, via Sport Witness)

Mamadou Sakho: Hasn't played for Liverpool since April

Manchester City

Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are both keen on signing 17-year-old AIK striker Alexander Isak, who is also interesting Chelsea, Manchester City and West Ham (Marca)

Manchester City are bracing themselves for defender Eliaquim Mangala, 25, returning in the summer as loan club Valencia do not want to take up their £15m option to sign him (Sun)

Man City could join the list of clubs interested in Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk. (The Mirror)

Inter and AC Milan could rival Sevilla for the permanent signing of Samir Nasri. (Clubcall)

 

Manchester United

Manchester United are worried that they will not be able to offload full-back Matteo Darmian in the January transfer window. (The Sun)

Everton are interested in Manchester United forward Memphis Depay, 22, and attacking Napoli player Manolo Gabbiadini, 25, for whom they may be willing to bid £18m (Sun)

Watford, West Brom, Swansea and Everton want Manchester United winger Ashley Young, 31 (Manchester Evening News)

United are leading the race to sign £30million-rated Lazio centre-half Stefan de Vrij. (Il Messaggero)

Manchester United and Chelsea will battle for Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk, who has a £25m release clause. (The Times)

 ashley-young

Middlesbrough

Boro¬†are set to rekindle their interest in Sevilla’s Timothee Kolodziejczak next month. (Nortern Echo)

Southampton

Manchester United and Chelsea will battle for Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk, who has a £25m release clause. (The Times)

Man City could also join the list of clubs interested in Van Dijk. (The Mirror)

pogba-van-dijk

Sunderland

Leicester City striker Leonardo Ulloa, 30, who is a target for Sunderland, is prepared to leave the Premier League for China (Sunderland Echo)

Sunderland are tracking Deportivo La Coruna’s Romanian striker Florin Andone. (The Chronicle)

 

Swansea

Watford, West Brom, Swansea and Everton want Manchester United winger Ashley Young, 31 (Manchester Evening News)

 

Tottenham

Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid have both been linked with a £50million move for Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli (Daily Mirror)

Chelsea face competition from Tottenham and Juventus for 19-year-old Atalanta midfielder Franck Kessie (Gianluca Di Marzio, via Daily Star)

Dele Alli: Part of another frustrating Wembley night

Watford

Watford, West Brom, Swansea and Everton want Manchester United winger Ashley Young, 31 (Manchester Evening News)

 

West Brom

Watford, West Brom, Swansea and Everton want Manchester United winger Ashley Young, 31 (Manchester Evening News)

Simone Zaza: Clause in his contract after 10 games

West Ham

Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are both keen on signing 17-year-old AIK striker Alexander Isak, who is also interesting Chelsea, Manchester City and West Ham (Marca)

Valencia could try to sign Italy forward Simone Zaza, on loan at West Ham from Juventus in January (Superdeporte)

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has held talks with West Ham star Dimitri Payet about a possible January move. (Le 10 Sport)

 

The post Rumour Mill: Three-way fight for Van Dijk; Mbappe in demand appeared first on teamtalk.com.

Manchester United ‚Äď teamtalk.com 9 Dec 13:08

?These Thursday?s are killing me?, says Zlatan

Zlatan Ibrahimovic says Manchester United’s Europa League exertions are “killing” the 35-year-old striker.

Ibrahimovic, who has made 21 appearances this season, scored in United’s 2-0 win against Zorya Luhansk on Thursday night – his seventh goal in six games in all competitions – after a run of six games without a goal.

Jose Mourinho’s men now head the 2000 miles back to England after their assignment in the Ukraine and they are unlikely to do much training before facing Tottenham in the Premier League on Sunday.

Mourinho complained about having to play in the Ukraine in the depths of winter but his side progressed to the knockout stage, along with Spurs, who defeated CSKA Moscow at Wembley.

Ibrahimovic though is mindful that United’s Thursday-Sunday schedule will make preparations for the visit of Mauricio Pochettino’s side tougher.

“We don’t have a lot of rest,” Ibrahimovic told The Sun. “These Thursdays are killing us, especially me.

“Now we have one day less to recover before we face Spurs.”

Ibrahimovic’s words will serve as a warning to Spurs, whose demanding Europa League schedule hit their Premier League title hopes last season as Pochettino’s side hit a run of poor form towards the end of the campaign.

Pochettino said of the competition earlier this week: “I think the Europa League is very important going forward, it is a great competition.

“It is not a consolation because in the last few years Tottenham have been playing in the Europa League.

The post ‘These Thursday’s are killing me’, says Zlatan appeared first on teamtalk.com.

Manchester United ‚Äď teamtalk.com 9 Dec 11:51

Remember when Mourinho played Rooney in midfield?

Manchester United boss has reiterated his view that Wayne Rooney is a No 9 or a No 10, but it’s only three months since he played him in midfield at Watford.

Mourinho says he wants more goals from Rooney and co and has again claimed that the England man, regardless of where he plays for his country, should only be used as a striker or second forward.

But back in September when United were beaten 3-1 at Watford, the Portuguese boss played Rooney wide right in a midfield three.

Here’s our piece from back then…

 

It didn’t take long for Jose Mourinho to break his word regarding Wayne Rooney, while Paul Pogba again struggled to assert himself as Manchester United were humbled at Watford.

United’s third defeat on the spin was reminiscent of the dark days of David Moyes and Louis van Gaal – a lop-sided bunch of individuals of which Mourinho threw a couple under the bus after last week’s home defeat by Man City. And things did not improve against the Hornets, who showed glimpses of quick passing and incisive movement which United could not replicate.

Mourinho was adamant in July that Wayne Rooney would be used as “9, a 10, or a 9-and-a-half, but not a 6 or even an 8”.

On Sunday in the 3-1 defeat at Watford he played on the right side of a midfield three alongside Marouane Fellaini and Paul Pogba and it failed miserably as United slumped to their third straight defeat in all competitions.

“You can tell me his passes are amazing – yes, they are amazing, but my passes are also amazing without pressure. There are many players with a great pass, but there aren’t as many players who can put the ball in the net. For me he will be a [number] 9, a 10, or a 9-and-a-half, but not a 6 or even an 8,” said a bullish Mourinho in July.

However in his search for a balanced midfield, Mourinho has already backtracked on his summer vitriol, which was undoubtedly aimed at asserting his authority at Old Trafford.

Rooney

Back-to-back defeats against Man City and Feyenoord and today’s humbling at Watford have heaped the pressure on Mourinho, who was eased into Premier League life with victories over Bournemouth, Southampton and Hull City. And in search of the answer at Vicarage Road he played the England skipper, who was booked late on for a ridiculous tackle on the touchline, in a three-man midfield in the first half before switching him into a No 10 role in the second half.

His efforts in the first 45 minutes were minimal and his impact on the game was non-existent as United failed to register a shot on target. Watford meanwhile threatened on numerous occasions before Etienne Capoue put them ahead, which prompted a Mourinho shake-up at half-time with Rooney playing in a much more advanced, central role.

Rooney in fairness had a better second half, but ultimately he could not have a big enough impact on the game and his booking late on encapsulated a woeful away day for Rooney and United, who ironically did improve after the interval, despite conceding twice.

 

Pogba still missing

The world-record signing Paul Pogba clattered the crossbar with a 25-yard shot in the first-half and you may have thought that would have lifted the France star’s performance, but he drifted out of the game and he has now failed to score or assist in his first five games for the club.

Still, Paddy Power’s attention-grabbing assessment was harsh, labelling him “S****”.

Pogba gives away a free kick.

HE'S SHITE!

— Paddy Power (@paddypower) September 18, 2016

Mourinho publicly backed Pogba in midweek and urged him to forget his £89million transfer fee, which may or may not be weighing heavy around his neck.

“The world-record player is always a question, but I want Paul to forget that,” said Mourinho.

“He played in the Euro 2016 final, went on holiday, then had no pre-season. It is normal after the first game he has a little decrease.

“I am full of trust because I know he is a good guy with a lot of ambition, so the form will come naturally.”

Paul Pogba Man Utd woe

 

But despite his thumping shot off the bar, there was little else to suggest that he warranted United breaking the bank for him in the summer. Unlike Rooney, Pogba cannot point to the fact that he’s been played out of position. He’s featured on the left-side of a midfield three for France for years and he impressed for Juventus there too, but so far he looks well short of where he should be.

His only bright spot on Sunday was his shot on 30 minutes which cannoned against the crossbar and the ‘where’s Pogba’ cartoon image, which was doing the rounds last weekend, looks more than applicable once again.

Where's Pogba? #MUFC #mufc_family #ManchesterDerby #DerbyDay #mcfc pic.twitter.com/b3ZqC22tPM

— RED Emptyseats (@MUFCemptyseats) September 10, 2016

After that it was a long list of misplaced passes, one of which the referee managed to intercept, lost tackles and clumsy challenges. And his afternoon was summed up in a couple of minutes in the second half when he fouled his former Juventus team-mate Roberto Pereyra by the corner flag before flailing his arms in the air in disgust when referee Michael Oliver awarded a free-kick.

 

Where has @paulpogba gone? Help find him! #FindingPogba @MattHDGamer pic.twitter.com/Myob0xPWoL

— Owen Murphy [LFC] (@OwenSeanMurphy) September 16, 2016

And moments later he was booked for petulantly pushing away Valon Behrami after winning a free-kick, before he slashed a shot way off target as his frustration came to a head.

Whether Mourinho’s belief that Pogba’s form will eventually shine through may well prove correct, but so far in his fledgling United career he’s been more Falaco than Eric Cantona and expect more images of ‘Finding Pogba’ – a comical take on Disney’s ‘Finding Nemo’ to do the social media rounds.

Matthew Briggs

The post Remember when Mourinho played Rooney in midfield? appeared first on teamtalk.com.

Latest Stories, Video, and Commentary about Manchester United | BBC 9 Dec 00:30

Mourinho praises Mkhitaryan's attitude

Manager Jose Mourinho praises Henrikh Mkhitaryan for adapting to a difficult start to life at Manchester United.

Latest Stories, Video, and Commentary about Manchester United | BBC 8 Dec 21:42

Zorya Luhansk 0-2 Manchester United

Manchester United beat Zorya Luhansk to reach the last-32 of the Europa League as Henrik Mkhitaryan opens his account.

Latest Stories, Video, and Commentary about Manchester United | BBC 4 Dec 22:54

Angry Mourinho defends Fellaini decision

Jose Mourinho defends his decision to send on Marouane Fellaini in Manchester United's draw at Everton on Sunday.

Latest Stories, Video, and Commentary about Manchester United | BBC 4 Dec 20:49

Everton 1-1 Man Utd

Leighton Baines rescues a late point for Everton after Manchester United's Marouane Fellaini concedes a costly penalty at Goodison Park.

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