Tag: Manchester United

Guardiola says team must focus on UCL as Man City put one hand on title

Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola insisted that the possibility of winning the Premier League title through a victory against Manchester United next week should not distract Manchester City from their Champions League quarter-final game at Liverpool.

City could be crowned champions in the Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium next Saturday having maintained their 16-point lead over Jose Mourinho’s team with a 3-0 win at Everton.

However, Guardiola insisted that City’s Wednesday’s visit to Anfield is the priority despite their dream scenario, and that his strong team selection at Goodison Park was, Guardiola admitted, designed with Liverpool in mind.

“We were a long time without being together and I didn’t want to play with seven, eight or nine players who are going to play on Wednesday without four weeks playing together,” the former FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager said.

“We needed to play together to find our pace and our rhythm for two massive games against Liverpool. I understand people are going to talk about United but now all the decisions are about Liverpool. We have to focus on the Champions League, we have United in the middle but for the lineup we have to think about the Champions League.”

“We are closer than ever,” he added. “We have one game to win and, if we are not able to win [against United], we have six more chances. We are so, so close and I am so happy with the performance.”

City were outstanding in the first half at Goodison and had been given applause after the final whistle by Everton fans.

“Maybe that’s because we are going to play against Liverpool,” Guardiola joked at the thought of City facing the Toffees’ bitter neighbouring rivals.

“I didn’t know it but it is a great satisfaction that they give credit to what the players have done. First it is for our fans but if the people who love football enjoy how we play, then that is a great satisfaction. Last season I applauded them after the 4-0. This season they applauded us, so thank you very much.”

Ibrahimovic set to leave United after officials terminate contract

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has left Manchester United after the club agreed to terminate his contract, with the striker US-bound to join LA Galaxy.

Ibrahimovic, 36, signed for United in the summer of 2016 and had a successful first season at Old Trafford until he suffered a serious knee injury in April.

He has featured in only seven games in this campaign.

“Manchester United confirms that it has agreed to the termination of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s contract with immediate effect,” the Manchester club said in a statement. “Everyone at the club would like to thank Zlatan for his contribution to the team since his arrival and wishes him well for the future.”

Red Devils coach Jose Mourinho has also said in January that while he had not spoken to Ibrahimovic regarding a possible move to the MLS he would not stand in the Swede’s way should he wish to move before the end of the season.

“If he wants to move to another club or another country, we will try to help him,” Mourinho said at the time. “We will not make his life difficult.”

In parting, Ibrahimovic posted a picture on his Instagram page of him dressed in white and arm wrestling with a red devil, in an apparent nod to United’s nickname.

“Great things also come to an end and it is time to move on after two fantastic seasons with Manchester United,” the player captioned. “Thank you to the club, the fans, the team, the coach, the staff and everybody who shared with me this part of my history. foreverred”.

Ibrahimovic scored 28 goals in 2016-17 as the team went on to win the Europa League. Despite his injury, an expired contract and United’s recruitment of Romelu Lukaku for £75m in the summer, he still returned to the club after agreeing a deal until the end of this season.

Ashley Young: Luke Shaw can be “one of the world’s best”

Ashley Young has tipped his Manchester United teammate Luke Shaw become one of the best left-backs in the world.

However, Young, 32, added that such a status will come only through hard work amidst Shaw’s terrible spell under United boss Jose Mourinho.

“He is a fantastic player,” Young said. “I feel he can be one of the best in the world. You’ve just got to work hard. We’ve got a healthy competition in our squad and when you’ve got world-class players training day in, day out, everybody wants to be in that team. It is tough.

“I’ve always said, when you join a club like United it’s a tough place to play at. But if you play and train and give 100%, then get your opportunity — I’ve always said you always get your opportunity there.”

Young has also been Mourinho’s first-choice left-back for much of the season and was named in the England squad for their friendlies against the Netherlands and Italy, whereas Shaw wasn’t due to his lack of regular game-time under Mourinho.

It was a clear sign that he was not favoured that Shaw, 22, was taken off at half-time of United’s 2-0 FA Cup win over Brighton at Old Trafford on Saturday, with the manager also criticising Shaw after the quarter-final.

“We worked on certain kinds of movements,” the Portuguese said at after the game. “Where it was really important the two full-backs were aggressive, created space for Matic and were in front of the two central defenders. I didn’t have that.”

“I could have changed both of them at half-time. I didn’t change both because it was too aggressive to do it. I would only have one more change available to make in 90 minutes.”

“I had to change one and I chose Luke because at least Antonio defensively was capable of good positioning. Luke, in the first half, every time they came in his corridor, the cross came in and a dangerous situation was coming. I was not happy with his performance.”