UNITED LATEST 10:22 ET, Sep 24 2021Updated: 10:22 ET, Sep 24 2021MANCHESTER UNITED return to Premier League action this weekend with a clash against Aston Villa.
And Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has scratched an old wound with rival boss Jurgen Klopp
The Red Devils crashed out of the Carabao Cup in midweek, but have made a strong start to the new league campaign.
Meanwhile, we’ve the very latest on United’s transfer market activity with Ousmane Dembele reportedly linked to Old Trafford.
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‘I’M REALLY HAPPY’
David De Gea is in a confident mood after his penalty save last week but he knows his role off the pitch can be just as important as his performances on it.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praised the Spaniard ahead of Manchester United’s match against Aston Villa and De Gea is pleased at being able to help the team.
He told the club’s website: “It doesn’t matter where you make the save, that’s what goalkeepers do, try to save penalties, make saves, help the team.
“It would probably be amazing to do it in front of the fans at Old Trafford but the feeling is always good. I’m here to help the team, to be a leader, to be an experienced player, so I’m here to help all the time.
“I’m trying my best, trying to be an example for the young lads.
“I try to train very well, to show that I’m ready and then go to the game with the same spirit, experience and quality for the team. I feel well, I feel strong, I feel confident. I’m really happy and that’s the most important thing.
“I think it’s massively important to have players like me, like Cristiano [Ronaldo], Juan [Mata], Rapha [Varane] now.”
Credit: Getty DAVID’S DE MAN
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has paid tribute to David de Gea for the Spaniard’s impressive start to the 2021-22 campaign.
De Gea was linked with a move away from Old Trafford over the summer, with Dean Henderson largely preferred to the Spain international towards the end of last season.
Solskjaer said: “He did call me in the summer to end his summer holiday earlier and come back and start his pre-season before, he wanted to be ready, the best possible version of himself.
“Last season was a challenging one, he didn’t play as many games because Dean came in and did very well.
“David has really worked, focused, physically and mentally he’s better and when you feel you’ve done the work, personal best, a few physical tests, it gives you more confidence and motivation.”
OLE HITS OUT
Ole Gunnar Solskajer fears Jurgen Klopp’s whinging is costing Manchester United penalty awards.
Cristiano Ronaldo was denied two clear pens against West Ham in the league last Sunday as well as one in Europe against Young Boys.
Then on Tuesday in the Carabao Cup Jesse Lingard’s claims were turned down after he had his shirt pulled by Mark Noble.
United boss Solskjaer said: “We just have to hope we get what we deserve.
“We should have had three pens in the last two games.
“There was a certain manager who worried about us getting pens last year and after that the decisions were difficult to give, I’ve seen a big difference since then on.
“I will have to hope the refs to make the right calls very soon.”
Klopp had said previously: “Man United had more penalties in two years than me in five-and-a-half years.”
Dean Henderson rushed to help a cyclist after she fell off her bike outside Manchester United’s training ground on Friday morning.
The cyclist is claimed to have collided with a Red Devils supporter who was waiting outside the Aon Training Ground.
Man Utd are currently in training for their clash against Aston Villa on Saturday, with kick-off at Old Trafford 12.30pm.
And as some fans headed down to Carrington to get a peek of their heroes, one of them collided with a cyclist.
The England goalkeeper, 24, dashed over after the cyclist hit the ground.
Henderson then stayed for a few moments to ensure no one was hurt, before driving into training.
WAY TO GO
Cristiano Ronaldo has been Eating Fresh ahead of Manchester United’s clash against Aston Villa after being filmed leaving Subway in Hulme.
The 36-year-old was out and about in Manchester city centre on Thursday where he walked out of the fast food establishment during a break from training.
A black car was parked outside waiting for Ronaldo on Stretford Road as he left Subway, which unusually shares a building with a Post Office.
Two men accompanied the five-time Ballon d’Or winner to the motor, as one passer-by could be heard shouting the Red Devils forward’s name.
Posting the video on social media, the user commented: “Ronaldo just casually going in the subway opposite the flat I used to live in, madness.”
Replying to the clip, another said: “I doubt Ronaldo touched any of the sandwiches, more of a salad if anything.”
YOU FER REAL?
Bruno Fernandes resorted to desperate measures in order to try and keep Manchester United’s Carabao Cup dream alive.
After giving Cristiano Ronaldo a rest, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer did throw on his Portuguese compatriot Fernandes in order to try and grab a late equaliser to send the tie to penalties.
And he was prepared to try anything and everything to do just that – including a cheeky attempt to break the drop ball rule.
West Ham were given an uncontested drop ball in their own half as the clock ticked towards the 94th-minute.
But as the ref dropped the ball, Fernandes nipped in and began darting towards goal.
The 27-year-old came face-to-face with the goalkeeper, who stepped aside to let him pass the ball into the net.
Only the officials were having none of it as the aggrieved Fernandes retrieved the ball and jogged back to the spot for the drop ball to be retaken.
Not even Cristiano Ronaldo will be able to help Manchester United pip Chelsea to the Premier League title, William Gallas claims.
The ex-Arsenal defender can’t see anyone stopping the Blues from lifting the Prem trophy after their amazing start to the season.
Speaking to GentingBet, Gallas said: “They are the champions of Europe. They look stronger and stronger.
“If they are really focused they can beat any records, especially now they have Lukaku. This is a scary team for any opponent to play.
“Manchester United fans may think they have a stronger team with Ronaldo back, but if you take every player position by position then I believe Chelsea is stronger than United.
“I really can’t see any club that can beat them.”
‘YOU CAN EXPECT THE BEST’
Diogo Dalot has opened up on the text conversation that he had with Cristiano Ronaldo when the superstar returned to Manchester United.
He told the club’s website: “It’s fantastic not just for me to have Cristiano here, but for everyone. He gives so much energy to everyone and he’s been fantastic.
“I texted him and congratulated him about coming back as soon as it was confirmed. He said how happy he was to be part of this club again.
“He wants to help the team and that’s what we want, and he’s been doing that already. I think fans can expect the same Cristiano as always.
“To be here winning what he has won and playing like he is playing, you can expect the best.
“We are here to help him, and he is here to help us as well, and I think everything combined we can do great things.”
Credit: AFP SMITH AIMING FOR WIN
Dean Smith has challenged Aston Villa to prove they can match Manchester United when they face each other this weekend.
He said: “Our job is to go there and go toe-to-toe with them like we did at Chelsea.
“The Chelsea Premier League game was the catalyst – we went toe-to-toe with them and created big chances. A mistake killed the game for us in that one.
“We took that positivity into the game against Everton and it was a bit of a chess game for 60 minutes but once we got our first goal it was all guns blazing and a comfortable win in the end.
“We feel like there’s a lot of confidence and belief in the group and we feel like we’ve got a talented group, so there’s no reason why there shouldn’t be.”
Cristiano Ronaldo has made an immediate impact on life both on and off the pitch at Manchester United, David de Gea has revealed.
United goalkeeper De Gea also said that the 36-year-old has raised standards at the club with his approach to fitness and training and has been an example for young players and established professionals alike.
He told Sky Sports: “The impact is already there. He has scored four goals in three games so I think it is amazing to have him back home.
“The experience he has, the ambition is massive, he is a legend already at the club.
“For the players, the young lads, everyone, it is great to see every day how he works in the gym, how he takes cares of his body, of himself. He is an amazing player.
“It is great to see him every day here working hard and helping the team.”
RON A MISSION
Cristiano Ronaldo has moved up to 17th on Manchester United’s all-time leading goalscorers list after his strike against West Ham.
The Portugal skipper, 36, now has 122 goals for the Red Devils, placing him ahead of legendary striker Andy Cole.
Ronaldo has four goals in three appearances since his return to Old Trafford and could break into the top ten this season.
Four goals ahead of him on the list is his BOSS Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who found the back of the net 126 times during his playing days.
Man Utd’s 15th highest scorer is Scot Brian McClair, who hit 127 goals to help Sir Alex Ferguson’s team win 14 trophies during the nineties.
Ronaldo is also expected to surpass 131-goal icon Tommy Taylor, who sadly lost his life in the Munich air disaster.
But the Portuguese needs another 23 goals if he wants to match European Cup-winning striker David Herd before the end of the season.
KEEP RON GOING
Cristiano Ronaldo will continue playing until he is 40 – and then his mum says he will enjoy life instead of becoming a manager.
She admitted she dreamed of seeing the Manchester United striker return to the club he began his iconic career at.
She said: “I’ve already asked him if he wants to be a coach when he stops playing.
“He told me he wants to enjoy life. He’ll play until he’s 40.”
NEW MIDFIELD TARGET
Tottenham are reportedly interested in Manchester United forward Anthony Martial, with a swap deal for Tanguy Ndombele emerging as a potential option according to The Express.
The signing of Cristiano Ronaldo has reshaped the Old Trafford pecking order, and it’s likely to take something of a miracle for Martial to regain a regular spot in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
As for Ndombele, Spurs boss Nuno Espirito Santo confirmed last month that the midfielder wanted to leave the club.
United are said to be keeping tabs on the 24-year-old, who joined Spurs two years ago and was one of their brightest lights during a miserable 2021/21.
Credit: Getty ‘GET SMOKED’
Conor McGregor has bragged about earning more money than Cristiano Ronaldo as the former UFC champion continues to defend his first pitch at a Chicago Cubs game.
The Irishman’s pitch ahead of the Cubs’ MLB match against Minnesota Twins has been the subject of widespread mockery, with McGregor having launched the ball well wide of the catcher.
McGregor then mentioned the fact that he ranks higher on Forbes’ rich list than Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Roger Federer, saying: “Smoke them up and down that Forbes I do. Get Messi over. Smoked. Cris. Smoked. Federer. Doubled. All-time Most Power!”
‘I’VE LEARNT A LOT’
Manchester United defender Diogo Dalot is keen to use the experience garnered from his season-long loan with AC Milan in 2020/21 to help the Reds kick on in the current campaign.
He told the United website: “I feel very, very good and with lots of energy. I’m excited to start playing and I’m ready to help the team. That’s why I’m here and that’s my job, to be prepared to play. I’m fighting for that and that’s why I stayed, to be ready to play and help the team.
“I think it was very important in terms of confidence and game time [to go out on loan].
“I was the only player who was available for every game through the season and that’s an extra thing for me which I didn’t have in the two seasons before that. I feel very energetic, fit and more mature – that’s the big point for me and I’m ready to show everyone what I can do.
“You learn a little bit of everything, not just because it’s a different culture and a different league and different people – there are always learning points, not just football-wise but outside football too.
“But on the football side, I’ve experienced very different ways of playing in the Premier League and in Italy – it’s a different style of playing and I adapted to that. I think I’ve learnt a lot of things that can help me succeed this year.”
Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea has said that the club has what it takes to fight for major honours this season.
He told Sky Sports: “We signed good players [in the summer] and we already had a good squad.
“We are there at the top of the league fighting for every game, of course it is hard, it is the best league in the world.
“Every game is difficult, we want to fight for the big trophies, try to fight for the Premier League, the Champions League, for everything and I think we have the squad and the players and we have the fans with us so it’s amazing. I think the club is at a good point.
“I think there are top teams fighting for the league, like always in the Premier League. So let’s see what happens, be focused on the next games and just prepare properly and put everything on the pitch and in training.”
SHE’S THE RON
Cristiano Ronaldo’s mum has praised ‘supportive’ Georgina Rodriguez and rubbished rumours of a rift between the two.
Dolores Aveiro also revealed she lost her sense of smell and taste after a stroke last year – but insists her love of football remains unaffected.
Discussing her relationship with Georgina on Sporting Lisbon’s ADN de Leao podcast, Dolores, 66, said: “Yes, yes, she’s a good girl.
“Cristiano is an exemplary father but he has people to help.
“The children have nannies and they have staff who do a lot of things. Four kids are a lot of work.
“Georgina is a great support to Cristiano, no doubt about it.”
Ex-Manchester United midfielder Paul Ince has criticised Jadon Sancho after the winger’s tricky start to life at Old Trafford.
Ince has told Sancho to play ‘proper football’ and likened his playing style to that of video game Fifa.
Sancho has not scored or provided an assist in seven games since his £73million move from Borussia Dortmund earlier this summer.
And Ince has slammed the England star, telling The United Stand: “I get that Sancho is still learning, he’s still young.
“But this is not a FIFA game, it’s not all about dribbling and dribbling and trying to beat two, three, four players or little flicks and that.
“Yeah, it’s nice when they come off but the likes of Sancho and Lingard, all these flicks, just play proper football.”
‘HIS EYES LIGHT UP’
According to assistant first-team coach Kieran McKenna, Edinson Cavani’s exemplary conduct and attitude on the training ground is said to be of huge benefit to a whole host of Manchester United youngsters at Carrington.
McKenna has highlighted just how much he’d noticed Mason Greenwood taking notes from his team-mate, learning whatever he can from El Matador.
He told United’s website: “How Edinson handles himself off the pitch is well documented but his levels of professionalism, concentration, consistency and how he prepares for every training session – before training and then his concentration during sessions – is outstanding.
“So on that side of it he’s a fantastic role model but then also in the various parts of his game. The way Edinson fights for the ball with his back to goal.
“The way he challenges in the air, the way he uses his body up against defenders, is something that Mason needs to do and is working on.
“I think Mason’s eyes light up when you speak to him about Edinson or when you see the two of them working together. There’s a clear respect and admiration on Mason’s side.”
Manchester United have reportedly opened talks over a transfer swoop for Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele.
His current arrangement ends at the end of the campaign and he will be free to leave for nothing – although his team did meet Barca officials before the recent clash with Granada to begin talks over an extension.
Spanish outlet El Nacional reports that contact has already been made by United with France international forward.
The Red Devils have allegedly informed Dembele’s representatives of their desire to bring him to Old Trafford on a freebie in June.
MORNING, UNITED FANS
Barcelona are off the pace in the race for Paul Pogba.
And United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Jadon Sancho and Donny van de Beek are struggling for confidence.
Speculation over France midfield star Pogba departing next summer has faded.
But although Real Madrid and Juventus are reportedly still keen, it’s claimed Barca accept Pogba would have to take a pay cut to join them.
Such talk has not distracted United from the fallout from Wednesday’s 1-0 home Carabao Cup exit against West Ham.
United’s much-changed side underwhelmed, including £73million summer recruit Sancho and Dutch midfielder Van de Beek.
And Solskjaer said: “It has something to do with the rhythm. The confidence. Their best form isn’t there, as they haven’t played much.
“So like I said, there was a bit lacking in terms of quality, but not in terms of effort.”
Finally, United’s position as frontrunners alongside neighbours City to eventually sign 18-year-old Jude Bellingham seems stronger than ever.
That’s due to claims Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp might be unwilling to bid for a player at his old club Borussia Dortmund.
United legend Wayne Rooney pretended to be Derby’s club doctor just to get former club owner Mel Morris to accept a call.
Ex-England striker Rooney revealed the astonishing truth behind his dysfunctional relationship with the man who plunged Derby into administration.
Rooney claimed Morris left him to deal with the fallout of the club’s demise — cutting off the rookie Rams boss six weeks ago.
Roo blasted: “I haven’t spoken to Mel since August 9 — I found it all a bit disrespectful. I am not asking for an apology but as manager I was getting questions from players and staff every day and not being able to answer them. I was hurt by that.
“He addressed the players and staff as a group on Tuesday, which I attended. But his talk was basically the same as an interview he did on the radio.
“In my opinion it wasn’t sincere. It wasn’t heartfelt enough and it wasn’t done with enough honesty. But a one-on-one conversation? I still haven’t had that. I tried to phone him but he wouldn’t answer.
“I actually called him once off the doctor’s phone and he answered. So he could answer calls from the club doctor but not the manager. There is a way of handling things and being open and honest and that just didn’t happen. I was so disappointed.”
FA REPAY £175M COVID LOAN
The FA will today repay the full £175million government Covid loan – and finally be able to pay England’s Euro 2020 heroes their bonuses.
The governing body were forced to go cap in hand for emergency funding last December in order to allow them to keep trading through the effects of the pandemic.
But SunSport understands bosses at Wembley will transfer the full balance back to Whitehall coffers by the close of business.
And that will at last see them freed from the shackles of the terms of the financing.
Obstacles that had prevented them rewarding the Three Lions players and staff that reached the final of the Euros last summer.
All the players have yet to receive any money from the FA for their performances in the tournament.
This amount is believed to be in the region of £300,000 outstanding per man.
RON WANTED TO FACE HAMMERS
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hinted Cristiano Ronaldo WANTED to play against West Ham on Wednesday.
The 36-year-old scored on Sunday when the two sides met at the London Stadium, helping United to a 2-1 victory.
But Ronaldo was rested for the Carabao Cup third round fixture at Old Trafford.
And Manuel Lanzini’s first half strike knocked the Red Devils out of the competition, leaving Solskjaer’s side chasing silverware in just three competitions: the Premier League, Champions League and the FA Cup.
Solskjaer has revealed that Ronaldo wanted to play against West Ham, but he felt it wasn’t ‘possible’.
He told Sky Sports: ” We decided more or less before Sunday [to make changes].
“We need more players to get match fit. Alex Telles is back and has been training for a week. It will be a long season.
“Cristiano has come in and made a difference already, he wants to play as much as possible but I don’t think it is possible.
“If you are going to be successful at the end, you need the whole squad and minutes to be shared out.”
‘VARANE BETTER OPTION THAN WHITE’
William Gallas is puzzled by Arsenal’s decision to sign Ben White when Raphael Varane was available in the summer.
The former Gunners captain, 44, thinks there is a gulf in class between the two defenders and is in disbelief that Arsenal paid the bigger transfer fee.
Gallas argues 23-year-old White still has a lot to prove yet Arsenal could have bought the finished product in Varane – who signed for Manchester United.
Speaking to GentingBet, Gallas said: “It’s difficult for me to understand why Arsenal spent £50million on one player who is yet to prove himself at the top level and at the same time Manchester United can spend around £40m on [Raphael] Varane who won the World Cup and has four Champions League titles.
“He’s won the Spanish league. You have to explain to me how it’s possible. Perhaps it’s partly because Ben White is English.
“Listen, Varane is a different class player compared to White. White is still young. As I said, He hasn’t proved anything yet. How you can put a £50m price on him, you know?
“I don’t know him. I respect him and I hope he will be a great player, but he hasn’t proved anything yet. You can’t compare White and Varane, I’m sorry. It’s not possible.”