Connect with us

Premier League

Every loss is damaging in United’s fight for top-four finish –

Published

on

Every Loss Is Damaging In United's Fight For Top-four Finish -

Manchester United’s hopes of a Champions League berth took another hit on Sunday but the fact it was crosstown rivals Manchester City delivering the blow was secondary, captain Bruno Fernandes said.

United’s 3-1 derby loss to City at the Etihad Stadium left them 11 points behind fourth-place Aston Villa in sixth with 11 games remaining.

“Every time you don’t win a game it is a damage at this club,” Fernandes said. “We know what this club demands and we want to win the games we are involved in.

“We didn’t get the three points today but there’s still a long way to go. We know it is not everything in our hands because other teams have to lose points but we have to do our job.”

Marcus Rashford gave United an unlikely lead eight minutes into the game with a rasping strike measured at 72 miles per hour. His goal came days after he hit back at critics in a column in The Players Tribune and was one of the lone bright spots for United, who had just three shots to City’s 27.

Advertisement

The loss amplified the ongoing conversation around manager Erik ten Hag’s future, which has only increased since new co-owner Jim Ratcliffe took control of football operations, with changes expected off the pitch.

United have lost 11 of their 27 league matches this campaign, two more than all of last season. The two previous seasons with 12 league losses (2013-14 and 2021-22) led to managerial changes.

United had been unbeaten in their previous 143 league matches when leading at halftime with 123 wins and 20 draws — an illustrious run they saw end on Sunday.

“Manchester United will have to take their medicine today. Huge question marks for this team and the manager,” former United captain Roy Keane said on Sky Sports.

“Standards have dropped. We’re almost praising United. They’ve lost. They used to perform in the big games and compete,” he added.

Advertisement

“Now we’re sitting here saying they did alright, better shape. They lost 3-1.”

Ten Hag pointed to the fact that Rashford and Jonny Evans were playing with injuries on Sunday. United are also missing striker Rasmus Hojlund, who had scored in six successive league games before being sidelined with a muscle injury, and defender Harry Maguire.

“Absolutely they fought, the togetherness and the performance was very good,” Ten Hag said. “On another day we could have won this — small margins.”

Ten Hag said their 2-1 loss to Fulham a week earlier was more disappointing. United had been unbeaten in five consecutive league games until then.

“This year on we are really progressing and you have to get some points back,” he added. “Everyone can beat everyone and things can quickly turn around. Number five (in the league) can also be a position for Champions League so we have to fight for it.”

Advertisement

-Reuters

 

 

 

Advertisement

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Premier League

June 12 relief for Ten Hag…to stay at Old Trafford

Published

on

Manchester United Can Still Finish Fourth, Says Erik Ten Hag -

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag will remain in the job for next season and has entered into talks with the Old Trafford club over a contract extension despite the team’s lowest ever Premier League finish of eighth, British media reported.

The decision comes after an end-of-season review by the club’s board for the 2023-24 campaign, which finished on a high with a shock FA Cup final win over favourites Manchester City.

Ten Hag’s contract runs until the end of next season, with the club having the option of extending it a further 12 months.

Former Ajax Amsterdam coach Ten Hag had come under increasing pressure after 20-times English champions United suffered their worst start to a season since 1962-63 with eight defeats in their first 15 matches in all competitions.

They ended up eighth after 14 defeats in their 38 league games and bowed out of the Champions League in the group phase.

Advertisement

Ten Hag’s job security had been the subject of speculation all season and many pundits believed the FA Cup final would be the Dutchman’s last game with the team, win or lose.

But moments after their thrilling triumph, the 54-year-old insisted he had no doubt he would be back and said he had received the backing of the club’s owners all season.

“I’m in a project and we are exactly where we want to be. We’re constructing a team. When I took over it was a mess at United, and we are on our way to construct a team for the future,” he told reporters at Wembley.

“The team is developing, the team is winning and the team also plays to an identity. What you need to play is to be available, you need a strong squad in top football, and especially when you play in England, the Premier League is so competitive.”

INJURY WOES

Ten Hag pointed to United’s revolving door of injuries last term, the most of any Premier League team and concentrated in key positions such as central defence.

Advertisement

He also spoke about the breakout seasons of young players such as midfielder Kobbie Mainoo, who is part of England’s Euro 2024 squad in Germany, and Argentina winger Alejandro Garnacho.

In Ten Hag’s two seasons in charge, United have played in three Wembley finals and lifted two trophies, having also won last season’s League Cup.

Media reports said that all eventualities were considered in the club’s post-season review and the clear preference was for Ten Hag to remain in charge at Old Trafford.

Among coaches linked to the job as potential replacements were Thomas Tuchel and England manager Gareth Southgate.

Ten Hag is United’s fifth permanent manager since Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 as the club have searched for someone to lead them back to the heights of their glory years.

Advertisement

He guided United to third in the league in his debut season

-Reuters

Continue Reading

Premier League

Another Nigerian blood to flow in Chelsea veins

Published

on

Carabao Cup - Quarter Final - Everton v Fulham - Goodison Park, Liverpool, Britain - December 19, 2023 Fulham's Tosin Adarabioyo celebrates after the match REUTERS/Carl Recine

Chelsea have signed centre back Tosin Adarabioyo from fellow west London club Fulham on a free transfer, the Premier League side announced on Friday.

Adarabioyo, a former England youth international is of Nigerian descent. He is the latest Nigerian linked with Chlesea after Celestine Babayaro, Mikel Obi and Victor Moses among others.

The 26-year-old Adarabioyo who will join the Stamford Bridge side on a four-year contract beginning on July 1, has made one appearance for the England Under-19s and has played 78 times in the Premier League.

He is the first player to join Chelsea since they announced the arrival of new head coach Enzo Maresca, opens new tab earlier this week, and will bolster their options at centre back following the departure of veteran Thiago Silva.

“We are delighted to bring Tosin to Chelsea,” Chelsea co-sporting directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley said.

Advertisement

“Throughout his career, he has showcased his maturity and defensive qualities and has gained a wealth of experience in the Premier League in recent seasons.

“He is ready to make the step up to Chelsea and work alongside the talented players in our squad. We look forward to Tosin joining up with us for pre-season.”

Chelsea are looking to revive their fortunes under Maresca after finishing sixth in the standings last season.

“I’m looking forward to starting work with Enzo and I’m sure the boys are too,” Adarabioyo said.

“It’s going to be exciting. We’re going to play good football and win a lot of games. There are top players in this squad and I’m eager to play with them all.”

Advertisement

-Reuters

Continue Reading

Premier League

Nigerian-born Ogbonna leaves West Ham after nine-year stay

Published

on

Premier League - West Ham United v Luton Town - London Stadium, London, Britain - May 11, 2024 West Ham United's Angelo Ogbonna applauds fans as he is substituted REUTERS/Tony Obrien/File Photo

West Ham United centre back Angelo Ogbonna is leaving the club after nine years in east London, the Premier League side said on Wednesday.

Ogbonna was born to Nigerian parents who emigrated to Italy from Nigeria in 1983, settling in the city of Cassino in the central part of the country, but managed to obtain Italian citizenship only after his 18th birthday. He is now 36.

The  Italy international made 201 Premier League appearances for the club and was part of their Europa Conference League-winning side last year.

The former Juventus player struggled with several injuries during his time at West Ham, including a cruciate ligament tear suffered in 2021 that kept him out for almost a year.

“When he was not playing, Ogbonna was always a willing supporter of the club’s community work,” West Ham said in a statement. “He will always be a beloved member of the West Ham United family

Advertisement

-Reuters

Continue Reading

Most Viewed