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    Man Utd star Marcus Rashford reveals Jose Mourinho made them ‘savvier’ at winning penalties

    JOSE MOURINHO made Manchester United ‘savvier’ in the art of winning penalties.
    United have been awarded an incredible 42 spot-kicks since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took charge of the club in December 2018.

    Rashford claims Mourinho made Man Utd better at winning penaltiesCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd

    Mourinho helped United players become ‘savvier’ at earning spot-kicksCredit: Reuters

    But Marcus Rashford has revealed it was his predecessor Mourinho, now the boss at Tottenham, who did the groundwork to make sure any fouls lead to awards.
    Rashford, 23, said: “I remember when Jose was manager, there were five or six times where I should have had a penalty.
    “Jose ended up saying to me ‘If you are not savvy about the way you do it, then you are not going to get it’
    “After that, we started to get a few penalties. It was something in terms of development, you have to learn that and understand it.”

    ⚽ Read our Man United live blog for the latest news from Old Trafford
    The number of penalties has led to criticism from opposing managers, including Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp and Chelsea’s Frank Lampard.
    But Rashford insists nobody is diving and it is just the frequency of United’s drives into the box that is leading to fouls from opponents.
    He said: “As a forward line, we want to go and score goals.

    “When you are making runs in behind or dribbling with the ball and if you see a challenge coming, you don’t want to get tackled because you are looking at an opportunity to score a goal.
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    “There is no way you are going to let somebody take the ball off you.
    “So for me it is just a case of us wanting to score goals and the teams wanting to defend goals and penalties can happen.”
    The England international used to share the penalty-taking duties with Paul Pogba before Bruno Fernandes arrived 12 months ago.
    The 26-year-old Portuguese midfielder has since scored 15 penalties for United.
    Rashford will not mind if it is a Fernandes penalty that wins the day when United travel to Anfield on Sunday for the top-of-the-table clash with the current champions.
    Having grown up at United, he is steeped in the history of these titanic fixtures and would love to get a goal himself.
    Rash has scored three times in eight games against the Red Devils’ bitter enemy – but is yet to find the net at Anfield.
    He added: “As a kid from Manchester that supports United, there is no bigger game to score goals in.
    “It is definitely a game I am looking forward to, like the rest of the squad.”

    Man Utd’s ability to win penalties has irked the likes of Klopp and LampardCredit: AFP or licensors
    Rashford’s most memorable clash with Liverpool came in March 2018 when he scored both goals – in the 14th and 24th minutes – in a 2-1 win.
    But he has the Kop’s James Milner to thank for actually being able to finish the game after clattering him in the 28th minute.
    The United icon said: “I was just emotionally into the game and I made a tackle and lucky it was on James, as he is not one to roll around on the floor! He just bounced back up.
    “It was just a yellow card – on another day it could have been a red card.
    “They are the moments you have to learn from and I had the right players around me who made me just get on with the game.”
    Rashford also believes United’s failures in the past year – including losing four semi-finals – have brought out leaders in the dressing room.
    They have been dumped out of the Carabao Cup twice, the FA Cup and Europa League.
    He added: “There are things which have happened where if you don’t come out and be a leader – someone the squad can look to in difficult moments – then it will continue.
    “We are more ready now than we were two years ago in terms of leaders on the pitch and ready to fight for trophies.”
     *Marcus Rashford was talking to the Football Writers’ Association on receiving the special FWA Tribute Award for his work to fight child poverty.

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    Odion Ighalo ‘set to leave Man Utd this month’ but striker insists he wants to extend loan transfer

    ODION IGHALO is set to leave Manchester United this month, but the striker has revealed he is desperate to extend his loan at the club.
    The Nigerian, 31, has played just four times this season – with just one of those coming in the Premier League – after his loan from Shanghai Shenhua was extended.

    Odion Ighalo, 31, wants to stay at Man Utd but knows his time could be upCredit: PA:Press Association

    Ighalo has slipped further down Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s pecking order thanks to Edinson Cavani’s summer arrival.
    And while the ex-Watford ace has admitted he wants to stay at Old Trafford, he’s aware his time could be coming to an end.
    Ighalo told ESPN: “Today, I’m in Manchester but at the end of the month I don’t know where I’m going to be.
    “If it’s possible I’d like to stay here but if not I have to go.

    ⚽ Read our Man United live blog for the latest news from Old Trafford
    “I have options. I wait for my agent. He is doing his job and I’m doing mine.
    “At the end of the month, we have to decide what is best and we’ll take it.”
    Should Ighalo be pushed out, he’s revealed he would love the chance to try his hand in the MLS.

    He continued: “If it’s possible I’d like to play in MLS but I have to wait to see if it’s possible.
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    “The league is doing well and if the opportunity arises then I’d grab it with two hands.”
    Despite featuring just once in the league, Ighalo has revealed he is still keeping his head down and training hard rather than kicking up a fuss.
    The Nigerian continued: “I’m a professional, I don’t make trouble and I don’t complain.
    “I just go to training and give my best.
    “Lately I haven’t been playing much but it’s the coach’s decision.
    “If I’m not in the team and give them 100 per cent support.
    “The team is doing well and that’s the most important thing.”

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reacts to Man Utd’s 1-0 win at Burnley which sends them top of the table More

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    Man Utd will finish third behind Liverpool and Man City as they only have one player who can carry them, says Riise

    LIVERPOOL legend John Arne Riise believes Manchester United will finish no higher than third this season as he stated they are too reliant on Bruno Fernandes.
    The Red Devils sit top of the table after 17 games played ahead of their trip to Anfield on Sunday – three points above Jurgen Klopp’s men.

    John Arne Riise believes Manchester United will finish third in the Premier League this season Credit: Alamy Live News

    And while Riise, 40, has praised Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for turning things around at Old Trafford, he has stated that the club will come up short in their bid to win the Premier League for the first time since 2013.
    Speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes at its launch of the 5-A-Side Bet on Liverpool v Man United, he said: “I think at the moment I can only see a title race between three teams: Liverpool, Man City and Man United.
    “When it comes to the end of the season I think it’ll be between Liverpool and City; I don’t think United will be able to keep up their current form.
    “I might be wrong; I like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer because he’s from Norway and we will always support our own people – it’s just a shame he’s managing the wrong team!

    “I’ve been very impressed with what Solskjaer has done this season and how he’s turned things around after the stick he’s had from the fans and the media.
    “He’s stuck at it, they’re top of the league and to be honest I think they deserve to be there because of the way they’ve played.”
    Before adding: “In my opinion I think Liverpool should be favourites to win the league, not Man City. I also thought at one stage that Chelsea might have been up there.
    “They had a good start to the season but they’re losing too many games and are lacking in consistency.

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    Riise believes the Red Devils are too reliant on playmaker Bruno FernandesCredit: Rex Features

    “For a neutral football fan, it must be great to watch a league like this when it’s so tight. You never know who is going to finish in the top four, or even the top six!
    “Liverpool and Man City are going to be up there, and then Man United will probably be in third place.”
    Riise then suggested that United will struggle if Fernandes ever picks up an injury with the playmaker chipping in with 11 goals and seven assist in 17 games this term.
    He said: “Man United are very reliant on Bruno Fernandes, though. If he’s out for any reason this season, they’ll struggle.
    “That’s why I don’t think United will be up there in May, because they’re too dependent on that one player.
    “Man City and Liverpool have so many players who can carry the team; Man United only have one.”
    ⚽ Read our Man United live blog for the latest news from Old Trafford

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    Barcelona REJECTED chance to link up Cristiano Ronaldo with Lionel Messi for just £15million before Man Utd transfer

    CRISTIANO RONALDO and Lionel Messi are sworn rivals, destined to divide fans in their fight to be considered football’s greatest of all time forever.
    But it could have been so different, with Barcelona REJECTING the chance to sign Ronaldo and pair him with Messi for just £15million in 2003.

    Barcelona rejected the chance to sign Cristiano Ronaldo for £15m in 2003Credit: AFP

    Man Utd eventually signed Ronaldo in 2003 after Barcelona passed on the then-Sporting teenagerCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    That summer, the Portuguese star was on the brink of leaving Sporting Lisbon after a rapid rise to prominence.
    Of course, Ronaldo ultimately joined Manchester United and shot to superstardom before moving to Real Madrid six years later.
    But now, Barcelona presidential candidate Joan Laporta has revealed he turned down the chance to bring Ronaldo to the Nou Camp in a deal that could have changed the face of the sport forever.
    Laporta – president at the time – claimed he has ‘no regrets’, saying it was between Ronaldo and Ronaldinho, with Barca opting for the established Brazilian star.

    Looking back on that fateful decision 18 years ago, Laporta told Iniestazo: “We were about to sign Ronaldinho and Rafa Marquez.
    “Marquez’s people proposed Cristiano Ronaldo to us. He was at Sporting at the time.
    “One of his agents said that they had a player who they had sold to [Manchester] United for €19m, but they’d sell him to us for €17m.
    “But we had already invested in Ronaldinho at the time. Cristiano played more out wide than in the centre.

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    Lionel Messi was just started to make waves at Barcelona, turning out for their B team, in 2003Credit: Getty Images – Getty

    “We thought we were covered, so we rejected him.
    “I don’t regret it.”
    Barcelona would go on to enjoy huge success with Ronaldinho, winning two LaLiga crowns and one Champions League title during his five-year stay.
    The Brazilian also won the Ballon d’Or during his time at the Nou Camp, in 2005.
    Rather than link up with Messi, Ronaldo headed to Old Trafford – where he would three Premier League crowns and one Champions League.
    He too won a Ballon d’Or at his new club, taking home the first of his five FIVE awards in 2008.
    After quitting Man Utd in 2009, Ronaldo would go on to terrorise Barca while playing for their fiercest rivals, Real Madrid.
    In nine years at the Bernabeu, he won two LaLiga crowns and a staggering FOUR Champions League crowns before joining Juventus for £99m in 2018.

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    Diallo hails ‘dream come true’ as £37m teen is officially unveiled as Man Utd player after transfer from Atalanta

    MANCHESTER UNITED have officially unveiled Amad Diallo after the exciting winger reported to Carrington for the first time.
    The 18-year-old – who completed his £37million switch to Old Trafford from Atalanta last week – has penned a contract until the summer of 2025.

    Amad Diallo has officially been unveiled as a Manchester United playerCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    Big things are expected of Diallo at Old Trafford who has joined from Atalanta for £37millionCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    Diallo – who will wear the No19 shirt at the Theatre of Dreams – was shown around United’s training facilities on Wednesday, before conducting an interview for the club.
    Speaking recently, the Ivory Coast-born forward revealed it is a ‘dream come true’ to link up with United who agreed to sign him on deadline day in October.
    He told United’s website: “After waiting since the summer, it is finally a dream come true to complete my move to Manchester United.
    “I am hugely ambitious and there is so much that I want to achieve in the game; when I spoke to the manager I knew that I had joined the perfect club.

    “This is a really exciting squad with so many great players, I can promise that I will work hard every day to learn from them and give everything to develop my game.
    “The coaches have been fantastic since I signed, we have been in touch regularly and they have already given me a lot of great advice.
    “I have had time to prepare for this move, both physically and mentally, and I have worked really hard to be ready to make the step up to this amazing club.”
    United legend Rio Ferdinand has tipped the winger to become a world beater’ as he compared him to Cristiano Ronaldo.

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    Rio Ferdinand has tipped Diallo to follow in the footsteps of Cristiano Ronaldo at the Theatre of DreamsCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    He said on Rio Ferdinand Presents FIVE: “We’ve just bought a kid in from Atalanta and hopefully he does something.
    “If you see his clips and speak to people at the club who are involved in buying him, potentially this kid could be a world beater.
    “That is the thought of Manchester United people that this kid is one they have unearthed.”
    He added: “I don’t want to put the pressure of Ronaldo on him, but no-one knew about Ronaldo when we bought him other than the people in Portugal.
    “This kid seems similar in that sense and if you see his clips and the way people talk about him, the world is his oyster if he applies himself right.”
    ⚽ Read our Man United live blog for the latest news from Old Trafford

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    Barcelona REJECTED chance to link up Cristiano Ronaldo with Lionel Messi for just £15m before Man Utd transfer

    CRISTIANO RONALDO and Lionel Messi are sworn rivals, destined to divide fans in their fight to be considered football’s greatest of all time forever.
    But it could have been so different, with Barcelona REJECTING the chance to sign Ronaldo and pair him with Messi for just £15million in 2003.

    Barcelona rejected the chance to sign Cristiano Ronaldo for £15m in 2003Credit: AFP

    Man Utd eventually signed Ronaldo in 2003 after Barcelona passed on the then-Sporting teenagerCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    That summer, the Portuguese star was on the brink of leaving Sporting Lisbon after a rapid rise to prominence.
    Of course, Ronaldo ultimately joined Manchester United and shot to superstardom before moving to Real Madrid six years later.
    But now, Barcelona presidential candidate Joan Laporta has revealed he turned down the chance to bring Ronaldo to the Nou Camp in a deal that could have changed the face of the sport forever.
    Laporta – president at the time – claimed he has ‘no regrets’, saying it was between Ronaldo and Ronaldinho, with Barca opting for the established Brazilian star.

    Looking back on that fateful decision 18 years ago, Laporta told Iniestazo: “We were about to sign Ronaldinho and Rafa Marquez.
    “Marquez’s people proposed Cristiano Ronaldo to us. He was at Sporting at the time.
    “One of his agents said that they had a player who they had sold to [Manchester] United for €19m, but they’d sell him to us for €17m.
    “But we had already invested in Ronaldinho at the time. Cristiano played more out wide than in the centre.

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    Lionel Messi was just started to make waves at Barcelona, turning out for their B team, in 2003Credit: Getty Images – Getty

    “We thought we were covered, so we rejected him.
    “I don’t regret it.”
    Barcelona would go on to enjoy huge success with Ronaldinho, winning two LaLiga crowns and one Champions League title during his five-year stay.
    The Brazilian also won the Ballon d’Or during his time at the Nou Camp, in 2005.
    Rather than link up with Messi, Ronaldo headed to Old Trafford – where he would three Premier League crowns and one Champions League.
    He too won a Ballon d’Or at his new club, taking home the first of his five FIVE awards in 2008.
    After quitting Man Utd in 2009, Ronaldo would go on to terrorise Barca while playing for their fiercest rivals, Real Madrid.
    In nine years at the Bernabeu, he won two LaLiga crowns and a staggering FOUR Champions League crowns before joining Juventus for £99m in 2018.

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    Man Utd boost in title race with Liverpool as stats show team top after 17 games has won Prem eight of last ten seasons

    MANCHESTER UNITED are 80 PER CENT certain to win the Premier League this season, according to the statistics.
    The Red Devils went three points clear of arch-rivals Liverpool at the top of the table after Paul Pogba’s volley led them to a 1-0 win over Burnley on Tuesday night.

    Teams top of the table after 17 games in eight of the last ten seasons have gone on to win the Premier League title

    Pogba’s volleyed goal at Burnley fired Man Utd three points clear of Liverpool atop the Premier League on Tuesday nightCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd

    United are battling to win their first league crown since Sir Alex Ferguson’s final season in 2012-13.
    Since the legendary Scot left, the Old Trafford clubs have been mired in mediocrity, limping into the European places in a far cry from their teams of yesterday.
    But the stats suggest they’re overwhelming favourites to win the Premier League.
    Incredibly, the team top of the table after 17 games has gone on to lift the trophy in EIGHT of the last ten seasons.

    ⚽ Read our Man United live blog for the latest news from Old Trafford
    Only Liverpool – in 2013-14 and 2018-19 – have surrendered a lead after the same numbers of games.
    Both seasons they finished second and were forced to wait until 2019-20 to break their Premier League title drought.
    But every other year since 2010-11, the team top after 17 matches has lifted the famous trophy, including United in 2011 and 2013.

    Man Utd next face Liverpool in an almighty six-pointer at Anfield on Sunday afternoon.
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    Should Jurgen Klopp’s Reds win, they would go above United on goal difference.
    But if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Co leave Merseyside triumphant, they will be six points clear of the reigning champions with 20 games to play.
    However, there is a slight catch: United’s tally of 36 points after 17 games is the LOWEST of any team top after 17 games in the past ten seasons.
    Liverpool in 2013-14 – with their fearsome ‘SAS’ partnership of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge – also racked up 36 points in the same span, ultimately finishing second in a thrilling season finale.
    For context, last season the then-league-leading Reds had racked up 49 points, 13 more than United this season.
    In 2018-19, Liverpool were top again with 45 points, while City were top on 49 points after 17 matches in 2017-18.

    Man Utd last won the Premier League in 2012-13, with the club enduring some tricky years since thenCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    United did win the league with just 37 points on the board from 17 games in 2010-11.
    But that year, Fergie’s men were unbeaten from their 17 matches, compared to this year’s crop who have already lost three times.
    Solskjaer recently urged his Man Utd stars to keep their focus and not believe the job is done.
    But a win over Liverpool this weekend would solidify their standing atop the Premier League, with the glory days on the brink of a return.
    Lose at Anfield and it recently is anyone’s game, though…

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    Burnley 0 Man Utd 1: Pogba goal sends Red Devils top of PL ahead of huge Liverpool clash in game full of controversy

    BACK on top and ready for the big one.
    Paul Pogba’s thumping 71st minute volley at Burnley means Manchester United travel to Anfield on Sunday three points ahead of champions Liverpool and ready for a title tussle.

    Paul Pogba volleyed in a late winner to ensure Man Utd went top of the Premier LeagueCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    Pogba netted a 71st-minute strike to put United three points clear of Liverpool – who they meet on SundayCredit: Reuters

    The two most successful club’s in English football history fighting it out for the biggest domestic prize once more.
    They have 39 titles between them, United on 20, but Liverpool are the holders.
    Can Ole Gunnar Solskjaer emulate Sir Alex Ferguson and knock them off their perch again?
    Of course, Manchester City will have their say come the final reckoning.

    ⚽ Read our Man United live blog for the latest news from Old Trafford
    After going quiet at the start of the season the neighbours are noisy again.
    But United are showing the sort of consistency that makes champions.
    This is 11 league games unbeaten and nine of them wins after victory here at Ice Station Turf Moor.

    They can win well, and they can dig in and fight as they had to on Tuesday night.
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    Pogba’s first-time strike gifted Man Utd a crucial three points at Turf MoorCredit: PA:Press Association

    Shaw escaped red for a lunge on Gudmundsson after the decision went to VARCredit: PA:Press Association

    It was clear from the start that Burnley were out to block and frustrate and generally break United up, but the visitors never gave up and got their reward.
    It was tough for long periods and Edinson Cavani was getting particularly irate on his first game after a three-match suspension.
    He was at the centre of the first half’s most controversial moment when he burst through but was hauled down by Robbie Brady.
    The referee gave a free kick just outside the area but as the last man should a red card not follow for Brady?
    But wait, back at the other end referee Kevin Friend had missed Luke Shaw following through on Johann Gudmundson.
    So if that was a foul it negated the Cavani incident and after watching various replays he decided rightly that it was and Shaw was lucky to just be booked.
    United’s frustrations grew when it looked like they were harshly denied a goal in the 38th minute.
    Shaw, who was constantly up and down that left flank, provided the cross, Harry Maguire rose at the far post and headed back past the goalkeeper and into the far top corner.
    United celebrated but their joy was short-lived as Maguire was adjudged to have fouled Erik Pieters as he rose.
    But to get the header in it was impossible not to make contact with the static Burnley player.
    So United went again.

    Robbie Brady was also fortunate to avoid red for a last-gasp tackle on CavaniCredit: Sky Sports

    Man Utd had a goal ruled out in the first-half after Maguire committed a foulCredit: Times Newspapers Ltd
    Anthony Martial, quiet for most of the half, tried to make a breakthrough just before the interval with a curling shot to the far top corner which Nick Pope tipped away.
    United remained on the front foot and were even more dominant in the second half with some slick one-touch football.
    One sweeping move from back to front ended when Cavani scuffed his chance.
    Fernandes had two goes from outside the area but both were straight at the goalkeeper.
    Burnley were doing the job they were asked, United could not find the cutting edge to finish some fine build-up play.
    Then Pogba intervened. He had been running the show second-half and started and finished the move to make the breakthrough.
    Jumping to win a header just over half way he then set off to the edge of the area as Fernandes found Rashford.
    His cross was perfect for the French World Cup winner to angle his body and catch volley on the full that went past Pope with the aid of a deflection off Lowton.
    The joy and relief were obvious as Pogba summoned over his team-mates for a huddle.
    There is a spirit in this United side that is obvious in how they play, how they fight and how they celebrate and support each other.
    Not since Sir Alex Ferguson’s final campaign have they stood on top at this stage of the season.

    Maguire thought he’d given United the lead only to be punished for a foulCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
    The question is can they keep it up and challenge to the end?
    The swings and roundabouts have been spinning more than ever in this strangest of Premier League seasons.
    When United last lost in the league on November 1 at home to Arsenal they stood 15th with seven points after six games.
    Their worst start since David Moyes succeeded Sir Alex.
    Fast forward two and a bit months and here they are.
    They last lost away in the league almost exactly a year ago and at Anfield.
    They went into that game 27 points behind Jurgen Klopps’s side.
    Now 12 months on there has been a swing of 33 points as they go three ahead.
    Yes this is a very different United. A better one. A United ready to win a title again.

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