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    Man Utd star Bruno Fernandes ‘fooled referee’ by ‘making a meal’ of incident that led to penalty, says Paul Scholes

    BRUNO FERNANDES was ‘lucky’ to win a penalty for Manchester United in Thursday’s win over Granada, Paul Scholes has said.The former midfielder, 46, did not believe the Portuguese playmaker was fouled enough for him to go down in the area.
    Artur Soares Dias pointed to the spot after Bruno Fernandes’ late fallCredit: Rex
    Paul Scholes did not feel the incident merited a penaltyCredit: EPA
    But he pointed the finger at referee Artur Soares Dias for ‘falling for’ Fernandes’ tumble.
    With the score at 1-0, he hit the deck after a tangle with Yan Brice and stepped up to squeeze the spot-kick home.
    United legend Scholes told BT Sport, via the Mail: “[Fernandes] makes a meal of it I think he’s lucky to get the penalty.
    “Lucky to score it as well as the goalkeeper should do better.
    “You know when it’s given and it goes to VAR [that] they’re going to give it because it’s not a clear and obvious error and he has touched him, so there’s no way they were going to overturn it.
    “Fernandes does very well to get the penalty, they’ll be very disappointed.
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    “He was just feeling where his player is and the ball’s nowhere near him anyway.
    “It was always [Edinson] Cavani going to get the header. Fernandes was very clever and he’s fooled the referee and he’s fell for it.”
    The second goal in the Europa League quarter-final first leg could prove vital as the tie heads to Old Trafford next week.
    United will host Granada with a two-goal advantage but Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Scott McTominay are all suspended.
    Bruno’s eye is red and to score with one eye open is also a skill.Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer defended Fernandes after the win and insisted he was injured in the collision – adding that he scored the penalty ‘with one eye’.
    The manager told reporters: “I haven’t seen it.
    “I’ve just seen his eye when he came off, he got hit. Mike Phelan was sat behind me in the dugout and said he took one in the face.
    “His eye is red and to score with one eye open is also a skill.”
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    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says the second goal was so crucial after United’s first-leg victory in Granada More

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    Scholes believes Man Utd WILL splash out £150m on Erling Haaland transfer and only Chelsea can afford to rival them

    PAUL SCHOLES has backed Manchester United to sign Erling Haaland this summer.Borussia Dortmund have put a £150million price tag on the strike sensation, leading Scholes to believe that only United or Chelsea can afford him.

    Paul Scholes believes only Manchester United or Chelsea can afford Erling HaalandCredit: Rex
    Barcelona and Real Madrid have already held talks with the 20-year-old’s entourage, while Manchester City have also been linked.
    But Scholes, 46, does not believe the LaLiga giants have the finances to pull off the deal.
    And he also doubted Pep Guardiola’s desire to spend big on a striker.
    Asked about a United bid on BT Sport, the former midfielder explained: “I think they probably would, why not?
    “I think it’s about the club who can pay for him. I don’t think there’s too many of them.
    “You think of Real Madrid and Barcelona, all the noises you hear.
    “They probably couldn’t pay that type of money.
    “Man City look like they don’t want to pay that type of money.
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    “To be fair, they very rarely play with a No9 anyway. Even with [Sergio] Aguero and Gabriel Jesus, he’s hardly played them.
    “So is that the type of player that Guardiola wants? I’m not sure it is.
    “It’s a player United will be desperate for, Chelsea will be desperate for.
    “They’re probably the two clubs who I think could probably afford it this summer.”
    However, fellow former Premier League player Jamie O’Hara has told United they will struggle to sign the Norwegian.
    Paul Pogba’s situation was used by the ex-Tottenham star to outline how Haaland may be nervy about joining a team short on trophies.

    He told talkSPORT: “Look at Pogba. They paid £100million for him and he’s gone they’re thinking we’re going to the next level.
    “And it hasn’t worked. He’s been almost trophyless.
    “Haaland’s not going to Manchester United where it will be, ‘We might win something, we might not’.
    “He’s going somewhere where he is winning everything.”
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    Erling Haaland and Phil Foden chat after whistle as Man City eye transfer swoop for Dortmund sensation More

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    Jerome Boateng available on FREE transfer in summer as Bayern will not renew deal with ‘several English clubs’ keen

    PREMIER LEAGUE clubs have been alerted to Jerome Boateng’s availability after Bayern Munich decided to let the defender go.Out of contract in the summer, the defender will follow David Alaba in departing as a free agent.
    Jerome Boateng is set to become a free agent at the end of the seasonCredit: AP
    The 32-year-old has made over 350 appearances for Bayern, winning the treble twice, since a 2011 move ended a flop spell at Manchester City.
    But, according to German publication Kicker, Boateng’s exit has been rubber-stamped by Munich bosses.
    And his entourage have already been informed of the decision to move him on.
    A departure from Allianz Arena has been rumoured for some time and the interest of some clubs was piqued when Bayern secured the signing of Dayot Upamecano for next season.
    Bild report on ‘several’ English clubs monitoring his situation with a move to MLS not out of the question.
    The German has previously featured in links to Arsenal and Chelsea.
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    Mikel Arteta is in the midst of a huge squad rebuild at Emirates Stadium while a new centre-back is thought to be on Thomas Tuchel’s long list of targets in the next window.
    Boateng missed Saturday’s 1-0 win over RB Leipzig due to suspension but has otherwise remained a first-choice for the Bundesliga giants.
    Coach Hansi Flick recently defended his player after Bayern advisor Uli Hoeness criticised calls for his return to the German national team.
    The World Cup winner was one of the veteran players discarded by Joachim Low two years ago, a decision called into question after the recent defeat to North Macedonia.
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    Bayern Munich star Jerome Boateng shows off his purple hair as he has fun on the basketball court More

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    Bruno Fernandes slams Man Utd for sloppy home form and reveals first Solskjaer chat that helped him hit ground running

    BRUNO FERNANDES has issued a rallying cry to his Manchester United team-mates to ‘stop dropping as many points as we do at home’.The Portuguese playmaker has been instrumental in helping United into second spot in the Premier League.
    Bruno Fernandes gave an honest interview with FourFourTwo magazine
    And while they are some way off champs-in-waiting Manchester City, boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is coming close to crafting his side into genuine title contenders.
    But Fernandes, ever the perfectionist, wants improvements – and sorting their home form is the main area to address.
    United’s four defeats this season have all come at Old Trafford, with the Red Devils unbeaten away.
    Speaking to FourFourTwo magazine, the 26-year-old said: “It’s tough in England, because the games are so tight.
    “Every team genuinely has a chance to win the match. It’s 50/50 before every game, and we see it with the results. But we’re doing better.
    “We can’t drop as many points as we do at home, but we’ve been in second, and at the start of the season there weren’t many people who were saying United would be second.
    “After a few games and a bad start, nobody was saying United could reach the top of the table, but we ignored what people were saying on the outside.
    “We knew what we had said on the inside, we had confidence that things would improve, and they did.

    “We still have to be the best United we can, but we have improved.”
    Fernandes is one of the first names on Solskjaer’s teamsheets and has become one of the most creative midfielders in the Premier League.
    And the former Porto star has put his fine form down to the ‘trust’ in him from the manager.
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    Fernandes has praised Solskjaer for trusting himCredit: Reuters
    He added: “He simply told me to be myself. To enjoy it, to play my own game.
    “He said that he’d watched me for Sporting and that he wanted the same Bruno here – someone who tried to lead the team.
    “It was important that the club trusted me to be me.”
    Fernandes has 16 goals and 11 assists in 30 Prem games this season.
    United paid just shy of £50million for the midfielder – one of the bargains of recent seasons.
    This month’s FourFourTwo is in shops on Wednesday, April 7 and has a 10 page interview with Manchester United forward Bruno Fernandes. Also in this issue, The Football League Top 50, an interview with Leeds star Raphinha and former Spurs star Steven Caulker opens up. For a special Sun subscription offer of three issues of FourFourTwo for £3: www.magazinesdirect.com/fft/81at 
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    Man Utd set to block Bruno Fernandes from playing for Portugal over quarantine red list fears More

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    Man Utd will be without Eric Bailly in coming weeks after Solskjaer confirms defender tested positive for coronavirus

    MANCHESTER UNITED defender Eric Bailly will be out of action after testing positive for coronavirus.The 26-year-old has not returned to the UK after contracting Covid while on international duty with Ivory Coast.
    Man Utd defender Eric Bailly will be out in the coming weeks after he contracted coronavirus while on international dutyCredit: Getty
    United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was speaking after seeing his side snatch a 2-1 victory against Brighton thanks to Mason Greenwood’s headed winner.
    The Norwegian gaffer said: “He won’t be with us for a little while.
    “He went away with the Ivory Coast and tested positive for Covid.
    “He’s not back in the country yet.”
    It is just the latest setback for Bailly after failing to nail down a regular starting spot at United.
    The defender joined United in 2016 from Villareal, but a combination of injury and poor form have seen him regularly on the sidelines.
    And losing Bailly isn’t the only bit of bad news for Solskjaer.
    The former Molde boss fears forward Anthony Martial could be out for the rest of the season with a knee injury.
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    Solskjaer will be without Eric Bailly for a whileCredit: Getty

    The 25-year-old was forced off with the problem while playing in a World Cup qualifier for France against Kazakhstan last week.
    And while national team boss Didier Deschamps played down the severity of the injury, Solskjaer has now confirmed it is in fact much more serious than was first reported.
    The Man Utd boss told MUTV: “Unfortunately, he sprained his knee with France.
    “It’s always when they go away on internationals… you can keep your fingers crossed and hope they come back fit.
    “Paul has played in all three games, 30, 60, 90 minutes, so that was a boost for us.
    “Losing Anthony for what might be the rest of the season is very disappointing, especially when reports from there [France] was that it wasn’t anything serious but it looks a bad one.”
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    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he has a plan on which players will stay and go at Man Utd More

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    Man Utd verdict: Dean Henderson shows a few nerves as he embarks on final quest to oust David De Gea for good

    DEAN HENDERSON has waited patiently for his chance to become Manchester United’s number one.And there were a few signs of nerves from the 24-year-old on his big night.
    Dean Henderson spilled one ball in the first half – but it didn’t lead to a goalCredit: Getty
    Yet that’s only to be expected – because in many ways the hard work starts now for the homegrown keeper.
    He has to justify the faith that has been shown in him by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and live up to the reputation he has.
    And for the next few weeks, until the end of the season at least, he will have United’s top earner David de Gea breathing down his neck.
    Of course, the Spain international has been far from perfect over the last 12 months, but let’s not forget how many times he has saved United over the years.
    He hasn’t been named the Red Devils’ Player of the Year more times than anyone else for nothing.
    And De Gea, 30, will not relinquish the shirt he has held for almost a decade without a fight.
    But it is Henderson’s to lose now and this was his first test as United’s No 1 – a role Gary Neville described recently as one of the most high-profile in world football.
    Henderson was unlucky to be picking the ball out of his net after just 13 minutes.
    United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seemed happy with his keeperCredit: Reuters

    He made a superb reflex stop to keep out Danny Welbeck’s header, but the former United striker reacted quickly to nod in the rebound.
    Albion had clearly identified they could put him under pressure from corners – getting bodies in front of him each time.
    There was one heart-stopping moment when he seemed to catch one from Pascal Gross but then got in a terrible mess.
    He dropped the ball against his skipper Harry Maguire who then had to help scoop the ball to safety.
    There were good moments too, though, as he tipped over a thumping header from Lewis Dunk when the Seagulls were on top in the first half.
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    Henderson has a huge chance to oust David De Gea for goodCredit: Getty
    But overall it was a quiet night for Henderson – and there was nothing to suggest Solskjaer has made the wrong call. Or the right one.
    With a top four place virtually secure and the pursuit of leaders City looking forlorn, the Europa League is now United’s priority.
    If Henderson gets the nod in Andalusia then De Gea will know his reign is definitely over.
    Former United defender Rio Ferdinand said: “Solskjaer is paid to make the decisions. Henderson has been waiting for this opportunity.
    “Can he live up to the hype? I’m looking forward to seeing it.”
    All eyes will be on Henderson over the next two months – including De Gea’s.
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    Manchester United v Brighton as it happened More

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    Man Utd striker Marcus Rashford heads straight down tunnel as he’s subbed off injured after scoring vs Brighton

    MARCUS RASHFORD appeared to limp down the tunnel after he was subbed off against Brighton.The striker had not played since March 18 and was left out of the England squad having missed the previous three games for Manchester United.
    Man Utd striker Marcus Rashford was taken off early on SundayCredit: Reuters
    He was deemed fit enough to play against Brighton on Sunday and even bagged the equaliser – providing a neat finish into the far corner after being put through by Bruno Fernandes.
    But less than ten minutes after that goal, Rashford was heading down the tunnel.
    He appeared to be grimacing, although it is not yet clear if he has picked up another injury or was just taken off as a precaution.
    Speaking after the game, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed the situation was ‘tough’ and could not confirm Rashford’s availability for Thursday’s Europa League game with Granada.
    He told the BBC: “You just hope he can recover from it. He had to come off, but he’s a tough one.”
    United had fallen a goal behind after former academy graduate Danny Welbeck opened the scoring for Brighton.
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    Rashforddd… Level! Bruno Fernandes doing all the work, drawing defenders (and the foul 🙃), leaving the finish to United’s No. 1️⃣0️⃣Great finish, and game on 🤝 pic.twitter.com/sHvKZRbumw— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2021

    Solskjaer’s side struggled to get into the first-half but were better after the break.
    On the equaliser, the manager noted: “It was a long ball which went up, we won it and it was great by Bruno to carry the ball. He’s hacked down as well!
    “The finish was excellent – calm and composed. Marcus has been working on that a lot.”
    It was substitute Mason Greenwood who then set United on their way to three points.
    Rashford headed straight down the tunnel after being subbedCredit: Getty

    The teenage prodigy, who has struggled at times this season after a breakthrough campaign last year, scored with just seven minutes to play.
    The close-range header was only Greenwood’s second in the Premier League this season.
    Another Old Trafford striking product, Welbeck, had hit his third goal against United since leaving the club with the opener – the most of any ex-Red Devil in the Prem.
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    Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gives an update on Rashford and Mason ahead of Brighton match More

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    Man Utd player ratings: Greenwood dazzles with winner, Maguire pushes team-mates on but Cavani looks his age

    MASON GREENWOOD was the matchwinner as Manchester United came from behind to beat Brighton.It wasn’t the most eye-catching of performances, but the three points puts United firmly in the driving seat for second place behind big rivals Man City.
    Mason Greenwood was the matchwinner for United on a tricky nightCredit: Getty
    Marcus Rashford had cancelled out old-boy Danny Welbeck’s opener for Brighton, who battled hard but lacked that cutting edge.
    Here, SunSport’s John Hutchinson rates how United’s stars fared at Old Trafford.
    Dean Henderson – 6/10
    Made a great point-blank save from Welbeck, but unfortunately couldn’t get near the rebound.
    Held his nerve as Brighton piled forward for the equaliser and looked commanding in his area.
    Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 5
    Benefitted from a rest recently but you wouldn’t have known in a subdued first 45.
    Could have taken a few more risks in the second period to build some attacks down his flank
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    Victor Lindelof – 6
    Caught under the ball for Welbeck’s opening goal.
    But battled well against the former Red Devil and Neal Maupay and is very much a confidence player.
    Harry Maguire – 7
    Looked his usual composed self on the ball, but needed to give his team-mates some more urging during that dour first 45.
    Became a pressing midfielder in the second half as United raised their line well into the Brighton half.
    Harry Maguire led from example as he dragged United’s performance up a levelCredit: PA
    Luke Shaw – 6
    Made his usual marauding runs in the first half, but often found himself in blind alleys.
    Kept going forward in the second half and his confidence is flying him into the left-back spot for England at the Euros.
    Fred – 5
    United’s trophy-winning teams of yesteryear demanded more of their midfielders than ‘looking busy’.
    The Brazilian would be a good squad player going forward but surely doesn’t merit being a regular starter these days.
    Paul Pogba – 6
    Frenchman was preferred to the likes of McTominay and Van de Beek in the middle of the park, but had a quiet first 45.
    Stunning pass into Fernandes on the hour mark that the Portuguese star should have done better with.
    Greenwood marked his man of the match performance with the winnerCredit: Reuters
    Mason Greenwood – 8
    Looked the most lively of United’s attacking players in the first half, and hit the post with a rasping drive.
    Confidence carried into the second, and wasn’t afraid to have a run and shot – and his header was a real poacher’s effort.
    Bruno Fernandes – 7
    Injured his back early on, and that seemed to knock him off his game.
    But still got his trademark assist for Rashford’s equaliser and was involved in the winner – standard.
    Marcus Rashford – 6
    You’d have forgotten he was playing that poor first-half showing.
    But the true sign of a world class player is they never take their eye off the ball, and he slotted home a beautiful equaliser before being subbed off ten minutes later with injury.
    Rashford takes the congratulations from Cavani after equalisingCredit: Reuters
    Edinson Cavani – 4
    Had to watch the midfield pass it around without ever actually getting the ball into his feet in the first 45.
    But was a lifeless display up top for the 34-year-old Uruguayan and no surprise to see him subbed off.
    Subs
    Dan James (replaced Rashford, 72) – 6
    Tried to get United motoring to complete a turnaround, and played his part in that.
    Donny van de Beek (replaced Cavani, 81) – 6
    Unlucky as if Greenwood wasn’t there he would have probably scored the winner as he was just behind.
    Scott McTominay (replaced Pogba, 84) – NA
    (not used): David de Gea, Lee Grant, Amad Diallo, Nemanja Matic, Brandon Williams, Axel Tuanzebe.
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    Cavani, right, had a poor game leading the lineCredit: Mark Robinson – The Sun
    Manchester United v Brighton as it happened More