Man Utd Must Fix ‘Mentality And Tactics’, Says Pogba

Manchester United’s French midfielder Paul Pogba applauds the fans at the end of the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and Manchester United at King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on October 16, 2021. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

 

Paul Pogba delivered a withering assessment of the state of Manchester United’s form after a 4-2 defeat to Leicester left the Red Devils already five points adrift in the Premier League title race.

United have not won an English top-flight title since 2013 but were expected to challenge this season after splashing out to sign Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane in the transfer window.

However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men have taken just one point from a possible nine against Aston Villa, Everton and Leicester in their last three league games.

United also crashed out of the League Cup last month and are under pressure for Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Atalanta after losing their opening group game to Swiss side Young Boys.

“If we want to win the title, these are the games we need to win, even if they are very hard,” Pogba told Sky Sports.

“We have been having these kinds of games for a long time and haven’t found the problem. We have conceded easy and stupid goals.”

United’s defence was easily exposed by a Leicester side that had not won since August before Saturday.

Solskjaer started with all of Pogba, Bruno Fernandes, Sancho, Mason Greenwood and Ronaldo and hinted afterwards he may have to sacrifice some of his attacking stars to better balance the side.

“We know that the fans were going to push and put pressure on us and we need to be more mature, play with more experience and arrogance – in a good way – by taking the ball and playing our football,” added Pogba.

“We need to find the key for this change because we deserved to lose.

“I don’t know if it is the mindset of the players. We need to change something. We need to find the mentality and tactics to win. We have to look as individuals and as a team to fix this.”

Former Manchester United captain Gary Neville said Solskjaer’s forward players were not working hard enough defensively.

“I love them as players those five, but having them all in the same team there’s not enough workhorses,” said Neville.

“We needed workhorses alongside the great players. Manchester United at this moment in time are imbalanced.”

The pressure is rising on Solskjaer to turn things around quickly ahead of a demanding run of fixtures.

Solskjaer’s men face Liverpool, Tottenham, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal in their next six Premier League games.

Varane Injury Leaves Man Utd Short On Centre-Backs

France's defender Raphael Varane (C) speaks with France's coach Didier Deschamps as he leaves the pitch after getting injured during the Nations League final football match between Spain and France at San Siro stadium in Milan, on October 10, 2021. FRANCK FIFE / AFP
France’s defender Raphael Varane (C) speaks with France’s coach Didier Deschamps as he leaves the pitch after getting injured during the Nations League final football match between Spain and France at San Siro stadium in Milan, on October 10, 2021. FRANCK FIFE / AFP

 

Manchester United will be without Raphael Varane due to a groin injury that leaves Ole Gunnar Solskjaer short on options at centre-back for a demanding few weeks.

The French defender suffered the injury during his country’s 2-1 win over Spain on Sunday in the Nations League final.

“Raphael Varane sustained a groin muscle injury in the UEFA Nations League final and has commenced rehabilitation at the club,” United said in a statement.

READ ALSO: Man Utd Must Start ‘Best Players’, Ferguson Says After Ronaldo Benched

“He will be out for a few weeks.”

United captain Harry Maguire is also sidelined by a calf problem leaving Solskjaer without his strongest centre-back pairing.

Eric Bailly, whose one appearance this season came in a League Cup loss to West Ham, or Phil Jones, who has not played since January 2020, could now start Saturday’s trip to Leicester in the Premier League.

After a visit to the Foxes, the Red Devils face Atalanta at home in the Champions League before fixtures against rivals Liverpool and Tottenham later this month.

 

AFP

Varane Pens Emotional Message Ahead Of Departure For Manchester United

(FILES) In this file photo taken on January 04, 2020 Real Madrid’s French defender Raphael Varane celebrates his goal during the Spanish league football match between Getafe CF and Real Madrid CF.
OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP

 

Raphael Varane has sent a farewell message to Real Madrid faithful ahead of his departure for Manchester United for a record fee of £42million.

Varane had been a mainstay in defence alongside new PSG signee Sergio Ramos 34 La Liga champions that saw them clinch four UEFA Champions League titles and four FIFA Club World Cup titles.

Manchester United had been in pursuit of the highly-rated French defender despite still having a contract that would have kept him at the Bernabeu until 2022. The English side had announced that they had reached an agreement with Spanish giants, “subject to a medical and to player terms being finalised.”

In an emotional message sent out through his Instagram handle, the 28-year-old was quick to show his appreciation to the Madrid fans saying.

“Many thanks also to all the Madridistas who always gave me a lot of affection and with their great demand they pushed me to give my best and fight for every success.”

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‘”I want to leave you all with the feeling that I’m leaving having given everything and having experienced unique moments,” the message went further.

He also heaped praises on previous coaches who were integral in moulding him into a good defender

“I would like to thank all the coaches and all the people who work or have worked at the club for everything they have done for me,” he said.

Not leaving out his soon-to-be-former teammates the message further read ” I have had the honor of sharing a dressing room with the best players in the world. Countless victories that I will never forget, especially “La Décima.”

United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been looking for a centre-back to partner his captain Harry Maguire for some time.

In an interview on the United’s official site, the Norwegian lauded the defender’s approach to the game saying “He’s proved over his whole career what a good person he is first of all, professional and he’s won what there is to win.”

Elsewhere, reacting to the transfer, Ramos also posted on his Instagram handle:

“Dear Rapha, I can only thank you for these years of friendship, companionship, and triumphs.

“And wish you luck in a new stage that will surely be exciting.”

Ramos sealed a two-year deal with French giants Paris Saint-Germain for an undisclosed fee in early July 2021.

The 35-year-old was in the mood for jokes: “If we face each other, always with the team of your country, right?”

Varane now joins 75 million  Euros signing Jadon Sancho in a show of intent from United that they are ready to breach the gap between them and rivals Man City, who won the Premier League by 12 points last season.

 

 

 

 

Man Utd Agree Deal To Sign Varane From Real Madrid

 In this file photo taken on January 04, 2020 Real Madrid's French defender Raphael Varane celebrates his goal during the Spanish league football match between Getafe CF and Real Madrid CF at the Col. Alfonso Perez stadium in Getafe on January 4, 2020. OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP
In this file photo taken on January 04, 2020 Real Madrid’s French defender Raphael Varane celebrates his goal during the Spanish league football match between Getafe CF and Real Madrid CF at the Col. Alfonso Perez stadium in Getafe on January 4, 2020. OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP

 

Manchester United have agreed a deal with Real Madrid to sign France centre-back Raphael Varane, the Premier League giants announced Tuesday. 

“Manchester United is delighted to announce the club has reached agreement with Real Madrid for the transfer of French international defender and World Cup winner, Raphael Varane, subject to a medical and to player terms being finalised,” said a club statement.

It is not expected, however, that Varane will be able to undergo a medical until next week because of current UK coronavirus restrictions.

No fee has been disclosed but British media reported value the deal at £34 million ($47 million) rising to £48 million with add-ons.

 

AFP

‘This Defeat Is On Me,’ Says Varane As Errors Send Real Madrid Out

Real Madrid’s French defender Raphael Varane (R) reacts after Manchester City’s English midfielder Raheem Sterling (unseen) scored his team’s first goal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg football match between Manchester City and Real Madrid at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England on August 7, 2020. (Photo by PETER POWELL / POOL / AFP)

 

French defender Raphael Varane insisted on facing up to his two mistakes that helped Manchester City knock his Real Madrid side out of the Champions League on Friday and admitted: “This is on me. I failed.”

City won 2-1 on the night for a 4-2 aggregate victory to reach the quarter-finals where they will face Lyon.

They capitalised on two shocking mistakes by Varane to get their goals, with Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus scoring either side of a Karim Benzema strike for the visitors in this last 16 second leg, played at an empty Etihad Stadium.

Varane was dispossessed inside the box in the ninth minute allowing Sterling to put City ahead, and his poor headed backpass attempt gifted Jesus another goal midway through the second half.

“I want to stand up because in my eyes, this defeat is on me. I have to take responsibility for it,” admitted Varane.

“I am sad for my team-mates, for their efforts. I have to take my responsibility in the defeat, mistakes cost dearly at this level of competition.”

The 27-year-old French national captain added: “We gave everything on the pitch but sometimes you can fail. Today, I failed, and I have to admit it.”

 

AFP

Varane Extends Real Madrid Contract

Real Madrid’s defender from France Raphael Varane controls the ball during the Spanish league football match Real Madrid CF against Real Betis at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on September 20, 2017. Photo: GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

Raphael Varane joined a host of his Real Madrid teammates in recent weeks by signing a five-year contract extension to 2022 on Wednesday.

“Real Madrid C. F. and Varane have agreed to extend the player’s contract, which will see him remain at the club until 30 June 2022,” the Spanish giants said in a statement.

Marcelo, Isco and Dani Carvajal have also extended their deals to 2022 over the past fortnight, whilst Karim Benzema signed on till 2021 as Real reward key members of the squad that became the first side to retain the Champions League trophy in June.

A new contract for coach Zinedine Zidane is also imminent with the Frenchman repeatedly stating his deal is “done”, although no official announcement has yet been made.

Then in a previous role as a club adviser, Zidane played a key role in bringing Varane to Madrid as an 18-year-old back in 2011 from Lens.

The Frenchman has since blossomed into vital player for club and country making 196 appearances in total for Madrid.

Varane has won 13 trophies in his time at the Bernabeu, including three Champions League and two La Liga titles.

This season he has fully established himself as a first team regular alongside club captain Sergio Ramos at the heart of the Madrid defence following the departure of veteran Portuguese international Pepe.

AFP

Fall Out Of Spanish Super Cup: Simeone Handed Eight Match Ban

simeone
Atletico Coach, Simeone protesting the referee’s decision after he was sent off for tapping the match official on the head.

Atletico Madrid coach, Diego Simeone, has been given an eight-match ban for his conduct in the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup against Real Madrid.

Simeone defensive midfielder, was sent off midway through the first half for complaining that Atletico right-back Juanfran had not been allowed back on to the field quickly enough after receiving treatment for a facial injury during his side’s 2-1 aggregate win over their City rivals

The 44 year old former Argentine player subsequently tapped the fourth official on the back of the head after a heated exchange

The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) banned him for four games for that act – two games for protesting, one for applauding a red card and one game for remaining in the stands instead of leaving the stadium after his sending-off.

Simeone subsequently apologised and said he overreacted.

He said: “When you commit an error you have to ask for forgiveness and I accept it was an error. I exaggerated in trying to get Juanfran on”.

Assistant coach, Germán Burgos, will take over from the Argentine while he serves his suspension and he believes his number two will be a capable stand-in.

“German has the capacity and confidence; it gives me peace of mind that we understand football in the same way.

“He will sit on the bench and I will see it from another place”.

This is the second ban that the former Argentina international will get in two months.

Europe governing body, UEFA had handed Simeone a match ban in July, after he charged onto the pitch in the Champions League final tie against city rivals, Real Madrid ,during a verbal clash with Real’s French defender, Raphael Varane.

World Cup: Messi, Neymar Make 10-Man Best Player Award Shortlist

golden ballArgentine, Lionel Messi and Brazil’s Neymar have been nominated among the 10 players shortlisted for the award for best player at the World Cup.

Finalists, Argentina and Germany produced seven of the candidates announced by FIFA on Friday.

Messi is nominated along with Argentina teammates Angel Di Maria and Javier Mascherano, while Germany provides four candidates: Mats Hummels, Toni Kroos, Philipp Lahm and Thomas Mueller.

Neymar is the only candidate from Brazil. Arjen Robben of the Netherlands and James Rodriquez of Colombia, the tournament’s top scorer with six goals, complete the list.

The players were selected by FIFA’s technical study group of coaching analysts and the winner is selected by the FIFA technical group and announced after the final.

The candidates for best young player are Memphis Depay of the Netherlands, and France pair Paul Pogba and Raphael Varane. Nominees for that award must have been born since Jan. 1, 1993.

Previous Golden Ball winners are:

1982 FIFA World Cup Spain: Paolo Rossi (Italy)

1986 FIFA World Cup Mexico: Diego Maradona (Argentina)

1990 FIFA World Cup Italy: Salvatore Schillaci (Italy)

1994 FIFA World Cup USA: Romario (Brazil)

1998 FIFA World Cup France: Ronaldo (Brazil)

2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan: Oliver Kahn (Germany)

2006 FIFA World Cup Germany: Zinedine Zidane (France)

2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa: Diego Forlan (Uruguay)