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Where now for Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and under-fire chief Ed Woodward? 

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where now for manchester united boss ole gunnar solskjaer and under fire chief ed woodward

‘Lads, it’s Man United…’ This shocking, spineless excuse for a performance is what we came to expect from Tottenham at their most timid down the years.

The kind of tame surrender that led Sir Alex Ferguson to once start his team talk with that most withering of put-downs.

Now the same could be said of this United team, such a pale imitation of Ferguson’s great sides that you wonder just where they go next.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has described Man United's 6-1 defeat to Spurs as his 'worst day'

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has described Man United's 6-1 defeat to Spurs as his 'worst day'

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has described Man United’s 6-1 defeat to Spurs as his ‘worst day’ 

Solskjaer said his side were 'nowhere near good enough' in a brutal post-mortem of the game

Solskjaer said his side were 'nowhere near good enough' in a brutal post-mortem of the game

Solskjaer said his side were ‘nowhere near good enough’ in a brutal post-mortem of the game

It would be possible to dismiss a 6-1 capitulation as a one-off brought on by the harsh dismissal of Anthony Martial in the first half. Possible but unwise.

If this was an aberration then how do you explain the comprehensive 3-1 defeat at home to Crystal Palace a fortnight ago? Or the incredibly fortunate 3-2 win at Brighton last week that should have ended in a comfortable win for the home side?

United could easily be on zero points now with a goal difference well into minus double figures after three games.

Throughout this horror show, the television cameras focused morbidly on Ed Woodward sat on his own in the stands. The United chief swigged nervously on a bottle of water, no doubt hoping there was something a little stronger inside and that his mask was big enough to cover the rest of his face.

Where now for Woodward? If he thought the rather puzzling move for Edinson Cavani over the weekend would appease fans fretting over United’s lack of progress with one day now left of the transfer window, any vague sense of optimism was ruthlessly snuffed out by Spurs — and Jose Mourinho of all people.

Oh, how he must have loved this. Not only beating his old club but stuffing six goals past them playing some quite wonderful football.

The result puts pressure on chief Ed Woodward to sign players before the window shuts

The result puts pressure on chief Ed Woodward to sign players before the window shuts

The result puts pressure on chief Ed Woodward to sign players before the window shuts

As brilliant as Spurs were, United were awful. Cavani’s signing feels like a sticking plaster and not a very good one at that.

Having spent the entire window pursuing a deal for Jadon Sancho, a young right winger who seems a perfect fit for United’s ethos under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Woodward inexplicably went out and signed a 33-year-old centre forward.

Cavani is expected to have a medical on Monday along with Alex Telles after United agreed a deal in principle for the FC Porto left back worth £13.6million plus £1.8m in add-ons.

United’s other signing is a midfielder, £40m Dutchman Donny van de Beek, who has started on the bench in all three league games — much to the disgust of his agent.

All of which has rather ignored the yawning requirement for a new centre back. Eric Bailly was even worse on Sunday than the man he replaced, the hapless Victor Lindelof. 

Harry Maguire is so shaky at the moment that questions are not only being asked about his state of mind following his arrest on Mykonos but United’s sanity in paying £80m for him in the first place.

United are close to signing Edinson Cavani on a free transfer after his release from PSG

United are close to signing Edinson Cavani on a free transfer after his release from PSG

United are close to signing Edinson Cavani on a free transfer after his release from PSG

Eric Bailly struggled from the off against Spurs and was even worse than Victor Lindelof

Eric Bailly struggled from the off against Spurs and was even worse than Victor Lindelof

Eric Bailly struggled from the off against Spurs and was even worse than Victor Lindelof

However, it would be wrong to single them out because no-one in a red shirt walked away from this debacle with any credit.

At least when Ferguson’s side lost 6-1 at home to Manchester City nine years ago this month, they conceded three late goals chasing the game out of pride.

When Solskjaer sent on Scott McTominay and Fred for Bruno Fernandes and Nemanja Matic at half-time here, it felt as though the white flag was already going up at 4-1. Spurs scored another two and it could have been worse.

Solskjaer admitted that the 4-0 defeat at Everton in April 2019 was his lowest point as United manager, but this was worse.

‘One or two had their last chance,’ he reflected earlier this year.

‘I can, with hand on heart, 100 per cent say these boys will never give in and never give up like that team did. These are the boys we want to build the next team around.’

Solskjaer said afterwards that the defeat was worse than the 4-0 loss against Everton last year

Solskjaer said afterwards that the defeat was worse than the 4-0 loss against Everton last year

Solskjaer said afterwards that the defeat was worse than the 4-0 loss against Everton last year

The Red Devils were second best in a display that has sent shockwaves through the club

The Red Devils were second best in a display that has sent shockwaves through the club

The Red Devils were second best in a display that has sent shockwaves through the club

So how does he explain this? How does he defend his new, improved team? Because for all the world they look a shambles right now.

As the final whistle blew here and a suitably eerie silence descended on Old Trafford, the cameras refocused on Woodward who looked to be in a state of advanced shell-shock.

He knows this is not a problem that can be solved overnight. Thank goodness the transfer window doesn’t close at 11 o’clock on Monday night.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Ben Chilwell delighted with Chelsea’s clean sheet in Champions League draw with Sevilla 

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ben chilwell delighted with chelseas clean sheet in champions league draw with sevilla

Ben Chilwell claims Chelsea can still feel positive following their opening Champions League group game despite only gaining a 0-0 draw at home to Sevilla.

The Blues are big favourties to progress from a group that also features Rennes and Krasnodar, and on paper the Spanish side are likely to pose their biggest threat.

But Chelsea went into the match having twice blown the lead to draw 3-3 against Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday, including conceding a last-minute strike.

Ben Chilwell played the full 90 minutes in Chelsea's Champions League draw with Sevilla

Ben Chilwell played the full 90 minutes in Chelsea's Champions League draw with Sevilla

Ben Chilwell played the full 90 minutes in Chelsea’s Champions League draw with Sevilla

The Blues had previously come underfire following sloppy defensive performances this term

The Blues had previously come underfire following sloppy defensive performances this term

The Blues had previously come underfire following sloppy defensive performances this term

The left back played the full 90 minutes against Sevilla on Tuesday night and felt the Blues could take big positives from shutting out the Europa League holders.

‘It was important to get a clean sheet. We knew people were looking at us after the weekend, and we were defensively solid today,’ Chilwell said on BT Sport 3.

‘It would have been nice to get a win at home, but we will take the draw.

‘There were moments where we were under pressure, but the whole team were organised and all put a shift in, defensively as a team it was very good. 

But Frank Lampard's side put in a professional display to earn a 0-0 draw with Sevilla

But Frank Lampard's side put in a professional display to earn a 0-0 draw with Sevilla

But Frank Lampard’s side put in a professional display to earn a 0-0 draw with Sevilla

Chilwell was part of a summer spending spree that saw Chelsea spend over £220million, with veteran defender Thiago Silva also coming in on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain. 

Chelsea had previously kept just two clean sheets from their first seven games this season and only one of those came against a top-flight side when they defeated Crystal Palace 4-0 at Stamford Bridge at the start of the month.

So the former Leicester City full back admits expectations are high at Stamford Bridge this term. 

Summer arrival Edouard Mendy came into the side in goal to replace Kepa Arrizabalaga

Summer arrival Edouard Mendy came into the side in goal to replace Kepa Arrizabalaga

Summer arrival Edouard Mendy came into the side in goal to replace Kepa Arrizabalaga

Veteran defender Thiago Silva was also recalled for the opening night in Champions League

Veteran defender Thiago Silva was also recalled for the opening night in Champions League

Veteran defender Thiago Silva was also recalled for the opening night in Champions League

‘We are Chelsea, you expect a clean sheet, so you are going to get criticism,’ he added.

‘It was important to keep working hard on the training pitch and we showed that defensively we are a good outfit.’

Former Blues midfielder Joe Cole agreed with Chilwell, as he praised his former side for showing a more organised performance in defence.

Joe Cole was impressed with Chelsea's defensive play in the 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge

Joe Cole was impressed with Chelsea's defensive play in the 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge

Joe Cole was impressed with Chelsea’s defensive play in the 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge

Cole, who won three Premier League titles at Stamford Bridge praised Chilwell’s contribution to a backline that featured fellow new signing Silva as well as goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.

‘Ben nailed it when talking about the organisation,’ Cole also told BT Sport. ‘The resoluteness of the team was outstanding. They got it right tonight. Chilwell was outstanding. If you’re going to win games, you have to keep clean sheets. You have to do the ugly things.

‘Having the three new signings, it made such a difference. You can see the pride they took in that. The whole team engaged together as a unit. They saw the problem and dealt with it.’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Jurgen Klopp hits out at Jamie Carragher after questioning Liverpool’s reluctance to buy a defender

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jurgen klopp hits out at jamie carragher after questioning liverpools reluctance to buy a defender

Jurgen Klopp has hit back at Jamie Carragher after the former Liverpool defender questioned why the club were reluctant to sign a centre back in the summer.

The Premier League champions are expected to be without star defender Virgil van Dijk for the rest of the season after he suffered anterior cruciate ligament damage following a reckless Jordan Pickford tackle during the weekend’s Merseyside derby.

Carragher believes that Liverpool are now short at the back as a result of Van Dijk’s injury and should have ‘gone big’ in the summer, but Klopp has taken umbrage with his comments and claimed he could not have kept another centre half happy. 

Jurgen Klopp has hit back at Jamie Carragher over his comments about signing defenders

Jurgen Klopp has hit back at Jamie Carragher over his comments about signing defenders

Jurgen Klopp has hit back at Jamie Carragher over his comments about signing defenders

Carragher suggested Liverpool should have signed another defender in the summer window

Carragher suggested Liverpool should have signed another defender in the summer window

Carragher suggested Liverpool should have signed another defender in the summer window

‘We went into the season with three centre backs plus Fabinho as cover and some youngsters,’ Klopp said.

‘It’s hard to have four world-class centre halves.

‘If anyone wants to tell us we made a mistake – I think Carragher mentioned already – there are a few reasons why they don’t do this job.’

He also claimed Liverpool are now a centre back short following Virgil van Dijk's injury

He also claimed Liverpool are now a centre back short following Virgil van Dijk's injury

He also claimed Liverpool are now a centre back short following Virgil van Dijk’s injury

But Klopp responded to Carragher and said he could not have kept another defender happy

But Klopp responded to Carragher and said he could not have kept another defender happy

But Klopp responded to Carragher and said he could not have kept another defender happy

Carragher however then defended the comments, tweeting: ‘Not once this season have I said it was a mistake for Klopp not to buy a centre back for the exact reason he states.’

On Sky Sports on Monday, Carragher said on Liverpool’s defensive situation: ‘Dejan Lovren went and they didn’t replace him so they only have three centre backs and one of those, Joel Matip, is always injured.

‘There are question marks now about Joe Gomez. So there is no doubt that Liverpool had to go big in the transfer market.’

Carragher defended his comments saying Klopp has not made a mistake in not signing one

Carragher defended his comments saying Klopp has not made a mistake in not signing one

Carragher defended his comments saying Klopp has not made a mistake in not signing one

It was those comments that made Klopp angry, but Carragher’s fellow Sky pundit Gary Neville saw the funny side of it, reacting to the former centre back’s riposte by tweeting: ‘In-fighting already’ with the boxing glove emoji and laughing faces.

Carragher however did call on Klopp not to make the same mistake again and believes the Anfield club should target RB Leipzig and France centre back Dayot Upamecano early in the January transfer window.

The former England international also put Wolves captain Conor Coady in a sticky spot following their 1-0 win over Leeds, asking the current England defender if he would consider a return to Liverpool after claiming Klopp was eyeing him, which was laughed off.

Carragher however did encourage Liverpool to go after Dayot Upamecano in January

Carragher however did encourage Liverpool to go after Dayot Upamecano in January

Carragher however did encourage Liverpool to go after Dayot Upamecano in January

He also cheekily asked Wolves captain Conor Coady if he would like to re-join the Reds

He also cheekily asked Wolves captain Conor Coady if he would like to re-join the Reds

He also cheekily asked Wolves captain Conor Coady if he would like to re-join the Reds

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Eddie Jones says Owen Farrell is working on tackle technique after his ban for horror hit

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eddie jones says owen farrell is working on tackle technique after his ban for horror hit

Eddie Jones has revealed that England skipper Owen Farrell has been working on his tackle technique in light of his recent red card.

Farrell was banned for five weeks and missed Saracens’ crucial Champions Cup run-in after he was sent off for a reckless hit on Wasps youngster Charlie Atkinson.

It left lingering questions about the fly-half’s temperament, but Jones revealed the No 10 will continue as skipper after naming a 32-man squad to face the Barbarians.

Owen Farrell was sent off for a reckless hit on Wasps youngster Charlie Atkinson in September

Owen Farrell was sent off for a reckless hit on Wasps youngster Charlie Atkinson in September

Owen Farrell was sent off for a reckless hit on Wasps youngster Charlie Atkinson in September

‘Owen and I have ongoing conversations,’ said Jones. ‘There’s not a day where we don’t talk or text each other. And now he’s in camp, it’s face to face. He’s aware of his responsibilities as England captain — he made a mistake in a game. We’ve moved on from that and now his job is to be the best England captain he can be.

‘He’s always working on his tackle technique. I was walking through the gym this morning before we were going to catch up, he was doing some extra work with John Clarke. That’s a constant work-on for not only Owen, but a lot of our players.

‘The laws of the high tackle have become increasingly tight, which is for the welfare of the players and all of our players are conscious of their responsibility.’

Preparations for the fixture at Twickenham have been hit by the uncertainty around the Premiership final. Wasps’ involvement will hinge on results from their latest round of Covid testing on Wednesday, with Bristol on standby to face Exeter in the event of their withdrawal.

Farrell goes in lower for tackle on Alex Mitchell during an England training session last week

Farrell goes in lower for tackle on Alex Mitchell during an England training session last week

Farrell goes in lower for tackle on Alex Mitchell during an England training session last week

It means Jones is unable to call on a number of household names, including recent European cup winners Henry Slade, Jack Nowell and Kyle Sinckler. However, Jones named 11 uncapped players in his squad and could use the curtain-raiser to blood some exciting new talent.

‘I was particularly impressed by a number of Exeter players who did well in what was a good- quality European Cup final,’ said Jones. ‘I was also very pleased for Bristol to win their first trophy. I always look at those games as selection games.

‘They’re important games because they’re high-pressure and you see the guys play under the pressure of winning or not winning a trophy. We’ve had that previously with Saracens being a dominant team in Europe, and now we’ve got Exeter.

‘It’s been a tough time for the country. A lot of people have lost their jobs and a lot of people have had losses in their family. We’re conscious of our responsibility to put a smile on people’s faces.

34632610 0 image m 60 1603223606521

34632610 0 image m 60 1603223606521

‘The attitude in the camp has been first-class and this week we move into preparation for the Barbarians, so things are a bit more serious and we’re knuckling down to prepare for a game.’

England will go into the match without Lions star Elliot Daly, who is recovering from a leg injury.

‘Elliot has had a bump on his leg — I was speaking to him this morning — for a good period of time,’ revealed Jones. ‘It hasn’t really worried him and he’s trained. We’re not sure what’s wrong, so we’re going to get some tests done and we’ll wait and see what the answer is.

‘I’d rather not say which part of his leg, let’s just wait and see. We’ll do all the various tests and he will see a consultant, and then we’ll have a pretty good idea of where he’s at.’

Meanwhile, the confusion around the Premiership final has also affected Wales’ preparations, with Bristol No 10 Callum Sheedy unable to join the training camp.

Wales assistant coach Neil Jenkins said: ‘It would have been nice to have had him in from the start but, from our perspective, him playing in finals is good for us. That’s his bread and butter.

‘The same with Tomas Francis — it’s fantastic for them.’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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