Berba explains why Maguire will find it ‘sh*t’ v Leicester

Harry Maguire will find it “sh*t” playing against former club Leicester on Saturday, according to Dimitar Berbatov.

Maguire faces the club that shaped him into the world’s most expensive defender for the first time since leaving at the weekend.

The England international has had an indifferent start at Old Trafford, with the opening-day clean sheet proving a false dawn.

United have since drawn with both Wolves and Southampton, losing to Crystal Palace in a below-par start – although Maguire has been one of their better players.

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Former United striker Berbatov still believes the centre-half will endure “a particularly difficult” match against his old club.

“United have a tough match against Leicester at Old Trafford on Saturday,” Berbatov told Betfair.

“It could be a particularly difficult one for Harry Maguire who joined them from Leicester in August.

“Playing against your old club is sh*t. It’s very difficult to spend two seasons somewhere – as Maguire did at Leicester and I did at Spurs – showing what you can do then get a big move and have to play against your old teammates with whom you’re probably still in touch.

“As hard as you try to be professional, friendships can sometimes get in the way.

“United’s performance against Southampton last time out was not what I want to see from United. They need a win but that can make for a tense atmosphere and prevent you playing good football.

“It will be interesting to see which United players go looking for the ball on Saturday. I really hope they start as if they’re desperate to win. An early goal would ease the tension but Maguire and his team-mates will need to keep it tight at the back, as they failed to hold on to the lead at Southampton.

“I’m backing United to win a close match and, as they’ve only kept one clean sheet so far, will go with 2-1 as the score.”


Ex-Liverpool winger claims he was lied to over his future

Ryan Kent declared Rangers were the first club he has felt at home as he claimed he had been lied to over his future before his return to Ibrox.

The 22-year-old rejoined Rangers on the final day of the Scottish transfer window in a deal understood to be worth a guaranteed £6.5million.

Rangers had previously failed to persuade Liverpool to sanction a second season-long loan after the winger made a major impression at Ibrox last term.

Kent featured for Liverpool in pre-season but found himself in limbo after his international team-mates returned from an extended break.

And he admitted it had been a difficult period before Rangers resurrected the move.

“It was very tough,” he said. “I had to stay mentally strong, when you are told you can do one thing and then you are lied to and it doesn’t happen, that is quite hard to take.

“I just had to keep myself fit and train on my own and make sure I keep my fitness levels up and I was waiting for a moment like this to arrive.

“There’s no bitter taste, the thing that I wanted from the start happened at the end so I am just happy with that.

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“I would have liked to have been here from the start, it is quite difficult watching it on the TV wishing I was part of some of the games but I am delighted to be back and I can’t wait to get going.

“There were probably some slight concerns along the way when I thought this might not happen and I might have to plan for something else but I always had a feeling that it might go to the last day of the window and that’s what happened.”

Kent had loan spells at Coventry, Barnsley, Freiburg and Bristol City and made one first-team appearance for Liverpool before finding happiness in Glasgow.

“I’m in a privileged position in life to be playing football, it’s every kid’s dream,” he said. “And I think it’s naive to not enjoy that position in life. I’m fortunate to be in that position in life.

“For once in my life to be feeling at home somewhere, to be actually enjoying my football, I want that feeling for the rest of my career. I felt that for the first time when I came here.

“The manager believes in me and the coaching staff. Mick Beale had me as a kid at Liverpool and he got the best out of me then and I really started to flourish as a young kid coming through at Liverpool, and obviously the fans get the best out of you.

“So just everything as a collective at this football club I think gets the best out of me and my football.”

Rangers boss Steven Gerrard thanked former club Liverpool for their part in the transfer and claimed it proved his club’s ambition.

“We want to try and make this team and squad competitive, and I am in a rush to do that,” he said.

“The club are very ambitious, they want to get back to the top. For me, qualifying for Europe for the second year on the spin certainly helped in terms of the board’s decision.

“But of course this club will never lack ambition. It wants to get back to the top as quick as it can.”

Gerrard confirmed Kent was in contention for Saturday’s Ladbrokes Premiership clash with Livingston.

But he added: “I must say, we have to be careful. He hasn’t been doing regular sessions and hasn’t had many game minutes, so I think we all have to appreciate where he is at from a physical point of view. But he is available for selection which is great news.”

Pochettino responds to Lo Celso injury blow

Mauricio Pochettino is disappointed Tottenham’s summer loan signing Giovani Lo Celso will be sidelined for at least the next month with a hip injury.

The midfielder suffered the issue while on international duty with Argentina, coming off during their match with Chile, and is not expected to return to training until the end of October.

Lo Celso, who joined from Real Betis last month, has only made three appearances off the bench for Spurs and will have to wait a little while longer to make his full debut.

“Always it’s a sad situation, I’m very disappointed. For Giovani, the first months here was to adapt to a new club and new football,” Pochettino said.

“Everything he was doing in a very good way. We are all so disappointed because now we need to wait for him.

“In the same way we need to be positive, it’s not another way to take it, but we need to be positive and try to provide him with good quality training and recovery.”

Lo Celso will not be the only South American missing for Saturday’s Premier League match at home to Crystal Palace.

Juan Foyth (ankle) remains unavailable and Davinson Sanchez has returned from international duty with Colombia carrying a knock.

Tanguy Ndombele (thigh), Kyle Walker-Peters (hamstring), Eric Dier (hip) and Ryan Sessegnon (hamstring) are back in training, but will need to be assessed before Palace make the trip across London.

Pochettino revealed he spent close to an hour with his squad at Tottenham’s training ground today discussing the objectives for the next few months and the need to get back to winning games consistently.

He added: “The conversation today altogether now is the squad we are going to have until January, when the rumours will appear again and different situation.

“It was very good to talk today for nearly one hour and refocus again on our objective.

“To be clear in our minds, to think that the most important is the collective and start to put outside individual situations, all together again and try to create a dynamic and be strong and starting winning games. That’s the most important thing for us now.”

While the Premier League transfer window shut on August 8, the European window was open for another three weeks.

It meant clubs from La Liga as well as Serie A could sign the best players in England and Pochettino admitted several times he was unsure if Christian Eriksen would remain with the club.

The Denmark international only has a year left on his contract, but didn’t move on before September 2 and will be with Tottenham until the winter window opens in January.

Despite this, Pochettino said of Eriksen: “He’s happy. He was always happy. He never said he wasn’t happy here.

“Everyone of course has aims, goals, challenges. I told you before the Arsenal game he was in his right mind and that’s why I played him.

“Always he was an important player for us. In our sixth season, we’ve always appreciated him a lot.

“His qualities are there and important for the team. He’s happy and if we believe he deserves to play then he’s going to play. It’s not because he has less than one year on his contract we’re going to take a different decision. All decisions are based on performance.”

Why shouldn't Lineker and Rio celebrate a genius like Messi?

Some Liverpool fans were upset by the pair’s reaction to the Argentine’s free-kick but everyone should enjoy Barcelona’s little genius while they can

Some Liverpool fans took to Twitter on Wednesday night to show their outrage after a Lionel Messi masterclass left them with a mountain to climb in the Champions League.

But it wasn’t the 3-0 defeat to Barcelona that they were complaining about.

Instead, it was a BT Sport behind-the-scenes video of Gary Lineker and Rio Ferdinand celebrating Messi’s sublime free-kick together. which didn’t sit well with those of a red persuasion on Merseyside.

“Nothing like being neutral as presenters is there?” one fan tweeted, while another asked: “What happened to supporting English teams?”

But the real question is, if we can’t celebrate Messi’s greatness, why are we football fans?

“In these moments he is unstoppable. What a strike!” Klopp enthused in his post-match press conference. “He’s a world-class player.”

Andy Robertson echoed his comments, saying: “He’s the best player in the world. The free-kick is world-class,” while Virgil van Dijk added: “I’m grateful that I’m not in Spain and I don’t have to face him every season.” 

During the broadcast of the game itself, Klopp himself could be seen in awe at the goal.

And in the background of Lineker and Ferdinand’s embrace, Liverpool legend – and former Barcelona man – Luis Garcia could be seen in disbelief at the strike.

Granted, Garcia’s allegiances were incredibly split by the tie, whereas Lineker’s ties lie with the Spanish giants and Ferdinand’s lie with anyone but the Reds due to his Manchester United links – as has been seen during the Premier League title race between Liverpool and Man City.

Lineker shared his thoughts of the criticism the next day, writing: “Seem to have upset a few Liverpool fans by celebrating greatness last night. Admittedly it was a bit cringe, but as a former player who loves Barcelona I make no apologies for dancing to the diminutive Dios.”

The fact that he had to apologise for, in short, “celebrating greatness” seems bizarre.

The video was off air, and thus off duty. In fact, during the game, Lineker even shared the thought that “Liverpool [had] been excellent in the second half” – before adding “but where there’s Messi there’s danger.”

The presenter is a long-time admirer of Barcelona’s star man, as we all should be.

What the Argentine did last week was sublime and, quite simply, unique. If anyone else had stood over that free-kick, it would not have been a danger. But Messi is Messi.

“It was very far out, we didn’t know what he was going to do,” Ernesto Valverde said after the game.

“In the end, I don’t know how he does it, but he always does.

“I’d rather not think how he does it, to be honest, but he always shows up when we need him the most, this time just when we were in situations in which we had to shake Liverpool’s domination off.”

Valverde has not shied away from claims this season that Barca rely on Messi.

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“Of course there is a Messi dependence, of course it exists, he is the best in the world,” he admitted.

His team-mates, too, are making the most of his presence, with Malcom saying earlier this season: “Simply by exchanging passes with him, I am learning so much. I want to take advantage of this opportunity to the maximum.”

In the same vein, football must learn to appreciate Messi while he is here, especially as the forward prepares to turn 32 next month.

“I advise you to enjoy Messi while he is still playing,” said Espanyol boss Rubi, just after the Argentina international had netted both goals in the Blaugrana’s victory in the Catalan derby.

“He is a very unique player and, when he is not playing, you notice it.”

For fans of clubs such as Liverpool, who don’t get to see the five-time Ballon d’Or winner as often, that point should be emphasised even more.

If the Messi masterclass costs the Reds’ their place in this season’s Champions League, they should not be frustrated.

Nor should they be angry when the likes of Lineker are celebrating his pure genius.

Instead, let’s enjoy Messi while we can because he won’t be here forever – and that is the only thing human about him.

‘Who’s in charge of signings at Man Utd?’ – Neville puzzled by lack of transfer support at Old Trafford

The ex-Red Devils defender has no idea who makes recruitment decisions at Old Trafford, with former bosses not getting the backing they required

Manchester United’s recruitment policy has Gary Neville puzzled, with the former Red Devils star unaware of who is calling the shots and why former bosses have not been backed in the transfer market.

Those at Old Trafford are heading towards another window, and one that is considered to be crucial in shaping the future success of the club.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer occupies the managerial hot-seat, but is unclear how much of a say he will have in the identification and pursuit of top targets.

Neville considers that to be a major problem for a club that will be without Champions League football next season, with a lack of direction having already hindered the reigns of David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho.

The ex-United defender told Sky Sports: “They’ve had coaches over the last six to seven years who have been best-in-class. Jose Mourinho was an equal in relation to Pep Guardiola in terms of success over 20 years. Louis van Gaal is one of the most experienced managers over the past 25 years.

“They’ve experienced best-in-class coaches who have failed. You have to say to yourself, is it just the coach? There’s a cultural problem. It’s deep, the decisions are bad. The choices are poor. Who’s signing the players this summer? At every other club in the country, I could tell you who’s in charge of signings. I haven’t got a clue at Manchester United.

“They’ve still got Sir Alex’s chief scout, they’ve got Van Gaal’s scout. They’ve got David Moyes’ chief football operator there, four or five people there and another I think who has been appointed by Ed Woodward. You’ve got a head coach who has an opinion, a CEO with an opinion, who’s in charge? Who has the final say?

“Jose Mourinho, last summer, was told his signings that he wanted were not right. He didn’t cover himself in glory – he should have moved to Manchester, he should have committed to buying a house. He should’ve smiled a little bit more, it should be a joy to manage Manchester United.

“Maybe the football wasn’t the most delightful, but actually it was better than I thought under Van Gaal. He made some wrong decisions, but you have to ask who’s telling him, a manager who has won things wherever he has been, that you cannot sign that centre-back? Who’s qualified to tell him that?

“Last year there were two centre-backs that Jose wanted to bring in and the club refused. They might not have been the right centre-backs, it might have been the right decision, but once you start going against your manager on signings, he might as well walk out of the door.

“You can’t bring him in and then say you didn’t like his last two signings, so you’re not going to support him on this one. You either work with him or you don’t. And as soon as they weren’t, they should have moved him out. Because as soon as you’re not supported as a manager with your signings, you’re finished.”

United are expected to spend big over the summer, having fallen well short of hitting their targets this season, but may struggle to land players of the required quality without the bargaining chip of elite European competition.

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'We played it like a friendly' – Tuchel angered by Paris Saint-Germain display

The Ligue 1 chmapions were fortunate to earn a 1-1 draw against Nice on Saturday, and their head coach was frustrated by the lacklustre display

Thomas Tuchel has questioned the attitude of his Paris Saint-Germain side following the 1-1 home draw with Nice.

Neymar’s 50th goal for the Ligue 1 champions ultimately proved enough to salvage a point at Parc des Princes on Saturday, with Edinson Cavani missing a late penalty.

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It is now just one win in seven games across all competitions for PSG, who had the title wrapped up on April 21, and Nice were unfortunate that Allan Saint-Maximin failed to add to Ignatius Ganago’s strike before Neymar restored parity from the spot.

And Tuchel did not hide his frustration at the performance, claiming that PSG treated the match like a friendly.

“I have the impression that the second half in Montpellier was better [than this game],” Tuchel told Canal+.

“We had the state of mind as if we were playing a friendly match. We lacked intensity and acceleration. 

“Maybe it’s normal since the championship is over. But we cannot play like the season is over. We’re playing for our fans but we can do better, the defeat in the final of the Coupe de France was really bad.

“I can understand the reaction of the spectators, we respect Nice and the Ligue 1. We have to give 100 per cent against an aggressive opponent, we have to have our best level but at the moment, it’s not possible.”

Lapses in concentration at the back have cost PSG during their poor run, and Tuchel acknowledged that he may have to look for defensive signings in the upcoming transfer window, suggesting Marquinhos and Thiago Silva are the only players he currently has at his disposal that he can rely on.

“We lost our mentality to defend,” Tuchel added.

“It will change if Marquinhos and Thiago Silva are there. We have to recruit reliable guys and after that, we will be able to create performances with the competition in the squad.”

PSG have been linked with Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt but will face stiff competition to sign the player, who is valued at €85m (£73m/$95m.)

Barcelona are favourites to land the 19-year-old, adding him to Frenkie de Jong who they have already captured from the Dutch club.

Arsenal move possible for €20m Belgian winger Trossard, says agent

The Gunners have apparently been keeping a close eye on the 24-year-old’s development and the player’s representative believes a transfer could happen

The agent of Belgian winger Leandro Trossard has revealed that a move to Arsenal in the future is a possibility.

The Gunners have previously been linked with a move for the 24-year-old, who has been one of the stars of the 2018-19 campaign for league leaders Genk.

Trossard has scored 12 goals in 28 league matches and the player’s agent, Josy Comhair, revealed back in November 2018 that Unai Emery’s side were tracking his development.

Wolfsburg has also been mooted as a potential option for Trossard, who is yet to be capped by Belgium but was part of Roberto Martinez’s squad for the 2-0 European Championship qualifying win over Cyprus in March.

And Comhair has again been speaking about interest from the Gunners, insisting that while a move to Germany would be a good option, Arsenal is the “highest level”.

He told Het Nieuwsblad: “There is no agreement with any club yet. But I think that Germany is a beautiful country for him. You can take it one step higher via Germany.

“Because with Arsenal you are immediately at the highest level and you can almost only go down. But yes, it can also be Arsenal.”

The player’s representative also discussed the potential fee that Emery’s side, or any other potential suitors, would likely have to pay to land him, with at least €20 million (£17m/$22m) being mentioned.

“If you sell [Wilfred] Ndidi [to Leicester City] for €17 million, you can sell Leandro for 20, you know. For less than €20 million you don’t have Leandro,” he added.

Arsenal are expected to improve their squad in the summer although their ability to manoeuvre in the market will be affected by whether they’re playing Champions League football.

The Gunners are currently fifth in the Premier League table with two matches to play and will be relying on Chelsea and Tottenham to slip up in their final games if they’re to claim a top-four spot.

The Europa League offers an alternate route into Europe’s premier club competition, however, with the north Londoners able to seal qualification for the Champions League if they can lift the trophy.

They are in the driving seat in their semi-final tie with Valencia, having won the first leg 3-1 on Thursday, and, should they advance past the Liga side in next week’s second leg, they’ll face either Frankfurt or Chelsea in the final.

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Liverpool season will be a success even without a trophy – Klopp

The Reds maintain hopes in the Premier League and Champions League, but could yet end up empty-handed despite a sterling campaign

Jurgen Klopp believes Liverpool’s season has been “very, very successful”, even if they finish an incredible campaign without a trophy.

The Premier League title race will go down to the final day of the season, although Manchester City will enter Sunday with a one-point lead if they beat Leicester City in their penultimate match.

Klopp’s men have already reached 94 points but it may not be enough for a first league title since 1990, while their chances of reaching the Champions League final are slim after a 3-0 loss to Barcelona in their semi-final first leg.

But the German said it was clear his side’s season had been a success, even if it does finish without silverware.

“A lot of supporters from other clubs will be happy if we fail. They’re still behind us [in the table], apart from Man City. It’s all okay, really,” Klopp told UK newspapers.

“At the very beginning when I came to Liverpool, I realised this club has to do it the hard way, so we’ll do it the hard way. That’s how it is, because luck is not constantly with us.

“It’s not like, ‘wow, again!’ We have to really work for it and the boys are ready and the whole club is ready for that. I was not sure against Newcastle if we could do it, but we did it. I’m absolutely proud.

“Whatever happens, it will be a very, very successful season and I’m pretty sure that all our supporters can see it like this.”

Liverpool returned to the Premier League summit thanks to a thrilling 3-2 win over Newcastle United on Saturday.

They will host Wolves on the final day of the campaign, while Manchester City make the trip to Brighton and Hove Albion.

Klopp said his team – who also host Barcelona on Tuesday – were ready to be judged at week’s end.

“Before you start the season, the problem is already clear. You want to be champions, and the day when you realise you can’t be champions, you’re disappointed,” he said.

“For some teams, that’s the first day. For some teams, that’s the last matchday. That doesn’t make a big difference. For us, it’s 100 per cent clear, we try everything we can. We cannot do more – that’s it. For us, the target is winning football games as often as possible, and the boys did much more than I thought possible.

“Let’s try to get 97 points and then we are ready for judgment.”

Pereira set McTominay challenge as Man Utd wait on potential to be unlocked

The Brazilian midfielder is held in high regard at Old Trafford, but Nicky Butt concedes that he needs to find more confidence in his game

Andreas Pereira has been told to use Scott McTominay as an example of how to become the player Manchester United believe he can be.

The Belgium-born Brazil international midfielder has been on the books at Old Trafford since 2011 and carefully nurtured through a famed academy system.

Big things have been expected of him for some time, with the 23-year-old tipped to shine on a senior stage.

He has taken in loan spells at Granada and Valencia, while making 35 appearances for United, but there is still plenty of potential to be unlocked.

Youth team coach Butt believes Pereira needs to add more confidence to his game in order to truly flourish, with McTominay having shown how to make the step up into a star-studded first team.

A man who took in 387 outings for the Red Devils during his own playing days told Inside United: “Andreas has done well. He’s a really good footballer.

“He’s technically very gifted, he’s a brave, tough boy and can run all day. He is fitter than probably anyone on the pitch. He needs to get into the rhythm and get more confident as time goes on.

“He needs to do the things he was doing naturally in the Under-23s and Under-19s.

“When you get into the first team – I remember when I went in – you don’t do the things you would do in the Reserves and youth team. You get away with it in the youth team – if you give the ball away trying to hit an unbelievable cross, you’re not giving it to, say, Sergio Aguero, who is going to run through freely and score the goal that knocks you out of the cup.

“It’s not the be all and end all like it is in the first team, so you have to tread carefully. When you get in the team regularly, then you can express yourself more.

“Scott McTominay has done that and I think Andreas will soon too because he’s a top talent.”

Pereira made 22 appearances for United in the 2018-19 campaign, including 15 in the Premier League.

He opened his top-flight goal account during a meeting with Southampton in March and also earned a first senior cap with Brazil when figuring in a friendly date with El Salvador – becoming the first player born outside the country to represent the Selecao in over 100 years.

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