Sports

Jan 302016
 

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FA Cup: Derby 1-3 Man Utd highlights

Winning the FA Cup could buy time for Louis van Gaal to succeed at Manchester United, says former England striker Alan Shearer.

Van Gaal, 64, has faced criticism as United have struggled in the Premier League and failed to reach the Champions League knockout stage.

But his side reached the FA Cup fifth round with a 3-1 win at Derby.

“When Arsenal won the FA Cup it kept them going and gave Arsene Wenger a bit of time,” said Shearer.

Arsenal manager Wenger was heavily criticised by some Gunners supporters before ending a nine-year trophy drought by winning the 2014 FA Cup.

The Frenchman admitted in the build-up to the following season that success had “lifted the pressure”, with his team going on to retain the trophy by beating Aston Villa at Wembley last May.

Wenger’s team are now challenging for the Premier League title, and BBC Sport analyst Shearer believes winning the FA Cup could also have a positive effect for both Van Gaal and United.

“Without this competition you could imagine the calls that Wenger would be having to answer,” said Shearer, 45. “It’s a similar situation now for Manchester United.”

‘Season would have been over with Derby defeat’

The Red Devils are fifth in the Premier League, five points adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham as they aim to secure Champions League qualification for next season.

Van Gaal’s side were eliminated after the group phase of Europe’s premier club competition this season, dropping into the Europa League.

And former United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel said the FA Cup is their only hope of salvaging an unsatisfactory season.

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Wayne Rooney curler puts Man Utd ahead of Derby County

“If they had lost at Derby the season would have been finished,” said the 52-year-old Dane, who watched the game as a BBC Sport summariser.

“I can’t remember any point in Manchester United’s history when the season has been finished in January.”

Van Gaal targets FA Cup success

Van Gaal is aiming to lead United to a record-equalling 12th FA Cup success, but says the competition does not hold any more importance to him than either the Premier League or Europa League.

The Red Devils have not won the FA Cup since beating Millwall in the 2004 final under Sir Alex Ferguson, while no player in the current squad has an FA Cup winner’s medal.

“The Premier League is important and the FA Cup also because it is the greatest cup in English history,” said Van Gaal.

“We haven’t won it for a long time. We dream of it but after two wins you cannot say we shall win the trophy because a lot of clubs want to win it.

“I want to win it but I want to win every match. There’s no question of that.”

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Chelsea sign striker Pato on loan

 Posted by at 5:30 AM
Jan 302016
 
Pato has struggled with injuries since 2010

Chelsea have signed Brazil striker Alexandre Pato on loan from Corinthians until the end of the season.

The 26-year-old has made 27 appearances for his national team, scoring 10 goals, and represented his country at both the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games.

“I am so happy to sign for Chelsea,” said Pato. “It is a dream for me, I’m looking forward to getting to know my new team-mates and cannot wait to play.

“I thank Chelsea for their support and hope I can repay this faith.”

The Blues, who won the Premier League last season, have had a disappointing campaign and are 13th in the table, although they are still in the Champions League.

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Pato arrives in London

Interim manager Guus Hiddink does not think the signing of Pato is a risk.

“It’s not a gamble. Coming on loan makes it possible to view if he can adapt to the league,” said Hiddink.

Chelsea are also set to sign New York Red Bulls defender Matt Miazga, 20.

“We’re not rushing, but he will be one of the squad members for the future,” added Hiddink.

Analysis

Tim Sturtridge, South American football journalist

  • Pato has struggled with injuries since 2010 (hamstrings, thigh strains, muscle pulls), which curtailed his time in Milan. His return to Brazil with Corinthians was not successful with the £11.5m price tag (a massive fee for a Brazilian club to pay) weighing heavily on him.
  • The pace, movement and trickery that marked Pato out as a special talent in his early years have declined as injuries have taken their toll. There are parallels with Chelsea striker Radamel Falcao in this respect.
  • A positive for Chelsea is that Pato has turned down bigger money in China and at 26 he knows this is his last chance to make an impact in Europe. He will be aiming to reach Brazil’s Copa America squad this summer.

Find all the latest football transfers on our dedicated page.

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Derby County 1-3 Manchester United

 Posted by at 5:21 AM
Jan 302016
 

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FA Cup: Derby 1-3 Man Utd highlights

Manchester United relieved the pressure on manager Louis van Gaal by beating Derby in the FA Cup fourth round.

Van Gaal dismissed claims he offered to resign after losing to Southampton on Saturday, and his team were more positive against the Championship side.

Wayne Rooney curled in from 20 yards to put United ahead before George Thorne cut through their defence to equalise.

Daley Blind then finished low into the net from Jesse Lingard’s cross before Juan Mata sealed victory late on.

Derby, who have not won a league game in 2016 and are fifth in the Championship, caused problems towards the end of the first half when Thorne latched on to Chris Martin’s delightful through ball.

But that aside, it was a confidence-boosting win for Van Gaal’s team who, after a winless December, have lost once in January and registered a two-goal victory for the first time in 15 matches.

Follow all the reaction to Manchester United’s victory over Derby

This graphic shows that more than half of United’s attacks came down the left-hand side where Anthony Martial was positioned

Martial helps United rediscover their swagger

It has been a troubling week for Van Gaal, who has trained his fire on the media and sarcastically said losing to Derby could cost him his job for a fourth time this season.

But in the first half-hour and after the break, United showed the kind of swagger that has been missing in recent months.

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Wayne Rooney curler puts Man Utd ahead of Derby County

Buoyed by more than 5,000 visiting fans, much of United’s improvement centred around Anthony Martial, who captured some of his early season form with a superb performance.

Stationed on the left wing, the 20-year-old caused problems for Derby right-back Cyrus Christie and capped an effervescent display when he set up Mata for the final goal after skipping through the home side’s defence.

With better control, the French forward could have scored either side of Rooney’s clinical finish. Although the United striker appeared offside when he collected the ball, he turned inside before finding the top corner to move within six of Sir Bobby Charlton’s club record 249 goals.

Wayne Rooney (the bottom-placed player on the yellow line) came back from an offside position before scoring the opener

Derby challenge fades in second half

Derby have had their own problems in the Championship under manager Paul Clement, who was assistant to Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid, Paris St-Germain and Chelsea before he took his first step into management at the start of the season.

The former school teacher has overseen £25m of spending on players since taking over and, until Boxing Day, it seemed to be paying dividends with Derby on course for the Premier League.

But like last season, when the Rams faltered in the promotion push under Steve McClaren, their form has nosedived.

The hosts looked bereft of confidence as United began the game strongly, missing out on an opportunity to pressurise Van Gaal’s side.

Yet once they pressed United higher up the pitch they began to give their expectant supporters something to cheer about.

Thorne’s goal was well worked, and had Nick Blackman kept two efforts on target either side of the break, they might have caused real worry for the visitors.

However, Blackman and fellow winger Thomas Ince were well shackled by United’s young full-backs Guillermo Varela and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, and once Blind put the 11-time FA Cup winners ahead, Derby’s challenge faded.

George Thorne equalised before the break from Chris Martin’s lofted pass

Man of the match: Anthony Martial

Anthony Martial gave Cyrus Christie a torrid time and assisted two goals for the first time for United

Manager reaction

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal: “It was maybe better than we had trained. We played at the right time against the resistance of Derby. We gave their goal away but at half-time I said that it was a good performance, keep it up and we will win. And we did.

“Daley Blind’s goal? You have to sniff it and he sniffed it. It was a great goal. The Premier League is very important but the FA Cup is the greatest cup in England with a long and important history. We haven’t won it for a long time so we dream of it. After two wins you can’t say that we will win it.”

Derby boss Paul Clement: “You’re always worried about those quality players, like Juan Mata and Anthony Martial, off the back of our midfield. They were clinical, their movement and finishing was the difference.

“I thought we gave them a good game, it wasn’t an easy game for them. We had some good passing spells and our goal was an excellent goal, a good finish from our holding midfielder – although I don’t know what he was doing up there!

“I’m disappointed we didn’t keep it tighter for a bit longer so we could go into the last 15-20 minutes with a chance. For a team who is lacking confidence they played well tonight.”

What next?

Derby host Preston on Tuesday as they hope to get their Championship title challenge back on track, while Manchester United welcome Stoke to Old Trafford on the same evening.

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