Manchester United player Victor Lindelof has not started as badly as it seems
After Gary Pallister's fifth Manchester United appearance Alex Ferguson was close to putting his head in the oven. 'There would have been plenty of volunteers to turn on the gas,' he later remarked while recalling United's 5-1 defeat to City at Maine Road in 1989. It remains the most painful derby defeat for Reds of a certain generation and what exacerbated the doomlordery was United had just forked... out a startling £9.78million to reinforce their squad.
Rio Ferdinand was injury-prone and featured in United's worst start to a season since they were relegated in 2002, while Nemanja Vidic was part of the backline which conceded a David Bentley hat-trick at Blackburn three seasons later. A converted centre half like Marcos Rojo was culpable as United sieved five at newly-promoted Leicester three years ago.
Newly-signed United centre-backs seldom start auspiciously and Victor Lindelof is unfortunate to have followed the exception in Eric Bailly, deservedly named man of the match in his first two United starts and later named the club's player of the month.
Within a year of their debuts, Pallister, Stam, Ferdinand and Vidic had enhanced their reputation and had a trinket to ease the pressure on them. Mourinho has already been moved to do that for Lindelof.
"I have to say Smalling is in very good conditions and I have also to say Victor is improving every day," Mourinho stressed after United beat Leicester.
"So, as you know, against Basel Jones and Eric are both suspended, so against Basel we will play Victor and Smalling and no problem at all. The squad is good and the mentality of the players is very good too."
Your thoughts? #MUFC
Manchester United player Henrikh Mkhitaryan could match Premier League record
Henrikh Mkhitaryan could match Thierry Henry and Cesc Fabregas' Premier League assist record against Stoke on Saturday.
The Manchester United playmaker has already tallied five assists in three league games - as many as he ended last season with - after creating two goals against West Ham and Swansea before crossing for Marcus Rashford's winner against Leicester two weeks ago....
If Mkhitaryan claims another assist at the Bet 365 Stadium this weekend he will become the third player in the Premier League era to have accumulated six assists in his first four appearances.
Mourinho believes he understands Mkhitaryan better after the 28-year-old endured a difficult start to his United career.
"I think he understands me and, to be honest, I understand him," Mourinho said. "Because in the beginning of last season, if he understands me better, he would have started better. But, at the same time, if I understand him better probably I would help him in a faster way than I did.
"But we spent our time together, working together, learning with each other. I know him well, he knows me well and the second part of the season was good for him and I believe with his talent that this season is going to be even better."
Will Mkhitaryan make another assist against Stoke? #MUFC
Man Utd News: Jose Mourinho ready to sanction Ashley Young’s exit but star wants new deal
The winger’s current contract at Old Trafford expires at the end of the summer and he was expected to leave in the previous transfer window.
The Manchester United ace has a 12-month extension option in his deal and the former England international hopes the club activate it....
However, Young would likely only be used as a squad player having not played a single minute of their campaign so far this term.
The Sun claim Jose Mourinho is expected to tell Young he can leave and United will not stand in his way if he wants regular football.
What do you think - should United extend Young's contract? #MUFC
Eric Bailly has replaced two Manchester United legends
"You could see in his eyes he had a hard life," one of Bailly's representatives told the M.E.N. Bailly used to empty phone boxes to earn money and, as he put it, 'resolve some of my issues'. Those issues were eased when Espanyol scout Emilio Montagut decided Bailly's waifish frame and technical prowess were ideal for Spanish football.
"I am not going to complain about the life I've had so far because I’ve had the luck of ...living a normal life," Bailly told British journalists in Los Angeles this summer. "In Africa, there are people that live in more difficult situations."
It might explain his buoyant behaviour at the Europa League final. Suspension did not prevent Bailly from cheerleading as animatedly as Diego Simeone from behind the dugout and just before he yanked Zlatan Ibrahimovic's crutch off him and launched it wildly at full-time, he hurled a water bottle at the bench which thudded against the dug out and startled the substitutes. Bailly was wondering why they weren't preparing to celebrate.
Ferguson retooled the creaky Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic during their final years at the club before David Moyes subjected them to an analysis which left Ferdinand wondering 'what the f**k he just asked us to do'. Louis van Gaal improved Chris Smalling and Daley Blind was a passable centre-back, but United were nowhere near assembling a long-term axis until Bailly arrived.
They have filled two voids with Bailly. He offers the steel of Vidic and the silk of Ferdinand, and his ability to alternate between those roles might be more apparent this season as Mourinho experiments with different formations. In a back three against the LA Galaxy, Bailly held the fort while Lindelof roamed adventurously and Jones finished August with the highest passing accuracy in the United squad.
Bailly has shown a willingness to venture forward like Ferdinand used to and introduced himself to United supporters at Wigan by flicking the ball over Will Grigg, who was no longer on fire.
What do you think? #MUFC
Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho is 'a family man' off the pitch, reveals Romelu Lukaku: 'You can say whatever you want and he listens'
'[Mourinho] has always been the same, he wants the best from his players every day', said Lukaku, who has scored three goals in his first three games for United.
'He doesn't give his players the time to rest on the pitch. He wants everybody to fight in training and in the game....
'And off the pitch he is really like a family man - someone you can talk to, say whatever you want to say and he's going to listen to you'.
What do you think? #MUFC
Manchester United and City express anger as Premier League rivals vote for early transfer deadline day
The window will shut on August 9 next year — the Thursday before the 2018-19 campaign starts — following a meeting between the 20 top-flight clubs in London on Thursday.
It is considered a risk because foreign sides will still be able to sign Premier League players after the window has closed, with Europe's other elite leagues having three more weeks to do business.
One Premier League executive condemned the move as 'like Brexit' and said the decision handed an advantage to rivals, particularly in Spain.
Five clubs — Manchester United, Manchester City, Crystal Palace, Swansea and Watford — voted against, while Burnley abstained.
What are your thoughts on the new transfer deadline day rule - are you in favor or against it? #MUFC
Rooney on the best he's played with
Speaking to talkSport the former United captain revealed that Paul Scholes was the best he had played with.
“He was the one player who had that game-management, and the mind which would have allowed him to go and play anywhere. He could put his boots on now and still play, I’m sure. He was that good. If (England) we’d used him a bit more in his right position he could have certainly influenced a lot more games.”
Ander Herrera: Manchester United must match Stoke City's attitude
"The Premier League is very long and every team can beat you," Herrera told MUTV. "Now we have to face Stoke, and we've had four seasons without winning there. It's been a good way to start [the campaign] but we cannot relax.
"We are ready to face them and, hopefully, the weather is not so bad there because, when it is bad, it is very difficult to play. We are ready. No excuses - let's try to win there. We are... Manchester United, so we are not scared.
"Always, against Manchester United, every team or every fan of the opponent are waiting for us. It's a big day for us. We have to be equal to their attitude and then we have to show our quality. The first thing is the attitude. The atmosphere is going to be against us, but that is normal."
Will Herrera start against Stoke? #MUFC
Jose Mourinho considers Luke Shaw Manchester United swap deal
Jose Mourinho is weighing up a swap deal involving Luke Shaw and Tottenham's Danny Rose, according to reports.
Shaw has yet to be offered a long-term Old Trafford contract extension and The Mirror claims his future hangs in the balance....
United have reportedly exercised a one-year option to extend his current deal to 2019 - but there have been no talks over his future beyond that.
Mourinho is an admirer of the Spurs man and the paper reports he could firm up his interest in January and offer Shaw as part exchange in the deal.
Shaw has impressed since Mourinho criticised him last season though he is yet to recover fully from injury.
Would you swap Shaw for Rose? #MUFC