Mason Greenwood, Manchester United hit back against Leicester City | Premier League | NBC Sports


NBC Sports 11 May, 2021 - 01:16pm 27 views

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Manchester United’s 2-1 defeat to Leicester hands Manchester City title – live!

The Guardian 11 May, 2021 - 02:28pm

Ole on Manchester City’s title win: “If you want to take up the challenge with them we need to strengthen our squad,” he says. “Congratulations to them. They have had a fantastic season.

“I am very pleased with my boys that have made it to the last 10 days with a Manchester City side ahead of us that are lauded as the best in Europe. We want to take the next step and it might be that we need a couple more to strengthen the squad.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjær speaks: We started off slow as you might expect because they have not had any time to prepare for the game but after they scored we had nothing to lose,” he tells BT Sport.

“We played some very good stuff and I was pleased with it. You see the leadership with Nemanja [Matic]. Mason [Greenwood] looked like a seasoned professional and he is only 19. We have not had too much time to prepare and we went into half-time pleased. In the second half we didn’t get out of the traps and they got a goal from a corner that should have been a throw.

“It can’t be like this again. We can’t play Thursday, Sunday, Tuesday to Thursday, it is impossible. That’s the reason we made the changes. It’s unheard of. It is impossible for the players to perform at this level going from Thursday, Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday.”

Brendan Rodgers speaks: “It’s a huge step for us,” the Leicester manager tells BT Sport. “It was always going to be difficult after our last performance but I’m so proud of thre team. I thought we started the game well, Luke scores an amazing goal ... with a 19-year-old and Wesley at 20 in the backline ... they’re inexperienced but they’ve got no fear.

“Once we scored we went slow and sloppy in our passing, we gave the ball away to easily and that encouraged them. We defended well but I thought in the second half we were much better. We restricted them to very little while putting pressure on in their half of the pitch. I reinforced at half-time that we needed to keep the speed in their game.”

How Pep Guardiola turned Manchester City back into champions. By @JamieJackson___ and @ncwvideo #mcfc

More from Luke Thomas: “To come out with a win gives us a great chance going into next week,” he says. “There’s always pressure but games like this when people don’t believe you can get a result. We have proved we are such a good team by getting a result.”

Nemanja Matic speaks: “We had a good team today of course some young players got a chance with some experienced players,” he says. “We had a good balance. A set-piece decided the game.

“In some parts of the game we played some amazing football but we didn’t create enough to score a second goal. We had two days [to prepare]. We had some meetings, of course we are not happy with the result, but we played some good football. The youngsters did well and showed great character against a very good side.

“We have to deal with this situation. In two days we have another big game.”

On City winning the title: “They are champions but we have to be focused on ourselves in the last three games and in the Europa League to do our best.”

Luke Thomas speaks: “Playing at Old Trafford is a dream as it is but to score here is unbelievable,” he tells BT Sport. “To be honest, with my emotions, I didn’t really know what to do. I went for a knee-slide in the corner and I was over the moon.”

Meanwhile at the Etihad Stadium: Some men in high-viz jackets have just unfurled a giant “Manchester City - Champions!” banner over the front entrance.

A quick recap: Luke Thomas put Leicester City ahead after 10 minutes with his maiden Premier League goal ... and it was a beauty. The youngster was, however, partly culpable for United’s equaliser not long afterwards, allowing Mason Greenwood to dart past him en route to scoring into the bottom corner with a shot out of nothing.

In the second half, Leicester were laying siege to United’s penalty area, if not their goal, when both managers brought on some of their big guns from the bench. Marcus Rashford’s first act was to lose his man at a corner, allowing Caglar Soyuncu to rise unmarked and power home the winner and secure three precious points for his side.

Peep! peep! Peeeeeeep! It’s a massive win for Leicester City in their bid to qualify for next season’s Champions League and their triumph at Old Trafford means Manchester City are Premier League champions.

90+3 min: Leicester win a throw-in halfway inside the United half, which they’re in no hurry to take. The ball is eventually chucked in the general direction of the corner flag.

90+1 min: Bruno Fernandes overhits a dinked ball over the top as he tries to pick out a Cavani run to the edge of the six yard box. Schmeichel gathers.

89 min: United continue to press forward. Brandon Williams sends the ball towards Rashford from the right, but under pressure from Fofana, he puts it wide with his head. We’ll have three minutes or thereabouts of added time.

87 min: Another corner for United. Marc Albrighton heads clear at the near post.

86 min: Manchester United corner. Alex Telles sends the ball into the Leicester penalty area, where Wilfred Ndidi leaps to head clear.

84 min: Manchester United go close, with Mata pulling a low ball across the face of goal for Cavani. It’s a fraction behind the substitute and Tielemans hacks it clear, but only as far as Fernandez. His wild slash is skewed wide, although I think with greater presence of mind Brandon Williams could conceivably have stuck out a leg and steered it goalwards.

82 min: Leicester are playing a 5-4-1 now, trying to hold on to their lead. As things stand, Manchester City will win the title in 10 minutes or so, while Brendan Rodgers side will pull eight points clear of West Ham in the race for fourth place, having played one game more.

80 min: Leicester substitution: Hamza Choudhury on for Jamie Vardy.

79 min: On the edge of the United penalty area, Maddison shifts the ball on to his right foot and curls a shot wide of the right upright. Manchester United substitution: Bruno Fernandes on for Amad Diallo.

77 min: Rashford tries to play Cavani in behind with a ball over the top but Ndidi blocks his pass.

75 min: Telles overhits a cross from the left, his effort to pick out Cavani’s run sailing high over the Uruguayan’s head.

73 min: Iheanacho picks out Vardy at the far post with a wonderful cross. He floats a header towards the far post. It’s drifting narrowly wide but Tielemans is unable to prod it home. He clatters into the upright at speed but is unhurt.

71 min: Tielemans makes room for a shot from the edge of the United penalty area but Axel Tuanzebe stretches to get in the way of it.

67 min: That’s the first decent corner Leicester City have taken this evening and it pays dividends. Most have gone towards the near post and been cleared, but this one went long from the boot of Albrighton and was thumped home by Soyuncu.

Leicester lead. At a corner, Soyuncu gives Marcus Rashford the slip at the far post and powers home a header. Boom!

65 min: Leicester continue to lay siege to the Manchester United penalty area without creating any chances of note. Leicester substitution: James Maddison on for Ayoze Perez. Manchester United double-substitution: Marcus Rashford and Edinson Cavani on for Mason Greenwood and Anthony Elanga.

63 min: Vardy overhits a cross into the Manchester United penalty area, where Perez and Iheanacho were waiting.

62 min: United are struggling to get the ball out of their own half and one suspects changes are imminent. They’re in danger of being over-run.

Daniel Storey: Now is not the time for Leicester to lose their bottle

Irish Examiner 11 May, 2021 - 02:20pm

Leicester City are on the verge of calamity...

Last weekend's draw at Southampton, despite playing for more than an hour against 10 men, was sold as an irksome misstep but nothing more. Beat Newcastle United at home and Champions League football would almost certainly be theirs.

Now Leicester are on the verge of calamity. It was not just that they lost so comprehensively to Newcastle, but that the manner of their defending made such a defeat inevitable. With Jonny Evans out injured, Brendan Rodgers' team fell apart.

Their hold on the top four is weakening badly. A six-point lead over Liverpool could soon be three, with Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United their last three league assignments. Now is not the time to lose your bottle.

…And Liverpool could be the beneficiaries

It says plenty about this bizarre season that Liverpool have lost more than a quarter of their league games but still have a chance to save their season. Leicester's wobble has opened the door for West Ham and Liverpool; Jurgen Klopp's side face the easier run in if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer picks a reserve team to face then on Thursday.

Saturday night's victory over Southampton was surprising because it was so unsurprising. Gone were the slip-ups and lapses in concentration that have haunted Klopp's side at Anfield this season. Liverpool won a home league game by more than a single-goal margin for the first time since December 6.

There was even a meaningful interchange between Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, who combined to assist and score a goal for the first time in the Premier League this season. Much has been written about the apparent unease of their working relationship, but getting high output from them over the remainder of the season will be key to Liverpool’s chance of retaining their Champions League participation. That would have a huge impact upon Liverpool’s summer.

Tottenham need a manager as a matter of urgency

Over the last fortnight, there has been swell of goodwill towards Ryan Mason that suggested he may become a candidate for the Tottenham job on a full-time basis. Mason was originally picked as caretaker over Chris Powell, who was more qualified, an insinuation that Spurs were trying to mould Mason for the top job.

That job may well come in time, but not now. There is no great shame in being outclassed by Marcelo Bielsa, but the manner in which they were picked off and their defence exposed proved a naivety in Mason's management. He has certainly tried to be more attacking; here was the kicker.

Tottenham originally leaked that they wanted to complete their managerial search by the end of the season, but this is a monumentally important decision from a chairman who is facing criticism and pressure like never before. Right now it's hard to even pick a top three of likely targets. That doesn't suggest a natural successor or conjoined thinking.

Tuchel guides Chelsea into a secure top-four place

There may have been no better time for Chelsea to play Manchester City. Not only did Pep Guardiola pick his reserve team, as had become the norm during City’s canter towards their league title being mathematically secured, he also picked players in odd positions. The assumption is that Guardiola was refusing to give Tuchel any pointers before the Champions League final.

And still City could have won the game. Sergio Aguero will leave the Etihad as a hero, but in choosing to Panenka his penalty and have it go so badly wrong he wasted City’s chance to establish a two-goal lead before half-time that would surely have led to comfortable victory. Chelsea used that penalty miss as fuel to surge on after the break.

But Tuchel deserves enormous credit for his work since being appointed. Chelsea stand on the verge of a domestic and European Cup double and now have a commanding hold on a top-four place that would be virtually secured with victory over Arsenal in midweek. When was the last time a new manager had such a positive reaction in midseason?

Manchester United continue reputation as the comeback kings

It is probably the standout statistic of this Premier League season, even considering Manchester City’s phenomenal winning run and Liverpool’s post-title slump. Manchester United are setting new records for the number of points they have clawed having trailed in their matches.

Firstly, the numbers. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have conceded the first goal in 14 of their 34 league games this season. They have won 10, drawn one and lost only three of those matches. Their points-per-game record in those matches (2.21) is not only double the number of any other team in the Premier League, it’s a better points-per-game record than half the league has in games that they score first.

Obviously, that record should be a cause of great celebration at Old Trafford, but it also suggests that United could have come much closer to winning the league. If you have such a superb away record and the ability to haul yourself back into matches like them, you should be seriously challenging for the title. How costly were those home defeats to Sheffield United and Crystal Palace?

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Man Utd build 10ft fence around Old Trafford to keep protesters at bay

Daily Mail 10 May, 2021 - 04:30pm

By Chris Wheeler for the Daily Mail

Manchester United have built a ring of steel around Old Trafford to keep out anti-Glazer protesters for Tuesday's game against Leicester and Thursday's visit of Liverpool.

The club are trying to prevent a repeat of the violent demonstrations that forced the Liverpool fixture to be postponed nine days ago and left six police officers injured.

A 10ft high red wall has been erected at the south-east corner of the stadium - where protesters twice broke in and got onto the pitch - as well the north forecourt in front of the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand. Additional steel barriers have also been put in place as part of the heightened security operation. 

Manchester United have erected 10ft high fences to keep out protesters at Old Trafford

On Tuesday night against Leicester City, Old Trafford will be looking to host its first Premier League game since a violent demonstration led to their match with Liverpool being postponed

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has again urged United supporters to keep any protests peaceful

United were reluctant to take such extreme measures, but felt they had no choice in the circumstances. Having prepared for a peaceful protest last time and seen it descend into violence, the club wanted to ensure the two games went ahead safely this week.

Further demonstrations are expected against the club's American owners, although it's understood there is more concern around the re-arranged Liverpool game than Tuesday's match against Leicester.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has reiterated his plea for peace and calm after seeing it largely ignored by fans who attacked police and forced their way into Old Trafford. 

Supporters and police clashed in violent scenes outside Old Trafford in the build up to United's Premier League clash with Liverpool earlier in May

'Security measures are being looked at and I hope we can keep the protests - if there are protests - down to loud voices and nothing violent,' said Solskjaer.

'We want to listen, the players want to play the game. We're playing Liverpool and, of course, we want to beat Liverpool and we want to beat Leicester.

'So we're going to do everything we can for our fans to celebrate what we're doing on the pitch.' Greater Manchester Police are on standby in case of more trouble after one officer suffered a life-changing eye injury during the last protest. 

Hundreds of Manchester United fans stormed the pitch ahead of the match against Liverpool

The Glazer family, United's owners, signed the club up to the European Super League in April

The crowd breached the Old Trafford perimeter before lighting smoke flares and chanting

A GMP spokesman said: 'We have reviewed our approach again following the events of last weekend and planned appropriate resourcing to ensure the safety of all those present.' Meanwhile, Solskjaer insists it's unfair to blame him if he puts out a weakened team against the Foxes for the first of two games in the space of 50 hours.

Having fielded a strong line-up at Aston Villa on Sunday, the United boss is expected to make a number of changes against Leicester who are battling with Liverpool for a top-four place.

'Talking about integrity in the league and stuff, don't blame me when I have to make changes because I have to,' he said.

'That's the hard bit for me, knowing if I do play this 11 on Tuesday and then again on Thursday it's impossible. I run too much of a risk in injuring them. I have to prioritise.'

Invaders waved banners against the Glazers and seized footballs and corner flags from the turf

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Rodgers has bright future as elite coach if he can escape past failures

ESPN 10 May, 2021 - 06:53am

History has judged Rodgers harshly ever since. Despite bouncing back from his Liverpool disappointment by winning seven major honours in under three years as Celtic manager, Rodgers has still to convince his doubters that he has what it takes to step up to the elite level of coaches, which is why the final two weeks of the 2020-21 season have become so crucial in signposting the next stage of his career.

If Rodgers can guide his faltering Leicester team to a top-four finish, an FA Cup final win or both, then he will have silenced his critics with an emphatic display of success. But if Leicester miss out on Champions League qualification again and lose to Chelsea at Wembley this Saturday (stream LIVE at 12 p.m. ET on ESPN+ in the U.S.), it will be hard to escape the reality of another late-season loss of form and belief under Rodgers' management.

If Gerrard's infamous slip against Chelsea in April 2014 was the culmination of Act 1 of Rodgers' career -- the slip allowed Demba Ba to score, setting Chelsea on course for the 2-0 win that derailed Liverpool's title bid -- Leicester's end to this season is the key moment of Act 2.

Starting with Tuesday's Premier League clash with Manchester United at Old Trafford, when the home side are expected to rest several players ahead of Thursday's rearranged encounter with Liverpool, Rodgers must somehow find a way to re-ignite a season that is in danger of going horribly wrong for Leicester a year after they just missed out on Champions League qualification.

It is a simple equation in the league. Seven points from their final three games will guarantee a top-four finish. Fewer will suffice if Liverpool fail to win all four of their remaining games, but Leicester's three final league games are against United, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, which is a daunting schedule for a side who have won just two of their last seven league fixtures. So can Rodgers arrest Leicester's slump and get the job done?

The 48-year-old can build exciting teams that play stylish football. He puts his faith in young players -- Sterling at Liverpool, Wesley Fofana at Leicester -- and he unquestionably improved his three previous clubs -- Swansea City, Liverpool and Celtic. He is clearly following the same pattern at Leicester, who are battling for Champions League qualification for the second season in a row and preparing for their first FA Cup final since 1969.

It is a question that will only go away once it is answered in a positive fashion, which is why the final two weeks of this season are as important as the run-in to Liverpool's title race in 2014. Back in 2013-14, Liverpool missed out on the title despite winning 15 and drawing three of their final 19 games of the season. The one defeat, against Chelsea, opened the door for Manchester City to claim the title with a two-point winning margin.

Read all the latest news and reaction from ESPN FC senior writer Mark Ogden.

So to suggest that Liverpool fell away under Rodgers would be harsh. In most seasons, Liverpool's form in the second half of the campaign would have guaranteed a title. Their undoing was ultimately their defensive record, with the team conceding 50 goals in 38 games compared to City's 37. But despite Liverpool's statistics suggesting that Rodgers maintained strong form throughout the second half of the season, the end result was failure and it continues to haunt him at Leicester.

Last season, when the COVID-19 pandemic caused a 100-day suspension of the Premier League campaign, Leicester won just six of their final 19 league games. A final-day defeat against Manchester United saw them slip out of the top four for the first time. Just four league wins after New Year's Day caused Leicester's downfall, but Rodgers lost key players James Maddison, Ben Chilwell, Wilfred Ndidi and Ricardo Pereira to long-term injuries and a lack of depth contributed to the run of bad results.

It has been a similar story this season, although the slump has been shallower and less prolonged, with seven wins and five defeats from 16 games in the second half of the campaign. Injuries have again been a central factor, with Maddison, James Justin, Harvey Barnes, Jonny Evans and Jamie Vardy all missing important periods.

Recent results have highlighted the old Rodgers flaw of defensive issues, with 12 goals conceded in seven games. When the time comes to shut up shop with a more pragmatic game-plan, Rodgers tends to stick with his attacking principles, despite the risks. It is perhaps why he has yet to be offered another chance to manage a "Big Six" club, or a major European team, because the ability to defend properly is just as important as producing a side that excites the supporters.

But if the Rodgers brand of football is able to deliver success in the form of trophies or Champions League football, club owners will regard him as a gamble worth taking. He just needs to find a way to take that next step. Rodgers and Leicester can do it together over the next two weeks, but it will be a big test of his coaching skills to make it happen.

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