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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer urged to drop two Man United players for Tottenham clash

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should drop Bruno Fernandes and Luke Shaw for Manchester United’s all-important Premier League clash against Tottenham.

That is the opinion of Tony Cascarino, who says Fernandes ‘does very little when he is not on the ball’ and should be replaced by Jesse Lingard, and that Shaw had a ‘torrid time’ in last weekend’s 5-0 capitulation to Liverpool.

Solskjaer was left fighting for his job after the embarrassing defeat but Manchester United resisted the temptation – at least for the time being – to make a change.

The Red Devils will be desperate to bounce back on Saturday evening when they travel to north London to face a Spurs team who have lost three of their last five games and are also struggling under Nuno Espirto Santo.

Ahead of the clash, former Republic of Ireland and Chelsea striker Cascarino has urged Solskjaer to change up his Manchester United team and drop Fernandes and Shaw.

‘Full back is United’s most vulnerable position – every one of the five goals conceded to Liverpool came from the spaces defended by Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw being exploited,’ he told The Times.

‘Tottenham are particularly lively out wide given the pace of Lucas and Son, so United could be dismantled if they do not protect these positions.

‘Shaw had a great European Championship for England but endured a torrid time against Mohamed Salah last weekend, while Wan-Bissaka is unrecognisable from the defender who joined United.

‘Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could replace Shaw with Alex Telles if fit or consider playing a winger such as Jadon Sancho or Marcus Rashford out of position to remedy the problem.’

On Fernandes, who has scored four goals and made five assists in 14 appearances in all competitions this season, Cascarino added: ‘The No 10 role can be a luxury for struggling teams and that is the case for United at present.

‘Bruno Fernandes does very little when he is not on the ball, and that is a huge problem given he should be providing United’s first line of defence in midfield.

‘Fernandes does not try to stop attackers by winning the ball back. By contrast, Jesse Lingard makes the No 10 role work for his team, as he has shown at West Ham and in flashes since returning to his parent club this summer.’

Manchester United captain Harry Maguire, meanwhile, says his team-mates know they ‘can still achieve things’ this season and has called for unity ahead of the Spurs clash.

‘As players we let the management down, we let the staff down and we let the club down, but most importantly we let the fans down,’ the England defender said.

‘We know we’ve got to improve and I can assure you we’re doing everything we can and giving everything day in, day out to make sure that we improve on these performances, and I’m sure we’ll come through this difficult period and kick on again.

‘To lose in the manner that we did was so disappointing. We’ve obviously had big discussions, we’ve analysed the game and the goals and looked at how we can do better and improve.

‘There are lots of games to play in the Premier League, we’re in a strong position in the group in the Champions League and we’re still early on in the season. And it’s a season in which we know we can still achieve things.’

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Rio Ferdinand issues major warning about Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag

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Former centre-back Rio Ferdinand believes it is still too early to judge whether Erik ten Hag is the right man to lead Manchester United back to the top, despite their unquestionable improvement under him this season.

United head into tomorrow’s Manchester derby against City at Old Trafford with the knowledge that a win will lift them to within a point and place of their neighbours in the Premier League table.

The Reds have lost just one of their last 18 matches since being battered 6-3 by City back in October, featuring a current run of eight wins on the bounce.

The Reds, such is the level of progress they have made under Ten Hag this season, are now considered as one of the favourites to qualify for the Champions League for next season.

They have made significant strides in a relatively short space of time and victories over the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur already this season have proven that they are capable of competing in the upper echelons of the table again.

However, despite heading into the second half of the campaign with form in their sails, Ferdinand insists the jury is still out on Ten Hag, despite him reaching 20 wins as United manager quick than any of his predecessors.

“I think it’s too early to say,” said Ferdinand to the Mirror. “We’ve been here with previous managers when it looks like we are onto something.

“We’ve got to be patient and give the man time. I think all the signs are very positive at the moment. He’s come in and seen what is happening, assessed how things are, looked at individuals and looked at the shape of the team.

“These were a bunch of players that were quite low. They were shot to pieces and he’s had to build, not only footballers, but men back up again. He’s had to build a lot of human beings back up and that takes time.

“The fact he’s now talking about qualifying for the Champions League so positively, he can sense a confidence coming back into this team. There’s a consistency of performance from the team that wasn’t there before and the signals and signs are all very promising.

“But they’re still not where they want to be. City are way ahead of where United are. The distance is a bit closer, but it’s still not anywhere near where we want it to be. There’s still work to be done.”

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Manchester United takeover bids ‘expected imminently’ with serious interest in Club

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Manchester United are expecting takeover offers from across the world as they are set to invite bids ahead of ‘mid-February deadline’.

The Telegraph have reported that the club have received ‘serious interest’ from consortiums based in the Middle East, Asia and the United States.

British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe is also weighing up an offer, as the Glazers hope to the sell one of the biggest clubs in the world for over £5billion.

The report also adds that parties who had been interested in taking over Chelsea, before Todd Boehly’s £4.25bn takeover, are set to return with approaches for the Red Devils.

It’s expected that potential investors will go public with their attempts to buy United in the coming weeks with the clock ‘now ticking on a deal’.

Senior United figures will issue a mid February deadline for formal offers in order to help get get the takeover completed before the end of the season.

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Confirmed: Chelsea ready to make late bid to hijack another Arsenal transfer

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Chelsea will make a late attempt to scupper Arsenal’s hopes of finally signing Mikhailo Mudryk from Shakhtar Donetsk.

The Gunners have submitted their third bid for the Ukraine international winger and hope an offer of £62m before add-ons, which take the deal closer to £70m, will be enough to break the deadlock between the two clubs.

Chelsea’s interest in the 21-year-old winger was earlier this week described only as ‘exploratory’ but ESPN now claim that Todd Boehly will test the waters and attempt to throw a spanner in the works for the Premier League leaders.

Shakhtar’s technical director Darijo Srna was pictured at Stamford Bridge last week as he watched Chelsea’s defeat against Manchester City and Boehly would have little issue with meeting an asking price which is closer to £88million.

Arsenal are said to be confident that their latest bid for Mudryk will be enough to finally secure the services of their No.1 January target, but have already been beaten to the punch once this month by their west London rivals.

Chelsea won the race to sign Joao Felix on loan from Atletico Madrid amid competition from Arsenal and Manchester United, but the Portugal international’s promising debut ended in devastating fashion when he was sent off just shy of the hour mark for a dangerous challenge on Fulham’s Kenny Tete.

Felix will now miss the next three games through suspension as the problems mount for Chelsea’s under-fire manager Graham Potter.

‘It sums up where we are at the moment – everything that can go wrong, is going wrong,’ Potter said after Chelsea’s 2-1 west London derby defeat.

‘It was a forward’s tackle from Joao, there was no malice in it but I understand why it was a red. It is another blow the hits keep coming at the moment.

‘He was really good you could see his quality in the game so it is doubly disappointing for us because he was looking dangerous throughout.

‘I don’t think there was too much malice in it and it is an unfortunate action and we are going to lose him now for three games.’

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