Mata, Fellaini earn Utd lead

Goals from Juan Mata and substitute Marouane Fellaini gave Man Utd a 2-0 win over Hull in the EFL Cup semi-final first leg at Old Trafford.

Mata gave United the lead 11 minutes into the second half, tapping in at the far post from Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s header across goal, though the Spaniard was in an offside position by inches.

Wayne Rooney had flashed inches wide just moments before, as he looked for the single goal to break Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time United goalscoring record, before being substituted after the opening goal.

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Paul Pogba also hit the post with 15 minutes remaining from a free-kick, before Fellaini added a vital second with three minutes remaining with a looping header from Matteo Darmian’s deep cross.

The second leg will be played on January 26 at the KCOM Stadium, live on Sky Sports.

United made seven changes from the side that beat Reading in the FA Cup on Saturday, with captain Rooney given the opportunity to break Sir Bobby’s all-time goal record after equalling it with the opener against the Royals.

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Mata nearly put United ahead, forcing Eldin Jakupovic into a smart save with a first-time effort from inside the area after Darmian’s fine cross, before Andrew Robertson cleared ahead of Rooney just as he was about to pounce on Marcus Rashford’s dragged effort.

Mkihtaryan then should have scored from close-range after Darmian’s cut-back, but he side-footed the ball half-a-yard wide with the goal gaping from 12 yards.

Adama Diomande then hit the post, despite wrongly being called offside, heading off the woodwork after Robert Snodgrass’ free-kick had been flicked on by the head of Chris Smalling.

Abel Hernandez then forced David de Gea into a smart save at his near post, concluding a half that Hull will feel they edged.

 

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Rooney so nearly got his record 250th Manchester United goal, having been played through on goal by Pogba’s superb diagonal ball, but the England man flashed the ball inches wide on the half volley.

United were ahead a few minutes later through Mata, his seventh goal of the season, as the Spaniard tapped in with his left foot at the far post following Mkhitaryan’s header across goal. The replays did however show that Mata was inches offside.

 

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Hull failed to threaten in the second half, and United nearly had the game wrapped up on 75 minutes but for the post denying Pogba from 25 yards with a superb curling free-kick.

It was 2-0 from an unlikely source late on, as Fellaini’s looped header from Darmian’s left-wing cross beat Jakupovic and Tom Huddlestone on the line.

 

Mourinho critical of celebrations

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Mourinho critical of celebrations

Jose Mourinho criticised his players for over celebrating Juan Mata’s opener in Manchester United’s EFL Cup semi-final first-leg victory over Hull City.

It took United 56 minutes to break down a resolute Hull side at Old Trafford, Mata stooping at the far post to turn Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s header beyond Eldin Jakupovic.

 

Chelsea's Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho arrives for the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford in Manchester, northwest England, on August 26, 2013. AFP PHOTO / ANDREW YATES RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or live services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. (Photo credit should read ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images)

 

The Spaniard wheeled away in front of the Stretford End as United partook in lengthy celebrations, actions Mourinho disproved of after the game.

“We needed to play,” he told Sky Sports. “In cup ties every goal can be crucial so why celebrate when you have half an hour to play?

“I don’t think we should, there is no reason to celebrate the first goal.”

The comments came after Mourinho called on United’s players and supporters to raise their game ahead of Liverpool’s visit to Old Trafford for Merseyside v Manchester on Super Sunday.

Despite taking a giant stride towards the EFL Cup final with a 2-0 victory over Hull, there was a subdued atmosphere at the Theatre of Dreams, particularly in the first period, until second-half strikes from Mata and Marouane Fellaini lifted the mood.

And with United set to host arch rivals Liverpool next time out, Mourinho was keen to rally himself, his players and the United faithful.

Asked if he was disappointed with United’s first-half performance, the United boss added: “I was a bit, yes. It was not our best first half.

“Of course, Hull were very well organised like I was expecting and it was not easy for us. But I think we were a bit sloppy.

“We complicated things, took one too many touches and delayed decisions, giving them time to regroup.

“In the first half the players had to do better, I had to do better and the fans also could do better.

“The second half we all improved a little bit, just a little bit. Because this game is over I think now about Sunday, where myself and the players need to do better and the stadium does too.”

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There was a warmer reception from Mourinho to Fellaini’s potentially crucial second goal, with goalscorer and manager embracing in the dugout.

“I was expecting a difficult match, I was not expecting to win by four or five goals,” the United boss added.

“For me, 1-0 is always a good result but 2-0 is obviously better. It doesn’t hand us the semi-final, we are not at Wembley but the second goal may prove to be an important goal.

“Fellaini wanted to show that he knows how much I have supported him through a couple of difficult moments.

“It (the hug) was probably because I told him he was going to score the second goal. It was nice for him to score in front of the fans, and the second goal can be an important goal.”

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Man Utd’s winning momentum

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Manchester United warmed up for their Nissan Super Sunday clash against Liverpool with a 2-0 win over Hull City in the first leg of the EFL Cup semi-finals at Old Trafford.

Juan Mata scored the opener when he converted Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s header from close range early in the second half, with Marouane Fellaini nodding home a late second from Matteo Darmian’s cross.

It sealed a ninth consecutive victory for United, their longest winning run since the 2008/09 campaign, when they won 11 games in a row between January and February and went on to clinch a Premier League and League Cup double under Sir Alex Ferguson.

United have plenty of ground to make up in the Premier League if they are to repeat that feat this year, but their impressive run of form has certainly changed the complexion of their season.

United had only won four of their previous nine games as they struggled to maintain any kind of consistency, but keeping a 100 per cent record over the busy Christmas period is an impressive feat.

After struggling to convert chances earlier in the season, United have now scored 20 goals in their last nine games. It is a satisfying turnaround for Mourinho, and his side’s attacking improvements are spread across the team.

United have had nine different goalscorers during their winning streak. Superstar duo Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba have lived up to their billing with six and two goals respectively, while Marcus Rashford, Mkhitaryan and Anthony Martial – three players who struggled for form earlier in the season – have also been among the scorers.

United’s attacking depth has allowed them to maintain momentum during the hectic fixture schedule, and they will have a full complement forwards for Sunday’s showdown with Liverpool after Mourinho confirmed Ibrahimovic is expected to return from illness.

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Villa sign Man Utd goalkeeper

Aston Villa have signed Manchester United goalkeeper Sam Johnstone on loan until the end of the season.

Johnstone, 23, becomes Villa boss Steve Bruce’s first signing of the January transfer window.

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Johnstone, who is behind David De Gea and Sergio Romero in the Old Trafford pecking order, told Villa’s official website: “I’m really pleased to have joined Aston Villa – it’s a massive club.

“I’m really excited to be here. Aston Villa were interested and it’s an opportunity I jumped at. It’s one you simply can’t turn down.

“I’m really delighted to be here and I’m happy that it’s all sorted. I can’t wait to work with Steve Bruce too. I’ve heard very good things about the manager. You can see his track record.

“He’s good for the club and I can’t wait to get going now.”

Pierluigi Gollini started the season as the club’s first-choice goalkeeper but was replaced by Mark Bunn last month, although the former Norwich goalkeeper has kept just one clean sheet in seven games.

Johnstone is yet to make an appearance for Manchester United but has had loan spells at Scunthorpe, Walsall, Yeovil, Doncaster and Preston.

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho stated before the transfer window opened that Johnstone will be the only player allowed to leave Old Trafford on loan in January.

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Everton agree Schneiderlin fee

Everton have reached an agreement to sign Morgan Schneiderlin from Manchester United in a deal worth £22m, according to Sky sources.

Schneiderlin is expected to undergo a medical this week and will be reunited with his former manager Ronald Koeman, under whom he flourished while the pair were together at Southampton.

The France international was brought to United by Louis van Gaal in a £24m deal in the summer of 2015 but has failed to win favour since Jose Mourinho took over last summer.

It is understood the fee could rise to £24m with add-ons.

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After starting 25 Premier League games and making four substitute appearances during his debut campaign at Old Trafford, Schneiderlin has been limited to three brief substitute appearances in the league this season.

Speaking after the 2-0 EFL Cup semi-final first leg win over Hull City on Tuesday, Mourinho said: “(Executive vice-chairman) Ed Woodward informed me that the situation is close. Morgan is more than probably going to Everton.

“I am sad and happy, sad because I like him and he could be an option for us, happy because this is what he wants, to play every game and be important in the team.”

Last month, Mourinho confirmed he would not stand in Schneiderlin’s way if he wished to leave in search of first-team football and United received an offer that matched their valuation of the 27-year-old.

When asked about Schneiderlin, Mourinho had said: “Great professional. Fantastic boy, very honest, very open and he opened his heart a couple of times and my answer is simple: if he’s playing regular with me I have the right to say no way, if he’s not playing regular I have no right to tell a player that if he wants to be happy you’re going nowhere.

“So my answer was if the offer is right and our board thinks the offer is a good offer in relation to a very good player like Morgan I would not stop him to go.”

The news will come as a blow to West Brom, who had also bid for Schneiderlin, while Everton have also been credited with a continued interest in United’s Memphis Depay.

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Mourinho: New defender not needed

Jose Mourinho has confirmed he will not sign a new centre-back in January despite the departure of Eric Bailly to the Africa Cup of Nations.

The Manchester United manager wanted to sign Sweden international Victor Lindelof from Benfica, according to Sky sources. Initial talks had been held between the clubs but United’s interest has cooled, and Mourinho confirmed on Friday that he is happy with his centre-back options.

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Asked ahead of their FA Cup third-round clash with Reading whether he will sign another centre-back in the January window, Mourinho said: “No, I wait for Bailly.

“I hope the three can control the situation in those eight matches [that Bailly will miss at the Africa Cup of Nations].

“I will try to rest one in every game. On Saturday [against Reading] I will rest one, against Hull [in Tuesday’s EFL Cup semi-final first leg] another.

“We’ll try to make a rotation between these three. We still have Daley Blind as the fourth, in case we need him to play there. We have Michael Carrick. So let’s try.”

United are sixth in the Premier League standings but are hot on the heels of the Champions League places after a good run of form over Christmas. They also remain in the Europa League and have a two-legged EFL Cup semi-final against Hull but Mourinho, who has told Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay while can leave Old Trafford in the January transfer window, is happy with the size of his squad.

He said: “I have 24 players. I cannot have 25 or 30. We have the right number of players. Is every player the same? No, let’s be realistic. The squad is good, but not every player is the same.”

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History of Manchester United F.C. (1986–2013)

The History of Manchester United F.C. (1986–2013) covers the period following the appointment of Alex Ferguson in November 1986, to the day of his retirement, in May 2013. Ferguson joined the club from Aberdeen on the same day that Ron Atkinson was dismissed and guided the club to a 12th-place finish in the league. Despite a second-place finish in 1987–88, the club was back in 11th place the following season. Reportedly on the verge of being dismissed, victory over Crystal Palace in the 1990 FA Cup Final replay (after a 3–3 draw) saved Ferguson’s career. The following season, Manchester United claimed its first Cup Winners’ Cup title and competed in the 1991 UEFA Super Cup, beating European Cup holders Red Star Belgrade 1–0 in the final at Old Trafford. A second consecutive League Cup final appearance followed in 1992, in which the team beat Nottingham Forest 1–0 at Wembley Stadium. In 1993, the club won its first league title since 1967, and a year later, for the first time since 1957, it won a second consecutive title – alongside the FA Cup – to complete the first “Double” in the club’s history.

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Sir Alex Ferguson, manager of Manchester United from 1986 to 2013

 

Manchester United’s 1998–99 season was the most successful in English club football history as they became the first team to win the Premier League, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League – “The Treble” – in the same season. Losing 1–0 going into injury time in the 1999 UEFA Champions League Final, Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjær scored late goals to claim a dramatic victory over Bayern Munich, in what is considered one of the greatest comebacks of all time. The club also won the Intercontinental Cup after beating Palmeiras 1–0 in Tokyo. Ferguson was subsequently knighted for his services to football.

In 2000, Manchester United competed in the inaugural FIFA Club World Championship in Brazil, and won the league again in the 1999–2000 and 2000–01 seasons. The team finished third in 2001–02, before regaining the title in 2002–03. They won the 2003–04 FA Cup, beating Millwall 3–0 in the final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. In the 2005–06 season, Manchester United failed to qualify for the knockout phase of the UEFA Champions League for the first time in over a decade, but recovered to secure a second-place league finish and victory over Wigan Athletic in the 2006 Football League Cup Final. The club regained the Premier League title in the 2006–07 and 2007–08 seasons, and completed the European double by beating Chelsea 6–5 on penalties in the 2008 UEFA Champions League Final in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium. Ryan Giggs made a record 759th appearance for the club in this game, overtaking previous record holder, Bobby Charlton. In December 2008, the club won the 2008 FIFA Club World Cup and followed this with the 2008–09 Football League Cup, and a third successive Premier League title, the first time any team had won three successive league titles more than once. That summer, Cristiano Ronaldo was sold to Real Madrid for a world record £80 million. In 2010, Manchester United defeated Aston Villa 2–1 at Wembley to retain the League Cup, their first successful defence of a knockout cup competition.

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