THE NEW PARK
Manchester United legend Gary Neville has compared Jesse Lingard to cult hero Park Ji-Sung. Neville’s comments came after some fans questioned Lingard’s ability and whether he warranted a new contract. Neville said: “Criticism of him is unjustified, he’s done well and scored in two cup finals for United. I think maybe the fans’ frustration sometimes is the fact that they want to see a Ronaldo or a Giggs all the time. You always need players like Jesse to support those type of players, like Park because they balance off the talented players, do the work and fill the gaps.” Lingard has hit a purple patch coming into the business end of the season.
Atletico Madrid are preparing to offer Antonio Griezmann a new deal as they look to tie down their star performer to a better deal. Atletico have already opened talks for an extension which involves a huge pay raise and will push his release clause to an incredible £130m. Atletico are also prepared to pay Griezmann £180k a week instead of the £120k he gets now. Despite this, Mourinho remains confident that he will get his No.1 target in the summer.
Paul Pogba hosted ‘close’ friend Romelu Lukaku in his home on Sunday evening, amid interest from Manchester United. Lukaku was filmed by Pogba laughing on his couch hours after helping their teams to wins over Leicester and Sunderland, respectively. This has led to some fans suggesting that Pogba was out to convince his friend to sign for United in the summer. Lukaku has rejected a new deal at Goodison and Everton will look to sell him for a profit on the £28m they spent to buy him. A player-cash deal could be on the cards with Wayne Rooney going the other way.
Manchester United U23’s played out a 0-0 draw against Leicester under the floodlights at the King Power Stadium. Nicky Butt did not have Callum Gribbin, Regan Poole or Matthew Olusunde as they are in the States to participate in the Dallas Cup. Axel Tuanzebe wore the Captain’s armband. United suffered two injuries to debutant Indy Boonen and Matthew Willock.
EARLY EUROPA LEAGUE TEAM NEWS
Sergio Romero will start in goal as he is preferred to David de Gea in Cup games. The centre of defence will most almost certainly remain the same as Eric Bailly and Marcos Rojo are United’s only fit defenders there. Luke Shaw will probably retain his place in the XI after an impressive display at Sunderland. Antonio Valencia missed out on Sunday through injury but, Mourinho expects him to be fit for Thursday night. Michael Carrick will be brought back into the side after being rested at the weekend. The attack remains a mystery with so many options.