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Di Maria Thanks “Amazing” Manchester United Fans

dimaria-mufcAngel Di Maria has thanked Manchester United fans for the warm welcome he has received since he came to England.

United’s record signing, who cost 59.7 million pounds when he joined from Real Madrid in August, said he was settled and happy at his new club.

Di Maria, who has already scored three times in his United career, is set to play in his first Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

He told United’s official website:

“The people here are amazing. I feel really comfortable, very happy and really pleased. The way that people treat you really makes you feel good in your heart.

“When we are coming out after training or after the games, I have had a chance to meet some of the fans and it makes me happy that they love us so much and have got so much affection for us.

“I am trying to do my best to pay them back when I am on the field, so that the people are happy.

“Having everybody behind you at Old Trafford all the time is great as well. The fans are always singing and supporting you. When things aren’t going well, they still carry on supporting you — that really pushes you on and makes you want to give your utmost.

“I have not really had much of a chance to get to know the city very well, with the move and with my family, but I am really pleased and happy to be here.

“So far, I have just been going to work and then going home. When I first arrived here, I was in the city centre for a couple of days — I have seen nothing else really, but I plan to in the future.”

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Shaw: We’re a scary side to face

luke-shawmufcLuke Shaw thinks it would be foolish to write Manchester United’s title chances off just yet.

With nine games gone, United are eighth in the English Premier League, some 10 points off the summit.

Shaw has been encouraged by the team’s performance in the 1-1 draw against leaders Chelsea though, and he believes he and his team-mates are still playing below their potential. The former Southampton player thinks when United hit top gear they will strike fear into the hearts of their opponents and that is why he refuses to give up hope of topping the table come May.

“Of course we are still in the title race,” the United defender said. “It’s a long season and we are at the start of it. You don’t know what will happen during the middle of the season. There will be tough games but we know we are good enough to win them

“We know we have still got the best to come. I don’t think we are playing our best at the moment and sometimes you saw that against Chelsea. It will take time but when we are all on form I think we are going to be a scary team to face.”

Derby test looms
Although Chelsea top the table, arguably the biggest test for Shaw and his United team-mates will come on Sunday when they travel to the Etihad Stadium to take on bitter rivals Manchester City.

If – as is expected – Radamel Falcao recovers from a leg injury he sustained in training, and Ander Herrera returns to the starting XI, United will have six players in their team who have never experienced a Manchester derby before.

Each and every one of them will be acutely aware of what the fixture means to the fans, Shaw says.

“It’s pretty obvious what this match means to the fans and the club. I don’t think I need to be told about it and the other (new signings) will be aware too,” the Surrey-born teenager said.

“I’ve watched it for the past years and I’ve seen how much it means to everyone. It’s a massive occasion for everyone involved in it. We need to come out firing on Sunday.”

Shaw picks out United’s 2-1 victory over City in 2011 as his favourite Manchester derby. That day Wayne Rooney scored the most memorable goal of his career – an acrobatic overhead kick which sealed victory for United with 12 minutes left.

Shaw thinks Rooney will be itching to put on another match-winning display when he returns from suspension this weekend.

“It’s a massive boost for us to have him back,” Shaw said.

“It’s something I think he’s looking forward to. Wayne hates sitting on the sidelines watching. That goal (in 2011) was an unbelievable goal in a match that big. It was something special.

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Injury Update: Jones and Falcao

Falcao-scoresManchester United must wait to discover how long Phil Jones will be out for, but hope Radamel Falcao will be available again for Sunday’s Manchester derby.

Defender Jones and striker Falcao both missed the 1-1 Old Trafford draw against Chelsea, and England international Jones, who is suffering from shin splints, is a particular concern to manager Louis van Gaal.

The former Blackburn player has only made one appearance since recovering from a hamstring injury that ruled him out for a month.

Jones, who has struggled to stay fit during his three years at Old Trafford, was expected to start against Chelsea before being hurt in training.

Van Gaal told MUTV: “The match against West Brom was his first after a long injury period. We brought him back and he trained for more than a week with the first team, then had to play 90 minutes.

“Then he had a sore feeling in his shin. On Saturday he could not continue training, even though it was a very light session before the match. He had shin splints, which is very painful. I don’t know how long it will take [for him to recover].”

Jones’s absence means United are without three injured centre-backs, with neither Jonny Evans nor 19-year-old Paddy McNair fit to face Chelsea, although both are expected to return to contention soon.

Chris Smalling replaced Jones in the side against the league leaders as he and Marcos Rojo became United’s seventh central-defensive combination of the season.

Forward Falcao, who had only been used as a substitute in the 2-2 draw against West Brom, had been expected to miss the Chelsea game.

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Angel Di Maria Insists United Move Not Over Money

dimaria-mufcManchester United winger Angel Di Maria dismissed suggestions his move to Old Trafford was motivated by money.

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti claimed the Argentina international left the European champions for more money after joining United in a deal that smashed the British transfer record.

But Di Maria, who has made a breathtaking start to life in the Premier League with three goals in six games under manager Louis van Gaal, insisted he wanted to wear the iconic number seven shirt.

“I have these amazing feelings about having moved to Man United,” Di Maria told The Mirror.

“I’m so proud of myself, you know. It’s hard to explain it and put it in words. I truly wanted to move to United. I wanted to wear this shirt.

“And it is so nice for me to wear the number seven shirt. It was worn by some of the greatest players in the club’s history and I do know that it is a huge thing for all Man United fans.

“I think people here are happy with me. So I must honour this shirt. I must confess that I had all these expectations – but Man United have exceeded my expectations. It has all been perfect for me so far.”

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Louis van Gaal: United should have beaten Chelsea

lvgandMouManchester United boss Louis van Gaal said he believed his side should have beaten Chelsea at Old Trafford after Robin van Persie secured a 1-1 draw with an injury-time goal.

Van Persie could have put the home side in front before the break but was denied by Blues goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

Didier Drogba then steered the Premier League leaders ahead when he headed home a corner early in the second half.

But after Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic was sent off for a second bookable offence, United salvaged a point right at the end when Van Persie lashed home after a Marouane Fellaini header was saved.

“I’ve said to the players we could have won — but we didn’t, and that’s our fault,” Van Gaal said. “When you can do that against the best team in this league at the moment, that is a good sign.

“I’m not pleased, because I still have the feeling we could have won today and that we don’t take our opportunities at the moment.

“They scored in the second half, and then we had to fight until the last minute. I am grateful for the support of the fans, as they also admire the spirit in this team.

“The red card doesn’t change anything as it was the last minute and we only had the free-kick to take. OK, it [the goal] came from the free-kick, but only if he [Ivanovic] was marking Fellaini. You will have to ask Jose Mourinho about that.”

Van Gaal said United had fashioned “a lot of chances but didn’t finish those chances,” adding:

“Then Chelsea get the first goal and it becomes much more difficult as they play possession football, make the pitch big and we have to run and run.

“But we kept together and I think we deserved it. I have seen that we could have won — I’m saying that nearly every game — but this is Chelsea, who are a top team, and we were at least equal.

“The most pleasing thing is we are showing again we are believing in making a goal in spite of the result being bad. At 1-0 behind, it is fantastic that the players are running until the 90th minute to equalise or win.”

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Van Persie Thrilled About Equalizer

RVPvCFSRobin van Persie admitted his late equaliser against Chelsea had felt like a winner.

United looked set to lose to Didier Drogba’s header – deflected in off Van Persie – until the striker rammed in following Marouane Fellaini’s saved header, earning a 1-1 draw.

The goal sparked jubilant scenes at Old Trafford and Van Persie told Sky Sports 1:

“In the 93rd minute, 1-0 down at home, it feels so much better as you can see. Overall we had more chances than them, although it’s a fair results. I have mixed feelings.

“I had two early chances when (Thibaut Courtois) made a good save with a blocked shot, and in the second half as well late in the game. I always kept thinking positive, going for the next chance and it fell to my feet.”

Fellaini’s header came when he was not marked by Branislav Ivanovic – the Chelsea defender who was sent off seconds before.

“Is that so? It makes it even better for us,” Van Persie added.

“If you come back in a game like this, the fact is we were 1-0 down and it gives us a boost. If you look at the table we should have won, wanted to win to get the points but we can be happy with a draw.”

Asked if United can catch Chelsea, who remain the league leaders, he added:

“Of course we can, there’s a long way to go, nine, 10 games played and it’s not even halfway.

“In my opinion we are better every day. In training and if you look at games you can see we are comfy on the ball and we are playing better. Now we have to stretch games longer. We extended that into the hour and we try to aim to play like that for an hour and a half.”

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LVG Defends Van Persie

lvg-mufcManchester United manager Louis van Gaal has tipped striker Robin van Persie to be back to his best when his side meet Chelsea at Old Trafford on Sunday.

The Red Devils boss is adamant his compatriot will regain his confidence in front of goal, and claims the 31-year-old is still at the top of his game despite a drop in form.

‘He has showed that at the World Cup and is showing that now, except for scoring goals. But that is only a matter of time,’ Van Gaal told The Sun.

‘A striker also needs a bit of luck and then the confidence is higher.

‘But he’s self-confident, so I expect he shall score and maybe against Chelsea.

‘Now he is more fit than ever and playing better but doesn’t score as much.

‘He’s been a little bit unlucky, like against West Brom when he shot with his right foot – it was hard to believe that shot stayed out of the goal.’

United play host to Chelsea in Sunday’s hotly anticipated clash at Old Trafford, with the Red Devils currently 10 points adrift of The Blues at the peak of the table.

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Di Maria Fit For Chelsea Match

dimaria-mufcAngel di Maria is fit for Manchester United’s crunch match against Chelsea on Sunday.

The £60million signing was struggling with a thigh injury picked up in their 2-2 draw at West Bromwich Albion on Monday and it was feared that he would miss their biggest game of the season so far.

He had an ice-pack on the injury after being substituted in the 76th minute, but was able to train for the past two days and is ready for Chelsea.

Manager Louis van Gaal said: ‘It was not so heavy, he has trained. Only the first day [Tuesday] he doesn’t train.’

Van Gaal also revealed that Michael Carrick will play in a development game against West Ham in London on Friday night in a bid to regain match fitness.

The midfielder was a surprise inclusion on United’s bench against West Brom on Monday night, but did not make it on the field.

Van Gaal added: ‘I even let Michael Carrick this evening play in London against West Ham in the reserve team.

‘I believe he needs that, he needs to play matches especially when you are five months injured. He said that it was his first experience in the second team.’

The United boss will be without the suspended Wayne Rooney but Radamel Falcao, who scored a hat-trick the last time he faced Chelsea in Atletico Madrid’s Super Cup triumph last year, is available.

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Januzaj Agent On His Future

 

Adnan-Januzaj

Adnan Januzaj’s agent, Dirk de Vriese, has revealed that the player is keen to stay at Manchester United, despite a lack of playing time so far this season.

The 19-year-old has struggled to break into Louis van Gaal’s side this season following the arrival of £59.7m signing Angel di Maria in the summer transfer window.

Januzaj, who signed a five-year deal with United in October 2013, has been linked with cash-rich Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain in recent weeks.

But the Red Devils star’s agent De Vriese reiterated that Januzaj is happy to stay at United and prove his worth the new manager in the coming months.

“We want to stay,” he said. “Adnan wants to gain experience in England as a number 10. He doesn’t fear the competition. Just like anyone else he wants to play but he will wait for his opportunity. He is a super professional and he is still motivated, even when he has to play for the Under-21s,” he said. We’re not angry. We know the club is very happy with him and they want to keep Adnan for the rest of his career at Old Trafford.”

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Has United Signed Dani Alves Already?

Dani-AlvesAccording to respected agent Francois Gallardo, Barcelona right-back Dani Alves has already agreed terms on a move to Manchester United.

Alves, who has been strongly linked with an exit from Barca, had reportedly set his heart on a switch to the Premier League, with Chelsea leading the race for his signature.

But now agent Gallardo has revealed that United have now stormed in and agreed to sign the Brazilian, with a contract already being thrashed out.

‘The player will leave Barcelona,’ said Gallardo.

‘He has signed a preliminary agreement with Manchester United.’

While Alves could move in the January transfer market, is all likelihood he will join United next summer.

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