The Hard Tackle rounds up all the news in and around Manchester United.
Ander Herrera reveals former Manchester United winger Ryan Giggs as his teenage hero
Herrera has become a mainstay in the United setup this season as Jose Mourinho finally seems to have narrowed down on his best possible eleven. Playing as a two in midfield with Michael Carrick, the Spaniard has grown from strength to strength.
The Spaniard has labelled former Red Devils winger Ryan Giggs as his footballing idol during his younger days. In an interview with MUTV, Herrera said, “The memories are fantastic because we [Athletic Bilbao] won against a fantastic team. I had the chance to play against Ryan Giggs, which was important to me because I had his picture at my home.”
Gary Neville identifies Michael Carrick’s presence as the reason for United’s surge in form
After a disappointing few weeks that saw United drift away from the chasing pack in the Premier League, Mourinho’s side have managed to get their act together and register three wins on the spin for the first time since the start of the season.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has started bagging goals on a regular basis while Paul Pogba has been exceptional in providing support for the Swede. Phil Jones has become the club’s best defender and has nailed down his spot in the team for the next few games.
Former United defender-turned-football analyst Gary Neville believes that the club’s recent success must be credited to Michael Carrick. The midfielder has been a key passer in midfield and has done a fabulous job in linking the attack with the defence.
According to Manchester Evening News, Neville said, “I look at this side now and it looks to me to be tougher. Rojo and Jones are tougher at the back, Carrick coming into midfield has made a big difference and they’ve got personalities and characters in Pogba and Ibrahimovic, so it’s better.”
Juan Mata reveals the club’s aims for the remainder of the year
The Red Devils have gone on a recent run of form, but still have to play catch up with the other top Premier League sides. With 30 points from 17 games, they still find themselves 13 points adrift of Chelsea at the top.
United recorded their fourth straight victory in all competitions as they dominated West Brom to beat them 2-0 at Hawthorns. If they manage to continue their phenomenal run with wins against Sunderland and Middlesbrough on Boxing Day and New Year’s day respectively, they will equal their best run since Louis van Gaal’s side won six on the spin in November and December two seasons ago.
Midfielder Juan Mata has not been a regular starter in the past few weeks, but still gives the manager a decent option off the bench. Recently, the Spaniard spoke about his side’s run of form and what the club is looking to do in the last two weeks of 2016.
“Our win against WBA on Saturday, the fourth victory in a row, gives us plenty of optimism and good feelings with a view to the last two weeks of the year,” said United’s Spanish midfielder.
“We are reinforcing something that I’ve been claiming since the start of the season – that the team has got potential and good football, and I’m sure we will keep showing that in 2017. Before the end of the year we have two more games in Old Trafford where we will try to continue with the positive results.”
Man United target James Rodriguez is open to a Premier League move
The Real Madrid midfielder has grown out of favour at the club and is not a part of manager Zinedine Zidane’s first-team plans at Santiago Bernabeu. After being linked with a host of clubs in the summer, the Colombian may finally be on the move in January.
The player has recently confirmed interest from a number of clubs and has stated that he might leave Los Blancos in the coming transfer window. Manchester United and Chelsea are among the front-runners to sign the want-away midfielder and could swing in with an offer once he’s up for grabs.
According to Alex Porter of Manchester Evening News, the player has also opened the door to a Premier League switch – handing Jose Mourinho a huge transfer boost. The Portuguese manager is reportedly keen on signing Rodriguez and could splash the cash to secure a big-name signing for the Manchester outfit in the coming weeks.