Man Utd news LIVE: Ronaldo and Sancho net in Villarreal victory, Pochettino 'ready to leave' PSG, Valverde interim link

CRISTIANO RONALDO and Jadon Sancho were on target as Michael Carrick led United to Champions League victory over Villarreal.

Meanwhile the club have contacted Brendan Rodgers as they search for Ole Gunnar Solksjaer's successor, SunSport can reveal.

The Red Devils are prepared to stump up the £8million compensation it would cost to prize the former Celtic boss away from Leicester.

Meanwhile, reports suggest that Mauricio Pochettino would be willing to leave PSG and join United if the opportunity arose.

And reports suggest United are in talks with former Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde to take charge as interim manager.

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  • Joshua Mbu

    'HAPPY IN PARIS' 

    Mauricio Pochettino has insisted he is 'very happy at Paris Saint-Germain' amid Manchester United rumours – but refused to rule out a move to Old Trafford, writes DAVE FRASER.

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked on Sunday morning just hours after the 4-1 humiliation at Watford.

    On the rumours linking him with United, Pochettino said: "I'm very focused on football.

    "I'm, not a child, I've spent my whole life playing football and spent 12 years as a coach – I know rumours will always be there.

    "Sometimes positive and negative. But they cannot distract you. That’s football.

    "We are focused 100 per cent to get the best result we can. So we can't talk about that.

    "I respect my club, PSG. What other clubs are doing is not my problem. I need to focus on PSG.

    "I was a player here and love the club and fans. It’s a fantastic time to be at the club.

    "Football is today, not tomorrow. Football is about results… two years ago, we left Tottenham and a few weeks before there were a lot of rumours about us and look what happened.

    "It’s about winning. It’s about the results.

    "My contract is until 2023 – this season and one more. I don’t say anything different.

    "I’m happy in Paris – that’s a fact. I’m happy in Paris."

  • Joshua Mbu

    FT: VILLARREAL 0-2 MAN UTD

    A battling if unspectacular Manchester United victory ensures their place in the Last 16 of the Champions League.

    Late goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho earn the Premier League side three points in Spain, and get Michael Carrick off to a winning start in his caretaker role.

    Villarreal were the better side for long periods, but created little – and when they did, they couldn't find a way past David de Gea.

  • Joshua Mbu

    VILLARREAL 0-2 MAN UTD

    89. It's lift-off for Jadon Sancho's Manchester United career!

    At the 15th time of asking, the former Borussia Dortmund forward scores his first goal for his new club, and it's a strike that seals United's place in the Last 16.

    Sancho's first United goal is a brilliant one too, finishing off a flowing counter-attack that again stemmed from Fred's endeavour in winning back possession.

    Cristiano Ronaldo then starts the move, freeing Marcus Rashford down the left, from where the England man looks up and finds fellow substitute Bruno Fernandes.

    For once, Fernandes is sloppy with his control, allowing the ball to run under his boot, but that meant play arrived at Sancho's feet. The forward took a touch to steady himself, and then rocketed an effort in at the near post off the underside of the bar.

    It could kickstart Sancho's season! It could kickstart Manchester United's season!

  • Joshua Mbu

    VILLARREAL 0-1 MAN UTD

    78. It hasn't been impressive, it hasn't been pretty, but it doesn't have to be when you have Cristiano Ronaldo in your ranks.

    The Portuguese superstar comes to United's rescue yet again, and has put them ahead with just 12 minutes remaining.

    Credit must go to Fred, who chases down Etienne Capoue after the midfielder had been sold a difficult pass by goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli.

    Fred's interception springs the ball up for Ronaldo, who instinctively swivels and lifts a lob over the stranded Rulli to find the net.

    Are United about to end their troubled time by sealing qualification from the Champions League group stage?

  • Joshua Mbu

    RICE RICE BABY

    Declan Rice is now attracting interest from top clubs across Europe as well as England.

    The 22-year-old holding midfielder has taken his game to another level this season after the Euro 2020 heartbreak with England.

    Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool have all registered an interest in Rice.

    But now it appears he’s attracting suitors from abroad.

    And if West Ham wanted to tie Rice down, it would risk putting themselves into financial trouble.

    Eurosport’s Dean Jones said on The Done Deal Show: “There’s not anything particular in terms of talks, but basically, if West Ham are going to keep Declan Rice, they’ve got to almost put the club in financial trouble, because it’s such a big deal to now sign Declan Rice.

    “Every big club in the Premier League wants him. There are even clubs, I’m told, abroad that are starting to look at him as the real deal.

    “I think personally, he will stay in the Premier League anyway, so I don’t think that’ll come into the question.”

  • Joshua Mbu

    AP-PAUL-LED

    Paul Scholes has sensationally claimed the ENTIRE Manchester United backroom staff should have been sacked alongside Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, writes DAVE FRASER.

    The Norwegian, 48, was axed on Sunday morning just hours after the 4-1 mauling at Watford.

    Speaking ahead of Tuesday's Champions League clash at Villarreal on BT Sport, a fuming Scholes said: "Will they be any better tonight?

    "It's the same people running the team. It's the same people who have been given massive responsibility every single week to put that team on the pitch.

    "Arguably it's more Kieran McKenna and Michael Carrick who have been preparing the team.

    "Ole gave them the responsibility to do that. So how that changes, I don't know…

    "I would be embarrassed being on the staff now after what happened to Ole.

    "They all should have gone, sacked or gone off their own back.

    "They were part of Ole's team. Ole trusted them each week to prepare a team for games.

    "They have let the club down – and the players down – just as much as Ole has.

    "I just think, if I was in their position now, I'd be feeling guilty still working at this football club after Ole put so much trust in them."

  • Joshua Mbu

    VILLARREAL 0-0 MAN UTD

    48. The game has continued in much the same fashion as the first half.

    Any notable tempo is almost non-existent with it being played at something resembling walking pace. Having said that, it's still Villarreal in charge, and their cautious build-up play brings them another corner.

  • Joshua Mbu

    HT: VILLARREAL 0-0 MAN UTD

    Manchester United are 45 minutes away from claiming a favoured point in Spain.

    If the plan was to reinforce the defence then Michael Carrick will be pleased with this more resolute United, but the English side have offered little from an attacking perspective.

    Villarreal have dominated the play, and have forced David de Gea into a couple of fine stops.

    ⚽ Read our dedicated live match blog for Manchester United vs Villarreal to keep up to date with all the latest goals and drama

  • Joshua Mbu

    VILLARREAL 0-0 MAN UTD

    41. Seconds after Lindelof had saved United with some alert covering of a cross from left, Van de Beek puts them back in danger.

    The Dutchman dives into a challenge just outside of his own penalty box, catche Estupinan on the ankle.

    It's a yellow card for Van de Beek, and a chance for Villarreal.

  • Joshua Mbu

    COVERING THE LITTLE RON

    Pregnant Georgina Rodriguez covered up her stomach with a huge coat as she posed for social media, writes JACK FIGG.

    The model and football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo are preparing for twins, having recently announced pregnancy.

    But still in the early stages Rodriguez covered up as she wrapped up in a massive winter coat.

    She has been dating Ronaldo since 2016 and already have one daughter together, Alana Martina.

  • Joshua Mbu

    VILLARREAL 0-0 MAN UTD

    5. It's an all-action beginning in Spain.

    At the other end, Moi Gomez takes advantage of Wan-Bissaka backing off, and bursts forward to get a shot away from 20 yards.

    The forward's low strike is smartly pushed out by a sprawling De Gea.

  • Joshua Mbu

    KICK-OFF NEARS

    Play will be underway in Spain shortly, and if you can't catch the game live, SunSport has you covered.

    A loss for United could put them in danger of finishing third, if results go against them elsewhere.

    You can follow our dedicated live match blog by clicking the link below.

    ⚽ Read our dedicated live match blog for Manchester United vs Villarreal to keep up to date with all the latest goals and drama

  • Joshua Mbu

    BREAKING: GAME ON

    Manchester United are reportedly in talks with former Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde to take charge as interim manager, writes ANTHONY CHAPMAN.

    The Guardian claims the tactician is already been asked about potential transfers in January.

    And United's board reckon he would be a great coach for Cristiano Ronaldo after working well with Lionel Messi at the Nou Camp.

    It's claimed Valverde has held talks with United sporting director John Murtough just days after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's sacking.

    Michael Carrick will lead the Red Devils in tonight's Champions League clash against Villarreal.

    But Valverde is now being lined up to take charge of United until a permanent hire is made next summer.

    The Spaniard managed Barca between 2017 and 2020, winning two LaLiga titles and one Copa del Rey.

  • Joshua Mbu

    RON TOP

    Cristiano Ronaldo has scored FIVE Champions League goals in four appearances for Man Utd.

    The 36-year-old has nine across all competitions this season.

  • Joshua Mbu

    NEXT FIVE

    Premier League leaders Chelsea are up next for United after tonight's Champions League tie.

  • Justin Lawrence

    RODGER THAT

    Former Liverpool ace Glen Johnson reckons Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers would be a good fit for Manchester United.

    Rodger’s has been heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford as a replacement for ex-United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

    However, Johnson isn’t sure if United’s big names such as Cristiano Ronaldo will want to take orders from the ex-Liverpool head coach.

    Johnson told Betting Odds: “Brendan would be a good fit but I don’t know how Brendan feels. He’s obviously not from Liverpool and whether Manchester United are struggling or not, they’re still a massive club so it would be hard for a ‘neutral’ manager to turn down”

    “I think Brendan plays good football and he would certainly get the players playing. But whether the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo buy into that and everything he’s going to do, I’m not so sure”

  • Justin Lawrence

    BEEK STREAK

    Donny van de Beek will finally get to start for Manchester United in their Champions League clash against Villarreal this evening.

    De Beek hardly got a look in under ex-United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who was sacked on the weekend.

    But Michael Carrick is willing to put his faith in the Dutchman in his first game as interim boss.

    1 De Gea; 29 Wan-Bissaka, 2 Lindelof, 5 Maguire, 27 Alex Telles; 39 McTominay, 17 Fred; 25 Sancho, 34 Van de Beek, 9 Martial; 7 Ronaldo.

  • Justin Lawrence

    PEP TALK

    Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola insists Mauricio Pochettino can be a success at Manchester United despite his lack of silverware.

    Paris Saint-Germain boss Poch has been linked with the United job after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was given the boot.

    However, critics have pointed to the Argentine's empty trophy cabinet to question whether he's the right man for the job.

    But Pep thinks trophies don't determine if a manager is world class or not.

    He said: “You can be a top manager and not win titles. The managers that have the chance to win the titles are at top, top clubs with good investments and exceptional players. Otherwise, for a manager, it is impossible to win.

    “That doesn’t mean the managers in the Championship or not in the top six of the Premier League cannot be excellent managers in tactics, communication, leading. It’s not necessary to win titles.”

  • Justin Lawrence

    HEND OF AN ERA

    Pundit Noel Whelan reckons Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson should follow Ole Gunnar Solskjaer out the club's exit.

    Solskjaer was sent packing by United's hierarchy on the weekend on Whelan thinks Henderson should consider a move too.

    Henderson wasn't getting much minutes on the pitch under Solskjaer and Whelan can't see that changing for now even if there's a new boss at United.

    Newcastle have expressed interest in the England stopper and Whelan thinks a move to Tyneside will suit both parties.

    He told Football Insider: “Newcastle might be worried about getting Henderson now that Solskjaer has left United.

    "But will his mind have changed? Probably not. I still think De Gea will be number one.

    "Henderson will be firmly fixed on playing regular football to get himself back into that England set-up, and Newcastle would be a brilliant move for him.”

    “He’d be number one at Newcastle, and that’s the responsibility he needs to start pushing and knocking down the door of Gareth Southgate.

    "De Gea’s a big name, hasn’t done a great deal wrong. I’m sure he’s not going to get in ahead of him even when a new manager comes in.”

  • Justin Lawrence

    NOT PARL OF THE PLAN

    Arsenal legend Ray Parlour has mocked Manchester United's interim boss Michael Carrick's decision to include Phil Jones in his squad to face Villarreal.

    Carrick takes charge of United for the first time since the club sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in tonight's Champions League clash against Villarreal, and Parlour's not impressed by his decision to bring Jones along.

    When informed of Jones's inclusion on talkSPORT, Parlour quipped: "Do you know what, I forgot Phil Jones was even there.

    "What’s he got to do, carry the bag or something? He’s not in the squad so what’s the point of taking him?

    "Is it just for training, I don’t know? He can’t be sub or play can he?’"

  • Justin Lawrence

    NO DEL

    Alessandro Del Piero says that Zinedine Zidane turned down the chance to manage Manchester United as he's taking a break from the demands of football.

    Being a manager consumes most of a boss' life and Zidane is enjoying his time off since quitting as Real Madrid head coach, according to Del Piero.

    But if the Frenchman doesn't want to return, Del Piero reckons he's a good fit for United.

    The Italian told Sky Sports: "I think he is taking some time off,

    "Last time I spoke with him, he explained how tough it is to become a coach. I’m approaching the coaching licence now as well so I see you have to be there in every aspect, to be on top of everything.

    "He told me how tough and demanding it is, in terms of timing, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

    "So he is probably taking some time off. But I don’t know. I see Zidane as a good fit for Manchester United. But I don’t know what they are looking for."

  • Justin Lawrence

    DEAL BREAKER 

    Manchester United must pay out millions in compensation to sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's backroom team – who have only just signed new deals.

    Solskjaer, 48, will receive a hefty £7.5million compensation package after his sacking on Sunday, although his backroom team have so far remained at the club.

    United now face another hefty bill if the backroom staff are given the boot, having only awarded them new long-term contracts just a few weeks ago.

    According to the Daily Mail, Mike Phelan was the first to sign a new contract last month, followed by several other members of Solskjaer's team.

    Carrick, now caretaker boss, penned fresh terms, as well as first-team coach Kieran McKenna and goalkeeping coach Richard Hartis.

    It remains to be seen if they have a future at the club, with a new permanent manager possibly wanting to bring in their own backroom team.

  • Justin Lawrence

    NO WORDS

    Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was lost for words when asked for his opinion on Manchester United's manager debacle.

    Ex-United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was given the sack on the weekend and the Red Devils have been linked with a string of names like Mauricio Pochettino and Zinedine Zidane.

    But when asked who he thinks will get the United vacant position, Klopp had nothing to say, insisting that the Red Devils were the last thing on his mind.

    He said: “Sorry, I’m really not prepared for that question. I didn’t think about Man Utd for a second and I didn’t think about what impact the manager has, should have or whatever.

    “It’s six years since I had to think about these kind of things, sorry. It was a long question and I don’t have an answer for that.”

  • Justin Lawrence

    MARK MY WORDS

    Manchester United legend Mark Hughes claims that the club are set on appointing Mauricio Pochettino – and has offered to become interim boss.

    Hughes, 58, however doubts whether Pochettino will quit PSG now.

    Speaking to talkSPORT, Hughes said: "I think for a long time United have coveted Pochettino.

    "Whether or not he's able to come to the club quickly, that's an issue for them.

    "There's a lot of people at United who have my number and I haven't had a call yet.

    "It’s a great position, one that a lot of managers would be very interested in, myself included."

  • Justin Lawrence

    LEO LET OFF 

    Lionel Messi refused to pile in on Cristiano Ronaldo's Manchester United struggles – instead reminiscing about their 'beautiful' rivalry.

    Ronaldo has just four Premier League goals this season, with three of those coming in his first two matches.

    But Messi would not stick the boot in on his long-term Ballon d'Or sparring partner and fellow Greatest Of All Time contender.

    Rather, he hailed him for settling back in at Old Trafford and looked back fondly on their tussles in Spain.

    The Argentine said: "Manchester United are a very strong team with great players.

    "Cristiano already knew the club, but that was in another stage and now he has adapted in an impressive way.

    "From the beginning, he has always scored goals and had no problems adapting.

    "It's been a long time since we stopped competing in the same league. We competed individually and as a team for the same goals.

    "It was a very beautiful period for us and also for the fans because they enjoyed it very much. It is a beautiful memory that will remain in the history of football."

    Source: Read Full Article