Monday Briefing: Six notes from United’s weekend
It’s a Bank Holiday in Manchester but we’re still beginning the week by rounding up the Reds news from the last 48 hours. There is only one place to start…
The weekend was dominated, of course, by Saturday evening's shock news of our former manager Sir Alex Ferguson suffering a brain haemorrhage and undergoing emergency surgery. His family have understandably requested privacy during his recovery period and in the meantime, the football world has rallied with an outpouring of support on social media, from United players past and present and from other luminaries in the beautiful game at large. For example, the former Milan, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti tweeted:
“Impatiently waiting for positive news. Thinking of you my dear friend.”
PL MANAGERS BACK OUR FORMER BOSS
Impatiently waiting for positive news. Thinking of you my dear friend. pic.twitter.com/P7pXNFHRWU— Carlo Ancelotti (@MrAncelotti) May 6, 2018
Four of our major Premier League rivals played on Sunday and each manager offered warm words for Sir Alex in their TV interviews. Arsene Wenger, who was the recipient of a special gift from the former Reds boss before United played Arsenal last week, said:
“I went to see him after that game and he looked in perfect shape. He's a strong and optimistic man. We wish him all the best and hope that he recovers quickly.”Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said:
“A big hug and our thoughts are with his wife Cathy and the Manchester United family.”Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said Sir Alex
“will be in my prayers 100 per cent”and Chelsea's Antonio Conte added:
“I'm very sad. I have had the possibility to know him and his wife and to understand that he is a special person. This news changed my day in a bad way. He has our best wishes to recover very soon.”
The weekend's Premier League fixtures have left Jose Mourinho's men needing the maximum of one more point to secure the runners-up spot, despite Friday's 1-0 defeat at Brighton & Hove Albion which guaranteed top-flight football for the hosts next season. Liverpool can no longer catch United after losing 1-0 at Chelsea, a result which boosts the Blues' bid of qualifying for the Champions League. Conte's team are now only two points behind fourth-placed Tottenham, who were beaten by an injury-time goal at West Brom. That surprise 1-0 win for the Baggies staved off relegation, at least until Swansea City and Southampton meet on Tuesday night, but Stoke City - with former Reds players Mame Biram Diouf, Darren Fletcher and Ryan Shawcross in their squad - will definitely go down after 10 years in the PL, following their home loss to Crystal Palace.
United youth coach Kieran McKenna praised his players for their efforts this season, after Saturday's 3-0 defeat to Chelsea in the Under-18 Premier League national final. The Reds are the northern champions and there was certainly no shame in losing to the winners of the southern division.
“Chelsea are the dominant side at this level and nobody has found a way to beat them this season in a competitive match,”said McKenna.
“I think we are getting closer though and in the first half we gave them as tough a game as they have had. We've had a good year and it has set us up nicely for next year.”
McKenna: A season to be proud ofVideo
Matty Willock enjoyed the best result among our on-loan Academy graduates, helping St Johnstone to thump Motherwell 5-1 away in the Scottish Premiership. The 21-year-old United midfielder played for 75 minutes and was involved in creating at least three goals, producing an assist for the second part of Steven MacLean's hat-trick. Reds goalkeeper Dean Henderson lost 1-0 with Shrewsbury at home to MK Dons in League One but will now look forward to a play-off semi-final against Charlton Athletic. Andreas Pereira was on the wrong end of the same scoreline with his loan club, albeit Valencia were away from home to Villarreal in La Liga.
Great result today the boys were on!🔥🔥🔥— Matty Willock (@mattywillock) May 5, 2018
Our former manager David Moyes is targeting two wins from West Ham United's two remaining matches, the first of which is against the Reds at the London Stadium this Thursday night (kick-off 19:45 BST). The Hammers, who impressively beat Leicester City 2-0 away at the weekend, will be mathematically safe from relegation if Swansea fail to beat Southampton on Tuesday.
“I feel as if I want to look up the table and win the last two games,”said Moyes, whose men are in 15th place, just below Brighton.