Luke Shaw (L) and Ander Herrera (C) will hope to play key roles in Louis van Gaal’s plans at Manchester United this season (Photo: Getty Images).
Manchester United’s year of redemption begins on Wednesday night as they kick off their preseason against the Los Angeles Galaxy at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena (live, FOX Sports 1, 10:30 p.m. ET).
After the disastrous 2013-14 campaign, wherein the then-defending champions slumped to seventh place in the Barclays Premier League, veteran manager Louis van Gaal has replaced David Moyes and will endeavor to bring the Red Devils back to the top.
Ahead of the match, FOX Soccer caught up with United’s two big summer signings, midfielder Ander Herrera and defender Luke Shaw, in the first one-on-one interviews with each player since their transfers.
First up is Ander Herrera, who came over from Athletic Bilbao:
Leander Schaerlaeckens: Ander, what made you want to join Manchester United?
Ander Herrera: “I am in Manchester United because this is maybe the biggest club in the world. Because Man United have given me the possibility to play at the highest level. I am looking forward to playing here because Louis van Gaal is one of the best coaches in the world.”
LS: Have you spoken to van Gaal? What is he expecting from you?
Ander Herrera: “I think that Louis van Gaal wants that all the midfielders to always want to keep the ball, keep possession, to be an offensive team, always want the ball, never… One moment, I am going to search in Internet! [Pause.] One moment… [Pause.] Hide! Never hide from the ball! Always attack, because he thinks Man United supporters want always to win and be an offensive team.”
The Red Devils attempted to sign Ander Herrera last summer but failed to complete the deal, with reports suggesting the transfer had been interfered with by pranksters pretending to act United’s behalf (Photo: Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images).
LS: Does he see you more as an attacking midfielder? Or more of a box-to-box guy?
Ander Herrera: “My qualities, my style is offensive. But I think that I can defend as well. I think that if we want to win, to achieve our objectives, we have to defend with all the team, all the players.”
LS: What is the most important thing United have to do this year to compete for the Premier League?
Ander Herrera: “We have to run like a humble team and be compact and work hard to be a good, professional team. I think Man United has a lot of qualities. If you defend hard, after you will be able to play like a big team.”
The road to the UEFA Champions League final is down to just four teams, with one of those clubs Chelsea FC from the Barclays Premier League.
Chelsea is set to play Atletico Madrid in the semifinals, but before then club manager Jose Mourinho sat down for a fan Q&A session with Chelsea Magazine. Chelsea FC granted FOX Sports early access before the magazine launched on Monday.
Here are Mourinho’s thoughts on defensive strategy, versatile players on the pitch, and Premier League play versus La Liga, and much more:
After handily taking down relegation-threatened Fulham on Saturday, Everton sit just four points shy of Arsenal for the coveted fourth Champions League spot.
With a game in a hand and a tie against the Gunners next week, things are looking up for Everton. So, what better way to celebrate than grabbing a nice cold one? That’s what Leighton Baines opted to do:
Yep, apparently Baines made a pit stop outside of Craven Cottage to snag a bit of ice cream.
It just goes to show that you’re never too old to chase down the ice cream man.
If Jose Mourinho is to be believed, the Portuguese manager shirked his usual pre-game team talk responsibility ahead of Chelsea’s impressive win against Manchester City on Monday.
Who stepped in, you ask? Apparently the team masseur, Billy McCulloch. We’re not sure what the Scottish assistant said, but apparently it worked for the Blues.
But McCulloch is more than just a Churchill-esque motivator. He’s also a wise-cracker.
Check the video above to see a compilation of McCulloch’s “gut-busting” jokes, some of which take more than a minute to get to the punchline. And let’s not ignore that maniacal laugh, which is probably funnier than half of his gags.
It’s wild to imagine Mourinho let a man seen sitting in a muddy trough, dressed in a baby bonnet(?), scarfing down crackers and getting smacked around by fish (6:34 in the video) give his team a pep talk before such an important game … but Mou works in mysterious ways.
The seething rivalry between Arsenal and Tottenham is one of fiercest in all of football.
Just four miles separate the stadiums of the two combatants, and such proximity breeds plenty of ill-will in the North London derby.
As an example, Arsenal’s Spanish winger Santi Cazorla (with Arsenal legend Robert Pires at his side) held up a sign expressing what Gunner fans believe of anything Spurs-related:
Image via @ZouMSS
Whoops. Not exactly a deft public-relations move. Cazorla was quick to apologize, but the damage was essentially done.
— Santi Cazorla (@19SCazorla)January 20, 2014
That excuse might hold as much water as a screen door, but for some reason we’ll give Cazorla and Pires the benefit of the doubt.
But we’re not sure Spurs fans and players will be so understanding.
(h/t Daily Mail)
Manchester United boss David Moyes has been spotted throughout Europe watching a number of teams in action eying up some of the continent’s best talent. Rumors circulating say that he’s keeping close tabs on Paris Saint-Germain star Lucas Moura and Napoli’s Marek Hamsik who would be important signings if United are to mount a credible title charge.
For this rumor and more transfer gossip, click here.
Most clubs have training ground challenges, but the players at Swansea have taken them to a new level with the punishment for losing.
Near the end of the last 2013, the team revealed the story behind their crossbar challenge:
The jeep started as just pink, but we can see now after more than a month of new crossbar challenge losers adding to it, it’s become one of the ugliest vehicles imaginable.
Defender Angel Rangel is the challenge’s most recent loser, and posted a photo to his Instagram page to show off his new wheels for the week.
Some of the additions? Neon-colored rims, purple and pink butterflies, and more. By the end of the season, this whip probably won’t even be street legal.
Chelsea appear to have been big admirers of Guarin for some time and it looks like they may finally be getting their man. The Stamford Bridge outfit don’t appear to be short on midfielders but with the Colombian’s instrumental performance in the Milan derby he could’ve just won over manager Jose Mourinho.
For this story and the rest of Tuesday’s transfer gossip, click here.
With the January transfer window nearing questions again are starting to emerge about Nani’s future at Manchester United. This time it’s Juventus who are linked with the tricky United winger, however under David Moyes, he has enjoyed a run of games in the side and might command a higher transfer fee. To follow this rumor and many more, click here.