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Januzaj proud to wear Giggs’ no.11 shirt

Adnan Januzaj insists it was an honour to inherit the iconic no.11 shirt from Ryan Giggs, who he describes as his “godfather” at Manchester United.

Giggs hung up his boots in May and almost immediately stated his wish for somebody else to accept his famous jersey. That person was Januzaj, who was proud to accept the honour when approached in the summer and did not require a moment’s consideration.

“I was really happy to get the number of such a legend and it was a really big deal for me,” Adnan told ManUtd.com. “I went to the office and they asked me if I wanted the shirt. I wasn’t going to say no! Straight away I said ‘of course’ and I didn’t have to think about it. It was a ‘yes’ straight away.

“It feels different,” the 19-year-old continued. “Things have changed because it is a big responsibility to wear the no.11 shirt and having the number of a legend is really big. Ryan has helped me a lot and is like a godfather. He has told me to work hard on the training pitch and the rest is more personal. We talk about football a lot.”

Although Januzaj only played with Giggs for a single season, the fledgling Belgian believes 12 months was ample time to tap into the Welshman’s knowledge and expertise.

“I learned a lot from him and the experience was great. He was such a good player to watch and is my favourite player of all time at United. Could I imagine playing at 40? Of course, if I am still fit. You never lose your quality, that’s something I learned from him.”

Source: Manutd.com

Shaw feels De Gea and Courtois are world class

Luke Shaw says De Gea is world-class.

Luke Shaw feels David De Gea and Thibaut Courtois proved they are world-class goalkeepers during the 1-1 draw between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford.

The Reds’ left-back was impressed by his team-mate’s remarkable save to thwart Eden Hazard seconds before Didier Drogba headed the visitors in front from the resulting corner. However, Courtois also took the plaudits for some vital interventions, twice keeping out Robin van Persie before the Dutchman had the last laugh by rifling in a stoppage-time leveller, when the big Belgian spectacularly denied his countryman Marouane Fellaini.

De Gea and Courtois both proved their worth at Atletico Madrid and are showing why they are regarded as two of the best young shot-stoppers on the planet.

“If you look at David’s save just before their goal, it was a world-class stop and I think, in the past few weeks, with what he has been doing, it’s amazing to see him come into form like this now,” explained Shaw.

“We’ve seen what Courtois has done in the past six months, not just for Chelsea but before that [with Atletico] so we know what his qualities are and he’s proved to be a great buy for them.

“We had a lot of chances and, with him in goal, he helped them a lot. Robin had a few and I think it might have been Adnan [Januzaj] who had a shot as well.

“There were those chances but he’s a world-class goalie in their goal and he helped them a lot.”

Shaw was thrilled to experience the Old Trafford atmosphere at its most raucous as the late goal led to joyous scenes on the pitch and in the crowd.

“It’s a feeling I’ve never felt before,” he enthused. “The whole crowd got up and you saw how much it meant to all of us. We all jumped on each other!

“We spoke in the dressing room and we knew we could have got three points with the chances we had and maybe we could have done a bit better on their goal. But that’s football at the end of the day.”

Source: Manutd.com

Report: United 1 Chelsea 1

MANCHESTER UNITED   1

Van Persie 90

CHELSEA   1

Drogba 53

Robin van Persie’s injury-time equaliser rescued a point for Manchester United after Chelsea had been reduced to 10 men late on in a gripping encounter at Old Trafford.

The captain smashed the ball home in the 94th minute, just after Branislav Ivanovic had given away a free kick and been sent off for his second bookable offence. Angel Di Maria’s effort allowed Marouane Fellaini a shot, which Thibaut Courtois saved only for van Persie to drill emphatically home.

Van Persie had seen three earlier chances saved by Chelsea’s goalkeeper, and his heroics snatched a deserved point following Didier Drogba’s headed effort early in the second half.

Stirred by a raucous atmosphere, both sides had played at a high tempo for the opening minutes with a breakaway from Di Maria upping the ante after an early pair of Chelsea corners. The mercurial Argentine’s shooting was not as good as his on-the-ball skills, with two attempts flying high and wide before 10 minutes had gone by.

The visitors asserted themselves and forced a succession of corners, but David De Gea and his defence coped to quell the threat of Drogba in particular.

But despite Chelsea’s pressure, it was van Persie who came closest to breaking the deadlock around the 20-minute mark. Breaching the Chelsea back four, the Dutchman saw an angled low effort blocked by Courtois’ right leg, and seconds later his clever back-header was clutched from under the bar by the highly-rated Belgian goalkeeper.

Ivanovic’s claims for a penalty at the Stretford End, for what he felt was a shove, were ignored by referee Phil Dowd, and as tempers began to fray, Di Maria then stung Courtois’ palms with a curling free kick from the right.

United’s defence was bailed out twice in quick succession, firstly when the recalled Chris Smalling raced across to tackle Willian after Rojo had been caught in possession. De Gea then spared the Reds when Drogba was gifted a shooting chance as the keeper’s legs deflected his effort away.

Both sides exchanged chances early in the second half, Marouane Fellaini firing just wide and De Gea saving brilliantly to deny Eden Hazard. But slack defending at the resulting corner undid the Spaniard’s good work, with an unmarked Drogba nodding Chelsea ahead from close range.

James Wilson replaced Juan Mata as United sought a more direct approach with two up front, but it was Ivanovic who went close to grabbing another, rolling a shot across goal from an acute angle. United eventually forced Courtois into action when Shaw wriggled through to feed van Persie. But once again the Reds’ skipper saw an attempt on goal blocked by the Chelsea stopper’s legs, but at least the chance spurred his side on, with Wilson looping a header just over the bar within a minute.

And just as it looked like United would be frustrated, Ivanovic went in crudely on Di Maria and was shown his second yellow card. The Argentine chipped it goalwards, Fellaini’s shot was blocked, but van Persie pounced and Old Trafford erupted.

Courtesy: Manutd.com

Van Gaal and Mourinho focused on victory

Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho have played down the significance of their impending reunion at Old Trafford by insisting Sunday’s match between Manchester United and Chelsea is all about securing three points in the Barclays Premier League.

Mourinho was van Gaal’s assistant at Barcelona in the 1990s and has gone on to become a successful manager in his own right with a host of top European clubs. This weekend, the pair will meet in opposition dug-outs for just the second time following their duel in the 2010 Champions League final. Though neither manager could resist the temptation to speak positively about one another while addressing the media, both were keen to concentrate on the game and the challenges involved…

Van Gaal on Mourinho: “I don’t know him as a manager because I am never there. I know him as a person and as my assistant manager. Maybe you know that I am always a controversial person and a lot of media has written about that. I am a little bit iron, an iron shield. Everyone can write or speak about me and I cannot change that. It took a long time for me to understand that but I cannot change what you are writing about me. So I have learned not to react and to believe in myself, my players and staff. That’s important. When did I learn this? Since coming to England! Every human being reacts in his own way to what is said and you have to ask him why he reacts like he does, not me. We hardly speak to each other, only sometimes on SMS. When we see each other, we feel the warmth between us and our families, which is nice.”

Mourinho on van Gaal: “I’m not playing against Louis on Sunday, Chelsea are playing against United. During the match I have no time – and he has no time – to look around and see who the opposition manager is. Before the match and after the match he is one of my big friends in football and I will always be happy to see him. I’ve never hidden what I feel about him. He was important. He gave me a good opportunity to keep working at a high level. As a young coach to be working four consecutive years at a club like Barcelona – one with Mr [Bobby] Robson and three with Louis – was very important.”

Source: Manutd.com

Carrick eyes United return

In an interview with Manutd.comMichael Carrick insists he is over his injury “nightmare” and is ready to make his first Manchester United appearance of the season. 

The 33-year-old suffered ankle ligament damage on the same day Louis van Gaal arrived at the Aon Training Complex in July, forcing him to undergo surgery that has ruled him out for the first-team so far this term.

But, having sat on the bench for Monday’s 2-2 draw with West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns, Carrick is close to making his much-anticipated comeback and can’t wait to get back amongst the action with his team-mates.

“It’s your worst nightmare as a footballer to be out for so long and this is the longest I have ever been out,” the Reds veteran told ManUtd.com. “I have never really had to deal with big injuries before, so this was something new for me.

“The timing of the new manager coming in and me getting injured on that first day wasn’t ideal, but that is something that I have got over. I am back training now and looking forward to getting amongst the boys again, and becoming a footballer again!”

United’s next assignment, with or without Carrick, is against Chelsea on Sunday when Jose Mourinho’s pacesetters visit Old Trafford. Having watched the Blues’ start to the season, which has yielded 22 points from a possible 24, the midfielder knows the Reds face a difficult challenge.

“You can’t help but be impressed,” he says. “They have got a good balance at the moment and they look really strong at the back. They have a great back five, a good mix in midfield and going forward they look dangerous. Put all of that together and it makes a pretty decent team.

“That has shown in their results, which have been strong so far. That’s why they are sitting where they are. You have to respect them. You appreciate quality and you appreciate what they give. They have rightly been praised because the performances have warranted just that.”

While Chelsea have shown their collective strength in recent weeks, United can draw confidence from a number of impressive attacking performances and Carrick is adamant that his team-mates have nothing to fear on Sunday.

“We are confident, we go into any match confident that we can get the right result,” Michael added. “We are still learning each other’s games because it is a pretty new squad with news signings and a new manager. It is progressing in the right way, we feel we are improving all the time.

“We are getting better and there are good signs to show that if we stick at it then there are good times to come. We go into every match positive and we have certainly got the firepower to cause a lot of teams problems.”

Rafael counts on Old Trafford factor

Rafael believes Manchester United are beginning to bring that fortress feeling back to Old Trafford and hopes it’s a factor that will help the Reds when Chelsea are in town on Sunday.

Louis van Gaal’s men have won the last three matches on home soil against QPR, West Ham and Everton, netting eight goals in the process. A test against the unbeaten league leaders is something Rafael says everyone is looking forward to and he insists anything could happen on the day.

“Everyone is beatable. We have to do our best, of course. They are playing well. We’re playing at Old Trafford though and we’ve been getting results there so they are definitely beatable,” he told ManUtd.com.

On making Old Trafford a fortress again, the Brazilian added: “I think so – I feel that, we’ve been getting results here and have played some good football.

“Football is about results and, when you don’t play well and draw, like on Monday night, of course everyone will speak. But hopefully we can play well against Chelsea and, if we get the result, it would be very positive for us and the whole team.

“I’ve been involved in a lot of these [big] games. I love to play these games. They always have a great atmosphere. I’m sure Old Trafford will be very loud again. It will be hard because they are playing well. We just have to concentrate and do our best, and I hope we can get the result we want.”

Courtesy: Manutd.com

Shaw eyes Blues showdown

Luke Shaw is looking forward to pitting himself against Chelsea at Old Trafford on Sunday in the first big showdown of the 2014/15 campaign and “one of the biggest games in world football”.

The London-born left-back grew up watching Chelsea as a kid and comes from a family of Blues who will have a vested interest in Sunday’s game, and that merely heightens his determination to do well.

“Playing against Chelsea is a big thing in my family and among my friends because I was born around that area of London,” he told Inside United magazine. “I used to watch them when I was younger, which is something I’m sure people know by now.

“When I first played at Stamford Bridge with Southampton it was a bit of a surreal experience in a lot of ways because it was at a ground I’d visited as a kid.

“But playing against Chelsea with United at Old Trafford is a different proposition altogether. I’m really looking forward to it, especially with how big this fixture is. Everyone knows that United-Chelsea games are massive, so it’s something I’m really looking forward to.”

Chelsea have set the pace in the Barclays Premier League this season and Louis van Gaal described Jose Mourinho’s men as “another biscuit”, a Dutch phrase intended to imply that Chelsea are at another level to the opponents United have faced recently. It’s that step up in quality that adds to the appeal for Shaw.

“It’s a huge game – I think you can safely say it’s one of the biggest games in world football and there will be people everywhere watching it on TV,” added Shaw. “There aren’t many games that are bigger than this one and that’s why I’m really hoping to be a part of it. I want to show people what I can do in games like this.”

Source: Manutd.com

Rafael counts on Old Trafford factor

Rafael believes Manchester United are beginning to bring that fortress feeling back to Old Trafford and hopes it’s a factor that will help the Reds when Chelsea are in town on Sunday.

Louis van Gaal’s men have won the last three matches on home soil against QPR, West Ham and Everton, netting eight goals in the process. A test against the unbeaten league leaders is something Rafael says everyone is looking forward to and he insists anything could happen on the day.

“Everyone is beatable. We have to do our best, of course. They are playing well. We’re playing at Old Trafford though and we’ve been getting results there so they are definitely beatable,” he told ManUtd.com.

On making Old Trafford a fortress again, the Brazilian added: “I think so – I feel that, we’ve been getting results here and have played some good football.

“Football is about results and, when you don’t play well and draw, like on Monday night, of course everyone will speak. But hopefully we can play well against Chelsea and, if we get the result, it would be very positive for us and the whole team.

“I’ve been involved in a lot of these [big] games. I love to play these games. They always have a great atmosphere. I’m sure Old Trafford will be very loud again. It will be hard because they are playing well. We just have to concentrate and do our best, and I hope we can get the result we want.”

Courtesy: Manutd.com

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