Manchester United's players must "be f***ing better" if they are to put last season's forgettable campaign behind them, according to their former striker Dimitar Berbatov.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men won only one of their final seven Premier League matches in 2018-19 to finish down in sixth place.

That terrible run started with a 2-1 loss to Wolves at Molineux in April, having also suffered a 2-0 defeat at the same ground in the FA Cup quarter-finals the previous month.

However, United started the new season in a positive manner with a 4-0 win against Chelsea last weekend and Berbatov hopes lessons have been learned ahead of Monday's return to Molineux.

"There's only one thing I'd like to see - a better performance than last season," he told the Daily Star. "The way we finished was disappointing.

"So, this season hopefully they can perform better. Not only one player but everybody as a group.

"They must say to themselves, 'OK, we need to be f***ing better'."

Including a penalties win over AC Milan, United enjoyed a clean sweep of victories during pre-season, with new signings Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James both impressing.

Berbatov, who spent four seasons at Old Trafford, wants to see that winning run continue in the Premier League.

"When I saw them [against Inter] in Singapore, what I saw impressed me," he said of the younger players in Solskjaer's squad. "But friendlies are different to Premier League games.

"Sometimes you play more freely in friendlies because there's no pressure. But when the season starts, the nerves start working. Negative thinking starts - but it needs to stop."

Paul Pogba could still join Real Madrid but he is not worth the reported €200million asking price, according to the Manchester United midfielder's brother.

Mathias Pogba, who plays in the fourth tier of Spanish football, thinks his younger sibling might yet leave Old Trafford despite United's apparent insistence on a huge sum.

The Premier League club reportedly want close to the world-record €222m fee that saw Neymar move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017.

United would not be able to sign a replacement as the transfer window has closed to English clubs, but Mathias advised Madrid to listen to the desires of head coach Zinedine Zidane.

"Zidane is one of the greats and I think that if the club give him what he wants he won't have a problem," Mathias told El Chiringuito.

"But if they don't give it to him, he's going to have a hard time because what he wants is not going to happen.

"Zidane is missing my brother and another midfielder on top of that, I think.

"Of course, Florentino [Perez, club president] can still bring him to Madrid, nothing is impossible. Until September 2, anything can happen."

However, he added: "My brother isn't worth €200m, but that's just the way the transfer market is these days.

"Manchester United are going to ask for a lot of money, I'm sure, but he's not worth €200m."

Madrid commence their LaLiga campaign away to Celta Vigo on Saturday.

Bernardo Silva believes Manchester City prodigy Phil Foden will rank among the world's best midfielders within two years.

A City academy graduate, the homegrown 19-year-old has lived with big expectations since breaking into City's first-team setup in the title-winning 2017-18 season.

Pep Guardiola used him 13 times in the Premier League last term and, in July, went so far as to describe Foden as the "most talented player" he has ever seen, ahead of Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.

Likewise, Portugal international Silva is "very excited" about the youngster's potential and expects him to make a rapid rise to the top of the game, so long as the pressure on his shoulders is carefully managed.

"I just think he's six years younger than me, but he's a huge, huge talent," Silva told the BBC.

"If he keeps working as hard as he does every day, because he does work very hard, and if his mentality is good - and he has that - [then in] one, two years he will be one of the best midfielders in the world.

"To go from the second team of Manchester City to the first one, it is a huge step.

"Me, I was from the second team at Benfica, to Monaco, then always growing, and then Manchester City.

"I don't know what kind of pressure he has, but he enjoys playing football so much and he loves what he does."

Foden, who is yet to win a senior England cap, made a 10-minute cameo off the bench in City's season-opening 5-0 win at West Ham, the 19th Premier League appearance of his career.

Silva added: "He will be successful because when you have a good mentality like he has and when you are good, because he's very good, it's a matter of time.

"Sometimes you need six more months, sometimes you need one more year, but sooner or later he will be one of the best."

Manchester United were made to wait but they got their man in Harry Maguire, who left Leicester City in an £80million deal.

The focus on the huge fee was then eased by the defender's excellent debut in a 4-0 win over Chelsea.

And United fans will be even more delighted to read reports Maguire turned down their city rivals and a massive contract offer in order to head to Old Trafford.

 

TOP STORY – CITY OFFERED MAGUIRE CONTRACT WORTH £70M

The Premier League transfer window has closed but the talk does not stop.

According to the Daily Star, England defender Maguire was offered £278,000 per week by City – worth £70m over five years – but opted instead to sign for United.

The deal would have made the former Leicester man the best paid defender in world football, whereas his contract at Old Trafford is said to be worth almost £100,000 less per week.

Maguire reportedly rejected the deal because he had already decided to join United – news that will only further endear him to Red Devils supporters.

ROUND-UP 

- United may not have needed to match City's Maguire offer, but the Daily Mail report Alexis Sanchez is on £560,000 per week, having opted for the red half of Manchester. These wages explain just why United have not been able to get rid of the Chilean in this transfer window. Neither Juventus, Inter nor Napoli can afford Sanchez.

- Meanwhile, details continue to emerge from Barcelona's meeting with Paris Saint-Germain regarding Neymar. According to Le Parisien, Arturo Vidal formed part of the Blaugrana's offer - but PSG were not impressed by a package including the former Bayern Munich man, Philippe Coutinho and less than €60m.

 

- While some of Europe's top clubs could yet make late moves, it appears Nice will be one of the busier outfits. L'Equipe believe they are looking to bring in both Jean-Kevin Augustin from RB Leipzig and Adam Ounas from Napoli. The former would cost €20m, while the latter deal would be a loan with an option for the same amount.

Tammy Abraham has no plans to give up taking penalties despite his miss for Chelsea in their UEFA Super Cup defeat to Liverpool.

The 21-year-old missed the only penalty in the shoot-out as Frank Lampard's men were edged 5-4 by Liverpool after a 2-2 draw in Istanbul on Wednesday.

But Abraham, who scored 26 goals for Aston Villa in the Championship last season, said he always had belief in his spot-kicks.

"I've scored a few. Unfortunately I missed one of the most important ones for Chelsea," he told UK newspapers.

"They say the top players always miss penalties and it's about how you react. I've just got to keep pushing myself.

"I'm always someone who believes in myself in penalties. I had a few last season and a few important ones. Unfortunately this was probably one of my most important ones I missed.

"It's about how I react and just get my head up. The boys have made it feel like nothing has even happened. It's a great bunch of boys now we've just got to focus on the game against Leicester [City]."

Despite the defeat, Chelsea's performance against Liverpool sparked optimism about their chances of success this season, having been thrashed 4-0 by Manchester United on Sunday.

Abraham hopes Lampard's side, who host Leicester on Sunday, can be title contenders in the Premier League.

"A lot of the boys see the way he wants us to play and we tried to play like that against Liverpool. We showed glimpses of what we can do," he said.

"We're a threat, we're good defensively and we can attack. We just have to build on it. The whole team fills me with confidence.

"Every training session, before every game, they always lift me. I just have to push on this season and hopefully we can be up there to fight for the title.

"We would have liked to win the final and at United but it is still early doors. There is still a long season ahead and we are still in big competitions as well. It's about how we react now. The points on Sunday will be massive for us."

Leicester City midfielder Andy King has joined Steven Gerrard's Rangers on loan, both clubs have announced.

King will spend the 2019-20 campaign with the Glasgow side having fallen out of favour with the Foxes.

The midfielder made 25 appearances as Leicester won the Premier League title in 2015-16 and he then helped Wales reach the Euro 2016 semi-finals.

King becomes Rangers' 10th signing of the transfer window, following players including Steven Davis, Brandon Barker and Sheyi Ojo to Ibrox.

The 30-year-old was present as Rangers beat Midtjylland on Thursday to reach the Europa League play-off round.

Gerrard's men will next take on Polish side Legia Warsaw for a place in the competition's group stage.

Manuel Pellegrini is happy to see Adrian making an immediate impact at Liverpool but would have liked to have kept the goalkeeper at West Ham.

Adrian left London Stadium as a free agent at the end of last season and signed for European champions Liverpool, replacing Simon Mignolet as Alisson's back-up.

But an injury to Alisson in the Premier League opener against Norwich City saw Adrian quickly thrust into the action at Anfield.

And on just his first start for Liverpool, the Spaniard proved their UEFA Super Cup final hero with a decisive penalty shoot-out save from Chelsea's Tammy Abraham on Wednesday.

Adrian had been restricted to cup appearances last season, with Lukasz Fabianski the West Ham number one, but Pellegrini still sought to keep the 32-year-old.

"I'm happy for him because he played a lot of years here at West Ham," Pellegrini told a news conference, reflecting on Adrian's display against Chelsea. "He's a very good goalkeeper.

"For different reasons, he couldn't find an arrangement to continue here. We wanted him here because not only is he a good goalkeeper, he's a good player for the squad also.

"He had some problems at the start of the season, so signing for Liverpool and having this performance, I'm very happy for him."

Adrian spent six years at West Ham, largely operating as the club's first choice prior to Fabianski's 2018 arrival.

The former Real Betis man is set to continue in the Liverpool goal against Southampton this weekend, with Alisson out for "the next few weeks" - as confirmed by Jurgen Klopp.

Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard pledged support to Tammy Abraham after he was subjected to online racist abuse after the UEFA Super Cup.

Liverpool beat Chelsea 5-4 on penalties after a 2-2 draw in Istanbul on Wednesday, with Abraham's effort in the shoot-out saved by stand-in goalkeeper Adrian.

Kick it Out later received reports of racism directed at the England international on social media, which the anti-discrimination body condemned as "disgusting".

England colleagues Rashford and Lingard have backed up their international team-mate.

"Keep your head held high @tammyabraham," Rashford posted on Twitter, referencing the reports of abuse.

"We've all had them saved, that’s football. We should be celebrating young English talent not this..."

Rashford's Manchester United colleague Lingard added: "Head up brother stand strong stand proud."

Abraham retweeted the messages from Rashford and Lingard but is yet to comment publicly on the alleged abuse, although he posted on Instagram about the game.

"Wasn't able to get my first trophy for the club but we fought hard until the end," Abraham said. "Love this team. Thanks for the warming messages."

Abraham's Chelsea team-mate Christian Pulisic, who impressed on his full debut for the Blues, backed the striker to bounce back from his penalty disappointment.

"We said to him, 'It's penalties, man – somebody has to miss'," Pulisic told Standard Sport. "He's going to get his head up. Obviously it's tough but penalties are like that.

"He can deal with it and he'll be fine. He'll move on, he'll score a goal in the next game and everything will be forgotten. We're there for him."

Frank Lampard's bid for a first Premier League victory in charge of Chelsea shifts to Stamford Bridge this weekend but a happy homecoming is far from guaranteed.

Why? Largely, because of Jamie Vardy.

The fast-moving, hard-pressing, all-action Leicester City striker is a nuisance the competition's best sides have often failed to contain over the past five years.

His record against England's big six of Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham and the two Manchester clubs makes for captivating reading.

But the Opta data on Vardy might just leave Blues boss Lampard - who saw his side beaten on penalties by Liverpool in the UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday - in a cold sweat ahead of Sunday's encounter.

More goals than Aguero

Marooned in non-league football not so long ago, Vardy is now a veteran of five Premier League campaigns.

The 32-year-old has scored 80 goals in that time - more than Eric Cantona achieved - and no fewer than 31 against the big six.

That impressive second figure becomes exceptional when you consider he has faced such opposition on 55 occasions, his goals arriving at a rate of one every 141.2 minutes.

Sergio Aguero and Harry Kane have each managed more than 20 against the competition's heavyweights but neither boasts as many as Vardy since 2014-15.

Factor in a modest supporting cast, occasionally weakened by departures to the teams he continually troubles, and the Foxes frontman seems to defy logic on big occasions.

How, then, are his scoring figures so high?

Staggering conversion rate the cornerstone of carnage

In short, Vardy simply performs better when faced with a tougher task.

Opta statistics show his 31 goals against the big six have come from 105 attempts on goal, spawning a shot conversion rate of 29.5 per cent.

For comparison, the former Fleetwood Town striker converts with 18.8 per cent of his shots when squaring off against the rest the Premier League has to offer.

That accounts for a difference of 10.7 per cent.

The discrepancy is remarkable, particularly as his expected goals (xG) figure barely changes: from 0.46 per 90 minutes against the big six to a superior 0.48 against the rest.

Take penalties out of the equation and the gap in Vardy's shot conversion between big-six opposition and the rest of the Premier League widens further, to a difference of 12.7 per cent (28 per cent versus 15.3 per cent).

Earlier this year, after Vardy moved ahead of Gary Lineker on Leicester's list of all-time top scorers, Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers described the fiery forward as being "very hungry to improve and get better" even in his post-England years.

Chelsea, you have been warned.

Arsenal head coach Unai Emery has demanded an improved performance from his players against Burnley, despite kicking off their Premier League campaign with a 1-0 win at Newcastle United last weekend.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang settled the contest with his goal just before the hour mark at St James' Park to get the Gunners off to a winning start.

Next up for Arsenal is the home match with Burnley on Saturday, and Emery has called for a better all-round display if his side are to make it two wins from two.

"We need to improve. We were happy with the three points and we played seriously, but I want to improve on each position for us," Emery said at Thursday's news conference. 

"We need to and can improve with the same players and other players who were out of that match. My idea is to be more competitive in each position.

"We worked very well that match, above all defensively we worked very compact. The balance, we must improve."

Arsenal matched their Premier League away clean sheet tally for the whole of last season with their shutout against Newcastle, but they struggled to create much going forward.

"The build-up needs to be better," Emery said. "We need better progress with our combinations and need to be safer each moment when we pass the ball between us.

"When we progress with the ball like a team we can find better positions and solutions in the attacking third.

"The clean sheet is important but the most important thing is to win. If we can win scoring a lot of goals, good. If we can have a clean sheet each match, it’s perfect."

New signings Dani Ceballos, Nicolas Pepe and Gabriel Martinelli made their debuts from the bench against Newcastle, while David Luiz was an unused substitute.

Emery remained coy on the possibility of any of those players starting against Burnley, with a late decision to be made on their involvement.

"Each player is different," he said. "After Newcastle and this week the players are working well. We can decide to choose different options in each position. Really I think we need to be competitive."

Emery added: "Pepe is training with us, improving with us, knowing us.

"He’s understanding our style little by little and physically getting better. He is more close to help us at the beginning of a match."

Emery also confirmed Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac returned to training this week after being given time off due to concerns over their safety.

Ozil's future has again been called into question this week following reports in the United States that his agent has met with DC United officials.

Emery was unwilling to comment on speculation surrounding the German midfielder, who struggled to hold down a starting spot last season.

"My focus, my direction is playing on Saturday," Emery said. "When we’re playing against Burnley, do you think I am thinking about if a player can leave here?"

Burnley will be without Chelsea loanee Danny Drinkwater for this weekend's clash as he is continuing to build up his fitness, while Robbie Brady is also absent with a rib injury, but Charlie Taylor will travel with the squad.

Former Arsenal winger Serge Gnabry has targeted Champions League glory with Bayern Munich after coming through an "up-and-down" spell in English football.

The 24-year-old was named Bayern's Player of the Year last season after playing a part in 15 Bundesliga goals.

That is in stark contrast to the form he showed during his time at Arsenal when restricted to 18 appearances in five years at the Emirates Stadium.

Gnabry also struggled to make an impact on loan with West Brom in 2015-16, but he is grateful for the opportunities given to him.

"Joining Arsenal may have been an extraordinary step for some, but not for me," he told DAZN. 

"If a club like Arsenal makes you an offer and says it wants you in the club - with a coach like Arsene Wenger, who was known to give young players a chance - that's a great opportunity. 

"I really wanted to take this opportunity. My time in England has shaped me, with all its ups and downs. I would do the same again."

Gnabry kickstarted his career in 2016 with a move to Werder Bremen and joined Bayern a year later for a reported €8million.

"The move away from Arsenal was because I did not want to line up again and only play in the cup a few times. So I said, 'Okay, I have to take a step back'," he added.

"In Bremen I got a lot of playing time. That's why I enjoyed playing football again."

Having played a big part in Bayern's league and cup double in 2018-19, Gnabry is eyeing up European success this time around.

"Now that I have won the championship and the cup with Bayern, I also want to win the Champions League," he said. "This is a dream that I and everyone in the team has.

"I'm satisfied with my playing time, that's the most important thing. Over time, I want to slip into a role where, at 24, I can help the boys who come up - the way I was helped."

Arsenal head coach Unai Emery is "100 per cent confident" Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac are mentally ready to return to action after being given time off due to concerns over their safety.

Ozil and Kolasinac were victims of an apparent attempted carjacking last month and missed the 1-0 win at Newcastle United on the opening weekend of the Premier League season, but they returned to training on Tuesday.

Footage of the incident showed Kolasinac confronting and scaring off two masked attackers who approached a vehicle driven by Ozil.

The duo featured in the 2-1 pre-season friendly defeat to Barcelona on August 4, but they were then ruled out indefinitely for "further security reasons".

However, both players are back in contention to play against Burnley on Saturday and Emery will make a late decision on whether to use them. Ozil may miss out through illness.

"They came back training with us on Tuesday. Mesut is a little sick so he couldn't train yesterday," Emery said at Friday's pre-match news conference.

"Each training session gives us good information, different options with them. Am I pleased to have them back? Of course.

"If they are training consistently each day with normal work I am going to decide and achieve the best solution each moment. It’s positive they are with us now.

"Are they ready? Yes, 100 per cent. Their mentality is focused on us, for training and the match.

"My focus is to be positive and think the players are 100 per cent with their mind here. I want to help them be normal with us, training, thinking and above all taking the focus for each match."

Two men were last week charged with a public order offence in connection with an incident outside Ozil's home, separate to the attempted carjacking. The two men were reportedly involved in an altercation with security staff.

Champions League winner Virgil van Dijk is joined by Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi and Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo on the three-man shortlist for UEFA's Player of the Year award.

Van Dijk played a vital role in Liverpool's successful European campaign, playing 12 times en route to lifting the trophy.

As well as the UEFA recognition, he is also expected to be a major contender for the 2019 Ballon d'Or, as is Messi.

Barcelona reached the semi-finals before being eliminated by Liverpool, but Messi still managed to enjoy a fine Champions League campaign.

The Argentina star scored 12 goals – including two against the Reds at Camp Nou – from 10 matches.

Ronaldo's inclusion is rather more surprising, given Juventus were eliminated by Ajax in the quarter-finals.

The Portugal attacker scored a respectable six times in nine matches, but that was an unspectacular impact compared to his 15-goal haul in 12 outings the season before.

The shortlist was selected by a jury of 80 coaches from clubs involved in the Champions League and Europa League group stages, plus 55 journalists from UEFA's 55 member associations.

One of the three players will be presented with the award on August 29, during the Champions League group stage draw ceremony.

Chelsea have launched a clampdown on ticket touts by taking legal action against 11 people, resulting in one being sent to prison.

The tout was locked up for six months for contempt of court in connection with an injunction.

All 11 of the touts have been ordered by Chelsea to pay the costs incurred, amounting to more than £170,000 in total, and have been banned from "loitering or waiting" near Stamford Bridge on matchdays.

Breaching the orders imposed  by the court can lead to sanctions, including prison sentences.

The undercover operation, in conjunction with Metropolitan Police, will run throughout the 2019-20 campaign in an attempt to deter others from selling on tickets at inflated prices.

"Ticket touting is known to have links to organised crime," Chelsea said in a statement. "The above action taken against touts operating around Stamford Bridge sends a strong message to others looking to engage in such criminal and anti-social behaviour.

"This football club will not tolerate touting and will continue to identify offenders and take further legal action through the courts to ensure that our club and the surrounding area are safe for our loyal supporters and visitors."

Rodri and Tanguy Ndombele made their Premier League debuts on the opening weekend of the new season and two of the division's biggest new arrivals will go head-to-head when Manchester City take on Tottenham.

Ndombele came to Tottenham's rescue against Aston Villa, his equaliser paving the way for a late Harry Kane double as Mauricio Pochettino's side came from behind to win 3-1.

Two-time defending champions City, meanwhile, had a far easier outing against West Ham – Raheem Sterling scoring a hat-trick in a 5-0 triumph, with club-record signing Rodri fitting straight into Pep Guardiola's engine room.

Now, the two midfielders will do battle on the pitch on Saturday, as two of the Premier League's elite clubs lock horns in Manchester.

 

CITY TO CONTINUE STERLING RECORD AGAINST SPURS?

Sterling was outstanding in the Premier League in the 2018-19 season, scoring 17 goals and providing 10 assists.

The 24-year-old thought he had sealed a magnificent Champions League victory over Pochettino's side back in April, only for his stoppage-time goal to be disallowed by VAR, though Phil Foden's header ensured City got their revenge in the league three days later.

England forward Sterling picked up where he left off with a sublime hat-trick against West Ham, with Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero also finding the net.

Sterling has been involved in six goals in his last six games for City against Spurs in all competitions (five goals and one assist), including netting four in his last three meetings with them at the Etihad.

City have won their last four Premier League games against Tottenham, who looked set to be frustrated by Villa in their opening fixture.

Spurs amassed 31 shots in total – more than any other Premier League side on matchday one – though it was through the unlikely source of Ndombele that Tottenham finally restored parity.

Kane did the rest, securing the points by striking twice. Though the England captain failed to score in any of his first 14 Premier League games in August, he has since netted in his last three top-flight outings in the month.

City, of course, have a deadly striker of their own. Aguero has scored 96 league goals at the Etihad - one more will see him go joint-third with Alan Shearer (St James' Park) for the most Premier League goals scored at a specific stadium.

HEAD TO HEAD: RODRI V TANGUY NDOMBELE

Tottenham are not known for spending big money on new players, but Pochettino received the backing his managerial efforts have deserved when chairman Daniel Levy paid up for France midfielder Ndombele.

Spurs paid Lyon a reported £55million (€62m) to secure the 22-year-old, who made an instant impact for his new employers.

City, meanwhile, brought in a club-record signing of their own, Rodri arriving from Atletico Madrid as Fernandinho's heir apparent for a cool sum of £62.8m (€70m). 

While Rodri will likely be tasked with shielding City's defence, Ndombele will almost certainly be given more freedom at Spurs, as was the case at the weekend.

Ndombele had two shots against Villa and created one chance. However, Rodri made more passes (72 to 55), with a passing accuracy of 90.3 per cent, with Ndombele managing an 83.5 per cent accuracy.

Tottenham's man made more tackles, though surprisingly it was Rodri who made more successful dribbles – three compared to Ndombele's zero.

Looking back on last season, Ndombele was more creative for Lyon, making 47 chances across 34 league games, compared to Rodri's 17 for Atleti. The former also had seven assists, while his Spanish counterpart managed just one, despite making 1,031 passes in the opposition’s half.

FORM GUIDE

City lost just once in pre-season – to Wolves on penalties – and after a shoot-out win over Liverpool in the Community Shield, hardly broke sweat against West Ham.

Guardiola's side remarkably won their last 14 league games of the campaign last season and the victory over West Ham means they are just three wins short of matching their record winning streak of 18 from 2017.

Spurs' season ended on a low note with their Champions League defeat to Liverpool, but they enjoyed notable wins over Juventus and Real Madrid in pre-season, as well as a shoot-out triumph against Bayern Munich.

Their opening fixture against Villa proved a tricky one but they eventually found a breakthrough. It was just their second win in their last six matches in the Premier League.

HISTORY SAYS...

Tottenham have taken just four points from their last nine Premier League visits to the Etihad Stadium, losing on seven occasions.

City, meanwhile, have not lost their opening home league match in a top-flight season since 1989-90 – they are unbeaten in 24 matches since that reverse against Southampton.

Spurs lost their last six away Premier League matches of the 2018-19 season. Not since 2000 have they lost seven in a row on the road.

Pochettino was, however, the first opposing manager to win away from home against Guardiola in a league match, doing so in February 2009 with Espanyol when Pep was in charge of Barcelona.

The only manager to win two away league games against Guardiola? Jose Mourinho, of course!

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