Bruno Fernandes has lifted the mood at Manchester United and will only continue to get better, according to Red Devils legend Ryan Giggs.

Portugal midfielder Fernandes finally completed a protracted move from Sporting CP to Old Trafford in the January transfer window.

The 25-year-old has made an instant impact for United and scored for a third straight game in Sunday's 1-1 draw against Everton.

Wales boss Giggs, who won 13 Premier League titles as part of a distinguished United career, hailed the impact Fernandes has made on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's squad.

"He's a fantastic player. He's lifted the place, he has lifted everyone around him and it's still early days," Giggs told Sky Sports News. 

"I still think he can get even better.

"He's hit the ground running which is what you want – especially [after] signing in the January Transfer Window [because] it doesn't always happen.

"But he's fantastic and I'm pleased to see him doing so well."

United are back in action at Derby County on Thursday in the FA Cup fifth round, with Wayne Rooney set to feature against his old club. 

Bruno Fernandes has lifted the mood at Manchester United and will only continue to get better, according to Red Devils legend Ryan Giggs.

Portugal midfielder Fernandes finally completed a protracted move from Sporting CP to Old Trafford in the January transfer window.

The 25-year-old has made an instant impact for United and scored for a third straight game in Sunday's 1-1 draw against Everton.

Wales boss Giggs, who won 13 Premier League titles as part of a distinguished United career, hailed the impact Fernandes has made on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's squad.

"He's a fantastic player. He's lifted the place, he has lifted everyone around him and it's still early days," Giggs told Sky Sports News. 

"I still think he can get even better.

"He's hit the ground running which is what you want – especially [after] signing in the January Transfer Window [because] it doesn't always happen.

"But he's fantastic and I'm pleased to see him doing so well."

United are back in action at Derby County on Thursday in the FA Cup fifth round, with Wayne Rooney set to feature against his old club. 

Neymar is reportedly becoming Barcelona's top target again ahead of next season.

The Brazil international was heavily linked with a return to the LaLiga giants ahead of this season, but ended up staying at Paris Saint-Germain.

However, Barca are ready to try to land the forward once more.

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR OBJECTIVE NUMBER ONE FOR BARCELONA

Neymar is Barcelona's top priority ahead of the 2020-21 season, according to Sport.

The cover of the Spanish sports daily reads: "Neymar objective number one".

It reports FIFA is also allowing Barcelona to negotiate more strongly with PSG than it did last year.

Neymar has scored 16 goals in 20 games in all competitions for PSG this season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Staying with PSG and L'Equipe reports the Ligue 1 giants will not release France star Kylian Mbappe, or any of their players including Neymar, to play at the Olympics.

- Harry Kane may be sidelined with a hamstring injury, but his career at Tottenham remains a talking point. The Telegraph reports the forward will consider his future with Spurs at the end of the season as they face another campaign without silverware.

- Jadon Sancho continues to star for Borussia Dortmund and the 19-year-old is already up to 17 goals in all competitions this season. Bild reports the asking price for the England international has risen to £122million (€140m), with Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea said to be interested in the attacker.

- Real Madrid, PSG and Chelsea have already made contact with the agent of Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, according to Italian journalist Nicolo Schira, who says they are ready to offer the 21-year-old an annual salary of €8m.

- Appearing set for a Barcelona exit at the end of the season, Ivan Rakitic recently met with Atletico Madrid representatives, according to Marca.

- With plenty of changes seemingly ahead at Camp Nou, Mundo Deportivo reports Barcelona are in regular contact with the agency of Ferran Torres, the 20-year-old attacker who has caught the eye at Valencia.

Derby County manager Phillip Cocu is aiming to utilise captain Wayne Rooney's knowledge of Manchester United when the two teams meet in the FA Cup fifth round on Thursday.

Rooney spent a hugely successful 13 years at Old Trafford, becoming the club’s all-time leading scorer before returning to Everton in 2017.

The former England skipper left Goodison Park to join MLS franchise DC United the following year, spending two seasons in the United States prior to linking up with Derby as a player-coach in January.

While it is three years since Rooney was at United, Cocu says Rooney’s long stay at United can only help the Rams as they target an upset at Pride Park.

"Of course, Wayne is very important, and maybe even more so in this game because he knows Manchester United like no-one else," he told reporters.

"He knows the players, the level of performance, what is needed in those big games. So yes, it will be extremely important for us on Thursday.

"I think it could be important for the rest of the team. He's used to the big games, he's used to the attention.

"So maybe it will only have a positive influence on his performance, I think. But if you're not used to playing these kind of games, it's better that the attention goes to more senior players and you just focus on your task and your job in the team."

Rooney will also have an input in Derby's pre-match preparations, as he has done ever since joining the club.

"We speak with Wayne before every game," Cocu added. "He joins in with the technical staff in preparation for games, to analyse the opponent, to select the clips we want to study.

"I always ask his opinion not only for this game because he obviously knows the club very well, but I think this is the way we work.

"He is a player that's the most important, and he wants to play, but he's also very involved in the team tactics and how we approach the game. So yes, we'll use that for this game, and we won't change that."

Marcus Rashford insists winning trophies with Manchester United is what counts as he admitted last season's stunning comeback at Paris Saint-Germain meant nothing as they failed to win the Champions League.

Rashford's injury-time penalty secured a 3-1 victory at Parc des Princes as United, shorn of several first-team players, became the first side in the competition's history to overturn a deficit of 2-0 or greater from a first leg at home as they progressed on away goals.

Despite the celebrations after that last-16 triumph, United were dispatched 4-0 across two legs by Barcelona in the quarter-finals as their 2018-19 season fizzled out to leave them without silverware or a Champions League return.

Rashford admits such victories ultimately matter little if there is no trophy to follow.

"We didn't go on to win the competition or reach the final," he told FourFourTwo. "So, in my mind, it doesn't stand for anything.

"We need to start showing signs that we can be the United of old. Football has changed a lot, so it's not going to be exactly the same, but we know the club can do it. It's been difficult, but it's a period of transition. As long as we stay focused, I don't see why we can't turn things around and really improve."

Rashford had been in fine form for United during manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's season of rebuilding until a serious back injury, which is likely to keep him out for several more weeks, brought his campaign to a halt.

The FA Cup and Europa League represent the Red Devils' best chances of lifting a trophy in 2019-20, with Liverpool running away in the Premier League title race and Manchester City having claimed the EFL Cup.

Rashford is desperate to end a three-year wait for a title of any kind, even if his longer-term ambitions are a little higher than domestic cups.

Asked about his hopes, he said: "To win the World Cup, and for Man United to win the Champions League.

"As long as the team is successful and we get back to winning titles and trophies, that's the main thing for me."

Aside from prizes, Rashford also plans to go down in history as one of the great players to represent United from academy to senior side.

"That's always the aim," he said. "You grow up around so many people who have that United legend status that it becomes part of your dream.

"When you dream of playing for Man United, you don't only dream of making your debut; you dream of being like [David] Beckham, [Paul] Scholes and [Ryan] Giggs. It's part of the dream as an academy lad."

Lautaro Martinez is a wanted man and his future could become clearer.

The Inter star has dazzled in Italy this season, alongside team-mate Romelu Lukaku.

And Barcelona are reportedly keen to tie up a deal for the Argentina international.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA TABLE MARTINEZ BID

Barcelona have made their first offer to Inter for star forward Lautaro Martinez, according to FCInterNews.it.

Martinez has reportedly been identified as a long-term replacement for Barca veteran Luis Suarez, while the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester City and Manchester United are interested.

According to the report, LaLiga champions Barca have tabled a €70m bid for Martinez plus two players – Arturo Vidal and Nelson Semedo.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Telegraph says United are favourites to sign Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho at the end of the season. Liverpool and Chelsea have also been linked with moves for the 19-year-old.

Athletic Bilbao are interested in Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain, reports Marca. Bilbao have a Basque-only transfer policy, however, Argentina international Higuain qualifies due to the Basque-French origin of his grandfather.

- Amid doubts over Martinez's future in Milan, Calciomercato says Inter are eyeing Atalanta forward Duvan Zapata.

- According to Goal, Manchester City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo is considering a move to MLS outfit and sister club New York City. The 36-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic faces an uncertain future at Milan amid doubts over directors Zvonimir Boban and Paolo Maldini, claims Tuttosport. Boban and Maldini had reportedly been seeking to extend Ibrahimovic's contract until 2021 but the pair are reportedly set to leave San Siro following a row with Elliott Management.

Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke does not believe Jadon Sancho wants to leave the Bundesliga outfit amid growing links to Manchester United.

United are reportedly frontrunners to sign Dortmund star and England international Sancho at the end of the season, while Premier League leaders Liverpool and Chelsea are also interested.

As speculation mounts over Sancho's future, Watzke – who admitted it is "not clear what will happen" – insisted Dortmund have enough money to turn down big-money offers for the 19-year-old attacker.

"I think he has the feeling that the club does have a good future," Watzke told BBC Sport. "In my opinion, I don't think he wants to leave."

"It's not a question of money," said Watzke. "For us, it would be the best position if he stays at Borussia Dortmund.

"We have enough money. We want to have titles. I think this team has a lot more potential with Jadon than without Jadon."

Watzke added: "We have a very confidential relationship between us and him and his agents. We will discuss it."

Sancho left Manchester City for Dortmund in 2017 and the Englishman has established himself as one of the most exciting players in Europe.

The teenager has scored 14 goals and supplied as many assists for Dortmund in the Bundesliga this season.

Sancho has netted 17 goals across all competitions in 2019-20.

Carlo Ancelotti has been charged with misconduct by the Football Association (FA) after being sent off following Everton's draw with Manchester United.

The Toffees boss was seen remonstrating with referee Chris Kavanagh at full-time of the 1-1 draw at Goodison Park on Sunday, leading to the official brandishing a red card.

Ancelotti was angered by the decision to rule out a late Dominic Calvert-Lewin goal, which was chalked off following a VAR review as Gylfi Sigurdsson was lying on the floor in front of United goalkeeper David de Gea when in an offside position.

Former Chelsea boss Ancelotti will reportedly avoid a touchline ban if he accepts the charge, for which he has until Thursday to respond.

An FA statement read: "Carlo Ancelotti has been charged with misconduct for a breach of FA Rule E3.

"It is alleged that the Everton FC manager's language and/or behaviour on the field of play at the end of the Premier League fixture against Manchester United FC on Sunday 1 March 2020 amounts to improper conduct.

"He has until Thursday 5 March 2020 to provide a response."

Speaking after the game, Ancelotti insisted he had not been disrespectful towards Kavanagh.

"I asked for an explanation after the game. There was a misunderstanding on the pitch and he sent me off," Ancelotti said.

"After that I spoke with him calmly in the dressing room. I want to keep our conversation private and now he will make a report for the FA and we will see.

"I didn't disrespect him, but I can understand because, for the referee, there were a lot of important decisions at the end of the game. But I didn't disrespect him.

"It was a difficult decision because they checked the position of Gylfi, and it was offside, but in our opinion it didn't affect the vision of the goalkeeper. In their opinion it affected the vision and movement of the goalkeeper."

David de Gea is no stranger to scrutiny at Old Trafford.

There were serious concerns over De Gea when he was lured to Manchester United by former boss Alex Ferguson as a lean 20-year-old goalkeeper in 2011.

De Gea, though, answered questions about his physique – the Spaniard repaying Ferguson's faith and going on to win a Premier League title, as well as FA Cup, Europa League, EFL Cup and Community Shield silverware.

He cemented himself as one of the world's best keepers. However, those concerns have emerged again and they are growing louder following his latest mistake in Sunday's 1-1 draw away to Everton.

De Gea's attempted clearance was blocked by Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin into the net in just the third minute. United manager to salvage a point, but those errors are occurring more frequently.

Unlike previous seasons, De Gea has serious competition in the form of Dean Henderson – who is excelling on loan at Sheffield United in England's top flight.

England youth international Henderson is widely viewed as the future of United, but the 22-year-old is reportedly unwilling to return to Manchester next season unless he is the number one.

So, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a decision to make. Stick with De Gea or cash-in on the rumoured Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus target, while turning to Henderson?

Using Opta stats, we compare the form of De Gea and counterpart Henderson in the Premier League this season.

 

Games played
De Gea: 28
Henderson: 26

Shots Faced (inc. blocks)
De Gea: 297
Henderson: 295

Goals Conceded
De Gea: 30
Henderson: 22

Clean Sheets
De Gea: 7
Henderson: 9

Saves
De Gea: 72
Henderson: 66

Saves (from inside the box)
De Gea: 44
Henderson: 39

Saves (from outside the box)
De Gea: 28
Henderson: 25

Save Percentage
De Gea: 70.59
Henderson: 74.42

Clearances (inc. Punches)
De Gea: 12
Henderson: 20

Goals Conceded (in box)
De Gea: 26
Henderson: 21

Goals Conceded (out box)
De Gea: 4
Henderson: 1

Errors Leading to Goals
De Gea: 3
Henderson: 1

Errors Leading to Shots (inc. goals)
De Gea: 4
Henderson: 1

Drops
De Gea: 1
Henderson: 3

#POGBACK?

That was the hashtag used for Paul Pogba's high-profile return to Manchester Untied from Juventus in 2016 – a world-record transfer at the time.

The hashtag could be recycled as Pogba reportedly nears a return to Turin.

 

TOP STORY – JUVE 'FAR AHEAD' FOR POGBA

Juventus have stepped up their interest in wantaway Manchester United star Paul Pogba, according to Tuttosport.

The reports says Juve are already "far ahead" with Pogba in terms of contract talks as the Serie A champions look to start negotiating with United.

Pogba – valued at €100m (£86m) – left Juve for United in 2016 and the French midfielder has also been linked to Real Madrid.

 

ROUND-UP

- Calciomercato claims Arsenal are eyeing Sassuolo forward Domenico Berardi as star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang continues to be linked with an exit via Barcelona.

Milan remain interested in Juventus' Federico Bernardeschi despite failing to sign the Italy international in January, says Calciomercato.

Dries Mertens has been linked to Inter and Chelsea but the soon-to-be free agent is set to sign a new two-year deal at Napoli, according to widespread reports in Italy.

- According to La Gazzetta dello Sport journalist Nicolo Schira, Arsenal are working on extending Bukayo Saka's contract until 2025. The 18-year-old has been linked to the likes of Liverpool and United.

United are plotting a move for Stoke City's 18-year-old defender Nathan Collins, says The Sun.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer backed David de Gea following his howler against Everton and claimed a 1-1 draw was the right outcome, despite some late VAR drama at Goodison Park.

De Gea dithered on the ball for too long and was closed down by Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who stuck out a leg to divert the ball into an empty net inside the opening three minutes.

Bruno Fernandes hit back for United in Sunday's Premier League clash with his third goal in as many games, and United were thankful for the technology as they earned a point.

Calvert-Lewin's 92nd-minute strike deflected in off Harry Maguire but an offside Gylfi Sigurdsson, denied by a fine De Gea save just beforehand, was adjudged to have interfered with play.

Solskjaer praised De Gea for making the initial save and felt United were good value for a point, with Jordan Pickford also making a double save to keep out Fernandes and substitute Odion Ighalo.

"It was a lively end to the game - we thought we could and should have won it and then it was drama at the other end," he told BBC Sport. 

"David told me he gets distracted because [Sigurdsson] is there. His save to his right was fantastic - I was 100 per cent sure that would be a goal.

"Their opening goal is something that happens in football once in a while if you take too long on the ball. 

"Calvert-Lewin always chases everything and it's unfortunate that it goes in the goal. We responded and got the goal we deserved.

"One point each is what both teams deserve. We had the first half and they had the second."

Solskjaer was also pleased with the character shown by his players to respond to the early setback and extend their unbeaten run in all competitions to eight matches.

.

"It's a strange feeling, really," he said at his post-match news conference. "Of course, the start was the worst possible one and you might start to think here we go again.

"But then the reaction after that was fantastic. We played really well, got the goal we deserved, created chances, played in their half, and then we stopped playing again."

Fernandes' goal was his third in a row for United, adding to the penalties scored in the wins over Watford and Club Brugge, but the January signing is confident he can still improve.

"In the second half we created a lot of chances and the last minutes we had some chances to score and the last one with Ighalo if he scores there now we are talking about a different situation," he told MUTV.

"Also I had some shots outside of the box and I can do much better, but obviously the game goes like this.

"You are never happy when you don't win a game but obviously the game was really difficult and I think one point can be good, but three points would be much better."

David de Gea has played himself back into form in the past few weeks, but Sunday was something of a mixed bag for Manchester United's number one.

In only the third minute, he dithered over a kick for so long that, when he finally tried to send the ball forward, Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin was able to block it into the United net.

De Gea did go some way towards making amends, saving well low to his left two minutes later to stop Calvert-Lewin scoring a second before producing a brilliant block with his leg to deny Gylfi Sigurdsson in the dying moments. That save earned a slice of luck, with Calvert-Lewin then seeing a potential winner disallowed for offside.

Still, United fans could argue De Gea cost them a victory, and the Spain international has now made seven errors leading to Premier League goals since the start of last season*. No goalkeeper has been responsible for more.

In fact, during the relative wilderness of the post-Alex Ferguson years, De Gea has committed 10 mistakes leading to league goals, which is not a brilliant statistic for a man who has won United's player of the year award four times since Fergie retired in 2013.

However, as you will see below, De Gea is far from the top of the list of erring goalkeepers since the start of 2013-14...

THE MOST ERRORS LEADING TO GOALS BY GOALKEEPERS IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE SINCE THE START OF 2013-14

Asmir Begovic: 18
Hugo Lloris: 17
Simon Mignolet: 14
Lukasz Fabianski: 12
Jordan Pickford: 12
Joe Hart: 12
Petr Cech: 11
David de Gea: 10
Brad Guzan: 10
Artur Boruc: 10

*For context, Opta define an 'error' as a mistake from a player that leads to a shot or a goal. For goalkeepers, the definition is extended to 'spills and attempted claims or saves by a goalkeeper which directly leads to a second attempt to score'.

Everton forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin was in disbelief at the officials' decision to rule out his late goal against Manchester United through a contentious VAR call.

Sunday's Premier League clash at Goodison Park was poised at 1-1 when Calvert-Lewin's shot deflected off Harry Maguire and beat David de Gea at his near post in the 92nd minute.

But Everton's celebrations were cut short as the technology adjudged Gylfi Sigurdsson, who was lying on the floor in an offside position, had interfered with play when moving to allow the ball to go past him and into the net.

However, Calvert-Lewin insisted De Gea - who denied Sigurdsson with a fine save moments beforehand - was never going to keep out the shot anyway and the goal should therefore have stood.

Watching the incident back on a monitor in the tunnel, he told Sky Sports: "That is a disaster! Oh my gosh. He's not even obstructing the line of sight.

"In the moment, I wasn't sure. Seeing it back I think Gylfi on the floor doesn't obstruct the line of sight.

"Fair enough, he's in an offside position but then it takes a deflection, the keeper is going the other way and he's got his legs out of the way. 

"The keeper is never going to save the ball so I'm not sure what it is. 

"For me, as a striker, I think it's a goal but VAR says otherwise and cancels out the emotion at the end. What can you do?"

Calvert-Lewin had earlier profited from a De Gea error to give Everton the lead inside 160 seconds, but Bruno Fernandes caught out Jordan Pickford with a long-ranger to level up.

Both Pickford and De Gea redeemed themselves with impressive second-half saves, though the big talking point came right at the end when the hosts were denied a likely winner.

And Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti, shown a red card after the full-time whistle for protesting the decision, was also unsure why the goal was chalked off.

"Sigurdsson was offside but, in our opinion, it didn't affect the vision of the goalkeeper," he said at his post-match news conference.

"I asked for an explanation after the game. There was a misunderstanding and I was sent off. I spoke to the referee after the game, but that will remain private.

"I didn't disrespect him. We will see. It was a difficult decision."

Bruno Fernandes scored for a third game running as Manchester United recovered from an early David de Gea error and survived a controversial late VAR call to draw 1-1 with Everton in Sunday's Premier League clash.

United were seeking a third top-flight win on the bounce for the first time since January 2019, but in the end they were grateful for a point in a fiery game at Goodison Park that saw Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti shown a red card after the final whistle.

Fernandes got the better of Jordan Pickford with a long-range effort to cancel out Dominic Calvert-Lewin's opener, the in-form forward profiting from a poor De Gea clearance inside the opening 160 seconds.

Everton hit the post in the second half and thought they had won the contest in the second minute of added time when Calvert-Lewin's shot deflected in off Harry Maguire, but it was ruled out for offside by VAR and Ancelotti was shown a red for his protests.

Odion Ighalo has vowed to seize his opportunity to impress with Manchester United, stating "I will give my blood" to make the most of his time with the club.

Signed on deadline day in January on loan from Shanghai Shenhua until the end of the season, the 30-year-old striker has already made an impact for the Red Devils.

Having appeared as a substitute in Premier League wins over Chelsea and Watford, Ighalo marked his first start for United with his first goal in Thursday's 5-0 defeat of Club Brugge at Old Trafford in the second leg of the Europa League last-32 tie.

The Nigerian is likely to be involved in Sunday's game against Everton, with Marcus Rashford still sidelined with a back injury and Anthony Martial facing a late fitness test on the muscle problem that kept him out of the Brugge game.

Ighalo, who has enjoyed his short time with United so far, has promised to give his all if he is handed another chance in the team.

"Of course. This is what I am working for. This is what I dream of and what I dreamt of when I was a kid. Now it is in my hands, so I have to fight for it. I will give my blood to get it," he told United's website.

"I am still working hard in every training session and doing some extra to make sure I get up to the level. When I'm called upon, I will give my best."

He continued: "It's been great here. The lads are all great guys. It's a happy dressing room. The coach and everyone around the club make me feel at home. I'm really enjoying my time here.

"We have quality players in the team. Martial is on fire, scoring goals. Bruno [Fernandes] is doing well, [Daniel] James too, everybody from the goalkeeper to the top is working really hard. So, I think this is very good for the team. We need to keep the momentum going and keep winning games and fighting in every match, to make sure we get our objectives at the end of the season."

Ighalo, who expects "a tough game" against Everton, got a goal on his Premier League debut for Watford at Goodison Park back in 2015.

"It was 2-2 and I played my first game in the Premier League – and scored a goal! I was happy," he recalled. "If I have the opportunity to go back again there, it will be very good.

"Every game, from now on, is going to be tough for United because it's the second half of the season.

"Some teams are fighting to stay in the league, some are fighting to go to the Champions League and some into Europe. Every game is going to be tough from now on. But this team is a big team. We have what it takes to win games, to win games home and away."

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