Rooney backs United ti­tle bid

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

MANCH­ESTER — Manch­ester United have de­cided not to keep Radamel Fal­cao ( pic­tured) fol­low­ing the end of his sea­son­long loan from Monaco.

The Colom­bian, who missed Sun­day’s 0-0 draw with Hull be­cause of in­jury, scored just four goals in 29 matches.

United did not take up a re­ported £43.2m op­tion to buy the 29-year-old, who failed to net in his last 13 games.

“Fal­cao is a top pro­fes­sional and a good hu­man be­ing. I would like to wish him well for the fu­ture,” Van Gaal told the club’s web­site.

The for­mer Porto and Atletico Madrid striker’s last goal came against Le­ices­ter on 31 Jan­uary. The South Amer­i­can, who missed the 2014 World Cup af­ter suf­fer­ing a se­ri­ous knee in­jury in Jan­uary last year, made a point of wav­ing to the United fans when he was sub­sti­tuted in the 1-1 draw with Ar­se­nal on 17 May, in what proved to be his last ap­pear­ance. It is the first de­ci­sion in what is ex­pected to be a busy sum­mer for Van Gaal, who will look to re­shape a squad he has con­sis­tently said is not bal­anced.

And while the 63-year-old is ready to go on an ex­tended hol­i­day to Por­tu­gal, af­ter spend­ing most of last sum­mer guiding the Nether­lands to third place at the World Cup, he in­tends to re­main in touch with ex­ec­u­tive vice-chair­man Ed Wood­ward.

“I am the manager,” he said. “I have to de­cide which play­ers are to go and which have to come. That is a process. It is not so easy. It is wait­ing for clubs to agree or not.

“It is hard work, but more for Ed Wood­ward than me. I go on hol­i­day but I will al­ways be in con­tact.”

There was no up­date on the fu­ture of goal­keeper David de Gea, who missed the Hull game af­ter fail­ing to re­cover from a ham­string in­jury.

“He has to say some­thing, not I,” said Van Gaal when asked about the Spa­niard. — MANCH­ESTER — Wayne Rooney in­sists Manch­ester United will mount a se­ri­ous ti­tle chal­lenge next sea­son.

A dif­fi­cult first sea­son of the Louis van Gaal era ended with a some­what un­der­whelm­ing 0-0 draw at Hull on Sun­day.

De­spite a dis­ap­point­ing run of one win in their fi­nal six games, United achieved their aim of Cham­pi­ons League qual­i­fi­ca­tion - but Rooney is hun­gry for so much more.

The United skip­per is used to chal­leng­ing for ti­tles and that is what he wants to be do­ing next sea­son.

Van Gaal’s team fin­ished 17 points be­hind this year’s win­ners Chelsea, but Rooney in­sists the gap be­tween the two teams is ca­pa­ble of be­ing bridged, so long as the club make the right moves in the trans­fer mar­ket.

“I be­lieve we are (close),” the United cap­tain told Sky Sports.

“You take the first 10 games and I think we had 13 points.

“When you con­sider from af­ter that amount of games to where we’ve fin­ished, we’ve prob­a­bly got as many points af­ter that as any­one else.

“I think we’re close, there’s no doubt about it. You can see in our per­for­mances, we’re out­play­ing teams, dom­i­nat­ing pos­ses­sion, and it’s just that fi­nal thing of tak­ing our chances.

“In the (de­feat at) Chelsea, if I had scored that chance with my left foot then it could have been a com­pletely dif­fer­ent game and might have put them un­der a bit of pres­sure - it might have been a lot closer than it’s fin­ished.

“As a group of play­ers, my­self and the manager - we all be­lieve we’re close and I’m sure with a player or two in the sum­mer we’ll have a good chance of go­ing for the ti­tle.”

A quar­ter-fi­nal exit to Ar­se­nal in the FA Cup - the one tro­phy he is yet to win - re­mains a sore point for Rooney.

But given the tur­bu­lent times at Old Traf­ford over the last two years, Rooney is rea­son­ably sat­is­fied with the sea­son as a whole.

“There was a change of manager, coaches, and a lot of new play­ers com­ing in - so real­is­ti­cally we knew it was go­ing to be a tough ask for us to go and win the Pre­mier League,” the striker added.

“The least we wanted was a top-four fin­ish be­cause, af­ter last sea­son, for this foot­ball club it would’ve been a dis­as­ter if we didn’t make the top four.

“It would have been nice to win some sil­ver­ware - that’s why the Ar­se­nal de­feat in the cup was so dis­ap­point­ing - but in terms of the Pre­mier League the most vi­tal thing for us was get­ting in the top four.”

Ph i l Jones thinks United must start well next sea­son if they are to chal­lenge.

As Rooney pointed out, United had 13 points af­ter their open­ing 10 matches. That can­not hap­pen next year, Jones says.

“We need to start well next sea­son, for def­i­nite,” the de­fender said.

“We will go away and have a rest, re­cu­per­ate, think about the sea­son and how we have done, what we can im­prove on and we will come back ready to go again next sea­son.

“If we could have picked up three points in­stead of one in places like Sun­der­land and Burn­ley, then you give your­self a bet­ter chance.

“But that is the way the sea­son has gone and we are rea­son­ably sat­is­fied.”

Van Gaal heads to the Al­garve this week for a much-needed break.

He has al­ready started plan­ning for next sea­son. He held meet­ings with the play­ers he wants out of the club over the week­end.

One of them was Radamel Fal­cao, who has been told he can re­turn to Monaco af­ter scor­ing just four goals dur­ing his loan spell at Old Traf­ford.

United are des­per­ate to keep David de Gea away from Real Madrid, but should he leave, Vic­tor Valdes did his chances of re­plac­ing his com­pa­triot no harm on Sun­day.

“He was ter­rific,” Jones added. “He pulled off some won­der­ful saves. He is a great goal­keeper. He has very good English and he is good at com­mu­ni­cat­ing.” Mean­while, Jose Mour­inho told Chelsea sup­port­ers to pen­cil a date in their di­ary for an­other victory pa­rade next sea­son af­ter Mon­day’s open-top bus pro­ces­sion through west Lon­don.

The Blues lifted the Pre­mier League tro­phy fol­low­ing Sun­day’s 3-1 win over Sun­der­land and won the Cap­i­tal One Cup in March for Mour­inho’s first tro­phies of his sec­ond spell at the club.

Now the 52-year-old self-pro­claimed Spe­cial One has told Blues fans to ex­pect an­other cel­e­bra­tion next May.

Mour­inho said over the public ad­dress sys­tem: “Thank you for ev­ery­thing, for all your sup­port.

“Book an­other place for the pa­rade next sea­son. I hope we can give you that.”

Mour­inho then at­tempted to sing a Chelsea an­them, but ap­par­ently did not know the words. “Blue is the colour, la, la, la, la,” he sang. The de­part­ing Di­dier Drogba soaked up the ac­claim on the first of three buses which took Chelsea play­ers staff and owner Ro­man Abramovich from Stam­ford Bridge along Ful­ham Broad­way and King’s Road. The Euro­pean Youth League and FA Youth Cup-win­ning squad were also present.

The pa­rade, which took place in front of an es­ti­mated 70,000 peo­ple, many of whom threw cel­ery as part of a strange Chelsea tra­di­tion, paused at Eel Brook Com­mon be­fore re­turn­ing to Stam­ford Bridge.

Among the songs was one led by John Obi Mikel about Petr Cech, who has one year re­main­ing on his con­tract but has been linked with a move af­ter be­ing dis­placed af­ter 10 years as first-choice goal­keeper.

“Petr Cech we want you to stay,” sang Mikel.

Cech did not touch on his fu­ture when he ad­dressed the fans.

“We are all blue so we are all the same,” he said.

With Drogba go­ing and Cech pos­si­bly leav­ing, cap­tain John Terry could be the last sur­vivor of the 2004/05 squad which de­liv­ered Chelsea’s first ti­tle in 50 years.

Terry, who played ev­ery Pre­mier League minute this sea­son, has signed a new con­tract and wishes to stay on for some time, but knows the time will come when he must say good­bye, too.

The 34-year-old said: “It’s my best sea­son (and) I’m de­lighted to still be here.

“I’m go­ing to be sad to go, but one day it will come to an end.”

— Sport­inglife

Manch­ester United skip­per Wayne rooney

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