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Team news vs Everton, Conti Cup, setting standards, transfer plans

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Manchester United are quickly back in action this week as they face Everton in a crunch Continental Cup group game, just days before a Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium.

United go into this one off the back of a thumping 5-0 win over Aston Villa in front of a club record crowd at Old Trafford. But they have struggled in the Conti Cup so far this season, failing to win either game or claim penalty shootout bonus points and now being at the mercy of results in other games.

Here is a roundup of all the key talking points as Skinner addressed the media on Tuesday.

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“No negatives. Everyone barring Aoife [Mannion] is available for selection.

“Aoife may be put into a squad in the next couple of games before Christmas. But obviously the big aim for her to train with the team fully and engage in games is after Christmas.

“It’s really positive at the moment. The medical team and the players are doing a great job of keeping everybody healthy.”

“We have to really define what rotation means. It’s not about just putting other people into the game. I’m putting international players into games…players that are hungry and training well. Because everyone is performing well, it’s really the hardest part of my job to pick this team.

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“It will be a balance, but I’ve got nothing but praise and admiration for the players that are coming in. I respect everything they are going to do within this game, so there will be rotation but not for the sake of it – it will be for the quality of it.

“It’s just natural when you have a three-game week for us to do that anyway. We will have our sole focus on trying to win the game tomorrow. [Manchester] City comes after that.

“It’s hard because it feels when you talk about rotation that these players are getting given a chance. That’s not the case at all…these players are top class players. It’s just that we are playing well.

“We did rotate towards the end of the Villa game because of the way we got ourselves ahead. But it was much more about if you deserve to be in this team. I’m not going to give anyone anything, they’ve got to deserve to play for Manchester United. Just because we have quality players on the bench doesn’t mean they get given any time, they have to earn it.”

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“The reality is the player we’re identifying in the next wave who are training and competing for contracts with the club are currently injured and not in contention for these games coming up. As we go into the New Year, they will be involved a lot more.

“In training week [before games], we often have the academy girls in with us as well so we’re constantly having that. [U21 head coach] Charlotte [Healy] is pretty much a full-time fixture with what we’re doing in the first-team so you can sense there is a real tight connection between us and the academy. It’s just now about growing them and exposing them at the right time.”

“When I watched the game back, the goals are excellent. But actually, there are moments when we go through [like] in the first minute of the second half – that’s got to be a goal. The ref made a mistake on the goal that Leah [Galton] should have scored and there were moments at the back when I felt we could have been a little tighter in the way we had given the ball away.

“It’s about knowing and balancing that. I’m happy with the result, I don’t want to be a grinch at Christmas time, but the reality is I have to set really high standards for these players because they expect them. We just need to keep focusing on what we need to do – two tough games this week and then Sheffield United next week before Christmas. I want to put three good performances in.”

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“What we’ve prepared ourselves for is to be part of the bigger games. Even if we win these games in the Conti Cup against Everton and Sheffield United, we’re still not guaranteed [to go through] because it will go on Aston Villa.

“What we need to do is make we can give ourselves a chance to win this group against a really good Everton team. We do focus game by game. It would be inexcusable to look past an Everton team that are so good.”

“We’re really positive. More importantly, I think we’re showing there’s a consistency there of a high level. Even when we win 5-0 we are not happy with the standards, in terms of there are moments when we want to be even better. I’m happy we’re edging away from complacency. I want to see extra focus from us and a really big push going into Christmas to put ourselves into contention.”

“We want to try and win the ball high and early and Everton have the quality to possess the ball for longer periods – they’re trying to almost lull you into a false sense of security so that they know when to jump and then play through your lines quickly. It’s about, at times, staying compact and allowing them to have the ball, and then knowing when you to jump and when to press.

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“I think just exacting a little more patience from us at times in this game. But then opening them up and being ruthless because that’s what I’m enjoying about the team so far this season.

“They’ve adapted their press slightly. There have been adaptations to their shape. We’ve looked at those and analysed it as well.

“I want to see the players come in and express themselves. I’ve asked for personality to be shown in the last few games against Arsenal, Chelsea and Aston Villa. I expect the same, for this team to show their personality with and without the ball, to try and destroy what Everton can bring, and bring everything we want and put that on Everton. If we get that tomorrow, I’ll be a happy coach.”

“I’m hoping not…I’m sure there is [potential for distraction]. There is a game in the way, so some people will focus on that, but if they take their eyes off [Everton] it might jeopardise them playing against Manchester City, so we have to put everything into winning this game.

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“We had to earn a 3-0 win [against Everton] earlier in the season and we have to win this game if we’re to have aspirations of getting out of this group and into the quarter-finals.”

“In every window, we will look to be present if the right people are available. We have been assessing since the summer and since before summer.

“We are aware of people’s contracts and we are aware of our targets. If the right people are there and it’s the right moment, we will, for sure, look at how we adapt and evolve our squad.

“We are not done [building the squad], I’ll be very clear on that. We are no way near done. We have to keep growing as a team, and keep growing our experience, but for sure add new players in going forward.”

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For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter!





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EPL

When did the Magpies last win a cup?

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Newcastle are planning for success at the highest level following the 2021 takeover by a consortium of the Saudi Public Investment Fund, PCP Capital Partners, and David and Jamie Reuben.

On-pitch fortunes have turned around pretty drastically since Mike Ashley’s departure, with Eddie Howe coming in as manager and the likes of Bruno Guimaraes, Sven Botman and Alexander Isak all arriving for big transfer fees.

The squad’s aim in the near future will be to break the trophy duck the club has endured for many years now. They’re well set in the 2022/23 Carabao Cup, but when was the last time the Magpies brought silverware back to Tyne and Wear?

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Newcastle have not won a domestic trophy since 1955. They did earn silverware in 2009/10 and 2016/17 for winning the Championship, while their European honours are the 1968/69 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, the Anglo-Italian Cup in 1973 and the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 2006.

The Inter-Cities Fairs Cup is naturally seen as a predecessor to the UEFA Cup and now Europa League, though the tournament itself did not fall under UEFA jurisdiction. As such, it is not seen as prestigious in the modern age, though Newcastle fans of a certain vintage will almost certainly disagree.

In 1955, the Magpies defeated Manchester City to win their sixth FA Cup. Strikes from Jackie Milburn, Bobby Mitchell and George Hannah gave them victory despite Bobby Johnstone’s equaliser in the verge of half time.

Newcastle have been a consistent feature in the top league in England since the club was founded in 1892. Four league titles and six FA Cups help make the Magpies the ninth-most decorated team with trophies in England.

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Newcastle have never won the League Cup, their closest run being a runners-up finish to Manchester City in 1975/76. They were beaten as strikes from Peter Barnes and Dennis Tueart made Alan Gowling’s equaliser redundant.

They have never won the Premier League in its current format, having come closest in 1995/96 and 1996/97 when they came second behind Manchester United on both occasions.

Newcastle came close to lifting the FA Cup on two occasions in the late 1990s, reaching the finals in 1998 and 1999. However, they came up against English giants Arsenal and Man Utd respectively and they couldn’t make the step up in either final.

Arsenal proved too strong in 1998 as strikes from Marc Overmars and Nicolas Anelka separated the two sides, while another 2-0 defeat came a year later when Teddy Sheringham and Paul Scholes downed Alan Shearer and co.

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Man Utd close to signing Marcel Sabitzer on loan from Bayern Munich

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Man Utd are close to signing Marcel Sabitzer from Bayern Munich on a loan deal until the end of the season, 90min has learned.

United have moved for Sabitzer on transfer deadline day following the news that Christian Eriksen will be out until late April or early May with an ankle injury sustained in the FA Cup win over Reading on Saturday.

The Dane’s injury leaves United light in the midfield department, with Donny van de Beek also out for the remainder of the season with an injury of his own.

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Sabitzer, 28, boarded a flight to Manchester from Munich on Tuesday evening after an agreement of a straight loan deal was largely fleshed out between the two clubs, and the player has also agreed personal terms. 90min reported earlier in the day that Sabitzer was “very excited” about the potential move to Old Trafford.

The club were not planning to move for a new player prior to the deadline, though the severity of Eriksen’s injury has convinced Erik ten Hag to push for United to act, as they chase a place in the Premier League’s top four and attempt to win their first trophy since 2017. They are currently competing on four fronts.

United have until 11pm GMT to push through the transfer before the deadline, though could request a short extension from the Premier League to complete the deal if necessary.

On this deadline day edition of TPL, Scott Saunders & Rob Blanchette discuss Man Utd’s move for Marcel Sabitzer. If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast, and subscribe on YouTube!

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EPL

List of titles in Magpies history as they chase Carabao Cup 2023

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Newcastle United fans are certainly enjoying their season so far as they fight it out for a place in the Champions League places, but things could get even better as they remain in the mix for a trophy.

The Magpies are in the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup and they have got a 1-0 lead over Southampton to take into the second leg. They are likely to be facing Manchester United should they reach the final, a team in direct competition with them for a top-four place.

When was the last time that Newcastle fans were able to cheer their team being the champions of something?

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The most recent time that Newcastle fans were able to celebrate a trophy was in 2017, although it was one that they wish they weren’t contesting in the first place. They got back into the Premier League by winning the Championship in the 2016/17 season.

You’ll have to be chatting to some of the much older Newcastle fans to here stories about Newcastle winning the FA Cup, though. Their last silverware recognised as a major trophy was back in 1969 when the Magpies lifted the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup – which is these days known as the Europa League.

Whilst Newcastle fans may be set for a lot more success in the near future, it is a very long time since their fans travelled down to Wembley en masse for a cup final. That was back in 1999 when they were beaten 2-0 by Manchester United in the FA Cup final.

That is why heading down for a potential Carabao Cup final would be a first for so many of the current Newcastle fan base and they would certainly be travelling in great numbers.

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For the League Cup itself, they have only been in that final one time before. That was in 1976 and it also ended in defeat, this time to Manchester City.

Newcastle have not exactly sailed through to the semi-final of the Carabao Cup. They needed a penalty shoot-out to knock out Crystal Palace before narrowly beating Bournemouth 1-0.

The quarter-final was more simple as they beat Leicester City 2-0, and a dramatic game in the semi-final first leg at St Mary’s ended 1-0. They are certainly the favourites to get through to the final with Southampton struggling for form.

The Saints have found a safe haven in the cup competitions but they will have their work cut out to turn it around at St James’ Park.

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Considering Manchester United beat Nottingham Forest 3-0 away from home in their semi-final first leg, you’d think that they are the team waiting for either Newcastle or Southampton at Wembley.



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