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Xavi admits he’s ‘still upset’ about Bayern defeat

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Xavi has admitted he is ‘still upset’ with Barcelona’s 2-0 defeat to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League due to how good his side’s performance was on the night.

La Blaugrana more than held their own for the majority of their Group C clash with Bayern at the Allianz Stadium, with two goals in the space of four second half minutes ultimately proving the difference between the two sides.

Speaking to the press ahead of Barca’s meeting with Elche at Camp Nou on Saturday, Xavi admitted that he is still lamenting the midweek defeat.

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“I’m still upset because when you look at the game and how we played, we need to win that game. It’s a shame. What we did in their stadium was to pick up the three points, not even a draw.

“When you look at what we missed, efficiency, it came down to details. Football is decided on details. We must learn from these mistakes. I’m still upset about it but that’s it.”

The Barcelona manager also spoke at length about his use of Ansu Fati so far this season. Fati has largely been limited to cameos off of the bench during the 2022/23 campaign to date, and Xavi has admitted that this is because of the young forward’s unfortunate injury record over the last few seasons.

He added: “We have a plan with him with a lot of precaution. We want to make sure he’s feeling good. We are taking things little by little. It’s perhaps my fault the way we are managing him. He’s making a difference.

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“He’s a very important player for us. His intensity and rhythm, maybe he needs to increase that a little. It’s a difficult situation to handle. The way we want to play, we need players to be 100% fit, but he’s doing things well.

“Sometimes he will play, something not. For better or worse it’s my decision. But I’ve decided that I need to take a lot of precaution and be prudent with him. I’m not going to do things quickly. We want to be cautious. It has nothing to do with physical or mental aspects. We have a specific plan.”



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EPL

RUMOUR: Man Utd could launch shock Pickford swoop as they consider letting De Gea go

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RUMOUR: Man Utd could launch shock Pickford swoop as they consider letting De Gea go

Manchester United may consider a shock bid for Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford in the midst of uncertainty encompassing David De Gea’s future, reports propose.

As per the Telegraph, United are not persuaded they need to broaden De Gea’s agreement, which runs out in June and procures him an astounding £350,000, and could allow him to go free of charge in June.

The Spanish shot-stopper, who was omitted from Luis Enrique’s Spain squad for the international break, suffered a poor start to the season with a raft of errors most notably at Brentford.

And United are also dealing with a high wage bill that reached a Premier League record of £384million last season.

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The Red Devils announced earlier this week that their salaries have increased by a whopping £61.6m from the previous year.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s return as well as Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane’s arrivals led to a 19.1 per cent increase in their salary bill as well as a net loss amounting to £115.5m.

United are assessing their long-term plans and a change between the sticks can’t be ruled out, even though De Gea, 31, has improved recently and has been integral in the last 11 years at Old Trafford.

That could bring England’s No1 Pickford, 28, into the frame come January.

The Everton shot stopper has various clubs carefully monitoring his situation as he will have just one year left on his Everton contract at the end of the season.

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The England international is also a homegrown player, which is very appealing to his suitors.

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Rob Page says Wales ‘will be in contact’ with LAFC regarding Gareth Bale’s World Cup fitness

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Wales boss Rob Page has revealed he’ll remain in close contact with LAFC regarding Gareth Bale’s fitness as the World Cup approaches.

Bale played the full 90 minutes as Wales lost 1-0 against Poland on Sunday in a result that confirmed their relegation from their UEFA Nations League group.

However, that’s the first time the 33-year-old has managed a full game at any level since March of this year, while he hasn’t gone 90 at club level since a La Liga match against Getafe for Real Madrid in April 2020.

Wales’ next game is their World Cup Group B opener against the United States on November 21. Before then, it’s vital Bale plays as many minutes as possible in the MLS regular season and Playoffs for LAFC.

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“They want Gareth available for them and we want him in the physical position for the first [World Cup] game against the USA. We will be in contact with them and make sure he is in the right place,” Page said of Bale’s situation at LAFC, where only two of the forward’s 11 appearances have been from the start.

“What he does from now until the first game, we will be in contact with the club and help manage those minutes. They are a good outfit, LA, so they will know exactly how to get him from where he is now to full fitness, which is 90 minutes week in, week out.”

LAFC are level on 64 points with the Philadelphia Union at the top of the overall MLS standings. The Black and Gold have just two more regular season games remaining – away to the Portland Timbers and at home against Nashville SC – before they begin their Playoffs run.

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Watch the story of Charlotte FC’s journey to MLS in 90min’s The Making of Charlotte FC, presented by DoorDash, on 90min channels now. Subscribe to our new US YouTube channel.



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Sir Alex Ferguson backed Eric Cantona to become Man Utd’s ‘President of Football’

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Manchester United legend Eric Cantona has revealed that Sir Alex Ferguson backed him to become the club’s ‘President of Football’, only for former CEO Ed Woodward to pour cold water on the concept.

Cantona, one of the Premier League’s first global icons after breaking away from the Football League, joined United from bitter rivals Leeds in 1992 and would go on to win four titles and two FA Cups with the Red Devils.

After retiring in 1997, Cantona coached France’s beach football team for 14 years, while he also had a brief stint as Director of Soccer for the reformed New York Cosmos.

But speaking to The Athletic, the Frenchman revealed he had other grand plans to return to football, insistent on helping out former club United.

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“Last year I proposed to the club to change their way,” Cantona said.

“Ed Woodward is great at marketing but not great at football. I think you have a chairman and should have a president of administration/marketing and then a president of football, who is in charge of all decisions in football.

“So I proposed to them to be ‘President of Football’.

“First I met Sir Alex Ferguson, to say this to him and know what he thought about it. And he thought it was a good idea.

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“He introduced me to Mr. Woodward…I met him a few times. But they did not accept it!

“I said to myself: ‘For five years I will put everything on hold and concentrate 100 per cent on that’. And if I concentrate 100 per cent on that, then I can tell you, I would do it very well; very, very, very well.

“They did not want me! The fans have to know that I went and travelled to Manchester to give them the opportunity to succeed in the next decades. And they did not want it.”

Cantona also asserted he did not want to accept an ambassadorial role with the club, adding: “I have the kind of personality that does not want to be an ambassador.

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“To be an ambassador of the club you have to do the promotion of the club. And me, well if I want to say something, I will say it. Most of the things I say are great things, but if I think something that the people from the club do not like, then I am [now] free to say it. As an ambassador, you cannot say these kind of things, so you lose your freedom.”



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