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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer explains how win over Brighton was like the old Man Utd

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer claimed his Manchester United were a “joy to watch” after Bruno Fernandes inspired a stunning win at Brighton.

The Portuguese star netted in each half after Mason Greenwood's opener to lift the Reds into fifth place in the Premier League.

And man-of-the-match Fernandes' second goal was a spectacular counterattack reminiscent of Cristiano Ronaldo's strike against Arsenal in the 2009 Champions League semi-final.

“It's a joy to watch them when you see them express themselves like that,” said United boss Solskjaer.

“The boys played some exceptional stuff. They have reason to be confident because they are playing fantastically.

"There is quality in that team, our players are fit and we have competition for places now."

Solskjaer added: "The third goal was a great team goal.

"To see so many players sprinting forward to get on the end of it was fantastic. A great finish by Bruno Fernandes.

“We know that Manchester United throughout history has always had pacey players who want to attack quickly and we have shown that today.

"I've got more than one game-changer, we have some top players and Bruno has come and been fantastic. He has brought that winning mentality with him, that 99% is not good enough – it has to be 100%."

Solskjaer also praised Pogba after the midfielder continued his return from injury, saying: "Paul Pogba was top. He got hold of the ball, sprayed it, won headers. He's just going to get better and better."

Greenwood opened the scoring with his 13th goal of the season, and Solskjaer described the striker as "a special talent we have to nuture".

The manager said: “He is a special talent, a special kid we are going to look after and try to develop into a top, top player.

“He has got things to learn. He knows that. But we have got a special talent we have to nuture.”

Solksjaer's side are now unbeaten in 15 games after winning at Brighton for the first time since 1982.

Brighton remain six points above the drop zone after their first defeat since the re-start.

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Manager Graham Potter, who started with top scorer Neal Maupay on the bench, said of United: “They are a good team – probably the best team we have played this year.

"Our response in the second half was really good and maybe deserved a goal but the better team won. I am proud of how the players stuck at it and kept going.”

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Nemanja Matic surprised by Bruno Fernandes immediate impact at Man Utd

Nemanja Matic admits he has been shocked by how quickly Bruno Fernandes has adapted to life at Manchester United.

Fernandes has made an immediate impact at Old Trafford after signing from Sporting Lisbon in January, scoring four goals in 12 appearances in all competitions.

Indeed, the Portuguese midfield maestro has instantly become a crucial part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side as they bid to secure a return to the Champions League.

And Matic says he knew United were signing quality because he has kept an eye on Portuguese football ever since leaving Benfica in 2014.

But the United midfielder conceded that he didn't expect Fernandes to hit the ground running like he has.

"I’ve followed him for a long time because I played in the Portuguese league at Benfica," Matic told Sky Sports.

"I knew he would bring quality for us. He played for a big club with a lot of pressure to win, but I didn’t think he would adapt so quick. From the first minute in the Premier League he made the difference.

"I’m happy for him and happy we have him in the team.

"He’s playing in the position where he needs to make the difference. He has all the ability to be the leader on the pitch."

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Matic and Fernandes form part of a star-studded midfield which also boasts Paul Pogba, who has recently returned from injury, and Scott McTominay.

And the Serbian has singled out McTominay for praise.

"Scott knows that I am always there for him if he needs some advice, he is still learning," he added.

"I am happy with how he has progressed, he is improving. I’ve said already a few times that he will be a very important player for Manchester United in the future."

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Man Utd transfer news – Van de Beek agreement, Gomes yet to sign, Sanchez latest

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United have started well since returning to action earlier this month.

A 1-1 draw with Spurs on June 19 was followed up with a league win over Sheffield United before Saturday’s narrow victory against Norwich City in the FA Cup.

Despite Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba beginning to show their quality together in a good run of form, United have continued to be linked with a number of names across world football.

Solskjaer’s side remain short of depth in several areas and addressing that in the next transfer window will be a key area of interest for the club’s hierarchy.

Here are the latest United transfer rumours.

Gomes yet to sign contract extension

Highly-rated youngster Angel Gomes is yet to sign a contract extension after failing to agree terms over a new deal with the club.

Solskjaer admits the 19-year-old looks set to depart the club on Tuesday when his contract expires, with the midfielder set to become a free agent.

As reported by Sky Sports, the youngster looks set to move elsewhere in a bid to earn senior minutes, which have been hard to come by at United this season.

On Gomes' contract situation, Solskjaer noted: "I've not heard from him last night or this morning so it seems like they haven't managed to agree anything.”

Van de Beek may leave this summer, says Ajax boss

United transfer target Donny van de Beek could leave Ajax in the next transfer window, according to boss Erik ten Hag.

The Ajax manager suggested that three first-team players might leave the Dutch capital in the next window – including Andre Onana and Nicolas Tagliafico, who have been linked with Premier League moves.

For United, the possibility of Ajax letting midfielder Van de Beek leave this summer could boost their chances of adding key depth in the middle of the park.

Ten Hag told Het Parool: “The transfer market will start in August – the top leagues are now being played out, so the money flows are maintained.

"The market value of players will be slightly depressed, but not much. Based on their performance and ambition, a number of our players also want to make the move abroad.

"Agreements have been made with Andre Onana, Donny van de Beek and Nicolas Tagliafico, but it remains to be seen whether the market is indeed breaking loose.

"For Onana and Van de Beek, another year of Ajax could certainly be an option, for Tagliafico it is slightly different because of his age.”

Sanchez future in doubt as Inter talks continue

Alexis Sanchez’s future is yet to be decided as Inter Milan CEO Giuseppe Marotta stated that the two clubs have failed to agree an extended loan deal.

The 31-year-old is currently earning £400,000-per-week at Old Trafford and the club are said to be keen on selling Sanchez to create transfer funds for elsewhere in the squad.

For United, the prospect of failing to loan Sanchez or indeed sell him could prove to be a major stumbling block in trying to sign Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho. Whilst they are keen to sell the Chile international, Inter’s CEO said that a deal is yet to be done for a loan extension.

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Marotta told Sky Sports: "This is a great regulatory anomaly that needs to be resolved because we are still dealing with Chelsea and Manchester United today to try to extend their loans."

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Gary Neville orders Man Utd to copy Liverpool transfer for Premier League titles

Gary Neville has told Manchester United copy Liverpool and make a Virgil van Dijk-esque signing to follow in the Reds' footsteps to Premier League glory.

Jurgen Klopp splashed £75million to bring defender van Dijk to Anfield in January 2018, which turned Liverpool from top four challengers into Premier League champions.

United had hoped that Harry Maguire would provide a similar backbone at Old Trafford but a lack of consistently impressive partner has prevented that from happening.

The Red Devils have shown glimpses of a title hopeful in recent weeks with Bruno Fernandes bedding in quickly and Paul Pogba returning to fitness.

And United legend Neville believes the final piece of the puzzle lies in bringing in an elite centre back.

"I think one more signing," Neville told Premier League Daily.

"You think about Liverpool signing [Virgil] Van Dijk and Alisson in goal.

"One or two more signings or [Paul] Pogba and one more signing playing to their absolute best. I think United can get closer."

When asked where in particular, Neville answered: "Centre-back, you look at the impact Van Dijk had.

"Maguire has had a really strong impact but another real strong centre-back.

"They’ve still got to be defensively sound. One more signing and United can challenge."

Alan Shearer and Ian Wright had a similar discussion on the weekend, and while the latter reckoned that title challenges were close, the former urged Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to make four transfers.

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The former Newcastle ace told the BBC: "I think three or four big players. Right side of midfield, possibly a centre-forward, centre-halve and maybe another midfielder."

Ian Wright added: "That’s the kind of signing (Sancho) they have to make if they’re going to be challenging City and Liverpool. Everybody is excited about Bruno Fernandes and Pogba.

"Martial and Rashford, both of them 19 goals each, last time any Man Utd players got that was Chicharito (Javier Hernandez) and (Dimitar) Berbatov.

"It seems like it’s starting to happen [for United]."

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5 talking points as Man Utd need extra time to beat Norwich in FA Cup

Harry Maguire broke Norwich hearts with a winner coming late in extra-time to book Manchester United's place in the semi final of the FA Cup.

The Red Devils were frustrated for large spells against the 10-men of Norwich at Carrow Road, but avoided penalties to progress to the next round.

Odion Ighalo opened the scoring for United with an improvised, flicked shot past a helpless Tim Krul from close-range in the first half on Saturday.

But Norwich picked up after going a goal behind as United slowed their pace, and it was Todd Cantwell who turned the game on its head.

The youngster spotting a gap to the left of Sergio Romero and smashing the ball past the Argentine shot-stopper from distance to level the scores.

Timm Klose was shown a straight red card for a professional foul on Ighalo, after he pulled back the striker as he attempted to latch onto a throughball.

But United needed extra time to get the job done, with Maguire slotting home the all-important winner with just minutes to play.

Here's five talking points from the match.

1. Ighalo is the fox in the box

People laughed when Manchester United signed Ighalo on loan in the January transfer window.

The idea the Nigerian could solve the Red Devils' problems in front of goal was scoffed at, but Ighalo made everyone eat their words.

The forward scored in every single match he started ahead of the three-month hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

And United made extending his loan deal for when the season resumed a priory.

On Saturday, Ighalo started his first match since football returned, and true to form the 31-year-old got on the scoresheet.

It wasn't the greatest goal he'll ever score – he just ensured he was in the right place at the right time to strike the ball home.

But this 'simple' task of hitting the back of the net, hasn't been all that simple for United at times this season.

Five in four, Ighalo has now netted more goals for Manchester United than both Radamel Falcao and Angel di Maria.

2. Fernandes was born to lead

He's only been at the club five minutes in the grand scheme of things.

But it feels like Bruno Fernandes has been at Old Trafford for years, the way in which he leads from the front.

Fernandes is never afraid to command the troops, pull someone up on something, or advise a team-mate on how they can improve.

Providing commentary on BBC Sport, Jermaine Jenas summed up what Fernandes brings to United perfectly: "For me it's more the presence he has on the pitch.

"Over the years United have had two or three of those players on the pitch and for him to just show up and have it shows he's a pretty special player."

United fans were confused as to why Ole Gunnar Solskjaer didn't rest Fernandes for the FA Cup quarter-final clash, given the fact that Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford and co. were all named on the bench.

But it quickly became clear on the pitch as the Portuguese wore the captain's armband, without actually wearing the armband.

3. Lingard quiet on his return for the Reds

All eyes were on the England international as he started for United on Saturday – his first appearances since the 5-0 win over Club Brugge in February.

Jesse Lingard has been under the weather this week, but Solskjaer gave the winger his backing with a place in the first team.

Lingard certainly looked rusty, but he started brightly for the Red Devils, and got the better of the Norwich defence with some quick-feet in the first half before slipping as he got his shot away.

Lingard will know better than anyone that he has to start impressing in these cameo appearances for the sake of his future at the club.

Solskjaer has a number of quality players in his position to pick from these days and unless Lingard finds some form he'll slip further down the pecking order at Old Trafford.

Saturday was a great chance for Lingard to put a marker down, and, as harsh as it is to say, given the fact he's been unwell recently, he failed to do so.

4. The defence take Keane's words on board

If there is one thing in this world known to get a player going, it's a rocket up the behind from a club legend.

And that's exactly what Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw got at the half-time break of United's recent draw with Tottenham.

The England international defenders were at fault – alongside David de Gea – for Spurs' opening goal, and Roy Keane let rip.

The former Red devils captain said on Sky Sports: "I can't believe that's Manchester United.

"Luke Shaw, heading the ball up in the air and then running forward… I am staggered at Maguire, how an international player can just get done like that – and I am sick to death of this goalkeeper."

He added: "I am flabbergasted. Maguire and De Gea… I wouldn't even let them on the bus after the match. Get a taxi back to Manchester. Do your job."

Against Norwich, Maguire was back to his old, reliable self in United's defence, and did a much better job commanding his team-mates.

The centre-back even kept the scores level just before the half-time break with two superb blocks in the area, and, of course, netted the winner.

Shaw, meanwhile, was arguably United's best player and was pivotal in the Red Devils breaking the deadlock with a stunning, whipped cross.

5. Norwich battle hard with 10-men

Man United were expected to breeze past Norwich in the FA Cup on Saturday.

The Red Devils haven't lost since a match in all competitions since January 22 when they were beaten by Burnley, and went into the quarter-final on the back of beating Sheffield United 3-0.

But United were largely flat in the first half and even after opening the scoring failed to stamp their authority on the match.

Norwich got themselves back in the game via Cantwell, but their hope looked short-lived when Klose was shown a straight red card.

You'd have bet your mortgage on United finishing off the Canaries before the end of regulation time, but Norwich continued to battle and frustrate the Red Devils – taking the match to extra time.

A truly admirable performance in the circumstances.

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Solskjaer admits "hurt" over Liverpool triumph and challenges Man Utd stars

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admits seeing Liverpool win the Premier League title hurts.

The Manchester United boss watched on on Thursday night as Jurgen Klopp's men were crowned champions after Man City's loss at Chelsea.

It ends Liverpool's 30-year wait for a 19th league title, during which time they have been outstripped by United, who have claimed 13 Premier League crowns for themselves in the intervening period.

This season, United, like the rest of the league, have been some way behind.

Solskjaer congratulated Klopp and his side on a “deserved” success on Friday morning.

But he insists that he is now already looking to hunt down their bitter rivals, and is calling for greater consistency from his United stars in their bid to do just that.

“Any team that wins the championship or Premier League deserve it and deserve credit. It's a hard league to win so well done to Jurgen and his players,” he said.

“Every time you see anyone else lift the trophy it hurts, I reckon that's the feeling everyone associated with Manchester United, players or supporters.

“We want to get back to winning ways and that's our challenge.

“We are in a position now we have to improve, one we have to get in the Champions League, higher up in the league and start challenging.

“To get that consistency and efficiency is the challenge.

“At our best we are very good, but we have to do that whatever day it is, do it again and again, that's the challenge for our players going forward.”

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United infamously went 26 years between 1967 and the first of Alex Ferguson’s 13-Premier League titles in 1992-93.

Solskjaer insists that, with United now seven years since their last title, the challenge is to ensure they do not repeat such a feat.

“The run of titles we won under Sir Alex isn't going to be easy for anyone to emulate or copy. He was a master of staying at the top,” said Solskjaer.

“Our challenge is to make sure we don't go 26 yrs until the next time we win it or more, we're going to do everything we can to shorten the distance or go past them.”

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Man Utd confirm release of nine players but seek Angel Gomes resolution

Manchester United have confirmed the release of nine young players.

But the Premier League side are offering financial support, extra training and information packages to interested parties, amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Demetri Mitchell, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Ethan Hamilton, Dion McGhee, Largie Ramazani, George Tanner, Aidan Barlow, Kieran O’Hara and Alex Fojticek are all departing when their contracts expire next week.

Five of those – Mitchell, Ramazani, Borthwick-Jackson, Hamilton and O’Hara – have first-team experience at the club.

Borthwick-Jackson is the biggest name of the bunch, having spent time on loan at a number of clubs after making 14 first-team appearances under Louis Van Gaal.

The club have decided not to release any player under the age of 19 due to the unique circumstances brought by Covid-19.

Those outgoing will receive financial support until the end of August, while United have also created video and stats packages to help them as they seek new clubs.

Head of academy Nick Cox said: “With some of the younger pros that are ending their contracts, we are putting packages in place so that when the season resumes they will come back for a few months with some financial support and a training programme to help them with the next stage of their career.

“This club is a family and looks after its family members. The last thing we wanted to do during this situation was to deliver bad news and release boys into the unknown.

“We made the decision not to release any of the boys [under-9s to under-18s].

"The number one priority was getting them back with smiles on their faces, and we will deal with those decisions at another time. We have a duty to help them through this difficult time.”

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Angel Gomes, part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first-team squad, remains despite his contract also coming to an end.

United are still keen to keep him at the club and are offering a new long-term deal.

Solskjaer last week said he did not believe an agreement was "too far away".

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Michael Owen makes Man Utd transfer admission despite Anthony Martial hat-trick

Michael Owens claims there is still a question mark over Anthony Martial's ability to play as a No 9 despite the Frenchman bagging a hat-trick against Sheffield United.

Martial's treble means he has now scored 19 goals this term – the same number as Marcus Rashford.

The Englishman will have been upset not to get on the scoresheet having spurned an excellent early chance.

United have found form in 2020 after struggling for much of last year.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has sought to address several problems that exist in the Red Devils squad, but Owen, who scored 17 times for the Old Trafford outfit, reckons their forward line still needs reinforcements.

He told Premier League Productions : “[Marcus] Rashford missed a chance in the first half and if he had put it in, it would have been one of the goals of the season. The intricate play on the edge of the box was absolutely brilliant.

“So now I think he’s [Martial] going to get more service, and now is the right time to be playing as a centre-forward for Manchester United – with the likes of [Paul] Pogba and [Bruno] Fernandes and all these players in and around you.

“Is he one that’s going to be the No.9 for years to come? At the minute he looks very inconsistent. He will score a hat-trick, but is he going to constantly score a lot of goals? There is still a question mark.

“There is still a question about what is his best position. I think it’s probably off the left, but then again that’s probably Marcus Rashford’s best position.

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“They are shuffling the pack a little bit at the moment but if you ask most people, they will say: ‘Where do Manchester United need to strengthen? They need a main No.9’.”

Having lost Romelu Lukaku and Alex Sanchez in the summer Solskjaer has previously admitted they would add in attack.

Odion Ighalo arrived on loan in January but will only remain in Manchester until the turn of the year.

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Nemanja Matic admission made by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after Sheffield Utd display

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted Nemanja Matic could earn himself a new contract at Man Utd if he can keep up his current form.

The Serbian midfielder's time at Old Trafford looked to be up earlier in the season amid reports he was set for a move elsewhere.

Injury problems at the club have given Matic ample chances to impress though, and he has been a consistent performer for his side.

He started in United's 3-0 win over Sheffield Utd on Wednesday, and Solskjaer believes the star is currently at the top of his game.

Solskjaer told United’s  official website : “Nemanja is playing some of his best football.

"He’s had a good pre-season for the first time in many, many years and today he was dictating the game and his experience is vital for us.

"I’m very, very happy that we’re seeing the best of Nemanja and he’ll be important for us and then, of course, it’s down to performances and if Nemanja wants to stay but at the moment he’s in great form."

The 32-year-old still has a year left to run on his current contract at United, though with competition for places in the midfield rife, he may look to move on at the end of next season.

United have just tied down Scott McTominay until 2025, with the option for a further year, while Fred has been one of the club's standout performers this season.

Both players started against Spurs, but were rotated to the bench for the visit of Sheffield Utd.

Matic was included in the starting XI instead, alongside Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba, but he seems happy to share responsibilities going forward.

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“It is always good to play with top players and we are lucky we have top players in every position. [Against Sheffield United] I played with Bruno and Paul and we did really well," Matic said.

“It was a good formation and I am sure in the future we can improve a lot together also with Scott [McTominay] and Fred when they play with us.”

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Man Utd transfer news – Bellingham set for Dortmund, Sancho waiting game

For the first time in what seems like an eternity, Manchester United ’s squad seems blessed with both quality and quantity as everyone is fit and firing.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer even had the luxury of bringing Paul Pogba off the bench against Spurs on Friday and the Frenchman offered a reminder of his qualities by winning a late penalty.

Nevertheless, while United are in a better position now than they have been for some time, there are still areas for improvement and upgrades to be made in certain positions as the backdated summer transfer window approaches.

Here are the four top transfer rumours and reports involving United for Monday, June 22.

Dortmund to beat United to Jude Bellingham signing

United’s transfer policy over the past couple of windows has seen a noticeable shift towards signing younger players with room to develop, such as Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James.

Birmingham City’s 16-year-old sensation Jude Bellingham featured prominently on their shortlist this summer, however, it looks as though he will be the latest England youngster to test his talents in the Bundesliga.

According to the Daily Mail, Borussia Dortmund are set to win the race to sign the England youth international in a deal worth £18m and Bellingham’s weekly wages are expected to rise significantly from £145 per week to £60,000.

United had been hopeful of signing Bellingham after showing him around their training complex in March, but it looks as though they will be gazumped by Dortmund who have benefited from their track record for developing teenage prospects.

The blow of missing out on Bellingham could be softened by signing Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund instead.

United willing to wait for Sancho price tag to drop

United are prepared to play a waiting game in order to land their top transfer target Jadon Sancho who is valued by Borussia Dortmund at £100m, report the Daily Mail.

Sancho has emerged as one of the most exciting young prospects in world football during his three-year spell with Dortmund but has been tipped to leave the club this summer.
United appear to be in pole position to sign Sancho but are hoping that Dortmund will lower their demands for the 20-year-old due to the financial impact of coronavirus.

Although the arrival of Bruno Fernandes has given a boost to United’s attack, Solskjaer remains keen to strengthen his forward options with Sancho and Jack Grealish high on his transfer wishlist.

Sancho certainly has excellent pedigree having scored 17 goals and provided 16 assists in 31 Bundesliga appearances this season.

Grealish’s agent plays down United transfer talk

Jack Grealish’s agent Jonathan Barnett has refused to be drawn on the future of his client despite speculation linking him with a move from Aston Villa.

The 24-year-old has been Villa’s talisman this season, scoring seven goals and registering six assists in the Premier League but has been tipped to move in the summer, with United at the front of the queue.

However, Barnett insisted that the boyhood Villa fan and club captain is concentrating solely on keeping the club in the Premier League.

“Jack is captain of Aston Villa, his first priority at the moment is to make sure that they survive in the Premiership,” he told the Athletic’s Ornstein and Chapman podcast. “Until that is sorted out, we don’t have the discussion.

“He’s got his priorities right, he has a job and that’s what he’s going to do, he’s going to fight hard for Aston Villa.”

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Saha urges United to make a move for Aubameyang

Former Manchester United striker Louis Saha believes that the club should make an offer for Arsenal ’s unsettled frontman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Aubameyang is entering the final 12-months of his contract with the Gunners and looks increasingly likely to move on given their recent struggles on the pitch.

And Saha would like to see the 30-year-old end up at Old Trafford even if it would be badly received by Arsenal supporters.

"Arsenal fans may not like this, but I’d like him to join United, I’d be very happy with that [laughter]," Saha told compare.bet.

"I’m sure Arsenal fans would not take that well, but that’s my advice to Auba."

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