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Soccer

Rene Meulensteen tells Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to replace star Man Utd forward

Former Manchester United first-team coach Rene Meulensteen says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should replace Anthony Martial with a striker of Robert Lewandowski’s calibre.

The Frenchman was moved into the No.9 position after the club sold Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan last summer.

Martial has had success in the role, with his hat-trick in the 3-0 win against Sheffield United last week taking his tally to 14 Premier League goals for the season.

However, Solskjaer warned the 24-year-old that he needs to keep improving, as there are many players both inside and outside of the club that would love to wear his No.9 shirt.

Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho is believed to be the Norwegian boss’ top target in the next transfer window.

But, Sir Alex Ferguson’s former first-team coach Meulensteen believes that United’s missing piece is a world class centre-forward, while Sancho would fill a similar role to the players they already have.

‘They brought [Odion] Ighalo in as a player that could help United in certain times and he’s done actually very, very well,’ Meulensteen told talkSPORT.

‘But, if you look to the other players that have been there, [Marcus] Rashford, Martial, they’re not really out-and-out strikers, [Mason] Greenwood is a young player coming up, same thing there. 

‘So, there’s a lot of chances and goals that can be created coming from the wide areas in, Sancho is exactly the same player. 

‘What I think Manchester United is missing is a striker the calibre of Robert Lewandowksi, somebody that is up there, can hold the line, can link play, but when it comes to finishing chances in and outside of the box, that sort of player, and they are hard to come by. 

‘Is £50 million with Sancho, is that too much? For me, I think you look at what United have in those wide areas, is that where you want to strengthen? 

‘I think they need a player in that area and Sancho would be a good one, but yeah, I don’t know exactly.’

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Basketball

Hinson: Mississippi flag played role in transfer

Former Ole Miss guard Blake Hinson said the Confederate symbol on the state flag of Mississippi played a role in his decision to transfer to Iowa State.

“It was time to go and leave Ole Miss,” Hinson told the Daytona Beach (Florida) News-Journal. “I’m proud not to represent that flag anymore and to not be associated with anything representing the Confederacy.”

Mississippi is on the verge of changing its state flag to erase the Confederate battle emblem following nationwide protests against racial injustice.

Ole Miss basketball coach Kermit Davis was among a contingent of 46 coaches and administrators from eight public universities who went to the state legislature Thursday to lobby for the emblem’s removal.

Legislators are expected to start voting Sunday to remove the current flag from state law. A commission would design a new flag that cannot include the Confederate symbol and that must have the words “In God We Trust.”

The SEC and NCAA both announced last week that NCAA postseason events would not be played in Mississippi until the state flag is changed. Conference USA, of which Southern Miss is a member, made a similar announcement Monday.

Hinson, who averaged 10.1 points and 4.6 rebounds per game last season, will join a Cyclones team that is also bringing in former DePaul guard Jalen Coleman-Lands as a graduate transfer but lost potential lottery pick Tyrese Haliburton to the NBA draft.

“I felt like it was the best option for me,” Hinson told the newspaper of his decision to join the Cyclones. “There wasn’t a real science that went into it. I looked into the schools and the play style, and I thought I fit best in Iowa State’s system.”

ESPN’s Chris Low and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Soccer

Ole Gunar Solskjaer impressed with Harry Maguire's extra-time winner

‘It was a poacher’s goal’: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer impressed with Harry Maguire’s extra-time winner after defender fires Manchester United into semi-finals of the FA Cup

  • Maguire scored his third goal since joining United for £80m last summer 
  • The defender poked home an effort with three minutes left in extra-time 
  • It followed a spectacular long-range effort at Tranmere in the fourth round 
  • Norwich 1-2 Manchester United (aet): Maguire strike sinks 10-man Canaries

Ole Gunar Solskjaer paid tribute to Harry Maguire after the Manchester United captain fired his team into the semi-finals of the FA Cup with an extra-time winner at Norwich.

It was Maguire’s third goal of the season since joining United for £80million last summer and followed a spectacular long-range effort at Tranmere in the fourth round.

‘Two different goals and maybe two goals that you don’t expect from him,’ said Solskjaer. ‘One from 30 yards into the top corner and today a poacher’s goal.

Manchester United are into the FA Cup semi-final after beating Norwich 2-1 in extra time 

‘Harry has been magnificent since he came to the club. His leadership skills are there to be seen. He helps us with the build-up play and today I think he won every single header and challenge. I’m very pleased with Harry.’

Solskjaer admitted that United didn’t play well after he made eight changes from Wednesday’s win over Sheffield United, and Norwich threatened to cause an upset until Timm Klose was sent off towards the end of normal time.

‘It wasn’t the greatest spectacle,’ added the United boss. ‘Sometimes it just doesn’t work as you’d hoped. In training it looks great and on paper it looks great, but the opposition want to make it difficult for you and Norwich did did. They tired towards the end and we got the win I thought we deserved.

Harry Maguire’s late strike was the difference after dominating 10-men Norwich

‘When you’re playing 10 men, we spoke about it at full-time, we’ve got 30 minutes and we don’t have to panic, just keep prodding. The chances will come and we’ll have to take them.

‘It’s important for this team to win the first trophy, and to get to the first final together is going to be important. That will help the winning culture because we need to start winning things.’

Maguire also made a vital block to deny Lukas Rupp in the first half and nearly scored with a header that was brilliantly saved by Tim Krul in extra-time.

‘I’m always pleased when I chip in and score goals, especially when it’s a big result in the last minute of extra-time,’ said the United skipper.

Odion Ighalo continued his record of scoring in every game he has started for Man United

‘That’s my third this season and I want to get plenty more. I’m a bit disappointed with just the three. It’s something I’ve been working on and hopefully I can improve from now til the end of the season and take it into the season after.’

Norwich manager Daniel Farke had no complaints over Klose’s red card but felt the late goal was harsh on his team as they lost the club’s first FA Cup quarter final in 28 years.

‘Football can be the cruellest sport in the world sometimes. The players left their hearts out on the pitch,’ said Farke.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men are through to semi-finals as United boss seeks his first trophy

‘The red card changed the momentum of the game. It wasn’t possible then to create chances anymore and then the pressure gets more and more.

‘We still kept Man United pretty quiet in extra-time and we were unlucky to lose in the second to last situation of the game.

‘It was a deflected clearance and Harry Maguire probably can’t explain himself why the ball was at his feet.’ 




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Soccer

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer asked to rate Man Utd's chances of signing Jadon Sancho

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has remained coy over Manchester United’s push to sign Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund this summer.

The 20-year-old, whose situation is also being monitored by Liverpool and Chelsea, is one of United’s priority targets for the summer transfer window.

Dortmund, however, are demanding in excess of £100 million for the England international.

United are reportedly willing to hold off in order to drive down Dortmund’s asking price.

But when asked in an interview with Viasport’s Jan Aage Fjortoft to rate his chances of signing Sancho, Solskjaer laughed and replied: ‘I’m good at maths, but I can’t answer that question, Jan Aage.

‘There are many good footballers on many teams.’

Solskjaer also admits he ‘can’t make any promises’ that United will add to their squad this summer.

‘I think it’ll be a calm transfer window or a sightly different kind of window,’ said Solskjaer.

‘I think a lot of clubs will have to be careful not to spend too much money. You might still not know how much you’ve lost financially during this pandemic and what’s gone on lately.

‘We’re quite relaxed. I am very happy with the squad I have. I think it looks better and better.

‘And then there is something in front of us screaming that it’s sensible, both from a sporting and a financial perspective. So I know we’re going to try but you can’t make any promises.’

Asked if he has received a similar message to Jurgen Klopp, who has reportedly been told by Liverpool’s owners that the transfer budget will be restricted this summer, Solskjaer said: ‘I don’t know what messages Jurgen has been given but we’ve had a good dialogue the entire time and we’ve had a plan for it since I signed in March.

‘And then the three months of lockdown and for how long we’ll have to play in front of empty stands, if we will play in the Champions League next season, there are many things like that, which will be factors and decisive in terms of what we can do when the season is over.’

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