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Erik ten Hag can’t handle Man United big players with Ajax mentality, says Ibrahimovic

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes Erik ten Hag has made a mistake by trying to handle Manchester United players with the same methods he fostered at Ajax.

Ten Hag, 53, won plenty of plaudits during his first year at Old Trafford but is under pressure this term. The Dutchman has overseen the club’s worst start to a league season in 34 years and was booed off the pitch by fans after losing to Crystal Palace at the weekend.

The United hierarchy identified Ten Hag as the man to rebuild the club in the wake of his impressive work at Ajax, where he won three Dutch titles in four years. However, the expectations at United are far greater than Ajax – something that Ibrahimovic was keen to stress while discussing his former club’s current woes.

During an interview with TalkTV, Ibrahimovic spoke of the need to adopt a different approach at Manchester United due to the calibre of players at the club. He feels, though, that Ten Hag has treated the high-profile players he is currently managing in the same manner as his old Ajax team.

He said: “Coming from Ajax to United as he did is a big difference — I have been in both clubs. You have a different kind of discipline. Ajax is a talented club. They have the best talents in the club. They don’t have big stars.

“What is the experience of this coach? Young talents, he comes to United, it is a different mentality. The players there are supposed to be big stars. I don’t think you give the same treatment.”

Pressure is beginning to grow on Ten Hag in the wake of United’s shambolic start to the season. Their defeat against Crystal Palace on Saturday means the club have lost four of their opening seven league games for the first time in the Premier League era.

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Arteta urges Arsenal to banish painful history with Bayern

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Arteta urges Arsenal to banish painful history with Bayern

Mikel Arteta has challenged Arsenal to prove their wretched Champions League record against Bayern Munich is ancient history as the Gunners look to seize their “special” opportunity to reach the semi-finals.

Arteta’s side have endured a series of chastening defeats against Bayern over the last decade, but Arteta expects them to reverse that trend in Tuesday’s quarter-final first leg.

Beaten 5-1 in each of their last three meetings with Bayern, Arsenal were eliminated from the Champions League by the German club in the last 16 in 2017, 2014, 2013 and 2005.

However, Premier League leaders Arsenal are in superb form, while Bayern arrive at the Emirates Stadium in turmoil.

Arteta puts no stock in his club’s past problems against Bayern and the Spaniard called on his players to justify his faith.

“That’s history. When you look at their history in the competition it’s clear. We have to prove that, that’s for sure,” Arteta told reporters on Monday.

“Football is such a competitive environment and it’s so hard to be consistent that this can happen to anybody.

“We are really enjoying the moment because this is where we want to be. We are in a really good position in the Premier League and we are in a good position in the Champions League.

“We have a big task ahead of us against one of the successful teams in Europe. That’s the hurdle we have to overcome and we are really looking forward to it.”

Arsenal have not made the Champions League semi-finals since 2009 and will be playing in the last eight for the first time since 2010.

While Bayern are well below their usual standards this term, Arteta is relishing the opportunity to face the six-time European champions.

– ‘So excited’ –

“A lot of passion and emotion. We haven’t had this opportunity for 15 years so that tells you how special this night is going to be for us. We are going to have put everything into every ball to make it happen,” he said.

“It’s been a really demanding season and it’s a big step forward to be here in this competition, and competing in the Premier League. This is the challenge and we are so excited to be part of that.”

Bayern squandered a two-goal lead in a 3-2 loss to Heidenheim last weekend that all but extinguished their slim hopes of catching Bundesliga leaders Bayer Leverkusen.

Thomas Tuchel’s troubled team have lost five of their last 10 games in all competitions.

Yet Arteta’s respect for Tuchel — a Champions League winner with Chelsea in 2021 — ensured he would not underestimate Bayern.

“They are top team. I’m a big admirer of Thomas. The way his teams set-up, the way they play, the way they transmit. I have learned a lot from him and looking at them they are a top team,” he said.

“We have prepared well and now we have to take our game where we want to. If we do that we have a chance to win.

Even the presence of Bayern striker Harry Kane, who scored a north London derby record 14 goals against Arsenal during his time with Tottenham, is unlikely to rattle the Gunners.

Asked about the threat posed by the England captain, Arteta said: “When you look at his numbers over the past 10 years they are unbelievable.

“He can score in many different ways. He has got the service and the players around him as well to provide those opportunities.

“We know the individual qualities of those players, and him in particular. The ability he has. The best thing is to collectively prevent certain things.”

 

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Olympics Qualifier: Supporters Club Rallies Nigerians In South Africa For Super Falcons 

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Ahead of the decisive second leg match of the qualifier for the women's football event of the 2024 Paris Olympic Games between Nigeria and  South Africa billed to hold

Ahead of the decisive second leg match of the qualifier for the women’s football event of the 2024 Paris Olympic Games between Nigeria and  South Africa billed to hold Tuesday in Pretoria, Nigeria’s foremost football fans group, the Nigeria Football Supporters Club (NFSC), have intensified its efforts to ensure the Super Falcons enjoy massive support in the game.

 

According to the National Chairman of NFSC, Ambassador(Rev). Samuel Ikpea, the club have mandated its South African chapters, particularly, in South Africa, to rally all Nigerian football fans resident in the country in the neighbouring nations, to storm the stadium on Tuesday and give the much needed support to the Nigerian girls.

“The Chairman of our South Africa chapter, Osita Okeke and his secretary, Boyo Abijoh, have been rallying Nigerians in the country to come out enmasse and give our girls the needed support to qualify for the Olympic games in Paris,” Ikpea said.

“We’re equally supporting our Super Falcons spiritually from home. And we believe, our girls shall pick the ticket for the Paris Olympic games, Ikpea added.

It would be recalled that Super Falcons defeated South Africa 1-0, in the first leg of the final qualifiers played last Friday, in Abuja.

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De Bruyne inspires Man City 4-2 comeback at Crystal Palace

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De Bruyne inspires Man City 4-2 comeback at Crystal Palace

Kevin De Bruyne brought up his century of goals for Manchester City by scoring twice in a 4-2 win at Crystal Palace that moved the champions level on points with Premier League leaders Liverpool.

City had fallen behind after just three minutes at Selhurst Park, but De Bruyne led the response by curling in a beauty to equalise.

Rico Lewis put the visitors in front early in the second half before De Bruyne teed up Erling Haaland to end his goal drought.

 

And the Belgian rounded off a stunning display by smashing in his 100th City goal.

Pep Guardiola’s decision to hand De Bruyne and Haaland the night off for Wednesday’s 4-1 win over Aston Villa paid dividends as his side remain on course to defend the treble they won last season.

Just three days ahead of City’s trip to Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals, Guardiola took the chance to shuffle his pack again.

Phil Foden, the hat-trick hero against Villa, was dropped to the bench alongside Manuel Akanji, Bernardo Silva and Jeremy Doku.

On paper, City did not appear to be weakened as John Stones and Oscar Bobb came in with De Bruyne and Haaland.

But it was an error from the ring-rusty Stones that gave Palace the perfect start after just three minutes.

Stones was making his return after being injured on England duty last month, but an errant pass was pounced on by Adam Wharton, who released Jean-Philippe Mateta to fire in off the post.

The goal awoke City from their slumber with De Bruyne at the heart of most of their most threatening attacks.

Only a brilliant save by Dean Henderson denied Rodri a quick reply.

But the visitors were level within 10 minutes of falling behind as De Bruyne curled in a stunning strike into the top corner.

Haaland had failed to score in his previous five games for club and country and failed to take advantage of a brilliant De Bruyne through ball as Henderson saved a one-on-one.

Palace, though, could also have been back in front before the break when Jordan Ayew smashed off the bar after a rare Rodri error.

There was little doubt over the outcome once Lewis pounced on some slack Palace defending from Jack Grealish’s deflected cross to make it 2-1 on 47 minutes.

Grealish’s season has been repeatedly disrupted by injury but his return to fitness and form could be a vital component in City’s quest to retain the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup.

He was also involved in his side’s third goal as Grealish picked out De Bruyne’s, whose cross was touched in by Haaland for a much-needed goal for the Norwegian.

Haaland now has 30 for the season in all competitions but had failed to find the net in 12 of his previous 17 games on his return from a foot injury that kept him out for two months.

Having curled one in on his right foot, De Bruyne then blasted in a piledriver with his left to make it 100 goals in 372 games since joining City in 2015.

At that point City seemed set to win by the four-goal margin they needed to go above Liverpool on goal difference.

But it was Palace who got the sixth and final goal of the game when Odsonne Edouard turned in Jeffrey Schlupp’s cross.

City move two points ahead of Arsenal, who can go top later on Saturday when they visit Brighton.

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