Manchester United drew 0-0 with Watford on Saturday afternoon.
United returned from the winter break with underwhelming results against Middlesbrough, Burnley and Southampton, but they claimed the three points against Brighton and Leeds, while they also secured a draw at Atletico Madrid in midweek.
But the Reds couldn’t continue their winning streak in the Premier League against relegation candidates Watford.
United had 68 per cent possession and 22 shots yet couldn’t find a goal to break the deadlock at Old Trafford, with Cristiano Ronaldo particularly wasteful in front of goal.
The Manchester derby is the next game for United away at the Etihad Stadium, where they will be major underdogs to take points off Pep Guardiola’s title challenging side. Ralf Rangnick will hope for a much improved performance in that game, and in the second leg in the Champions League last 16 against Atletico.
Follow the live blog below for all of the day’s breaking United news.
United ‘send scouts to watch’ Cody Gakpo and Joao Palhinha
United are scouting new signings ahead of the summer transfer window, according to reports.
The Mirror claim United have sent scouts to watch both PSV Eindhoven forward Cody Gakpo and Sporting Lisbon midfielder Joao Palhinha.
MEN Sport has previously reported on United’s intentions to sign both a new forward and a defensive midfielder this summer.
Pochettino ‘turns down’ United approach
Reports in Spain have suggested Mauricio Pochettino is favouring a move to Real Madrid over Manchester United.
The Paris Saint-Germain boss remains one of the frontrunners for the United job as the club look for a new permanent manager this summer.
Recent reports though have suggested Real are also looking towards the Argentine, with Carlo Ancelotti’s future under scrutiny following their Champions League last-16 first leg defeat to PSG.
Diario Sport (via the Mirror) claim Pochettino is keen on a move to the Spanish giants, and has already turned down an approach from United due to Real’s renewed interest.
OPINION: Ronaldo may have changed United’s transfer priority
Cristiano Ronaldo’s wastefulness in front of goal is becoming more and more of a concern for Manchester United.
The Portuguese ace once again drew a blank against Watford despite being presented with a golden opportunity early on.
With just one goal in 10 games in 2022, United’s need for a new striker in the summer has become greater.
Ralf Rangnick has already spoken about that need, but the identity of that striker – Richard Fay argues – may have to change after Ronaldo’s latest poor performance.
City ‘favourites’ to land Haaland in the summer
United’s neighbours Manchester City have reportedly emerged as the new favourites to sign Erling Haaland this summer.
United are among the host of Europe’s top clubs set to battle it out for the 21-year-old during the upcoming transfer window, with his €75million release clause in Germany coming into effect at the end of the season.
Haaland had looked at one stage to be leaning towards a move to Spain, with Real Madrid looking to be the favourites to land his signature, although the La Liga giants’ pursuit of Kylian Mbappe could prevent them from also splashing out on the Norwegian.
And with Barcelona facing their own financial difficulties, the pendulum may well have swung City’s way.
Bild (via the Daily Mail) claim that Haaland has a desire to play in the Premier League, which could lead to him signing for the Blues.
United ‘considering move’ for Sam Johnstone
Lee Grant. Tom Heaton. Dean Henderson. Sam Johnstone?
United are reportedly looking to sign another English goalkeeper who can warm the bench for David de Gea.
90 Min say United are showing an interest in Johnstone as they prepare to let Henderson leave the club this summer.
Johnstone, 28, is out-of-contract with current side West Brom at the end of the season and could be tempted by the back-up role.
United ‘following’ Antony and Arnaut Danjuma ahead of the summer window
United are looking at two wingers ahead of the summer window, according to a report.
It is suggested the club are looking at both Ajax’s Antony and Villarreal’s Arnaut Danjuma.
Ralf Rangnick ‘wants United to sign’ Nordi Mukiele
Ralf Rangnick is open to signing a new full-back this summer, according to reports.
Fichajes claims that Rangnick has identified RB Leipzig star Nordi Mukiele as an ideal signing this summer, though that, of course, depends on whether or not he gets a strong say in transfer dealings.
Mukiele arrived at Leipzig in the summer of 2018 and spent one season under Rangnick’s tutelage, going on to register 10 goals and eight assists in 135 appearances for the German side so far.
Bruno Fernandes looking to put things right vs Man City
Bruno Fernandes knows United need to win against Man City next weekend to help salvage their season.
”It’s one of those games where we know what it means for the city, for the fans, for the club and for ourselves,” he told MUTV.
“It’s a game we want to win at all costs.”
United duo face World Cup uncertainty as Sweden refuse to face Russia
The Swedish Football Association have confirmed that the men’s national team will not face Russia next month if they end up being scheduled to meet in the 2022 FIFA World Cup play-offs.
With Sweden having confirmed that they have no plans to face Russia, in the event of them beating the Czechs, it could impact Manchester United duo Victor Lindelof and Anthony Elanga in their hopes of competing at the World Cup later this year.
Lindelof is a seasoned Sweden international and Elanga will be hoping to earn a call-up to the squad after a terrific run of performances for United in recent weeks.
At this time, FIFA are yet to confirm what will happen with regards to World Cup qualification for the three nations that are in Path B alongside Russia.
United host City Women in the FA Cup later today.
We’ll bring you full match coverage.
Lampard issues Van de Beek update after Everton substitution
Frank Lampard hopes Donny van de Beek was only suffering from cramp when he was substituted in the second half of Everton’s 1-0 defeat to Man City yesterday.
“We hope it’s cramp, that’s our hope,” Lampard said.
“I don’t want to completely commit to that, but we hope it is. He said he felt like it wasn’t so bad.
“I thought he played really well, he put in a big shift.
“From him not playing many games to coming in and playing a few games for us, cramp is understandable.
“We just hope it’s not worse than that.”
Barcelona ‘plot’ Eric Bailly bid
This one would probably suit all parties.
The Star comments on the future of Eric Bailly and claims Barcelona are preparing to swoop for the United defender this summer.
Fernandes makes scathing admission on United’s performance
Bruno Fernandes has admitted Manchester United wouldn’t have found a goal against Watford even with another 90 minutes.
United started brightly against Watford on Saturday afternoon but the visitors didn’t concede against multiple phases of play.
Although Ralf Rangnick’s side fashioned chances aplenty, they were squandered and players looked visibly frustrated.
The 0-0 draw means United are now in fourth position on 47 points in the Premier League, however, Arsenal are just two points behind and they have three games in hand. United’s Champions League hopes have obviously been hurt.
OPINION: Ronaldo’s full-time reaction sums up the situation at United
With 83 minutes on the clock, Aaron Wan-Bissaka received the ball and wanted rid of it as soon as possible. Paul Pogba was free and Wan-Bissaka somehow overhit it to a Watford player. The pressure had told.
Wan-Bissaka had enjoyed a proactive hour and then time caught up with him. This season has found out plenty of Manchester United players and Wan-Bissaka is one of them.
United are still fourth but in every other sense they are Europa League standard. Supporters booed at full-time, not out of dissatisfaction with the performance but the meek mentality of the players. Whoever ends May in fourth will have done so by default. Those who miss out might be closer to the bottom than the top.
Cristiano Ronaldo stood alone at full-time, disconsolate and downbeat. He struck the post in the fourth minute and from then on the only way was down. He looked shot long before the final shrill.
United player ratings: Matic good but Ronaldo woeful vs Watford
David de Gea
Could have sat in the Stretford End for the entirety of the first-half and most of the second-half. 6
A suspect recall but had his most proactive and attack-minded halves of the season for an hour. Then the pressure began to take its toll. 6
Steady and executed a key tackle late in the first-half. Watford were one of the easiest teams he’ll have ever defended against. 6
Had a largely serene first-half but occasionally looked awkward whenever Watford’s mercurial forwards had a go. 6
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