News, views and rumours relating to Manchester United in the past 24 hours.
Manchester United currently sit 15 points clear of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table.
However, despite City boss Roberto Mancini’s concession that the title race is over, United can still aim higher – at a record points tally beating the current record of 95 points in a season held by Chelsea since 2004/05.
United defender Chris Smalling admits he is driven by last season’s ‘woes’ of losing the league title on the final day of the season to City.
“It’s motivated us all season, especially when we’ve fallen a goal behind as we’ve been involved in a lot of comebacks. We’ve looked back at last season and don’t want to experience that feeling again, which has shown in the way we’ve played,” explained the young Englishman.
Meanwhile, striker Robin van Persie has revealed his ‘hurt’ at not winning titles during his career with Arsenal and is looking forward to his first winners medal with United this season.
"That I'll probably win my first championship is very nice," Van Persie said.
"I'm really thrilled about it. Not winning titles has given me quite some pain and it has made me greyer.”
Goalkeeper Ander Lindegaard reminisced:
"When the final whistle went, we didn’t really know what the score at City was. But then we heard the Sunderland fans cheering. It was sad to see that because they should be supporting their own team really,” he revealed.
"They didn’t have the best of seasons so for them to be cheering like that was sad. It was something myself and a lot of the players won’t forget."
Elsewhere, England manager Roy Hodgson insists that he will ‘talk’ to United about Rio Ferdinand’s fitness regime.
“If [Ferdinand] is going to play in future games there will have to be further discussions, not least of all in relation to his fitness programme and his club,” said Hodgson.
United striker Federico Macheda, currently on loan at Stuttgart has admitted a permanent transfer away from Old Trafford ‘makes sense’.
The 21-year-old Italian conceded:
"It wouldn't make sense to go back and do what I have done for the last two years. Maybe in the future I could go back, but not now."
In other transfer news, reported United ‘target’ Mario Gotze has hinted he would be open to a possible transfer to Old Trafford.
“Clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United are attractive, and playing in another top league would shape me and help me develop as a player,” he revealed.
Gotze’s Borussia Dortmund Mats Hummels is also reportedly a ‘target’ of United this summer and The Daily Express claims United may still be in with a chance of signing him after he dismissed claims he has agreed a move to Barcelona.
“I don't have any contact with FC Barcelona. I heard the rumours as well; usually there is something true about them,” he revealed.
Back at Old Trafford, Nani is reportedly ‘eyeing’ a move to Spain after implying he wants to leave United.
The Portuguese winger whose contract expires next year has been linked with moves to Arsenal, AC Milan and Sporting Lisbon despite manager Sir Alex Ferguson’s desire to keep him.
United youngster Sean McGinty has signed for Tranmere on loan for the remainder of the season.
In other news, United’s U19s exited the Dallas Cup last night after their 2-0 defeat to Kashiwa Reysol.
image: © Gordon Flood