Manchester United pre-game latest: Including Villa team news and title chance

News, views and rumours relating to Manchester United in the past 24 hours.

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has conceded Manchester United ‘deserve’ the title, following City’s 3-1 defeat at Tottenham on Sunday.

"They deserve to win this title because we lost a lot of points in games we didn't deserve to lose," admitted the Italian.

United could now win their 20th Premier League title this evening at Old Trafford with a win against relegation strugglers Aston Villa.

United now have a 13-point lead over City with just 5 games left to play. Should they extend their lead to 16 points this evening, they will be crowned champions of England once again.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has urged his team to aim to beat Chelsea’s points record of 95 points in 2005 by winning their next 5 games to make 96 points.

“If you’re asking if Manchester United can win five games in a row, well, how many times have we done that? So it’s not beyond us,” insisted the Scot.

Meanwhile, vice-captain Patrice Evra has asserted his belief that United possess a ‘unique character’.

“If it is another team they say what great character they have, what a great team they are. Because it is Manchester United they just say we have escaped. We did not escape. This is character. This is personality. That is why we are here. That is why I hope we are going to win the title,” said the Frenchman.

"You have to accept the criticism but I don't see anyone with more character than this team.”

However, Villa boss Paul Lambert outlined his intentions of spoiling the party tonight at Old Trafford as the Villains go in search of a vital 3 points to help them to secure Premier League survival.

"Put it this way I don't want them to win it against us, because I want us to try and win ourselves,” said Lambert.

Veteran centre-back Rio Ferdinand is expected to sign a new contract this summer.

The boss revealed of the 34-year-old Englishman’s contract negotiations:

"I've spoken to him and, obviously at this moment in time, he's more concerned about getting an opponent for his testimonial game! He is working on that, but we want him to stay and obviously I am sure his representatives will be discussing things with David [Gill].”

"I would imagine that [staying] would be the best thing for him,” he added.

In team news, United winger and former Villa star Ashley Young has been ruled out for the rest of the season, whilst Paul Scholes is still unavailable.

United’s predicted starting line-up is:

De Gea – Vidic – Ferdinand – Evra – Rafael – Carrick – Cleverley – Valencia – Kagawa – Rooney – Van Persie

In transfer news, The Telegraph claims that United ‘target’ Robert Lewandowski is ‘keen to secure’ a move to United this summer, admit on-going speculation over his future.

However United ‘target’ Arturo Vidal is ‘not thinking about his future’ despite being linked with a move to Old Trafford from Serie A giants Juventus.

"I'm calm about my future," said the 25-year-old Chilean.

"I'm happy here, I'm proud to wear this shirt and I want to continue like this."

Meanwhile, reports claim that Arsenal may ‘beat United’ to secure the services of Schalke’s Julian Draxler this summer.

Elsewhere, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has claimed Cristiano Ronaldo will sign a contract extension with the La Liga champions this summer, ending speculation that he could return to United.

In other news, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, made a ‘secret visit’ to United’s Carrington training ground this morning, where he chatted with Wayne Rooney and the United team.

United have ‘welcomed’ a potential £30 million ‘bidding war’ over sponsorship deals between Nike and Warrior.

The two American companies are expected to fight it out to sign a new kit deal with the champions-elect.

Finally, United coach Rene Meulensteen has ‘tipped’ Robin van Persie to pursue management in the future.

"There is a coach hiding inside him, although I think he will play as long as he can,” he said of the Dutch ace.


images: © nasmac, © Paolo Camera

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