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Erik ten Hag enforces major Old Trafford change after first visit as Man Utd manager

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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has made the unprecedented decision to swap the Old Trafford dugouts ahead of his coaching debut this weekend.

The Red Devils are set to host Spanish side Rayo Vallecano this weekend for what is their final pre-season tie ahead of their first Premier League match of the campaign against Brighton & Hove Albion. The game will give the Dutchman an excellent idea of what he still needs to work on building up to kick-off against the Seagulls and will give attending supporters their first taste of Ten Hag’s philosophy at Old Trafford.

Some keen eyed fans might potentially spot a major change to the stadium when they attend with the new Red Devils’ boss having chosen to make quite a major change.
As confirmed by a club statement, the two Old Trafford dugouts have been swapped around. This means that the home dugout will be on the west side of the halfway line, meaning that the hosts will be closer to the tunnel and the Stretford End. The away side will now be stationed on the other side and as a result closer to the travelling support.

Ten Hag’s visit to Old Trafford shortly after his official unveiling in May apparently played a considerable role in the switch with the Dutchman giving his approval to the swap itself having noticed that the away dugout was closer to the tunnel.

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It remains to be seen if the switch benefits the Red Devils at all but Ten Hag will certainly be hopeful of bettering the club’s fortunes following a wretched season last time out.
United are currently undefeated in pre-season having earned wins against Liverpool, Melbourne Victory and Crystal Palace before they were held 2-2 by Aston Villa. Whilst they will play Vallecano on Sunday, the Red Devils also do battle with another Spanish side before that with a showdown with Atletico Madrid in Norway.
It is currently unclea how the squad will be split for the game but one man who certainly won’t be appearing is Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese striker has been linked with a move to the Wanda Metropolitano this summer after handing in a transfer request to Man Utd.

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His agent Jorge Mendes has approached Atleti regarding a transfer but the club’s fans have taken an exception to any move having unfurled a banner opposing his arrival during a pre-season clash with Spanish minnows Numancia.

His absence is not suggested to be related but instead is training away from the squad with his fitness some way behind the rest of his teammates.

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Olise’s late strike gets Palace point against United

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Michael Olise has helped Crystal Palace get a point against Manchester United in their 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park Stadium on Wednesday night.

The midfielder’s late strike in extra-time, 91′, levelled the game against United, who had controlled the lead since the 43rd minute of the first half after Bruno Fernandes’ fine finish put the Red Devils ahead just before the break.

A relentless Olise scored from a free kick with a left-footed shot to the top right corner. The equalising goal saw United’s dream of replacing defending EPL champions City in the second place on the league table, fade away, as they remain third with 39 points, having played a game more than City.

Crystal Palace remains in 12th place with 23 points.

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Atletico Madrid head coach speaks on leaving Atletico Madrid

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Atletico Madrid head coach, Diego Simeone, has insisted that nobody has personally told him to leave the club.

Rumours have persisted that Simeone, 52, could be set to end this 11-year stay at Atletico Madrid at the end of the season.

However, the Argentine has now stated that no one at the club has asked him to quit the La Liga giants.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of Atletico Madrid’s Copa del Rey tie with Levante on Wednesday night, Simeone said when asked about reports suggesting he would leave the club at the end of the season: “No one has personally asked me to leave.”

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However, having already been eliminated from UEFA Champions League and sitting 13 points behind leaders Barcelona in the La Liga table, the Copa del Rey is Atletico Madrid’s last realistic opportunity for a trophy this season.

It has been a disappointing campaign for Simeone’s side, as they sit fourth in the league.

Simeone added, “The boys are enthusiastic to reverse this situation that we have experienced since the break and prior to the World Cup. It’s been a regular to a bad season. For me, there is growth after the break, hopefully, we will continue in that line.”

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EPL: Frank Lampard won’t run away – Shaun Wright-Phillips

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Former Chelsea player, Shaun Wright-Phillips has backed his former teammate, Frank Lampard to stay at Goodison Park and turn things around.

Wright-Phillips said his former team-mate does not run away from challenges such as Everton is facing now but would face them squarely

Lampard is in danger of being sacked any moment from now after yet another defeat on Friday.

Everton crashed out of the FA Cup on Friday after they were beaten 3-1 by Manchester United at Old Trafford

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Frank Lampard has now led Toffees to six defeats in their last seven matches and they have also crashed out of the Carabao Cup and are currently 18th in the Premier League.

“Frank Lampard has always been a player and a person that won’t run away from things not going well,” Wright-Phillips told the BBC.

“He is the type of person to try and solve it or try and make the situation a lot better…”

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