Builders ordered to stop wearing Manchester United shirts at City’s new Etihad campus

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If you ever wondered about, or doubted, just how intense the rivalry between Manchester United and Manchester City is, this should be a good indication.

Today it has been revealed that some builders working on Manchester City’s $200 million Etihad campus — being built for the first team and academy sides — have been told they can’t wear Manchester United jerseys to work.

The ruling has come after staff working at the 80-acre site were told soccer shirts were now banned and anyone seen wearing a jersey could be fired. Two workers were ordered to take off their United shirts as construction on City’s new training ground continued at the Ashton New Road site.

And now that incident has sparked the ruling which will see no soccer jerseys on display. Due to recent warm weather in Manchester, builders have been wearing retro Manchester United shirts amongst others. But it is alleged that a car driving around the site to show possible dignitaries the new development spotted two men wearing United shirts, and they were asked to remove or cover up the shirts or be escorted off the property.

The impressive new development should be ready for the start of the 2014-15 season and will include 16 full-size pitches, a FIFA regulation indoor pitch and a training, medical and operational facility and a community college. It will be connected to City’s Etihad Stadium via a bridge.

But with City and United’s rivalry intensifying over recent years, stunts like this will continue to surface.

Previously City have been overshadowed by their illustrious neighbors. But with the huge investment on and off the field since Sheikh Mansour and his partners took over, City are aiming to surpass Manchester United.

These feelings will be at the root of any Manchester United shirts spotted at the Etihad complex. And although it is such a small outburst of support for United within Manchester City’s boundaries, the hierarchy within the club will be keen to stamp it out.

Reportedly “MUFC” graffiti has cropped up across the site as tensions between workers from the city of Manchester continue to rise.

City and United have always been huge rivals. Their geographical location has made sure of that. But now that season after season they’re set to battle it out at the summit of the EPL, expect more intense and frequent outbreaks from both the red and blue halves of Manchester.

Do you think the rivalry will continue to bubble up?

Henry, Aguero discuss playing up top under Pep

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One great striker got another one to open up on an up-and-down year at Manchester City.

Thierry Henry — one of the greatest of all-time, it must be said — sat down with Sergio Aguero ahead of Thursday’s Manchester Derby at the Etihad Stadium, and asked the Argentine about Pep Guardiola, Gabriel Jesus, and more.

[ PL PREVIEW: Manchester Derby ]

At times, it’s a fascinating discussion on playing lone striker. Even apart from the obligatory questions regarding Jesus’ arrival at City, Henry and Aguero speak their craft in a manner you don’t see too often.

That’s helped by the fact that Henry played for Guardiola at Barcelona, and can relate to the positional demands of Man City’s boss. Consider this exchange, from Sky Sports:

HENRY: When I was at Arsenal, I played up front and if I wanted to drift out to the left, I could. But when I got to Barca, I had to stay out wide and press. Sometimes doing that can be hard.

AGUERO: The thing I’ve found the hardest has been getting into my head the fact that I have to press the centre-back and the goalkeeper in matches. That’s what Pep asks me to do. It may not be a big deal, but in terms of processing it, the two of us speak a lot. He knows what I’m like.

I’ve been gradually learning and adapting to that style of pressing over the last few months. The first thing he taught me was how to press and how to do it well. Obviously there are times when I might drift out of position or I might press in an area where I’m not supposed to be, which might make it hard for the wingers or midfielders.

In the game itself, I may not realise because I’m so immersed and you can’t stop yourself. I’ve learnt a lot from him in terms of zones. He asks me to play as a No 9 and to stay in that position. I often drift out wide during matches and he looks at me and says, “If there’s a player out wide who wants to cross it in, who’s in there? Nobody.”

HENRY: I know all about that, believe you me.

I love this, because it shows how difficult it is for an elite striker to adapt his mentality. Both Henry and Aguero found world-celebrated success by playing in a certain fashion, and Guardiola understood that and still demanded a change. Earlier this season, the manager somewhat famously spoke of improving Aguero.

Aguero has been linked with Real Madrid given the tumult at City.

PHOTO: Liverpool unveils 125th anniversary kit for next season

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Liverpool rolled out its 125th anniversary kit, featuring a special crest to celebrate the occasion.

The Liver bird has 1892 on one side and 2017 on the other, with “125 YEARS” spelled out underneath the club’s emblem.

[ PL PREVIEW: Manchester Derby ]

The red shirt with a gold crest has a white V-neck and white at the ends of the sleeves. The goalkeeper kit is green.

The jersey will be available on May 19, and was announced last month.

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Jara’s goal lifts Pachuca to CONCACAF Champions League crown

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Hirving Lozano’s dipping shot rebounded into the path of Franco Jara, who scored the goal that won Pachuca its fifth CONCACAF Championship early Thursday morning.

The Argentine’s goal was the only one of the win over UANL Tigres, and gave Pachuca its first continental title since 2009-10. USMNT veteran Omar Gonzalez played for the winners, while Jose Torres started for Tigres.

[ PL PREVIEW: Manchester Derby ]

Major League Soccer teams were eliminated in the semifinals, with FC Dallas falling to Pachuca and Vancouver Whitecaps losing to Tigres.

Beginning with the 2017-18 tournament, qualified MLS and Liga MX teams will not enter the tournament until the Round of 16. The entire tournament will be held in the same calendar year.

USMNT: Brooks out with hip strain; World Cup qualifiers loom

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John Brooks is out of Hertha Berlin’s lineup “for the time being” after scans revealed a hip strain suffered in this weekend’s win over Wolfsburg.

That’s all Hertha has said, and that makes it hard to imagine whether American fans should be a little concerned or very concerned ahead of the USMNT’s World Cup qualifiers against Mexico, and Trinidad and Tobago in early June.

Brooks was unavailable for two weeks with an adductor strain in September, missing a month before returning to the starting lineup.

The U.S. center back pool isn’t teeming after Brooks and Geoff Cameron. Matt Besler, Tim Ream, Omar Gonzalez, and Walker Zimmerman were called up for the last World Cup qualifiers, and Gonzalez struggled but is a Bruce Arena favorite from their time in L.A.