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Man United injury update; Major League Soccer “better than before”

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Manchester United have dispatched both LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake over the past 48 hours with most of Jose Mourinho’s men getting at least 45 minutes in each game.

Now, United are stepping things up with Manchester City, Real Madrid and Barcelona to come in the next 10 days in the U.S.

[ MORE: Can Lukaku handle the pressure? ]

United’s win against RSL saw them once again use two teams for each half and although players reportedly struggled with playing at altitude at Rio Tinto Stadium and Antonio Valencia sent off controversially late on, Mourinho’s men rallied for the win with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Romelu Lukaku on target in the comeback 2-1 win.Ā 

Following the game Mourinho gave an injury update on Juan Mata and Matteo Darmian, with the former suffering an ankle injury.

“Mata has a big ankle but hopefully nothing really important. I would say a few days, a week, something like that, in principle,” Mourinho said. “And Matteo Darmian I don’t think is even an important problem.”

The two keys from preseason games is the following: 1) don’t pick up injuries. 2) don’t pick up injuries.

So in that regard this friendly was far from ideal for the Red Devils but Mourinho has been pleased with the way United’s first two preseason games have gone against MLS opponents and has been impressed with not only the quality of play from both LA and RSL, but also the MLS stadiums.

“I think the quality [of the MLS] is better [than before],” Mourinho said. “I like to play in soccer stadiums. I know you have absolutely amazing [American football] stadiums that sometimes you adapt but I like the concept of the soccer stadium, even if it’s smaller. So I like it, I like the fans, I like the enthusiasm around and the quality is improving all the time, I think, so I am happy with that.”

Mourinho added that the team RSL put out for the first 35 minutes gave United a tough test, but Mike Petke was forced to make wholesale changes to his team with an MLS regular season game coming up at Portland Timbers on Wednesday.

There you have it. Mourinho is a fan of MLS, despite the trolling from LA Galaxy’s mascot Cozmo…

Juventus suffers blow with apparent Higuain injury

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The back-and-forth battle at the top of Serie A continued on Sunday as Juventus topped Torino at theĀ Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino, however, the visitors suffered a big injury scare in the process.

[ MORE: Man United draws Brighton, Chelsea gets Leicester in FA Cup ]

Alex Sandro‘s winner came in the 33rd minute, but the focus of the match will leave all eyes on Gonzalo Higuain — who exited after just a quarter of an hour.

The Argentine international was looking to latch onto a through ball fromĀ Miralem Pjanic in the fifth minute, before jumping over an oncomingĀ Salvatore Sirigu — goalkeeper for Torino.

Higuain appeared to land awkwardly on his ankle, though, and while he attempted to continue on in the match he was substituted off forĀ Federico Bernardeschi 10 minutes later.

The extent of Higuain’s injury is unknown to this point, however, it comes at a very bad time for Juventus.

The Italian giants are heavily involved in the Serie A title race, holding a two-point lead over Napoli at the top of the table.

Additionally, Juve has important fixtures coming up in both the Coppa Italia and Champions League against Atalanta and Tottenham, respectively. Higuain and Co. are level at 2-2 with Spurs heading into their UCL second leg in early March, and Juve will surely need the striker’s presence to have a shot at advancing to the quarterfinals.

Rochdale 2-2 Tottenham: Davies stuns Spurs late

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A valiant effort from a League One side has rewarded the minnows with a replay set to be played at Wembley Stadium.

Tottenham Hotspur looked on its way towards the FA Cup sixth round on Sunday, but a late finish by Steven Davies gave Rochdale a 2-2 draw with the Premier League club at theĀ Spotland Stadium.

[ MORE: Willian stars as Chelsea routs Hull in FA Cup ]

Harry Kane — who scored his 34th goal on the season in all competitions — converted from the penalty spot in the 88th minute, however, Davies had the final say deep into stoppage time to send the two sides towards a replay.

Ian Henderson’s finish in the 45th minute gave Rochdale a gift at the conclusion of the first stanza, after the hosts capitalized on a Spurs giveaway near midfield.

Meanwhile, Tottenham managed to level the match at 1-1 on the hour mark when Lucas Moura calmly slotted his close-range shot past goalkeeper Josh Lillis after a timely through ball fromĀ Moussa Sissoko picked out the former PSG man.

The visitors began pressing on in the second half, with Mauricio Pochettino‘s side having trailed at the halftime break.

The two sides will now meet on either Feb. 27 or 28 in the reverse fixture to decide which team advances. The winner will either meet Sheffield Wednesday or Swansea City in the quarterfinals.

Scholes: Pogba didn’t earn Man United spot in 2012 before Juve stint

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Paul Pogba‘s young career has been bright, but a former Manchester United legend suggests that there was a time where the Frenchman struggled to find his way at Old Trafford.

[ MORE: Man United draws Brighton, Chelsea gets Leicester in FA Cup quarters ]Ā 

The 24-year-old Pogba is now in his second stint with the Red Devils, after spending four seasons in Italy with giants Juventus.

Former United midfielder Paul Scholes says though that back in 2012 — prior to Pogba’s move to Juve — that the physical player wasn’t pleased with the fact that he wasn’t getting regular minutes with the first team.

“Ferguson wanted me initially to come back and coach the reserve team with Warren Joyce,” he told BT Sport. “I said in September I’d come back. So I started helping Joycey, and I was training with the reserves.

“I was training every day with the likes of Pogba, Lingard, all these types of players. They were a really good side and I was really enjoying training. I was getting fit, I felt great, and it got to December time and the team was struggling a bit.

“They had a load of injuries, no central midfield players were fit. They ended up playing Phil Jones and Fabio da Silva in central midfield in a game against Blackburn at Old Trafford.

“Funnily enough that was the end of Pogba, because he thought he should have been playing instead of them. But he wasn’t doing well enough.”

Scholes, who had retired briefly in 2011, came back after just six months for the Red Devils, and ended up playing a year-and-a-half more following the decision to end his playing career.

It is widely believed that Pogba’s decision to head to Juventus was largely due to the impact of Scholes in the United squad.

Video: Rochdale puts Tottenham on upset alert at the half

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It’s been a tremendous season for Ian Henderson, particularly in the FA Cup, and now he and his side are one half away from upsetting one of the Premier League giants.

Henderson’s finish on the brink of halftime has put League One side Rochdale up 1-0 against Tottenham Hotspur, as the minnows aim to become the first non-PL side to advance to the quarterfinals in this season’s tournament.

A sloppy giveaway from Spurs near midfield created the attack for the hosts, and allowed Rochdale to capitalize on one of its few attacks during the opening stanza.