Van Gaal appeals to supporters’ belief after Manchester United’s League Cup loss

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Making no apologies for his team’s play, Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has reached out to supporters after his team’s 4-0 loss at Milton Keynes, asking Red Devils’ fans to maintain their belief in a project still in its formative stages.

That belief was tested Tuesday night when United were bounced out of the League Cup 4-0 at MK Dons. Two goals each from William Grigg and Benik Afobe saw United to the club’s earliest exit in 19 years, with a series of costly mistakes allowing the third-tier team to embarrass their more renown guests.

“It was a matter of making errors at wrong moments,” van Gaal said to MUTV. “When you see the goals against us, I believe there were big errors in the build-ups. When you make errors like that, you give the match away.”

United gave away the first goal after a Jonny Evans error, one that helped the home side take its lead against the run of play. Despite United’s superiority in many phases of the game, carelessness in possession allowed the Dons to blow the game open, with the games third and fourth goals highlighting United’s deficiencies building play.

After the match, van Gaal was aware of what the loss will mean to the club’s support.

“It’s difficult for the fans, I know that,” the first-year boss explained, “but they have to believe in our philosophy. At the end, they can judge, but not now. I hope they shall maintain their confidence in the club and in our philosophy because that philosophy takes time. We are building up a team which you can’t make in one month, even one year.”

Even one year? That’s not good news for United fans who are expecting a return to Champions League.

After today’s loss, that possibility remains a long way off, though with Ángel Di María signed and more talent potentially arriving this window, United may look markedly different in one week’s time.

Right now, however, the team has hit a low, and while fans are smart enough to know three games are not enough to pass judgment, that doesn’t make “Milton Keynes 4, Manchester United 0” easier to swallow.

Transfer rumor roundup: PL duo eyeing Asensio and more

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The ongoing World Cup hasn’t halted the transfer talk across global soccer, and on Wednesday there are a number of potentially intriguing storylines.


Two Premier League sides are chasing Real Madrid attacker Marco Asensio, including Chelsea and Manchester United, while they will have to battle Paris Saint-Germain as well.

Although Asensio is prepared to stay in Spain next season, he wants to be assured of playing time under new manager Julen Lopetegui, who recently joined the club.

The 22-year-old scored 11 goals in all competitions last season for Los Blancos.


Juventus continues to have several players at the center of transfer rumors, and Miralem Pjanic is a name that keeps popping up.

The midfielder won’t come cheap though, with Juve reportedly set to ask for $92.6 million in the event that a club wants to acquire Pjanic.

Barcelona is rumored to be seeking a move for Pjanic with Andres Iniesta now heading to Vissel Kobe in the J-League.


New Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri is reportedly looking to bring several of his former Napoli players to Stamford Bridge, including Belgium star Dries Mertens.

The Blues are seeking more attacking options ahead of the fall, and the veteran Mertens has become a proven commodity in front of goal over the course of his Serie A career.

Uruguay reaches Round of 16 courtesy of Suarez

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The first two nations have advanced to the knockout phase out of Group A.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Uruguay reached the Round of 16 on Wednesday with a 1-0 win over Saudi Arabia, who has been eliminated from the 2018 World Cup.

Hosts Russia will also reach the knockout rounds with the Uruguay win, thus eliminating Egypt as well.

The Barcelona striker gave Uruguay the lead in the 23rd minute, after a poor read from Saudi goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Owais.

Suarez was given a wide-open finish at the far post off the corner kick for his first goal at the World Cup. The 31-year-old had scored a combined five goals during his last two World Cup appearances (2010 & 2014).

The Uruguyans dictated the tempo throughout much of the match, but Saudi Arabia’s back line held strong for the majority of the game.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

Uruguay will close out group play against Group A leaders and hosts Russia on June 25, while Saudi Arabia and Egypt will tango that same day.

Video: Goalkeeping error grants Suarez, Uruguay gift

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Luis Suarez was clearly upset with his lack of finishing in Uruguay’s opener last Friday, but the Barcelona man is finally on the scoresheet at the 2018 World Cup.

[MORE: Ronaldo’s early header gives Portugal win over Morocco ]

The veteran striker gave Uruguay the lead in the 23rd minute after a close-range finish off of a corner kick.

Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Owais came out to try and collect the cross, however, he was slow in his reaction, allowing the ball to slip through to Suarez for the easy finish.

The Uruguayans will reach the Round of 16 with one match remaining if they hold on to their 1-0 lead.

NZ women’s coach placed on leave after player complaints

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Wellington, New Zealand (AP) The coach of New Zealand’s women’s football team has been placed on leave pending an investigation of complaints about his conduct from members of the national team.

[ MORE: Senegal holds off late Poland charge for Group H win ]

The complaints centered around tactics Andreas Heraf used in a recent home international against Japan and his comments to media after that match. Players reportedly objected to the defensive nature of Heraf’s tactics in the 3-1 loss.

New Zealand Football chief executive Andy Martin said at a news conference on Wednesday that his organization had received a letter from the New Zealand Professional Footballers Association, containing letters of complaint from 13 national team members.

Defending his approach at a news conference after the match, Heraf said the New Zealand players would never have the “quality” to compete with a team of Japan’s ability and might have lost 8-0 if they had not adopted a defensive style.

Further reports have emerged of player concerns about Heraf’s behavior, including allegations of bullying.

Martin was repeatedly questioned at the news conference about when New Zealand Football first had notice of the players’ concerns about Heraf. He insisted he was not aware of any problems until the letter from the NZPFA containing the players’ complaints was released on Monday.

In a statement, New Zealand Football Chairman Deryck Shaw said player welfare was “of utmost importance.”

“We hold player welfare as a matter of utmost importance and that is why we are conducting a thorough, independent review. We want to ensure we better understand these issues in an objective review. There is no place for inappropriate behavior of any kind with New Zealand Football.”