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Messi, Barcelona knock Manchester United out of Champions League (video)

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The fairytale ending didn’t materialize for Manchester United, as Lionel Messi and Barcelona thumped their visitors 3-0 on Tuesday at the Camp Nou to win the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal 4-0 on aggregate.

Messi scored twice and Philippe Coutinho also scored as Barca advanced to meet the winner of Liverpool and Porto.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

United controlled the ball off the opening kickoff, and Paul Pogba sent Marcus Rashford on goal only to see the young striker rip a shot over the cross bar.

United had the better of the early chances, but Ivan Rakitic’s charge for a loose ball saw him trip over the outstretched leg of Fred in the box. It wasn’t intentional, and the decision would go to VAR.

No penalty.

Barca went ahead minutes later, as Messi cut in from the right to swerve a sensational strike around the diving De Gea.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

And it was 2-0 before long, 3-0 on aggregate, as Messi’s low drive took a slight turn off Phil Jones but still seemed destined for De Gea’s arms only to squirt underneath the United keeper.

De Gea made a face save before halftime to deny Sergi Roberto and Messi in their bid to ice the contest.

Coutinho put it to bed with just under a half-hour to play, and Liverpool fans have seen this a time or two.

How ‘ruthless’ should Solskjaer be at Man United?

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said he is going to be “ruthless” when it comes to ins and outs at Manchester United this summer.

But how ruthless does he have to be?

After a narrow, and undeserved, win against West Ham United on Saturday, Solskjaer admitted that the Hammers got away with one and it once again showed just how much work he has to do at Old Trafford to turn the Red Devils into a genuine force once again.

Here’s a reminder of what United’s new permanent head coach had to say last Friday about potential departures and arrivals this summer.

“It’s going to be survival of the fittest or survival of the best,” Solskjaer said. “That’s how ruthless we have to be.  We need players here who are going to be able to take us forward. That means culture in the dressing room, what we do every single day here to make us challenge again… Liverpool and City are too far head at the moment for what we like. We played against a Barcelona team that sets the standard in European football. We’re under no illusion it’s going to be hard work and there will be some tough decisions made by me, Mick [Phelan] and the club.”

Solskjaer’s task has become a lot tougher now his interim tag has been removed, with the Norwegian coach losing four of his last six games in all competitions and United struggling to make the top four and looking like they will crash out of the UEFA Champions League at Barcelona on Tuesday.

But at least he accepts he must be ruthless, as a whole host of players look set to move on this summer.

Antonio Valencia is leaving at the end of his contract, while Ander Herrera also looks set to leave for PSG and Juan Mata appears to be heading out of the door too. Then there is Matteo Darmian and Marcos Rojo who both seem set to leave, while Alexis Sanchez and United will both want to move on from a nightmare 18-month spell.

So that’s six first team players potentially on the way out, but only one or two are genuine starters. A bigger overhaul is needed. Here’s a look at where United need to strengthen over the summer, as they also need to sort out David De Gea‘s contract situation very quickly or run the risk of losing him too.


Man United lineup for the 2019-20 season

—– De Gea —–

—- New RB —- New CB —- Lindelof —- Shaw —-

—- New DM —- New DM —- 

—- New AM —- Pogba —- Martial —-

—– Rashford —–


Now, Diogo Dalot can replace Ashley Young as the long-term right back, while Chris Smalling and Phil Jones have been handed new deals at center back, and Eric Bailly is around too, but their limitations have been made clear over the years. A new RB and CB are a must. In central midfield the likes of Scott McTominay, Fred and Nemanja Matic have all had their ups and downs and that is the main area where United need to strengthen. Going forward, they are pretty set, especially with the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez in reserve. But the main thing here is clear: have a clear-out of squad players this summer and focus on bringing in 3-4 star players.

Which players should be the top targets for United? Solskjaer should aim for young, hungry players who can be at United together for a decade, while some experienced center backs are key. Bur remember: Solskjaer has been keen to promote youngsters from United’s academy whenever he can, so that may also be the route he goes down to freshen things up and Ed Woodward and United’s hierarchy would probably be fine with that given how much money Louis Van Gaal and Jose Mourinho have spent over the past five years.

Here’s a look at the players who should be their top priorities:

Watch Live: Manchester United v. West Ham United

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Manchester United and West Ham United both hope to keep season aims alive when they meet at Old Trafford on Saturday (Watch live at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

The Irons are seeking their first league sweep of the Red Devils in over a decade, and will turn to Chicharito to lead the line.

United has a makeshift back four of Diego Dalot, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, and Marcos Rojo.

LINEUPS

Manchester United: De Gea, Dalot, Jones, Smalling, Rojo, Mata, Fred, Pogba, Lingard, Lukaku, Martial. Subs: Romero, Darmian, Lindelof, Andreas, McTominay, Greenwood, Rashford.

West Ham United: Fabianski, Zabaleta, Ogbonna, Balbuena, Masuaku, Rice, Noble, Snodgrass, Lanzini, Anderson, Chicharito. Subs: Adrian, Diop, Fredericks, Obiang, Diangana, Holland, Antonio

PL Preview: Manchester United v. West Ham

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  • Irons won 3-1 at Old Trafford
  • United defense is suspension-, injury-hit
  • Man Utd leads all-time 65W-31D-44L

West Ham United seeks its first league sweep of Manchester United since 2006-07 when the Irons visit Old Trafford on Saturday (Watch live at 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

How bad is Manchester United’s injury and suspension status out wide? Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said, “We don’t have full-backs this week.”

So that’s music to the ears of Felipe Anderson and the West Ham attackers, as Manuel Pellegrini‘s side hopes to make an unlikely climb into the Europa League.

Meanwhile, United has to balance its desire to finish Top Four — they enter the weekend three points back of fourth-place Spurs — with preparation and freshness for its UEFA Champions League second leg at Barcelona next week.

What th ey’re saying

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: “We don’t have fullbacks this week. Not too many as we’ve lost Luke and Ashley through suspension. Antonio Valencia is still not fit. Maybe Matteo Darmian will be available for the bench and Marcos Rojo has been training for a while. He’s available and we’ve got Jonah (Phil Jones), who could also play there. Rojo needed to get out on the big pitch (in the Under-23s, against West Brom last Friday) so he could have that game but we’ve had a couple of practice matches so let’s see what we decide.“

West Ham captain Mark Noble: “We’re looking forward to going to Manchester United on Saturday. We were encouraged by our second-half performance at Stamford Bridge, it’s our last away game outside London and if we can reproduce the sort of performance we produced at home back in September, when we beat them 3-1, then no one will be more delighted than me. Our main worry is that, away from home, we’ve scored just one goal since this year.”

Prediction

Goals on both sides of a 2-2 draw which leaves both sides a bit perturbed with their performances.

Wolves top 10-man Man Utd (video)

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  • United remains fifth in Premier League
  • Wolves a point ahead of 8th place Watford
  • McTominay scores first PL goal
  • United out-attempts Wolves 18-9 in loss

Ashley Young was sent off and Chris Smalling scored an own goal as 10-man Manchester United blew an early lead and lost 2-1 to Wolves at the Molineux Stadium on Tuesday.

Diogo Jota scored for Wolves, who remain in control of the race for 7th place and a potential spot in the Europa League.

Wolves continue its season control of United after drawing them at Old Trafford and knocking the Red Devils out of the FA Cup.

Scott McTominay scored his first Premier League goal in the loss, as United is level on points with fourth place Spurs. Tottenham plays Wednesday at home versus Crystal Palace.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Romelu Lukaku pounded a header right at well-stationed Rui Patricio off a strong 5th minute opportunity.

McTominay delivered on United’s early promise, taking a square ball from Fred about 22 yards from goal and dragging a low shot across Patricio and inside the far post.

Patricio made a fine save to deny Lingard’s header of a chipped Lukaku cross in the 17th.

Wolves wouldn’t trail for long, unlocking United through the magnificent Jimenez’s pass to Jota and a fine finish.

Leander Dendoncker popped an unchallenged shot over the bar in the 31st as Wolves bid for their first lead of the night.

Lukaku and Paul Pogba combined well, the Frenchman using a faked shot to slip the Belgian to about 8 yards out. Lukaku dragged his effort wide of the goal.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Patricio made an outstanding save on McTominay in the 55th, keeping the deadlock in tact.

Ashley Young was sent off by Mike Dean in the 57th minute when he hit Jota with a studs-up tackle and picked up his second yellow card in less than five minutes.

It was a milestone moment.

Wolves then went ahead when Phil Jones headed a ball off Jimenez’s legs, and David De Gea couldn’t find it before Chris Smalling punched it across his own goal line.

McTominay had another low drive pushed out for a corner kick in the 78th, but it was Wolves who repeatedly missed chances to score including Ivan Cavaleiro‘s stoppage time rip off the bar.