EPL

World Cup-winner Martinez can help Man Utd end trophy drought, says McTominay

By Sports Desk December 20, 2022

The mentality of Argentina's World Cup-winning defender Lisandro Martinez can help Manchester United end their five-year trophy drought this season, according to Scott McTominay.

Martinez initially struggled after swapping Ajax for United in July, but the defender has since emerged as a key part of Erik ten Hag's new-look team, who sit fifth in the Premier League.

Martinez appeared in five of Argentina's seven games in Qatar – starting twice – as Lionel Messi led the Albiceleste to their third title, which was clinched with a penalty shoot-out win against France.

Addressing United's fans ahead of Wednesday's EFL Cup last-16 tie against Burnley, McTominay detailed his first conversation with Martinez after Argentina's triumph, saying the Red Devils must adopt a winning mentality to challenge for silverware.

"Success will always be winning trophies and that's the most important thing at this football club," McTominay said.

"With the manager that we've got now, we've got a really good opportunity to start that journey, especially this year. 

"We've got a really good chance to implement ourselves and really start pushing. I feel like this is the year where we can go for it and that’s firmly reiterated by all the coaches and in the squad.

"I messaged Lisandro the other day and said congratulations and he said, 'we go for the next one'. He's just won a World Cup, so that shows the mentality that is in the group."

Martinez is not the only Argentine to impress for United this season, with teenage winger Alejandro Garnacho scoring twice since breaking into the first-team squad.

Garnacho scored a stoppage-time winner in United's most recent Premier League game at Fulham, and McTominay believes there is no limit to the 18-year-old's potential if he remains grounded. 

"He's a hell of a footballer and if he keeps his feet on the ground and keeps learning and keeps wanting to work hard, then he can do what he wants in football," he said.

"He's such a talented player and we've got to keep him humble and keep him working hard as well."

Related items

  • Italy v Albania: Spalletti urges Azzurri to act like defending champions in Euro 2024 opener Italy v Albania: Spalletti urges Azzurri to act like defending champions in Euro 2024 opener

    Luciano Spalletti hopes Italy can use their title of reigning champions to their advantage when they open their Euro 2024 campaign against Albania on Saturday.

    The Azzurri secured Euro 2020 glory by upsetting England on home soil with a 3-2 win on penalties following a 1-1 draw to win their second European title.

    After Roberto Mancini's shock departure last year, Spalletti stepped into his shoes, qualifying for Euro 2024, and he is confident they have what it takes to win the tournament for the second time in a row.

    "It feels like heaven to be in situations like these," Spalletti told UEFA.com. "Matches come and go. These tournaments are really important, and this is why we need to be prepared for everything; as we say in our anthem, 'We are ready to die' for these matches.

    "In my opinion, coming into the tournament as defending champions is an advantage. But we need to understand straight away that we need to behave like defending champions. We will only see whether or not we are up to the task during the matches.

    "In a way, we are facing ourselves, not the outside world. We need to show what we are made of, to show what we have inside."

    Albania, meanwhile, are making just their second appearance at the Euros, and their first since 2016 when they were knocked out in the group stage.

    After topping a qualifying group including the Czech Republic and Poland, the Eagles have now been drawn into the 'group of death', also containing Spain and Croatia, but Sylvinho remains optimistic about their chances.

    "We do all of this together and understand what we're all after," Sylvinho told UEFA.com. "We've achieved things, we've made it to the Euros: that's some feat.

    "We've got this far, we know our size, we're improving. It's set to be a real challenge. However, we'll knuckle down to work.

    "The games will be fantastic but hard, and if we're able to overcome our opponents, we want to keep going. We're doing well, but if we can take another step forward, then even better."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Italy – Nicolo Barella

    Barella registered more assists than any other Italy player during Euro 2024 qualifying (three) and created seven more chances than any other Italian player (15). Barella also assisted two goals during Italy's victorious Euro 2020 campaign. The Azzurri will be hoping he can get fit in time to start the tournament.

    Albania – Jasir Asani

    Asani was Albania's joint-top goalscorer during Euro 2024 qualifying, scoring three times (level with Nedim Bajrami). All three of his strikes were scored from outside the box.

    MATCH PREDICTION: ITALY WIN

    This will be Italy and Albania's first encounter at a major tournament. Italy have won all four of their previous meetings with Albania (seven goals for, one against), which have all taken place since 2014.

    Italy have not conceded more than one goal in a match across their last two Euros participations, in 2016 and 2020: that is a total of six goals conceded across their last 12 matches in the competition.

    Italy's 45 matches at the Euros have produced 1.84 goals on average (52 for, 31 against) – it is the lowest ratio amongst any of the 25 teams to have taken part in 10+ matches in the competition.

    This is just Albania's second appearance at a major international tournament after Euro 2016 – their sole victory in this competition came against Romania in the final group match that year (1-0).

    Indeed, after losing their first Euro 2024 qualifier against Poland, Albania did not lose any of their next seven (W4 D3).

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Italy – 66.3%

    Draw – 19.6%

    Albania – 14.2%

  • Newcastle confirm Kelly signing on free transfer from Bournemouth Newcastle confirm Kelly signing on free transfer from Bournemouth

    Newcastle have confirmed the signing of out of contract Bournemouth defender Lloyd Kelly as their first arrival in the transfer window. 

    Kelly, who has signed a long-term deal at St. James' Park, reunites with Eddie Howe, having signed him for the Cherries from Bristol City in 2019. 

    “Working with the gaffer previously, I know what he wants from his players and how he wants his players to play, and I think with what I can bring it just makes sense," Kelly said on working with the Newcastle coach again.

    The 25-year-old made 23 Premier League appearances for Andoni Iraola's side last season, keeping four clean sheets, including one against the Magpies back in November.

    We are delighted to announce that Lloyd Kelly will join the club on 1 July 2024.

    Welcome to Newcastle United, Lloyd! pic.twitter.com/aoX7ixnS32

    — Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) June 13, 2024

    "It's amazing to be coming here. I know how big the club is and how much it means to all the fans, and I just want to hit the ground running and get to work," Kelly said. 

    "It's a big move for myself and the family - of course being down south is a bit different - but I think the city of Newcastle is amazing, with the contrast between city life and the countryside."

    Kelly's addition will bolster Newcastle's defensive ranks after centre backs Sven Botman and Jamaal Lascelles both picked up ACL injuries in the final months of the season that are set to rule them out until the end of 2024.

  • New York Red Bulls v Nashville SC: Nealis pledges hosts will improve New York Red Bulls v Nashville SC: Nealis pledges hosts will improve

    New York Red Bulls captain Sean Nealis has vowed the team will learn from last week's defeat to the New England Revolution, when they were hamstrung by several absences.

    The Red Bulls were beaten 1-0 in Foxborough following a run of four wins in five matches, with Lewis Morgan and Emil Forsberg among the big names missing due to international duty.

    The result left them fourth in the Eastern Conference standings, six points adrift of Supporters' Shield frontrunners Inter Miami.

    "We separated ourselves from the bottom half of the group and now we're kind of just lying there in the middle," centre-back Nealis said as he reflected on New York's last result.

    "We'll learn from this. We'll get better from it. This is a young group out there. 

    "A lot got their first minutes of the season and I think we'll all learn how to get better and how to understand these environments and then get over the hump."

    Nashville, meanwhile, sit ninth in the East, 10 points adrift of the Red Bulls. 

    They have taken four points from four games (one win, two draws, one defeat) since Rumba Munthali took over as interim head coach following the firing of Gary Smith.

    They were also beaten by the Revs on their last MLS outing before the international break, and Munthali believes keeping players fresh will be key if they are to improve.   

    "It's a quick turnaround, and we have a lot of confidence in the group," Munthali said. 

    "We try to balance that, and we want to make sure guys are available for the whole season, not just game to game.

    "It's about managing and making sure we're not straining guys and breaking them."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    New York Red Bulls – Elias Manoel

    Having seen the likes of Morgan and Forsberg go on international duty, the Red Bulls could be left to rely on Manoel.

    He has three goals and three assists in MLS play this term, despite only making eight starts. Only Morgan (nine) and Forsberg (six) have outscored him for New York.

    Nashville SC – Hany Mukhtar 

    Mukhtar scored Nashville's only goal in their defeat to New England on June 1 from the penalty spot. 

    He has been directly involved in each of Nashville's last four MLS goals (two goals, two assists, with the last Nashville goal without a Mukhtar involvement coming on May 15.

    MATCH PREDICTION – NEW YORK RED BULLS WIN

    Nashville ended a seven-game run without an away victory by beating FC Cincinnati 2-0 on May 29, just their second win in their last 16 away league matches. 

    However, they may struggle on Saturday against a team unbeaten in 10 straight home games (seven wins, three draws), dating back to last year's playoffs.

    The Red Bulls are also unbeaten in their last five meetings with Nashville, winning two and drawing three while only conceding once in that sequence. 

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    New York Red Bulls – 52%

    Nashville SC – 23.5%

    Draw – 24.5% 

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.