Sancho signing sends a message to rest of Premier League, says McClaren

By Sports Desk July 05, 2021

Manchester United have sent a message to the rest of the Premier League with their high-profile move to sign Jadon Sancho, says Steve McClaren.

Former United assistant and England manager McClaren feels Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men can now field a formidable attacking unit even though there are still some calls for them to sign a new centre-forward.

United and Borussia Dortmund have agreed a deal in principle for the transfer of Sancho, which is worth around £73million and expected to be completed after his involvement in Euro 2020.

Sancho scored 50 goals and provided 57 assists in 137 appearances across all competitions for Dortmund, with United poised to finalise the deal one year on from their initial frustrating and ultimately failed pursuit.

Last season, the 21-year-old became the first Englishman to reach at least 10 assists for three straight campaigns in Europe's top-five leagues since former United star David Beckham in 2001.

Indeed, only Thomas Muller (48) and Lionel Messi (43) have managed to provide more assists at that league level since the start of the 2018-19 campaign than Sancho (41).

Sancho also impressed for England in their 4-0 Euros quarter-final win over Ukraine, having been handed his first start of the tournament.

United won the treble during McClaren's time at the club and he insists they now have the quality to compete for all competitions.

 

"I say it's a marker for the rest of the league," McClaren told Stats Perform about the signing of Sancho.

"They've chased Sancho for a while and he just adds to the attacking line-up that they've already got. 

"Yes, okay, they need a striker, everybody says that – but you also need speed on the wings and some creativity. 

"They have got Mason Greenwood, they have got Marcus Rashford and they have got Daniel James. Now they have Sancho, they are going to be in everything.

"Yes, you need to keep clean sheets, you need to do that. But also, to win tournaments, to win trophies, you need to be good on the ball.

"You need to be a threat and you need a front four that can terrorise the opponents. 

"Imagine now you have got Rashford, Sancho, Greenwood, you have got Edinson Cavani, Bruno Fernandes – Paul Pogba behind, there is some creativity there, they have got to win soon."

Pogba is a player who faces an uncertain future with just 12 months to run on his contract.

He produced an impressive season for United in 2020-21 and followed it up with a starring role for France at Euro 2020, culminating in a stunning goal before the world champions went on to lose against Switzerland on penalties in the last 16.

McClaren was impressed with Pogba and urged United to find a way to keep the central midfielder.

"Yeah, I think Ole gets the best of him," he said. "I think he’s great for that team.

"The team like him, you can see that, and he can win football matches. He can play passes through to strikers that nobody else can play. 

"So as long as you can handle that player, and the rest of the team accept it, which they have, he's a great asset for any team."

 

McClaren liked what he saw from Pogba at the Euros, though was not impressed by France as a unit.

He added: "It is a little bit like with Raheem Sterling for England, I think exactly the same for France – he is the man.

"Pogba has to be the man and he's one of the three or four main men in their team and they need him to perform very well.

"He played the best passes of the tournament [from] deep sliding Kylian Mbappe through and things like that.

"But the French didn't play with intensity, didn't play as a team. They never had that toughness of the past in or out of possession – no urgency. They didn't have that intensity.

"And they couldn't defend – normally the French defend very well, they won the World Cup defending very, very well in a 4-3-3 with excellent speed on the break. 

"They didn't do that, they were fragmented. As a team, they were never compact. There were gaps or holes in their defence and that's very unusual for France. 

"It is normal when you dominate for a while. If you come off it in a tournament by even five or 10 per cent you are going to lose, you're going to get beat and subconsciously they probably did that. 

"Their star player Mbappe, who they put everything into, never scored a goal and missed the final penalty. So, it was in the stars that France were in trouble."

Related items

  • Man Utd 'destroyed' by Brentford in first half and only deserved a draw - Frank Man Utd 'destroyed' by Brentford in first half and only deserved a draw - Frank

    Manchester United were "destroyed" in the first half of their 3-1 win over Brentford, with Thomas Frank claiming they only deserved a draw at most. 

    United failed to register a single shot on target in the opening period in west London on Wednesday, while David de Gea was forced into three saves from Mathias Jensen and Ethan Pinnock. 

    After Cristiano Ronaldo sent a header against the crossbar at the start of the second half, Anthony Elanga put the Red Devils ahead with their first shot on target. 

    Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford put United out of sight and secured a 300th Premier League away victory for the club, with Ivan Toney netting a late consolation for Brentford. 

    "Unbelievably proud of my team. I think we are the smallest club in the Premier League, Manchester United are probably the biggest. The way we played in the first half, I think we destroyed them," Frank told BT Sport. 

    "We should have been up at least 2-0, they didn't have a sniff, nothing. We created five, six chances and three huge chances. Man United deserved a maximum of a draw. I think they are unbelievably lucky. 

    "Of course you need to take your chances, I know all that c**p. But the performance, I'm proud of that. They changed the system against little Brentford. I'm so, so proud of my team. 

    "[It was] one of those nights, it's football. Fair play to De Gea, a very good performance. If we get those chances again one will go in the back of the net. 

    "Our intensity killed them, we showed that in the first half. We pressed them, when we had to we defended low, we won the second balls, we played behind and ran behind them. We played the Brentford way in the first half. 

    "The game opened up. They hadn't had a chance before their goal. Of course, I know that's why they pay 72 million [pounds] for [Jadon] Sancho, who's not even included in the team. That's why, that little bit of brilliance created the first goal. 

    "Of the three goals, the second is most disappointing and difficult to come back from. There were huge positives. I think the way we smashed them in the first half was fantastic, so proud of my team." 

  • Inzaghi delighted with Inter fightback in Coppa Italia triumph Inzaghi delighted with Inter fightback in Coppa Italia triumph

    Simone Inzaghi expressed his delight with Inter's reaction as his side came from behind to beat Empoli in the Coppa Italia last 16.

    Empoli stunned the Serie A leaders in the second half as substitute Nedim Bajrami cancelled out Alexis Sanchez's opener before the visitors fortuitously took the lead at San Siro when Ionut Radu deflected into his own net.

    Andrea Ranocchia levelled things up with a stunning, acrobatic stoppage-time equaliser to send Inter into extra-time in the last 16 of the competition for the fourth time in their last eight outings.

    Substitute Stefano Sensi stepped up to deliver the decisive strike after 104 minutes, Inzaghi's side now boasting 20 different scorers this season – more than any other team in Europe's top-five leagues in all competitions.

    Despite squandering an initial one-goal lead, Inzaghi was pleased with what he saw from his side as they made the quarter-finals for the 18th time in their last 19 seasons.

    "I think we had an excellent first half, where we found the goalkeeper who should be congratulated for two, or three, difficult saves," Inzaghi told Inter TV post-match. 

    "In my opinion, we deserved a few more goals, then in the second half we lost clarity, we stretched out. In the spaces, they showed the qualities they have. 

    "We went down, we changed players, we changed formation, but the boys gave everything on the pitch, they didn't give up and we go to the quarters with a lot of confidence.

    "We suffered, we went under, but I take the big reaction."

    Inter return to Serie A action on Saturday when they host Venezia.

  • Rangnick not concerned about Ronaldo tantrum Rangnick not concerned about Ronaldo tantrum

    Ralf Rangnick was not overly concerned about Cristiano Ronaldo's reaction to being substituted in Manchester United's 3-1 win at Brentford.

    United claimed their first Premier League victory of 2022 on Wednesday, with Anthony Elanga, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford getting the goals before a late Ivan Toney consolation.

    The visitors were fortunate to not trail at the break but produced a hugely improved display in the second half, with Ronaldo playing a part in Greenwood's goal as he chested the ball into Bruno Fernandes' path before he squared to the 20-year-old.

    Greenwood and Ronaldo were withdrawn nine minutes later, with Rashford and Harry Maguire entering the pitch as Rangnick changed to a back five.

    Ronaldo appeared annoyed as he headed off and that displeasure continued to emanate after sitting in the dugout, the striker seen seemingly asking Darren Fletcher why they had chosen to withdraw him.

    In the aftermath of Rashford's goal, Rangnick could be seen having a word in Ronaldo's ear, the situation appearing to be defused.

    "It's normal, as a striker he wants to score goals," Rangnick told BT Sport before going on to explain his decision.

    "He came back from a little injury, so for me, it was also important to bear in mind we also have another game in three days' time.

    "On the other hand, we were 2-0 up, the same score as at Villa Park, and I decided to make sure we defended that lead this time and I think it was the right decision to switch to a back five.

    "We scored the third goal, we would have wanted to keep the clean sheet but unfortunately we didn't manage that, but at least we made sure nothing more happened."

    United were indebted to David de Gea's performance as he made seven saves over the course of the match, increasing his season total to 81 – 11 more than any other Premier League goalkeeper.

    The Spaniard's form has been exceptional this season, with his 6.2 'goals prevented' being the best figure among keepers in the top flight.

    Rangnick acknowledged United fell well short of expectations in the first half, before paying tribute to De Gea's brilliant form.

    Asked if he had to get tough at half-time, Rangnick said: "I wouldn't say a strong conversation [was had] but obviously we had to change a few things.

    "In the first half we were not good in almost all aspects of the game: sloppy passing, not strong enough in the 50:50 situations, we gave away almost every second ball.

    "Then in the second half we were more urgent, attacking them higher up the pitch and making the right decisions when on the counter, and we scored – this was the big difference."

    On De Gea's display, he added: "He's been doing that for the last couple of weeks. Brilliant saves in the first half, [he's] one of the best goalkeepers in the world right now I'd say."

    Victory for United moved them on to 35 points, level with Arsenal in sixth, though the Gunners have played one match less.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.