Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku set to return for FA Cup opener

Liverpool: Jose Mourinho has lambasted former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes after he criticised the manager and key players in his role as a TV pundit.

On 51 minutes Mata went even closer with a left-foot effort that swerved in the air and clipped off the far post, with Pickford beaten.

Scholes singled out Paul Pogba, the club's record signing, after his anonymous performance in the weekend draw with Southampton.

United's next Premier League game, at home to Stoke, isn't for 10 days after the Derby game, giving Lukaku time to return for that fixture. The point about predictions is that they invariably rely on hunches rather than certainty.

The club are into the knockout round of the Champions League and, although winning the league title seems most unlikely at this stage, there is acceptance that the pace set by City at the league summit this season has greatly exceeded expectations. Michael Carrick played in pre-season but I don't remember him playing during the season so we have problems.

According to Ian Ladyman in the Daily Mail, the coach is "treading a fine line" with the Red Devils hierarchy, who believe he is hoping to pressure them into further spending despite him splashing out almost £300 million on players since taking charge in the summer of 2016. Paris Saint-Germain is a pretty excellent haven for an elite manager down on his luck and in need of a change.

Mourinho has been very vocal in the recent weeks about how teams like Manchester City have spent millions to get a team that is becoming hard to beat.

According to the Daily Mail's Ian Ladyman, some senior officials took exception to Mourinho's comments, interpreting it as a way of publicly putting pressure on the board to invest more money into the first-team.

Speaking after Saturday's 0-0 draw with Southampton, Scholes said: "He doesn't look like a player who will win you games - that's what you pay £90m for".

"I think the only thing Paul Scholes does is to criticise".

"Paul (Pogba) tries to do his best all the time". Fixture congestion is that much more of an issue when you're so unwilling to mix things up and give your most exhausted players a much-needed break, despite Anthony Martial (who took his opener superbly) and Marcus Rashford providing extremely attractive - albeit very different - alternative options. "It's just the way football is". "The prestige of this club is based on people like him". "I know he's a Manchester guy - he came through the Academy, he knows the club and what it's like to be a United player".

Lingard, the oldest of the group, has often been considered the least talented of the four, but we have seen how big a difference 12 months can make. Not at all, and many of things he says are echoed on the terraces.

Vanessa Coleman

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