Man United targets more signings in search for fast start

Manchester United’s Paul Pogba during a training session in Singapore on Friday, ahead of their International Champions Cup match against Inter Milan. (AFP)
Updated 19 July 2019

Man United targets more signings in search for fast start

  • Manager hopes to hit the ground running after stuttering badly toward the end of previous season

SINGAPORE: Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said Friday the club is working on one or two more signings as he hopes to hit the ground running in the new campaign after stuttering badly toward the end of last season.

Solskjaer enjoyed a stellar start after replacing Jose Mourinho in December, winning 10 and drawing two of his first 12 Premier League fixtures.
But a stunning slump in form saw the side finish sixth in the standings, 32 points behind champions Manchester City.
Aware that his imbalanced squad needed a major overhaul, Solskjaer has already recruited midfielder Daniel James and fullback Aaron Wan-Bissaka, with the club strongly linked to England central defender Harry Maguire and Portuguese playmaker Bruno Fernandes.
“We are working on one or two (signings). My objective here though is we have got to get ready for the games and the training sessions,” the Norwegian told reporters in Singapore on the eve of a pre-season friendly against Inter Milan.
“We are working on putting a squad together which can compete, we have lots of ways which can play. The Premier League is a very competitive league. Our aim is to focus on ourselves, we have to be better and be our only focus. I am sure we will get closer to the top.”
United have already seen midfielder Ander Herrera depart for Paris Saint-Germain and while question marks remain over the futures of Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku and the talismanic Paul Pogba, Solskjaer is continuing to prepare for the new season with the Frenchman central to his plans.
“I am looking to get everyone to get their form back to when we first came in. It is not just about Pogba, it is about all of us as a team,” he said, adding that Lukaku was not fit to face the Italian side on Saturday.
“Everyone has been spot on in pre-season in training and the games. I have been very encouraged.
“The start of the season is important, I don’t think many of these players have had a pre-season like this in many years. In the first eight or 10 games, you don’t win anything but you can lose the chance to win anything.”
United complete their pre-season program with matches against Tottenham Hotspur, Kristiansund and AC Milan before opening their Premier League campaign at home to Chelsea on Aug. 11.


Boult, Southee rattle Sri Lanka in second Test

Updated 23 August 2019

Boult, Southee rattle Sri Lanka in second Test

  • Weather permitting, extended playing time is planned for the day after only 36.3 overs were possible on Thursday due to rain in the Sri Lankan capital

COLOMBO: Trent Boult and Tim Southee led New Zealand’s charge against Sri Lanka on day two of the rain-hit second Test on Friday, with the host skipper Dimuth Karunaratne’s offering resistance with a half-century.
Boult took two early wickets in one over after Sri Lanka resumed the day on 85 for two at Colombo’s P. Sara Oval, where the start was delayed due to a wet outfield.
Sri Lanka were 144 for six at lunch with Dhananjaya de Silva, on 32, and Dilruwan Perera, on five, at the crease.
Southee, like Boult, also delivered a double-wicket maiden as the duo put on a superb display of seam bowling under overcast conditions.
Boult got overnight batsman Angelo Mathews caught behind for two to reach a landmark of 250 Test wickets — only the third Kiwi bowler to achieve the feat.
He trapped Kusal Perera lbw for nought after just three balls as Sri Lanka slipped to 93-4 and would have been in further trouble had Boult held on to a simple catch from de Silva off his own bowling a few overs later.
Karunaratne also got a lifeline on 61 when Kane Williamson could not grab a tough chance at short mid-wicket off Ajaz Patel.
But the left-hander, who completed his 23rd Test fifty after resuming the day on 49, soon fell, caught behind off Southee for 65.
Southee struck again in the same over to send Niroshan Dickwella trudging back to the pavilion for nought.
Perera then played out the rest of the session with de Silva.
Medium-pace bowler Colin de Grandhomme and spinner William Somerville took a wicket each on the opening day after Sri Lanka elected to bat first.
Weather permitting, extended playing time is planned for the day after only 36.3 overs were possible on Thursday due to rain in the Sri Lankan capital.