Manchester United transfer news LIVE: Real Madrid target James Rodriguez, Ibrahimovic returns – as it happened


These are the stories we’re following on Monday, 25 December:

Man United news LIVE: Mauricio Pochettino open to taking job before summer

United will be crowned Premier League champions if Pep Guardiola finishes second, Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino has said.

Pochettino, who takes Tottenham to Old Trafford for an eagerly-anticipated title-clash on Monday, said the pressures of leading Tottenham to second is the same as leading Manchester City to the Premier League title.

Guardiola has thrived so far this season, helping City run away with the title with a 29-point lead after 20 games.

And Pochettino is adamant United will be crowned champions if City are also champions, adding it would “be right” if Pep Guardiola’s side won the League before their neighbours.

“It is the same pressure to be here for two clubs. No difference,” Pochettino said.

Pochettino has endured similar pressure to lead a club to the Premier League, adding: “It will be the same situation.”

Tottenham have been quick to defend their plans to develop their new 62,000-seater stadium and said the development will not stop them hosting Champions League matches at the 90,000-capacity White Hart Lane.

Pochettino said: “This area will always be open for games. The plan is to build the stadium and make the stadium smaller to play Champions League and Europa League games at Wembley and that would be logical. We are not leaving Wembley.”

United should be top

The League Managers Association have warned that Manchester United could still fall two points short of the Premier League title if the team’s current slump continues.

On Monday, United beat Arsenal 2-1 to climb above their local rivals to third place in the table. The leaders are now 10 points clear of United in second, with Arsenal just a point behind Jose Mourinho’s men.

But the League Managers Association (LMA) are predicting that United’s slump will be prolonged if they lose to Tottenham this week and face a big match against Liverpool next weekend.

“United have been on a tremendous run but I would hazard a guess that they won’t stay three points behind at Christmas if they lose two games,” said chief executive Richard Bevan.

“The high standards they’ve set themselves this season still look very achievable, provided their run does not continue to the New Year.

“However, the club might only regain the two points that are missing from their collection with some good form over the Christmas period.”

Mourinho has suffered defeats against West Ham and Liverpool and was also beaten 1-0 in his last outing against Tottenham. However, Bevan points out that Spurs’ title hopes may also be ruined this season if they lose to the United.

“If Man United beat Spurs, then they will have done it whilst Mauricio Pochettino is not still manager,” Bevan said.

“To win the title you don’t have to win every game and we have seen how Manchester City have won games without hitting top form all season.”

United striker Romelu Lukaku has insisted the club should not throw in the towel despite their slump.

“I think we will get there and when we are there, we will be there,” Lukaku said after the 2-1 win against Arsenal.

“We’re fighting and you can feel that.

“I don’t want to take that away from the team but when you feel that and when everyone is fighting for each other, you will succeed.”

Mourinho named a weakened side against Arsenal, with Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera handed a rare start together.

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