Louis van Gaal has warned Manchester United they still have much work to do before they secure Champions League qualification. Van Persie candidly admitted on Monday that he had under-performed this season. But he looked like his old self for long periods on Saturday and h is goal was out of the top drawer. Van Persie watched Daley Blind’s pass float over his left shoulder before he stabbed the ball past Mark Schwarzer first time with his right boot. Replays showed the striker was lucky the goal was allowed to stand, though, as he was marginally offside. Van Gaal felt for his opposite number Nigel Pearson, and admitted such errors will only be stopped if more technology is introduced into the game. “I think also it was offside but it always happens in games that the referee or a linesman are not in a good shape at that moment but you cannot avoid that,” Van Gaal said. “You need modern techniques always and when you don’t use them in this modern time it shall happen every game.” While United have City in their sights, it is a completely different story for Leicester, who remain rooted to the foot of the Barclays Premier League. The Foxes are three points from safety but defender Ritchie De Laet is still confident his team will not be relegated. “The United game was a bonus game, no one was expecting us to take anything from it,” said De Laet, who left United for Leicester three years ago. “But our confidence is still high. “I think we can get out of it. You just have to look at the last five performances. We have had three wins out of them so we know we can give teams a good game. “We still have everyone to play around us and those are the important games.” Van Gaal, meanwhile, has told Adnan Januzaj he must show him why he deserves to be a regular in the United starting XI. Saturday was the first time Januzaj had started successive games for the club since the first week of November. Van Gaal has told the 19-year-old, who is reported to have attracted interest from Paris St Germain, he faces tough competition to play at Old Trafford on a regular basis. “He has a lot of talent but you have to perform that talent in the matches and in training,” Van Gaal said. “The competition is high and also that’s difficult to manage for players. “I’m looking every week and every day the players have to show it. “I’ve said to players, I’ve said to Falcao, I’ve said to (Juan) Mata and I’ve said to Januzaj.” Van Gaal said the fact that David Moyes handed Januzaj a lucrative contract during his first season in the senior side proved the midfielder is good enough for a club of United’s stature. The Dutchman also revealed that another young prospect, Paddy McNair has signed a contract extension. “The former manager (Moyes) has chosen him to play (Januzaj) from out of the youth and he had an extension of his contract, so then you know that he is a Manchester United player,” Van Gaal said. “Paddy McNair, now, is coming from out of the youth, he has extended his contract, so he is a Manchester United player.” The win lifted Van Gaal’s team to within five points of second-place Manchester City and also went some way to appeasing the fans who watched their team play out an uninspiring 0-0 draw at Cambridge last week. But Van Gaal reminded his players following the win that the season is far from over. “No, because (only) at the end of the league matches we divide the titles and not at this moment,” the United boss said when asked if he could sense Champions League qualification was getting closer for his men. United have a winnable set of fixtures coming up against West Ham, Burnley, Swansea, Sunderland and Newcastle. But Van Gaal is aware he still has to travel to Liverpool and Chelsea in the last third of the season and he believes the fight for a top-four finish will go right down to the wire. “It shall be a big battle to the end,” Van Gaal told MUTV. “That is a big battle. West Ham has lost (to Liverpool on Saturday). “One competitor shall lose.” United returned to winning ways on Saturday with a 3-1 victory over Leicester at Old Trafford. Robin van Persie put United ahead with a sublime finish and Radamel Falcao added his fourth for the club before Wes Morgan’s own goal helped United avenge their embarrassing 5-3 reverse at the King Power Stadium last September. Press Association
(REUTERS) – Heading the ball in training sessions has been outlawed for primary school children under the age of 12 in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland as part of the Football Association’s updated “heading guidance” for the game.The English, Northern Irish and Scottish Football Associations said in a statement here on Monday that they are also set to use a “graduated approach” to headers for 12 to 16-year-olds at grassroots level with immediate effect.The heading guidelines follow last year’s publication of Football’s Influence on Lifelong Health and Dementia Risk (FIELD) study undertaken by Glasgow University, which found former professionals were at more risk of dementia. The FA said the new guidelines will take effect immediately but it will not recommend an end to headers during youth matches.“This updated heading guidance is an evolution of our current guidelines and will help coaches and teachers to reduce and remove repetitive and unnecessary heading from youth football,” FA chief executive officer Mark Bullingham said. “Our research has shown that heading is rare in youth football matches, so this guidance is a responsible development to our grassroots coaching without impacting the enjoyment that children of all ages take from playing the game.” The FIELD study did not state that heading a ball was the reason behind the increased prevalence of degenerative neurocognitive disease among footballers but the FA said the decision was taken to mitigate any potential risks.The FA confirmed the updated heading guidance has been produced in line with UEFA’s medical committee, which is seeking to publish Europe-wide guidelines later this year.Dr Carol Routledge, director of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, welcomed the new guidelines but said the sport’s governing bodies must go further to find any potential links between football and dementia. “The recent FIELD study highlighted an increased dementia risk for ex-professional footballers in Scotland,” she said.“While we don’t yet know the cause or causes of this increased risk, limiting unnecessary heading in children’s football is a practical step that minimises possible risks, ensuring that football remains as safe as possible in all forms.“We need to see more research in order to unpick any link between football and dementia risk but until we know more, making sure the nation’s best loved game is played as safely as possible is a sensible approach.”
6 6 6 Joint 6th. Bojan Krki? and Marko Arnautovic have both scored three goals and earned Stoke City five points each – Potters have as ever quietly gone about their business of targeting a comfortable mid-table finish. Bojan and Marko Arnautovic have been the most exciting players for their side in the final third, but despite the crucial points they have won, Mark Hughes will be far from satisfied by their goals tally. 2. Odion Ighalo’s eight goals have earned Watford 11 points – Watford supporters will know just how crucial Ighalo has been as they adapt to the Premier League following promotion. Without the striker they would already be staring a return to the Championship in the face. 6 1. Jamie Vardy’s 14 goals have earned Leicester City 14 Premier League points – continue reading to see which player comes in at second – Vardy, who was playing non-league football only three years ago, has stunned England’s top flight this season and has been key to the Foxes’ shock title challenge. 6 6 5. Romelu Lukaku’s 10 goals have earned Everton six points – After a disappointing last season, the Toffees have hit the ground running this time around, with Lukaku leading the attack superbly. With 21 points this season so far, however, Everton are certainly not a one-man team. 4. André Ayew’s six goals have earned Swansea City seven points – The Swans have been unexpectedly poor this season, but Ayew has remained a rare bright spark at the Liberty Stadium. Garry Monk’s side would be just two points off bottom-placed Aston Villa without the Ghanaian. Every club has that one key player that delivers in the final third when it matters, and this season all eyes have been on record-breaker Jamie Vardy.Last term, Harry Kane’s 21 goals earned Tottenham Hotspur a staggering 24 Premier League points – more than any other player – while in the 2013-14 campaign, Daniel Sturridge’s goalscoring exploits saw him record a tally of 20 points for the Merseyside club. But who has been crucial so far since the beginning of the 2015-16 campaign?talkSPORT takes a look at the figures. All stats correct on 30 November 2015. 3. Riyad Mahrez’s seven goals have earned Leicester City nine points – As with Vardy, Mahrez has too been one of the Foxes’ most important players. If their form continues, Claudio Ranieri could face a battle to keep the pair at the King Power Stadium.