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Friday 20 October 2017

Mourinho: We'll provide Bale-out

UEFA Super Cup R Madrid v Man Utd Tonight, Live RTÉ (KO 7.45)

Manchester United’s manager Jose Mourinho looks on during training ahead of the UEFA Super Cup against Real Madrid at The National Arena Filip II in Skopje, Macedonia. Pic: Getty Images
Manchester United’s manager Jose Mourinho looks on during training ahead of the UEFA Super Cup against Real Madrid at The National Arena Filip II in Skopje, Macedonia. Pic: Getty Images

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is ready to "fight" for Gareth Bale's signature if Real Madrid leave the attacker out of the UEFA Super Cup.

Skopje plays hosts to the annual clash between the winners of the Europa League and Champions League tonight, with both sides looking to kick the campaign off with silverware.

Bale is part of the 24-man squad in Macedonia for the match, but speculation continues over the Wales international's future.

There have been suggestions in Spain that Madrid are willing to part company with the 28-year-old as they move for Monaco's Kylian Mbappe, giving hope to long-standing admirers United.

Mourinho recently said it would be impossible to bring in Bale, but is now ready to pounce on any softening on their part.

"If he's playing tomorrow, well, no I wouldn't think of that possibility of signing on (Bale)," the United boss said in Macedonia ahead of facing his former club.

"If he is playing tomorrow, it is because he is in the coach's plans and in the club's plans and because he also has that ambition to continue in Real Madrid.

"So I haven't even thought of the possibility of signing him on our team.

"If he's not in the club's plans, if what you are writing right now is true - I am not sure whether it is or not - that the arrival of another player (would) perhaps (mean) Gareth would be on his way out.

"If he is on his way out of Real Madrid, well, I'll try to be waiting for him on the other side and try to fight with other coaches that would also like to have him on his team.

"But I think that if he plays tomorrow, it is probably the best confirmation that they'll keep counting on him during the season."

Meanwhile, Ryan Giggs believes Bale will not move to United this summer but is a switch which could one day be on the cards, according to his fellow Welshman.

"I don't think it will happen in this transfer window but you can see it happening one day," he said.

"If Bale ever comes back to England there are very few clubs who would be able to afford him or he would want to play for. After Real Madrid only a couple of clubs can really compete for prestige or history.

"That's why the speculation happens every year but I maintain what I've always said, I think he's happy at Madrid. It's not impossible but he's playing at one of the biggest clubs in the world and if he's enjoying himself and playing regularly I don't see it happening."

Giggs has tipped Paul Pogba to hit the goal trail this season and set up a United title challenge. Pogba found the net nine times last season after rejoining United in a then world record £89million deal, with five of those in the Premier League.

That was a creditable return given the France international was often deployed deeper than his preferred position, with greater emphasis on defensive duties than many expected.

But the arrival of midfield anchor Nemanja Matic from Chelsea this summer suggests Jose Mourinho could hand him a more advanced role this term and Red Devils great Giggs expects Pogba to be a regular on the scoresheet.

Giggs said: "I expect Pogba will improve a lot this season. He's been back a year now and the introduction of Matic is a good buy because it frees him up.

"That's what you want to see from Pogba, getting on the end of crosses and scoring goals.

"I think he's capable of dropping deep or playing in an old-fashioned midfield two but he can get further forward and I expect him to be more effective this year.

"He managed nine last year and hit the crossbar and post plenty of times as well, so he can bring the goals that might turn draws into wins and have a real effect on the team."

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