Manchester City

Slideshow on Manchester City

Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester City Premier League Title Winners Parade - Manchester, Britain - May 14, 2018 Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola on stage during the parade Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers
Premier League - Manchester City Premier League Title Winners Parade
Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester City Premier League Title Winners Parade - Manchester, Britain - May 14, 2018 Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola on stage during the parade Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers
Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester City vs Huddersfield Town - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - May 6, 2018 Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and their players and staff celebrate winning the premier league title Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine
Premier League - Manchester City vs Huddersfield Town
Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester City vs Huddersfield Town - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - May 6, 2018 Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and their players and staff celebrate winning the premier league title Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine
Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester City vs Huddersfield Town - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - May 6, 2018 Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak celebrate with the trophy after winning the Premier League title Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine
Premier League - Manchester City vs Huddersfield Town
Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester City vs Huddersfield Town - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - May 6, 2018 Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak celebrate with the trophy after winning the Premier League title Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine
Manchester City are set to be more cautious about their spending this off-season, chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak suggested.
We have a quality squad – Man City chairman hints at caution in transfer market
Manchester City are set to be more cautious about their spending this off-season, chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak suggested.
Nemanja Matic has warned Manchester United need quality signings this summer if they are to challenge for the Premier League and Champions League as the midfielder admitted the club’s trophyless campaign has cranked up the pressure for next season. Mourinho ideally wants to bring in five new players this summer but knows the truncated transfer window, which is compounded by the month long World Cup finals in Russia, will reduce the time to complete deals and make acquiring such numbers increasingly difficult. They include two full backs, a centre-half, a midfielder and a winger. The United manager will also be under pressure to offload peripheral players, such as Matteo Darmian and Daley Blind, to accommodate space on the wage bill and avoid a bloated squad. If Marouane Fellaini fails to agree a new contract, Mourinho would be left needing two midfielders following the retirement of Michael Carrick, a scenario which could impact on plans to strengthen elsewhere. Defeat to Chelsea in the FA Cup final at Wembley ensured United finished without a trophy and the prospect of Liverpool winning the Champions League against Real Madrid on Saturday would be another kick in the teeth to Mourinho after a campaign in which he has seen the club’s other biggest rival, Manchester City, run away with the title. Pep Guardiola’s side amassed a century of points and finished 19 ahead of United, in second. “I think we need some players with some experience to bring some more qualities to our team,” Matic said. “After that, we can fight for the title and the Champions League also.” FA Cup final player ratings Asked if the Chelsea defeat had increased the pressure for next season, the United midfielder added: “Of course, this is football. When you don’t win one year, the next year is always more pressure. When you play for Manchester United, this is a normal thing and we have to accept that and deal with that.” United are working on a deal for Fred, Shakhtar Donetsk’s Brazil midfielder, whom City tried to sign in January. City are thought to have now turned their sights to Jorginho, the Napoli and Italy midfielder, which could assist United’s pursuit of Fred although Shakhtar want £52.5 million. United have also been linked with left-backs Alex Sandro, of Juventus, and Tottenham’s Danny Rose, as well as Spurs defender Toby Alderweireld, Chelsea winger Willian and Real Madrid centre-half Raphael Varane. Nice midfielder Jean Michael Seri has been offered to all the Premier League’s top six. However, Mourinho’s chequered record in the transfer market since taking over at Old Trafford does not inspire confidence and the manager must address a series of issues within his existing squad. Victor Lindelof has endured an unconvincing debut season since his £30.7 million move from Benfica last summer and was omitted from the FA Cup final squad altogether. United in turmoil puff Another centre-half, Eric Bailly, a £30.4 million recruit from Villarreal in 2016, has been strangely frozen out since returning from a long injury lay-off and has made just five starts since February, despite being widely regarded as the best defender at the club. Team-mates have been left bemused by Bailly’s persistent omissions and Mourinho’s claims that he was giving more playing time to those defenders who had a chance of going to the World Cup failed to convince some. Left back Luke Shaw has never won Mourinho’s trust and his future is shrouded in uncertainty with his career at a crossroads. Paul Pogba’s form has plummeted since the turn of the year and it cannot be discounted that Mourinho would consider cashing in on the France midfielder if Paris St-Germain made a huge offer this summer. Anthony Martial’s relationship with Mourinho is also strained and Juventus head a queue of clubs, including Spurs, who are interested in signing the France forward. Martial’s omission from the France squad for the World Cup may force him to consider his options with the player – a substitute in the Cup final – not getting regular starts. “I’d like to think he’d stay,” Paul Scholes, the former United midfielder, said. “Whether his manager quite fancies him I’m not too sure about at the minute. He’s not shown too much confidence in him. Martial’s a really good talent. I think he needs a bit of love, he needs an arm around him. Every time he comes on he impresses me. I just hope he’s not one of those that leaves and then we see the best of them.” Other changes are also expected behind the scenes with Mourinho due to hire Italian fitness coach Stefano Rapetti from Sampdoria in the wake of Rui Faria’s departure as assistant manager. Rapetti worked with Mourinho at Inter Milan. Kieran McKenna, United’s Under-18 coach, could also be promoted to the first team set up.
Nemanja Matic says Manchester United must buy quality this summer as club targets five new signings
Nemanja Matic has warned Manchester United need quality signings this summer if they are to challenge for the Premier League and Champions League as the midfielder admitted the club’s trophyless campaign has cranked up the pressure for next season. Mourinho ideally wants to bring in five new players this summer but knows the truncated transfer window, which is compounded by the month long World Cup finals in Russia, will reduce the time to complete deals and make acquiring such numbers increasingly difficult. They include two full backs, a centre-half, a midfielder and a winger. The United manager will also be under pressure to offload peripheral players, such as Matteo Darmian and Daley Blind, to accommodate space on the wage bill and avoid a bloated squad. If Marouane Fellaini fails to agree a new contract, Mourinho would be left needing two midfielders following the retirement of Michael Carrick, a scenario which could impact on plans to strengthen elsewhere. Defeat to Chelsea in the FA Cup final at Wembley ensured United finished without a trophy and the prospect of Liverpool winning the Champions League against Real Madrid on Saturday would be another kick in the teeth to Mourinho after a campaign in which he has seen the club’s other biggest rival, Manchester City, run away with the title. Pep Guardiola’s side amassed a century of points and finished 19 ahead of United, in second. “I think we need some players with some experience to bring some more qualities to our team,” Matic said. “After that, we can fight for the title and the Champions League also.” FA Cup final player ratings Asked if the Chelsea defeat had increased the pressure for next season, the United midfielder added: “Of course, this is football. When you don’t win one year, the next year is always more pressure. When you play for Manchester United, this is a normal thing and we have to accept that and deal with that.” United are working on a deal for Fred, Shakhtar Donetsk’s Brazil midfielder, whom City tried to sign in January. City are thought to have now turned their sights to Jorginho, the Napoli and Italy midfielder, which could assist United’s pursuit of Fred although Shakhtar want £52.5 million. United have also been linked with left-backs Alex Sandro, of Juventus, and Tottenham’s Danny Rose, as well as Spurs defender Toby Alderweireld, Chelsea winger Willian and Real Madrid centre-half Raphael Varane. Nice midfielder Jean Michael Seri has been offered to all the Premier League’s top six. However, Mourinho’s chequered record in the transfer market since taking over at Old Trafford does not inspire confidence and the manager must address a series of issues within his existing squad. Victor Lindelof has endured an unconvincing debut season since his £30.7 million move from Benfica last summer and was omitted from the FA Cup final squad altogether. United in turmoil puff Another centre-half, Eric Bailly, a £30.4 million recruit from Villarreal in 2016, has been strangely frozen out since returning from a long injury lay-off and has made just five starts since February, despite being widely regarded as the best defender at the club. Team-mates have been left bemused by Bailly’s persistent omissions and Mourinho’s claims that he was giving more playing time to those defenders who had a chance of going to the World Cup failed to convince some. Left back Luke Shaw has never won Mourinho’s trust and his future is shrouded in uncertainty with his career at a crossroads. Paul Pogba’s form has plummeted since the turn of the year and it cannot be discounted that Mourinho would consider cashing in on the France midfielder if Paris St-Germain made a huge offer this summer. Anthony Martial’s relationship with Mourinho is also strained and Juventus head a queue of clubs, including Spurs, who are interested in signing the France forward. Martial’s omission from the France squad for the World Cup may force him to consider his options with the player – a substitute in the Cup final – not getting regular starts. “I’d like to think he’d stay,” Paul Scholes, the former United midfielder, said. “Whether his manager quite fancies him I’m not too sure about at the minute. He’s not shown too much confidence in him. Martial’s a really good talent. I think he needs a bit of love, he needs an arm around him. Every time he comes on he impresses me. I just hope he’s not one of those that leaves and then we see the best of them.” Other changes are also expected behind the scenes with Mourinho due to hire Italian fitness coach Stefano Rapetti from Sampdoria in the wake of Rui Faria’s departure as assistant manager. Rapetti worked with Mourinho at Inter Milan. Kieran McKenna, United’s Under-18 coach, could also be promoted to the first team set up.
Pep Guardiola’s “relentless” pursuit of success and improvement will ensure there is no let-up from Manchester City next season, according to the club’s chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak. Al-Mubarak is convinced that the Premier League champions can get better under Guardiola and says the club have learnt some important mistakes from their past two failed title defences. Manchester United were the last team to defend the title, in 2009, but Al-Mubarak feels City are well equipped to build on this season’s dominance, which saw them become the first top flight club in English history to amass 100 points. “My expectation, and the manager’s expectation, is that this team will continue to improve,” he told City TV in his end of season interview. “We have a manager in Pep who is relentless. There is not going to be any content (with what we have done) or relaxation here, that I can assure you. “I have no doubt that this summer we are going to come back and be hungry, and be more aggressive and we’ll continue to grow and improve.” Asked whether City needed to sign better players and change elements of the squad to ensure there is no complacency and drop off and that the club finally mount a serious title defence, Al-Mubarak said: “It’s all of the above. We have real experiences, real learnings from how we managed our seasons following the last two times we won the league. “We’ve worked very hard over the last couple of years to build the squad, not just only for this season but for many seasons to come. This is a young squad. Many of our most talented players are under the age of 26.” City are working on a deal to sign Italy midfielder Jorginho although Napoli are thought to be demanding more than £60 million for the player, whom Guardiola wants to provide quality competition to Fernandinho at the base of the midfield. Guardiola also wants a versatile forward with numerous options being considered, including Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez. Kylian Mbappe, of Paris St-Germain, and Chelsea’s Eden Hazard are dream targets but City are conscious of how difficult they would be to sign. City followed up their 2012 title success with a dismal summer in the transfer market, when they missed out on Robin van Persie to United and signed Jack Rodwell, Scott Sinclair, Maicon, Javi Garcia and Matija Nastasic, none of whom were good enough to improve the side. Al-Mubarak is adamant City will not make the same misjudgements and insisted they would not compromise on quality or disrupt the harmony in the dressing room. The 50 best players in the Premier League 2017/18 “In terms of improving the squad, also we’ve had a lot of learnings over the past,” he said. “You don’t get to 100 points without a full, high-quality squad. “Any additions have to improve the squad. This is my biggest learning from the years of chairing this club. When winning, bringing new players in is a very important decision because you have a winning formula. “Whatever you’re going to add has to be a decision you don’t take very lightly at all. You have to bring in players that will strengthen, improve and add competition into the squad.” Pep Guardiola signed a contract extension which will keep him at the club until 2021 Credit: PA Guardiola signed a two year contract extension last week to tie him to City until June 2021 and Al-Mubarak said negotiations were straight forward. “This was not a hard discussion, this was, frankly, a conversation that was relatively easy,” he said. “I think we see eye-to-eye, we shook hands on it and are happy to continue this journey.”
Man City chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak convinced club will get even better under 'relentless' Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola’s “relentless” pursuit of success and improvement will ensure there is no let-up from Manchester City next season, according to the club’s chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak. Al-Mubarak is convinced that the Premier League champions can get better under Guardiola and says the club have learnt some important mistakes from their past two failed title defences. Manchester United were the last team to defend the title, in 2009, but Al-Mubarak feels City are well equipped to build on this season’s dominance, which saw them become the first top flight club in English history to amass 100 points. “My expectation, and the manager’s expectation, is that this team will continue to improve,” he told City TV in his end of season interview. “We have a manager in Pep who is relentless. There is not going to be any content (with what we have done) or relaxation here, that I can assure you. “I have no doubt that this summer we are going to come back and be hungry, and be more aggressive and we’ll continue to grow and improve.” Asked whether City needed to sign better players and change elements of the squad to ensure there is no complacency and drop off and that the club finally mount a serious title defence, Al-Mubarak said: “It’s all of the above. We have real experiences, real learnings from how we managed our seasons following the last two times we won the league. “We’ve worked very hard over the last couple of years to build the squad, not just only for this season but for many seasons to come. This is a young squad. Many of our most talented players are under the age of 26.” City are working on a deal to sign Italy midfielder Jorginho although Napoli are thought to be demanding more than £60 million for the player, whom Guardiola wants to provide quality competition to Fernandinho at the base of the midfield. Guardiola also wants a versatile forward with numerous options being considered, including Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez. Kylian Mbappe, of Paris St-Germain, and Chelsea’s Eden Hazard are dream targets but City are conscious of how difficult they would be to sign. City followed up their 2012 title success with a dismal summer in the transfer market, when they missed out on Robin van Persie to United and signed Jack Rodwell, Scott Sinclair, Maicon, Javi Garcia and Matija Nastasic, none of whom were good enough to improve the side. Al-Mubarak is adamant City will not make the same misjudgements and insisted they would not compromise on quality or disrupt the harmony in the dressing room. The 50 best players in the Premier League 2017/18 “In terms of improving the squad, also we’ve had a lot of learnings over the past,” he said. “You don’t get to 100 points without a full, high-quality squad. “Any additions have to improve the squad. This is my biggest learning from the years of chairing this club. When winning, bringing new players in is a very important decision because you have a winning formula. “Whatever you’re going to add has to be a decision you don’t take very lightly at all. You have to bring in players that will strengthen, improve and add competition into the squad.” Pep Guardiola signed a contract extension which will keep him at the club until 2021 Credit: PA Guardiola signed a two year contract extension last week to tie him to City until June 2021 and Al-Mubarak said negotiations were straight forward. “This was not a hard discussion, this was, frankly, a conversation that was relatively easy,” he said. “I think we see eye-to-eye, we shook hands on it and are happy to continue this journey.”
Pep Guardiola’s “relentless” pursuit of success and improvement will ensure there is no let-up from Manchester City next season, according to the club’s chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak. Al-Mubarak is convinced that the Premier League champions can get better under Guardiola and says the club have learnt some important mistakes from their past two failed title defences. Manchester United were the last team to defend the title, in 2009, but Al-Mubarak feels City are well equipped to build on this season’s dominance, which saw them become the first top flight club in English history to amass 100 points. “My expectation, and the manager’s expectation, is that this team will continue to improve,” he told City TV in his end of season interview. “We have a manager in Pep who is relentless. There is not going to be any content (with what we have done) or relaxation here, that I can assure you. “I have no doubt that this summer we are going to come back and be hungry, and be more aggressive and we’ll continue to grow and improve.” Asked whether City needed to sign better players and change elements of the squad to ensure there is no complacency and drop off and that the club finally mount a serious title defence, Al-Mubarak said: “It’s all of the above. We have real experiences, real learnings from how we managed our seasons following the last two times we won the league. “We’ve worked very hard over the last couple of years to build the squad, not just only for this season but for many seasons to come. This is a young squad. Many of our most talented players are under the age of 26.” City are working on a deal to sign Italy midfielder Jorginho although Napoli are thought to be demanding more than £60 million for the player, whom Guardiola wants to provide quality competition to Fernandinho at the base of the midfield. Guardiola also wants a versatile forward with numerous options being considered, including Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez. Kylian Mbappe, of Paris St-Germain, and Chelsea’s Eden Hazard are dream targets but City are conscious of how difficult they would be to sign. City followed up their 2012 title success with a dismal summer in the transfer market, when they missed out on Robin van Persie to United and signed Jack Rodwell, Scott Sinclair, Maicon, Javi Garcia and Matija Nastasic, none of whom were good enough to improve the side. Al-Mubarak is adamant City will not make the same misjudgements and insisted they would not compromise on quality or disrupt the harmony in the dressing room. The 50 best players in the Premier League 2017/18 “In terms of improving the squad, also we’ve had a lot of learnings over the past,” he said. “You don’t get to 100 points without a full, high-quality squad. “Any additions have to improve the squad. This is my biggest learning from the years of chairing this club. When winning, bringing new players in is a very important decision because you have a winning formula. “Whatever you’re going to add has to be a decision you don’t take very lightly at all. You have to bring in players that will strengthen, improve and add competition into the squad.” Pep Guardiola signed a contract extension which will keep him at the club until 2021 Credit: PA Guardiola signed a two year contract extension last week to tie him to City until June 2021 and Al-Mubarak said negotiations were straight forward. “This was not a hard discussion, this was, frankly, a conversation that was relatively easy,” he said. “I think we see eye-to-eye, we shook hands on it and are happy to continue this journey.”
Man City chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak convinced club will get even better under 'relentless' Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola’s “relentless” pursuit of success and improvement will ensure there is no let-up from Manchester City next season, according to the club’s chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak. Al-Mubarak is convinced that the Premier League champions can get better under Guardiola and says the club have learnt some important mistakes from their past two failed title defences. Manchester United were the last team to defend the title, in 2009, but Al-Mubarak feels City are well equipped to build on this season’s dominance, which saw them become the first top flight club in English history to amass 100 points. “My expectation, and the manager’s expectation, is that this team will continue to improve,” he told City TV in his end of season interview. “We have a manager in Pep who is relentless. There is not going to be any content (with what we have done) or relaxation here, that I can assure you. “I have no doubt that this summer we are going to come back and be hungry, and be more aggressive and we’ll continue to grow and improve.” Asked whether City needed to sign better players and change elements of the squad to ensure there is no complacency and drop off and that the club finally mount a serious title defence, Al-Mubarak said: “It’s all of the above. We have real experiences, real learnings from how we managed our seasons following the last two times we won the league. “We’ve worked very hard over the last couple of years to build the squad, not just only for this season but for many seasons to come. This is a young squad. Many of our most talented players are under the age of 26.” City are working on a deal to sign Italy midfielder Jorginho although Napoli are thought to be demanding more than £60 million for the player, whom Guardiola wants to provide quality competition to Fernandinho at the base of the midfield. Guardiola also wants a versatile forward with numerous options being considered, including Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez. Kylian Mbappe, of Paris St-Germain, and Chelsea’s Eden Hazard are dream targets but City are conscious of how difficult they would be to sign. City followed up their 2012 title success with a dismal summer in the transfer market, when they missed out on Robin van Persie to United and signed Jack Rodwell, Scott Sinclair, Maicon, Javi Garcia and Matija Nastasic, none of whom were good enough to improve the side. Al-Mubarak is adamant City will not make the same misjudgements and insisted they would not compromise on quality or disrupt the harmony in the dressing room. The 50 best players in the Premier League 2017/18 “In terms of improving the squad, also we’ve had a lot of learnings over the past,” he said. “You don’t get to 100 points without a full, high-quality squad. “Any additions have to improve the squad. This is my biggest learning from the years of chairing this club. When winning, bringing new players in is a very important decision because you have a winning formula. “Whatever you’re going to add has to be a decision you don’t take very lightly at all. You have to bring in players that will strengthen, improve and add competition into the squad.” Pep Guardiola signed a contract extension which will keep him at the club until 2021 Credit: PA Guardiola signed a two year contract extension last week to tie him to City until June 2021 and Al-Mubarak said negotiations were straight forward. “This was not a hard discussion, this was, frankly, a conversation that was relatively easy,” he said. “I think we see eye-to-eye, we shook hands on it and are happy to continue this journey.”
West Ham United are confident of naming Manuel Pellegrini as their new manager this week. The 64-year-old Chilean has travelled to London for talks having informed his current club, Hebei China Fortune, that he is leaving. The Chinese club then announced Pellegrini’s departure, expressing their “sincere gratitude” for his contribution to the team. There was a delay last week while West Ham struggled to speak to Pellegrini but negotiations are now under way. It is likely Pellegrini will be offered a three-year deal at West Ham following the decision not to retain David Moyes who left last week after his short-term deal at the club expired. Who WOULDN'T want to manage West Ham? Credit: Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Getty Images West Ham held talks with Paulo Fonseca, after he flew to London to meet with vice-owner David Sullivan, but the Portuguese then signed a new, enhanced two-year deal with Ukrainian club, Shakhtar Donetsk. Depending on which version of events is to be believed Fonseca either had misgivings about taking the West Ham job or the club deemed him too big a risk given the other candidates he was up against, including Pellegrini, who had previously worked in the Premier League. What was interesting was that Fonseca’s agent, Jorge Mendes, also travelled for the talks suggesting he would not do so if a deal was not on the table. So long: David Moyes waves goodbye to West Ham fans Credit: Reuters In fairness to West Ham they were always intent on speaking to other candidates and Pellegrini, who spent three years at Manchester City, winning the Premier League and taking them to the semi-finals of the Champions League, has always been a coach they admired. Pellegrini has won league titles in four different countries and has previously been in charge of Real Madrid, Villarreal and Malaga. West Ham also explored the possibility of hiring Rafael Benitez from Newcastle United with the Spaniard having come extremely close to joining the club before Slaven Bilic was appointed in June 2015. Indeed Benitez had agreed to take over until Real Madrid came in for him and West Ham stood aside. The 50 best players in the Premier League 2017/18 It is understood that Newcastle would expect £6million in compensation to release Benitez from his contract while he would want to bring a large backroom staff with him making the deal extremely expensive. West Ham have insisted they had a four-strong short-list of managers to succeed Moyes with all of them having won trophies and of the highest calibre. It is understood that list was Pellegrini, Benitez, Fonseca and Claudio Ranieri who has left French club Nantes. It has been possible that West Ham might hire Ranieri and reunite him with Steve Walsh, as chief scout, who has been replaced by Marcel Brands as director of football at Everton and who he worked with at Leicester City. Two fingers: Manuel Pellegrini, then manager of Man City, during a 2015 match vs West Ham. Man City won 2-0 Credit: AP If Pellegrini is appointed it would appear to raise the likelihood of West Ham signing Yaya Toure who is available as a free agent having been released by City at the end of his contract. The 35-year-old held talks with West Ham previously, when his wage demands were prohibitive, but now he is out-of-contract a deal may be more manageable and especially given his good relationship with Pellegrini.
Manuel Pellegrini arrives at West Ham for manager role talks
West Ham United are confident of naming Manuel Pellegrini as their new manager this week. The 64-year-old Chilean has travelled to London for talks having informed his current club, Hebei China Fortune, that he is leaving. The Chinese club then announced Pellegrini’s departure, expressing their “sincere gratitude” for his contribution to the team. There was a delay last week while West Ham struggled to speak to Pellegrini but negotiations are now under way. It is likely Pellegrini will be offered a three-year deal at West Ham following the decision not to retain David Moyes who left last week after his short-term deal at the club expired. Who WOULDN'T want to manage West Ham? Credit: Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Getty Images West Ham held talks with Paulo Fonseca, after he flew to London to meet with vice-owner David Sullivan, but the Portuguese then signed a new, enhanced two-year deal with Ukrainian club, Shakhtar Donetsk. Depending on which version of events is to be believed Fonseca either had misgivings about taking the West Ham job or the club deemed him too big a risk given the other candidates he was up against, including Pellegrini, who had previously worked in the Premier League. What was interesting was that Fonseca’s agent, Jorge Mendes, also travelled for the talks suggesting he would not do so if a deal was not on the table. So long: David Moyes waves goodbye to West Ham fans Credit: Reuters In fairness to West Ham they were always intent on speaking to other candidates and Pellegrini, who spent three years at Manchester City, winning the Premier League and taking them to the semi-finals of the Champions League, has always been a coach they admired. Pellegrini has won league titles in four different countries and has previously been in charge of Real Madrid, Villarreal and Malaga. West Ham also explored the possibility of hiring Rafael Benitez from Newcastle United with the Spaniard having come extremely close to joining the club before Slaven Bilic was appointed in June 2015. Indeed Benitez had agreed to take over until Real Madrid came in for him and West Ham stood aside. The 50 best players in the Premier League 2017/18 It is understood that Newcastle would expect £6million in compensation to release Benitez from his contract while he would want to bring a large backroom staff with him making the deal extremely expensive. West Ham have insisted they had a four-strong short-list of managers to succeed Moyes with all of them having won trophies and of the highest calibre. It is understood that list was Pellegrini, Benitez, Fonseca and Claudio Ranieri who has left French club Nantes. It has been possible that West Ham might hire Ranieri and reunite him with Steve Walsh, as chief scout, who has been replaced by Marcel Brands as director of football at Everton and who he worked with at Leicester City. Two fingers: Manuel Pellegrini, then manager of Man City, during a 2015 match vs West Ham. Man City won 2-0 Credit: AP If Pellegrini is appointed it would appear to raise the likelihood of West Ham signing Yaya Toure who is available as a free agent having been released by City at the end of his contract. The 35-year-old held talks with West Ham previously, when his wage demands were prohibitive, but now he is out-of-contract a deal may be more manageable and especially given his good relationship with Pellegrini.
West Ham United are confident of naming Manuel Pellegrini as their new manager this week. The 64-year-old Chilean has travelled to London for talks having informed his current club, Hebei China Fortune, that he is leaving. The Chinese club then announced Pellegrini’s departure, expressing their “sincere gratitude” for his contribution to the team. There was a delay last week while West Ham struggled to speak to Pellegrini but negotiations are now under way. It is likely Pellegrini will be offered a three-year deal at West Ham following the decision not to retain David Moyes who left last week after his short-term deal at the club expired. Who WOULDN'T want to manage West Ham? Credit: Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Getty Images West Ham held talks with Paulo Fonseca, after he flew to London to meet with vice-owner David Sullivan, but the Portuguese then signed a new, enhanced two-year deal with Ukrainian club, Shakhtar Donetsk. Depending on which version of events is to be believed Fonseca either had misgivings about taking the West Ham job or the club deemed him too big a risk given the other candidates he was up against, including Pellegrini, who had previously worked in the Premier League. What was interesting was that Fonseca’s agent, Jorge Mendes, also travelled for the talks suggesting he would not do so if a deal was not on the table. So long: David Moyes waves goodbye to West Ham fans Credit: Reuters In fairness to West Ham they were always intent on speaking to other candidates and Pellegrini, who spent three years at Manchester City, winning the Premier League and taking them to the semi-finals of the Champions League, has always been a coach they admired. Pellegrini has won league titles in four different countries and has previously been in charge of Real Madrid, Villarreal and Malaga. West Ham also explored the possibility of hiring Rafael Benitez from Newcastle United with the Spaniard having come extremely close to joining the club before Slaven Bilic was appointed in June 2015. Indeed Benitez had agreed to take over until Real Madrid came in for him and West Ham stood aside. The 50 best players in the Premier League 2017/18 It is understood that Newcastle would expect £6million in compensation to release Benitez from his contract while he would want to bring a large backroom staff with him making the deal extremely expensive. West Ham have insisted they had a four-strong short-list of managers to succeed Moyes with all of them having won trophies and of the highest calibre. It is understood that list was Pellegrini, Benitez, Fonseca and Claudio Ranieri who has left French club Nantes. It has been possible that West Ham might hire Ranieri and reunite him with Steve Walsh, as chief scout, who has been replaced by Marcel Brands as director of football at Everton and who he worked with at Leicester City. Two fingers: Manuel Pellegrini, then manager of Man City, during a 2015 match vs West Ham. Man City won 2-0 Credit: AP If Pellegrini is appointed it would appear to raise the likelihood of West Ham signing Yaya Toure who is available as a free agent having been released by City at the end of his contract. The 35-year-old held talks with West Ham previously, when his wage demands were prohibitive, but now he is out-of-contract a deal may be more manageable and especially given his good relationship with Pellegrini.
Manuel Pellegrini arrives at West Ham for manager role talks
West Ham United are confident of naming Manuel Pellegrini as their new manager this week. The 64-year-old Chilean has travelled to London for talks having informed his current club, Hebei China Fortune, that he is leaving. The Chinese club then announced Pellegrini’s departure, expressing their “sincere gratitude” for his contribution to the team. There was a delay last week while West Ham struggled to speak to Pellegrini but negotiations are now under way. It is likely Pellegrini will be offered a three-year deal at West Ham following the decision not to retain David Moyes who left last week after his short-term deal at the club expired. Who WOULDN'T want to manage West Ham? Credit: Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Getty Images West Ham held talks with Paulo Fonseca, after he flew to London to meet with vice-owner David Sullivan, but the Portuguese then signed a new, enhanced two-year deal with Ukrainian club, Shakhtar Donetsk. Depending on which version of events is to be believed Fonseca either had misgivings about taking the West Ham job or the club deemed him too big a risk given the other candidates he was up against, including Pellegrini, who had previously worked in the Premier League. What was interesting was that Fonseca’s agent, Jorge Mendes, also travelled for the talks suggesting he would not do so if a deal was not on the table. So long: David Moyes waves goodbye to West Ham fans Credit: Reuters In fairness to West Ham they were always intent on speaking to other candidates and Pellegrini, who spent three years at Manchester City, winning the Premier League and taking them to the semi-finals of the Champions League, has always been a coach they admired. Pellegrini has won league titles in four different countries and has previously been in charge of Real Madrid, Villarreal and Malaga. West Ham also explored the possibility of hiring Rafael Benitez from Newcastle United with the Spaniard having come extremely close to joining the club before Slaven Bilic was appointed in June 2015. Indeed Benitez had agreed to take over until Real Madrid came in for him and West Ham stood aside. The 50 best players in the Premier League 2017/18 It is understood that Newcastle would expect £6million in compensation to release Benitez from his contract while he would want to bring a large backroom staff with him making the deal extremely expensive. West Ham have insisted they had a four-strong short-list of managers to succeed Moyes with all of them having won trophies and of the highest calibre. It is understood that list was Pellegrini, Benitez, Fonseca and Claudio Ranieri who has left French club Nantes. It has been possible that West Ham might hire Ranieri and reunite him with Steve Walsh, as chief scout, who has been replaced by Marcel Brands as director of football at Everton and who he worked with at Leicester City. Two fingers: Manuel Pellegrini, then manager of Man City, during a 2015 match vs West Ham. Man City won 2-0 Credit: AP If Pellegrini is appointed it would appear to raise the likelihood of West Ham signing Yaya Toure who is available as a free agent having been released by City at the end of his contract. The 35-year-old held talks with West Ham previously, when his wage demands were prohibitive, but now he is out-of-contract a deal may be more manageable and especially given his good relationship with Pellegrini.
West Ham United are confident of naming Manuel Pellegrini as their new manager this week. The 64-year-old Chilean has travelled to London for talks having informed his current club, Hebei China Fortune, that he is leaving. The Chinese club then announced Pellegrini’s departure, expressing their “sincere gratitude” for his contribution to the team. There was a delay last week while West Ham struggled to speak to Pellegrini but negotiations are now under way. It is likely Pellegrini will be offered a three-year deal at West Ham following the decision not to retain David Moyes who left last week after his short-term deal at the club expired. Who WOULDN'T want to manage West Ham? Credit: Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Getty Images West Ham held talks with Paulo Fonseca, after he flew to London to meet with vice-owner David Sullivan, but the Portuguese then signed a new, enhanced two-year deal with Ukrainian club, Shakhtar Donetsk. Depending on which version of events is to be believed Fonseca either had misgivings about taking the West Ham job or the club deemed him too big a risk given the other candidates he was up against, including Pellegrini, who had previously worked in the Premier League. What was interesting was that Fonseca’s agent, Jorge Mendes, also travelled for the talks suggesting he would not do so if a deal was not on the table. So long: David Moyes waves goodbye to West Ham fans Credit: Reuters In fairness to West Ham they were always intent on speaking to other candidates and Pellegrini, who spent three years at Manchester City, winning the Premier League and taking them to the semi-finals of the Champions League, has always been a coach they admired. Pellegrini has won league titles in four different countries and has previously been in charge of Real Madrid, Villarreal and Malaga. West Ham also explored the possibility of hiring Rafael Benitez from Newcastle United with the Spaniard having come extremely close to joining the club before Slaven Bilic was appointed in June 2015. Indeed Benitez had agreed to take over until Real Madrid came in for him and West Ham stood aside. The 50 best players in the Premier League 2017/18 It is understood that Newcastle would expect £6million in compensation to release Benitez from his contract while he would want to bring a large backroom staff with him making the deal extremely expensive. West Ham have insisted they had a four-strong short-list of managers to succeed Moyes with all of them having won trophies and of the highest calibre. It is understood that list was Pellegrini, Benitez, Fonseca and Claudio Ranieri who has left French club Nantes. It has been possible that West Ham might hire Ranieri and reunite him with Steve Walsh, as chief scout, who has been replaced by Marcel Brands as director of football at Everton and who he worked with at Leicester City. Two fingers: Manuel Pellegrini, then manager of Man City, during a 2015 match vs West Ham. Man City won 2-0 Credit: AP If Pellegrini is appointed it would appear to raise the likelihood of West Ham signing Yaya Toure who is available as a free agent having been released by City at the end of his contract. The 35-year-old held talks with West Ham previously, when his wage demands were prohibitive, but now he is out-of-contract a deal may be more manageable and especially given his good relationship with Pellegrini.
Manuel Pellegrini arrives at West Ham for manager role talks
West Ham United are confident of naming Manuel Pellegrini as their new manager this week. The 64-year-old Chilean has travelled to London for talks having informed his current club, Hebei China Fortune, that he is leaving. The Chinese club then announced Pellegrini’s departure, expressing their “sincere gratitude” for his contribution to the team. There was a delay last week while West Ham struggled to speak to Pellegrini but negotiations are now under way. It is likely Pellegrini will be offered a three-year deal at West Ham following the decision not to retain David Moyes who left last week after his short-term deal at the club expired. Who WOULDN'T want to manage West Ham? Credit: Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Getty Images West Ham held talks with Paulo Fonseca, after he flew to London to meet with vice-owner David Sullivan, but the Portuguese then signed a new, enhanced two-year deal with Ukrainian club, Shakhtar Donetsk. Depending on which version of events is to be believed Fonseca either had misgivings about taking the West Ham job or the club deemed him too big a risk given the other candidates he was up against, including Pellegrini, who had previously worked in the Premier League. What was interesting was that Fonseca’s agent, Jorge Mendes, also travelled for the talks suggesting he would not do so if a deal was not on the table. So long: David Moyes waves goodbye to West Ham fans Credit: Reuters In fairness to West Ham they were always intent on speaking to other candidates and Pellegrini, who spent three years at Manchester City, winning the Premier League and taking them to the semi-finals of the Champions League, has always been a coach they admired. Pellegrini has won league titles in four different countries and has previously been in charge of Real Madrid, Villarreal and Malaga. West Ham also explored the possibility of hiring Rafael Benitez from Newcastle United with the Spaniard having come extremely close to joining the club before Slaven Bilic was appointed in June 2015. Indeed Benitez had agreed to take over until Real Madrid came in for him and West Ham stood aside. The 50 best players in the Premier League 2017/18 It is understood that Newcastle would expect £6million in compensation to release Benitez from his contract while he would want to bring a large backroom staff with him making the deal extremely expensive. West Ham have insisted they had a four-strong short-list of managers to succeed Moyes with all of them having won trophies and of the highest calibre. It is understood that list was Pellegrini, Benitez, Fonseca and Claudio Ranieri who has left French club Nantes. It has been possible that West Ham might hire Ranieri and reunite him with Steve Walsh, as chief scout, who has been replaced by Marcel Brands as director of football at Everton and who he worked with at Leicester City. Two fingers: Manuel Pellegrini, then manager of Man City, during a 2015 match vs West Ham. Man City won 2-0 Credit: AP If Pellegrini is appointed it would appear to raise the likelihood of West Ham signing Yaya Toure who is available as a free agent having been released by City at the end of his contract. The 35-year-old held talks with West Ham previously, when his wage demands were prohibitive, but now he is out-of-contract a deal may be more manageable and especially given his good relationship with Pellegrini.
West Ham United are confident of naming Manuel Pellegrini as their new manager this week. The 64-year-old Chilean has travelled to London for talks having informed his current club, Hebei China Fortune, that he is leaving. The Chinese club then announced Pellegrini’s departure, expressing their “sincere gratitude” for his contribution to the team. There was a delay last week while West Ham struggled to speak to Pellegrini but negotiations are now under way. It is likely Pellegrini will be offered a three-year deal at West Ham following the decision not to retain David Moyes who left last week after his short-term deal at the club expired. Who WOULDN'T want to manage West Ham? Credit: Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Getty Images West Ham held talks with Paulo Fonseca, after he flew to London to meet with vice-owner David Sullivan, but the Portuguese then signed a new, enhanced two-year deal with Ukrainian club, Shakhtar Donetsk. Depending on which version of events is to be believed Fonseca either had misgivings about taking the West Ham job or the club deemed him too big a risk given the other candidates he was up against, including Pellegrini, who had previously worked in the Premier League. What was interesting was that Fonseca’s agent, Jorge Mendes, also travelled for the talks suggesting he would not do so if a deal was not on the table. So long: David Moyes waves goodbye to West Ham fans Credit: Reuters In fairness to West Ham they were always intent on speaking to other candidates and Pellegrini, who spent three years at Manchester City, winning the Premier League and taking them to the semi-finals of the Champions League, has always been a coach they admired. Pellegrini has won league titles in four different countries and has previously been in charge of Real Madrid, Villarreal and Malaga. West Ham also explored the possibility of hiring Rafael Benitez from Newcastle United with the Spaniard having come extremely close to joining the club before Slaven Bilic was appointed in June 2015. Indeed Benitez had agreed to take over until Real Madrid came in for him and West Ham stood aside. The 50 best players in the Premier League 2017/18 It is understood that Newcastle would expect £6million in compensation to release Benitez from his contract while he would want to bring a large backroom staff with him making the deal extremely expensive. West Ham have insisted they had a four-strong short-list of managers to succeed Moyes with all of them having won trophies and of the highest calibre. It is understood that list was Pellegrini, Benitez, Fonseca and Claudio Ranieri who has left French club Nantes. It has been possible that West Ham might hire Ranieri and reunite him with Steve Walsh, as chief scout, who has been replaced by Marcel Brands as director of football at Everton and who he worked with at Leicester City. Two fingers: Manuel Pellegrini, then manager of Man City, during a 2015 match vs West Ham. Man City won 2-0 Credit: AP If Pellegrini is appointed it would appear to raise the likelihood of West Ham signing Yaya Toure who is available as a free agent having been released by City at the end of his contract. The 35-year-old held talks with West Ham previously, when his wage demands were prohibitive, but now he is out-of-contract a deal may be more manageable and especially given his good relationship with Pellegrini.
Manuel Pellegrini arrives at West Ham for manager role talks
West Ham United are confident of naming Manuel Pellegrini as their new manager this week. The 64-year-old Chilean has travelled to London for talks having informed his current club, Hebei China Fortune, that he is leaving. The Chinese club then announced Pellegrini’s departure, expressing their “sincere gratitude” for his contribution to the team. There was a delay last week while West Ham struggled to speak to Pellegrini but negotiations are now under way. It is likely Pellegrini will be offered a three-year deal at West Ham following the decision not to retain David Moyes who left last week after his short-term deal at the club expired. Who WOULDN'T want to manage West Ham? Credit: Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Getty Images West Ham held talks with Paulo Fonseca, after he flew to London to meet with vice-owner David Sullivan, but the Portuguese then signed a new, enhanced two-year deal with Ukrainian club, Shakhtar Donetsk. Depending on which version of events is to be believed Fonseca either had misgivings about taking the West Ham job or the club deemed him too big a risk given the other candidates he was up against, including Pellegrini, who had previously worked in the Premier League. What was interesting was that Fonseca’s agent, Jorge Mendes, also travelled for the talks suggesting he would not do so if a deal was not on the table. So long: David Moyes waves goodbye to West Ham fans Credit: Reuters In fairness to West Ham they were always intent on speaking to other candidates and Pellegrini, who spent three years at Manchester City, winning the Premier League and taking them to the semi-finals of the Champions League, has always been a coach they admired. Pellegrini has won league titles in four different countries and has previously been in charge of Real Madrid, Villarreal and Malaga. West Ham also explored the possibility of hiring Rafael Benitez from Newcastle United with the Spaniard having come extremely close to joining the club before Slaven Bilic was appointed in June 2015. Indeed Benitez had agreed to take over until Real Madrid came in for him and West Ham stood aside. The 50 best players in the Premier League 2017/18 It is understood that Newcastle would expect £6million in compensation to release Benitez from his contract while he would want to bring a large backroom staff with him making the deal extremely expensive. West Ham have insisted they had a four-strong short-list of managers to succeed Moyes with all of them having won trophies and of the highest calibre. It is understood that list was Pellegrini, Benitez, Fonseca and Claudio Ranieri who has left French club Nantes. It has been possible that West Ham might hire Ranieri and reunite him with Steve Walsh, as chief scout, who has been replaced by Marcel Brands as director of football at Everton and who he worked with at Leicester City. Two fingers: Manuel Pellegrini, then manager of Man City, during a 2015 match vs West Ham. Man City won 2-0 Credit: AP If Pellegrini is appointed it would appear to raise the likelihood of West Ham signing Yaya Toure who is available as a free agent having been released by City at the end of his contract. The 35-year-old held talks with West Ham previously, when his wage demands were prohibitive, but now he is out-of-contract a deal may be more manageable and especially given his good relationship with Pellegrini.
Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes has laid into Alexis Sanchez following the FA Cup final, claiming his performances "can't get any worse". Chile international Sanchez was singled out for criticism following his poor display as United lost 1-0 to Chelsea at Wembley on Saturday. Scholes believes Sanchez will have to improve vastly next season if United are to have any chance of challenging champions Manchester City. "His performances, well they have to improve," Scholes told BT Sport. "They can't get any worse to be honest with you. "I think the next few games of next season are vital to him, he needs to get fans believing again and believing they are going to get close to City. They need a big player. FA Cup final player ratings "Paul Pogba does not win you games on his own. (Eden) Hazard does. Alexis Sanchez doesn't, he's shown that since January, they thought he could, but what we've seen... "They need two magical players. I think they've got really good players, they haven't got a Hazard, (Cristiano) Ronaldo, (Lionel) Messi, and I know many teams haven't, but the difference between the two was the quality in Hazard, we saw that in big games. United don't have that." Hazard scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot early in the first half after he was fouled by Phil Jones.
Paul Scholes lays into Alexis Sanchez: 'His performances for Man Utd must improve - they can't get any worse'
Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes has laid into Alexis Sanchez following the FA Cup final, claiming his performances "can't get any worse". Chile international Sanchez was singled out for criticism following his poor display as United lost 1-0 to Chelsea at Wembley on Saturday. Scholes believes Sanchez will have to improve vastly next season if United are to have any chance of challenging champions Manchester City. "His performances, well they have to improve," Scholes told BT Sport. "They can't get any worse to be honest with you. "I think the next few games of next season are vital to him, he needs to get fans believing again and believing they are going to get close to City. They need a big player. FA Cup final player ratings "Paul Pogba does not win you games on his own. (Eden) Hazard does. Alexis Sanchez doesn't, he's shown that since January, they thought he could, but what we've seen... "They need two magical players. I think they've got really good players, they haven't got a Hazard, (Cristiano) Ronaldo, (Lionel) Messi, and I know many teams haven't, but the difference between the two was the quality in Hazard, we saw that in big games. United don't have that." Hazard scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot early in the first half after he was fouled by Phil Jones.
Having struggled at Manchester City in 2010-11, Jerome Boateng is thinking about departing Bayern Munich to go abroad again.
Boateng open to leaving Bayern for move abroad
Having struggled at Manchester City in 2010-11, Jerome Boateng is thinking about departing Bayern Munich to go abroad again.
​Fabian Delph has revealed lifestyle changes in the form of Tai Chi and a vegan diet have been key to his revival with ​Manchester City and England. The 28-year-old midfielder come left back has revitalised his career this season after putting his injury woes behind him and focusing on creating a positive mindset, a shift which has helped him play a key role in City lifting the Premier League title and confirming his ​place in England's 23-man World Cup squad. It was not initially all smooth...
Man City Star Reveals How Tai Chi and Vegan Diet Switch Have Helped Him Regain Form
​Fabian Delph has revealed lifestyle changes in the form of Tai Chi and a vegan diet have been key to his revival with ​Manchester City and England. The 28-year-old midfielder come left back has revitalised his career this season after putting his injury woes behind him and focusing on creating a positive mindset, a shift which has helped him play a key role in City lifting the Premier League title and confirming his ​place in England's 23-man World Cup squad. It was not initially all smooth...
​Fabian Delph has revealed lifestyle changes in the form of Tai Chi and a vegan diet have been key to his revival with ​Manchester City and England. The 28-year-old midfielder come left back has revitalised his career this season after putting his injury woes behind him and focusing on creating a positive mindset, a shift which has helped him play a key role in City lifting the Premier League title and confirming his ​place in England's 23-man World Cup squad. It was not initially all smooth...
Man City Star Reveals How Tai Chi and Vegan Diet Switch Have Helped Him Regain Form
​Fabian Delph has revealed lifestyle changes in the form of Tai Chi and a vegan diet have been key to his revival with ​Manchester City and England. The 28-year-old midfielder come left back has revitalised his career this season after putting his injury woes behind him and focusing on creating a positive mindset, a shift which has helped him play a key role in City lifting the Premier League title and confirming his ​place in England's 23-man World Cup squad. It was not initially all smooth...
​Fabian Delph has revealed lifestyle changes in the form of Tai Chi and a vegan diet have been key to his revival with ​Manchester City and England. The 28-year-old midfielder come left back has revitalised his career this season after putting his injury woes behind him and focusing on creating a positive mindset, a shift which has helped him play a key role in City lifting the Premier League title and confirming his ​place in England's 23-man World Cup squad. It was not initially all smooth...
Man City Star Reveals How Tai Chi and Vegan Diet Switch Have Helped Him Regain Form
​Fabian Delph has revealed lifestyle changes in the form of Tai Chi and a vegan diet have been key to his revival with ​Manchester City and England. The 28-year-old midfielder come left back has revitalised his career this season after putting his injury woes behind him and focusing on creating a positive mindset, a shift which has helped him play a key role in City lifting the Premier League title and confirming his ​place in England's 23-man World Cup squad. It was not initially all smooth...
Jurgen Klopp was suffering in the Nevada desert, in prolonged therapy from his last Champions League final defeat, when he experienced an epiphany. It was May 2014 and Klopp was on a post-season holiday in Las Vegas when he noticed fans huddling around a TV to watch Real Madrid against Atletico Madrid. Klopp’s attempt to recover after losing at Wembley a year earlier with Borussia Dortmund was entering a more vexing stage. The German coach realised at that moment there is greater torment than falling at the last hurdle. Not being there to leap it. “When Real Madrid played Atletico in the final I was by the pool and a lot of people were watching it,” Klopp recalls. “I was kind of annoyed hearing the noise. I had no clue who had scored or nothing about the game. I really tried to ignore it because it hurt. It was still painful what had happened the year before. I was thinking, ‘One year ago it was different, we were in the final’. “I didn’t think over the year a lot. I didn’t watch the game back, for example. But in that moment you realise, ‘What’s that? Oh, the Champions League final. Right’. “All the people shouting were Spanish, the year before they were all German. It is only when it comes up and that was the last time when I really suffered. That is absolutely OK. “If something is really important for you, you have to be ready for suffering. That is how life is.” Klopp lost the 2013 Champions League final with Borussia Dortmund Credit: Getty images Klopp has developed an unhealthy habit for losing major finals, defeated in his last five, but he heads to Kiev to face Real Madrid thrilled with the possibilities of getting so far, rather than fretting about the outcome. “If you want guarantees then don’t qualify for a final, stay at home and or go on holiday,” he says. “It is not nice when you lose a final, but I will always try again. “One of the rules is that the more you try, the more likely that you will do it. I know how it feels and I felt it a few times when you’ve won it, it is really cool and that is what we are going for. “I know how I lost the finals. It didn’t change my life. It’s not that I wake up every morning and think, ‘Wow, that was a big chance’. I always had teams that could qualify and we went to the Europa League final two years ago and it was about the team. We were unlucky in the final. We didn’t score in the first half often enough. We didn’t get a penalty, second half. It was legs. This time the legs will be fine. “I know it will be very special and I would really love to come back and bring the people the trophy. That would be really nice.” Jurgen Klopp's last five finals Klopp won his first final – the 2012 German Cup – and added two Bundesliga titles before a barren run began. The modern Liverpool reputation as “nearly men” is of more concern. The club have won one trophy since the 2006 FA Cup, despite making 12 semi-finals – including the Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup and League Cup finals – over that period. Beyond the cup competitions, finishing runners-up in the 2014 Premier League title race was the most upsetting near miss of all. Of the side preparing to face the European champions, only captain Jordan Henderson remains from the Liverpool team who defeated Cardiff in the 2012 League Cup, the club’s last silverware coming during Kenny Dalglish’s second reign. “We are all human beings. It is not nice. But being there is a big thing,” says Klopp. “It is unbelievable. Most people in the world try their whole life and don’t go to one final because you need luck in specific moments. We had that this season, we deserved it I think. And now we are there again. “I knew our football could really fit the competition, but again, we needed luck against Manchester City. We were really good and deserved, it but we needed luck as well. The same against Roma. We can lose there 5-2 or at City we can be 2-0 down or 3-0 down at half-time. But to go to the final stage. That is special.” Liverpool's Champions League campaign | In Numbers A win against the most formidable Champions League opponent of all, Real Madrid, pursuing a 13th win and third in a row, would be the ultimate recompense for recent let-downs. Klopp says Zinedine Zidane’s side have the experience and know-how, but the prestige of both clubs ensures there will be no inferiority complex. “They can make it a third time in a row, but we are Liverpool, that’s something not to forget. We feel that,” says Klopp. “We like the role we are in. Everything is positive. We’ve learnt a bit, and we are in a good moment. “There have been three dominant clubs in the last few years. Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern. A few others showed up but there are those three, and we face one of them in the final, so who should be the favourite? It’s not that I want to be the underdog and I don’t feel like an underdog. But yes they are favourites, they know everything, they could write the f---ing scripts for the finals because they have experienced it four times in the last five years. “We can’t, but there’s no problem with that. We want to play football and win a football game and thank God it is always possible. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool “I saw a car coming in this morning with two flags, “Liverpool Champions League final Kiev”. So it starts already. We are looking forward to it, we are happy about it, having a smile on your face, that’s nice. You can pretty much only get it from football. That’s really cool.” Despite recent setbacks in showpiece occasions, Liverpool are not without winners. James Milner and Georginio Wijnaldum won cups and titles at their former clubs. Mohamed Salah won the Swiss Super League with Basel. But the CVs are incomparable to the players they meet. “This has been the Real Madrid Champions League generation,” says Klopp. “A lot of their players won the last two finals and that’s really rare. Real have almost exactly the same line-up from winning it before. “In the end it will be a test: what’s bigger the desire to win a third one in a row or the desire to win the first one for some years? “They will want to do it again. It would be big 100 per cent. If we did it, it would be big, too. We will try.”
Jurgen Klopp unconcerned by his and Liverpool's records in finals: 'The more you try, the more likely you will do it'
Jurgen Klopp was suffering in the Nevada desert, in prolonged therapy from his last Champions League final defeat, when he experienced an epiphany. It was May 2014 and Klopp was on a post-season holiday in Las Vegas when he noticed fans huddling around a TV to watch Real Madrid against Atletico Madrid. Klopp’s attempt to recover after losing at Wembley a year earlier with Borussia Dortmund was entering a more vexing stage. The German coach realised at that moment there is greater torment than falling at the last hurdle. Not being there to leap it. “When Real Madrid played Atletico in the final I was by the pool and a lot of people were watching it,” Klopp recalls. “I was kind of annoyed hearing the noise. I had no clue who had scored or nothing about the game. I really tried to ignore it because it hurt. It was still painful what had happened the year before. I was thinking, ‘One year ago it was different, we were in the final’. “I didn’t think over the year a lot. I didn’t watch the game back, for example. But in that moment you realise, ‘What’s that? Oh, the Champions League final. Right’. “All the people shouting were Spanish, the year before they were all German. It is only when it comes up and that was the last time when I really suffered. That is absolutely OK. “If something is really important for you, you have to be ready for suffering. That is how life is.” Klopp lost the 2013 Champions League final with Borussia Dortmund Credit: Getty images Klopp has developed an unhealthy habit for losing major finals, defeated in his last five, but he heads to Kiev to face Real Madrid thrilled with the possibilities of getting so far, rather than fretting about the outcome. “If you want guarantees then don’t qualify for a final, stay at home and or go on holiday,” he says. “It is not nice when you lose a final, but I will always try again. “One of the rules is that the more you try, the more likely that you will do it. I know how it feels and I felt it a few times when you’ve won it, it is really cool and that is what we are going for. “I know how I lost the finals. It didn’t change my life. It’s not that I wake up every morning and think, ‘Wow, that was a big chance’. I always had teams that could qualify and we went to the Europa League final two years ago and it was about the team. We were unlucky in the final. We didn’t score in the first half often enough. We didn’t get a penalty, second half. It was legs. This time the legs will be fine. “I know it will be very special and I would really love to come back and bring the people the trophy. That would be really nice.” Jurgen Klopp's last five finals Klopp won his first final – the 2012 German Cup – and added two Bundesliga titles before a barren run began. The modern Liverpool reputation as “nearly men” is of more concern. The club have won one trophy since the 2006 FA Cup, despite making 12 semi-finals – including the Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup and League Cup finals – over that period. Beyond the cup competitions, finishing runners-up in the 2014 Premier League title race was the most upsetting near miss of all. Of the side preparing to face the European champions, only captain Jordan Henderson remains from the Liverpool team who defeated Cardiff in the 2012 League Cup, the club’s last silverware coming during Kenny Dalglish’s second reign. “We are all human beings. It is not nice. But being there is a big thing,” says Klopp. “It is unbelievable. Most people in the world try their whole life and don’t go to one final because you need luck in specific moments. We had that this season, we deserved it I think. And now we are there again. “I knew our football could really fit the competition, but again, we needed luck against Manchester City. We were really good and deserved, it but we needed luck as well. The same against Roma. We can lose there 5-2 or at City we can be 2-0 down or 3-0 down at half-time. But to go to the final stage. That is special.” Liverpool's Champions League campaign | In Numbers A win against the most formidable Champions League opponent of all, Real Madrid, pursuing a 13th win and third in a row, would be the ultimate recompense for recent let-downs. Klopp says Zinedine Zidane’s side have the experience and know-how, but the prestige of both clubs ensures there will be no inferiority complex. “They can make it a third time in a row, but we are Liverpool, that’s something not to forget. We feel that,” says Klopp. “We like the role we are in. Everything is positive. We’ve learnt a bit, and we are in a good moment. “There have been three dominant clubs in the last few years. Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern. A few others showed up but there are those three, and we face one of them in the final, so who should be the favourite? It’s not that I want to be the underdog and I don’t feel like an underdog. But yes they are favourites, they know everything, they could write the f---ing scripts for the finals because they have experienced it four times in the last five years. “We can’t, but there’s no problem with that. We want to play football and win a football game and thank God it is always possible. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool “I saw a car coming in this morning with two flags, “Liverpool Champions League final Kiev”. So it starts already. We are looking forward to it, we are happy about it, having a smile on your face, that’s nice. You can pretty much only get it from football. That’s really cool.” Despite recent setbacks in showpiece occasions, Liverpool are not without winners. James Milner and Georginio Wijnaldum won cups and titles at their former clubs. Mohamed Salah won the Swiss Super League with Basel. But the CVs are incomparable to the players they meet. “This has been the Real Madrid Champions League generation,” says Klopp. “A lot of their players won the last two finals and that’s really rare. Real have almost exactly the same line-up from winning it before. “In the end it will be a test: what’s bigger the desire to win a third one in a row or the desire to win the first one for some years? “They will want to do it again. It would be big 100 per cent. If we did it, it would be big, too. We will try.”
As Chelsea and Manchester United’s England World Cup squad contingent head to the beaches for the week, and Liverpool’s duo prepare for their Champions League date in Kiev, the physical and mental slog of football’s hamster wheel starts again for 17 English footballers on Monday. Ahead of them lies a possible eight-week stretch of daily focus on the preparation and participation in the world’s greatest tournament. Whether they can switch back on their physical and mental skills, individually and collectively, is the biggest unknown for Gareth Southgate and his medical and performance team. While England will be handicapped by not having their full squad together until June 4, Dave Reddin, head of team strategy and performance, and his team will have been preparing hard to ensure that the handover of players from clubs is smooth and ensure that wherever possible individual club-based fitness and load management programmes are adhered to. Quite a few of the players have not been regular starters for their teams, whilst the Leicester and Tottenham players have been involved week in week out for their team, compared to the Manchester City players who have in effect been celebrating more than training every week since they won the Premier League in April. The transitioning process will require compromises from the technical coaching team to give time and resources to bring the players up to a common fitness level. Conquering fatigue is the goal, in order to get the most of the forthcoming training block and avoid a slump in six weeks’ time when England may be entering the latter stages of the tournament. England squad | World Cup 2018 Fatigue is different to fitness or weakness. It is a symptom and is subjective. There are certain markers but it comes on gradually and can stem from mental or physical causes. It can lead to lethargic movement and lapses in concentration. England’s team management will need to rely on players self-reporting an individual wellness score daily. This reporting, often done in clubs via an app, seeks to understand the player’s energy levels for the day ahead while tracking perceived sleep quality and energy patterns over time. Nutrition, sleep and sensory deprivation are all small strategies to boost player energy levels and mental alertness. World Cup 2018 | All you need to know We can only speculate about how much cumulative fatigue the players are carrying, but it will be up to the management team to keep them stimulated during the forthcoming three weeks at St George’s Park and London, and then during the tournament. While climate is unlikely to play a major factor, the medical and performance team will be praying for a sunny, warm end to May. Wind and rain would only add to mental fatigue levels buffeted by 10 intense months of domestic football. While there is a return to basics approach with no Miami holding camp or confiscation of passports, Spain, France and Germany still have one striking difference in their tournament year calendars; the winter break. England Formation Builder Data soon to be released by the Football Research Group adds weight to the argument that a winter break allows for recovery from physiological and mental stress. Reviewing injury and load data from 56 teams in 15 European countries over seven consecutive seasons, the data points to a higher risk of problems in the second half of the season for teams without a break. Southgate will know mental alertness and physical sharpness will go a long way to determining which team is victorious. He will be hoping attention to small details, improved club relationships and a younger, enthusiastic squad counteract the inevitable fatigue of his players. Michael Davison is managing director, Isokinetic Medical Group, London
England fatigue is inevitable, but attention to detail can help Gareth Southgate counteract it
As Chelsea and Manchester United’s England World Cup squad contingent head to the beaches for the week, and Liverpool’s duo prepare for their Champions League date in Kiev, the physical and mental slog of football’s hamster wheel starts again for 17 English footballers on Monday. Ahead of them lies a possible eight-week stretch of daily focus on the preparation and participation in the world’s greatest tournament. Whether they can switch back on their physical and mental skills, individually and collectively, is the biggest unknown for Gareth Southgate and his medical and performance team. While England will be handicapped by not having their full squad together until June 4, Dave Reddin, head of team strategy and performance, and his team will have been preparing hard to ensure that the handover of players from clubs is smooth and ensure that wherever possible individual club-based fitness and load management programmes are adhered to. Quite a few of the players have not been regular starters for their teams, whilst the Leicester and Tottenham players have been involved week in week out for their team, compared to the Manchester City players who have in effect been celebrating more than training every week since they won the Premier League in April. The transitioning process will require compromises from the technical coaching team to give time and resources to bring the players up to a common fitness level. Conquering fatigue is the goal, in order to get the most of the forthcoming training block and avoid a slump in six weeks’ time when England may be entering the latter stages of the tournament. England squad | World Cup 2018 Fatigue is different to fitness or weakness. It is a symptom and is subjective. There are certain markers but it comes on gradually and can stem from mental or physical causes. It can lead to lethargic movement and lapses in concentration. England’s team management will need to rely on players self-reporting an individual wellness score daily. This reporting, often done in clubs via an app, seeks to understand the player’s energy levels for the day ahead while tracking perceived sleep quality and energy patterns over time. Nutrition, sleep and sensory deprivation are all small strategies to boost player energy levels and mental alertness. World Cup 2018 | All you need to know We can only speculate about how much cumulative fatigue the players are carrying, but it will be up to the management team to keep them stimulated during the forthcoming three weeks at St George’s Park and London, and then during the tournament. While climate is unlikely to play a major factor, the medical and performance team will be praying for a sunny, warm end to May. Wind and rain would only add to mental fatigue levels buffeted by 10 intense months of domestic football. While there is a return to basics approach with no Miami holding camp or confiscation of passports, Spain, France and Germany still have one striking difference in their tournament year calendars; the winter break. England Formation Builder Data soon to be released by the Football Research Group adds weight to the argument that a winter break allows for recovery from physiological and mental stress. Reviewing injury and load data from 56 teams in 15 European countries over seven consecutive seasons, the data points to a higher risk of problems in the second half of the season for teams without a break. Southgate will know mental alertness and physical sharpness will go a long way to determining which team is victorious. He will be hoping attention to small details, improved club relationships and a younger, enthusiastic squad counteract the inevitable fatigue of his players. Michael Davison is managing director, Isokinetic Medical Group, London
Anyone hearing Gareth Southgate speak with such purpose for almost two hours on Thursday at Wembley could be reassured – the reactions from Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere to their England omission would never dent his optimism. Southgate’s focus had moved from assessing players whose recent performances have not matched their past promise to what might be possible among a young group from which he thinks world-class performers can emerge. He was asked whether a player like Dele Alli might announce themselves to the wider world. Rather than flinch at creating excessive expectation, he reeled off another six players with that sort of potential. He did not regard that list as exhaustive and pointed out Alli’s statistics were in advance of Steven Gerrard at the same age. “There are so many possible players in this group that it could be that moment,” he said. “You perform in a World Cup and that announces you to the world. That’s the beauty of playing in an England shirt. You have the chance to make history in games that really matter and that people will remember forever. “From [John] Stones and [Harry] Maguire, to Ruben [Loftus-Cheek] to Dele [Alli] to Raheem [Sterling]. Harry [Kane], [Marcus] Rash[ford]. There are any number that could announce themselves. I was involved in 1998 and [David] Beckham and [Michael] Owen didn’t start the first game. They were both left out. By the end of it, they were the two headline-grabbers.” What has been so refreshing about Southgate is how reputations have had such little influence on his decisions. It is less than two years since Sam Allardyce was talking about Wayne Rooney playing wherever he wanted in an England shirt. Before that we had the backroom involvements of Beckham and Gary Neville under Fabio Capello and Roy Hodgson. England Formation Builder Southgate looked baffled when it was put to him on that he might take another England “legend” – a Lampard, Gerrard or Ferdinand – to work with him and Steve Holland, his assistant. “Steve Holland is a legend,” he said, of the ex-Chelsea assistant manager. “He has won the Champions League. He has won the Europa League. He has won the Premier League. He has won the FA Cup. I think he has won the League Cup as well. He is the most experienced English coach in the country. He has been in the biggest matches possible and we have complete trust in each other. That is a critical relationship. Terry Venables had that with Don Howe, who also operated at the highest level and would challenge Terry.” Their collective diligence is clear. Guest speakers to the group have included John Barnes, Eddie Jones and Alan Shearer. The squad have also met leading figures from American football and have trained with the Marines. Similar bonding exercises and invitations to people from inside and outside of sport will be made over the next month. England squad: A bold selection with a clear sense of direction “It brings energy – we have to stimulate people,” explained Southgate. While conscious the players do not want to hear him droning on about personal experiences, he knows it can help some decisions. He decided against naming a big provisional squad. “My experience was, this way is cleaner,” he said, presumably remembering when Glenn Hoddle had to tell Paul Gascoigne he would not make the 1998 World Cup. In explaining every squad selection and the omissions of big names, he stated with confidence they had not been among the best performers in their positions. When you looked back at their seasons, it was difficult to disagree. One big boost has been the involvement of a healthy number of English players with the top four clubs. Manchester City and Liverpool’s achievements will surely make their domestic players discard any inferiority complex. Sterling, for example, has been integral to City’s Premier League dominance and Southgate says that he had never seen him score more often than during recent training with England. World Cup predictor The Champions League final could also impact on England’s hopes. Southgate has still not decided who his captain will be and can sense genuine leadership in Jordan Henderson’s Liverpool performance. Of the boost a Liverpool victory would bring to England, Southgate said: “I think it is big. You want them to experience winning things because then they know what it has taken, the commitment that is needed and the mindset that is needed and that hurdles can be overcome. When I took the Under-21s, I believed young English players could play in a certain style. What was stopping them from being as good as players around the world? Manchester City have a core of four English players most weeks. Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham the same.” It is now less than a month until England begin their campaign in Volgograd against Tunisia. So does Southgate know his starting team? Yes,” he said. “There is opportunity for people to play their way into that... but we know who we would select tomorrow.”
Gareth Southgate: 'England have so many young players ready to announce themselves to the world'
Anyone hearing Gareth Southgate speak with such purpose for almost two hours on Thursday at Wembley could be reassured – the reactions from Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere to their England omission would never dent his optimism. Southgate’s focus had moved from assessing players whose recent performances have not matched their past promise to what might be possible among a young group from which he thinks world-class performers can emerge. He was asked whether a player like Dele Alli might announce themselves to the wider world. Rather than flinch at creating excessive expectation, he reeled off another six players with that sort of potential. He did not regard that list as exhaustive and pointed out Alli’s statistics were in advance of Steven Gerrard at the same age. “There are so many possible players in this group that it could be that moment,” he said. “You perform in a World Cup and that announces you to the world. That’s the beauty of playing in an England shirt. You have the chance to make history in games that really matter and that people will remember forever. “From [John] Stones and [Harry] Maguire, to Ruben [Loftus-Cheek] to Dele [Alli] to Raheem [Sterling]. Harry [Kane], [Marcus] Rash[ford]. There are any number that could announce themselves. I was involved in 1998 and [David] Beckham and [Michael] Owen didn’t start the first game. They were both left out. By the end of it, they were the two headline-grabbers.” What has been so refreshing about Southgate is how reputations have had such little influence on his decisions. It is less than two years since Sam Allardyce was talking about Wayne Rooney playing wherever he wanted in an England shirt. Before that we had the backroom involvements of Beckham and Gary Neville under Fabio Capello and Roy Hodgson. England Formation Builder Southgate looked baffled when it was put to him on that he might take another England “legend” – a Lampard, Gerrard or Ferdinand – to work with him and Steve Holland, his assistant. “Steve Holland is a legend,” he said, of the ex-Chelsea assistant manager. “He has won the Champions League. He has won the Europa League. He has won the Premier League. He has won the FA Cup. I think he has won the League Cup as well. He is the most experienced English coach in the country. He has been in the biggest matches possible and we have complete trust in each other. That is a critical relationship. Terry Venables had that with Don Howe, who also operated at the highest level and would challenge Terry.” Their collective diligence is clear. Guest speakers to the group have included John Barnes, Eddie Jones and Alan Shearer. The squad have also met leading figures from American football and have trained with the Marines. Similar bonding exercises and invitations to people from inside and outside of sport will be made over the next month. England squad: A bold selection with a clear sense of direction “It brings energy – we have to stimulate people,” explained Southgate. While conscious the players do not want to hear him droning on about personal experiences, he knows it can help some decisions. He decided against naming a big provisional squad. “My experience was, this way is cleaner,” he said, presumably remembering when Glenn Hoddle had to tell Paul Gascoigne he would not make the 1998 World Cup. In explaining every squad selection and the omissions of big names, he stated with confidence they had not been among the best performers in their positions. When you looked back at their seasons, it was difficult to disagree. One big boost has been the involvement of a healthy number of English players with the top four clubs. Manchester City and Liverpool’s achievements will surely make their domestic players discard any inferiority complex. Sterling, for example, has been integral to City’s Premier League dominance and Southgate says that he had never seen him score more often than during recent training with England. World Cup predictor The Champions League final could also impact on England’s hopes. Southgate has still not decided who his captain will be and can sense genuine leadership in Jordan Henderson’s Liverpool performance. Of the boost a Liverpool victory would bring to England, Southgate said: “I think it is big. You want them to experience winning things because then they know what it has taken, the commitment that is needed and the mindset that is needed and that hurdles can be overcome. When I took the Under-21s, I believed young English players could play in a certain style. What was stopping them from being as good as players around the world? Manchester City have a core of four English players most weeks. Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham the same.” It is now less than a month until England begin their campaign in Volgograd against Tunisia. So does Southgate know his starting team? Yes,” he said. “There is opportunity for people to play their way into that... but we know who we would select tomorrow.”
Jurgen Klopp was suffering in the Nevada desert, in prolonged therapy from his last Champions League final defeat, when he experienced an epiphany. It was May 2014 and Klopp was on a post-season holiday in Las Vegas when he noticed fans huddling around a TV to watch Real Madrid against Atletico Madrid. Klopp’s attempt to recover after losing at Wembley a year earlier with Borussia Dortmund was entering a more vexing stage. The German coach realised at that moment there is greater torment than falling at the last hurdle. Not being there to leap it. “When Real Madrid played Atletico in the final I was by the pool and a lot of people were watching it,” Klopp recalls. “I was kind of annoyed hearing the noise. I had no clue who had scored or nothing about the game. I really tried to ignore it because it hurt. It was still painful what had happened the year before. I was thinking, ‘One year ago it was different, we were in the final’. “I didn’t think over the year a lot. I didn’t watch the game back, for example. But in that moment you realise, ‘What’s that? Oh, the Champions League final. Right’. “All the people shouting were Spanish, the year before they were all German. It is only when it comes up and that was the last time when I really suffered. That is absolutely OK. “If something is really important for you, you have to be ready for suffering. That is how life is.” Klopp lost the 2013 Champions League final with Borussia Dortmund Credit: Getty images Klopp has developed an unhealthy habit for losing major finals, defeated in his last five, but he heads to Kiev to face Real Madrid thrilled with the possibilities of getting so far, rather than fretting about the outcome. “If you want guarantees then don’t qualify for a final, stay at home and or go on holiday,” he says. “It is not nice when you lose a final, but I will always try again. “One of the rules is that the more you try, the more likely that you will do it. I know how it feels and I felt it a few times when you’ve won it, it is really cool and that is what we are going for. “I know how I lost the finals. It didn’t change my life. It’s not that I wake up every morning and think, ‘Wow, that was a big chance’. I always had teams that could qualify and we went to the Europa League final two years ago and it was about the team. We were unlucky in the final. We didn’t score in the first half often enough. We didn’t get a penalty, second half. It was legs. This time the legs will be fine. “I know it will be very special and I would really love to come back and bring the people the trophy. That would be really nice.” Jurgen Klopp's last five finals Klopp won his first final – the 2012 German Cup – and added two Bundesliga titles before a barren run began. The modern Liverpool reputation as “nearly men” is of more concern. The club have won one trophy since the 2006 FA Cup, despite making 12 semi-finals – including the Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup and League Cup finals – over that period. Beyond the cup competitions, finishing runners-up in the 2014 Premier League title race was the most upsetting near miss of all. Of the side preparing to face the European champions, only captain Jordan Henderson remains from the Liverpool team who defeated Cardiff in the 2012 League Cup, the club’s last silverware coming during Kenny Dalglish’s second reign. “We are all human beings. It is not nice. But being there is a big thing,” says Klopp. “It is unbelievable. Most people in the world try their whole life and don’t go to one final because you need luck in specific moments. We had that this season, we deserved it I think. And now we are there again. “I knew our football could really fit the competition, but again, we needed luck against Manchester City. We were really good and deserved, it but we needed luck as well. The same against Roma. We can lose there 5-2 or at City we can be 2-0 down or 3-0 down at half-time. But to go to the final stage. That is special.” Liverpool's Champions League campaign | In Numbers A win against the most formidable Champions League opponent of all, Real Madrid, pursuing a 13th win and third in a row, would be the ultimate recompense for recent let-downs. Klopp says Zinedine Zidane’s side have the experience and know-how, but the prestige of both clubs ensures there will be no inferiority complex. “They can make it a third time in a row, but we are Liverpool, that’s something not to forget. We feel that,” says Klopp. “We like the role we are in. Everything is positive. We’ve learnt a bit, and we are in a good moment. “There have been three dominant clubs in the last few years. Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern. A few others showed up but there are those three, and we face one of them in the final, so who should be the favourite? It’s not that I want to be the underdog and I don’t feel like an underdog. But yes they are favourites, they know everything, they could write the f---ing scripts for the finals because they have experienced it four times in the last five years. “We can’t, but there’s no problem with that. We want to play football and win a football game and thank God it is always possible. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool “I saw a car coming in this morning with two flags, “Liverpool Champions League final Kiev”. So it starts already. We are looking forward to it, we are happy about it, having a smile on your face, that’s nice. You can pretty much only get it from football. That’s really cool.” Despite recent setbacks in showpiece occasions, Liverpool are not without winners. James Milner and Georginio Wijnaldum won cups and titles at their former clubs. Mohamed Salah won the Swiss Super League with Basel. But the CVs are incomparable to the players they meet. “This has been the Real Madrid Champions League generation,” says Klopp. “A lot of their players won the last two finals and that’s really rare. Real have almost exactly the same line-up from winning it before. “In the end it will be a test: what’s bigger the desire to win a third one in a row or the desire to win the first one for some years? “They will want to do it again. It would be big 100 per cent. If we did it, it would be big, too. We will try.”
Jurgen Klopp unconcerned by his and Liverpool's records in finals: 'The more you try, the more likely you will do it'
Jurgen Klopp was suffering in the Nevada desert, in prolonged therapy from his last Champions League final defeat, when he experienced an epiphany. It was May 2014 and Klopp was on a post-season holiday in Las Vegas when he noticed fans huddling around a TV to watch Real Madrid against Atletico Madrid. Klopp’s attempt to recover after losing at Wembley a year earlier with Borussia Dortmund was entering a more vexing stage. The German coach realised at that moment there is greater torment than falling at the last hurdle. Not being there to leap it. “When Real Madrid played Atletico in the final I was by the pool and a lot of people were watching it,” Klopp recalls. “I was kind of annoyed hearing the noise. I had no clue who had scored or nothing about the game. I really tried to ignore it because it hurt. It was still painful what had happened the year before. I was thinking, ‘One year ago it was different, we were in the final’. “I didn’t think over the year a lot. I didn’t watch the game back, for example. But in that moment you realise, ‘What’s that? Oh, the Champions League final. Right’. “All the people shouting were Spanish, the year before they were all German. It is only when it comes up and that was the last time when I really suffered. That is absolutely OK. “If something is really important for you, you have to be ready for suffering. That is how life is.” Klopp lost the 2013 Champions League final with Borussia Dortmund Credit: Getty images Klopp has developed an unhealthy habit for losing major finals, defeated in his last five, but he heads to Kiev to face Real Madrid thrilled with the possibilities of getting so far, rather than fretting about the outcome. “If you want guarantees then don’t qualify for a final, stay at home and or go on holiday,” he says. “It is not nice when you lose a final, but I will always try again. “One of the rules is that the more you try, the more likely that you will do it. I know how it feels and I felt it a few times when you’ve won it, it is really cool and that is what we are going for. “I know how I lost the finals. It didn’t change my life. It’s not that I wake up every morning and think, ‘Wow, that was a big chance’. I always had teams that could qualify and we went to the Europa League final two years ago and it was about the team. We were unlucky in the final. We didn’t score in the first half often enough. We didn’t get a penalty, second half. It was legs. This time the legs will be fine. “I know it will be very special and I would really love to come back and bring the people the trophy. That would be really nice.” Jurgen Klopp's last five finals Klopp won his first final – the 2012 German Cup – and added two Bundesliga titles before a barren run began. The modern Liverpool reputation as “nearly men” is of more concern. The club have won one trophy since the 2006 FA Cup, despite making 12 semi-finals – including the Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup and League Cup finals – over that period. Beyond the cup competitions, finishing runners-up in the 2014 Premier League title race was the most upsetting near miss of all. Of the side preparing to face the European champions, only captain Jordan Henderson remains from the Liverpool team who defeated Cardiff in the 2012 League Cup, the club’s last silverware coming during Kenny Dalglish’s second reign. “We are all human beings. It is not nice. But being there is a big thing,” says Klopp. “It is unbelievable. Most people in the world try their whole life and don’t go to one final because you need luck in specific moments. We had that this season, we deserved it I think. And now we are there again. “I knew our football could really fit the competition, but again, we needed luck against Manchester City. We were really good and deserved, it but we needed luck as well. The same against Roma. We can lose there 5-2 or at City we can be 2-0 down or 3-0 down at half-time. But to go to the final stage. That is special.” Liverpool's Champions League campaign | In Numbers A win against the most formidable Champions League opponent of all, Real Madrid, pursuing a 13th win and third in a row, would be the ultimate recompense for recent let-downs. Klopp says Zinedine Zidane’s side have the experience and know-how, but the prestige of both clubs ensures there will be no inferiority complex. “They can make it a third time in a row, but we are Liverpool, that’s something not to forget. We feel that,” says Klopp. “We like the role we are in. Everything is positive. We’ve learnt a bit, and we are in a good moment. “There have been three dominant clubs in the last few years. Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern. A few others showed up but there are those three, and we face one of them in the final, so who should be the favourite? It’s not that I want to be the underdog and I don’t feel like an underdog. But yes they are favourites, they know everything, they could write the f---ing scripts for the finals because they have experienced it four times in the last five years. “We can’t, but there’s no problem with that. We want to play football and win a football game and thank God it is always possible. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool “I saw a car coming in this morning with two flags, “Liverpool Champions League final Kiev”. So it starts already. We are looking forward to it, we are happy about it, having a smile on your face, that’s nice. You can pretty much only get it from football. That’s really cool.” Despite recent setbacks in showpiece occasions, Liverpool are not without winners. James Milner and Georginio Wijnaldum won cups and titles at their former clubs. Mohamed Salah won the Swiss Super League with Basel. But the CVs are incomparable to the players they meet. “This has been the Real Madrid Champions League generation,” says Klopp. “A lot of their players won the last two finals and that’s really rare. Real have almost exactly the same line-up from winning it before. “In the end it will be a test: what’s bigger the desire to win a third one in a row or the desire to win the first one for some years? “They will want to do it again. It would be big 100 per cent. If we did it, it would be big, too. We will try.”
Gareth Southgate with Raheem Sterling, who played a vital role in Manchester City’s runaway Premier League success this season.
England youngsters in ‘matches that matter’ have Southgate looking up
Gareth Southgate with Raheem Sterling, who played a vital role in Manchester City’s runaway Premier League success this season.
FILE PHOTO: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan meets with Premier League soccer players Ilkay Gundogan of Manchester City, Mesut Ozil of Arsenal and Cenk Tosun of Everton in London, Britain May 13, 2018. Kayhan Ozer/Presidential Palace/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Turkish President Erdogan meets with Premier League soccer players Gundogan of Manchester City, Ozil of Arsenal and Tosun of Everton in London
FILE PHOTO: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan meets with Premier League soccer players Ilkay Gundogan of Manchester City, Mesut Ozil of Arsenal and Cenk Tosun of Everton in London, Britain May 13, 2018. Kayhan Ozer/Presidential Palace/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan meets with Premier League soccer players Ilkay Gundogan of Manchester City, Mesut Ozil of Arsenal and Cenk Tosun of Everton in London, Britain May 13, 2018. Picture taken May 13, 2018. Kayhan Ozer/Presidential Palace/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Turkish President Erdogan meets with Premier League soccer players Gundogan of Manchester City, Ozil of Arsenal and Tosun of Everton in London
FILE PHOTO: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan meets with Premier League soccer players Ilkay Gundogan of Manchester City, Mesut Ozil of Arsenal and Cenk Tosun of Everton in London, Britain May 13, 2018. Picture taken May 13, 2018. Kayhan Ozer/Presidential Palace/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo
The former Manchester City manager has departed the Chinese Super League club, possibly paving a way back to the Premier League
West Ham target Pellegrini leaves Hebei China Fortune
The former Manchester City manager has departed the Chinese Super League club, possibly paving a way back to the Premier League
Manchester United’s vast commercial incomes can’t buy them soul - and this was the missing quality as Jose Mourinho’s team became more and more uptight, less and less fluent, at the end of a trophy-less campaign. Mourinho will not hear of it, of course, but this United side have forgotten how to express themselves. They pressed and scrapped with Chelsea here but lacked the inspiration to add the last trophy available to them to their runners-up spot in the Premier League. Their attacking play is stilted and unconvincing. In a painting of hell by United’s fans, Manchester City would win the title by 19 points and Liverpool would be in a Champions League final. In this perdition, United would be left needing to win the FA Cup to stave off an inferiority complex and stop people dozing off during their games. That vision is now reality. The Consolation Cup final, as many called this one, posed much sharper questions for United than Chelsea, where managers come and go like London buses. Chelsea are at a junction, where their power in the transfer market will be tested. But United’s record-equalling 20th FA Cup final was a much bigger deal for the team in red. Mourinho’s mistrust of entertainment, which sits so uneasily with City’s artistry in the same metropolis, asks an awful lot of modern audiences. In the instant gratification age, it places United out on the stylistic margins, pretty much on their own, where trophies are the only riposte to those who think the club have lost their way - become a deal-making factory. That mission turned even tougher when Eden Hazard burst through the centre and was brought down by Phil Jones in United’s penalty area after 20 minutes. This portent of what England can expect when they meet Belgium in Kaliningrad on 28 June was also a reminder that United need more bold, direct running in a team not short of players capable of punching holes. FA Cup final reaction and analysis | How Chelsea held their nerve against United Alexis Sanchez, Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard are all equipped to rip into teams, but Sanchez has been innocuous in a United shirt and Rashford was a shadow of his youngest, carefree self. How much Mourinho is to blame for United’s joylessness is a rolling debate. In mitigation, their response to being 1-0 down at the break was good. Yet the spark and accuracy you associate with Man Utd teams were not there. Against the backdrop of emergency surgery for the club’s greatest manager, who was born on the front foot, United’s fans unfurled a giant banner that said: ‘Every single one of us loves Alex Ferguson.’ FA Cup final player ratings At stake for Ferguson’s old team here was how their fans regard the whole experience of watching them, the whole feel of the club, the eagerness (or lack of it) to renew season tickets. Some have run out of patience with unadventurous, mechanical football that looks like a denial of Man Utd’s raison d’etre. On this fault-line, many of United’s followers are caught between age-old loyalty and the kind of disengagement seen at Arsenal in Arsene Wenger’s final year. On trophies and finishing positions, this sounds absurd. Under Mourinho, United won the Europa League and League Cup last season - his first in charge. This month they finished second in the Premier League, 19 points behind Manchester City but ahead of Spurs, Liverpool and Chelsea. It has been a frustrating season for United Credit: reuters The way Mourinho tells it, he inherited from Louis van Gaal and David Moyes before him a mess that required structural correction, over time. Mourinho expects fans and the media to accept his messages about this or that player not applying himself correctly, or not carrying out tactical instructions. He asks people not to challenge his insistence that the culture of this Man Utd squad is deficient. As part of those self-justifications, Mourinho has flicked through a Rolodex of players he is unhappy with, from Luke Shaw to Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Rashford. Interestingly, Sanchez, hired at vast expense, salary-wise, in January, has escaped the manager’s displeasure. The suspicion is that United have become an axis of Mourinho and Ed Woodward, the chief executive, around which a ferocious deal-making operation sucks in commercial revenue but the older, more spiritual side of the club has been cast aside. For all United’s spending - a net outlay of £417m since 2014 - there was nobody in their ranks to match Hazard, who again grabbed the role of totem and tormentor. Chelsea celebrate their 1-0 victory at Wembley Credit: Getty Images With many of United’s players, you sense inhibition. Whatever Mourinho sensed, in Rashford but also Lingard, he acted on it, sending on Romelu Lukaku and Martial in their place, on 72 minutes. Chelsea survived, deservedly. At the end, Mourinho found himself being slapped on the backside by Conte, after a long embrace. No hard feelings there, then, but at the red end of the stadium United fans shuffled out to assess their feelings about a season high on mechanics and low on thrills. The numbers will say United are where they need to be, financially, but there is something missing. Second place in the league will not assuage the feeling that this is an uptight United side, unsure of what their manager will say or do next. Their spirit is locked in, and needs freeing.
Jose Mourinho's mistrust of entertainment leaves trophies as his sole currency - and another chance has gone begging
Manchester United’s vast commercial incomes can’t buy them soul - and this was the missing quality as Jose Mourinho’s team became more and more uptight, less and less fluent, at the end of a trophy-less campaign. Mourinho will not hear of it, of course, but this United side have forgotten how to express themselves. They pressed and scrapped with Chelsea here but lacked the inspiration to add the last trophy available to them to their runners-up spot in the Premier League. Their attacking play is stilted and unconvincing. In a painting of hell by United’s fans, Manchester City would win the title by 19 points and Liverpool would be in a Champions League final. In this perdition, United would be left needing to win the FA Cup to stave off an inferiority complex and stop people dozing off during their games. That vision is now reality. The Consolation Cup final, as many called this one, posed much sharper questions for United than Chelsea, where managers come and go like London buses. Chelsea are at a junction, where their power in the transfer market will be tested. But United’s record-equalling 20th FA Cup final was a much bigger deal for the team in red. Mourinho’s mistrust of entertainment, which sits so uneasily with City’s artistry in the same metropolis, asks an awful lot of modern audiences. In the instant gratification age, it places United out on the stylistic margins, pretty much on their own, where trophies are the only riposte to those who think the club have lost their way - become a deal-making factory. That mission turned even tougher when Eden Hazard burst through the centre and was brought down by Phil Jones in United’s penalty area after 20 minutes. This portent of what England can expect when they meet Belgium in Kaliningrad on 28 June was also a reminder that United need more bold, direct running in a team not short of players capable of punching holes. FA Cup final reaction and analysis | How Chelsea held their nerve against United Alexis Sanchez, Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard are all equipped to rip into teams, but Sanchez has been innocuous in a United shirt and Rashford was a shadow of his youngest, carefree self. How much Mourinho is to blame for United’s joylessness is a rolling debate. In mitigation, their response to being 1-0 down at the break was good. Yet the spark and accuracy you associate with Man Utd teams were not there. Against the backdrop of emergency surgery for the club’s greatest manager, who was born on the front foot, United’s fans unfurled a giant banner that said: ‘Every single one of us loves Alex Ferguson.’ FA Cup final player ratings At stake for Ferguson’s old team here was how their fans regard the whole experience of watching them, the whole feel of the club, the eagerness (or lack of it) to renew season tickets. Some have run out of patience with unadventurous, mechanical football that looks like a denial of Man Utd’s raison d’etre. On this fault-line, many of United’s followers are caught between age-old loyalty and the kind of disengagement seen at Arsenal in Arsene Wenger’s final year. On trophies and finishing positions, this sounds absurd. Under Mourinho, United won the Europa League and League Cup last season - his first in charge. This month they finished second in the Premier League, 19 points behind Manchester City but ahead of Spurs, Liverpool and Chelsea. It has been a frustrating season for United Credit: reuters The way Mourinho tells it, he inherited from Louis van Gaal and David Moyes before him a mess that required structural correction, over time. Mourinho expects fans and the media to accept his messages about this or that player not applying himself correctly, or not carrying out tactical instructions. He asks people not to challenge his insistence that the culture of this Man Utd squad is deficient. As part of those self-justifications, Mourinho has flicked through a Rolodex of players he is unhappy with, from Luke Shaw to Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Rashford. Interestingly, Sanchez, hired at vast expense, salary-wise, in January, has escaped the manager’s displeasure. The suspicion is that United have become an axis of Mourinho and Ed Woodward, the chief executive, around which a ferocious deal-making operation sucks in commercial revenue but the older, more spiritual side of the club has been cast aside. For all United’s spending - a net outlay of £417m since 2014 - there was nobody in their ranks to match Hazard, who again grabbed the role of totem and tormentor. Chelsea celebrate their 1-0 victory at Wembley Credit: Getty Images With many of United’s players, you sense inhibition. Whatever Mourinho sensed, in Rashford but also Lingard, he acted on it, sending on Romelu Lukaku and Martial in their place, on 72 minutes. Chelsea survived, deservedly. At the end, Mourinho found himself being slapped on the backside by Conte, after a long embrace. No hard feelings there, then, but at the red end of the stadium United fans shuffled out to assess their feelings about a season high on mechanics and low on thrills. The numbers will say United are where they need to be, financially, but there is something missing. Second place in the league will not assuage the feeling that this is an uptight United side, unsure of what their manager will say or do next. Their spirit is locked in, and needs freeing.
Manchester United’s vast commercial incomes can’t buy them soul - and this was the missing quality as Jose Mourinho’s team became more and more uptight, less and less fluent, at the end of a trophy-less campaign. Mourinho will not hear of it, of course, but this United side have forgotten how to express themselves. They pressed and scrapped with Chelsea here but lacked the inspiration to add the last trophy available to them to their runners-up spot in the Premier League. Their attacking play is stilted and unconvincing. In a painting of hell by United’s fans, Manchester City would win the title by 19 points and Liverpool would be in a Champions League final. In this perdition, United would be left needing to win the FA Cup to stave off an inferiority complex and stop people dozing off during their games. That vision is now reality. The Consolation Cup final, as many called this one, posed much sharper questions for United than Chelsea, where managers come and go like London buses. Chelsea are at a junction, where their power in the transfer market will be tested. But United’s record-equalling 20th FA Cup final was a much bigger deal for the team in red. Mourinho’s mistrust of entertainment, which sits so uneasily with City’s artistry in the same metropolis, asks an awful lot of modern audiences. In the instant gratification age, it places United out on the stylistic margins, pretty much on their own, where trophies are the only riposte to those who think the club have lost their way - become a deal-making factory. That mission turned even tougher when Eden Hazard burst through the centre and was brought down by Phil Jones in United’s penalty area after 20 minutes. This portent of what England can expect when they meet Belgium in Kaliningrad on 28 June was also a reminder that United need more bold, direct running in a team not short of players capable of punching holes. FA Cup final reaction and analysis | How Chelsea held their nerve against United Alexis Sanchez, Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard are all equipped to rip into teams, but Sanchez has been innocuous in a United shirt and Rashford was a shadow of his youngest, carefree self. How much Mourinho is to blame for United’s joylessness is a rolling debate. In mitigation, their response to being 1-0 down at the break was good. Yet the spark and accuracy you associate with Man Utd teams were not there. Against the backdrop of emergency surgery for the club’s greatest manager, who was born on the front foot, United’s fans unfurled a giant banner that said: ‘Every single one of us loves Alex Ferguson.’ FA Cup final player ratings At stake for Ferguson’s old team here was how their fans regard the whole experience of watching them, the whole feel of the club, the eagerness (or lack of it) to renew season tickets. Some have run out of patience with unadventurous, mechanical football that looks like a denial of Man Utd’s raison d’etre. On this fault-line, many of United’s followers are caught between age-old loyalty and the kind of disengagement seen at Arsenal in Arsene Wenger’s final year. On trophies and finishing positions, this sounds absurd. Under Mourinho, United won the Europa League and League Cup last season - his first in charge. This month they finished second in the Premier League, 19 points behind Manchester City but ahead of Spurs, Liverpool and Chelsea. It has been a frustrating season for United Credit: reuters The way Mourinho tells it, he inherited from Louis van Gaal and David Moyes before him a mess that required structural correction, over time. Mourinho expects fans and the media to accept his messages about this or that player not applying himself correctly, or not carrying out tactical instructions. He asks people not to challenge his insistence that the culture of this Man Utd squad is deficient. As part of those self-justifications, Mourinho has flicked through a Rolodex of players he is unhappy with, from Luke Shaw to Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Rashford. Interestingly, Sanchez, hired at vast expense, salary-wise, in January, has escaped the manager’s displeasure. The suspicion is that United have become an axis of Mourinho and Ed Woodward, the chief executive, around which a ferocious deal-making operation sucks in commercial revenue but the older, more spiritual side of the club has been cast aside. For all United’s spending - a net outlay of £417m since 2014 - there was nobody in their ranks to match Hazard, who again grabbed the role of totem and tormentor. Chelsea celebrate their 1-0 victory at Wembley Credit: Getty Images With many of United’s players, you sense inhibition. Whatever Mourinho sensed, in Rashford but also Lingard, he acted on it, sending on Romelu Lukaku and Martial in their place, on 72 minutes. Chelsea survived, deservedly. At the end, Mourinho found himself being slapped on the backside by Conte, after a long embrace. No hard feelings there, then, but at the red end of the stadium United fans shuffled out to assess their feelings about a season high on mechanics and low on thrills. The numbers will say United are where they need to be, financially, but there is something missing. Second place in the league will not assuage the feeling that this is an uptight United side, unsure of what their manager will say or do next. Their spirit is locked in, and needs freeing.
Jose Mourinho's mistrust of entertainment leaves trophies as his sole currency - and another chance has gone begging
Manchester United’s vast commercial incomes can’t buy them soul - and this was the missing quality as Jose Mourinho’s team became more and more uptight, less and less fluent, at the end of a trophy-less campaign. Mourinho will not hear of it, of course, but this United side have forgotten how to express themselves. They pressed and scrapped with Chelsea here but lacked the inspiration to add the last trophy available to them to their runners-up spot in the Premier League. Their attacking play is stilted and unconvincing. In a painting of hell by United’s fans, Manchester City would win the title by 19 points and Liverpool would be in a Champions League final. In this perdition, United would be left needing to win the FA Cup to stave off an inferiority complex and stop people dozing off during their games. That vision is now reality. The Consolation Cup final, as many called this one, posed much sharper questions for United than Chelsea, where managers come and go like London buses. Chelsea are at a junction, where their power in the transfer market will be tested. But United’s record-equalling 20th FA Cup final was a much bigger deal for the team in red. Mourinho’s mistrust of entertainment, which sits so uneasily with City’s artistry in the same metropolis, asks an awful lot of modern audiences. In the instant gratification age, it places United out on the stylistic margins, pretty much on their own, where trophies are the only riposte to those who think the club have lost their way - become a deal-making factory. That mission turned even tougher when Eden Hazard burst through the centre and was brought down by Phil Jones in United’s penalty area after 20 minutes. This portent of what England can expect when they meet Belgium in Kaliningrad on 28 June was also a reminder that United need more bold, direct running in a team not short of players capable of punching holes. FA Cup final reaction and analysis | How Chelsea held their nerve against United Alexis Sanchez, Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard are all equipped to rip into teams, but Sanchez has been innocuous in a United shirt and Rashford was a shadow of his youngest, carefree self. How much Mourinho is to blame for United’s joylessness is a rolling debate. In mitigation, their response to being 1-0 down at the break was good. Yet the spark and accuracy you associate with Man Utd teams were not there. Against the backdrop of emergency surgery for the club’s greatest manager, who was born on the front foot, United’s fans unfurled a giant banner that said: ‘Every single one of us loves Alex Ferguson.’ FA Cup final player ratings At stake for Ferguson’s old team here was how their fans regard the whole experience of watching them, the whole feel of the club, the eagerness (or lack of it) to renew season tickets. Some have run out of patience with unadventurous, mechanical football that looks like a denial of Man Utd’s raison d’etre. On this fault-line, many of United’s followers are caught between age-old loyalty and the kind of disengagement seen at Arsenal in Arsene Wenger’s final year. On trophies and finishing positions, this sounds absurd. Under Mourinho, United won the Europa League and League Cup last season - his first in charge. This month they finished second in the Premier League, 19 points behind Manchester City but ahead of Spurs, Liverpool and Chelsea. It has been a frustrating season for United Credit: reuters The way Mourinho tells it, he inherited from Louis van Gaal and David Moyes before him a mess that required structural correction, over time. Mourinho expects fans and the media to accept his messages about this or that player not applying himself correctly, or not carrying out tactical instructions. He asks people not to challenge his insistence that the culture of this Man Utd squad is deficient. As part of those self-justifications, Mourinho has flicked through a Rolodex of players he is unhappy with, from Luke Shaw to Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Rashford. Interestingly, Sanchez, hired at vast expense, salary-wise, in January, has escaped the manager’s displeasure. The suspicion is that United have become an axis of Mourinho and Ed Woodward, the chief executive, around which a ferocious deal-making operation sucks in commercial revenue but the older, more spiritual side of the club has been cast aside. For all United’s spending - a net outlay of £417m since 2014 - there was nobody in their ranks to match Hazard, who again grabbed the role of totem and tormentor. Chelsea celebrate their 1-0 victory at Wembley Credit: Getty Images With many of United’s players, you sense inhibition. Whatever Mourinho sensed, in Rashford but also Lingard, he acted on it, sending on Romelu Lukaku and Martial in their place, on 72 minutes. Chelsea survived, deservedly. At the end, Mourinho found himself being slapped on the backside by Conte, after a long embrace. No hard feelings there, then, but at the red end of the stadium United fans shuffled out to assess their feelings about a season high on mechanics and low on thrills. The numbers will say United are where they need to be, financially, but there is something missing. Second place in the league will not assuage the feeling that this is an uptight United side, unsure of what their manager will say or do next. Their spirit is locked in, and needs freeing.
Manchester United’s vast commercial incomes can’t buy them soul - and this was the missing quality as Jose Mourinho’s team became more and more uptight, less and less fluent, at the end of a trophy-less campaign. Mourinho will not hear of it, of course, but this United side have forgotten how to express themselves. They pressed and scrapped with Chelsea here but lacked the inspiration to add the last trophy available to them to their runners-up spot in the Premier League. Their attacking play is stilted and unconvincing. In a painting of hell by United’s fans, Manchester City would win the title by 19 points and Liverpool would be in a Champions League final. In this perdition, United would be left needing to win the FA Cup to stave off an inferiority complex and stop people dozing off during their games. That vision is now reality. The Consolation Cup final, as many called this one, posed much sharper questions for United than Chelsea, where managers come and go like London buses. Chelsea are at a junction, where their power in the transfer market will be tested. But United’s record-equalling 20th FA Cup final was a much bigger deal for the team in red. Mourinho’s mistrust of entertainment, which sits so uneasily with City’s artistry in the same metropolis, asks an awful lot of modern audiences. In the instant gratification age, it places United out on the stylistic margins, pretty much on their own, where trophies are the only riposte to those who think the club have lost their way - become a deal-making factory. That mission turned even tougher when Eden Hazard burst through the centre and was brought down by Phil Jones in United’s penalty area after 20 minutes. This portent of what England can expect when they meet Belgium in Kaliningrad on 28 June was also a reminder that United need more bold, direct running in a team not short of players capable of punching holes. FA Cup final reaction and analysis | How Chelsea held their nerve against United Alexis Sanchez, Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard are all equipped to rip into teams, but Sanchez has been innocuous in a United shirt and Rashford was a shadow of his youngest, carefree self. How much Mourinho is to blame for United’s joylessness is a rolling debate. In mitigation, their response to being 1-0 down at the break was good. Yet the spark and accuracy you associate with Man Utd teams were not there. Against the backdrop of emergency surgery for the club’s greatest manager, who was born on the front foot, United’s fans unfurled a giant banner that said: ‘Every single one of us loves Alex Ferguson.’ FA Cup final player ratings At stake for Ferguson’s old team here was how their fans regard the whole experience of watching them, the whole feel of the club, the eagerness (or lack of it) to renew season tickets. Some have run out of patience with unadventurous, mechanical football that looks like a denial of Man Utd’s raison d’etre. On this fault-line, many of United’s followers are caught between age-old loyalty and the kind of disengagement seen at Arsenal in Arsene Wenger’s final year. On trophies and finishing positions, this sounds absurd. Under Mourinho, United won the Europa League and League Cup last season - his first in charge. This month they finished second in the Premier League, 19 points behind Manchester City but ahead of Spurs, Liverpool and Chelsea. It has been a frustrating season for United Credit: reuters The way Mourinho tells it, he inherited from Louis van Gaal and David Moyes before him a mess that required structural correction, over time. Mourinho expects fans and the media to accept his messages about this or that player not applying himself correctly, or not carrying out tactical instructions. He asks people not to challenge his insistence that the culture of this Man Utd squad is deficient. As part of those self-justifications, Mourinho has flicked through a Rolodex of players he is unhappy with, from Luke Shaw to Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Rashford. Interestingly, Sanchez, hired at vast expense, salary-wise, in January, has escaped the manager’s displeasure. The suspicion is that United have become an axis of Mourinho and Ed Woodward, the chief executive, around which a ferocious deal-making operation sucks in commercial revenue but the older, more spiritual side of the club has been cast aside. For all United’s spending - a net outlay of £417m since 2014 - there was nobody in their ranks to match Hazard, who again grabbed the role of totem and tormentor. Chelsea celebrate their 1-0 victory at Wembley Credit: Getty Images With many of United’s players, you sense inhibition. Whatever Mourinho sensed, in Rashford but also Lingard, he acted on it, sending on Romelu Lukaku and Martial in their place, on 72 minutes. Chelsea survived, deservedly. At the end, Mourinho found himself being slapped on the backside by Conte, after a long embrace. No hard feelings there, then, but at the red end of the stadium United fans shuffled out to assess their feelings about a season high on mechanics and low on thrills. The numbers will say United are where they need to be, financially, but there is something missing. Second place in the league will not assuage the feeling that this is an uptight United side, unsure of what their manager will say or do next. Their spirit is locked in, and needs freeing.
Jose Mourinho's mistrust of entertainment leaves trophies as his sole currency - and another chance has gone begging
Manchester United’s vast commercial incomes can’t buy them soul - and this was the missing quality as Jose Mourinho’s team became more and more uptight, less and less fluent, at the end of a trophy-less campaign. Mourinho will not hear of it, of course, but this United side have forgotten how to express themselves. They pressed and scrapped with Chelsea here but lacked the inspiration to add the last trophy available to them to their runners-up spot in the Premier League. Their attacking play is stilted and unconvincing. In a painting of hell by United’s fans, Manchester City would win the title by 19 points and Liverpool would be in a Champions League final. In this perdition, United would be left needing to win the FA Cup to stave off an inferiority complex and stop people dozing off during their games. That vision is now reality. The Consolation Cup final, as many called this one, posed much sharper questions for United than Chelsea, where managers come and go like London buses. Chelsea are at a junction, where their power in the transfer market will be tested. But United’s record-equalling 20th FA Cup final was a much bigger deal for the team in red. Mourinho’s mistrust of entertainment, which sits so uneasily with City’s artistry in the same metropolis, asks an awful lot of modern audiences. In the instant gratification age, it places United out on the stylistic margins, pretty much on their own, where trophies are the only riposte to those who think the club have lost their way - become a deal-making factory. That mission turned even tougher when Eden Hazard burst through the centre and was brought down by Phil Jones in United’s penalty area after 20 minutes. This portent of what England can expect when they meet Belgium in Kaliningrad on 28 June was also a reminder that United need more bold, direct running in a team not short of players capable of punching holes. FA Cup final reaction and analysis | How Chelsea held their nerve against United Alexis Sanchez, Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard are all equipped to rip into teams, but Sanchez has been innocuous in a United shirt and Rashford was a shadow of his youngest, carefree self. How much Mourinho is to blame for United’s joylessness is a rolling debate. In mitigation, their response to being 1-0 down at the break was good. Yet the spark and accuracy you associate with Man Utd teams were not there. Against the backdrop of emergency surgery for the club’s greatest manager, who was born on the front foot, United’s fans unfurled a giant banner that said: ‘Every single one of us loves Alex Ferguson.’ FA Cup final player ratings At stake for Ferguson’s old team here was how their fans regard the whole experience of watching them, the whole feel of the club, the eagerness (or lack of it) to renew season tickets. Some have run out of patience with unadventurous, mechanical football that looks like a denial of Man Utd’s raison d’etre. On this fault-line, many of United’s followers are caught between age-old loyalty and the kind of disengagement seen at Arsenal in Arsene Wenger’s final year. On trophies and finishing positions, this sounds absurd. Under Mourinho, United won the Europa League and League Cup last season - his first in charge. This month they finished second in the Premier League, 19 points behind Manchester City but ahead of Spurs, Liverpool and Chelsea. It has been a frustrating season for United Credit: reuters The way Mourinho tells it, he inherited from Louis van Gaal and David Moyes before him a mess that required structural correction, over time. Mourinho expects fans and the media to accept his messages about this or that player not applying himself correctly, or not carrying out tactical instructions. He asks people not to challenge his insistence that the culture of this Man Utd squad is deficient. As part of those self-justifications, Mourinho has flicked through a Rolodex of players he is unhappy with, from Luke Shaw to Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Rashford. Interestingly, Sanchez, hired at vast expense, salary-wise, in January, has escaped the manager’s displeasure. The suspicion is that United have become an axis of Mourinho and Ed Woodward, the chief executive, around which a ferocious deal-making operation sucks in commercial revenue but the older, more spiritual side of the club has been cast aside. For all United’s spending - a net outlay of £417m since 2014 - there was nobody in their ranks to match Hazard, who again grabbed the role of totem and tormentor. Chelsea celebrate their 1-0 victory at Wembley Credit: Getty Images With many of United’s players, you sense inhibition. Whatever Mourinho sensed, in Rashford but also Lingard, he acted on it, sending on Romelu Lukaku and Martial in their place, on 72 minutes. Chelsea survived, deservedly. At the end, Mourinho found himself being slapped on the backside by Conte, after a long embrace. No hard feelings there, then, but at the red end of the stadium United fans shuffled out to assess their feelings about a season high on mechanics and low on thrills. The numbers will say United are where they need to be, financially, but there is something missing. Second place in the league will not assuage the feeling that this is an uptight United side, unsure of what their manager will say or do next. Their spirit is locked in, and needs freeing.
The former Manchester City manager has departed the Chinese Super League club, possibly paving a way back to the Premier League
West Ham target Pellegrini leaves Hebei China Fortune
The former Manchester City manager has departed the Chinese Super League club, possibly paving a way back to the Premier League
It was the ultimate act of player power and yet nobody at Chelsea flinched after Eden Hazard revealed he would wait for the club to sign “good players” before deciding his future. There are not many who could get away with challenging owner Roman Abramovich in such a way, but Hazard is undoubtedly a special case at Stamford Bridge. He and Chelsea both know the club cannot afford to lose him. He is the stardust, the man the sponsors love, the player who can elevate the rest of the team to a different level – as he showed again in his 300th Blues appearance as Chelsea beat Manchester United 1-0 at Wembley. It is why the fear that Hazard could look to leave Stamford Bridge if Antonio Conte stays for the final year of his contract is a major factor in a decision over the managerial situation that should now be made imminently. If it is a choice between Conte and Hazard, then the Italian goes. And there would be more than a passing thought given to whether or not any potential successor would please the Belgian. Hazard cooly tucks away a penalty at Wembley Credit: AFP With Chelsea unable to outspend the rivals these days, Hazard is simply irreplaceable. Despite challenging him in public on a few occasions, Jose Mourinho was well aware of Hazard’s importance during his second spell at the club. That is why the Portuguese would tell his star man his transfer plans while others were left in the dark. Conte is not the type to indulge any player to that degree and it became an issue when he asked Hazard to sacrifice himself in the false nine position earlier in the season, and then questioned his commitment in private. Hazard plays best when he has a smile on his face and for weeks after the limp 1-0 defeat to Manchester City, he went missing. He was constantly taken off in games and looked far from happy. FA Cup final reaction and analysis | How Chelsea held their nerve against United Chelsea have already lost Kevin De Bruyne, Mohamed Salah and Romelu Lukaku in recent years and cannot allow similar scenario to play out with Hazard. They must at least fight to keep him. Fortunately, Conte has since let Hazard loose in a position just off Olivier Giroud and the improvement in the 27-year-old’s performances has been stark. It is not just his talent on the pitch that makes Hazard such a popular figure in the corridors of power at Stamford Bridge. His uncomplicated personality is hugely appreciated. Hazard's future could depend on Antonio Conte Credit: REUTERS Hazard does not have an agent or a pushy PR team and simply drove himself to the meeting in which he signed his last big contract with the club. There is an appreciation that he could easily have agitated to move after the 10th place finish a couple of years ago, as Diego Costa and others did, but Hazard was happy to stay and help the react positively. While goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois throws out regular hints and suggestions that he wants to return to Spain, Hazard has remained far more respectful on his situation. He knows Real Madrid have toyed with the idea of signing him for many years and yet he has always maintained that he is happy with his life in London. Chelsea are well aware that a big offer from Real may be too much for Hazard to turn down, but they are also confident he would never push to join a Premier League rival – no matter how highly Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola might rate him. The contract worth in excess of £300,000-a-week that has been waiting for Hazard’s signature for almost a year may well have gone up by a few digits after he showed Phil Jones a clean pair of heels. Hazard breaks clear down the Chelsea left Credit: AFP Jones could only hack him down and Hazard got up to take the coolest of penalties and beat arguably the best goalkeeper in the world, David De Gea. Gareth Southgate will not have liked to see how easily Hazard beat Jones as he plots England’s path through Group G, in which they will face Belgium. But it was just another example of why Hazard, who Mourinho tried to man mark out of the game with Ander Herrera, is a cut above and can make demands of his club. Herrera could not keep up with Hazard for much of the game and Antonio Valencia was booked for hacking him down one too many times. It was the only way to stop him. It may not be appreciated by the purists, but Chelsea should listen to Hazard and make the summer about keeping him happy. If they don’t, then whoever the manager is will have the toughest of jobs on his hands. The verdict Moment that changed the match: As soon as Phil Jones found himself on the wrong side of Eden Hazard, he had no chance. Jose Mourinho’s game plan revolved around trying to stop Hazard and by the 22nd minute it had been undone. Most influential player: Eden Hazard. He won the penalty, scored the penalty and was comfortably the best player on the pitch. As Chelsea sat deeper and deeper, Hazard continued to keep the United defence on their toes. Gary Cahill was also superb. Crowd rating:8/10. The FA Cup is still a big day for the supporters and both sets of fans joined in the superb tributes to Ray Wilkins. Referee rating: Michael Oliver 8/10. Chelsea wanted Phil Jones sent off for the foul that resulted in the penalty, but Oliver got it spot on by booking the defender. Match rating: 7/10. This wasn’t a classic, but it was tense and well fought.
Why can Eden Hazard get away with challenging Roman Abramovich?
It was the ultimate act of player power and yet nobody at Chelsea flinched after Eden Hazard revealed he would wait for the club to sign “good players” before deciding his future. There are not many who could get away with challenging owner Roman Abramovich in such a way, but Hazard is undoubtedly a special case at Stamford Bridge. He and Chelsea both know the club cannot afford to lose him. He is the stardust, the man the sponsors love, the player who can elevate the rest of the team to a different level – as he showed again in his 300th Blues appearance as Chelsea beat Manchester United 1-0 at Wembley. It is why the fear that Hazard could look to leave Stamford Bridge if Antonio Conte stays for the final year of his contract is a major factor in a decision over the managerial situation that should now be made imminently. If it is a choice between Conte and Hazard, then the Italian goes. And there would be more than a passing thought given to whether or not any potential successor would please the Belgian. Hazard cooly tucks away a penalty at Wembley Credit: AFP With Chelsea unable to outspend the rivals these days, Hazard is simply irreplaceable. Despite challenging him in public on a few occasions, Jose Mourinho was well aware of Hazard’s importance during his second spell at the club. That is why the Portuguese would tell his star man his transfer plans while others were left in the dark. Conte is not the type to indulge any player to that degree and it became an issue when he asked Hazard to sacrifice himself in the false nine position earlier in the season, and then questioned his commitment in private. Hazard plays best when he has a smile on his face and for weeks after the limp 1-0 defeat to Manchester City, he went missing. He was constantly taken off in games and looked far from happy. FA Cup final reaction and analysis | How Chelsea held their nerve against United Chelsea have already lost Kevin De Bruyne, Mohamed Salah and Romelu Lukaku in recent years and cannot allow similar scenario to play out with Hazard. They must at least fight to keep him. Fortunately, Conte has since let Hazard loose in a position just off Olivier Giroud and the improvement in the 27-year-old’s performances has been stark. It is not just his talent on the pitch that makes Hazard such a popular figure in the corridors of power at Stamford Bridge. His uncomplicated personality is hugely appreciated. Hazard's future could depend on Antonio Conte Credit: REUTERS Hazard does not have an agent or a pushy PR team and simply drove himself to the meeting in which he signed his last big contract with the club. There is an appreciation that he could easily have agitated to move after the 10th place finish a couple of years ago, as Diego Costa and others did, but Hazard was happy to stay and help the react positively. While goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois throws out regular hints and suggestions that he wants to return to Spain, Hazard has remained far more respectful on his situation. He knows Real Madrid have toyed with the idea of signing him for many years and yet he has always maintained that he is happy with his life in London. Chelsea are well aware that a big offer from Real may be too much for Hazard to turn down, but they are also confident he would never push to join a Premier League rival – no matter how highly Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola might rate him. The contract worth in excess of £300,000-a-week that has been waiting for Hazard’s signature for almost a year may well have gone up by a few digits after he showed Phil Jones a clean pair of heels. Hazard breaks clear down the Chelsea left Credit: AFP Jones could only hack him down and Hazard got up to take the coolest of penalties and beat arguably the best goalkeeper in the world, David De Gea. Gareth Southgate will not have liked to see how easily Hazard beat Jones as he plots England’s path through Group G, in which they will face Belgium. But it was just another example of why Hazard, who Mourinho tried to man mark out of the game with Ander Herrera, is a cut above and can make demands of his club. Herrera could not keep up with Hazard for much of the game and Antonio Valencia was booked for hacking him down one too many times. It was the only way to stop him. It may not be appreciated by the purists, but Chelsea should listen to Hazard and make the summer about keeping him happy. If they don’t, then whoever the manager is will have the toughest of jobs on his hands. The verdict Moment that changed the match: As soon as Phil Jones found himself on the wrong side of Eden Hazard, he had no chance. Jose Mourinho’s game plan revolved around trying to stop Hazard and by the 22nd minute it had been undone. Most influential player: Eden Hazard. He won the penalty, scored the penalty and was comfortably the best player on the pitch. As Chelsea sat deeper and deeper, Hazard continued to keep the United defence on their toes. Gary Cahill was also superb. Crowd rating:8/10. The FA Cup is still a big day for the supporters and both sets of fans joined in the superb tributes to Ray Wilkins. Referee rating: Michael Oliver 8/10. Chelsea wanted Phil Jones sent off for the foul that resulted in the penalty, but Oliver got it spot on by booking the defender. Match rating: 7/10. This wasn’t a classic, but it was tense and well fought.
It was the ultimate act of player power and yet nobody at Chelsea flinched after Eden Hazard revealed he would wait for the club to sign “good players” before deciding his future. There are not many who could get away with challenging owner Roman Abramovich in such a way, but Hazard is undoubtedly a special case at Stamford Bridge. He and Chelsea both know the club cannot afford to lose him. He is the stardust, the man the sponsors love, the player who can elevate the rest of the team to a different level – as he showed again in his 300th Blues appearance as Chelsea beat Manchester United 1-0 at Wembley. It is why the fear that Hazard could look to leave Stamford Bridge if Antonio Conte stays for the final year of his contract is a major factor in a decision over the managerial situation that should now be made imminently. If it is a choice between Conte and Hazard, then the Italian goes. And there would be more than a passing thought given to whether or not any potential successor would please the Belgian. Hazard cooly tucks away a penalty at Wembley Credit: AFP With Chelsea unable to outspend the rivals these days, Hazard is simply irreplaceable. Despite challenging him in public on a few occasions, Jose Mourinho was well aware of Hazard’s importance during his second spell at the club. That is why the Portuguese would tell his star man his transfer plans while others were left in the dark. Conte is not the type to indulge any player to that degree and it became an issue when he asked Hazard to sacrifice himself in the false nine position earlier in the season, and then questioned his commitment in private. Hazard plays best when he has a smile on his face and for weeks after the limp 1-0 defeat to Manchester City, he went missing. He was constantly taken off in games and looked far from happy. FA Cup final reaction and analysis | How Chelsea held their nerve against United Chelsea have already lost Kevin De Bruyne, Mohamed Salah and Romelu Lukaku in recent years and cannot allow similar scenario to play out with Hazard. They must at least fight to keep him. Fortunately, Conte has since let Hazard loose in a position just off Olivier Giroud and the improvement in the 27-year-old’s performances has been stark. It is not just his talent on the pitch that makes Hazard such a popular figure in the corridors of power at Stamford Bridge. His uncomplicated personality is hugely appreciated. Hazard's future could depend on Antonio Conte Credit: REUTERS Hazard does not have an agent or a pushy PR team and simply drove himself to the meeting in which he signed his last big contract with the club. There is an appreciation that he could easily have agitated to move after the 10th place finish a couple of years ago, as Diego Costa and others did, but Hazard was happy to stay and help the react positively. While goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois throws out regular hints and suggestions that he wants to return to Spain, Hazard has remained far more respectful on his situation. He knows Real Madrid have toyed with the idea of signing him for many years and yet he has always maintained that he is happy with his life in London. Chelsea are well aware that a big offer from Real may be too much for Hazard to turn down, but they are also confident he would never push to join a Premier League rival – no matter how highly Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola might rate him. The contract worth in excess of £300,000-a-week that has been waiting for Hazard’s signature for almost a year may well have gone up by a few digits after he showed Phil Jones a clean pair of heels. Hazard breaks clear down the Chelsea left Credit: AFP Jones could only hack him down and Hazard got up to take the coolest of penalties and beat arguably the best goalkeeper in the world, David De Gea. Gareth Southgate will not have liked to see how easily Hazard beat Jones as he plots England’s path through Group G, in which they will face Belgium. But it was just another example of why Hazard, who Mourinho tried to man mark out of the game with Ander Herrera, is a cut above and can make demands of his club. Herrera could not keep up with Hazard for much of the game and Antonio Valencia was booked for hacking him down one too many times. It was the only way to stop him. It may not be appreciated by the purists, but Chelsea should listen to Hazard and make the summer about keeping him happy. If they don’t, then whoever the manager is will have the toughest of jobs on his hands. The verdict Moment that changed the match: As soon as Phil Jones found himself on the wrong side of Eden Hazard, he had no chance. Jose Mourinho’s game plan revolved around trying to stop Hazard and by the 22nd minute it had been undone. Most influential player: Eden Hazard. He won the penalty, scored the penalty and was comfortably the best player on the pitch. As Chelsea sat deeper and deeper, Hazard continued to keep the United defence on their toes. Gary Cahill was also superb. Crowd rating:8/10. The FA Cup is still a big day for the supporters and both sets of fans joined in the superb tributes to Ray Wilkins. Referee rating: Michael Oliver 8/10. Chelsea wanted Phil Jones sent off for the foul that resulted in the penalty, but Oliver got it spot on by booking the defender. Match rating: 7/10. This wasn’t a classic, but it was tense and well fought.
Why can Eden Hazard get away with challenging Roman Abramovich?
It was the ultimate act of player power and yet nobody at Chelsea flinched after Eden Hazard revealed he would wait for the club to sign “good players” before deciding his future. There are not many who could get away with challenging owner Roman Abramovich in such a way, but Hazard is undoubtedly a special case at Stamford Bridge. He and Chelsea both know the club cannot afford to lose him. He is the stardust, the man the sponsors love, the player who can elevate the rest of the team to a different level – as he showed again in his 300th Blues appearance as Chelsea beat Manchester United 1-0 at Wembley. It is why the fear that Hazard could look to leave Stamford Bridge if Antonio Conte stays for the final year of his contract is a major factor in a decision over the managerial situation that should now be made imminently. If it is a choice between Conte and Hazard, then the Italian goes. And there would be more than a passing thought given to whether or not any potential successor would please the Belgian. Hazard cooly tucks away a penalty at Wembley Credit: AFP With Chelsea unable to outspend the rivals these days, Hazard is simply irreplaceable. Despite challenging him in public on a few occasions, Jose Mourinho was well aware of Hazard’s importance during his second spell at the club. That is why the Portuguese would tell his star man his transfer plans while others were left in the dark. Conte is not the type to indulge any player to that degree and it became an issue when he asked Hazard to sacrifice himself in the false nine position earlier in the season, and then questioned his commitment in private. Hazard plays best when he has a smile on his face and for weeks after the limp 1-0 defeat to Manchester City, he went missing. He was constantly taken off in games and looked far from happy. FA Cup final reaction and analysis | How Chelsea held their nerve against United Chelsea have already lost Kevin De Bruyne, Mohamed Salah and Romelu Lukaku in recent years and cannot allow similar scenario to play out with Hazard. They must at least fight to keep him. Fortunately, Conte has since let Hazard loose in a position just off Olivier Giroud and the improvement in the 27-year-old’s performances has been stark. It is not just his talent on the pitch that makes Hazard such a popular figure in the corridors of power at Stamford Bridge. His uncomplicated personality is hugely appreciated. Hazard's future could depend on Antonio Conte Credit: REUTERS Hazard does not have an agent or a pushy PR team and simply drove himself to the meeting in which he signed his last big contract with the club. There is an appreciation that he could easily have agitated to move after the 10th place finish a couple of years ago, as Diego Costa and others did, but Hazard was happy to stay and help the react positively. While goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois throws out regular hints and suggestions that he wants to return to Spain, Hazard has remained far more respectful on his situation. He knows Real Madrid have toyed with the idea of signing him for many years and yet he has always maintained that he is happy with his life in London. Chelsea are well aware that a big offer from Real may be too much for Hazard to turn down, but they are also confident he would never push to join a Premier League rival – no matter how highly Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola might rate him. The contract worth in excess of £300,000-a-week that has been waiting for Hazard’s signature for almost a year may well have gone up by a few digits after he showed Phil Jones a clean pair of heels. Hazard breaks clear down the Chelsea left Credit: AFP Jones could only hack him down and Hazard got up to take the coolest of penalties and beat arguably the best goalkeeper in the world, David De Gea. Gareth Southgate will not have liked to see how easily Hazard beat Jones as he plots England’s path through Group G, in which they will face Belgium. But it was just another example of why Hazard, who Mourinho tried to man mark out of the game with Ander Herrera, is a cut above and can make demands of his club. Herrera could not keep up with Hazard for much of the game and Antonio Valencia was booked for hacking him down one too many times. It was the only way to stop him. It may not be appreciated by the purists, but Chelsea should listen to Hazard and make the summer about keeping him happy. If they don’t, then whoever the manager is will have the toughest of jobs on his hands. The verdict Moment that changed the match: As soon as Phil Jones found himself on the wrong side of Eden Hazard, he had no chance. Jose Mourinho’s game plan revolved around trying to stop Hazard and by the 22nd minute it had been undone. Most influential player: Eden Hazard. He won the penalty, scored the penalty and was comfortably the best player on the pitch. As Chelsea sat deeper and deeper, Hazard continued to keep the United defence on their toes. Gary Cahill was also superb. Crowd rating:8/10. The FA Cup is still a big day for the supporters and both sets of fans joined in the superb tributes to Ray Wilkins. Referee rating: Michael Oliver 8/10. Chelsea wanted Phil Jones sent off for the foul that resulted in the penalty, but Oliver got it spot on by booking the defender. Match rating: 7/10. This wasn’t a classic, but it was tense and well fought.
It was the ultimate act of player power and yet nobody at Chelsea flinched after Eden Hazard revealed he would wait for the club to sign “good players” before deciding his future. There are not many who could get away with challenging owner Roman Abramovich in such a way, but Hazard is undoubtedly a special case at Stamford Bridge. He and Chelsea both know the club cannot afford to lose him. He is the stardust, the man the sponsors love, the player who can elevate the rest of the team to a different level – as he showed again in his 300th Blues appearance as Chelsea beat Manchester United 1-0 at Wembley. It is why the fear that Hazard could look to leave Stamford Bridge if Antonio Conte stays for the final year of his contract is a major factor in a decision over the managerial situation that should now be made imminently. If it is a choice between Conte and Hazard, then the Italian goes. And there would be more than a passing thought given to whether or not any potential successor would please the Belgian. Hazard cooly tucks away a penalty at Wembley Credit: AFP With Chelsea unable to outspend the rivals these days, Hazard is simply irreplaceable. Despite challenging him in public on a few occasions, Jose Mourinho was well aware of Hazard’s importance during his second spell at the club. That is why the Portuguese would tell his star man his transfer plans while others were left in the dark. Conte is not the type to indulge any player to that degree and it became an issue when he asked Hazard to sacrifice himself in the false nine position earlier in the season, and then questioned his commitment in private. Hazard plays best when he has a smile on his face and for weeks after the limp 1-0 defeat to Manchester City, he went missing. He was constantly taken off in games and looked far from happy. FA Cup final reaction and analysis | How Chelsea held their nerve against United Chelsea have already lost Kevin De Bruyne, Mohamed Salah and Romelu Lukaku in recent years and cannot allow similar scenario to play out with Hazard. They must at least fight to keep him. Fortunately, Conte has since let Hazard loose in a position just off Olivier Giroud and the improvement in the 27-year-old’s performances has been stark. It is not just his talent on the pitch that makes Hazard such a popular figure in the corridors of power at Stamford Bridge. His uncomplicated personality is hugely appreciated. Hazard's future could depend on Antonio Conte Credit: REUTERS Hazard does not have an agent or a pushy PR team and simply drove himself to the meeting in which he signed his last big contract with the club. There is an appreciation that he could easily have agitated to move after the 10th place finish a couple of years ago, as Diego Costa and others did, but Hazard was happy to stay and help the react positively. While goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois throws out regular hints and suggestions that he wants to return to Spain, Hazard has remained far more respectful on his situation. He knows Real Madrid have toyed with the idea of signing him for many years and yet he has always maintained that he is happy with his life in London. Chelsea are well aware that a big offer from Real may be too much for Hazard to turn down, but they are also confident he would never push to join a Premier League rival – no matter how highly Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola might rate him. The contract worth in excess of £300,000-a-week that has been waiting for Hazard’s signature for almost a year may well have gone up by a few digits after he showed Phil Jones a clean pair of heels. Hazard breaks clear down the Chelsea left Credit: AFP Jones could only hack him down and Hazard got up to take the coolest of penalties and beat arguably the best goalkeeper in the world, David De Gea. Gareth Southgate will not have liked to see how easily Hazard beat Jones as he plots England’s path through Group G, in which they will face Belgium. But it was just another example of why Hazard, who Mourinho tried to man mark out of the game with Ander Herrera, is a cut above and can make demands of his club. Herrera could not keep up with Hazard for much of the game and Antonio Valencia was booked for hacking him down one too many times. It was the only way to stop him. It may not be appreciated by the purists, but Chelsea should listen to Hazard and make the summer about keeping him happy. If they don’t, then whoever the manager is will have the toughest of jobs on his hands. The verdict Moment that changed the match: As soon as Phil Jones found himself on the wrong side of Eden Hazard, he had no chance. Jose Mourinho’s game plan revolved around trying to stop Hazard and by the 22nd minute it had been undone. Most influential player: Eden Hazard. He won the penalty, scored the penalty and was comfortably the best player on the pitch. As Chelsea sat deeper and deeper, Hazard continued to keep the United defence on their toes. Gary Cahill was also superb. Crowd rating:8/10. The FA Cup is still a big day for the supporters and both sets of fans joined in the superb tributes to Ray Wilkins. Referee rating: Michael Oliver 8/10. Chelsea wanted Phil Jones sent off for the foul that resulted in the penalty, but Oliver got it spot on by booking the defender. Match rating: 7/10. This wasn’t a classic, but it was tense and well fought.
Why can Eden Hazard get away with challenging Roman Abramovich?
It was the ultimate act of player power and yet nobody at Chelsea flinched after Eden Hazard revealed he would wait for the club to sign “good players” before deciding his future. There are not many who could get away with challenging owner Roman Abramovich in such a way, but Hazard is undoubtedly a special case at Stamford Bridge. He and Chelsea both know the club cannot afford to lose him. He is the stardust, the man the sponsors love, the player who can elevate the rest of the team to a different level – as he showed again in his 300th Blues appearance as Chelsea beat Manchester United 1-0 at Wembley. It is why the fear that Hazard could look to leave Stamford Bridge if Antonio Conte stays for the final year of his contract is a major factor in a decision over the managerial situation that should now be made imminently. If it is a choice between Conte and Hazard, then the Italian goes. And there would be more than a passing thought given to whether or not any potential successor would please the Belgian. Hazard cooly tucks away a penalty at Wembley Credit: AFP With Chelsea unable to outspend the rivals these days, Hazard is simply irreplaceable. Despite challenging him in public on a few occasions, Jose Mourinho was well aware of Hazard’s importance during his second spell at the club. That is why the Portuguese would tell his star man his transfer plans while others were left in the dark. Conte is not the type to indulge any player to that degree and it became an issue when he asked Hazard to sacrifice himself in the false nine position earlier in the season, and then questioned his commitment in private. Hazard plays best when he has a smile on his face and for weeks after the limp 1-0 defeat to Manchester City, he went missing. He was constantly taken off in games and looked far from happy. FA Cup final reaction and analysis | How Chelsea held their nerve against United Chelsea have already lost Kevin De Bruyne, Mohamed Salah and Romelu Lukaku in recent years and cannot allow similar scenario to play out with Hazard. They must at least fight to keep him. Fortunately, Conte has since let Hazard loose in a position just off Olivier Giroud and the improvement in the 27-year-old’s performances has been stark. It is not just his talent on the pitch that makes Hazard such a popular figure in the corridors of power at Stamford Bridge. His uncomplicated personality is hugely appreciated. Hazard's future could depend on Antonio Conte Credit: REUTERS Hazard does not have an agent or a pushy PR team and simply drove himself to the meeting in which he signed his last big contract with the club. There is an appreciation that he could easily have agitated to move after the 10th place finish a couple of years ago, as Diego Costa and others did, but Hazard was happy to stay and help the react positively. While goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois throws out regular hints and suggestions that he wants to return to Spain, Hazard has remained far more respectful on his situation. He knows Real Madrid have toyed with the idea of signing him for many years and yet he has always maintained that he is happy with his life in London. Chelsea are well aware that a big offer from Real may be too much for Hazard to turn down, but they are also confident he would never push to join a Premier League rival – no matter how highly Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola might rate him. The contract worth in excess of £300,000-a-week that has been waiting for Hazard’s signature for almost a year may well have gone up by a few digits after he showed Phil Jones a clean pair of heels. Hazard breaks clear down the Chelsea left Credit: AFP Jones could only hack him down and Hazard got up to take the coolest of penalties and beat arguably the best goalkeeper in the world, David De Gea. Gareth Southgate will not have liked to see how easily Hazard beat Jones as he plots England’s path through Group G, in which they will face Belgium. But it was just another example of why Hazard, who Mourinho tried to man mark out of the game with Ander Herrera, is a cut above and can make demands of his club. Herrera could not keep up with Hazard for much of the game and Antonio Valencia was booked for hacking him down one too many times. It was the only way to stop him. It may not be appreciated by the purists, but Chelsea should listen to Hazard and make the summer about keeping him happy. If they don’t, then whoever the manager is will have the toughest of jobs on his hands. The verdict Moment that changed the match: As soon as Phil Jones found himself on the wrong side of Eden Hazard, he had no chance. Jose Mourinho’s game plan revolved around trying to stop Hazard and by the 22nd minute it had been undone. Most influential player: Eden Hazard. He won the penalty, scored the penalty and was comfortably the best player on the pitch. As Chelsea sat deeper and deeper, Hazard continued to keep the United defence on their toes. Gary Cahill was also superb. Crowd rating:8/10. The FA Cup is still a big day for the supporters and both sets of fans joined in the superb tributes to Ray Wilkins. Referee rating: Michael Oliver 8/10. Chelsea wanted Phil Jones sent off for the foul that resulted in the penalty, but Oliver got it spot on by booking the defender. Match rating: 7/10. This wasn’t a classic, but it was tense and well fought.
FILE - In this Wednesday Dec. 21, 2011 file photo Manchester City's manager Roberto Mancini, right, issues instructions to Italian stiker Mario Balotelli during the team's 3-0 win over Stoke in their English Premier League soccer match at The Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England. Roberto Mancini has been confirmed as Italy's new coach, the Italian football federation made the announcement late Monday, May 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Jon Super, File)
Mario Balotelli included in Mancini's first Italy squad
FILE - In this Wednesday Dec. 21, 2011 file photo Manchester City's manager Roberto Mancini, right, issues instructions to Italian stiker Mario Balotelli during the team's 3-0 win over Stoke in their English Premier League soccer match at The Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England. Roberto Mancini has been confirmed as Italy's new coach, the Italian football federation made the announcement late Monday, May 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Jon Super, File)
FILE PHOTO - Britain Soccer Football - Swansea City v Manchester City - Barclays Premier League - Liberty Stadium - 15/5/16. Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini at the end of his last game in charge. Reuters / Rebecca Naden. Livepic/Files
FILE PHOTO: Swansea City v Manchester City - Barclays Premier League
FILE PHOTO - Britain Soccer Football - Swansea City v Manchester City - Barclays Premier League - Liberty Stadium - 15/5/16. Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini at the end of his last game in charge. Reuters / Rebecca Naden. Livepic/Files
FILE PHOTO: Britain Soccer Football - Swansea City v Manchester City - Barclays Premier League - Liberty Stadium - 15/5/16 Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini at the end of his last game in charge Reuters / Rebecca Naden Livepic
FILE PHOTO: Swansea City v Manchester City - Barclays Premier League
FILE PHOTO: Britain Soccer Football - Swansea City v Manchester City - Barclays Premier League - Liberty Stadium - 15/5/16 Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini at the end of his last game in charge Reuters / Rebecca Naden Livepic
Liverpool’s dispute with Borussia Monchengladbach following an alleged illegal approach for teenager Rhian Brewster has intensified with the postponement of a prestigious pre-season fixture between the clubs. The German club were heading to Anfield on August 7 for a curtain-raiser to the 2018-19 season. But such is the acrimony sparked by the pursuit of Brewster, Liverpool have withdrawn the invitation and written to the Bundesliga side to issue a warning about their conduct. Liverpool believe Brewster has been spoken to without permission. Monchengladbach’s Sporting Director Max Eberl has made no secret of his admiration for the emerging talent in English football. On Friday, Monchengladbach signed 19-year-old Keanan Bennetts from Tottenham Hotspur. Liverpool believe the chase for Brewster has gone too far and they are ready to take the matter to Fifa. Brewster emerged as one of the most exciting teenage footballers in the world over the last 12 months, his reputation soaring having won the Golden Boot when England won the Under 17 World Cup in India. Brewster shone as England's under-17s won the World Cup last year Credit: Reuters Liverpool offered Brewster his first professional contract at the earliest opportunity – when Academy players turn 18 – but it remains unsigned as other interest parties came forward. Monchengladbach would appear to be most advanced and their pursuit has certainly riled Liverpool. But Brewster is entering the third year of a scholarship deal so he is still under contract and does not have permission to speak to other clubs. Jadon Sancho is among a host of English youngsters that have moved to Germany Credit: AFP German clubs are taking greater interest in England’s emerging youngsters, believing they can offer a pathway to first team football at the highest level which the top Premier League managers cannot guarantee. The most high profile transfer of this type so far was the £10 million deal taking Jadon Sancho from Manchester City to Borussia Dortmund. Liverpool, however, are unwilling to enter negotiations with Monchengladbach due to their unhappiness with their conduct.
Liverpool cancel Borussia Monchengladbach friendly over alleged illegal approach for Rhian Brewster
Liverpool’s dispute with Borussia Monchengladbach following an alleged illegal approach for teenager Rhian Brewster has intensified with the postponement of a prestigious pre-season fixture between the clubs. The German club were heading to Anfield on August 7 for a curtain-raiser to the 2018-19 season. But such is the acrimony sparked by the pursuit of Brewster, Liverpool have withdrawn the invitation and written to the Bundesliga side to issue a warning about their conduct. Liverpool believe Brewster has been spoken to without permission. Monchengladbach’s Sporting Director Max Eberl has made no secret of his admiration for the emerging talent in English football. On Friday, Monchengladbach signed 19-year-old Keanan Bennetts from Tottenham Hotspur. Liverpool believe the chase for Brewster has gone too far and they are ready to take the matter to Fifa. Brewster emerged as one of the most exciting teenage footballers in the world over the last 12 months, his reputation soaring having won the Golden Boot when England won the Under 17 World Cup in India. Brewster shone as England's under-17s won the World Cup last year Credit: Reuters Liverpool offered Brewster his first professional contract at the earliest opportunity – when Academy players turn 18 – but it remains unsigned as other interest parties came forward. Monchengladbach would appear to be most advanced and their pursuit has certainly riled Liverpool. But Brewster is entering the third year of a scholarship deal so he is still under contract and does not have permission to speak to other clubs. Jadon Sancho is among a host of English youngsters that have moved to Germany Credit: AFP German clubs are taking greater interest in England’s emerging youngsters, believing they can offer a pathway to first team football at the highest level which the top Premier League managers cannot guarantee. The most high profile transfer of this type so far was the £10 million deal taking Jadon Sancho from Manchester City to Borussia Dortmund. Liverpool, however, are unwilling to enter negotiations with Monchengladbach due to their unhappiness with their conduct.
Liverpool’s dispute with Borussia Monchengladbach following an alleged illegal approach for teenager Rhian Brewster has intensified with the postponement of a prestigious pre-season fixture between the clubs. The German club were heading to Anfield on August 7 for a curtain-raiser to the 2018-19 season. But such is the acrimony sparked by the pursuit of Brewster, Liverpool have withdrawn the invitation and written to the Bundesliga side to issue a warning about their conduct. Liverpool believe Brewster has been spoken to without permission. Monchengladbach’s Sporting Director Max Eberl has made no secret of his admiration for the emerging talent in English football. On Friday, Monchengladbach signed 19-year-old Keanan Bennetts from Tottenham Hotspur. Liverpool believe the chase for Brewster has gone too far and they are ready to take the matter to Fifa. Brewster emerged as one of the most exciting teenage footballers in the world over the last 12 months, his reputation soaring having won the Golden Boot when England won the Under 17 World Cup in India. Brewster shone as England's under-17s won the World Cup last year Credit: Reuters Liverpool offered Brewster his first professional contract at the earliest opportunity – when Academy players turn 18 – but it remains unsigned as other interest parties came forward. Monchengladbach would appear to be most advanced and their pursuit has certainly riled Liverpool. But Brewster is entering the third year of a scholarship deal so he is still under contract and does not have permission to speak to other clubs. Jadon Sancho is among a host of English youngsters that have moved to Germany Credit: AFP German clubs are taking greater interest in England’s emerging youngsters, believing they can offer a pathway to first team football at the highest level which the top Premier League managers cannot guarantee. The most high profile transfer of this type so far was the £10 million deal taking Jadon Sancho from Manchester City to Borussia Dortmund. Liverpool, however, are unwilling to enter negotiations with Monchengladbach due to their unhappiness with their conduct.
Liverpool cancel Borussia Monchengladbach friendly over alleged illegal approach for Rhian Brewster
Liverpool’s dispute with Borussia Monchengladbach following an alleged illegal approach for teenager Rhian Brewster has intensified with the postponement of a prestigious pre-season fixture between the clubs. The German club were heading to Anfield on August 7 for a curtain-raiser to the 2018-19 season. But such is the acrimony sparked by the pursuit of Brewster, Liverpool have withdrawn the invitation and written to the Bundesliga side to issue a warning about their conduct. Liverpool believe Brewster has been spoken to without permission. Monchengladbach’s Sporting Director Max Eberl has made no secret of his admiration for the emerging talent in English football. On Friday, Monchengladbach signed 19-year-old Keanan Bennetts from Tottenham Hotspur. Liverpool believe the chase for Brewster has gone too far and they are ready to take the matter to Fifa. Brewster emerged as one of the most exciting teenage footballers in the world over the last 12 months, his reputation soaring having won the Golden Boot when England won the Under 17 World Cup in India. Brewster shone as England's under-17s won the World Cup last year Credit: Reuters Liverpool offered Brewster his first professional contract at the earliest opportunity – when Academy players turn 18 – but it remains unsigned as other interest parties came forward. Monchengladbach would appear to be most advanced and their pursuit has certainly riled Liverpool. But Brewster is entering the third year of a scholarship deal so he is still under contract and does not have permission to speak to other clubs. Jadon Sancho is among a host of English youngsters that have moved to Germany Credit: AFP German clubs are taking greater interest in England’s emerging youngsters, believing they can offer a pathway to first team football at the highest level which the top Premier League managers cannot guarantee. The most high profile transfer of this type so far was the £10 million deal taking Jadon Sancho from Manchester City to Borussia Dortmund. Liverpool, however, are unwilling to enter negotiations with Monchengladbach due to their unhappiness with their conduct.
Liverpool’s dispute with Borussia Monchengladbach following an alleged illegal approach for teenager Rhian Brewster has intensified with the postponement of a prestigious pre-season fixture between the clubs. The German club were heading to Anfield on August 7 for a curtain-raiser to the 2018-19 season. But such is the acrimony sparked by the pursuit of Brewster, Liverpool have withdrawn the invitation and written to the Bundesliga side to issue a warning about their conduct. Liverpool believe Brewster has been spoken to without permission. Monchengladbach’s Sporting Director Max Eberl has made no secret of his admiration for the emerging talent in English football. On Friday, Monchengladbach signed 19-year-old Keanan Bennetts from Tottenham Hotspur. Liverpool believe the chase for Brewster has gone too far and they are ready to take the matter to Fifa. Brewster emerged as one of the most exciting teenage footballers in the world over the last 12 months, his reputation soaring having won the Golden Boot when England won the Under 17 World Cup in India. Brewster shone as England's under-17s won the World Cup last year Credit: Reuters Liverpool offered Brewster his first professional contract at the earliest opportunity – when Academy players turn 18 – but it remains unsigned as other interest parties came forward. Monchengladbach would appear to be most advanced and their pursuit has certainly riled Liverpool. But Brewster is entering the third year of a scholarship deal so he is still under contract and does not have permission to speak to other clubs. Jadon Sancho is among a host of English youngsters that have moved to Germany Credit: AFP German clubs are taking greater interest in England’s emerging youngsters, believing they can offer a pathway to first team football at the highest level which the top Premier League managers cannot guarantee. The most high profile transfer of this type so far was the £10 million deal taking Jadon Sancho from Manchester City to Borussia Dortmund. Liverpool, however, are unwilling to enter negotiations with Monchengladbach due to their unhappiness with their conduct.
Liverpool cancel Borussia Monchengladbach friendly over alleged illegal approach for Rhian Brewster
Liverpool’s dispute with Borussia Monchengladbach following an alleged illegal approach for teenager Rhian Brewster has intensified with the postponement of a prestigious pre-season fixture between the clubs. The German club were heading to Anfield on August 7 for a curtain-raiser to the 2018-19 season. But such is the acrimony sparked by the pursuit of Brewster, Liverpool have withdrawn the invitation and written to the Bundesliga side to issue a warning about their conduct. Liverpool believe Brewster has been spoken to without permission. Monchengladbach’s Sporting Director Max Eberl has made no secret of his admiration for the emerging talent in English football. On Friday, Monchengladbach signed 19-year-old Keanan Bennetts from Tottenham Hotspur. Liverpool believe the chase for Brewster has gone too far and they are ready to take the matter to Fifa. Brewster emerged as one of the most exciting teenage footballers in the world over the last 12 months, his reputation soaring having won the Golden Boot when England won the Under 17 World Cup in India. Brewster shone as England's under-17s won the World Cup last year Credit: Reuters Liverpool offered Brewster his first professional contract at the earliest opportunity – when Academy players turn 18 – but it remains unsigned as other interest parties came forward. Monchengladbach would appear to be most advanced and their pursuit has certainly riled Liverpool. But Brewster is entering the third year of a scholarship deal so he is still under contract and does not have permission to speak to other clubs. Jadon Sancho is among a host of English youngsters that have moved to Germany Credit: AFP German clubs are taking greater interest in England’s emerging youngsters, believing they can offer a pathway to first team football at the highest level which the top Premier League managers cannot guarantee. The most high profile transfer of this type so far was the £10 million deal taking Jadon Sancho from Manchester City to Borussia Dortmund. Liverpool, however, are unwilling to enter negotiations with Monchengladbach due to their unhappiness with their conduct.
Gianluigi Buffon's career has been defined by high emotion and drama, and his final Juventus appearance against Verona was a fittingly passionate goodbye. The legendary goalkeeper leaves Juventus this summer after 17 years of service, with reports linking the 40-year-old to West Ham and Liverpool. Buffon moved to Turin from Parma for £32.6 million in 2001, which stood as a world-record fee (sterling) for a goalkeeper until Manchester City signed Ederson in 2017. The former Italy No.1 lead Juventus out with his young children for their final game of the season with a fourth consecutive league and cup double already secured. Buffon walked behind the goal to personally greet a lucky few of his adoring fans, who paid homage to him with a colourful display of flags and banners. One last hurrah - Juventus fans watch Buffon between the sticks one last time Credit: AFP He was substituted in the 63rd minute of the game so that the Allianz Stadium could give him a standing ovation. Attention will now turn to Buffon's future, with rumours linking him to a number of clubs and he confirmed this week he has received some 'exciting' offers. “Saturday I will play a match and that is the only thing that’s certain,” Buffon said. “Until about two weeks ago, I was certain I would stop playing. Now offers have arrived that are exciting on and off the pitch and the most important for staying on the pitch was proposed to me by Agnelli. I’ll let these three days pass and then I will make a definitive decision, completely calmly.” Buffon though, has ruled out playing for another Serie A club or dropping down the divisions in Italy. An emotional Buffon greets fans at the Allianz Stadium Credit: AFP "I am not someone who thinks it is right to end my career in who knows what third or fourth level division,” he said. “I am a competitive animal and I wouldn’t be able to live in that situation. I wouldn’t feel at ease.” Buffon made headlines for the wrong reasons this season due to his extraordinary criticism of referee Michael Oliver after Juventus' cruel Champions League exit to Real Madrid. Juventus wiped out a three goal deficit with an impressive comeback in the Bernabéu but conceded a last-minute penalty which Cristiano Ronaldo scored to knock them out. The immortal hero Credit: AFP Buffon protested vociferously, shouting in the English referee's face and was sent-off on his final Champions League appearance. Buffon labelled Oliver an 'animal' in his post-match comments and said he must have a 'rubbish bin instead of a heart'. He subsequently apologised to Oliver but must now wait to see if Uefa decide to sanction him for the outburst. Former Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny is expected to takeover from Buffon as first-choice goalkeeper, while manager Max Allegri has indicated he is likely to stay.
Gianluigi Buffon bids Juventus an emotional farewell in final appearance
Gianluigi Buffon's career has been defined by high emotion and drama, and his final Juventus appearance against Verona was a fittingly passionate goodbye. The legendary goalkeeper leaves Juventus this summer after 17 years of service, with reports linking the 40-year-old to West Ham and Liverpool. Buffon moved to Turin from Parma for £32.6 million in 2001, which stood as a world-record fee (sterling) for a goalkeeper until Manchester City signed Ederson in 2017. The former Italy No.1 lead Juventus out with his young children for their final game of the season with a fourth consecutive league and cup double already secured. Buffon walked behind the goal to personally greet a lucky few of his adoring fans, who paid homage to him with a colourful display of flags and banners. One last hurrah - Juventus fans watch Buffon between the sticks one last time Credit: AFP He was substituted in the 63rd minute of the game so that the Allianz Stadium could give him a standing ovation. Attention will now turn to Buffon's future, with rumours linking him to a number of clubs and he confirmed this week he has received some 'exciting' offers. “Saturday I will play a match and that is the only thing that’s certain,” Buffon said. “Until about two weeks ago, I was certain I would stop playing. Now offers have arrived that are exciting on and off the pitch and the most important for staying on the pitch was proposed to me by Agnelli. I’ll let these three days pass and then I will make a definitive decision, completely calmly.” Buffon though, has ruled out playing for another Serie A club or dropping down the divisions in Italy. An emotional Buffon greets fans at the Allianz Stadium Credit: AFP "I am not someone who thinks it is right to end my career in who knows what third or fourth level division,” he said. “I am a competitive animal and I wouldn’t be able to live in that situation. I wouldn’t feel at ease.” Buffon made headlines for the wrong reasons this season due to his extraordinary criticism of referee Michael Oliver after Juventus' cruel Champions League exit to Real Madrid. Juventus wiped out a three goal deficit with an impressive comeback in the Bernabéu but conceded a last-minute penalty which Cristiano Ronaldo scored to knock them out. The immortal hero Credit: AFP Buffon protested vociferously, shouting in the English referee's face and was sent-off on his final Champions League appearance. Buffon labelled Oliver an 'animal' in his post-match comments and said he must have a 'rubbish bin instead of a heart'. He subsequently apologised to Oliver but must now wait to see if Uefa decide to sanction him for the outburst. Former Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny is expected to takeover from Buffon as first-choice goalkeeper, while manager Max Allegri has indicated he is likely to stay.
Gianluigi Buffon's career has been defined by high emotion and drama, and his final Juventus appearance against Verona was a fittingly passionate goodbye. The legendary goalkeeper leaves Juventus this summer after 17 years of service, with reports linking the 40-year-old to West Ham and Liverpool. Buffon moved to Turin from Parma for £32.6 million in 2001, which stood as a world-record fee (sterling) for a goalkeeper until Manchester City signed Ederson in 2017. The former Italy No.1 lead Juventus out with his young children for their final game of the season with a fourth consecutive league and cup double already secured. Buffon walked behind the goal to personally greet a lucky few of his adoring fans, who paid homage to him with a colourful display of flags and banners. One last hurrah - Juventus fans watch Buffon between the sticks one last time Credit: AFP He was substituted in the 63rd minute of the game so that the Allianz Stadium could give him a standing ovation. Attention will now turn to Buffon's future, with rumours linking him to a number of clubs and he confirmed this week he has received some 'exciting' offers. “Saturday I will play a match and that is the only thing that’s certain,” Buffon said. “Until about two weeks ago, I was certain I would stop playing. Now offers have arrived that are exciting on and off the pitch and the most important for staying on the pitch was proposed to me by Agnelli. I’ll let these three days pass and then I will make a definitive decision, completely calmly.” Buffon though, has ruled out playing for another Serie A club or dropping down the divisions in Italy. An emotional Buffon greets fans at the Allianz Stadium Credit: AFP "I am not someone who thinks it is right to end my career in who knows what third or fourth level division,” he said. “I am a competitive animal and I wouldn’t be able to live in that situation. I wouldn’t feel at ease.” Buffon made headlines for the wrong reasons this season due to his extraordinary criticism of referee Michael Oliver after Juventus' cruel Champions League exit to Real Madrid. Juventus wiped out a three goal deficit with an impressive comeback in the Bernabéu but conceded a last-minute penalty which Cristiano Ronaldo scored to knock them out. The immortal hero Credit: AFP Buffon protested vociferously, shouting in the English referee's face and was sent-off on his final Champions League appearance. Buffon labelled Oliver an 'animal' in his post-match comments and said he must have a 'rubbish bin instead of a heart'. He subsequently apologised to Oliver but must now wait to see if Uefa decide to sanction him for the outburst. Former Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny is expected to takeover from Buffon as first-choice goalkeeper, while manager Max Allegri has indicated he is likely to stay.
Gianluigi Buffon bids Juventus an emotional farewell in final appearance
Gianluigi Buffon's career has been defined by high emotion and drama, and his final Juventus appearance against Verona was a fittingly passionate goodbye. The legendary goalkeeper leaves Juventus this summer after 17 years of service, with reports linking the 40-year-old to West Ham and Liverpool. Buffon moved to Turin from Parma for £32.6 million in 2001, which stood as a world-record fee (sterling) for a goalkeeper until Manchester City signed Ederson in 2017. The former Italy No.1 lead Juventus out with his young children for their final game of the season with a fourth consecutive league and cup double already secured. Buffon walked behind the goal to personally greet a lucky few of his adoring fans, who paid homage to him with a colourful display of flags and banners. One last hurrah - Juventus fans watch Buffon between the sticks one last time Credit: AFP He was substituted in the 63rd minute of the game so that the Allianz Stadium could give him a standing ovation. Attention will now turn to Buffon's future, with rumours linking him to a number of clubs and he confirmed this week he has received some 'exciting' offers. “Saturday I will play a match and that is the only thing that’s certain,” Buffon said. “Until about two weeks ago, I was certain I would stop playing. Now offers have arrived that are exciting on and off the pitch and the most important for staying on the pitch was proposed to me by Agnelli. I’ll let these three days pass and then I will make a definitive decision, completely calmly.” Buffon though, has ruled out playing for another Serie A club or dropping down the divisions in Italy. An emotional Buffon greets fans at the Allianz Stadium Credit: AFP "I am not someone who thinks it is right to end my career in who knows what third or fourth level division,” he said. “I am a competitive animal and I wouldn’t be able to live in that situation. I wouldn’t feel at ease.” Buffon made headlines for the wrong reasons this season due to his extraordinary criticism of referee Michael Oliver after Juventus' cruel Champions League exit to Real Madrid. Juventus wiped out a three goal deficit with an impressive comeback in the Bernabéu but conceded a last-minute penalty which Cristiano Ronaldo scored to knock them out. The immortal hero Credit: AFP Buffon protested vociferously, shouting in the English referee's face and was sent-off on his final Champions League appearance. Buffon labelled Oliver an 'animal' in his post-match comments and said he must have a 'rubbish bin instead of a heart'. He subsequently apologised to Oliver but must now wait to see if Uefa decide to sanction him for the outburst. Former Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny is expected to takeover from Buffon as first-choice goalkeeper, while manager Max Allegri has indicated he is likely to stay.
Gianluigi Buffon's career has been defined by high emotion and drama, and his final Juventus appearance against Verona was a fittingly passionate goodbye. The legendary goalkeeper leaves Juventus this summer after 17 years of service, with reports linking the 40-year-old to West Ham and Liverpool. Buffon moved to Turin from Parma for £32.6 million in 2001, which stood as a world-record fee (sterling) for a goalkeeper until Manchester City signed Ederson in 2017. The former Italy No.1 lead Juventus out with his young children for their final game of the season with a fourth consecutive league and cup double already secured. Buffon walked behind the goal to personally greet a lucky few of his adoring fans, who paid homage to him with a colourful display of flags and banners. One last hurrah - Juventus fans watch Buffon between the sticks one last time Credit: AFP He was substituted in the 63rd minute of the game so that the Allianz Stadium could give him a standing ovation. Attention will now turn to Buffon's future, with rumours linking him to a number of clubs and he confirmed this week he has received some 'exciting' offers. “Saturday I will play a match and that is the only thing that’s certain,” Buffon said. “Until about two weeks ago, I was certain I would stop playing. Now offers have arrived that are exciting on and off the pitch and the most important for staying on the pitch was proposed to me by Agnelli. I’ll let these three days pass and then I will make a definitive decision, completely calmly.” Buffon though, has ruled out playing for another Serie A club or dropping down the divisions in Italy. An emotional Buffon greets fans at the Allianz Stadium Credit: AFP "I am not someone who thinks it is right to end my career in who knows what third or fourth level division,” he said. “I am a competitive animal and I wouldn’t be able to live in that situation. I wouldn’t feel at ease.” Buffon made headlines for the wrong reasons this season due to his extraordinary criticism of referee Michael Oliver after Juventus' cruel Champions League exit to Real Madrid. Juventus wiped out a three goal deficit with an impressive comeback in the Bernabéu but conceded a last-minute penalty which Cristiano Ronaldo scored to knock them out. The immortal hero Credit: AFP Buffon protested vociferously, shouting in the English referee's face and was sent-off on his final Champions League appearance. Buffon labelled Oliver an 'animal' in his post-match comments and said he must have a 'rubbish bin instead of a heart'. He subsequently apologised to Oliver but must now wait to see if Uefa decide to sanction him for the outburst. Former Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny is expected to takeover from Buffon as first-choice goalkeeper, while manager Max Allegri has indicated he is likely to stay.
Gianluigi Buffon bids Juventus an emotional farewell in final appearance
Gianluigi Buffon's career has been defined by high emotion and drama, and his final Juventus appearance against Verona was a fittingly passionate goodbye. The legendary goalkeeper leaves Juventus this summer after 17 years of service, with reports linking the 40-year-old to West Ham and Liverpool. Buffon moved to Turin from Parma for £32.6 million in 2001, which stood as a world-record fee (sterling) for a goalkeeper until Manchester City signed Ederson in 2017. The former Italy No.1 lead Juventus out with his young children for their final game of the season with a fourth consecutive league and cup double already secured. Buffon walked behind the goal to personally greet a lucky few of his adoring fans, who paid homage to him with a colourful display of flags and banners. One last hurrah - Juventus fans watch Buffon between the sticks one last time Credit: AFP He was substituted in the 63rd minute of the game so that the Allianz Stadium could give him a standing ovation. Attention will now turn to Buffon's future, with rumours linking him to a number of clubs and he confirmed this week he has received some 'exciting' offers. “Saturday I will play a match and that is the only thing that’s certain,” Buffon said. “Until about two weeks ago, I was certain I would stop playing. Now offers have arrived that are exciting on and off the pitch and the most important for staying on the pitch was proposed to me by Agnelli. I’ll let these three days pass and then I will make a definitive decision, completely calmly.” Buffon though, has ruled out playing for another Serie A club or dropping down the divisions in Italy. An emotional Buffon greets fans at the Allianz Stadium Credit: AFP "I am not someone who thinks it is right to end my career in who knows what third or fourth level division,” he said. “I am a competitive animal and I wouldn’t be able to live in that situation. I wouldn’t feel at ease.” Buffon made headlines for the wrong reasons this season due to his extraordinary criticism of referee Michael Oliver after Juventus' cruel Champions League exit to Real Madrid. Juventus wiped out a three goal deficit with an impressive comeback in the Bernabéu but conceded a last-minute penalty which Cristiano Ronaldo scored to knock them out. The immortal hero Credit: AFP Buffon protested vociferously, shouting in the English referee's face and was sent-off on his final Champions League appearance. Buffon labelled Oliver an 'animal' in his post-match comments and said he must have a 'rubbish bin instead of a heart'. He subsequently apologised to Oliver but must now wait to see if Uefa decide to sanction him for the outburst. Former Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny is expected to takeover from Buffon as first-choice goalkeeper, while manager Max Allegri has indicated he is likely to stay.
Gianluigi Buffon's career has been defined by high emotion and drama, and his final Juventus appearance against Verona was a fittingly passionate goodbye. The legendary goalkeeper leaves Juventus this summer after 17 years of service, with reports linking the 40-year-old to West Ham and Liverpool. Buffon moved to Turin from Parma for £32.6 million in 2001, which stood as a world-record fee (sterling) for a goalkeeper until Manchester City signed Ederson in 2017. The former Italy No.1 lead Juventus out with his young children for their final game of the season with a fourth consecutive league and cup double already secured. Buffon walked behind the goal to personally greet a lucky few of his adoring fans, who paid homage to him with a colourful display of flags and banners. One last hurrah - Juventus fans watch Buffon between the sticks one last time Credit: AFP He was substituted in the 63rd minute of the game so that the Allianz Stadium could give him a standing ovation. Attention will now turn to Buffon's future, with rumours linking him to a number of clubs and he confirmed this week he has received some 'exciting' offers. “Saturday I will play a match and that is the only thing that’s certain,” Buffon said. “Until about two weeks ago, I was certain I would stop playing. Now offers have arrived that are exciting on and off the pitch and the most important for staying on the pitch was proposed to me by Agnelli. I’ll let these three days pass and then I will make a definitive decision, completely calmly.” Buffon though, has ruled out playing for another Serie A club or dropping down the divisions in Italy. An emotional Buffon greets fans at the Allianz Stadium Credit: AFP "I am not someone who thinks it is right to end my career in who knows what third or fourth level division,” he said. “I am a competitive animal and I wouldn’t be able to live in that situation. I wouldn’t feel at ease.” Buffon made headlines for the wrong reasons this season due to his extraordinary criticism of referee Michael Oliver after Juventus' cruel Champions League exit to Real Madrid. Juventus wiped out a three goal deficit with an impressive comeback in the Bernabéu but conceded a last-minute penalty which Cristiano Ronaldo scored to knock them out. The immortal hero Credit: AFP Buffon protested vociferously, shouting in the English referee's face and was sent-off on his final Champions League appearance. Buffon labelled Oliver an 'animal' in his post-match comments and said he must have a 'rubbish bin instead of a heart'. He subsequently apologised to Oliver but must now wait to see if Uefa decide to sanction him for the outburst. Former Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny is expected to takeover from Buffon as first-choice goalkeeper, while manager Max Allegri has indicated he is likely to stay.
Gianluigi Buffon bids Juventus an emotional farewell in final appearance
Gianluigi Buffon's career has been defined by high emotion and drama, and his final Juventus appearance against Verona was a fittingly passionate goodbye. The legendary goalkeeper leaves Juventus this summer after 17 years of service, with reports linking the 40-year-old to West Ham and Liverpool. Buffon moved to Turin from Parma for £32.6 million in 2001, which stood as a world-record fee (sterling) for a goalkeeper until Manchester City signed Ederson in 2017. The former Italy No.1 lead Juventus out with his young children for their final game of the season with a fourth consecutive league and cup double already secured. Buffon walked behind the goal to personally greet a lucky few of his adoring fans, who paid homage to him with a colourful display of flags and banners. One last hurrah - Juventus fans watch Buffon between the sticks one last time Credit: AFP He was substituted in the 63rd minute of the game so that the Allianz Stadium could give him a standing ovation. Attention will now turn to Buffon's future, with rumours linking him to a number of clubs and he confirmed this week he has received some 'exciting' offers. “Saturday I will play a match and that is the only thing that’s certain,” Buffon said. “Until about two weeks ago, I was certain I would stop playing. Now offers have arrived that are exciting on and off the pitch and the most important for staying on the pitch was proposed to me by Agnelli. I’ll let these three days pass and then I will make a definitive decision, completely calmly.” Buffon though, has ruled out playing for another Serie A club or dropping down the divisions in Italy. An emotional Buffon greets fans at the Allianz Stadium Credit: AFP "I am not someone who thinks it is right to end my career in who knows what third or fourth level division,” he said. “I am a competitive animal and I wouldn’t be able to live in that situation. I wouldn’t feel at ease.” Buffon made headlines for the wrong reasons this season due to his extraordinary criticism of referee Michael Oliver after Juventus' cruel Champions League exit to Real Madrid. Juventus wiped out a three goal deficit with an impressive comeback in the Bernabéu but conceded a last-minute penalty which Cristiano Ronaldo scored to knock them out. The immortal hero Credit: AFP Buffon protested vociferously, shouting in the English referee's face and was sent-off on his final Champions League appearance. Buffon labelled Oliver an 'animal' in his post-match comments and said he must have a 'rubbish bin instead of a heart'. He subsequently apologised to Oliver but must now wait to see if Uefa decide to sanction him for the outburst. Former Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny is expected to takeover from Buffon as first-choice goalkeeper, while manager Max Allegri has indicated he is likely to stay.
Manchester City seek to salvage season with Champions League place
Manchester City seek to salvage season with Champions League place
Manchester City seek to salvage season with Champions League place
Manchester City seek to salvage season with Champions League place
Manchester City seek to salvage season with Champions League place
Manchester City seek to salvage season with Champions League place
Denmark striker Nadia Nadim has struggled for form in her first season at Manchester City, and Chelsea have taken full advantage.
Manchester City seek to salvage season with Champions League place
Denmark striker Nadia Nadim has struggled for form in her first season at Manchester City, and Chelsea have taken full advantage.
Transfer news, rumours LIVE: Manchester City want Chelsea star Eden Hazard, Blues Robert Lewandowski boost
Transfer news, rumours LIVE: Manchester City want Chelsea star Eden Hazard, Blues Robert Lewandowski boost
Transfer news, rumours LIVE: Manchester City want Chelsea star Eden Hazard, Blues Robert Lewandowski boost
Transfer news, rumours LIVE: Manchester City want Chelsea star Eden Hazard, Blues Robert Lewandowski boost
Transfer news, rumours LIVE: Manchester City want Chelsea star Eden Hazard, Blues Robert Lewandowski boost
Transfer news, rumours LIVE: Manchester City want Chelsea star Eden Hazard, Blues Robert Lewandowski boost
Ander Herrera has heard all the talk about Manchester United’s style of play but he would rather deal in cold, hard facts when asked to assess where they are as a club at the moment under Jose Mourinho. “I think we are going in the right direction,” the United midfielder said. “Let’s put everything in perspective. Two years ago, we were fifth in the Premier League and FA Cup winners. Last season we won three trophies [the Europa League, League Cup and Community Shield] and were sixth in the league. This season - second in the league and we can win a trophy, the FA Cup. “We should have an obligation to ourselves to do more, but I cannot say we are going down. After Sir Alex Ferguson, we’ve had four years of transition and now I think the club is going up with this manager. “This club is about winning titles and reaching finals and this will be my fifth final in two years. If you talk with other football players, they would like to be in our position.” Herrera will make it five out of five if United beat Chelsea in the FA Cup final tomorrow evening. Regardless of what happens at Wembley, though, he is aware that the club’s season could be framed by Manchester City’s runaway title success and the prospect of a sixth European Cup win for Liverpool should the Merseysiders beat Real Madrid in Kiev next week. Herrera scored in Manchester United's semi-final win over Spurs Credit: reuters “If any player in the world tells you he doesn’t care about what the opponents do he is lying to you,” Herrera said. “I cannot lie to you - if I could choose at the beginning of the season who wins the Premier League and who wins the Champions League, if we couldn’t be champions, I wouldn’t tell you Manchester City and Liverpool. I respect them - I have never hated anyone - but I cannot lie.” United finished 19 points behind City, who racked up a century of points, but Herrera considers it an outlier. “I don’t think the Premier League is going to be like it was this season always,” he said. “Next season I think the champion can be champion with 85, 86 points. I think this season was an exception. City won six or seven games in the last minutes. I remember West Ham at home, Huddersfield away, Southampton, Bournemouth. If they draw all those games, maybe the champions would be seven or eight points less. I don’t ​think next season the champions will be again that far from the second.” For now, though, all of Herrera’s focus is on Chelsea, who were the subject of conflicting emotions for the player last term. Sent off for two bookable offences on Eden Hazard in a Cup quarter-defeat at Stamford Bridge, the Spaniard atoned with a man-marking masterclass against the Belgium forward in a 2-0 league win at Old Trafford a month later. He would happily do the same job again if required, although he is typically self-deprecating about the way he neutralised a player he considers the best in the English top flight. “It wouldn’t have been possible if we hadn’t had the work of Jesse [Lingard] and Marcus [Rashford] against their three defenders because they didn’t let them play the ball easy into the midfield,” Herrera recalled. “Before the game I was all the time telling them that the more difficult the ball that comes in to Hazard, the easier the job is for me. This is not about one player. I said that to them before – put pressure on so the ball into Hazard isn’t as good. If one player gets free with the ball and Hazard is with me, I’m dead.” Herrera gets his analytical side from his father, Pedro Maria, a former midfielder with Real Zaragoza who later worked as a scout and general manager for the Spanish club. “Sometimes he would tell me, ‘Ander, have a look at this player because maybe we’ll sign him for next season’. I was seven, eight, nine years old so I used to watch games and give him my advice about a player. It made me a more analytical player but I love what I do. I really think I have a privileged position. When one day I leave Manchester United I don’t want to think, ‘I should have analysed the opponent more, I should have worked harder’.” That attitude helps to explain how Herrera could come out of the footballing equivalent of cold storage to play such an integral part in United’s end to the season. His appearance in the dramatic 3-2 derby win over City in April was his first league start since New Year’s Day against Everton, since when he has been a virtual ever present. It was Herrera’s goal against Spurs in the semi-final that secured United’s place in tomorrow’s showpiece. United in turmoil puff “I don’t go crazy when I don’t have my best game and say, ‘I’ve lost my chance, I’m not going to play again’,” he explained. “I don’t think if you don’t take your chance it’s the last chance you have in the season. He [Mourinho] gives you some chances. I know some of my team-mates, and some footballers, are up and down. If I play well I’m not very, very happy and if I play badly I’m not very, very sad. I just try to keep my balance. My age and experience has helped me to keep that balance. If you work hard and you respect the ones who are playing at that moment but try to give everything you have when you play, whether that’s five minutes or 30 minutes, sooner or later football is fair.” It is advice the likes of Anthony Martial and Rashford, who have blown hot and cold and frustrated Mourinho with their lack of consistency, would do well to heed. “If I could give them advice it’s if you work, if you are always there, then sooner or later football gives back what you have given,” Herrera said. “They know that. You cannot go crazy if you do not play two or three games.” Herrera’s own future at United is not clear cut. Out of contract at the end of the next season, he wants to stay as long as possible but recognises the precarious nature of his profession. “In football, what today is black, tomorrow is white,” he said. “So if you think about what can happen in the summer, maybe the club signs four midfielders and they don’t want me anymore. Of course if the club wants to talk to me I will listen to them because I am very happy here.”
Ander Herrera interview: 'This will be my fifth final in two years - United are on the up again'
Ander Herrera has heard all the talk about Manchester United’s style of play but he would rather deal in cold, hard facts when asked to assess where they are as a club at the moment under Jose Mourinho. “I think we are going in the right direction,” the United midfielder said. “Let’s put everything in perspective. Two years ago, we were fifth in the Premier League and FA Cup winners. Last season we won three trophies [the Europa League, League Cup and Community Shield] and were sixth in the league. This season - second in the league and we can win a trophy, the FA Cup. “We should have an obligation to ourselves to do more, but I cannot say we are going down. After Sir Alex Ferguson, we’ve had four years of transition and now I think the club is going up with this manager. “This club is about winning titles and reaching finals and this will be my fifth final in two years. If you talk with other football players, they would like to be in our position.” Herrera will make it five out of five if United beat Chelsea in the FA Cup final tomorrow evening. Regardless of what happens at Wembley, though, he is aware that the club’s season could be framed by Manchester City’s runaway title success and the prospect of a sixth European Cup win for Liverpool should the Merseysiders beat Real Madrid in Kiev next week. Herrera scored in Manchester United's semi-final win over Spurs Credit: reuters “If any player in the world tells you he doesn’t care about what the opponents do he is lying to you,” Herrera said. “I cannot lie to you - if I could choose at the beginning of the season who wins the Premier League and who wins the Champions League, if we couldn’t be champions, I wouldn’t tell you Manchester City and Liverpool. I respect them - I have never hated anyone - but I cannot lie.” United finished 19 points behind City, who racked up a century of points, but Herrera considers it an outlier. “I don’t think the Premier League is going to be like it was this season always,” he said. “Next season I think the champion can be champion with 85, 86 points. I think this season was an exception. City won six or seven games in the last minutes. I remember West Ham at home, Huddersfield away, Southampton, Bournemouth. If they draw all those games, maybe the champions would be seven or eight points less. I don’t ​think next season the champions will be again that far from the second.” For now, though, all of Herrera’s focus is on Chelsea, who were the subject of conflicting emotions for the player last term. Sent off for two bookable offences on Eden Hazard in a Cup quarter-defeat at Stamford Bridge, the Spaniard atoned with a man-marking masterclass against the Belgium forward in a 2-0 league win at Old Trafford a month later. He would happily do the same job again if required, although he is typically self-deprecating about the way he neutralised a player he considers the best in the English top flight. “It wouldn’t have been possible if we hadn’t had the work of Jesse [Lingard] and Marcus [Rashford] against their three defenders because they didn’t let them play the ball easy into the midfield,” Herrera recalled. “Before the game I was all the time telling them that the more difficult the ball that comes in to Hazard, the easier the job is for me. This is not about one player. I said that to them before – put pressure on so the ball into Hazard isn’t as good. If one player gets free with the ball and Hazard is with me, I’m dead.” Herrera gets his analytical side from his father, Pedro Maria, a former midfielder with Real Zaragoza who later worked as a scout and general manager for the Spanish club. “Sometimes he would tell me, ‘Ander, have a look at this player because maybe we’ll sign him for next season’. I was seven, eight, nine years old so I used to watch games and give him my advice about a player. It made me a more analytical player but I love what I do. I really think I have a privileged position. When one day I leave Manchester United I don’t want to think, ‘I should have analysed the opponent more, I should have worked harder’.” That attitude helps to explain how Herrera could come out of the footballing equivalent of cold storage to play such an integral part in United’s end to the season. His appearance in the dramatic 3-2 derby win over City in April was his first league start since New Year’s Day against Everton, since when he has been a virtual ever present. It was Herrera’s goal against Spurs in the semi-final that secured United’s place in tomorrow’s showpiece. United in turmoil puff “I don’t go crazy when I don’t have my best game and say, ‘I’ve lost my chance, I’m not going to play again’,” he explained. “I don’t think if you don’t take your chance it’s the last chance you have in the season. He [Mourinho] gives you some chances. I know some of my team-mates, and some footballers, are up and down. If I play well I’m not very, very happy and if I play badly I’m not very, very sad. I just try to keep my balance. My age and experience has helped me to keep that balance. If you work hard and you respect the ones who are playing at that moment but try to give everything you have when you play, whether that’s five minutes or 30 minutes, sooner or later football is fair.” It is advice the likes of Anthony Martial and Rashford, who have blown hot and cold and frustrated Mourinho with their lack of consistency, would do well to heed. “If I could give them advice it’s if you work, if you are always there, then sooner or later football gives back what you have given,” Herrera said. “They know that. You cannot go crazy if you do not play two or three games.” Herrera’s own future at United is not clear cut. Out of contract at the end of the next season, he wants to stay as long as possible but recognises the precarious nature of his profession. “In football, what today is black, tomorrow is white,” he said. “So if you think about what can happen in the summer, maybe the club signs four midfielders and they don’t want me anymore. Of course if the club wants to talk to me I will listen to them because I am very happy here.”
Ander Herrera has heard all the talk about Manchester United’s style of play but he would rather deal in cold, hard facts when asked to assess where they are as a club at the moment under Jose Mourinho. “I think we are going in the right direction,” the United midfielder said. “Let’s put everything in perspective. Two years ago, we were fifth in the Premier League and FA Cup winners. Last season we won three trophies [the Europa League, League Cup and Community Shield] and were sixth in the league. This season - second in the league and we can win a trophy, the FA Cup. “We should have an obligation to ourselves to do more, but I cannot say we are going down. After Sir Alex Ferguson, we’ve had four years of transition and now I think the club is going up with this manager. “This club is about winning titles and reaching finals and this will be my fifth final in two years. If you talk with other football players, they would like to be in our position.” Herrera will make it five out of five if United beat Chelsea in the FA Cup final tomorrow evening. Regardless of what happens at Wembley, though, he is aware that the club’s season could be framed by Manchester City’s runaway title success and the prospect of a sixth European Cup win for Liverpool should the Merseysiders beat Real Madrid in Kiev next week. Herrera scored in Manchester United's semi-final win over Spurs Credit: reuters “If any player in the world tells you he doesn’t care about what the opponents do he is lying to you,” Herrera said. “I cannot lie to you - if I could choose at the beginning of the season who wins the Premier League and who wins the Champions League, if we couldn’t be champions, I wouldn’t tell you Manchester City and Liverpool. I respect them - I have never hated anyone - but I cannot lie.” United finished 19 points behind City, who racked up a century of points, but Herrera considers it an outlier. “I don’t think the Premier League is going to be like it was this season always,” he said. “Next season I think the champion can be champion with 85, 86 points. I think this season was an exception. City won six or seven games in the last minutes. I remember West Ham at home, Huddersfield away, Southampton, Bournemouth. If they draw all those games, maybe the champions would be seven or eight points less. I don’t ​think next season the champions will be again that far from the second.” For now, though, all of Herrera’s focus is on Chelsea, who were the subject of conflicting emotions for the player last term. Sent off for two bookable offences on Eden Hazard in a Cup quarter-defeat at Stamford Bridge, the Spaniard atoned with a man-marking masterclass against the Belgium forward in a 2-0 league win at Old Trafford a month later. He would happily do the same job again if required, although he is typically self-deprecating about the way he neutralised a player he considers the best in the English top flight. “It wouldn’t have been possible if we hadn’t had the work of Jesse [Lingard] and Marcus [Rashford] against their three defenders because they didn’t let them play the ball easy into the midfield,” Herrera recalled. “Before the game I was all the time telling them that the more difficult the ball that comes in to Hazard, the easier the job is for me. This is not about one player. I said that to them before – put pressure on so the ball into Hazard isn’t as good. If one player gets free with the ball and Hazard is with me, I’m dead.” Herrera gets his analytical side from his father, Pedro Maria, a former midfielder with Real Zaragoza who later worked as a scout and general manager for the Spanish club. “Sometimes he would tell me, ‘Ander, have a look at this player because maybe we’ll sign him for next season’. I was seven, eight, nine years old so I used to watch games and give him my advice about a player. It made me a more analytical player but I love what I do. I really think I have a privileged position. When one day I leave Manchester United I don’t want to think, ‘I should have analysed the opponent more, I should have worked harder’.” That attitude helps to explain how Herrera could come out of the footballing equivalent of cold storage to play such an integral part in United’s end to the season. His appearance in the dramatic 3-2 derby win over City in April was his first league start since New Year’s Day against Everton, since when he has been a virtual ever present. It was Herrera’s goal against Spurs in the semi-final that secured United’s place in tomorrow’s showpiece. United in turmoil puff “I don’t go crazy when I don’t have my best game and say, ‘I’ve lost my chance, I’m not going to play again’,” he explained. “I don’t think if you don’t take your chance it’s the last chance you have in the season. He [Mourinho] gives you some chances. I know some of my team-mates, and some footballers, are up and down. If I play well I’m not very, very happy and if I play badly I’m not very, very sad. I just try to keep my balance. My age and experience has helped me to keep that balance. If you work hard and you respect the ones who are playing at that moment but try to give everything you have when you play, whether that’s five minutes or 30 minutes, sooner or later football is fair.” It is advice the likes of Anthony Martial and Rashford, who have blown hot and cold and frustrated Mourinho with their lack of consistency, would do well to heed. “If I could give them advice it’s if you work, if you are always there, then sooner or later football gives back what you have given,” Herrera said. “They know that. You cannot go crazy if you do not play two or three games.” Herrera’s own future at United is not clear cut. Out of contract at the end of the next season, he wants to stay as long as possible but recognises the precarious nature of his profession. “In football, what today is black, tomorrow is white,” he said. “So if you think about what can happen in the summer, maybe the club signs four midfielders and they don’t want me anymore. Of course if the club wants to talk to me I will listen to them because I am very happy here.”
Ander Herrera interview: 'This will be my fifth final in two years - United are on the up again'
Ander Herrera has heard all the talk about Manchester United’s style of play but he would rather deal in cold, hard facts when asked to assess where they are as a club at the moment under Jose Mourinho. “I think we are going in the right direction,” the United midfielder said. “Let’s put everything in perspective. Two years ago, we were fifth in the Premier League and FA Cup winners. Last season we won three trophies [the Europa League, League Cup and Community Shield] and were sixth in the league. This season - second in the league and we can win a trophy, the FA Cup. “We should have an obligation to ourselves to do more, but I cannot say we are going down. After Sir Alex Ferguson, we’ve had four years of transition and now I think the club is going up with this manager. “This club is about winning titles and reaching finals and this will be my fifth final in two years. If you talk with other football players, they would like to be in our position.” Herrera will make it five out of five if United beat Chelsea in the FA Cup final tomorrow evening. Regardless of what happens at Wembley, though, he is aware that the club’s season could be framed by Manchester City’s runaway title success and the prospect of a sixth European Cup win for Liverpool should the Merseysiders beat Real Madrid in Kiev next week. Herrera scored in Manchester United's semi-final win over Spurs Credit: reuters “If any player in the world tells you he doesn’t care about what the opponents do he is lying to you,” Herrera said. “I cannot lie to you - if I could choose at the beginning of the season who wins the Premier League and who wins the Champions League, if we couldn’t be champions, I wouldn’t tell you Manchester City and Liverpool. I respect them - I have never hated anyone - but I cannot lie.” United finished 19 points behind City, who racked up a century of points, but Herrera considers it an outlier. “I don’t think the Premier League is going to be like it was this season always,” he said. “Next season I think the champion can be champion with 85, 86 points. I think this season was an exception. City won six or seven games in the last minutes. I remember West Ham at home, Huddersfield away, Southampton, Bournemouth. If they draw all those games, maybe the champions would be seven or eight points less. I don’t ​think next season the champions will be again that far from the second.” For now, though, all of Herrera’s focus is on Chelsea, who were the subject of conflicting emotions for the player last term. Sent off for two bookable offences on Eden Hazard in a Cup quarter-defeat at Stamford Bridge, the Spaniard atoned with a man-marking masterclass against the Belgium forward in a 2-0 league win at Old Trafford a month later. He would happily do the same job again if required, although he is typically self-deprecating about the way he neutralised a player he considers the best in the English top flight. “It wouldn’t have been possible if we hadn’t had the work of Jesse [Lingard] and Marcus [Rashford] against their three defenders because they didn’t let them play the ball easy into the midfield,” Herrera recalled. “Before the game I was all the time telling them that the more difficult the ball that comes in to Hazard, the easier the job is for me. This is not about one player. I said that to them before – put pressure on so the ball into Hazard isn’t as good. If one player gets free with the ball and Hazard is with me, I’m dead.” Herrera gets his analytical side from his father, Pedro Maria, a former midfielder with Real Zaragoza who later worked as a scout and general manager for the Spanish club. “Sometimes he would tell me, ‘Ander, have a look at this player because maybe we’ll sign him for next season’. I was seven, eight, nine years old so I used to watch games and give him my advice about a player. It made me a more analytical player but I love what I do. I really think I have a privileged position. When one day I leave Manchester United I don’t want to think, ‘I should have analysed the opponent more, I should have worked harder’.” That attitude helps to explain how Herrera could come out of the footballing equivalent of cold storage to play such an integral part in United’s end to the season. His appearance in the dramatic 3-2 derby win over City in April was his first league start since New Year’s Day against Everton, since when he has been a virtual ever present. It was Herrera’s goal against Spurs in the semi-final that secured United’s place in tomorrow’s showpiece. United in turmoil puff “I don’t go crazy when I don’t have my best game and say, ‘I’ve lost my chance, I’m not going to play again’,” he explained. “I don’t think if you don’t take your chance it’s the last chance you have in the season. He [Mourinho] gives you some chances. I know some of my team-mates, and some footballers, are up and down. If I play well I’m not very, very happy and if I play badly I’m not very, very sad. I just try to keep my balance. My age and experience has helped me to keep that balance. If you work hard and you respect the ones who are playing at that moment but try to give everything you have when you play, whether that’s five minutes or 30 minutes, sooner or later football is fair.” It is advice the likes of Anthony Martial and Rashford, who have blown hot and cold and frustrated Mourinho with their lack of consistency, would do well to heed. “If I could give them advice it’s if you work, if you are always there, then sooner or later football gives back what you have given,” Herrera said. “They know that. You cannot go crazy if you do not play two or three games.” Herrera’s own future at United is not clear cut. Out of contract at the end of the next season, he wants to stay as long as possible but recognises the precarious nature of his profession. “In football, what today is black, tomorrow is white,” he said. “So if you think about what can happen in the summer, maybe the club signs four midfielders and they don’t want me anymore. Of course if the club wants to talk to me I will listen to them because I am very happy here.”
Manuel Pellegrini, who led Manchester City to the Premier League title in 2014, is keen to return to Europe from Hebei China Fortune.
Manuel Pellegrini favourite to succeed David Moyes at West Ham
Manuel Pellegrini, who led Manchester City to the Premier League title in 2014, is keen to return to Europe from Hebei China Fortune.
West Ham United are poised to hold talks with Manuel Pellegrini over the weekend as the former Manchester City manager emerges as the most likely to successor to David Moyes. Despite the fact Rafael Benítez remains the club’s first choice, West Ham fear he will ultimately stay at Newcastle United or hold out for a bigger offer from elsewhere. Pellegrini has already indicated an interest in the post and the 64-year-old is now due for formal talks with West Ham co-owner David Sullivan. He has been working in China at Hebei China Fortune since leaving City, having won the Premier League title and two League Cups during three years in England. Benítez has 12 months remaining on his Newcastle contract and it would cost West Ham £6 million to release him from that. It is expected the Magpies would reward him with a lucrative new deal to stay. Paulo Fonseca has already turned down West Ham in favour of signing a new contract at Shakhtar Donetsk, having met with Sullivan, and the club are keen to avoid their managerial search turning into a saga. Why did West Ham sell over 100 years of history at Upton Park so cheaply? That is why Pellegrini could well be offered the Hammers job if he impresses Sullivan and accepts the terms and working conditions at the London Stadium. Appointing Pellegrini would open up the prospect of West Ham attempting to sign free agent Yaya Touré, who played a vital part under the Chilean at City. Touré has already said he will remain in the Premier League after ending his association with City and the 35-year-old will not be short of offers. Former Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri is a “long shot” for the West Ham job, despite the potential to pair him with director of football Steve Walsh again. The pair worked successfully at Leicester, where they won the Premier League title, and West Ham are still searching for a head of recruitment or director of football. Walsh was this week replaced by Marcel Brands at Everton, but West Ham are concentrating their efforts on Pellegrini and Benétez. Unai Emery is another man who has been linked with West Ham, but the former Paris St-Germain manager has yet to show much interest in the job.
West Ham to hold talks with Manuel Pellegrini over manager's job
West Ham United are poised to hold talks with Manuel Pellegrini over the weekend as the former Manchester City manager emerges as the most likely to successor to David Moyes. Despite the fact Rafael Benítez remains the club’s first choice, West Ham fear he will ultimately stay at Newcastle United or hold out for a bigger offer from elsewhere. Pellegrini has already indicated an interest in the post and the 64-year-old is now due for formal talks with West Ham co-owner David Sullivan. He has been working in China at Hebei China Fortune since leaving City, having won the Premier League title and two League Cups during three years in England. Benítez has 12 months remaining on his Newcastle contract and it would cost West Ham £6 million to release him from that. It is expected the Magpies would reward him with a lucrative new deal to stay. Paulo Fonseca has already turned down West Ham in favour of signing a new contract at Shakhtar Donetsk, having met with Sullivan, and the club are keen to avoid their managerial search turning into a saga. Why did West Ham sell over 100 years of history at Upton Park so cheaply? That is why Pellegrini could well be offered the Hammers job if he impresses Sullivan and accepts the terms and working conditions at the London Stadium. Appointing Pellegrini would open up the prospect of West Ham attempting to sign free agent Yaya Touré, who played a vital part under the Chilean at City. Touré has already said he will remain in the Premier League after ending his association with City and the 35-year-old will not be short of offers. Former Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri is a “long shot” for the West Ham job, despite the potential to pair him with director of football Steve Walsh again. The pair worked successfully at Leicester, where they won the Premier League title, and West Ham are still searching for a head of recruitment or director of football. Walsh was this week replaced by Marcel Brands at Everton, but West Ham are concentrating their efforts on Pellegrini and Benétez. Unai Emery is another man who has been linked with West Ham, but the former Paris St-Germain manager has yet to show much interest in the job.

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