Mourinho explains Fosu-Mensah snub

29 July 2016 21:02

Jose Mourinho has claimed that Timothy Fosu-Mensah was only omitted from Manchester United’s squad to face Galatasaray due to a minor injury concern.

Widespread reports on Thursday said the United boss had informed nine players, including veteran Bastian Schweinsteiger, that they will not be part of his plans for the coming season.

Netherlands youth international Fosu-Mensah was one of the players allegedly told they can find a new club, sparking huge discontent from United fans on social media, who see the 18-year-old as one of the brightest young talents at Old Trafford.

However, Mourinho says the versatile midfielder has been left out of the party travelling to Gothenburg for Saturday’s game as a result of a small injury worry.

“Fosu-Mensah is not so much injured,” Mourinho told MUTV. “But he has this little thing that we want to be careful with given that he is young. He is separate from the group until he is 100 per cent back.”

Defender Chris Smalling was another absentee from the 23-man squad, with Mourinho confirming he has suffered a recurrence of problem picked up last season.

“Chris Smalling has had a recurrence of an old injury from the previous season,” he said. “We shall see what happens, but already he is suspended for the first [Premier League] game against Bournemouth.”

United suffered a humbling 4-1 defeat to Borussia Dortmund in their last match, before the scheduled clash with Manchester City in Beijing was called off due to concerns about the pitch.

Mourinho had his squad training again the day they landed after returning from China, and the former Chelsea boss has hailed their commitment to his worth ethic.

“The players have been fantastic in their attitude,” he said. “We have done a number of double training sessions, but I am not worried about them being tired on Saturday as the reality is we have to work and are looking at the [Galatasaray] game as one more training session because the players need minutes – we will need to recover from that too.”

Article source: http://www.soccerway.com/news/2016/July/29/mourinho-explains-fosu-mensah-snub

Mourinho explains Fosu-Mensah snub

29 July 2016 21:02

Jose Mourinho has claimed that Timothy Fosu-Mensah was only omitted from Manchester United’s squad to face Galatasaray due to a minor injury concern.

Widespread reports on Thursday said the United boss had informed nine players, including veteran Bastian Schweinsteiger, that they will not be part of his plans for the coming season.

Netherlands youth international Fosu-Mensah was one of the players allegedly told they can find a new club, sparking huge discontent from United fans on social media, who see the 18-year-old as one of the brightest young talents at Old Trafford.

However, Mourinho says the versatile midfielder has been left out of the party travelling to Gothenburg for Saturday’s game as a result of a small injury worry.

“Fosu-Mensah is not so much injured,” Mourinho told MUTV. “But he has this little thing that we want to be careful with given that he is young. He is separate from the group until he is 100 per cent back.”

Defender Chris Smalling was another absentee from the 23-man squad, with Mourinho confirming he has suffered a recurrence of problem picked up last season.

“Chris Smalling has had a recurrence of an old injury from the previous season,” he said. “We shall see what happens, but already he is suspended for the first [Premier League] game against Bournemouth.”

United suffered a humbling 4-1 defeat to Borussia Dortmund in their last match, before the scheduled clash with Manchester City in Beijing was called off due to concerns about the pitch.

Mourinho had his squad training again the day they landed after returning from China, and the former Chelsea boss has hailed their commitment to his worth ethic.

“The players have been fantastic in their attitude,” he said. “We have done a number of double training sessions, but I am not worried about them being tired on Saturday as the reality is we have to work and are looking at the [Galatasaray] game as one more training session because the players need minutes – we will need to recover from that too.”

Article source: http://www.soccerway.com/news/2016/July/29/mourinho-explains-fosu-mensah-snub

De Laurentiis fumes at Higuain´s ´lack of respect´

29 July 2016 14:37

Aurelio De Laurentiis has launched an astonishing riposte to Gonzalo Higuain’s claim that he was the reason for the striker’s decision to swap Napoli for Juventus, accusing the Argentina international of a “lack of respect towards all Neapolitans”.

Higuain enjoyed three fruitful seasons in a Napoli shirt, not least last term when his Serie A record 36 goals in 35 appearances spearheaded a title challenge that ultimately faded away.

The 28-year-old won the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana during his time at the club, but became frustrated by Napoli’s failure to win the league and moved to champions Juve in a €90million deal this week.

Higuain left the San Paolo under a cloud and explained at his first news conference as a Juve player that a poor relationship with De Laurentiis was the reason for his move.

But the Napoli president has hit back at Higuain, as well as taking aim at his brother and agent Nicolas for his conduct during the transfer negotiations.

In a lengthy statement on the club’s official website, De laurentiis said: “I read Gonzalo Gerardo Higuain’s statements during his unveiling press conference at Juventus and I’d like to comment on the part when, after having said that Juventus is a great family and he is happy to wear their shirt, he claims the main reason why he chose to join that club was me.

“I thought long and hard whether these words deserved any reply, since everyone knows clearly what the truth is. Then, I decided that it was better to say something, just not to be forgotten in the future. Here is my answer.

“1) If Mister Gonzalo Gerardo Higuain was annoyed by my presence, it took him many years to understand it, unless he is a liar or an excellent actor. I would rule the latter out, though, as I know something about actors.

“2) We spent a long time together, even recently. For example an entire day in Rome at the Disciplinary Commission on April 15 in order to have the four-game ban reduced in the middle of the Scudetto race. I assure you that day Gonzalo was very calm and didn’t show any intolerance towards me, as the many people around us that day could testify.

“3) Why on earth his agent never ever showed any impatience the several times we met recently to discuss his contract renewal? Had they been so intolerant towards me they wouldn’t have spent hours with me discussing money, a lot of money, with huge availability and understanding. 

“4) Isn’t his agent embarrassed to say that the team where he played and helped him score 38 goals was not up to the challenge? Isn’t he embarrassed to say that Gonzalo’s team-mates were rubbish, when Napoli was the Italian team that had created the most goal chances, something pivotal to let a striker score many goals?

“5) To try and explain that his move is my fault is a huge lack of respect towards all Neapolitans. If Higuain had read Napoli’s history, he would know this city was the only one to get rid alone of the Nazis even before the arrival of the Americans who found the town freed when they entered it. You can betray these people if you are shameless but you can’t take the p*** out of them.”

Article source: http://www.soccerway.com/news/2016/July/29/de-laurentiis-fumes-at-higuains-lack-of-respect

Eriksson and Shanghai SIPG still fighting

29 July 2016 07:20

Shanghai SIPG might be disappointed with their Chinese Super League season thus far, but Sven-Goran Eriksson and Co. are still dreaming big as they look forward to the AFC Champions League.

SIPG are third in the CSL standings, five points adrift of second-placed Jiangsu Suning and 12 behind defending champions Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao, who have a game in hand.

A combination of factors have derailed SIPG since they announced themselves by finishing second last term after working their way up from China’s third tier in 2006, with form, consistency and injuries hampering Eriksson’s men.

Dario Conca – once the third-highest paid player in the world behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi – has spent time on the sidelines, as has big-money recruit and Brazil international Hulk, who hurt his hamstring on debut earlier in July.

And while SIPG’s hopes of dethroning Evergrande are all but over, former England and Manchester City boss Eriksson insists there is still plenty on the line for the ambitious Shanghai juggernaut ahead of next month’s Champions League quarter-finals.

“We are not happy with what we have done. We should have a lot more points and should be higher up in the league, that’s the target and the big target of course is to play Champions League football next season,” the 68-year-old Swede told Omnisport, with his SIPG side level on 33 points alongside Hebei China Fortune.

“For a long time we have been struggling with injuries to top players, like Dario Conca and Hulk, so we are not happy.

“But the season is not finished yet and we are going to try and improve in the league. Hopefully play well in the Champions League.”

SIPG have lost two of their past three matches, including a last-gasp defeat to Shanghai Shenhua in the fierce derby earlier this month, while they also lost to Liaoning Whowin.

“I think the gap to Evergrande and top is too big,” Eriksson added.

“The big target before the season was to play Champions League football even next season and we have to fight for that.”

Though there are still league games against Guangzhou RF, Yanbian Funde and Shijiazhuang Ever Bright to come, excitement is building as the Champions League quarter-finals loom.

SIPG – playing in Asia’s premier club competition for the first time – will face 2006 champions and South Korean giants Jeonbuk Motors in the last eight, which gets underway in Shanghai on August 23.

“It’s a big thing for us. Our first time to be in the Champions League and we are in the quarter-finals, so we are extremely happy,” Eriksson said.

“We will be fighting against one of Asia’s best teams. So we are looking forward to it.”

Although they boast Conca, Brazilian star Elkeson and China international Wu Lei, SIPG will be relying heavily on Hulk as they bid to finish in the CSL’s top three – with a third-place finish enough to secure Champions League qualification albeit via the preliminary second round – and qualify for the semi-finals in the continental competition.

Not to be outdone by the lucrative arrivals of Alex Teixeira, Jackson Martinez and Ramires during the off-season, SIPG showed their financial might with the signing of Brazil international Hulk from Russia for an Asian record, reportedly in excess of £45million last month.

Hulk scored nine minutes into his debut against Henan Jianye on July 10, only to hobble off 12 minutes later due to a hamstring injury.

Of Hulk and his short time in China, Eriksson said: “He’s had no problem settling into Shanghai. Everyone loves Shanghai.

“He probably came not ready but he should be fully fit soon. Playing without him and Conca is not good of course.”

Article source: http://www.soccerway.com/news/2016/July/29/eriksson-and-shanghai-sipg-still-fighting

Klopp: I wouldn´t spend £100m on one player

29 July 2016 00:37

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists he is unfazed by his team’s big-spending rivals, saying paying £100million for one player is the wrong approach.

The German has added the likes of Sadio Mane and Georginio Wijnaldum to his squad, but those transfers pale in comparison to the reported £100m fee Manchester United are set to pay for Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba.

However, Klopp said he had no interest in doing the same, worried about the risks of paying so much for one player.

“If you bring one player in for £100m and he gets injured, then it all goes through the chimney,” he said.

“The day that this is football, I’m not in a job anymore, because the game is about playing together.

“That is how everybody in football understands it. You always want to have the best, but building the group is necessary to be successful.

“Other clubs can go out and spend more money and collect top players. I want to do it differently. I would even do it differently if I could spend that money.

“I don’t know exactly how much money we could spend because nobody has told me, ‘No, you can’t do this’.

“If I spend money, it is because I am trying to build a team, a real team. Barcelona did it. You can win championships, you can win titles, but there is a manner in which you want it.”

Klopp said he had no interest in being drawn into a competition with other clubs over the same signings.

The former Borussia Dortmund coach said he preferred to look at potential, and players who could add to his squad as a whole.

Klopp said: “If you all swim in the same pool, the pool is too small – you all go for the same players.

“There are a lot of players outside that pool – good players on to the next step in their career. We try to find them.

“The best player of the last season is good to know but it is more interesting trying to find out who will be the best next year.

“If you knew it now that would be a really cool transfer! It would be much cheaper too. That is what we work for.

“It is not about being creative because creative is cool or something. It is about finding the players who can make the next step with us.”

Article source: http://www.soccerway.com/news/2016/July/29/klopp-i-wouldnt-spend-100m-on-one-player

Given retires from international football

28 July 2016 20:46

Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given has announced his retirement from international football to focus on his club career.

The 40-year-old collected 134 caps over 20 years, appearing at the 2002 World Cup, as well as the 2012 and 2016 European Championships.

He had originally retired from Ireland duty in 2012, but reversed his decision just months later.

Given made the announcement on Twitter on Thursday, writing of his immense pride at representing his country.

“I’m one of the lucky ones who got to wear the jersey for his country and wore the badge with pride 134 times,” the Stoke City veteran posted.

“But now it’s time to hang up the gloves and move from the onion bag to the terraces, where I’ll be shouting the lads on as one of Ireland’s biggest fans.

“So, as I retire from Ireland duty to focus on my club career, I want to say a huge thanks to everyone who supported me all the way, my close family, friends and the amazing fans.”

Article source: http://www.soccerway.com/news/2016/July/28/given-retires-from-international-football

Given retires from international football

28 July 2016 20:46

Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given has announced his retirement from international football to focus on his club career.

The 40-year-old collected 134 caps over 20 years, appearing at the 2002 World Cup, as well as the 2012 and 2016 European Championships.

He had originally retired from Ireland duty in 2012, but reversed his decision just months later.

Given made the announcement on Twitter on Thursday, writing of his immense pride at representing his country.

“I’m one of the lucky ones who got to wear the jersey for his country and wore the badge with pride 134 times,” the Stoke City veteran posted.

“But now it’s time to hang up the gloves and move from the onion bag to the terraces, where I’ll be shouting the lads on as one of Ireland’s biggest fans.

“So, as I retire from Ireland duty to focus on my club career, I want to say a huge thanks to everyone who supported me all the way, my close family, friends and the amazing fans.”

Article source: http://www.soccerway.com/news/2016/July/28/given-retires-from-international-football

Copa Libertadores success ´a dream´ for Borja

28 July 2016 14:08

Atletico Nacional goal hero Miguel Borja has declared the club’s Copa Libertadores triumph “a dream”.

The Colombian side beat Independiente del Valle of Ecuador 2-1 on aggregate in the final, taking their second continental title thanks to Borja’s early second-leg strike.

This goal was the 23-year-old’s fifth in just his fourth appearance for Atletico Nacional, having joined last month ahead of the semi-finals against Sao Paulo.

And, after sealing a historic victory for his new club, Borja described what it meant to him.

“This is a dream,” he told Fox Sports. “It’s a blessing. The glory and honor is of God, it is a dream come true.

“I want to dedicate this to [home town] Tierralta, a humble people, who are in my heart. Wherever I go I will mention my land.”

Borja’s coach Reinaldo Rueda added that Atletico Nacional’s success was deserved after a tough campaign.

“We worked a whole year long, almost thirteen months, and that win today is the result of all that work,” he said.

Article source: http://www.soccerway.com/news/2016/July/28/copa-libertadores-success-a-dream-for-borja

Madrid off the pace, concedes Zidane

28 July 2016 08:56

Zinedine Zidane was pleased with elements of Real Madrid’s performance against Paris Saint-Germain but realises his players need to get up to speed.

Madrid, in their first outing since May’s Champions League triumph against Atletico, went down 3-1 in the International Champions Cup at Ohio Stadium.

Jonathan Ikone’s early goal and a brace from Thomas Meunier had PSG in a commanding position, before Marcelo’s penalty proved little more than a consolation for Madrid.

With the first 90 minutes of pre-season under their belts, Zidane conceded his squad have plenty of work to do before their LaLiga campaign begins on August 21.

“We can’t have this result happening again, but what we have to do and what we’re trying to do, is to give our all when we play,” he said

“We’re currently in the preparation phase and we’ve got to get up to speed, that’s what pre-season is for. We know that the LaLiga season is a very long one and that we’ve got to make a strong start.

“We were a bit lacking in terms of aggression against strong opposition, particularly in the first half. As for the positives, I look at our play because we kept the ball and had chances to score.

“We’re still in the preparation phase and it’s to be expected that we’re lacking in some areas. We’ve got to work more and make things come as second nature, that’s something that will happen gradually.”

Madrid – missing the fearsome trio of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale – started the match with Jese Rodriguez and Alvaro Morata up front, but Zidane says it is not a tactic he expects to repeat come the new season.

“We’ll have to see how we line up against Chelsea [on Saturday],” he said.” We already know how we’re going to set up throughout the season: three up top and three in the middle.

“But in pre-season you have to work on other things and we went with two strikers in this game, Jese and Morata in the first half and Mariano and Enzo in the second period and we were happy with them.”

Article source: http://www.soccerway.com/news/2016/July/28/madrid-off-the-pace-concedes-zidane

Hazard vows to rediscover best Chelsea form

28 July 2016 02:13

Chelsea star Eden Hazard has vowed to recapture the form that saw him crowned PFA Player of the Year and the FWA Footballer of the Year in 2015 after a hugely disappointing season last time out.

Much like his team, Hazard went from hero to zero last season, as they put in the worst title defence seen in the Premier League era, having won the title the season prior under Jose Mourinho.

Hazard in particular was brilliant during that season, scoring 19 goals and assisting another 13 in 52 appearances across all competitions, compared to just six goals and eight assists in 43 appearances last season.

The recent Euro 2016 tournament in France also proved a disappointing outing for Hazard, as he and Belgium crashed out at the quarter-final stage to Wales.

But ahead of a new season, Hazard has his sights set on reclaiming his crown as the best player in England.

“I want to be the best, like I was two years ago,” said Hazard. “I want to win the same awards.

“We’ve got to show to everybody we are Chelsea, we’re big players, we’re a big team.

“We didn’t finish in a good place last season. We want to forget it. We want to do better and win the Premier League. We need to do this.

“This season is important and I am ready.”

Hazard attributed his poor season to fatigue and niggling injuries, saying: “I played a very bad season.

“I think it was because I was tired. It is easy to look back and say now I was tired. Last season was difficult.

“I was injured. Not a big one, but it was not easy to play with a small injury, especially in England because the game is very difficult. Now it’s finished. I hope.

“After a season like this, I wanted to stay at Chelsea. I didn’t want to finish like this.

“When I was in France [playing for Lille] I scored a hat-trick in my final game and was a good time to leave.

“If I must leave Chelsea one day, I hope I can finish well and be a champion again.”

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Article source: http://www.soccerway.com/news/2016/July/28/hazard-vows-to-rediscover-best-chelsea-form

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