Daily Archives: November 17, 2017

Italy sack Gian Piero Ventura after World Cup qualification failure

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The Italian Football Federation has sacked national coach Gian Piero Ventura as manager after the Azzurri suffered a 1-0 aggregate defeat by Sweden in the World Cup qualification play-offs that denied the national team a place in the tournament for the first time in 60 years.

In a statement on Wednesday night the Italian federation announced that the Ventura’s 16-month reign was over.

“At the meeting convened by the chairman, Carlo Tavecchio, which was attended by the presidents of the federal members a discussion was had following the failure of the national team to qualify for the 2018 World Cup,” the statement read. “As a first point on the agenda, Tavecchio communicated a decision of the technical guidance committee, and to date, Gian Piero Ventura is no longer the national team head coach.”

The decision was taken after a heating meeting in which the Footballers’ Association president, Damiano Tommasi, walked out shortly after asking Tavecchio if he intended to resign, which the latter refused.

Despite his monumental failure, Ventura said his record was “one of the best of the last 40 years”.

“I lost only two games in two years,” he added in an interview with Italian television show Le Iene before the Italian Football Federation fired him on Wednesday.

Ventura replaced Antonio Conte as the head coach for Italy in June 2016, and was described then as a “master of football” by Carlo Tavecchio. However, Italy took one point out of a possible six against Spain in qualifying and also drew at home to Macedonia.

A decision is yet to be taken on who will succeed him, with Tavecchio telling reporters after the meeting that the federation have been “thinking of important names” to replace Ventura.

Manchester United convinced Jose Mourinho will stay with club

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Manchester United have no concerns that club coach Jose Mourinho could leave next summer to take up the managerial position with another club.

There had been also those who work closely with him who believe that the Portuguese retains the drive to win the Premier League for the club.

Although it is a known fact that Mourinho was a long-term target of Paris Saint-Germain and other leading sides, United’s board would welcome Mourinho staying for a decade or more, as this would mean a long period of success had been established.

However, Manchester United are currently second in the Premier League and eight points behind Manchester City — and had lost 1-0 at Chelsea before the international break in what was their second league defeat of the opening 11 matches.

Their first defeat had been the shock 2-1 loss at newly promoted Huddersfield Town on 21 October.

In the week of the game against Chelsea, Mourinho caused some surprise by praising “special” PSG and ruling out spending the remainder of his career at United.

But at the moment, there is no concern among the United hierarchy that a manager whose longest spell at a club was just over three seasons during his first Chelsea tenure will depart in the close season.

It is a general feeling around the board that he is energised by the challenge of managing United, who on Thursday announced record turnover of £141m for the third quarter of 2017, and by trying to claim the club’s first Premier League title since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in May 2013.

Prediction:

Manchester United 2:0 Newcastle United

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang dropped for “disciplinary reasons”

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Borussia Dortmund has dropped striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for “disciplinary reasons”.

Aubameyang, 28, will be exempted from selection for his club’s next Bundesliga fixture against VfB Stuttgart on Friday, with the Bundesliga club confirming the news via their official Twitter account on Thursday following reports the striker would not be involved.

“Aubameyang has been removed from the squad for tomorrow’s match for disciplinary reasons,” the club wrote in German in response to a supporter’s question on Twitter, although the club opted not to elaborate on the reasons behind it.

The Gabon International who was linked with summer moves to Chelsea, Manchester City and Paris St-Germain, was also absent from a video tweeted by the club showing the squad as they arrived at the airport to fly to Stuttgart.

Aubameyang had already been suspended in the same fashion by his club before, after the forward made an unsanctioned trip to Italy last year.

Some could argue that Aubameyang’s suspension comes at a bad time for the club after Dortmund have lost three of their past four league games to drop to third place in the Bundesliga and six points off leaders Bayern Munich

They will also host Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League on Tuesday, where another group stage defeat could see them off the competition entirely.

Aubameyang had started this season by scoring 15 goals in his first 12 matches, including two Bundesliga hat-tricks, but he has since gone 476 minutes without scoring.