Category Archives: English Premier League

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Mauricio Pellegrino: Southampton part ways with Argentine manager

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Southampton have sacked Mauricio Pellegrino after a miserable streak that saw just one win after 17 Premier League matches.

Southampton have won only five league games this season, two of them against the bottom club, West Bromwich Albion. Pellegrino had been expected to bring an attacking brand of front-foot football to St Mary’s but his team have struggled to convince and their conservative style of play has frustrated supporters.

The frustration has clearly embroiled even the hierarchs of the club, as Pellegrino becomes the top-flight’s ninth managerial casualty since August.

Their record left them embroiled in a fight to avoid relegation with nine games remaining, even as the club now targeting a quick appointment for a new manager.

“We would like to place on record our thanks to Mauricio, Carlos and Xavier for their efforts during their time with Southampton, and wish them well for the future,” read a Saints club statement on Monday evening. “The club will look to appoint a new management team as soon as possible.” The assistant manager, Carlos Compagnucci, and the assistant first-team coach, Xavier Tamarit, have also left .

It will be the third manager appointed at St Mary’s in less than two years – which should be done ideally before Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final at Wigan Athletic. Still, club officials could wait to name the Argentinian’s successor since they would have no league match until the end of this month, at West Ham on 31 March.

Amongst the candidates to replace Pellegrino are Marco Silva, the former Watford and Hull City manager who is now out of work and was once of interest to Saints, and Slavisa Jokanovic, the Fulham manager, who has also previously been linked with the club.

Nonetheless, one could argue that the timing of Pellegrino’s dismissal does not bode well as Southampton, who sits just a point above the bottom three has a challenging run-in ahead. They only have only three home matches remaining, including the visits of Chelsea and Manchester City, the latter on the final day of the season.

Marcus Rashford double overcomes Liverpool at Old Trafford

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Marcus Rashford scored twice on his recall to the Manchester United starting XI to give Jose Mourinho’s side the full three points through 1 2-1 win over Liverpool at Old Trafford.

The Red Devils opened the scoring when Romelu Lukaku’s header from David de Gea’s clearance found Rashford charging into the visitors’ box, and the 20-year old cut inside Trent Alexander-Arnold before firing into the bottom corner.

Lukaku also contributed to United’s second as he held up the ball from another goal-kick before feeding Juan Mata and, although he could not get a shot away, the ball fell for Rashford to score via a slight deflection from Alexander-Arnold.

Liverpool were second best in every department, could have fallen further behind even further when Juan Mata volleyed acrobatically from an Alexis Sanchez cross, although the Spaniard hit it wide.

Jurgen Klopp’s side improved dramatically after the break but even with United defending deep, the visitors cranked up the pressure without ever really opening up their hosts.

Furthermore, it took an own goal for the Reds to reduce the deficit when Eric Bailly turned Sadio Mane’s cross past De Gea while attempting to clear at the near post.

However, Mourinho’s win was marred and criticized as a largely defensive display in which they had just 32% of possession and two shots on target, but Jose Mourinho added that he “doesn’t care” whether people think his Manchester United side deserved the victory.

“It was a complete performance by us with two different halves,” Mourinho said. “If people don’t think we deserved it, I don’t care. I am a bit tired, we have a match on Tuesday. I don’t care what people say. The boys are happy, I’m happy.”

“The second half it was not our intention to be as defensive as we were. Liverpool pushed us back but I don’t remember the chances that needed David de Gea to make the goal safe. I don’t remember a dangerous situation to our goal. It was control by them having the ball and control by us without the ball. I think we deserved the three points.”

Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez regrets reactions to failed City move

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Riyad Mahrez admits that he regrets his reactions after seeing his potential move to Manchester City fall through in the January transfer window.

Mahrez, 26, was absent for two Leicester City matches after missing out on a move to join the ranks of the Premier League leaders, who reportedly made a £60 million offer on deadline day two months ago.

However, the Algeria international denied he had been on strike after the disappointment of the failed move, but concedes he should have handled the situation better when he took a leave of absence from the Leicester squad.

“I was away from here because I needed some time to think, it was a difficult situation,” he said. “You’ll always have regrets but at that time I thought it was the best thing to do.”

“Manchester City is a good move for everyone but it is the past. It is behind me. If we start talking about this it’s like coming back to the transfer window and now I’m moving forward, trying to give my best for the team.”

Following his leave, Mahrez returned to action in Leicester’s 5-1 defeat to Pep Guardiola’s side on February 10 and has played in all three matches since, including the 1-1 draw with Bournemouth last Saturday, in which he scored a dramatic late free-kick to help his team steal a point.

He also added that he was grateful to his teammates who had stood by him when he returned.

“I spoke with the players, I spoke with the manager, I spoke with everyone. Everyone was OK, was good.”

“It was difficult, I’ve always been in contact with the club. The club handled it very well. When the team-mates and the club were behind me it was okay, it was very easy to come back here.”

On Wednesday, Leicester were forced to deny Mahrez had retired after hackers posted a message announcing he was quitting football on his Facebook page.

“I wasn’t bothered,” the player said about the case. “It won’t affect me, so I don’t know why they try to do that. I think everyone knew it had been hacked.”

English FA boss likens Pep Guardiola’s yellow ribbon to ISIS

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Martin Glenn, the English Football Association chief executive has rejected any suggestion that Pep Guardiola wearing a yellow ribbon in support of imprisoned Catalan politicians is equivalent to the governing body’s defiance over FIFA’s poppy ban.

Glenn instead claimed that the Manchester City manager has angered many by wearing the ribbon during games while claiming that the the FA’s fight against FIFA’s poppy ban was an act of remembrance for fallen soldiers and not a political emblem.

City coach Guardiola would have until 6pm on Monday to respond to a charge for wearing what the FA considers to be a political symbol, during the 1-0 FA Cup defeat by Wigan last month.

Still, Guardiola’s representatives are set to claim the ribbon is a show of solidarity for pro‑independence Catalan politicians imprisoned in Spain as opposed to an act of political activism but it is unlikely to hold sway with the FA.

“We have rewritten Law 4 of the game so that things like a poppy are OK but things that are going to be highly divisive are not,” Glenn said. “That could be strong religious symbols, it could be the Star of David, it could the hammer and sickle, it could be a swastika, anything like Robert Mugabe on your shirt — these are the things we don’t want.”

“To be honest, and to be very clear, Pep Guardiola’s yellow ribbon is a political symbol, it’s a symbol of Catalan independence and I can tell you there are many more Spaniards, non‑Catalans, who are pissed off by it. All we are doing is even-handedly applying the laws of the game.”

“Poppies are not political symbols; that yellow ribbon is. Where do you draw the line, should we have someone with a UKIP badge? Someone with an ISIS badge?”

Glenn added that he had no problem with FIFA’s rules against the displaying of political symbols during games.

“We don’t want football equipment to display political symbols. That has always been the case. The problem we had with poppies is that for some reason a new person at Fifa seemed to think poppies were a political symbol and we fought hard against that notion and thankfully sense broke out.”