Category Archives: Europa League

Gattuso continues wait for first win after Milan lose away to Rijeka

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AC Milan boss Gennaro Gattuso says the club’s “shirt deserves respect” after a “burning defeat” by Rijeka as his team concluded their Europa League group stage fixtures with a loss.

Gattuso, 39, has previously managed Sion, Palermo, OFI Crete, Pisa and Milan’s youth team, but was especially unhappy with £33m summer signing Andre Silva, who has yet to score in Serie A.

“He struggled. He looked like a foreign object in the team,” said the former Italian national. “When you have the opportunity to play for 90 minutes wearing AC Milan’s shirt you have to do more.”

Already assured of top spot in Group D, Gattuso made changes, for only his second game in charge, with their Europa League last-32 slot already guaranteed — but he was not impressed.

AC Milan failed to put a single shot on target, with midfielder Manuel Locatelli set to miss the first leg of the round of 32 after picking up a booking.

“I was expecting more, this was a pretty poor show,” he said. “We need to turn things around and a change in mentality. We need more intensity and desire and all these things weren’t there.”

“We needed a win as a morale booster. Sunday’s (Serie A) match against Bologna is now even more important and we can’t make any mistakes.”

Croatian side Rijeka, who were already eliminated, won 2-0 thanks to goals from Jakov Puljic and Mario Gavranovic.

Puljic gave the hosts the lead in the seventh minute by curling in a free kick out of the reach of goalkeeper Marco Storari, while Gavranovic bundled the ball over the line from six yards early in the second half.

“I take full responsibility for the choices I made,” said Gattuso. “I would make them again as we have to play important games every three days. We tried to give some playing time to those who needed it.

“This is how things have been going lately, unfortunately, we concede at the first opportunity. The boys gave it all, trying to play differently, but it wasn’t enough.”

Marseille’s Patrice Evra sent off for kicking out at supporter

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Patrice Evra conjured memories of Eric Cantona after being sent off for aiming a kick at a Marseille supporter before his side’s Europa League game at Vitoria de Guimaraes.

The Frenchman was ushered away by a team-mate but not before creating history as the first player to be sent off in a Europa League match before kick-off.

Marseille, who then also had Boubacar Kamara dismissed during the match proper, went down 1-0 in what would be their second defeat in the Group I.

The incident occurred as tempers flared during the pre-match warm-up for the Europa League game between Vitoria Guimaraes and Marseille, which saw supporters and players clashing.

Pictures and video footage appeared to show the Evra, 36, kicking a fan in the head at the side of the pitch in Portugal with the former French International appearing to lash out at one of his own club’s fans as supporters reached the advertising hoardings at the Estadio D Afonso Henriques in Guimaraes.

The ugly incident was reminiscent of Evra’s French compatriot Eric Cantona, whose infamous kung-fu kick at Selhurst Park in 1995 when the Manchester United player was sent off for attacking the Crystal Palace supporter Matthew Simmons.

Cantona was banned for nine months by the Football Association for the incident, after leaving the pitch following a red card.

Likewise, Evra would now face a lengthy UEFA ban while his future at Marseille will come under fierce scrutiny in the coming days, with club coach Rudi Garcia disclaiming his actions.

“Pat has experience and he must not react, it’s obvious” he said.

“Patrice is a more than experienced player and we cannot respond to insults so low and so incredible because they come from one of our supporters. He must learn to keep his cool.”

Koeman sacked after Everton falls to Premier League drop zone

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Ronald Koeman was sacked on Monday after a dismal run of form with Everton left the Toffees third from bottom of the Premier League and with just two wins in 13 games.

The manager was sacked after just 16 months in charge and spending £140 million on new players this summer. He had also been vocally criticised by many for making decisions unhelpful towards the club.

The Dutchman’s tenure as Everton manager culminated with a 5-2 defeat by Arsenal on Sunday. His dismissal was a decision taken by the Everton major shareholder, Farhad Moshiri, who three weeks ago, insisted that Koeman retained his total support despite a home defeat against Burnley.

However, Everton made no improvements since then, first needing a 90th‑minute penalty to draw at Brighton & Hove Albion before losing at home against Lyon in the Europa League and subsequently being routed at home by Arsenal.

An Everton club statement read: “Everton football club can confirm that Ronald Koeman has left the club. Chairman Bill Kenwright, the board of directors and major shareholder Farhad Moshiri would all like to express their gratitude to Ronald for the service he has given to the club over the past 16 months and for guiding the club to seventh place in last season’s Premier League campaign.”

In the meantime, David Unsworth, Everton’s academy and under-23s manager, was given temporary charge of the Merseyside club after also taking charge in one Premier League game after Roberto Martínez’s sacking in 2016.

While Unsworth has requested a run of games to show he can be the winning manager Everton need to replace Ronald Koeman, he is expected until the international break to demonstrate his mettle in order to impress the Goodison hierarchy, a spell of four games that includes visits to potentially difficult opponents in Chelsea, Leicester and Lyon.

Everton will also be the third Premier League club to lose part ways with their manager this season, after Craig Shakespeare who was fired as Leicester City manager after the Foxes lost six Premier League games in a row, and Frank de Boer who left after only 77 days as manager of Crystal Palace.

Everton suffers ugly Europa League defeat by Lyon at home

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Everton’s poor start to season continued with a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Lyon in the Europa League, with the game descending into a melee in the second half following an ugly brawl sparked by the captain Ashley Williams.

Lyon — who, like Everton were without a win in Group E — took the lead inexplicably just after six minutes through Nabil Fekir’s penalty, awarded for Mason Holgate’s rash and ill-timed challenge on Fernando Marcal.

Then, a second-half flashpoint which could see Everton and Williams facing punishment came, as Williams’s shove on the Lyon goalkeeper, Anthony Lopes, sparked heated confrontations between players in front of the Gwladys Street end.

The match was held for a couple of minutes as the group melee surged to the direction advertising hoardings, with a supporter holding a child in one arm spotted aiming a punch in the direction of the keeper.

Afterwards and seemingly roused by the clash, Williams headed a perfect free-kick cross delivered by Gylfi Sigurdsson to turn from villain to hero from six yards and equalized.

Sigurdsson came close again moments later with a second free kick that hit the inside of a post, but Lyon responded and extinguish any hopes of an Everton revival. As Maxwel Cornet turned back a ball across goal from the right-hand byline, a slight flick from Bertrand Traore in the middle was enough to secure all three points for the Ligue 1 club.

The defeat, which comes after a 3-game winless streak despite a huge amount of summer transfer activity amounting to well over £100m for the Toffees, further calls into question the future of coach Ronald Koeman with the club.

“We made too many mistakes,” the Dutchman said after the game. “It was thanks to Jordan Pickford that the score was only 2-1. We started well but made a really stupid fault after just five minutes.”

“I have no complaints, it was the right decision from the referee to give a penalty, but there were a lot more mistakes and bad decisions after that. That’s what we are looking at the moment: doubts, errors, and players without confidence. I know from my playing days what that does to you.”

“The final decision is by the board not myself,” Koeman then added regarding his position. “If the board thinks I am not the right man they will tell me.”