Category Archives: Europa League

Jose Mourinho: Premier League “doesn’t care” about Europe

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Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho claimed that the Premier League does not allow concessions because they “doesn’t care” about helping teams in Europe.

The Red Devils play Crystal Palace in their last Premier League game this Sunday, just three days before their Europa League final against Ajax Amsterdam.

It is an important fixture against Ajax in Stockholm as the result would determine if Mourinho’s team gets a place in the Champions League next season.

Mourinho claimed that “in any country in the world,” the match against Crystal Palace at Old Trafford can be played on Saturday instead because it is meaningless for both clubs, with Palace having secured their own survival and United guaranteed a sixth place place finish.

However, it is a completely different case in England however as Mourinho said there had never been any concessions to clubs that go far in European competitions.

“We are sixth, Crystal Palace are safe, it doesn’t matter,” Mourinho said. “I think after the moment Crystal Palace beat Hull City and Hull City is relegated and Swansea is safe – in that moment, our match has to be Saturday. In any country in the world, it would be Saturday.”

“I am here already seven years and I never saw any detail of trying to care about the English teams involved in European competitions. I never saw that with Chelsea, I never saw that with Manchester United, I never saw that with Manchester City last year. It’s just a lost battle.”

As United approached the games ahead with an injury-depleted squad, Mourinho announced that he would play some of Nicky Butt’s academy youngsters.

“It’s frustrating for me,” he added. “I hope you don’t kill me when you see my team. I hope the fans at Old Trafford support the team, they forgive some naivety, they forgive some lack of confidence. And I hope that Big Sam [Allardyce] shows he’s a good friend and he goes slow. He tells to Zaha to go slow, he leaves Benteke at home. I hope he goes soft on us.”

Returning Fellaini edges United into Europa League final

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Marouane Fellaini returned from injury and scored a vital goal against Celta Vigo to book a place for Manchester United against Ajax in the Europa League final.

Celta began the game on the front foot, dominating possession and making countless offensive pushes to keep the hosts busy at Old Trafford.

But Fellaini, who had been out for weeks with a toe injury, headed home an expertly delivered cross from Marcus Rashford in the 17th minute to give United a solid advantage against Celta.

Still, Celta equalised late on 85 minutes with a header from Facundo Roncaglia, setting up an extremely nervy stoppage time for both teams.

Fuel was added to fire as a mass brawl ensued almost immediately after. United’s Eric Bailly was sent off with a straight red for a swipe at Celta striker John Guidetti, while Celta’s goalscorer Roncaglia was also given his marching orders for retaliating.

Six minutes of time was added as a result of the melee which almost involved every player on the field, meaning that Celta still had one more chance to get Celta into the final instead.

However, as Guidetti himself scuffed a golden chance to put the visitors through to their first major European final with the final kick of the game, United players were able to celebrate with relief their first entry into the Europa League final, and one step closer to their goal of making it into the Champions League next season.

As the Red Devils move a step closer to their first Europa League triumph, the downside for United is that they will have to do without Eric Bailly in the final against Dutch powerhouse Ajax in Stockholm on 24 May.

Marcus Rashford free-kick gives Man United away goal lead

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Manchester United took a slim away goal advantage in their Europa League semi-final against Celta Vigo thanks to a superb free-kick from Marcus Rashford.

For much of the game, Manchester United had suppressed the home side but failed to capitalise on their best chances in northern Spain — three times they came close in the first half, only to be denied by home goalkeeper Sergio Alvarez.

Celta then slowly grew into the game and started making chances – both Daniel Wass and Iago Aspas headed wide while Pione Sisto’s deflected shot forced Sergio Romero to save in the second half.

As United slowly rue their missed chances, Rashford turned the game around by bending a free-kick to Alvarez’s far corner.

While there is a second leg to play, United are still on course for what could define their campaign next season.

As the Red Devils now linger outside the Premier League’s top four — a point behind Manchester City and four off third-placed Liverpool — the Europa League perhaps represents their best opportunity of earning a place in next season’s Champions League.

Indeed, United coach Jose Mourinho said before the game that he wants the trophy to complete United’s trophy cupboard, and that he would do so even if it meant resting key players in remaining Premier League fixtures.

“The Europa League is the only competition Manchester United as a club have never won,” Mourinho said. “It would be great to close the circle and say we are a club that has won every single competition in the football world.”

“So the Europa League has become, for us, more important. Of course it depends on the result and the way we analyse the situation after the match, but if we have to rest players next weekend, we are going to that.”

Manchester United loses lead late to Anderlecht

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Manchester United would be left contemplating their missed chances as a late mistake allowed Anderlecht to draw their match by 1-1 ahead of the return leg in Old Trafford.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan grabbed the opener for United clever finish from a tight angle gave him his 10th goal of the season.

With eight minutes left from half-time it meant that United would go into the break with the wind in their stride, against hosts who looked very much subdued as Anderlecht’s young team, deprived of possession were only restricted to efforts from distance.

But as the Armenian missed a side-foot effort and Paul Pogba shot straight at the opposition keeper, they were left vulnerable to an equalizer.

It then finally came for Anderlecht as 21-year-old Leander Dendoncker got in front of Matteo Darmian to head an equaliser with the Belgian side’s first effort on goal four minutes from time.

The result meant that coach Jose Mourinho was left to rue the failure of his attackers to be clinical in front of Anderlecht’s goal.

“If I was a Manchester United defender I would be very upset with the attacking players,” Mourinho said. “They did the serious work. The people who had to kill the game didn’t.”

“It is the same problem (against other teams in the Europa League,” added Mourinho. “We had control, we had chances, but we do not score enough goals. In my poor English, I cannot find a better word than sloppy. You have to play more seriously.”

Nonetheless, with an away goal advantage United will still have the better chance chances of advancing to the quarter-finals at Old Trafford next week.

Still, with more dangerous opponents elsewhere in the draw — notably Lyon and Schalke — similar mistakes could easily derail their progress to May’s final.