Tag Archives: Manchester United

Jose Mourinho: Eric Bailly dropped because he is not going to World Cup

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Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has said that Eric Bailly has been left out of selection in the past few weeks because Ivory Coast have not qualified for the World Cup.

Mourinho added that he was obligated to give his other four central defenders the chance to shine, because Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo and Victor Lindelöf are all striving to win a place in their national squads for Russia.

The Portuguese manager also denied reports of a rift or possible sale after Bailly has not played since the Manchester derby a month ago.

“There is no situation, Eric is fine,” he said. “In all honesty my work is not about the World Cup and preparing players for their national teams. I try to be a good team manager and that means being a little bit cold and selfish at times, but I am not as bad as all that and I still have space for a little bit of feeling.”

“If I have to make an emotional choice then Eric is the one I am not going to help. The other four are all fighting for a place.”

United will visit Brighton on Friday night with the home side knowing a victory would make Premier League survival mathematically certain, though Mourinho believes Chris Hughton has already done enough to keep his side up.

“Chris has done a very good job and all he needs to turn that into an amazing job is for safety to be mathematically confirmed,” he said. “Personally, I think Brighton have enough points already.”

Mourinho will also have the opportunity to give Anthony Martial or Marcus Rashford a rare start in the middle, because Romelu Lukaku is in Belgium for treatment on an ankle injury in an effort to be fit for the FA Cup final on 19 May.

“They have had limited opportunities because Romelu has been playing so well but I trust them both,” he said.

Man United striker Romelu Lukaku expected to be fit for Chelsea game

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Romelu Lukaku had a scan on his injured ankle on Monday, with the hope being that the Manchester United striker should be fit for the FA Cup final against Chelsea on 19 May.

The Belgian is expecting the scan results on Tuesday, although the initial diagnosis from the club’s medical department allowed optimism that the problem is minor and Lukaku can recover in time to face Antonio Conte’s team.

Lukaku, 24, is usually a quick healer and as he came off as soon as suffering the problem in the 50th minute of the 2-1 win against Arsenal at Old Trafford on Sunday it was not unduly aggravated.

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho said after the game: “When a player is injured I’m not immediately going for good or bad news.”

If Lukaku does recover as expected it will be a major boost for the United manager as he aims to claim a third major trophy in two seasons in charge. Lukaku is the club’s top scorer with 27 goals in all competitions, 16 of which have been in the Premier League.

United require four points from their three remaining matches to be sure of a second-place finish, which would a highest since the title win of five years ago.

Arsene Wenger praises ‘nice’ gesture from Manchester United

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Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger thanked Manchester United for his warm reception, joking before his team’s 2-1 defeat that he was no longer a “danger” to them.

Wenger, 68, completes 22 years of servitude at Arsenal at the end of the season, was managing them for the final time at Old Trafford.

To mark the occasion, Sir Alex Ferguson presented on United’s behalf a vase to the 68-year-old Frenchman before kick-off. Asked about his ovation as he walked along the touchline, Wenger said: “When you’re not a danger any more, people love you.

“I am thankful to Manchester United because they had a nice gesture. It is the first time I get a trophy before a game. It is very classy from them.”

Wenger fielded an inexperienced squad that was Arsenal’s youngest in the fixture since August 2011 and, after losing to an added-time Marouane Fellaini header, believes whoever succeeds him will take over a squad of depth.

“My successor will watch this game and hopefully he will come to a positive conclusion because I think they are the future of Arsenal football club – some, 100%,” Wenger said. “We had a very young team and the performance was positive.”

“The players are destroyed because they gave everything and were caught in the final minute. There were many question marks if we would be strong enough to fight but the quality was good, the spirit was good, many players stood up. We tired a bit in the last 20 minutes and were a bit more under pressure. It was a negative result and a positive performance.”

Paul Pogba opened the scoring on 16 minutes before Henrikh Mkhitaryan equalised against his former club on 51 minutes.

Victory puts United in pole position for a second-place finish with 77 points with three games remaining, although Romelu Lukaku’s foot injury later in the second half is of concern with the FA Cup final on 19 May.

Pochettino: FA Cup victory would not change Tottenham’s life

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Mauricio Pochettino says that an FA Cup triumph this season would not change Tottenham’s life, as he looked ahead to Saturday’s semi-final against Manchester United.

“It would be fantastic to win the FA Cup,” the Argentinian said.

“But is it going to change our life? I don’t believe so. Every one of the semi‑finalists will fight to win but it’s not about who needs the trophy more.”

Tottenham have lost their previous seven FA Cup semi-finals — the most recent being the one last season against Chelsea. That defeat still hurts Pochettino but he remains consumed by the pursuit of glory in the Premier League or Champions League.

“If we are capable to win the Premier League and the Champions League, it is a moment you say the team has improved and reached the next level,” Pochettino added. “ To win the FA Cup or the League Cup — it will be fantastic for the fans but it is not going to move the club to a different level.”

“That is my opinion. Some people respect it; some people don’t. I want to play to win the Premier League and Champions League. If we can win the FA Cup, then fantastic. But if you are going to change the vision or put the club in a different level, you must compete for and then win the Premier League and Champions League.”

“People in England love to talk about perception and the changing of perceptions. We had a good Champions League group stage this season — beating Dortmund and Real Madrid — and we competed very well against Juventus [in the last 16]. The dimension of the club around the world changes completely [because of that].”