Mourinho, Heynckes, and more reaction from Munich

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Important people are talking. How important are the things they’re saying? We’ll let you judge.

Here’s the reaction after today’s match in Munich, Bayern Munich getting a late goal to take a 2-1 edge on Real Madrid:

  • “It’s a pity that we conceded at the end as until then we had defended well but it’s over now.. We also managed to score which is obviously very important. We both had chances. We have to score at home in the second leg, simple as that.” – Iker Casillas, goalkeeper, Real Madrid (via UEFA)
  • “It’s the first defeat in this Champions League for us but it’s not one that leaves me with negative feelings. We lost away from home in what was a good game. It was a typical Champions League semi-final.” – José Morounho, head coach, Real Madrid (via UEFA)
  • “We have the second leg to come and it’s not like we have to make a historical comeback – what we have to do is very achievable. If we win at home 1-0, 2-0, 3-1 we are there. I am optimistic we can return here to play the final.” – Mourinho (via UEFA)
  • “I think it was a good game – to play and to watch. We knew Real are capable of scoring lots of goals and it’s a pity we conceded. We’ll have some chances in the return leg and we have to make the most of them.” – Franck Ribéry, left wing, Bayern Munich (via UEFA)
  • “We delivered the things I asked of my team. We showed passion, desire and were hungry for success, which is exactly what you need in the semi-finals of the Champions League.” – Jupp Heynckes, head coach, Bayern Munich (via UEFA)
  • “First goal is a clear offside but it’s a mistake I don’t critic, I accept it. No negative feeling for this.” – Mourinho (via @filippomricci)
  • “The winning goal is what Mario Gomez is all about. He needs crosses; he anticipates them very well. He ran a lot, tried to win every ball, and was very strong. But the best player on the pitch was Franck Ribéry.” – Heynckes (via UEFA)

Henry, Aguero discuss playing up top under Pep

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One great striker got another one to open up on an up-and-down year at Manchester City.

Thierry Henry — one of the greatest of all-time, it must be said — sat down with Sergio Aguero ahead of Thursday’s Manchester Derby at the Etihad Stadium, and asked the Argentine about Pep Guardiola, Gabriel Jesus, and more.

[ PL PREVIEW: Manchester Derby ]

At times, it’s a fascinating discussion on playing lone striker. Even apart from the obligatory questions regarding Jesus’ arrival at City, Henry and Aguero speak their craft in a manner you don’t see too often.

That’s helped by the fact that Henry played for Guardiola at Barcelona, and can relate to the positional demands of Man City’s boss. Consider this exchange, from Sky Sports:

HENRY: When I was at Arsenal, I played up front and if I wanted to drift out to the left, I could. But when I got to Barca, I had to stay out wide and press. Sometimes doing that can be hard.

AGUERO: The thing I’ve found the hardest has been getting into my head the fact that I have to press the centre-back and the goalkeeper in matches. That’s what Pep asks me to do. It may not be a big deal, but in terms of processing it, the two of us speak a lot. He knows what I’m like.

I’ve been gradually learning and adapting to that style of pressing over the last few months. The first thing he taught me was how to press and how to do it well. Obviously there are times when I might drift out of position or I might press in an area where I’m not supposed to be, which might make it hard for the wingers or midfielders.

In the game itself, I may not realise because I’m so immersed and you can’t stop yourself. I’ve learnt a lot from him in terms of zones. He asks me to play as a No 9 and to stay in that position. I often drift out wide during matches and he looks at me and says, “If there’s a player out wide who wants to cross it in, who’s in there? Nobody.”

HENRY: I know all about that, believe you me.

I love this, because it shows how difficult it is for an elite striker to adapt his mentality. Both Henry and Aguero found world-celebrated success by playing in a certain fashion, and Guardiola understood that and still demanded a change. Earlier this season, the manager somewhat famously spoke of improving Aguero.

Aguero has been linked with Real Madrid given the tumult at City.

PHOTO: Liverpool unveils 125th anniversary kit for next season

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Liverpool rolled out its 125th anniversary kit, featuring a special crest to celebrate the occasion.

The Liver bird has 1892 on one side and 2017 on the other, with “125 YEARS” spelled out underneath the club’s emblem.

[ PL PREVIEW: Manchester Derby ]

The red shirt with a gold crest has a white V-neck and white at the ends of the sleeves. The goalkeeper kit is green.

The jersey will be available on May 19, and was announced last month.

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Jara’s goal lifts Pachuca to CONCACAF Champions League crown

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Hirving Lozano’s dipping shot rebounded into the path of Franco Jara, who scored the goal that won Pachuca its fifth CONCACAF Championship early Thursday morning.

The Argentine’s goal was the only one of the win over UANL Tigres, and gave Pachuca its first continental title since 2009-10. USMNT veteran Omar Gonzalez played for the winners, while Jose Torres started for Tigres.

[ PL PREVIEW: Manchester Derby ]

Major League Soccer teams were eliminated in the semifinals, with FC Dallas falling to Pachuca and Vancouver Whitecaps losing to Tigres.

Beginning with the 2017-18 tournament, qualified MLS and Liga MX teams will not enter the tournament until the Round of 16. The entire tournament will be held in the same calendar year.

USMNT: Brooks out with hip strain; World Cup qualifiers loom

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John Brooks is out of Hertha Berlin’s lineup “for the time being” after scans revealed a hip strain suffered in this weekend’s win over Wolfsburg.

That’s all Hertha has said, and that makes it hard to imagine whether American fans should be a little concerned or very concerned ahead of the USMNT’s World Cup qualifiers against Mexico, and Trinidad and Tobago in early June.

Brooks was unavailable for two weeks with an adductor strain in September, missing a month before returning to the starting lineup.

The U.S. center back pool isn’t teeming after Brooks and Geoff Cameron. Matt Besler, Tim Ream, Omar Gonzalez, and Walker Zimmerman were called up for the last World Cup qualifiers, and Gonzalez struggled but is a Bruce Arena favorite from their time in L.A.