Apparently stung, David Beckham hits back at league, critics

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Seems that some people never remember the “first rule of holes.” So let’s review:

“When you find yourself in one, stop digging!”

David Beckham recently got himself suspended for a match for lashing out. I say, we’ve mowed that particular patch of grass. A lot. So let’s just move on.

Only, as he returned this week Beckham wasn’t quite ready to move on, taking some verbal jabs at the league, at referees and at his critics – and his comments carry a hint of entitlement and some lacking self-awareness.

Did I deserve a yellow card? Yeah, I probably did deserve a yellow card. Because of my reaction. But did I deserve the second game? That’s for other people to talk about, and other people talk about it very well, by the way.”

Oh? Not happy that people are discussing you, your kind and your situations? Also known as, “The very reason you’re here!”

Where to start with that one?  If you sign up to be the face of the league, you’re the face of the league in good times and bad.  You can’t get paid all that money and then ask the cameras to stop rolling whenever the light becomes less flattering.

More generally, a man who fits as many TV commercials, runways slots and cover model shots into his life as humanly possible, and a man who builds a brand that pretty much prints currency, does not get to complain when people talk about him. Those are the rules. He should know so; he’s been in this game forever.

When asked about critics who felt the one-game ban was too light, that perhaps three or four games was more commensurate with his actions, he had this to say.

Yeah, well, they’re the jealous ones, unfortunately. They’re the ones that like to sit in front of the TV and discuss my life even when I’m not playing the game. Maybe I’m at a tennis game – they like to discuss that. There’s people that maybe like to get in the limelight a little too much.”

I’m on the record as saying one game was right. But c’mon! He’s playing the limelight card? That’s the same one he plays with referees who don’t acquiesce to his demands on the field. He accuses them of wanting to be “star of the show.”

Maybe. There is some ego involved in refereeing. And certainly in my business, too.

But there’s another way of looking at it, Mr. Beckham. Maybe these mere mortals are just doing their jobs.

Referees blow the whistle and enforce the rules; so, yes, sometimes they have to make you behave. You’ve been granted more leniency than anyone in MLS, so don’t take it there.

Journalists, bloggers and TV analysts do their thing, too. We talk about all the players. Or haven’t you noticed?

Beckham lashed out against San Jose two weeks ago. He lost his cool. He got tagged by the league for it. That stuff happens. All he had to do was take his medicine like a big boy, come back and play nice and all would be forgiven. His latest comments, falling on the bitter side, just keep it all in the news cycle a little longer.

Now that I’ve had my say, please excuse me. I have to go bask in my limelight.

Now, just where did I put that doggone limelight?

Pressure builds on Borussia Dortmund manager Peter Bosz

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Borussia Dortmund has fallen to fifth in the Bundesliga table thanks to a trio of consecutive losses in league play, and suddenly there is loads of pressure on manager Peter Bosz.

The Dutchman came to Westfalenstadion after upper management pushed Thomas Tuchel out over the summer, and while he won seven of his first eight league matches in charge by a total goal differential of 21-2, things have come crashing down. The black & yellow have lost three in a row Bundesliga matches and four of their last five across all competitions, with their only win in that span coming over third-tier Magdenburg.

With fans feeling helpless over the departure of the wildly successful Tuchel that came as a result of a falling out between the German and his superiors, Bosz would always be on a short leash. He inherited a flawed squad, yet one that had achieved much under his predecessor, and immediate failures would naturally be lumped on the new man.

The most recent defeat, a 2-1 falter at Stuttgart, was a microcosm of Dortmund’s recent failures. The team conceded a comically poor goal five minutes into the match, worked hard to equalize just before the halftime break, and conceded again just after returning to the pitch. They controlled much of the match, but largely failed to capitalize.

The head man summed it up pretty well. “The defeat really hurts,” Bosz proclaimed after the final whistle. “We came here to win, so we’re very disappointed. When you see the goals we conceded, it borders on the ridiculous. It hurts because we actually put in a relatively good performance in the first half. The team performed well after conceding the early goal, only the final ball was lacking. The second half wasn’t as good. We need to keep going, we won’t give up.”

So what do the Dortmund executives do? Does Bosz get the benefit of the doubt based on performances? Or does he get blamed for the sudden dropoff in results? There is plenty of pressure given the team sits not only nine points back of Borussia Dortmund in league play, but is also third in a brutal Champions League group with almost no hope of recovery, and even threatens to miss out on a drop to Europa League play if they slip behind Cypriot club Apoel Nicosia, whom they find themselves level on points with.

Even if the club sticks with the Dutchman for now, his room for error has almost completely evaporated and it’s only mid-November. The next two matches will likely tell the tale, and it’s an uphill battle. Tottenham comes to Westfalenstadion on the backs of a disappointing defeat to North London foes Arsenal, followed by the home end of the Rivierderby against a Schalke side that sits second in the Bundesliga table, three points above Bosz and Dortmund.

Antonio Conte calls Tony Pulis a “really good manager”

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West Brom, after four straight defeats, sits 17th in the Premier League table, most recently suffering a 4-0 dismantling at the hands of Chelsea.

Yet Blues boss Antonio Conte has offered his counterpart an olive branch, supporting his fellow Premier League manager at a time of panic.

With reports that Pulis could be fired this coming week – some say as early as Monday – the Baggies boss is under heaps of pressure, but Conte doesn’t believe he should be. “I must be honest, I think Tony Pulis is a really good manager,” Conte said, hoping those in charge don’t make decisions based on Sunday’s result.

“He has great experience and it’s always very difficult to play against his team. This game became easy because we started very strong, with great concentration and desire to win. We showed from the start our will to win this game. But I repeat: Last season we struggled a lot against them.”

West Brom has lost four in a row in league play, and they haven’t picked up a win since August, and as The Guardian points out, they have the lowest average possession in the Premier League and have the second-lowest shots on target thus far. They registered just two shots on target against Chelsea, and held 39% possession, which is actually slightly above their average for the season.

Sergio Ramos suffers broken nose in Atletico Madrid draw

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Real Madrid trails Barcelona by 10 points in the La Liga title race just 12 matches in, and now they will have to play catch-up without their best defender.

Club captain Sergio Ramos suffered a broken nose after being accidentally kicked in the face by teammate Lucas Hernandez during the first half of Madrid’s 0-0 draw with cross-town rivals Atletico Madrid. He received treatment and remained on the field, but he was withdrawn at halftime.

Manager Zinedine Zidane was unable to give a timetable for Ramos’s return.

Ramos said via Twitter, alongside some graphic images of his bloody nose, “I would bleed a thousand times for this badge and this shirt. Thanks for your support. I’ll be back in no time.”

Up next for Madrid is Champions League group match against Cypriot club Apoel midweek before a league game against Malaga at home. Athletic Bilbao and Borussia Dortmund are also on the horizon. A masked Sergio Ramos could be in our midst soon.

Real Madrid has not lost a league match without Ramos since March of 2015, but they drew their only game this season with Ramos suspended, a 2-2 home split with Valencia.

Moyes roasts West Ham players after loss to Watford

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After his first game in charge of West Ham, David Moyes thought he had a better squad. Apparently he was mistaken.

A 2-0 loss to Watford gave Moyes a rude awakening as he looks to replace Slaven Bilic and pull the Hammers out of the relegation zone. He was not pleased with his players.

“Overall, that level of performance will not be good enough,” Moyes told reporters after the match.

He wasn’t done.

“I thought this was a big job, but there were some players with big reputations who disappointed me. There were some who I thought would show me more, and why they play for the team regularly. They need to show me, ‘If that’s your reputation, show me why you’ve got it.'”

He backtracked slightly, agreeing that the players are in a difficult position changing managers, but ultimately that excuse wasn’t enough for him. “It’s tough for the players – I could sense that – but I didn’t enjoy our performance in the end. I didn’t enjoy us giving the ball away too cheaply, too many times and I expected us to do better.”

Moyes even called out striker Andy Carroll, saying he removed the England international because he feared Carroll would pick up a second yellow card. Carroll could have been carded seven seconds into the match, leaving Marvin Zeegelaar with a bloody nose after an elbow to the face, something Carroll has been sent off for earlier this season. He was eventually given one in the 28th minute.

“I thought we defended OK,” Moyes said, “but then we gave away cheap goals by getting bundled off the ball and we didn’t really deal with it. We didn’t do well enough in all departments at different times.”

That’s about as ruthless as you’ll ever hear the mild-mannered David Moyes, and all West Ham players should beware that their places in the team are in jeopardy.