After the storm that greeted his appointment as Sunderland boss, this was a pretty good way for Paolo Di Canio to enhance his popularity with the club’s fans.
Sunderland eased their Premier League relegation fears with a stunning 3-0 win away to local rivals Newcastle United in Di Canio’s second game in charge.
The first was a hard-working but slightly unlucky 2-1 defeat to Chelsea last Sunday. This was a huge victory that puts Sunderland three points clear of 18th-placed Wigan.
Derbies demand passion, and Di Canio certainly delivers. On the touchline he was as animated as some of Newcastle’s players.
Stephane Sessegnon opened the scoring from distance after 27 minutes and strikes from Adam Johnson and substitute David Vaughan in the final sixteen minutes put shine on the scoreline. Newcastle, now two points above Sunderland, had a Papiss Cisse effort contentiously ruled out for offside with the score at 0-1.
It was Sunderland’s first win at St James’s Park since November, 2000, and their biggest at that stadium since February, 1979.
“Our plan worked extremely well, hitting Newcastle on the counter-attack. We were so disappointed with our second-half display against Chelsea last week when we gave two sloppy second half goals away,” said Sunderland captain John O’Shea, according to the BBC.
“This is for the previous manager [Martin O’Neill] as well. The new manager has come in, and a new manager always has a positive effect. You can see what type of character he is on the sidelines. This result is a massive step in the right direction, but we’ve got five more massive games to come.”
Next up for Sunderland: a home game with Everton on Saturday. Then come two intriguing fixtures against relegation-threatened clubs: away to Aston Villa and at home to Stoke City.
Enough with the speculation and reports already, because it’s finally officially official: Jurgen Klopp has been appointed the newest manager of Liverpool Football Club, the Merseyside club announced on Thursday.
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Klopp will be unveiled to the world at an introductory press conference at Anfield on Friday.
According to early reports, Klopp’s three-year contract could pay him as much as $10 million per season.
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The 48-year-old German has been out of work since stepping down at Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund following a seventh-place finish to the 2014-15 season. Klopp’s seven seasons in charge of Dortmund weren’t without success and silverware, though, as he led Der BVB to back-to-back league titles in 2011 and 2012, a German Cup triumph in 2012 and a UEFA Champions League final appearance in 2013.
Jose Mourinho got the
dreaded much-needed vote of confidence from Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich last weekend, seemingly giving the Portuguese manager a temporary stay of execution despite the Blues’ worst start to a season in 37 years.
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Speaking this week, Mourinho has revealed that while he’s thankful to have been kept on at the club for which he regularly professes his love, he still thinks it was no-brainer for Abramovich. In other words, Mourinho’s not backing down from his incredible, seven-minute rant to one question following Saturday’s defeat to Southampton.
Mourinho, on what he’s doing to turn Chelsea around — quotes from the Guardian:
“It shows the confidence of Abramovich in the manager who has won three Premier League titles with this club. I thank him and I keep working.
“What’s going on? I do not know. The results with Chelsea at the moment have been really bad. I cannot hide that reality, and I don’t want to. And I struggle to find an explanation. But I assure you: I’m working like never before and we will come out of this. And there is also the Champions League that we will not neglect, for certain.”
What did you expect from Mourinho? Well, you know, I should probably be fired, but thanks to Mr. Abramovich for not realizing this and keeping me employed? It’s simultaneously interesting and the least surprising thing ever, though, that Mourinho claims to not know what’s wrong with Chelsea at the moment. Of course he has a theory (or five), and of course he’s “working like never before” to correct it.
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The most fascinating thing about Chelsea’s sluggish start to the season is to see, hear and read Mourinho speaking from a position of powerlessness. Always the clever one, the one dictating where the discussion goes, the one in charge of every press interaction, Saturday’s rant felt like watching a desperate Mourinho grasping for anything by which to pull himself back up.