Can Moyes bring success to United after Fergie time?

Manchester United signs David Moyes to 6-year contract; Praise for the Scot ensues

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After careful planning and some early gaffs, Manchester United confirmed the appointment of David Moyes as new manager of the club following Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.

The Everton manager penned a six-year contract with United that is set to begin on July 1st meaning his first official game will be the August 11th Community Shield match against either Manchester City or Wigan.

Moyes’ contract at Everton was up for renewal on June 30th and for months the Scot resisted renewing, claiming the delay was due to everything from a desire to manage abroad to wanting to see whether the Toffees could qualify for Europe. All that went out the door on Friday when Moyes signed with United, confirming the 50 year old as the successor to Ferguson’s 27 year reign.

Speaking about his appointment as United’s new manager, Moyes said: “I am delighted that Sir Alex [Ferguson] saw fit to recommend me for the job. I have great respect for everything he has done and for the football club.

“I know how hard it will be to follow the best manager ever, but the opportunity to manage Manchester United isn’t something that comes around very often and I’m really looking forward to taking up the post next season.”

Moyes looked back on his time at Goodison Park fondly, noting his connection to chairman Bill Kenwright, the board, the players and the fans. “I have had a terrific job at Everton, with a tremendous chairman and board of directors and a great set of players,” the Scot said. “Between now and the end of the season, I will do everything in my power to make sure we finish as high as possible in the table.

“Everton’s fantastic fans have played a big part in making my years at Goodison so enjoyable and I thank them wholeheartedly for the support they have given me and the players. Everton will be close to me for the rest of my life.”

Ferguson, who will remain at United in a director and ambassador role, welcomed Moyes to Old Trafford declaring that the Everton manager was the only choice to replace him. “When we discussed the candidates that we felt had the right attributes we unanimously agreed on David Moyes,” said Ferguson.

“David is a man of great integrity with a strong work ethic. I’ve admired his work for a long time and approached him as far back as 1998 to discuss the position of Assistant Manager here. He was a young man then at the start of his career and has since gone on to do a magnificent job at Everton. There is no question he has all the qualities we expect of a manager at this Club.”

With the announcement of Moyes taking over at United, praise was heaped on the Scot from all corners of the Premier League. Here are some notable quotes:

Sir Bobby Charlton:

“I have always said that we wanted the next manager to be a genuine Manchester United man. In David Moyes, we have someone who understands the things that make this such a special club. We have secured a man who is committed to the long-term and will build teams for the future as well as now. Stability breeds success.”

United Chief Executive, Ed Woodward:

“In David Moyes, we have secured the services of an outstanding manager who has all the skills to build on the phenomenal legacy in place today. I have no doubt that he will bring an energy and commitment to deliver winning football that is part of the fabric of this Club.  In this respect, he is cut from the same cloth as the Old Trafford greats who go before him.”

Joel Glazer:

“[Moyes’] hard working style and steely determination are characteristics we value at the Club.  He has impressed as a coach for many years now and we strongly believe he will be able to take up from where Alex is leaving off by continuing this Club’s tradition of flair football played by exciting, world class players.”

Avie Glazer:

“The search for a new manager has been very short.  Alex was very clear with his recommendation and we are delighted that David has agreed to accept the job.   He comes to us with excellent credentials and a strong track record.”

Chelsea interim manager, Rafael Benitez:

“It is not easy to find someone like [Moyes] but he has experience in the Premier League, he knows the players, he knows the club and what it means in the Premier League, time will tell.”

Manchester United midfielder, Michael Carrick:

“I think he [Moyes] has obviously done a terrific job at Everton. . . . All the players who have played for him all enjoy playing with him and say good things about him, obviously enough for him to get the chance to be the manager of this great club.”

Aston Villa manager, Paul Lambert:

“I think if anyone can do it and enjoy it and keep the continuity there I think David Moyes can do it. He’s been sensational at Everton and I think he’ll handle it no problem.”

Former teammate and player for David Moyes, Kevin Kilbane:

“His connection with Sir Alex Ferguson is the key to the appointment. . . . He will fit in to the structure of Manchester United and their long term plan and he will be willing to seek advice and assurances from Sir Alex. . . . He is a wonderful man and a good manager and coach. It’s a worthy appointment.”

Everton chairman, Bill Kenwright:

“We’ve had a really good 11-year adventure with David. It’s my job – and the club’s job – to get a worthy successor. It’s been an extraordinary 24 hours.”

Former Liverpool striker, Robbie Fowler:

“Everton fans: now you know why the contract was run down… Has been a work in progress for a long time.”

Former Manchester United defender, Dennis Irwin:

“I think David Moyes will be very similar to Sir Alex, a tough old Scot from the same mould. . . . Wisely the club have listened to the manager and the heirachy and now we’ve got David Moyes, I’m sure he’ll do a fantastic job.

Everton defender, Phil Jagielka:

“Like the rest of the squad I have nothing but the highest regard for David Moyes. . . . He is a first-class operator on and off the training ground and on behalf of the players I would like to place on record my thanks for the work he has done improving the team.”

With the Manchester United’s confirmation of the hiring, the focus now shifts to Everton where a wide range of candidates are in consideration for the post.

MORE: With David Moyes bound for United, who’s next in line for Everton? 

La Liga roundup: Barcelona, Atleti, Real Madrid separated by one point

Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic, left, celebrates with teammate Jordi Alba, second left, after scoring against Betis during their La Liga soccer match at the Benito Villamarin stadium, in Seville, Spain on Saturday, April. 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Angel Fernandez)
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A roundup of the weekend’s action in Spain’s top flight…

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s La Liga coverage ]

Real Betis 0-2 Barcelona

Barcelona wobbled; they stumbled; they even went down to one knee so as to avoid being knocked out a couple weeks ago. From nine points ahead with fewer than 10 games remaining in the season, to suddenly level on points with Atletico Madrid, the season was slipping away, and in stepped Luis Suarez with back-to-back four-goal games to end a three-game losing streak, followed by Saturday’s 2-0 away triumph over Real Betis.

Ivan Rakitic (50th minute) and Suarez (81st minute – 35 league goals, 15 assists) provided the goals for Luis Enrique’s side with absolutely zero margin for error between now and the end of the season two weeks down the road. The math is simple: if Barca win their remaining two games, they’ll be crowned champions for a second consecutive season, all thanks due to their obscene goal differential.

Atletico Madrid 1-0 Rayo Vallecano

How much longer can Atleti keep hold of Antoine Griezmann, Los Rojiblancos‘ brilliant talisman for the last two seasons (43 goals, 6 assists combined)? Still just 25 years old, the Frenchman is a surefire top-10 player in the world right now, and will surely be the subject interest from Europe’s freest-spending clubs once again this summer.

Griezmann bagged the only goal in Atleti’s 1-0 home victory over Rayo Vallecano on Sunday, keeping the Spanish capital’s “other” side level on points with Barca. It was a stunning strike that, in a just world, would wipe away 10 or 15 of Barca’s 31-goal advantage in the goal-differential column.

Real Sociedad 0-1 Real Madrid

“Hey! Hey, guys! Don’t forget about us!” It must be so difficult to be a Real Madrid fan right now, what with Barca and Atleti currently sitting first and second, and everyone seemingly forgetting about Los Blancos and the fact they’re a measly point behind their two most hated rivals. Sure, it’ll require a fatal slip-up by both of the sides ahead of them, but stranger things have happened.

Saturday’s 1-0 victory away to Real Sociedad saw Zinedine Zidane push his record as first-team manager of Madrid to 15W-2D-1L in league play (47 points – best in La Liga during that period). With Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema once again out injured, Gareth Bale scored the game’s only goal with fewer than a dozen minutes remaining in regular time.

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Barcelona 36 27 4 5 104 29 75 15-1-2 12-3-3 85
Atlético Madrid 36 27 4 5 60 16 44 14-3-1 13-1-4 85
Real Madrid 36 26 6 4 105 32 73 15-1-2 11-5-2 84

Elsewhere in La Liga

Valencia vs. Villarreal (ongoing)
Athletic Bilbao 2-1 Celta Vigo
Espanyol 1-0 Sevilla
Granada 3-2 Las Palmas
Deportiov La Coruña 0-2 Getafe
Sporting Gijon 2-0 Eibar

Fan at Turkish soccer game invades pitch, gets kicked in the face by a player

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A fan at a game in the second tier of Turkish soccer found out the hard way why it’s a bad idea to run onto the field and cause trouble.

In the second half of Saturday’s matchup between 2nd placed Karabukspor and 6th placed Elazigspor, a number of fans ran onto the field. In the fracas, one of the pitch invaders ran at the referee and threw something at him. In response, as the usher tries to grab the fan, a player comes in and throws a flying kung-fu kick to the fan’s face. The kick ends up catching him in the face, and there’s some collateral damage as the usher takes a bit of the attack as well.

The “weapon” the fan possesses appears to be a wooden spoon, and he has two of them (seriously? who has not one but two wooden spoons at a soccer game?). He throws the first at the ref – which misses – and then in an attempt to defend himself, he throws the second at the player, which connects mid-kick.

Turkish soccer has struggled to prevent fans and players from interacting violently. Last week, a top flight match between Trabzonspor and Fenerbahce – two big clubs in Turkish soccer – was abandoned in injury time when a fan brutally attacked a referee.

VIDEO: Louis van Gaal has animated post-match reaction to Fellaini incident vs. Leicester City

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Louis Van Gaal has his own, very unique style in describing big moments in matches. Geoff Shreeves surely knows this each and every time he goes to interview the Manchester United boss.

And yet, he continues to show us something new each and every time.

During the first half of Manchester United’s match with Leicester City at Old Trafford on Sunday, Marouane Fellaini and Robert Huth had a confrontation during a corner. Replays showed that Huth grabbed Fellaini’s hair at the same time the Belgian threw an elbow at the Leicester defender. Van Gaal was obviously focused on Huth’s misgivings.

[ RECAP: Leicester City guts out 1-1 draw at Old Trafford, can win Premier League on Monday ]

In an attempt to convey his feelings, Van Gaal grabbed Shreeves’ hair, saying, “When you see what Huth is doing with Fellaini, that’s a penalty. Shall I grab you with your hair, what is your reaction? Your hair is much shorter than Fellaini’s, but when I do that, what are you doing then?”

It got weirder. Much weirder. Van Gaal continued to say, “I think that’s a normal reaction. Every human being who is grabbed with the hair…only with sex masochism, then it is allowed, but not in other situations.”

Southampton 4-2 Manchester City: Southampton carves up City behind Mane hat-trick, Tadic service

during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Manchester City at St Mary's Stadium on May 1, 2016 in Southampton, England.
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Manchester City clearly had one eye on the Champions League semifinals. It came at the expense of their chances to remain in the competition next year.

The visitors at St. Mary’s had the opportunity to lock up Champions League play next season with all three points, but instead Manuel Pellegrini rested a number of starters including Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne, and Southampton ripped them apart in a 4-2 win. Saido Mane grabbed a hat-trick and Dusan Tadic had a trio of assists as their attack swarmed a mistake-prone and clearly distracted Manchester City.

Both sides had spells in the opening 20 minutes, but Southampton appeared more dangerous. Shane Long made multiple appearances in front of the Manchester City goal, picking the pocket of Pablo Zabaleta to earn a corner on 15 minutes and shooting just wide of the near post in the 19th minute.

Frasier Forster was required to keep the game scoreless in the 20th minute as Kelechi Iheanacho stole the ball from Virgil van Djik on the touchline and found Raheem Sterling in space inside the box, but his shot was saved expertly by Forster.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

It would be the in-form Long to take the lead in the 25th minute on a beautiful bit of play. A fantastic ball over the top of the City defense fell to a streaking Dusan Tadic, and his flick over the top met a sliding Shane Long, who beat Nicolas Otamendi for the opener.

They’d get a second just four minutes later on yet another sweet-looking goal, with Tadic getting yet another assist with a perfectly weighted ball for Saido Mane, who smacked it by Joe Hart from a tight angle.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Southampton continued to press and hold much of the meaningful possession, but Manchester City refused to capitulate, scoring a lifeline before halftime. With the ball in the Southampton penalty area, Cuco Martino saw the ball skip off his thigh and pop into the air, where Iheanacho latched onto it and headed it into the net.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

It was a tough way for the hosts to go into halftime, as they had dominated much of the first half, but no matter, as they made amends. Following the break, Southampton restored their two-goal lead off a corner in the 57th minute as Van Djik’s header was tipped by Joe Hart off the crossbar. Jose Fonte whiffed at the rebound but Mane was there from point blank range to give Southampton a 3-1 lead.

Mane would complete his hat-trick in the 68th minute. Van Djik won the ball in the Southampton half to start the break, and Tadic picked up his third assist of the match as he slotted Mane through on goal for yet another clinical finish.

Manchester City got another back as Iheanacho bagged his second in the 79th minute with a wonderful curler from outside the box, but it was too little too late for the visitors.

Both teams fought until the final whistle, and it could have cost Jesus Navas his fitness as the Spaniard seemingly picked up a serious limp in the final few minutes.