Newell’s Old Boys.
That’s the career path for new Atlanta boss Tata Martino, announced Wednesday as the first manager in United history.
It’s a fascinating hire for the club and its league, Major League Soccer, as United prepares to debut in 2017.
And it’s also interesting on account of the coach. The 53-year-old Argentine remains in his prime, a three-time Copa America runner-up who was organizing Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Xavi and company just three years ago.
Timothy Pratt filed a report on the hiring for the New York Times on Wednesday, one that speaks to Martino’s excitement at helping start a club from the ground up. The coach is excited to aid technical director and USMNT legend Carlos Bocanegra in guiding players from youth on up, similar to what Oscar Pareja has done at FC Dallas.
Martino underlined the importance of youth player development at his new club “based on how I became a player at Newell’s.” The club is known for grooming players, including a young Lionel Messi, who played for Martino with Barcelona and Argentina. “Working with the youth teams is fundamental for me, no matter where in the world I’m coaching,” he said.
“But the proposal they’re offering me — to install my style of play and build from the ground up — is worth more than money,” he said.
That’s the kinda hire that should be high-fived. Let’s see how it plays out.
Europa League goes into its second day of group play with the onus on the biggest club in the tournament to pick up a win.
Don’t believe us? Ask Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho.
“To be honest, I think we have to win,” Mourinho said at his pre-match press conference. “If we don’t win, I would say we’d have to win all the last four matches, which is difficult, so I think it is very important that we win this game.”
[ MORE: Wenger excited at Arsenal’s chances ]
United fell 1-0 at Feyenoord to open the group stage, and now hosts Ukrainian side Zorya Luhansk at 3:05 p.m. ET Thursday. He knows its the equivalent of a massive Cup match for the visitors.
“The Europa League is a competition Man United isn’t normally in, so when these teams have a giant like Man United in front of them, it’s a huge moment for them and they come to the game with incredible motivation.”
The other Premier League side in play is Southampton, as the Saints take a long flight to Israel for a 3:05 p.m. ET kickoff against Hapoel Be’er Sheva.
Should be a very decent match from Turner Stadium in Be’er Sheva.
all times ET
Mainz at Gabala — 11 a.m.
Young Boys at Astana — 11 a.m.
Osmanlispor at Zurich — 1 p.m.
Red Bull Salzburg at Schalke — 1 p.m.
PAOK at Liberec — 1 p.m.
Qarabag at Fiorentina — 1 p.m.
Villarreal at Steaua Bucuresti — 1 p.m.
Nice at Krasnodar — 1 p.m.
Standard Liege at Ajax — 1 p.m.
Braga at Shakhtar Donetsk — 1 p.m.
Panathinaikos at Celta Vigo — 1 p.m.
Inter Milan at Sparta Prague — 1 p.m.
Konyaspor at Gent — 1 p.m.
Sassuolo at Genk — 3:05 p.m.
Zorya at Manchester United — 3:05 p.m.
Anderlecht at Saint-Etienne — 3:05 p.m.
Apoel Nicosia at Olympiacos — 3:05 p.m.
Maccabi Tel-Aviv at Dundalk — 3:05 p.m.
Feyenoord at Fenerbahce — 3:05 p.m.
Rapid Wien at Athletic Bilbao — 3:05 p.m.
Viktoria Plzen at Austria Wien — 3:05 p.m.
AZ Alkmaar at Zenit Saint-Petersburg — 3:05 p.m.
Astra Giurgiu at AS Roma — 3:05 p.m.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is growing in confidence when it comes to his Gunners’ chances in England and Europe, and it’s not hard to see why.
Four days after Arsenal battered Chelsea 3-0 in Premier League action, the Gunners went out and handled FC Basel in the UEFA Champions League.
Perhaps more important, the Gunners posted a third-straight clean sheet and have allowed just four goals in eight matches since the 4-3 loss to Liverpool that opened the PL season.
And Wenger acknowledges that his side can do big things, provided it doesn’t get too full of itself after solid performances. From Arsenal.com:
“It looks like the team has interesting potential. We have to be ambitious and, as you know, keep our feet on the ground to continue to develop. We know exactly how we want to play football and we have to continue to stick to that and get better at it. That demands big focus and some leadership inside the squad. It also requires humility.”
Arsenal has a very winnable run in the Premier League, and could be right there with Manchester City by the end of October. And with a winnable UCL group, who knows what the Gunners could do with a decent knockout round draw?
Bayern Munich sits second in Group D of this season’s UEFA Champions League after losing its toughest match of the bunch: a trip to the Vicente Calderon.
Atletico Madrid won 1-0 when Antoine Griezmann linked up with Yannick Carrasco for a first half goal and Diego Simeone’s stubborn defense lived up to its reputation in blanking the Bavarians.
[ MORE: Champions League roundup ]
Manager Carlo Ancelotti has been frustrated by Simeone in the past, perhaps most notably in his brief stint at Real Madrid. But the Bayern boss says the loss was down to speed.
“We tried to get back into the game but we played too slowly, which is why we did not have many chances to equalize,” Ancelotti said. “It’s never nice to lose.”
Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer also acknowledged a lack of speed in a way, pointing at urgency when he said, “Atlético showed a killer instinct tonight and we didn’t.”
Bayern hosts PSV Eindhoven in its next UCL match on Oct. 19.