José Mourinho gives Wayne Rooney Chelsea ultimatum

Leave a comment

MANCHESTER — Chelsea manager José Mourinho is tired of waiting around for Wayne Rooney to make his mind up.

And following the dazzling display from Manchester United’s striker against Mourinho’s Chelsea team during Monday’s 0-0 draw at Old Trafford, Mourinho is pleading with the player to make a decision on his future.

“The person that started the story has to finish the story,” Mourinho said after being asked whether or not Rooney would ask to leave United. Mourinho also wants a clear statement of intent from Rooney.

“A club like us, a manager like me, we are not silly to try and get a player from a big club that doesn’t want to sell, we are not silly to try and start something if somebody didn’t start it. I think it’s time for the good of everyone to finish the story. From one side, or from the other side.”

(MORE: Manchester United 0-0 Chelsea; Stalemate at Old Trafford)

While Mourinho also gave Rooney a time-frame to make his mind up on a move to Stamford Bridge, stating it needs to happen in the next “24 hours, 48 hours” or the deal will be off and the long-winded chase for the 27-year-old England international will end without the desired conclusion. That’s when Mourinho issued the final warning to Rooney as Chelsea reportedly line up Samuel Eto’o as plan B.

“We are going to close another player,” Mourinho said. “If he’s [Rooney] not coming we are going to closer another player.”

But above all the speculation before las night’s massive, Rooney put in a great display and came closest to scoring when his blistering 77th minute shot in front of the Stretford End was well saved by Per Cech to his right. Rooney was a menace, constantly wriggling free of Chelsea’s defense and trying to delicately set up his teammates. He worked hard, chased back and dug deep to help United seal a point.

Mourinho is certainly a fan.

“I think the most important thing is that he [Rooney] played very well,” Mourinho said. “He was a real professional. He played for the club that pays him, tried to win, tried to score. He was fantastic. After that, if he wants to leave he has to say, or he decides now that he doesn’t want to leave anymore, it’s a problem.”

(MORE: Wayne Rooney dazzles for Manchester United, is this the end of the saga?)

But with all this speculation, all this talk swirling around Rooney’s head, the fact that he managed to put in a man of the match performance against the team that has openly been chasing him all summer, in front of the home fans who know he wants to leave, it was quite sublime. Again, Mourinho was impressed.

“No. But independent of every think we have to say fantastic, because many players in this situation they can’t express themselves on the pitch. They don’t feel enough confidence. He was fantastic, he played very, very well.”

(MORE: José Mourinho praises Cheslea’s “kids” after defensive masterclass)

Throughout the 90 minutes at Old Trafford Rooney was cheered by both sets of supports, as Chelsea’s traveling fans chanted, “Wayne Rooney, we’ll see you next week” to try and get under the skin of the United faithful. But it had the opposite effect. A real buzz was generated inside the stadium whenever Rooney got on the ball and on several occasions the home fans showed their adulation to Rooney, something Mourinho appreciated.

“In other countries it wouldn’t be possible, probably in other clubs it wouldn’t be possible. In other countries, if people know you want to leave it doesn’t matter the player you are they don’t want you. But they gave him a fantastic support, it was very good, very nice, very English.”

Maybe the cheers from United fans will have helped Wayne Rooney to make his mind to remain at Old Trafford.

José Mourinho has laid down the gauntlet. Rooney has 24-48 hours to decide his future.

Champions League score picks – Week 2

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The UEFA Champions League group stage kicks off Week 2 on Tuesday, so let’s have some fun and try to predict the scores.

[ MORE: Champions League schedule ]

Feel free to join in down in the comments section, as I’m predicting another unbeaten week for all five Premier League teams in action.

[ MORE: Group stage predictions ] 

Below you will find score predictions for all 16 UCL games across the next two days.


Tuesday

Group E
Sevilla 3-1 Maribor
Spartak Moscow 1-1 Liverpool

Group F
Man City 3-0 Shakhtar Donetsk
Napoli 3-1 Feyenoord

Group G
Besiktas 0-2 RB Leipzig
Monaco 2-1 FC Porto

Group H
Borussia Dortmund 1-3 Real Madrid
APOEL 0-3 Tottenham Hotspur

Wednesday

Group A
CSKA Moscow 1-2 Manchester United
Basel 0-2 Benfica

Group B
Paris Saint-Germain 2-2 Bayern Munich
Anderlecht 2-1 Celtic

Group C
Atletico Madrid 1-2 Chelsea
Qarabag 1-3 Roma

Group D
Sporting Lisbon 1-3 Barcelona
Juventus 2-1 Olympiacos

Court hearing opens into spectators attacking referees

Getty Images
Leave a comment

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) Witnesses in Uruguay’s capital testified before a judge on Monday about an attack on two referees by spectators at a soccer match.

A male and a female referee were attacked on Saturday during a second division under-19 game between Basanez and Platense.

The next day, the Uruguay Football Association cancelled all organized football as referees protested the violence by refusing to officiate. Officials are expected to meet on Wednesday to decide if they will lift the stoppage.

Witnesses told Judge Julia Staricco it started after a kid threw rocks on the field with encouragement from his father. The female referee’s partner asked the kid to stop, leading to an argument with other spectators who punched and kicked the referees.

An attorney representing the country’s referees union, Fernando de Los Santos, says the officials suffered bruises to their bodies.

“There are several people responsible here: The players, especially who are all young in the under-19 category; their parents, and their families,” de Los Santos said.

“This is not new. We’ve seen this kind of violence in the lower divisions. But this is the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

The Basanez and Platense clubs have issued statements condemning the violence. Basanez also said it fired one of its players who was part of the attack.

The case is being handled by the same local judge who recently charged three people for violent acts during the Penarol-Nacional derby.

Morata has a warning for Chelsea’s Premier League rivals

Leave a comment

Alvaro Morata believes his fast start to life in the Premier League at Chelsea is only a taster of what is to come.

[ MORE: Who is the PL’s most complete striker? ]

After scoring a hat trick at Stoke City on Saturday in Chelsea’s 4-0 win, Morata spoke to reporters about the chances he missed and admitted he could have had five goals to his name.

The Spanish striker, 24, is clearly not content with simply replacing Diego Costa at Chelsea.

“I am happy with my start in the Premier League but I can do better,” Morata said. “I had two chances at the end of the game against Stoke [but didn’t take them]. I also need to improve my physical condition to be as good as possible.”

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Can do better. Six goals in your first six Premier League games is a pretty decent return, Alvaro.

Still, you can see what he’s saying. Morata has looked good in fits and starts so far this season but his undeniable quality is there for all to see. He scored three goals and added two assists with his head before Saturday’s breakout where he proved he can also score with his feet.

Morata struggled against Arsenal 10 days ago as he seemed isolated up top and the physicality of the Premier League seems to still surprise him at times.

It is still early days for the Spanish international who joined for $77.8 million (which could rise to $93.9 million) but the way in which he accelerated past Stoke’s defense on his first and second goals, then finished coolly reminded us all that of his schooling at Real Madrid and Juventus.

Morata is now undeniably a contender for the Golden Boot and looks like a more refined, agile replacement for Costa. His quickness of thought and elegance has replaced the brute force and desire of Costa and it seems like it will work out just fine.

Jose Mourinho on Man United’s midfield injury crisis

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Jose Mourinho has been speaking in Moscow ahead of Manchester United’s UEFA Champions League clash with CSKA Moscow on Wednesday.

[ MORE: UCL team news for PL clubs ]

The Man United boss has had a positive start to the new season with seven wins from nine games in all competitions as his side are second in the Premier League table only on goal difference.

[ MORE: Champions League schedule

That said, injuries are mounting up for the Red Devils, particularly in central midfield as Marouane Fellaini, Paul Pogba and Michael Carrick are all missing for United’s trip to CSKA.

“We don’t have Fellaini. We don’t have Pogba. We don’t have Carrick. All three midfield players that we lose for this match. The solutions are not many,” Mourinho said. “We are trying not to focus on individual battles in specific areas on the pitch. We are going to have a team with quality and balance to try to win the match. That’s our objective.”

What are Mourinho’s solutions to plug these gaps?

Ander Herrera will likely start in central midfield alongside Nemanja Matic which should be enough but given the extent of the injuries to both Pogba and Fellaini they will also have to play against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Fellaini was injured by Southampton’s Shane Long on Saturday and Mourinho confirmed the Belgian midfielder would not play again before the international break.

“Fellaini was lucky. It could be a much worse situation but in a moment where we don’t have Pogba and Carrick he becomes even more important than he always is. I expect Fellaini not to be out for a long time,” Mourinho added.

As for Mourinho, he was asked about the decision by the English Football Association to take no further action after he was sent to the stands late on in United’s 1-0 victory at Southampton on Saturday.

“If I am not punished it is because there are no reasons for the sending off,” Mourinho said. “I am happy that it is recognized and I can do my work normally against Crystal Palace. That’s enough for me.”