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Jose Mourinho says Chelsea’s style change to blame for defeats

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There is never a dull moment when Jose Mourinho is around… but right now, there are a few too many defeats.

Following their second loss in a week, the Portuguese manager blamed Chelsea’s recent poor form on their bad style of play that has been developed over the previous years,

Mourinho claims he is trying to change the way they play, to a more attractive and aesthetically pleasing manner.

“I don’t like the way Chelsea were playing in the last couple of years,” Mourinho said. “The club doesn’t like it and we want to change. When you want to build something different and the players are adapted and comfortable – it’s more difficult.”

Tomorrow’s West London Derby against Fulham, (12:30pm ET, watch live on NBCSN or online via NBC Sports Live Extra) presents the perfect opportunity for Chelsea to get back to winning ways after a rough seven days. But will the ‘Special One’ play it safe against the Blues’ neighbors?

Of course not.

“If someone expects me to play against Fulham tomorrow with nine players behind the ball and wait for them to make a mistake and win 1-0, then I will not go home happy,” Mourinho said. “We have a lot to do. The work I have to do does not sell papers – big defeats and big victories do – but the only thing I can do is to have belief in my players and wait for the results to come.”

(MORE: Preview – Chelsea vs. Fulham)

But despite being under heavy criticism from some portions of the press, the man Chelsea fans adore knows only too well just how fickle the game can be.

“Tomorrow maybe we win 3-0 against Fulham and everything is perfect,” Mourinho said. “Or maybe I will lose for the first time at home at Chelsea in four years and 200 league matches, and it is a big story. Football is not mathematic. I don’t know.”

Yet, it seems like Mourinho believes that previous managers have only been worried about grinding out wins with the West London club, instead of developing and nurturing free-flowing attacking soccer that will please the masses. True. There’s no denying that under the last few managers a defensive and rather dull style of play has emanated from the boys in blue.

(MORE: Basel pull of first Champions League upset, beat Chelsea)

However, can you blame Messrs Andre Villas-Boas, Roberto Di Matteo and Rafael Benitez? All three were under huge amounts of pressure to succeed straight away. AVB had no success after less than six months on the job, but his predecessor Di Matteo somehow won the UEFA Champions League through a spirited mishmash of veteran determination, staunch defensive displays and lady luck. And then, following Di Matteo’s crazy dismissal, Rafael Benitez was yet another interim boss given the reigns. He had no time to work on a new style of play at Chelsea, and instead carried on with the status quo.

source: AP
Chelsea are failing to click into an attacking rhythm, as Mourinho tries to usher in a new style of play.

After all those short-term appointments and the various different players brought in, Mourinho is now left to pick up the pieces. I’m not saying he hasn’t inherited a squad that doesn’t possess world class players, because he has. But they are players who have been pulled one way, then the other, in terms of their tactical approach to play the game, after having so many coaches and ideas thrown at them over the past two seasons.

Now, Mourinho has a long-term project, a mantra to get Chelsea back to playing attacking soccer that will excite and delight the fans and make them one of Europe’s greatest teams. And despite Roman Abramovich’s ruthless style of ownership that has seen Mourinho himself fired in the past and many others after him, the Russian billionaire should give the ‘Special One’ time to develop a special brand of soccer at Chelsea.

This won’t be easy. There will be speed bumps along the way — just like Everton last weekend and Basel midweek — but if Mourinho is given time to work with these top players on the training ground over an extended period of time, there’s no doubt that one of the greatest coaches European soccer has ever seen will get it right.

It takes time to create a thing of beauty. Get off Mourinho’s back and let his ‘young eggs’ flourish.

Blatter loses appeal against six-year ban

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - JULY 20: Comedian Simon Brodkin (not pictured) throws cash at FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter during a press conference at the Extraordinary FIFA Executive Committee Meeting at the FIFA headquarters on July 20, 2015 in Zurich, Switzerland. (Photo by Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images)
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Sepp Blatter should get the message this time.

[ MORE: Zlatan defends kick ]

It was announced on Monday that the former president of FIFA from 1998 until 2015 has lost his appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) over a six-year ban from all soccer related activity.

After being found guilty of making an illegal payment of $1.65 million to the former head of UEFA, and close friend, Michel Platini, in 2011, the Swiss official has already had his initial eight-year ban reduced to six and Platini had his eight-year ban reduced to four years.

However, Blatter has reached the end game and at the age of 80, it is unlikely he will ever hold any position in world soccer ever again.

Plus, Blatter has the small matter of still being investigated by the Swiss authorities who are looking into FIFA’s records, and the FBI continues to arrest and charge officials within world soccer’s governing body due to allegations of widespread corruption over the past two decades.

Things could get much worse than a six-year ban for Blatter.

In a statement released by CAS, they revealed why Blatter’s appealed had been turned down:

“The appeal of Joseph S. Blatter has been dismissed. As a consequence, the decision rendered by the FIFA Appeal Committee (FIFA AC) on 16 February 2016 remains in force and Mr Blatter remains banned from taking part in any football-related activity at national and international level for six years as from 8 October 2015 and must pay a fine of 50,000 Swiss francs.

“By approving a payment of £1.3m to Mr Platini in 2011 for the balance of work carried out under the alleged oral agreement, Mr Blatter breached the FIFA Code of Ethics since the payment amounted to an undue gift as it had no contractual basis.

“The Panel further found that Mr Blatter unlawfully awarded contributions to Mr Platini under the FIFA Executive Committee retirement scheme which also amounted to an undue gift.”

Aguero banned four games, Fernandinho gets three

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The English FA have confirmed that Manchester City duo Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho will be banned for four and three games respectively after being sent off late in the 3-1 defeat against Chelsea last weekend.

[ MORE: 3 things we learned ]

Aguero, 28, lunged in on David Luiz and was shown a straight red card for the tackle (if you can even call it that) and Fernandinho, 31, was sent off in the ensuing melee as he pushed Cesc Fabregas repeatedly and grabbed him around the throat.

In the case of Aguero, he would have already been banned for three games but his punishment has been extended by an extra game due to his suspended three-game ban which he received for elbowing West Ham’s Winston Reid back in August.

As for Fernandinho, he has been handed the standard three-game ban for being sent off for violent conduct.

Pep Guardiola‘s City ended the game with nine-men against Chelsea and looked frustrated after blowing a 1-0 half time lead as they lost 3-1 against the Premier League leaders.

Without Aguero and Fernandinho, their upcoming games against Leicester, Watford and Arsenal are now looking very difficult, plus Nicolas Otamendi will be unavailable against Leicester this Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com) due to picking up his fifth yellow card of the season.

With regards to the melee at the end of Chelsea’s win at City, it is expected the FA may fine both teams for their actions and Fabregas could also be implicated as some camera angles appeared to show him striking Fernandinho in the face first.

Let’s wait and see.

As for City, injuries and suspension are adding up and they’re now four points behind leaders Chelsea, plus they’ll have to do without their leading score Aguero who has 10 of their 30 goals in the Premier League.

A chance has now arrived for City’s only other central striker as 20-year-old Kelechi Iheanacho will likely be given the opportunity to lead the line, or if not Nolito or Kevin De Bruyne may operate as the highest player in a false nine formation.

Ibrahimovic denies deliberately kicking Coleman in the head

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 04:  Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Manchester United tangles with Seamus Coleman of Everton as they battle for the ball during the Premier League match between Everton and Manchester United at Goodison Park on December 4, 2016 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
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Zlatan Ibrahimovic was involved in an incident in the second half of Manchester United’s 1-1 draw at Everton on Sunday which have raised a few eyebrows.

[ VIDEO: Rojo red card? ]

As Zlatan and Everton defender Seamus Coleman tussled for the ball, the duo fell down and the Manchester United striker eventually fell on top of Coleman.

However, as he went to get up he kicked Coleman in the head and the Toffees’ right back was later subbed out with an apparent head injury.

Speaking to MUTV after the game, Ibrahimovic was asked about the incident.

The response of the 35-year-old striker — who scored once again for the Red Devils to take his tally this season to 12 — to the incident was not exactly the perfect PR answer…

“It was a physical game, they played hard,” Ibrahimovic explained. “I heard one of the commentators say I kicked someone in the head on purpose, but it was a 50/50 duel and he pulled me down. Trust me if I want to kick someone in the head, I know how to kick someone in the head and make him fall asleep. That is the only thing I have to say.”

It is unlikely that Zlatan will be facing any further action from the FA for the kick out but I look at that incident and say he was lucky to escape with a petulant act. He knew where Coleman was and took a chance on leaving his boot in and letting the Everton defender know he was there.

Sure, it may have been accidental but anybody who has played the game knows you can get away with certain things and when a master of the “dark arts” such as Zlatan is involved, I find it tough to believe he didn’t know what he was doing.

It was unnecessary from Zlatan and the act seemed to steam from the frustration of playing up top on his own against a bruising Everton defense.

USC wins NCAA women’s soccer national championship

Southern California's Morgan Andrews celebrates after scoring a goal against West Virginia during the first half in the NCAA Women's College Cup soccer final, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016 in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
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SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) Katie Johnson broke a tie in the 75th minute and Southern California won the NCAA women’s soccer title Sunday, beating top-ranked West Virginia 3-1 at Avaya Stadium on Sunday.

The second-seeded Trojans (19-4-2) also won the College Cup in 2007.

The Mountaineers (23-2-2) lost for the first time since a 1-0 setback to Georgetown on Sept. 18. West Virginia had a 17-game unbeaten streak snapped, and allowed three goals for the first all season.

Johnson, who also had the winning goal in USC’s 1-0 semifinal victory over Georgetown on Friday, was wide open in front of the net when Leah Pruitt took a pass up the left sideline, beat defender Easther Mayi Kith, and delivered a perfect cross. Johnson simply rolled the ball into the goal to the right of goalkeeper Rylee Foster.

Johnson scored again off an assist from Nicole Molen in the 87th minute.

The Trojans got on the board just 1:22 into play after Julia Bingham directed a corner kick to the top of the penalty box, where Savannah Levin headed the ball forward to Morgan Andrews, whose header from 5 yards eluded Foster.

West Virginia’s Ashley Lawrence, a member of the 2016 Canadian Olympic team, tied it in the 66th minute when she ripped a shot from the top left corner of the penalty box just inside the near post.

After USC took the 2-1 lead, the Mountaineers nearly drew even in the 81st minute on a shot by Heather Kaleiohi that was stopped on a diving save by goalkeeper Sammy Prudhomme.

The Mountaineers outshot USC 21-8 and held a 9-1 edge in corner kicks.

The Trojans joined North Carolina (21 titles), Notre Dame (3) and Portland (3) as the only multiple winners of the College Cup.

USC won its 126th national team title on the same day its men’s water polo team lost 10-8 to Cal in the NCAA final just 45 miles away in Berkeley.

West Virginia, in its first College Cup final, was hoping to claim its first NCAA title in any sport besides its co-ed rifle team, which has won 18 national titles.