Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has voiced his displeasure at David Moyes’ style of choosing the squad. The manager typically selects the United squad close to kick off, which, Ferdinand says, can turn him into a “madman” as he waits to discover whether he’s been chosen to start.
According to Ferdinand, Sir Alex Ferguson would name his United squad well before the match, giving the selected players time to prepare mentally for the game. “This manager’s a bit different in that he doesn’t name the team beforehand. You don’t really get to know the team,” Ferdinand told BT Sport. “The old manager used to give you a little bit of an idea if you’d be playing and stuff.”
Ferdinand went on to explain the importance of players knowing whether they’ll be in the starting XI: “When you know you’re playing, the intensity goes up a little bit more on match day. That’s what you need to try to make sure you’re doing, even if you don’t know you’ll be playing – to try to get to that intensity you’d be at when you know you’re playing.”
Moyes, however, did not seem bothered by yet another comparison to his predecessor, saying, “We do it in different ways. Sometimes we name it, sometimes we name it late on. I think sometimes a lot of managers leave it so the press don’t get the teams too early.”
In general, Moyes comes off rather unconcerned by the challenge of succeeding Sir Alex. He stated that he always knew it would be a “bumpy road” and mentioned that he believes the fans understand that, at this point, the club is in a transitional phase. The changover period has left last year’s champions 12 points off leaders Arsenal, but again, Moyes doesn’t seem worried. “It is just because we are a bit inconsistent in our play. We haven’t quite had our rhythm where we have a regularity of what we are going to get.”
Newcastle visit Old Trafford today, hoping to get themselves back into winning ways. But after the midweek loss to Everton, Manchester United will be hoping to overcome that inconsistency and put themselves back into the race for England’s European positions.
One great striker got another one to open up on an up-and-down year at Manchester City.
Thierry Henry — one of the greatest of all-time, it must be said — sat down with Sergio Aguero ahead of Thursday’s Manchester Derby at the Etihad Stadium, and asked the Argentine about Pep Guardiola, Gabriel Jesus, and more.
At times, it’s a fascinating discussion on playing lone striker. Even apart from the obligatory questions regarding Jesus’ arrival at City, Henry and Aguero speak their craft in a manner you don’t see too often.
That’s helped by the fact that Henry played for Guardiola at Barcelona, and can relate to the positional demands of Man City’s boss. Consider this exchange, from Sky Sports:
HENRY: When I was at Arsenal, I played up front and if I wanted to drift out to the left, I could. But when I got to Barca, I had to stay out wide and press. Sometimes doing that can be hard.
AGUERO: The thing I’ve found the hardest has been getting into my head the fact that I have to press the centre-back and the goalkeeper in matches. That’s what Pep asks me to do. It may not be a big deal, but in terms of processing it, the two of us speak a lot. He knows what I’m like.
I’ve been gradually learning and adapting to that style of pressing over the last few months. The first thing he taught me was how to press and how to do it well. Obviously there are times when I might drift out of position or I might press in an area where I’m not supposed to be, which might make it hard for the wingers or midfielders.
In the game itself, I may not realise because I’m so immersed and you can’t stop yourself. I’ve learnt a lot from him in terms of zones. He asks me to play as a No 9 and to stay in that position. I often drift out wide during matches and he looks at me and says, “If there’s a player out wide who wants to cross it in, who’s in there? Nobody.”
HENRY: I know all about that, believe you me.
I love this, because it shows how difficult it is for an elite striker to adapt his mentality. Both Henry and Aguero found world-celebrated success by playing in a certain fashion, and Guardiola understood that and still demanded a change. Earlier this season, the manager somewhat famously spoke of improving Aguero.
Hirving Lozano’s dipping shot rebounded into the path of Franco Jara, who scored the goal that won Pachuca its fifth CONCACAF Championship early Thursday morning.
The Argentine’s goal was the only one of the win over UANL Tigres, and gave Pachuca its first continental title since 2009-10. USMNT veteran Omar Gonzalez played for the winners, while Jose Torres started for Tigres.
John Brooks is out of Hertha Berlin’s lineup “for the time being” after scans revealed a hip strain suffered in this weekend’s win over Wolfsburg.
That’s all Hertha has said, and that makes it hard to imagine whether American fans should be a little concerned or very concerned ahead of the USMNT’s World Cup qualifiers against Mexico, and Trinidad and Tobago in early June.
Brooks was unavailable for two weeks with an adductor strain in September, missing a month before returning to the starting lineup.
The U.S. center back pool isn’t teeming after Brooks and Geoff Cameron. Matt Besler, Tim Ream, Omar Gonzalez, and Walker Zimmerman were called up for the last World Cup qualifiers, and Gonzalez struggled but is a Bruce Arena favorite from their time in L.A.