moyes

Moyes optimistic but cautious after win over Cardiff

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David Moyes saw the same thing we did. At least that would explain his guarded optimism after Manchester United’s 2-0 victory over Cardiff City. On the day Juan Mata debuted and Robin Van Persie returned to the lineup, the Red Devils spent much of the day playing as Cardiff’s equals. Facing the Premier League’s last place team at home, United’s boss was left with mixed emotions.

“I know I have got some really good players coming back but of course I want to be more convincing,” Moyes said after today’s victory (as reported by The Guardian). “I want to win better and play much better. Don’t think because we have won tonight I have got a smile and am happy … I have got a long way to go.”

Given United’s performance against Cardiff, the reaction makes sense, but within the context of Moyes’ other post-match reactions, the response is curious. In the face of some of his team’s disappointing results, Moyes has touted his United’s performance, occasionally bristling at the suggestion his players performed to disappointing scores. Tonight he seems to be over-compensating in the other direction, taking an almost stridden tone to describe a lacking yet still successful performance.

At its core, however, Moyes’s skepticism is well-deserved. After their sixth minute goal, Manchester United showed little desire to build on their lead and put the match out of reach. Ashley Young’s 59th minute goal eventually did that, but that was neither a result of consistent pressure nor a product of a great attacking play. It was a shot in the dark, albeit a spectacular one.

In that sense, today’s United wasn’t unlike the team that’s struggled throughout the season. They beat the worst team in the league by two at home, but for much of the match, the Bluebirds were still within reach. The kind of home disappointments United’s experienced against Tottenham, Newcastle, Everton, and Southampton could have also happened today, if there opposition was better. Today’s bottom line could be seen as a product of Cardiff’s play rather than United’s.

Yet the Red Devils still got three points. That shouldn’t be overlooked. Qualms about their play over most of the game have to be put in context of the sixth minute goal that allowed them to be assume a leader’s posture. Had they not scored that goal we may have seen a more convincing Manchester United.

Moyes clearly wanted to see that team. He didn’t. While he should be happy his team claimed their third league win in four matches, he’s right to worry about how his team will fare against tougher opposition.

Viktoria Plzen set to sign midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz

Obafemi Martins, Oniel Fisher, Andreas Ivanschitz
Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)
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PRAGUE (AP) Czech champion Viktoria Plzen is close to signing Austrian midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz.

Plzen says Ivanschitz agreed terms for a contract lasting 1 + seasons and will sign it when the team returns from a training camp in Spain. Ivanschitz has already joined the squad at the Oliva Nova resort, the club says.

Ivanschitz helped the Seattle Sounders win their first MLS Cup in December.

[ NEW HOMES: Fonte | Berahino ]

No financial details were given.

The 33-year-old Ivanschitz also played for Rapid Vienna and Red Bull Salzburg in Austria, Mainz in the Bundesliga, Levante in Spain and Panathinaikos in Athens.

Ivanschitz played 69 games for Austria in 2003-14, scoring 12 goals.

FIFA allows Matip to represent Liverpool during AFCON

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 29: Joel Matip of Liverpool heads to score his team's third goal during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Liverpool at Selhurst Park on October 29, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)
Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images
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Joel Matip is going to get to play for Liverpool during AFCON after all.

The center back had turned down the chance to represent Cameroon at the Africa Cup of Nations, and Liverpool was forced to apply to FIFA for a waiver.

[ PL PREVIEW: Swansea vs. Liverpool ]

Matip suffered an ankle injury in December, adding to his desire to stay at Anfield. He declared himself internationally retired and was one of six Cameroon players who refused call-ups for AFCON.

He last played for the Reds on Dec. 11, and can be selected by Jurgen Klopp against Swansea City on Saturday.

Man United captain Rooney raises $1.5m from charity game

FILE - A Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017 file photo of Manchester United's Wayne Rooney leaving the field after the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, England. Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney says he raised 1.2 million pounds ($1.5 million) for charity from a friendly game against former club Everton last year. (AP Photo/Dave Thompson)
AP Photo/Dave Thompson
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MANCHESTER, England (AP) Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney says he raised 1.2 million pounds ($1.5 million) from a friendly game against former club Everton last year.

That represents the profits, after operational costs, from August’s sellout match at Old Trafford and goes toward the Wayne Rooney Foundation’s target of raising 5 million pounds for children’s charities.

[ NEW HOMES: Fonte | Berahino ]

Rooney said: “I’d like to thank all the fans who came to the testimonial and made it such a special night. They’ve raised a huge amount of money for children who are disadvantaged and it will make a real difference to their lives.”

Rooney is one goal from breaking Manchester United’s scoring record, with the striker currently tied with Bobby Charlton on 249 goals.

Rooney joined United from Everton in 2004.

WATCH: Lewandowski’s juggling stoppage time winner

Bayern's Robert Lewandowski celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during the German soccer Bundesliga match between SC Freiburg and FC Bayern Munich in Freiburg, Germany, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. (Patrick Seeger/dpa via AP)
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Robert Lewandowski picked up where he left off.

The Polish striker scored twice for Bayern Munich, once in stoppage time, as the Bavarians improved their Bundesliga lead to six points after toppling Freiburg 2-1 on Friday.

[ MORE: Bundesliga second half preview ]

And what a winner it was, Lewandowski taking a Douglas Costa cross with two juggling touches before hitting an offspeed bouncer inside the post.

It was the league’s first match following the winter/holiday break, giving Bayern a cushion before RB Leipzig takes the pitch against Eintracht Frankfurt in a Top Five tilt on Saturday.

Lewandowski moves closer to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the goal scoring chart. His 13th and 14th goals have him two back of Borussia Dortmund’s striker, as Lewandowski pursues a third Golden Boot in four seasons.

Full Weekend Schedule
Freiburg 1-2 Bayern Munich — Friday
Augsburg vs. Hoffenheim — Saturday
Schalke vs. Ingolstadt — Saturday
Darmstadt vs. Borussia Monchengladbach — Saturday
Werder Bremen vs. Borussia Dortmund — Saturday
Wolfsburg vs. Hamburger SV — Saturday
RB Leipzig vs. Eintracht Frankfurt — Saturday
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Hertha Berlin — Sunday
Mainz vs. Koln — Sunday