Jose Mourinho slams West Ham’s “football from another century” as Hammers frustrate Chelsea

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Following Chelsea’s 0-0 stalemate with West Ham United on Wednesday, eccentric manager Jose Mourinho has had plenty to say about the Hammers negative tactics.

First, the facts.

Chelsea out-shot West Ham 39-1. They had 72 percent of the possession. The final score… 0-0.

Despite a barrage of pressure, countless shots and the lion’s share of possession, Chelsea just couldn’t break down a stubborn West Ham defense that barely left their own half of the field during the entire 90 minutes. An inspired performance from Hammers ‘keeper Adrian kept out John Terry, Frank Lampard and Samuel Eto’o in the second half, as Chelsea head into their next game against Manchester City knowing a defeat will leave them six points off the Citizens and top spot in the PL.

Sam Allardyce’s side parked the bus, Mourinho style, at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday as anti-football won against Chelsea’s attacking endeavors. In fact the Blues’ tally of 39 shots in a game without scoring is the most by any Premier League team since the 2003-04 season.

(MORE: Chelsea 0-0 West Ham United – Blues slip up in the title race)

But Mourinho, sporting a face like thunder throughout, complained massively about West Ham’s tactics… even though he himself is the master of grinding out 0-0 wins away from home.

What’s that saying again? Something about the ‘pot calling the kettle black…’

“I was frustrated since the first minute. I wanted to discuss decisions during the game [with the fourth official] ,” Mourinho said. “West Ham were trying to win time with everything. With their substitutions they were taking a long time. It was football from another century. The result is not a good result. They defended with their hearts – I respect that and praise that. I don’t think with matches like this we can sell Premier League across the world. My team did everything possible.”

source: AP
Eto’o was just one of Chelsea’s players thwarted by a stubborn West Ham defense.

So, here we have it. The ‘King of anti-football’ is criticizing Allardyce’s West Ham side for doing just that.

Surely Mourinho isn’t being serious?

Already this season he’s set his sides up to frustrate Arsenal and Manchester United away from home and both times his team have gained the 0-0 draw they were looking for. I’ve watched both live, trust me, those games were boring as hell to watch but Chelsea got the point they wanted.

So Mourinho, of all people, should not be lambasting West Ham for employing the very tactics that have helped to make him so successful and widely regarded as the most tactically astute manager in the global game. He loves to attack too, at times, but his ultra-defensive approach and ability to frustrate the opposition, when he wants to, has almost become his trademark over the years.

Look, we all get annoyed and say things we don’t mean.

Mourinho spent two hours of his life watching his expensively assembled, and extremely talented side, hit their heads against a solid brick wall made out of Claret and Blue. West Ham defended as if their lives depended on, throwing their bodies on the line time and time again. Add to that, it was in the pouring rain in West London and in front of his own fans. One more factor probably got right up the nose of the Portuguese boss: West Ham’s manager Allardyce stood in the technical with a grin like a Cheshire cat on his face throughout it all.

Speaking after, Allardyce was delighted to beat Mourinho at his own game.

“Good old Jose, moaning again,” Allardyce laughed. “He can’t take it can he. He can’t take it because we’ve out-tacticed him, out-witted him. He just can’t cope. It’s brilliant when you get a result against him! I love Chelsea moaning.”

We haven’t heard the last of this feud, as Mourinho has been ‘out-Mourinhoed’ by Mr. Allardyce and his Happy Hammers.

Jose will not be smiling.

But can he really moan about negative tactics after his side couldn’t quell them? Give me a break.

Kevin de Bruyne questionable for injury-laden Belgium

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Belgium, already without superstar Eden Hazard for the upcoming World Cup qualifier against Greece, will now be without playmaker Kevin De Bruyne, who picked up an injury in training on Friday and will miss both the match against Greece and the subsequent friendly against Russia three days later…maybe.

The Belgian National Team official Twitter account sent out a quote from manager Roberto Martinez that confirmed De Bruyne would miss the pair of matches, but the tweet was quickly deleted.

Instead, this one was pushed out in its place, correcting his availability and also updating the type of injury:

Should De Bruyne miss out, it means Belgium would likely rely heavily on Dries Mertens and Kevin Mirallas for the playmaking duties, with midfielder Radja Nainggolan potentially taking on a more attacking role as well.

Belgium and Martinez also confirmed that right-back Thomas Meunier will miss out after failing to recover from an ankle injury, while Marouane Fellaini‘s status is unknown after he was held out of Thursday’s training session.

The injury also leaves De Bruyne’s status for Manchester City up in the air, with a pair of massive games in London in quick succession after the injury break. City visits Arsenal next Sunday, followed by a hop over to Stanford Bridge on Wednesday.

Landon Donovan retires again, this time for good

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After coming out of retirement last fall to join the LA Galaxy for one more shot at an MLS Cup, Landon Donovan has once again called time on his career, saying he’s certain he will not play again.

With a number of other ventures on his plate, the USMNT all-time leading scorer is looking forward to spending his time elsewhere.

“Yeah, I’m done,” Donovan said. “I’m done. No more playing for me. I have not [gone public with it yet]. But that is definitely the case.”

Donovan scored one goal in nine games for the LA Galaxy in his comeback bid, with the club ravaged by injuries and still gunning for the Cup. However, after the season was over with a loss to Colorado in the Conference Semifinals, the Galaxy confirmed it was nothing more than a short-term stopgap.

“With Landon, when he came back, it was always going to be a short-term thing,”team president Chris Klein said to the L.A. Times in December. “He’s enjoying what he’s doing and we see we’re comfortable in the direction that we’re headed.”

In January, reports claimed Real Salt Lake had offered Donovan a Designated Player contract, but it appears he’s turned it down, and will now have time to concentrate on his other ventures. Off the field, Donovan is an analyst on Fox’s soccer coverage, is on the advisory committee for the Los Angeles 2024 Olympics bid, and has joined the ownership group attempting to bring an expansion MLS team to San Diego.

Former Spurs midfielder Paulinho scores thunderbolt for Brazil

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Brazil topped Uruguay 4-1 to move on the verge of World Cup qualification, but there was much more to the first half of this match than meets the eye.

Uruguay went ahead 1-0 on a 9th-minute penalty won and scored by Edinson Cavani, and for a moment it seemed like the home side might find its way to pull within a point of Brazil at the top of the CONMEBOL standings. That would not last very long.

[ MORE: Full roundup of CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying action ]

Just 10 minutes later, a bad giveaway near the midfield stripe saw Neymar casually feed Paulinho a good 50 yards from goal. The former Spurs man took matters into his own hands, charging forward and unleashing a vicious strike that continued to rise until it ripped the chords in the top-right corner.

 

Not only was the goal a sight to behold, it was an important moment in the match. Brazil was back level at 1-1, and Paulinho would be on his way to an eventual hat-trick with a pair in the second half. Neymar scored once as well to complete the 4-1 final scoreline, and the three points for Brazil saw them remain perfect in the World Cup qualifying round as they march seven clear of Uruguay at the top of the standings.

For Paulinho, the hat-trick brings him to four goals in the World Cup qualifying round, adding to his score in the 3-0 win over Argentina. They also mark an important moment for the Chinese Super League, where Paulinho now plays, having moved from Spurs in July of 2015. Some national team coaches have left players on the outside of the squad for moving to leagues such as the Chinese League or Major League Soccer, but Paulinho has clearly been an asset to Brazil despite his club situation. In fact, in China, Paulinho has scored four goals in his four league matches for Guangzhou Evergrande this season plus another in the Asian Champions League, leaving him in top goalscoring form coming into this international break, something which has clearly translated directly to international play.

The 28-year-old had lost his place in the national team squad in 2014, going over two years without a single international appearance, but has been a mainstay in the Brazilian side during this World Cup qualification cycle.

Dele Alli banned three European games for straight red card

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Spurs may be out of the Europa League this season, but should they end up qualifying for the Champions League next season, they will start the campaign short-handed.

Tottenham will be without midfielder Dele Alli for the first half of the group stage after his horrifying tackle on Brecht Dejaegere of KAA Gent in their 2-2 draw which saw Spurs out of the competition on aggregate in the Round of 32.

Alli went to ground on the 39th-minute challenge, and made contact on high up on Dejaegere’s leg with both his studs, finishing with a scissior-whip motion. It was a blatant red card, and now UEFA’s disciplinary committee has handed down the three-match ban. Straight-red cards for violent conduct only carry a minimum penalty of one match in UEFA tournament play, but the disciplinary committee clearly thought a longer punishment was necessary, with the ability to sentence anyone up to five matches.

The straight red was the first of Alli’s professional career. Alli apologized to Dejaejere after the match, according to the Gent midfielder. He’s since scored in four straight matches, and when asked on Sunday if that moment was still in his mind, he said, “I’m never going to say sorry for wanting to win or trying as hard as I can but things happen and you have to learn from them.”

Spurs currently sit in second place in the Premier League table with 59 points and look to be in a strong position for Champions League qualification, with a seven-point cushion on fifth-placed Manchester United.