Manchester United fire David Moyes as manager

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The worst kept secret in soccer is out: David Moyes has been fired as manager of Manchester United.

On Tuesday, United released an extremely short statement on their website as Moyes was dismissed after less than a season in charge at Old Trafford.

Moyes was reportedly told his fate at an early morning meeting, as club legend Ryan Giggs will now take charge of first team matters for the final four games of the current campaign.

The 50-year-old Scotsman spent just nine months and 22 days in charge at United, and here is all the club had to say on his dismissal.

“Manchester United has announced that David Moyes has left the Club. The Club would like to place on record its thanks for the hard work, honesty and integrity he brought to the role.”

Moyes won 27 of his 51 games in charge of United, losing 15 and drawing nine with a win percentage of just 52.9 percent. The Red Devils will finish outside of the top four for the first time ever in the Premier League era, as their title defense has gone horribly wrong. Moyes simply wasn’t up to the job, as the most successful team in English soccer has been reduced to mediocre, at best, for most of the season.

(MORE: How the Manchester United job has become a poisoned chalice)

With rumors rife throughout the start of this week that United’s owners, the Glazer family, had lost faith in Moyes and were ready to give him the boot, the announcement came as no surprise. Following United’s 2-0 defeat to Moyes’ old club Everton on Sunday, Moyes tried to remain positive despite the totally abject and lackluster display which highlighted all that’s gone wrong during his ill-fated time in charge of the club.

(MORE: Candidates you need to know as Manchester United looks for a manager)

Moyes was handed a six-year deal at the start of the 2013-14 campaign as his predecessor Sir Alex Ferguson handpicked him to lead United after Fergie called time on his 26 years in charge at Old Trafford. Yet nobody expected what was to come, as United spiraled out of control under Moyes and currently sit in seventh spot after damaging defeats throughout the 2013-14 season. Many have suggested Moyes has ‘lost the locker room’ as players lost faith in his managerial abilities, and from the way they’ve been playing it is hard to argue with that. Also, having Ferguson’s shadow looming large over Moyes every single day has made his job even more difficult. Plus the arrival of new Chief Executive Ed Woodward at the same time as Moyes meant that he couldn’t benefit from the decades of experience David Gill had in running the club successfully behind the scenes.

(MORE: Ryan Giggs appointed interim boss of Man United)

The reigning Premier League champions will finish outside the top four for the first time in PL history, they have lost a record 11 games in a single season so far this campaign and are set for their lowest ever points total which means no Champions League soccer next season. Financially the Glazer’s didn’t seem willing to hand Moyes a war-chest of over $200 million to bring in new players this summer, as the defeat to Everton meant that dreams of UCL soccer were officially ended, which in turn cost the club an estimated $75 million in lost revenue. That seemed to be the final straw.

(VIDEO: Where David Moyes went wrong at Man United)

With four games to go in the season, Moyes’ assistant coach and still a player at United, Ryan Giggs, will take over on a interim basis as the board weigh up without to promote from within or go out and get one of many managers being linked with the job. Jurgen Klopp, Diego Simeone and Louis van Gaal are the favorites to replace Moyes but many would like to see Giggs given the chance alongside his former teammate Nicky Butt.

This is what the club had to say on Giggs appointment as caretaker boss.

“Following the departure of David Moyes as manager, Manchester United has announced that Ryan Giggs, the club’s most decorated player, will assume responsibility for the first team until a permanent appointment can be made. The club will make no further comment on this process until it is concluded.”

The last time United fired a boss was Ron Atkinson back in 1986, as instability now rules the Red Devils as fans don’t know what to expect.

Moyes’ nightmare at United is finally over, as the Old Trafford try to move on and rebuild ahead of next season where they must return to the top four after their worst season in the PL era has cost Moyes his job after just nine months in charge.

MORE: Jurgen Klopp rules himself out of Manchester United gig
MORE: Candidates you need to know as Manchester United looks for a manager
VIDEO: Where David Moyes went wrong at Manchester United
MORE: Premier League Playback – Why Moyes should go

Report: Mourinho to get bumper $89 million extension at Man Utd

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Jose Mourinho is in the third month of his second season in charge of Manchester United, and may join Antonio Conte as men to get a second contract early in his term.

Goal.com says Paris Saint-Germain’s interest in Mourinho will spur United chairman Ed Woodward into action.

Unlike Conte, who received improved terms and the same length at Chelsea, the report says Mourinho will get a new five-year deal.

[ MORE: Yaya Toure to NYCFC? ]

The report says Mourinho’s terms would be worth almost $89 million over the length of the deal, close to $18 million per season.

The 54-year-old has never spent more than four years at a club, his longest stay as an assistant as Barcelona. Last season, he won the Europa League and League Cup for United while finishing sixth in the Premier League.

This season, United is off to a second-place start, leading Spurs on goal differential following a first loss of the season Saturday at Huddersfield Town.

This is about money and security for Mourinho who, let’s face it, probably won’t stay at United for five seasons. It would go against his record, and it’s difficult to imagine he’ll buck his career trend and make it five years. The new deal would be a raise, keep him from PSG for now, and probably will do the trick.

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Report: Yaya Toure lined up by New York City FC

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There are few details, but a report tabbed as exclusive by The Manchester Evening News says a new midfield force could be headed to Major League Soccer.

Yaya Toure’s resurgent 2016-17 has not been followed by a busy 2017-18, at least not yet, as the report says Yaya is set to head to New York City FC following the departure of Andrea Pirlo.

[ MORE: Koeman fired | Who’s in line? ]

Toure, who turns 35 in May, has regularly been on the subs bench for Pep Guardiola this season after signing a one-year contract. He’s played 29 minutes as a sub over the last two Premier League matches, and his lone start came in a League Cup win over West Brom, where he captained City.

Toure has 59 goals and 33 assists in 222 Premier League matches.

The Ivorian is not a pace monger, but neither were Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard and both were effective when healthy in MLS. Toure’s powerful presence in the midfield could be worth the wage packet and headache, but we’d pay a penny for Patrick Vieira’s thoughts.

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Italy’s once-vaunted ‘BBC’ defense is showing its age

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ROME (AP) With a combined age of 99, Italy’s once vaunted “BBC” defensive trio is showing its years.

The Azzurri will still rely on Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini in a World Cup playoff against Sweden next month but the signs in Serie A lately have not been encouraging.

[ MORE: Koeman fired | Who’s in line? ]

Bonucci’s red card with AC Milan over the weekend was the latest in a series of poor performances after his high-profile transfer from Juventus made him the highest-paid player in Italy.

Chiellini and Barzagli were beaten for goals twice by Ciro Immobile in Juventus’ 2-1 home loss to Lazio less than 10 days ago, and Chiellini was again off form in the Bianconeri’s 6-2 victory over Udinese on Sunday.

Chiellini was fooled by Stipe Perica for Udinese’s first goal and then left Danilo unmarked to head in another as he appealed for an offside call that never came.

Bonucci is 30, Chiellini is 33 and Barzagli is 36.

While Italy coach Gian Piero Ventura has shown interest in developing new talent, he has shown no indication that he plans to cast aside the “BBC” when it counts.

After all, Italy has historically been slow to incorporate younger players, especially defenders.

[ MORE: MLS Playoff Bracket set ]

That means the likes of Daniele Rugani (who plays for Juventus), Alessio Romagnoli (Milan) or Mattia Caldara (Atalanta) – who are all in their 20s – may have to wait for their chances with the Azzurri.

But Ventura would do well to remember how Marcello Lippi kept Fabio Cannavaro and other veterans in the lineup at the 2010 World Cup only to acknowledge after the first-round exit that he made a mistake and was overly influenced by the older players’ performance en route to the title four years earlier.

From Franco Baresi to Giuseppe Bergomi to Paolo Maldini, Alessandro Nesta, Cannavaro and the “BBC,” strong center backs have been a source of uninterrupted pride for the Azzurri for decades.

Gianluigi Buffon in goal has also provided a security blanket for nearly 20 years but he, too, is approaching the end of his career and will likely retire after this season – or after his record sixth World Cup if Italy qualifies.

Italy’s hopes of avoiding the playoffs were dashed with a debilitating 3-0 loss in Spain last month that offered a first hint of defensive problems. The defeat ended Italy’s 11-year unbeaten run in qualifiers for World Cups and European Championships.

[ MORE: Mbappe named Golden Boy ]

The Azzurri attributed the loss to Spain on Sept. 2 to a lack of physical condition so early in the season.

Bonucci, it was figured, just needed some time to adapt to his new surroundings at Milan.

In July, Bonucci completed a surprise transfer from Juventus, where he clashed with coach Massimiliano Allegri last season and was memorably left in the tribune for a Champions League match at Porto.

The transfer fee topped 40 million euros (nearly $50 million) and Bonucci signed a five-year contract worth up to 10 million euros (nearly $12 million) per season. He was also made captain before he ever wore a Milan shirt.

When Milan started to falter a month ago, physical trainer Emanuele Marra was fired – reportedly in large part because Bonucci demanded better fitness preparation.

But Bonucci was out run by Mauro Icardi on Inter Milan’s first goal when the striker scored a hat trick in a 3-2 derby win eight days ago. He was also to blame for the second, failing to mark Icardi in the area.

Things got even worse for Bonucci when he was sent off in the first half of Milan’s 0-0 draw at home with Genoa on Sunday for elbowing a defender in the head as he jostled for position on a free kick.

[ LIGUE 1: Neymar sent off ]

Bonucci will likely be given a multiple-match ban, which would exclude him from facing Juventus next Sunday and could affect his form for the Nov. 10 and 13 playoffs.

“Leo is a champion,” Buffon said. “He’ll become decisive again. But it makes me feel calmer knowing that we won’t have to face him on Saturday.”

More AP Serie A coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/SerieA

Andrew Dampf on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/asdampf

MLS Playoff bracket, dates set: Chicago, Vancouver host Tues.

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Major League Soccer’s playoff bracket is set. Our staff predictions are coming Tuesday before the first round match-ups, but here’s what we’ll be watching…

[ MORE: Mbappe named Golden Boy ]

The chase begins with Chicago and the Red Bulls, and San Jose heading to Vancouver. The Quakes drew the ‘Caps just over a week ago, on Oct. 15.

First round
(E3) Chicago vs. (E6) New York Red Bulls — 8:30 p.m. ET Tuesday
(W3) Vancouver vs. (W6) San Jose — 10:30 p.m. ET Tuesday
(E4) Atlanta vs. (E5) Columbus — 7 p.m. ET Wednesday
(W4) Houston vs. (W5) Sporting KC — 9:30 p.m. ET Wednesday

Conference semifinals
(W1) Portland vs.  San Jose, Houston, or Sporting KC
(W2) Seattle vs. Houston, Sporting KC, or Vancouver
(E1) Toronto vs. New York Red Bulls, Atlanta, or Columbus
(E2) New York City vs. Atlanta, Columbus, or Chicago

Conference finals
Eastern Conference — Nov. 21 and Nov. 28 or 29
Western Conference — Nov. 21 and Nov. 30

MLS Cup Final
At finalist with best record — 4 p.m. ET Dec. 9

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