Asamoah Gyan

Asamoah Gyan says “Ghana is the more talented team” ahead of US match


Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan reintroduced himself to US Soccer on Sunday evening telling reporters at the pre-match press conference in Natal that “Ghana is the more talented team.”

While those on hand, including Soccerwire’s Charles Boehm, were quick to point out that the comment was made causally and without intent to inflame the pre-match banter, the soundbite nevertheless goes a long way to shedding light on the Ghanaians psyche heading into Monday’s match.

From Soccerwire:

“Ghana is the more talented team. We’ve got young, talented players who are coming up. Talking about the tournament, I think we’ve got the youngest team, and most of the players are playing well in their clubs, they are in great shape.

The United States team, they are a good side. We’ve watched them a couple of times, they are a very dangerous team. But we don’t think about other teams, we think of ourselves first. It’s going to be like they’re coming for revenge. I think mentally, they don’t want us to beat them for the third time, which is going to make the game very, very interesting and difficult for us.”

Ghana have knocked the US out of the last two World Cups. In 2006, they handed the Yanks a 2-1 loss in the final match of the group stage while in 2010, Gyan scored an extra time goal to defeat the Americans 2-1 in the Round of 16. Whether the Black Stars have more talent than the Americans is debatable but there’s hardly any surprise that, as the youngest team in the tournament, ‘talent’ is the adjective Gyan uses to describe the squad.

Arguably the more important sound from the former Sunderland striker is the second bit, which sets forth a keen understanding of the US heading into the game. First and foremost, there’s on-field respect. Secondly, Gyan understands just how huge a match this is for the US, not only to help get out of Group G but from a revenge perspective.

So good on Gyan for playing it cool. Physically and mentally, Ghana will be ready for the US and vice versa. It’s all there for the taking, no additional motivation required.

Mourinho “working like never before” to turn Chelsea around

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Jose Mourinho got the dreaded much-needed vote of confidence from Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich last weekend, seemingly giving the Portuguese manager a temporary stay of execution despite the Blues’ worst start to a season in 37 years.

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Speaking this week, Mourinho has revealed that while he’s thankful to have been kept on at the club for which he regularly professes his love, he still thinks it was no-brainer for Abramovich. In other words, Mourinho’s not backing down from his incredible, seven-minute rant to one question following Saturday’s defeat to Southampton.

Mourinho, on what he’s doing to turn Chelsea around — quotes from the Guardian:

“It shows the confidence of Abramovich in the manager who has won three Premier League titles with this club. I thank him and I keep working.

“What’s going on? I do not know. The results with Chelsea at the moment have been really bad. I cannot hide that reality, and I don’t want to. And I struggle to find an explanation. But I assure you: I’m working like never before and we will come out of this. And there is also the Champions League that we will not neglect, for certain.”

What did you expect from Mourinho? Well, you know, I should probably be fired, but thanks to Mr. Abramovich for not realizing this and keeping me employed? It’s simultaneously interesting and the least surprising thing ever, though, that Mourinho claims to not know what’s wrong with Chelsea at the moment. Of course he has a theory (or five), and of course he’s “working like never before” to correct it.

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The most fascinating thing about Chelsea’s sluggish start to the season is to see, hear and read Mourinho speaking from a position of powerlessness. Always the clever one, the one dictating where the discussion goes, the one in charge of every press interaction, Saturday’s rant felt like watching a desperate Mourinho grasping for anything by which to pull himself back up.

Reports link Guardiola with Manchester City summer move

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There are claims out of Spain that Manchester City has a verbal agreement to bring Pep Guardiola to town when his Bayern Munich contract expires in June.

Don’t expect comment from Guardiola, who bristles when discussing his future. In the past he’s hinted he might not be the right man for the Bavarian side, but has lamented any questions about clubs other than Bayern.

Now Mundo Deportivo writer Francesc Aguilar says there’s a secret agreement between Guardiola and Manchester City director of football Txiki Begiristain to reunite at the Etihad Stadium this summer.

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Both Barcelona buffs and former Spanish internationals, Begiristain was Barca’s director of football when Guardiola took over for Frank Rjikaard in 2008.

Manuel Pellegrini signed a contract extension this summer and has led the club to a Premier League title, though the club has struggled in European competition. For what it’s worth, the Manchester Evening News got rumor reaction from Sergio Aguero:

On the latest Guardiola rumour, Kun said: “It has been talked about a lot. I don’t know him, but he’s a great manager and it’s wonderful to have the best managers train you.”

But he also added: “I’m very good with Manuel Pellegrini, we talk a lot. I’m happy in the team and with him, but the club will be the one who chooses who comes in.”

In other words, “I’m really good, and they pay me well enough that I’m prepared to play for any big name that arrives.”

It’s a story to keep up with, even as it intrudes on the seasons of two big, rich European clubs.