Mourinho right to slam Man United’s scheduling?

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It’s fair to say that Jose Mourinho goes into most of his press conferences to set an agenda.

Wednesday was no different.

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After Manchester United’s poor display in a 0-0 draw at Southampton, Mourinho slammed the scheduling of their final game of the season against Crystal Palace on Sunday (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET on CNBC and online via NBCSports.com).

Why? United play in the UEFA Europa League final against Ajax in Stockholm, Sweden, three days later.

“In any country in the world, the match would be Saturday. We are sixth, it doesn’t matter what [happens on Sunday]. Crystal Palace are safe,” Mourinho said. “So I think after the moment Crystal Palace beat Hull City and Hull are relegated, and Swansea are safe, I think in that moment the match has to be Saturday. In any country in the world, it would be Saturday. It’s frustrating for me.”

Mourinho was then asked if he’d made a request to have the game changed and simply said it was “a lost battle” and that English clubs playing in European competitions were not protected.

Does he have a point with this airing of grievances?

No. Not really. Mourinho has long been complaining about the number of games his team have had to play this season. They have currently played 61 times in all competitions after reaching the FA Cup quarterfinal, winning the EFL Cup and reaching the final of the Europa League.

With the Portuguese rotating his squad due to injury and freshness concerns over the past few weeks, his side haven’t won in their last five Premier League outings and they will finish in sixth place.

He placed all his eggs in one basket a few weeks ago and Mourinho complaining about the number of games his team have to play simply covers up the fact that this team has had an uninspiring season in the Premier League.

If United win the Europa League, as expected, against Ajax then all of this will be forgotten. However, if the Red Devils slip up and aren’t in the Champions League next season then Mourinho will be reminded about this tactic to slack of in the PL in the final month of the season when his team had a legitimate chance of finishing in the top four.

Any team, or manager, which is successful has to deal with a huge number of games. The amount of money United has spent on star names, plus the sheer depth in their squad, suggests that Mourinho should have no issues whatsoever juggling all of these games and doing better than United has done in the PL.

FIFA fines Qatar after players’ political support for Emir

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ZURICH (AP) FIFA has fined Qatar’s soccer federation after national team players breached rules against political statements by displaying T-shirts of the country’s Emir at a World Cup qualifier.

FIFA says its disciplinary panel imposed a 50,000 Swiss francs ($51,800) fine and reprimanded Qatar, the 2022 World Cup host.

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The incident happened in Doha on June 13, amid a dispute with regional rivals Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

Qatar’s players warmed up for a 3-2 win over South Korea wearing white T-shirts with an image of Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to show their support for him.

FIFA says the charges related to “displaying a political image” and “political displays” by spectators.

Report: USMNT’s Arriola drawing transfer interest abroad, in MLS

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Paul Arriola’s motor was constantly running as the United States men’s national team claimed its sixth Gold Cup title, and it could drive him all the way from Club Tijuana to Europe or a prime spot on an MLS roster.

There’s a snag, though.

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Arriola is reportedly wanted by Real Salt Lake and clubs in both the Netherlands and Portugal, but the LA Galaxy has what Goal.com describes a “dubious homegrown player” claim on Arriola, who participated in a minimal of practices with the Galaxy when he was younger.

As you’ll see below, there isn’t much “homegrown” about it and, to its critics, it is peak MLS monopolized tomfoolery. Here’s how Goal describes it:

“He was already a U.S. youth national team player when he traveled the 120 miles from Chula Vista to take part in a handful of training sessions with the LA Galaxy academy and eventually the Galaxy first team.

“The Galaxy are believed to hold a homegrown player claim on Arriola, and would have the right of first refusal on making Arriola an offer if he comes to MLS. The Galaxy’s current salary-cap situation might not allow them to make a serious bid for Arriola.”

But… here’s how the Galaxy described his choosing to sign for TJ instead of a pro deal from LA in 2013:

“It’s a little disappointing,” Galaxy technical director Jovan Kirovski told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Friday. “He went through our system, we offered him a contract and he decided to move on and go somewhere else. But that’s going to happen. It’s something that has happened before, and it’s something that will happen again.”

Arriola’s response in the same article? “I thank the Galaxy for giving me a wonderful opportunity to train with their first team and be a part of their first team which really taught me a lot.” That doesn’t read as much like he “went through their system.” He played in at least one U-18 game, debuting in October 2012, did more training with TJ in December 2012, and signed for the Mexican side in May 2013.

Should that qualify him as Homegrown?

https://www.transfermarkt.com/paul-arriola/leistungsdaten/spieler/189876

Did Arriola spent significant time with LA, or is it possible the Galaxy might reap rewards from having an already established youth national teamer to practice when he was a kid? Whether you’re okay with that or not, consider that it encourages clubs to pilfer rights without actually registering or training the player.

Not to mention there is no guarantee that playing in the Netherlands or Portugal will be better for his development than MLS. Benfica or Ajax and potential action in European tournaments? Maybe. NAC Breda or Tondela? Maybe not.

Nevermind the quagmire that is American youth soccer clubs’ not earning money from transfer fees, the Arriola drama seems baseless. We don’t know the Galaxy will hold the player hostage, but they would actually be depriving MLS of a talent, as LA would theoretically get nothing should TJ sell him to a European club.

In any event, check out Arriola’s use chart from Tijuana and you’ll see why he’s valued by Bruce Arena as well as his suitors. He’s a Swiss Army Knife. Here’s hoping Tinseltown doesn’t stop him from a proper next step (assuming he’s ready to leave Liga MX).