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Mourinho hits out at Man City’s spending

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Jose Mourinho is like a dog with a bone right now.

With his Manchester United side dropping points against Leicester City and Burnley with two 2-2 draws over the festive period, the Red Devils are getting plenty of criticism as they’ve fallen 15 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s clash at Old Trafford against Southampton (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com), Mourinho once again commented on the spending power of PL leaders, and crosstown rivals, Manchester City.

“Without taking any credit from Manchester City and Pep and his staff and the players, obviously they have lots of credit in what they are doing but Pep arrived, he had the goalkeeper of England [Joe Hart], he doesn’t like him. He buys the goalkeeper of Barcelona [Claudio Bravo], he doesn’t like him. He buys another one [Ederson], now he likes him,” Mourinho said.

“He has [Pablo] Zabaleta and [Aleksandr] Kolarov, two very good players but more than 30 years old, he wants to replace. He doesn’t replace with two, he replaces with three. One from Tottenham [Kyle Walker], one from Monaco [Benjamin Mendy], one from Real Madrid [Danilo], as an example.”

So, there is a slither of credit in there but also a lot of talk about the huge resources Pep Guardiola has at his disposal.

Mourinho said that he has the support of United’s hierarchy but also added: “You [either] belong to one of these clubs where there is no limit and you buy what you want, no Financial Fair Play, there is nothing, you do what you want or it’s hard, it’s hard.”

The Portuguese coach appreciates what he’s been given (over $400 million on new players since he arrived in the summer of 2016, by the way) but the fact that Guardiola has only spent $130 million more than him in that same time period — the price of two full backs — seems to have been glossed over.

“I have the backing of the club. We all know we invested a lot, so when you invest as much as we did it wouldn’t be very fair of me to say the club didn’t support, didn’t want to help, doesn’t want to win. It would be very unfair, which is not me,” Mourinho said. “The club invested a lot of money. The problem is not the money we invest, the problem is the money the others invest. And it’s the problem that others with better squads, with better stability, with more options, they keep investing and that is the only problem.”

Mourinho and Man United are no paupers and this ‘woe is me’ routine is getting very old, very fast. Of course City’s riches have a big deal to do with their record-breaking run but there is a clear plan and philosophy in place and the vast sums are being spent wisely. You can’t say the same about United’s transfer dealings over the past few years.

I get it. It’s tough for Mourinho and United’s fans to appreciate greatness when it’s on their own door step and is being orchestrated by a manager who has long been a main rival of Mourinho’s.

Special things are happening at City regardless of the cash and it’s time for Mourinho to let go of his bone and worry about his own house.

Vancouver adds versatile Juarez, formerly of Monterrey, Celtic

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Efrain Juarez is bringing his game to Major League Soccer.

[ MLS: 2018 Mock SuperDraft ]

The 39-times capped Mexico veteran has inked a deal with the Vancouver Whitecaps, joining a strengthened unit which came within a point of winning the West last season.

Juarez, 29, was unveiled as a midfielder by the ‘Caps, though he’s primarily played right back in his club career. He’s played at Celtic, Real Zaragoza, Club America, Monterrey, and Pumas.

Last capped by El Tri in 2012, Juarez has played every position except goal, center attacking mid, and center forward in his career (picture a ‘U’ on the pitch).

“I’m so happy and excited for this new stage in my career,” Juarez said. “It’s an opportunity for me to keep growing in a new league and to be a part of an amazing club in Vancouver. From the moment they showed interest me, Carl Robinson and the Whitecaps staff have made me feel very important. I promise to put all my effort into this club and do my best to help us achieve our goals.”

VIDEO: Asensio goal ends Real Madrid’s winless run

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Marco Asensio’s eighth goal of the season and second of this Copa del Rey put an end to an unlikely Real Madrid winless run in a 1-0 victory at Leganes.

[ MLS: 2018 Mock SuperDraft ]

The 21-year-old darted in front of a defender to volley home from in-tight, giving Real Madrid a first leg lead in the tournament quarterfinals.

More importantly, perhaps, it gives struggling Real a boost in morale after draws with Celta Vigo and Numancia, and a loss to Villarreal.

Real is home to Deportivo de la Coruna in La Liga before hosting Leganes in the second leg.

Hopeful Newcastle buyer Staveley: Offer still on the table

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Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is probably happy that his for-sale club is away this weekend, even though his side’s up against Manchester City.

[ MORE: Top PL storylines — Week 24  ]

That’s because hopeful buyer Amanda Staveley has responded to claims that her hopeful takeover of the team won’t be happening any time soon.

Talks had stalled, said Tuesday reports, much to the chagrin of an #AshleyOut brigade that at times can make Arsenal’s #WengerOut brigade look like a yard full of happy puppies.

A “source” had said, “Attempts to reach a deal have proved to be exhaustive, frustrating and a complete waste of time,” but Staveley shot back on Thursday to reignite the fire. From the BBC, taken from The Times:

“Our bid remains on the table. This is an investment, but it has to be a long-term investment. Newcastle would be run as a business, but we want it to be a successful, thriving business that is an absolutely integral part of the city.”

She also said that popular manager Rafa Benitez is integral to her interest in the team, and that fact combined with her insistence that an offer remains on the table will have many Newcastle fans seething with current ownership (and there have been protests for years). It’s Ashley’s move now.

2018 MLS Mock Draft: LAFC, Galaxy hold the keys

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Major League Soccer’s latest batch of hopeful rookies learn the next steps of their professional careers beginning Friday with the first two rounds of the MLS SuperDraft.

There are several intriguing prospects, including accomplished Stanford center back Tomas Hilliard-Arce and dangerous Michigan winger Francis Atuahene.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

An MLS mock draft is always tricky given the wildly varying opinions on players from the college game. This year, it’s even trickier as clubs without picks and some with multiple first round picks may be looking to move up and down even more than the norm.

Here’s how we think the draft could play out:

  1. LAFC – Tomas Hilliard-Arce, CB, Stanford
  2. LA Galaxy – Jon Bakero, FW, Wake Forest
  3. DC United – Francis Atuahene, FW, Michigan
  4. Montreal – Joao Moutinho, LB, Akron
  5. Minnesota – Wyatt Omsberg, CB, Dartmouth
  6. Orlando City – Ema Twumasi, FW, Wake Forest
  7. Montreal – Chris Mueller, FW, Wisconsin
  8. New England – Mo Adams, MF, Syracuse
  9. New England – Chris Lema, MF, Georgetown
  10. Real Salt Lake – Justin Fiddes, LB, Washington
  11. FC Dallas – Marcelo Acuna, FW, Virginia Tech
  12. San Jose – Brandon Bye, RB, Western Michigan
  13. Sporting KC – Ed Opoku, FW, Virginia
  14. Atlanta – Alex Roldan, MF, Seattle
  15. Chicago – Mason Toye, FW, Indiana
  16. New York Red Bulls – Alan Winn, MF, North Carolina
  17. Vancouver – Tristan Blackmon, RB, Pacific
  18. Sporting KC – Jon Gallagher, FW, Notre Dame
  19. New York City FC – Daniel Musovski, FW, UNLV
  20. Houston – Mo Thiaw, FW, Louisville
  21. Columbus – Brian White, FW, Duke
  22. Seattle – Tim Kubel, MF, Louisville
  23. Toronto FC – Oliver Shannon, MF, Clemson

There are a few players to keep an eye on for the later rounds that I won’t project for the first round due almost exclusively to first person bias (Some I’ve seen play in college, others at other levels). Afonso Pinheiro from Albany produced like crazy until this season, and Bowling Green defender Alexis Souahy has a skill set that could really transmit to the MLS level.

Mac Steeves (Providence) is a prototypical big body scorer, while Evansville’s heady Ian McGrath has a flair for the absurd and can play almost every position up the center of the pitch. Charleston’s Thomas Vancaeyezeele was a D-2 monster and is probably worth a shot earlier than people suspect.