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Mourinho hits out as new Man United contract discussed

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It appears Jose Mourinho is in talks about extending his stay at Manchester United, but the Portuguese coach was far from impressed about recent reports regarding his future.

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According to multiple outlets in the UK, Mourinho is discussing a new contract at Old Trafford with his current deal set to expire in the summer of 2019.

However, Mourinho, 54, has cut a frustrated figure in recent weeks and has called for more spending from United’s hierarchy to match Manchester City who are the runaway Premier League leaders. That lead to some reports suggesting Mourinho would walk away from Old Trafford at the end of the season.

Mourinho called that “garbage news” and was on the defensive when speaking to the media on Thursday ahead of United’s FA Cup third round clash against Derby County on Friday.

“If I am going to sign a new one it of course depends on the club but my commitment with the club is total. I see myself here [after three years]. It is just a question if the club all want and are happy with my contribution and want me to stay beyond the end of this contract. Yes, I want to stay,” Mourinho said.

Mourinho also spoke in more detail about the reports suggesting he will walk away from the club.

“Depends on what you want to know and what you want to speak about. If you want to speak about some news. I say garbage. I don’t find a better word to define the talk [about him walking away],” Mourinho said. “If you want to ask me directly, which I suppose you want, if I see myself next season in Manchester United, I say I see myself and as I told when I arrived, I am going to leave when the club wants me to leave. I have no intention to leave at all. I want to stay and to improve and bring the club to where it belongs. I want to stay.

“I still have a contract. I am in the middle of my contract. I am not in the last couple of months. My desire is to stay until the owners and the board is happy with my work. Speaking about my work and connecting my work to the garbage news is to say the worst thing anyone can do to myself. The worst thing somebody can do to me is to put one inch of doubt into my professionalism, my job, my players, my club, in every detail of my job. The garbage news affected me just on these aspects.”

Woah. Mourinho has come out swinging and he didn’t stop there.

It appears he couldn’t help himself at having a little dig at his fellow Premier League managers when asked if he still has the hunger to build a new team at United.

“Because I don’t behave as a clown on the touchline, it means I have lost my passion?” Mourinho said. “I prefer the way I am doing it. Much better for my team and myself. You see it every day in the way a person is dedicated to his work, not what you do in front of the cameras.”

He couldn’t be talking about Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola or Antonio Conte, could he? Also, Mourinho’s antics on the sidelines in the past must come into question with his celebration at Old Trafford in 2004 when in charge of FC Porto, his run down the touchline when Chelsea beat PSG in 2014 and his actions in several Real Madrid v. Barcelona clashes…

Anyway, with Mourinho known to be someone who walks away from clubs after three seasons, he is approaching the time when things usually hit their peak. Last season United finished sixth in the Premier League after prioritizing the UEFA Europa League, which they won, to qualify for the UEFA Champions League this season. They also added the League Cup for good measure and this season they sit in second place in the table but have a real battle on their hands to finish in the top four.

There has been progression but United’s style of play has been criticized and many of their big name players are yet to fully dominate games week in, week out.

The fact that United want Mourinho to remain at the club and Mourinho has come out fighting says a lot. It’s tough to see him not being at United next season. Now, will he be given the huge transfer funds he wants after already spending big in the past two years?

You get the feeling that is really what Mourinho wants.

Serie A: Juve keep winning to remain 1 point back of Napoli

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TURIN, Italy (AP) Juventus closed the gap on Serie A leader Napoli back to just one point as the six-time defending champion eased past Genoa 1-0 on Monday.

Douglas Costa scored in the 16th minute, the first conceded by Genoa in five league matches. It was a less than convincing performance from Juventus but it was never really troubled, as goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny – standing in for the still-injured Gianluigi Buffon – was little more than a spectator.

“What was important was to win,” Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. “At the end there was a bit of nervousness because we were lacking in energy a bit.

“We could have finished off the match in the first half, and again with a couple of occasions after the break. We didn’t manage to so compliments to Genoa.”

The battle for the Serie A title is shaping into a two-horse race. Juventus moved 10 points clear of third-placed Lazio, although the capital side has a match in hand.

“The season is still long and all those who are behind us can still get back into the race,” Allegri said. “It was important to stay in Napoli’s slipstream.”

Juventus needed to win after Napoli beat Atalanta 1-0 on Sunday.

Allegri’s side started brightly and had an early chance to take the lead but Genoa goalkeeper Mattia Perin did well to keep out a free kick from specialist Miralem Panic.

However, it did not take much longer to strike. Douglas Costa passed out left to Mario Mandzukic, who played a delightful return ball for the Brazil midfielder to slot into the bottom left corner.

League Cup semi: Man City take 2-1 lead into 2nd leg vs. Bristol

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Manchester City can move one step closer on Tuesday to claiming their first of four potential trophies this season, when Pep Guardiola‘s men take on Bristol City in the second leg of the League Cup semifinal.

[ MORE: Monday’s transfer rumor roundup | Sunday | Friday ]

After coming back to beat the Robins in the first leg at home, Man City must now go on the road and take care of business to reach the Feb. 25 final at Wembley Stadium. As he has done so many times — and so famously — in the sky blue of City, Sergio Aguero grabbed the late winner (91st minute — WATCH HERE) 14 days ago.

For a few not-so-insignificant periods of the game, Bristol were very much the aggressors and appeared more likely to make the score 2-0 than for City to get back to 1-1. Bobby Reid converted from the penalty spot in the 44th minute after her was brought down under John Stones‘ wild, sliding tackle. Kevin De Bruyne leveled things up 10 minutes into the second half, setting the stage for Aguero’s late heroics.

[ MORE: Alexis-for-Mkhi swap complete | De Bruyne’s new contract ]

Since the first leg on Jan. 9, City have failed in their bid to finish the PL season with an unbeaten record before bouncing back to beat Newcastle United on the weekend, courtesy of a hat trick from Aguero — Guardiola quotes, from Sport24:

“I said many times it was going to happen, we can lose, so (it is) important the reaction we have. Still we have 42 points to play (for). It is 14 games. It is a lot of games to play and difficult games like Saturday and like Liverpool. It is important to show the team is still there but I don’t have the feeling we give up.

“We want to go through to the final in the (League) Cup and the FA Cup, so (we have) a lot of games but I think the people have the desire to keep going, to keep going, to keep going.”

[ MORE: One dream January signing for each top-six side ]

Bristol, meanwhile, have fallen on hard times: it’s been nearly a month (Boxing Day, to be specific — five losses, one draw) since Lee Johnson’s side last won a game in any competition, and they’ve fallen from second to fifth in the Championship table — Johnson quotes, from the Guardian:

“We don’t want to be brave losers, we want to compete to win. It’s up to the players to be focused and tactically aware, and who knows what will happen if we can show the same quality as we have shown in the previous rounds?

“We have to make sure we’re really bold. If you’re going to deliver a corner, do it like you mean it. I’d rather fail bold than fail timid. We know we have to score. I hope Pep picks his absolute best team and we can give them a right go. I’m not sure you could go and play an under-23 side against us at the moment and I think he’ll know that.”

The winner of Arsenal versus Chelsea (0-0 after the first leg) awaits in the final.

The 2 Robbies: Alexis-Mkhitaryan Swap Becomes Reality

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Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe react to the Alexis Sanchez-Henrikh Mkhitaryan swap deal between Arsenal and Manchester United finally becoming reality (0:20), Swansea’s stunning 1-0 victory over Liverpool (9:20), Southampton’s much-needed draw with Spurs (22:30) and Watford’s decision to part ways with Marco Silva (36:20). The gents end the show sharing their memories of the late English striker, Cyrille Regis (39:45).

Join Earle & Mustoe on The 2 Robbies Football Show, Saturdays at 5pm ET. Listen on the NBCSports Radio App and call 855-323-4622 in the U.S. for lively passionate debate.

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Inter Milan sign Barcelona midfielder Rafinha on loan

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MILAN (AP) Inter Milan completed the signing of Barcelona midfielder Rafinha on loan until the end of the season, with a view to a permanent move.

Inter can sign the Brazil international permanently for $43 million plus $3.7 million in bonuses, and said on Monday that option “must be taken up before the end of the season.”

Rafinha, who was born in Sao Paulo, had been at Barcelona since 2006, when he joined its youth team. He spent the 2013-14 season on loan at Celta Vigo.

After nine months out after surgery on his right knee, he made his first appearance of the season last week as a late substitute in Barcelona’s Copa del Rey defeat at Espanyol.

“It’s an important stage in my life,” he said, “and I had a lot of desire to approach this new phase in my career.”

Inter has slipped to fourth in Serie A, 11 points behind leader Napoli.

It could slip out of the Champions League places if Roma wins its match in hand on Wednesday.

“I hope to play in as many matches as possible and help the team to reach our objective which is Champions League qualification,” Rafinha said.