The Obligatory José Mourinho: Chelsea boss calls Manchester City lucky; says Citizens should have won more

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As if mandated by his contract, José Mourinho has vaulted himself into the headlines ahead of a big game, though given the vociferous way we consume all things Mourinho, the Chelsea boss’s big mouth is only half of this equation. We are talking about him, after all – reflexively writing up the seemingly trollish comments he produces at each glimpse of a microphone.

At this point, we know we shouldn’t take him too seriously, yet we keep listening. We keep reading. We keep clicking, tweeting, retweeting and sharing. We’re nauseatingly addicted to José Mourinho.

One day ahead of the Blues’ Monday match at Manchester City, Mourinho labeled the first place Citizens “fantastic” while also describing them as under-achievers. From the BBC:

“The team is fantastic, the squad is fantastic and normally they [should] win more titles.”

“In Europe they didn’t do well, or close to doing well,” added Mourinho. “Speaking objectively, they did very bad in the Champions League in previous seasons, also in the Europa League.

Mourinho went on to call Manchester City lucky, saying that recent disallowed goals by Liverpool, Newcastle, and Tottenham represent luck that is has not evened out. Again from the BBC:

“They are lucky,” he added. “The referees, they try to do their best and sometimes they make mistakes and normally during the season the mistakes are split between teams.

“In their case, they have everything in their favour.”

Point-by-point, there’s nothing controversial here. You can disagree that City should have won more with their talent, but the club obviously doesn’t. That’s why Roberto Mancini’s currently in Istanbul. The team didn’t do well in Europe under their former boss, but Manuel Pellegrini’s starting to change that. There’s isn’t much to debate.

As for luck, that’s where Mourinho gets a little trolly. Does luck even exist? And if so, does it even out? Even if it does, whose to say Manchester City has been more lucky than most? What Mourinho seems as calls that should have done the other way could merely be a series of coincidental controversies that say little about City’s ability to draw luck. Still, given the nebulous nature of luck, it’s hard to begrudge Mourinho’s opinion without also acknowledging “luck” is something that’s accepted by much of the sports-following public.

It’s the timing of the comments that’s the issue here. Of course Mourinho’s going to be asked about City before a match against the Citizens, but whereas most managers are able to say clear of gibes lie “lucky” or “[should] win more titles” in their pre-match press conferences, Mourinho seems to embrace them.

That’s not necessarily bad. At this point, though, it just seems kind of obligatory – part of a routine that’s getting old. It makes me wonder when we’ll finally reach a point of desensitization and cease this obsession with everything Mourinho.

Peru’s World Cup foes lobby to overturn Guerrero’s ban

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Following last week’s decision handed down by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Peru captain and talisman Paolo Guerrero has been banned from the 2018 World Cup — at the age of 34, almost certainly his last opportunity to star on the world’s biggest stage.

[ PREVIEW: USMNT hosts Bolivia in shadows of World Cup hype ]

However, in the days since that decision, a number of Guerrero’s fellow professionals and World Cup stars — France and Denmark captains Hugo Lloris and Simon Kjaer, and Australia’s Mile Jedinak — have written to FIFA, on behalf of FIFPro, the world player union, in hopes of rendering Guerrero eligible to pay at next month’s tournament in Russia.

“We respectfully ask the Fifa Council to show compassion,” the trio wrote. “In our view it would be plainly wrong to exclude him from what should be a pinnacle of his career.”

[ MORE: Ronaldo hints at Real Madrid exit | Bale does the same ]

That Lloris, Kjaer and Jedinak are the players lobbying in favor of Guerrero is particularly notable given the fact that Peru will face France, Denmark and Australia in Group C.

Guerrero tested positive for cocaine late last year, after a tea he drank was tainted and triggered a fail drug test.

SKC, Crew SC play to 0-0 draw; VAR steals the show (again)

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KANSAS CITY, KAN. — The game in 100 words (or less): Nothing ruins a good game of soccer more than controversies involving the referee — and now that VAR is active within MLS, yet another failure of the video-review system to correct the most “clear and obvious” of wrong decisions. There is no longer any rhyme or reason in deciding whether or not to utilize what could be a very helpful tool. Check the third video further down this page to comprehend the absurdity of VAR in Sporting Kansas City’s 0-0 draw with Columbus Crew SC on Sunday. As for the actual soccer which was played, Tim Melia made one save to deny Gyasi Zardes with a point-blank header early in the first half, and a second to deny Zardes rom the penalty spot just before halftime. Despite being a back-and-forth affair between the league’s second- and third-place teams with a chance to take the lead in the Supporters’ Shield race, there were just six shots on target in total and genuine scoring chances were few and far between.

[ PREVIEW: USMNT hosts Bolivia in shadows of World Cup hype ]

Three moments that mattered

43′ — Zardes wins a PK, but Melia makes the save — Melia was responsible for giving away the penalty kick, and he more than made up for it by denying Zardes moments later.

45+6′ — Higuain puts studs into Espinoza, sees red — Originally not called a foul, changed to a red card following video review. On the softer side of red cards (just an opinion).

59′ — Martinez takes a swing at Sinovic, but no video review — At this point, it’s just time to disband the entire VAR experiment. It’s turned MLS into a clown show and an embarrassment. Signed, someone who was initially in favor of VAR, assuming MLS would utilize it properly.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Tim Melia

Goalscorers: None

Rayo Vallecano win promotion back to La Liga

Photo credit: Rayo Vallecano / @RayoVallecano
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MADRID (AP) Rayo Vallecano earned promotion to Spain’s top division after beating Lugo 1-0 in a second-tier league game on Sunday.

Alex Moreno’s goal for the hosts in the 40th minute sealed Rayo’s return to La Liga after two seasons away.

Huesca had already secured promotion last weekend with a 2-0 victory at Lugo.

The third team to move up will be the winner of a two-round playoff between the four teams that finish the season from third to sixth.

Malaga, Las Palmas and Deportivo La Coruna were all relegated from the top flight this season.

FOLLOW LIVE: West leaders SKC host East’s 2nd-best Crew SC

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KANSAS CITY, KAN. — Western Conference leaders Sporting Kansas City host Columbus Crew SC, the Eastern Conference’s second-place side, at Children’s Mercy Park on Sunday with both sides capable of overtaking Atlanta United for top spot in the Supporters’ Shield race.

[ FOLLOW: SKC vs. Crew SC in top-of-the-table clash ]

Sporting KC, who are unbeaten in three straight and have lost just once since opening day (11 games), lead expansion side Los Angeles FC in the West. Meanwhile, Crew SC enter Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash unbeaten in their last six games (four wins) and trail the league leaders from Atlanta by a single point.

Hit the link above to follow along throughout the afternoon, and check back with PST for coverage after the final whistle.