Jose Mourinho slams Chelsea youngster Ruben Loftus-Cheek for display vs. Sydney

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Jose Mourinho is a hard man to please.

Even in an end of season friendly.

In front of over 83,000 fans, Chelsea beat Sydney FC of the A-League 1-0 on Tuesday to finish their post-season tour Australia in style with Loic Remy grabbing the only goal of the game in sensational fashion.

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The 2014-15 Premier League champions fielded a strong team which included the supposedly “unhappy” Diego Costa — Mourinho rubbished reports saying that Costa was unhappy and wants a return to Atletico Madrid — and a mixture of youngsters as the Blues now head off on a break before heading to the U.S. for preseason in July.

But before signing off from a highly successful 2014-15 campaign, Mourinho gave a warning shot to Chelsea’s young midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek, 19, which will likely ring loudly in his ears throughout the summer. The midfielder came on in the 41st minute but was then subbed out in the second half of the win over Sydney.

From Chelsea’s official website, here is the message Mourinho has for Loftus-Cheek.

“Ruben said he had a pain in his back but what I was feeling was that he only had the pain when Sydney had the ball. When Chelsea had the ball he was playing very well, but when Sydney had the ball I think he was more impressed by watching Matic and Mikel work, instead of him working. So, with Ruben, it’s one step back in terms of my relationship with him. If he doesn’t know what it is to play for me and Chelsea it’s one step back.

“He has to learn that at 19 you have to run three times more than the others, you have to play to your limits and not play like a superstar with the ball at your feet because this is not Under-18s.

“The Under-18 competition is too easy for him. He’s too good to play in the Under-18s but I don’t accept that when he’s playing in midfield with Mikel and Matic when we don’t have the ball he doesn’t press, doesn’t have intensity and he’s waiting for everybody else to recover the ball. I don’t accept that in the superstars so how can I accept that in a kid? He has to learn what it takes to play for us.”

Ouch.

Loftus-Cheek made his full Premier League debut in Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool in May and has received glowing praise from Mourinho during his rise through the club’s academy and reserve teams. Mourinho has already confirmed that the gangly central midfielder will be a part of the Blues’ PL squad next season but his comments will serve as a warning to Loftus-Cheek that he shouldn’t get ahead of himself.

Mourinho’s comments can be taken with a pinch of a salt, seeing as he’s the master of mind games, but one thing is for sure, he wasn’t impressed with Loftus-Cheek’s display in Australia and the academy product certainly knows about. As does the rest of the world.

Red-hot Rebić scores again as AC Milan tops Torino

AC Milan
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MILAN (AP) Ante Rebić kept up his scoring form to lead AC Milan to a 1-0 win over struggling Torino in Serie A on Monday.

The Croatia international beat his marker to redirect a cross from the center of the area midway through the first half at the San Siro.

The score raised Rebić’s tally to six goals and an assist in eight matches since he earned his starting spot – a move that coincided with Zlatan Ibrahimović’s return to the Rossoneri.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Bouncing back from a derby loss, Milan moved up to eighth and just beyond the Europa League places. The seven-time European champion is hoping to return to continental competition after voluntary withdrawing from this season’s Europa League to pay for UEFA financial fair play breaches.

Torino, meanwhile, lost its fifth straight, with new coach Moreno Longo still unable to turn things around in his second match in charge.

Ibrahimović narrowly missed a curling shot shortly after the break.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Simeone: Liverpool intensity “makes me admire it as a rival”

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The UEFA Champions League returns at long last on Tuesday, and two of the greatest managers in the game will match wits for the first time.

No we’re not talking about Lucien Favre and Thomas Tuchel, the meeting of the minds in Tuesday’s other kickoff between Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain in Germany.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp will go head-to-head with Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone in Spain, and the fiery German thinks it will be “absolutely interesting.”

From The Liverpool Echo:

“People say I emotional on the sideline,” Klopp said. “I am only on level 4, Diego is level 12. Really I am the kindergarten cop against him. He is so impressive after all these years, after so many years at the club – eight years. That is really long and having still this emotional level, still, wow. So impressive. I say, his teams are always organized world class.”

The admiration is mutual.

Simeone expects a huge challenge from a Liverpool team he regards on a historic plane.

“We are facing a magnificent team, really well-trained by a coach who is different and has different alternatives in his team,” he said, via The Independent. “We have always spoken about great teams throughout time and I have no doubt this Liverpool is going to go down in history as a great team because it is different to teams that we have admired. This team is much more intense, more adaptable, and it makes me admire it as a rival.”

The bettors say Liverpool is the heavy favorite in the first leg despite the match’s location at the Wanda Metropolitano. With football geniuses like Klopp and Simeone, however, either could have a plan to throw the other for a loop.

CONCACAF Champions League preview: Five MLS sides eye history

CONCACAF Champions League preview
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Once the Premier League and La Liga had taken their final bows of the day on Saturday, there felt was a particular absence, one soon-to-be filled by domestic soccer.

Yes, MLS is coming soon, and the CONCACAF Champions League is even closer.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Five MLS sides begin their Round of 16 ties over the next three evenings, some with easier paths than others to elusive CCL glory.

The competition may not have burned itself onto the mainstream, lagging behind continental competitions in Europe and South America, but those who’ve embraced it (hint: this guy) love the thing.

For all the progress Major League Soccer has made in its quarter-century, it’s yet to find much success in dealing with Liga MX powers in the fight to qualify for the Club World Cup.

MLS sides have not won the competition since it was rebranded the CCL. Only three MLS sides have made the CCL final this decade, with Real Salt Lake (2011), Montreal Impact (2015), and Toronto FC (2017) all coming up short at the last step.

The CCL provides everything you love and hate about World Cup qualifying, and those dicey pitches with sometimes worse lighting mean the favorites aren’t guaranteed much.

The top half of the bracket sees three MLS teams — Montreal, Seattle, and NYCFC — and just one Liga MX side, while the bottom half gives us a Liga MX v. MLS match-up straight away.

That’s Leon v. LAFC, and it begins Tuesday night in Mexico. That tie carries the added intrigue of MLS superstar Carlos Vela bringing his act back to his home country for the first time… ever.

Bracket

Saprissa (Costa Rica) v. Montreal — 8 p.m. ET Weds.
Olimpia (Honduras) v. Seattle — 10 p.m. ET Thurs.

San Carlos (Costa Rica) v. NYCFC — 8 p.m. ET Thurs.
Alianza (El Salvador) v. UANL Tigres — 8 p.m. ET Weds.

Leon v. LAFC — 10 p.m. ET Tues.
Portmore United (Jamaica) v. Cruz Azul — 8 p.m. ET Tues.

Comunicaciones (Guatemala) v. Club America — 10 p.m. ET Weds.
Montagua (Honduras) v. Atlanta United — 10 p.m. ET Tues.

The 2 Robbies podcast: VAR carnage at Stamford Bridge

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Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle dissect a crazy game at Stamford Bridge that saw Chelsea on the wrong side of several VAR decisions (00:45).

The gents also recap the big moments from the weekend; Liverpool beat Norwich (18:30), Son’s late winner against Aston Villa (24:45) and Arteta‘s attackers thrash Newcastle United (30:15).

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

To listen to more lively conversations and passionate debate from Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe, subscribe to The 2 Robbies Podcast on Apple Podcasts or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

And you can follow them on Twitter @The2RobbiesNBC here.

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]