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.
Wolves improved their point total from 2020-21 to 2021-22, but the Portuguese boss has overseen a poor start to the 2022-23 Premier League season despite purchases of Goncalo Guedes, Nathan Collins, and Matheus Nunes.
Wolves also bought Stuttgart striker Sasa Kalajdzic, who has since torn his ACL, and the club has failed to manufacture offense at almost every turn.
The club fell 2-0 to West Ham on Saturday and has scored just three goals this season. Wolves sit 18th on the Premier League table, and visit Chelsea on Saturday.
Lage firmed up Wolves’ defending last season but his attack has struggled as Raul Jimenez hasn’t reached pre-injury heights and Adama Traore’s been often kept on the bench in favor of a more defensive stance.
Traore is one of the possible beneficiaries of a change, as both Espirito Santo and Lage stripped him of regular starter status but did not sanction a sale for the solid speedster.
Lage played five at the back for much of last season but went to four this season and also tooled around with a three-man back line.
There are some very good pieces for a new manager, who still has Ruben Neves, Pedro Neto, Max Kilman, Collins, and Rayan Ait-Nouri amongst the admired players on the squad.
“He and his staff have been a pleasure to work with throughout their time at Wolves, so it is with much sadness that we have had to make what has been a difficult decision.
“I honestly have no doubts about Bruno’s ability, and I’m sure he will succeed elsewhere, however the team’s form and performances over the last few months mean that we have no choice but to act.
“On behalf of everyone at Wolves, I would like to place on record our gratitude to Bruno and his coaching team for all their efforts during their time with the club, and wish them the very best for the future.”
We’re entering new territory when it comes to grading anything that has to do with Manchester City, making Man City vs Manchester United player ratings a real hassle.
As bad as Manchester United was in going down five goals en route to a 6-3 loss at the Etihad Stadium, there’s something about the sheer style, grace, and systematic presence of Man City that demands a curve.
David De Gea allowed six goals and it’s a challenge to say he should’ve stopped more than one of them. Antony was United’s star and the fact that he’s done it against a system that challenges attackers makes you want to push him up a notch.
Mostly the Manchester City vs Manchester United player ratings beg you to consider if you’re watching the start of one of the very best seasons to ever be put onto the pitches of the Premier League.
Manchester City vs Manchester United player ratings
These are not going to be kind to the visitors.
Manchester City player ratings
Ederson: 6 — Yes, three goals conceded (one a penalty) but he’s so important to how Pep Guardiola wants to play as evidenced by his 78 touches and 88 percent passing rate.
Kyle Walker (Off 41′): 6 — Had little to do, relatively speaking, before leaving with a left leg injury.
Nathan Ake: 6 — Not a terrible day but you feel better when he’s on the left of the defense rather than central.
Manuel Akanji: 8.5 — Could City have added a better fit? Akanji passes supremely well and is brave when dangers comes his way.
Joao Cancelo: 7.5 — Seven recoveries in a different and perhaps just as important role than his usual marauding self.
Bernardo Silva: 8 — How old that another Silva has replaced David as City’s somehow underappreciated but clearly world class star?
Ilkay Gundogan (Off 75′): 7 — Sunday’s captain didn’t have to do too much.
Kevin De Bruyne (Off 75′): 8 — Two assists and three shots.
Jack Grealish (Off 75′): 8 — Oh boy was he a pest from moment No. 1. Terrific day for the former Villa star.
Erling Haaland: 10 — What looked like a near-perfect fit is turning out to be a perfect fit. What was anyone doubting, anyway: That a gigantic beast of a man didn’t know how to pass?
Phil Foden (Off 75′): 10 — A hat trick on six shots, four of which were on target. Twenty-one of 22 passes completed over 75 minutes. You could argue that Foden has the chance to be Pep Guardiola’s great development if the Catalan wizard didn’t help produce Messi.
Sergio Gomez (On 41′): 7 — An assist but a bit too rash with the ball. Still, reassuring to see a new player make such a difference.
Cole Palmer (On 75′): 6 — 20-year-old connected all six of his passes and created a good look to goal, but was out there for two conceded.
Riyad Mahrez (On 75′): — 6
Aymeric Laporte (On 75′): 5.5
Manchester United player ratings
David De Gea: 4 — His expected goals on target was under three, so there’s that, but it’s hard to fault the Spanish keeper for not depriving more than one of City’s six goals. Just two saves, however.
Tyrell Malacia (Off 46′): 4.5 — A halftime sacrifice on a yellow card, was far from the biggest culprit but not great.
Raphael Varane (Off 41′): 5 — Blocked a shot and connected on all of his passes. The extent of his injury could badly set United’s plans back.
Lisandro Martinez: 3.5 — A dreadful day for the physical center back
Diogo Dalot: 3 — Too many crosses found their way to the other side of the pitch. He was a part of both ends of that.
Scott McTominay (Off 59′): 5 — A busy, busy boy. That was likely due to Erik ten Hag’s choice to deploy Christian Eriksen next to him against the best possession team in the world. A goal line clearance, a blocked shot, an interception, and four tackles.
Christian Eriksen: 4 — Created chances and picked up an assist, but really wasn’t the right fit for what Ten Hag was attempting to do at the Etihad.
Antony: 7.5 — Quite good, scoring a beauty and showing fire over 90 minutes despite the lopsided score line.
Bruno Fernandes: 5.5 — The system was a big part of his struggles, and it will be as long as a Casemiro or Fred isn’t out there; For Bruno to be near his best, he needs the freedom that will open up holes in the midfield.
Jadon Sancho (Off 70′): 5 — Seven recoveries on just 37 touches. System didn’t play to his strengths.
Marcus Rashford (Off 59′): 5 — Twelve touches in almost an hour as the center forward in a 4-2-3-1. Can’t really put that on him, can you?
Victor Lindelof (On 41′): 45 — Actually performed extremely well with the ball. Compared to peers’ days… hard to gripe with the Swede.
Luke Shaw (On 46′): 4.5 — Suffice it to say he didn’t fix what ailed United from the first half.
Anthony Martial (On 59′): 7.5 — A difference-making sub (unfortunately the difference was a three-goal loss instead of a five-goal loss).
Casemiro (On 59′): 6 — If Erik ten Hag could back and start one player, we bet it would be Casemiro. His insertion wasn’t going to save the day but his start could’ve given them a platform to play forward with more confidence.
Fred (On 70′): 6.5 — Tidy and in-control, likely a good-enough showing to merit a longer look.
As expected under Marsch, Leeds have taken a high-volume approach to their tactics — lots of pressing and challenges, lots of counter-attacking and lots of scoring chances created. Their 1.57 expected goals (per 90 minutes) ranks 7th in the Premier League. Leeds haven’t played a game (in any competition) since Sept. 3, one day shy of a month come Sunday, due to the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the ensuing fixture postponements. Leading goal-scorer Rodrigo remains out with a shoulder injury, but the Spaniard could be back in the next week or two.
Goal-scoring has been a major issue thus far for Aston Villa, who have scored multiple goals in a game just once this season. Six different players have scored a goal, but no one has scored two. Unsurprisingly, Steven Gerrard’s side sits 19th in the PL for xG (0.76 per 90).
Erling Haaland and Phil Foden both recorded hat tricks as Manchester City built a five-goal lead before settling for a 6-3 blowout derby win over Manchester United on Sunday at the Etihad Stadium.
Haaland finished with three goals and two assists, while Kevin De Bruyne set up two of the big Norwegian’s goals. Haaland now has 14 goals through eight Premier League games, 18 off the league record for a 38-game season set by Mohamed Salah in 2017-18.
What we learned from Manchester City vs Manchester United
Erling Haaland’s goal record chase is real: Thirteen goals through eight games? Really?!? Erling Haaland is on fire, and every single Premier League defense should be terrified. We spent an entire season wondering what last season’s Man City would look like with a finisher at center forward and now we’ve found out that it is flat out ridiculous.
Erik ten Hag handcuffs his team: Look, hindsight is always going to be 20:20. We get that, but expecting to go toe-to-toe with City away by deploying Christian Eriksen and Scott McTominay at the heart of your midfield while leaving Fred and Casemiro on the bench was almost absurd. Eriksen’s defensive skills weren’t up for the task and left McTominay running around like a maniac. The ball barely found its way to the front four, which was United’s only hope of hanging with the hosts. Antony’s incredible goal is a cruel hint of what might’ve been for ETH’s young team.
Phil Foden, Kevin De Bruyne unfair: That’s the lesson. Unfair.
Can 2022-23 Manchester City supplant 2008-09 Barcelona as Pep’s masterpiece? It’s difficult to Imagine a season better than Barcelona’s league and Champions League double. Barcelona was stunned on Opening Day but did not lose again until February 21. It did not lose a meaningful European match nor trail after a leg of the knockout rounds. Of its five league losses, four came after building a 13-point table lead in mid-February. Even throwing in 105-goal, plus-70 goal differential La Liga figures somehow doesn’t change the thought that this City could better most of those marks. City is currently on pace for 133 goals and a nearly triple-digit goal diffrential, though it’s yet to have played Liverpool, Spurs, Chelsea, or Arsenal. It’s also in second place (laughing emoji).
Phil Foden reaction
“It’s a dream come true, playing a derby as a City fan as well. Erling and I have built a connection, just finding each other.”
Erling Haaland reaction
“Not bad,” Haaland said on USA Network. “We scored six goals. What can you say? It’s amazing. To win at home and score six goals here, it’s nice.
“You can feel it all the time. You see the passes we give each other. We always want to go forward, to attack. In the end it’s amazing, there’s nothing more to say.”
Rodri’s absence for Man City threatened an opening for United but the midfield duo of Scott McTominay and Christian Eriksen were left without a rudder by Erik ten Hag (See what we learned, above). That left City a lot of freedom if it stayed calm with the ball, which it characteristically did, and Raphael Varane’s exit meant the visitors were going to be in a whole lot of trouble.
Stars of the show
Kevin De Bruyne
Anthony Martial: Ask Erik ten Hag how happy he is that second-half sub Martial didn’t go through the motions and instead delivered a pair of goals to make the score line a little more palatable.
Antony: The two ‘Ants’ carried well more than their weight despite their team’s struggles.
Man City hosts Copenhagen on Wednesday in the Champions League before Southampton visits on Saturday.
Man United has a long trip to Cyprus for a scrap with Omonia in the Europa League on Thursday, then visits Everton on Sunday.
Phil Foden goal video: City strikes first with splendid team goal
City are off to a hot start in the Manchester Derby! 🔥 #MCFC
Despite a pair of disappointing draws (Newcastle and Aston Villa), it’s been an unbeaten start to the 2022-23 season for Man City, who still lead the PL in possession (66.4 percent per game) while also becoming an unstoppable offensive force from last season (14 goals in their first seven games) to this season (23). That’s not to say it’s been easy as Manchester City go through a tactical shift of their own to better appeal to the big Norwegian’s poaching abilities. Though they have been forced to grind out results a few times already this season, it’s highlighted a newfound spontaneity for a side that’s been as regimented as any in the world. Will that freedom be what ultimately lands Pep Guardiola his first Champions League trophy since 2011, and perhaps a third straight PL title (and a fifth in six years) to boot?
As for Manchester United, the Ten Hag era has been a wild roller-coaster ride already, short as it’s been. The back-to-back defeats were one thing, but the abject performances were the real cause for discontent. While picking up the four straight victories, the Dutchman has also settled on a midfield setup with Scott McTominay and Christian Eriksen operating in (effectively) a double pivot with Bruno Fernandes the most advanced of the three. It has brought defensive stability, of course, but more importantly the change has revealed a deadly counter-attacking side. Each of Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Fernandes have scored twice during the winning run, with new boy Antony also getting in on the fun on his debut. With space in behind (and the proper service from deep), Ten Hag might just have his first winning formula (albeit quite unlike him).
Manchester City team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Kalvin Phillips (shoulder), John Stones (hamstring), Benjamin Mendy (suspension – MORE)
🔵 Your City line-up for the derby! 🔵
XI | Ederson, Walker, Akanji, Ake, Cancelo, Gundogan (C), De Bruyne, Bernardo, Foden, Haaland, Grealish