Report: Mourinho to be fired after Newcastle match

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According to a report by David McDonnell of English publication The Mirror, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho will be fired this weekend no matter the result of United’s match against Newcastle on Saturday.

The report states that Mourinho is “past the point of no return” in the eyes of the Manchester United board. The Red Devils are off to their worst start to a top-flight season in 29 years, sitting in 10th place with 10 points through seven matches. They have failed to win in four straight matches across all competitions, with losses to West Ham in the Premier League plus one to Derby County on penalties in League Cup action.

The Mirror’s report cites “senior United sources” and states the leader of the charge to make a change is executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward. Letting Mourinho go would be a costly move to the club, as he signed a contract extension just nine months ago that runs through 2020 with an option for one more year. He reportedly makes upwards of $23.6 million per year, and United would be required to honor the remaining balance on his contract should they cut him loose.

Mourinho has come under fire from the media for his divisive treatment of players such as Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial, but has managed to keep the supporters on his side, reflected by the repeated chants in support of Mourinho during Manchester United home matches at Old Trafford. However, the fans have also voiced their displeasure at the performances on the pitch, booing the team off in the most recent 0-0 draw with Valencia at Old Trafford in Champions League play.

The Mirror report does not address why Manchester United has decided Mourinho’s fate so late in the week and then left him with an apparent lame duck status for the Newcastle match. Should Mourinho indeed go, assistant coach Michael Carrick would likely take charge in an interim role, the report states. Zinedine Zidane has been repeatedly mentioned as a favorite for the potential opening, having been without a job since leaving Real Madrid this summer on his own accord.

Each and every day it feels like there is a fresh, newsworthy incident involving Mourinho. The most recent sign of Mourinho’s combative nature came Friday during his pre-match press conference ahead of the Newcastle match. He was asked, “Are the fans assured that you’re doing everything that you can to try and turn this around?” Instead of answering the question, Mourinho simply stared blankly at the reporters for several seconds before the press officer was forced to move the press conference forward. The press conference featured a mere six questions and took less than four minutes before Mourinho decided he’d had enough.

Should Mourinho end up sacked, it would mark his fourth tenure in his last five in which he was either fired or left in the third season. The only tenure that stands out of the usual path is his two-year stretch at Inter before he departed for Real Madrid.

Mourinho’s potential sacking would also mean that all three managers who have attempted to follow in Sir Alex Ferguson‘s footsteps will have failed, as the club has still yet to win a Premier League title in the wake of his retirement. David Moyes failed to last even a full calendar year, while Louis Van Gaal made it almost two years in charge and Mourinho has been at his current position since May of 2016.

UCL wrap: PSG runs over Real; Atalanta clobbered on debut

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Real Madrid, UEFA Champions League goals, and Angel Di Maria go together pretty well.

[ MORE: Man Utd extends Lindelof ]

The man who scored a decisive goal for Real in a UCL Final scored two as Paris Saint-Germain throttled the 10-time champions in France without Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani, and Neymar.

PSG 3-0 Real Madrid

If it’s possible for Zinedine Zidane to feel heat under his seat, it’s probably happening right about now.

Real Madrid was absolutely cooked by a clinical PSG missing its trident, with Di Maria scoring two goals in the win.

Juan Bernat was exceptional in the win, and set up two goals including Thomas Meunier’s late insurance tally.

Dinamo Zagreb 4-0 Atalanta

The Serie A visitors made their UEFA Champions League debut, and boy did it fall flat.

Down 1-0 early on a Marin Leovac opener, Atalanta surrendered a hat trick to Mislav Orsic in the loss. The 26-year-old midfielder is fresh off his first cap for Croatia. More seem on the horizon, yeah?

Considering their group includes Man City and Shakhtar Donetsk, La Dea won’t appreciate losing four goals in the differential column against a perceived bottom dweller for the group.

Elsewhere

Olympiacos 2-2 Tottenham — RECAP, Pochettino reaction
Shakhtar Donetsk 0-3 Man City — RECAP
Atletico Madrid 2-2 Juventus — RECAP
Club Brugge 0-0 Galatasaray
Bayer Leverkusen 1-2 Lokomotiv Moscow
Bayern Munich 3-0 Red Star Belgrade

Atletico Madrid erases 2-goal deficit in Juventus draw

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Cristiano Ronaldo’s going to like Diego Simeone a little bit less today — if possible — as the Argentine manager engineered a come-from-behind draw to get a measure of revenge for last season’s knockout round ouster.

[ RELATED: Shakhtar 0-3 Man City ]

And Ronaldo won’t be too happy with himself, either, as the Juve star missed a chance to win it in stoppage time, moments after Atletico Madrid had scored the final goal of 2-2 draw at the Wanda Metropolitano.

That left Mexican star Hector Herrera the unabashed hero, as he headed home in stoppage time.

Juve scored a beauty to open it, with Juan Cuadrado spinning a left-footed wonder strike that painted the side netting.

Blaise Matuidi had Juve up 2-0, but Atleti pulled one back via a Stefan Savic header off a set piece in the 70th minute.

That’s when Herrera nodded his goal home.

But Ronaldo… how often has he scored this kind of goal in this competition?

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Man City midfield controls Shakhtar in Ukraine

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Manchester City got its UEFA Champions League run off to a convincing start, easing some nerves from the weekend with a 3-0 defeat of Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gundogan set each other up for goals, Gabriel Jesus also scored, and Fernandinho partnered with Nicolas Otamendi at center back to earn the clean sheet.


Three things we learned

1. Midfield runs the match: Center backs aren’t all that vital if the ball never gets to them, and Ilkay Gundogan and Rodri were exceptional (even with the latter taking an early yellow card). Rodri completed every single one of his 82 passes in helping City control the park, departing with less than a quarter-hour to play.

2. De Bruyne dangerous on an off day: Kevin De Bruyne just couldn’t find that final ball, constantly in dangerous areas but unable to execute that moment. Credited with three key passes including th, his shooting was the glaring difference between 3-0 and 5-0.

3. Shakhtar shows creative flair: Taison and Marlos both showed a knack for taking on defenders, each credited with four dribbles on the day. It was Shakhtar’s best chance to break down a disciplined City, and the closest the hosts came to succeeding on the day.

Man of the Match: Rodri


A Kevin De Bruyne free kick provided an early threat, but Rodri’s header was a bit off and unable to open the scoring in Ukraine.

Shakhtar then had a nice spell of possession, but City was up to the task. Rodri led a chance in the other direction and sent a ball back De Bruyne for a header, which was wide like the first.

Mahrez put City ahead on a rebound after Ilkay Gundogan took a Gabriel Jesus feed and pushed the ball off the post.

The Algerian didn’t need a post to return the favor, sending a delightful pass into the path of Gundogan for a smooth finish an 2-0.

De Bruyne finally got his assist when he took care of a bounding ball to Jesus for a chop into the goal.

Pochettino: ‘We didn’t respect the plan’ v. Olympiacos

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A “very disappointed” Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino was left seething after his team threw away a 2-0 lead in Greece, drawing Olympiacos in its first UEFA Champions League match of the season.

Even with that lead at halftime in Piraeus, Pochettino warned his players that it wasn’t going well.

[ RECAP: Olympiacos 2-2 Spurs ]

“From the beginning we had a plan,” Pochettino said, via Football.London. “We didn’t respect the plan. I told the players at half-time. We scored two goals but if you only analyze the performance it wasn’t great. We conceded a lot of chances to them and the first goal was so painful. We didn’t translate that type of aggression these type of games demand.”

Olympiacos entered the match with a reputation for fine defense, allowing only one goal in their last 10 outings, so Pochettino would’ve been happy with the finishing.

But Spurs were again sloppy at the back, and blew the same lead it tossed aside in last month’s North London Derby.

Olympiacos away is a step up from Palace at home, but this did not often look like the team that bossed Roy Hodgson‘s Eagles to the tune of 4-0 at the weekend.

“How many times we didn’t anticipate today and how we weren’t proactive like we were against Crystal Palace? At this level you need to match your opponent. That is the first demand.”

Tottenham has three matches before its next UCL encounter, Oct. 1, versus Bayern.