Pochettino on becoming Man United manager: “I cannot answer”

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Mauricio Pochettino has been asked about rumors linking him with the now vacant managerial position at Manchester United.

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After Jose Mourinho was fired Tuesday, Tottenham’s Pochettino has reportedly become United’s top target

Speaking to reporters ahead of Spurs’ League Cup quarterfinal against Arsenal on Wednesday, Pochettino addressed the reports that the Old Trafford club want him as their long-term boss.

“First of all I want to send my best wishes to him,” Pochettino said. “I have a very good relationship with him and it is sad news It’s not my business what happens at another club. I only send my best wishes to Jose… After five years, there’s a lot of rumors that happen about my position here. I cannot answer this question. It’s not my business what happens in another club. I’m so focused on delivering my best job in this club. My business is trying to ensure the best job at this club. I’m focused and focused tomorrow on delivering my job. What more do I need to say [to fans]?”

Not exactly a denial there from Poch…

[ MORE: Mourinho fired by United ]  

Why have these links with Pochettino been so strong?

There’s no denying the Argentine boss has worked wonders at Southampton and Tottenham since he arrived in England over five years ago. He promotes youth, has a clear high-pressing philosophy, works to a budget and takes no nonsense from players.

He has also met with Sir Alex Ferguson for lunches in the past and in Fergie’s last season as United’s manager in 2013 he praised Pochettino’s Southampton highly.

In many ways this would be the next logical step for Pochettino in his career. But then again, would it?

Spurs have Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen and others yet to hit their prime, they have a brand new stadium they are about to move into, Pochettino is lauded by fans and pundits alike and there isn’t that much pressure on him, despite his failure to win a trophy at Spurs.

Is a move to United, an ailing giant lacking direction with a muddled approach from high-ranking officials, a step up?

Of course, United are historically a “bigger club” than Spurs in many metrics, but Pochettino must be careful if he wishes to try and be United’s savior. David Moyes, Louis Van Gaal and Mourinho have all tried and failed, and although United still have a huge pull due to their rich history, success and global reach, there are so many issues behind-the-scenes and a total restructure is needed in terms of their soccer operations.

One thing we do know: Daniel Levy will not allow Pochettino to leave easily and have one of the best managers in Tottenham’s history taken by a direct Premier League rival.

Fernandes scores first goal, says Ronaldo backed Manchester United move

Bruno Fernandes Ronaldo
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It’s probably not a surprise that a young Portuguese player would fancy Manchester United given the heroics of Cristiano Ronaldo at Old Trafford early his career.

Bruno Fernandes admits that those images danced through his head well before he signed with the Red Devils in January.

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It’s also not a shock that United would turn to their former player for a take on the playmaker before buying him from Sporting Lisbon.

Fernandes says he’s grateful that CR7 endorsed BF18. From Sky Sports:

“I know some people asked Cristiano what he thought of me and what I was like as a player and a person,” Fernandes said. “I know he spoke highly of me and gave me a good reference, so I sent him a message after to thank him for his kind words.”

Fernandes has 19 caps and two goals for Portugal, while Ronaldo has a few more with 164 and 99.

He now has a goal and an assist in four appearances for United. Ronaldo finished with 118 goals and 69 assists in 292 appearances for the Red Devils.

Here’s the finish:

Eden Hazard suffers fracture ahead of Man City in UCL, El Clasico

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Eden Hazard is set to miss the Real Madrid’s UEFA Champions League first leg against Man City with a broken fibula.

Hazard had only returned to the lineup for two matches following a three-month absence with an ankle injury.

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The 29-year-old has made just 15 appearances for Real since arriving in a big-money move from Chelsea, scoring once with five assists.

He has never appeared in less than 30 league matches over the course of his career, five times missing one or zero matches.

Of course, all of his absences show that Real is very comfortable playing and winning without Hazard. Zinedine Zidane’s men lost Sunday to drop behind Barcelona in La Liga, but that was just its second loss of the league season.

Real will be taxed in depth like its rivals, with Wednesday’s visit from Man City followed by an El Clasico at the Bernabeu on March 1. Barcelona hosts Napoli on Tuesday.

Whether you like the playmaker or despise him, there must be some sense of sympathy for his latest ailments (even if Man City and Barca fans will likely offer a Jerry Seinfeld-esque, “That’s a shame”).

Watch Live: Manchester United, Wolves host bottom three battlers

Manchester United Watford live stream link
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A pair of Premier League basement dwellers face stiff tests in their bids to win another season in the top flight.

Manchester United hosts Watford on NBCSN while Wolves welcome Norwich City on CNBC as both home sides aim to improve the health of their top four hopes in 9 a.m. ET kickoffs.

[ WATCH: Man Utd-Watford | Wolves-Norwich ]

Lineups notes from both matches:


Manchester United



Norwich City

Three Serie A matches suspended due to virus deaths in Italy

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ROME (AP) Three Serie A soccer matches scheduled for Sunday in the northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto were suspended late Saturday after the deaths of two people infected with the virus from China.

On orders from the Italian government, the games called off were: Inter Milan vs. Sampdoria, Atalanta vs. Sassuolo and Hellas Verona vs. Cagliari.

Three other matches in Genoa, Turin and Rome on Sunday are going ahead as scheduled.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

A dozen towns in northern Italy effectively went into lockdown on Saturday after the deaths of two people infected with the coronavirus from China, and a growing cluster of cases with no direct links to the origin of the outbreak abroad.

“The government is working on urgent measures to decisively confront and contain the cases of coronavirus contagion,” read a letter from Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora to Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago shortly before midnight local time on Saturday. “Those measures also include the sports world in order to prevent risks and to better take care of the health of those involved in the events and competition.

“Following measures taken by the cabinet for protective reasons and maximum precaution, on orders of the government I’m asking you to suspend all sports events of every level and discipline planned for the Lombardy and Veneto regions on Sunday.”

The secondary contagions prompted local authorities in the Lombardy and Veneto regions to close schools, businesses and restaurants and to cancel sporting events and Masses.

The mayor of Milan, Italy’s business capital and the regional capital of Lombardy, shuttered public offices.

A 78-year-old man infected with the virus died in Veneto. A postmortem on a 77-year-old woman in Lombardy came back positive, though it wasn’t clear if illness from the virus caused her death.

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

Andrew Dampf on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AndrewDampf