Rooney explains Mourinho’s downfall, backs ‘clever’ Solskjaer

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Wayne Rooney believes that the communication — or, a lack thereof — between Jose Mourinho and his players was the biggest reason for the club’s struggles this season, and eventually Mourinho’s dismissal this week.

[ MORE: What did we learn in the Premier League, Week 18? ]

Rooney, who played under Mourinho in his final season at Old Trafford, revealed he has been in regular contact with a number of current first-team members. The contents of those conversations were, while quite juicy, all too predictable.

Anyone who’s ever watched a successful team interact and play together could see that the relationships between players and manager were anything but positive or productive. Speaking as a guest analyst on UK television (above video, with full version here), Rooney explained why that failure to communicate was ultimately the undoing of Mourinho as United manager — particularly when he would chop and change the lineup from game to game, which he so regularly did in the final weeks and months.

“The one surprise I had was that the communication with the players wasn’t as much as it could have been. When you leave a player out of a game, sometimes it gives them a bit of freedom of the mind when the manager says, ‘I’m leaving you out for this reason or that reason,’ but the players didn’t get that.

“I think that’s the most difficult thing for a player to work out, why you’re not playing.”

“The big thing with Jose was the communication with the players, and all the players weren’t happy with that.”

While Rooney doesn’t believe any players well and truly quit on Mourinho — as far as not giving 100 percent every time they took the field — he admitted it was hard to ignore the night-and-day difference in the overall mood and commitment of the players during Saturday’s 5-1 thrashing of Cardiff City, but that might just be down to the level of tactical freedom — or, again, lack thereof — afforded players within Mourinho’s rigid style of play.

“I don’t think the players have gone onto the pitch (under Mourinho) and said, ‘We’re not going to give our all this game.’ I know the was Jose plays. It’s keeping your full backs close to your center halves, and keep two midfielders in from of the back four.

“Then, all of a sudden, you’re attacking with two or three players. Today, we saw Man United attacking with seven or eight players at times — Ashley Young making runs beyond (Marcus) Rashford — which makes a big difference.”

As for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who’ll serve as interim manager until the end of the season, Rooney was full of praise for his former teammate and mentor. According to Rooney, the Norwegian is more than just a happy-go-lucky character brought in to make the players smile again.

“I think everyone looks at him from the outside (and think) he’s just a nice guy, he’s always smiling and he’s always happy, but to do what he’s done in football, he’s got a lot of desire and hunger which a lot of people don’t see.

“I always remember as a young kid — the advice Ole gave me, I try to pass on to young players, especially when you’re sat there on the bench, you’re not happy and you want to be on the pitch playing. He always told me to watch the game, watch the defenders, to visualize what movement you’re going to make to try to put yourself in a position to score goals or have an impact when you come on off the bench.

“He’s a clever person and he’s got the brains to be a manager. (Saturday’s game) was great to see, and that will relax him a little bit, because I know he will have felt a lot of pressure going into the game.”

VIDEO: James, Pereira stunners; Gibbs, Bilic sent off

Everton - West Brom
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Everton-West Brom: So, the Baggies went from being 1-0 up at Everton with just over 10 minutes of the first half to go, to then being 2-1 down at half time and having left back Keiran Gibbs sent off and manager Slaven Bilic also shown a red card.

STREAM EVERTON – WEST BROM LIVE

Then a few minutes into the second half Matheus Pereira scored a superb equalizer via a long-range free kick.

Bonkers. Everton-West Brom was just chaos.

Let’s break this all down.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Colombian sensation James Rodriguez made it 2-1 right on half time with a lovely strike from outside the box for his first Everton goal.

Then a few moments later Kieran Gibbs raised his hands to the face of James and was shown a straight red card. West Brom had hit the self destruct button in a big way.

At half time West Brom boss Slaven Bilic was also sent off for remonstrating with referee Mike Dean as the Baggies imploded.

Pereira then scored a beauty of a free kick to stun Everton and make it 2-2, but soon after Everton were ahead again in a real topsy-turvy game.

Here’s a look at Bilic being sent off.

Everton – West Brom: How to watch, start time, team news, prediction, odds

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Everton – West Brom: The Toffees and Baggies are set to kick off weekend no. 2 of the 2020-21 Premier League season on Saturday (Watch live at 7:30 am ET, online via Peacock).

It was a chaotic game from start to finish as we had stunning goals, red cards and VAR drama.

EVERTON – WEST BROM STREAM LIVE

Everton were one of the PL’s most impressive sides last weekend, as they began their campaign with a 1-0 victory away to Tottenham Hotspur. Most impressively, though, was the instant impact of three newcomers — James Rodriguez, Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure — who slotted into the team and played important parts in collecting three points on their debuts.

As for West Bromwich Albion, returning to life in the PL brought something of a rude awakening in the form of a 3-0 home defeat to Leicester City. After two seasons in the EFL Championship, West Brom undeniably have their work cut out for them if they’re to stay up this season.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

Here is everything you need to know ahead of Everton – West Brom this Saturday with team news, odds, stream link and more.


Team news: Everton – West Brom (INJURY REPORT)

Everton are without four players — Mason Holgate (ankle), Cenk Tosun (knee), Jean-Philippe Gbamin (calf), Fabian Delph (calf) — none of whom were available for selection to the 18-man squad a week ago.

The Toffees are unchanged from the win at Tottenham on the opening weekend.

West Brom will be missing Danish forward Kenneth Zohore (calf), who also missed out on the opening weekend, and name an unchanged lineup from the opening weekend.

 


What they’re saying

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti, on his squad’s depth: “They are experienced players, all three of them in different ways, James, Allan have international experience. Doucoure has played really well in the Premier League. They have brought more confidence to their teammates. We have a more competitive squad. It is difficult to do the lineup, difficult to make the bench and the most difficult part is to tell the player to stay home and watch the game on TV. But if we want to be a more competitive team we have to have competition in the squad.”

West Brom manager Slaven Bilic, on wanting more signings: “We would love to do it. It is important we bring a different type of striker to what we have into the club. We are trying to get it done but it’s not easy, but it is instrumental for us. Then the next phase is to improve the team from last season. We got Button the goalkeeper, we got Kipre from Wigan – two good additions to our squad. We’ve got [Branislav] Ivanovic, and now [Conor] Gallagher, and we’re hoping and trying to get a couple more. It’s not a secret — we have good numbers of strikers, but we’re looking to add a bit more quality.”


Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

Everton (-190) are, predictably, heavy favorites for this one, with West Brom checking in at +525. The draw is currently sitting +320, if you’re a firm believer that West Brom stand a chance.

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Prediction

It’s a mighty tough schedule to start the season for West Brom, as they go from last season’s fifth-place finishers to a side with similar aspirations this season. For as long as James and Co., stay healthy and fit, Everton look set to be a handful and a half for bottom-half sides like West Brom. They will have to wait another week for their first points — and their first goal. Everton 2-0 West Brom.


How to watch Everton – West Brom stream and start time

Kickoff: 7:30 am ET Saturday
Online: Stream via Peacock

Leicester – Burnley: How to watch, start time, team news, prediction, odds

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Leicester – Burnley: Brendan Rodgers seeks to become just the 23rd manager to win 100 games in the Premier League, and becoming the fourth-fastest Brit to reach the mark, when Leicester City host Burnley at the King Power Stadium on Sunday (Watch live at 2 pm ET, on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

LEICESTER – BURNLEY BROM STREAM LIVE

Rodgers moved one step closer to his century of PL wins last weekend when the Foxes began their 2020-21 campaign with a 3-0 thrashing of newly promoted West Bromwich Albion. Burnley, on the other hand, are set for their season debut this weekend after their opening-day clash with Manchester United was rescheduled.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

Here is everything you need to know ahead of Leicester – Burnley this Sunday with team news, odds, stream link and more.


Team news: Leicester – Burnley (INJURY REPORT)

Leicester will be missing three players Ricardo Pereira (knee), Jonny Evans (thigh), Filip Benkovic (groin) — with absolutely certainty, plus James Maddison (hip) is unlikely to feature and Wes Morgan (thigh) is expected to face a late fitness test to determine his availability.

Meanwhile, Burnley aren’t expecting to have Johann Berg Gudmundsson (knee) or Jack Cork (ankle).


What they’re saying: Leicester – Burnley

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers, on transfer target Cengiz Under: “He’s a very, very good player. There have been negotiations with the club [Roma] and we’re hopeful there. We need a different kind of attacking player to help out at the top end of the pitch. It’s clear we have pace and power, but I feel we need more football in there.”

Burnley manager Sean Dyche, on the club’s desperate transfer approach: “Lastminute.com — [it] started back in the day of Charlie Austin, two days before the first game of the season. There are many different ways that clubs operate. It is very difficult, it is tricky, but it’s the reality of it. I’ve been here eight years. This is not new news. I’ve been saying this for three years at least, saying we’ve got to stretch, we’ve got to pre-plan. But you can only offer these opinions. I don’t sign the checks, I can assure you.”


Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

Leicester (-165) are heavy betting favorites with Burnley (+460) widely expected to simply roll over and concede the three points up for grabs. Even the draw (+290) is though a bridge perhaps too far for the Clarets.

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Prediction: Leicester – Burnley

Leicester managed to shake off the rust and disappointment that was the end of the 2019-20 season (just two wins from nine games during “Project Restart”) and win going away last weekend. On the other hand, Burnley finished with just two losses from their final nine games, and won four of them. We’ll see if either side is in the midst of a trend, or simply a blip on the radar. Leicester 2-1 Burnley.


How to watch Leicester – Burnley stream and start time

Kickoff: 2 pm ET Sunday
Online: Stream via Peacock

Newcastle – Brighton: How to watch, start time, team news, prediction, odds

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Newcastle v Brighton: A pair of sides that impressed on the opening weekend of the 2020-21 Premier League season — but only one of them with anything to show for it — will meet at St. James’ Park on Sunday (Watch live at 9 am ET, online via Peacock).

NEWCASTLE – BRIGHTON STREAM LIVE

Newcastle United were far and away the better side in their season-opening victory away to West Ham United last weekend, while Brighton looked the better part of Chelsea’s equals for 54 minutes but ultimately fell to a 3-1 defeat at the Amex Stadium.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

Here is everything you need to know ahead of Newcastle v Brighton this Sunday with team news, odds, stream link and more.


Team news: Newcastle v Brighton (INJURY REPORT)

Newcastle will be without five players — Matty Longstaff (thigh), Martin Dubravka (ankle), Fabian Schar (shoulder), Paul Dummett (thigh), Dwight Gayle (knee) — leaving Steve Bruce with an increasingly thin squad.

Jose Iquierdo (knee), Florian Andone (knee) and Christian Walton (ankle) have all been ruled out for Sunday, with rising star Ben White (ankle) likely to face a late fitness test after picking up a minor injury last week.


What they’re saying

Newcastle manager Steve Bruce, on starting with a win: “I’m like everybody else, we all like to get off to a start and we couldn’t have had a better week in terms of results. The players have hit the ground running, which was always part of the reason why we went after who we went after. We’ve got a chance to get off to an outstanding start.”

Brighton manager Graham Potter, on Newcastle: “Newcastle will be strong. They were worthy winners at West Ham and they will be a tough test for us. Impressive, the business they have done. They have added to the squad and they will be really strong. Everyone knows what Andy Carroll brings to the team and physically he is very strong, and aerially he is strong. Him and [Callum] Wilson will be a strong partnership.”


Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

There’s almost nothing to separate Newcastle (+160) from Brighton (+185) as the oddsmakers see Sunday’s clash a near-tossup. Even the draw (+210) isn’t far out of line with either side winning.

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links


Prediction

At the risk of placing too much importance upon a game in week no. 2, this one has the feel of an important litmus test for Newcastle. West Ham have been chaotic for quite some time now, but Brighton, despite finishing 15th last season, have appeared far more stable and trending upward under Potter. They’re likely a mid-table side this season, and Newcastle could be, too. In the end, it ends Newcastle 1-1 Brighton.


How to watch Newcastle v Brighton stream and start time

Kickoff: 9 am ET Sunday
Online: Stream via Peacock