Solskjaer hails Pogba as Man United roll on

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has now led Manchester United to more Premier League wins than Jose Mourinho this season.

Solskjaer has taken nine games to rack up eight victories, while Mourinho had seven in his 16 games before that.

The latest victory for United’s caretaker manager saw his side stroll past Fulham 3-0, as he rested players ahead of their UEFA Champions League last 16 first leg clash against Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday but still remains unbeaten in 11 games as the Red Devils’ boss.

Paul Pogba scored twice and Anthony Martial scored another as Solskjaer continues to get the best out of star players who struggled under Mourinho.

Speaking after Paul Pogba’s dominant midfield display, which led United back into the top four of the Premier League table, Solskjaer told Sky Sports that he is just trying to get his attacking players to realize their potential.

“I’ve not released those, he is playing to his potential, we are trying to put the team forward to put player in positions to where they can hurt teams,” Solskjaer said. “Paul can do that with his qualities. I speak to him like I do with the others, that’s management. He’s responding to the way we do things.”

“I always say playing altogether with the lads, attacking together, defending together helps everyone. The good atmosphere helps the team, and for me, being more in the box gives me more chances to score,” Pogba said. “I think Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] is just being himself. He isn’t acting and he can give joy to everyone and confidence to everyone. There’s still along way to go and we have a lot of big games coming up. Next is Paris St-Germain and then we have to keep trying to get three points in the league.”

With United now in the top four hunt, they have the tasty prospect of playing against Liverpool at home on Feb. 24.

The way Solskjaer’s team counter and punish opponents is scarily similar to the way the teams he played in under Sir Alex Ferguson operated and he is getting the best out of the players at his disposal.

How many more wins does he have to get to be handed the United job on a full-time basis?

Victories against PSG in the Champions League, Chelsea in the FA Cup and Liverpool in their next league game will surely seal the deal.

Solskjaer has been almost perfect so far, but now crunch time has arrived for his team in the next 10 days.

Funes Mori scores crazy long-distance goal for Monterrey (video)

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Rogelio Funes Mori is healthy again for Monterrey, and that’s a big reason why they lead the Clausura standings.

The 27-year-old Argentinian striker is in great form this Clausura after missing a significant portion of the Apertura with injuries. He had five goals in six Clausura matches coming into Friday night’s match with 16th-placed Monarcas Morelia.

He now has six goals, and his last one was an absolute stunner.

Funes Mori stole the ball off Aldo Rocha’s sloppy touch, looked up, and noticed Monarcas goalkeeper Sebastian Sosa just a hair out of his net. That was all the space he needed, letting loose from at least 35 yards out and producing an absolutely stunning finish that Sosa barely even had time to back up and give a stretch. Just like that, Monterrey went ahead.

Unfortunately for Monterrey, they gave up an equalizer less than a minute later as the left flank of the Monterrey defense saw their controller batteries die, allowing Edison Flores to snag a loose ball behind the lollygagging defenders and fire a low shot past Marcelo Barovero to level the score. The game ended 3-2 to Monterrey as Funes Mori would score a 78th minute equalizer and then the visitors won in stoppage time.

Still, win, lose, or draw, that strike by Funes Mori is something to behold. On the same day that a French top flight player unleashed from nearly halfway, Liga MX has a goal of the same caliber.

Lyon exec claims club working on Fekir extension

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Olympique Lyonnais’ outspoken club president Jean-Michel Aulas has gone on record to claim the club has “made some advances” with regards to a contract extension for attacker Nabil Fekir.

The 25-year-old has been a favorite of Premier League transfer rumors for a good two years now, but Aulas says they are working hard to keep the Lyon captain at his hometown club.

“We have made some advances in Fekir’s contract extension,” Aulas said according to The Mirror . “We are discussing it and soon I’ll have to see Nabil, we aren’t in the final stages but in any case we have advanced.”

Fekir scored 18 goals last season in Ligue 1 play, prompting heavy rumors of a move to England, with Liverpool the most widely reported destination. Things are never easy with Aulas, however, and a deal was never completed. Fekir started this season slowly, prompting many fans to claim he was a one-hit-wonder, but he has picked up the goalscoring pace of late, with six goals in his last nine matches, including the winner in Friday’s 2-1 victory over Guingamp.

He also has three goals in five Champions League appearances this season, and a big test upcoming as Lyon matches up with Barcelona in the Round of 16 next week. A surprise win in that two-legged affair would boost Lyon’s chances of retaining Fekir tremendously as it could convince him the club is on its way up. They currently sit third with PSG still dominating the league by a mile.

Still, it’s also highly possible that Aulas is exaggerating the club’s efforts to re-sign Fekir to put pressure on others who may look to pry him away this summer. A possible extension in the works could force clubs to pony up extra cash in the hopes of persuading him to turn Lyon down. Chelsea has been linked to Fekir this offseason with rumors of Eden Hazard‘s exit, and Liverpool’s chase last summer will likely attach them to his name this coming window as well.

Burnley fan running to every Premier League away match

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One inspired Burnley supporter is turning away days into something much more special, and strenuous.

Scott Cunliffe, who struggles with post traumatic stress disorder and depression from his time working for charities in poverty and violence stricken Southeast Asia, is running from Turf Moor to every single Burnley away game this season. Cunliffe’s endeavor gained serious traction this past weekend when he documented his longest trip yet, the 277-mile trek to Brighton’s Amex Stadium.

The BBC shared his experience through a video that Cunliffe shot on his journey, and it shows him struggling with fears of crowded places, loneliness, and mental fatigue during that time. Cunliffe discusses his route to Brighton, saying he takes more scenic routes to avoid busier sections of roads that have caused him struggles in the past. He also goes on to discuss how he tackles mental fatigue, saying he breaks up the day into minute sections to “micro manage” his journey and keep his mind focused.

Cunliffe’s page on the charity website JustGiving says that he will give all proceeds to Burnley’s official charity Burnley FC in the Community, and that the funds will then be distributed equally to local Burnley charities and other charities around the cities he has journeyed to over the course of the season.

In the video of his trip to Brighton, Cunliffe says that he has been out jogging approximately 77 days over the course of the season so far, and that he has completed somewhere in the vicinity of 87 marathons in that time. He says that he began running to help with therapy for his PTSD and depression and it has grown into a full-on passion.

Cunliffe’s trip to Brighton finished in joy as Burnley won 3-1, a massive result in the relegation battle as they jump to 15th in the Premier League table. The Clarets are home next time out as they host Tottenham, but the club’s next road trip heads in the opposite direction, a trip north to Newcastle at the end of the month.

Bayern suddenly walking wounded prior to Liverpool match

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With Liverpool set to host Bayern Munich on Tuesday in midweek Champions League action, the German giants are suddenly looking at a number of forced changes when they take on the Reds.

The latest injury came in the dying minutes of Bayern’s 3-2 win over Augsburg in Bundesliga play on Friday, as brace-man Kingsley Coman was forced off after Bayern had used all its substitutes. Coman had to be helped off the pitch, and the fear is that he could miss significant time.

The 22-year-old French international is electric when at full strength, but has been troubled by injuries during his time at Allianz Arena. He was plagued by knee problems in his first seasons there, and his left ankle is now the main culprit. Coman saw his season come to an early close right about this time a year ago thanks to ligament trouble in his left ankle, forcing him to miss the rest of the season and the first three months of this season before returning in early December. Now, it seems the troubles are cropping up again in the same spot.

Bayern boss Niko Kovac said after the match that, “It does not look good,” adding, “we’ll have to investigate it tomorrow to find out more.” Should Coman be forced out for any length of time, he would add to the growing list of important players missing for Bayern on Tuesday.

Thomas Muller is suspended after earning a straight red card for a high boot in the final group stage match against Ajax, a damaging loss that saw Muller handed a two-match suspension to keep him out of both legs against Liverpool. Arjen Robben is also out, having been out since early December – oddly enough the same match that saw Coman return – thanks to thigh trouble. While Robben is close to a comeback, he is not fit and has been ruled out of the first leg. Finally, midfielder Corentin Tolisso has been out with an ACL tear since the second league match of the season, and while that’s been in the cards for months, it bears repeating once the depth starts to wear away.

Manuel Neuer has also just returned from a thumb injury, and while he made it through the Augsburg match unscathed and will be ready to suit up against Liverpool, the whole of the Bayern defense looked shaky at times on the counter. Augsburg picked its spots perfectly, scoring 15 seconds into the match and then again before the half-hour mark. The hosts completed an outstanding nine of 10 individual take-ons in the match, finding openings on the break. The Bayern back line was solid in the air, which should give them something to savor from the league victory.

That win was the team’s ninth victory in its last 10 Bundesliga matches, a blistering run that followed a very poor first three months to the campaign.

Without Muller, Coman, and Robben on Tuesday, James Rodriguez and Franck Ribery could see time, as could former Arsenal winger Serge Gnabry who has been a contributing squad player of late while he navigates his own thigh and groin problems.