Mourinho tears into forwards after loss at Brighton

Leave a comment

If Romelu Lukaku‘s fine season hasn’t made his Manchester United MVP argument for him, perhaps Friday’s lackluster and Lukaku-free loss to Brighton did the job for him.

[ MORE: Match recap | Brighton reacts ]

Jose Mourinho sure thinks so.

“For 10 months I get asked ‘why always Lukaku? Why always Lukaku, why always Lukaku? Why always this player? That guy doesn’t have a chance to start, the other one is on the bench.’,” he said. “You know why now.”

Mourinho went on to rip his fill-ins, as the front free of Juan Mata, Marcus Rashford, and Anthony Martial got little to nothing done.

“It was not good enough. The players that replaced others did not perform at a good level and when individuals do that it is difficult for the team to play well. Maybe now you will not ask me why A, B and C do not play so much.

“I knew what was going to happen and I told them, but that is what we got. … I wouldn’t say disappointed. I know them. I thought that the possibility to start the game and give reason would give them something.”

It’s safe to say Mourinho is planning on opening up the vault this summer — I still think the Pogba/Martial for Neymar swap is plausible — and the training ground probably won’t be a brilliant place to be over the final week of the season.

Brighton safe after upset of Man Utd

Leave a comment
  • Gulls insure PL status
  • GDS defies Rojo clearing attempt
  • Gross scores 7th of season

Pascal Gross‘ 57th minute goal was enough to lead Chris Hughton‘s Brighton and Hove Albion past lackluster Manchester United 1-0 at the Amex Stadium on Friday.

The win boosts the Gulls to 40 points, good for 11th place in the Premier League. United stays second with 77 points,

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Marouane Fellaini looked to have a near trademark goal in the third minute, but he was offside and the linesman didn’t miss the call.

United should’ve went ahead in the 26th minute, but Marcus Rashford waited ages to find an unmarked-at-the-spot Anthony Martial before popping a meek shot wide. Martial was right to feel aggrieved.

Brighton wasn’t without its chances, and David De Gea made a terrific stop on Glenn Murray during the first 45.

All-in-all, Brighton out shot United 8-4 in the half. The Red Devils failed to muster a shot on target.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

It was Brighton who’d go ahead via Goal Decision System, as Marcos Rojo appeared to make a goal line clearance on Gross’ header only to be defied by the slimmest of margins.

Gross gave a chance to United when he pulled back Juan Mata on the edge of the 18, but the Spaniard overcooked his effort.

United’s efforts continued to miss the frame or bounce to a well-positioned Mat Ryan as the match reached its final 15 minutes.

Manchester United 2-1 Liverpool: Mourinho’s men grind it out

Leave a comment
  • Rashford 2-0 LFC at half
  • Bailly own goal gives Reds life
  • 200th meeting of the clubs

Marcus Rashford‘s first half brace gave Manchester United a 2-1 win over rivals Liverpool in a nasty tilt at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Liverpool is winless in five matches against Man Utd — the previous four were draws — and has only one win in 10 versus the Red Devils since the start of 2014-15 season.

An Eric Bailly own goal was the only way through for Liverpool, as the Reds dropped five points back of second place United. The victorious Red Devils are 13 points behind leaders Man City, but now 12 points clear of fourth place Chelsea.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Rashford’s bullet opener followed a Romelu Lukaku flick of David De Gea‘s massive goal kick in the 14th minute.

Virgil Van Dijk missed a free header off a corner kick when his effort went off his shoulder and wide of the goal, and the other end of the pitch soon saw Rashford back in business.

Lukaku won a long ball and turned his effort to Juan Mata. The Spaniard was tackled, but the ball came clean to Rashford for another smashing finish beyond Loris Karius.

Roberto Firmino worked himself clear for a long hard rip in the 31st minute that fired right into the arms of De Gea.

It was close to a 3-0 when Mata hit a shot wide of the far post.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Liverpool looked better after the break, and Salah was defied by his touch and Chris Smalling off a Firmino chipped feed in the 50th minute.

Sadio Mane led a break and couldn’t find Salah. Ashley Young did well to cut out the danger, but Liverpool was just a hair off.

Liverpool got one back in the 66th minute when Mane’s hopeful cross was directed into the United goal by an almost impossibly positioned Bailly.

Mata seems to confirm Champions League is Man United’s priority

Getty Images
Leave a comment

With the Premier League title all but wrapped up, English top flight teams are beginning to put their true focus onto competitions they still have a realistic shot of winning.

Manchester United sits in second place in the Premier League table, but they are a full 18 points back of rivals Manchester City, as so with a Champions League match against Sevilla on Wednesday afternoon, Juan Mata all but confirmed that the Red Devils are putting their main efforts into Europe’s largest competition.

[ MORE: Messi pegs back Chelsea despite winning tactics ]

“If we had less of a gap with respect to the Premier League leaders and we had a chance to fight for it, it wouldn’t be so tough to be eliminated from the Champions League, but now our aim is to progress from every round,” Mata said to Spanish radio station Cadena Ser. “It would be a big blow to be eliminated in the last 16.”

Last season, a similar story played out. Manchester United was out of reach of a top four finish in the league, so manager Jose Mourinho publicly admitted they were putting their main focus on the Europa League due to the automatic berth the competition’s winner received into next year’s Champions League. The gamble paid off, as Manchester United won the competition and earned their spot in the Champions League this season.

Sevilla has not progressed past the Round of 16 since 1958. Manchester United, meanwhile, has not made it past the Champions League quarterfinals since their runners-up finish in 2011, when they lost to Barcelona in the final at Wembley Stadium.

Accam’s Common Goal pledge hopes to find more heroes

Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Philadelphia Union attacker David Accam — it still feels weird to type those words — became the first African player to join Juan Mata‘s Common Goal project, according to Sky Sports.

Accam, 27, came out of the Right to Dream Academy to become a goal scoring machine for Ostersunds, Helsingborg, and then Chicago Fire.

[ MORE: Wenger, Mkhi on Arsenal win ]

Now with Philadelphia and comfortable with his salary, Accam has joined Mata’s pledge to donate 1 percent of his salary. And since Common Goal allows him to stipulate where the money goes, the Ghanaian is sending it back to his home continent.

Accam says he helped build a pitch in Kumasi, Ghana, this summer, and that he hopes improving his homeland’s football goals with leads to loftier life goals for young talents in Africa. From Sky Sports:

“It is just about helping the kids to become whatever they want to be in the future. If that’s the next David Accam then that’s perfect. But if it is the next George Weah and we can help a kid who wants to become president then even better. Maybe we can help the next Kofi Annan too. It is about giving young people that opportunity.”

Accam joins Chris Wondolowski as MLS players contributing to Common Goal.