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05-14-2019, 10:47 PM

'Almost all Man Utd's failures down to the players' - Departing Herrera insists Mourinho 'tried everything' at Old Trafford


Ander Herrera believes Manchester United's players are responsible for 75 per cent of the team's failures this season and has defended Jose Mourinho, saying he "tried everything".

The midfielder is set to depart Old Trafford following the expiry of his contract this summer, amidst transfer speculation linking him with a move to Paris Saint-Germain.

Herrera has insisted that Mourinho's replacement, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, is the right man to bring success back to the club, claiming the players are fully behind the Norwegian.

However, the 29-year-old says the Red Devils' squad must shoulder the blame for their trophyless season and sixth-place Premier League finish. “We have to take responsibility,“ Herrera told the club's official website. ”All of us. It's not fair to blame others. When you have a bad season, 75 per cent is the responsibility of the players.

"It's very easy when a manager is sacked to blame someone else, but it is the fault of every one of us.“Every player in the dressing room has a responsibility for what has happened this season. We have done bad things.

"We have done some good things but, for Manchester United, it is not enough. Probably 14 teams, if they are sixth, they are happy, but Manchester United cannot be happy."Jose Mourinho was dismissed by the United hierarchy in December last year after a miserable start to the campaign, despite having won the Carabao Cup and the Europa League in his first season in charge.

“If we are speaking about this last season, I have huge respect for Jose," Herrera added. "He tried everything. The first season with him was quite successful.

Then we were second and we had a lot of expectation for this season but it didn't work. Not only because of him (but) because, I repeat, every player has responsibility."Solskjaer's side ended the season with a 2-0 home defeat to relegated Cardiff City, with the manager admitting afterwards there is a "long and hard road ahead" to get the club back on track.

They eventually finished 32 points behind champions Manchester City, having ended the season without a win in five league games.
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05-14-2019, 10:48 PM

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'Almost all Man Utd's failures down to the players'

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05-14-2019, 10:49 PM

Spalletti & Conte rumours doing Inter no favours - Marotta


Inter chief executive Giuseppe Marotta admits rumours about Luciano Spalletti's future are not helpful as the Serie A side continue to be linked with Antonio Conte.

Despite third-placed Inter set for their best finish in the league since 2010-11, doubts remain over head coach Spalletti and whether he will continue in Milan next season.

Goal has revealed that former Juventus, Italy and Chelsea boss Conte is set to replace Spalletti – who led Inter back into the Champions League last season.Marotta, however, leapt to the defence of Spalletti prior to Monday's 2-0 Serie A victory against Chievo.

"The rumours about Spalletti's future aren't helpful," Marotta told Sky Sport Italia.
"I believe it's the new generation of communication that spread these stories so easily, they create a distraction and can be annoying to read sometimes."Spalletti has done a good job and that should be recognised. Our goal was to get into the Champions League spots, and we are going about it the right way.

"I don't understand the criticisms of the last few weeks, as we have almost achieved our goal."Inter are third – a point clear of Atalanta and three ahead of rivals AC Milan – with two matches remaining.

Spalletti has insisted that his focus remains locked on ending the season as positively as possible, with no thought being given to his future.He has said: "The newspapers have been writing for months that I won't be Inter coach next season and they must have their reasons for that, because that's how the game works.

"That doesn't change one iota what our goal is this season. I'd happily open the doors to our training sessions to prove just how well the players are training.

"There is only one route forward for us, which is to win matches and to secure Inter's place in the Champions League once again. That is the future. End of story.
"The players aren't thinking about Spalletti or other coaches, there is only Inter on their minds. The same goes for me.

"We want to qualify for the Champions League this season, just as we did last term. That would be a significant objective."
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05-14-2019, 10:51 PM

'It will be difficult to stay' - Lichtsteiner set to leave Arsenal in summer


Arsenal defender Stephan Lichtsteiner expects to leave the club this summer at the end of his 12-month contract.The 35-year-old right-back started 19 games following a free transfer from Juventus that raised eyebrows in some quarters last summer.

He was given a one-year deal with an option of a further year but it appears he is set to depart after the Europa League final against Chelsea at the end of the month.“I see it being quite difficult to stay but we are going to see what happens,” he is quoted as saying by the Evening Standard.

“I don’t know anything. The only important thing is the Europa League final now.
“I really want to win this cup and bring this club back to the top level, back to the Champions League and winning important titles.”Lichtsteiner had a solid Serie A career with Lazio and then Juve and was recruited largely as back-up for right-back Hector Bellerin.

But the emergence of Ainsley Maitland-Niles as a player who can fill in as a wing-back or right-sided defender means Lichtsteiner is set to be squeezed out.He does, however, wants to leave on a high after the disappointment of Arsenal missing out on the Premier League's top four.

The Gunners can qualify for the Champions League by beating Chelsea and winning the Europa League in Baku on May 29 and Lichtsteiner added: “It is hard. Five weeks ago, we were in the perfect situation."We gave too many easy points in our away games. We were also a little bit unlucky but we have to ask more from ourselves.

"At the end, of course, with so many games and the Europa League and everything, we lost a bit of energy in the last games.”Meanwhile, Arsenal manager Unai Emery still does not know if “political issues” will prevent him from selecting Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the Europa League final.

The Gunners have expressed concerns over the safety of the 30-year-old ahead of a trip to Baku due to the political tension which exists between Azerbaijan and the midfielder's native Armenia.
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05-14-2019, 10:53 PM

'Man Utd slumping like Liverpool & AC Milan' - Evra claims rivals wouldn't take talent from Old Trafford


Manchester United have been warned by Patrice Evra that their fall from grace could emulate similar slumps experienced by AC Milan and Liverpool, with there an alarming lack of talent at Old Trafford.The Red Devils once dominated the English and European football scenes, with Sir Alex Ferguson overseeing an unprecedented era of success.

United claimed the Premier League title on 13 occasions and were regulars in Champions League finals, lifting the most prestigious of European trophies in 1999 and 2008.

They have suffered a humbling tumble down domestic and continental pecking orders since then, with the 2018-19 campaign delivering a sixth-place finish and no major silverware.

Former defender Evra believes too many mistakes have been made in recent years, with United having failed to bring the required level of quality onto their books despite spending big.

He told Sky Sports of the playing staff in Manchester: “I will be honest with you, I love all of them. I see them a lot - when I go to the games, I visit them in the dressing room and encourage them - they know how much I love them.

“But name me one or two players who can play for Real Madrid, Juventus or Bayern Munich? It's a few. I would say Paul Pogba and David de Gea. I have a lot of respect for the rest of them.”Evra added on the slippery slope that United now find themselves on: “I think one of the most important things the club has to resolve is hiring a director of football. It's going to be hard to find the right man.

“I've got the fear, even though I am positive, I don't want United to become like Liverpool, AC Milan or Arsenal were - they have to wait many years to get back at the top. The future doesn't look bright.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the latest manager to have been charged with the task of restoring former glories to Old Trafford, with a man who enjoyed considerable success as a player being asked to replicate those triumphs as a coach.The Norwegian has conceded that he faces a tough task, with Evra also of the opinion that there is much work to be done.

Quizzed on what United are missing, the Frenchman said: “I will say it is the spirit and the passion for the club. I know I am talking 'old school'. I don't want to blame the players because I think that some players are here and they themselves don't even know why they are here.

“They don't have leadership in the dressing room to show them what it means to play for Manchester United. In our time, I remember I played nine years for United and for seven years I don't think I lost two games in a row“When I met Sir Alex Ferguson and David Gill in Monaco at the time, when they interviewed me, they asked me questions like 'are you going to be ready to not lose any games?' and 'are you ready to play only at the top of the game and get criticised for a normal game?' You had figures at the club who tell you what you are going to represent.

“The problem now is on the pitch but also off the pitch.”
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05-14-2019, 10:54 PM

Man Utd boss Solskjaer admits to reality check for ‘biggest and best club in the world’


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admits Manchester United were handed a painful reality check in 2018-19, with the “biggest and best club in the world” needing to rebuild quickly.

The Red Devils have seen the curtain come down on a forgettable campaign that delivered a sixth-place finish in the Premier League, no silverware and failure to qualify for the Champions League.

A serious rebuilding job is required at Old Trafford, with Solskjaer the latest manager to be charged with the task of putting foundations for future success in place.He has experienced a steep learning curve since returning to familiar surroundings, with a positive opening to a reign as interim boss having been countered by a run of two wins in 12.

Quizzed by United’s official club app as to what lessons he has taken from a season that promised much but delivered little, he said: “I’ve learned that I don’t like losing. I like winning.

“We started off fantastically. The boys were unbelievable when I came in. We were positive. We won games.“The whole group gelled together and I enjoyed winning but I know that football is hard. You can’t just expect everything to go that way and the reality hit us.

“We are in a league with loads of very good teams and, to be at our top [level], we need to be 100 per cent focused.“We came into some games really, really focused with the full team and I thought that was fantastic.

“Then you learn a lot when you go through tough times and think about who can be build this team around, and who we think is going to take the next step because we need to go to the next level.”

He has experienced a steep learning curve since returning to familiar surroundings, with a positive opening to a reign as interim boss having been countered by a run of two wins in 12.Quizzed by United’s official club app as to what lessons he has taken from a season that promised much but delivered little, he said: “I’ve learned that I don’t like losing. I like winning.

“We started off fantastically. The boys were unbelievable when I came in. We were positive.We won games.“The whole group gelled together and I enjoyed winning but I know that football is hard. You can’t just expect everything to go that way and the reality hit us.

“We are in a league with loads of very good teams and, to be at our top [level], we need to be 100 per cent focused.“We came into some games really, really focused with the full team and I thought that was fantastic.

“Then you learn a lot when you go through tough times and think about who can be build this team around, and who we think is going to take the next step because we need to go to the next level.”

“You can see by City winning the league and possibly a domestic treble, maybe to Liverpool and Spurs in the Champions League final, and Arsenal and Chelsea in the Europa League final, that we’re competing against the best clubs in the world.“That’s a challenge we won’t take lightly. It’s a great challenge for this club, the biggest and best club in the world.”

United are expected to splash the cash in the next transfer window as they endeavour to close the gap on those around them, with Solskjaer having already admitted that his squad for 2019-20 will look markedly different to the one he inherited from Jose Mourinho.
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05-15-2019, 10:48 PM

Mourinho has his say on Man Utd problems: The players, the organisation & the ambition


Jose Mourinho says his struggles at Manchester United were down to the "players, organisation and ambition" of the club as he denied suggestions Paul Pogba was to blame for his sacking.

The Portuguese coach was sacked in December after a poor start to his third season in charge. Mourinho’s time at United was reportedly plagued by issues and fall-outs with members of his playing squad, with clashes with Pogba frequently referred to in public.

Although the Red Devils’ form picked up once Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was appointed as his replacement, their performances dipped again toward the end of the season and they ended up finishing sixth in the Premier League.

United’s underwhelming end to the campaign has underlined the need for reinvestment in the squad, but there has been renewed talk of stars such as Pogba looking for summer moves.And Mourinho says United have serious issues that prevented him from achieving his objectives, saying there was more to blame than his bad relationship with the star midfielder.

Asked by L’Equipe if he was a victim of Pogba, Mourinho said: "No, no. The problems are there, you can imagine that the problems are the players, the organisation, the ambition. I will only say that I cannot say 'yes' when you ask if Paul was the only one responsible."He added: "On Man Utd, I only want to say two things. One, is that time has spoken. Two, it's that the problems are still there."

The former Chelsea, Inter and Real Madrid boss also had a tough time with getting the best out of Anthony Martial, who struggled to break into the team but has since signed a five-year contract extension with the club.The 56-year-old says his tense relationship with Martial was different to the one he had with Karim Benzema at Madrid.

"With Karim, there was no conflict - I only wanted to help the player, who is incredibly talented - to change his mentality, to help him reach his maximum," he said. "To become a killer, a decisive centre-forward. I liked working with Karim a lot."Martial is a boy with a different personality. The thing I can say is that I hope he will reach a level of the measure of his potential."

One of the highlights of the season for the English side was their Champions League comeback against Paris Saint-Germain. After losing 2-0 at home in the first leg, United sealed a spot in the quarter-finals with a 3-1 win in France.And Mourinho suggested the victory was a bit of a freak incident for the club, saying: "I don't want to explain it. I think I know the reasons, but I'm not going to make my analysis public. I don't want to speak about United.

"For Man Utd, this victory was a bit out of context, even though we won in Turin in the group stage. For PSG, I think I know the reason, tactically and mentally."
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05-15-2019, 10:49 PM

Griezmann confirms he is leaving Atletico Madrid as Barcelona rumours swirl


Antoine Griezmann has confirmed he is leaving Atletico Madrid in a video posted to the club's official Twitter account.The France star only signed a five-year contract extension last summer, but has now said his time with the club will end after Saturday's match against Levante.

The move comes amid rumours of a new bid from Barcelona for Griezmann, who turned down the Blaugrana's advances last summer before going on to help France lift the World Cup in Russia.

Barca are reportedly willing to pay Griezmann's release clause, which Goal understands will be €130 million (£113m/$146m) on July 1, for him to join ahead of the 2019-20 campaign.

The Catalans were in hot pursuit of Griezmann last year, but the France star opted to sign a new contract with Atletico through 2023, announcing his intention in a televised special called "La Decision".

But the 28-year-old has now had a change of heart, and will depart the club he joined from Real Sociedad in 2014.In the video, Griezmann went on to say that he decided to leave the club to seek a new challenge, and made the decision after a meeting with manager Diego Simeone and club CEO Miguel Angel Gil Marin.

"After talking with Cholo [Diego Simeone], Miguel Angel and the people from the offices, I wanted to talk to the fans who have given me a lot of love," Griezmann said.

"I have decided to leave, see other things, have other challenges and with great difficulty, this is what I feel and I need."It's been five great years where I've won my first important trophies with a club. It's been a very important stage.

"I have enjoyed a lot, I have left everything in the field, I have tried to behave well, I have tried to give joy to the people who have come to the Metropolitano and also away from home, and I only have gratitude for all of you.

In his time at Atletico, Griezmann has established himself as one of the world's top attacking players, and helped his side to the Europa League title last season. Griezmann has scored 15 La Liga goals this season, continuing a trend of having reached double digits in all five of his seasons with Atletico.
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05-15-2019, 10:50 PM

Coutinho's agent refutes claims Griezmann will replace Brazilian at Barcelona


Antoine Griezmann will not replace Philippe Coutinho at Barcelona at the end of the season, according to the Brazilian's agent.Despite an encouraging start to life at Barca, Coutinho has failed to recapture the form he showed at Liverpool before his €160million switch in January 2018.

This term, the attacking midfielder has managed only five La Liga goals in 34 appearances and failed to nail down a place in the starting XI, with 12 of his league outings coming from the bench.

Coutinho's underwhelming form has seen him become a target for Barca supporters who have jeered him on several occasions in recent months, while media reports have linked him with a move.

Griezmann's announcement on Tuesday that he will leave Atletico Madrid in the coming months will likely increase speculation surrounding Coutinho, though his representative is convinced the Frenchman potentially joining Barca will not impact his client."It's untrue that Griezmann is going to replace Philippe at Barcelona," Andrea Bertolucci told AS.

"I don't know why they are saying that. I don't know about that and that's why I don't want to talk anymore, but it's false."Coutinho has a contract at Camp Nou until 2023 and is said to be interesting Manchester United, who look set for a major rebuild over the close-season.

Barcelona have already wrapped up La Liga, as the club has amassed 86 points to Atletico Madrid's 75 through 37 matches.

The champions will wrap up the La Liga campaign against Eibar on Sunday while Atletico Madrid take on Levante on Saturday in their final match.Barca will then turn focus towards the Copa del Rey, where they'll face Valencia in the finale.
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05-17-2019, 12:01 AM

Man Utd Unveil New 2019/20 Home Kit






















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