‘The players, the ref, the fans… he’s always blaming!’ – Former Man Utd player in Mourinho rant as he claims Van Gaal was better

Louis van Gaal was doing a better job than Jose Mourinho at Manchester United, according to former Red Devils player Arnold Muhren.

Dutchman Muhren, who played for United between 1982 and 1985, believes Mourinho is guilty of exaggerating his achievements and evading responsibility for United’s struggles since he inherited the role from Van Gaal in 2016.

Mourinho won the Europa League and Carbao Cup in his first season in charge but failed to claim any silverware last season as United suffered an early exit from the Champions League and lost to Chelsea in the FA Cup final.  

United are battling in seventh place in the Premier League this term – nine points behind leaders Manchester City, who they face on Sunday – and Muhren believes Mourinho has not faced enough scrutiny for his side’s results and style of play.

“Before Mourinho, there was Louis van Gaal. He also wasn’t so successful,” Muhren told Omnisport of his compatriot, who did win the FA Cup with the club. 

“In England, they immediately start to look around to find a better coach but in the end, I think Van Gaal did a better job than what Mourinho is doing.

“Yes, Mourinho won the EFL Cup but that doesn’t mean much, even though he pretends it means a lot. But it isn’t as important as the FA Cup. And for a club like United, it’s not a big deal to win the Europa League final against Ajax. That’s not so special, is it?

“They have to win the Europa League, it’s not even the Champions League. That says enough.

“The crowd isn’t that impressed by the way his Manchester United play. It’s not forbidden like that, to park the bus, but it’s not attractive to watch.

“I’ve played at Manchester United and I know they love to play good, attractive football. It’s not a big deal if you lose a game but at least you have to lose with good, passionate football.

“The people don’t like it when you lose games and Mourinho blames the players, the referee, the fans – he always blames someone.”

Mourinho takes his side to Turin on Wednesday to face Juventus in the Champions League.

The Red Devils were beaten 1-0 by Massimiliano Allegri’s men last time around in a game which the Italian giants dominated, despite the close scoreline.

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Varane: Griezmann? Mbappe? Doesn’t matter which Frenchman wins Ballon d’Or

Raphael Varane says his fellow France team-mates will be happy whichever of them wins this year’s hotly contested Ballon d’Or award.

Real Madrid defender Varane has been backed by France icon Michel Platini for the prize after winning both the Champions League and the World Cup in 2018, the only player to do so.

But contenders include France colleagues Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann, with the latter forward firing Atletico Madrid to Europa League glory against Marseille last term.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have won the award five times each in the last decade, while Luka Modric is also in the running after claiming the Golden Ball for his performances in Croatia’s run to the World Cup final.

Varane, though, said he and his France team-mates have not talked about who could win this year’s Ballon d’Or.

“I think there won’t be a problem between us,” the centre-back said to France Football, the publication behind the Ballon d’Or. “If a Frenchman wins it we’ll be happy, whoever it is.

“It’s in the news, but we don’t talk about it. We speak about what was done well, but not [that] this one deserves it more than another. We all contributed. You can’t say: ‘He doesn’t deserve it, he didn’t work.'”

Despite France also boasting stars including Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba, Varane feels their triumph under Didier Deschamps in the summer was a team effort.

“We do a team sport. Individually, you’re worthless! You can be a huge player, if you play alone, the team loses,” he added. “All the teams that win a big trophy, it is thanks to the collective, when each one takes pleasure to share with the others. This is how it works.

“Basically, I played football to share with others, to excel together, to achieve a goal. After, we all have our ego, our pride and our personality. But all alone, in football, it does not work.

“I am a young old man. I really feel in the middle. I have a good feeling with everyone. I have responsibilities within the group, I am one of the most experienced, of those who must reassure others. I always had a bit of a big brother role. I have a rather fraternal side.

“I’m not the uncle, nor the youngest, I’m the brother. Ben Mendy called me Raphton. I thought I knew all my nicknames but he invented another one. He is inspired.”

France are to continue their UEFA Nations League campaign against Netherlands next week, before taking on Uruguay in a friendly.

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Francis Uzoho injury is the perfect opportunity for Daniel Akpeyi to prove himself


COMMENT    By Kunle Fayiga     Follow on Twitter
 


Francis Uzoho has firmly become Nigeria’s number one goalkeeper, ending months of instability in that department.

However, concerns over his abilities came to the fore after a below-par performance in the narrow 3-2 victory over Libya in last month’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

He’s now been denied the chance to redeem himself, after picking up an injury in Elche’s 5-1 drubbing by Cadiz in the Spanish Segunda Division at the weekend.

His showing in that match – where he conceded four goals in 12 minutes – prompted criticism from fans for another poor performance, although he now faces four weeks on the sidelines.

With the Super Eagles set to face South Africa in their next Afcon qualifier, coach Gernot Rohr is just left with Daniel Akpeyi, Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Theophilus Afelokhai as his options between the sticks.

 
 
 
 
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Injury is part of the game,definitely not the best timing but there are things beyond us. So sad i won’t be there for my teammates for the next 4weeks 😭they’re more than capable to get the job done ✅ Coming back a beast IN CHRIST ALONE

A post shared by Uzoho Francis (@uzoho30) on

This is a game the West Africans will be desperate to win after their humiliating 2-0 loss in the reverse fixture in Uyo last June. Indeed, a victory in Johannesburg would guarantee their place at the finals in Cameroon next summer, but how much does the goalkeeping scenario make things trickier?

If there is one person who needs redemption right now it’s Akpeyi.

The Chippa United goalie was supposed to take over when former number one and now-retired Carl Ikeme was on the sidelines, although things didn’t go to plan.

He put in horror displays in goal including that defeat to Bafana Bafana, a game that raised the red flag on the goalkeeping crisis and saw Ezenwa introduced.

Even though the Enyimba stopper did well initially, his evident flaws and lack of gametime at club level have counted against him, and he too has lost Rohr’s faith.

Daniel Akpeyi, Chippa United

This is where Akpeyi needs to step in and take his chance.

Of all three Nigerian goalkeepers, he is the only one seeing consistent gametime. He played 23 times in the South African PSL last season, keeping 10 clean sheets. In the current campaign, he has made nine top-flight apperances with three clean sheets. This is encouraging, even though the Chilli Boys are just a point off the relegation playoff spot.

Akpeyi does have what it takes putting into context the vast experience he has with the national team, starting from youth level where he was part of the famous Under-20 team that reached the final of the 2005 Fifa World Youth Championship in the Netherlands as well as the Dream Team squad that went for the 2008 and 2016 Summer Olympics.

Bernardo Silva Nick Pope Manchester City Burnley 21102017

The 32-year-old also impressed in his senior debut when he took the place of injured Vincent Enyeama in a friendly with South Africa in 2015, drawing plaudits in what was a man of the match performance. He also did well in his first competitive game – a 2017 Afcon Qualifier away to seven-time African champions Egypt – even though it ended in a 1-0 defeat which meant that the Super Eagles didn’t make it to Gabon.

Since then, the decline has been stark, with Akpeyi reaching the nadir with a dismal error against Argentina in Nigeria’s 4-2 friendly victory in Krasnodar in November. After that, he plummeted down the pecking order, and hasn’t been seen since.

It’s surprising and disappointing that Akpeyi – a goalkeeper with such potential – did not seize the limelight when he had his moment, as Enyeama had done in 2002 to become Nigeria’s undisputed number one. Nick Pope did likewise at Burnley last season, taking the place of Tom Heaton after his seven-month lay-off with a shoulder injury, with the Clarets finishing an all-time high seventh place in the Premier League and qualifying for the Europa League.

Uzoho’s injury gives Akpeyi an unlikely second chance to stake his claim to be the Eagles’ No. 1 again.

If he can’t take this opportunity, considering Uzoho’s age and promise, the chance may never come again.

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Ronaldinho has passport seized and just £5 in bank account after failure to pay £1.7m fine

A court in Brazil has seized the passports of Ronaldinho and his brother over their failure to pay a fine for building on an environmental protection area.

The former Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain star and his brother, Roberto, were convicted of illegal construction in February 2015 and ordered to pay 8.5 million Brazilian Real (£1.7m).

Along with company Reno Constructions and Incorporations Ltd., they were found to have built a sugar mill with a fishing platform and a pier in a permanent preservation area on Lake Guaíba without permission.

Having so far defaulted on the payments and proving difficult to track down, the 38-year-old and his brother were taken to court again, and the public prosecutor said that an investigation into their bank accounts revealed a balance of just 24.63 Brazilian Real (£5). 

“There is no other measure than the retention of the passports as a coercive measure in the face of repeated unfair, abusive and total disrespect, disobedience and non-compliance with the legal system,” the prosecutor argued.

The court in Rio Grande do Sul, the 2005 Ballon d’Or winner’s home state, has now ruled that the footballing icon must submit his passport when he returns to Brazil from his current travels.

A statement from Judge Newton Fabrício read: “The subjects responsible for the depletion of the environment have long been evading compliance with their legal obligations, even though they have the means to settle it and are public figures with high purchasing power able to compensate for the environmental damages that remain fully defaulted.”

He continued: “Although photographed routinely in different parts of the world, corroborated by the gathering of Certificates of Migratory Movements, the defendants, curiously, in their country of origin, have an uncertain and/or unknown whereabouts.

“I determine the immediate seizure of the passports of the defendants by the authorities, with the additional order to include restriction on issuing a new passport until the fulfillment of the obligation determined in the sentence.”

Ronaldinho officially retired from football earlier this year, having not played professionally since leaving Brazilian side Fluminense in 2015. 

He was capped 97 times by Brazil, scoring 33 goals – including two en route to World Cup glory in Japan and South Korea in 2002.

He joined Paris Saint-Germain from Gremio to begin his European career, which flourished spectacularly at Barcelona between 2003 and 2008.

Ronaldinho inspired back-to-back La Liga triumphs in 2004-05 and 2005-06, also winning the Champions League in the latter season.

He was at the peak of his powers as he claimed the Ballon d’Or in 2005; less so during a three-year stay with AC Milan, although he did feature in all-star line-ups alongside the likes of Paolo Maldini, Kaka and David Beckham.

Ronaldinho left San Siro midway through the Serie A title-winning 2010-11 season and returned to his homeland with Flamengo. He also experienced stints at Atletico Mineiro and in Mexico with Queretaro.

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CSKA Moscow v Roma Betting Tips: Latest odds, team news, preview and predictions

Roma face a testing trip to the Russian capital to meet CSKA Moscow in a crucial Champions League clash on Wednesday.

Victory for Eusebio Di Francesco’s men would see the Serie A side take a significant stride towards the last 16 of the Champions League, but CSKA have have lost just two of their last eight home matches in this competition.

Latest odds

Despite that impressive home record – a sequence of results that includes a 1-0 win against Real Madrid at the beginning of last month – CSKA are chalked up as an 11/4 (3.75) chance to take all three points.

Roma ran out as 3-0 winners in the most recent renewal of this fixture and the Italian side are available at even money (2.0) with William Hill to come out on top again, while the same firm go 13/5 (3.60) that the match ends all square.

Edin Dzeko Roma CSKA Mosca

Team news

Viktor Vasin and Kristijan Bistrovic join Aleksandr Makarov – who has yet to feature this term – on the sidelines for CSKA.

Diego Perotti, Rick Karsdorp, Daniele De Rossi and Luca Pellegrini all miss out for Roma, but Edin Dzeko – joint top scorer in the competition so far this season – will lead the line for Di Francesco’s men.

Defensive discipline key for hosts?

CSKA have kept a clean sheet in each of their last four Champions League home wins and William Hill go 7/2 (4.50) that Roma draw a blank on Russian soil, while the same firm go 6/1 (7.0) that Viktor Goncharenko’s men win to nil on Wednesday.

CSKA Roma graphic

Prediction

There was a clear gulf in class between these teams when they met in Rome last month and Di Francesco’s men can take a huge step towards the knockout stages with victory in Moscow.

William Hill offer even money (2.0) that the Serie A side pick up all three points and it is a selection that could prove profitable for punters ahead of Wednesday’s crucial clash.

Betting Banner - Best BetRoma to win at even money (2.0) for a 2pt stake with William Hill

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