‘Fragile’ Man U struggling under Jose Mourinho

first_img And in those four games, United have scored only once – failing even to find a way past promoted Burnley last weekend to drop to eighth in the league. “Sometimes teams don’t score goals because of their philosophy, because the team isn’t aggressive enough and doesn’t risk enough,” Mourinho said. Zlatan Ibrahimovic hit the ground running with four goals in four games after signing amid great fanfare in July, but since then the 35-year-old forward has looked his age by netting only once in 11. “Some players in our attacking areas lack confidence,” Mourinho said. “They’re not sharp and getting the chances that they can.” And the treatment room is getting crowded, too. Center backs Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling were joined on the injury list on Thursday by Paul Pogba, who limped off with a thigh injury. Then there’s another of Mourinho’s signings: Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The Armenian played the last 30 minutes of the loss in Turkey after two months out of the team. But the attacking midfielder is a shadow of the player who scored 23 goals and set up another 32 last season for Borussia Dortmund. “He has to do more, it is as simple as that,” Mourinho said. “We have big expectations in the club. We have lots of players for these positions, and he has to play better than (Juan) Mata, he has to play better than (Jesse) Lingard, he has to play better than (Anthony) Martial.” But something has changed with the two-time Champions League-winning coach, who is exhibiting the sullen and downbeat demeanour only seen later in his reigns at Chelsea, Inter Milan or Real Madrid. United should have read the warning signs. Maybe last season at Chelsea – when a title-winning team tumbled into the lower reaches of the Premier League – was not a blip. Can 53-year-old Mourinho still find a way to innovate and rejuvenate United in the way Juergen Klopp has turned Liverpool into title contenders again or Mauricio Pochettino has refreshed Tottenham? ONLY ONE GOAL LONDON (AP): Manchester United hoped Jose Mourinho would provide a quick fix. Hire the manager renowned as a “serial winner” and the stupor of the fleeting David Moyes and Louis van Gaal eras would vanish. There’s little sign of that. If anything, results and performances suggest the record 20-time English champions are regressing. Even Mourinho calls his team “fragile.” With five losses in his opening 16 games, Mourinho has made a worse start than Alex Ferguson’s two immediate successors who never came close to winning the Premier League or Champions League. Under Mourinho, United are even a diminished force in the second-tier Europa League. A 2-1 loss to Fenerbahce on Thursday left United third in their group with only six points out of a possible 12. Although Mourinho has previously expressed his disdain for UEFA’s Thursday night competition, the Portuguese coach doesn’t expect his team to slacken. There’s pride on the line, if little prestige. “Our problem started in our global attitude,” Mourinho said, berating his team for treating for the game like a friendly. The only encouraging moment in Turkey for United was Wayne Rooney ending a goal drought of almost three months – a moment of personal satisfaction, certainly for the 31-year-old captain. But there is little evidence Rooney, so ineffective for Mourinho, will provide any potency tomorrow at Swansea. There are clearly deeper flaws when the team goes through October without winning a single Premier League game, drawing three times and losing once on Mourinho’s humiliating return to Chelsea.last_img read more

Report: Arsenal 1 Newcastle 0

first_imgArsenal 1 Newcastle United 0: Ozil stunner sees hosts edge back to winning ways Nicholas McGee Last updated 1 year ago 00:54 12/17/17 Ozil-Cropped Getty Images Mesut Ozil’s stunning volley was enough for Arsenal to claim a first Premier League win in four games against Newcastle United. Arsenal returned to winning ways in unconvincing fashion as Mesut Ozil’s stunning volley gave them a 1-0 Premier League win over struggling Newcastle United.The Gunners had failed to win in their last three league games but the visit of Newcastle side without a victory since October will have been viewed as a welcome one.Most will have expected the floodgates to open when Ozil opened the scoring in magnificent fashion after 23 minutes. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player But Arsenal struggled to put the game to bed as Newcastle produced the kind of battling performance their fans have wanted during a worrying slide down the table that has now seen them collect only one point from nine games.The Magpies began the game just a point above the bottom three and their lack of reward for a commendable showing will do little ease to relegation fears.For the Gunners, the result sees them avoid a vital slip up in the fight for the top four, though few will be convinced by the manner in which they emerged triumphant.6 – Mesut Ozil has been directly involved in six goals in his last five Premier League games at the Emirates (2 goals, 4 assists). Cracker.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 16, 2017Newcastle offered something of an early threat as Jamaal Lascelles forced Petr Cech to turn behind from Mikel Merino’s free-kick.Swift build-up play involving Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette was wasted at the other end as Alexis Sanchez rifled over the bar, before Ainsley Maitland-Niles sent a low drive narrowly wide.But when the deadlock was broken it was done in some style.Under pressure from Sanchez, Florian Lejeune was unable to clear his lines and his header sat up perfectly for Ozil to fire a stunning left-footed volley into the top corner from just inside the penalty area, leaving Elliot with no chance.So far, so good#AFCvNUFC pic.twitter.com/Sjxq4GcL4r— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) December 16, 2017Granit Xhaka then drove an effort wide as Arsenal continued in the ascendancy, with Elliot required at the near post to deny Ozil a second before the break following a neat exchange with Lacazette.The start of the second half saw Alex Iwobi almost profit from a ricochet that Elliot was unable to handle, but the Republic of Ireland international was able to gather the rebound.Matt Ritchie was introduced from the substitutes’ bench and wasted a chance to level when he hit over from the edge of the area.Jacob Murphy did significantly better as he drew a low save from Cech as the energy of Merino caused Arsenal problems.Newcastle were then almost caught cold, however, as Lacazette could not find the accuracy with his impudent attempt at a lobbed finish after Iwobi’s throughball.Iwobi was forced off through injury for Arsenal before an entertaining finish to the contest saw Jack Wilshere draw a fine reaction save from Elliot, before Laurent Koscielny headed wide.Newcastle forward Joselu then saw an effort deflect narrowly off target at the other end as Arsene Wenger’s men edged their way to a much-needed three points. Key Opta stats:- Arsenal have won 13 of their last 14 home Premier League games, losing the other to Manchester United.- Newcastle are without a win in nine Premier League games (D1 L8), their longest winless run in league football since May 2015 (10).- The Gunners have won each of their last 10 Premier League games against the Magpies, a run stretching back to March 2012.- Rafael Benitez has never enjoyed a victory away to Arsenal in the Premier League in seven attempts, drawing two and losing five.- Jack Wilshere started consecutive Premier League games for Arsenal for the first time since May 2015.- Petr Cech has now kept 199 Premier League clean sheets. read morelast_img read more