‘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

Joe Hart ‘wouldn’t kick up a fuss’ if Man City midfielder decided to stay

first_img Joe Hart wants James Milner to stay at Man City Joe Hart wants James Milner to stay at Man City, amid rumours the midfielder is being lined up by Liverpool.Reports have suggested City bosses have offered Milner an improved contract worth as much as £165,000-a-week over four years to keep him at the Etihad and make him one of the club’s top earners.And goalkeeper Hart explained he’d love his pal sign the new deal and remain in Manchester, when asked about the 29-year-old’s future.“That’s me being totally selfish, but James has got his own decisions to make,” he told talkSPORT.“I would never stick my nose in because it’s a football decision at the end of the day, but I certainly wouldn’t be kicking up a fuss if he did stay.”Hart and Milner have been close friends stretching back to England U21 level where they played together as the Young Lions reached the 2009 European Championship final.“I get on with him personally and think the world of him off the field,” he said.“On the field, I think he’s a fantastic player and someone I’ve really enjoyed playing with for years and years having worked with him at U21 level.“He’s a really, really, really talented footballer. It’s easy to say he’s a hard worker, but there’s so much more to him than that.”Hart’s words echo that of his manager, Manuel Pellegrini, who earlier in the week was full of praise for Milner’s versatility, calling him an “important and intelligent player.”And Hart could not agree more: “He’s a big part of our squad and brings a lot to the team,” he added.Joe Hart relies on the UK’s no.1 shampoo Head & Shoulders to feel prepared and confident for the game ahead. Visit headandshoulders.co.uk 1last_img read more