‘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

‘We are all Koulibaly’: Napoli fans don masks in support

first_imgNapoli’s French-born player Koulibaly was targeted by monkey noises and racist chants at the San Siro on Wednesday, before being sent off for sarcastically applauding the referee.Serie A returned to action three days after the violent clashes in Milan during which an Inter supporter died after being hit by a car.And fans showed their solidarity with Koulibaly, wearing masks with the player’s face, as well as t-shirts bearing his name.The home fans also displayed a banner on front of the stadium, “We are all Koulibaly: no to racism!,” with fliers in the stadium “Koulibaly big brother” or “We’re with you Kalidou”.Among them a very young fan held up a poster with: “I’m small, but a man like Koulibaly”.On the pitch, Napoli’s Algerian defender Faouzi Ghoulam wore Koulibaly’s number 26 shirt in warm-up with the Senegalese player suspended after his sending off on Wednesday.A Napoli fan holds a portrait of Napoli’s Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly reading “We are all Kalidou”. © AFP / Carlo Hermann“It doesn’t matter the colour of the skin. It doesn’t matter religion. It doesn’t matter what team you’re rooting for. Football, like all sports, is a game. And all the games are passion, fun, freedom: And in freedom we are all alike! Tomorrow we will all be koulibaly!,” Ghoulam tweeted before the match.European football governing body UEFA said that the correct anti-racism protocol had not been followed during the midweek game.And Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti said Saturday they would have been in favour of the match being suspended temporarily.“There was a bit of confusion after Milan, we never asked for the suspension, but three times a temporary interruption.“UEFA confirmed that we are right, it surprises me that the president of the referees federation disagrees.“I hope it will never happen again or we will walk off the pitch.”Ancelotti added: “50,000 people calling Koulibaly’s name is quite a show, there has been a good feeling throughout the city.“Kalidou is very popular, he has had messages from many sportsmen and it is a sign that it is not so difficult to improve things.”Meanwhile, there were also banners before Saturday’s match between Parma and Roma in memory of 39-year-old Inter Milan supporter Daniele Belardinelli, who was killed during the pre-match clashes.“Ciao Dede” and “an ultra never dies, Daniele with us” were two of the banners remembering Belardinelli who had been banned from the San Siro between 2007 and 2017 for violence.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Napoli fans hold portraits of Napoli’s Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly who was the victim of racist abuse. © AFP / Carlo HermannMILAN, Italy, Dec 30 – Thousands of Napoli fans showed their support for Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly who was subjected to racist chanting at Inter Milan in midweek by wearing masks and holding up his picture before their team’s Serie A game against Bologna on Saturday.Posters with the message “Siamo Tutti Koulibaly” (“We are all Koulibaly”) were visible throughout the Stadio San Paolo during the game which the hosts won 3-2.last_img read more