Europa League

  • Martial 'a new player' as Mourinho hails...

    Jose Mourinho says having a rejuvenated Anthony Martial at Manchester United is like a new player arriving in his squad. As has been the case for several first-team stars at Old Trafford this season, Martial's performances have drawn public criticism from Mourinho in recent week...

    Martial 'a new player' as Mourinho hails Burnley performance

    Jose Mourinho says having a rejuvenated Anthony Martial at Manchester United is like a new player arriving in his squad. As has been the case for several first-team stars at Old Trafford this season, Martial's performances have drawn public criticism from Mourinho in recent weeks. Premier League Team of the Week After the France international failed to make the bench for last weekend's win over Premier League leaders Chelsea, Mourinho said of Martial: "He needs to give me things that I like." The France international responded in style, scoring the opener in Sunday's 2-0 win at Burnley, before laying on an assist for captain Wayne Rooney and, as Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marouane Fellaini and Luke Shaw have found of late, Martial's return to form would also draw praise from the manager. "He has to understand what we need from him, but it's not just for us but it's also for him," Mourinho said of the Frenchman. "If he wants to become a very special player – [and] he can do that – then he has to go in a certain direction and he showed this attitude and appetite. We are happy because we have a new player until the end of the season." April's schedule is a hectic one for United, with nine games landing in the space of a month. Having advanced to the Europa League semi-finals, where Celta Vigo await, United's next task is Thursday's Manchester Derby against City – a game that could prove pivotal in the battle for a top-four spot. However, Mourinho remains steadfast in his recent opinion that winning the Europa League is United's best chance of Champions League qualification and hinted that – as against Chelsea – he could rest key players at the Etihad Stadium. "If we beat Celta Vigo in the semi-final, we go to the final," he said. Zlatan: Giving up not an option "Yes, it is important for us to play in the Champions League, but this club wants trophies. We cannot give the club the Premier League trophy, but we have a 25 per cent chance to win the Europa League.  "I will rotate the players again to give some players a chance again."

  • Ajax step up a gear in late push for Ere...

    “Now everything really is possible,” Peter Bosz said as Ajax reached the semi-finals of the Europa League with a 4-3 aggregate win over Schalke, despite having trailed 3-0 when the second period of extra time commenced in Thursday's second leg. It is the Amsterdam side’s first ...

    Ajax step up a gear in late push for Eredivisie and Europa League double

    “Now everything really is possible,” Peter Bosz said as Ajax reached the semi-finals of the Europa League with a 4-3 aggregate win over Schalke, despite having trailed 3-0 when the second period of extra time commenced in Thursday's second leg. It is the Amsterdam side’s first appearance in the final four of a European competition in 20 years, and real excitement is growing in Amsterdam as a bizarre season prepares for a thrilling climax. Having watched his team grow in effectiveness in recent weeks, Bosz has the double in his sights, with a first Eredivisie title since 2013-14 even closer to his grasp than the Europa League. At the start of the month, a six-point gap separated them and the season’s perennial leaders Feyenoord, but a win over their rivals was followed by a newfound ruthlessness and, aided by a further slip up from the Rotterdammers, they cut the gap to one. A 2-0 first-leg win over Schalke, their best display this season, only intensified belief. “If we win these last three [league] games, we’ll be champions,” Bosz said this week, but his assertion sounds backwards given they still trail Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men. “Feyenoord have two away games to play. They have yet to face two old teams of mine [Vitesse and Heracles].” Although the KNVB Beker finalists, ninth-placed Heracles and relegation strugglers Excelsior present challenges for Feyenoord, they swept each of those aside in the previous league meetings, as has been their way this term. There is always a chance they will stumble, but it is Ajax who have the biggest test coming, lining up against reigning champions PSV on Sunday. Bosz is right to be sure of his team though. They have been plagued by inefficiency for most of the season, but have shaken it off by scoring 20 goals in their last six games, and it should have been more. Feyenoord and the German side were particularly lucky to avoid humiliation in the Amsterdam Arena. They have stepped up a level since the impressive 2-1 Klassieker win and it seems the benefits of his work are beginning to take shape towrads the end of his first year. The emergence of Andre Onana in goal, Matthias De Ligt at centre-back and Justin Kluivert, David Neres, Hakim Ziyech, Bertrand Traore and Kasper Dolberg in attack make this a much different team than the one that famously surrendered the title on the final day of last season under Frank de Boer. Add Lasse Schone’s return at central midfield and Daley Sinkgraven’s reinvention from attacking midfielder to left-back, and much has been skewed. The attack has become better connected over the season. Ziyech has boosted a team that suffered from any inspiration or real strategy over the last two years and is the most creative player in the league. The Morocco international has been consistent and has improved his defensive work in big games - pressing from the front and tracking back. For much of the season, they have been stinted by a lack of productivity from wingers Amin Younes and Bertrand Traore, but even they seem to have kicked into gear in recent weeks. The Chelsea loanee enjoyed his brightest patch while filling in up front for Dolberg, while Younes has perhaps been shaken up by the new challenge of Kluivert and Neres to add key goals. The 17-year-old academy graduate’s trickery, pace and unpredictability make him a real threat, while Neres, 20, has scored three goals in three league starts since joining from Sao Paulo. At home in an interchangeable attack, the Brazilian has adapted well so far, but in both cases it is too early to set expectations. The attack seems to be clicking, but the defence has had its say too, with De Ligt, another 17-year-old, Viergever and Sanchez contributing to goals in their current run.  Captain Davy Klaassen, their joint top scorer in all competitions alongside 19-year-old Dolberg with 19 goals, has been an integral force in midfield with his decisive displays and backed up by Schone, another reliable inspiration, the team is progressing smoothly. Bosz is flying as a result of this progress, but he is wrong to ignore the flaws that were obvious in Thursday’s loss. Their defensive fragilities were completely exposed and the failure to react to the threat of Sead Kolasinac down the left showed a real weakness on the part of the coach and many of his players. But for the goalscoring Viergever’s valiant display, it would have put them out. “We showed character,” Bosz said. “We seemed defeated but we were still able to pull this off. We have a real team that keeps fighting when needed, even if the chances of success seem almost gone. Now we go for the final.” But the lack of defensive discipline from Kluivert and sloppiness from Veltman and Sanchez will be heavily punished if it arises again when Lyon turn up for the semi-final, regardless of their character. Predictable Conte can learn from Mourinho PSV may have picked up a few tips too and when asked if they could copy Schalke’s strategy on Sunday, Bosz replied: “Let them do that. We have already shown the solution,” seemingly forgetting his side lost the game. A key part of cutting Schalke out late on was thanks to the forced introduction of Kenny Tete after Veltman was sent off, but with the rarely used youngster on his way out, he will not be a regular fall-back for Bosz despite his strong defensive ability. Bosz seems to be ignoring that PSV are a resurgent force themselves. They are still far off the level that saw them lift the last two league titles, but Twente, ADO Den Haag and Feyenoord are the only teams to take points from them in 2017. Rejuvenated by Marco van Ginkel, they also have Davy Propper and Gaston Pereiro doing well in attack and Andres Guardado has become more effective in recent weeks. Travelling to Eindhoven just days after two gruelling hours of football in Gelsenkirchen will be tough on a youthful team, and just like Bosz is demanding a lot of his former teams to stop Feyenoord, he is at risk of getting carried away with his own. This new-look side has advanced well to get back into contention for European and domestic silverware when expectations were low just a month ago and they still seem more likely to end 2016-17 empty handed. But as his work starts to take shape in his first season, their drought may not last much longer.

  • 'We are in trouble' - Mourinho sounds th...

    Jose Mourinho admitted Manchester United are in "trouble" following serious knee injuries to Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo amid a growing injury crisis at Old Trafford. Ibrahimovic and Rojo are feared to have suffered season-ending knee injuries in Thursday's Europa League ...

    'We are in trouble' - Mourinho sounds the alarm after Ibrahimovic injury

    Jose Mourinho admitted Manchester United are in "trouble" following serious knee injuries to Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo amid a growing injury crisis at Old Trafford. Ibrahimovic and Rojo are feared to have suffered season-ending knee injuries in Thursday's Europa League quarter-final victory over Anderlecht. Conte: Costa is saving his goals The pair join a long list of casualties at the Premier League club, with Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Juan Mata already on the sidelines. And manager Mourinho is genuinely worried as United try to qualify for next season's Champions League via a top-four finish in the Premier League or by winning the Europa League, where they will meet Celta Vigo in the semi-finals. "We are in trouble," Mourinho said ahead of Sunday's trip to Burnley. "We are in trouble. "In this moment, Eric Bailly played six matches in a row, and we lost Marcos Rojo, we don't have Jones or Smalling, we are in trouble and now we lose Zlatan too. "But in attack, we have options and [Wayne] Rooney is coming, and let's see if Mata can also return before the end of the season, let's see what happens." United are fifth in the Premier League, four points adrift of rivals Manchester City with seven matches remaining.  

  • 'Rashford can be 'world star' like Neyma...

    Marcus Rashford can be a "world star" like Neymar or Cristiano Ronaldo, according to former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes. Ibrahimovic out for the rest of the season England international Rashford netted the winner in United's Europa League quarter-final tie against...

    'Rashford can be 'world star' like Neymar and Ronaldo'

    Marcus Rashford can be a "world star" like Neymar or Cristiano Ronaldo, according to former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes. Ibrahimovic out for the rest of the season England international Rashford netted the winner in United's Europa League quarter-final tie against Anderlecht on Thursday, taking his tally for the season to 10 goals in all competitions. And with key man Zlatan Ibrahimovic injured in that clash, Rashford has the opportunity to start in a striking role for United - a position Scholes hopes he can prove himself in. "Rashford will be a brilliant centre-forward, there is no doubt about that," Scholes told BBC Radio 5 Live. "His pace is incredible. He's almost the club's most important player now at the age of 19. "What we saw against Anderlecht was that raw pace, the excitement, skill and ability to fly past people as if they are not there. "He probably needs to work on his composure with the chances he is getting, start putting his chances away - I am sure he will. "He has always been a centre forward. When I saw him playing for the young United teams, he was scoring 30-40 goals a season. I know this lad can finish and score goals. "I am just a little bit worried that he is so quick he may get shoved out wide, which is not a bad thing. "You look at Cristiano Ronaldo's record and players like Neymar, he has that kind of ability. It is a lot to live up to, but he has that in him - he can be a world star."

  • Man Utd rocked by tragedy as Nigerian fa...

    Manchester United have expressed their sorrow at learning that a number of supporters were electrocuted in Nigeria while watching their Europa League game with Anderlecht. The supporters in question were taking in the continental contest in the city of Calabar, with up to 30 peo...

    Man Utd rocked by tragedy as Nigerian fans electrocuted while watching Anderlecht game

    Manchester United have expressed their sorrow at learning that a number of supporters were electrocuted in Nigeria while watching their Europa League game with Anderlecht. The supporters in question were taking in the continental contest in the city of Calabar, with up to 30 people feared to have died as a result of an electrical cable falling onto them. United have sent their sympathies to those caught up in the tragedy, with the incident casting a shadow over a 2-1 extra-time victory for Jose Mourinho’s side at Old Trafford. Our thoughts go out to the United fans, their friends and families affected by the tragedy in Calabar, Nigeria, yesterday. pic.twitter.com/WGnHAxpjMV — Manchester United (@ManUtd) April 21, 2017 Police said the incident was the result of an issue with an electrical transformer at the viewing centre in which the fans had gathered. A police statement said: “Around 10pm we were called that an incident that has happened so immediately our men went there. “Until this morning we have about seven persons dead, we have 10 that have been admitted to hospital and another one in intensive care. “According to the information we gathered the high tension electric cable that was very close to the viewing centre fell on the building.” While the authorities have offered a conservative estimate regarding the loss of life, the News Agency of Nigeria reported that there had been over 30 deaths. Man Utd draw Celta in Europa League While covering a statement from Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River, they stated: “While commiserating with the families of the victims of the tragedy, the governor promised that the state government would look into the likely cause of the incident to prevent reoccurrence. “No fewer than 30 persons died on Thursday night in Calabar at a viewing centre while watching the Europa Football League match between Manchester United and Anderlecht. “The incident happened at about 9.30 p.m at Nyagasang area of Atimbo in Calabar Municipality Local Government Area of the state.” The British High Commission in Nigeria added: “Our deepest sympathy for the loss of lives in Calabar during a Europa League football match between.”

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