Posts Tagged ‘Champions League’

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(Shhh! I made a mistake on my tax return but I think I got away with it!)

There is a very good chance that Cristiano Ronaldo will be playing his football at the Bernabeu again next season. Falling out with the Spanish tax authorities seems to be an occupational hazard when you are Him, Neymar or Lionel Messi.

The problem is that these players actually don’t know if they have done anything wrong or not. They employ accountants to save them money. They are probably kept informed about what is happening with their wealth although it is highly doubtful that many, if any of them, understand the intricacies of successful tax avoidance. (more…)

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The Final

The main reason Manchester United have never won the Europa League before is because it is a competition in which they have rarely been involved and, when they have been, they haven’t taken it particularly seriously.

Even under it’s previous incarnation as the UEFA Cup, it was a trophy only flirted with on four occasions since Sir Alex Ferguson took over in 1986. On those four occasions they lost to what can only be described as mediocre opponents. (more…)

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So it’s nearly all over. On Wednesday night the fat lady will sing, at least as far as any English interest in Europe is concerned. To continue the mixed metaphors from the previous article, then is the time that José Mourinho will find out if the straws at which he has been grasping can be pulled through the silver lining he has decided the Europa League to be, or if they will get stuck in the cloud.

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Counting chickens before they are hatched is easy when all of your eggs are in the same basket. José Mourinho has already counted the chickens and has decided that he will gamble on them all hatching.

Just to prove how confident he is in this he is also trying his hand at juggling with them! He doesn’t have another basket to hand, just in case a fox comes to steal the first one. He has decided that guarding the basket by concentrating all his efforts on it’s safety is the way forward. (more…)

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It is now Wednesday, 26th May. Manchester City are two points behind Liverpool with two games in hand and an inferior goal difference.

Manchester United are three points behind Liverpool with two games in hand and a vastly inferior goal difference.

The upshot of all this is the following: If Thursday’s derby game is a draw, both Manchester clubs gain a point on Liverpool and both will overtake Liverpool should they win their other game in hand. (more…)

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(Top four or Europa League? Why not both? José ponders the obvious!)

José Mourinho loves the Europa League. Not that he has much choice as it is the only European competition in which Manchester United are competing this season.

He didn’t appear to love it at the start of the season and it was only when he was reminded that it offered automatic Champion’s League qualification that his feelings towards it grew in a dramatic fashion. (more…)

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As egos go, there are none much bigger than that of José Mourinho. Little is said of his time flirting with Inter Milan and Real Madrid even though he continued winning trophies with both clubs.

No, it is his two “marriages” to Chelsea for which, at present anyway, he is being remembered.

The second break-up was far more noteworthy than the first as it was brought about by a perceived breakdown in relationships with certain players and with the club outside the top ten for the first time in years. Mourinho was unceremoniously kicked out and Chelsea were soon to be in a new relationship with Antonio Conte. (more…)

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Manchester United controlled a largely dull first half in which they took the lead through Henrikh Mkhitaryan when the Anderlecht goalkeeper parried a shot from Marcus Rashford straight to him.

Still quite adept at mis-controlling the ball and giving possession away very cheaply, they never looked in any danger of conceding and Anderlecht were left with a half-time team talk which would have included the words “must do better“. (more…)

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Maybe the manager’s expectations weren’t too high. Maybe the fan’s expectations WERE too high. Either way, for Pep Guardiola or José Mourinho, if the season was to end now, then it hasn’t been that bad.

City would qualify for the Champion’s League through their Premier League position and United would qualify for the Europa League because of their EFL Cup triumph and their position in the Premier League. This may not be exactly how the supporters envisaged it at the start of the campaign but it would still represent a decent season for the two. (more…)

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So Manchester United managed to overcome a terrible pitch and a good team and are now in very real danger of reaching the final of the Europa League.

The pitch, at the end of the day, was the same for both teams although Rostov are, obviously, more used to playing on it. It didn’t really make a difference. Providing United, who had the better players, played to their potential then they were always going to be in a position to win the tie over the two legs. (more…)