Brighton & Hove Albion

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Mourinho slams Mkhitaryan for disappearing in matches

The midfielder is set for a recall to the Manchester United squad against Brighton but his manager has not been pleased with his recent displays

Mourinho slams Mkhitaryan for disappearing in matches

The midfielder is set for a recall to the Manchester United squad against Brighton but his manager has not been pleased with his recent displays

Mourinho slams Mkhitaryan for disappearing during Manchester United games

Henrikh Mkhitaryan is set for a recall to the Manchester United squad against Brighton but Jose Mourinho has criticised his recent form.

Jose Mourinho warns 'disappearing' Henrikh Mkhitaryan to find form quickly as he returns for Man Utd 

Jose Mourinho has admitted he is unhappy with Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s form and accused the Manchester United playmaker of “disappearing” in matches. Mkhitaryan has been omitted from United’s squads for the past two games against Newcastle United and Basel after Mourinho’s patience with the Armenian finally wore thin. But while Mourinho said Mkhitaryan would return to the fold at home to Brighton on Saturday, he has left the player under no illusions that there will have to be a sharp upturn in his performances if he is to regain a regular place. The Daily Telegraph reported on Thursday that Mkhitaryan was facing a serious battle to win back Mourinho’s trust, especially now the Portuguese has more attacking options with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini back from injury. And the manager acknowledged he wanted to see a lot more from a player who claimed five assists in his first three Premier League games of the campaign but has had none since. Henrikh Mkhitaryan looks dejected after a poor performance  Credit: Getty Images  “I was not happy with his last performances,” Mourinho said. “I’m not speaking about one or two, I’m speaking about three, four or five. “He started the season very well and after that step by step he was disappearing. His performance levels in terms of goal scoring and assists, high pressing, recovering the ball high up the pitch, bringing the team with him as a No 10, were decreasing step by step. That was enough [to drop him] because the others worked to have a chance.” Mourinho said it was “quite fair that tomorrow Mkhitaryan is back” but he claimed training “is not the best habitat to analyse the players” and made it clear that players had to show their worth in matches. Juan Mata is another creative player struggling to impress Mourinho, who claimed he could not fault the effort of his attacking players but appeared to infer doubts about the quality of some of them. Mata has managed one goal all season. “I think they give what they can,” he said. “I cannot complain about the dedication or the motivation. They all try to give their best. I think we had an improvement with [Anthony] Martial. He’s scoring more goals than last season. “The other players are what they are. They have different kinds of qualities. Sometimes they produce a lot, and we have lots of chances and we don’t score enough. “The reality is that in the Premier League by not scoring enough we are still the second team with the most goals scored.” Mourinho made little attempt to conceal his concerns about United’s attack, though. Having claimed 33 goals in their opening 11 matches, United have managed just 11 in their last nine outings. Asked if it was one of the best attacking line-ups he has had, Mourinho said: “No. Because a team that plays the way we play so many times, I think we should score more goals than we do. The team that excites more is the team that after five chances is winning 4-0. That’s a team that excites more.” Mourinho talks candidly about his side's attacking performance at a press conference at Old Trafford  Credit: Getty Images  United legend Eric Cantona claimed yesterday that he wished his former club had appointed Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola over Mourinho. “I cannot understand why United would take a manager who plays in a defensive way,” said the Frenchman ahead of the 25th anniversary on Sunday of his move from Leeds to Old Trafford. “I love Mourinho but I prefer to watch Barcelona play. I prefer the way Guardiola plays, and I would prefer him as manager of Manchester United. It’s more logical.” Mourinho had earlier bristled at suggestions his United team were not ambitious going forward. “More ambition than we are [showing] at home, it’s quite difficult,” he said. “I don’t know who has more ambition than us. We played against Newcastle with Pogba, Rashford, Martial, Mata, Lukaku. Valencia and Ashley Young – they are wingers not full backs. So I don’t know what you want.” Meanwhile, Mourinho, who remains without injured centre-halves Eric Bailly and Phil Jones against Brighton, fears Marouane Fellaini will leave United when his contract expires at the end of the season. The Belgium midfielder rejected a new contract offer in September and will be free to talk to foreign suitors in January. “Yes,” the United manager said when asked if he was worried about Fellaini leaving. "[There is] nothing [I can do]. It is a discussion between the player and the board. I’m not involved in contracts, deals. So I just wait, wishing they have an understanding but it is out of my control.”

Jose Mourinho warns 'disappearing' Henrikh Mkhitaryan to find form quickly as he returns for Man Utd 

Jose Mourinho has admitted he is unhappy with Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s form and accused the Manchester United playmaker of “disappearing” in matches. Mkhitaryan has been omitted from United’s squads for the past two games against Newcastle United and Basel after Mourinho’s patience with the Armenian finally wore thin. But while Mourinho said Mkhitaryan would return to the fold at home to Brighton on Saturday, he has left the player under no illusions that there will have to be a sharp upturn in his performances if he is to regain a regular place. The Daily Telegraph reported on Thursday that Mkhitaryan was facing a serious battle to win back Mourinho’s trust, especially now the Portuguese has more attacking options with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini back from injury. And the manager acknowledged he wanted to see a lot more from a player who claimed five assists in his first three Premier League games of the campaign but has had none since. Henrikh Mkhitaryan looks dejected after a poor performance  Credit: Getty Images  “I was not happy with his last performances,” Mourinho said. “I’m not speaking about one or two, I’m speaking about three, four or five. “He started the season very well and after that step by step he was disappearing. His performance levels in terms of goal scoring and assists, high pressing, recovering the ball high up the pitch, bringing the team with him as a No 10, were decreasing step by step. That was enough [to drop him] because the others worked to have a chance.” Mourinho said it was “quite fair that tomorrow Mkhitaryan is back” but he claimed training “is not the best habitat to analyse the players” and made it clear that players had to show their worth in matches. Juan Mata is another creative player struggling to impress Mourinho, who claimed he could not fault the effort of his attacking players but appeared to infer doubts about the quality of some of them. Mata has managed one goal all season. “I think they give what they can,” he said. “I cannot complain about the dedication or the motivation. They all try to give their best. I think we had an improvement with [Anthony] Martial. He’s scoring more goals than last season. “The other players are what they are. They have different kinds of qualities. Sometimes they produce a lot, and we have lots of chances and we don’t score enough. “The reality is that in the Premier League by not scoring enough we are still the second team with the most goals scored.” Mourinho made little attempt to conceal his concerns about United’s attack, though. Having claimed 33 goals in their opening 11 matches, United have managed just 11 in their last nine outings. Asked if it was one of the best attacking line-ups he has had, Mourinho said: “No. Because a team that plays the way we play so many times, I think we should score more goals than we do. The team that excites more is the team that after five chances is winning 4-0. That’s a team that excites more.” Mourinho talks candidly about his side's attacking performance at a press conference at Old Trafford  Credit: Getty Images  United legend Eric Cantona claimed yesterday that he wished his former club had appointed Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola over Mourinho. “I cannot understand why United would take a manager who plays in a defensive way,” said the Frenchman ahead of the 25th anniversary on Sunday of his move from Leeds to Old Trafford. “I love Mourinho but I prefer to watch Barcelona play. I prefer the way Guardiola plays, and I would prefer him as manager of Manchester United. It’s more logical.” Mourinho had earlier bristled at suggestions his United team were not ambitious going forward. “More ambition than we are [showing] at home, it’s quite difficult,” he said. “I don’t know who has more ambition than us. We played against Newcastle with Pogba, Rashford, Martial, Mata, Lukaku. Valencia and Ashley Young – they are wingers not full backs. So I don’t know what you want.” Meanwhile, Mourinho, who remains without injured centre-halves Eric Bailly and Phil Jones against Brighton, fears Marouane Fellaini will leave United when his contract expires at the end of the season. The Belgium midfielder rejected a new contract offer in September and will be free to talk to foreign suitors in January. “Yes,” the United manager said when asked if he was worried about Fellaini leaving. "[There is] nothing [I can do]. It is a discussion between the player and the board. I’m not involved in contracts, deals. So I just wait, wishing they have an understanding but it is out of my control.”

Jose Mourinho warns 'disappearing' Henrikh Mkhitaryan to find form quickly as he returns for Man Utd 

Jose Mourinho has admitted he is unhappy with Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s form and accused the Manchester United playmaker of “disappearing” in matches. Mkhitaryan has been omitted from United’s squads for the past two games against Newcastle United and Basel after Mourinho’s patience with the Armenian finally wore thin. But while Mourinho said Mkhitaryan would return to the fold at home to Brighton on Saturday, he has left the player under no illusions that there will have to be a sharp upturn in his performances if he is to regain a regular place. The Daily Telegraph reported on Thursday that Mkhitaryan was facing a serious battle to win back Mourinho’s trust, especially now the Portuguese has more attacking options with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini back from injury. And the manager acknowledged he wanted to see a lot more from a player who claimed five assists in his first three Premier League games of the campaign but has had none since. Henrikh Mkhitaryan looks dejected after a poor performance  Credit: Getty Images  “I was not happy with his last performances,” Mourinho said. “I’m not speaking about one or two, I’m speaking about three, four or five. “He started the season very well and after that step by step he was disappearing. His performance levels in terms of goal scoring and assists, high pressing, recovering the ball high up the pitch, bringing the team with him as a No 10, were decreasing step by step. That was enough [to drop him] because the others worked to have a chance.” Mourinho said it was “quite fair that tomorrow Mkhitaryan is back” but he claimed training “is not the best habitat to analyse the players” and made it clear that players had to show their worth in matches. Juan Mata is another creative player struggling to impress Mourinho, who claimed he could not fault the effort of his attacking players but appeared to infer doubts about the quality of some of them. Mata has managed one goal all season. “I think they give what they can,” he said. “I cannot complain about the dedication or the motivation. They all try to give their best. I think we had an improvement with [Anthony] Martial. He’s scoring more goals than last season. “The other players are what they are. They have different kinds of qualities. Sometimes they produce a lot, and we have lots of chances and we don’t score enough. “The reality is that in the Premier League by not scoring enough we are still the second team with the most goals scored.” Mourinho made little attempt to conceal his concerns about United’s attack, though. Having claimed 33 goals in their opening 11 matches, United have managed just 11 in their last nine outings. Asked if it was one of the best attacking line-ups he has had, Mourinho said: “No. Because a team that plays the way we play so many times, I think we should score more goals than we do. The team that excites more is the team that after five chances is winning 4-0. That’s a team that excites more.” Mourinho talks candidly about his side's attacking performance at a press conference at Old Trafford  Credit: Getty Images  United legend Eric Cantona claimed yesterday that he wished his former club had appointed Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola over Mourinho. “I cannot understand why United would take a manager who plays in a defensive way,” said the Frenchman ahead of the 25th anniversary on Sunday of his move from Leeds to Old Trafford. “I love Mourinho but I prefer to watch Barcelona play. I prefer the way Guardiola plays, and I would prefer him as manager of Manchester United. It’s more logical.” Mourinho had earlier bristled at suggestions his United team were not ambitious going forward. “More ambition than we are [showing] at home, it’s quite difficult,” he said. “I don’t know who has more ambition than us. We played against Newcastle with Pogba, Rashford, Martial, Mata, Lukaku. Valencia and Ashley Young – they are wingers not full backs. So I don’t know what you want.” Meanwhile, Mourinho, who remains without injured centre-halves Eric Bailly and Phil Jones against Brighton, fears Marouane Fellaini will leave United when his contract expires at the end of the season. The Belgium midfielder rejected a new contract offer in September and will be free to talk to foreign suitors in January. “Yes,” the United manager said when asked if he was worried about Fellaini leaving. "[There is] nothing [I can do]. It is a discussion between the player and the board. I’m not involved in contracts, deals. So I just wait, wishing they have an understanding but it is out of my control.”

First openly gay referee Ryan Atkin says Rainbow Laces is a start, but big-name players must do more

Ryan Atkin recalls a game at Stevenage this season when he was fourth official and afterwards was tweeted by a 12-year-old boy who had recognised Atkin after English football’s only openly gay professional referee spoke publicly about his sexuality for the first time in August. The message was to tell Atkin that the boy and his father had resolved that if there had been any homophobic abuse from the stands, which there was not, then the two of them would have confronted it on his behalf. It was, Atkin, 32, says, one of the many messages of support he has received since he came out from all across the game and beyond in what has been a largely positive experience for him in a sport which still does not have a high-profile openly gay footballer. Atkin referees in the sixth tier National League South, as well as some fourth official duties in the Football League and his next game is Watford Under-23s against their Millwall counterparts on Monday. He is a key figure in the Rainbow Laces campaign, supported by The Daily Telegraph, to make all sport, including football, a more welcoming and inclusive environment for LGBT people. Atkin is clear that while efforts have been made in tackling homophobia, more can be done. “I don’t think as much education has gone into inclusivity and acceptance. We have made great strides when it has come to racism and making sure we treat people from all ethnic backgrounds equally. For me the rainbow laces campaign is about the building blocks to making change.” Starting with West Ham’s home game against Leicester on Friday night, players will be invited to wear the rainbow laces to “Come out for LGBT” over a 10-day period, with support from Team GB, and governing bodies including those in cycling, rugby and cricket. The Premier League has announced a three-year partnership with LGBT rights campaigners Stonewall to promote equality in the game. Ryan Atkin is the first openly gay referee in English football  Credit: Christopher Pledger /The Telegraph  There will be rainbow armbands for Premier League captains and a rainbow theme for the fourth officials’ boards although Atkin, a senior manager with Virgin Trains East Coast in his day job, would like to it to go further with big names in the sport being explicit about their support for LGBT equality. “There are key players in football who could make a difference by saying simply that homophobic abuse and homophobic comments are not acceptable,” he says. “Gary Lineker wore Rainbow Laces on Match of the Day last year but he didn’t say those words. There are big names like Sir Alex Ferguson, David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo but none of them have said it: that if you are going to be homophobic, then don’t participate in sport. It needs people who the younger generation look up to. These are the people who can challenge behaviours.” On the subject of the first high-profile gay footballer, Atkin points out that the modern players lead very private lives whether they are heterosexual or gay. “They might be comfortable with how they live their lives. How many stories do you read these days about footballers’ lives? This isn’t Hollywood. Why would they upset the life they have by coming out? It obviously we would be great for the LGBT community but we respect that people don’t have to do it.” Premier League captains will wear rainbow armbands in support of Stonewall's Rainbow Laces campaign  Credit: Reuters Among the 92 clubs of the Premier League and Football League, only Charlton Athletic have an affiliated LGBT-friendly team who wear the club’s kit and use their training facilities. Charlton Invicta play in the London Unity League and the Kent Sunday Junior Trophy and are run by player-manager Gary Ginnaw, 34, a cost lawyer and lifelong Charlton supporter. “For me having Johnnie Jackson [Charlton’s first team captain] come to our launch and speak on television about us, I’m incredibly grateful for all the club have done.” Ginnaw came out to family and friends when he was 24 and gave up playing football for his 20s because he did not want the scrutiny around his sexuality that he felt being in a team would bring. Being gay is not a pre-requisite to play for Charlton Invicta, and two-thirds of the team are heterosexual, rather it is a LGBT-friendly environment in which gay players can be certain of acceptance. “We played one game in the cup and my dad, who is my assistant manager, heard some comments beforehand from the opposition along the lines of ‘This is the gay team, we better watch ourselves’,” Ginnaw says. “After the game their perception was how well we had played. There are a lot of people who don’t know an openly gay man or woman. Until they meet you and speak to you they see we are not a bad team. Then views start to change.” Atkin says even more can be done to promote LGBT rights and end homophobia by key figures in football   Credit: Christopher Pledger /The Telegraph  Ginnaw is a passionate Charlton supporter and feels that the club’s strong history of fan activism means it would have an enlightened attitude towards a gay player, recalling just one incident when he heard homophobic language being used. “When the first big player comes out there might be a backlash,” he says. “The most important thing for him will be that he has the support of his team-mates, the fans and football authorities. In the end fans don’t care who a player is sharing his bed with, they care he’s doing his job well.” Many clubs now have affiliated LGBT supporter groups, including West Ham’s Pride of Irons which has a 194-strong membership. Their co-chairman Jim Dolan, 36, a banking consultant, says the club have been very supportive and last month they focussed on awareness to counter the potential for homophobic chants in the home game against Brighton and Hove Albion. It went so well that the club received a commendation from the Premier League. It is the small things that matter to fans: the club stock rainbow merchandise in their official store and for the LGBT Pride event in London in July sent along Hammerhead, the club mascot. “We have many in our group in their 40s and 50s,” Dolan says. “It is not just hip young people trying to change the world, its people who have come to games for years and sometimes put up with some horrible stuff. We are not new, we have always been there.”

First openly gay referee Ryan Atkin says Rainbow Laces is a start, but big-name players must do more

Ryan Atkin recalls a game at Stevenage this season when he was fourth official and afterwards was tweeted by a 12-year-old boy who had recognised Atkin after English football’s only openly gay professional referee spoke publicly about his sexuality for the first time in August. The message was to tell Atkin that the boy and his father had resolved that if there had been any homophobic abuse from the stands, which there was not, then the two of them would have confronted it on his behalf. It was, Atkin, 32, says, one of the many messages of support he has received since he came out from all across the game and beyond in what has been a largely positive experience for him in a sport which still does not have a high-profile openly gay footballer. Atkin referees in the sixth tier National League South, as well as some fourth official duties in the Football League and his next game is Watford Under-23s against their Millwall counterparts on Monday. He is a key figure in the Rainbow Laces campaign, supported by The Daily Telegraph, to make all sport, including football, a more welcoming and inclusive environment for LGBT people. Atkin is clear that while efforts have been made in tackling homophobia, more can be done. “I don’t think as much education has gone into inclusivity and acceptance. We have made great strides when it has come to racism and making sure we treat people from all ethnic backgrounds equally. For me the rainbow laces campaign is about the building blocks to making change.” Starting with West Ham’s home game against Leicester on Friday night, players will be invited to wear the rainbow laces to “Come out for LGBT” over a 10-day period, with support from Team GB, and governing bodies including those in cycling, rugby and cricket. The Premier League has announced a three-year partnership with LGBT rights campaigners Stonewall to promote equality in the game. Ryan Atkin is the first openly gay referee in English football  Credit: Christopher Pledger /The Telegraph  There will be rainbow armbands for Premier League captains and a rainbow theme for the fourth officials’ boards although Atkin, a senior manager with Virgin Trains East Coast in his day job, would like to it to go further with big names in the sport being explicit about their support for LGBT equality. “There are key players in football who could make a difference by saying simply that homophobic abuse and homophobic comments are not acceptable,” he says. “Gary Lineker wore Rainbow Laces on Match of the Day last year but he didn’t say those words. There are big names like Sir Alex Ferguson, David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo but none of them have said it: that if you are going to be homophobic, then don’t participate in sport. It needs people who the younger generation look up to. These are the people who can challenge behaviours.” On the subject of the first high-profile gay footballer, Atkin points out that the modern players lead very private lives whether they are heterosexual or gay. “They might be comfortable with how they live their lives. How many stories do you read these days about footballers’ lives? This isn’t Hollywood. Why would they upset the life they have by coming out? It obviously we would be great for the LGBT community but we respect that people don’t have to do it.” Premier League captains will wear rainbow armbands in support of Stonewall's Rainbow Laces campaign  Credit: Reuters Among the 92 clubs of the Premier League and Football League, only Charlton Athletic have an affiliated LGBT-friendly team who wear the club’s kit and use their training facilities. Charlton Invicta play in the London Unity League and the Kent Sunday Junior Trophy and are run by player-manager Gary Ginnaw, 34, a cost lawyer and lifelong Charlton supporter. “For me having Johnnie Jackson [Charlton’s first team captain] come to our launch and speak on television about us, I’m incredibly grateful for all the club have done.” Ginnaw came out to family and friends when he was 24 and gave up playing football for his 20s because he did not want the scrutiny around his sexuality that he felt being in a team would bring. Being gay is not a pre-requisite to play for Charlton Invicta, and two-thirds of the team are heterosexual, rather it is a LGBT-friendly environment in which gay players can be certain of acceptance. “We played one game in the cup and my dad, who is my assistant manager, heard some comments beforehand from the opposition along the lines of ‘This is the gay team, we better watch ourselves’,” Ginnaw says. “After the game their perception was how well we had played. There are a lot of people who don’t know an openly gay man or woman. Until they meet you and speak to you they see we are not a bad team. Then views start to change.” Atkin says even more can be done to promote LGBT rights and end homophobia by key figures in football   Credit: Christopher Pledger /The Telegraph  Ginnaw is a passionate Charlton supporter and feels that the club’s strong history of fan activism means it would have an enlightened attitude towards a gay player, recalling just one incident when he heard homophobic language being used. “When the first big player comes out there might be a backlash,” he says. “The most important thing for him will be that he has the support of his team-mates, the fans and football authorities. In the end fans don’t care who a player is sharing his bed with, they care he’s doing his job well.” Many clubs now have affiliated LGBT supporter groups, including West Ham’s Pride of Irons which has a 194-strong membership. Their co-chairman Jim Dolan, 36, a banking consultant, says the club have been very supportive and last month they focussed on awareness to counter the potential for homophobic chants in the home game against Brighton and Hove Albion. It went so well that the club received a commendation from the Premier League. It is the small things that matter to fans: the club stock rainbow merchandise in their official store and for the LGBT Pride event in London in July sent along Hammerhead, the club mascot. “We have many in our group in their 40s and 50s,” Dolan says. “It is not just hip young people trying to change the world, its people who have come to games for years and sometimes put up with some horrible stuff. We are not new, we have always been there.”

First openly gay referee Ryan Atkin says Rainbow Laces is a start, but big-name players must do more

Ryan Atkin recalls a game at Stevenage this season when he was fourth official and afterwards was tweeted by a 12-year-old boy who had recognised Atkin after English football’s only openly gay professional referee spoke publicly about his sexuality for the first time in August. The message was to tell Atkin that the boy and his father had resolved that if there had been any homophobic abuse from the stands, which there was not, then the two of them would have confronted it on his behalf. It was, Atkin, 32, says, one of the many messages of support he has received since he came out from all across the game and beyond in what has been a largely positive experience for him in a sport which still does not have a high-profile openly gay footballer. Atkin referees in the sixth tier National League South, as well as some fourth official duties in the Football League and his next game is Watford Under-23s against their Millwall counterparts on Monday. He is a key figure in the Rainbow Laces campaign, supported by The Daily Telegraph, to make all sport, including football, a more welcoming and inclusive environment for LGBT people. Atkin is clear that while efforts have been made in tackling homophobia, more can be done. “I don’t think as much education has gone into inclusivity and acceptance. We have made great strides when it has come to racism and making sure we treat people from all ethnic backgrounds equally. For me the rainbow laces campaign is about the building blocks to making change.” Starting with West Ham’s home game against Leicester on Friday night, players will be invited to wear the rainbow laces to “Come out for LGBT” over a 10-day period, with support from Team GB, and governing bodies including those in cycling, rugby and cricket. The Premier League has announced a three-year partnership with LGBT rights campaigners Stonewall to promote equality in the game. Ryan Atkin is the first openly gay referee in English football  Credit: Christopher Pledger /The Telegraph  There will be rainbow armbands for Premier League captains and a rainbow theme for the fourth officials’ boards although Atkin, a senior manager with Virgin Trains East Coast in his day job, would like to it to go further with big names in the sport being explicit about their support for LGBT equality. “There are key players in football who could make a difference by saying simply that homophobic abuse and homophobic comments are not acceptable,” he says. “Gary Lineker wore Rainbow Laces on Match of the Day last year but he didn’t say those words. There are big names like Sir Alex Ferguson, David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo but none of them have said it: that if you are going to be homophobic, then don’t participate in sport. It needs people who the younger generation look up to. These are the people who can challenge behaviours.” On the subject of the first high-profile gay footballer, Atkin points out that the modern players lead very private lives whether they are heterosexual or gay. “They might be comfortable with how they live their lives. How many stories do you read these days about footballers’ lives? This isn’t Hollywood. Why would they upset the life they have by coming out? It obviously we would be great for the LGBT community but we respect that people don’t have to do it.” Premier League captains will wear rainbow armbands in support of Stonewall's Rainbow Laces campaign  Credit: Reuters Among the 92 clubs of the Premier League and Football League, only Charlton Athletic have an affiliated LGBT-friendly team who wear the club’s kit and use their training facilities. Charlton Invicta play in the London Unity League and the Kent Sunday Junior Trophy and are run by player-manager Gary Ginnaw, 34, a cost lawyer and lifelong Charlton supporter. “For me having Johnnie Jackson [Charlton’s first team captain] come to our launch and speak on television about us, I’m incredibly grateful for all the club have done.” Ginnaw came out to family and friends when he was 24 and gave up playing football for his 20s because he did not want the scrutiny around his sexuality that he felt being in a team would bring. Being gay is not a pre-requisite to play for Charlton Invicta, and two-thirds of the team are heterosexual, rather it is a LGBT-friendly environment in which gay players can be certain of acceptance. “We played one game in the cup and my dad, who is my assistant manager, heard some comments beforehand from the opposition along the lines of ‘This is the gay team, we better watch ourselves’,” Ginnaw says. “After the game their perception was how well we had played. There are a lot of people who don’t know an openly gay man or woman. Until they meet you and speak to you they see we are not a bad team. Then views start to change.” Atkin says even more can be done to promote LGBT rights and end homophobia by key figures in football   Credit: Christopher Pledger /The Telegraph  Ginnaw is a passionate Charlton supporter and feels that the club’s strong history of fan activism means it would have an enlightened attitude towards a gay player, recalling just one incident when he heard homophobic language being used. “When the first big player comes out there might be a backlash,” he says. “The most important thing for him will be that he has the support of his team-mates, the fans and football authorities. In the end fans don’t care who a player is sharing his bed with, they care he’s doing his job well.” Many clubs now have affiliated LGBT supporter groups, including West Ham’s Pride of Irons which has a 194-strong membership. Their co-chairman Jim Dolan, 36, a banking consultant, says the club have been very supportive and last month they focussed on awareness to counter the potential for homophobic chants in the home game against Brighton and Hove Albion. It went so well that the club received a commendation from the Premier League. It is the small things that matter to fans: the club stock rainbow merchandise in their official store and for the LGBT Pride event in London in July sent along Hammerhead, the club mascot. “We have many in our group in their 40s and 50s,” Dolan says. “It is not just hip young people trying to change the world, its people who have come to games for years and sometimes put up with some horrible stuff. We are not new, we have always been there.”

First openly gay referee Ryan Atkin says Rainbow Laces is a start, but big-name players must do more

Ryan Atkin recalls a game at Stevenage this season when he was fourth official and afterwards was tweeted by a 12-year-old boy who had recognised Atkin after English football’s only openly gay professional referee spoke publicly about his sexuality for the first time in August. The message was to tell Atkin that the boy and his father had resolved that if there had been any homophobic abuse from the stands, which there was not, then the two of them would have confronted it on his behalf. It was, Atkin, 32, says, one of the many messages of support he has received since he came out from all across the game and beyond in what has been a largely positive experience for him in a sport which still does not have a high-profile openly gay footballer. Atkin referees in the sixth tier National League South, as well as some fourth official duties in the Football League and his next game is Watford Under-23s against their Millwall counterparts on Monday. He is a key figure in the Rainbow Laces campaign, supported by The Daily Telegraph, to make all sport, including football, a more welcoming and inclusive environment for LGBT people. Atkin is clear that while efforts have been made in tackling homophobia, more can be done. “I don’t think as much education has gone into inclusivity and acceptance. We have made great strides when it has come to racism and making sure we treat people from all ethnic backgrounds equally. For me the rainbow laces campaign is about the building blocks to making change.” Starting with West Ham’s home game against Leicester on Friday night, players will be invited to wear the rainbow laces to “Come out for LGBT” over a 10-day period, with support from Team GB, and governing bodies including those in cycling, rugby and cricket. The Premier League has announced a three-year partnership with LGBT rights campaigners Stonewall to promote equality in the game. Ryan Atkin is the first openly gay referee in English football  Credit: Christopher Pledger /The Telegraph  There will be rainbow armbands for Premier League captains and a rainbow theme for the fourth officials’ boards although Atkin, a senior manager with Virgin Trains East Coast in his day job, would like to it to go further with big names in the sport being explicit about their support for LGBT equality. “There are key players in football who could make a difference by saying simply that homophobic abuse and homophobic comments are not acceptable,” he says. “Gary Lineker wore Rainbow Laces on Match of the Day last year but he didn’t say those words. There are big names like Sir Alex Ferguson, David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo but none of them have said it: that if you are going to be homophobic, then don’t participate in sport. It needs people who the younger generation look up to. These are the people who can challenge behaviours.” On the subject of the first high-profile gay footballer, Atkin points out that the modern players lead very private lives whether they are heterosexual or gay. “They might be comfortable with how they live their lives. How many stories do you read these days about footballers’ lives? This isn’t Hollywood. Why would they upset the life they have by coming out? It obviously we would be great for the LGBT community but we respect that people don’t have to do it.” Premier League captains will wear rainbow armbands in support of Stonewall's Rainbow Laces campaign  Credit: Reuters Among the 92 clubs of the Premier League and Football League, only Charlton Athletic have an affiliated LGBT-friendly team who wear the club’s kit and use their training facilities. Charlton Invicta play in the London Unity League and the Kent Sunday Junior Trophy and are run by player-manager Gary Ginnaw, 34, a cost lawyer and lifelong Charlton supporter. “For me having Johnnie Jackson [Charlton’s first team captain] come to our launch and speak on television about us, I’m incredibly grateful for all the club have done.” Ginnaw came out to family and friends when he was 24 and gave up playing football for his 20s because he did not want the scrutiny around his sexuality that he felt being in a team would bring. Being gay is not a pre-requisite to play for Charlton Invicta, and two-thirds of the team are heterosexual, rather it is a LGBT-friendly environment in which gay players can be certain of acceptance. “We played one game in the cup and my dad, who is my assistant manager, heard some comments beforehand from the opposition along the lines of ‘This is the gay team, we better watch ourselves’,” Ginnaw says. “After the game their perception was how well we had played. There are a lot of people who don’t know an openly gay man or woman. Until they meet you and speak to you they see we are not a bad team. Then views start to change.” Atkin says even more can be done to promote LGBT rights and end homophobia by key figures in football   Credit: Christopher Pledger /The Telegraph  Ginnaw is a passionate Charlton supporter and feels that the club’s strong history of fan activism means it would have an enlightened attitude towards a gay player, recalling just one incident when he heard homophobic language being used. “When the first big player comes out there might be a backlash,” he says. “The most important thing for him will be that he has the support of his team-mates, the fans and football authorities. In the end fans don’t care who a player is sharing his bed with, they care he’s doing his job well.” Many clubs now have affiliated LGBT supporter groups, including West Ham’s Pride of Irons which has a 194-strong membership. Their co-chairman Jim Dolan, 36, a banking consultant, says the club have been very supportive and last month they focussed on awareness to counter the potential for homophobic chants in the home game against Brighton and Hove Albion. It went so well that the club received a commendation from the Premier League. It is the small things that matter to fans: the club stock rainbow merchandise in their official store and for the LGBT Pride event in London in July sent along Hammerhead, the club mascot. “We have many in our group in their 40s and 50s,” Dolan says. “It is not just hip young people trying to change the world, its people who have come to games for years and sometimes put up with some horrible stuff. We are not new, we have always been there.”

Manchester United vs Brighton Preview: Classic Encounter, Team News, Form & More

More Manchester United were last toppled by a promoted side 20 years ago, when Derby County beat the Red Devils 3-2, but can Chris Hughton's Brighton repeat the feat in 2017?​ On paper, as is often the case for many sides against United, the odds sit in the home side's favour, but football is all about surprises. After a strong start to their debut season in the Premier League, sitting in a solid ninth position, can Brighton break a 20 year record against United on Saturday? Classic Encounter...

Manchester United vs Brighton Preview: Classic Encounter, Team News, Form & More

More Manchester United were last toppled by a promoted side 20 years ago, when Derby County beat the Red Devils 3-2, but can Chris Hughton's Brighton repeat the feat in 2017?​ On paper, as is often the case for many sides against United, the odds sit in the home side's favour, but football is all about surprises. After a strong start to their debut season in the Premier League, sitting in a solid ninth position, can Brighton break a 20 year record against United on Saturday? Classic Encounter...

Manchester United vs Brighton Preview: Classic Encounter, Team News, Form & More

More Manchester United were last toppled by a promoted side 20 years ago, when Derby County beat the Red Devils 3-2, but can Chris Hughton's Brighton repeat the feat in 2017?​ On paper, as is often the case for many sides against United, the odds sit in the home side's favour, but football is all about surprises. After a strong start to their debut season in the Premier League, sitting in a solid ninth position, can Brighton break a 20 year record against United on Saturday? Classic Encounter...

Manchester United vs Brighton Preview: Classic Encounter, Team News, Form & More

More Manchester United were last toppled by a promoted side 20 years ago, when Derby County beat the Red Devils 3-2, but can Chris Hughton's Brighton repeat the feat in 2017?​ On paper, as is often the case for many sides against United, the odds sit in the home side's favour, but football is all about surprises. After a strong start to their debut season in the Premier League, sitting in a solid ninth position, can Brighton break a 20 year record against United on Saturday? Classic Encounter...

Manchester United vs Brighton Preview: Classic Encounter, Team News, Form & More

More Manchester United were last toppled by a promoted side 20 years ago, when Derby County beat the Red Devils 3-2, but can Chris Hughton's Brighton repeat the feat in 2017?​ On paper, as is often the case for many sides against United, the odds sit in the home side's favour, but football is all about surprises. After a strong start to their debut season in the Premier League, sitting in a solid ninth position, can Brighton break a 20 year record against United on Saturday? Classic Encounter...

Manchester United vs Brighton Preview: Classic Encounter, Team News, Form & More

More Manchester United were last toppled by a promoted side 20 years ago, when Derby County beat the Red Devils 3-2, but can Chris Hughton's Brighton repeat the feat in 2017?​ On paper, as is often the case for many sides against United, the odds sit in the home side's favour, but football is all about surprises. After a strong start to their debut season in the Premier League, sitting in a solid ninth position, can Brighton break a 20 year record against United on Saturday? Classic Encounter...

Man Utd vs Brighton, Premier League: team news, injuries and suspensions

Man Utd vs Brighton, Premier League: team news, injuries and suspensions

Man Utd vs Brighton, Premier League: team news, injuries and suspensions

Man Utd vs Brighton, Premier League: team news, injuries and suspensions

What is it? This is the Premier League match between Manchester United and Brighton - second against ninth. When is it? The match at Old Trafford is scheduled for Saturday, November 25. What time is kick-off? It will begin at the traditional Saturday afternoon kick-off time of 3pm. What TV channel is it on? Oh come on, you know it's not on TV. Since when has a 3pm Saturday kick-off been on TV? Instead you can follow all the latest news right here on this page with our live blog. What is the team news? Manchester United: United will again be without Eric Bailly and Phil Jones for Saturday's encounter. Marcos Rojo played the entirety of the midweek Champions League trip to Basel after 216 days out following a serious knee injury and the defender's match fitness will be assessed ahead of Saturday. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is not yet ready to start, while captain Michael Carrick remains sidelined. Ashley Young, Juan Mata and Antonio Valencia did not travel to Wednesday's Champions League clash at Basel. Provisional squad: De Gea, Romero, Pereira, Valencia, Young, Tuanzebe, Darmian, Lindelof, Rojo, Smalling, Shaw, Blind, Pogba, McTominay, Matic, Herrera, Fellaini, Lingard, Mata, Mkhitaryan, Rashford, Ibrahimovic, Lukaku, Martial. Who should Manchester United pick to face Brighton? Brighton: Chris Hughton reported no fresh injury problems ahead the match. Israel midfielder Beram Kayal, who suffered a broken leg in the final pre-season match against Atletico Madrid, is set to travel with the squad. Midfielder Steve Sidwell, though, continues his recovery from a back problem. Provisional Squad: Ryan, Duffy, Bong, Dunk, Bruno, Knockaert, Stephens, Izquierdo, Propper, Murray, Gross, Krul, Schelotto, March, Brown, Goldson, Suttner, Hemed, Kayal. Who should Brighton pick to face Manchester United? What are they saying? United manager Jose Mourinho: We have four competitions to play and let's go step by step, it's the only thing we can do. Match after match, Champions League finished against Basel, we switch off and move to the Premier League. It is an interesting week because I think is the first time this season where we have three Premier League matches in one week. Brighton manager Chris Hughton: There certainly aren't many teams at our level that are going to go there and win. You know you have got to play at a very high level and you have certainly got to have that bit of luck that goes with a win away from home at any one of the big clubs. But these are the days you have worked so hard for as a team and what you got promotion for and the excitement of going to this type of stadium. There is no doubt we all know what Manchester United means, the stadium, the club and the history, but it is certainly a nicer place if you have come away from there and given a decent account of yourself - it is certainly not the best of places if you don't. You can't go there with fear because if you do then it's inevitable what will happen. You have to go there with a belief and a confidence that you can get something. For all the things said about the stats and nobody expecting us to get a win, at some stages teams do and surprise everybody. The pressure is off because of expectations. Best-priced accumulators | New customer offers What are the odds? Manchester United win: 1/5 Draw: 6/1 Brighton win: 18/1 What's our prediction? This is Brighton’s first league visit to Old Trafford in 34 years and while it comes off the back of victories in their previous two away games, United’s strength in depth should prevail.  That and the rocket the team will have received from Jose Mourinho after an impoverished, shambolic midweek performance in Basle. 3-1 Jim White

Mourinho protecting Pogba and Ibrahimovic as they prepare for Brighton

Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are set to face Brighton and Hove Albion but Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho is keen to protect them.

Jose Mourinho fears Marouane Fellaini will quit Manchester United

Jose Mourinho, the Manchester United manager, has admitted he is worried Marouane Fellaini will leave the club. Fellaini is out of contract at the end of the season and talks over a new deal remain at an impasse. The Belgium international midfielder rejected a new contract offer in September, and while United remain hopeful of persuading the player to stay, he will be free to talk to foreign suitors in January and Mourinho fears he could be tempted to go next summer. Fellaini currently earns around £120,000 and is thought to be asking for about £170,000 a week. “Yes,” the United manager said when asked if he was worried about Fellaini leaving. Asked what he could do to get Fellaini to stay, Mourinho added: “Nothing. It is a discussion between the player and the board. I’m not involved in contracts, deals. “I respect both. The respect the player because he has the right, he has the right to decide his future. If he has finished his contract he has the right. I respect the board because the decisions and discussions are under their control. So I just wait, wishing they have an understanding but it is out of my control.” Mourinho said centre-halves Eric Bailly and Phil Jones remain unavailable through injury and will not be fit to face Brighton at Old Trafford on Saturday although he would not rule out starting Marcos Rojo again after a strong showing on his return from a seven-month absence against Basel on Wednesday. Mourinho believes the next week will be “very important” in terms of the title race with three games in eight days against Brighton, Watford and Arsenal. United trail Premier League leaders Manchester City by eight points. “We cannot think about the gap, we cannot think about the gap to City, to the fifth position, we just have to focus on ourselves and in matches,” he said. “Obviously for us Brighton, Watford, Arsenal is a very important week but let’s focus on Brighton, ninth in the table, good team, difficult to beat, don’t concede many goals, has a mix of physicality, aggression, quality, creativity. I think Chris is doing a great job. We must focus on this one. I know we have a good record at home and are strong at home but the opponent is going to be difficult for us." Modern heroes: Who has done most for your club in the last 20 years? Mourinho has come in for criticism at times this season for a perceived overly cautious approach but the Portuguese cited Saturday’s 4-1 win over Newcastle as evidence of their ambition going forward. “More ambition than we are [showing] at home, it’s quite difficult,” he said. “I don’t know who has more ambition than us. We played against Newcastle with Pogba, Rashford, Martial, Mata, Lukaku, the full backs are not full-backs. Valencia and Ashley Young - they are wingers not full backs. So I don’t know what you want.”

Mourinho reveals Jones & Bailly both out of Brighton clash

Both players have been struggling with injuries and will again miss out, although Zlatan Ibrahimovic is set to make his third appearance in a row

Premier League Bingo: How many points can you accumulate from the weekend's fixtures?

West Ham United vs Leicester City (Friday, 8pm) 5 points: A late Mark Noble penalty proves to be a consolation goal as West Ham slump to a 2-1 home defeat.  15 points: David Moyes wishes there was a sale on every weekend at Westfield Stratford so that his team could play all of their games away from the London Stadium.  25 points: The teams walk out of the tunnel to the funeral march, but Moyes denies claims the atmosphere is overly pessimistic.  Crystal Palace vs Stoke City (Saturday, 3pm) 5 points: Crystal Palace finally get the result their xG merits and record a 3-1 home victory.  15 points: Wilfried Zaha sends the hapless striker turner wing-back Mame Biram Diouf down the shop for sweets with a dazzling array of stepovers.  25 points: Scott Dann and Ryan Shawcross give fans a glimpse of England's centre-back pairing had Sam Allardyce remained manager.  Manchester United vs Brighton and Hove Albion (Saturday, 3pm) 5 points: Jose Mourinho's side score four yet again at Old Trafford and cruise to three points.  15 points: Anthony Martial proves himself to be marginally better than Glenn Murray, and not because of his fancy French name.  25 points: Luke Shaw tries to board Brighton's team coach and spring a Prison Break style escape back to the south coast.  Luke Shaw looks to be on his way out of Man Utd Credit: Reuters Newcastle United vs Watford (Saturday, 3pm) 5 points: Marco Silva's side continue to be an exciting watch on their travels and triumph 3-2 at St James' Park.  15 points: Mike Ashley makes sure to tidy up and have a hoover around as he tries sell the club to new investors.  25 points: 50,000 people sign a petition asking for the game to be replayed because they were deprived of watching Troy Deeney and Jonjo Shelvey on the pitch at the same time.  Swansea vs Bournemouth (Saturday, 3pm) 5 points: Paul Clement inches towards being the next British manager to be sacked after a dismal 0-0 home draw. 15 points: Another week flies by without Wilfried Bony scoring some goals for Swansea.  25 points: Swansea set a new Premier League record for most appearances in the final slot on Match of the Day.  Tottenham Hotspur vs West Brom (Saturday, 3pm) 5 points: Spurs suffer the effects of another European hangover but win another game 1-0 at Wembley. 15 points: This is the game when Mauricio Pochettino finally drops Dele Alli to the bench. 25 points: Garry Megson forgets what decade it is and picks a West Brom XI containing Nathan Ellington and Scott Dobbie.  Gary Megson is West Brom caretaker manager Credit: PA Liverpool vs Chelsea (Saturday, 5.30pm) 5 points: Jurgen Klopp maintains his impressive record against the 'Big Six' but a late Chelsea equaliser earns them a 2-2 draw at Anfield.  15 points: After the performance of Alberto Moreno and James Milner in Sevilla, Klopp decided to play without a left-back.  25 points: 36% of viewers resort to hiding behind the sofa to avert eyes and ears from the unbearable banter between Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard.  Southampton vs Everton (Sunday, 1.30 pm) 5 points: David Unsworth's side continue their descent into oblivion with a lifeless 2-0 defeat on the south coast.  15 points: Wayne Rooney is sent off for a second bookable offence after booting the ball away in frustration.  25 points: Ashley Williams shouting and pointing earns him plenty of praise from the punditocracy despite being at fault for a goal.  The genius of Pep Guardiola: Eight things he has done to make Man City so frighteningly good Burnley vs Arsenal (Sunday, 2pm) 5 points: Arsenal, who of course are incapable of 'grinding out a result', win 2-1 courtesy of a late Aaron Ramsey strike.  15 points: Sean Dyche, linked with Everton and touted as a future England manager, complains that he does not get the praise he deserves.  25 points: There is a minute's silence for the cow hit by a train last October, the incident left Arsenal fans scrambling to make this fixture on time.  Huddersfield Town vs Manchester City (Sunday, 4pm) 5 points: Chequebook manager Pep Guardiola buys himself another three points with a sensational 5-1 away win. 15 points: Some smart alec muses how Guardiola would fare as Huddersfield manager, in the season's most pointless thought experiment.  25 points: Manchester City fans bring their inflatable bananas and retro away kits to relieve the days when City used to face Huddersfield in the second division. 

Premier League Bingo: How many points can you accumulate from the weekend's fixtures?

West Ham United vs Leicester City (Friday, 8pm) 5 points: A late Mark Noble penalty proves to be a consolation goal as West Ham slump to a 2-1 home defeat.  15 points: David Moyes wishes there was a sale on every weekend at Westfield Stratford so that his team could play all of their games away from the London Stadium.  25 points: The teams walk out of the tunnel to the funeral march, but Moyes denies claims the atmosphere is overly pessimistic.  Crystal Palace vs Stoke City (Saturday, 3pm) 5 points: Crystal Palace finally get the result their xG merits and record a 3-1 home victory.  15 points: Wilfried Zaha sends the hapless striker turner wing-back Mame Biram Diouf down the shop for sweets with a dazzling array of stepovers.  25 points: Scott Dann and Ryan Shawcross give fans a glimpse of England's centre-back pairing had Sam Allardyce remained manager.  Manchester United vs Brighton and Hove Albion (Saturday, 3pm) 5 points: Jose Mourinho's side score four yet again at Old Trafford and cruise to three points.  15 points: Anthony Martial proves himself to be marginally better than Glenn Murray, and not because of his fancy French name.  25 points: Luke Shaw tries to board Brighton's team coach and spring a Prison Break style escape back to the south coast.  Luke Shaw looks to be on his way out of Man Utd Credit: Reuters Newcastle United vs Watford (Saturday, 3pm) 5 points: Marco Silva's side continue to be an exciting watch on their travels and triumph 3-2 at St James' Park.  15 points: Mike Ashley makes sure to tidy up and have a hoover around as he tries sell the club to new investors.  25 points: 50,000 people sign a petition asking for the game to be replayed because they were deprived of watching Troy Deeney and Jonjo Shelvey on the pitch at the same time.  Swansea vs Bournemouth (Saturday, 3pm) 5 points: Paul Clement inches towards being the next British manager to be sacked after a dismal 0-0 home draw. 15 points: Another week flies by without Wilfried Bony scoring some goals for Swansea.  25 points: Swansea set a new Premier League record for most appearances in the final slot on Match of the Day.  Tottenham Hotspur vs West Brom (Saturday, 3pm) 5 points: Spurs suffer the effects of another European hangover but win another game 1-0 at Wembley. 15 points: This is the game when Mauricio Pochettino finally drops Dele Alli to the bench. 25 points: Garry Megson forgets what decade it is and picks a West Brom XI containing Nathan Ellington and Scott Dobbie.  Gary Megson is West Brom caretaker manager Credit: PA Liverpool vs Chelsea (Saturday, 5.30pm) 5 points: Jurgen Klopp maintains his impressive record against the 'Big Six' but a late Chelsea equaliser earns them a 2-2 draw at Anfield.  15 points: After the performance of Alberto Moreno and James Milner in Sevilla, Klopp decided to play without a left-back.  25 points: 36% of viewers resort to hiding behind the sofa to avert eyes and ears from the unbearable banter between Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard.  Southampton vs Everton (Sunday, 1.30 pm) 5 points: David Unsworth's side continue their descent into oblivion with a lifeless 2-0 defeat on the south coast.  15 points: Wayne Rooney is sent off for a second bookable offence after booting the ball away in frustration.  25 points: Ashley Williams shouting and pointing earns him plenty of praise from the punditocracy despite being at fault for a goal.  The genius of Pep Guardiola: Eight things he has done to make Man City so frighteningly good Burnley vs Arsenal (Sunday, 2pm) 5 points: Arsenal, who of course are incapable of 'grinding out a result', win 2-1 courtesy of a late Aaron Ramsey strike.  15 points: Sean Dyche, linked with Everton and touted as a future England manager, complains that he does not get the praise he deserves.  25 points: There is a minute's silence for the cow hit by a train last October, the incident left Arsenal fans scrambling to make this fixture on time.  Huddersfield Town vs Manchester City (Sunday, 4pm) 5 points: Chequebook manager Pep Guardiola buys himself another three points with a sensational 5-1 away win. 15 points: Some smart alec muses how Guardiola would fare as Huddersfield manager, in the season's most pointless thought experiment.  25 points: Manchester City fans bring their inflatable bananas and retro away kits to relieve the days when City used to face Huddersfield in the second division. 

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