PSV Eindhoven

PSV Eindhoven slideshow

Of all the big name managers taking their teams into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, only one has won it as a player. Brighton manager Chris Hughton lifted the FA Cup for Tottenham Hotspur in 1981 and 1982, and was a losing finalist in 1987. Hughton went some way to avenging his personal 1987 disappointment by leading his Seagulls side to a fifth-round victory over Coventry City, who famously beat Spurs 31 years ago. And now Brighton have the chance to settle a famous old score of their own after being drawn to face Manchester United in the last eight. Brighton lost the 1983 FA Cup final to United after a replay, having drawn the first game at Wembley 2-2 when Gordon Smith famously squandered a chance to win it. Hughton says the final stages of the FA Cup are 'as exciting as ever' Credit: Action Images via Reuters That was the last time Brighton were a top-flight club and Hughton is now combining a bid to stay in the Premier League with the club’s best Cup run since 1986. “I don’t think my own FA Cup record gives me an advantage or an edge, but what I do know is what it means to win it,” said Hughton. “The ’81 Cup final was probably the highlight of my career, so I do know how exciting it is to get there. “Building up to this game against Coventry, a lot of the talk was about the ’87 Cup final, which, of course, I played in and we lost. It has been clear that is still a massive moment in the history of Coventry and you always look forwards to those moments. “People at Brighton still remember ’83 and everything that went with it and that’s because, irrespective of all the changes, it’s still a big moment. “When foreign managers come here, that’s what they know about - the magic of this cup competition. We’ve been very much brought up on it and however much we think it is changing, which it is, I think when you get to the latter stages it’s as exciting as ever.” Hughton made nine changes for the visit of League Two Coventry and saw record signing Jurgen Locadia score on his debut and Leonardo Ulloa net for the first time since returning to Brighton on loan from Leicester City. Connor Goldson was on target in between the two strikers. But Hughton may have to field a stronger side for the trip to Old Trafford, having acknowledged that Brighton had been given a relatively comfortable path to the last eight against Crystal Palace, Middlesbrough and Coventry. “I do think we’ve been lucky,” said Hughton. “Palace here, Middlesbrough away, we have had the squad to be able to make changes and still get through. “At this moment, I don’t know how many changes I will make moving forwards. When you are in a quarter-final, you are one game away from a semi-final so there is a lot to think about.” Hughton will certainly have a selection dilemma among his forwards for the remainder of the season, with top scorer Glenn Murray now facing competition from Locadia and Ulloa. Jurgen Locadia scored Brighton's first on Saturday Credit: REUTERS “It’s probably the only area in the squad that we’ve got a lot of players,” said Hughton. “When you think we’ve got the two that played against Coventry, then Glenn, Tomer (Hemed) and Sam Baldock, we’ve got a lot of options and I knew that would cause some headaches. “But it’s such a vitally important area of the pitch that I wanted those options. Yes, it makes life a bit harder but it’s good to have those options. “We are on a good run at the moment and we have got a good changing room, and a lot of players who are involved. At the moment, we have that good feel.” On £14million signing from PSV Eindhoven, Locadia, Hughton added: “You bring a player in because you watch him and you know the type of player he is, but we are still learning about him. You really learn in the game because training is different, they all train well.”
Brighton manager Chris Hughton ready to settle another old score - the 1983 FA Cup final - in Man Utd clash
Of all the big name managers taking their teams into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, only one has won it as a player. Brighton manager Chris Hughton lifted the FA Cup for Tottenham Hotspur in 1981 and 1982, and was a losing finalist in 1987. Hughton went some way to avenging his personal 1987 disappointment by leading his Seagulls side to a fifth-round victory over Coventry City, who famously beat Spurs 31 years ago. And now Brighton have the chance to settle a famous old score of their own after being drawn to face Manchester United in the last eight. Brighton lost the 1983 FA Cup final to United after a replay, having drawn the first game at Wembley 2-2 when Gordon Smith famously squandered a chance to win it. Hughton says the final stages of the FA Cup are 'as exciting as ever' Credit: Action Images via Reuters That was the last time Brighton were a top-flight club and Hughton is now combining a bid to stay in the Premier League with the club’s best Cup run since 1986. “I don’t think my own FA Cup record gives me an advantage or an edge, but what I do know is what it means to win it,” said Hughton. “The ’81 Cup final was probably the highlight of my career, so I do know how exciting it is to get there. “Building up to this game against Coventry, a lot of the talk was about the ’87 Cup final, which, of course, I played in and we lost. It has been clear that is still a massive moment in the history of Coventry and you always look forwards to those moments. “People at Brighton still remember ’83 and everything that went with it and that’s because, irrespective of all the changes, it’s still a big moment. “When foreign managers come here, that’s what they know about - the magic of this cup competition. We’ve been very much brought up on it and however much we think it is changing, which it is, I think when you get to the latter stages it’s as exciting as ever.” Hughton made nine changes for the visit of League Two Coventry and saw record signing Jurgen Locadia score on his debut and Leonardo Ulloa net for the first time since returning to Brighton on loan from Leicester City. Connor Goldson was on target in between the two strikers. But Hughton may have to field a stronger side for the trip to Old Trafford, having acknowledged that Brighton had been given a relatively comfortable path to the last eight against Crystal Palace, Middlesbrough and Coventry. “I do think we’ve been lucky,” said Hughton. “Palace here, Middlesbrough away, we have had the squad to be able to make changes and still get through. “At this moment, I don’t know how many changes I will make moving forwards. When you are in a quarter-final, you are one game away from a semi-final so there is a lot to think about.” Hughton will certainly have a selection dilemma among his forwards for the remainder of the season, with top scorer Glenn Murray now facing competition from Locadia and Ulloa. Jurgen Locadia scored Brighton's first on Saturday Credit: REUTERS “It’s probably the only area in the squad that we’ve got a lot of players,” said Hughton. “When you think we’ve got the two that played against Coventry, then Glenn, Tomer (Hemed) and Sam Baldock, we’ve got a lot of options and I knew that would cause some headaches. “But it’s such a vitally important area of the pitch that I wanted those options. Yes, it makes life a bit harder but it’s good to have those options. “We are on a good run at the moment and we have got a good changing room, and a lot of players who are involved. At the moment, we have that good feel.” On £14million signing from PSV Eindhoven, Locadia, Hughton added: “You bring a player in because you watch him and you know the type of player he is, but we are still learning about him. You really learn in the game because training is different, they all train well.”
Of all the big name managers taking their teams into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, only one has won it as a player. Brighton manager Chris Hughton lifted the FA Cup for Tottenham Hotspur in 1981 and 1982, and was a losing finalist in 1987. Hughton went some way to avenging his personal 1987 disappointment by leading his Seagulls side to a fifth-round victory over Coventry City, who famously beat Spurs 31 years ago. And now Brighton have the chance to settle a famous old score of their own after being drawn to face Manchester United in the last eight. Brighton lost the 1983 FA Cup final to United after a replay, having drawn the first game at Wembley 2-2 when Gordon Smith famously squandered a chance to win it. Hughton says the final stages of the FA Cup are 'as exciting as ever' Credit: Action Images via Reuters That was the last time Brighton were a top-flight club and Hughton is now combining a bid to stay in the Premier League with the club’s best Cup run since 1986. “I don’t think my own FA Cup record gives me an advantage or an edge, but what I do know is what it means to win it,” said Hughton. “The ’81 Cup final was probably the highlight of my career, so I do know how exciting it is to get there. “Building up to this game against Coventry, a lot of the talk was about the ’87 Cup final, which, of course, I played in and we lost. It has been clear that is still a massive moment in the history of Coventry and you always look forwards to those moments. “People at Brighton still remember ’83 and everything that went with it and that’s because, irrespective of all the changes, it’s still a big moment. “When foreign managers come here, that’s what they know about - the magic of this cup competition. We’ve been very much brought up on it and however much we think it is changing, which it is, I think when you get to the latter stages it’s as exciting as ever.” Hughton made nine changes for the visit of League Two Coventry and saw record signing Jurgen Locadia score on his debut and Leonardo Ulloa net for the first time since returning to Brighton on loan from Leicester City. Connor Goldson was on target in between the two strikers. But Hughton may have to field a stronger side for the trip to Old Trafford, having acknowledged that Brighton had been given a relatively comfortable path to the last eight against Crystal Palace, Middlesbrough and Coventry. “I do think we’ve been lucky,” said Hughton. “Palace here, Middlesbrough away, we have had the squad to be able to make changes and still get through. “At this moment, I don’t know how many changes I will make moving forwards. When you are in a quarter-final, you are one game away from a semi-final so there is a lot to think about.” Hughton will certainly have a selection dilemma among his forwards for the remainder of the season, with top scorer Glenn Murray now facing competition from Locadia and Ulloa. Jurgen Locadia scored Brighton's first on Saturday Credit: REUTERS “It’s probably the only area in the squad that we’ve got a lot of players,” said Hughton. “When you think we’ve got the two that played against Coventry, then Glenn, Tomer (Hemed) and Sam Baldock, we’ve got a lot of options and I knew that would cause some headaches. “But it’s such a vitally important area of the pitch that I wanted those options. Yes, it makes life a bit harder but it’s good to have those options. “We are on a good run at the moment and we have got a good changing room, and a lot of players who are involved. At the moment, we have that good feel.” On £14million signing from PSV Eindhoven, Locadia, Hughton added: “You bring a player in because you watch him and you know the type of player he is, but we are still learning about him. You really learn in the game because training is different, they all train well.”
Brighton manager Chris Hughton ready to settle another old score - the 1983 FA Cup final - in Man Utd clash
Of all the big name managers taking their teams into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, only one has won it as a player. Brighton manager Chris Hughton lifted the FA Cup for Tottenham Hotspur in 1981 and 1982, and was a losing finalist in 1987. Hughton went some way to avenging his personal 1987 disappointment by leading his Seagulls side to a fifth-round victory over Coventry City, who famously beat Spurs 31 years ago. And now Brighton have the chance to settle a famous old score of their own after being drawn to face Manchester United in the last eight. Brighton lost the 1983 FA Cup final to United after a replay, having drawn the first game at Wembley 2-2 when Gordon Smith famously squandered a chance to win it. Hughton says the final stages of the FA Cup are 'as exciting as ever' Credit: Action Images via Reuters That was the last time Brighton were a top-flight club and Hughton is now combining a bid to stay in the Premier League with the club’s best Cup run since 1986. “I don’t think my own FA Cup record gives me an advantage or an edge, but what I do know is what it means to win it,” said Hughton. “The ’81 Cup final was probably the highlight of my career, so I do know how exciting it is to get there. “Building up to this game against Coventry, a lot of the talk was about the ’87 Cup final, which, of course, I played in and we lost. It has been clear that is still a massive moment in the history of Coventry and you always look forwards to those moments. “People at Brighton still remember ’83 and everything that went with it and that’s because, irrespective of all the changes, it’s still a big moment. “When foreign managers come here, that’s what they know about - the magic of this cup competition. We’ve been very much brought up on it and however much we think it is changing, which it is, I think when you get to the latter stages it’s as exciting as ever.” Hughton made nine changes for the visit of League Two Coventry and saw record signing Jurgen Locadia score on his debut and Leonardo Ulloa net for the first time since returning to Brighton on loan from Leicester City. Connor Goldson was on target in between the two strikers. But Hughton may have to field a stronger side for the trip to Old Trafford, having acknowledged that Brighton had been given a relatively comfortable path to the last eight against Crystal Palace, Middlesbrough and Coventry. “I do think we’ve been lucky,” said Hughton. “Palace here, Middlesbrough away, we have had the squad to be able to make changes and still get through. “At this moment, I don’t know how many changes I will make moving forwards. When you are in a quarter-final, you are one game away from a semi-final so there is a lot to think about.” Hughton will certainly have a selection dilemma among his forwards for the remainder of the season, with top scorer Glenn Murray now facing competition from Locadia and Ulloa. Jurgen Locadia scored Brighton's first on Saturday Credit: REUTERS “It’s probably the only area in the squad that we’ve got a lot of players,” said Hughton. “When you think we’ve got the two that played against Coventry, then Glenn, Tomer (Hemed) and Sam Baldock, we’ve got a lot of options and I knew that would cause some headaches. “But it’s such a vitally important area of the pitch that I wanted those options. Yes, it makes life a bit harder but it’s good to have those options. “We are on a good run at the moment and we have got a good changing room, and a lot of players who are involved. At the moment, we have that good feel.” On £14million signing from PSV Eindhoven, Locadia, Hughton added: “You bring a player in because you watch him and you know the type of player he is, but we are still learning about him. You really learn in the game because training is different, they all train well.”
Of all the big name managers taking their teams into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, only one has won it as a player. Brighton manager Chris Hughton lifted the FA Cup for Tottenham Hotspur in 1981 and 1982, and was a losing finalist in 1987. Hughton went some way to avenging his personal 1987 disappointment by leading his Seagulls side to a fifth-round victory over Coventry City, who famously beat Spurs 31 years ago. And now Brighton have the chance to settle a famous old score of their own after being drawn to face Manchester United in the last eight. Brighton lost the 1983 FA Cup final to United after a replay, having drawn the first game at Wembley 2-2 when Gordon Smith famously squandered a chance to win it. Hughton says the final stages of the FA Cup are 'as exciting as ever' Credit: Action Images via Reuters That was the last time Brighton were a top-flight club and Hughton is now combining a bid to stay in the Premier League with the club’s best Cup run since 1986. “I don’t think my own FA Cup record gives me an advantage or an edge, but what I do know is what it means to win it,” said Hughton. “The ’81 Cup final was probably the highlight of my career, so I do know how exciting it is to get there. “Building up to this game against Coventry, a lot of the talk was about the ’87 Cup final, which, of course, I played in and we lost. It has been clear that is still a massive moment in the history of Coventry and you always look forwards to those moments. “People at Brighton still remember ’83 and everything that went with it and that’s because, irrespective of all the changes, it’s still a big moment. “When foreign managers come here, that’s what they know about - the magic of this cup competition. We’ve been very much brought up on it and however much we think it is changing, which it is, I think when you get to the latter stages it’s as exciting as ever.” Hughton made nine changes for the visit of League Two Coventry and saw record signing Jurgen Locadia score on his debut and Leonardo Ulloa net for the first time since returning to Brighton on loan from Leicester City. Connor Goldson was on target in between the two strikers. But Hughton may have to field a stronger side for the trip to Old Trafford, having acknowledged that Brighton had been given a relatively comfortable path to the last eight against Crystal Palace, Middlesbrough and Coventry. “I do think we’ve been lucky,” said Hughton. “Palace here, Middlesbrough away, we have had the squad to be able to make changes and still get through. “At this moment, I don’t know how many changes I will make moving forwards. When you are in a quarter-final, you are one game away from a semi-final so there is a lot to think about.” Hughton will certainly have a selection dilemma among his forwards for the remainder of the season, with top scorer Glenn Murray now facing competition from Locadia and Ulloa. Jurgen Locadia scored Brighton's first on Saturday Credit: REUTERS “It’s probably the only area in the squad that we’ve got a lot of players,” said Hughton. “When you think we’ve got the two that played against Coventry, then Glenn, Tomer (Hemed) and Sam Baldock, we’ve got a lot of options and I knew that would cause some headaches. “But it’s such a vitally important area of the pitch that I wanted those options. Yes, it makes life a bit harder but it’s good to have those options. “We are on a good run at the moment and we have got a good changing room, and a lot of players who are involved. At the moment, we have that good feel.” On £14million signing from PSV Eindhoven, Locadia, Hughton added: “You bring a player in because you watch him and you know the type of player he is, but we are still learning about him. You really learn in the game because training is different, they all train well.”
Brighton manager Chris Hughton ready to settle another old score - the 1983 FA Cup final - in Man Utd clash
Of all the big name managers taking their teams into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, only one has won it as a player. Brighton manager Chris Hughton lifted the FA Cup for Tottenham Hotspur in 1981 and 1982, and was a losing finalist in 1987. Hughton went some way to avenging his personal 1987 disappointment by leading his Seagulls side to a fifth-round victory over Coventry City, who famously beat Spurs 31 years ago. And now Brighton have the chance to settle a famous old score of their own after being drawn to face Manchester United in the last eight. Brighton lost the 1983 FA Cup final to United after a replay, having drawn the first game at Wembley 2-2 when Gordon Smith famously squandered a chance to win it. Hughton says the final stages of the FA Cup are 'as exciting as ever' Credit: Action Images via Reuters That was the last time Brighton were a top-flight club and Hughton is now combining a bid to stay in the Premier League with the club’s best Cup run since 1986. “I don’t think my own FA Cup record gives me an advantage or an edge, but what I do know is what it means to win it,” said Hughton. “The ’81 Cup final was probably the highlight of my career, so I do know how exciting it is to get there. “Building up to this game against Coventry, a lot of the talk was about the ’87 Cup final, which, of course, I played in and we lost. It has been clear that is still a massive moment in the history of Coventry and you always look forwards to those moments. “People at Brighton still remember ’83 and everything that went with it and that’s because, irrespective of all the changes, it’s still a big moment. “When foreign managers come here, that’s what they know about - the magic of this cup competition. We’ve been very much brought up on it and however much we think it is changing, which it is, I think when you get to the latter stages it’s as exciting as ever.” Hughton made nine changes for the visit of League Two Coventry and saw record signing Jurgen Locadia score on his debut and Leonardo Ulloa net for the first time since returning to Brighton on loan from Leicester City. Connor Goldson was on target in between the two strikers. But Hughton may have to field a stronger side for the trip to Old Trafford, having acknowledged that Brighton had been given a relatively comfortable path to the last eight against Crystal Palace, Middlesbrough and Coventry. “I do think we’ve been lucky,” said Hughton. “Palace here, Middlesbrough away, we have had the squad to be able to make changes and still get through. “At this moment, I don’t know how many changes I will make moving forwards. When you are in a quarter-final, you are one game away from a semi-final so there is a lot to think about.” Hughton will certainly have a selection dilemma among his forwards for the remainder of the season, with top scorer Glenn Murray now facing competition from Locadia and Ulloa. Jurgen Locadia scored Brighton's first on Saturday Credit: REUTERS “It’s probably the only area in the squad that we’ve got a lot of players,” said Hughton. “When you think we’ve got the two that played against Coventry, then Glenn, Tomer (Hemed) and Sam Baldock, we’ve got a lot of options and I knew that would cause some headaches. “But it’s such a vitally important area of the pitch that I wanted those options. Yes, it makes life a bit harder but it’s good to have those options. “We are on a good run at the moment and we have got a good changing room, and a lot of players who are involved. At the moment, we have that good feel.” On £14million signing from PSV Eindhoven, Locadia, Hughton added: “You bring a player in because you watch him and you know the type of player he is, but we are still learning about him. You really learn in the game because training is different, they all train well.”
Luuk de Jong had the simplest of tasks to double PSV Eindhoven's lead in their Eredivisie match against Heerenveen, after a defensive error from 17-year-old Kik Pierie gifted him a one-on-one opportunity.
Defensive error from Heerenveen gifts goal to PSV's de Jong
Luuk de Jong had the simplest of tasks to double PSV Eindhoven's lead in their Eredivisie match against Heerenveen, after a defensive error from 17-year-old Kik Pierie gifted him a one-on-one opportunity.
Luuk de Jong had the simplest of tasks to double PSV Eindhoven's lead in their Eredivisie match against Heerenveen, after a defensive error from 17-year-old Kik Pierie gifted him a one-on-one opportunity.
Defensive error from Heerenveen gifts goal to PSV's de Jong
Luuk de Jong had the simplest of tasks to double PSV Eindhoven's lead in their Eredivisie match against Heerenveen, after a defensive error from 17-year-old Kik Pierie gifted him a one-on-one opportunity.
Luuk de Jong had the simplest of tasks to double PSV Eindhoven's lead in their Eredivisie match against Heerenveen, after a defensive error from 17-year-old Kik Pierie gifted him a one-on-one opportunity.
Defensive error from Heerenveen gifts goal to PSV's de Jong
Luuk de Jong had the simplest of tasks to double PSV Eindhoven's lead in their Eredivisie match against Heerenveen, after a defensive error from 17-year-old Kik Pierie gifted him a one-on-one opportunity.
Heerenveen goalkeeper Martin Hansen pulled off a miracle save from Luuk de Jong to deny hosts PSV Eindhoven victory in the Eredivisie on Saturday.
Heerenveen keeper pulls off miracle save to deny PSV victory
Heerenveen goalkeeper Martin Hansen pulled off a miracle save from Luuk de Jong to deny hosts PSV Eindhoven victory in the Eredivisie on Saturday.
Heerenveen goalkeeper Martin Hansen pulled off a miracle save from Luuk de Jong to deny hosts PSV Eindhoven victory in the Eredivisie on Saturday.
Heerenveen keeper pulls off miracle save to deny PSV victory
Heerenveen goalkeeper Martin Hansen pulled off a miracle save from Luuk de Jong to deny hosts PSV Eindhoven victory in the Eredivisie on Saturday.
Heerenveen goalkeeper Martin Hansen pulled off a miracle save from Luuk de Jong to deny hosts PSV Eindhoven victory in the Eredivisie on Saturday.
Heerenveen keeper pulls off miracle save to deny PSV victory
Heerenveen goalkeeper Martin Hansen pulled off a miracle save from Luuk de Jong to deny hosts PSV Eindhoven victory in the Eredivisie on Saturday.
Many of the Brighton fans packed into the Amex Stadium on Saturday will still remember the immortal words ‘And Smith must score’ and those who do not may soon be getting a history lesson if the club’s Cup run continues. The last time Brighton were a top-flight club, they reached the final of the FA Cup in 1983 and lost in a replay to Manchester United. Gordon Smith has the dubious honour of being the man, referred to in the famous radio commentary, who should have won the first game for Brighton. There was even a fanzine named after him. Brighton may still be a couple of games away from the final, but a first quarter-final place for 32 years, in the season they are back in the top flight, has got the club’s supporters dreaming of another Wembley appearance and a chance to finally avenge Smith’s miss. Unlike at other grounds in this season’s FA Cup, there were no large sections of empty seats at the Amex, despite the fact Brighton were entertaining League Two opposition. Manager Chris Hughton made nine changes for the visit of Coventry City, but there was never much prospect of an upset. Jurgen Locadia celebrates scoring his first goal for the club Credit: Getty Images Record signing Jurgen Locadia scored on his Brighton debut, while Leonardo Ulloa netted for the first time since returning to the club on loan from Leicester City. Locadia should really have finished with a hat-trick, as the £15million buy from PSV Eindhoven made a lively start to his Seagulls career. He hit the post in just the fifth minute with a hooked shot from a corner that Coventry failed to clear, but found the net 10 minutes later. Anthony Knockaert, who Coventry’s defenders could not cope with, sent in a low cross from the right and the ball was deflected into the path of Locadia, who made no mistake from eight yards. Just two minutes before Locadia’s opener, Coventry had gone within inches of breaking the deadlock. Jordan Shipley’s corner was met by Johnson Clarke-Harris, but his header rattled the crossbar. Goldson's goal was his first in two years Credit: Getty Images Locadia was presented with a great chance to double his and Brighton’s tally in the 23rd minute, but he completely missed the ball with the goal gaping. And shortly afterwards, he somehow diverted the ball wide after sliding to meet a low cross into the area from Markus Suttner. “To get off mark early was good for Jurgen,” said Hughton. “He is here to score goals. He has a flexibility about him, but we are still learning about him. You saw that in his game as he was drifting out. He came to us in January and had had a good first half of the season in Holland.” Coventry were punished further with 11 minutes of the first half remaining. Another Suttner delivery found the head of Connor Goldson, who made no mistake. The goal was Goldson’s first for almost two years, during which time he underwent heart surgery. Hughton swapped his goalkeeper at the break, sending on Niki Maenpaa to replace the injured Tim Krul, but it was Coventry’s Lee Burge who was soon picking the ball out of his net again. Just after the hour mark, Bruno’s high cross found Ulloa and the Argentine directed his header past Burge to chalk up his first goal of the season. Johnson Clarke-Harris (L) celebrates getting a consolation goal for Coventry with Jordan Ponticelli Credit: PA For Coventry, this season’s FA Cup has provided some relief and distraction from years of turmoil at the hands of controversial owners Sisu. The 1987 winners beat Stoke City and Milton Keynes Dons to reach the fifth round and they at least sent their travelling army home with something to cheer from their day out in Brighton. Burge pumped forwards a long clearance that made its way into the Brighton penalty area. Goldson tried to head clear, but the ball fell to Clarke-Harris, who rifled a shot into the net to send the Coventry fans wild. “I thought we were good,” said Coventry manager Mark Robins. “It has been a positive experience for us and, hopefully, it can help us have a strong finish in League Two.”
Brighton 3 Coventry 1: Jurgen Locadia debut goal helps hosts into quarter-final
Many of the Brighton fans packed into the Amex Stadium on Saturday will still remember the immortal words ‘And Smith must score’ and those who do not may soon be getting a history lesson if the club’s Cup run continues. The last time Brighton were a top-flight club, they reached the final of the FA Cup in 1983 and lost in a replay to Manchester United. Gordon Smith has the dubious honour of being the man, referred to in the famous radio commentary, who should have won the first game for Brighton. There was even a fanzine named after him. Brighton may still be a couple of games away from the final, but a first quarter-final place for 32 years, in the season they are back in the top flight, has got the club’s supporters dreaming of another Wembley appearance and a chance to finally avenge Smith’s miss. Unlike at other grounds in this season’s FA Cup, there were no large sections of empty seats at the Amex, despite the fact Brighton were entertaining League Two opposition. Manager Chris Hughton made nine changes for the visit of Coventry City, but there was never much prospect of an upset. Jurgen Locadia celebrates scoring his first goal for the club Credit: Getty Images Record signing Jurgen Locadia scored on his Brighton debut, while Leonardo Ulloa netted for the first time since returning to the club on loan from Leicester City. Locadia should really have finished with a hat-trick, as the £15million buy from PSV Eindhoven made a lively start to his Seagulls career. He hit the post in just the fifth minute with a hooked shot from a corner that Coventry failed to clear, but found the net 10 minutes later. Anthony Knockaert, who Coventry’s defenders could not cope with, sent in a low cross from the right and the ball was deflected into the path of Locadia, who made no mistake from eight yards. Just two minutes before Locadia’s opener, Coventry had gone within inches of breaking the deadlock. Jordan Shipley’s corner was met by Johnson Clarke-Harris, but his header rattled the crossbar. Goldson's goal was his first in two years Credit: Getty Images Locadia was presented with a great chance to double his and Brighton’s tally in the 23rd minute, but he completely missed the ball with the goal gaping. And shortly afterwards, he somehow diverted the ball wide after sliding to meet a low cross into the area from Markus Suttner. “To get off mark early was good for Jurgen,” said Hughton. “He is here to score goals. He has a flexibility about him, but we are still learning about him. You saw that in his game as he was drifting out. He came to us in January and had had a good first half of the season in Holland.” Coventry were punished further with 11 minutes of the first half remaining. Another Suttner delivery found the head of Connor Goldson, who made no mistake. The goal was Goldson’s first for almost two years, during which time he underwent heart surgery. Hughton swapped his goalkeeper at the break, sending on Niki Maenpaa to replace the injured Tim Krul, but it was Coventry’s Lee Burge who was soon picking the ball out of his net again. Just after the hour mark, Bruno’s high cross found Ulloa and the Argentine directed his header past Burge to chalk up his first goal of the season. Johnson Clarke-Harris (L) celebrates getting a consolation goal for Coventry with Jordan Ponticelli Credit: PA For Coventry, this season’s FA Cup has provided some relief and distraction from years of turmoil at the hands of controversial owners Sisu. The 1987 winners beat Stoke City and Milton Keynes Dons to reach the fifth round and they at least sent their travelling army home with something to cheer from their day out in Brighton. Burge pumped forwards a long clearance that made its way into the Brighton penalty area. Goldson tried to head clear, but the ball fell to Clarke-Harris, who rifled a shot into the net to send the Coventry fans wild. “I thought we were good,” said Coventry manager Mark Robins. “It has been a positive experience for us and, hopefully, it can help us have a strong finish in League Two.”
Many of the Brighton fans packed into the Amex Stadium on Saturday will still remember the immortal words ‘And Smith must score’ and those who do not may soon be getting a history lesson if the club’s Cup run continues. The last time Brighton were a top-flight club, they reached the final of the FA Cup in 1983 and lost in a replay to Manchester United. Gordon Smith has the dubious honour of being the man, referred to in the famous radio commentary, who should have won the first game for Brighton. There was even a fanzine named after him. Brighton may still be a couple of games away from the final, but a first quarter-final place for 32 years, in the season they are back in the top flight, has got the club’s supporters dreaming of another Wembley appearance and a chance to finally avenge Smith’s miss. Unlike at other grounds in this season’s FA Cup, there were no large sections of empty seats at the Amex, despite the fact Brighton were entertaining League Two opposition. Manager Chris Hughton made nine changes for the visit of Coventry City, but there was never much prospect of an upset. Jurgen Locadia celebrates scoring his first goal for the club Credit: Getty Images Record signing Jurgen Locadia scored on his Brighton debut, while Leonardo Ulloa netted for the first time since returning to the club on loan from Leicester City. Locadia should really have finished with a hat-trick, as the £15million buy from PSV Eindhoven made a lively start to his Seagulls career. He hit the post in just the fifth minute with a hooked shot from a corner that Coventry failed to clear, but found the net 10 minutes later. Anthony Knockaert, who Coventry’s defenders could not cope with, sent in a low cross from the right and the ball was deflected into the path of Locadia, who made no mistake from eight yards. Just two minutes before Locadia’s opener, Coventry had gone within inches of breaking the deadlock. Jordan Shipley’s corner was met by Johnson Clarke-Harris, but his header rattled the crossbar. Goldson's goal was his first in two years Credit: Getty Images Locadia was presented with a great chance to double his and Brighton’s tally in the 23rd minute, but he completely missed the ball with the goal gaping. And shortly afterwards, he somehow diverted the ball wide after sliding to meet a low cross into the area from Markus Suttner. “To get off mark early was good for Jurgen,” said Hughton. “He is here to score goals. He has a flexibility about him, but we are still learning about him. You saw that in his game as he was drifting out. He came to us in January and had had a good first half of the season in Holland.” Coventry were punished further with 11 minutes of the first half remaining. Another Suttner delivery found the head of Connor Goldson, who made no mistake. The goal was Goldson’s first for almost two years, during which time he underwent heart surgery. Hughton swapped his goalkeeper at the break, sending on Niki Maenpaa to replace the injured Tim Krul, but it was Coventry’s Lee Burge who was soon picking the ball out of his net again. Just after the hour mark, Bruno’s high cross found Ulloa and the Argentine directed his header past Burge to chalk up his first goal of the season. Johnson Clarke-Harris (L) celebrates getting a consolation goal for Coventry with Jordan Ponticelli Credit: PA For Coventry, this season’s FA Cup has provided some relief and distraction from years of turmoil at the hands of controversial owners Sisu. The 1987 winners beat Stoke City and Milton Keynes Dons to reach the fifth round and they at least sent their travelling army home with something to cheer from their day out in Brighton. Burge pumped forwards a long clearance that made its way into the Brighton penalty area. Goldson tried to head clear, but the ball fell to Clarke-Harris, who rifled a shot into the net to send the Coventry fans wild. “I thought we were good,” said Coventry manager Mark Robins. “It has been a positive experience for us and, hopefully, it can help us have a strong finish in League Two.”
Brighton 3 Coventry 1: Jurgen Locadia debut goal helps hosts into quarter-final
Many of the Brighton fans packed into the Amex Stadium on Saturday will still remember the immortal words ‘And Smith must score’ and those who do not may soon be getting a history lesson if the club’s Cup run continues. The last time Brighton were a top-flight club, they reached the final of the FA Cup in 1983 and lost in a replay to Manchester United. Gordon Smith has the dubious honour of being the man, referred to in the famous radio commentary, who should have won the first game for Brighton. There was even a fanzine named after him. Brighton may still be a couple of games away from the final, but a first quarter-final place for 32 years, in the season they are back in the top flight, has got the club’s supporters dreaming of another Wembley appearance and a chance to finally avenge Smith’s miss. Unlike at other grounds in this season’s FA Cup, there were no large sections of empty seats at the Amex, despite the fact Brighton were entertaining League Two opposition. Manager Chris Hughton made nine changes for the visit of Coventry City, but there was never much prospect of an upset. Jurgen Locadia celebrates scoring his first goal for the club Credit: Getty Images Record signing Jurgen Locadia scored on his Brighton debut, while Leonardo Ulloa netted for the first time since returning to the club on loan from Leicester City. Locadia should really have finished with a hat-trick, as the £15million buy from PSV Eindhoven made a lively start to his Seagulls career. He hit the post in just the fifth minute with a hooked shot from a corner that Coventry failed to clear, but found the net 10 minutes later. Anthony Knockaert, who Coventry’s defenders could not cope with, sent in a low cross from the right and the ball was deflected into the path of Locadia, who made no mistake from eight yards. Just two minutes before Locadia’s opener, Coventry had gone within inches of breaking the deadlock. Jordan Shipley’s corner was met by Johnson Clarke-Harris, but his header rattled the crossbar. Goldson's goal was his first in two years Credit: Getty Images Locadia was presented with a great chance to double his and Brighton’s tally in the 23rd minute, but he completely missed the ball with the goal gaping. And shortly afterwards, he somehow diverted the ball wide after sliding to meet a low cross into the area from Markus Suttner. “To get off mark early was good for Jurgen,” said Hughton. “He is here to score goals. He has a flexibility about him, but we are still learning about him. You saw that in his game as he was drifting out. He came to us in January and had had a good first half of the season in Holland.” Coventry were punished further with 11 minutes of the first half remaining. Another Suttner delivery found the head of Connor Goldson, who made no mistake. The goal was Goldson’s first for almost two years, during which time he underwent heart surgery. Hughton swapped his goalkeeper at the break, sending on Niki Maenpaa to replace the injured Tim Krul, but it was Coventry’s Lee Burge who was soon picking the ball out of his net again. Just after the hour mark, Bruno’s high cross found Ulloa and the Argentine directed his header past Burge to chalk up his first goal of the season. Johnson Clarke-Harris (L) celebrates getting a consolation goal for Coventry with Jordan Ponticelli Credit: PA For Coventry, this season’s FA Cup has provided some relief and distraction from years of turmoil at the hands of controversial owners Sisu. The 1987 winners beat Stoke City and Milton Keynes Dons to reach the fifth round and they at least sent their travelling army home with something to cheer from their day out in Brighton. Burge pumped forwards a long clearance that made its way into the Brighton penalty area. Goldson tried to head clear, but the ball fell to Clarke-Harris, who rifled a shot into the net to send the Coventry fans wild. “I thought we were good,” said Coventry manager Mark Robins. “It has been a positive experience for us and, hopefully, it can help us have a strong finish in League Two.”
Many of the Brighton fans packed into the Amex Stadium on Saturday will still remember the immortal words ‘And Smith must score’ and those who do not may soon be getting a history lesson if the club’s Cup run continues. The last time Brighton were a top-flight club, they reached the final of the FA Cup in 1983 and lost in a replay to Manchester United. Gordon Smith has the dubious honour of being the man, referred to in the famous radio commentary, who should have won the first game for Brighton. There was even a fanzine named after him. Brighton may still be a couple of games away from the final, but a first quarter-final place for 32 years, in the season they are back in the top flight, has got the club’s supporters dreaming of another Wembley appearance and a chance to finally avenge Smith’s miss. Unlike at other grounds in this season’s FA Cup, there were no large sections of empty seats at the Amex, despite the fact Brighton were entertaining League Two opposition. Manager Chris Hughton made nine changes for the visit of Coventry City, but there was never much prospect of an upset. Jurgen Locadia celebrates scoring his first goal for the club Credit: Getty Images Record signing Jurgen Locadia scored on his Brighton debut, while Leonardo Ulloa netted for the first time since returning to the club on loan from Leicester City. Locadia should really have finished with a hat-trick, as the £15million buy from PSV Eindhoven made a lively start to his Seagulls career. He hit the post in just the fifth minute with a hooked shot from a corner that Coventry failed to clear, but found the net 10 minutes later. Anthony Knockaert, who Coventry’s defenders could not cope with, sent in a low cross from the right and the ball was deflected into the path of Locadia, who made no mistake from eight yards. Just two minutes before Locadia’s opener, Coventry had gone within inches of breaking the deadlock. Jordan Shipley’s corner was met by Johnson Clarke-Harris, but his header rattled the crossbar. Goldson's goal was his first in two years Credit: Getty Images Locadia was presented with a great chance to double his and Brighton’s tally in the 23rd minute, but he completely missed the ball with the goal gaping. And shortly afterwards, he somehow diverted the ball wide after sliding to meet a low cross into the area from Markus Suttner. “To get off mark early was good for Jurgen,” said Hughton. “He is here to score goals. He has a flexibility about him, but we are still learning about him. You saw that in his game as he was drifting out. He came to us in January and had had a good first half of the season in Holland.” Coventry were punished further with 11 minutes of the first half remaining. Another Suttner delivery found the head of Connor Goldson, who made no mistake. The goal was Goldson’s first for almost two years, during which time he underwent heart surgery. Hughton swapped his goalkeeper at the break, sending on Niki Maenpaa to replace the injured Tim Krul, but it was Coventry’s Lee Burge who was soon picking the ball out of his net again. Just after the hour mark, Bruno’s high cross found Ulloa and the Argentine directed his header past Burge to chalk up his first goal of the season. Johnson Clarke-Harris (L) celebrates getting a consolation goal for Coventry with Jordan Ponticelli Credit: PA For Coventry, this season’s FA Cup has provided some relief and distraction from years of turmoil at the hands of controversial owners Sisu. The 1987 winners beat Stoke City and Milton Keynes Dons to reach the fifth round and they at least sent their travelling army home with something to cheer from their day out in Brighton. Burge pumped forwards a long clearance that made its way into the Brighton penalty area. Goldson tried to head clear, but the ball fell to Clarke-Harris, who rifled a shot into the net to send the Coventry fans wild. “I thought we were good,” said Coventry manager Mark Robins. “It has been a positive experience for us and, hopefully, it can help us have a strong finish in League Two.”
Brighton 3 Coventry 1: Jurgen Locadia debut goal helps hosts into quarter-final
Many of the Brighton fans packed into the Amex Stadium on Saturday will still remember the immortal words ‘And Smith must score’ and those who do not may soon be getting a history lesson if the club’s Cup run continues. The last time Brighton were a top-flight club, they reached the final of the FA Cup in 1983 and lost in a replay to Manchester United. Gordon Smith has the dubious honour of being the man, referred to in the famous radio commentary, who should have won the first game for Brighton. There was even a fanzine named after him. Brighton may still be a couple of games away from the final, but a first quarter-final place for 32 years, in the season they are back in the top flight, has got the club’s supporters dreaming of another Wembley appearance and a chance to finally avenge Smith’s miss. Unlike at other grounds in this season’s FA Cup, there were no large sections of empty seats at the Amex, despite the fact Brighton were entertaining League Two opposition. Manager Chris Hughton made nine changes for the visit of Coventry City, but there was never much prospect of an upset. Jurgen Locadia celebrates scoring his first goal for the club Credit: Getty Images Record signing Jurgen Locadia scored on his Brighton debut, while Leonardo Ulloa netted for the first time since returning to the club on loan from Leicester City. Locadia should really have finished with a hat-trick, as the £15million buy from PSV Eindhoven made a lively start to his Seagulls career. He hit the post in just the fifth minute with a hooked shot from a corner that Coventry failed to clear, but found the net 10 minutes later. Anthony Knockaert, who Coventry’s defenders could not cope with, sent in a low cross from the right and the ball was deflected into the path of Locadia, who made no mistake from eight yards. Just two minutes before Locadia’s opener, Coventry had gone within inches of breaking the deadlock. Jordan Shipley’s corner was met by Johnson Clarke-Harris, but his header rattled the crossbar. Goldson's goal was his first in two years Credit: Getty Images Locadia was presented with a great chance to double his and Brighton’s tally in the 23rd minute, but he completely missed the ball with the goal gaping. And shortly afterwards, he somehow diverted the ball wide after sliding to meet a low cross into the area from Markus Suttner. “To get off mark early was good for Jurgen,” said Hughton. “He is here to score goals. He has a flexibility about him, but we are still learning about him. You saw that in his game as he was drifting out. He came to us in January and had had a good first half of the season in Holland.” Coventry were punished further with 11 minutes of the first half remaining. Another Suttner delivery found the head of Connor Goldson, who made no mistake. The goal was Goldson’s first for almost two years, during which time he underwent heart surgery. Hughton swapped his goalkeeper at the break, sending on Niki Maenpaa to replace the injured Tim Krul, but it was Coventry’s Lee Burge who was soon picking the ball out of his net again. Just after the hour mark, Bruno’s high cross found Ulloa and the Argentine directed his header past Burge to chalk up his first goal of the season. Johnson Clarke-Harris (L) celebrates getting a consolation goal for Coventry with Jordan Ponticelli Credit: PA For Coventry, this season’s FA Cup has provided some relief and distraction from years of turmoil at the hands of controversial owners Sisu. The 1987 winners beat Stoke City and Milton Keynes Dons to reach the fifth round and they at least sent their travelling army home with something to cheer from their day out in Brighton. Burge pumped forwards a long clearance that made its way into the Brighton penalty area. Goldson tried to head clear, but the ball fell to Clarke-Harris, who rifled a shot into the net to send the Coventry fans wild. “I thought we were good,” said Coventry manager Mark Robins. “It has been a positive experience for us and, hopefully, it can help us have a strong finish in League Two.”
Many of the Brighton fans packed into the Amex Stadium on Saturday will still remember the immortal words ‘And Smith must score’ and those who do not may soon be getting a history lesson if the club’s Cup run continues. The last time Brighton were a top-flight club, they reached the final of the FA Cup in 1983 and lost in a replay to Manchester United. Gordon Smith has the dubious honour of being the man, referred to in the famous radio commentary, who should have won the first game for Brighton. There was even a fanzine named after him. Brighton may still be a couple of games away from the final, but a first quarter-final place for 32 years, in the season they are back in the top flight, has got the club’s supporters dreaming of another Wembley appearance and a chance to finally avenge Smith’s miss. Unlike at other grounds in this season’s FA Cup, there were no large sections of empty seats at the Amex, despite the fact Brighton were entertaining League Two opposition. Manager Chris Hughton made nine changes for the visit of Coventry City, but there was never much prospect of an upset. Jurgen Locadia celebrates scoring his first goal for the club Credit: Getty Images Record signing Jurgen Locadia scored on his Brighton debut, while Leonardo Ulloa netted for the first time since returning to the club on loan from Leicester City. Locadia should really have finished with a hat-trick, as the £15million buy from PSV Eindhoven made a lively start to his Seagulls career. He hit the post in just the fifth minute with a hooked shot from a corner that Coventry failed to clear, but found the net 10 minutes later. Anthony Knockaert, who Coventry’s defenders could not cope with, sent in a low cross from the right and the ball was deflected into the path of Locadia, who made no mistake from eight yards. Just two minutes before Locadia’s opener, Coventry had gone within inches of breaking the deadlock. Jordan Shipley’s corner was met by Johnson Clarke-Harris, but his header rattled the crossbar. Goldson's goal was his first in two years Credit: Getty Images Locadia was presented with a great chance to double his and Brighton’s tally in the 23rd minute, but he completely missed the ball with the goal gaping. And shortly afterwards, he somehow diverted the ball wide after sliding to meet a low cross into the area from Markus Suttner. “To get off mark early was good for Jurgen,” said Hughton. “He is here to score goals. He has a flexibility about him, but we are still learning about him. You saw that in his game as he was drifting out. He came to us in January and had had a good first half of the season in Holland.” Coventry were punished further with 11 minutes of the first half remaining. Another Suttner delivery found the head of Connor Goldson, who made no mistake. The goal was Goldson’s first for almost two years, during which time he underwent heart surgery. Hughton swapped his goalkeeper at the break, sending on Niki Maenpaa to replace the injured Tim Krul, but it was Coventry’s Lee Burge who was soon picking the ball out of his net again. Just after the hour mark, Bruno’s high cross found Ulloa and the Argentine directed his header past Burge to chalk up his first goal of the season. Johnson Clarke-Harris (L) celebrates getting a consolation goal for Coventry with Jordan Ponticelli Credit: PA For Coventry, this season’s FA Cup has provided some relief and distraction from years of turmoil at the hands of controversial owners Sisu. The 1987 winners beat Stoke City and Milton Keynes Dons to reach the fifth round and they at least sent their travelling army home with something to cheer from their day out in Brighton. Burge pumped forwards a long clearance that made its way into the Brighton penalty area. Goldson tried to head clear, but the ball fell to Clarke-Harris, who rifled a shot into the net to send the Coventry fans wild. “I thought we were good,” said Coventry manager Mark Robins. “It has been a positive experience for us and, hopefully, it can help us have a strong finish in League Two.”
Brighton 3 Coventry 1: Jurgen Locadia debut goal helps hosts into quarter-final
Many of the Brighton fans packed into the Amex Stadium on Saturday will still remember the immortal words ‘And Smith must score’ and those who do not may soon be getting a history lesson if the club’s Cup run continues. The last time Brighton were a top-flight club, they reached the final of the FA Cup in 1983 and lost in a replay to Manchester United. Gordon Smith has the dubious honour of being the man, referred to in the famous radio commentary, who should have won the first game for Brighton. There was even a fanzine named after him. Brighton may still be a couple of games away from the final, but a first quarter-final place for 32 years, in the season they are back in the top flight, has got the club’s supporters dreaming of another Wembley appearance and a chance to finally avenge Smith’s miss. Unlike at other grounds in this season’s FA Cup, there were no large sections of empty seats at the Amex, despite the fact Brighton were entertaining League Two opposition. Manager Chris Hughton made nine changes for the visit of Coventry City, but there was never much prospect of an upset. Jurgen Locadia celebrates scoring his first goal for the club Credit: Getty Images Record signing Jurgen Locadia scored on his Brighton debut, while Leonardo Ulloa netted for the first time since returning to the club on loan from Leicester City. Locadia should really have finished with a hat-trick, as the £15million buy from PSV Eindhoven made a lively start to his Seagulls career. He hit the post in just the fifth minute with a hooked shot from a corner that Coventry failed to clear, but found the net 10 minutes later. Anthony Knockaert, who Coventry’s defenders could not cope with, sent in a low cross from the right and the ball was deflected into the path of Locadia, who made no mistake from eight yards. Just two minutes before Locadia’s opener, Coventry had gone within inches of breaking the deadlock. Jordan Shipley’s corner was met by Johnson Clarke-Harris, but his header rattled the crossbar. Goldson's goal was his first in two years Credit: Getty Images Locadia was presented with a great chance to double his and Brighton’s tally in the 23rd minute, but he completely missed the ball with the goal gaping. And shortly afterwards, he somehow diverted the ball wide after sliding to meet a low cross into the area from Markus Suttner. “To get off mark early was good for Jurgen,” said Hughton. “He is here to score goals. He has a flexibility about him, but we are still learning about him. You saw that in his game as he was drifting out. He came to us in January and had had a good first half of the season in Holland.” Coventry were punished further with 11 minutes of the first half remaining. Another Suttner delivery found the head of Connor Goldson, who made no mistake. The goal was Goldson’s first for almost two years, during which time he underwent heart surgery. Hughton swapped his goalkeeper at the break, sending on Niki Maenpaa to replace the injured Tim Krul, but it was Coventry’s Lee Burge who was soon picking the ball out of his net again. Just after the hour mark, Bruno’s high cross found Ulloa and the Argentine directed his header past Burge to chalk up his first goal of the season. Johnson Clarke-Harris (L) celebrates getting a consolation goal for Coventry with Jordan Ponticelli Credit: PA For Coventry, this season’s FA Cup has provided some relief and distraction from years of turmoil at the hands of controversial owners Sisu. The 1987 winners beat Stoke City and Milton Keynes Dons to reach the fifth round and they at least sent their travelling army home with something to cheer from their day out in Brighton. Burge pumped forwards a long clearance that made its way into the Brighton penalty area. Goldson tried to head clear, but the ball fell to Clarke-Harris, who rifled a shot into the net to send the Coventry fans wild. “I thought we were good,” said Coventry manager Mark Robins. “It has been a positive experience for us and, hopefully, it can help us have a strong finish in League Two.”
FILE PHOTO: PSV Eindhoven's Jurgen Locadia celebrates his goal against Wolfsburg during their Champions League group B soccer match in Eindhoven, Netherlands November 3, 2015. REUTERS/Michael Kooren Picture Supplied by Action Images
FILE PHOTO: PSV Eindhoven's Jurgen Locadia celebrates his goal against Wolfsburg during their Champions League group B soccer match in Eindhoven
FILE PHOTO: PSV Eindhoven's Jurgen Locadia celebrates his goal against Wolfsburg during their Champions League group B soccer match in Eindhoven, Netherlands November 3, 2015. REUTERS/Michael Kooren Picture Supplied by Action Images
It was mostly overlooked at the time, a casualty of the fanfare surrounding Alexis Sanchez’s signing a few days earlier, but when Manchester United announced Jose Mourinho had signed a new contract last month, there was a line from the club’s executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, praising the manager’s commitment to blooding youth. “He has embraced the club’s desire to promote top quality young players to the first team,” said Woodward, a pointed response to those who suggested the Portuguese would pay little more than lip service to the club’s rich traditions of cultivating home-grown talent. Those suggestions had solid enough foundations. For all the success Mourinho’s managerial career has brought him, there has been a perennial black splodge next to the box marked youth development and no one has been more aware of this than the man himself. He even arrived at his first press conference as United manager armed with a notebook listing the names of 49 players, colour-coded in red, blue and green, whom he was convinced would help him nail “the lie, repeated many times” that he was to academy players what weed killer is to plants. Yet the strength of that argument began to fall down when, on closer inspection, it emerged Mourinho had included the likes of Arjen Robben in his list, the same Robben who had already made more than 100 appearances for Groningen and PSV Eindhoven by the time he joined Chelsea for £12 million. It has felt very different at United, though, and while entrenched reputations can take a long time to change, certain perceptions are, for now at least, being challenged. There has been an understandable rush to measure Mourinho and United’s every move against what Pep Guardiola has been doing at Manchester City. But while Guardiola has raised all sorts of bars this term, there is a certain irony that Mourinho – “the monster that kills the little kids” as he sarcastically described himself last week – has bought into the academy ethos in a way his great adversary, often heralded as a champion of youth, has yet to do with any particular conviction down the road. Tuesday marks the 60th anniversary of the Munich air disaster, and on a weekend when United supporters honoured the memory of the Busby Babes – one of the ultimate symbols of the potency of youth – there was something rather poignant about Mourinho dropping Paul Pogba and playing academy graduate Scott McTominay in the £89 million’s man place against Huddersfield. Before anyone hints at an ulterior motive there, it is worth remembering that Mourinho has never been one for sentiment and that McTominay had already made more starts this season than the entirety of the five academy graduates at City who have fleetingly tasted first-team football under Guardiola since August. Note, too, that Marcus Rashford has made more appearances – 90 – than anyone since Mourinho took charge at United and another academy graduate, Jesse Lingard, who has also flourished, is fourth on that list. While Mourinho was extolling the virtues of McTominay, or the “kid” as he affectionately calls him, Guardiola was whining about not having enough players in the wake of a mounting injury list and a failed move for Riyad Mahrez, and reiterated the point with a grimly petty decision to name only six substitutes against Burnley. Such arguments really do not hold much sway when you have spent £450 million in 19 months and have an academy awash with exciting talents, any number of whom would have benefited from the experience of a match-day with the first-team squad. “If you’re the academy or reserve-team manager at Manchester City, you must think, ‘I’m wasting my time’,” said Gary Neville, the former United defender and Sky Sports pundit. “Rather than saying in an interview, ‘I haven’t got the players’, he could say he’s brought a young player from the youth team who has been wonderful this season. It’s really poor. And I can guarantee you the youth-team coach and reserve-team coach at Manchester City will feel disheartened by him having six players on the bench.” It was a wretched move Mourinho’s critics might have once expected him to make but the tide seems to be turning. Moment of the weekend A quite extraordinary finale at Anfield. Victor Wanyama drew Spurs level at 1-1 against Liverpool with 10 minutes left before Harry Kane missed an 87th-minute penalty to put his side in front. Mohamed Salah then struck his second goal in the first minute of added time, only for Kane to make amends from the penalty spot with almost the last kick. Liverpool vs Tottenham, player ratings Good weekend for January’s merry-go-round signings. While Alexis Sanchez scored for Manchester United, the man who joined Arsenal in return, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, had three assists. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, scored for Arsenal after leaving Dortmund, for whom Michy Batshuayi, on loan from Chelsea, scored twice. A goal for Olivier Giroud, for Chelsea on Monday night at Watford, would complete the full house. Bad weekend for Swansea City. Three days after the close of the transfer window, the last thing any manager fighting relegation wants is injuries. Well, Carlos Carvalhal lost Leroy Fer with a ruptured Achilles and Wilfried Bony with a cruciate ligament problem in the 1-1 draw at Leicester for the rest of the season.
Manchester United manager's faith in youth puts Pep Guardiola in the shade
It was mostly overlooked at the time, a casualty of the fanfare surrounding Alexis Sanchez’s signing a few days earlier, but when Manchester United announced Jose Mourinho had signed a new contract last month, there was a line from the club’s executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, praising the manager’s commitment to blooding youth. “He has embraced the club’s desire to promote top quality young players to the first team,” said Woodward, a pointed response to those who suggested the Portuguese would pay little more than lip service to the club’s rich traditions of cultivating home-grown talent. Those suggestions had solid enough foundations. For all the success Mourinho’s managerial career has brought him, there has been a perennial black splodge next to the box marked youth development and no one has been more aware of this than the man himself. He even arrived at his first press conference as United manager armed with a notebook listing the names of 49 players, colour-coded in red, blue and green, whom he was convinced would help him nail “the lie, repeated many times” that he was to academy players what weed killer is to plants. Yet the strength of that argument began to fall down when, on closer inspection, it emerged Mourinho had included the likes of Arjen Robben in his list, the same Robben who had already made more than 100 appearances for Groningen and PSV Eindhoven by the time he joined Chelsea for £12 million. It has felt very different at United, though, and while entrenched reputations can take a long time to change, certain perceptions are, for now at least, being challenged. There has been an understandable rush to measure Mourinho and United’s every move against what Pep Guardiola has been doing at Manchester City. But while Guardiola has raised all sorts of bars this term, there is a certain irony that Mourinho – “the monster that kills the little kids” as he sarcastically described himself last week – has bought into the academy ethos in a way his great adversary, often heralded as a champion of youth, has yet to do with any particular conviction down the road. Tuesday marks the 60th anniversary of the Munich air disaster, and on a weekend when United supporters honoured the memory of the Busby Babes – one of the ultimate symbols of the potency of youth – there was something rather poignant about Mourinho dropping Paul Pogba and playing academy graduate Scott McTominay in the £89 million’s man place against Huddersfield. Before anyone hints at an ulterior motive there, it is worth remembering that Mourinho has never been one for sentiment and that McTominay had already made more starts this season than the entirety of the five academy graduates at City who have fleetingly tasted first-team football under Guardiola since August. Note, too, that Marcus Rashford has made more appearances – 90 – than anyone since Mourinho took charge at United and another academy graduate, Jesse Lingard, who has also flourished, is fourth on that list. While Mourinho was extolling the virtues of McTominay, or the “kid” as he affectionately calls him, Guardiola was whining about not having enough players in the wake of a mounting injury list and a failed move for Riyad Mahrez, and reiterated the point with a grimly petty decision to name only six substitutes against Burnley. Such arguments really do not hold much sway when you have spent £450 million in 19 months and have an academy awash with exciting talents, any number of whom would have benefited from the experience of a match-day with the first-team squad. “If you’re the academy or reserve-team manager at Manchester City, you must think, ‘I’m wasting my time’,” said Gary Neville, the former United defender and Sky Sports pundit. “Rather than saying in an interview, ‘I haven’t got the players’, he could say he’s brought a young player from the youth team who has been wonderful this season. It’s really poor. And I can guarantee you the youth-team coach and reserve-team coach at Manchester City will feel disheartened by him having six players on the bench.” It was a wretched move Mourinho’s critics might have once expected him to make but the tide seems to be turning. Moment of the weekend A quite extraordinary finale at Anfield. Victor Wanyama drew Spurs level at 1-1 against Liverpool with 10 minutes left before Harry Kane missed an 87th-minute penalty to put his side in front. Mohamed Salah then struck his second goal in the first minute of added time, only for Kane to make amends from the penalty spot with almost the last kick. Liverpool vs Tottenham, player ratings Good weekend for January’s merry-go-round signings. While Alexis Sanchez scored for Manchester United, the man who joined Arsenal in return, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, had three assists. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, scored for Arsenal after leaving Dortmund, for whom Michy Batshuayi, on loan from Chelsea, scored twice. A goal for Olivier Giroud, for Chelsea on Monday night at Watford, would complete the full house. Bad weekend for Swansea City. Three days after the close of the transfer window, the last thing any manager fighting relegation wants is injuries. Well, Carlos Carvalhal lost Leroy Fer with a ruptured Achilles and Wilfried Bony with a cruciate ligament problem in the 1-1 draw at Leicester for the rest of the season.
PSV Eindhoven's Jurgen Locadia celebrates his goal against Wolfsburg during their Champions League group B soccer match in Eindhoven, Netherlands November 3, 2015. REUTERS/Michael Kooren Picture Supplied by Action Images
PSV Eindhoven's Jurgen Locadia celebrates his goal against Wolfsburg during their Champions League group B soccer match in Eindhoven
PSV Eindhoven's Jurgen Locadia celebrates his goal against Wolfsburg during their Champions League group B soccer match in Eindhoven, Netherlands November 3, 2015. REUTERS/Michael Kooren Picture Supplied by Action Images
FILE PHOTO: Jurgen Locadia celebrates a goal at a Champions League soccer match in Eindhoven, Netherlands November 3, 2015. REUTERS/Michael Kooren
PSV Eindhoven's Jurgen Locadia celebrates his goal against Wolfsburg during their Champions League group B soccer match in Eindhoven
FILE PHOTO: Jurgen Locadia celebrates a goal at a Champions League soccer match in Eindhoven, Netherlands November 3, 2015. REUTERS/Michael Kooren
​Dutch Eredivisie side PSV Eindhoven would have been happy to secure a bit of January transfer deadline day business. The club have been in search of a left-back ever since Jetro Willems left for Frankfurt last summer. PSV had found their answer. The Dutch club had reached an oral agreement with Lumor Agbenyenu, a 21-year-old year old defender who was playing in Portugal for Portimonense. The wheels were in motion, all Agbenyenu needed to do now was fly in for a medical. PSV even sent a...
PSV Send Camera Crew to Greet New Signing Lumor Agbenyenu Only for Left Back to Join Sporting CP
​Dutch Eredivisie side PSV Eindhoven would have been happy to secure a bit of January transfer deadline day business. The club have been in search of a left-back ever since Jetro Willems left for Frankfurt last summer. PSV had found their answer. The Dutch club had reached an oral agreement with Lumor Agbenyenu, a 21-year-old year old defender who was playing in Portugal for Portimonense. The wheels were in motion, all Agbenyenu needed to do now was fly in for a medical. PSV even sent a...
​Dutch Eredivisie side PSV Eindhoven would have been happy to secure a bit of January transfer deadline day business. The club have been in search of a left-back ever since Jetro Willems left for Frankfurt last summer. PSV had found their answer. The Dutch club had reached an oral agreement with Lumor Agbenyenu, a 21-year-old year old defender who was playing in Portugal for Portimonense. The wheels were in motion, all Agbenyenu needed to do now was fly in for a medical. PSV even sent a...
PSV Send Camera Crew to Greet New Signing Lumor Agbenyenu Only for Left Back to Join Sporting CP
​Dutch Eredivisie side PSV Eindhoven would have been happy to secure a bit of January transfer deadline day business. The club have been in search of a left-back ever since Jetro Willems left for Frankfurt last summer. PSV had found their answer. The Dutch club had reached an oral agreement with Lumor Agbenyenu, a 21-year-old year old defender who was playing in Portugal for Portimonense. The wheels were in motion, all Agbenyenu needed to do now was fly in for a medical. PSV even sent a...
Perhaps it is time to call off the search. As Chelsea’s increasingly curious hunt for a target man continued this week, with attentions turning from Andy Carroll to Christian Benteke to Peter Crouch, it was the little men, and Eden Hazard in particular, who showed there may be no need to convert Stamford Bridge into the land of the giants. This victory over Brighton was, by some distance, Chelsea’s best attacking performance of the year. And as Hazard and Willian jinked and danced around the petrified Brighton defence, there was no argument to be made for sticking a lumbering target man in their way. Hazard, the scorer of the first and third goals, certainly did not think so. “Football is simple,” he said. “Keep the ball on the ground and try [to play] like we did.” In the absence of the suspended Alvaro Morata, it was the lesser-spotted Michy Batshuayi, heavily linked with a move away, who impressed as the third member of an electric front three that produced one of the finest goals of the season. Willian’s strike, Chelsea’s second, was a triumph of speed: the speed of thought, the speed of the passing and the speed of the shot that eventually seared into the corner of the Mathew Ryan’s net. “I think we have two very good strikers in Alvaro and Michy,” said Hazard. “If they are not ready to play I can play striker, so I don’t think we need [another striker]. “Because we are missing chances, people are saying we need another striker, but if we are scoring goals we are the best attack in the league and no one can say we need a striker. It depends on the form of the team and I think we are happy with the team we have. Michy Batshuayi was handed his first start by Antonio Conte in the league since Oct 14 “Who is the best team this year? Manchester City. The strikers, [Gabriel] Jesus and [Sergio] Aguero, are not big. It’s simple. It depends how you want to play. If you want to play with long balls you need a target man, if you want to keep the ball on the floor you need a small guy.” The Brighton rearguard had been resoundingly savaged by these small guys long before Victor Moses added a late fourth for the visitors. At times, Brighton manager Chris Hughton looked as bewildered as his three central defenders. “We were not sure what they would do up front,” said Hughton. “They have players in Pedro, Hazard and Willian who, if they are not playing a classic number nine, can do wonderful jobs and be as effective because it is a different type of game. In some ways those type of players are more difficult to mark than your classic number nines.” Antonio Conte, the Chelsea manager, was unsurprisingly delighted with his forward players, even if he did not give the impression that he was desperate to ensure Batshuayi remains part of his squad. The Belgian striker was in a typically boisterous mood on social media afterwards, but the rumours of an imminent transfer will not go away. “In my idea of football, we need a striker who must be a point of reference,” said Conte. “Batshuayi played a really good game. He did not score, but he worked well for the team. January 2018 transfer window “For me, Michy is a Chelsea player and in my mind there is the will to continue to work with him and try to improve. Then I don’t know if the player decides to take other solution or if he wants to play with regularity. You don’t know, it can happen.” Despite the twinkling performances of Hazard and Willian, the scoreline felt harsh on a Brighton side who had caused problems for Chelsea and were unfortunate to be denied a penalty. Their struggles in front of goal continue, though, and only Swansea have scored fewer than Brighton’s 17 goals this season. The pressure will therefore be on £14m signing Jurgen Locadia, who joined last week from PSV Eindhoven, to quickly adjust to life on the south coast. “What Jurgen will give us is hopefully that ability to stretch teams,” said Hughton. “He’s been in good form this season. The levels will be completely different but hopefully he can take some of that good form into what he sees here.”
'Chelsea do not need a big target man - keep the ball on the floor,' says Eden Hazard
Perhaps it is time to call off the search. As Chelsea’s increasingly curious hunt for a target man continued this week, with attentions turning from Andy Carroll to Christian Benteke to Peter Crouch, it was the little men, and Eden Hazard in particular, who showed there may be no need to convert Stamford Bridge into the land of the giants. This victory over Brighton was, by some distance, Chelsea’s best attacking performance of the year. And as Hazard and Willian jinked and danced around the petrified Brighton defence, there was no argument to be made for sticking a lumbering target man in their way. Hazard, the scorer of the first and third goals, certainly did not think so. “Football is simple,” he said. “Keep the ball on the ground and try [to play] like we did.” In the absence of the suspended Alvaro Morata, it was the lesser-spotted Michy Batshuayi, heavily linked with a move away, who impressed as the third member of an electric front three that produced one of the finest goals of the season. Willian’s strike, Chelsea’s second, was a triumph of speed: the speed of thought, the speed of the passing and the speed of the shot that eventually seared into the corner of the Mathew Ryan’s net. “I think we have two very good strikers in Alvaro and Michy,” said Hazard. “If they are not ready to play I can play striker, so I don’t think we need [another striker]. “Because we are missing chances, people are saying we need another striker, but if we are scoring goals we are the best attack in the league and no one can say we need a striker. It depends on the form of the team and I think we are happy with the team we have. Michy Batshuayi was handed his first start by Antonio Conte in the league since Oct 14 “Who is the best team this year? Manchester City. The strikers, [Gabriel] Jesus and [Sergio] Aguero, are not big. It’s simple. It depends how you want to play. If you want to play with long balls you need a target man, if you want to keep the ball on the floor you need a small guy.” The Brighton rearguard had been resoundingly savaged by these small guys long before Victor Moses added a late fourth for the visitors. At times, Brighton manager Chris Hughton looked as bewildered as his three central defenders. “We were not sure what they would do up front,” said Hughton. “They have players in Pedro, Hazard and Willian who, if they are not playing a classic number nine, can do wonderful jobs and be as effective because it is a different type of game. In some ways those type of players are more difficult to mark than your classic number nines.” Antonio Conte, the Chelsea manager, was unsurprisingly delighted with his forward players, even if he did not give the impression that he was desperate to ensure Batshuayi remains part of his squad. The Belgian striker was in a typically boisterous mood on social media afterwards, but the rumours of an imminent transfer will not go away. “In my idea of football, we need a striker who must be a point of reference,” said Conte. “Batshuayi played a really good game. He did not score, but he worked well for the team. January 2018 transfer window “For me, Michy is a Chelsea player and in my mind there is the will to continue to work with him and try to improve. Then I don’t know if the player decides to take other solution or if he wants to play with regularity. You don’t know, it can happen.” Despite the twinkling performances of Hazard and Willian, the scoreline felt harsh on a Brighton side who had caused problems for Chelsea and were unfortunate to be denied a penalty. Their struggles in front of goal continue, though, and only Swansea have scored fewer than Brighton’s 17 goals this season. The pressure will therefore be on £14m signing Jurgen Locadia, who joined last week from PSV Eindhoven, to quickly adjust to life on the south coast. “What Jurgen will give us is hopefully that ability to stretch teams,” said Hughton. “He’s been in good form this season. The levels will be completely different but hopefully he can take some of that good form into what he sees here.”
Perhaps it is time to call off the search. As Chelsea’s increasingly curious hunt for a target man continued this week, with attentions turning from Andy Carroll to Christian Benteke to Peter Crouch, it was the little men, and Eden Hazard in particular, who showed there may be no need to convert Stamford Bridge into the land of the giants. This victory over Brighton was, by some distance, Chelsea’s best attacking performance of the year. And as Hazard and Willian jinked and danced around the petrified Brighton defence, there was no argument to be made for sticking a lumbering target man in their way. Hazard, the scorer of the first and third goals, certainly did not think so. “Football is simple,” he said. “Keep the ball on the ground and try [to play] like we did.” In the absence of the suspended Alvaro Morata, it was the lesser-spotted Michy Batshuayi, heavily linked with a move away, who impressed as the third member of an electric front three that produced one of the finest goals of the season. Willian’s strike, Chelsea’s second, was a triumph of speed: the speed of thought, the speed of the passing and the speed of the shot that eventually seared into the corner of the Mathew Ryan’s net. “I think we have two very good strikers in Alvaro and Michy,” said Hazard. “If they are not ready to play I can play striker, so I don’t think we need [another striker]. “Because we are missing chances, people are saying we need another striker, but if we are scoring goals we are the best attack in the league and no one can say we need a striker. It depends on the form of the team and I think we are happy with the team we have. Michy Batshuayi was handed his first start by Antonio Conte in the league since Oct 14 “Who is the best team this year? Manchester City. The strikers, [Gabriel] Jesus and [Sergio] Aguero, are not big. It’s simple. It depends how you want to play. If you want to play with long balls you need a target man, if you want to keep the ball on the floor you need a small guy.” The Brighton rearguard had been resoundingly savaged by these small guys long before Victor Moses added a late fourth for the visitors. At times, Brighton manager Chris Hughton looked as bewildered as his three central defenders. “We were not sure what they would do up front,” said Hughton. “They have players in Pedro, Hazard and Willian who, if they are not playing a classic number nine, can do wonderful jobs and be as effective because it is a different type of game. In some ways those type of players are more difficult to mark than your classic number nines.” Antonio Conte, the Chelsea manager, was unsurprisingly delighted with his forward players, even if he did not give the impression that he was desperate to ensure Batshuayi remains part of his squad. The Belgian striker was in a typically boisterous mood on social media afterwards, but the rumours of an imminent transfer will not go away. “In my idea of football, we need a striker who must be a point of reference,” said Conte. “Batshuayi played a really good game. He did not score, but he worked well for the team. January 2018 transfer window “For me, Michy is a Chelsea player and in my mind there is the will to continue to work with him and try to improve. Then I don’t know if the player decides to take other solution or if he wants to play with regularity. You don’t know, it can happen.” Despite the twinkling performances of Hazard and Willian, the scoreline felt harsh on a Brighton side who had caused problems for Chelsea and were unfortunate to be denied a penalty. Their struggles in front of goal continue, though, and only Swansea have scored fewer than Brighton’s 17 goals this season. The pressure will therefore be on £14m signing Jurgen Locadia, who joined last week from PSV Eindhoven, to quickly adjust to life on the south coast. “What Jurgen will give us is hopefully that ability to stretch teams,” said Hughton. “He’s been in good form this season. The levels will be completely different but hopefully he can take some of that good form into what he sees here.”
'Chelsea do not need a big target man - keep the ball on the floor,' says Eden Hazard
Perhaps it is time to call off the search. As Chelsea’s increasingly curious hunt for a target man continued this week, with attentions turning from Andy Carroll to Christian Benteke to Peter Crouch, it was the little men, and Eden Hazard in particular, who showed there may be no need to convert Stamford Bridge into the land of the giants. This victory over Brighton was, by some distance, Chelsea’s best attacking performance of the year. And as Hazard and Willian jinked and danced around the petrified Brighton defence, there was no argument to be made for sticking a lumbering target man in their way. Hazard, the scorer of the first and third goals, certainly did not think so. “Football is simple,” he said. “Keep the ball on the ground and try [to play] like we did.” In the absence of the suspended Alvaro Morata, it was the lesser-spotted Michy Batshuayi, heavily linked with a move away, who impressed as the third member of an electric front three that produced one of the finest goals of the season. Willian’s strike, Chelsea’s second, was a triumph of speed: the speed of thought, the speed of the passing and the speed of the shot that eventually seared into the corner of the Mathew Ryan’s net. “I think we have two very good strikers in Alvaro and Michy,” said Hazard. “If they are not ready to play I can play striker, so I don’t think we need [another striker]. “Because we are missing chances, people are saying we need another striker, but if we are scoring goals we are the best attack in the league and no one can say we need a striker. It depends on the form of the team and I think we are happy with the team we have. Michy Batshuayi was handed his first start by Antonio Conte in the league since Oct 14 “Who is the best team this year? Manchester City. The strikers, [Gabriel] Jesus and [Sergio] Aguero, are not big. It’s simple. It depends how you want to play. If you want to play with long balls you need a target man, if you want to keep the ball on the floor you need a small guy.” The Brighton rearguard had been resoundingly savaged by these small guys long before Victor Moses added a late fourth for the visitors. At times, Brighton manager Chris Hughton looked as bewildered as his three central defenders. “We were not sure what they would do up front,” said Hughton. “They have players in Pedro, Hazard and Willian who, if they are not playing a classic number nine, can do wonderful jobs and be as effective because it is a different type of game. In some ways those type of players are more difficult to mark than your classic number nines.” Antonio Conte, the Chelsea manager, was unsurprisingly delighted with his forward players, even if he did not give the impression that he was desperate to ensure Batshuayi remains part of his squad. The Belgian striker was in a typically boisterous mood on social media afterwards, but the rumours of an imminent transfer will not go away. “In my idea of football, we need a striker who must be a point of reference,” said Conte. “Batshuayi played a really good game. He did not score, but he worked well for the team. January 2018 transfer window “For me, Michy is a Chelsea player and in my mind there is the will to continue to work with him and try to improve. Then I don’t know if the player decides to take other solution or if he wants to play with regularity. You don’t know, it can happen.” Despite the twinkling performances of Hazard and Willian, the scoreline felt harsh on a Brighton side who had caused problems for Chelsea and were unfortunate to be denied a penalty. Their struggles in front of goal continue, though, and only Swansea have scored fewer than Brighton’s 17 goals this season. The pressure will therefore be on £14m signing Jurgen Locadia, who joined last week from PSV Eindhoven, to quickly adjust to life on the south coast. “What Jurgen will give us is hopefully that ability to stretch teams,” said Hughton. “He’s been in good form this season. The levels will be completely different but hopefully he can take some of that good form into what he sees here.”
The 24-year-old has spent his entire career so far with PSV Eindhoven.
Brighton nabs club record signing Jurgen Locadia
The 24-year-old has spent his entire career so far with PSV Eindhoven.
The 24-year-old has spent his entire career so far with PSV Eindhoven.
Brighton nabs club record signing Jurgen Locadia
The 24-year-old has spent his entire career so far with PSV Eindhoven.
Jose Mourinho has revealed that Michael Carrick has signalled his intention to join his first-team coaching staff once the Manchester United midfielder retires from playing at the end of the season. Carrick has played just 90 minutes this season after undergoing a cardiac ablation last year to correct an irregular heart rhythm. Mourinho said Carrick was now on the verge of a return after training fully over the past fortnight and was confident the 36-year-old could play a valuable role over the remainder of the campaign. But Mourinho has indicated that the former England midfielder plans to bring down the curtain on his illustrious 19-year professional career at the end of the season and had accepted the offer to join his six-strong back-room team. Asked if Carrick – who has won five Premier League titles and the Champions League during his 12 years at Old Trafford – had agreed to take up his offer, Mourinho said: “Yes.” Until then, Mourinho expects Carrick to play an important role on the pitch. “A few months without even training so now he is in his second week of training with the team,” the United manager said. “He’s a very important player for us. I think the decision [to move into coaching] to be at the end of the season and not last week is a good decision for the team and a good decision for him to finish playing football and not injured or with some problem. Carrick will join Mourinho's staff at the end of the season Credit: Matthew Peters/Man Utd via Getty Images “So, we are all happy and at the end of the season I expect him to join, unless he changes his mind, but the club would be very happy for him to do that. I would be very happy also for him to do that.” Carrick’s retirement and the possibility of Marouane Fellaini refusing to sign a new contract and leaving at the end of the season when his existing deal expires would leave Mourinho needing to sign two central midfielders this summer. However, the need to sign a new first-choice left-back is fast receding, with Mourinho impressed by the strides, physically, mentally and tactically, Luke Shaw has made in recent weeks, to the point where he claimed there are few left-backs in the world better than the 22-year-old on current form. Shaw’s career at Manchester United appeared in jeopardy last year after Mourinho questioned his commitment, focus, ambition and football brain. But Mourinho admitted he had been impressed by the dramatic turnaround in the England defender, who has started eight of United’s past 11 games. Luke Shaw has impressed his manager in recent weeks Credit: getty images Ashley Young is available to face Burnley at Turf Moor after completing a three-match suspension for elbowing Southampton’s Dusan Tadic but Shaw is likely to keep his place. “He’s played very well,” Mourinho said. “He was already improving and playing well when I start playing him after that long spell without minutes. I remember the first time, in the Champions League [against CSKA Moscow], he was coming step by step. “And now with a good run of matches and continuity also, playing like he did against Everton two days after a previous match – he’s been good, solid, physically much better, mentally much stronger, tactically understanding the game much better and what we need in different phases and circumstances. “I’m really happy. You like the transfer market. I can say that in this moment I don't see many left-backs better than this Luke Shaw.” How would Alexis Sanchez fit in at Manchester United? Mourinho had been keen to sign a new first-choice left-back this year, but those plans appear to have been shelved for now with the Portuguese pleased with the strides Shaw is making. Shaw claimed this week that he feels in the best shape of his career and rejuvenated under Mourinho and said he was hoping to force his way into Gareth Southgate’s World Cup plans. “A bad injury like I had always stays with you a little bit afterwards but it’s in the past and I feel really good and really fit and my leg feels perfect,” Shaw said. “Body-wise and fitness-wise I probably feel the best I’ve ever felt. Mentally I feel strong as well and I’m enjoying my football. It’s now about pushing on and helping the team. January 2018 transfer window “I’m really determined for the second half of the season. There are so many games coming up. There is a lot to play for with the World Cup as well. A lot of players want to impress their national managers and, personally, I want to play as many games as possible to help United. If I can then hopefully I will state my case to go to the World Cup. I had a taste of it in Brazil [in 2014] and it was amazing. “I can’t wait for the Champions League to start again too. I broke my leg in my first Champions League game [against PSV Eindhoven] so it’s a competition I’m determined to help the team do well in.” Asked about Mourinho’s recent praise, Shaw added: “It’s really nice to hear. The manager has been really good with me and has given me extra confidence. “He’s just told me to go out and enjoy the games and that is what I’ve been doing. I’m just focussed on working really hard for the manager, and for the team, because I want to keep on playing and hopefully more games will come.”
Jose Mourinho confirms Michael Carrick will join coaching staff in the summer and heaps praise on Luke Shaw
Jose Mourinho has revealed that Michael Carrick has signalled his intention to join his first-team coaching staff once the Manchester United midfielder retires from playing at the end of the season. Carrick has played just 90 minutes this season after undergoing a cardiac ablation last year to correct an irregular heart rhythm. Mourinho said Carrick was now on the verge of a return after training fully over the past fortnight and was confident the 36-year-old could play a valuable role over the remainder of the campaign. But Mourinho has indicated that the former England midfielder plans to bring down the curtain on his illustrious 19-year professional career at the end of the season and had accepted the offer to join his six-strong back-room team. Asked if Carrick – who has won five Premier League titles and the Champions League during his 12 years at Old Trafford – had agreed to take up his offer, Mourinho said: “Yes.” Until then, Mourinho expects Carrick to play an important role on the pitch. “A few months without even training so now he is in his second week of training with the team,” the United manager said. “He’s a very important player for us. I think the decision [to move into coaching] to be at the end of the season and not last week is a good decision for the team and a good decision for him to finish playing football and not injured or with some problem. Carrick will join Mourinho's staff at the end of the season Credit: Matthew Peters/Man Utd via Getty Images “So, we are all happy and at the end of the season I expect him to join, unless he changes his mind, but the club would be very happy for him to do that. I would be very happy also for him to do that.” Carrick’s retirement and the possibility of Marouane Fellaini refusing to sign a new contract and leaving at the end of the season when his existing deal expires would leave Mourinho needing to sign two central midfielders this summer. However, the need to sign a new first-choice left-back is fast receding, with Mourinho impressed by the strides, physically, mentally and tactically, Luke Shaw has made in recent weeks, to the point where he claimed there are few left-backs in the world better than the 22-year-old on current form. Shaw’s career at Manchester United appeared in jeopardy last year after Mourinho questioned his commitment, focus, ambition and football brain. But Mourinho admitted he had been impressed by the dramatic turnaround in the England defender, who has started eight of United’s past 11 games. Luke Shaw has impressed his manager in recent weeks Credit: getty images Ashley Young is available to face Burnley at Turf Moor after completing a three-match suspension for elbowing Southampton’s Dusan Tadic but Shaw is likely to keep his place. “He’s played very well,” Mourinho said. “He was already improving and playing well when I start playing him after that long spell without minutes. I remember the first time, in the Champions League [against CSKA Moscow], he was coming step by step. “And now with a good run of matches and continuity also, playing like he did against Everton two days after a previous match – he’s been good, solid, physically much better, mentally much stronger, tactically understanding the game much better and what we need in different phases and circumstances. “I’m really happy. You like the transfer market. I can say that in this moment I don't see many left-backs better than this Luke Shaw.” How would Alexis Sanchez fit in at Manchester United? Mourinho had been keen to sign a new first-choice left-back this year, but those plans appear to have been shelved for now with the Portuguese pleased with the strides Shaw is making. Shaw claimed this week that he feels in the best shape of his career and rejuvenated under Mourinho and said he was hoping to force his way into Gareth Southgate’s World Cup plans. “A bad injury like I had always stays with you a little bit afterwards but it’s in the past and I feel really good and really fit and my leg feels perfect,” Shaw said. “Body-wise and fitness-wise I probably feel the best I’ve ever felt. Mentally I feel strong as well and I’m enjoying my football. It’s now about pushing on and helping the team. January 2018 transfer window “I’m really determined for the second half of the season. There are so many games coming up. There is a lot to play for with the World Cup as well. A lot of players want to impress their national managers and, personally, I want to play as many games as possible to help United. If I can then hopefully I will state my case to go to the World Cup. I had a taste of it in Brazil [in 2014] and it was amazing. “I can’t wait for the Champions League to start again too. I broke my leg in my first Champions League game [against PSV Eindhoven] so it’s a competition I’m determined to help the team do well in.” Asked about Mourinho’s recent praise, Shaw added: “It’s really nice to hear. The manager has been really good with me and has given me extra confidence. “He’s just told me to go out and enjoy the games and that is what I’ve been doing. I’m just focussed on working really hard for the manager, and for the team, because I want to keep on playing and hopefully more games will come.”
Jose Mourinho has revealed that Michael Carrick has signalled his intention to join his first-team coaching staff once the Manchester United midfielder retires from playing at the end of the season. Carrick has played just 90 minutes this season after undergoing a cardiac ablation last year to correct an irregular heart rhythm. Mourinho said Carrick was now on the verge of a return after training fully over the past fortnight and was confident the 36-year-old could play a valuable role over the remainder of the campaign. But Mourinho has indicated that the former England midfielder plans to bring down the curtain on his illustrious 19-year professional career at the end of the season and had accepted the offer to join his six-strong back-room team. Asked if Carrick – who has won five Premier League titles and the Champions League during his 12 years at Old Trafford – had agreed to take up his offer, Mourinho said: “Yes.” Until then, Mourinho expects Carrick to play an important role on the pitch. “A few months without even training so now he is in his second week of training with the team,” the United manager said. “He’s a very important player for us. I think the decision [to move into coaching] to be at the end of the season and not last week is a good decision for the team and a good decision for him to finish playing football and not injured or with some problem. Carrick will join Mourinho's staff at the end of the season Credit: Matthew Peters/Man Utd via Getty Images “So, we are all happy and at the end of the season I expect him to join, unless he changes his mind, but the club would be very happy for him to do that. I would be very happy also for him to do that.” Carrick’s retirement and the possibility of Marouane Fellaini refusing to sign a new contract and leaving at the end of the season when his existing deal expires would leave Mourinho needing to sign two central midfielders this summer. However, the need to sign a new first-choice left-back is fast receding, with Mourinho impressed by the strides, physically, mentally and tactically, Luke Shaw has made in recent weeks, to the point where he claimed there are few left-backs in the world better than the 22-year-old on current form. Shaw’s career at Manchester United appeared in jeopardy last year after Mourinho questioned his commitment, focus, ambition and football brain. But Mourinho admitted he had been impressed by the dramatic turnaround in the England defender, who has started eight of United’s past 11 games. Luke Shaw has impressed his manager in recent weeks Credit: getty images Ashley Young is available to face Burnley at Turf Moor after completing a three-match suspension for elbowing Southampton’s Dusan Tadic but Shaw is likely to keep his place. “He’s played very well,” Mourinho said. “He was already improving and playing well when I start playing him after that long spell without minutes. I remember the first time, in the Champions League [against CSKA Moscow], he was coming step by step. “And now with a good run of matches and continuity also, playing like he did against Everton two days after a previous match – he’s been good, solid, physically much better, mentally much stronger, tactically understanding the game much better and what we need in different phases and circumstances. “I’m really happy. You like the transfer market. I can say that in this moment I don't see many left-backs better than this Luke Shaw.” How would Alexis Sanchez fit in at Manchester United? Mourinho had been keen to sign a new first-choice left-back this year, but those plans appear to have been shelved for now with the Portuguese pleased with the strides Shaw is making. Shaw claimed this week that he feels in the best shape of his career and rejuvenated under Mourinho and said he was hoping to force his way into Gareth Southgate’s World Cup plans. “A bad injury like I had always stays with you a little bit afterwards but it’s in the past and I feel really good and really fit and my leg feels perfect,” Shaw said. “Body-wise and fitness-wise I probably feel the best I’ve ever felt. Mentally I feel strong as well and I’m enjoying my football. It’s now about pushing on and helping the team. January 2018 transfer window “I’m really determined for the second half of the season. There are so many games coming up. There is a lot to play for with the World Cup as well. A lot of players want to impress their national managers and, personally, I want to play as many games as possible to help United. If I can then hopefully I will state my case to go to the World Cup. I had a taste of it in Brazil [in 2014] and it was amazing. “I can’t wait for the Champions League to start again too. I broke my leg in my first Champions League game [against PSV Eindhoven] so it’s a competition I’m determined to help the team do well in.” Asked about Mourinho’s recent praise, Shaw added: “It’s really nice to hear. The manager has been really good with me and has given me extra confidence. “He’s just told me to go out and enjoy the games and that is what I’ve been doing. I’m just focussed on working really hard for the manager, and for the team, because I want to keep on playing and hopefully more games will come.”
Jose Mourinho confirms Michael Carrick will join coaching staff in the summer and heaps praise on Luke Shaw
Jose Mourinho has revealed that Michael Carrick has signalled his intention to join his first-team coaching staff once the Manchester United midfielder retires from playing at the end of the season. Carrick has played just 90 minutes this season after undergoing a cardiac ablation last year to correct an irregular heart rhythm. Mourinho said Carrick was now on the verge of a return after training fully over the past fortnight and was confident the 36-year-old could play a valuable role over the remainder of the campaign. But Mourinho has indicated that the former England midfielder plans to bring down the curtain on his illustrious 19-year professional career at the end of the season and had accepted the offer to join his six-strong back-room team. Asked if Carrick – who has won five Premier League titles and the Champions League during his 12 years at Old Trafford – had agreed to take up his offer, Mourinho said: “Yes.” Until then, Mourinho expects Carrick to play an important role on the pitch. “A few months without even training so now he is in his second week of training with the team,” the United manager said. “He’s a very important player for us. I think the decision [to move into coaching] to be at the end of the season and not last week is a good decision for the team and a good decision for him to finish playing football and not injured or with some problem. Carrick will join Mourinho's staff at the end of the season Credit: Matthew Peters/Man Utd via Getty Images “So, we are all happy and at the end of the season I expect him to join, unless he changes his mind, but the club would be very happy for him to do that. I would be very happy also for him to do that.” Carrick’s retirement and the possibility of Marouane Fellaini refusing to sign a new contract and leaving at the end of the season when his existing deal expires would leave Mourinho needing to sign two central midfielders this summer. However, the need to sign a new first-choice left-back is fast receding, with Mourinho impressed by the strides, physically, mentally and tactically, Luke Shaw has made in recent weeks, to the point where he claimed there are few left-backs in the world better than the 22-year-old on current form. Shaw’s career at Manchester United appeared in jeopardy last year after Mourinho questioned his commitment, focus, ambition and football brain. But Mourinho admitted he had been impressed by the dramatic turnaround in the England defender, who has started eight of United’s past 11 games. Luke Shaw has impressed his manager in recent weeks Credit: getty images Ashley Young is available to face Burnley at Turf Moor after completing a three-match suspension for elbowing Southampton’s Dusan Tadic but Shaw is likely to keep his place. “He’s played very well,” Mourinho said. “He was already improving and playing well when I start playing him after that long spell without minutes. I remember the first time, in the Champions League [against CSKA Moscow], he was coming step by step. “And now with a good run of matches and continuity also, playing like he did against Everton two days after a previous match – he’s been good, solid, physically much better, mentally much stronger, tactically understanding the game much better and what we need in different phases and circumstances. “I’m really happy. You like the transfer market. I can say that in this moment I don't see many left-backs better than this Luke Shaw.” How would Alexis Sanchez fit in at Manchester United? Mourinho had been keen to sign a new first-choice left-back this year, but those plans appear to have been shelved for now with the Portuguese pleased with the strides Shaw is making. Shaw claimed this week that he feels in the best shape of his career and rejuvenated under Mourinho and said he was hoping to force his way into Gareth Southgate’s World Cup plans. “A bad injury like I had always stays with you a little bit afterwards but it’s in the past and I feel really good and really fit and my leg feels perfect,” Shaw said. “Body-wise and fitness-wise I probably feel the best I’ve ever felt. Mentally I feel strong as well and I’m enjoying my football. It’s now about pushing on and helping the team. January 2018 transfer window “I’m really determined for the second half of the season. There are so many games coming up. There is a lot to play for with the World Cup as well. A lot of players want to impress their national managers and, personally, I want to play as many games as possible to help United. If I can then hopefully I will state my case to go to the World Cup. I had a taste of it in Brazil [in 2014] and it was amazing. “I can’t wait for the Champions League to start again too. I broke my leg in my first Champions League game [against PSV Eindhoven] so it’s a competition I’m determined to help the team do well in.” Asked about Mourinho’s recent praise, Shaw added: “It’s really nice to hear. The manager has been really good with me and has given me extra confidence. “He’s just told me to go out and enjoy the games and that is what I’ve been doing. I’m just focussed on working really hard for the manager, and for the team, because I want to keep on playing and hopefully more games will come.”
Jose Mourinho has revealed that Michael Carrick has signalled his intention to join his first-team coaching staff once the Manchester United midfielder retires from playing at the end of the season. Carrick has played just 90 minutes this season after undergoing a cardiac ablation last year to correct an irregular heart rhythm. Mourinho said Carrick was now on the verge of a return after training fully over the past fortnight and was confident the 36-year-old could play a valuable role over the remainder of the campaign. But Mourinho has indicated that the former England midfielder plans to bring down the curtain on his illustrious 19-year professional career at the end of the season and had accepted the offer to join his six-strong back-room team. Asked if Carrick – who has won five Premier League titles and the Champions League during his 12 years at Old Trafford – had agreed to take up his offer, Mourinho said: “Yes.” Until then, Mourinho expects Carrick to play an important role on the pitch. “A few months without even training so now he is in his second week of training with the team,” the United manager said. “He’s a very important player for us. I think the decision [to move into coaching] to be at the end of the season and not last week is a good decision for the team and a good decision for him to finish playing football and not injured or with some problem. Carrick will join Mourinho's staff at the end of the season Credit: Matthew Peters/Man Utd via Getty Images “So, we are all happy and at the end of the season I expect him to join, unless he changes his mind, but the club would be very happy for him to do that. I would be very happy also for him to do that.” Carrick’s retirement and the possibility of Marouane Fellaini refusing to sign a new contract and leaving at the end of the season when his existing deal expires would leave Mourinho needing to sign two central midfielders this summer. However, the need to sign a new first-choice left-back is fast receding, with Mourinho impressed by the strides, physically, mentally and tactically, Luke Shaw has made in recent weeks, to the point where he claimed there are few left-backs in the world better than the 22-year-old on current form. Shaw’s career at Manchester United appeared in jeopardy last year after Mourinho questioned his commitment, focus, ambition and football brain. But Mourinho admitted he had been impressed by the dramatic turnaround in the England defender, who has started eight of United’s past 11 games. Luke Shaw has impressed his manager in recent weeks Credit: getty images Ashley Young is available to face Burnley at Turf Moor after completing a three-match suspension for elbowing Southampton’s Dusan Tadic but Shaw is likely to keep his place. “He’s played very well,” Mourinho said. “He was already improving and playing well when I start playing him after that long spell without minutes. I remember the first time, in the Champions League [against CSKA Moscow], he was coming step by step. “And now with a good run of matches and continuity also, playing like he did against Everton two days after a previous match – he’s been good, solid, physically much better, mentally much stronger, tactically understanding the game much better and what we need in different phases and circumstances. “I’m really happy. You like the transfer market. I can say that in this moment I don't see many left-backs better than this Luke Shaw.” How would Alexis Sanchez fit in at Manchester United? Mourinho had been keen to sign a new first-choice left-back this year, but those plans appear to have been shelved for now with the Portuguese pleased with the strides Shaw is making. Shaw claimed this week that he feels in the best shape of his career and rejuvenated under Mourinho and said he was hoping to force his way into Gareth Southgate’s World Cup plans. “A bad injury like I had always stays with you a little bit afterwards but it’s in the past and I feel really good and really fit and my leg feels perfect,” Shaw said. “Body-wise and fitness-wise I probably feel the best I’ve ever felt. Mentally I feel strong as well and I’m enjoying my football. It’s now about pushing on and helping the team. January 2018 transfer window “I’m really determined for the second half of the season. There are so many games coming up. There is a lot to play for with the World Cup as well. A lot of players want to impress their national managers and, personally, I want to play as many games as possible to help United. If I can then hopefully I will state my case to go to the World Cup. I had a taste of it in Brazil [in 2014] and it was amazing. “I can’t wait for the Champions League to start again too. I broke my leg in my first Champions League game [against PSV Eindhoven] so it’s a competition I’m determined to help the team do well in.” Asked about Mourinho’s recent praise, Shaw added: “It’s really nice to hear. The manager has been really good with me and has given me extra confidence. “He’s just told me to go out and enjoy the games and that is what I’ve been doing. I’m just focussed on working really hard for the manager, and for the team, because I want to keep on playing and hopefully more games will come.”
Jose Mourinho confirms Michael Carrick will join coaching staff in the summer and heaps praise on Luke Shaw
Jose Mourinho has revealed that Michael Carrick has signalled his intention to join his first-team coaching staff once the Manchester United midfielder retires from playing at the end of the season. Carrick has played just 90 minutes this season after undergoing a cardiac ablation last year to correct an irregular heart rhythm. Mourinho said Carrick was now on the verge of a return after training fully over the past fortnight and was confident the 36-year-old could play a valuable role over the remainder of the campaign. But Mourinho has indicated that the former England midfielder plans to bring down the curtain on his illustrious 19-year professional career at the end of the season and had accepted the offer to join his six-strong back-room team. Asked if Carrick – who has won five Premier League titles and the Champions League during his 12 years at Old Trafford – had agreed to take up his offer, Mourinho said: “Yes.” Until then, Mourinho expects Carrick to play an important role on the pitch. “A few months without even training so now he is in his second week of training with the team,” the United manager said. “He’s a very important player for us. I think the decision [to move into coaching] to be at the end of the season and not last week is a good decision for the team and a good decision for him to finish playing football and not injured or with some problem. Carrick will join Mourinho's staff at the end of the season Credit: Matthew Peters/Man Utd via Getty Images “So, we are all happy and at the end of the season I expect him to join, unless he changes his mind, but the club would be very happy for him to do that. I would be very happy also for him to do that.” Carrick’s retirement and the possibility of Marouane Fellaini refusing to sign a new contract and leaving at the end of the season when his existing deal expires would leave Mourinho needing to sign two central midfielders this summer. However, the need to sign a new first-choice left-back is fast receding, with Mourinho impressed by the strides, physically, mentally and tactically, Luke Shaw has made in recent weeks, to the point where he claimed there are few left-backs in the world better than the 22-year-old on current form. Shaw’s career at Manchester United appeared in jeopardy last year after Mourinho questioned his commitment, focus, ambition and football brain. But Mourinho admitted he had been impressed by the dramatic turnaround in the England defender, who has started eight of United’s past 11 games. Luke Shaw has impressed his manager in recent weeks Credit: getty images Ashley Young is available to face Burnley at Turf Moor after completing a three-match suspension for elbowing Southampton’s Dusan Tadic but Shaw is likely to keep his place. “He’s played very well,” Mourinho said. “He was already improving and playing well when I start playing him after that long spell without minutes. I remember the first time, in the Champions League [against CSKA Moscow], he was coming step by step. “And now with a good run of matches and continuity also, playing like he did against Everton two days after a previous match – he’s been good, solid, physically much better, mentally much stronger, tactically understanding the game much better and what we need in different phases and circumstances. “I’m really happy. You like the transfer market. I can say that in this moment I don't see many left-backs better than this Luke Shaw.” How would Alexis Sanchez fit in at Manchester United? Mourinho had been keen to sign a new first-choice left-back this year, but those plans appear to have been shelved for now with the Portuguese pleased with the strides Shaw is making. Shaw claimed this week that he feels in the best shape of his career and rejuvenated under Mourinho and said he was hoping to force his way into Gareth Southgate’s World Cup plans. “A bad injury like I had always stays with you a little bit afterwards but it’s in the past and I feel really good and really fit and my leg feels perfect,” Shaw said. “Body-wise and fitness-wise I probably feel the best I’ve ever felt. Mentally I feel strong as well and I’m enjoying my football. It’s now about pushing on and helping the team. January 2018 transfer window “I’m really determined for the second half of the season. There are so many games coming up. There is a lot to play for with the World Cup as well. A lot of players want to impress their national managers and, personally, I want to play as many games as possible to help United. If I can then hopefully I will state my case to go to the World Cup. I had a taste of it in Brazil [in 2014] and it was amazing. “I can’t wait for the Champions League to start again too. I broke my leg in my first Champions League game [against PSV Eindhoven] so it’s a competition I’m determined to help the team do well in.” Asked about Mourinho’s recent praise, Shaw added: “It’s really nice to hear. The manager has been really good with me and has given me extra confidence. “He’s just told me to go out and enjoy the games and that is what I’ve been doing. I’m just focussed on working really hard for the manager, and for the team, because I want to keep on playing and hopefully more games will come.”
FILE PHOTO - PSV Eindhoven's Jurgen Locadia celebrates his goal against Wolfsburg during their Champions League group B soccer match in Eindhoven, Netherlands November 3, 2015. REUTERS/Michael Kooren
PSV Eindhoven's Jurgen Locadia celebrates his goal against Wolfsburg during their Champions League group B soccer match in Eindhoven
FILE PHOTO - PSV Eindhoven's Jurgen Locadia celebrates his goal against Wolfsburg during their Champions League group B soccer match in Eindhoven, Netherlands November 3, 2015. REUTERS/Michael Kooren
Football Soccer - PSV Eindhoven v Atletico Madrid - UEFA Champions League Round of 16 First Leg - PSV stadium, Eindhoven, Netherlands - 24/2/16 Atletico Madrid's Juanfran in action against PSV Eindhoven's Jurgen Locadia (R). REUTERS/Michael Kooren
PSV Eindhoven v Atletico Madrid - UEFA Champions League Round of 16 First Leg
Football Soccer - PSV Eindhoven v Atletico Madrid - UEFA Champions League Round of 16 First Leg - PSV stadium, Eindhoven, Netherlands - 24/2/16 Atletico Madrid's Juanfran in action against PSV Eindhoven's Jurgen Locadia (R). REUTERS/Michael Kooren
PSV Eindhoven's forward Jurgen Locadia (R) evades Atletico Madrid's defender Juanfran during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg football match between PSV Eindhoven and Atletico Madrid in February 2016
PSV Eindhoven's forward Jurgen Locadia (R) evades Atletico Madrid's defender Juanfran during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg football match between PSV Eindhoven and Atletico Madrid in February 2016
PSV Eindhoven's forward Jurgen Locadia (R) evades Atletico Madrid's defender Juanfran during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg football match between PSV Eindhoven and Atletico Madrid in February 2016
PSV Eindhoven's forward Jurgen Locadia (R) evades Atletico Madrid's defender Juanfran during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg football match between PSV Eindhoven and Atletico Madrid in February 2016 (AFP Photo/EMMANUEL DUNAND)
PSV Eindhoven's forward Jurgen Locadia (R) evades Atletico Madrid's defender Juanfran during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg football match between PSV Eindhoven and Atletico Madrid in February 2016
PSV Eindhoven's forward Jurgen Locadia (R) evades Atletico Madrid's defender Juanfran during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg football match between PSV Eindhoven and Atletico Madrid in February 2016 (AFP Photo/EMMANUEL DUNAND)
Jose Mourinho believes there are few left-backs in the world better than Luke Shaw on current form. Shaw’s career at Manchester United appeared in jeopardy last year after Mourinho questioned his commitment, focus, ambition and football brain. But Mourinho admitted he had been impressed by the dramatic turnaround in the England defender, who has started eight of United’s past 11 games. Ashley Young is available to face Burnley at Turf Moor after completing a three-match suspension for elbowing Southampton’s Dusan Tadic but Shaw is likely to keep his place. “He’s played very well,” Mourinho said. “He was already improving and playing well when I start playing him after that long spell without minutes. I remember the first time, in the Champions League [against CSKA Moscow], he was coming step by step. “And now with a good run of matches and continuity also, playing like he did against Everton two days after a previous match – he’s been good, solid, physically much better, mentally much stronger, tactically understanding the game much better and what we need in different phases and circumstances. “I’m really happy. You like the transfer market. I can say that in this moment I don't see many left-backs better than this Luke Shaw.” How would Alexis Sanchez fit in at Manchester United? Mourinho had been keen to sign a new first-choice left-back this year, but those plans appear to have been shelved for now with the Portuguese pleased with the strides Shaw is making. Shaw claimed this week that he feels in the best shape of his career and rejuvenated under Mourinho and said he was hoping to force his way into Gareth Southgate’s World Cup plans. “A bad injury like I had always stays with you a little bit afterwards but it’s in the past and I feel really good and really fit and my leg feels perfect,” Shaw said. “Body-wise and fitness-wise I probably feel the best I’ve ever felt. Mentally I feel strong as well and I’m enjoying my football. It’s now about pushing on and helping the team. January 2018 transfer window “I’m really determined for the second half of the season. There are so many games coming up. There is a lot to play for with the World Cup as well. A lot of players want to impress their national managers and, personally, I want to play as many games as possible to help United. If I can then hopefully I will state my case to go to the World Cup. I had a taste of it in Brazil [in 2014] and it was amazing. “I can’t wait for the Champions League to start again too. I broke my leg in my first Champions League game [against PSV Eindhoven] so it’s a competition I’m determined to help the team do well in.” Asked about Mourinho’s recent praise, Shaw added: “It’s really nice to hear. The manager has been really good with me and has given me extra confidence. “He’s just told me to go out and enjoy the games and that is what I’ve been doing. I’m just focussed on working really hard for the manager, and for the team, because I want to keep on playing and hopefully more games will come.”
'Few left-backs in the world are better than Luke Shaw right now,' says Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho believes there are few left-backs in the world better than Luke Shaw on current form. Shaw’s career at Manchester United appeared in jeopardy last year after Mourinho questioned his commitment, focus, ambition and football brain. But Mourinho admitted he had been impressed by the dramatic turnaround in the England defender, who has started eight of United’s past 11 games. Ashley Young is available to face Burnley at Turf Moor after completing a three-match suspension for elbowing Southampton’s Dusan Tadic but Shaw is likely to keep his place. “He’s played very well,” Mourinho said. “He was already improving and playing well when I start playing him after that long spell without minutes. I remember the first time, in the Champions League [against CSKA Moscow], he was coming step by step. “And now with a good run of matches and continuity also, playing like he did against Everton two days after a previous match – he’s been good, solid, physically much better, mentally much stronger, tactically understanding the game much better and what we need in different phases and circumstances. “I’m really happy. You like the transfer market. I can say that in this moment I don't see many left-backs better than this Luke Shaw.” How would Alexis Sanchez fit in at Manchester United? Mourinho had been keen to sign a new first-choice left-back this year, but those plans appear to have been shelved for now with the Portuguese pleased with the strides Shaw is making. Shaw claimed this week that he feels in the best shape of his career and rejuvenated under Mourinho and said he was hoping to force his way into Gareth Southgate’s World Cup plans. “A bad injury like I had always stays with you a little bit afterwards but it’s in the past and I feel really good and really fit and my leg feels perfect,” Shaw said. “Body-wise and fitness-wise I probably feel the best I’ve ever felt. Mentally I feel strong as well and I’m enjoying my football. It’s now about pushing on and helping the team. January 2018 transfer window “I’m really determined for the second half of the season. There are so many games coming up. There is a lot to play for with the World Cup as well. A lot of players want to impress their national managers and, personally, I want to play as many games as possible to help United. If I can then hopefully I will state my case to go to the World Cup. I had a taste of it in Brazil [in 2014] and it was amazing. “I can’t wait for the Champions League to start again too. I broke my leg in my first Champions League game [against PSV Eindhoven] so it’s a competition I’m determined to help the team do well in.” Asked about Mourinho’s recent praise, Shaw added: “It’s really nice to hear. The manager has been really good with me and has given me extra confidence. “He’s just told me to go out and enjoy the games and that is what I’ve been doing. I’m just focussed on working really hard for the manager, and for the team, because I want to keep on playing and hopefully more games will come.”
Luke Shaw is hoping to force his way into Gareth Southgate’s World Cup plans after claiming he feels in the best shape of his career and rejuvenated under Jose Mourinho. Shaw has started eight of United’s past 11 games and his latest appearance in the 3-0 win over Stoke City at Old Trafford last night was his fifth start in a row for Mourinho. It marks a huge turnaround in fortunes for the left back, whose Old Trafford career appeared in serious jeopardy last year after Mourinho questioned his commitment, focus, ambition and football brain and the player was far down the pecking order in the wake of a slow recovery from a double leg fracture in 2015 that kept him out for 11 months. Shaw still has work to do to convince Mourinho he should be part of his long-term plans and to deter the manager from entering the transfer market for a new left back next summer. But the 22-year-old is convinced he is on an upward curve and has even set his sights on a World Cup place with England in Russia if he can maintain his fitness and form. Shaw still has some way to go to convince Mourinho he has a long-term future at United Credit: Getty Images “A bad injury like I had always stays with you a little bit afterwards but it’s in the past and I feel really good and really fit and my leg feels perfect,” Shaw said. “Body-wise and fitness-wise I probably feel the best I’ve ever felt. Mentally I feel strong as well and I’m enjoying my football. It’s now about pushing on and helping the team. “I’m really determined for the second half of the season. There are so many games coming up. There is a lot to play for with the World Cup as well. A lot of players want to impress their national managers and, personally, I want to play as many games as possible to help United. If I can then hopefully I will state my case to go to the World Cup. I had a taste of it in Brazil [in 2014] and it was amazing. “I can’t wait for the Champions League to start again too. I broke my leg in my first Champions League game [against PSV Eindhoven] so it’s a competition I’m determined to help the team do well in.” Shaw has not had the easiest relationship with Mourinho but he believes he has come out on the other side a stronger player under the Portuguese. Shaw has not had the easiest of relationships with Mourinho Credit: Getty Images Asked about Mourinho’s recent praise of his performances, Shaw said: “It’s really nice to hear. The manager has been really good with me and has given me extra confidence. “He’s just told me to go out and enjoy the games and that is what I’ve been doing. I’m just focussed on working really hard for the manager, and for the team, because I want to keep on playing and hopefully more games will come. “I’ve been feeling good. It’s been really nice to be back on the pitch and I’m really enjoying having game-time. “Personally, the last few weeks have been good but as a whole and as a team, we’ve been disappointed with some of the results. But I hope there are many more games for many and many more good results for the team this season. January 2018 transfer window “It’s always about working hard, that’s always something I’ve always tried to do throughout my career and will always try to do. I just kept my head down, kept working hard with the manager and the coaching staff and I knew in the end the benefits of that would come and, right now, everything is on track. I want to keep that going. “The Christmas period was actually the best thing for me, having lots of games close together. I felt really good after three games in a week because that’s what I needed.” Shaw made his first start of the campaign in the 2-1 Champions League win over CSKA Moscow in December and believes he has kicked on since then. “I’ve always felt really confident especially recently, and I knew I was in a good moment fitness-wise with the work that I had been doing,” he said. “And I knew when my chance came I’d be ready. It was really nice to be recognised by the fans in that game and from there I wanted to build on that performance and now it’s been [seven] more full games that I’ve had. I just want to kick on now. I’m not looking back, I’m only looking forward.”
Luke Shaw says he feels 'best I've ever felt' as he targets World Cup spot
Luke Shaw is hoping to force his way into Gareth Southgate’s World Cup plans after claiming he feels in the best shape of his career and rejuvenated under Jose Mourinho. Shaw has started eight of United’s past 11 games and his latest appearance in the 3-0 win over Stoke City at Old Trafford last night was his fifth start in a row for Mourinho. It marks a huge turnaround in fortunes for the left back, whose Old Trafford career appeared in serious jeopardy last year after Mourinho questioned his commitment, focus, ambition and football brain and the player was far down the pecking order in the wake of a slow recovery from a double leg fracture in 2015 that kept him out for 11 months. Shaw still has work to do to convince Mourinho he should be part of his long-term plans and to deter the manager from entering the transfer market for a new left back next summer. But the 22-year-old is convinced he is on an upward curve and has even set his sights on a World Cup place with England in Russia if he can maintain his fitness and form. Shaw still has some way to go to convince Mourinho he has a long-term future at United Credit: Getty Images “A bad injury like I had always stays with you a little bit afterwards but it’s in the past and I feel really good and really fit and my leg feels perfect,” Shaw said. “Body-wise and fitness-wise I probably feel the best I’ve ever felt. Mentally I feel strong as well and I’m enjoying my football. It’s now about pushing on and helping the team. “I’m really determined for the second half of the season. There are so many games coming up. There is a lot to play for with the World Cup as well. A lot of players want to impress their national managers and, personally, I want to play as many games as possible to help United. If I can then hopefully I will state my case to go to the World Cup. I had a taste of it in Brazil [in 2014] and it was amazing. “I can’t wait for the Champions League to start again too. I broke my leg in my first Champions League game [against PSV Eindhoven] so it’s a competition I’m determined to help the team do well in.” Shaw has not had the easiest relationship with Mourinho but he believes he has come out on the other side a stronger player under the Portuguese. Shaw has not had the easiest of relationships with Mourinho Credit: Getty Images Asked about Mourinho’s recent praise of his performances, Shaw said: “It’s really nice to hear. The manager has been really good with me and has given me extra confidence. “He’s just told me to go out and enjoy the games and that is what I’ve been doing. I’m just focussed on working really hard for the manager, and for the team, because I want to keep on playing and hopefully more games will come. “I’ve been feeling good. It’s been really nice to be back on the pitch and I’m really enjoying having game-time. “Personally, the last few weeks have been good but as a whole and as a team, we’ve been disappointed with some of the results. But I hope there are many more games for many and many more good results for the team this season. January 2018 transfer window “It’s always about working hard, that’s always something I’ve always tried to do throughout my career and will always try to do. I just kept my head down, kept working hard with the manager and the coaching staff and I knew in the end the benefits of that would come and, right now, everything is on track. I want to keep that going. “The Christmas period was actually the best thing for me, having lots of games close together. I felt really good after three games in a week because that’s what I needed.” Shaw made his first start of the campaign in the 2-1 Champions League win over CSKA Moscow in December and believes he has kicked on since then. “I’ve always felt really confident especially recently, and I knew I was in a good moment fitness-wise with the work that I had been doing,” he said. “And I knew when my chance came I’d be ready. It was really nice to be recognised by the fans in that game and from there I wanted to build on that performance and now it’s been [seven] more full games that I’ve had. I just want to kick on now. I’m not looking back, I’m only looking forward.”
Luke Shaw is hoping to force his way into Gareth Southgate’s World Cup plans after claiming he feels in the best shape of his career and rejuvenated under Jose Mourinho. Shaw has started eight of United’s past 11 games and his latest appearance in the 3-0 win over Stoke City at Old Trafford last night was his fifth start in a row for Mourinho. It marks a huge turnaround in fortunes for the left back, whose Old Trafford career appeared in serious jeopardy last year after Mourinho questioned his commitment, focus, ambition and football brain and the player was far down the pecking order in the wake of a slow recovery from a double leg fracture in 2015 that kept him out for 11 months. Shaw still has work to do to convince Mourinho he should be part of his long-term plans and to deter the manager from entering the transfer market for a new left back next summer. But the 22-year-old is convinced he is on an upward curve and has even set his sights on a World Cup place with England in Russia if he can maintain his fitness and form. Shaw still has some way to go to convince Mourinho he has a long-term future at United Credit: Getty Images “A bad injury like I had always stays with you a little bit afterwards but it’s in the past and I feel really good and really fit and my leg feels perfect,” Shaw said. “Body-wise and fitness-wise I probably feel the best I’ve ever felt. Mentally I feel strong as well and I’m enjoying my football. It’s now about pushing on and helping the team. “I’m really determined for the second half of the season. There are so many games coming up. There is a lot to play for with the World Cup as well. A lot of players want to impress their national managers and, personally, I want to play as many games as possible to help United. If I can then hopefully I will state my case to go to the World Cup. I had a taste of it in Brazil [in 2014] and it was amazing. “I can’t wait for the Champions League to start again too. I broke my leg in my first Champions League game [against PSV Eindhoven] so it’s a competition I’m determined to help the team do well in.” Shaw has not had the easiest relationship with Mourinho but he believes he has come out on the other side a stronger player under the Portuguese. Shaw has not had the easiest of relationships with Mourinho Credit: Getty Images Asked about Mourinho’s recent praise of his performances, Shaw said: “It’s really nice to hear. The manager has been really good with me and has given me extra confidence. “He’s just told me to go out and enjoy the games and that is what I’ve been doing. I’m just focussed on working really hard for the manager, and for the team, because I want to keep on playing and hopefully more games will come. “I’ve been feeling good. It’s been really nice to be back on the pitch and I’m really enjoying having game-time. “Personally, the last few weeks have been good but as a whole and as a team, we’ve been disappointed with some of the results. But I hope there are many more games for many and many more good results for the team this season. January 2018 transfer window “It’s always about working hard, that’s always something I’ve always tried to do throughout my career and will always try to do. I just kept my head down, kept working hard with the manager and the coaching staff and I knew in the end the benefits of that would come and, right now, everything is on track. I want to keep that going. “The Christmas period was actually the best thing for me, having lots of games close together. I felt really good after three games in a week because that’s what I needed.” Shaw made his first start of the campaign in the 2-1 Champions League win over CSKA Moscow in December and believes he has kicked on since then. “I’ve always felt really confident especially recently, and I knew I was in a good moment fitness-wise with the work that I had been doing,” he said. “And I knew when my chance came I’d be ready. It was really nice to be recognised by the fans in that game and from there I wanted to build on that performance and now it’s been [seven] more full games that I’ve had. I just want to kick on now. I’m not looking back, I’m only looking forward.”
Luke Shaw says he feels 'best I've ever felt' as he targets World Cup spot
Luke Shaw is hoping to force his way into Gareth Southgate’s World Cup plans after claiming he feels in the best shape of his career and rejuvenated under Jose Mourinho. Shaw has started eight of United’s past 11 games and his latest appearance in the 3-0 win over Stoke City at Old Trafford last night was his fifth start in a row for Mourinho. It marks a huge turnaround in fortunes for the left back, whose Old Trafford career appeared in serious jeopardy last year after Mourinho questioned his commitment, focus, ambition and football brain and the player was far down the pecking order in the wake of a slow recovery from a double leg fracture in 2015 that kept him out for 11 months. Shaw still has work to do to convince Mourinho he should be part of his long-term plans and to deter the manager from entering the transfer market for a new left back next summer. But the 22-year-old is convinced he is on an upward curve and has even set his sights on a World Cup place with England in Russia if he can maintain his fitness and form. Shaw still has some way to go to convince Mourinho he has a long-term future at United Credit: Getty Images “A bad injury like I had always stays with you a little bit afterwards but it’s in the past and I feel really good and really fit and my leg feels perfect,” Shaw said. “Body-wise and fitness-wise I probably feel the best I’ve ever felt. Mentally I feel strong as well and I’m enjoying my football. It’s now about pushing on and helping the team. “I’m really determined for the second half of the season. There are so many games coming up. There is a lot to play for with the World Cup as well. A lot of players want to impress their national managers and, personally, I want to play as many games as possible to help United. If I can then hopefully I will state my case to go to the World Cup. I had a taste of it in Brazil [in 2014] and it was amazing. “I can’t wait for the Champions League to start again too. I broke my leg in my first Champions League game [against PSV Eindhoven] so it’s a competition I’m determined to help the team do well in.” Shaw has not had the easiest relationship with Mourinho but he believes he has come out on the other side a stronger player under the Portuguese. Shaw has not had the easiest of relationships with Mourinho Credit: Getty Images Asked about Mourinho’s recent praise of his performances, Shaw said: “It’s really nice to hear. The manager has been really good with me and has given me extra confidence. “He’s just told me to go out and enjoy the games and that is what I’ve been doing. I’m just focussed on working really hard for the manager, and for the team, because I want to keep on playing and hopefully more games will come. “I’ve been feeling good. It’s been really nice to be back on the pitch and I’m really enjoying having game-time. “Personally, the last few weeks have been good but as a whole and as a team, we’ve been disappointed with some of the results. But I hope there are many more games for many and many more good results for the team this season. January 2018 transfer window “It’s always about working hard, that’s always something I’ve always tried to do throughout my career and will always try to do. I just kept my head down, kept working hard with the manager and the coaching staff and I knew in the end the benefits of that would come and, right now, everything is on track. I want to keep that going. “The Christmas period was actually the best thing for me, having lots of games close together. I felt really good after three games in a week because that’s what I needed.” Shaw made his first start of the campaign in the 2-1 Champions League win over CSKA Moscow in December and believes he has kicked on since then. “I’ve always felt really confident especially recently, and I knew I was in a good moment fitness-wise with the work that I had been doing,” he said. “And I knew when my chance came I’d be ready. It was really nice to be recognised by the fans in that game and from there I wanted to build on that performance and now it’s been [seven] more full games that I’ve had. I just want to kick on now. I’m not looking back, I’m only looking forward.”
Luke Shaw is hoping to force his way into Gareth Southgate’s World Cup plans after claiming he feels in the best shape of his career and rejuvenated under Jose Mourinho. Shaw has started eight of United’s past 11 games and his latest appearance in the 3-0 win over Stoke City at Old Trafford last night was his fifth start in a row for Mourinho. It marks a huge turnaround in fortunes for the left back, whose Old Trafford career appeared in serious jeopardy last year after Mourinho questioned his commitment, focus, ambition and football brain and the player was far down the pecking order in the wake of a slow recovery from a double leg fracture in 2015 that kept him out for 11 months. Shaw still has work to do to convince Mourinho he should be part of his long-term plans and to deter the manager from entering the transfer market for a new left back next summer. But the 22-year-old is convinced he is on an upward curve and has even set his sights on a World Cup place with England in Russia if he can maintain his fitness and form. Shaw still has some way to go to convince Mourinho he has a long-term future at United Credit: Getty Images “A bad injury like I had always stays with you a little bit afterwards but it’s in the past and I feel really good and really fit and my leg feels perfect,” Shaw said. “Body-wise and fitness-wise I probably feel the best I’ve ever felt. Mentally I feel strong as well and I’m enjoying my football. It’s now about pushing on and helping the team. “I’m really determined for the second half of the season. There are so many games coming up. There is a lot to play for with the World Cup as well. A lot of players want to impress their national managers and, personally, I want to play as many games as possible to help United. If I can then hopefully I will state my case to go to the World Cup. I had a taste of it in Brazil [in 2014] and it was amazing. “I can’t wait for the Champions League to start again too. I broke my leg in my first Champions League game [against PSV Eindhoven] so it’s a competition I’m determined to help the team do well in.” Shaw has not had the easiest relationship with Mourinho but he believes he has come out on the other side a stronger player under the Portuguese. Shaw has not had the easiest of relationships with Mourinho Credit: Getty Images Asked about Mourinho’s recent praise of his performances, Shaw said: “It’s really nice to hear. The manager has been really good with me and has given me extra confidence. “He’s just told me to go out and enjoy the games and that is what I’ve been doing. I’m just focussed on working really hard for the manager, and for the team, because I want to keep on playing and hopefully more games will come. “I’ve been feeling good. It’s been really nice to be back on the pitch and I’m really enjoying having game-time. “Personally, the last few weeks have been good but as a whole and as a team, we’ve been disappointed with some of the results. But I hope there are many more games for many and many more good results for the team this season. January 2018 transfer window “It’s always about working hard, that’s always something I’ve always tried to do throughout my career and will always try to do. I just kept my head down, kept working hard with the manager and the coaching staff and I knew in the end the benefits of that would come and, right now, everything is on track. I want to keep that going. “The Christmas period was actually the best thing for me, having lots of games close together. I felt really good after three games in a week because that’s what I needed.” Shaw made his first start of the campaign in the 2-1 Champions League win over CSKA Moscow in December and believes he has kicked on since then. “I’ve always felt really confident especially recently, and I knew I was in a good moment fitness-wise with the work that I had been doing,” he said. “And I knew when my chance came I’d be ready. It was really nice to be recognised by the fans in that game and from there I wanted to build on that performance and now it’s been [seven] more full games that I’ve had. I just want to kick on now. I’m not looking back, I’m only looking forward.”
Luke Shaw says he feels 'best I've ever felt' as he targets World Cup spot
Luke Shaw is hoping to force his way into Gareth Southgate’s World Cup plans after claiming he feels in the best shape of his career and rejuvenated under Jose Mourinho. Shaw has started eight of United’s past 11 games and his latest appearance in the 3-0 win over Stoke City at Old Trafford last night was his fifth start in a row for Mourinho. It marks a huge turnaround in fortunes for the left back, whose Old Trafford career appeared in serious jeopardy last year after Mourinho questioned his commitment, focus, ambition and football brain and the player was far down the pecking order in the wake of a slow recovery from a double leg fracture in 2015 that kept him out for 11 months. Shaw still has work to do to convince Mourinho he should be part of his long-term plans and to deter the manager from entering the transfer market for a new left back next summer. But the 22-year-old is convinced he is on an upward curve and has even set his sights on a World Cup place with England in Russia if he can maintain his fitness and form. Shaw still has some way to go to convince Mourinho he has a long-term future at United Credit: Getty Images “A bad injury like I had always stays with you a little bit afterwards but it’s in the past and I feel really good and really fit and my leg feels perfect,” Shaw said. “Body-wise and fitness-wise I probably feel the best I’ve ever felt. Mentally I feel strong as well and I’m enjoying my football. It’s now about pushing on and helping the team. “I’m really determined for the second half of the season. There are so many games coming up. There is a lot to play for with the World Cup as well. A lot of players want to impress their national managers and, personally, I want to play as many games as possible to help United. If I can then hopefully I will state my case to go to the World Cup. I had a taste of it in Brazil [in 2014] and it was amazing. “I can’t wait for the Champions League to start again too. I broke my leg in my first Champions League game [against PSV Eindhoven] so it’s a competition I’m determined to help the team do well in.” Shaw has not had the easiest relationship with Mourinho but he believes he has come out on the other side a stronger player under the Portuguese. Shaw has not had the easiest of relationships with Mourinho Credit: Getty Images Asked about Mourinho’s recent praise of his performances, Shaw said: “It’s really nice to hear. The manager has been really good with me and has given me extra confidence. “He’s just told me to go out and enjoy the games and that is what I’ve been doing. I’m just focussed on working really hard for the manager, and for the team, because I want to keep on playing and hopefully more games will come. “I’ve been feeling good. It’s been really nice to be back on the pitch and I’m really enjoying having game-time. “Personally, the last few weeks have been good but as a whole and as a team, we’ve been disappointed with some of the results. But I hope there are many more games for many and many more good results for the team this season. January 2018 transfer window “It’s always about working hard, that’s always something I’ve always tried to do throughout my career and will always try to do. I just kept my head down, kept working hard with the manager and the coaching staff and I knew in the end the benefits of that would come and, right now, everything is on track. I want to keep that going. “The Christmas period was actually the best thing for me, having lots of games close together. I felt really good after three games in a week because that’s what I needed.” Shaw made his first start of the campaign in the 2-1 Champions League win over CSKA Moscow in December and believes he has kicked on since then. “I’ve always felt really confident especially recently, and I knew I was in a good moment fitness-wise with the work that I had been doing,” he said. “And I knew when my chance came I’d be ready. It was really nice to be recognised by the fans in that game and from there I wanted to build on that performance and now it’s been [seven] more full games that I’ve had. I just want to kick on now. I’m not looking back, I’m only looking forward.”
When Jacob Murphy left Norwich to sign for Newcastle United last summer he left something very important behind. Someone who had been there through it all, the good times and the bad, the one person he had never lived without. He left his twin brother Josh. For the first time in 22 years, Jacob has not had his twin - older by just two minutes - beside him as he took his first tentative steps as a Premier League footballer. For once, he could not rely on a comforting look from his brother, an unspoken word of encouragement. This was something they could not share, an experience they would not enjoy together. They still speak every day, but it is not the same. Murphy described the bond between them as “unbreakable” but it has never been stretched like this before. By his own admission Jacob struggled at first. Living alone in Darras Hall, Northumberland, popular with footballers he found the adjustment challenging on and off the pitch. At £12m he was Rafa Benitez’s most expensive signing, as Newcastle prepared for their return to the Premier League, but he could not get into the team. For a few weeks he struggled to adapt to a higher level of football, while his brother continued to play regularly for Norwich in the Championship. Jacob is subbed on for Josh during their time together at Norwich Credit: Reuters His father, John, had warned him this could happen. But his mother, Maxine, had argued he had to go; to return to the city where both parents were born, in order to advance his career. It was an opportunity that could not be turned down. That was what Josh told him too. “We are competitive, but not with each other,” said Murphy, who is slighter than most footballers, polite and softly spoken. He asks a member of staff to let team-mate Jonjo Shelvey know he will have to wait for a lift home before settling into his first one-on-one interview as a Newcastle player. “We both want each other to do well. There isn’t any sort of sibling rivalry. We want to elevate each other, not bring the other one down. “Me and Josh have always wanted the best for each other, there has never been any jealousy. There were times when he was getting called up for England youth squads and I wouldn’t, but I’d still go to the games and be buzzing for him. There were times I went, and he didn’t. Each of us is the other one’s biggest supporter. When I left, all he could say was how proud he was. “The toughest thing about coming up here was leaving Josh. Obviously, there was the odd time when we were apart, when we were sent on loan or away with England, but that was always temporary. It never felt as permanent as this. After a slow start Murphy feels he is now adjusting to life at Newcastle Credit: Getty images “We’d always lived in the same house and now we’re at opposite ends of the country. It’s hard and strange, but we speak every day, often several times a day. We are always making sure the other one is OK. “Unless you have a twin, you don’t really know what that kind of connection is like. We are so in sync, we both love the same things, from toys to music and clothes. There were times last season when we lived together that we would get up for training, walk out of our bedrooms and we’d be wearing the same outfits, same shoes, same tops and same bottoms. “We’d meet on the landing and laugh. We don’t finish each other’s sentences, but we know what the other one is going to say before they say it. He can be sat on the sofa and I’ll know what he is thinking. “On the pitch we are telepathic. At Norwich, it was good. We really noticed when we won the FA Youth Cup together [in 2014]. We didn’t really understand why people thought it was strange. It was just normal practice for us. We just knew where the other would be or where they would move to. “It worked well, at least until we got to the first team. We got loads of stick from the boys because we kept on passing to each other all the time. “Moving to Newcastle, it did take some adjusting to. I’m living on my own for the first time. I’ve had loan moves before, so I’ve had that experience before, but this is the longest I’ve been away from my family. “It is helped by the fact that my extended family live in Gateshead, which is only 20 minutes away from my house. I didn’t see much of them when we were living in Norfolk, but they are relationships I’m enjoying building.” January 2018 transfer window Murphy was born in Wembley, north-west London, but moved to rural Norfolk, 20 minutes from Kings Lynn, when he was 11 as “my parents did not want us to go to high school in London”. Newcastle, though, were always the team he supported because that was where his parents were from. Geordies do not abandon their team because of geography. “When I first found out Newcastle wanted me, I was buzzing,” Murphy said, a huge smile breaking out as he remembered the moment. “They were the team we all supported, we didn’t have a choice. My nanna sent us the new strip every Christmas. My first game was against PSV Eindhoven in the Uefa Cup, Gary Speed scored the winner. When I climbed up the steps and saw St James’ Park for the first time, I was like wow, just wow. “My agent told me Newcastle were interested. My mum said: ‘Right, this has got to happen.’ My dad, he was like, ‘Well what happens if you stay at Norwich for one more season, get more games and more experience?’ But it was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down and he saw that. He was just a bit more cautious. Jacob says the twins share a 'telepathic' understanding on the pitch Credit: Empics sport “All I need to do now is have a word with Rafa to get him to sign my brother. No, I have a lot of faith in Josh. If he doesn’t get to the Premier League with Norwich, a Premier League club will come in for him.” It has taken some time for Murphy to show Newcastle supporters what he is capable of, but Benitez has handled him carefully. The signs are good. Not least because Murphy is not easily distracted, not even by Newcastle’s infamous nightlife. Perhaps the biggest revelation of this interview is the 22-year-old has not had a single night out in the city during the six months he has lived there. “I was desperate to impress, it was my dream move and maybe that didn’t help in a funny way,” Murphy explained. “I would try things, dribbling at players and when you lose the ball, there is a reaction, disappointment. You hear it when there are 52,000 people in the stadium. “It was annoying more than anything, because I knew what I was capable of and it didn’t work out at first. I was mainly being used as a sub, coming on for a few minutes. I tried too hard. I would try to do too many elaborate things and they wouldn’t come off and that would frustrate the fans. I was aware of it, but when I started games, I started to find my rhythm and I feel I’m putting the performances in.” He would love Josh to join him at Newcastle one day (Benitez contemplated bidding for both last year), but if Norwich beat Chelsea in their FA Cup replay next week, he will end up playing against Jacob in the fourth round. Their telepathic understanding could be a problem then.
Exclusive interview: Jacob Murphy on life at Newcastle without his twin - 'The toughest thing was leaving Josh'
When Jacob Murphy left Norwich to sign for Newcastle United last summer he left something very important behind. Someone who had been there through it all, the good times and the bad, the one person he had never lived without. He left his twin brother Josh. For the first time in 22 years, Jacob has not had his twin - older by just two minutes - beside him as he took his first tentative steps as a Premier League footballer. For once, he could not rely on a comforting look from his brother, an unspoken word of encouragement. This was something they could not share, an experience they would not enjoy together. They still speak every day, but it is not the same. Murphy described the bond between them as “unbreakable” but it has never been stretched like this before. By his own admission Jacob struggled at first. Living alone in Darras Hall, Northumberland, popular with footballers he found the adjustment challenging on and off the pitch. At £12m he was Rafa Benitez’s most expensive signing, as Newcastle prepared for their return to the Premier League, but he could not get into the team. For a few weeks he struggled to adapt to a higher level of football, while his brother continued to play regularly for Norwich in the Championship. Jacob is subbed on for Josh during their time together at Norwich Credit: Reuters His father, John, had warned him this could happen. But his mother, Maxine, had argued he had to go; to return to the city where both parents were born, in order to advance his career. It was an opportunity that could not be turned down. That was what Josh told him too. “We are competitive, but not with each other,” said Murphy, who is slighter than most footballers, polite and softly spoken. He asks a member of staff to let team-mate Jonjo Shelvey know he will have to wait for a lift home before settling into his first one-on-one interview as a Newcastle player. “We both want each other to do well. There isn’t any sort of sibling rivalry. We want to elevate each other, not bring the other one down. “Me and Josh have always wanted the best for each other, there has never been any jealousy. There were times when he was getting called up for England youth squads and I wouldn’t, but I’d still go to the games and be buzzing for him. There were times I went, and he didn’t. Each of us is the other one’s biggest supporter. When I left, all he could say was how proud he was. “The toughest thing about coming up here was leaving Josh. Obviously, there was the odd time when we were apart, when we were sent on loan or away with England, but that was always temporary. It never felt as permanent as this. After a slow start Murphy feels he is now adjusting to life at Newcastle Credit: Getty images “We’d always lived in the same house and now we’re at opposite ends of the country. It’s hard and strange, but we speak every day, often several times a day. We are always making sure the other one is OK. “Unless you have a twin, you don’t really know what that kind of connection is like. We are so in sync, we both love the same things, from toys to music and clothes. There were times last season when we lived together that we would get up for training, walk out of our bedrooms and we’d be wearing the same outfits, same shoes, same tops and same bottoms. “We’d meet on the landing and laugh. We don’t finish each other’s sentences, but we know what the other one is going to say before they say it. He can be sat on the sofa and I’ll know what he is thinking. “On the pitch we are telepathic. At Norwich, it was good. We really noticed when we won the FA Youth Cup together [in 2014]. We didn’t really understand why people thought it was strange. It was just normal practice for us. We just knew where the other would be or where they would move to. “It worked well, at least until we got to the first team. We got loads of stick from the boys because we kept on passing to each other all the time. “Moving to Newcastle, it did take some adjusting to. I’m living on my own for the first time. I’ve had loan moves before, so I’ve had that experience before, but this is the longest I’ve been away from my family. “It is helped by the fact that my extended family live in Gateshead, which is only 20 minutes away from my house. I didn’t see much of them when we were living in Norfolk, but they are relationships I’m enjoying building.” January 2018 transfer window Murphy was born in Wembley, north-west London, but moved to rural Norfolk, 20 minutes from Kings Lynn, when he was 11 as “my parents did not want us to go to high school in London”. Newcastle, though, were always the team he supported because that was where his parents were from. Geordies do not abandon their team because of geography. “When I first found out Newcastle wanted me, I was buzzing,” Murphy said, a huge smile breaking out as he remembered the moment. “They were the team we all supported, we didn’t have a choice. My nanna sent us the new strip every Christmas. My first game was against PSV Eindhoven in the Uefa Cup, Gary Speed scored the winner. When I climbed up the steps and saw St James’ Park for the first time, I was like wow, just wow. “My agent told me Newcastle were interested. My mum said: ‘Right, this has got to happen.’ My dad, he was like, ‘Well what happens if you stay at Norwich for one more season, get more games and more experience?’ But it was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down and he saw that. He was just a bit more cautious. Jacob says the twins share a 'telepathic' understanding on the pitch Credit: Empics sport “All I need to do now is have a word with Rafa to get him to sign my brother. No, I have a lot of faith in Josh. If he doesn’t get to the Premier League with Norwich, a Premier League club will come in for him.” It has taken some time for Murphy to show Newcastle supporters what he is capable of, but Benitez has handled him carefully. The signs are good. Not least because Murphy is not easily distracted, not even by Newcastle’s infamous nightlife. Perhaps the biggest revelation of this interview is the 22-year-old has not had a single night out in the city during the six months he has lived there. “I was desperate to impress, it was my dream move and maybe that didn’t help in a funny way,” Murphy explained. “I would try things, dribbling at players and when you lose the ball, there is a reaction, disappointment. You hear it when there are 52,000 people in the stadium. “It was annoying more than anything, because I knew what I was capable of and it didn’t work out at first. I was mainly being used as a sub, coming on for a few minutes. I tried too hard. I would try to do too many elaborate things and they wouldn’t come off and that would frustrate the fans. I was aware of it, but when I started games, I started to find my rhythm and I feel I’m putting the performances in.” He would love Josh to join him at Newcastle one day (Benitez contemplated bidding for both last year), but if Norwich beat Chelsea in their FA Cup replay next week, he will end up playing against Jacob in the fourth round. Their telepathic understanding could be a problem then.
When Jacob Murphy left Norwich to sign for Newcastle United last summer he left something very important behind. Someone who had been there through it all, the good times and the bad, the one person he had never lived without. He left his twin brother Josh. For the first time in 22 years, Jacob has not had his twin - older by just two minutes - beside him as he took his first tentative steps as a Premier League footballer. For once, he could not rely on a comforting look from his brother, an unspoken word of encouragement. This was something they could not share, an experience they would not enjoy together. They still speak every day, but it is not the same. Murphy described the bond between them as “unbreakable” but it has never been stretched like this before. By his own admission Jacob struggled at first. Living alone in Darras Hall, Northumberland, popular with footballers he found the adjustment challenging on and off the pitch. At £12m he was Rafa Benitez’s most expensive signing, as Newcastle prepared for their return to the Premier League, but he could not get into the team. For a few weeks he struggled to adapt to a higher level of football, while his brother continued to play regularly for Norwich in the Championship. Jacob is subbed on for Josh during their time together at Norwich Credit: Reuters His father, John, had warned him this could happen. But his mother, Maxine, had argued he had to go; to return to the city where both parents were born, in order to advance his career. It was an opportunity that could not be turned down. That was what Josh told him too. “We are competitive, but not with each other,” said Murphy, who is slighter than most footballers, polite and softly spoken. He asks a member of staff to let team-mate Jonjo Shelvey know he will have to wait for a lift home before settling into his first one-on-one interview as a Newcastle player. “We both want each other to do well. There isn’t any sort of sibling rivalry. We want to elevate each other, not bring the other one down. “Me and Josh have always wanted the best for each other, there has never been any jealousy. There were times when he was getting called up for England youth squads and I wouldn’t, but I’d still go to the games and be buzzing for him. There were times I went, and he didn’t. Each of us is the other one’s biggest supporter. When I left, all he could say was how proud he was. “The toughest thing about coming up here was leaving Josh. Obviously, there was the odd time when we were apart, when we were sent on loan or away with England, but that was always temporary. It never felt as permanent as this. After a slow start Murphy feels he is now adjusting to life at Newcastle Credit: Getty images “We’d always lived in the same house and now we’re at opposite ends of the country. It’s hard and strange, but we speak every day, often several times a day. We are always making sure the other one is OK. “Unless you have a twin, you don’t really know what that kind of connection is like. We are so in sync, we both love the same things, from toys to music and clothes. There were times last season when we lived together that we would get up for training, walk out of our bedrooms and we’d be wearing the same outfits, same shoes, same tops and same bottoms. “We’d meet on the landing and laugh. We don’t finish each other’s sentences, but we know what the other one is going to say before they say it. He can be sat on the sofa and I’ll know what he is thinking. “On the pitch we are telepathic. At Norwich, it was good. We really noticed when we won the FA Youth Cup together [in 2014]. We didn’t really understand why people thought it was strange. It was just normal practice for us. We just knew where the other would be or where they would move to. “It worked well, at least until we got to the first team. We got loads of stick from the boys because we kept on passing to each other all the time. “Moving to Newcastle, it did take some adjusting to. I’m living on my own for the first time. I’ve had loan moves before, so I’ve had that experience before, but this is the longest I’ve been away from my family. “It is helped by the fact that my extended family live in Gateshead, which is only 20 minutes away from my house. I didn’t see much of them when we were living in Norfolk, but they are relationships I’m enjoying building.” January 2018 transfer window Murphy was born in Wembley, north-west London, but moved to rural Norfolk, 20 minutes from Kings Lynn, when he was 11 as “my parents did not want us to go to high school in London”. Newcastle, though, were always the team he supported because that was where his parents were from. Geordies do not abandon their team because of geography. “When I first found out Newcastle wanted me, I was buzzing,” Murphy said, a huge smile breaking out as he remembered the moment. “They were the team we all supported, we didn’t have a choice. My nanna sent us the new strip every Christmas. My first game was against PSV Eindhoven in the Uefa Cup, Gary Speed scored the winner. When I climbed up the steps and saw St James’ Park for the first time, I was like wow, just wow. “My agent told me Newcastle were interested. My mum said: ‘Right, this has got to happen.’ My dad, he was like, ‘Well what happens if you stay at Norwich for one more season, get more games and more experience?’ But it was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down and he saw that. He was just a bit more cautious. Jacob says the twins share a 'telepathic' understanding on the pitch Credit: Empics sport “All I need to do now is have a word with Rafa to get him to sign my brother. No, I have a lot of faith in Josh. If he doesn’t get to the Premier League with Norwich, a Premier League club will come in for him.” It has taken some time for Murphy to show Newcastle supporters what he is capable of, but Benitez has handled him carefully. The signs are good. Not least because Murphy is not easily distracted, not even by Newcastle’s infamous nightlife. Perhaps the biggest revelation of this interview is the 22-year-old has not had a single night out in the city during the six months he has lived there. “I was desperate to impress, it was my dream move and maybe that didn’t help in a funny way,” Murphy explained. “I would try things, dribbling at players and when you lose the ball, there is a reaction, disappointment. You hear it when there are 52,000 people in the stadium. “It was annoying more than anything, because I knew what I was capable of and it didn’t work out at first. I was mainly being used as a sub, coming on for a few minutes. I tried too hard. I would try to do too many elaborate things and they wouldn’t come off and that would frustrate the fans. I was aware of it, but when I started games, I started to find my rhythm and I feel I’m putting the performances in.” He would love Josh to join him at Newcastle one day (Benitez contemplated bidding for both last year), but if Norwich beat Chelsea in their FA Cup replay next week, he will end up playing against Jacob in the fourth round. Their telepathic understanding could be a problem then.
Exclusive interview: Jacob Murphy on life at Newcastle without his twin - 'The toughest thing was leaving Josh'
When Jacob Murphy left Norwich to sign for Newcastle United last summer he left something very important behind. Someone who had been there through it all, the good times and the bad, the one person he had never lived without. He left his twin brother Josh. For the first time in 22 years, Jacob has not had his twin - older by just two minutes - beside him as he took his first tentative steps as a Premier League footballer. For once, he could not rely on a comforting look from his brother, an unspoken word of encouragement. This was something they could not share, an experience they would not enjoy together. They still speak every day, but it is not the same. Murphy described the bond between them as “unbreakable” but it has never been stretched like this before. By his own admission Jacob struggled at first. Living alone in Darras Hall, Northumberland, popular with footballers he found the adjustment challenging on and off the pitch. At £12m he was Rafa Benitez’s most expensive signing, as Newcastle prepared for their return to the Premier League, but he could not get into the team. For a few weeks he struggled to adapt to a higher level of football, while his brother continued to play regularly for Norwich in the Championship. Jacob is subbed on for Josh during their time together at Norwich Credit: Reuters His father, John, had warned him this could happen. But his mother, Maxine, had argued he had to go; to return to the city where both parents were born, in order to advance his career. It was an opportunity that could not be turned down. That was what Josh told him too. “We are competitive, but not with each other,” said Murphy, who is slighter than most footballers, polite and softly spoken. He asks a member of staff to let team-mate Jonjo Shelvey know he will have to wait for a lift home before settling into his first one-on-one interview as a Newcastle player. “We both want each other to do well. There isn’t any sort of sibling rivalry. We want to elevate each other, not bring the other one down. “Me and Josh have always wanted the best for each other, there has never been any jealousy. There were times when he was getting called up for England youth squads and I wouldn’t, but I’d still go to the games and be buzzing for him. There were times I went, and he didn’t. Each of us is the other one’s biggest supporter. When I left, all he could say was how proud he was. “The toughest thing about coming up here was leaving Josh. Obviously, there was the odd time when we were apart, when we were sent on loan or away with England, but that was always temporary. It never felt as permanent as this. After a slow start Murphy feels he is now adjusting to life at Newcastle Credit: Getty images “We’d always lived in the same house and now we’re at opposite ends of the country. It’s hard and strange, but we speak every day, often several times a day. We are always making sure the other one is OK. “Unless you have a twin, you don’t really know what that kind of connection is like. We are so in sync, we both love the same things, from toys to music and clothes. There were times last season when we lived together that we would get up for training, walk out of our bedrooms and we’d be wearing the same outfits, same shoes, same tops and same bottoms. “We’d meet on the landing and laugh. We don’t finish each other’s sentences, but we know what the other one is going to say before they say it. He can be sat on the sofa and I’ll know what he is thinking. “On the pitch we are telepathic. At Norwich, it was good. We really noticed when we won the FA Youth Cup together [in 2014]. We didn’t really understand why people thought it was strange. It was just normal practice for us. We just knew where the other would be or where they would move to. “It worked well, at least until we got to the first team. We got loads of stick from the boys because we kept on passing to each other all the time. “Moving to Newcastle, it did take some adjusting to. I’m living on my own for the first time. I’ve had loan moves before, so I’ve had that experience before, but this is the longest I’ve been away from my family. “It is helped by the fact that my extended family live in Gateshead, which is only 20 minutes away from my house. I didn’t see much of them when we were living in Norfolk, but they are relationships I’m enjoying building.” January 2018 transfer window Murphy was born in Wembley, north-west London, but moved to rural Norfolk, 20 minutes from Kings Lynn, when he was 11 as “my parents did not want us to go to high school in London”. Newcastle, though, were always the team he supported because that was where his parents were from. Geordies do not abandon their team because of geography. “When I first found out Newcastle wanted me, I was buzzing,” Murphy said, a huge smile breaking out as he remembered the moment. “They were the team we all supported, we didn’t have a choice. My nanna sent us the new strip every Christmas. My first game was against PSV Eindhoven in the Uefa Cup, Gary Speed scored the winner. When I climbed up the steps and saw St James’ Park for the first time, I was like wow, just wow. “My agent told me Newcastle were interested. My mum said: ‘Right, this has got to happen.’ My dad, he was like, ‘Well what happens if you stay at Norwich for one more season, get more games and more experience?’ But it was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down and he saw that. He was just a bit more cautious. Jacob says the twins share a 'telepathic' understanding on the pitch Credit: Empics sport “All I need to do now is have a word with Rafa to get him to sign my brother. No, I have a lot of faith in Josh. If he doesn’t get to the Premier League with Norwich, a Premier League club will come in for him.” It has taken some time for Murphy to show Newcastle supporters what he is capable of, but Benitez has handled him carefully. The signs are good. Not least because Murphy is not easily distracted, not even by Newcastle’s infamous nightlife. Perhaps the biggest revelation of this interview is the 22-year-old has not had a single night out in the city during the six months he has lived there. “I was desperate to impress, it was my dream move and maybe that didn’t help in a funny way,” Murphy explained. “I would try things, dribbling at players and when you lose the ball, there is a reaction, disappointment. You hear it when there are 52,000 people in the stadium. “It was annoying more than anything, because I knew what I was capable of and it didn’t work out at first. I was mainly being used as a sub, coming on for a few minutes. I tried too hard. I would try to do too many elaborate things and they wouldn’t come off and that would frustrate the fans. I was aware of it, but when I started games, I started to find my rhythm and I feel I’m putting the performances in.” He would love Josh to join him at Newcastle one day (Benitez contemplated bidding for both last year), but if Norwich beat Chelsea in their FA Cup replay next week, he will end up playing against Jacob in the fourth round. Their telepathic understanding could be a problem then.
When Jacob Murphy left Norwich to sign for Newcastle United last summer he left something very important behind. Someone who had been there through it all, the good times and the bad, the one person he had never lived without. He left his twin brother Josh. For the first time in 22 years, Jacob has not had his twin - older by just two minutes - beside him as he took his first tentative steps as a Premier League footballer. For once, he could not rely on a comforting look from his brother, an unspoken word of encouragement. This was something they could not share, an experience they would not enjoy together. They still speak every day, but it is not the same. Murphy described the bond between them as “unbreakable” but it has never been stretched like this before. By his own admission Jacob struggled at first. Living alone in Darras Hall, Northumberland, popular with footballers he found the adjustment challenging on and off the pitch. At £12m he was Rafa Benitez’s most expensive signing, as Newcastle prepared for their return to the Premier League, but he could not get into the team. For a few weeks he struggled to adapt to a higher level of football, while his brother continued to play regularly for Norwich in the Championship. Jacob is subbed on for Josh during their time together at Norwich Credit: Reuters His father, John, had warned him this could happen. But his mother, Maxine, had argued he had to go; to return to the city where both parents were born, in order to advance his career. It was an opportunity that could not be turned down. That was what Josh told him too. “We are competitive, but not with each other,” said Murphy, who is slighter than most footballers, polite and softly spoken. He asks a member of staff to let team-mate Jonjo Shelvey know he will have to wait for a lift home before settling into his first one-on-one interview as a Newcastle player. “We both want each other to do well. There isn’t any sort of sibling rivalry. We want to elevate each other, not bring the other one down. “Me and Josh have always wanted the best for each other, there has never been any jealousy. There were times when he was getting called up for England youth squads and I wouldn’t, but I’d still go to the games and be buzzing for him. There were times I went, and he didn’t. Each of us is the other one’s biggest supporter. When I left, all he could say was how proud he was. “The toughest thing about coming up here was leaving Josh. Obviously, there was the odd time when we were apart, when we were sent on loan or away with England, but that was always temporary. It never felt as permanent as this. After a slow start Murphy feels he is now adjusting to life at Newcastle Credit: Getty images “We’d always lived in the same house and now we’re at opposite ends of the country. It’s hard and strange, but we speak every day, often several times a day. We are always making sure the other one is OK. “Unless you have a twin, you don’t really know what that kind of connection is like. We are so in sync, we both love the same things, from toys to music and clothes. There were times last season when we lived together that we would get up for training, walk out of our bedrooms and we’d be wearing the same outfits, same shoes, same tops and same bottoms. “We’d meet on the landing and laugh. We don’t finish each other’s sentences, but we know what the other one is going to say before they say it. He can be sat on the sofa and I’ll know what he is thinking. “On the pitch we are telepathic. At Norwich, it was good. We really noticed when we won the FA Youth Cup together [in 2014]. We didn’t really understand why people thought it was strange. It was just normal practice for us. We just knew where the other would be or where they would move to. “It worked well, at least until we got to the first team. We got loads of stick from the boys because we kept on passing to each other all the time. “Moving to Newcastle, it did take some adjusting to. I’m living on my own for the first time. I’ve had loan moves before, so I’ve had that experience before, but this is the longest I’ve been away from my family. “It is helped by the fact that my extended family live in Gateshead, which is only 20 minutes away from my house. I didn’t see much of them when we were living in Norfolk, but they are relationships I’m enjoying building.” January 2018 transfer window Murphy was born in Wembley, north-west London, but moved to rural Norfolk, 20 minutes from Kings Lynn, when he was 11 as “my parents did not want us to go to high school in London”. Newcastle, though, were always the team he supported because that was where his parents were from. Geordies do not abandon their team because of geography. “When I first found out Newcastle wanted me, I was buzzing,” Murphy said, a huge smile breaking out as he remembered the moment. “They were the team we all supported, we didn’t have a choice. My nanna sent us the new strip every Christmas. My first game was against PSV Eindhoven in the Uefa Cup, Gary Speed scored the winner. When I climbed up the steps and saw St James’ Park for the first time, I was like wow, just wow. “My agent told me Newcastle were interested. My mum said: ‘Right, this has got to happen.’ My dad, he was like, ‘Well what happens if you stay at Norwich for one more season, get more games and more experience?’ But it was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down and he saw that. He was just a bit more cautious. Jacob says the twins share a 'telepathic' understanding on the pitch Credit: Empics sport “All I need to do now is have a word with Rafa to get him to sign my brother. No, I have a lot of faith in Josh. If he doesn’t get to the Premier League with Norwich, a Premier League club will come in for him.” It has taken some time for Murphy to show Newcastle supporters what he is capable of, but Benitez has handled him carefully. The signs are good. Not least because Murphy is not easily distracted, not even by Newcastle’s infamous nightlife. Perhaps the biggest revelation of this interview is the 22-year-old has not had a single night out in the city during the six months he has lived there. “I was desperate to impress, it was my dream move and maybe that didn’t help in a funny way,” Murphy explained. “I would try things, dribbling at players and when you lose the ball, there is a reaction, disappointment. You hear it when there are 52,000 people in the stadium. “It was annoying more than anything, because I knew what I was capable of and it didn’t work out at first. I was mainly being used as a sub, coming on for a few minutes. I tried too hard. I would try to do too many elaborate things and they wouldn’t come off and that would frustrate the fans. I was aware of it, but when I started games, I started to find my rhythm and I feel I’m putting the performances in.” He would love Josh to join him at Newcastle one day (Benitez contemplated bidding for both last year), but if Norwich beat Chelsea in their FA Cup replay next week, he will end up playing against Jacob in the fourth round. Their telepathic understanding could be a problem then.
Exclusive interview: Jacob Murphy on life at Newcastle without his twin - 'The toughest thing was leaving Josh'
When Jacob Murphy left Norwich to sign for Newcastle United last summer he left something very important behind. Someone who had been there through it all, the good times and the bad, the one person he had never lived without. He left his twin brother Josh. For the first time in 22 years, Jacob has not had his twin - older by just two minutes - beside him as he took his first tentative steps as a Premier League footballer. For once, he could not rely on a comforting look from his brother, an unspoken word of encouragement. This was something they could not share, an experience they would not enjoy together. They still speak every day, but it is not the same. Murphy described the bond between them as “unbreakable” but it has never been stretched like this before. By his own admission Jacob struggled at first. Living alone in Darras Hall, Northumberland, popular with footballers he found the adjustment challenging on and off the pitch. At £12m he was Rafa Benitez’s most expensive signing, as Newcastle prepared for their return to the Premier League, but he could not get into the team. For a few weeks he struggled to adapt to a higher level of football, while his brother continued to play regularly for Norwich in the Championship. Jacob is subbed on for Josh during their time together at Norwich Credit: Reuters His father, John, had warned him this could happen. But his mother, Maxine, had argued he had to go; to return to the city where both parents were born, in order to advance his career. It was an opportunity that could not be turned down. That was what Josh told him too. “We are competitive, but not with each other,” said Murphy, who is slighter than most footballers, polite and softly spoken. He asks a member of staff to let team-mate Jonjo Shelvey know he will have to wait for a lift home before settling into his first one-on-one interview as a Newcastle player. “We both want each other to do well. There isn’t any sort of sibling rivalry. We want to elevate each other, not bring the other one down. “Me and Josh have always wanted the best for each other, there has never been any jealousy. There were times when he was getting called up for England youth squads and I wouldn’t, but I’d still go to the games and be buzzing for him. There were times I went, and he didn’t. Each of us is the other one’s biggest supporter. When I left, all he could say was how proud he was. “The toughest thing about coming up here was leaving Josh. Obviously, there was the odd time when we were apart, when we were sent on loan or away with England, but that was always temporary. It never felt as permanent as this. After a slow start Murphy feels he is now adjusting to life at Newcastle Credit: Getty images “We’d always lived in the same house and now we’re at opposite ends of the country. It’s hard and strange, but we speak every day, often several times a day. We are always making sure the other one is OK. “Unless you have a twin, you don’t really know what that kind of connection is like. We are so in sync, we both love the same things, from toys to music and clothes. There were times last season when we lived together that we would get up for training, walk out of our bedrooms and we’d be wearing the same outfits, same shoes, same tops and same bottoms. “We’d meet on the landing and laugh. We don’t finish each other’s sentences, but we know what the other one is going to say before they say it. He can be sat on the sofa and I’ll know what he is thinking. “On the pitch we are telepathic. At Norwich, it was good. We really noticed when we won the FA Youth Cup together [in 2014]. We didn’t really understand why people thought it was strange. It was just normal practice for us. We just knew where the other would be or where they would move to. “It worked well, at least until we got to the first team. We got loads of stick from the boys because we kept on passing to each other all the time. “Moving to Newcastle, it did take some adjusting to. I’m living on my own for the first time. I’ve had loan moves before, so I’ve had that experience before, but this is the longest I’ve been away from my family. “It is helped by the fact that my extended family live in Gateshead, which is only 20 minutes away from my house. I didn’t see much of them when we were living in Norfolk, but they are relationships I’m enjoying building.” January 2018 transfer window Murphy was born in Wembley, north-west London, but moved to rural Norfolk, 20 minutes from Kings Lynn, when he was 11 as “my parents did not want us to go to high school in London”. Newcastle, though, were always the team he supported because that was where his parents were from. Geordies do not abandon their team because of geography. “When I first found out Newcastle wanted me, I was buzzing,” Murphy said, a huge smile breaking out as he remembered the moment. “They were the team we all supported, we didn’t have a choice. My nanna sent us the new strip every Christmas. My first game was against PSV Eindhoven in the Uefa Cup, Gary Speed scored the winner. When I climbed up the steps and saw St James’ Park for the first time, I was like wow, just wow. “My agent told me Newcastle were interested. My mum said: ‘Right, this has got to happen.’ My dad, he was like, ‘Well what happens if you stay at Norwich for one more season, get more games and more experience?’ But it was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down and he saw that. He was just a bit more cautious. Jacob says the twins share a 'telepathic' understanding on the pitch Credit: Empics sport “All I need to do now is have a word with Rafa to get him to sign my brother. No, I have a lot of faith in Josh. If he doesn’t get to the Premier League with Norwich, a Premier League club will come in for him.” It has taken some time for Murphy to show Newcastle supporters what he is capable of, but Benitez has handled him carefully. The signs are good. Not least because Murphy is not easily distracted, not even by Newcastle’s infamous nightlife. Perhaps the biggest revelation of this interview is the 22-year-old has not had a single night out in the city during the six months he has lived there. “I was desperate to impress, it was my dream move and maybe that didn’t help in a funny way,” Murphy explained. “I would try things, dribbling at players and when you lose the ball, there is a reaction, disappointment. You hear it when there are 52,000 people in the stadium. “It was annoying more than anything, because I knew what I was capable of and it didn’t work out at first. I was mainly being used as a sub, coming on for a few minutes. I tried too hard. I would try to do too many elaborate things and they wouldn’t come off and that would frustrate the fans. I was aware of it, but when I started games, I started to find my rhythm and I feel I’m putting the performances in.” He would love Josh to join him at Newcastle one day (Benitez contemplated bidding for both last year), but if Norwich beat Chelsea in their FA Cup replay next week, he will end up playing against Jacob in the fourth round. Their telepathic understanding could be a problem then.
When Jacob Murphy left Norwich to sign for Newcastle United last summer he left something very important behind. Someone who had been there through it all, the good times and the bad, the one person he had never lived without. He left his twin brother Josh. For the first time in 22 years, Jacob has not had his twin - older by just two minutes - beside him as he took his first tentative steps as a Premier League footballer. For once, he could not rely on a comforting look from his brother, an unspoken word of encouragement. This was something they could not share, an experience they would not enjoy together. They still speak every day, but it is not the same. Murphy described the bond between them as “unbreakable” but it has never been stretched like this before. By his own admission Jacob struggled at first. Living alone in Darras Hall, Northumberland, popular with footballers he found the adjustment challenging on and off the pitch. At £12m he was Rafa Benitez’s most expensive signing, as Newcastle prepared for their return to the Premier League, but he could not get into the team. For a few weeks he struggled to adapt to a higher level of football, while his brother continued to play regularly for Norwich in the Championship. Jacob is subbed on for Josh during their time together at Norwich Credit: Reuters His father, John, had warned him this could happen. But his mother, Maxine, had argued he had to go; to return to the city where both parents were born, in order to advance his career. It was an opportunity that could not be turned down. That was what Josh told him too. “We are competitive, but not with each other,” said Murphy, who is slighter than most footballers, polite and softly spoken. He asks a member of staff to let team-mate Jonjo Shelvey know he will have to wait for a lift home before settling into his first one-on-one interview as a Newcastle player. “We both want each other to do well. There isn’t any sort of sibling rivalry. We want to elevate each other, not bring the other one down. “Me and Josh have always wanted the best for each other, there has never been any jealousy. There were times when he was getting called up for England youth squads and I wouldn’t, but I’d still go to the games and be buzzing for him. There were times I went, and he didn’t. Each of us is the other one’s biggest supporter. When I left, all he could say was how proud he was. “The toughest thing about coming up here was leaving Josh. Obviously, there was the odd time when we were apart, when we were sent on loan or away with England, but that was always temporary. It never felt as permanent as this. After a slow start Murphy feels he is now adjusting to life at Newcastle Credit: Getty images “We’d always lived in the same house and now we’re at opposite ends of the country. It’s hard and strange, but we speak every day, often several times a day. We are always making sure the other one is OK. “Unless you have a twin, you don’t really know what that kind of connection is like. We are so in sync, we both love the same things, from toys to music and clothes. There were times last season when we lived together that we would get up for training, walk out of our bedrooms and we’d be wearing the same outfits, same shoes, same tops and same bottoms. “We’d meet on the landing and laugh. We don’t finish each other’s sentences, but we know what the other one is going to say before they say it. He can be sat on the sofa and I’ll know what he is thinking. “On the pitch we are telepathic. At Norwich, it was good. We really noticed when we won the FA Youth Cup together [in 2014]. We didn’t really understand why people thought it was strange. It was just normal practice for us. We just knew where the other would be or where they would move to. “It worked well, at least until we got to the first team. We got loads of stick from the boys because we kept on passing to each other all the time. “Moving to Newcastle, it did take some adjusting to. I’m living on my own for the first time. I’ve had loan moves before, so I’ve had that experience before, but this is the longest I’ve been away from my family. “It is helped by the fact that my extended family live in Gateshead, which is only 20 minutes away from my house. I didn’t see much of them when we were living in Norfolk, but they are relationships I’m enjoying building.” January 2018 transfer window Murphy was born in Wembley, north-west London, but moved to rural Norfolk, 20 minutes from Kings Lynn, when he was 11 as “my parents did not want us to go to high school in London”. Newcastle, though, were always the team he supported because that was where his parents were from. Geordies do not abandon their team because of geography. “When I first found out Newcastle wanted me, I was buzzing,” Murphy said, a huge smile breaking out as he remembered the moment. “They were the team we all supported, we didn’t have a choice. My nanna sent us the new strip every Christmas. My first game was against PSV Eindhoven in the Uefa Cup, Gary Speed scored the winner. When I climbed up the steps and saw St James’ Park for the first time, I was like wow, just wow. “My agent told me Newcastle were interested. My mum said: ‘Right, this has got to happen.’ My dad, he was like, ‘Well what happens if you stay at Norwich for one more season, get more games and more experience?’ But it was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down and he saw that. He was just a bit more cautious. Jacob says the twins share a 'telepathic' understanding on the pitch Credit: Empics sport “All I need to do now is have a word with Rafa to get him to sign my brother. No, I have a lot of faith in Josh. If he doesn’t get to the Premier League with Norwich, a Premier League club will come in for him.” It has taken some time for Murphy to show Newcastle supporters what he is capable of, but Benitez has handled him carefully. The signs are good. Not least because Murphy is not easily distracted, not even by Newcastle’s infamous nightlife. Perhaps the biggest revelation of this interview is the 22-year-old has not had a single night out in the city during the six months he has lived there. “I was desperate to impress, it was my dream move and maybe that didn’t help in a funny way,” Murphy explained. “I would try things, dribbling at players and when you lose the ball, there is a reaction, disappointment. You hear it when there are 52,000 people in the stadium. “It was annoying more than anything, because I knew what I was capable of and it didn’t work out at first. I was mainly being used as a sub, coming on for a few minutes. I tried too hard. I would try to do too many elaborate things and they wouldn’t come off and that would frustrate the fans. I was aware of it, but when I started games, I started to find my rhythm and I feel I’m putting the performances in.” He would love Josh to join him at Newcastle one day (Benitez contemplated bidding for both last year), but if Norwich beat Chelsea in their FA Cup replay next week, he will end up playing against Jacob in the fourth round. Their telepathic understanding could be a problem then.
Exclusive interview: Jacob Murphy on life at Newcastle without his twin - 'The toughest thing was leaving Josh'
When Jacob Murphy left Norwich to sign for Newcastle United last summer he left something very important behind. Someone who had been there through it all, the good times and the bad, the one person he had never lived without. He left his twin brother Josh. For the first time in 22 years, Jacob has not had his twin - older by just two minutes - beside him as he took his first tentative steps as a Premier League footballer. For once, he could not rely on a comforting look from his brother, an unspoken word of encouragement. This was something they could not share, an experience they would not enjoy together. They still speak every day, but it is not the same. Murphy described the bond between them as “unbreakable” but it has never been stretched like this before. By his own admission Jacob struggled at first. Living alone in Darras Hall, Northumberland, popular with footballers he found the adjustment challenging on and off the pitch. At £12m he was Rafa Benitez’s most expensive signing, as Newcastle prepared for their return to the Premier League, but he could not get into the team. For a few weeks he struggled to adapt to a higher level of football, while his brother continued to play regularly for Norwich in the Championship. Jacob is subbed on for Josh during their time together at Norwich Credit: Reuters His father, John, had warned him this could happen. But his mother, Maxine, had argued he had to go; to return to the city where both parents were born, in order to advance his career. It was an opportunity that could not be turned down. That was what Josh told him too. “We are competitive, but not with each other,” said Murphy, who is slighter than most footballers, polite and softly spoken. He asks a member of staff to let team-mate Jonjo Shelvey know he will have to wait for a lift home before settling into his first one-on-one interview as a Newcastle player. “We both want each other to do well. There isn’t any sort of sibling rivalry. We want to elevate each other, not bring the other one down. “Me and Josh have always wanted the best for each other, there has never been any jealousy. There were times when he was getting called up for England youth squads and I wouldn’t, but I’d still go to the games and be buzzing for him. There were times I went, and he didn’t. Each of us is the other one’s biggest supporter. When I left, all he could say was how proud he was. “The toughest thing about coming up here was leaving Josh. Obviously, there was the odd time when we were apart, when we were sent on loan or away with England, but that was always temporary. It never felt as permanent as this. After a slow start Murphy feels he is now adjusting to life at Newcastle Credit: Getty images “We’d always lived in the same house and now we’re at opposite ends of the country. It’s hard and strange, but we speak every day, often several times a day. We are always making sure the other one is OK. “Unless you have a twin, you don’t really know what that kind of connection is like. We are so in sync, we both love the same things, from toys to music and clothes. There were times last season when we lived together that we would get up for training, walk out of our bedrooms and we’d be wearing the same outfits, same shoes, same tops and same bottoms. “We’d meet on the landing and laugh. We don’t finish each other’s sentences, but we know what the other one is going to say before they say it. He can be sat on the sofa and I’ll know what he is thinking. “On the pitch we are telepathic. At Norwich, it was good. We really noticed when we won the FA Youth Cup together [in 2014]. We didn’t really understand why people thought it was strange. It was just normal practice for us. We just knew where the other would be or where they would move to. “It worked well, at least until we got to the first team. We got loads of stick from the boys because we kept on passing to each other all the time. “Moving to Newcastle, it did take some adjusting to. I’m living on my own for the first time. I’ve had loan moves before, so I’ve had that experience before, but this is the longest I’ve been away from my family. “It is helped by the fact that my extended family live in Gateshead, which is only 20 minutes away from my house. I didn’t see much of them when we were living in Norfolk, but they are relationships I’m enjoying building.” January 2018 transfer window Murphy was born in Wembley, north-west London, but moved to rural Norfolk, 20 minutes from Kings Lynn, when he was 11 as “my parents did not want us to go to high school in London”. Newcastle, though, were always the team he supported because that was where his parents were from. Geordies do not abandon their team because of geography. “When I first found out Newcastle wanted me, I was buzzing,” Murphy said, a huge smile breaking out as he remembered the moment. “They were the team we all supported, we didn’t have a choice. My nanna sent us the new strip every Christmas. My first game was against PSV Eindhoven in the Uefa Cup, Gary Speed scored the winner. When I climbed up the steps and saw St James’ Park for the first time, I was like wow, just wow. “My agent told me Newcastle were interested. My mum said: ‘Right, this has got to happen.’ My dad, he was like, ‘Well what happens if you stay at Norwich for one more season, get more games and more experience?’ But it was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down and he saw that. He was just a bit more cautious. Jacob says the twins share a 'telepathic' understanding on the pitch Credit: Empics sport “All I need to do now is have a word with Rafa to get him to sign my brother. No, I have a lot of faith in Josh. If he doesn’t get to the Premier League with Norwich, a Premier League club will come in for him.” It has taken some time for Murphy to show Newcastle supporters what he is capable of, but Benitez has handled him carefully. The signs are good. Not least because Murphy is not easily distracted, not even by Newcastle’s infamous nightlife. Perhaps the biggest revelation of this interview is the 22-year-old has not had a single night out in the city during the six months he has lived there. “I was desperate to impress, it was my dream move and maybe that didn’t help in a funny way,” Murphy explained. “I would try things, dribbling at players and when you lose the ball, there is a reaction, disappointment. You hear it when there are 52,000 people in the stadium. “It was annoying more than anything, because I knew what I was capable of and it didn’t work out at first. I was mainly being used as a sub, coming on for a few minutes. I tried too hard. I would try to do too many elaborate things and they wouldn’t come off and that would frustrate the fans. I was aware of it, but when I started games, I started to find my rhythm and I feel I’m putting the performances in.” He would love Josh to join him at Newcastle one day (Benitez contemplated bidding for both last year), but if Norwich beat Chelsea in their FA Cup replay next week, he will end up playing against Jacob in the fourth round. Their telepathic understanding could be a problem then.
<p>Liga MX returns to action this Friday as Tigres, fresh off its Apertura title, faces struggling Puebla to kick off the 2018 Clausura season.</p><p>When it comes to analyzing the favorites and who will win it all in May, there are no surprises: the path to the Clausura title must go through the two most talented squads coached by the best managers in the league: Tigres and Monterrey. It’s as simple as that. </p><p>Given the short preseason period between Apertura and Clausura tournaments–and the looming matches of CONCACAF Champions League play–however, it will be interesting to evaluate the fitness of last season’s finalists since their preseasons were far shorter than other clubs. It’s been three weeks since Ricardo Ferretti’s squad lifted the trophy against Los Rayados, meaning less time to prepare for the Clausura tournament and allowing other contenders such as Club America, Chivas and Cruz Azul to re-energize and bring in new faces.</p><p>All these teams had intensive preseasons, which included several friendlies in a short period of time. America was undefeated, with two victories against Zacatepec and Toluca, while Cruz Azul won three of its four warm-up matches under the team’s new manager, Pedro Caixinha. The Portuguese head coach joined La Maquina after being fired by Scottish club Rangers last October.</p><p>Tigres, meanwhile, deals with other problems thanks to its winger Jurgen Damm. The 25-year-old is out of action for two weeks due to first-degree burns to the right side of his face during a firework display over the holiday period. It&#39;s not exactly the kind of news Ferretti was hoping for.</p><p>The hope for the champions is that Andre Pierre-Gignac, who was disappointing by his own standards last season, comes back to form this time around. And if he does, that’s a scary thought for everybody else in the league, as his partnership with Enner Valencia would strengthen the club&#39;s chances of an Apertura-Clausura sweep.</p><p>As for Monterrey, everything was there for the taking last season. Antonio Mohamed’s squad looked invincible thanks to its rugged, direct approach and the firepower of the league’s most lethal striker, Aviles Hurtado. But against Tigres, the Colombian was non-existent, mainly due to an injury he suffered prior to the two-legged final. But it was his penalty miss in the 80th minute of the second leg that will haunt him for years to come. It was a sore sight for such a prolific player.</p><p>Hurtado, however, redeemed himself by scoring against Pachuca in the Copa MX final and helping Rayados win 1-0. We’ll see if he can continue his form for this season. </p><p>The arrival of Uruguayan winger Jonathan Urretaviscaya from Pachuca helps matters on the wide areas, as creativity going forward was a major issue against Tigres in the final.</p><p>There is much to discuss as the new season kicks off, especially since this specific Clausura precedes the World Cup, and in a league that features a heavy dose of South and Central American young talent that lives on the bubble of national team recognition, fans will hopefully be treated to some great individual performances throughout the campaign.</p><p>Here are three things to watch in the new Liga MX season:</p><h3><strong>Will Pachuca succeed?</strong></h3><p>After failing to qualify for the 2017 Apertura playoffs and losing to Monterrey in the Copa MX final, Pachuca won back some redemption in the FIFA Club World Cup by beating Al Jazira in the third-place match last month.</p><p>Since that victory, Los Tuzos made some smart acquisitions in the transfer market, as they looked to improve creatively by acquiring the services of pacey striker Kekuta Manneh from MLS on a free transfer, in addition to talented attackers Walter Gonzalez (Olimpia) and Sebastian Palacios (Talleres) and the return of Christian &quot;El Chaco&quot; Gimenez, who played for the club between 2006-2009. Defensively, Diego Alonso’s team has always been effective, but with the arrival of Colombian left back Dairon Mosquera (from Independiente de Santa Fe), this unit looks even stronger.</p><p>The main focus, however, will be on Keisuke Honda. It&#39;s taken some time for the Japanese star to adjust to the league after arriving from AC Milan last summer, but it’s my belief that this is the tournament where will see a lot more from the 31-year-old creative midfielder, and help Pachuca return to the playoffs.</p><h3><strong>Can Miguel Herrera make Club America great again?</strong></h3><p>America’s 2017 Apertura campaign wasn’t disastrous. Herrera after all helped the team reach third place, but as soon as the Liguilla started, scoring goals became a big problem.</p><p>As a result, Las Aguilas are reacting during the transfer window as recent reports suggest a transfer move for PSV Eindhoven’s Luuk de Jong is imminent.</p><p>“De Jong is the [player] that most interests us,&quot; said Herrera, speaking to ESPN on Tuesday evening. &quot;We&#39;ve followed it up and [the opportunity] has been laid on the table. I&#39;m looking for a player with a bigger name than Gignac.&quot;</p><p>After failing to impress for Newcastle United in 2014, de Jong returned to the Netherlands and has been an extremely influential player for PSV, where he is a teammate of former Liga MX star Hirving Lozano. Last season he scored 26 goals in 33 league appearances.</p><p>De Jong could be the extra firepower Herrera needs, especially since Oribe Peralta has not been as effective as of late. America is also reportedly hoping to bring another experienced forward in former PSG striker Jeremy Menez, who is currently with Antalyaspor.</p><p>If successful, Herrera could finally have all the pieces to challenge Tigres and Monterrey for the title.</p><h3><strong>An important season for Mexican players looking to go to the World Cup</strong></h3><p>This is the season that precedes the World Cup, and <a href="http://www.espn.com/soccer/mexican-liga-mx/22/blog/post/3330969/liga-mx-storylines-for-2018-clausura" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:since 40% of Mexico’s national team" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">since 40% of Mexico’s national team</a> is made from domestic based players, many will hope to have a successful season in order to attract the attention of manager Juan Carlos Osorio.</p><p>Some players to watch out for include Cesar Montes, the young talented center back from Monterrey, and Alan Pulido, the prolific Chivas striker who is back after suffering an injury during last summer’s Gold Cup.</p><p>This needs to be a great season for Peralta if he wants to go to Russia and be part of Osorio’s attack. When it comes to his forwards, the Colombian manager is a firm believer of flexibility, and players like Javier Aquino might take Peralta&#39;s spot given that he offers goals as well as creativity from the wide areas. Peralta is more of a direct threat inside the box, but if the 33-year-old can have a strong Clausura, it could be the push that helps him book his ticket to Russia. De Jong’s potential arrival, however, might hamper his chances.</p><p>Then there is the case of Oswaldo Alanis, the Chivas center back who is currently training with the club’s third division team due to contract disputes with the club&#39;s board.</p><p>Alanis’s current deal expires in June and during the offseason he was hoping for a new deal, but Chivas was only prepared to offer a contract for another six months.</p><p>Alanis refused and as a result was demoted, stayed back in Guadalajara while the first team trained in Cancun.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s an institutional posture, nothing personal,&quot; Chivas CEO Jose Luis Higuera said in an interview with Radio Marca Claro. &quot;We&#39;ve treated him with great respect, but he decided not to renew with us. He asked for something that was too much.&quot;</p><p>What makes things even more complicated is that Liga MX, unlike with the Bosman ruling so prevalent in Europe, has a <em>pacto de caballeros </em>(gentlemen’s pact)between owners, where players are not allowed to sign for another club while their contract is essentially coming to an end. Alanis, therefore, is stuck with Chivas until a resolution materializes. That resolution doesn&#39;t look like it&#39;s imminent.</p><p>Matias Almeyda, the club&#39;s technical director, <a href="http://laaficion.milenio.com/guadalajara/oswaldo-alanis-matias-almeyda-chivas-no-jugara-clausura-2018-milenio_0_1096690471.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:said on Wednesday" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">said on Wednesday</a> that despite the fact Alanis remains with Chivas, he won&#39;t play a single minute in the Clausura.</p><p>Last month, the Mexican player’s association released a statement criticizing the situation and defending Alanis.</p><p>&quot;[We&#39;re] tired of some Mexican club directors continuing practices that seeks to exert pressure to obligate players to sign contracts that they don&#39;t accept, including with future threats that put their career at risk,&quot; <a href="https://twitter.com/AMFproMX/status/943240338550001664" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:read some of the statement" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">read some of the statement</a>.</p><p>Due to the transfer window for domestic players already being closed, Alanis has two options: hold off and hope for a solution with his current club or move abroad. Either way, it’s not looking good for a player who is not only important for Chivas, but also a defender who has Osorio&#39;s admiration. </p>
Challengers Mobilize to Unseat Tigres, Monterrey in 2018 Liga MX Clausura

Liga MX returns to action this Friday as Tigres, fresh off its Apertura title, faces struggling Puebla to kick off the 2018 Clausura season.

When it comes to analyzing the favorites and who will win it all in May, there are no surprises: the path to the Clausura title must go through the two most talented squads coached by the best managers in the league: Tigres and Monterrey. It’s as simple as that.

Given the short preseason period between Apertura and Clausura tournaments–and the looming matches of CONCACAF Champions League play–however, it will be interesting to evaluate the fitness of last season’s finalists since their preseasons were far shorter than other clubs. It’s been three weeks since Ricardo Ferretti’s squad lifted the trophy against Los Rayados, meaning less time to prepare for the Clausura tournament and allowing other contenders such as Club America, Chivas and Cruz Azul to re-energize and bring in new faces.

All these teams had intensive preseasons, which included several friendlies in a short period of time. America was undefeated, with two victories against Zacatepec and Toluca, while Cruz Azul won three of its four warm-up matches under the team’s new manager, Pedro Caixinha. The Portuguese head coach joined La Maquina after being fired by Scottish club Rangers last October.

Tigres, meanwhile, deals with other problems thanks to its winger Jurgen Damm. The 25-year-old is out of action for two weeks due to first-degree burns to the right side of his face during a firework display over the holiday period. It's not exactly the kind of news Ferretti was hoping for.

The hope for the champions is that Andre Pierre-Gignac, who was disappointing by his own standards last season, comes back to form this time around. And if he does, that’s a scary thought for everybody else in the league, as his partnership with Enner Valencia would strengthen the club's chances of an Apertura-Clausura sweep.

As for Monterrey, everything was there for the taking last season. Antonio Mohamed’s squad looked invincible thanks to its rugged, direct approach and the firepower of the league’s most lethal striker, Aviles Hurtado. But against Tigres, the Colombian was non-existent, mainly due to an injury he suffered prior to the two-legged final. But it was his penalty miss in the 80th minute of the second leg that will haunt him for years to come. It was a sore sight for such a prolific player.

Hurtado, however, redeemed himself by scoring against Pachuca in the Copa MX final and helping Rayados win 1-0. We’ll see if he can continue his form for this season.

The arrival of Uruguayan winger Jonathan Urretaviscaya from Pachuca helps matters on the wide areas, as creativity going forward was a major issue against Tigres in the final.

There is much to discuss as the new season kicks off, especially since this specific Clausura precedes the World Cup, and in a league that features a heavy dose of South and Central American young talent that lives on the bubble of national team recognition, fans will hopefully be treated to some great individual performances throughout the campaign.

Here are three things to watch in the new Liga MX season:

Will Pachuca succeed?

After failing to qualify for the 2017 Apertura playoffs and losing to Monterrey in the Copa MX final, Pachuca won back some redemption in the FIFA Club World Cup by beating Al Jazira in the third-place match last month.

Since that victory, Los Tuzos made some smart acquisitions in the transfer market, as they looked to improve creatively by acquiring the services of pacey striker Kekuta Manneh from MLS on a free transfer, in addition to talented attackers Walter Gonzalez (Olimpia) and Sebastian Palacios (Talleres) and the return of Christian "El Chaco" Gimenez, who played for the club between 2006-2009. Defensively, Diego Alonso’s team has always been effective, but with the arrival of Colombian left back Dairon Mosquera (from Independiente de Santa Fe), this unit looks even stronger.

The main focus, however, will be on Keisuke Honda. It's taken some time for the Japanese star to adjust to the league after arriving from AC Milan last summer, but it’s my belief that this is the tournament where will see a lot more from the 31-year-old creative midfielder, and help Pachuca return to the playoffs.

Can Miguel Herrera make Club America great again?

America’s 2017 Apertura campaign wasn’t disastrous. Herrera after all helped the team reach third place, but as soon as the Liguilla started, scoring goals became a big problem.

As a result, Las Aguilas are reacting during the transfer window as recent reports suggest a transfer move for PSV Eindhoven’s Luuk de Jong is imminent.

“De Jong is the [player] that most interests us," said Herrera, speaking to ESPN on Tuesday evening. "We've followed it up and [the opportunity] has been laid on the table. I'm looking for a player with a bigger name than Gignac."

After failing to impress for Newcastle United in 2014, de Jong returned to the Netherlands and has been an extremely influential player for PSV, where he is a teammate of former Liga MX star Hirving Lozano. Last season he scored 26 goals in 33 league appearances.

De Jong could be the extra firepower Herrera needs, especially since Oribe Peralta has not been as effective as of late. America is also reportedly hoping to bring another experienced forward in former PSG striker Jeremy Menez, who is currently with Antalyaspor.

If successful, Herrera could finally have all the pieces to challenge Tigres and Monterrey for the title.

An important season for Mexican players looking to go to the World Cup

This is the season that precedes the World Cup, and since 40% of Mexico’s national team is made from domestic based players, many will hope to have a successful season in order to attract the attention of manager Juan Carlos Osorio.

Some players to watch out for include Cesar Montes, the young talented center back from Monterrey, and Alan Pulido, the prolific Chivas striker who is back after suffering an injury during last summer’s Gold Cup.

This needs to be a great season for Peralta if he wants to go to Russia and be part of Osorio’s attack. When it comes to his forwards, the Colombian manager is a firm believer of flexibility, and players like Javier Aquino might take Peralta's spot given that he offers goals as well as creativity from the wide areas. Peralta is more of a direct threat inside the box, but if the 33-year-old can have a strong Clausura, it could be the push that helps him book his ticket to Russia. De Jong’s potential arrival, however, might hamper his chances.

Then there is the case of Oswaldo Alanis, the Chivas center back who is currently training with the club’s third division team due to contract disputes with the club's board.

Alanis’s current deal expires in June and during the offseason he was hoping for a new deal, but Chivas was only prepared to offer a contract for another six months.

Alanis refused and as a result was demoted, stayed back in Guadalajara while the first team trained in Cancun.

"It's an institutional posture, nothing personal," Chivas CEO Jose Luis Higuera said in an interview with Radio Marca Claro. "We've treated him with great respect, but he decided not to renew with us. He asked for something that was too much."

What makes things even more complicated is that Liga MX, unlike with the Bosman ruling so prevalent in Europe, has a pacto de caballeros (gentlemen’s pact)between owners, where players are not allowed to sign for another club while their contract is essentially coming to an end. Alanis, therefore, is stuck with Chivas until a resolution materializes. That resolution doesn't look like it's imminent.

Matias Almeyda, the club's technical director, said on Wednesday that despite the fact Alanis remains with Chivas, he won't play a single minute in the Clausura.

Last month, the Mexican player’s association released a statement criticizing the situation and defending Alanis.

"[We're] tired of some Mexican club directors continuing practices that seeks to exert pressure to obligate players to sign contracts that they don't accept, including with future threats that put their career at risk," read some of the statement.

Due to the transfer window for domestic players already being closed, Alanis has two options: hold off and hope for a solution with his current club or move abroad. Either way, it’s not looking good for a player who is not only important for Chivas, but also a defender who has Osorio's admiration.

<p>Liga MX returns to action this Friday as Tigres, fresh off its Apertura title, faces struggling Puebla to kick off the 2018 Clausura season.</p><p>When it comes to analyzing the favorites and who will win it all in May, there are no surprises: the path to the Clausura title must go through the two most talented squads coached by the best managers in the league: Tigres and Monterrey. It’s as simple as that. </p><p>Given the short preseason period between Apertura and Clausura tournaments–and the looming matches of CONCACAF Champions League play–however, it will be interesting to evaluate the fitness of last season’s finalists since their preseasons were far shorter than other clubs. It’s been three weeks since Ricardo Ferretti’s squad lifted the trophy against Los Rayados, meaning less time to prepare for the Clausura tournament and allowing other contenders such as Club America, Chivas and Cruz Azul to re-energize and bring in new faces.</p><p>All these teams had intensive preseasons, which included several friendlies in a short period of time. America was undefeated, with two victories against Zacatepec and Toluca, while Cruz Azul won three of its four warm-up matches under the team’s new manager, Pedro Caixinha. The Portuguese head coach joined La Maquina after being fired by Scottish club Rangers last October.</p><p>Tigres, meanwhile, deals with other problems thanks to its winger Jurgen Damm. The 25-year-old is out of action for two weeks due to first-degree burns to the right side of his face during a firework display over the holiday period. It&#39;s not exactly the kind of news Ferretti was hoping for.</p><p>The hope for the champions is that Andre Pierre-Gignac, who was disappointing by his own standards last season, comes back to form this time around. And if he does, that’s a scary thought for everybody else in the league, as his partnership with Enner Valencia would strengthen the club&#39;s chances of an Apertura-Clausura sweep.</p><p>As for Monterrey, everything was there for the taking last season. Antonio Mohamed’s squad looked invincible thanks to its rugged, direct approach and the firepower of the league’s most lethal striker, Aviles Hurtado. But against Tigres, the Colombian was non-existent, mainly due to an injury he suffered prior to the two-legged final. But it was his penalty miss in the 80th minute of the second leg that will haunt him for years to come. It was a sore sight for such a prolific player.</p><p>Hurtado, however, redeemed himself by scoring against Pachuca in the Copa MX final and helping Rayados win 1-0. We’ll see if he can continue his form for this season. </p><p>The arrival of Uruguayan winger Jonathan Urretaviscaya from Pachuca helps matters on the wide areas, as creativity going forward was a major issue against Tigres in the final.</p><p>There is much to discuss as the new season kicks off, especially since this specific Clausura precedes the World Cup, and in a league that features a heavy dose of South and Central American young talent that lives on the bubble of national team recognition, fans will hopefully be treated to some great individual performances throughout the campaign.</p><p>Here are three things to watch in the new Liga MX season:</p><h3><strong>Will Pachuca succeed?</strong></h3><p>After failing to qualify for the 2017 Apertura playoffs and losing to Monterrey in the Copa MX final, Pachuca won back some redemption in the FIFA Club World Cup by beating Al Jazira in the third-place match last month.</p><p>Since that victory, Los Tuzos made some smart acquisitions in the transfer market, as they looked to improve creatively by acquiring the services of pacey striker Kekuta Manneh from MLS on a free transfer, in addition to talented attackers Walter Gonzalez (Olimpia) and Sebastian Palacios (Talleres) and the return of Christian &quot;El Chaco&quot; Gimenez, who played for the club between 2006-2009. Defensively, Diego Alonso’s team has always been effective, but with the arrival of Colombian left back Dairon Mosquera (from Independiente de Santa Fe), this unit looks even stronger.</p><p>The main focus, however, will be on Keisuke Honda. It&#39;s taken some time for the Japanese star to adjust to the league after arriving from AC Milan last summer, but it’s my belief that this is the tournament where will see a lot more from the 31-year-old creative midfielder, and help Pachuca return to the playoffs.</p><h3><strong>Can Miguel Herrera make Club America great again?</strong></h3><p>America’s 2017 Apertura campaign wasn’t disastrous. Herrera after all helped the team reach third place, but as soon as the Liguilla started, scoring goals became a big problem.</p><p>As a result, Las Aguilas are reacting during the transfer window as recent reports suggest a transfer move for PSV Eindhoven’s Luuk de Jong is imminent.</p><p>“De Jong is the [player] that most interests us,&quot; said Herrera, speaking to ESPN on Tuesday evening. &quot;We&#39;ve followed it up and [the opportunity] has been laid on the table. I&#39;m looking for a player with a bigger name than Gignac.&quot;</p><p>After failing to impress for Newcastle United in 2014, de Jong returned to the Netherlands and has been an extremely influential player for PSV, where he is a teammate of former Liga MX star Hirving Lozano. Last season he scored 26 goals in 33 league appearances.</p><p>De Jong could be the extra firepower Herrera needs, especially since Oribe Peralta has not been as effective as of late. America is also reportedly hoping to bring another experienced forward in former PSG striker Jeremy Menez, who is currently with Antalyaspor.</p><p>If successful, Herrera could finally have all the pieces to challenge Tigres and Monterrey for the title.</p><h3><strong>An important season for Mexican players looking to go to the World Cup</strong></h3><p>This is the season that precedes the World Cup, and <a href="http://www.espn.com/soccer/mexican-liga-mx/22/blog/post/3330969/liga-mx-storylines-for-2018-clausura" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:since 40% of Mexico’s national team" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">since 40% of Mexico’s national team</a> is made from domestic based players, many will hope to have a successful season in order to attract the attention of manager Juan Carlos Osorio.</p><p>Some players to watch out for include Cesar Montes, the young talented center back from Monterrey, and Alan Pulido, the prolific Chivas striker who is back after suffering an injury during last summer’s Gold Cup.</p><p>This needs to be a great season for Peralta if he wants to go to Russia and be part of Osorio’s attack. When it comes to his forwards, the Colombian manager is a firm believer of flexibility, and players like Javier Aquino might take Peralta&#39;s spot given that he offers goals as well as creativity from the wide areas. Peralta is more of a direct threat inside the box, but if the 33-year-old can have a strong Clausura, it could be the push that helps him book his ticket to Russia. De Jong’s potential arrival, however, might hamper his chances.</p><p>Then there is the case of Oswaldo Alanis, the Chivas center back who is currently training with the club’s third division team due to contract disputes with the club&#39;s board.</p><p>Alanis’s current deal expires in June and during the offseason he was hoping for a new deal, but Chivas was only prepared to offer a contract for another six months.</p><p>Alanis refused and as a result was demoted, stayed back in Guadalajara while the first team trained in Cancun.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s an institutional posture, nothing personal,&quot; Chivas CEO Jose Luis Higuera said in an interview with Radio Marca Claro. &quot;We&#39;ve treated him with great respect, but he decided not to renew with us. He asked for something that was too much.&quot;</p><p>What makes things even more complicated is that Liga MX, unlike with the Bosman ruling so prevalent in Europe, has a <em>pacto de caballeros </em>(gentlemen’s pact)between owners, where players are not allowed to sign for another club while their contract is essentially coming to an end. Alanis, therefore, is stuck with Chivas until a resolution materializes. That resolution doesn&#39;t look like it&#39;s imminent.</p><p>Matias Almeyda, the club&#39;s technical director, <a href="http://laaficion.milenio.com/guadalajara/oswaldo-alanis-matias-almeyda-chivas-no-jugara-clausura-2018-milenio_0_1096690471.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:said on Wednesday" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">said on Wednesday</a> that despite the fact Alanis remains with Chivas, he won&#39;t play a single minute in the Clausura.</p><p>Last month, the Mexican player’s association released a statement criticizing the situation and defending Alanis.</p><p>&quot;[We&#39;re] tired of some Mexican club directors continuing practices that seeks to exert pressure to obligate players to sign contracts that they don&#39;t accept, including with future threats that put their career at risk,&quot; <a href="https://twitter.com/AMFproMX/status/943240338550001664" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:read some of the statement" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">read some of the statement</a>.</p><p>Due to the transfer window for domestic players already being closed, Alanis has two options: hold off and hope for a solution with his current club or move abroad. Either way, it’s not looking good for a player who is not only important for Chivas, but also a defender who has Osorio&#39;s admiration. </p>
Challengers Mobilize to Unseat Tigres, Monterrey in 2018 Liga MX Clausura

Liga MX returns to action this Friday as Tigres, fresh off its Apertura title, faces struggling Puebla to kick off the 2018 Clausura season.

When it comes to analyzing the favorites and who will win it all in May, there are no surprises: the path to the Clausura title must go through the two most talented squads coached by the best managers in the league: Tigres and Monterrey. It’s as simple as that.

Given the short preseason period between Apertura and Clausura tournaments–and the looming matches of CONCACAF Champions League play–however, it will be interesting to evaluate the fitness of last season’s finalists since their preseasons were far shorter than other clubs. It’s been three weeks since Ricardo Ferretti’s squad lifted the trophy against Los Rayados, meaning less time to prepare for the Clausura tournament and allowing other contenders such as Club America, Chivas and Cruz Azul to re-energize and bring in new faces.

All these teams had intensive preseasons, which included several friendlies in a short period of time. America was undefeated, with two victories against Zacatepec and Toluca, while Cruz Azul won three of its four warm-up matches under the team’s new manager, Pedro Caixinha. The Portuguese head coach joined La Maquina after being fired by Scottish club Rangers last October.

Tigres, meanwhile, deals with other problems thanks to its winger Jurgen Damm. The 25-year-old is out of action for two weeks due to first-degree burns to the right side of his face during a firework display over the holiday period. It's not exactly the kind of news Ferretti was hoping for.

The hope for the champions is that Andre Pierre-Gignac, who was disappointing by his own standards last season, comes back to form this time around. And if he does, that’s a scary thought for everybody else in the league, as his partnership with Enner Valencia would strengthen the club's chances of an Apertura-Clausura sweep.

As for Monterrey, everything was there for the taking last season. Antonio Mohamed’s squad looked invincible thanks to its rugged, direct approach and the firepower of the league’s most lethal striker, Aviles Hurtado. But against Tigres, the Colombian was non-existent, mainly due to an injury he suffered prior to the two-legged final. But it was his penalty miss in the 80th minute of the second leg that will haunt him for years to come. It was a sore sight for such a prolific player.

Hurtado, however, redeemed himself by scoring against Pachuca in the Copa MX final and helping Rayados win 1-0. We’ll see if he can continue his form for this season.

The arrival of Uruguayan winger Jonathan Urretaviscaya from Pachuca helps matters on the wide areas, as creativity going forward was a major issue against Tigres in the final.

There is much to discuss as the new season kicks off, especially since this specific Clausura precedes the World Cup, and in a league that features a heavy dose of South and Central American young talent that lives on the bubble of national team recognition, fans will hopefully be treated to some great individual performances throughout the campaign.

Here are three things to watch in the new Liga MX season:

Will Pachuca succeed?

After failing to qualify for the 2017 Apertura playoffs and losing to Monterrey in the Copa MX final, Pachuca won back some redemption in the FIFA Club World Cup by beating Al Jazira in the third-place match last month.

Since that victory, Los Tuzos made some smart acquisitions in the transfer market, as they looked to improve creatively by acquiring the services of pacey striker Kekuta Manneh from MLS on a free transfer, in addition to talented attackers Walter Gonzalez (Olimpia) and Sebastian Palacios (Talleres) and the return of Christian "El Chaco" Gimenez, who played for the club between 2006-2009. Defensively, Diego Alonso’s team has always been effective, but with the arrival of Colombian left back Dairon Mosquera (from Independiente de Santa Fe), this unit looks even stronger.

The main focus, however, will be on Keisuke Honda. It's taken some time for the Japanese star to adjust to the league after arriving from AC Milan last summer, but it’s my belief that this is the tournament where will see a lot more from the 31-year-old creative midfielder, and help Pachuca return to the playoffs.

Can Miguel Herrera make Club America great again?

America’s 2017 Apertura campaign wasn’t disastrous. Herrera after all helped the team reach third place, but as soon as the Liguilla started, scoring goals became a big problem.

As a result, Las Aguilas are reacting during the transfer window as recent reports suggest a transfer move for PSV Eindhoven’s Luuk de Jong is imminent.

“De Jong is the [player] that most interests us," said Herrera, speaking to ESPN on Tuesday evening. "We've followed it up and [the opportunity] has been laid on the table. I'm looking for a player with a bigger name than Gignac."

After failing to impress for Newcastle United in 2014, de Jong returned to the Netherlands and has been an extremely influential player for PSV, where he is a teammate of former Liga MX star Hirving Lozano. Last season he scored 26 goals in 33 league appearances.

De Jong could be the extra firepower Herrera needs, especially since Oribe Peralta has not been as effective as of late. America is also reportedly hoping to bring another experienced forward in former PSG striker Jeremy Menez, who is currently with Antalyaspor.

If successful, Herrera could finally have all the pieces to challenge Tigres and Monterrey for the title.

An important season for Mexican players looking to go to the World Cup

This is the season that precedes the World Cup, and since 40% of Mexico’s national team is made from domestic based players, many will hope to have a successful season in order to attract the attention of manager Juan Carlos Osorio.

Some players to watch out for include Cesar Montes, the young talented center back from Monterrey, and Alan Pulido, the prolific Chivas striker who is back after suffering an injury during last summer’s Gold Cup.

This needs to be a great season for Peralta if he wants to go to Russia and be part of Osorio’s attack. When it comes to his forwards, the Colombian manager is a firm believer of flexibility, and players like Javier Aquino might take Peralta's spot given that he offers goals as well as creativity from the wide areas. Peralta is more of a direct threat inside the box, but if the 33-year-old can have a strong Clausura, it could be the push that helps him book his ticket to Russia. De Jong’s potential arrival, however, might hamper his chances.

Then there is the case of Oswaldo Alanis, the Chivas center back who is currently training with the club’s third division team due to contract disputes with the club's board.

Alanis’s current deal expires in June and during the offseason he was hoping for a new deal, but Chivas was only prepared to offer a contract for another six months.

Alanis refused and as a result was demoted, stayed back in Guadalajara while the first team trained in Cancun.

"It's an institutional posture, nothing personal," Chivas CEO Jose Luis Higuera said in an interview with Radio Marca Claro. "We've treated him with great respect, but he decided not to renew with us. He asked for something that was too much."

What makes things even more complicated is that Liga MX, unlike with the Bosman ruling so prevalent in Europe, has a pacto de caballeros (gentlemen’s pact)between owners, where players are not allowed to sign for another club while their contract is essentially coming to an end. Alanis, therefore, is stuck with Chivas until a resolution materializes. That resolution doesn't look like it's imminent.

Matias Almeyda, the club's technical director, said on Wednesday that despite the fact Alanis remains with Chivas, he won't play a single minute in the Clausura.

Last month, the Mexican player’s association released a statement criticizing the situation and defending Alanis.

"[We're] tired of some Mexican club directors continuing practices that seeks to exert pressure to obligate players to sign contracts that they don't accept, including with future threats that put their career at risk," read some of the statement.

Due to the transfer window for domestic players already being closed, Alanis has two options: hold off and hope for a solution with his current club or move abroad. Either way, it’s not looking good for a player who is not only important for Chivas, but also a defender who has Osorio's admiration.

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