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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer proves at PSG he’s the only choice for Man United manager

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted recently that he wanted to “give the best job interview I could ever do” during his supposedly temporary spell as Manchester United manager. The Norwegian had already done that before his team stunned Paris Saint-Germain to qualify for the Champions League quarterfinals, but this historic victory must surely now be followed by confirmation that he really is the man to take the job on a permanent basis.

Solskjaer really can do no more to earn the right to become Jose Mourinho’s full-time successor at Old Trafford after this, but with the result — a 3-1 win — and performance being played out in front of club owner Avram Glazer, former manager Sir Alex Ferguson and Old Trafford icon Eric Cantona, it was a night that felt like a coronation.new nike nfl jerseys cheap

The next time United make a public announcement, it should be to tell the world that Solskjaer, currently on loan from Norwegian club Molde, is their new manager. If not, United supporters might just storm Old Trafford in protest, and honestly who could blame them.

When the 46-year-old arrived at Old Trafford last December, he was answering an SOS call from his former club, who were drifting badly off course in the Premier League under Mourinho.6

United were 11 points adrift of the top four, with senior players, most notably Pogba, at odds with the Portuguese boss and so badly out of form that a January clearout could not be ruled out.

Ed Woodward, United’s executive vice-chairman, called on Solskjaer to steady the ship and try to salvage something from the season while the club searched for and appointed an experienced manager to repair the damage caused by Mourinho. Mauricio Pochettino was top of Woodward’s list. The Tottenham manager was the only serious name in the frame, but Solskjaer not only got on with the job, he repaired the broken dressing room, restored belief among the supporters and put a smile back on the club’s face.

The results came immediately and they haven’t stopped, with only PSG beating Solskjaer’s United — 2-0 in the first leg at Old Trafford — during an incredible run of 14 wins in 17 games.nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal

But nobody outside of the United dressing room really believed they had a chance of overcoming PSG in the Parc des Princes. Inspired by Kylian Mbappe, the French champions destroyed United at Old Trafford in a 2-0 victory last month.

Gerrard advises Liverpool to ‘believe in yourselves,’ admits title won’t close his personal ‘wound’

Jurgen Klopp’s current group of players now sit second in the table, a point behind City, after losing momentum since starting 2019 seven points ahead of Pep Guardiola’s men.

Gerrard, now managing in Scotland with Rangers, has been watching from afar as Liverpool’s title bid has faltered.

And with the club still looking to end a title drought stretching back to 1990, the former Liverpool captain admits he continues to be haunted by 2014.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

“It doesn’t affect how I feel towards what I am looking in on now.

“I look at a squad of players, some of whom I am still friends with. I see a support that gave me absolutely everything from the terraces and around the world.5

“I just hope for their sake, and mine as a supporter, that come the end of the competition they are victorious. But it won’t make me or my wound feel any different.”

Gerrard won every major club honour except the Premier League during his illustrious Liverpool career, but while he insists that his other trophies help soften the blow of missing out on the title, the memory of falling short does not go away.

“I don’t just look back to that one game [Chelsea] or one campaign,” he said. “I don’t overthink and drive myself crazy over it.

“At the same time, I have been honest and open, it was such a big year. It was the trophy that eluded me, so of course I am always going to look back and wish it was different.

“If I had a choice of winning the Champions League or Premier League, I’d say the Champions League probably.

“But that doesn’t mean I didn’t crave a Premier League. It is such a big prize.new nike nfl jerseys cheap

“But I don’t want to give the players a warning. Warnings seem critical or panicky.

“My advice, having been a player in that team and playing for those supporters for so long, would be don’t overthink it. Just enjoy it. Believe in yourselves.”

Sancho exclusive: ‘I’m happy that I’ve opened doors’ for young English players with Dortmund move

A different club, a different league, a different town, a different country. Life, in football and beyond, has changed so much for Jadon Sancho since his move to Borussia Dortmund 20 months ago that it can be a bit a difficult to take it all in.

“If you’d asked me three years ago where I’d be today, I couldn’t give you an answer,” the 18-year-old told ESPN in a TV studio buried beneath the Signal Iduna Park main stand, with a huge smile on his face.nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal

“I wouldn’t have thought it would be here and me doing this well,” he said. “[The biggest surprise to me is] just how everything has gone so far. It’s gone so quickly. It’s all crazy right now.”6

The Camberwell, London-born winger has become the face of an idea, a shining star for the argument in favour of career-furthering migration. He’s the teenage conquistador who has shown his generation of English academy alumni a whole new world of possible progress across the English Channel.

“It’s a good feeling, a nice feeling,” he said of his pioneering role. “It’s a good thing to give other players the opportunities somewhere else and not just at home. Give them a wider vision of what’s out there. I’m happy that I’ve opened doors.”

But as more and more Bundesliga clubs are scrambling to sign the best British talent, desperate not to miss out on the next Sancho, the former Manchester City player warned other youngsters stranded in the Premier League’s nebulous “upside down” between the reserves and the first squad that going to the German top flight is not necessarily a cure-all.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“They do ask me what it’s like, and I tell them truthfully: It’s not easy. It’s difficult.”

Sancho admitted that he “never knew” the Bundesliga was as “tough and physical” as he found it to be after signing for the Black and Yellows in the summer of 2017. “You’ve got to be very sharp. You just have to be on point,” he said.

Kevin Muscat confident Melbourne Victory can make Champions League impact as injuries mount

On the eve of an AFC Champions League campaign and with the race to the A-League finals in the home straight, Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat has issues.

Any realistic chance the defending champions had of taking top spot from Perth evaporated into the steamy Geelong night air on Saturday when Newcastle inflicted a 2-0 loss.

It was the fourth match in succession that the Victory failed to claim maximum points and the fifth in a row where they fell behind on the score sheet.

In addition to scoring concerns, Muscat is dealing with injuries and suspensions.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Georg Niedermeier missed the GMHBA Stadium encounter after a red card in the Melbourne derby, while star Swedish striker Ola Toivonen (illness), skipper Carl Valeri (hamstring) and winger Elvis Kamsoba (knee) were also absent.5

To rub salt into the wounds, James Donachie has a suspension coming after he was sent off in injury time for a second yellow card.

Muscat is taking a glass-half full approach ahead of Tuesday night’s opening Champions League clash with Korean side Daegu FC at AAMI Park.

“With the illness and injury, the players have done remarkably well considering all of the disruptions from week to week,” Muscat said.

“At this point in time is it starting to affect us? I don’t think so because the performance didn’t earn the result but there was a lot to like about it.nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal

“We’ll go into Tuesday night’s game with confidence, I’ll make that clear now.

“It’s exciting and we’ll use these extra games that we’ve got to get better and better for the run into the end of the [A-League] season.”

Pedro insists Kepa substitution row did not split Chelsea dressing room

The incident with Kepa was widely viewed as undermining Sarri’s authority and several reports this week claimed members of the Chelsea squad had sided with their goalkeeper over their head coach.

But speaking to ESPN after the Spurs win, Pedro insisted: “There has been a lot of talk this week and that always destabilises [things] a little, but the truth is that in the dressing room we are together, as a great team.cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal

“We have not given much importance to everything that has been talked about and in the end that is the most important thing. We are focused on doing well in every game to get the three points, because from here to the end of the season they will be all finals and we will try to fight to be in the top four.

“This was a great match for us to gain confidence and stay there [in the fight for the top four].6

“We have all talked to each other in the dressing room. We’ve also talked to Willy and we’ve talked to the coach. The truth is that we have solved all the problems and I think it has been a [small] incident rather than a serious problem.

“It always serves to learn. We are with Kepa, with Willy and with the manager. This is the path that we have to follow. Now we need to get ready very well for the match against Fulham because it is another final.”

Kepa’s moment of public insubordination at Wembley overshadowed an improved performance from Chelsea even in defeat on penalties to City, and they built on the positives on their return to Premier League action against Spurs.

Asked if Wednesday’s win could be a turning point in a difficult season, Pedro replied: “I think so. We have played very well in the last two games, we were more solid, more compact and we created more chances.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

“Against City we already played a great game. It was a pity that we did not have luck in front of goal. Today we did have that and this is the way to go.

“We have to keep playing like this against the top teams and against any team every week to try not to drop points and be in the top [four], because now it is our main goal.”

England women’s Jordan Nobbs part of World Cup preparations despite long-term injury

England vice-captain Jordan Nobbs will still play a part in the squad’s preparations for this summer’s World Cup in France despite injury ruling her out of the tournament.

Arsenal midfielder Nobbs suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury in November and will not be available for the SheBelievesCup — a tournament which includes hosts United States, Japan and Brazil — which starts on Feb. 27.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

However the assistant to England women’s head coach Phil Neville, Bev Priestman, said they are still including the 26-year-old in decisions because of her leadership qualities, despite her not travelling to the U.S.5

“She’s still part of our captains’ group, so instead of her not being involved at all, she contributes,” Priestman said. “It’s a leadership group of players that we use as a sort of two-way conduit between the players and the staff, making sure the environment gets the best out of them.

“She’s certainly still a big part of this team.If we have meet-up days in England, commercial days where she can be in and around the team, we get her in. The girls love having her around and she’s been in and around the environment because we see her as part of this team moving forward.cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal

“It would be short-sighted to move on without Jordan with [the Women’s Euros in England in] 2021, [Tokyo Olympics] 2020 in mind.”

Manchester City midfielder Jill Scott has withdrawn from the U.S. tournament in order to work on her fitness, and Priestman said the absence of the duo will present a “big opportunity” for others, including Brisbane Roar forward Chioma Ubogagu.

Premier League will lose its most unique player when Mousa Dembele leaves Tottenham

Promising young footballers are regularly compared to a current or former great and it’s usually based upon a couple of attributes: the new Thierry Henry, the new Lionel Messi, the new Ronaldo. They rarely live up to the billing, but it’s a useful shortcut for describing their style. It’s difficult, though, to imagine anyone being an accurate “new Mousa Dembele” — not because the Belgian was so magnificent that no one could possibly come close, but because Dembele is unlike anyone else before or since.
Rewind to summer 2010, when Dembele joined Fulham. They’d just been defeated in the Europa League final, had lost Roy Hodgson to Liverpool and appointed Mark Hughes as their new manager. Dembele was a promising signing, having won the Eredivisie with Louis van Gaal’s AZ, but he was regarded as a forward. The Guardian’s report described him as “the Belgium striker” while noting that “he can also play on the wing.” Hughes said he was “strong and quick, and will add another dimension to our attacking options.”nfl cheap jerseys nike

Dembele came off the bench against Manchester United and then made his full debut at Blackpool, where he played just off Bobby Zamora and assisted both goals in a 2-2 draw. The next weekend he was again Zamora’s strike partner in a home clash with Wolves. Zamora suffered a broken leg in the first half but Dembele came to Fulham’s rescue with two goals, securing a dramatic 2-1 win.

“We hope Moussa can get the goals — there’s a big onus on him now that Bobby’s out,” said Hughes. That made sense: he’d managed two goals in two starts. Yet despite playing the remainder of the season up front, Dembele didn’t manage another goal until his final game of the season, a 5-2 home defeat to Liverpool. In fact, he was so lacking as a goal-scoring threat that his position changed entirely.6

The crucial change came in a home contest against Stoke the following February. When one journalist dared to tweet (presumably having been tipped off by a dressing room source) that Dembele would be starting alongside Danny Murphy in the engine room, he was widely mocked. This was a forward and a relentless dribbler; Fulham played two aggressive wingers. How would Martin Jol, who had replaced Hughes, be brave enough to use him in a midfield duo? But, sure enough, that’s what happened. With new signing Pavel Pogrebnyak playing up front and scoring on debut, Dembele was now a deep central midfielder.

“Dembele was playing in a deeper role than usual and the Belgian was clearly enjoying being able to dictate the play,” read the match report on Fulham’s website.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“Dembele was impressing for the hosts despite playing in an unusual role alongside Danny Murphy in central midfield,” read the Daily Express. “The Belgium international was leading the Stoke defenders a merry dance.”

That set the tone for the rest of Dembele’s Premier League career: opponents found themselves unable to get close. This was 2012, a period when Barcelona still dominated European football and Spain were about to complete their hat-trick of international successes, a period when midfielders were essentially all about passing. But Dembele, while very reliable in possession, was largely about dribbling. It’s difficult to think of another central midfielder so adept at turning away from pressure, at slaloming past opponents to launch a quick break.

India must turn ‘Sorrow of Sharjah’ at Asian Cup into fuel for fire

Japan’s J League started in 1993. At the same time, the national team was doing well in qualification for the 1994 World Cup and what would be a first appearance on the global stage. Going into the final game against Iraq in Qatar, the Samurai Blue just had to win to book their ticket. The goal was duly scored, and at halftime the team’s Dutch coach, Hans Ooft, wrote “45 minutes to the World Cup” on the whiteboard in the dressing room. Iraq equalised soon after the break, but Japan restored their lead and were in front with just seconds to go.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Then it happened. Jaffar Osman Salman rose in the area and his header looped ever so slowly, ever so painfully, over the head of the goalkeeper. Suddenly it was 2-2, Japanese players were sinking to their knees and South Korea, who had already won their game and were lying down on the turf thinking it was all over, were celebrating instead.5

Years later, Ooft theorised that the heartbreak of 1993 had been an important turning point in the history of Japanese football. To have something so valuable in your hands, only to have it snatched away in the cruelest way possible, had two effects.

Qualifying for the 2019 Asian Cup was a fine achievement, but that was nothing to thrashing Thailand in the opening game. Thailand have been the dominant team in Southeast Asia, a stronger region than South Asia, for much of this decade. They expected to win comfortably against India with three of their players in the J League, but they lost 4-1. India then went on to face the host United Arab Emirates, the third-placed team from 2015, a team that wasn’t that far from qualifying for last summer’s World Cup and a team a couple of levels above India in Asian terms. The U.A.E., led by former Serie A and Asian Cup-winning coach Alberto Zaccheroni, won 2-0, but India impressed once again and had they been more clinical and the crossbar a little thinner then a deserved point would have come their way.nfl cheap jerseys nike

It left the Blue Tigers needing a point against Bahrain in the final game. When you only need a draw, it can make for a difficult situation. Do you attack, defend or do a bit of both? India defended and did so too deeply. It very nearly worked, but a careless tackle from captain Pronay Halder in the dying seconds prompted the referee to point to the spot.

Asian Cup: Qatar, Japan, Uzbekistan win opening games

Qatar and Japan won their opening games at the Asian Cup on Wednesday, but for both teams it’s all about 2022. Quite literally for Qatar, who are hosting the next World Cup that year and scored their first goal at 8:22 p.m. — or 2022 — Qatar time.

Japan’s quest for a record fifth title started with a 3-2 victory over Turkmenistan, while Qatar earned a 2-0 win over Lebanon amid political tension with the host nation.

After giving up an early goal, Japan — who have a young squad that’s been rebuilt with an eye on the next World Cup — scored three in quick succession to turn the game around.

Yuya Osako scored in the 56th and 60th minutes, the latter following a goalkeeping error, and Ritsu Doan made it 3-1 in the 71st.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

Arslanmurat Amanov scored with a long-range shot to give Turkmenistan — the Asian Cup’s second-lowest-ranked team — the lead in the 26th minute. Ahmet Atayev converted a penalty toward the end after a foul by Japan goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda.6

After losing to Belgium in the last 16 of the 2018 World Cup, Japan are trying to rebuild. Coach Hajime Moriyasu left some experienced players off the team for the Asian Cup, including midfielder Shinji Kagawa and forward Shinji Okazaki. He is instead giving more prominence to players like Gonda, whose last competitive international game was in 2013.

Japan are unbeaten in six games since the World Cup, five of those victories.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

In the other Group F match, Uzbekistan beat Oman 2-1. Eldor Shomurodov scored the winning goal in the 85th minute.

Uzbekistan finished the match with 10 men after defender Egor Krimets was sent off in stoppage time for fouling an opposing player who was through on goal.

Qatar dominated possession but lacked a cutting edge against Lebanon before Iraqi-born Bassam Al-Rawi curled in a free kick in the 65th. Almoez Ali made it 2-0 from a rebound 14 minutes later.

Earlier, Lebanon thought they had scored their first major-tournament goal since 2000 through Ali Hamam from a corner, but it was ruled out for a foul away from the ball.

Kane reminds Chelsea of what they’re missing as Spurs grab advantage

When Stuart Pearce was England Under-21s manager, he went to visit Pep Guardiola at Barcelona. The two spent a few days together, Guardiola offered various pieces of advice on all aspects of the game, but as the two men parted he turned around and offered one final suggestion: “By the way, get a Messi in your side.”cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Mauricio Pochettino might say something similar about Harry Kane.

Kane’s first-half penalty was the difference between Tottenham and Chelsea in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semifinal at Wembley on Tuesday. It was a penalty awarded after the VAR ruled Kepa Arrizabalaga had fouled Kane in his area, a ruling that came after Kane’s run was adjudged to have been kept onside by Cesar Azpilicueta. The latter proved controversial, with Maurizio Sarri slamming the decision, citing “the pictures on our camera,” which revealed that “Kane was offside, clearly offside.”5

“I think we deserved more, because in this match we played better than the opponents,” he explained, in plain-enough terms. “We were in control of the match. We played about 70 balls in the opposing box, against 11 balls from Tottenham. Eighteen shots against seven, I think. Five goal opportunities against two.”

All of which is the sort of analysis that you can paint as either a good or a bad thing for Chelsea. Good that they dominated, particularly in parts of the second half, but the fact they didn’t convert that dominance into goals and a victory must be a concern.

Which, in turn, emphasised the glaring difference between the two teams at Wembley. Kane’s goal may have been only a penalty, but where the England captain is concerned, for “penalty” you can read “goal.” He’s missed only one of his past 14, that against Liverpool last season, a failure that dogged him for a full seven minutes before another came along, which he of course buried.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

Those seven minutes perhaps encapsulated one of the main reasons why Kane is so good. It’s like he has one of those memory erasers from “Men In Black,” but rather than making him forget extra-terrestrial encounters, it wipes misses from his brain, freeing him from the self-doubt that might lodge in the brains of others.