Jose Mourinho backs VAR with 'adjustments' ahead of Man United's FA Cup tie

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Jose Mourinho has backed the VAR system, with reservations.

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho backs the controversial video assistant referee system because it helps officials make “fair decisions”, but says it needs adjustments to preserve the flow of the game.

United will play in a match in which VAR is being trialled for the first time at Huddersfield in Saturday’s FA Cup fifth-round tie.

VAR has been used in the competition already this season, most notably when West Brom won 3-2 at Liverpool in the fourth round, as well as in the League Cup.

The system reviews key moments linked to goals, penalty decisions, red-card incidents and cases of mistaken identity.

Asked for his views on VAR, Mourinho told United’s in-house channel MUTV: “When people ask us if we like it, if we don’t like it, if we agree with it or don’t agree with it, I think honestly it’s a question for the referees.

“They want to perform the best they can. They don’t like to make mistakes. And sometimes they make mistakes because it’s a human mistake and you cannot go over it unless you have some technological support.

“So if the referees are happy with that technological support, then, yes, let’s go for the VAR. I think, from my perspective, I like the feeling.”

But the United boss said tweaks were needed to ensure the technology does not interrupt the rhythm of the game.

“Of course they need adjustments,” he said. “They need to make sure that they don’t change the dynamic of the game too much, the emotion of the game too much – people waiting a couple of minutes to know if they can jump (and celebrate) because it was a goal.

VAR was in the centre of a storm during the 4th-round tie between Liverpool and West Brom.

VAR was in the centre of a storm during the 4th-round tie between Liverpool and West Brom.

“But from my professional perspective, I like the feeling of a right decision is coming. It’s a penalty or not a penalty, it’s handball or not handball, it’s a red card or not a red card. I think a fair decision is a feeling that I like.”

The VAR system took centre stage during the Liverpool-West Brom clash on January 27. It was used three times in the first half, including the first time in English football that a referee used a pitchside television replay.

Although it eventually led to correct decisions being made, questions were asked about the process, particularly the amount of time it took.

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Former Man United and Celtic midfielder Liam Miller dies aged 36

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Former Celtic, Manchester United and Republic of Ireland midfielder Liam Miller died on Friday night at the age of 36 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Miller grew up in Ovens a village in County Cork, and although he played Gaelic football, his real passion was soccer, with a fondness for Celtic taken from his father Billy, a Scotsman from Motherwell.

He joined the Parkhead club at the age of 15 and, on May 21, 2000, in Kenny Dalglish’s last game as Hoops manager, he made his debut as a second-half substitute in a 2-0 home win over Dundee United.

A loan spell at Aarhus in Denmark followed and the talented playmaker with good pace and mobility did not break into the Celtic first team properly until 2003/04 under Martin O’Neill and he picked up a Ladbrokes Premiership medal that season.

Miller, a quiet man not prone to breast-beating, initially took some stick from the Parkhead fans when he controversially rejected the offer of a new deal from the Glasgow club to sign for Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United on a ‘Bosman’ at the end of the season.

O’Neill was pragmatic: “We’re all disappointed that Liam’s going to be leaving. But contrary to what some people might think, I have not got a problem playing him. Whatever reaction he’ll get from the Celtic fans I think Liam will be able to cope with it.”

Before he left Parkhead he won the first of 21 caps with the Republic of Ireland in a 2-1 win over Czech Republic at Lansdowne Road – “getting onto the pitch was definitely one of the proudest moments of my life, I’ve always dreamed about it and it came true” – and he scored once for his country, in a 3-0 win over Sweden in 2006.
Miller struggled to establish himself in a United central midfield and he had a loan spell at Leeds United in 2005.

The Irishman joined Sunderland in 2006 and spent three years with the Black Cats, then bossed by former United team-mate Roy Keane, winning the football League Championship in 2006/07 before moving to Queens Park Rangers in January, 2009 only to be released that May.

The next move was back to Scotland where he signed for Hibernian, staying at Easter Road for two seasons before moving to Australia’s A-League where he joined Perth Glory.

After spells at Brisbane Roar and Melbourne City he returned to Ireland in 2015 to join Cork City. A year later he was off to Wilmington Hammerheads in the USA before returning to his hometown last November after being diagnosed with his illness.

In an interview published in the Irish Examiner in February, 2015, following his return to Cork City, Miller refuted any notion that his career had not reached the heights it had promised.

“I genuinely look back and think, ‘I played for Celtic’, my boyhood club,” he said.

“I dreamed of playing for Man United and I got that opportunity as well. I don’t know how many other people can say they played for their two childhood clubs, or even one childhood club. Of course, I would have loved to play more games, don’t get me wrong, but I got to learn from some of the best players ever. Looking back, it was wonderful.

“Growing up for me, I just wanted to play football. And as I got better and better, the opportunities came around for me. Nothing’s ever guaranteed – you could get an injury in the morning, touch wood – but, I worked my socks off and the hard work paid off for me.”

Amid a flood of tributes, Celtic’s official Twitter account said:

“We are incredibly saddened to hear of the passing of former Hibernian midfielder Liam Miller. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time,” read Hibs’ official Twitter account, while former Celtic team-mate Mark Burchill said on his Twitter account: “Can’t believe my old team-mate Liam miller @CelticFC has passed away today.. taken far too soon.. horrific news.. thoughts and prayers with his family at this time #RipLiam”.

Miller is survived by his wife Clare and three children Kory, Leo and Belle.

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Based on form, Barcelona's Marc-Andre ter Stegen is now in top-5 world's best goalkeepers

Matt Jones 8/02/2018
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Marc-Andre ter Stegen is in the form of his life, shining for Barcelona this season as they surge towards the La Liga title, all the while exerting a vivce-like grip on the Germany goalkeeper’s jersey with regular No1 Manuel Neuer on the sidelines.

As the 25-year-old attempts to improve his chances of starting between the sticks for his country at the World Cup in Russia this summer, he’s also chasing a domestic record too.

Ter Stegen has a chance of breaking Deportivo La Coruna goalkeeper Francisco Liano’s 1994 clean sheet record, keeping 26 of them in one La Liga season.

Barca lead the standings by nine points from Atletico Madrid, with Ter Stegen so far collecting 13 clean sheets from 22 games, with 16 games to go.

Elsewhere in Spain, Los Rojiblancos stopper Jan Oblak has been in scintillating form as Diego Simeone’s side have conceded a league low nine goals this term.

In England, meanwhile, David De Gea has kept 15 Premier League clean sheets in 26 games as United possess the stingiest defence, leading many to label him the best stopper in world football.

Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois has 12 clean sheets in 25 league appearances this term, and he has put the likes of both Madrid sides on alert as he claims his future lies in the Spanish capital.

Elsewhere, Roma No1 Allison has had a supremely impressive 18 months, establishing himself as the No1 in the Eternal City having studied under Wojciech Szczesny during his early days with the Giallorossi. He has also established himself as Brazil’s No1, keeping out Manchester City’s Ederson.

Here, Sport360 assesses the attributes of our top five goalkeepers in Europe:

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nicolas (Verona), Stefano Sorrentino (Chievo), Neto (Valencia), Fernando Pacheco (Alaves), Jiri Pavlenka (Werder Bremen), Timo Horn (Cologne), Baptiste Reynet (Dijon), Regis Gurtner (Amiens)

1. MARC-ANDRE TER STEGEN

Age 25

**Appearances 27

**Clean sheets 21

Goals conceded 19

Goals conceded per game 0.7

**Saves 75

*Saves per game 2.8

*Average passes 29.1

*Pass success rate 81.1

*Long balls 5.7

Much like David De Gea at Manchester United, has had to replace a club icon as he was thrust into the limelight when Claudio Bravo was sold to Manchester City.

Has been a revelation at Camp Nou this season, exceeding expectations with fantastic showings in both La Liga and the Champions League – where he leads the stats in both save percentage and clean sheets.

He has also taken his chance to usurp the injured Manuel Neuer in nets for Germany, and on this form is in contention to fight the Bayern Munich stopper for the No1 jersey at this summer’s World Cup.

GettyImages-848472156 (1)

2. DAVID DE GEA

Age 27

**Appearances 30

**Clean sheets 19

Goals conceded 21

Goals conceded per game 0.7

**Saves 95

*Saves per game 3.2

*Average passes 26

*Pass success rate 56.5

*Long balls 7.5

From where he’s come to where he is, is staggering progress. It’s not easy to establish yourself at a big club, especially at 20 and replacing a legend like Edwin van der Sar as De Gea did in 2011.

His maiden campaign was littered with errors and he was constantly bullied at set-pieces by the myriad of strong, powerful strikers plying their trade in the Premier League – something that would have been painfully new to him having arrived from the far more placid La Liga.

It took both time and effort for him to develop physically, but what a goalkeeper he has developed into. He has been United’s rock for the last five years, constantly coming to the rescue of a back-line which is nowhere near the class of the man behind them. He won the club’s player of the year award three years in a row from 2014-16.

Manchester United v Everton - Premier League

3. JAN OBLAK

Age 25

**Appearances 28

**Clean sheets 17

Goals conceded 16

Goals conceded per game 0.57

**Saves 76

*Saves per game 2.8

*Average passes 22.8

*Pass success rate 47.9

*Long balls 5.8

Has become a firm favourite with Rojiblancos supporters, making 96 La Liga appearances since arriving from Benfica in 2014 and all but erasing memories of De Gea.

An imposing physical specimen, incredibly athletic, he commands his area with authority and is a wonderful shot-stopper.

Is reportedly being lined up by Arsenal as a replacement for veteran Petr Cech this summer after a slew of error-strewn performances from the 35-year-old Czech this term.

Atletico Madrid v Malaga - La Liga

4. THIBAUT COURTOIS

Age 25

**Appearances 31

**Clean sheets 15

Goals conceded 32

Goals conceded per game 1.03

**Saves 65

*Saves per game 2

*Average passes 27.5

*Pass success rate 70.7

*Long balls 5.2

Has been supreme for Chelsea in three-and-a-half seasons at Stamford Bridge, establishing himself as one of the modern game’s greats.

Another stopper with links to De Gea, having shone in the Spanish capital where he spent three seasons on loan following the Spaniard’s departure.

Is in talks to sign a new Blues contract but with the club’s poor form, speculation over Antonio Conte’s future and his two children residing in the Spanish capital with his ex-girlfriend, the big Belgian has stated his “heart is in Madrid”.

Courtois

5. ALLISON 

Age 25

**Appearances 29

**Clean sheets 13

Goals conceded 22

Goals conceded per game 0.75

**Saves 94

*Saves per game 3.2

*Average passes 29.3

*Pass success rate 80.9

*Long balls 8.2

The Brazilian international is currently keeping Manchester City stopper Ederson out of the Selecao lineup and has been hugely impressive at the Stadio Olimpico over the last 18 months.

Former Roma goalkeeping coach Roberto Negrisolo has referred to him as the “Messi of goalkeepers” and he was awarded the Ricardo Zamora Trophy for the best goalkeeper in La Liga for 2015/16, having conceded 18 goals in 38 games, equaling the 22-year-old record of Deportivo stopper Francisco Liano.

Is expected to be in demand this summer with Real Madrid, Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain all on the lookout for a new keeper, while Juventus could also move if Gianluigi Buffon calls time on his career.

Allison

*League

**League and Champions League

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