Former Everton boss David Moyes has refused to rule out returning to Goodison Park – admitting he would say “yes” to the club if he was offered the job again.
The Scot, who spent 11 years at the Toffees before departing for his ill-fated spell to Manchester United in 2013, is currently without a club having been relegated with Sunderland last season.
And following Ronald Koeman’s departure from the Merseysiders’ hot seat last month, the 54-year-old has been linked with a return to Everton as the club’s board weigh-up several options and current interim boss David Unsworth for the post full-time.
Moyes, who is a studio pundit analysing the Premier League for beinSPORTs this weekend in Doha, was asked by presenter Richard Keys whether he would like to become Everton manager again and he hinted at a return.
“Well, the answer would be, of course it would have to be yes (to taking the job on again),” he said on Saturday.
“But I’ve got other things ongoing and it might not be too long before I’m back in work. If the job came up (at Everton) then there would have to be an interest, but I have other interests as well.
“Bill Kenwright I think is one of the best chairmen so whoever does get the job will be working with a really good chairman who is incredibly supportive.”
Moyes believes that an Everton manager has to have a connection with the club and understand both its history and Evertonian fanbase to truly succeed, hinting that Koeman failed to do just that.
Sitting alongside former Everton great and beinSPORTs pundit Andy Gray, Moyes, who famously labelled the blues the Peoples Club, said: “Andy played there and played in the best team, under the best manager there’s ever been at Everton, in Howard Kendall.
“Everton for me was an industrial football club, it was a tough area it came from, the people demanded a type and yes they wanted good football, of course they did. But they wanted honesty, commitment and I think we gave them that.”
Having worked on a shoestring budget in comparison with the Premier League’s top clubs during his extensive tenure at the Blues, Moyes said he had to gradually build his team and improve year-on-year rather than splash big cash like Everton splurged in the summer.
Indeed, the likes of Tim Cahill, Mikel Arteta, Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines were all signed for small fees in comparison to the business the club did before the season began.
But, he said not all of the signings the Blues made for this season have been bad.
“We didn’t have 40m at the time to go out and buy a player, we had to bring our own young players through. And through my time there, because I was given time, you are allowed to develop the team by getting a certain type of players in and change things a bit.
“Jordan Pickford, who I had at Sunderland last year, is a future England international, Michael Keane is a future England centre-half, I think Everton have signed good players – I really do. I think they’ve signed two or three that you’d say you don’t know which one is better than the other one but I think a lot of the players the club have signed are good players.”
Pressed over whether he himself would have re-signed Wayne Rooney – the man who he gave his debut to back in August 2002, Moyes was in no doubt: “Yes, I would.”
He continued: “Wayne is as good a goalscorer as there is in the Premier League if he plays No.9 often enough but maybe you do need to get a different type of legs around him and in other positions to help him.”
Jose Mourinho has declined an invitation to meet fans of Manchester United to discuss tension between manager and supporters.
The Red Devils boss wrote in his programme notes ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Benfica: “I hope that you enjoy the game more than some of you did against Tottenham.”
Mourinho then hit out at fans for what he perceived as a lack of support for striker Romelu Lukaku during his current goalless run.
The Manchester United Supporters Trust invited Mourinho to talk to fans’ representatives about his concerns, but the Portuguese said: “I cannot meet a quarter of the planet.
“I think a quarter of the planet is Manchester United red. I cannot meet them.”
Mourinho could face heat on Sunday, although not from his own fans, as he takes United to Stamford Bridge to face former club Chelsea.
The reception for Chelsea’s most successful manager on his first return with United 12 months ago was hardly warm, and it was a grim day all round for Mourinho as the home side romped to a 4-0 win.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) November 3, 2017
Mourinho insisted he has no problem with Chelsea fans reacting negatively to him during the match.
“That’s not a problem at all,” he said. “I walk in the street and outside the football heat I get so many Chelsea fans, especially in the area where I live, and I didn’t have one single one that wasn’t nice.
“What happened in the football stadium is a different thing. When I go to Stamford Bridge, I am the manager of their opponent so I accept every possible reaction with the utmost respect.”
The match will be a barometer of where both teams are at. Chelsea have stumbled so far in defence of their title while United are battling to maintain the pressure on Manchester City.
There is little love lost between Mourinho and opposite number Antonio Conte, with the pair’s latest verbal spat coming when the United boss appeared to aim a jibe at his rival’s complaints about injuries.
Mourinho expects to again be without up to six players, and he accused his critics in the media of wilfully ignoring how well United played earlier this season when the likes of Paul Pogba were available.
He said: “I think it’s my fault because I should cry every week about our injuries.
“I think any other manager would be speaking about Pogba every day – ‘Oh I don’t have Pogba, oh when I have Pogba, oh 10 matches without Pogba, oh all the Champions League group phase without Pogba, oh all the big matches against Liverpool, against Chelsea, against Spurs without Pogba’. I don’t speak about Pogba one single time.
“I really think that you and the specialists, you know the football that we were playing in the beginning of the season.
“I know that you know that, you just pretend because it’s convenient for you to pretend that this didn’t exist. We miss our players of course and we had to play big matches without them, and probably we are going to play one more without them again.”
Provided by Press Association Sport
With 35 Premier League goals in 10 matches, Manchester City have made the most prolific start to a season by a Pep Guardiola-coached team.
Even his feted Barcelona side of 2008-09, arguably one of the finest ever in club football, managed one less.
With a club record 14 successive victories, City are top of their domestic league, through to the Champions League last 16 with two games to spare, and have already provoked debate about whether they can now emulate Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ and finish a Premier League campaign unbeaten.
The statistics say it all and for midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, the displays – such as Wednesday’s vibrant and valiant 4-2 Champions League win at Serie A leaders Napoli – are reminiscent of the best European teams in recent years, be it Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and that all-conquering Barca side. Fun, flamboyant and feared.
“I’m not sure if we are there yet,” said the German international. “We still need to prove that in every game, every competition. We need to prove that with trophies.
“But the way we play, the way we keep the ball, pass the ball, those short quick passes, especially in the midfield, and attack with a lot of players, create a lot of chances and score a lot of goals, we are going in the right way.
“This makes it fun for everyone, for us and for the supporters. People like to watch us.
“The domination is like Bayern Munich, yes, but it’s a different kind of game. The way we build up, with the quick short passes feels a bit different from Bayern for me, or Real Madrid.
“Maybe the most similar team would be Barcelona at their best with Pep. I wouldn’t say we are at their best yet, but one of the best, because of the way they dominated teams and we are doing so now.
“The way we play, the way we dominate our opponents, it feels special – and feels like it could be a very special season.
“But at the end it’s about hard work and there are many games to play and every one of them is very intense. There will be more tough games over the coming months and we need to be ready. We have a good and deep squad and I feel every single player is able to hold it on a good level. We feel ready.”
Gundogan definitely feels ready to play more of a part in City’s quest for greatness after his injury woes.
Fans have witnessed only glimpses of his undoubted quality, the kind that persuaded Guardiola to prioritise him as a first signing from Borussia Dortmund once he was announced as City boss last year – and despite the player still recovering from a serious knee injury.
A year ago this week, the evidence was there for all to see as a brace in a 4-0 win at West Brom was repeated in an historic 3-1 Champions League group tie win over Barcelona at the Etihad.
After returning from another cruciate ligament injury last December, Gundogan made his third start this season against Napoli, setting up Nicolas Otamendi’s goal, and is pushing for a place in tomorrow’s meeting with fifth-placed Arsenal.
He said: “I think I’m on a good level. I’m not fully fit because I have only played a few minutes in games. I need some game time in the future and some rhythm which is very important for a footballer. But I just try to stay fit.”
The clash with the Gunners, who went through the 2003-04 season unbeaten for their last league title triumph, will bring Gundogan up against his close friend Mesut Ozil, someone whose attributes he chose for his ‘perfect player’ last year.
As well as David Silva’s left foot, the right one of Marco Reus, Fernandinho’s passion and the strength of City’s new record scorer Sergio Aguero, Gundogan hailed Ozil’s vision as being the best among past and current team-mates for club or country.
High praise indeed given the 27-year-old had also starred previously at Dortmund and played alongside Germany’s 2014 World Cup winners.
During his three seasons at Real Madrid and subsequent £42.5 million move to Arsenal in 2013, Ozil, now 29, has often divided opinion and club followers.
Deemed lazy by some critics and frustrated fans for a languid style, poor defensive work-rate and inconsistent performances, others laud his ability to create chances seemingly at will, totalling 30 in the Premier League this season so far – the same, perhaps surprisingly, as City hero Kevin De Bruyne despite playing 273 minutes less and in a team hardly in the same form.
Jose Mourinho, who coached him in Madrid, once referred to him as ‘unique’ and Pep Guardiola is another fan, saying Ozil is a ‘big target when they lose’.
Both born in Gelsenkirchen, Gundogan has appreciated his 86-cap compatriot’s talents for many years.
And he hopes others will do so too, despite plotting his downfall at the Etihad before they join up with Germany for friendlies against England and France.
“I wish him all the best – but in this game against us, hopefully he does not do as well,” laughed Gundogan.
“It’s difficult to explain how good he is. I play professional football to the highest level you can play and I know exactly in the game, you know, sometimes it’s about the details of the game.
“When I watch a game, when I watch him when he controls the ball, when he makes a turn, when he touches the ball, he makes it look so easy.
“Maybe at the moment he’s not able to assist as many or create as many, or score as many goals as he did before.
“Maybe his numbers are not as good as the past seasons, but honestly, watching him just feels magical. I know how tough it is in certain situations to do things like he does. He makes it look so simple.
“He’s got almost 100 caps for Germany, that’s a credit to him, it shows his quality. He’s just two years older than me and there’s still a way to go.
“When I watch him, I enjoy it and hopefully a few others will appreciate it too.”
With Ozil out of contract in the summer, along with Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal fans may have to show more appreciation to help persuade him to stay and sign a new deal.
Gundogan added: “He’s a very good guy, great to have as a team-mate. I’m not sure what all the people are saying, but criticism is part of our game and we need to accept it and be able to handle that. If I know someone who can do that, then it’s him.
“I know him and he’s always focusing on his own performances and doesn’t care what people are saying. That’s a really good attribute and he will keep going. He won’t stop – and just play.”