Jose Mourinho argues he would not have paid to watch weakened Man United v Liverpool

Phil Blanche 29/07/2018
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Jose Mourinho has issues to address heading into the new season.

Jose Mourinho admits he would not have paid to watch his weakened Manchester United side on their pre-season tour of the United States.

United’s troubled International Champions Cup campaign suffered another blow with a 4-1 defeat to Premier League rivals Liverpool in Michigan on Saturday night.

“The atmosphere is good but if I was them I wouldn’t come,” United boss Mourinho was quoted as saying by BBC Sport at his post-match press conference.

He added at his press conference: “I wouldn’t spend my money to see these teams. I was watching on television Chelsea against Inter and the people in Nice decided the beach was better.

“They didn’t go to the game, the stadium was empty.

“I think the passion many Americans have for soccer deserves more. They deserve the best teams and invest to bring the best clubs to the US.

“But we, and some other clubs, were not able to give to the people the real quality football that can attract even more passion in this country.”

Mourinho complaining about his squad being decimated by so many of his players being on post-World Cup holidays has been a constant theme of United’s unhappy trip across the Atlantic.

The likes of Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku, Marouane Fellaini, as well as the England quartet of Phil Jones, Ashley Young, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford, are still absent.

Antonio Valencia and Chris Smalling also missed the Liverpool defeat through injury, while Anthony Martial had returned home to attend the birth of his second child.

Alexis Sanchez did feature in Michigan, but he cut a frustrated figure as Andreas Pereira’s stunning free-kick strike provided scant consolation for a United side ripped apart by Liverpool.

Asked about Sanchez’s demeanour, Mourinho replied: “Do you want me to be very happy with the players he has around him?

“We are not playing here to improve the team, the dynamic or our routines.

“We are playing just to try to survive and not have some ugly results. Alexis is the only attacking player that we have.

“We don’t have wingers, we don’t have strikers. He is the only one who is here and the poor man is trying his best with the frustration of somebody who wants more.

“This is not our team, this is not our squad – not even 30 per cent of it.

“We start the game with almost half the players who are not even going to belong to our squad on August 9 (transfer deadline day).

“So what did this game give me? Nothing. Nothing at all.”

On Martial’s absence, he said: “Anthony Martial has the baby and after the baby is born – beautiful baby, full of health, thank God – he should be here and he is not here.”

Mourinho praised Ivorian defender Eric Bailly for stepping in after Smalling had pulled up moments before the game.

But he revealed more worrying injury news with Serbian midfielder Nemanja Matic set to miss the start of the season after undergoing surgery in the US.

“We had four or five players today who care for the club and try to give everything,” Mourinho said.

“They even risked themselves because they don’t want to let all the kids by themselves on the pitch against Milan, Liverpool, Real Madrid.

“As an example Eric Bailly was not going to play and when he saw that Smalling in the warm-up was leaving, he decided that he didn’t want another kid on the pitch. It is not fair for Alexis, (Juan) Mata, (Ander) Herrera and the guys that are there.

“Matic has had surgery. He is out for the start of the season.

“He came from the World Cup with the injury and the time he had to rest on holiday was not enough to resolve the problem.”

Mourinho is keen to strengthen his squad before the transfer deadline with Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld and Harry Maguire, of Leicester, reported defensive targets.

“I would like to have two more players,” Mourinho said.

“But I am not thinking I am going to have two. I think it’s possible I am going to have one.

“I gave a list to my club, five names, a few months ago and I wait to see if it’s possible to have one of these players.”

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Man United cream of crop for developing Premier League talent but gap is closing

Tom White 29/07/2018
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Manchester United remain the leading developers of Premier League talent – but the gap is closing.

Press Association Sport’s research shows players who finished their youth careers in the United academy played 32,157 minutes in last season’s top flight.

That is nearly 10,000 minutes (or 44 per cent) clear of Tottenham, ranked second in the study for the second year running – but it represents a significant step down from the previous season, when United’s graduates racked up over 44,000 minutes to more than double Spurs’ tally.

Chelsea added more than 50 per cent to their total to break the 20,000 barrier and climb from ninth to third, ahead of Arsenal.

Sheffield United continued to punch above their weight in fifth place, with Championship rivals Aston Villa and Dutch pair Feyenoord and Ajax the other non-Premier League clubs in the top 10.

United out in front

The study tracked the playing time of every player in last season’s Premier League, along with the club or academy where they finished their youth career.

Twenty United graduates featured for various Premier League clubs over the season, down from 34 in 2016-17 but still the most in the top flight.

Jose Mourinho got 6,858 minutes of playing time from the club’s own academy products, led by Paul Pogba with 2,286.

Eight United graduates played 2,000 Premier League minutes or more but they lost around 12,000 minutes from the previous season’s tally, equivalent to more than 133 full games, due to various factors.

Seven of their graduates were relegated in 2016-17, including five with Sunderland who had played over 5,000 minutes between them, while injuries limited Tom Heaton and Darren Fletcher’s playing time with Burnley and Stoke respectively.

scott mctominay

The chasing pack

Spurs climbed to 22,314 minutes, helped by talisman Harry Kane missing less time to injury than the previous season. Andros Townsend, Tom Carroll and Jake Livermore also saw big increases in playing time for Crystal Palace, Swansea and West Brom respectively.

Chelsea brought their own academy graduate Andreas Christensen into their defence and saw Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Tammy Abraham gain valuable experience on loan at Crystal Palace and Swansea respectively.

Nathan Ake became a more integral part of Bournemouth’s line-up after making his loan move permanent while Jack Cork was ever-present for Burnley after joining from Swansea.

andreas c

Surprise packages

It has been some time since Sheffield United were a top-flight side but a handful of their graduates continue to impress.

The same six players – Kyle Walker, Harry Maguire, Phil Jagielka, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Kyle Naughton and Matt Lowton – have represented the Blades academy in the last two Premier League seasons.

They were eighth in the 2017 study and rose to fifth this time around, with Calvert-Lewin establishing himself at Everton and Maguire ever-present after joining Leicester from Hull to earn World Cup selection alongside Walker.

Huddersfield’s promotion to the top flight shook up the standings – Jonathan Hogg’s 2,530 minutes helped lift Villa to sixth while Rajiv van la Parra and Terence Kongolo carried Feyenoord into the top 10.

They became the leading overseas club in seventh, three places ahead of Ajax as the Eredivisie pair sandwiched Everton and Southampton.

Jonathan Hogg

Newcomers

Benfica’s academy did not have a single graduate appear in the 2016-17 Premier League but burst into the picture this time around after contributing significantly to Manchester City’s title win.

Ederson and Bernardo Silva were important new signings at the Etihad Stadium and, together with Swansea’s Renato Sanches, combined for 5,833 minutes to leave their formative club 31st.

Another City player, Danilo, teamed up with Richarlison – whose Watford form earned him a big-money move to Everton – to bring Brazilian side America Mineiro in at 46th in the list.

Serge Aurier and Mohamed Diame saw Lens enter at 61st – one place ahead of fellow newcomers B93, where Huddersfield ever-present Mathias Jorgensen started his career.

Bernardo Silva

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Man United midfielder Nemanja Matic to miss start of the season through injury

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Nemanja Matic pictured in action for Serbia during the World Cup.

Serbia international Matic has played no part in United’s International Champions Cup campaign in the United States since returning from World Cup duty, and Mourinho has now revealed he has undergone surgery.

“Matic arrived from the World Cup, holiday, direct to surgery because something happened in the World Cup,” the Portuguese told the club’s official website.

“He has had surgery. He is out for the start of the season. He came from the World Cup with the injury and the time he had to rest on holiday was not enough to resolve the problem.

“I don’t know how long he will be out for.”

In Matic’s absence in Michigan on Saturday night, Liverpool ran riot against United with Sadio Mane, Daniel Sturridge, Sheyi Ojo and Xherdan Shaqiri all on target in a convincing victory.

Andreas Pereira cancelled out Mane’s opening penalty with a fine free-kick to leave the sides level at the break, but United faltered in the second half.

With some players still away after the World Cup and Anthony Martial at home after the birth of his child, Mourinho felt his side – who next face Real Madrid on Tuesday evening – gained little from the encounter.

“We play Real Madrid and we have no more players than what we have,” he told MUTV.

“Matic arrived from the World Cup, holiday, direct to surgery because something happened in the World Cup. Antonio

Valencia comes from holiday – I think too much holiday for him. His condition was not good when he was back, then injury and also go back.

“Anthony Martial has the baby and after the baby is born – beautiful baby, full of health, thank God – he should be here and he is not here.

“So we have Alexis (Sanchez) and (Juan) Mata who play every minute of every match and now we have Real Madrid and after that Bayern Munich and that’s our start.

“I just hope the boys on deserved holidays, they take care of themselves a little bit and I hope somebody wants to do what (Marcus) Rashford and (Phil) Jones decide to do, which is to be back a little bit earlier to try and help the team because for the beginning of the season we are going to be in trouble.

“The majority of the players that played are not going to play – some of them are not even going to belong to the squad.”

He added: “I know the ones that are not always ready – sometimes you need them and you don’t have them. Eric Bailly was injured, he shouldn’t be playing, but when he saw that (Chris) Smalling in the warm-up was coming out, he made a decision by himself not to let his team play with five kids in the back against (Mohamed) Salah, Mane and company so he put himself there for 90 minutes.

“When we had gasoline we competed, 1-1 after 65 minutes, after that gasoline is gone.

“(Ander) Herrera, (Juan) Mata, Alexis (Sanchez), (Matteo) Darmian, these are the boys we have, they cannot give more. So this match was for nothing.”

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