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MANCHESTER, Sept 14, 2018 (News Wires) - Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku defended Jose Mourinho’s confrontational style of management, saying that the Portuguese deserves respect for not hiding his true feelings like several Premier League bosses.

Mourinho has had strained relationships with some of his players at the club since taking charge in 2016, most notably with record signing Paul Pogba, but Belgian Lukaku said he preferred the manager to be honest.

“People need to appreciate that, at least there are people who are real in this world like him. Because most managers in the league, when they are not happy they try to find a way to seem happy,” Lukaku told the BBC.

“You should respect that he wants to keep his personality and not shy away from confrontation. He wants us to improve. He’s a normal guy... he’s cool with everybody.”

Lukaku suggested that players had to toughen up in the face of criticism and respond with better performances.

“Sometimes footballers, we get soft. If I listen to players from back in the day and now, a manager cannot say what he wants to a player because you feel attacked,” he added.

“But I don’t feel attacked, because that’s who I am — I am a tough man, but that doesn’t come from football, that comes from my background.

“My relationship with him (Mourinho) is cool. He makes me laugh, he makes the players laugh, he’s a real family guy. He fights for his players, but he’s real.”

LONDON, Sept 14, 2018 (News Wires) - Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho blasted his critics with a barrage of statistics on Friday to defend the amount of playing time given to England striker Marcus Rashford over the past two years.

Some pundits have expressed concern that the 20-year-old, who has scored twice for his country in the last two internationals, is not starting in the Premier League with Romelu Lukaku United’s regular target man.

The youngster has played 122 minutes in the top flight so far this season, with one start, and is banned for tomorrow’s game at Watford after being sent off in the last game at Burnley.

Mourinho said he wanted to set the record straight even if ‘obsessed’ people, who had “a problem with some compulsive lies”, would criticise him anyway.

“I can imagine on Sunday I am going to be criticised for not playing Marcus but is not my fault, he’s suspended,” said the Portuguese, before embarking on an extended monologue to set out the numbers for those who were “a bit confused”.

“In 2016-17: Marcus Rashford played 32 Premier League matches, 11 Europa League matches, including the final, three FA Cup matches, six League Cup matches, including the final, and the Community Shield,” he said.

“He had 53 appearances, but if you want to take the minutes of play, he played 3,068 minutes and if you want to divide that by 90 minutes of the matches, he played 34.2 matches of 90 minutes in ‘16-17.

“In 2017-18, he played 35 matches in the Premier League, eight in the Champions League, five in the FA Cup including the final, three League Cup matches and the European Super Cup final.

“He played a total of 52 matches with 2,676 minutes, if you divide that by 90 it gives 29.7 matches. So with me, in two seasons, he had 105 appearances, 5,744 minutes, 63.7 matches of 90 minutes, including five finals.”

 

MANCHESTER, August 29, 2018 (News Wires) - Manchester United players have taken to openly discussing boss Jose Mourinho’s future at Old Trafford.

Some believe that defeat in their match to Burnley will see him sacked, while others do not see him lasting September.

There is a belief that the situation is similar to the last days of Louis van Gaal, whose exit had an air of inevitability.

While Mourinho is unlikely to walk away from his contract, the possibility of Zinedine Zidane has been talked about.

After Spurs ensured Manchester United got off to their worst start in 26 years, The Mirror say the result leaves Mourinho on the brink, and noted how the United boss’ elongated applause towards the Stretford End signalled how his time at Old Trafford could be coming to an end.

Meanwhile, every paper in existence (probably) reported on his spectacular post-match press conference, in which he called for “respect” while highlighting the three Premier League titles he has won.

The Daily Mail were among those to lead on the taunts from Spurs fans towards Jose of ‘You’re getting sacked in the morning’, while the Express picked up on Mourinho's refusal to discuss United's lack of summer activity in the transfer window.

He said: "The market is closed. There is no market until January 1. I’ve said what I need to say, and I won't say another word about that."

LONDON, August 13, 2018 (News Wires) - Scottish Premiership side Aberdeen have secured the services of Manchester United striker James Wilson on a season-long loan, both clubs confirmed Monday.

Wilson, 22, has scored four goals in 20 appearances for United, but has spent the past couple of seasons on loan at Brighton, Derby and Sheffield United.

“I am absolutely delighted to secure James on a season long loan as he is a player I feel will very quickly become an important member of the squad for us,” said Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes.

“He is a real quality player, who I think will suit the way we play, and, having spoken to him, I think he sees this move as a real opportunity for him.

“There were other clubs interested in taking James but he feels this is the right place for him to continue his development.”

McInnes has been in the market for a striker since top scorer for the past four seasons, Adam Rooney, moved from Pittodrie to Salford City last month and has taken advantage of the fact the Scottish transfer window doesn’t close until August 31.

The window for Premier League clubs closed last week.

Despite being knocked out of the Europa League by Burnley, Aberdeen have made a positive start to the new season.

McInnes’s men struck late to hold Steven Gerrard’s Rangers 1-1 on the opening weekend of the season and won 1-0 away at Dundee on Saturday.

MANCHESTER, August 11, 2018 (News Wires) - Jose Mourinho hailed captain Paul Pogba’s willingness to put his body on the line to lead Manchester United to a winning start in the Premier League with a 2-1 victory over Leicester City.

Less than a month since Pogba scored in the World Cup final to help France lift the trophy, he was thrown straight into action by Mourinho despite just returning to pre-season training this week.

Pogba’s third-minute spot-kick settled the hosts’ nerves as United allayed some of the doom and gloom predicted by Mourinho after failing to land a series of targets before Thursday’s transfer deadline.

Luke Shaw sealed the points seven minutes from time before Jamie Vardy headed home a consolation for the visitors.

After a week in which Pogba has been linked with a move away from Old Trafford, with Barcelona’s interest piqued by the Frenchman’s frosty relationship with Mourinho after he was repeatedly dropped last season, the Portuguese showed his faith in the midfielder by surprisingly handing him the armband.

“Pogba was a monster,” said Mourinho. “We thought maximum (he could play) 60 minutes, but he managed 80.”

On top of his transfer troubles, Mourinho had a host of injuries and players lacking match sharpness after the World Cup to contend with.

“Paul was fantastic, his contribution was amazing but the fuel was disappearing. We were in trouble,” added Mourinho.

“I don’t remember in my career to be in so much in trouble to make my changes because I wanted to make five or six and I could only make three.”

The hosts got a much-needed lift after just two minutes when Daniel Amartey was harshly adjudged by referee Andre Mariner to have handled Alexis Sanchez’s shot.

Pogba resisted the pleas of Sanchez to take the spot-kick and after a prolonged stuttering run up, dispatched his shot into the top corner giving Kasper Schmeichel no chance to repeat his penalty saving heroics at the World Cup for Denmark.

“We don’t have a penalty taker, it’s how we feel and I decided to take it. Maybe on the next game I leave it to Alexis,” said Pogba.

“I didn’t have any pre-season games, I came back on Monday so it was very hard for the legs.”

Mourinho was particularly annoyed to miss out on a series of centre-back targets, including Leicester’s Harry Maguire who shone for England in Russia.

“It will be a difficult season for everybody, not just for us,” said Mourinho. “I had my plans for many months and I find myself with the market closed in a situation I did not think I would be in.”

However, he can still rely on one of the world’s best goalkeepers as David de Gea put his poor World Cup showing behind him with a fine save to prevent James Maddison levelling.

 

MANCHESTER, August 10, 2018 (News Wires) - Jose Mourinho insists Paul Pogba remains happy and motivated at Manchester United despite reports claiming the France star is unsettled and wants to join Barcelona.

Following a successful summer in which he helped France to win the World Cup, Pogba’s future at United has been the subject of speculation over the last week of the Premier League transfer window.

It is understood United officials have grown increasingly weary and suspicious of Pogba’s high-profile agent Mino Raiola, whom they blame for stories that his client would prefer to play for Barcelona.

The former Juventus midfielder was among a handful of United players who only returned to pre-season training on Monday, after their countries advanced to the World Cup semi-finals.

But Mourinho insists that while he will talk to Pogba before deciding when exactly to re-introduce him to competitive first team action, he has been happy with his attitude and first few days back in training in Manchester.

“My perception is he arrived Monday, happy, proud, with a desire to work,” Mourinho said ahead of Friday’s opening Premier League fixture against Leicester.

“He worked amazingly well Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. He’s one of the players that I have to speak to see how physically and mentally he feels.

 

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