Mourinho reveals one Man Utd player who ‘will always be my boy’

Jose Mourinho says that Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay “will always be my boy” following the appointment of a new Scotland manager.

The Portuguese coach gave McTominay his debut for the Red Devils and seemed to play a big role in his development as a player.

And speaking after Steve Clarke – who used to be his assistant at Chelsea – was made the new Scotland boss, Mourinho insisted that the 22-year-old “will always be my boy” despite being sacked by United in December.

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“I think he’s more than ready,” Mourinho told Sky Sports News.

“First of all, he feels his country deeply, I know that.

“And second you have an accumulation of experience during all these years.

“Assistant manager in top clubs, first-team manager in many others.

“Now the last couple of years in Scotland, I think this challenge comes in the right moment for him.

“And I just hope that my boy can help him because Scott McTominay will always be my boy.”

 

Arsenal ‘join Man Utd in race for PSG rebel’ to replace Ramsey

Arsenal will reportedly rival Manchester United for Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Adrien Rabiot as a replacement for Aaron Ramsey.

Midfielder Rabiot has not played for the French champions since December after telling them he would not be interested in extending his contract, which expires next month.

The 24-year-old has been linked with Juventus, Real Madrid, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United, with reports from Italy suggesting that the former are in pole position.

However, nothing is confirmed yet, and another Premier League side have entered the battle to sign him, in the shape of Arsenal.

According to The Sun, the Gunners are ready to make a move for the French international, as they look to replace Juventus-bound Ramsey.

If Arsenal can secure Champions League qualification by beating Chelsea in the Europa League final, then they could be handed a further boost, as that is something that United are not able to offer next season following their sixth-placed finish this season.

Rabiot’s agent and mother Veronique is reportedly insistent upon her son moving to a club who will compete in the tournament, so the clash in Baku could be make-or-break for Arsenal’s hopes of signing him.

Former Arsenal striker Charlie Nicholas recently suggested that Rabiot would be a good purchase for Unai Emery’s side, due to his playing style.

“We [Arsenal] need a box-to-box style midfield player and a player that can pick a pass too, so it is a matter of bringing in the right ones,” Nicholas told Sky Sports. “I think you need to know your system, fit them in and see where it takes you.

“Adrien Rabiot will be a free agent and been linked with different clubs, but I would take him. He has the quality and is of decent level, which Arsenal need.”

 

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Carra ‘p***ed off’ scheduling helps ‘Spurs more than Liverpool’

Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher thinks the scheduling of the Champions League final benefits Tottenham “more than” Liverpool.

Carragher’s former club Liverpool reached the final with an unbelievable comeback victory over Barcelona in the semis and they will play Mauricio Pochettino’s side in the Madrid finale on June 1.

The ex-England international has already admitted that he is “worried” that Spurs are “going to do a Liverpool 2005″ and in the same interview he reckons Tottenham will benefit the most from the scheduling of the final.

“It’s a weird one really. You normally go away and that’s what Liverpool have done – going to Marbella,” Carragher told The Anfield Wrap.

“No-one’s been able to give me a reason why the Champions League is three weeks after the league campaign.

“It’s normally two weeks, where you have the FA Cup then the week after is the Champions League.

“That’s p***ed me off a little bit that to be honest. I think it probably helps Spurs more than us, I would say.

“I think they’ve got bigger injury problems than us, certainly with Harry Kane, Harry Winks, other little knocks they had towards the end of the season.

“It gives you an extra week to be fit. I think we’re in much better form than Tottenham in 2019 and a longer break will not help that, really, in some ways.

“You do worry because you lose a bit of that rhythm that Liverpool have had the way they’ve been playing.

“I don’t think Tottenham are in great form. I know they got through and it’s unbelievable what they’ve done, I love Pochettino…

“But they’re not in great form so a longer break will help them forget the bad form and focus on this one game.”

 

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Mane: Not even Klopp believed Liverpool could beat Barca

Sadio Mane has revealed that “not even” Jurgen Klopp believed that Liverpool could overcome their three-goal deficit against Barcelona.

The Reds went into the second leg of their Champions League semi-final against Barca having lost the first leg 3-0 but an unbelievable display blew away the Catalan giants as Liverpool won 4-0 to go through to the final.

And Mane claims that despite encouraging his players before the second leg, Klopp didn’t think they would go through.

“Before the game [against Barca], I had never seen the boss like that,” Mane recalled to Telefoot.

“Klopp encouraged us but, honestly, not even he believed it.

“He is exceptional, he makes you want to fight for him and give everything for him.”

Liverpool will now face Tottenham in the final in Madrid on June 1 where they will be looking to win their sixth European Cup.

On the final against Spurs, Mane added: “The final is a one-off game, it will be different from the league, you cannot hide, I think we are favourites.”

 

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Ex-Chelsea defender explains why he fears for former club

Wayne Bridge has backed Chelsea for Europa League glory but fears his former club is hampered by unhappiness and facing a bleak short-term future.

The Blues have endured a tumultuous first season under manager Maurizio Sarri and, unless an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport is successful, will be under a transfer embargo until the summer of 2020.

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Italian Sarri appeared on the verge of being sacked in February but recovered to secure Champions League qualification and progression to Wednesday’s Europa League final against Arsenal in Baku.

Retired left-back Bridge, who claimed the winner in the only previous European tie between Chelsea and the Gunners, feels a top-four Premier League finish and the potential for silverware masks the true extent of problems at Stamford Bridge.

“When you talk about it like that, it’s probably not too bad because it probably could have been a lot worse,” he told Press Association Sport.

“They’ve been really inconsistent. You can see the fans aren’t really happy. I don’t think the players are happy, and then probably the manager isn’t either.

“I’m surprised he’s still there. And with the transfer ban and everything, what are they going to do?

“With Chelsea at the moment, it could end up going through a pretty bad spell.

“They can still achieve Champions League football (for the 2020/21 campaign) because when you look at the likes of Tottenham, Arsenal and (Manchester) United, they haven’t been great either.

“But will they compete (for the title) with Liverpool and (Manchester) City? I don’t think so, unless there is no transfer ban and the manager gets to buy the players he wants, or a new manager comes in and changes it up a bit because it has been a poor season.”

While Chelsea – who may also lose star man Eden Hazard this summer – have already secured Champions League qualification by finishing third in the top flight, Arsenal must win the final in Azerbaijan to join them.

Bridge says condemning the fifth-placed Gunners to a third-successive season in the Europa League should serve as an added incentive for Sarri’s men.

“I think Chelsea will do it,” he said. “I think they’ll be (thinking) along the lines that Arsenal aren’t going to get Champions League football if we win – well that’s where I would be.

“And obviously you want to win a trophy as well.”

It is 15 years since the only previous European encounter between the London rivals.

Bridge was the Highbury hero in April 2004 when the Blues shocked their near-neighbours in the Champions League quarter-finals during the first season of the Roman Abramovich era.

The 38-year-old has fond memories of his 87th-minute winner, which earned a 3-2 aggregate success against Arsene Wenger’s side.

“I just remember running into the crowd, it was like the best buzz ever,” said Bridge.

“The changing room was rocking afterwards. I remember (manager, Claudio) Ranieri crying on the side of the pitch.

“That for me was one of the highlights of my career. I don’t score many goals, so to do it in the quarter-finals and against Arsenal when no one thinks we are going to win…”

Although Arsenal ended that campaign as unbeaten Premier League champions, they have not won the title since.

Chelsea have replaced them as the dominant force in the capital, winning five titles, the Champions League and the Europa League.

“People always talk about it being a turning point because then Chelsea kind of leapfrogged Arsenal. I don’t think it was,” continued Bridge.

“I just think we got the result and then Chelsea got to spend a bit more money after that.”

 

Pochettino says the rules can ‘f*ck off’ over Spurs team photo

Mauricio Pochettino wants all 23 of Tottenham’s squad players in the pre-match Champions League team photo and says the rules can “f*ck off”.

Spurs will face Liverpool in the Champions League final on June 1 in Madrid after they staged an extraordinary comeback in the semi-final against Ajax.

Pochettino, who recently escaped a touchline ban for the final, has taken Tottenham further in Europe than any other man before and he has insisted that his full squad will be in the pre-match team snap.

Pochettino said: “In the Bernabeu [in 2006 when Espanyol beat Real Zaragoza] we did that. I was one of the captains and I said: ‘I want it so that everyone is on the wall, on the picture, if this team win the final. Not only eleven. That is completely unfair.’

“I say: F*** off! What I want is all the players before the start of the game 22 or 23 in the picture on the pitch. That is the team that won or lost.”

 

Liverpool ‘wouldn’t sign Ramos if he was available on a free’

Liverpool would not sign Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos even if he was available on a free transfer, according to reports.

Spanish newspaper AS claimed yesterday that both Liverpool and Manchester United were interested in bringing the defender to the Premier League.

However, a report in the Daily Mirror says that those reports fall wide of mark when it comes to Liverpool’s stance on signing the Spaniard.

A rivalry was created with Ramos after the Real Madrid captain was involved in a first-half clash with Liverpool’s Mo Salah in the Champions League final last season.

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The incident resulted in Salah having to be replaced before the interval after Ramos injured his shoulder – but the Spanish centre-back thought there was an over-reaction to the incident, he said at the time: “F*ck, they’ve given this a lot of attention, the Salah thing.”

The report, though, adds that the bad blood between Ramos and Liverpool is not the reason for their refusal to look at the 33-year-old.

Instead, it is his ‘profile’ as he would struggle to ‘fit’ into Jurgen Klopp’s plans for the club.

A ‘senior source at Anfield’ has told the Daily Mirror: “There is 0.0 percent chance of Sergio Ramos playing for Liverpool.

“It has nothing to do with what happened in Kiev last season.

“Even if we had won the Champions League final and Ramos had shook the hand of every Liverpool player afterwards we would still have no interest in him.

“Ramos just doesn’t fit the kind of profile that Jurgen Klopp is looking for.

“We wouldn’t even sign him if he was available on a free.”

 

Messi called Milner a ‘donkey’ during Liverpool loss

James Milner claims that he was called a “donkey” by Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi during Liverpool’s sensational Champions League semi-final comeback.

The Reds bounced back from a 3-0 defeat in the Camp Nou to overwhelm Barcelona at Anfield, scoring four goals without reply to book a place in the final against Tottenham in Madrid on June 1.

Liverpool midfielder Milner, who can speak Spanish, has revealed what the Argentina international said to him in the tunnel at half-time in the second leg.

“He wasn’t happy,” Milner told the Mail on Sunday.

“He was giving me plenty in Spanish going down the tunnel at half-time as well. He was calling me ‘burro’.

“It translates as donkey but I think it’s also used in Spanish football as a general term for someone who goes around kicking people.

“I asked him if he was all right, but he wasn’t having it. I don’t think he realised I understood his Spanish.

“He said: ‘That foul you did, that’s because I nutmegged you’. I left him to it at that point and went into the changing room.

“Look, I’ve only got admiration for him. He has earned the right to say what he wants.

“The stuff he did in that game, stuff he has done his whole career, it makes him tough to play against.

“If you try and stop him, you can’t be scared of being made to look foolish.

“I’ve done it. I’ve been nutmegged by him and it has been viewed a million times. I wasn’t the first and I won’t be the last. He’s an incredible player.

“But with players like that, you have to let them know you’re there and not let them have everything their own way. You just need to try to disrupt their rhythm.

“You don’t want to hurt him but it’s a physical game and, if he’s running the game, you try and knock him out of his stride. It’s part of the game, the mental side.”

 

Man Utd, Arsenal ‘could face disappointment’ in Partey chase

Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey is reportedly interesting Premier League clubs Manchester United and Arsenal.

The Ghanaian international has been linked with United as a replacement for the outgoing Ander Herrera, but the Red Devils face competition from Italy, where Inter Milan are interested.

Partey’s agent recently confirmed that there have been no bids for the 25-year-old, who has four years left on his contract – but didn’t exactly sound like he was against the player moving to pastures new.

“I can say that right now, I haven’t talked to anyone, even if Inter are a top club,” Daniel Jimenez told Passione Inter.

“There’s a 50m release clause in his contract, a figure that’s cheap for a player like Thomas.

“We’ll wait for the season to end and then we’ll see.”

The comments from Partey’s representative could be construed as an attempt to drum up interest from other clubs, and reports suggest it has had exactly that effect.

The Daily Mirror credit both the Gunners and the Red Devils with interest in the defensive midfielder, though one stipulation could cause both to be disappointed.

They state that Partey wants Champions League football next season, which for Arsenal is dependant on the outcome of their Europa League final against Chelsea in Baku.

For United meanwhile, they may already be out of the running unless they are willing to stump up a sizeable financial package.

 

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Man Utd ‘rule out potential move’ for Ajax defender De Ligt

Manchester United have reportedly ruled themselves out of the race to sign Ajax star Matthijs de Ligt this summer.

The 19-year-old has emerged as one of European football’s most-sought after defenders after an incredible season with the Dutch champions, and he is widely believed to be hoping to join Barcelona, along with teammate Frenkie De Jong.

Reports then emerged suggesting that Barca are struggling to agree terms for De Ligt, thanks in no small part to his agent Mino Raiola trying to engineer him a bigger package elsewhere.

Then it was claimed that United have offered De Ligt an incredible €14m a year deal over a five-year contract – a salary that would equate to £235,000 a week – and more than double what Barcelona had been willing to pay.

And on Sunday there were reports that United were ‘very close’ to striking a deal for De Ligt after making an offer that was ‘too good to turn down’.

However, sources have reportedly told Sky Sports that United are not in the running to sign the Dutchman this summer, contrary to recent reports.

The Mirror had claimed that the Old Trafford club were readying a £70m bid to seal a deal for De Ligt, but if the latest update from Sky Sports is to be believed then that is wide of the mark.

De Ligt was also an apparent target for Liverpool before Jurgen Klopp made his stance clear on the player, while Manchester City have also been linked.

 

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