FNR DAILY NEWS
Jose Mourinho walked out of his post-match press conference, after Manchester United’s 3-0 defeat to Tottenham.
Mourinho left the room demanding “respect” from the reporters and held up three fingers to signify the number of Premier League titles he has won.
"I won more Premierships alone than the other 19 managers together," Mourinho said.
"Three for me and two for them.”
Pressure mounts on ‘The Special One’, after United suffered two defeats in their opening three games, which is the Red Devils worst start to the season since 1992-93.
United began the game strongly and could have had the lead, if Romelu Lukaku converted his attempt on an open goal.
United’s free flowing football in the opening half sparked praise from former Manchester United captain and TV pundit Gary Neville.
“Before the game my last words were this won't be vintage Manchester United, it won't be expressive and it will be dogged,” Neville said on Sky Sports.
“Then in the first five minutes I thought what the hell is this?”
“Normally we'd associate Jose's teams with a level of control and organisation, but tonight there was a real frantic nature to it. There was a real intensity to the first half-an-hour.”
But the missed opportunities in the opening half came back to bite the Red Devils, as Harry Kane found space from a corner to head Tottenham into the lead.
Brazilian winger Lucas Moura then doubled the lead two minutes later, with a superbly timed strike.
Moura then scored his third goal in two games when he glided past Chris Smalling with six minutes remaining.
The 3-0 victory was the Spurs biggest win over United at Old Trafford since 1972.
A stone-faced Mourinho left the field applauding the Manchester United fans that stayed until the final whistle, while Tottenham fans could be heard chanting ‘you’re getting sacked in the morning’.
Earlier in the week Mourinho was involved in a tense news conference, arriving 30 minutes early to defend his relationship with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, before leaving after four minutes and 19 seconds.
Mourinho praised his side in his post match press conference and took aim at the negativity surrounding United.
"You want to make the miracle of my team played so well and strategically we were so, so, so, so, so, so good, and you want to try and transform this press conference into let's blame the guy," Mourinho said.
Mourinho has won the Premier League title more than the rest of the competition’s current coaches combined, having won three titles in two spells as Chelsea manager, while Pep Guardiola and Manuel Pellegrini have one to their names, each at Manchester City.
The Portuguese manager won his most recent Premier League crown three years ago.
United will aim to return to the winners list when they travel to Burnley on Monday morning.
The past weekend in Europe provided plenty of examples for and against the implementation of VAR.
When the VAR is utilised correctly, as it was in Espanyol v Valencia, it is hard to argue against its existence.
Esteban Granero’s free kick hit the woodwork and bounced down and out. The referee seemed unconvinced at the time but with the VAR, the goal was rightly given and Espanyol went on to win 2-0.
Unfortunately there were also examples of the VAR not being utilised correctly, taking too long, officiating outside its jurisdiction, and even a case where VAR would have been helpful but wasn’t available.
In the Bundesliga, the VAR turned a yellow card into a red – an action which isn’t one of the four clear cases of VAR intervention – with Schalke’s Matija Nastasić eventually sent off for a high boot. Later in that same half, Wolfsburg’s Wout Weghorst’s red card became a yellow thanks to the VAR.
Bayern Munich’s season opener also saw the VAR get a workout with the system awarding Bayern a penalty, with the rebound being turned in by Arjen Robben.
However, VAR also adjudicated that the penalty should be retaken after Robben entered the box before he should have.
To complete the trifecta, Bayern had a goal disallowed after the VAR decided Thomas Müller had handballed in the lead up.
In Serie A, Cagliari played host to Sassuolo in the most controversial match of the round, as the VAR came into play, awarding the visitors a dubious penalty after the ball struck the arm of Cagliari defender Filippo Romagna. The subsequent spot kick was converted in the 99th minute, as Kevin-Prince Boateng denied the hosts all three points.
Over in the Premier League, where there is no VAR, there were a few incidents which could have done with a once over.
While Wolverhampton’s 1-1 draw with Manchester City was quite the story, replays suggest that Willy Boly’s opener came off his hand. If VAR was used in England, the goal would have been reviewed and potentially overturned.
While in Everton v Bournemouth, Richarlison’s red card would also have been reviewed and, once again, with the benefit of replay angles and a bit of time, it may have been downgraded to a yellow.
The VAR debate doesn’t seem like ending any time soon. After a weekend full of incidents, have your thoughts on the system been changed?
Sydney FC have announced the season long loan of Siem De Jong from AFC Ajax. The 29-year-old Dutch international will take up one of Sydney’s marquee slots.
He spent two years in Ajax’s youth academy, before playing for the first team from 2007-2014. In all competitions, he played 243 games, scoring 78 goals and captaining the club in the latter stages of his time there.
He spent two seasons in the Premier League with Newcastle United in 2014-15 and 2015-16, however since 2016 has had a rotten run with injury.
He didn’t play a single match for Newcastle in 2016-17 and eventually logged 21 games in that season during loan spells with PSV Eindhoven and its reserves team in the top two tiers of Dutch football.
Last season, he moved back to Ajax and managed 13 games between the first and second team, scoring four goals.
De Jong can play as an attacking midfielder and a striker, with Sydney FC head coach Steve Corica full of praise for the new signing.
“Siem is a technically gifted footballer and one I believe can be instrumental in success for us this season,” Corica said.
“He scores goals and creates them for others as well, and he is a player that will excite Sydney FC Members.
“You don’t become captain of Ajax without possessing all the necessary qualities for that job, and I believe he can bring those qualities to Sydney FC and help guide our squad this year.
“This is a new challenge for Siem, I’m confident it is one he can embrace, and I’m sure he’ll slot in seamlessly.”
Before that, the weekend’s action begins in southern Madrid with Friday night home games for Getafe and Leganés.
Real Valladolid are back in the top division of Spanish football and their first home fixture since they were relegated in 2014 is a very juicy one. Current LaLiga champions Barcelona will be the first visitors of the season to the Estadio José Zorrilla, where an electric atmosphere is expected on Saturday night. The Blanquivioletas have lost just one home match in all of 2018, so Ernesto Valverde’s superstars will have to work incredibly hard as they aim to pick up the three points.
Before that, the second weekend of the 2018/19 LaLiga season begins with two matches in the south of Madrid, as Getafe host Eibar and as Leganés welcome Real Sociedad on Friday evening. The two capital city sides suffered losses on the road in the opening round and won’t want to make it two defeats from two against their Basque guests.
Up in the Basque Country, Alavés’ first home game of the campaign will see them take on Real Betis in the first fixture of Saturday. The team from Andalusia dominated possession in their opener against Levante, only to lose 3-0, so it’ll be fascinating to see how they respond against another side known for their explosive counter-attacking football.
A Madrid derby follows that clash, as newly promoted Rayo Vallecano visit Atlético Madrid’s new stadium, the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano, for the first time ever. Rayo haven’t managed to win away at Atlético in the league at all in the 21st century, but they’d love to travel back to Vallecas on Saturday evening with a 100 percent win rate at the ground which will host this season’s Champions League final.
Saturday’s action is rounded off with Valladolid’s clash against Barcelona, before Espanyol and Valencia get proceedings underway in Sunday’s first match. Both of these sides began their 2018/19 seasons with 1-1 draws and will hope to go one step further in week two to pick up a first victory of the campaign.
Sevilla and Villarreal, the two teams who finished seventh and fifth respectively last season, will meet in the Andalusian capital later on Sunday evening in a match that could turn out to have an impact on their European ambitions at the end of the season. Making the fixture all the more intriguing is the fact that Villarreal have just re-signed former Sevilla striker Carlos Bacca, who scored in both of his meetings with his former employers last season.
Girona and Real Madrid wrap up Sunday’s LaLiga activity, as Los Blancos travel to the Estadi Montilivi and to a stadium where they lost 2-1 last year. Both these teams have changed their coach since that match, but the majority of the players will be the same and the team from the capital city will surely target revenge for a result that was described as one of the biggest shocks of the 2017/18 season.
The round then ends with two Monday night matches, as Levante host Celta Vigo and as Athletic Club invite Huesca to San Mamés. The match in Bilbao will be very special as it’ll be Huesca’s first meeting with Athletic Club, meaning that their club captain Gonzalo Melero will offer a bouquet of flowers to the bust of legendary player Pichichi, something all clubs do when they visit Athletic Club for the first time.
You’ll have read many pieces about how exciting Usain Bolt’s “indefinite training period” will be for the Central Coast Mariners. People have dedicated hundreds of words to how Bolt will put the Central Coast on the map and how he may just be the magical shot in the arm the A-League needs to drag it out of its malaise.
It appears the A-League’s obsession with big names as a solution to any and all problems has now moved beyond footballers to eight-time Olympic sprinting champions who want to be footballers.
Surely even the optimists who believe this will be a good move for the Mariners – and can have positive consequences for the league more broadly – can’t ignore the gimmick-y nature of the whole situation.
The expectation that the publicity generated from Bolt’s celebrity will trickle down and transform itself into increased exposure for the Mariners and the A-League is one that Australian football has seen disproven before.
It was believed that Luis Garcia would put the Central Coast on the map and that his vast experience could benefit a young Mariners squad. Whether that eventuated is difficult to say.
Tim Cahill was meant to be the bridge between Australian sports fan and the A-League, but his stint did little to nothing to improve Melbourne City’s metrics.
The Mariners have put themselves in an interesting situation. By giving Bolt an indefinite amount of time, they are allowing themselves plenty of room to legitimise the move, come hell or high water.
If he is in fact good enough, one can only assume that once the initial intrigue dies (much like it did with Garcia and Cahill), all this time and effort could be for very little in the short term and even less in the long term.
If he isn’t good enough to go beyond the indefinite training period, then Central Coast has created a circus for nothing.
The Mariners haven’t played finals in 1,577 days, have mustered 18 wins out of 108 league games in the last four seasons and haven’t finished above eighth in that time.
Perhaps the club’s focus should be less on trying to turn athletes into footballers and more on how they can return to finals football.
The usual sea of white at the Bernabéu appeared a bit patchy as Los Blancos recorded their lowest La Liga crowd since the 2008-2009 season; of the 81,044 seats in the stadium, 48,446 were filled.
While the football on the park was good, the crowd was well below last season’s average of 65,653.
Is this a flash in the pan or the post-Ronaldo reality for Real?
It was the first game of the season against a local rival in Getafe, which should be reason enough to see a big crowd, but broader trends could offer an explanation for the below average attendance.
The social media numbers surrounding Ronaldo’s move from Madrid to Juventus were insane. Juve gained millions of Instagram, Facebook and Twitter followers after the announcement.
From this you could extrapolate that fans who follow players rather than teams – the new football fandom – have transferred their affections to reflect their favourite player’s new team.
Perhaps even more telling than the social media numbers is the attendance at Chievo v Juventus – Ronaldo’s first Serie A match.
Chievo’s average attendance last season was just under 12,500 with the stadium capacity at about 39,000. For Ronaldo’s visit, the Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi was a sell-out.
This is the kind of thing that is likely to follow the Old Lady and Ronaldo around the league.
Back to Madrid and it is reasonable to expect that over the course of the season, as the likes of Luka Modrić re-enter the starting XI, the attendance will return to its average of around 65,000.
Those who did attend the match saw Real Madrid beat Getafe 2-0 with Dani Carvajal and Gareth Bale finding the back of the net.
Sergio Ramos had a goal disallowed after he committed a foul in the box in order to give himself the room to score.
Real could have added to its tally with Marco Asensio and Bale both hitting the frame of the goal with the Welshman, in particular, in very good form.
With the 2018/19 season upon us, here’s a run-through of the 20 men who’ll be looking to lead their teams to glory in LaLiga Santander this season.
There’ll be nine new coaches in the hot seat this campaign (Eduardo Berizzo, Antonio Mohamed, Rubi, Eusebio Sacristan, Leo Franco, Mauricio Pellegrino, Julen Lopetegui, Asier Garitano and Pablo Machin), some of which will be managing in LaLiga Santander for the very first time.
Ernesto Valverde returns for his second season in charge of Barcelona looking to defend the LaLiga title, with Diego Simeone (Atletico Madrid) and Lopetegui (Real Madrid) looking to close the gap at the top.
Elsewhere, Quique Setien is also back for a second campaign at Real Betis, fresh from securing the club’s best top-flight finish (6th) in over a decade, while Jose Luis Mendilibar (Eibar) and Jose Bordalas (Getafe) will be hoping to take their sides that one step further and secure a European qualification spot.
Deportivo Alaves - Abelardo Fernandez, 48, Spanish
Former Sporting Gijon, Barcelona and Spain defender Abelardo won two LaLiga titles during his time at the Camp Nou. The Asturian coached home-town club Sporting from 2014-17, securing promotion from LaLiga 123 in 2016 before impressively guiding Alaves to safety after taking over the Basque side half-way through the 2017/18 campaign.
Athletic Club - Eduardo Berizzo, 48, Argentine
A defender with Celta Vigo and Argentina as a player, Berizzo returned to Balaidos as head coach in 2014. In 2015/16 he guided Celta to Europa League qualification and the Copa del Rey semi-finals. His spell at Sevilla in 2017/18 was marked by a successful battle against prostate cancer, allowing him to replace Jose Angel Ziganda the summer at San Mames.
Atletico Madrid - Diego Simeone, 48, Argentine
A winner of the LaLiga title with Atletico in 1995/96, Simeone took charge of his former club in December 2011. He has since guided them to the 2013/14 LaLiga title, as well as victories in the Europa League [2012 and 2018], European Supercup , Copa del Rey  and Spanish Supercopa . Simeone is now the second longest-serving coach in the club’s history - with 250 LaLiga games to the end of 2017/18.
FC Barcelona - Ernesto Valverde, 54, Spanish
A winger with Espanyol, Athletic Club and Barcelona as a player, Valverde has now coached at all three of those LaLiga clubs - as well as at Villarreal, Valencia and Greek side Olympiakos. Valverde won the 2017/18 LaLiga and Copa del Rey double in his first season in charge at the Camp Nou, and has to date coached a total of 385 LaLiga games across his career.
Celta Vigo - Antonio Mohamed, 48, Argentina
A former Argentina international midfielder, Mohamed played most of his club football in Mexico, where he also began his coaching career. He has since won trophies in both Argentina and Mexico, where his most recent club was Monterrey. ‘El Turco’ was appointed to replace Juan Carlos Unzue for Celta’s 2017/18 campaign.
SD Eibar - Jose Luis Mendilibar, 57, Spanish
A former midfielder with Basque lower league side Sestao River, Mendilibar is now a veteran of over 300 LaLiga games in charge of Athletic Bilbao, Valladolid, Osasuna, Levante and current club Eibar. His third season in charge last year brought the top flight’s smallest club’s highest ever finish of ninth.
RCD Espanyol - Rubi, 48, Spanish
Joan Francesc Ferrer - known as Rubi - is a former lower division player with various Catalan clubs. After spells in charge at Girona and Real Valladolid in LaLiga 1l2l3, and Levante and Sporting Gijon in LaLiga Santander, in 2017/18 he guided Huesca to a first ever promotion to the top division. In June 2018 he was named to replace Quique Sanchez Flores as Espanyol coach.
Getafe CF - Jose Bordalas, 54, Spanish
Bordalas began his coaching career early, after injury cut short his playing career at 28. After two decades of experience with various clubs in Spanish football’s second and third tiers, the Alicante-native moved from Alcorcon to suburban Madrid neighbours Getafe in summer 2017, and had an excellent first LaLiga season at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez.
Girona FC - Eusebio Sacristan, 54, Spanish
Eusebio made over 500 LaLiga appearances as a player, patrolling the midfield with Valladolid, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Celta Vigo, winning four LaLiga titles when at Barca. After beginning his coaching career in the Camp Nou youth system, he had spells in charge of Celta and Real Sociedad, before being appointed this summer at Girona.
SD Huesca - Leo Franco, 41, Argentine
A former goalkeeper with the Argentina national team, Franco kept goal for LaLiga clubs Merida, Mallorca, Atletico Madrid and Real Zaragoza before spending the 2015/16 season with Huesca in LaLiga 1l2l3. He has now returned to El Alcoraz for his first senior coaching job, replacing last year’s promotion-winning boss Rubi.
CD Leganes - Mauricio Pellegrino, 46, Argentine
Ex-Argentina centre-back Pellegrino played in LaLiga with Barcelona, Valencia and Alaves, winning the 2002 and 2004 LaLiga titles during his time at Mestalla. He has coached at Valencia and Alaves, as well in the Premier League with Southampton, before returning to LaLiga with Leganes this summer.
Levante UD - Paco Lopez, 50, Spanish
Former Levante youth team coach Lopez did a superb job on taking charge of the senior side late in the 2017/18 campaign, winning seven of ten games to ensure safety from relegation. His playing career included spells at Valencia and Levante, while he has also coached in the youth systems at Valencia and Villarreal.
Rayo Vallecano - Michel, 42, Spanish
Miguel Angel Sanchez Muñoz - known as Michel - was a midfielder who spent most of his career at Rayo, making 178 LaLiga appearances in total. He took over as coach at Vallecas in February 2017, and guided the team to the LaLiga 1l2l3 title in his first full season in charge.
Real Betis - Quique Setien, 59, Spanish
An intelligent midfielder as a player, Setien made over 200 LaLiga appearances as a player with hometown club Racing Santander, Atletico Madrid and Logroñes. After spells in charge of Racing and Lugo in LaLiga 1l2l3, he impressed many during 18 months at Las Palmas in LaLiga Santander. He then guided Betis to sixth place and Europa League qualification last term.
Real Madrid - Julen Lopetegui, 51, Spanish
Lopetegui made almost 100 LaLiga appearances as a goalkeeper at Real Madrid, Logrones, Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano, before starting his coaching career in the Bernabeu youth system. After success with Spain’s international underage sides between 2010 and 2014, he spent 18 months at Portuguese club Porto, then took over the Spanish national team in 2016 before succeeding Zinedine Zidane in the Real Madrid dugout.
Real Sociedad - Asier Garitano, 48, Spanish
Garitano made his name by guiding suburban Madrid side Leganes from the third tier to a first-ever promotion to LaLiga Santander in 2016. 2017/18 brought a famous Copa del Rey victory over neighbours Real Madrid, before Basque native Garitano moved north to take over Real Sociedad last summer.
Real Valladolid - Sergio Gonzalez, 41, Spanish
A long LaLiga career saw Sergio play almost 400 games in midfield for Espanyol, Deportivo La Coruña and Levante and win 11 caps for Spain before returning to his first club as coach in August 2014. An immediate success on taking over at Valladolid last April, he won eight of 12 games as the Castilian side secured promotion to LaLiga Santander through the play-offs.
Sevilla FC - Pablo Machin, 43, Spanish
After beginning his coaching career at Numancia, Machin came to prominence by guiding Girona to promotion to LaLiga in 2017, then securing a very impressive 10th place in the Catalan club’s first ever top-flight season. He took over at Sevilla last summer, with veteran Joaquin Caparros moving upstairs to become the club’s sporting director.
Valencia CF - Marcelino Garcia Toral, 52, Spanish
Marcelino played with hometown club Sporting Gijon, Racing Santander, Levante and Elche before beginning his coaching career in Sporting’s youth system, then first team in 2003. He has since coached Recreativo de Huelva, Racing [twice], Real Zaragoza, Sevilla, Villarreal and Valencia, who he guided to fourth spot and a return to the Champions League last season.
Villarreal CF - Javier Calleja, 40, Spanish
A former midfielder who made over 200 LaLiga appearances for Villarreal, Malaga and Osasuna, Calleja began his coaching career in the Villarreal youth system in 2015. He was promoted to take over the first team in September 2017, ending his first term in charge with qualification for next season’s Europa League.
A fresh LaLiga season has arrived and the new campaign begins with an explosive match-up between Valencia and Atlético Madrid – the teams that finished fourth and second respectively in 2017/18 – on Monday evening.
Following a summer of significant investment, Diego Simeone’s Rojiblancos have been tipped by many as a serious candidate to lift the LaLiga Santander trophy next May and they’ll have to overcome a significant hurdle at Mestalla, where a revamped Valencia squad await. Bringing three points back to the capital will be a tough ask but Atlético came through a similarly tricky test in the opening round of their triumphant 2013/14 campaign, when Diego Costa led them to a 3-1 victory away at Sevilla.
Two teams hoping that Los Colchoneros fail to win their 11th league championship are Barcelona and Real Madrid and they both have the benefit of launching their title bids at home. Champions Barcelona will take on Alavés under the Camp Nou floodlights at 22:15 CEST on Saturday evening, before Real
Madrid welcome neighbours Getafe to the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu 24 hours later.
The weekend’s action and, in fact, the season as a whole gets underway in Girona at 20:15 CEST on Friday, when year’s surprise package host newly promoted Real Valladolid, who won promotion through the LaLiga 1l2l3 play-offs last term. That’s followed by some further Friday night football as Europe-bound Real Betis tackle Levante, who’ll look to carry their incredible end-of-season form (eight wins from their final 11 matches last season) into this year’s competition.
Celta Vigo and Espanyol both begin life under their new coaches, Antonio Mohamed and Rubi, respectively, in Saturday’s first game after very different pre-seasons. The Galician outfit didn’t win any of their five friendlies, while the team from the Catalan capital won all six of theirs.
There’s another tasty clash on Saturday evening as two teams who’ll aspire to qualify for Europe meet, with Villarreal hosting Real Sociedad. There were nine goals and one victory each from their two meetings last season, so this is a fixture worth tucking into.
Early Sunday evening sees the other two newly promoted teams make their entrance, with Huesca visiting Eibar for their first ever top-flight game. Just as the Basque side did in 2014, Huesca won their first ever promotion to LaLiga last season and will be the 63rd club to compete in the top division of Spanish football when the ball gets rolling at Ipurua.
That match is followed by Rayo Vallecano’s return to LaLiga, as they host a Sevilla side that will have played a Europa League qualifier in Lithuania on the Thursday evening beforehand. The side from the Madrid suburbs haven’t beaten Sevilla in their past nine attempts, but they’d love to make it 10th time lucky this weekend.
It’s then up to Athletic Club and Leganés to wrap up this opening weekend in the late slot on Monday night, an interesting dessert to the feast that Valencia vs Atlético promises to be.