Klopp offers sympathy to sacked Mourinho: He’s an outstanding manager

Jurgen Klopp believes Jose Mourinho remains an “outstanding manager” and saluted the titles he’s won in football following his sacking as Manchester United boss.

The Portuguese paid for United’s woeful start to the 2018-19 campaign, with the club releasing a statement on Tuesday morning to confirm that he had left.

Indeed, United are currently sixth in the Premier League table, 19 points behind leaders Liverpool, and have their worst points tally in England’s top flight since 1990-91.

And Klopp, who guided his side to a 3-1 win over United in what was Mourinho’s final game in charge, was sympathetic when asked for his reaction to the news.

“He’s a very competitive guy, very ambitious, unbelievably successful and I can imagine the last few months were not a joy, especially for him,” he told reporters.

“Nobody can take away all the things he won. He’s an outstanding manager.”

Mourinho has won three Premier League titles across two spells with Chelsea, while he claimed the Europa League and Carabao Cup in his first season at United, finishing runners-up to Manchester City in the league in 2017-18.

That led to United offering a new deal in January that was due to tie him down at Old Trafford until 2020.

The Red Devils have decided to sack him now, however, with reports claiming they have been forced to pay as much as £24 million ($30m) to release him from his contract.

Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard also offered his reaction to Mourinho losing his job, telling reporters: “He’s a winner. How can I sit here and say anything bad about him?

“He’s a serial winner. He’s been sacked at Manchester United but he’s won them a couple of trophies.

“I don’t think you can criticize him too much. It will be interesting to see which direction they go in next.”

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It remains to be seen who United will appoint next, with the club having announced they will look to bring in an intermin manager until the end of the season.

That has seen Laurent Blanc and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer linked, and Goal understands the club will appoint an external candidate in the temporary post, rather than any member of their current coaching team.

Zinedine Zidane and Mauricio Pochettino, meanwhile, are the favourites to land the permanent post at the conclusion of the 2018-19 campaign.


Chelsea and many others interested in Bournemouth star Wilson, admits Zola

Gianfranco Zola has appeared to confirm Chelsea’s interest in signing Callum Wilson ahead of the Blues’ EFL Cup quarter-final with Bournemouth.

Maurizio Sarri’s side are expected to be in the market for a new striker in January, with Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud having scored just six Premier League goals between them in 2018-19.

That is two fewer than Bournemouth striker Wilson, who has enjoyed a fine start to the campaign having also netted on his England debut last month.

Wilson has been linked with Chelsea and Zola did nothing to dismiss those rumours when he spoke to the media at a news conference on Tuesday.

“I’m sure that there are a lot of players, they are linked with us,” the Chelsea assistant said.

“Certainly Callum Wilson is doing very well for this club and he’s an interest not only for us but for many.”

Chelsea have had to do their research on Wilson anyway ahead of Wednesday’s EFL Cup quarter-final clash at Stamford Bridge.

“He’s strong, fast and he sees the goal,” Zola said.

“I like [him] because he’s quick but also strong in the air, which is also a very important quality. 

“Having said that, I don’t want to go too much into it. He’s doing very well and I’m pleased for him.

“He has a lot of qualities that can take him a long way. I really hope that he keeps improving like this.”

Zola also revealed that Morata will not feature for Chelsea against Bournemouth, while star man Eden Hazard is a major doubt too.

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“Alvaro has a problem, he twisted his knee against Vidi. It won’t take, I believe, long, but he’s not going to be able to be in contention for tomorrow,” Zola added.

“Eden as well has got a knock in his foot. We are assessing him, we are going to decide today.

“Obviously, Hazard is one of our best players, so to have him available is a big deal but we don’t want to compromise anything. We will see, it depends on how the fitness test is going to go today.”


Man Utd picked weird time to fix mistake in hiring Mourinho – Sharpe

Manchester United picked a “weird” time to sack Jose Mourinho, according to former winger Lee Sharpe, who says it was a mistake to hire the manager in the first place.

United announced Mourinho’s immediate departure on Tuesday in the wake of their 3-1 defeat to Liverpool on Sunday. The club will appoint a caretaker manager to replace him until the end of the season while they look for a long-term solution.

The Portuguese coach spent over two years in charge, guiding them to a Europa League title and a runners-up finish in the Premier League.

However, the former Chelsea, Inter and Real Madrid boss’ third season at United had been plagued by bad results and performances as well as reports of spats with some of his players.

Sitting sixth in the Premier League and 11 points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, United face a demanding festive schedule amid further upheaval, but Sharpe feels they had to address the drop in morale.

“The timing is a little bit weird,” he told  BBC Radio 5 Live .

“They have four games in 10 or 12 days. They obviously don’t have anyone lined up permanently and I just think it is because the team is not playing great and have had poor results.

“The demeanour of Jose Mourinho and the players has dropped. They have probably accepted they are not going to make a top-four spot and now is the time to change.”

The ex-England international said Mourinho had plenty of problems to deal with at United, from constant injuries to a lack of support from the board. Most importantly, though, he believes coach and club were never a good match.

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“He has not picked a regular back four. Some of it is due to injury but he doesn’t have a settled defence, he likes to kill a game before he wins it and that is not the philosophy of Manchester United,” he said.

“They gave him a good contract last year but they haven’t backed him. They’ve then given him players he didn’t want.

“He was never my first choice for manager. They weren’t in Europe at the time and he was someone who could bring in big names and raise standards. He had a winning mentality and he has brought that to the club. But it was never done in the Man Utd way. I think it was a mistake but I can see why they have done it that way.”


Kashima Antlers vs Real Madrid Betting Tips: Latest odds, team news, preview and predictions

Real Madrid face a familiar opponent on Wednesday evening in the semi-final of the Club World Cup.

Los Blancos overcame Kashima Antlers in the final of the 2016 edition of the tournament although the Japanese outfit gave them a real scare, taking the match to extra time before succumbing to a 4-2 defeat.

Santiago Solari’s side will be hoping to avoid any such nerves this week as they bid to win this competition for a third successive year.

Latest odds

The previous meeting two years ago finished 2-2 after 90 minutes and William Hill offer another draw at 11/2 (6.50). Real Madrid are priced at 1/5 (1.20) to win in 90 minutes with Kashima available at 11/1 (12.00).


Team news

Casemiro and Nacho have both been missing for six weeks, yet both could be available for Real. Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema picked up knocks in Saturday’s win over Rayo Vallecano and while the Welshman could be rested on Wednesday, Benzema should be fine.

Kashima were without striker Yuma Suzuki for their previous game in the competition against Chivas Guadalajara and he remains a doubt with a muscle problem.


Of the 13 competitive matches that Real Madrid have played away from the Bernabeu this season, they have only managed six victories.

Real Madrid Kashima graphic

They have also kept just four clean sheets and conceded 20 goals, which is in stark contrast to their defensive record at home in La Liga which is the best in the division.

Kashima scored three times in the previous round and found the net plenty of times on their way to lifting the Asian Champions League in November.

Whilst Suzuki may be Antlers’ top scorer domestically, he only scored one of their 18 goals in continental play so even if he is absent on Wednesday, the Japanese side will feel they can find the back of the net.

Tips and predictions

The price of 17/20 (1.85) for both teams to score, therefore, looks interesting and of course this selection comfortably paid out when the two sides met in 2016.

Betting Banner - Best BetBoth teams to score at 17/20 (1.85) for a 1pt stake with William Hill

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African All Stars Transfer News & Rumours: Sadiq Umar to join Serie B club Perugia on loan

Umar set to join Serie B club

Following the abrupt end of his loan spell at Ranger, Roma loanee Sadiq Umar is set to join Serie B side Perugia on loan for the remainder of the season.

Scottish Sun claims the Nigeria youth international is expected to complete his move to Italian club in the next 24 hours.

Man Utd scout Koulibaly ahead of January bid

Manchester United have sent scouts to watch Napoli defender Kalibou Koulibaly, according to the Sun.

United recently had people in the stands watching the Senegalese centre-back in action for Napoli during their Champions League defeat to Liverpool last week.

Having conceded as many goals already this season as they did in the entirety of the last campaign, the Red Devils are in search for defensive reinforcements this January and Koulibaly tops their wishlist.

Palace monitor Tammy Abraham

Crystal Palace are targeting a January swoop for Chelsea loanee Tammy Abraham, claims the Telegraph.

Abraham who is on loan at the Villa Park has been in blistering form for Dean Smith’s side with 11 goals in 15 league matches this campaign.

His form has attracted Roy Hodgson’s side who have struggled to score 14 goals so far in the English top-flight.

Sadiq Umar responds to Rangers’ exit

Rangers have given Roma loanee Sadiq Umar the green light to return Italy after just six months and the 21-year-old has dropped a message on social.

Umar had an underwhelming campaign in the Scottish side and did not score a goal in his five appearances for Steven Gerrard’s side.

His departure is claimed to make way for the Light Blues to prepare a loan bid for Liverpool’s Dominic Solanke.

Read more here on Goal

Ranieri targets Slimani’s reunion at Fulham

Fulham manager Claudio Ranieri is looking to reunite with Leicester City loanee Islam Slimani at the Craven Cottage.

Daily Mail claims that Ranieri is ready to strengthen his squad with the Algerian forward and help him rediscover his goalscoring touch.

The 67-year-old brought Slimani to the Premier League from Sporting Lisbon as Leicester’s record signing in 2016 but the attacker has struggled for form scoring three goals in 16 games at Fenerbahce this season.

Ancelotti to make decision on Diawara future

Napoli boss Carlos Ancelotti is set to decide on Amadou Diawara’s future at the club, Tutto Napoli reports.

Diawara, keen on regular first-team football, has attracted interest from Tottenham Hotspur and Wolverhampton and the Italian gaffer has been asked to decide if the 21-year-old leaves permanently or go out on loan in January.

The Guinean midfielder has made five starts and three substitute appearances in the Serie A this season.

Chelsea willing to sell £12m-rated Moses

Victor Moses could end his six-year stay at the Stamford Bridge in January with Chelsea set to consider offers of at least £12million for the Nigeria international, according to the Sun .

Crystal Palace and Fulham are said to be interested in the services of the 27-year-old who has fallen out of favour under Maurizio Sarri.

Moses has managed just 26 minutes of Premier League football this season.

Ismaily put El-Hadary on transfer list

Egyptian Premier League club are ready to part ways with veteran goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary by placing him on their transfer list.

The action added with a fine come as punishment for El-Hadary who skipped the club’s Caf Champions League trip to Burundi.

El-Hadary who joined Ismaily for his third stint last summer was also stripped of the captain’s armband.

Read more here on Goal

Bassogog dreams of Arsenal move

Henan Jianye attacker Christian Bassogog has revealed his childhood desire to play for Arsenal in the English Premier League.

WIth the 2018 Chinese Super League season over, Bassogog who scored six goals in 27 matches during the campaign is hopeful of a return to Europe with Unai Emery’s side his favourite.

Read more here on Goal

Galatasaray plot Bony’s move

Galatasaray are looking to sign Swansea City forward Wilfried Bony when his contract expires at the end of the season, Fanatik reports.

Bony recently returned from sidelines after a nine-month injury he suffered against Leicester City in February and has featured in three matches thus far.

The Lions are interested in taking the Ivorian star on loan for free in January until the end of the 2018-19 campaign as he is said to be earning £100,000 a week in the Championship club. 

Napoli set Koulibaly price

Manchester United have been told to pay more than world-record £90million to sign Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, Sunday Times claims.

Koulibaly is considered as Jose Mourinho’s top target in the January transfer window as he seeks to improve his team’s defence.

As a step in making the transfer possible, United officials have reportedly already held talks with the Serie A side and were quoted £90 million.

Changchun Yatai slap £20m price tag on Ighalo

Following their relegation to the second-tier of the Chinese League, Changchun Yati have put a £20m price tag on talisman Odion Ighalo, Football Live claims.

Ighalo was in a blistering goalscoring form with 21 goals in 28 league games but it was not enough to save Chen Jingang’s men who finished the 2018 Chinese Super League season 15th in the 16-team table.

And in his bid to secure top-flight football, the Changchun outfit are set to recoup the money spent on luring the Nigeria international to China from Watford in 2017.

Niasse to join Cardiff on loan

Premier League side Cardiff City are considering a loan move for out-of-favour Everton striker Oumar Niasse.

The Mirror reports that the Bluebirds boss Neil Warnock is desperately looking to bolster his attacking options next month as they prepare for a relegation battle.

And Niasse having not started a Premier League game all season for Marco Silva is on his hit-list.

Espanyol plot ambitious Bailly move

Espanyol are plotting a move to bring Manchester United defender Eric Bailly back to the Spanish LaLiga, according Manchester Evening News .

The Catalan outfit are reportedly ready to swoop for their ex-youth player Bailly if current centre-back Mario Hermoso is snapped up by Real Madrid in January.

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This season, the Cote d’Ivoire international has been forced out of first team action at Old Trafford owing to injury and tactical reasons.

Leeds United ready to improve bid for Bounedjah

After seeing their initial offer turned down by Al Sadd, Leeds United are ready to return with an improved bid valued at around €15million for Algerian striker Baghdad Bounedjah, according to Le Buteur .

The Championship club are interested in bolstering their squad with Bounedjah who has scored 28 goals in 14 league matches so far in the Qatar Stars League.