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‘Pogba can look lackadaisical but he’s a genius’ – Man Utd need consistency from £89m man, says Pallister – football news

Paul Pogba can “look a little bit lackadaisical”, admits Gary Pallister, but the Frenchman is considered to be a “genius” with match-winning quality for Manchester United.

Ever since completing an £89 million ($116m) return to Old Trafford in the summer of 2016, the enigmatic talent has seen his every move dissected in minute detail.

His on-field performances have often been deemed to fall below the standard expected of him, while his antics away from the pitch have generated as much debate as those on it.

Such inconsistency has left many of those at Old Trafford frustrated, including manager Jose Mourinho, but Pogba has shown flashes of the brilliance which has made him a global star and  World Cup winner.

Pallister is now looking for more of that in 2018-19, telling 888sport: “At times he can look a little bit lackadaisical with the ball but at other times he can light up the whole stadium.

“The latter is what people at Old Trafford want to see: I mean that ball he played for Fred against Wolves was a moment of absolute genius.

“He saw the pass, he executed it, and it was right out of the top drawer and he has the ability to do that god knows how many times in a game.

“When we’re out of possession people look at Paul and think he could give a little bit more for the team. And that comes from being an £89m player and being talked about as one of the best players in the world.”

Alexis Sanchez Manchester United 2018-19

While more is being demanded of Pogba, the same can be said for Alexis Sanchez.

The Chilean arrived at United amid much fanfare in January, but the former Arsenal and Barcelona star has struggled for form as Mourinho endeavours to find the right role for him.

Pallister added of another man proven at the very highest level: “I was absolutely buzzing when United signed him because his performances at Arsenal showed he was a world-class talent.

Article continues below

“But for whatever reason it has not been working out and I’m sure Alexis will be one of the first to say he has not been producing the form we expected of him.

“Maybe he doesn’t suit the manager’s style of play. Maybe he hasn’t been hitting it off with the forwards he’s playing alongside.

“But I think he will turn it around and he will score goals and excite the crowd. It’s about getting the balance right and then we’ll see the best of him.”

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“Virgil van Dijk Is The Best Defender In The World” | #HotTakes – Football Daily

Football Daily video, Enjoy:

Click the links to watch more football news or other football videos.

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West Ham’s Pellegrini rejects Dzeko speculation – football news

Manuel Pellegrini has denied West Ham are considering a January move for Edin Dzeko.

The Roma striker played for Pellegrini at Manchester City and he suggested this week he would be interested in a Premier League return.

“Regarding the Premier League, maybe it’s too late,” he told Sky Sports News. “You never know.

Dzeko hit 16 Premier League goals as Pellegrini’s City won the 2013-14 title, but he later fell out of favour and joined Roma in 2015.

Pellegrini, though, said Dzeko is not on his radar when he spoke at a news conference on Thursday.

“You can talk about five, six or seven players that are linked with us,” Pellegrini told reporters.

“We must not talk about one player. I know him well but we are not thinking about that at the moment.”

West Ham host Tottenham in a London derby on Saturday and Pellegrini expects Marko Arnautovic to be available to lead the line.

“He’s okay,” the Chilean continued. “He played just one game [for Austria in the international break]. 

Article continues below

“He has worked with the squad without any problems. He must be careful with his knee.”

Pellegrini’s side face the challenge of keeping England captain Harry Kane quiet at the London Stadium.

“Harry Kane is one of the best players in the Premier League, maybe the world,” Pellegrini said. “They have a lot of international players, they have a complete squad.”

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Stendardo: Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly is the best defender in the world – football news

Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly is presently the best defender in the world, according to former Juventus and Lazio defender Guglielmo Stendardo.

The 27-year-old has been a regular fixture in the Partenopei’s defence since he arrived from Genk in 2014.

Koulibaly made the Serie A Team of the Season in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons and also earned himself a place in the Caf Team of the Year in 2016 after his fine defensive showings that helped Napoli across the two campaigns.

The Senegalese centre-back who withdrew from international duty due to an injury last Friday has played in every of Napoli’s matches this season.

And the 37-year-old has stated why Real Madrid and Spain skipper Sergio Ramos is the only defender close to matching the qualities of the African star.

“Koulibaly is currently the best defender in the world,” Stendardo told Radio Kiss Kiss per Football Italia.

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“The only one who gets close to him is Sergio Ramos, who is in my view physically inferior to the Napoli man, who is a perfect athlete.

“He improved so much over the three years under Maurizio Sarri when it comes to playing with the ball at his feet, becoming very good at building moves from the back.”

Koulibaly was heavily linked with a move to the Premier League in the summer before signing a new five-year deal with the Naples outfit in September.

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Video: Chelsea vs Manchester United – head to head – football news

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Lukaku accused of disrespecting Man Utd with Serie A transfer comments – football news

Romelu Lukaku’s comments regarding a future move to Serie A are “disrespectful” to Manchester United, says Gary Pallister.

The Belgium international is currently tied to a long-term contract at Old Trafford and will not be going anywhere any time soon.

He has, however, hinted that a spell in Italy will be taken in at some stage, with Juventus having been linked with his services in the past.

When quizzed on a possible stint in Serie A, Lukaku told Gazzetta dello Sport: “Why not? I hope it happens.”

That admission has not gone down well with former United defender Pallister, with the 25-year-old striker urged to show more respect to his current club during a testing period for all concerned.

“I think it’s disrespectful at times if you start mentioning other clubs when you’re actually contracted to the club you’re at” Pallister told 888sport.

“If it’s in your mind I’ve got no problem with that but to put it in print I’ve got a problem with that.

“At a time when a club is under real pressure to have their leading goal-scorer say he’d like to move abroad – if that’s what he has done – is not the ideal scenario.”

Pallister is not the only United legend to have questioned Lukaku during the international break.

Romelu Lukaku Manchester United CSKA UEFA Champions League 02102018

Despite hitting another double for Belgium in a Nations League win over Switzerland, and having four club goals to his name this season, Paul Scholes has suggested that the Premier League title will never return to Old Trafford for as long as the former Everton and Chelsea man leads the line.

He told ESPN: “I’m just not sure you are ever going to win the league with a goal scorer like him.

Article continues below

“I don’t think his play outside of the box is good enough.

“I’m not sure if he works hard enough but he’s still a young man who has done well and scored a lot of goals. He’s quick and strong, but Lukaku is one of many United players who look like they’re short of confidence.”

Lukaku will be hoping to prove a point to his doubters on Saturday when he returns to domestic action with a trip to face his former employers at Stamford Bridge.

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How have Brazil changed since the World Cup? – football news


GOAL ANALYSIS – Raisa Simplicio & Rupert Fryer


Following World Cup 2018, Brazil coach Tite and his technical staff are leading a process of renewal in the Selecao. Their work has been broken down into three stages: the short, medium and long term.

The short term utilised the six Brasil Global Tour dates from September to November, the first big test of which arrived this week with the Superclasico against Argentina in Jeddah.

Neymar refused to lose Miranda takes the Superclasico
Posted by Brasil Global Tour on Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The 1-0 victory over their old rivals made it four straight victories, but it is the performances rather than the results of those matches that are most important to the coach.

Tite has taken the opportunity to introduce a number of new faces, handing out nine debuts since the World Cup (Neto, Felipe, Eder Militao, Andreas Pereira, Arthur, Lucas Paqueta, Richarlison, Everton and Pablo), while retaining the core of the World Cup squad. The intention is to find an ideal blend of youth and experience.


A FIXED CAPTAIN


Neymar Brasil Argentina 16 10 2018

The big news ahead of the Selecao’s first post-World Cup test was the appointment of a new captain. After two years of rotating the armband around the squad, Tite announced that Neymar was being anointed the responsibility on a permanent basis. Tite made a point of explaining his decision, insisting that his no.10 was the technical leader of the team who will guide them into World Cup 2022. 

There were some reservations following intense criticism of Neymar’s temperament in Russia, but it is clear to see that the 26-year-old has learned from the experience and is growing. Some of the criticism appeared to miss the point; this was not a reward from Tite, but rather a tool to ensure the player remains entirely focused and accepts his responsibility on the pitch.


ARTHUR’S EMERGENCE


Arthur Brazil El Salvador Friendly 11092018

The most prominent of all the new arrivals is Barcelona midfielder Arthur. The former Gremio man charmed the coaching staff and started against Argentina, a match in which Tite played what he believes is his best team. The match served as a something of a ‘simulation’ for next year’s Copa America, a tournament Tite is under huge pressure to win.

If the tournament started today, Arthur would be in the first-team. Despite having just over a year of senior football under his belt, Arthur has shown the strength, athleticism, tactical nous and technical quality to set the rhythm in the Brazil midfield, seemingly relegating Manchester Untied’s Fred back to the bench.


STRONG CORE


Philippe Coutinho Neymar Brazil 2018 World Cup

While Brazil are going through a major renovation, the Selecao remains standing on a solid foundation of five key players. In goal, Alisson has been consistently excellent and is yet to let his country down, though Ederson is pushing him hard. Marquinhos is the one member of the back-four whose place is assured, while Casemiro at the base of the midfield remains possibly his side’s most important player in terms of the team’s overall functionality.

In midfield, Coutinho – whether wide right or in central midfield – is immovable and so too is Neymar. Arthur is on the verge of making it six, but elsewhere places are very much up for grabs. Both full-back positions are being keenly contested and as many as half of the positions in midfield and attack are yet to be claimed.


STRIKING COMPETITION


Richarlison Brasil Argentina Amistoso Superclássico das Américas 16102018

One of the biggest changes for Brazil post-World Cup has been in the centre-forward position. For two years, Gabriel Jesus was immovable from the no.9 position. However, after failing to score in Russia, Tite has had a rethink. Jesus was left out of the squad completely last month but returned last week and found the net against Saudi Arabia.

Roberto Firmino, for so long his understudy, is now pushing for a start. Moreover, Everton forward Richarlison has entered the race after starring against El Salvador last month with two goals. The Argentina match saw Firmino and Jesus start a Brazil match together for the very first time, but they seemed to lack an understanding and the attack certainly lacked cohesion overall. Tite, then, has plenty to ponder up front ahead of next month’s Brasil Global Tour.


NEW FORMATIONS


GFX  1a mudança Tite Arábia Saudita

This week, for the match against Argentina, Tite took the extremely rare decision not to confirm his starting XI on the eve of the game, explaining that he was yet to devise his tactical plan for the contest. The 4-1-4-1/4-3-3 that had been omnipresent since his appointment has changed following their disappointment in Russia.

Against Saudi Arabia, he used three different formations and against Argentina went out with two centre-forwards, though Jesus did play from the right. The theory was that Firmino would drop and the likes of Neymar and Jesus would exploit the space. However, in practice it proved problematic, and will undoubtedly require more work on the training ground.

Regardless, Tite and his staff are working hard on varying Brazil’s shape and finding a system that can get his best attackers onto the field while retaining the ‘balance’ he believes is so important.

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‘Mourinho’s critics are jealous’ – Ibrahimovic backs under-fire Man Utd boss – football news

Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes criticism of Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has become “personal”, with those quick to write the Portuguese off merely jealous of his achievements.

A proven winner throughout a distinguished coaching career, the man at the Old Trafford helm has faced some uncomfortable questions this season.

With his side struggling for consistency and talk of dressing room divides providing an unwelcome distraction, Mourinho is having to fight fires on and off the field.

He has offered no indication that he will be running away from those challenges, with there a desire on his part to oversee a reversal in fortune.

Ibrahimovic, who has worked with the Portuguese at Inter and United, believes Mourinho remains the right man for the job, telling Sky Sports: “Everybody criticises Mourinho and I don’t think it’s because of the results, it’s because of the character, because of the way he is.

“I see myself a little bit in that situation because we have our vision, we have our confidence, we believe in things, we say certain things in our own way and of course we get the blame.

“We get criticised more when it’s not going good. But when it’s going good and we win, the satisfaction is bigger than the other ones.

“We are ourselves, we believe in what we do and we do it until the end. That is what is going on there.

“Some critics I feel are personal. Some critics are exaggerating. Some because of the one he is, other ones are jealousy.

“All of this is part of the circle, so Mourinho has to just keep being himself, stand up for what he is doing, stand up for who he is and continue.

“He is there because he did it his own way, because he is who he is and won’t change for nobody. I am the same. The people out there who think they are perfect, they are the biggest problem.”

Wayne Rooney D.C. United MLS 2018

Ibrahimovic has also saluted another man with strong ties to United, with the Red Devils’ all-time leading goalscorer currently shining away from Old Trafford.

Wayne Rooney joined the MLS ranks at D.C. United over the summer and has helped to fire them into play-off contention.

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Ibrahimovic, who is also in America with the LA Galaxy, said of the former England international: “I think so far he did fantastic, he changed the team he came to and they have done good results.

“Before he came it was different results, but he has been playing good and scoring goals and he shows that he is Rooney.

“I don’t need to describe Rooney. Everybody knows Rooney and they know his quality, so it’s only for him to play the games and perform.”

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Arsenal should be making Ramsey captain, not letting him leave – Wilshere – football news

Aaron Ramsey should have been “a future Arsenal captain”, according to Jack Wilshere, with another “great player” seemingly heading out of Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners have picked up an unfortunate habit of allowing senior stars to run down their contracts, with Ramsey the latest to have entered the final 12 months of his terms.

Negotiations regarding an extension appear to have broken down, despite the Wales international revealing that he believed a deal had been done at one stage.

He is now set to drop into the free agent pool at the end of the season, with no January switch being sought, and Wilshere – who left Arsenal once his own contract expired over the summer – feels a top talent is being allowed to slip through the net in north London.

A man who spent 17 years on the club’s books before leaving for West Ham told the Islington Gazette: “He’s [Ramsey] grown up to be a great player with Arsenal. They could do with someone like him. We know what he can do for the club.

“For me he’s a future Arsenal captain. I know he loves the club. It’s difficult for me to comment on because I’m not there but I do know he’s a great player – if it was me I know I would want to keep him around.

“He’s a great guy to have around. He’s been at the club so long and knows it inside out. If you look at what he’s done for the club too.

“We went into the first team in the same year. He came from Cardiff and I came from the youth team. We automatically clicked because we were both young and new to that sort of environment.”

With Ramsey set to become available in the not too distant future, various landing spots have been mooted for the 27-year-old.

The likes of Manchester United and Liverpool are said to want to keep him in the Premier League, while Serie A giants Juventus have been linked with a shock approach.

Article continues below

Wilshere believes a former team-mate would slip seamlessly into the fold at any side in world football after proving himself to be a reliable performer at the very highest level.

The England international added: “I think you’ve got to look at the situation and ask: ‘How many top teams in the Premier League and elsewhere could he get in?’

“And you’d have to say them all – and that speaks volumes about the type of player he is.”

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Sarachan’s stint as the friend-zoned USMNT coach winding to a close – football news

It has been a recurring uncomfortable scene that has played out repeatedly for the better part of the past year that Dave Sarachan has been serving as caretaker coach of the U.S. national team. Questions addressed to Sarachan about his chances of being chosen to keep the USMNT job he was given to babysit until a permanent appointment was made. 

What the reporters asking those questions have been consistently oblivious to is the reality that Sarachan was never in the running for the job, was never considered as a candidate, even as weeks turned into months. It wasn’t going to matter how the USA fared, or what results were posted, Sarachan was always a placeholder.

It has been a reality Sarachan fully understood, even as he often found himself trying to provide poilte, bland answers about whether he was hoping to land a job that anyone with a clue knew he had no chance to land, no matter how much he might want it deep down.

Sarachan has spent the past year in the coaching equivalent of the friend zone, doing his best to help the national team program transition to a new generation, all the while knowing another coach would be stepping in to take the program into the heart of a new qualifying cycle.

That new coach is expected to be hired soon, potentially before the team’s November friendlies against England and Italy. All signs point to Columbus Crew boss Gregg Berhalter being the favorite to be hired.  That means Sarachan could have coached his final USMNT match in Tuesday’s draw with Peru, or he could lead the team in November already knowing who the next coach will be.

That isn’t bothering Sarachan, who has fully embraced his temporary status.

“Until they tell me I’m not, I’m full bore man,” Sarachan said when asked if he would still be coaching the team for the November friendlies. “(I’ll) Keep going. This is too much fun.”

That Sarachan has had a year in charge of the national team is a miracle in itself.

He had spent the better part of the past decade as an assistant coach, serving as Bruce Arena’s right-hand man during their title-winning run with the LA Galaxy and then as his lead assistant during the disastrous 2018 World Cup qualifying cycle. Some die-hard USMNT fans may have even been oblivious to the fact Sarachan had his own trophy-winning five-year stretch as head coach of the Chicago Fire more than a decade ago. He came within an MLS Cup final loss of winning a treble with the Fire in 2003, and led the club to four finals, winning a pair of U.S. Open Cup titles.

Bruce Arena Dave Sarachan Pat Noonan Kenny Arena USA

While Sarachan was never really in the running for the job on a permanent basis, he has impressed his players with his professionalism in what hasn’t been an easy position.

“As an interim (coach), it’s always a tricky position,” midfielder Wil Trapp said of Sarachan. “In many respects, he could have mailed it in and he never did that. From the first game in Portugal last year to tonight, he’s always put out a lineup that he’s confident in and he’s always given the group a plan.

“I can’t say enough good things about how he’s approached this situation and the way he’s brought this group along.”

Sarachan deserves some credit for the work he has done. He has certainly boosted his chances of landing a head coaching job once he’s done with the USMNT, but there’s no denying that the prolonged wait in selecting a new head coach has cost the team valuable time developing in a system that will be in place long term. For all his efforts, Sarachan never really implemented a clear style.

Timothy Weah Tyler Adams USMNT Mexico

“The U.S. definitely still needs an identity of how we want to play,” Josh Sargent said after Tuesday’s draw with Peru. “Hopefully (we will get that) with a new coach coming in and telling us what he wants with us, and obviously Dave did a great job in these camps.”

Sarachan has taken an unenviable job and made the most of it, helping usher in a new generation of talents while the process to hire a new coach dragged on. There will never be an acceptable justification for U.S. Soccer having taken more than a year to find a new full-time USMNT head coach, but Sarachan deserves some credit for embracing being in the coaching version of the friend zone.

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