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Valencia claims Man United are ‘100 per cent’ behind under-fire Mourinho – football news

Under-fire manager Jose Mourinho has the full support of the Manchester United squad, insists captain Antonio Valencia.

United’s winless run extended to four matches in all competitions following Tuesday’s goalless draw against Spanish visitors Valencia in the Champions League.

Mourinho’s side produced another lethargic and unimpressive performance amid reports of dressing-room unrest at Old Trafford – with the Portuguese boss now having gone four consecutive matches without a home win for the first time in his career.

Asked if he is fully behind Mourinho, Valencia replied: “One hundred per cent. He is our boss, we have to be with him and we are fighting.”

There has been ongoing talk of a rift between Mourinho and star midfielder Paul Pogba, speculation heightened following a training-ground confrontation last week and the latter being stripped of vice-captaincy duties.

Ecuadorian veteran Valencia has also been in the headlines amid reports of his own falling out with Mourinho in Manchester.

“No, I have never had any problem with anyone, thank God,” Valencia said. “The decision [about the captaincy] is for the coach to make, now we need to see the positives. We played an important game and got a point, now we have a game against Newcastle and we need to fight.”

Valencia added: “What I can say from the inside is that the lads are calm, working every day with a good attitude. We haven’t got good results and that’s why rumours arise.”

United’s form has seen the Red Devils collect just 10 points from seven fixtures in the Premier League, leaving the team nine points off the pace.

Saturday will see United host lowly Newcastle United before the international break and left-back Luke Shaw is desperate to return to winning ways.

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“Disappointing because it’s two points dropped at home where we should be getting three points. It’s hard,” Shaw told MUTV .

“I think sometimes the tempo was too slow. We need to move the ball quicker and create more chances. We did have chances but we didn’t take them. We should be winning these games. We haven’t won here for a while. We need to fix that with a win against Newcastle on Saturday.

“In the Champions League you need to pick up maximum points. Four points is okay I guess but we should have six. We have Juventus coming here next. You want to be playing against the best teams and maybe that’s what we need – we need a big team to come here and pick ourselves back up again to show we are United.”

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Mourinho calls on Man Utd to follow Federer’s lead amid Young Boys pitch concerns – football news

Jose Mourinho has told Manchester United to be inspired by Roger Federer and ignore concerns over the pitch in their Champions League meeting with Young Boys.

Mourinho will not risk Antonio Valencia due to concerns over the Swiss side’s artificial surface, with the right-back having missed the start of the Premier League season with a knee injury.

He will sit out United’s Group H opener at the Stade de Suisse on Wednesday, which could hand right-back Diogo Dalot his debut for the club.

And Mourinho opted to use an unexpected example in the form of tennis great Federer when discussing the pitch in his pre-match news conference.

“We decided not to bring Antonio because his knee is not a knee that needs an artificial pitch at all,” Mourinho told a news conference. “So we brought [Luke] Shaw back into the squad, I told already he is playing tomorrow, and we have Diogo, [Ashley] Young and [Matteo] Darmian ready to play.

“I don’t want to use that [the pitch], especially before the match, as a possible excuse for a not very good performance. Everyone knows its different but I had to say, I said last week in Geneva UEFA meetings we had, what can I say…

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“As an example, we’re in Switzerland, home of one of the best ever tennis players, and I am pretty sure the big man [Federer] is not happy to play on such a surface, but he has to play and win. Everyone knows he has a favourite surface, but he has to win on the surfaces he is not in love with.

“We have to do it, but Antonio is the only one we need to protect with his clinical situation, apart from that we give everything and try to win.”

Shaw will return to the United team after missing Saturday’s Premier League win against Watford due to a head injury sustained on England duty.

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Man Utd & Mourinho emphatically answer critics with Lukaku-led victory over Burnley – football news

After back-to-back defeats against Brighton and Tottenham, there were plenty of debates as to what Manchester United needed. A new manager? A new direction within the boardroom? A renewed vigour from their players?

One thing that couldn’t be questioned was their need to bounce back with a win at Burnley on Sunday, and boy did Jose Mourinho’s side deliver.

The action-packed 2-0 victory at Turf Moor was a showcase of many of the best traits of Manchester United. They took the game to their opponents, got themselves into a winning position and threatened to score plenty more than their final tally. And even after going down to 10 men after Marcus Rashford’s second-half red card they continued to make chances while also showing the guts necessary to deal with Burnley’s desperate attacks at the other end.

It couldn’t have been scripted better by Mourinho no matter how hard he tried. The manager had got himself worked up in the week, referring time and again to his previous honours in a bit to build a siege mentality between himself and the Manchester United supporters.

There was even a pre-match plane protest by a group of United fans, with the words ‘Ed Woodward: A specialist in failure!’ being displayed in the skies as the debate over the executive vice-chair’s relationship with the manager intensifies.

But it was the performance on the pitch that was always going to speak loudest, and here United provided the perfect answer to the critics.

They started with purpose and desire, even if their play didn’t always have the same slick feel about it which had been evident in the first half at Old Trafford on Monday night. Jesse Lingard had a trio of opportunities early on, while Alexis Sanchez regularly got into good crossing positions and both Antonio Valencia and Luke Shaw were getting forward at will.

United eventually got the goal they had threatened when Sanchez waited and waited on the ball before delivering an inch-perfect cross for Romelu Lukaku to head home. It was a much-needed goal for a striker whose first-half miss against Spurs had been pinpointed by many as a key moment in the embarrassing defeat.

Manchester United celebrate

He would have another before half-time, sweeping home from inside the six-yard box after Jesse Lingard’s initial shot had been partially blocked. The 2-0 lead was a more than fair reflection on proceedings as a jaded Burnley barely laid a glove on United.

The visitors were equally dominant to begin the second half and should have had a third when substitute Marcus Rashford was fouled by Aaron Lennon in the Burnley area. But Paul Pogba’s penalty was saved by Joe Hart and within two minutes Rashford’s afternoon would be at an end.

The England attacker responded to Phil Bardsley’s niggle in a challenge on the bye-line by planted his head on the ex-United defender. After showing Bardsley a yellow card, Jonathan Moss produced a red for Rashford just 10 minutes after he had replaced Sanchez.

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Even down to 10 men United were on top. Lukaku was somehow being denied a hat-trick by Ben Mee and Pogba dragged a shot just across goal, underlining even further how superior Mourinho’s side were.

As the final whistle approached the chant of “Mourinho’s red and white army” could be heard long and loud from the away end, just as it had in the Stretford End on Monday. It carried much cheerier tones this time around though, and nobody will be more relieved than the manager himself.

His side did the business for him in a game he could ill-afford to lose.

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