Wednesday, 18 October 2017
Sports

Sports (187)

Cristiano Ronaldo struck his first La Liga goal of the season five minutes from time to save Real Madrid from losing more ground in the title race with a hard-fought 2-1 win at Getafe on Saturday.

Real looked on course for a comfortable three points when Karim Benzema fired the visitors into a deserved half-time lead.

However, Jorge Molina’s equaliser early in the second half and an incredible miss by Ronaldo left the European champions needing a late saviour.

And Ronaldo rode to the rescue and made amends for his earlier profligacy with an accurate volleyed finish into the far corner.

Victory takes Real up to second and within four points of Barcelona, who travel to Atletico Madrid later on Saturday.

Despite being shorn of Gareth Bale, Dani Carvajal and Keylor Navas through injury and illness, Zinedine Zidane surprisingly left Luka Modric and Isco on the bench after their exertions on international duty and with one eye on Tuesday’s Champions League clash against Tottenham Hotspur.

However, that decision backfired as once again Zidane’s men produced a lacklustre performance in La Liga.

Real dropped points at home to Valencia, Levante and Real Betis to allow Barcelona to open up a seven-point gap at the top of the table and even failed to find their top form in seeing off Alaves and Espanyol in recent weeks.

Part of Madrid’s problem has been Ronaldo’s poor league form since returning from an early season five-game suspension.

Ronaldo’s first effort did at least produce a stunning save from Vicente Guaita as he drove Benzema’s neat layoff goalward from the edge of the box.

Guaita was left helpless six minutes before half-time, though, when Benzema latched onto Ronaldo’s pass and kept his composure to fire low into the far corner for his first league goal of the season.

Getafe had barely threatened before levelling in fortunate circumstances 11 minutes into the second half when Molina bundled home Francisco Portillo’s low cross despite appearing to be in an offside position.

The equaliser awoke Real from their second-half slumber and Guaita produced another great double save to block at Ronaldo’s feet before tipping Marcelo’s follow-up effort over.

Ronaldo drilled a free-kick just wide, but his embarrassing moment was still to come 17 minutes from time.

With the goal at his mercy as the ball rebounded into his path from a free-kick, the Portuguese somehow skewed wide at the far post.

Zidane threw on Isco, Theo Hernandez and Borja Mayoral from the bench in the search for a winner.

And it was Isco who provided the inspiration as his through ball released Ronaldo to finally break his duck in La Liga for the season by firing into the far corner.

Getafe could still have salvaged a point in stoppage time when Mehdi Lacen’s shot flew inches over with Real ‘keeper Kiko Casilla stranded.

Real jump into second thanks to Sevilla’s 1-0 defeat to Athletic Bilbao earlier on Saturday as Mikel Vesga got the only goal two minutes before half-time.

Posted On Saturday, 14 October 2017 21:26 Written by

David Moyes says he did not want Marouane Fellaini to be his first Manchester United signing and tried to buy Nemanja Matic first.

Fellaini moved to Old Trafford on deadline day in 2013 at the end of a summer that had seen Moyes replace Sir Alex Ferguson as manager.

A calamitous transfer window got Moyes' reign off to a rocky start and he was sacked before the end of the season.

He told the BBC: "I never wanted Marouane Fellaini to be my first Manchester United signing, that is the last thing me and my staff wanted.

"We looked at Nemanja Matic first. He did not do well at Chelsea and had gone back to Benfica.

"He was a consideration and we did need a more defensive type who could make passes from the middle of the park. We did not get a lot of the things we hoped for and got Fellaini on deadline day."

Marouane Fellaini played under David Moyes at Everton and Manchester United.

Fellaini was the only signing Moyes managed to make in his first summer at United.

But the former Everton manager also said he tried to hijack Gareth Bale's move from Tottenham to Real Madrid and almost convinced Cesc Fabregas to leave Barcelona.

He added: "I spoke to Gareth Bale a couple of times and tried to convince him to join us, we even offered Tottenham more money but he had his heart set on joining Real Madrid.

"I spoke to Cesc Fabregas on the phone too and he was not sure of his place in the Barcelona team. He said: 'I will join you if I do not start my first game of the season at Barca' ... and he did start.

"They were the only two who looked like Manchester United players.

"If Sir Alex Ferguson took over from Sir Alex Ferguson he would have found it tough."

Posted On Saturday, 14 October 2017 12:56 Written by

Anthony Martial has been picked to start Manchester United's clash with Liverpool at Anfield.

Jose Mourinho has handed the France international just his second Premier League start of the season with Marcus Rashford dropping to the bench.

Phil Jones is in the team despite pulling out of the England squad with a knee injury ahead of the international break and Romelu Lukaku also starts after recovering from an ankle injury.

 

Mourinho is without Marouane Fellaini and Paul Pogba so Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera start in midfield.

Antonio Valencia is named in defence along with Jones, Chris Smalling and Matteo Darmian, while Ashley Young also starts for the fourth game in a row and Henrikh Mkhitaryan maintains his record of starting every Premier League game so far this season. 

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Eric Bailly is not in the squad after picking up an injury in training on Friday while Victor Lindelof is on the bench for just the second time in the Premier League since his move from Benfica in the summer.

Meanwhile, Philippe Coutinho looks set to start as a left forward for Liverpool, in place of Sadio Mane, who is out for up to six weeks after sustaining a hamstring injury during the international break.

In total, Jurgen Klopp has made two changes from Liverpool's last match in the Premier League, with Roberto Firmino and Emre Can replacing Mane and Daniel Sturridge.

Full Liverpool XI: Mignolet, Gomez, Matip, Lovren, Moreno, Henderson, Can, Wijnaldum, Coutinho, Salah, Firmino.

Full Manchester United XI: De Gea, Valencia, Jones, Smalling, Young, Darmian, Herrera, Matic, Mkhitaryan, Martial, Lukaku

Posted On Saturday, 14 October 2017 12:47 Written by
Manchester United inflicted a seventh straight Premier League defeat of the season on Crystal Palace with a 4-0 victory at Old Trafford to move top of the table.

United needed just three minutes to break the deadlock, with Juan Mata edging them ahead with a close-range finish after being set up by Marcus Rashford, before Marouane Fellaini met Ashley Young's cross at the far post to make it two after 35 minutes.

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Fellaini netted his second and United's third of the afternoon just after the restart, heading home Rashford's free kick into the box to make sure of the result, before Romelu Lukaku made it four four minutes from time, slotting in Anthony Martial's pass.

The victory saw United leapfrog rivals Manchester City, who play Chelsea later on Saturday, while Crystal Palace remain pointless and goalless at the the foot of the table.

Another Harry Kane brace steered Spurs past Huddersfield as they maintained their 100% away record this season.

Harry Kane struck a brace as Tottenham eased to a 4-0 victory over Huddersfield at the John Smith's Stadium to move up to third in the Premier League table.

Kane opened the scoring inside the ninth minute, slotting into the bottom corner after Kieran Trippier had headed into his path, before Ben Davies added a second seven minutes later following a Spurs counterattack.

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Kane then made it three for the visitors shortly after, bending a strike into the far corner from the edge of the box, with substitute Moussa Sissoko netting a fourth late on, scrambling the ball home from close range after being teed up by Davies.

English Premier League: Abdoulaye Doucoure (37') West Brom 2-1 Watford

Richarlison salvaged a late point for Watford as they came from behind to draw 2-2 with West Brom and move up to fifth.

West Brom took the lead through Salomon Rondon after 18 minutes, with the striker outmuscling his marker before firing into the back of the net. Jonny Evans then made it two three minutes later with a header from a corner.

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Watford pulled one back in the 37th minute as Abdoulaye Doucoure broke free and struck past Fraser Forster, before Richarlison headed into the corner deep into stoppage time to equalise for the visitors.

West Ham and Swansea looked primed for a nil-nil draw at the London stadium, until Diafra Sakho's dramatic late winner.

Diafra Sakho struck in the 90th minute to secure West Ham a 1-0 win over Swansea at the London Stadium and move them out of the drop zone.

West Ham came closest to scoring in the first half with Michail Antonio seeing his volleyed effort from Aaron Cresswell's cross saved by Lukasz Fabianski.

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Andy Carroll hit the crossbar in the 86th minute for the Hammers, before Sakho popped up a few minutes later to finish at the far post to claim the three points for the home side and push Swansea into the relegation zone.

Peter Crouch came off the bench to secure a 2-1 win for Stoke against Southampton.

Peter Crouch netted the winner for Stoke as they defeated Southampton 2-1 at the bet365 Stadium.

Stoke broke the deadlock five minutes before the break with Mame Biram Diouf heading in a Xherdan Shaqiri corner, but they were unable to add a second two minutes later when Saido Berahino saw a penalty saved by Fraser Forster after Diouf was fouled in the box.

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Stoke were made to pay for that miss by the visitors 15 minutes from the end as Maya Yoshida struck in off the bar following Shane Long's flick to level proceedings, but Crouch had the final say five minutes from time as he poked home from close range.

Bournemouth dominated the Foxes at the Vitality Stadium but couldn't find a way past them in their Premier League match.

Bournemouth and Leicester played out a goalless draw at the Vitality Stadium.

Jermain Defoe was inches away from putting Bournemouth in front in the first half but struck the bar after being picked out in the box by Joshua King.

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Leicester had a great chance of their own to score in the second half when Jamie Vardy poked the ball back to Shinji Okazaki, but he was unable to find the back of the net from inside the box.

Posted On Saturday, 30 September 2017 16:16 Written by

Arsenal’s early-season problems mounted at Anfield on Sunday after they were condemned to a miserable 4-0 defeat by Jurgen Klopp’s rampant Liverpool.

Not even the return of Alexis Sanchez could inspire Arsene Wenger’s side as they fell to goals from Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Daniel Sturridge. Salah’s third goal, after 57 minutes, summed up Liverpool’s mastery of the opposition as Arsenal managed to concede from an attacking corner.

After the ball was headed clear, Hector Bellerin misjudged the bounce and Salah sprang past him before sprinting over half the length of the field and converting clinically.

Substitute Sturridge got in on the act with just his third league goal of 2017, completing the rout with a far-post header from Salah’s cross after yet another unstoppable counter-attack 20 minutes later.

The opening goal had come in the 17th minute after wave after wave of Liverpool attacks.

Finally, on a rapid break, young full-back Joe Gomez delivered a superb, hanging right-wing cross and Firmino sprinted in at full speed to head past Petr Cech from six yards.

The warning signs had been there for Wenger, even before Firmino’s opener.

On 10 minutes, Emre Can and Firmino had combined effectively for the former to cross to the far post, where Salah looked certain to score until Cech scurried across his goal to make a brilliant block.

Moments after taking the lead, Liverpool should have doubled it as Firmino freed captain Jordan Henderson, whose poor touch preceded a shot that flew well off-target.

Klopp’s decision to axe regular first-choice goalkeeper Simon Mignolet from his squad had raised eyebrows, although Arsenal made an equally significant move in dropping club-record signing Alexandre Lacazette to the bench.

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Despite recalling Sanchez for his first Arsenal start since the FA Cup final in May, the Gunners looked close to complete disarray at times.

Still, they might have taken the lead after just seven minutes when Sanchez surged through and played in Danny Welbeck, who could only hook his shot over under pressure from Gomez.

But once in front, Liverpool played with increasing confidence, while Arsenal’s visibly drained. When Henderson’s 31st-minute cross was headed out of the area, Mane volleyed it, first-time, narrowly wide of the right-hand post.

Liverpool’s control was complete in the 40th minute when Mane claimed a second goal that had been a long time coming. To sum up Arsenal’s wretched half, it came from one of their own attacks, which was broken up in the Liverpool area by Gomez.

Liverpool broke upfield at electrifying pace, Can to Firmino to Mane, and the forward calmly cut inside Rob Holding before curling an unstoppable finish past the diving Cech.

Wenger brought on Francis Coquelin for Aaron Ramsey at the interval and the visitors at least started to threaten, with Mesut Ozil shooting wide and Sanchez seeing his shot blocked on the edge of the area.

The relief was short-lived, however, with Can soon heading a Salah free-kick just wide and Salah’s pacy run clean through on goal drawing another good save from Cech.

The third and fourth goals were fully deserved for the hosts and only another good stop by the beleaguered Cech denied Mane a second goal in between them.

Posted On Sunday, 27 August 2017 20:42 Written by

Paris Saint-Germain have agreed a deal to sign teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe from Monaco, French media reported on Sunday.

Radio stations France Info and RMC reported that PSG had agreed to pay 180 million euros ($215 million) including bonuses for the French international striker.

That would make him the second most expensive transfer in football history behind Neymar, who joined PSG from Barcelona for 222 million euros earlier this month.

Despite the reports, Mbappe was named on the Monaco bench for Sunday night’s Ligue 1 meeting with Marseille.

According to sports daily L’Equipe, Paris will initially sign Mbappe, 18, on loan before making the move permanent.

“Monaco and PSG on Sunday reached an agreement for a loan deal for Kylian Mbappe to the Parisian club with an option to buy for 180 million euros,” said L’Equipe, adding that Mbappe would undergo a medical by Monday morning.

A loan deal would help PSG get around UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, with many wondering how the Qatar-owned club can avoid sanctions from European football’s governing body considering the investment already made on Neymar.

FFP rules currently stipulate that clubs cannot post losses of more than 30 million euros over the three-year period to 2018.

Among the sanctions risked by PSG if they are found to have broken those rules is a ban from the Champions League.

Mbappe burst onto the scene in the second half of last season and scored 15 goals in 29 appearances in Monaco’s run to the French title.

Posted On Sunday, 27 August 2017 20:30 Written by

While Jose Mourinho is pleased with Manchester United's impressive start to the Premier League season, he wants to see how his side react to going behind.

United have enjoyed an excellent start to the campaign, picking up maximum points from their opening two games after repeat 4-0 wins over West Ham and Swansea.

United currently sit top of the table as a result, but Mourinho would like his side to fall behind in the upcoming weeks to discover if they can handle adversity.

"The thing I want to happen is for the team to be losing," Mourinho is quoted as saying by Sky Sports. "So I can see the way we react emotionally.

"At this moment, everything is going in our favour, but it is not always going to be a motorway. You can always find difficult journeys and road blocks, and we have to be ready for that.

"It has not happened so far but going a goal behind will be a different challenge and I want to see how these players try to change a result.

"Let's see how we are when we are in difficulties, when we need the last minutes to win matches."

Mourinho also said that he is not getting carried away by United's start, given they also picked up two wins from their opening two league games last season yet ended up finishing sixth.

"Of course I am happy with the way we have started the season," he added. "And the quality of our performances has given me even more confidence.

"But I don't forget that we started last season with six points from our first two matches and still finished sixth. That is not a lesson, it's the reality of football. Two wins are not paradise, just as two defeats are not the end of the world."

Posted On Sunday, 20 August 2017 13:32 Written by

Manchester United maintained their 100 percent start to the new season with a 4-0 win at Swansea to remain top of the Premier League.

Eric Bailly opened the scoring and his United account on the stroke of half-time, nudging the ball over the line after Lukasz Fabianski had diverted it onto the underside of the crossbar from Paul Pogba's powerful header.

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United then burst into life as the game entered the 80th minute, doubling their advantage when Henrikh Mkhitaryan played in Romelu Lukaku, who made it three goals in two Premier League appearances following his summer move from Everton.

Mkhitaryan produced another fine assist moments later, racing down the right before slipping in Pogba, who flicked the ball over Fabianski, before substitute Anthony Martial then rounded off the scoring in the 84th minute with an excellent solo effort, doubling his tally for the season.

Jese scored the lone goal of the game on his Stoke City debut to help the Potters hold off Arsenal at home.

Jese Rodriguez scored on his debut as Stoke beat Arsenal 1-0 at the bet365 Stadium to claim their first Premier League points of the season.

Stoke took the lead two minutes into the second half, with Paris Saint-Germain loanee Jese netting on his debut, slotting past Petr Cech after being played in by Saido Berahino.

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Arsenal piled on the pressure as they went in search of an equaliser, with Hector Bellerin, Danny Welbeck, Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil all going close.

They thought they had found it in the 73rd minute when Alexandre Lacazette fired into the top corner of the net following substitute Olivier Giroud's flick, but the goal was disallowed for offside, with Stoke holding on for victory.

After knocking at Crystal Palace's door all game, Sadio Mane finally found a way through at Anfield.

Sadio Mane was on target for Liverpool with his second-half winner securing a 1-0 victory against Crystal Palace at Anfield and his side's first league victory of the season.

After a tight first half, Liverpool almost went ahead nine minutes into the second when Daniel Sturridge volleyed at goal from 25 yards out, only for Wayne Hennessey to deny him with the save.

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The home side had another chance to open the scoring just a few minutes later as Roberto Firmino curled one from the edge of the box, but his strike went inches wide.

Jurgen Klopp brought on Mohamed Salah and Dominic Solanke as time wore on, and Liverpool eventually found a breakthrough in the 72nd minute with Mane stabbing the ball past Hennessey after Palace's defence had failed to clear the danger.

Charlie Austin converted from the spot late in stoppage time to sink a spirited 10-man effort from West Ham.

Charlie Austin netted a last-minute penalty to secure Southampton a dramatic 3-2 win against 10-man West Ham at St Mary's.

Southampton went ahead in the 11th minute through Manolo Gabbiadini, who fired past Joe Hart after being played in by Nathan Redmond to net the club's first league goal at home since April 5.

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West Ham were then dealt a further blow in the 33rd minute when Marko Arnautovic picked up a straight red card after catching Jack Stephens with his elbow, and things got even worse five minutes later when Jose Fonte conceded a penalty and Dusan Tadic stepped up to convert from the spot.

West Ham pulled one back on the stroke of half-time when Javier Hernandez slotted home after Fraser Forster had saved Michail Antonio's effort, and the Mexico international was on the scene once again in the 73rd minute to convert after Diafra Sakho had headed against the bar.

But Southampton had the final say after winning a penalty deep into stoppage time, with Austin firing home to secure the three points for the Saints.

Leicester blanked Premier League newcomers 2-0 courtesy of goals from Shinji Okazaki and Harry Maguire.

Leicester recorded their first win of the season with a 2-0 victory over Brighton at the King Power Stadium.

Shinji Okazaki opened the scoring for Brighton inside the first minute, converting the rebound after Riyad Mahrez's shot had been parried into his path by Maty Ryan.

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Brighton had the ball in the back of the net through Glenn Murray, but the goal was disallowed due to offside, and Leicester then doubled their lead 10 minutes after the restart through Harry Maguire, who arrived at the far post to head home Mahrez's corner.

A debut goal from Richarlison and stunner from Etienne Capoue led Watford past Bournemouth at Dean Court.

Watford saw off Bournemouth 2-0 at the Vitality Stadium with Richarlison and Etienne Capoue getting the goals.

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Watford had a chance to open the scoring just before half-time when Richarlison cut the ball back to Andre Gray, but the striker sent his effort over the bar.

They made no mistake in the 72nd minute, however, with Richarlison touching the ball over the line after Gray had done well down the right, before Capoue doubled their lead with a strike from 25 yards out four minutes from the end.

Hal Robson-Kanu's lone goal of the game outweighed his late red card as West Brom held on for the narrow win at Burnley.

West Brom made it two wins out of two with a 1-0 victory over Burnley at Turf Moor, though match-winner Hal Robson-Kanu also received a red card.

West Brom thought they had found the breakthrough shortly after the restart when Jake Livermore had the ball in the back of the net but the flag went up for offside on Jay Rodriguez.

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They did manage to move ahead 20 minutes from time, with Robson-Kanu shrugging off a defender and striking a low hit past Tom Heaton.

West Brom were reduced to 10 men seven minutes from time when Robson-Kanu was sent off for an apparent elbow on Matthew Lowton, but the visitors manged to hold on for the victory.

Posted On Saturday, 19 August 2017 21:55 Written by

Cristiano Ronaldo has been banned for five matches after pushing referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea during Real Madrid's 3-1 Spanish Super Cup first-leg win at Barcelona on Sunday.

Ronaldo's 24 minutes as a substitute at the Camp Nou saw him score a superb goal, pick up a booking for removing his shirt during the celebration, and then quickly receive a second yellow after De Burgos Bengoetxea ruled the Portugal captain had dived to try to win a penalty.

Ronaldo reacted to being sent off by pushing De Burgos Bengoetxea. The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) banned Ronaldo for one match for drawing the red card and the other four for pushing the official.

That was just one major talking point on a night that also saw Gerard Pique's own goal put Madrid ahead, Lionel Messi equalise with a controversial penalty won by Luis Suarez and Marco Asensio score a screamer to put his side fully in control ahead of Wednesday's second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Ronaldo has also been fined €3,805 for his actions, while Madrid were fined €1,750.

Ronaldo is set to miss the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup against Barcelona as well as Madrid's four opening La Liga games against Deportivo La Coruna, Valencia, Levante and Real Sociedad.

His next domestic appearance will come at home to Real Betis in La Liga in the midweek round of fixtures of Sept. 20, although he will be eligible to play in Real Madrid's Champions League group stage opener a week before and the Santiago Bernabeu Trophy friendly against Fiorentina on Aug. 23.

The RFEF says Madrid have 10 days to lodge an appeal with its appeals committee, while adding in its report that the club attempted to get the offence downgraded from a push to a minor "disregard" for the referee.

The official match report sent to the RFEF from the Camp Nou included Ronaldo's push in the "other incidents" section.

"Cristiano Ronaldo Dos Santos Aveiro -- having been shown the red card, the player pushed me slightly in a sign of his disagreement," the Basque official wrote.

The RFEF's disciplinary code appears clear that the punishment for such behaviour, even if only "slightly violent," is an extra suspension of four to 12 games.

"Pulling, pushing or shaking, or a general attitude towards the match officials which, even if only slightly violent, without confirming an aggressive attitude on their part, will be punished with a suspension of four to 12 games," says the code's article 96.

At the postmatch news conference, Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said the second yellow was "a bit too much" and hoped Ronaldo could still be cleared to play in Wednesday's second leg.

Madrid captain Sergio Ramos told Telecinco after the final whistle that he believed Ronaldo had not dived, and therefore the club would be able to appeal the decision.

"I was far away," Ramos said. "But I believe Cristiano lost his balance and did not fake anything. We can appeal, as it leaves us without a very important player, with 10 minutes left. [The referee] should have thought about it a bit more."

Ramos also said that De Burgos Bengoetxea had erred in earlier awarding a penalty when Suarez fell to the ground dramatically, having been challenged inside the box by Madrid keeper Keylor Navas.

"There is a lot of tension in these type of games," he said. "For me it was not a penalty. I don't believe the referee blew the whistle if he did not see anything; he must have seen it clearly. But for me there was nothing."

Madrid left-back Marcelo told the club's official website that the red card was "bizarre" while acknowledging that referees make mistakes.

"Cristiano being sent off was bizarre, but sometimes that can happen," the Brazil international said. "Referees can make mistakes, along with the things they get right."

Ex-Madrid full-back Alvaro Arbeloa, now popular among fans and pundits for his regular defence of his former club, tweeted after Ronaldo's sending off: "They are laughing in our face. Lamentable."

Posted On Tuesday, 15 August 2017 00:51 Written by

MANCHESTER -- Jose Mourinho says he is "keeping his feet on the ground" despite watching his Manchester United team thrash West Ham on the opening weekend of the Premier League season.

Two goals from new £75 million striker Romelu Lukaku helped United to a 4-0 win at Old Trafford which left Mourinho's side top of the table.

It was United's biggest opening-day win since beating Fulham 5-1 at Old Trafford in 2006 and Mourinho's biggest league win as Red Devils manager. United went on to win the title in the 2006-07 season, ending a four-year drought under Sir Alex Ferguson. 

Mourinho, though, insists he is not getting carried away.

"We finished the [last] season winning the Europa League and qualifying for Champions League," he told a news conference. "We start the second season with a very good performance at home. We had many players on the pitch with a very good game. We have reasons to be optimistic.

"For me, years and years of experience and experience in the Premier League, my feet are on the ground and I am calm. Last season we were also top of the league in the first match and we finished sixth so this means nothing. It just means we played well and confidence levels will be high and now our challenge is to keep this confidence level."

There were plenty of positives for the United manager. Lukaku scored twice on his league debut for the club following his move from Everton, while Nemanja Matic, a £35m buy from Chelsea, ran the midfield in a manner that made it hard to believe he spent most of the summer training alone at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea's 3-2 defeat at home to Burnley 24 hours earlier made Matic's performance even more noteworthy.

Mourinho said afterwards he had wanted Matic, who was named Man of the Match, at Old Trafford last season.

Manchester United eased to victory against West Ham.

He added: "It depends on what is happening or what was happening behind doors and we don't know.

"The only thing I know is that of course with Chelsea money I brought him to Stamford Bridge because I thought he was a player with special qualities, and since I left I always thought he could be a perfect player for us, but I didn't disturb him, I didn't disturb Chelsea.

"I never thought it was possible unless something special was happening and his agent told me we could have him and we were very happy with that. We have him and we are very happy. He was a player this team needs."

West Ham were one of the 10 teams who got a point at Old Trafford last season, a statistic that cost United any chance of challenging Chelsea for the title.

In the 1-1 draw in November, United had eight shots on target but only scored once, while six on target this time produced four goals.

Lukaku has scored more goals against West Ham than any other team and took his tally to 11 in 13 games with a double.

Mourinho said: "Romelu scored in the Super Cup, scored twice today, he's playing well and he's working hard. He likes the team and the team likes him. Strikers can play phenomenally well, but if they don't score goals, the pressure's on them.

"So I think it was good for him to score and for all the guys arriving at new clubs who scored goals on their first games. It's always oxygen, it's happiness and confidence for them.

"Romelu knows we well. He knows sometimes strikers can play well but not score, but from me there will be no pressure. But today was very good and he was very effective, with the first goal especially."

Posted On Sunday, 13 August 2017 22:14 Written by
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