Mourinho defends controversial actions in Turin

By George Davis and Alex Jordan November 08, 2018

Following Manchester United's 2-1 win in Turin Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho drew the ire of the crowd with on-pitch celebrations.

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    Cristiano Ronaldo has been made aware that Saturday's clash against Torino is one Juventus cannot lose.

    Five time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo will make his first appearance in the Derby della Mole when Juve head to the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino this weekend.

    The Bianconeri are yet to taste defeat in Serie A this season and hold an eight-point advantage over second-place Napoli after 15 matches.

    Juve's previous league outing was a 1-0 victory over rivals Inter, and Ronaldo hopes to give the fans another derby win to celebrate.

    "One of the kit managers said to me, 'Please, you have to win, otherwise my grandmother…'" Ronaldo told Tuttosport.

    "I realised that Juventus fans refuse to lose two matches: against Inter and Torino.

    "Losing is always bad, I don't like it. A derby is always a great occasion and we have to win.

    "I'm calm because I know the potential of the team. We have very important games to play."

  • Liverpool v Manchester United: Minding the gap Liverpool v Manchester United: Minding the gap

    Manchester United and Liverpool have traditionally battled for supremacy in English football.

    Liverpool's golden period, starting in the mid-1970s and spanning the 1980s, gave way to Alex Ferguson's dominant reign at Old Trafford, when United usurped their rivals' tally of 18 top-flight titles.

    As such, the Merseyside club have generally played second fiddle during the Premier League era – but that might all be about to change with Jurgen Klopp at the helm.

    United have never been further behind Liverpool in the Premier League before Christmas than the yawning 16-point deficit they will aim to make a dent in at Anfield on Sunday.

    Here, we look back at some other moments when this battle has been fought on uneven terms.

     

    United on the eve of a golden era

    Jose Mourinho's track record as a proven winner was supposed to provide the antidote to the fallow post-Ferguson years at United.

    While that has not yet proved to be the case, the under-fire Portuguese can perhaps find consolation in the fact that the last United boss to find himself 16 points behind Liverpool in December was… Alex Ferguson.

    The redoubtable Scot would hardly have been feeling festive on Christmas Eve 1990 as United sat in seventh on 28 points, looking up at Division One leaders Liverpool on 44.

    The Reds were reigning champions and on track to add a 19th title. But Kenny Dalglish stood down the following February, George Graham's Arsenal finished in top spot and Liverpool began a wait that continues to this day.

    United improved marginally to finish sixth – 17 points behind Liverpool – and were runners up to Leeds United the following season before lifting the inaugural Premier League in 1992-93.

     

    Leaving the perch

    When Ferguson's United made it back-to-back titles in 1993-94, Liverpool were 32 points worse off in eighth position.

    It proved to be a chastening two decades, with the 2001-02 campaign under Gerard Houllier the only time Liverpool finished ahead of United. They were second behind Arsenal on 80 points, with the third-placed Red Devils on 77.

    The biggest difference came in 2011-12, when United missed out on the title to Manchester City on goal difference but were still 37 points better off than Liverpool in eighth.

    Indeed, during Ferguson's final four campaigns at the helm, Liverpool were never within 22 points in the final reckoning.

     

    Going close under Rodgers

    It meant the 2013-14 season was something of a culture shock for all concerned. United began a new era under David Moyes that they swiftly decided was a mistake. Following the Scot's sacking they limped to seventh place.

    Brendan Rodgers brought Liverpool to the edge of glory, only for City to seal their second Premier League in three years on the final day.

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    In three of the subsequent four seasons, United ended up back above Liverpool. One of the challenges for Klopp and his undefeated title-chasers is to turn this advantage into something more permanent.

  • Liverpool v Manchester United: Salah, Mane and Firmino v Rashford, Martial and Lukaku in Opta numbers Liverpool v Manchester United: Salah, Mane and Firmino v Rashford, Martial and Lukaku in Opta numbers

    Liverpool host Manchester United on Sunday when the gulf between the two great rivals has arguably never been greater in the Premier League era.

    United travel to Anfield trailing the Reds by 16 points, with Jurgen Klopp's men top of the table and looking a far more accomplished side than their rivals.

    Jose Mourinho has taken the brunt of the criticism from United's perspective, with the coach failing to get the best out of many of his players and playing a drab brand of football, while Klopp has had contrasting fortunes.

    Liverpool's feared attacking trio are pivotal to their title chances and leading the way for them again this season, so they have presumably been significantly better statistically than their United counterparts.

    Well, Opta data brings some surprising conclusions, suggesting Mourinho ought to be putting more faith in his three main forwards…

     

    Mohamed Salah v Romelu Lukaku

    Salah has picked up where he left off last term having scored 10 goals in 16 Premier League games, but Lukaku is enduring a difficult season, with his record of netting just six times in 15 outings perhaps indicative of United's struggles.  

    Salah's record of 33 chances created is also 20 more than Lukaku, but the Belgian's shot conversion of 21.4 per cent (compared to the 17.5 per cent recorded by his rival) suggests it is the service to him which has been the problem.

    Further evidence of that is Lukaku had had 28 shots, 29 fewer than Salah (57). While criticism of the United star's first touch may be understandable, statistics seem to suggest his team-mates could be doing more to help.  

     

     

    Sadio Mane v Anthony Martial

    It has been a peculiar start to campaign for Martial, finding himself in and out of the team, yet he has still probably been one of United's most consistent players with seven goals from just nine starts.

    The Frenchman is averaging a goal every 112 minutes, far better than his Liverpool counterpart Mane, who is netting a goal per 196 minutes. Martial's tally of 16 chances created is also two more than the Reds forward.

    But Martial's most impressive facet this season is his conversion rate of 38.9 per cent. Mane's is the best of Liverpool's attack, but even his 18.2 conversion percentage is dwarfed by the United star.

     

    Roberto Firmino v Marcus Rashford

    Brazil international Firmino has not been quite at his best this term, as highlighted by his record of four goals and three assists from 14 Premier League starts.

    Rashford has played 436 minutes fewer than Firmino, yet still he has set up more goals (five) and scored just one less than him. The United youngster's five assists come from just 14 chances created, as opposed to the 21 laid on by the Livepool forward.

    Firmino's shot conversion (14.3 per cent) is the worst of all six players, while Rashford's 17.6 per cent makes him slightly more accurate than Salah, though the England international has only attempted 17 shots.

     

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