Europa League draw: Man Utd drawn with Real Sociedad, Arsenal to face PSV

By Sports Desk August 26, 2022

Manchester United will face LaLiga opposition and a pair of relative minnows in the Europa League, after being drawn in Group E alongside Real Sociedad, Sheriff Tiraspol and Omonoia.

Arsenal have reached at least the semi-finals in three of their last four Europa League campaigns and will go up against Dutch outfit PSV in Group A as they look to go further and lift the trophy.

Last season's Europa Conference League champions Roma, led by head coach Jose Mourinho, will face off against Ludogorets, Real Betis and HJK Helsinki in Group C.

It was Feyenoord that Mourinho's team beat in the final to win the inaugural Conference League, and Friday's Europa League draw saw the Dutch side included in Group F alongside Roma's fierce rivals Lazio.

Last season's quarter-finalists Braga will look to go deep in this competition once again but will have to battle Malmo, Union Berlin and Union Saint-Gilloise first to reach the knockout stages.

Dynamo Kyiv, meanwhile, were drawn against Fenerbahce, Rennes and Cypriot side AEK Larnaca.

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  • Man Utd appoint Jason Wilcox as new technical director after leaving Southampton Man Utd appoint Jason Wilcox as new technical director after leaving Southampton

    Jason Wilcox has left Southampton to become Manchester United’s new technical director with immediate effect.

    The 53-year-old becomes a key appointment at Old Trafford as part of United’s off-field overhaul following Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s arrival at the club.

    Wilcox joined Championship side Southampton last summer as their director of football, making the switch from Manchester City where he developed a reputation for nurturing excellent young talent as well as recruiting some of the best prospects in the game.

    A United statement read: “Jason Wilcox has joined Manchester United as technical director with immediate effect.

    “He will work with all technical areas of the football department to achieve the highest standards of performance.

    “Jason was previously director of football at Southampton and before that academy director at Manchester City.

    “As a player he won the Premier League with Blackburn Rovers in 1995.”

    A Saints statement read: “Southampton Football Club can today confirm that it has reluctantly agreed to allow director of football Jason Wilcox to join Manchester United, having reached an agreement with the Premier League side on an acceptable compensation fee.

    “Whilst the club is naturally disappointed that Jason’s stay at Southampton has only lasted nine months, it wishes him well for the future.”

    John Murtough stepped down as football director at Old Trafford last week.

    United are looking to add Newcastle sporting director Dan Ashworth to their staff as Ratcliffe continues his off-field rebuild after taking a 27.7 per cent stake in the club.

    Wilcox will report to the sporting director, who will have overall responsibility for football performance, recruitment and operations.

    The PA news agency understands Darren Fletcher will continue to play a key role in the football leadership team working across the men’s first team and academy.

  • Philippe Clement urges Rangers to embrace intense environment of run-in Philippe Clement urges Rangers to embrace intense environment of run-in

    Philippe Clement has told his off-form Rangers players they must embrace an intense environment where results dictate whether they go to “heaven or hell”.

    The Gers were widely lauded after a consistent run of form that saw them wipe out Celtic’s eight-point advantage at the top of the cinch Premiership to briefly take over at the summit in February.

    However, they go into this Sunday’s Scottish Gas Scottish Cup semi-final against on-song Hearts having been ferociously criticised after slip-ups away to Ross County and Dundee over the past week left them with just two wins from their last eight games in all competitions and their title hopes hanging by a thread.

    “If you win 10 games in a row, you have more belief than when you lose two times but this is Rangers, this is a club where you always have to fight,” said Clement.

    “Every point you lose, it’s like you’re going to hell. That’s this world, and that’s good. That’s also the challenge and it’s interesting to see which players can live in that way.

    “But it’s an exciting place to be because on the other side you can go also to heaven when you win games and when you win trophies.

    “In other teams, where it’s not so important to win points or when it’s not something dramatic when you lose points, you cannot go to heaven also because those are not the clubs that win trophies. This is something you need to embrace.”

    Clement insists he is comfortable with the intense scrutiny and criticism he has faced amid Rangers’ recent “bumps in the road”.

    “I know it’s part of the job,” he said. “I’ve been now more than 30 years in this world and I’ve been buried a lot of times as a player and as a manager, so I know what I’m doing in a club. I know what I’m doing in this club. I know we are on the right road together.”

    Clement described the demands of being in charge of Rangers as similar to managing former club Brugge in his homeland.

    “Winning, becoming champion, is the only thing that counts,” he said. “But I’ve been like that all my life. There is nobody who can be more critical than me because I want to win everything.

    “Everybody who knows me from when I was a child, whether it was basketball, tennis or table tennis or whatever sport, I want to win. I made a lot of fights with my wife about that, that I wanted that mentality with my children because I did it with them also.

    “If I played a game with them and they were three years old, I wanted to win. That is the mentality that is necessary in a club like this, but you need to embrace that.

    “It’s also because of that that you can be successful and you can win trophies and have these exciting moments that will stay with you for the rest of your life. That is what Rangers is about and that’s why I love to be here.”

    Clement galvanised Rangers earlier in the season after replacing Michael Beale in October.

    Asked what he would say to supporters who fear the resurgence is fizzling out, the Belgian said: “The same thing I said in October. I think this team since October did improve in results, in attitude and resilience, and in six months they proved it several times.

    “So it’s there, they can do it. They’ve shown it several times with quality. That’s what they need to do again. So, yes, my belief is there 200 per cent.”

  • Hamstring operation puts Nathan Patterson’s Euro 2024 hopes in doubt Hamstring operation puts Nathan Patterson’s Euro 2024 hopes in doubt

    Nathan Patterson’s Euro 2024 hopes have suffered a major blow after the Scotland and Everton right-back was told he needs an operation.

    Patterson has been ruled out for the rest of the domestic season after suffering a hamstring injury against Chelsea on Monday.

    The news will be a serious concern for Scotland head coach Steve Clarke, who also has a major doubt over Brentford right-back Aaron Hickey’s fitness.

    Everton manager Sean Dyche said: “Patto will be out for the season, he will need surgery. It’s a very unfortunate injury. We’re disappointed in that one, for him as much as us as well.

    “It’s a shame for Patto, he came on and looked sharp the other night, he’s been training really well, just getting back to where I think he can be – because I think he’s a very good player – and he’s very unfortunate with a really awkward fall.

    “He won’t make another game this season, I’m sure.”

    When asked about Patterson’s hopes of playing in the European Championship, Dyche said: “I don’t know on the medical side of the times other than this season, as in playing for us.

    “But he will have surgery, so we hope that goes well and then it’s how quickly it settles, I’m sure.”

    Hickey has not played since October – he also suffered a hamstring injury at Stamford Bridge – and is unlikely to play for Brentford again this season, but has not given up hope of making the Euros.

    Celtic right-back Anthony Ralston has been in recent squads while versatile Bristol City player Ross McCrorie, who has featured at right-back in his career, was also a late call-up recently.

    Clarke suffered a major blow earlier in the week when it was revealed that in-form Bologna midfielder Lewis Ferguson had suffered cruciate ligament damage, ruling him out of the summer tournament in Germany.

    There was better news for Clarke from Norwich this week when it was revealed Grant Hanley is expected to return to training next week.

    The defender pulled out of the Scotland squad for recent friendlies against Netherlands and Northern Ireland after suffering a setback following his recent return from a long-term Achilles injury.

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