Man Utd weren't good enough to avoid Atletico knockout blow, admits De Gea

By Sports Desk March 15, 2022

Manchester United did not do enough in either leg to avoid Champions League elimination at the hands of Atletico Madrid, according to David de Gea.

A 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford on Tuesday ended United's chances of claiming silverware for the season – they have not lifted a trophy since the EFL Cup and Europa League double under Jose Mourinho in 2016-17.

The Red Devils trailed for most of the 1-1 draw in the first leg and struggled to create chances after Renan Lodi put Atletico ahead in the return fixture, with Cristiano Ronaldo failing to register a single shot on goal. It was only the third time that has happened in his Champions League career when featuring for 90 minutes, and the first time since May 2011.

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  • Cristiano Ronaldo reportedly asks to leave Man Utd Cristiano Ronaldo reportedly asks to leave Man Utd

    Cristiano Ronaldo wants to leave Manchester United for a second time, according to a report.

    Ronaldo returned to Old Trafford last year, having enjoyed a remarkable career in 12 seasons away with Real Madrid and Juventus.

    But the veteran striker's homecoming campaign did not go entirely to plan, even if he scored 24 goals in all competitions.

    United finished sixth in the Premier League, enduring a fifth successive season without silverware and finishing with their lowest points tally in the competition.

    Ronaldo, who won three league titles and the Champions League during his first United stint, has since been linked with moves away from the club.

    And The Times reported on Saturday that the 37-year-old has now asked United to be allowed to leave if they receive "a satisfactory offer".

    The report suggests Ronaldo wants to spend the final years of his career playing in the Champions League, with United having to settle for Europa League football in 2022-23.

    United are expected to bring in the first signing of the Erik ten Hag era in the coming days, with Feyenoord defender Tyrell Malacia reportedly set to join. According to widespread reports, the club are also in talks with Barcelona over Frenkie de Jong.

  • Tour de France: Jakobsen enjoys 'amazing day' as Van Aert takes yellow jersey Tour de France: Jakobsen enjoys 'amazing day' as Van Aert takes yellow jersey

    Fabio Jakobsen celebrated "an amazing day" after sprinting to victory in stage two of the Tour de France.

    The second of three stages to be held in Denmark proved to be a frantic one, but ultimately pre-race favourite Jakobsen took his first individual Tour de France triumph.

    Preferred to Mark Cavendish and Julian Alaphilippe for Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team, Jakobsen repaid the team's faith with a perfectly executed sprint in Nyborg, following a 202.5-kilometre ride from Roskilde.

    Saturday's route included an 18km crossing of the Great Belt Bridge, on which heavy winds caused havoc, with a huge crash halting the progress of two-time reigning champion Tadej Pogacar and world champion time trialist Filippo Ganna among others.

    Fortunately for the General Classification hopefuls, the crash occurred within the final 3,000 metres, meaning no rider lost time, and the focus was able to switch to the sprinters at the front.

    Wout van Aert and Danish hope Mads Pedersen looked well set coming out of the bunch, but Michael Morkov's exceptional lead-out ability proved crucial for Quick-Step, as Jakobsen was able to launch an attack in the final 150m, and ultimately crossed the line first by a matter of inches.

    For the 25-year-old, who suffered horrendous injuries in a crash at the Tour de Pologne less than two years ago, it marked a remarkable success story.

    "For me it was a long process, step by step," said the Dutchman. "A lot of people helped me along the way – this is to pay them back so they can see that it was not for nothing.

    "I'm happy that I still enjoy riding the bike, racing, and luckily I can win. It was an amazing day.

    "The team kept me in a good position when we exited from the bridge. I could stay behind Morkov, he dropped me off in the wheel of Van Aert. I was next to [Peter] Sagan, we kind of touched each other but luckily we stayed alright, then it was a final stretch where I could launch.

    "It sounds easy, but for sure the legs were in pain. But this is what we train for, this is why we race. And a stage at the Tour de France, I've been dreaming about that for 15 years. It's the biggest race. As a sprinter you want to make it here and to win."

    Van Aert takes yellow

    While he was pipped to the post by Jakobsen, Van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) leads the GC, taking a one-second advantage over overnight leader Yves Lampaert, meaning he will wear yellow on Sunday's route from Vejle to Sonderborg.

    Van Aert also leads the points classification after his efforts in the sprint, ending Quick-Step's run of 34 successive Tour de France stages in which one of their riders has held the green jersey.

    STAGE RESULT 

    1. Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) 4:34:34
    2. Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) same time
    3. Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) same time
    4. Danny van Poppel (BORA-Hansgrohe) same time
    5. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) same time

    CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

    General Classification

    1. Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) 4:49:50
    2. Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) +0.01
    3. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +0.08

    Points Classification

    1. Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) 60
    2. Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) 59
    3. Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) 30

    King of the Mountains

    1. Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education–EasyPost) 3

  • Jones: Swain red card worked against England Jones: Swain red card worked against England

    Eddie Jones suggested Darcy Swain's first-half dismissal worked in Australia's favour as England crashed to a dismal fourth defeat in a row.

    England initially took advantage of their opponents being down to 14 men thanks to Ellis Genge's try early in the second half, only to then collapse in remarkable style.

    Jordan Petaia, Folau Fainga'a and Pete Samu crossed over to put Australia out of sight, with Henry Arundell and Jack van Poortvliet tries mere consolations for England.

    The visitors were five points ahead with 20 minutes left but went on to lose 30-28, and Jones says their terrible final-quarter showing was not helped by Swain's earlier sending off.

    "In some ways, the red card can work against you. Sometimes the referee wants to compensate. We didn't adjust as well as we should have," Jones told Sky Sports.

    "We had enough moments to win the game. At 14-9 with 20 minutes to go we should have put it away. The reaction from the boys is to win this series 2-1. We have to go again.

    "The message at half-time was to keep putting pressure on and we did that in spurts. We lost the ball twice on their try-line and we didn't pressure them, whereas Australia did. 

    "We need to work on our finishing and a bit on our defence as well. There are still some positives to come from what has been a very disappointing result for us."

    Jones clarified at his news conference that he did not blame referee James Doleman for his side's defeat in Perth, but reiterated Swain's exit inadvertently helped Australia.

    "You look at the history of the game, whenever you get a red card the referee evens it up. He helps the team with the red card," he said.

    "It's social reciprocity, it happens, that's normal and we've got to be good enough to handle it.

    "It happens in every game of rugby I've seen. The team gets a red card and the opposition gets evened up. Because they're nice blokes, referees.

    "I'm not criticising the referees, I'm not using it as an excuse, that's the reality of rugby.

    "I'll say it again. I think when you play against 14 men the referee has a significant impact on the game and you've got to be good enough to understand what that is.

    "We weren't good enough to understand what that is and therefore we paid the price."

    England's defeat was their first against Australia in nine Tests amid a run stretching back to October 2015, pre-dating Jones' time in charge.

    Not only did the home side play more than half of the match a man light, they also lost three players to first-half injuries after Quade Cooper pulled up in the warm-up.

    Swain was repeatedly provoked by England's players, with Jonny Hill seen pulling his hair, but Australia coach Dave Rennie is unsure if that was a deliberate ploy from the opposition.

    "I'm not sure if it was a team plan, but there was certainly provocation there. Not just in that situation but also earlier in the game," he said.

    "We'll have a decent look at the footage and work out how we're going to appeal that. We'll have decent look at the card. We'll be seeking clarity around it.

    "We train with the scenario of playing with 14 or 13 players all the time. What we know is that we just have to work harder. We found a way."

    Australia have now won their last five Tests on home soil – their best-such run since 2008 – and five of their last eight when hosting European opposition.

    The second match in the three-Test series takes place in Brisbane next Saturday, before concluding in Sydney the following weekend.

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