Barcelona edge Manchester United while Ajax and Juventus play to an exciting draw

By April 10, 2019
Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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  • Solskjaer convinced he can turn Manchester United's slump around Solskjaer convinced he can turn Manchester United's slump around

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is confident he is the right man to get the best out of Manchester United's players, despite a poor run since his appointment as permanent manager.

    United slumped to their heaviest defeat of the season on Sunday, losing 4-0 at Everton, and must now try to bounce back when they face Manchester City in a derby clash on Wednesday that could have huge ramifications for the Premier League title race.

    Having enjoyed a stellar three months at Old Trafford following his appointment as interim manager in December, Solskjaer was given the job in a permanent capacity on March 28, but United have lost four of the six games since then in all competitions.

    The capitulation at Goodison Park followed a Champions League exit at the hands of Barcelona, with Solskjaer apologising to United's travelling support on behalf of his players.

    But the former Molde boss believes that he is the right choice to lead United forward, even if the squad will need altering in the close season.

    "I would like to think so," Solskjaer told a news conference when asked if he could improve United's players. 

    "I like all these boys, I love them, but I've got to manage for the club and I'm managing the club and the players and I've got to put all my effort into making sure we do what is right for the club.

    "Of course, you learn about players and now is not the time to talk about making wholesale changes in the squad that's been doing so great, City and Liverpool have taken more points than us in the last 18 games and that's it.

    "We really gave it a go, and you can see loads of United standards, the DNA in these players. 

    "You have to get players in and some players will go out. There's always a crisis at United whenever you lose a game or two, but the boys have done fantastic, we don't enjoy losing games, we've lost three out of the last five league games, that's a bit too many but that's football.

    "You see Chelsea-Burnley, Arsenal-Palace but the way we lost at Everton that was the lowest we have been and was the worst performance."

    Solskjaer was scathing of his side on Sunday, but has not lost belief in his squad, accepting that he is just as responsible for United's form as his players are.

    "We focus on Wednesday and I'm sure we'll get a response," Solskjaer added.

    "You don't punish them as in run up to the mountains and back. We believe in them, these players know they let themselves down as individual, as a team, me as well.

    "I'm in charge and I'm the one giving instructions how we're going to play and it's my duty to get them performing better than that and I'm sure we'll get a response."

  • They will snap at your ankles and kick you - Solskjaer mindful of Man City tactics They will snap at your ankles and kick you - Solskjaer mindful of Man City tactics

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has lit the blue touch paper ahead of Wednesday's derby by saying Manchester City "snap at your ankles and kick you".

    Pep Guardiola's title-chasing City side visit Manchester United knowing three points would take them back above Liverpool to the top of the Premier League table and put them in pole position to retain the title with three games to go.

    Yet United are also desperate for the win having slipped to sixth in the table following a rotten run of results since their improbable Champions League victory over Paris Saint-Germain at the start of March.

    And Solskjaer, whose team have lost six of their past eight games in all competitions, has followed the lead of his predecessor Jose Mourinho by indulging in some mind games prior to the City clash.

    "We've got to be ready for the press, for their pressing because they've got quality on the ball," Solskjaer told reporters at a news conference.

    "We've got to defend well. When we win it, we've got to be ready for their aggression, they will snap at your ankles and heels and kick you.

    "They are not going to allow us easy counter attacking. There will be fouls, absolutely no doubt about it, because when you watch them games they commit so many players forward.

    "They will be stopping us as high as they can, I think."

    The desire of United's players was questioned after Sunday's 4-0 thrashing at Everton.

    Solskjaer revealed that his squad held talks following that drubbing and insists the visit of City is the ideal chance for them to show a response at Old Trafford.

    "That's the best game we could ask for now, with players hurt, as they were definitely were," he added.

    "We had a meeting after the [Everton] game and you can see all the players are definitely, definitely disappointed, but really, really hurt by that performance.

    "The City game is the perfect one, there's no hiding place on the pitch.

    "Our fans will back you whatever result there will be as long as you give that effort. Against a City side that's been very, very good, we have got to turn up."

  • Sterling says racism 'runs deep' in football & calls for radical changes Sterling says racism 'runs deep' in football & calls for radical changes

    Raheem Sterling believes football chiefs are doing "nowhere near enough" to tackle racism and has called for radical changes.

    Manchester City forward Sterling has been a victim of alleged racist abuse several times this season, while in action for his club and on international duty with England.

    The 24-year-old has received plaudits for his stand against racism, while players and football clubs boycotted social media for a 24-hour period to protest online abuse on Friday.

    Sterling's England team-mate Danny Rose has been another high-profile recipient of abuse, with the Tottenham defender saying he is looking forward to retirement due to the authorities' failure to act. 

    In Italy, Juventus youngster Moise Kean was subject to alleged racist chanting in a Serie A match against Cagliari.

    And writing in The Times, who have released a manifesto calling for changes to be made throughout football in order to fight racism, Sterling insists the current efforts to eradicate the issue are not up to scratch.

    "When I was a boy growing up in London, I didn't know what racist abuse was because I never suffered any," Sterling wrote.

    "So it seems crazy that, in 2019, I feel the need to write a piece in a newspaper calling for radical changes to the game that I love. But I do because the racism problem in football is so bad, runs so deep and is nowhere near being sorted.

    "You will all have read about the various high-profile racist incidents in recent months: the abuse I received playing for Manchester City away to Chelsea; the booing that the black England players were subjected to in Montenegro; the nastiness that Moise Kean of Juventus endured in Italy and the endless insults thrown at players on social media.

    "But that is sadly just the tip of the iceberg. Up and down the game, across the world, black and Asian players, fans and coaches are subjected to racism. Every day, from park football to the Champions League.

    "In my opinion, the people who run the game are doing nowhere near enough to solve the problem. And that's not good enough."

    Discussing the manifesto, Sterling put forward his ideas, adding: "I'd call for an automatic nine-point deduction for racist abuse.

    "It sounds harsh but which fan will risk racist behaviour if it might relegate their team or ruin their title bid?

    "The club should have to play three games behind closed doors. That way, they lose revenue as a direct consequence of racist behaviour.

    "I don't know how long it'll take for things to change but we have to start now. I don't want the next generation of black players to have to put up with this evil."

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