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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Rodgers blasts former mentor Mourinho

Brendan Rodgers has blasted the tactics of Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho after Liverpool fluffed their lines at Anfield, losing 2-nil to their Premier League title rivals.

Rodgers inferred Chelsea played an unsporting, negative, long-ball game -- and time-wasted from kick-off until the final whistle.

He delivered his verdict on the match coolly but there was fire in his comments which could spark a war of words with The Special One. 

In a post-match interview the Ulsterman pointedly told the BBC: "I can only pay tribute to my players."

He went on to say Liverpool were "clearly the better side" but Chelsea had parked "two buses" - a reference to the defensive tactics that defined Mourinho's approach to the game.

Congratulating Chelsea with all the honesty of a politician submitting his expenses, Rodgers said the Blues played with a "back six".

He said: "My team's a team that wants to be offensive. They want to win games by playing good football, to be creative.

"Chelsea were playing virtually with a back six, three midfield players in front, goalkeeper, and obviously looking to hit the ball long up to Demba Ba. And I thought for the game we controlled most of what they had, which was long balls through to Demba Ba, long throw-ins...

"It was interesting that they actually got in, I think it was the 92nd minute, a booking for time-wasting when it was clear right from the very off that was the case."

He added: "We aim to win the game in a sporting manner and we aim to be creative and attacking in our football."

The protege bites back

Jose Mourinho, naturally, saw things differently.

He told the Beeb the win was a "beautiful victory", a "magnificent performance by every one" of his players and an example of "great discipline and team work".

He bristled at the suggestion his tactics were negative and said he prepared his side to secure a maximum three points.

When asked whether he accepted the title race was now a three-way tussle between Liverpool, Manchester City and the Blues he replied: "Forget it, forget it."

Anyone who thinks Mourinho will "forget it" has a very short memory.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Kevin Keegan to replace David Moyes as Manchester United manager

The former Newcastle boss, Kevin Keegan, is to replace David Moyes as Manchester United manager.

The club has managed to keep the stunning appointment strictly under wraps, despite intense pressure from the media.

But Keegan is set to be unveiled at a news conference in the next few days. 

A club insider said: “We’re likely to face an almighty backlash when this appointment is announced. 

“Everyone inside the club has been sworn to secrecy on pain of dismissal. This has come from the very top – the yanks (the Glazer family) want him, so that’s that. 

“But we’re bracing ourselves for an absolute ****storm from the fans. They’re not going to like it one bit.”

Famous rivalry: Keegan and Fergie
Keegan has been out of the sport since his second stint at Newcastle ended in acrimony in 2008.

It had been assumed that he would never return to frontline football, choosing instead to accept the easier life of a pundit.

But sources close to the 63-year-old say his hunger has returned. They also insist he feels he’s addressed some of his managerial shortcomings through intensive study of tactics employed by the most successful continental sides. 

Whether that is enough to persuade weary Manchester United fans that he can succeed where Moyes has failed is doubtful, to say the least.

Keegan’s rivalry with Sir Alex Ferguson is the stuff of football folklore. 

During the Premiership title race in 1995–96, he famously revealed his animosity towards Sir Alex during a live TV interview. 

He said he would “love it, love it!” if Newcastle beat the Red Devils to the title. They didn’t. Keegan was haunted by the failure and quit in January 1997.

A short spell as England manager highlighted Keegan’s tactical naivety -- and his willingness to walk out when the pressure mounts.

How he’ll fare in one of the toughest jobs in world football remains to be seen but rival fans have already taken to social media websites to take the mickey.

@bluesbrother wrote on Twitter: “Keegan to manage Man U. LOOOOOOOOL. I’d ‘love it – LOVE IT!’ if it’s true.”

@scousemouse posted: “Putting Keegan in charge at Old Trafford is a great idea. He’ll do a great job for them in 2016 – in the Championship!”