Mourinho finds reason to smile

Updated 17 December 2017
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Mourinho finds reason to smile

LONDON: Jose Mourinho has admitted Manchester United lacked second-half “ambition” as his side narrowly secured victory over a spirited West Bromwich Albion side at The Hawthorns. Goals from Romelu Lukaku and Jesse Lingard in a dominant first half secured a vital three points for the visitors.
“We had less ambition after the break. The intensity in the first half, maybe we didn’t have in the second half. West Brom are really powerful in the air. But after their goal we controlled the game again. We brought the ball into the opposition half,” the Portuguese said of his team’s second interval performance.
“I think we deserved the win. We were the best team. I knew, and the players knew, that West Brom are very dangerous on set-pieces. We controlled the game for a long, long time, then Alan Pardew reacted. We had a few chances to kill the game but I knew they would react,” he added.
United were under pressure to produce a winning display after title rivals Manchester City had thrashed Tottenham 4-1 the day before and the win keeps Mourinho’s men 11 points behind the runaway leaders.
Lukaku, criticized for several below-par performances in recent weeks, repaid his manager’s faith with a battling performance and a neat header to open the scoring for his side after a lacklustre start to proceedings. It was his 31st goal in 39 Premier League appearances against sides outside the “top six”.
United were aided by a poor defensive display in the first period from West Brom, who saw Ahmed Hegazi deflect a tame shot from Lingard past his own goalkeeper to put the visitors 2-0 up and in complete control at the half-time break.
West Brom, much improved after the interval,w were given hope when Gareth Barry pulled a goal back for the hosts in an ugly scramble to poke home the club’s first goal under Pardew and his first for Albion. United were left hanging on as the home side had a penalty shout turned down and came close on several occasions in the final moments but were unable to force a late equalizer.
Albion manager Pardew admitted afterwards that he made team selection errors with his starting XI: “In hindsight, I probably picked the wrong team and we could have had some fresher legs in there. We lacked energy and I have to take some blame for that.”


Mohamed Salah named Premier League’s best player of the year at PFA awards

Updated 23 April 2018
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Mohamed Salah named Premier League’s best player of the year at PFA awards

  • Egyptian superstar currently has 30 Premier League goals this season
  • Salah beat the likes of De Bruyne and Kane to the award

LONDON: Mohamed Salah was crowned the Premier League’s Players’ Player of the Year on Sunday, with his incredible 41-goal debut season at Liverpool beating out strong competition from Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne.
“It’s a big honor. I’ve worked hard and I’m very happy to win it,” Salah said at the ceremony on Sunday evening.
Salah matched a Premier League record tally for a single season by scoring his 31st league goal of the campaign in a 2-2 draw at West Brom on Saturday.
“You’re comparing your name with some great names,” he said, on the prospect of breaking the record. “To break the Premier League record is something huge in England and all over in the world.
“There are still three games to go. I want to break this record.”
Salah has also netted seven times in eight Champions League games, including in both legs of Liverpool’s 5-1 quarter-final thrashing of City, to carry his side to a first semifinal for a decade.
De Bruyne showed why he had been many people’s early-season favorite for the prize with an incredible long-range strike for his 12th goal of the season to go with a league-high number of assists as champions City thrashed Swansea 5-0 on Sunday.
“From my point of view when you are analizing 10 months, there is no player better than him,” said City manager Pep Guardiola of the Belgian midfielder.
“Maybe there are numbers better but for me he was the best. But it is my opinion, the opinions of the players could be different. But in the end, in summer time he will be at home being champion.”
City did pick up a prize from the PFA gala in central London on Sunday, though, as Leroy Sane won the Young Player of the Year.
Sane, another City team-mate David Silva, De Bruyne, Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea and Tottenham striker Harry Kane were the other five nominees for the main prize.