With Cardiff victory, Manchester’s Reds put on united front after Jose Mourinho exit

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba celebrates the fifth goal against Cardiff City. (AP)
Updated 24 December 2018
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With Cardiff victory, Manchester’s Reds put on united front after Jose Mourinho exit

  • United captain Ashley Young admitted the mood around Old Trafford had been instantly lifted with Solskjaer’s appointment
  • Manchester United players put on a unified front when questioned about the sacking of former manager Jose Mourinho

LONDON: After thrashing Cardiff City 5-1 in the Premier League on Saturday, Manchester United players put on a unified front when questioned about the sacking of former manager Jose Mourinho.
United captain Ashley Young admitted the mood around Old Trafford had been instantly lifted by caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s “smile,” but denied there were any celebrations in the dressing room at news of Jose Mourinho’s sacking.
Solskjaer is now in temporary charge at Old Trafford until the end of the season after Mourinho was dismissed on Tuesday with United 19 points off the top of the table.
“I don’t think he (Solskjaer) has stopped smiling,” Young said after victory in the Welsh capital.
“He was like that as a player. He always has a smile on his face and I think that can reflect down on to the team, which is a good thing.
“Ole has come in and we were preparing in the right way for a game, even though it’s been a crazy week.”
And Young dismissed any suggestion players were delighted to see the back of Mourinho.
“No celebrations at all. Absolute lies.
“Obviously it was disappointing for the manager to get sacked. In his two-and-a-half years he won trophies. We have to take some responsibility for that as we are on the pitch.
“But we have to move on from that. As professional players we have to get on with the job in hand, and that is what we did here.”
Mourinho clashed with a number of senior figures in the United dressing room over his two-and-a-half seasons in charge.
One of the most high-profile players the Portuguese had a public spat with was World Cup-winner Paul Pogba.
But the Frenchman, who was restored to the starting line-up for the first time in four league games and was instrumental in setting up four of United’s five goals, thanked his former boss for helping him “improve as a person.”
“We won trophies with Jose and I want to thank him for that,” he said.
“He makes me improve, as a person as well, and that’s it. That’s the past, I want to thank him for that.
I’m sure that is the same for all the players and now we are looking forward to the next game,” he added.
Pogba said he and his teammates were now focused on helping United “go back to the top of the league” after they scored five goals in a league game for the first time since the final game of Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign in 2013.
“The performance of the team was great and we are happy that the first game of the manager starts like this,” he said. “It’s important now to carry on like that.
“We cannot play like this and win with five goals and then the next game lose.”


Finch's century helps fire Australia to eight-wicket win over Pakistan

Updated 23 March 2019
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Finch's century helps fire Australia to eight-wicket win over Pakistan

SHARJAH: Aaron Finch's fine century drove Australia to a convincing eight-wicket win over a new-look Pakistan in the first one-day international on Friday.
The Austraian skipper scored 116 off 135 balls for his 12th one-day international century that helped his team overhaul the 281-run target in 49 overs on a flat Sharjah stadium pitch.
The win gives Australia the lead in the five-match series and has come on the back of their 3-2 series win in India earlier this month.
Finch's match-winning knock overshadowed Haris Sohail's maiden one-day hundred (101 not out) which helped Pakistan to 280-5 in their 50 overs.
The 32-year-old smashed Shoaib Malik for a huge six towards deep mid-wicket to complete his century -- his first since June last year against England at Chester-Le-Street -- off 120 balls.
Finch, who knocked four sixes and eight boundaries, added an innings-building 172 runs for the second wicket with Shaun Marsh who scored an unbeaten 91 off 102 balls with four boundaries and two sixes.
With 46 needed Finch became Mohammad Abbas's maiden wicket but Peter Handscomb hit 30 not out to help Marsh cross the line.
Finch and Marsh came together after opener Usman Khawaja fell for 24 to medium pacer Faheem Ashraf, the only other success Pakistan's new-look bowling attack could achieve.
Pakistan rested six of their key players including regular skipper Sarfraz Ahmed in order to keep them fresh for the World Cup starting in UK from May 30.
But the young and inexperienced Pakistan led by Malik proved no match for Australia, who are on a roll after their win in India earlier this month.
Left-hander Sohail, who reached 1,000 runs in his 27th one-day international when on 40, anchored Pakistan's innings, adding 98 for the third wicket with Umar Akmal who made a 50-ball 48 in his first international match for two years.
Sohail took a single to complete his hundred in the last over, finishing with six boundaries and a six.
Pakistan had handed one-day debuts to opener Shan Masood and Abbas -- who have played 15 and 14 Tests respectively.
Masood put on 35 in an opening stand with Imam-ul-Haq (17) before off-spinner Nathan Lyon dismissed Imam in the seventh over, caught and bowled.
Masood, who hit five boundaries in his 62-ball 40, was then bowled by paceman Nathan Coulter-Nile who finished with 1-38 in his 10 overs.
Umar smashed three sixes in one Jhye Richardson over but fell one short of his half century.
Malik fell for 11 and Ashraf and Imad Wasim scored 28 each.
Wasim hit four boundaries and a six during his 13-ball unbeaten knock, helping Pakistan to 55 runs in the last five overs.
Sunday's second ODI is also being played in Sharjah, with the third in Abu Dhabi (March 27) and the last two in Dubai (March 29 and 31).