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.”


Godolphin happy with Thunder Snow ahead of Dubai World Cup defense

Updated 25 March 2019
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Godolphin happy with Thunder Snow ahead of Dubai World Cup defense

  • Five-year old bidding to become first horse to win back-to-back Dubai World Cups.
  • $12 million race takes place at Meydan on Saturday.

LONDON: Thunder Snow is preparing well as he bids to become the first horse to win back-to-back Dubai World Cups, according to Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor.
The five-year-old memorably won the showcase $12 million race at Meydan by five and three-quarter lengths, winning in a track record time last year. He returned to the track on Super Saturday two weeks ago, finishing second in the Group 1 Al-Maktoum Challenge Round Three.
And Godolphin are expecting big things from him in the famous race. Bin Suroor, the most successful handler in the history of the 2000m dirt feature with eight winners to his name, is feeling confident.
“He did his final serious piece of work on Saturday and went very well indeed,” the Godolphin trainer said. “He needed his Super Saturday outing — his first run since November — badly and has come on a lot for it. We expect him to run a big race under conditions we know suit him, but obviously it is a good race.”
Thunder Snow has already made history as the only horse to win both the Group 2 UAE Derby and Group 1 Dubai World Cup, but if he is to win this Saturday then he will be revered for years to come.
One of his big rivals in the race will be Yoshida. Trained by Bill Mott he arrived in Dubai on March 19 in preparation for the cash-rich race. The Japanese-bred son of Heart’s Cry landed in the Emirate off a sixth-place finish in the inaugural Group 1 Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational at Gulfstream Park.
He won the Turf Classic at Churchill Downs, as well as the prestigious Woodward at Saratoga last year and Riley Mott, assistant to his father Bob, said Yoshida is looking good ahead of the big race.
“He’s settled in really well,” he said. “He traveled great and we’re very happy with him. The facilities here are top class. This is my seventh time over here and we’re treated very well.”
Yoshida went out just after 7:00 a.m. in Monday to stretch his legs over the famous dirt track.
“He just had a routine gallop this morning and we let him stand in the gate. Nothing too serious,” Mott said.
Jose Ortiz, who has piloted Yoshida though his last two starts and was aboard for the Grade 1 score at Churchill Downs, will make his first appearance in Dubai. Mott said he expects Ortiz, who guided Yoshida to a closing fourth-place effort in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, will have plenty of options in the 2000m race.
“It sounds like there’s a lot of pace from the local horses, but we have a horse that’s pretty versatile in the way he runs,” Mott said. “He’s able to adapt to the pace scenario. It’s just a matter of how the race develops in front of him.”