Manchester United sack Jose Mourinho, seeking caretaker replacement

Manchester United have sacked manager Jose Mourinho after a dreadful series of results. (AFP)
Updated 18 December 2018

Manchester United sack Jose Mourinho, seeking caretaker replacement

  • Manchester United have sacked manager Jose Mourinho after a dreadful series of results
  • It is rumoured that former Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane could be his replacement

Manchester United have sacked manager Jose Mourinho after a dreadful series of results, the Premier League club announced on Tuesday.
The 55-year-old Portuguese’s last match in charge was the 3-1 defeat by league leaders Liverpool on Sunday which left them 19 points behind their opponents.
“Manchester United announces that manager Jose Mourinho has left the club with immediate effect,” a club statement said.

According to talkSPORT’s French journalist Julien Laurens, former Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane would love to take the reins as Manchester United head coach. 

Assistant coach Michael Carrick will take charge of the team on an interim basis. United said it will appoint a caretaker manager until the end of the season, but didn't say who it will be.
United made its move with the team in sixth place in the league, 19 points behind first-place Liverpool and 11 points off fourth-place Chelsea in the race for Champions League qualification. It is United's worst 17-game start to a league campaign since the 1990-91 season, and the team currently has a goal difference of zero.
Mourinho started his 2½-year tenure at United by winning two titles in his first season — the English League Cup and the Europa League — but failed to win a trophy in his second season and was criticized for the team's pragmatic playing style and his treatment of some players.
His relationship with Paul Pogba, the club's record signing, appeared broken after leaving the France midfielder out of the team for its last three league games.
Mourinho had also been unhappy that United's board failed to back his wish to sign a central defender in the offseason. United has already conceded more goals in the league than it did in all of last season.
Mourinho's final match in charge was the 3-1 loss at Anfield, after which he said his players were brittle and couldn't cope with the intensity and physicality of Liverpool — historically United's biggest rival.
Mourinho lasted the same length of time at United as he did in his previous job at Chelsea, when he was also fired just before Christmas in his third season. He signed a new contract in January until June 2020 and will reportedly receive compensation of 24 million pounds ($30 million).
In his six major coaching stints — at Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, Chelsea again and United — Mourinho has only lasted more than three years once. That was in his first spell at Chelsea.
United reached the last 16 in the Champions League, where it will play Paris Saint-Germain over two legs in February and March.

(With Agencies)


New Sharqiya Baja to take place Thursday

Updated 12 December 2019

New Sharqiya Baja to take place Thursday

ALKHOBAR: The new Sharqiya Baja 2019, the fifth and final round of the inaugural Saudi Toyota Desert Rally Championship, will take place at 3:15 p.m. on Thursday with a timed super special stage of 4.32 km. 

Ahead of a field of 51 cars, nine NUTVs, 10 motorcycles, 23 quads and one truck will be two further days of competitive action through the deserts of the Eastern Province and 474.86 competitive kilometers in a compact route of 746.58 km. 

 Several international drivers, most notably Spaniard Carlos Sainz, Zimbabwe’s Conrad Rautenbach, Abu Dhabi Racing’s Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi and Czech Miroslav Zapletal will use the opportunity to finalize their preparations for January’s Dakar Rally.

In contrast, the massive Saudi contingent is spread across several categories and sporting disciplines, and the series finale will decide the outcome of the drivers’ championship and the winner of the quad section.

 Saudi Arabia’s leading drivers, Yazeed Al-Rajhi (Toyota Hilux) and Yasir Seaidan (X-raid Buggy), have fought a fascinating tussle for supremacy in the new series.

 Seaidan won the Aseer Rally opener and finished behind his rival at the Qassim Rally, the AlUla-Neom event and the Riyadh Rally. 

 The pair are now separated by just three points, heading into the showdown on Half Moon Bay.

An outright victory would give either driver the title, with 25 points awarded to the winner, 18 for second place and 15 for third. The two drivers, however, face strong opposition from a plethora of Saudi rivals. 

 ED Racing’s Essa Al-Dossari is a distant third in the series in his Nissan Navara, and can confirm that position by staying ahead of Mutair Al-Shammeri, Khalid Al-Feraihi and Faris Al-Shammeri. 

 Salman Al-Shammeri has already clinched the T2 title by scoring maximum points in the category for series production cross-country vehicles in three of the four rallies. His closest challenger is Yousef Al-Suwaidi, winner of the T2 in the Qassim Rally.

 Saleh Al-Saif confirmed success in the T3 before the recent event in Riyadh, and tackled that rally in the NUTV class, while Ibrahim Al-Muhanna, Osama Al-Sanad and Raed Abo Theeb have cruised to the T4 title in a Mercedes truck. 

Yousef Al-Dhaif has an unassailable lead over Fahad Al-Naim and Khalil and Majid Al-Tuwaijri in the NUTV Championship, but the latter trio will be battling to finish as runners-up in the popular category. Motorcycle honors have already gone to Mishal Alghuneim with Abdullah Al-Helal finishing the series in second place, but a host of riders still have a shot at claiming third overall.

Abdulmajeed Al-Khulaifi won the quad section at the Qassim and AlUla-Neom rallies, but a retirement in Riyadh has left the door open for Riyadh Al-Oraifan to snatch the title in the Eastern Province. He trails his fellow Yamaha rider by 21 points, with 25 available for the outright win.

 Several riders can still finish third, but Abdul Aziz Al-Shayban heads into the ceremonial start on Half Moon Bay leading Riyadh event-winner Sufiyan Al-Omar by six points. 

The event is organized by the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (SAMF), under the chairmanship of Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal and the supervision of former FIA Middle East champion Abdullah Bakhashab. 

 The new Baja runs with the support of the SAMF, the General Sports Authority, Abdul Latif Jameel Motors (Toyota), the MBC Group, Al-Arabia Outdoors and the Saudi Research and Marketing Group.

 The event is being considered as an official candidate for future inclusion in the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas.