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United’s rebirth at odds with Mourinho’s temper

LONDON: Hired to revitalise Manchester United, Jose Mourinho is instead turning the clock back and losing his temper in public.

A 1-1 draw with West Ham United on Sunday left United 11 points behind leaders Chelsea and without a win in four league matches at Old Trafford for the first time since 1990.

That dry home spell came toward the end of a 26-year title drought which ended in 1993 with Alex Ferguson collecting the Premier League trophy.

Ferguson retired in 2013 with 13 title triumphs to his name and Mourinho was appointed to recreate the Scot’s winning mentality at the club after three lackluster years under David Moyes and Louis van Gaal.

The only current similarity between Ferguson and Mourinho, who was fired a year ago by Chelsea, is the fiery temper on the Old Trafford touchline. At least with Ferguson it produced results.

Mourinho was sent to the stands for the second time in a month on Sunday after being enraged by Paul Pogba being booked for an apparent dive and kicking a water bottle.

At the end of last month the Portuguese was dismissed for abusing referee Mark Clattenburg at halftime against Burnley.

Jon Moss, the referee, had history with Mourinho, having also sent him to the stands against West Ham for a halftime rant at the official when he was Chelsea boss last November.

The score was 1-1 on Sunday when Mourinho saw red, Zlatan Ibrahimovic having levelled after a sensational start in which Diafra Sakho headed West Ham in front after 90 seconds, the second-fastest goal United had conceded at home in the Premier League.

Mourinho’s assistant Rui Faria, who is getting used to doing the media duties after his boss’s misdemeanours, seemed to be following the Portuguese’s recent assertions about United’s misfortunes, saying: “We can say we are unlucky. One day it will have to happen for us. We’ll start winning.”

If they don’t, United face a second season out of the Champions League and a 30 percent drop in sponsorship cash from Adidas of around 20 million pounds ($25 million).

After a third of the season, United lie sixth on 20 points, eight behind Arsenal in the fourth spot to qualify for Europe’s elite competition.

Mourinho made six changes to his starting XI at Old Trafford, but his bench created the biggest stir as formerly exiled midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger made an unexpected return to the match-day squad.

West Ham needed just 90 seconds to go ahead as Dimitri Payet’s free-kick from the right was headed in by Sakho.

In the 21st minute, Pogba’s deep cross was nodded in by Ibrahimovic, who has now scored seven league goals this season.

Moments later Moss booked Pogba for diving after the France midfielder took evasive action as Mark Noble moved in to tackle him.

Mourinho reacted by furiously and was duly sent to the stands.

Wayne Rooney, whose next goal will equal Bobby Charlton’s 249-goal club scoring record, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan came on for United in the second half.

Jesse Lingard saw a goal chalked off for offside after Mkhitaryan had hit the post, while United were indebted to goalkeeper David de Gea for a crucial late save to deny Ashley Fletcher.

United will hope their luck changes when West Ham return to Old Trafford in the League Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday.

Everton manager Ronald Koeman made an unhappy return to former club Southampton as his current side fell 1-0 to his previous employers.

Charlie Austin scored the game’s only goal after just 41 seconds, heading in from close range after 19-year-old debutant Josh Sims helped on Cedric’s cross.

Southampton climbed to 10th place, two points behind Everton, who have won only one of their last eight league games in Koeman’s first season in charge.

Courtesy : Dawn News



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