Fan At It - Barcelona vs Manchester United

By Shawana Ebanks April 19, 2019

SportsMax's Shawana Ebanks gets the view of fans in Jamaica's second city of Montego Bay following the Champions League clash between Barcelona and Manchester United.

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  • Rumour Has It: Barcelona players losing confidence in Valverde Rumour Has It: Barcelona players losing confidence in Valverde

    Ernesto Valverde is facing a big week at Barcelona.

    Valverde is under pressure early in the season after Barca slumped to a 2-0 loss at Granada to be left with just seven points from their opening five games of the LaLiga season.

    Now, the next week is shaping as crucial for Valverde.

     

    TOP STORY – BARCELONA PLAYERS LOSING CONFIDENCE IN VALVERDE

    Several Barcelona players have started to lose confidence in Valverde, according to ESPN.

    With seven points from five league games, Barcelona have made their worst start to a season since 1994-95.

    Monday's cover of Sport says Valverde needs an urgent reaction, with his side hosting Villarreal on Tuesday and visiting Getafe four days later.

     

    ROUND-UP

    Barcelona are keeping an eye on Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz. Barca's sporting director Eric Abidal was present as Fabian scored in Napoli's 4-1 win over Lecce on Saturday, according to Calciomercato.

    AC Milan want to strengthen at right-back and are considering Tottenham defender Serge Aurier, according to Sportmediaset, amid suggestions Andrea Conti is struggling to impress.

    Jose Mourinho has had chances to return to management and the former Real Madrid and Manchester United boss apparently turned down a surprise opportunity last year. Fichajes reports Boca Juniors tried to convince Mourinho to take over, but the Portuguese tactician said he was not yet ready to leave Europe.

    Everton have made a slow start to the Premier League season and are assessing ways to strengthen their attack. The Daily Express reports they are interested in signing Yussuf Poulsen from RB Leipzig. The Denmark international scored 15 Bundesliga goals last season.

  • Solskjaer: Mourinho has a right to his opinion on Man United form Solskjaer: Mourinho has a right to his opinion on Man United form

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Jose Mourinho has a right to voice his opinion on Manchester United after the former Red Devils boss strongly criticised their performance in a 2-0 Premier League loss at West Ham.

    Andriy Yarmolenko and Aaron Cresswell scored to consign United to defeat at London Stadium, with Solskjaer's men without a win away from home in nine matches in all competitions.

    Mourinho, appearing as a pundit for Sky Sports, said he could find no positives to take from United's display, adding: "We were bad last season, but I don't see any improvement this season."

    Solskjaer, though, noted United were beaten on their previous visit to London Stadium, sliding to a 3-1 loss under Mourinho's leadership in September 2018.

    "I think he's got a right to his opinion," Solskjaer told a news conference when asked about Mourinho's comments.

    "We lost here last year, it's always a difficult ground to go to and we hoped to do better than we did. We hope for better.

    "But the key moments they grasped and we didn't. I have to say, two fantastic finishes from two left feet. We just didn't take the chances when we had them.

    "Of course, when you lose a game you're disappointed. It's a game that can go both ways, as you expect away from home in the Premier League.

    "It's a good group to work with, they're determined. Sometimes along the road you hit some bumps, some highs and lows, this group is determined and they have desire. It's a good atmosphere in the dressing room and they've got their focus right."

    Solskjaer confirmed Marcus Rashford - who has only scored once since a brace in the 4-0 win over Chelsea on opening weekend - needs a scan after he was taken off with a groin injury but could be out for "a little while".

    That left United having to field Jesse Lingard as a striker as teenager Mason Greenwood was unavailable due to tonsillitis and Anthony Martial was sidelined by injury.

    United allowed Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez to join Inter without signing any replacements in attack, but Solskjaer continues to stand by that decision.

    "It's one of these moments, we've had historically lots of centre-backs struggling with injuries," he added. "We've come down here and Michael Carrick's played centre-back, Darren Fletcher has, now it's strikers. 

    "It's just how it's gone. Hopefully Mason and Anthony will be back for Arsenal [on September 30], definitely, hopefully one of them for Rochdale [on Wednesday in the EFL Cup]."

    Pressed on why Sanchez was permitted to depart on loan, leaving United short of options, Solskjaer said: "We made a decision on that and I still think it was the best one for us, and for Alexis, and we agreed on that one.

    "We didn't create enough chances but we created big chances, some big moments that we didn't take, and they scored although they didn't create too many either. It's a game that could have gone both ways. When you've got Rashford and Dan James I don't think pace is the problem.

    "There's a few in the first half we turned down a key pass, we had two chances in the second half we could have again and I'm sure we'd score more than we miss.

    "This group, they want to do what we want to do, they work in training. Like I said, there's key moments in games that can tip them in our favour compared to theirs. You can make a bad decision on a pass, left, right or centre, but the attitude is there.

    "That's not the problem. It's the quality in our decision-making and sometimes in their execution."

  • Premier League Review: Liverpool maintain winning run, Man United lose on the road again Premier League Review: Liverpool maintain winning run, Man United lose on the road again

    Liverpool extended their 100 per cent start to the Premier League season by winning 2-1 at Chelsea, while Manchester United fell to a 2-0 defeat at West Ham.

    Trent Alexander-Arnold's superb strike put the Reds in front at Stamford Bridge on Sunday and Roberto Firmino added a second for Jurgen Klopp's men, who held off a Chelsea fightback.

    They move five points clear of Manchester City, who see their local rivals United down in eighth and without an away Premier League victory since February.

    Ten-man Arsenal came from behind twice to earn a thrilling 3-2 win at home to Aston Villa and there was also late drama in the game between Crystal Palace and Wolves.


    REDS CONTINUE WINNING RUN

    Liverpool's winning run now stands at 15 consecutive victories in the Premier League with the European champions showing remarkable consistency as they bid to unseat Manchester City.

    They were grateful to VAR, though, with the use of video technology chalking off a Cesar Azpilicueta goal for an offside against Mason Mount that would have levelled the scores at 1-1.

    Chelsea lost defensive duo Emerson Palmieri and Andreas Christensen to injuries in the first half but still gave themselves hope of a fightback thanks to N'Golo Kante's screamer.

    Liverpool held firm, though, and while they have only kept one clean sheet in all competitions this season, this was a welcome victory after a 2-0 Champions League loss to Napoli in midweek.


    AUBAMEYANG SAVES THE DAY

    Arsenal produced a stunning comeback to down Villa despite Ainsley Maitland-Niles' first-half red card at Emirates Stadium, the Gunners moving up to fourth in the league.

    Unai Emery handed 18-year-old Bukayo Saka his first Premier League start but the teenager was withdrawn at half-time after John McGinn opened the scoring and Arsenal were reduced to 10 men.

    Nicolas Pepe converted a penalty for his first Arsenal goal and while Wesley rapidly restored the Villa lead, the Gunners produced a rapid double to take the points.

    Substitute Calum Chambers drew Arsenal level with a clever finish and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang rode to the rescue with a free-kick, although Sokratis Papastathopoulos was fortunate not to concede a late penalty for an apparent handball in the box.


    MORE AWAY WOES FOR SOLSKJAER

    After a good week that saw United earn narrow wins over Leicester City and Astana, it was back down to earth with a bump for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side at London Stadium.

    Marcus Rashford went off injured and goals from Andriy Yarmolenko and Aaron Cresswell earned the Hammers a deserved win, leaving United on eight points from six games.

    United are winless in their past nine away matches in all competitions now, while the potential absence of Rashford could leave them reliant on 17-year-old striker Mason Greenwood after the departures of Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku to Inter.


    WOLVES LEAVE IT LATE

    A fourth draw of the season was not enough to lift Wolves up from 19th in the table, but Nuno Espirito Santo's side will be thrilled to have escaped from Selhurst Park with a point.

    An own goal from Leander Dendoncker, whose decisive deflection on a Joel Ward shot beat Rui Patricio, put Palace ahead.

    But even after Romain Saiss was dismissed for his second yellow card of the game, Wolves continued to press and Diogo Jota stabbed home in the fifth minute of added time to claim a draw.

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