Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 16th 2017 Contents sports A43
Thursday, February 16, 2017 guardian.co.tt
Mourinho predicts 'trouble' as
Man Utd faces fixture pile-up
MANCHESTER --- Jose
his concern about
the potential schedule
logjam facing Man-
chester United in the
final months of the
season, saying yester-
day it poses the team
"many, many, many
United is still involved
in four competitions ---
the Premier League,
the FA Cup, the Europa
League and the League
"If we progress in the
inho said, "we will be in
United is through to
the last 32 of the Europa
League --- it plays French
club Saint-Etienne in
the first leg today ---
and has also reached
the last 16 of the FA Cup.
There are 13 rounds left
in the Premier League,
in which United is in
sixth place and fighting
for Champions League
a top-four finish. And
United has got through
to the final of the Eng-
lish League Cup against
Southampton on Febru-
With 13 weeks left in
the season, United could
have 27 games to play.
Multiple games per week
would be commonplace,
especially since United is
in good form with only
one loss in 22 games in
Mourinho is set to play
a strong team against
Saint-Etienne at Old
Trafford, in a competi-
tion that offers the win-
ner an automatic place
in next season's Cham-
"The Europa League is
a not a competition we
want to play," Mourinho
said, "but we play."
Mourinho said Wayne
Rooney, Michael Carrick
and Phil Jones will miss
the game because of in-
jury. Paul Pogba is set to
play, which will mean the
France midfielder taking
on his brother, Floren-
tin, for the first time in a
"It's a good, nice des-
tiny," Mourinho said. "I
think only mum Pogba is
in trouble. It's impossi-
ble for the lady to choose.
I know, from Paul, that
the mum wants a draw."
Asked if they had ever
come across each down
the years in sports, Flor-
entin Pogba --- the older
brother by three years ---
said: "I beat him at table
MADRID---Barcelona didn't have a clue, and it
Even with Lionel Messi playing alongside Luis Su-
arez and Neymar up front, Barcelona was outsmarted
and outplayed at nearly every turn by Paris Saint-Ger-
main in the Champions League on Tuesday, losing
4-0 in the first leg of the last 16.
"We were expecting something else. We were pre-
pared for a different game," Barcelona midfielder Ser-
gio Busquets said. "They played better than us and
had a better tactical plan than we did."
The blame for the fiasco has fallen on coach Luis
Enrique --- not for the first time. The team has reached
the Copa del Rey final, but it trails Real Madrid in
the league standings. In both domestic competitions,
Barcelona has had its setbacks this season.
Nothing quite as bad as Tuesday night's rout,
"They outplayed us and we never had a clear idea of
the game," Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta said.
The extraordinary result has left Barcelona strug-
gling for answers, and fans wondering if the loss was
just a fluke or a sign that the team's dominance may
be starting to fade.
Barcelona, of course, still has a chance to overturn
the deficit in the second leg on March 8 at the Camp
Nou. But if not, it will be the first time in a decade that
the Catalan team has failed to reach the quarterfinals.
"It's going to be difficult, almost impossible, but
we will try to make it happen," Neymar said.
Barcelona never really looked comfortable against
PSG, and the resounding defeat caused Luis Enrique
to lose his cool in a post-match interview --- a rarity
in his career.
He said he was not happy with "the tone" of a re-
porter from a local television channel who asked about
the team's failure to improve after halftime.
"I accept full responsibility, but I would like to see
this same treatment when we win the matches," Luis
Enrique said. "I would like to see you maintain this
same personal treatment that I'm seeing now in the
interviews after we win."
The last time Barcelona failed to advance past the
last 16 of the Champions League was in 2006-07,
when it was eliminated by Liverpool. It has won three
Champions League titles in the last eight seasons, and
it reached the semifinals in seven of the last nine years.
Eight out of 10 might be a goal too far. AP
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