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Mourinho upbeat as Pogba points way for United in Europe

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With Paul Pogba putting his stamp on games and Jose Mourinho in an upbeat mood, the atmosphere around Manchester United is markedly more relaxed than it was just a few weeks ago.

United’s 3-0 win over Young Boys in the Champions League in Bern on Wednesday was not completely straightforward, with the visitors on the back foot before Pogba emerged to score twice in the final 10 minutes of the first half.

But Mourinho’s side ended up thoroughly deserving their victory against a team that had won nine out of 10 games this season and were determined to impress on their Champions League group-stage debut.

Pogba’s decisive contribution while wearing the captain’s armband also stretched to an assist for Anthony Martial’s third goal in the second half, and his performance came after he stood out on his 100th appearance for the club in last Saturday’s 2-1 victory at Watford.

“If someone asks me to do that again, I don’t think it’ll go where it did,” admitted Pogba of his terrific opening goal at the Stade de Suisse, which he followed by scoring a penalty before half-time.

“I’m very, very happy to have scored two goals and to have helped decide the game,” said the France star, who has four goals in total this season, three from the spot.

The 25-year-old has not always enjoyed a harmonious relationship with Mourinho, being routinely dropped last season.

In recent weeks, doubts have been raised about what his agent Mino Raiola might have in mind for Pogba’s future. Yet in Bern, Pogba delivered for his manager.

“I don’t think he can score goals every match, but the goal he scored today, the first goal, is not different than the fantastic save (Ben) Foster had in the last match,” Mourinho said of a player who also netted for France in the World Cup final.

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“If he starts arriving in possible scoring positions that can be a plus for the team, so I am happy with that. The team had good stability in midfield, allowed him to go to these kinds of positions.”

It is now three straight wins in three away games for United, after Premier League successes at Burnley and Watford.

After speculation that he could be sacked in the wake of the 3-0 home loss to Tottenham Hotspur last month, the Portuguese’s mood has changed for the better.

He expressed delight at teenager Diogo Dalot’s debut performance at right-back, was full of praise for Luke Shaw, and left the Stade de Suisse press room joking with reporters.

“At half-time, I told the players it is the third time in a row we arrive at half-time winning 2-0 — against Burnley we didn’t finish off but we didn’t concede, against Watford we concede and we were in trouble,” he said.

Martial rounded out the win by marking his first start in a month by netting his first goal since January.

The manager added: “I think our best period was exactly the period in the second half where we scored our third goal and we killed the game.

“In the second half the players were responsible, they were ambitious, so I liked that.

“But what I like most is that after two defeats, three matches away, and three victories — I don’t say phenomenal performances but three good, solid performances, and let’s go back home Saturday.”

Wolverhampton Wanderers are up next, while United are also at home in their next Champions League game against Valencia.

A win against the Spaniards will be a big step towards the last 16 before a double-header against Juventus, as United seek to improve in Europe following last season’s exit to Sevilla in the first knockout round.

“We had a tough season in the Champions League last season — we want to do much better this season,” Pogba insisted.

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Solskjaer hopes fans will cheer not jeer on return to Old Trafford

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LONDON, United Kingdom, May 17 – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hopes Manchester United fans will ditch their protests against club owners, the Glazer family, and cheer on the team when supporters return to Old Trafford for the first time in more than a year on Tuesday.

United’s last three home games have featured fans protesting against the Glazers after they signed up to the European Super League before the supporters furious reaction saw them withdraw hastily.

United’s home game with Liverpool had to be postponed earlier this month when fans broke into the stadium and got onto the pitch.

The re-scheduled game last Thursday also featured protests outside the ground — as did last Tuesday’s home defeat to Leicester.

Solskjaer wants to hear more positive sounds when they host relegated Fulham where victory would secure them second place in the table.

Around 10,000 fans are expected to attend as the latest easing of the British government’s coronavirus restrictions comes into force.

Although some clubs welcomed back around 2,000 fans for a short spell last December the last time a club entertained a sell out crowd was Leicester’s 4-0 win against Aston Villa at the King Power Stadium on March 9, 2020.

“We’ve been waiting for a long, long time to welcome the fans back,” said Solskjaer at his eve-of-match press conference.

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“Of course the last couple of home games, especially the Liverpool ones with the protests…

“It’s never nice to see a club that is not united, fans with the team, so we’re hoping that Tuesday is going to be a positive day that we move together, that we play a good game of football.”

– ‘Harry is our leader’ –

Solskjaer, though, blames the protests for their last two home defeats to Leicester and Liverpool.

Even without the protests United’a overall home form this season has been poor — six defeats in all — and effectively cost them giving champions Manchester City a run for their money in the title race.

Their away form by contrast has been scintillating — unbeaten on the road in the Premier League this season and have not lost an away league game in 15 months.

“I just didn’t want to use it as an excuse because we lost two games but surely it’s a reason behind the performances,” he replied when asked if the protests had affected his players.

The last two home defeats have also come with defensive talisman Harry Maguire out of action with an ankle injury suffered in the win over Aston Villa on May 9.

The England star will not play again in the league — United have two matches remaining — but Solskjaer reiterated he would be given right up to the last moment to prove his fitness for the Europa League final against Spanish side Villarreal on May 26.

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“We’ve known it all along but maybe some people open their eyes more when he’s not playing,” said Solskjaer.

“Harry is our leader and our captain. We’re consciously taking the route of not testing him out too early because we don’t want to aggravate something.”

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Top team by June 30 to represent Kenya in CAF Champions League

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NAIROBI, Kenya, May 17 – The Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has agreed that the team which will top the BetKing Premier League standings by June 30 will represent Kenya in the 2021-22 CAF Champions League.

In a circular sent to clubs on Monday evening, the Federation has stated that CAF’s directive to have names forwarded to them for representatives in Inter-Club competitions has necessitated the decision.

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“Consequently, and in consideration that the BetKing Premier League calendar may not be concluded before the aforementioned date, due to the disruption occasioned by the COVID 19 pandemic, the FKF Leagues and Competitions Committee, in a meeting held on May 7, 2021, resolved that the FKF PL representative in the CAF Champions League shall be the team at the top of the table, as at June 30, 2021,” a letter to clubs, signed by FKF CEO Barry Otieno stated.

Eleven-time champions Tusker FC currently lead the standings with 34 points, two ahead of second placed AFC Leopards.

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Woman gang raped in Mathare as chaos continues

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Tension is still high in Mathare’s Mlango Kubwa following tribal clashes that rocked the area on Sunday morning.

Today morning a woman was allegedly gang raped by one tribal faction that was reportedly seeking revenge from the other.

The woman was taken to the MSF Hospital in Mathare where she was treated and discharged.

A section of youth who spoke to Ghetto Radio news says that the rape incident irked them hence the resumption of the chaos.

ALSO READ;http://16 People Injured In Mathare Tribal Clashes

“We had cooled down but now they have gang raped a woman. This is the second day that we are experiencing chaos,” stated Moha an area resident.

More than 16 people and four police officers were injured in the chaos that lasted the whole morning on Sunday.

At least 40 people were arrested in the chaos.


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