Van Gaal expects a ‘horny’ show from United against Midtjylland

Manchester United FC

While bosses at Manchester United are gearing up to finalize a possible deal with former Chelsea manager José Mourinho, current manager Van Gaal is not in a mood to give up that easily hence he is trying hard to first convince fans and then his bosses that he is the only man who can revive United hopes in English soccer. The well-known Dutch mentor has been center of criticism off late for his defensive style and not able to win games even at home and fans don’t want him to lose another one when they host Midtjylland Thursday night in second leg of Europa League round-of-32 game. This is noteworthy that Manchester giants are already trailing by 2-1 in aggregate and to win they would have to win the upcoming game by at least two goals difference. Looking at recent form of the Old Trafford side it looks highly unlikely especially when Jess Thorup side is having been in good form off late.

Anyways, without putting too much weight to the current Midtjylland form, former Netherland manager asks his team to deliver a ‘horny’ performance that could entice the fans, although, he did not describe the strange word he used in his appeal. Describing his choice of words, 64-year-old said, “A lot of times I use the word ‘horny’ to my players. They showed fight against Shrewsbury but every game is different and every game players and managers want to fight for the victory. But we are human beings also. You are not always in the same shape and form.

“I think maybe criticism of me can be an influence because there is a lot, but they have to use their tools to ignore it because that’s very important. Not only the criticism of their manager, but also of themselves.”

Talking about the Danish opponents and if they are the threat for United in Europa showdown, he added, “I don’t know what you mean. When I see the data of Midtjylland, they have always won against English opponents. Everyone thinks it’s nothing but you have to analyse every opponent on their own qualities and I think they have a lot of qualities. I was not a great player, as you know, but when I played for full stadiums I was always at my best. It is not a good signal for us. Most of the players shall be excited and it will be the match of their lives for most of them.”

Chelsea’s Rafael Benitez hopeful to shine at Europa League final

Rafael Benitez

While Rafael Benitez’s role as Chelsea manager is going to end after this season, there is something he can cheer about. Earlier, he promised two things: one he wanted to see his club finishing among top four in the EPL, and second he also wanted to win at least one title this season. Both of his wishes are likely to be fulfilled if his club could perform well in the Europa League final where they will clash with Benfica on 15 May in Amsterdam. Moreover, they are at the third spot in the EPL and hopefully they can finish among top four if they could win a home game against Tottenham, who is just three points behind to enter in the top four. This is not the first time Benitez has reached into an European final coz earlier he has taken Valencia and Liverpool to European titles, and now he sees a real opportunity to show his worth after losing in League Cup and FA Cup semifinals. Actually, this is second consecutive year Chelsea has reached into the European cup final and main contributors for its final repeat are Fernando Torres, Victor Moses, and David Luiz.

Taking about his next two EPL matches, Benitez said, “It is important to show this character and keep the momentum. We have difficult games left but hopefully we can do it. Now they realise how important every single game is. The reaction in the second half showed their character and now I think they will be like that until the end. To get three points in every game will be massive because we are so close. We have to do our job and hopefully other teams will make mistakes.”

Likewise, he talked about his experience in the European finals and added, “I have been in a lot of finals, and a lot of games in this kind of situation, but another one with another club means you have good staff and good players. It’ll be tough because Benfica are a very, very dangerous team and hard to play against, but at least we are there. With the commitment and the quality, we’ll have a chance for sure.”

At last, he showed his pleasure with the way they could enter into the European final and said, “I am very pleased to be in the final. We have been working so hard to reach another one. I came to do a professional job with the commitment of the players. I am pleased for them and everyone here. We have had a very good atmosphere inside, the players have always worked hard, they have always done their job. I was pleased with them before this game and I am pleased with them now.”

UEFA Financial Fair Rules: In or Out?

It was September 2009 when UEFA Financial Fair Play Regulations were first brought in the game to prevent rich clubs spending more money than they earn to lure high profile players. This policy offered a level playing field to clubs who can’t afford throwing millions of dollars to remain in the league. But now, if everything goes as planned, these rules could face the court interpretation as far their legality is concerned. One of the most reputed soccer lawyers Jean-Louis Dupon hints on going to court against these rulings which restrict rich clubs to use their full potentials to buy a player of their choice.

Notably, he is the same man who fought for Jean-Marc Bosman in 1995 and made every player a free agent after expiry of his contracted deal with his existing club. Actually, some sections of FFP are directly in oppose to some European competition laws and this could be the basis of court intervention if Dupont takes this matter to it. At the moment, UEFA has given its consent on new FFP so it is likely to be standing by it, however it also said via a statement that “UEFA is aware, that there are large differences between the comparative wealth of different clubs and countries, but financial fair play does not have financial equality as its objective. However, more investors should be attracted if club football is more sustainable and those clubs with sustainable and stable business models will be in a position to become more competitive.”

On the other side, Dupont recenty wrote an article in a leading newspaper where he talked about the flaws of FFP. He said, “Some of Europe’s biggest clubs are, unsurprisingly, the loudest supporters of rules that entrench their dominance. The time is right for a strong reminder from the EU’s anti-trust authorities that football, like any other multibillion-euro industry, must comply with the law.

“As an agreement whereby industry participants jointly decide to limit investments, FFP likely constitutes collusion and hence a violation of EU competition law. FFP may also infringe other EU freedoms such as the free movement of workers and services.

“Even if FFP were sufficiently legitimate and necessary to justify its distortions of EU principles, however, it would still have to clear a final hurdle: proportionality. UEFA would need to convince the EU’s judges in Luxembourg that FFP is the least restrictive means of achieving its aims. This seems unlikely.”