Henrikh Mkhitaryan wants Arsenal to copy Man Utd in Europa League

Henrikh Mkhitaryan was instrumental in Manchester United’s march to the Europa League title last season, scoring six times in 11 matches.

He continued his fine form for Arsenal in the competition tonight, finding the back of the net in the 3-0 win over Swedish side Ostersunds.

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And he admitted after the win he has big ambitions for the Gunners and wants to win back-to-back European titles with the north London club.

“It was their first game after a while and because we are in the league and keep playing maybe we are more practiced,” Mkhitaryan told BT Sport.

“They are a good team, tried to play, but we scored two in the beginning.”

When asked if Arsenal can go on to win the Europa League, he replied: “Why not?

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“We have to keep fighting and in the end see where we’re at.

“We have to focus on every game regardless of this result to ensure more success.

“Even with the League Cup final, I think we have to play with the same team and win at home.”

Arsene Wenger was equally happy with the performance against Ostersunds and praised his side for getting the job done on the Swedish side’s tricky artificial pitch.

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“We did the job well, controlled the ball against a good side,” Wenger told BT Sport .

“They beat Hertha Berlin here, 2-2 against Athletic Bilbao, so a quality team.

“But once we scored the first goal we were in control. Overall we played a serious game, so job done. They looked very nervous and we took advantage of it.”

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Antonio Conte turns down Man utd shirt signed by Mourinho

Chelsea’s press conference to preview Friday’s FA Cup fixture with Hull was gatecrashed by an Italian comedian attempting to give Antonio Conte a Manchester United shirt signed by Jose Mourinho.

Conte had already spoken of plans to rotate his team ahead of a demanding schedule in which they next play Barcelona, Manchester United and Manchester City when the comedian from Italia 1 satire Le Iene rose from his seat.

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He spoke to Conte in Italian, showed him a video on a tablet – his bitter rival Mourinho’s name could be heard via the video – and then presented the shirt to him before it was refused and he was asked to leave.

“This is a present for you,” said the Italian journalist in a mix of English and Italian. “It is signed by Mourinho… ‘To my friend Antonio,’ long live friendship… “Shall I live it with you?”

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“No, you can take it with you,” Conte responded in Italian after staying initially silent. “Keep it, you will give it to me later”

It was when Conte saw the shirt that he stopped smiling; the Manchester United manager had last month signed it, unaware it featured Conte’s name, when approached by comedians from the same programme in Manchester.

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The Italian concluded the broadcast section of Thursday afternoon’s press conference before the individual was then asked to go by the club’s press officer.

Conte left the shirt in the press room after his broadcast.

Mourinho responds to those telling him where to play Pogba

No footballer wants to see someone else in his place but that was the situation that Paul Pogba faced last weekend.

The French midfielder was named on the bench for Manchester United’s match against Huddersfield, with academy graduate Scott McTominay starting instead.

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Pogba came off the bench to play 25 minutes but it was still enough to set all of the pundits off.

Ryan Giggs told Sky Sports this week that Jose Mourinho needs to play Pogba on the left of a midfield three, where he wouldn’t be tasked with the defensive responsibilities that come with playing in the centre.

Pogba played next to Nemanja Matic at the base of the midfield in Man United’s 2-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur last month and the pair were repeatedly overran.

“One of the best games Pogba had was the Everton game [2-0 win on January 1], when he was on the left of Matic – in a similar position to the one he played at Juventus – and Ander Herrera was on the right,” Giggs said .

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“I think that position where he’s on the left of a midfield three is where he’s at his best. He’s a brilliant crosser of the ball and I don’t think he’s as effective when he’s having to do more defensive work in central areas.”

Giggs wasn’t the only pundit to question Mourinho’s use of Pogba – Graeme Souness and Tony Cascarino weighed in, too.

And the Man United boss has hit back at the lot of them, saying that many pundits misunderstand the responsibilities of a box-to-box midfielder.

“In relation to best position I had a few laughs over the past week because I heard, I watch, I had a chance to read a few things and I’m not English but I think I understand English enough to understand what you want to say with box-to-box,” Mourinho said on Friday.

“But with some comments from important people in football I got a little bit confused.

“Because for me box-to-box means box-to-box and means you have to be good in this box, you have to be good in this road and good in that box. It means that you have to defend well in this box.

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“You must have the physical condition, the desire, the intensity, the stamina to go into the other box. In the other box you have to be good: scoring, creating, heading and so on.

“Then when your team loses the ball you have to go into the other box. I think this is the meaning of box-to-box.

“This week I get a little bit confused when people say box to box player plays free of defensive duties. That’s not box-to-box. That’s box in box and stays in box. I got a bit confused.

“I think this country produced a lot of amazing box-to-box players. I had the pleasure to coach some of them but I think nowadays with some pundits, some agents, some family members, I think the concept of the box-to-box is changing a little bit.

“I think now it looks like we are going to a different concept of box-to-box. Box-to-box is not my word of course. I heard it for the first time in 2004 when I arrive.

“For me, with my Portuguese and trying just to translate into the English I just think midfield players and for me Paul is a midfield player.

“It’s not a left-back, it’s not a striker. So when people asked the best position for Paul to play. Paul is a midfield player, Paul is a midfield player.”

Conte responds to Luis Enrique talk

Heavy defeats to Bournemouth and Watford reportedly prompted Chelsea to headhunt former Roma and Barcelona boss Luis Enrique, but Conte made it clear he would never leave the Blues on his own accord.

“I am not thinking for only one moment the possibility of going away from this club,” the former Italy CT said at a Press conference for Monday’s game against West Brom.

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“My commitment and the players are totally for this club. A lot of time in football the manager and the Coach depends on the result.

“At the moment we are having a poor result. For this reason, we have to pay great attention.

“For sure I have to say thanks to the fans. From the start of my experience with Chelsea I am very proud for this.

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“They are understanding that I am doing all myself and maybe more for this club. I want to tell thanks to the fans.

“They deserve the best and with my players we are looking to give them the best.”

Angel Di Maria has declared who’s the best between Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo

There aren’t many players who can boast about playing with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, but Angel Di Maria is one of them.

The Paris Saint-Germain winger spent four seasons alongside Ronaldo at Real Madrid and has been a part of Argentina’s rollercoaster ride with Messi.

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Perhaps nobody is in a better position to judge who is the better player.

It’s the debate that will rage on for decades. By now, most football fans have settled on one choice and little either do from here on out will sway their thinking.

The majority of Manchester United and Real Madrid supporters will opt for the Portuguese star; Messi will have the backing of Barcelona’s followers.

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The neutral must decide whether they prefer Ronaldo’s superhuman-like talents or Messi’s magical abilities.

As for Di Maria? He’s chosen the Barcelona maestro as the number one.

The 29-year-old told TyC Sports that while Ronaldo is a brilliant player, Messi is on another level to everyone else.

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“Messi is always the best, he’s the best every year,” Di Maria said, per the Daily Mail . “Cristiano Ronaldo’s a special player, but Messi’s from another planet.

“There are no words to describe Messi, he always surprises you.”

PSG identifies Chelsea’s N’golo Kante as Thiago Motta’s replacement

French Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain have made Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante one of their major signings this summer.

The Parisians failed to win their fifth straight league title last season having finished second on the league table behind Monaco – the defending champions.

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And Parc des Princes’ outfit believes the former Leicester City midfielder is the perfect replacement for Thiago Motta, who seems to be losing control at the center of the team, while they further beef up their squad as they continue to search for their first European Champions League title.

Having become the first player to win two successive Premier League titles with different sides, the 26-year-old has attracted interests from top clubs in Europe according to reports from French news platform Le 10 Sport.

Kante distinguished himself in the Premier League following his contribution that led to the Foxes’ winning their first ever EPL title after making a £5.6 million move to the King Power from Caen in the summer of 2015.

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And following this development, Italian-born manager, Antonio Conte made him (Kante) his priority at his arrival in 2016, and he took Chelsea £32 million to bring the midfielder to the Stamford Bridge.

Since he joined the Blues, Kante became an instant hit for Conte’s men – scoring two goals in over 55 appearances for the defending champions.

The 26-year-old began his professional career with Boulogne in 2012, and scored three goals in just one season from his defensive midfield position.

He also made his international debut for France in 2016 and he has since then had 20 caps with a goal to his credit.

Why Daley Blind’s transfer from Man United to Roma collapsed

As per a report from the Express this afternoon, Manchester United defender Daley Blind’s proposed deadline day transfer to Serie A giants AS Roma fell apart due to a disagreement between the clubs regarding the permanency of the move.

Dutch international Blind has been plying his trade at Old Trafford for 3 and a half years now, having made the move to Manchester from Ajax for £13 million.

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The versatile 27-year-old can play either as a central defender, left-back of even defensive midfielder, with his ability to fill multiple positions in impressive fashion having led to the 52-time capped Oranje star making 60 Premier League starts during his first two campaigns with the club.

However, Blind fell slightly out of favour last season, starting around half of United’s league outings, before seeing his Red Devils’ career take a nosedive during the current campaign, with just 3 Premier League starts from United’s 25 fixtures to this point.

With Luke Shaw’s recent return to form, and Ashley Young’s surprise rebirth at left-back over the last couple of months, Blind looked extremely likely to be allowed to depart Old Trafford during the recently-closed winter transfer window.

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Italian outfit AS Roma were long named as admirers of Blind’s talents, with a number of reports in England earlier this week claiming that the Giallorossi had stepped forward with a proposal for the Ajax youth product.

However, while initial reports had suggested optimism regarding a deal being finalised before the close of the transfer market last night, the move, in the end, failed to materialise, with Roma instead opting to bring in Jonathan Silva from Sporting CP.

As per the aforementioned report from the Express, though, Roma’s first-choice target was indeed Blind.

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However, whereas the capital outfit were only willing to take the Dutchman to the Stadio Olimpico on loan, Manchester United reportedly demanded an outright sale, resulting in negotiations eventually hitting a brick wall.

As such, Blind will remain in Manchester and fight for his place for the remainder of the season.

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