Mourinho rules out internationals

Jose Mourinho expects that he will return to management this summer, but he is ruling out taking a step into international football next.

The Portuguese was sacked by Manchester United in December following a poor start to the season by the Red Devils.

He says he already dismissed "three or four" job offers since he departed Old Trafford and is preparing himself for the next move of his career.

Having managed Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid before taking the reins at Man United for two and a half year, the two-time Champions League-winning boss says he knows exactly what type of job he'll be accepting next.

"I would like to be back in the summer in June for a new club and a new pre-season," he told BeIn Sports.

"I know exactly what I don't want. I know what I want, in terms of not the specific club but the nature of the job, the dimension of the job."

Mourinho was linked with a return to Madrid recently before Zinedine Zidane returned for a second stint at the Bernabeu, though he has since stated he didn't hold talks with the Spanish giants about a return.

Mourinho says he misses "nothing at all" but is "not on holiday or bored with nothing to do" before adding: "I am working, preparing myself for the next one."

His former Manchester United side are 20/1 to win the Champions League this season ahead of their quarter-final showdown with Barcelona. Man City meanwhile are 9/4 to give Pep Guardiola more European glory, with Juventus and Cristiano Ronaldo 10/3.

One move Mourinho says he won't be making is a step into international football, as he prefers the day-to-day nature of club football.

Asked whether he would be managing at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, he said: "I don't think so. I like daily football, daily work, many competitions. I like matches and I want to stay in football club level."

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Big step backwards concerns Ole

Interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer accepted that Manchester United had taken a big step backwards as they were beaten 2-1 at Wolves in the sixth round of the FA Cup.

The Red Devils were well below their beats at Molineux on Saturday evening and Solskjaer offered little in the way of excuses for the performance he had witnessed.

He told reporters: "Quite a lot was missing, it was the poorest performance we've had, it was a big step backwards.

"We never had the urgency and quality on the ball, even though without the ball in the first half we did okay.

"We felt too comfy in possession, we never managed to put their keeper or defenders under pressure. We had a couple of balls in behind for (Marcus) Rashford but not enough quality.

"I think it's something natural, you cannot perform to the top of your level every single time.

"It's still against a good team, they've done really well against top teams. Don't take anything away from them, even though we under-performed."

United now have two weeks to try and put things right, with their next game coming on Saturday 30th March when they play host to Watford in a Premier League clash at Old Trafford.

The meeting of the two sides at Vicarage Road earlier this season ended in a 2-1 victory for United, with Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling their goalscorers.

United are 4/9 to defeat the Hornets at Old Trafford and are 13/2 to secure a 2-0 victory, with the Red Devils 11/8 to claim a top-four finish come the end of the season.

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Nuno proud after Wolves progress

Wolves head coach Nuno Espirito Santo was full of praise for his players after they defeated Manchester United 2-1 at Molineux to reach the semi-finals of the FA Cup.

Second-half goals from Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota were enough to down the Red Devils, whose lone reply came in stoppage time through Marcus Rashford.

And Nuno was delighted with the performance, as Wolves reached the last four of the FA Cup for the first time since 1998, having disposed of Liverpool, Shrewsbury Town and Bristol City earlier on in the competition.

The Portuguese told BBC Sport: "I'm very proud of the players. We had composure, shape, good running – very well done to the boys.

"We have some phenomenal players going forward. It is a deserved result, we were outstanding.

"From start to finish we nullified them – they are an unbelievable club with talented players. We said before in the changing rooms we have the chance to make history and we now have the chance to go through again.

"It is where we all want to be. In two years the club has gone a long way, we are all pulling in one direction – it is an amazing night for everyone."

Wolves are joined in the semi-finals of the FA Cup by Watford and Manchester City, with the winner of the clash between Millwall and Brighton completing the last-four line-up.

The Molineux men are 4/1 to win the FA Cup for the fifth time in their history, with the Citizens priced at 2/5 and Watford 9/1.

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FA Cup: Hungry Wolves devour Manchester United

Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 Manchester United

Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves put on a brilliant second-half show at Molineux to see off Manchester United and charge into the FA Cup semi-finals.

After a dreary first half, the game sparked into life in the second. Wolves hit the Red Devils twice in six minutes as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men had no answer to their hosts’ skill and tenacity until Marcus Rashford bagged a 95th-minute consolation.

We almost had one of the biggest FA Cup 2019 results imaginable earlier when Swansea City led Manchester City 2-0 well into the second half of their tie, but the Sky Blues turned the game on its head to win 2-3. We had a huge result here, though. I wouldn’t say this was a shock, but Manchester United are a big scalp to take in any competition.

Highlights of the game

Paul Pogba fails to score during Manchester United's FA Cup clash with Wolverhampton Wanderers

Manchester United’s Paul Pogba argues with referee Martin Atkinson during their FA Cup match against Wolverhampton Wanderers

It was a scrappy start to the game with neither side looking fluent in the wet and windy conditions, and it was ten minutes before we saw a shot on goal: Manchester United skipper Paul Pogba curled one wide after good work from Marcus Rashford.

As both teams continued to struggle, it took Wolves almost half an hour to have a shot on goal — Ruben Neves firing one in from twenty yards — but it went straight to United keeper Sergio Romero. The best action of the first half came in the closing minutes. First, the visitors appealed for a penalty after Ander Herrera took a shot and the ball appeared to hit Jonny on the arm, but VAR said ‘no’. And then Romero made a brave save, charging off his line to deny Diogo Jota after he latched on to a Neves through ball.

The Molineux crowd drifted into the concourses to escape the cold and hope for a better second half. Experienced goalkeeper John Ruddy has been Wolves’ FA Cup last line of defence, and he couldn’t have hoped for an easier ride in the first 45 minutes.

It didn’t get much busier for him in the next 45!

Wolves started the second half on the front foot, Neves with a spectacular try from well over 30 yards, and then Romero kept the scores level with a brilliant save from a Raul Jimenez header which seemed destined for the top corner. And the visitors’ keeper made another good save to keep out a curling effort from Joao Moutinho.

The Red Devils fought back, and Chris Smalling was inches away from getting the vital touch when Rashford fired a dangerous ball across the box. But then Wolves got the goal their play deserved on 70 minutes. Moutinho did well to evade the visitors’ defence and get the ball into Jimenez, who slid the ball past Romero and into the net, to prompt bedlam in a sea of gold.

And the roof came off the stadium again just six minutes later when Jota beat Luke Shaw on the halfway line and tore into the United territory before firing a bullet past Romero at his near post.

Rashford fired his late goal past Ruddy, but that was virtually the last action of the game.

It was no more than Wolves deserved, and they can now look forward to a trip to Wembley. Solskjaer’s Premier League charge was halted by Arsenal last week, and now the Red Devils are out of the FA Cup. But they are fighting for a top-four place and are still in the Champions League.

The Red Devils have a big few weeks ahead.

Under 2.75 @ 2.00 RB Leipzig Asian Handicap -1.25 @ 1.97 1X2 Draw @ 4.30CLICK HEREDisclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.Bundesliga

Key statistics

A Wolves win was at betting odds of 3.20 with us, and in the end, they were full value for their victory.

In a dreary first half, Manchester United dominated possession and used the ball well, with 90 per cent passing accuracy. But they only managed one shot on target as Wolves looked slightly more threatening on the break.

By the end of the game, the visitors had only managed two shots on target while the hosts registered seven.

Wolves have reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup for the first time since 1988.

What’s next?

Wolves have had a brilliant year in the top flight after storming the Championship last season, and the FA Cup 2019 betting odds will likely install them as second favourites to lift this trophy.

Manchester United need to dust themselves off as there is much left to play for. There were echoes of the old days (under Alex Ferguson) when the Red Devils pulled off a stunning recovery to beat PSG in the Champions League Round of 16; they also have a mouth-watering quarter-final tie against Barcelona, Messi and all, to look forward to.

But before that, and after the international break, Manchester United welcome Watford to Old Trafford as Solskjaer aims to lift his team back into the top four. And the following Tuesday, they return to Molineux for a league clash with Wolves.

Nuno’s team will warm up for that rematch with an away game at relegation-threatened Burnley.

 

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Gracia delight at Gray impact

Watford manager Javia Gracia was delighted with the impact Andre Gray made when coming on, scoring to send the Hornets into the FA Cup semi-finals.

Watford are the first team through to the last four of the competition after beating Crystal Palace 2-1 at Vicarage Road.

Etienne Capoue had given the home side the lead just before the half hour mark. Michy Batshuayi equalised for the Eagles after an hour but Gracia sent on Gray as a second half substitute, replacing Will Hughes and the striker made an immediate impact.

Roberto Pereyra found Gray in space in the penalty area and he made no mistake, firing past Vincente Guaita to send the Hornets through to their sixth FA Cup semi-final.

Gracia said afterwards that he was thrilled with the impact Gray made when coming on.

He said to the BBC: "It was a difficult moment (when Crystal Palace equalised), a mistake when we conceded but I was confident we would be able to win the game.

"We put Andre Gray on the pitch, he always has a good chance to score and scores important goals for the team, he deserves it and I am happy for him.

"There are other players working hard from the beginning but when he plays he shows me his quality and is scoring important goals. We have different options and all of them are ready to compete well." Watford are 7/1 to win the FA Cup.

With his side through to the last four of the FA Cup, it is turning into a very satisfying season all round for Gracia and Watford.
His side are eighth in the Premier League table and within sight of European football next season, either through the league or cup.

They now have the benefit of two weeks off before their next game, the international break giving the Premier League a week off.

The Hornets are back in action on 30th March when they travel to Old Trafford to face Manchester United. The Hornets are 7/1 for the win with United 4/9 and the draw 3/1.

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Spurs and City face Euro showdown

Tottenham and Manchester City have been drawn against each other in an all-Premier League affair in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Mauricio Pochettino and Pep Guardiola will go head-to-head to see who will progress through to the semi-final stages of the prestigious European competition.

Meanwhile, last season's finalists Liverpool have been drawn against Porto, while Manchester United have another tough tie after being drawn out against La Liga frontrunners Barcelona.

The other quarter-final will see Ajax, who knocked out Real Madrid in the last round, face Serie A champions Juventus.

The quarter-final first legs take place on 9th April and 10th April, while the semi-finals start on 30th April and 1st May.

This season's final will be played on 1st June at Madrid's 68,000-capacity Wanda Metropolitano.

Tottenham are 25/1 to win the Champions League this season, while City are 2/1 to claim the title.

Liverpool are 4/1 to go that step closer and claim European glory this term, with Manchester United at 20/1 to lift the trophy in Madrid.

Champions League Quarter-Finals:
Ajax v Juventus
Liverpool v Porto
Tottenham v Manchester City
Barcelona v Manchester United

Champions League Semi-Finals:
Tottenham/Manchester City v Ajax/Juventus 
Barcelona/Manchester United v Liverpool/Porto

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Spurs and City set for Euro showdown

Tottenham and Manchester City have been drawn against each other in an all-Premier League affair in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Mauricio Pochettino and Pep Guardiola will go head-to-head to see who will progress through to the semi-final stages of the prestigious European competition.

Meanwhile, last season's finalists Liverpool have been drawn against Porto, while Manchester United have another tough tie after being drawn out against La Liga frontrunners Barcelona.

The other quarter-final will see Ajax, who knocked out Real Madrid in the last round, face Serie A champions Juventus.

The quarter-final first legs take place on 9th April and 10th April, while the semi-finals start on 30th April and 1st May.

This season's final will be played on 1st June at Madrid's 68,000-capacity Wanda Metropolitano.

Tottenham are 25/1 to win the Champions League this season, while City are 2/1 to claim the title.

Liverpool are 4/1 to go that step closer and claim European glory this term, with Manchester United at 20/1 to lift the trophy in Madrid.

Champions League Quarter-Finals:
Ajax v Juventus
Liverpool v Porto
Tottenham v Manchester City
Barcelona v Manchester United

Champions League Semi-Finals:
Tottenham/Manchester City v Ajax/Juventus 
Barcelona/Manchester United v Liverpool/Porto

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Klopp revels in Reds progress

Liverpool head coach Jurgen Klopp was delighted to see his side take a 'massive step' by seeing off Bayern Munich to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

The Reds claimed a 3-1 victory in Munich to progress to the last eight of the competition, having been held to a goalless draw by Bayern in the first leg of the tie at Anfield.

And Klopp, who led the Merseysiders all the way to the Champions League final last season, was full of praise for his side's performance.

He told his club's official website: "It's massive, a big step for us – a big, big, big one for us. We will see what we can do with it.

"But it is still fantastic sign that we again set a mark for LFC – that we really are back on the landscape of international, top-class football.

"We all think that's where this club belongs and tonight we proved it a little bit. I am really happy about the result and the fact we are through.

"Whoever we get as an opponent we will take. The boys love the competition, they really dig in in these moments."

Liverpool join Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur in the last eight of the Champions League, with the quarter-final line-up completed by Juventus, Barcelona, FC Porto and Ajax.

The Reds can be backed at 9/2 to win the Champions League, with the Citizens priced at 5/2 and Barca available at 10/3.

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Guardiola: Success takes time

Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola has warned his club can only truly by considered as one of the European elite if they enjoy success over a lengthy period.

The Citizens are preparing for a Champions League last-16 tie second leg at home to Schalke, with the men from Manchester holding a 3-2 lead for the first game in Gelsenkirchen.

However, even if City should progress and go all the way in the competition this season, Guardiola admits that they are still some way behind the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United.

He told reporters: "We could win and make another step, but you need 20 to 30 years.

"We cannot deny if we arrive in the (latter) stages, we can take a step forward, but I think to compare to those kind of teams, one silverware doesn't change it. We are teenagers in the competition – that is what I feel.

"We want to win it, we push ourselves. You have to dream and point as high as possible.

"Pressure for me is doing a good job, compete better, reduce our mistakes. It is a competition that punishes your mistakes a lot, especially because of the quality of the opponents."

City's best showing in the Champions League came in the 2015/16 season, when they reached the semi-finals, where they were edged out 1-0 on aggregate by eventual winners Real Madrid.

The Citizens can be backed at 1/6 to defeat Schalke in 90 minutes on Tuesday evening, while they are 6/1 to win the game 3-0 in 90 minutes.

Meanwhile, Guardiola's side are 9/4 to win the Champions League this season, with Manchester United priced at 10/1.

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Emery: Consistency is key

Unai Emery has backed his Arsenal players to remain consistent in the remaining eight matches of the Premier League campaign.

The Gunners are 8/11 to finish in the top four after beating Manchester United 2-0 on Sunday, a result that leaves Emery's team fourth in the table.

They are two points ahead of United after the encounter and three clear of Chelsea, who have a game in hand on all the teams above them.

Arsenal have won six of their last eight league games but are now without a top-flight match for three weeks. They face Rennes in the second leg of their Europa League round of 16 clash on Thursday having lost the first match in France 3-1. Emery's team are 1/1 to qualify for the quarter-finals.

After watching Granit Xhaka open the scoring against United and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang score from the penalty spot, Emery said: "I think each player has their qualities and Xhaka is a specialist with shooting. He can shoot from different positions on the pitch and his shooting is very dangerous. But I think he can do more.

"We are going to play the next match here against Newcastle in three weeks and that's a long time. Our focus now is Thursday[against Rennes].

"We are going to analyse the match and also in the table we are in a better position, but Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham are with us. We are going to play some difficult matches and being consistent is very important. We need to keep this consistency in our mind."