United seek Swansea boost as Mour­inho looks on

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Manch­ester United are in need of a lift as they travel to Swansea, but must seek it with­out the pres­ence of their man­ager Jose Mour­inho on the touch­line.

Mour­inho must watch from the stand at the Lib­erty Sta­dium to­day, hav­ing been given a one-match ban for con­fronting ref­eree Mark Clat­ten­burg at half-time dur­ing last week­end’s goal­less draw with Burn­ley.

These are not happy times for the United man­ager, who was fined £8,000 ($10,000, 9,000 eu­ros) for that in­ci­dent, and or­dered to pay an­other £50,000 for com­ments made about an­other ref­eree, An­thony Tay­lor, be­fore the goal­less draw at Liver­pool on Oc­to­ber 17.

Mour­inho has be­come em­broiled in con­tro­ver­sies off the field as his team labour on it.

In the Pre­mier League, United have dropped to eighth place af­ter go­ing four matches with­out a win and three with­out a goal. In the Europa League, they are in dan­ger of be­ing elim­i­nated at the group stage, fall­ing to third place in their sec­tion fol­low­ing Thurs­day’s 2-1 de­feat by Fener­bahce in Is­tan­bul.

The con­cern for United is that they are not scor­ing de­spite dom­i­nat­ing the ball; they had 72 per­cent pos­ses­sion against Burn­ley, and 70 per­cent in Turkey. It does not help that Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic is go­ing through one of the worst goalscor­ing spells of his ca­reer. He has gone six league matches with­out scor­ing for the first time since De­cem­ber 2007.

The one pos­i­tive at­tack­ing note in the last week was Wayne Rooney’s spec­tac­u­lar con­so­la­tion goal against Fener­bahce, his first since Au­gust.

De­spite that goal, Mour­inho has ac­knowl­edged that his for­wards are lack­ing con­fi­dence.

“Some­times teams don’t score goals be­cause of their phi­los­o­phy, be­cause the team isn’t ag­gres­sive enough and doesn’t risk enough,” he said. “That’s not our case, that’s not our case at all.

“It is also easy to see that some play­ers in our at­tack­ing ar­eas lack con­fi­dence; they’re not sharp and get­ting the chances that they can,” the Por­tuguese boss added. United will def­i­nitely be with­out An­der Her­rera at Swansea as he serves a one-match ban in­curred for a send­ing off against Burn­ley.

They may also be miss­ing his fel­low mid­fielder Paul Pogba, who limped off against Fener­bahce.

Those con­cerns will not, though, sig­nal a quick re­turn to the team for Bas­tian Sch­we­in­steiger, who has only just re­joined first-team train­ing this week af­ter be­ing cast aside fol­low­ing Mour­inho’s ar­rival.

“He’s been train­ing with the team for three or four days,” Mour­inho said.

“He’s not ready to play foot­ball at that level yet.” Bob Bradley’s ap­point­ment as Swansea man­ager has not stopped their slide and the Amer­i­can ac­knowl­edged that their per­for­mance was not good enough as they were beaten 3-1 at Stoke on Mon­day.

Swansea have not won since the open­ing day of the sea­son, col­lect­ing just two points from their last nine matches, and sit next to bot­tom of the ta­ble. Bradley has sug­gested he may try to sign for­mer Manch­ester United striker Dim­i­tar Ber­ba­tov, a free agent af­ter leav­ing Greek club PAOK at the end of last sea­son.

But the im­me­di­ate pri­or­ity is to im­prove an in­creas­ingly per­ilous league po­si­tion and Swans de­fender Mike van der Hoorn said: “It has been a very dif­fi­cult start for us. Re­sults have not gone our way and when you are near the bot­tom po­si­tions you find you of­ten don’t get the luck or the 50/50 de­ci­sions.

“A win over Manch­ester United would give the team a lot more con­fi­dence, which in turn gives you more free­dom in your play.”

Winger Jef­fer­son Mon­tero has re­cov­ered from a calf in­jury and could make his first league start of the sea­son, while de­fender Kyle Naughton has over­come ill­ness. —AFP

LOS AN­GE­LES: Golden State War­riors guard Shaun Liv­ingston (34) dunks against Los An­ge­les Lak­ers cen­ter Tarik Black (28) dur­ing the first half of an NBA bas­ket­ball game in Los An­ge­les, Fri­day. — AP

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