Defender Phil Jones has hit out at UEFA over his two game ban which saw him miss the Super Cup tie against Real Madrid and will also keep him out of action for Manchester United’s first Champions League clash after the international break. He is quoted by the Daily Mail as saying:
“It’s not as if we had just won the Mickey Mouse league, we’d won the Europa League… To be honest, I couldn’t believe it. I think it’s slightly a bit harsh. You see players go in for leg-breaking challenges who get a one-game ban or a two-game ban. I could understand if I didn’t comply with the rules but I did. But, oh well, that’s football, that’s what they’ve seen.”
Jones has been in great form early on this season and his absence will be sorely felt by United against FC Basel in just under a fortnight’s time.
Manchester United’s fine start to the season has been rewarded, as Sky Sports say that four United men have come into contention for awards. Jose Mourinho has been nominated for the manager of the month award, whilst Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Phil Jones and Romelu Lukaku have been nominated for the player of the month award.
The Red Devils have started superbly, with three wins and ten goals scored without reply in the Premier League. After a fine August, Mourinho will be looking to keep his side in first place and continue this excellent form through September and beyond.
However, it could have been a different man in the dug-out. Former chairman and now club president Martin Edwards told British GQ that when Sir Alex Ferguson planned to step down in 2001, Arsene Wenger was top choice as his replacement. He explained:
“Once we realised that he was very serious about it and that his mind was made up, there were lots of discussions at board level about a possible replacement. Our first choice was Arsène Wenger. Since joining Arsenal in 1996, Wenger had been pretty successful, especially in his first full season in charge when he won the Double. And while it’s true to say that he has suffered hard times since, at the time we all thought he was the best candidate to replace Alex. Certainly he was my No1 choice.”
He even claims that meetings were held between Wenger and club representatives, but a deal never materialised and eventually Ferguson decided to stay on at Old Trafford where he continued his successful reign.