Chelsea boss Mourinho is under considerable pressure after a poor start to the season in which the champions have lost five of their opening 10 Barclays Premier League games. The support of Pellegrini may come as a surprise, given the apparent enmity between the pair in the past, but the Manchester City boss expects the man who has called him ‘Pellegrino’ to bounce back strongly. Press Association But Pellegrini expressed no schadenfreude when the subject of Chelsea’s current plight was raised at his latest press conference. After winning the title in 2014 and then failing to mount a strong defence the following season, Pellegrini knows some of the difficulties Mourinho is presently experiencing. He said: “Maybe some (players) relax. You don’t want it to happen, but it normally does. It’s difficult to repeat it. “And all the other teams who couldn’t win it last season become stronger because they don’t want to be two years without winning silverware. You have five very strong teams here in England and they can all win the title.” Pellegrini said: “All managers have a moment in their career, in their season, a bad moment – it’s normal. “So I hope, because he’s a very important manager, that he will arrange his team. I think he’s already demonstrated what he can do – he’s the champion of the Premier League this year. “I always say mathematics show when you can do it and when you can’t and we still have enough points to play for. I am sure they will be involved in the title (race) for the first position. I am sure they will continue to be a very strong team. “They are not in their best moment but I am sure they will improve.” The perceived animosity between Pellegrini and Mourinho dates back to when the latter succeeded the former as Real Madrid boss in 2010 and later derided the Chilean’s subsequent move to Malaga. “If they get rid of me, I won’t be going to coach Málaga,” Mourinho said. “I will go to a big club in the Premier League or Serie A.” The pair have regularly jousted verbally since and not always shook hands after games. While Mourinho has referred to his rival as ‘Pellegrino’ and hit out over comments about referees, the City boss has compared Chelsea unflatteringly to Stoke. Manuel Pellegrini has backed rival manager Jose Mourinho to turn his season around and get Chelsea back into the title race.
“We might be playing well, or playing well in patches, or not scoring or whatever it may be, but we need to stick together and us as players need to take responsibility for that. There’s no two ways about that. “We just have to keep plugging away, keep creating chances and hopefully we’ll hit someone four or five nil, but we just have to get back to the drawing board again and pick ourselves up.” United were booed off after the Canaries loss, but Jones hopes the fans get behind the team as they bid to recover form and confidence. He said: “We need them more than ever now. We have got to pull through and we will.” However, Jones claims the mood at the club was worse during David Moyes’ ill-fated season in charge two years ago. The defender said: “I wouldn’t say it’s the lowest moment. I think it became pretty glum, if you like, under David Moyes and it was unfortunate. We weren’t playing well at the time. “There’s no point saying we’ve played some good football this season because ultimately we’ve lost three games in a row – but we have in patches. We need to stick together, there’s nothing else you can do.” United, who have not won in six games in all competitions, have slipped to fifth in the Barclays Premier League and Jose Mourinho, who left Chelsea last week, has been linked with Van Gaal’s job. But Jones insists the players are backing the Dutchman to turn the situation around and are also determined to pull their own weight. The 23-year-old said: “The manager is doing all he can and is doing a terrific job. It’s not even questionable in the dressing room. The lads are absolutely fully focused on performing well for the manager, the fans, ourselves week-in, week-out. “The players in there aren’t hiding behind anyone. We know full well we have to take responsibility. “There’s no other way. The manager picks the team and the team has got to go out and do its best. Phil Jones has called on Manchester United’s under-performing stars to pull together to ease the heat on manager Louis van Gaal. The Dutchman has come under increasing pressure and faced the wrath of discontented fans amid a dismal run of results and some insipid performances at Old Trafford. United’s 2-1 loss to Norwich in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday was their third successive defeat in a sequence which also saw them eliminated from the Champions League. Press Association
Agonizing losses seem to come in bunches.With 20 seconds to go in the game, the Badgers were in need of a score after giving up an early lead. Wisconsin couldn’t create any offense to secure the win and faced a heartbreaking loss. Luckily for the men’s hockey team (4-4-0, 3-3-0 WCHA), they had another game to even things up with the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks (4-4-0, 3-1-0 WCHA).On both Friday and Saturday night, Wisconsin took an early 3-1 lead over Nebraska-Omaha. While they were unable to protect such an advantage Friday night, losing 5-4, the Badgers held on Saturday night, winning 6-3.A total of 18 goals were scored in the entire series – of which only one goal was scored in the second period per game by the winning team – the amount of goals was minimal when compared to the multitude of penalties.In the two game series both teams combined for a total of 33 penalties. On Friday night alone there were 19 penalties, 15 of which came in the first period. For a comparison, Wisconsin only managed 22 shots on goal in that game.Friday night, six of the games nine goals were power play goals, four of which were in the favor of the Mavericks.Head coach Mike Eaves attributes the loss to UW’s poor penalty kill.“When you give up four power play goals yeah,” Eaves said. “We blocked some shots, we did some decent things, but the details in the end allowed them to score some goals that’s what we have to shore up.”“In college hockey, there’s a lot of special teams that comes into play. … [Friday night] we didn’t kill off enough penalties, and that resulted in a loss,” sophomore defensemen Frankie Simonelli said.Saturday night the special teams play swung in favor of the Badgers, as sophomore forward Mark Zengerle started the night off with a shorthanded goal 7:52 into the first.Simonelli netted the Badgers lone power play goal of the night with 15 seconds left in the first, putting UW on top of UNO 4-1 with two periods of play left to go.“We play with, ‘You go if you got the ice,’ and we got the ice,” Zengerle said. “It was going to be a one-on-one, and [Tyler Barnes] kind of jumped it. He did a great job selling the D-man and the goalie too there, and he put it right on my stick and I put it in the 6-foot frame or whatever it is.”Much like Eaves wanted, those little details were executed in a more consistent and stronger way Saturday night with Zengerle and Barnes leading by example.“We started doing rehearsals on who can do penalty kills for us,” Eaves said. “Mr. Zenegerle and Mr. Barnes – above and beyond scoring the short handed goal – they did a very nice job of showing that they understood what the scheme was when we’re killing penalties. They were willing to block shots, and I thought they really stepped up. They got some serious minutes added to their game because of that fact. That was a real pleasant surprise.”Youth is no excuseAt the beginning of the season, with all his Badger cubs in tow, Eaves would have been more than happy to end the first month at .500.Now that he’s seen what his team is capable of doing on the ice and the amount of goals they’ve scored – 28 goals in eight games – and multiple moments of tough play beyond their years, Eaves believes his team was capable of more than just an average month.“I think if somebody would have said that before the first month started, I think we would have taken it, especially considering the youth that we have, the untested goaltenders and all of that,” Eaves said. ” … We’re learning quickly. It’s nice to get some wins in all the things that we’ve been going through because it gives us good motivation to stay on course.”As for the players, they’re trying to shed the youthful image. Rather than using it as an excuse – which was one thing even Eaves cited during Friday’s postgame press conference – the players want to move beyond it.“We’re trying to get rid of that right away,” Zengerle said. “We don’t want the term ‘young’ to be an excuse for us. We want to grow and get as good as possible. We’re trying to swipe that label off us as we speak.”