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Webb: Man Utd manager should be sanctioned by FA

Webb believes the FA should sanction Mourinho for his comments. Credit: PA

Howard Webb believes Jose Mourinho should be sanctioned by the Football Association for mind games over the appointment of Anthony Taylor as the referee for Manchester United's draw at Liverpool.

United boss Mourinho has been asked to provide his observations to the FA by the close of business on Friday after responding to a question about Manchester-based Taylor's selection for the Anfield Premier League clash, which ended goalless. The FA will then consider its response, which is expected next week.

Managers, players and club officials have been prohibited from commenting on officials prior to a match since a new rule was introduced in 2009.

And Webb, the 2010 World Cup final referee, believes it is only right that that regulation is in place.

"The comments of Jose Mourinho before the game were not particularly inflammatory," Webb told Press Association Sport.

"It just adds oxygen to that debate, which is not helpful. He (Mourinho) knows that as well.

"Words sometimes can have an impact. That's why it's important that the FA are rigorous with their rules that managers who speak about referees before a game are sanctioned, even when it's said in a way that's less than inflammatory."

Leicester manager Ranieri has no plans to retire yet

Claudio Ranieri reached retirement age on Thursday but the Leicester boss has no plans to relax just yet.

Ranieri is still madly in love with football and Leicester City. Credit: Reuters

The affable Italian, now 65, has seen his career reinvigorated since his surprise appointment by the Foxes in July 2015, which came on the back of a disastrous spell in charge of Greece.

However, he and his Leicester squad defied odds of 5000/1 last season to deliver the Premier League title and Ranieri's team go into their home game against Crystal Palace on Saturday top of their Champions League group with three wins from as many matches in the competition.

Ranieri, who was recently rewarded with a new contract until 2020, admits he has assessed his future as a manager at times in the past but the former Chelsea boss plans to carry on what he is building at Leicester and hopes to go on until he is 70.

Asked if he planned to retire, he said:

No, why? Until I feel an old man, I keep going, I continue. As long as I enjoy and feel good. For me it is my life, my job. I want to continue for (a) long (time).

At 35 I said, 'At 50 I finish'. But then at 50 I said 'Why now? 55'. Then five by five, step by step. I am 65, now I continue until 70.

– Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri


Man City omission a 'wake up call' for Everton star

Koeman has suggested it's time for Ross Barkley to 'wake up'. Credit: Reuters

Everton manager Ronald Koeman says Ross Barkley's omission against Manchester City should act as a "wake up call".

Barkley, who has already lost his place in the England squad, was an unused substitute in what was arguably the Toffees' biggest game of the season to date at the Etihad Stadium.

Koeman's men took a creditable 1-1 draw against the Premier League leaders with a backs-to-the-wall performance that may not have made the best use of Barkley's attacking qualities.

But while there was a heavy hint that the 22-year-old would return at Burnley on Saturday, the Dutchman also indicated that he wanted more from the local favourite.

Asked how Barkley had reacted to his demotion, Koeman said:

He was okay, very disappointed but you need to be disappointed if you don't start. In my opinion it was the best line-up to have the best chance at Manchester City last week.

If I am not totally happy or it's a tactical question then he doesn't start. I still believe in his qualities but maybe its a good wake up call for him last weekend.

He is already playing four years in the first team. You are not any more 'a talent', that means you need to show more and improve. I understand if I get questions about him. If Rooney is not playing for (Manchester) United, the manager will get questions about Rooney.

– Everton manager Ronald Koeman

Liverpool boss Klopp not taking West Brom lightly

Liverpool face West Brom this weekend. Credit: PA

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has vowed not to take West Brom lightly and refused to rule out further full-time celebrations if his side are held at home by the Baggies again.

Last year Tony Pulis' side claimed a 2-2 draw at Anfield, though the hosts only snatched a point thanks to a stoppage-time leveller from Divock Origi, and Klopp was so delighted he orchestrated on-pitch celebrations in front of the Kop.

Reacting in such a manner to a point against West Brom was derided by critics, yet Klopp insisted that was merely a consequence of his admiration for every team in the Premier League.

The Reds now have a run of league fixtures against West Brom, Crystal Palace and Watford, all of whom they dropped points to early in Klopp's tenure.

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"The differences between the Premier League and all the other leagues in world football is that (there are) big individual qualities in all of these teams," said Klopp. "I think we all know the reason for it and that's the big difference.

"Nobody will go through and have at the end 120 points or something because there are a lot of difficult hurdles to jump over and West Brom is for sure one of them. They fight for every point.

"I respect them all and I showed it last year when we played West Brom. I celebrated the point and it was a little bit surprising for most of the people but I was happy.

"I don't know in this moment if I would celebrate a draw again, it depends on the game we play on Saturday. Everything's possible."

Liverpool legend on why Rooney is 'coming to the end'

Rooney appeared to be in good spirits during training on Wednesday. Credit: PA

Ex-Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson believes Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney is already in decline because he broke on to the professional scene so early.

Rooney could return to the United starting XI against Fenerbahce on Thursday night having been used from the bench in his club's previous four games, while England's all-time record scorer also lost his place in the national team's line-up in Slovenia last week.

This week marks the 14th anniversary of Rooney's first top-flight goal against Arsenal but, ahead of his 31st birthday on Monday, the forward is no longer first choice for either club or country.

Lawrenson thinks time has already called caught up with Rooney, citing the career of Michael Owen, who exited the game at 33 having slowed down considerably from the teenage sensation who first emerged at Liverpool.

Lawrenson told Press Association Sport:

Basically, when your legs go, your legs go. He (Rooney) is still a very, very talented player but if you can't get around the pitch you've got to find a position where you want to play.

He'll play lots of games for Manchester United, they're not suddenly going to go, 'Your legs have gone, you're going to sign for someone else'.

But he's had an unbelievable career. Sometimes, it's a bit like Michael Owen. Michael Owen burst on to the scene when he was really young, as did Wayne Rooney, he was 16 when he scored that wonder goal against Arsenal. Maybe that's just your career.

For him, I think the reason why he's coming to the end early is because he was a beast of a man when he was 16, as he is now. That's just the way it is. It's a bit like tennis players, some go from 18 until their 25, some get to their thirties. It's just your career.

– Former Liverpool defender turned pundit Mark Lawrenson


RVP: I could have been playing for Man Utd tomorrow

Van Persie pictured at a press conference in Manchester this evening. Credit: Reuters

Robin van Persie admits he could have been lining up against Fenerbahce in Thursday night's Europa League clash had Sir Alex Ferguson still been in charge of Manchester United.

The Dutch striker was voted United's Player of the Year in his first season at Old Trafford in 2012-13 as the Red Devils romped to the Premier League title by 11 points.

Ferguson announced his retirement at the end of that season and Van Persie struggled under the guidance of new boss David Moyes and then fellow Dutchman Louis van Gaal.

He left for Turkey in July 2015 and has scored 17 goals in 35 appearances for the club so far.

When asked if he felt he would still be at United had Ferguson stayed on, Van Persie told a press conference:

We will never know. It could have been that I could have been a player for Manchester United today.

When I signed that was the idea, that Sir Alex would stay on for a few more years, but in football things change, you can't plan your own path or your coach's path. In this world you have to deal with how it comes.

– Robin van Persie
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