Even with United in final, Van Gaal won’t discuss future

first_img Brought down LONDON (AP): Qualifying for the Champions League looks increasingly out of reach for Manchester United. The season could still end with silverware after Louis van Gaal’s side reached the FA Cup final by beating Everton yesterday. And yet van Gaal still has the air of a manager who could be leaving his job. Even amid the joy at seeing Anthony Martial score in the third minute of stoppage time to clinch a 2-1 victory over Everton in the semi-final, van Gaal responded curtly to a question about the team beyond this season. “I am not looking beyond this competition, the FA Cup, because we live in the present,” van Gaal said. “As for the future, I will discuss that with my board and not with you.” When it was pointed out that he had another season remaining on his contract, the 64-year-old Dutchman said: “Yes. You repeat what I have always said.” Martial set up Marouane Fellaini’s opener in the 34th minute against his former club. Although David de Gea saved Romelu Lukaku’s penalty early in the second half to preserve United’s lead after Ross Barkley was brought down by Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Gerard Deulofeu’s cross was inadvertently turned into his own net by United defender Chris Smalling with 15 minutes remaining. Martial’s winner was a slick completion of a rapid attack that prevented extra time. The 20-year-old France forward linked up with Marcus Rashford on the left flank and then played another one-two with Ander Herrera before slotting in the winner. The 11-time FA Cup winners will discover today whether Crystal Palace or Watford will be their opponent in the May 21 final. With four games remaining, United remain fifth, four points behind Arsenal, who play relegation-threatened Sunderland today. Crosstown rivals Manchester City are a further point ahead in third place after beating Stoke 4-0 in one of four Premier League games yesterday. Kelechi Iheanacho, City’s 19-year-old forward, scored twice after first-half goals from Fernando and Sergio Aguero from the penalty spot. Newcastle remained in the relegation zone despite coming from behind to draw 2-2 at Liverpool, who announced before the game that defender Mamadou Sakho failed a drugs test before a Europa League game last month. After conceding goals from Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana in the first half, Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle salvaged a point, thanks to strikes from Papiss Cisse and Jack Colback on the manager’s return to the club he won the Champions League with in 2005. Disappointing season Southampton kept alive their outside shot at qualifying for the Europa League by compounding already-relegated Aston Villa’s woes. Dusan Tadic scored twice in a 4-2 victory for seventh-place Southampton, between headers from Shane Long and Sadio Mane. Deposed champions Chelsea are a place behind after cruising to a 4-1 victory at Bournemouth, who have already secured a second season in the Premier League. Cesc Fabregas played a key role in all four goals, including Eden Hazard’s double that produced his first league goals of a disappointing season for the reigning player of the year. Pedro Rodriguez and Willian also scored for Chelsea. The focus shifts to the title race in the coming days. Leicester, who have a five-point lead over Tottenham, host Swansea today. Tottenham face West Bromwich Albion at White Hart Lane tomorrow.last_img read more

Chelsea FC news: Five possible Antonio Conte replacements

first_img Luis Enrique (Unemployed) – 10/1 to replace Antonio Conte as the next Chelsea manager… – Having left Barcelona at the end of the season, Enrique may fancy a bit more relaxation before he acquires a new role in football. But, if he does want a return to action, Chelsea might not be the worst place to pitch up. A strong squad already, in place, he would only have to tinker slightly with the team, but his inability to get the best out of fringe players in Spain may put the Blues off moving for his services. Thomas Tuchel (Unemployed) – 7/1 to replace Antonio Conte as the next Chelsea manager… – A falling out with the hierarchy at Borussia Dortmund sees the talented German currently out of work, but he may be tempted back in should Chelsea need a new boss. He may relish the opportunity to work at a football club which is likely to heavily back his ambitions. Massimiliano Allegri (Juventus) – 3/1 favourite to replace Antonio Conte as the next Chelsea manager… – It’s been difficult not to notice the Serie A giants’ dominance in Italy, but their impressive performances in Europe have also seen Allegri’s reputation grow. The 49-year-old has proved on several occasions he’s capable of adapting his tactics to nullify different opponents, while he’s done well to develop a team which in recent years has lost players like Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal, Paul Pogba, Kingsley Coman, and Carlos Tevez. With top transfer target Romelu Lukaku seemingly set to join Manchester United instead of Premier League champions Chelsea, Antonio Conte is feeling a little irked.Reports are suggesting the Italian could quit Stamford Bridge due to the failure to land Lukaku, while the fact other deals still aren’t over the line have disappointed him.It’s hardly unusual for a Chelsea manager to have speculation around his long-term future, but that it has come in pre-season is surprising.But who could the Blues replace Conte with if he does leave in the coming weeks?Click the right arrow above to see five possible replacements… 5 5 Diego Simeone (Atletico Madrid) – 7/2 to replace Antonio Conte as the next Chelsea manager… – Having spent five and a half years with his current club, and altered his contract so it ends next summer, there is a good chance Simeone will be on the move soon. The Argentine’s ability to keep Atletico competing with Real Madrid and Barcelona in LaLiga has impressed, while their performances in the Champions League are an additional indication of his talents. 5 5 Unai Emery (Paris Saint-Germain) – 12/1 to replace Antonio Conte as the next Chelsea manager… – A challenging first season in the French capital ended in a Coupe de France victory, but still leaves some question marks over the Spaniard. He remains backed by chairman and CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi but has just one more year on his contract, which could allow him to jump ship with ease. 5last_img read more