Paper News and Gossip: Manchester United Hit 'New Low,' Van Persie Strikes out

Ian Rodgers@irodgers66World Football Staff WriterFebruary 26, 2014

Paper News and Gossip: Manchester United Hit 'New Low,' Van Persie Strikes out

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    The Champions League had appeared to be a single shining light for David Moyes this season, but the poor display in the 2-0 defeat at Olympiacos has seen the Manchester United manager facing more critical headlines on Wednesday.

    The headline writers have gone to town after a woeful display by the Old Trafford club in Greece, but the worst criticism came from Robin van Persie and United legend Roy Keane.

    Elsewhere, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has laughed off a claim made by Galatasaray boss Roberto Mancini ahead of their Champions League tie in Turkey.

    Who else is making the headlines on Wednesday? Read on to find out more. 

'Mousacka' for David Moyes After 'Greek Tragedy' in Champions League

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    There is no room for hiding in the newspapers after Manchester United crashed to a 2-0 defeat at Olympiacos in the Champions League on Tuesday night.

    The Sun (subscription required) headline writers went to town with a quadruple whammy of puns on Neil Custis' report.

    Opening with the headline "Things go from Kebab to Worse" online, the newspaper added "Mousacka for Moyes" on the back page, and followed that up with a strapline of "Clock ticking after pitta-ful Greek tragedy" to sum up the display.

    The Daily Mirror described the United display as a "New Low" in their headline on David McDonnell's match analysis, while Henry Winter of the Daily Telegraph described the display as "aimless, passionless and hapless" in his report. 

Robin Van Persie and Roy Keane Hit out at Manchester United

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    Manchester United striker Robin van Persie claims he is not finding space on the pitch because his team-mates are in the way, reports Jack Wilson of the Daily Star.

    The Holland international missed a glaring opportunity to claw United back into the Champions League tie in Greece, but fired over the crossbar.

    However, Van Persie claimed in an interview with Dutch television that team-mates are often in his way during matches.

    The forward is quoted as saying:

    It was quite difficult because my team-mates are often in the area where I want to play.

    That's why I have to change my tactics. Unfortunately, they are often in my area.

    It was much too slow today and we only had one shot on target in the whole match against Olympiacos, which is far too little.

    United legend Roy Keane offered a withering assessment of the team's display in his role as an analyst for ITV, reports the Daily Mirror.

    After United midfielder Michael Carrick was interviewed on television, Keane is quoted as saying:

    That interview was just like the performance: flat. He should say a bit more, have a bit more urgency even in his interview.

    That just reflected United's performance tonight: Flat, with no urgency.

    They keep saying, 'Ah, well, next game, next game'. For some of them there won't be another game. That's the reality.

Jose Mourinho Laughs off Roberto Mancini Claims on Inter Milan

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    Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has dismissed Roberto Mancini's claim that he built the treble-winning Inter Milan team of 2010, reports Martin Lipton of the Daily Mirror.

    According to the article, Galatasaray head coach Mancini said Mourinho inherited the team he built in 2008.

    However, ahead of their Champions League clash in Turkey on Wednesday night, Mourinho is quoted as replying:

    Pfft. It’s funny, it’s funny.

    It’s funny because my team in the final had Lucio, Motta, Milito, Eto’o, Pandev and Sneijder.

    From my 11 players, he [Mancini] didn’t work with six of them.

    So he made a five-a-side team because I played with only five players from his team.

    Martin Samuel of the Daily Mail offers an interesting perspective on the prospects of Chelsea captain John Terry becoming player of the year this season. 

West Brom Reportedly on the Verge of Sacking Head Coach Pepe Mel

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    West Bromwich Albion head coach Pepe Mel is facing the sack just weeks after taking over at the club, reports James Nursey of the Daily Mirror.

    Mel has not won in the Premier League in six matches to leave the team facing a relegation battle from the top flight.

    The article claims the players have revolted against his training methods and want Keith Downie, the interim manager after the sacking of Steve Clarke earlier this season, to lead them for the rest of the campaign. 

Midfielder Samir Nasri Poised for New Deal with Manchester City

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    Manchester City are set to offer Samir Nasri a three-year extension to his contract, reports Phil Thomas of The Sun (subscription required).

    The France midfielder has been one of the major success stories under Manuel Pellegrini in the Premier League this season, and his recent absence through injury was keenly felt by the team.

    The Etihad Stadium club is now preparing a new deal for Nasri to reward his form so far this season, according to the article.

    The reported contract extension would tie the former Arsenal man to City until 2018.

    Meanwhile, City striker Sergio Aguero has returned to training ahead of the Capital One Cup final against Sunderland on Sunday, report Richard Tanner and Paul Joyce of the Daily Express

Liverpool Eye Barcelona Goalkeeper Valdes as Andrea Pirlo Lauds Steven Gerrard

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    Liverpool head the chase for outgoing Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes, reports Charles Perrin of the Daily Express.

    The Spain international is expected to leave the La Liga champions at the end of the current season.

    Meanwhile, Italy star Andrea Pirlo believes Steven Gerrard can stay at the top for years to come in his deeper role with the club, reports Liam Prenderville of the Daily Mirror.

    The Juventus star is quoted as saying:

    The intelligent players adapt, and Steven Gerrard has the ability to do that.

    He is an excellent passer of the ball, possesses an intelligent football brain, and has great vision.

    He has all the qualities to play a deeper role.

    Pirlo added:

    Top European clubs are always progressing with what they can do off the field.

    If you look after yourself and are willing to adapt, there is no reason why you can't play at the top level until your late 30's.

    Gerrard is a top professional, it is very possible he has many top years left for Liverpool and England in a new role. 

Bits and Pieces: AC Milan Want Adel Taarabt Permanent Move, Djourou, Mangala

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    AC Milan are hoping to make Adel Taarabt a permanent fixture in their squad with a £6 million offer, claims Simon Jones of the Daily Mail.

    The Queens Park Rangers forward left his Fulham loan deal to make the surprise short-term move to the San Siro in January.

    Taarabt has been such a hit with Milan that the Italian giants now want him on a permanent basis.

    Johan Djourou is also hoping to make his loan move from Arsenal to Hamburg permanent in the summer, reports Alex Richards of the Daily Mirror.

    Djourou is quoted as saying:

    I know the coach, I love the club, I love the city. HSV is incredible. The club has so much potential. We have to go way up.

    The fans are great. The mood is different than in England. If all goes well and the club also want to, I would stay.

    Barcelona have entered the race for Porto defender and Chelsea and Manchester City target Eliaquim Mangala, reports Jeremy Cross of the Daily Star