Mourinho jinx for United with Newcastle loss
JOSE Mourinho tripped up again at St James’ Park as his Manchester United team was surprisingly beaten 0-1 by Newcastle United yesterday for a second loss in its last three English Premier League games.
Matt Ritchie’s 65th-minute goal — following a free kick awarded for a dive by United defender Chris Smalling — gave Newcastle a victory that lifted it out of the relegation zone.
It is now seven EPL matches without a win at Newcastle’s ground for Mourinho, who lost three and drew three there across two stints in charge of Chelsea.
More importantly for the Portuguese coach, second-placed United wasted a chance to pull clear of its rivals for UEFA Champions League qualification, with Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and Chelsea still in range. Manchester City, which beat Leicester City 5-1 on Saturday, holds a 16-point lead with 11 games left.
Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka had an EPL debut to remember, saving brilliantly in the first half from Anthony Martial, in the final seconds from Michael Carrick, and looking assured as United piled on the pressure in the second half.
Alexis Sanchez delayed in front of an open goal and had a shot blocked, while Martial also had two efforts blocked near the goal line by Dwight Gayle.
Earlier in the day, Huddersfield Town snapped a five-match losing sequence to beat in-form Bournemouth 4-1 and move out of the relegation zone.
Alex Pritchard fired Huddersfield in front after seven minutes and although Junior Stanislas levelled, the hosts were ahead again before the break thanks to Steve Mounie’s 27th-minute header from Aaron Mooy’s delivery.
Benin striker Mounie’s shot was deflected in by Steve Cook after 66 minutes — Cook being attributed with an own goal. Rajiv van la Parra tucked away a stoppage-time penalty to complete a satisfying afternoon for David Wagner’s side.
Victory did come at a cost for Huddersfield with Australian midfielder Mooy leaving the pitch on a stretcher in the second half after a clash of knees.
The EPL basement has taken on a revolving door feel with so many clubs involved in the relegation battle.
Huddersfield began its first EPL season impressively but has struggled to replicate its early verve and had not won for eight games before yesterday.
“We needed a few minutes at the start where Bournemouth were strong but after that we played superb football. It was one of the performances of the season,” manager Wagner said.
While Bournemouth looks relatively safe after recent wins against Arsenal and Chelsea in a seven-match unbeaten streak, manager Eddie Howe knows it cannot afford any loss of form.
“We should look as hungry if not hungrier than them, that’s no excuse for us. Every game should be treated as a cup final,” Howe, whose side is four points ahead of Huddersfield, said.
Bournemouth is the seventh team Huddersfield has beaten in all four tiers of English league football, along with Bradford, Brentford, Bury, Grimsby, Portsmouth and Watford.