Mourinho expects tougher title race

first_img Press Association Transfer spending ahead of the new campaign has already eclipsed £500million, and with the window open for the remainder of August, last year’s total spend of £835million is set to be surpassed. Chelsea begin the defence of their title against Swansea City at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. And despite a low-key summer of transfer activity, Mourinho’s side are the bookmakers’ favourites to seal back-to-back triumphs. Jose Mourinho expects this season’s Barclays Premier League to be the most competitive of his Chelsea tenure. But the Blues boss believes the spending power of the top flight – due in part to next year’s bumper TV deal – will make this season’s title race one of the fiercest in recent campaigns. “Maybe I’m wrong but I think fewer points will win the title,” Mourinho said. “You have a minimum of five title contenders and the other teams get stronger and stronger. “I think nobody can complain because everyone is investing – you go to Watford, you go to Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, Stoke, every club. “Every club has very good players so I think it’s difficult for the top teams in England because of the competitive nature.” Mourinho, whose side romped to the title last term, cited Yohan Cabaye’s £12million move to Crystal Palace, Georginio Wijnaldum’s arrival at Newcastle from PSV and Max Gradel’s switch to newly-promoted Bournemouth for a reported £7million fee, as examples of the league’s strength in depth. “There will be more times when the non-title contenders win matches against the title contenders,” added Mourinho. “It’s also difficult because they have players who could play in our teams – Cabaye could play for Chelsea, Wijnaldum could play for Chelsea, Gradel could play for Chelsea. “It’s very difficult to win multiple titles. It hasn’t happened in other countries where the domination is clear. In England it’s more difficult and we all know that.” Meanwhile, Mourinho urged Ruben Loftus-Cheek, the highly-rated England youngster, to take his chance if the opportunity arises this season. The 19-year-old started for Chelsea in matches against Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion at the end of last season, but he was heavily criticised by Mourinho following a post-season game in Australia. Chelsea have come under fire for failing to promote English players from their academy through to the first team. But asked if homegrown youngsters, such as Loftus-Cheek, feature in his plans for the upcoming season, Mourinho said: “It depends on him not on me. You have to ask him. “People normally ask about chances and chances and chances and maybe that’s a good excuse for the young players to be where they are. “I think maybe for the good of English football, you should go the other way. Are you ready to get the chance? Must the manager give confidence to a player? Or must the player give confidence to a manager? “I had this nice internal discussion with my people. At the end of the day we arrive into a conclusion that players pick themselves. That’s the responsibility that they must have. “We’re in England so it’s quite fair that people are trying to get solutions for more local players. “But you know, I’m a coach. I’m not an office man and for me, as a coach, I think that the players they must give confidence for me to say ‘Let’s go’. Not the other way.” last_img read more

No. 16 Syracuse’s offense fails to keep pace with No. 5 North Carolina in 20-11 loss

first_imgOnly five times in Syracuse’s program history has it allowed 20 goals. But it did on Saturday, and the Orange’s offense needed to turn out a herculean effort to stay in the game.But as has been the case in all of its conference games this season, SU’s offense provided nothing extraordinary.“We didn’t show up today and deliver our best game, our best performance,” SU head coach Gary Gait said.No. 16 Syracuse (8-7, 0-5 Atlantic Coast) couldn’t win enough draws to get a lot of offensive chances on Saturday and the chances the Orange had were often squandered. For the fourth game in a row, SU’s season-scoring average was lowered and it meant No. 5 North Carolina (10-3, 5-1) pulled away and won easily, 20-11, in the Carrier Dome.The problems started at the draw, as they so often have for SU this season. Emily Hawryschuk, an attack who began taking collegiate draws in games on March 29, took 27-of-33 draw attempts for the Orange. Between Hawryschuk and Julie Cross, who took the other six, the Orange won 10 of 33.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“They were in our heads,” Gait said of UNC’s draws in the second half. “They had the chemistry flowing on the draw. They just dominated.”The lost draws forced SU to defend for long stretches at a time. But when SU won the draw or took possession after one of UNC’s 12 turnovers, it couldn’t capitalize. The Orange turned just 11 of its 27 shots into goals, dropping SU’s conference scoring average to 12.2 goals per game, compared to 16 per game out of conference.In a repeat of Duke’s defensive plan, the Tar Heels face-guarded Nicole Levy for much of the game’s 60 minutes. Postgame, Gait said, “I don’t know if that was an issue,” citing other problems as more major than whether or not Levy touched the ball. But Levy, even after a very cold stretch, ranks second on SU with 34 goals. And she touched the ball no more than a handful of times Saturday, as North Carolina successfully took SU’s sniper out of the equation.For a few moments early in the second half, SU’s offense looked like it’d have a shot to redeem itself. Hawryschuk scored less than two minutes into the frame to bring the Orange within two goals.But then, UNC won a draw and scored. The Tar Heels won the next draw and scored, again. And UNC won the next draw as well, following it up quickly with another goal. A two-goal lead exploded to five. The Orange never got closer than four goals from that point on.“Anytime you’re down like that, you’re gonna force it,” Gait said. “…Trying to catch up, get five goals at a time instead of one.”More Coverage:No. 16 Syracuse’s shortcomings exposed in 20-11 blowout loss to No. 5 North CarolinaGallery: No. 16 Syracuse crushed by No. 5 North Carolina, 20-11 Published on April 14, 2018 at 3:59 pm Contact Billy: [email protected] | @Wheyen3 Saturday’s game was the first that the Orange had played on a full week’s preparation since SU’s fourth contest. There was plenty of time to prepare for the tight, man-to-man defense that the Tar Heels played. The preparation didn’t equate to goals. Instead, UNC looked to have taken advantage of its own week off.Syracuse’s Alie Jimerson played for the first time in more than two weeks after dealing with a lower leg injury. Normally an important distributor from behind the net for SU, the Tar Heels focused on shutting down cutting lanes when Jimerson caught in her favorite spot.Outside of Hawryschuk’s four goals, the Tar Heels looked well prepared. Faceguarding Levy worked. Syracuse’s left-handed attackers — Riley Donahue, Molly Carter and Sam Swart — had any openings to the left denied, again and again. Donahue and Carter would spin, back and forth, back and forth. But whenever they tried to break free left, their primary defender or help defense was in the way.Hawryschuk said the Orange tried to keep its mindset focused on one goal at a time to get a run going. The run never came for SU.“We just have to regroup and focus on the next game plan,” Hawryschuk said.The Orange won’t have a week off before its second-to-last game of the regular season. No. 2 Boston College hosts SU on Thursday. And the Eagles, prior to their Saturday game, had the second-best scoring offense in the nation.“We’ve got to find a way to flip the switch here,” Gait said. “… We’ll regroup and try to get an upset at Boston College.” Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more