Van Gaal refuses to look beyond FA Cup final

first_imgLondon, United Kingdom | AFPManchester United manager Louis van Gaal was unwilling to discuss the likely effect of FA Cup success on his future after his side edged Everton 2-1 to reach the final.Van Gaal has been under pressure all season, owing to disappointing results in the Premier League and Champions League, but he is now within one victory of steering United to a first FA Cup success since 2004 after Anthony Martial’s 93rd-minute winner at Wembley on Saturday.With Jose Mourinho and Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino repeatedly touted as potential successors, Van Gaal’s future remains the subject of speculation and when asked about the potential impact of an FA Cup triumph on his youthful team, he took the question personally.“I’m not looking beyond the FA Cup because we live in the present and for the future, I discuss that with my board and not with you,” said the Dutchman, whose side will face either Watford or Crystal Palace in the final on May 21.United currently trail Arsenal by four points in the race for a top-four finish in the Premier League, which will yield a Champions League berth, and Van Gaal would not be drawn when asked if FA Cup glory alone would represent a successful season.“It’s not for me to judge. It’s for the board of Manchester United,” he told his post-match press conference.United subjected Everton to sustained first-half pressure and took a 34th-minute lead when Martial sped to the left-hand byline and squared for Marouane Fellaini to score against his old club.After Romelu Lukaku had seen a penalty saved by United goalkeeper David de Gea, Chris Smalling horribly sliced a cross from substitute Gerard Deulofeu into his own net to gift Everton a 75th-minute equaliser.But with extra time seconds away, Martial took matters into his own hands, collecting the ball wide on the left and playing one-twos with Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera before nervelessly finding the bottom-right corner.He has now scored 14 goals in his maiden campaign, but Van Gaal repeated his assertion that the 20-year-old France international’s future lies on the wing rather than at centre-forward.“I don’t think that he is a striker,” said Van Gaal. “He’s more a wing player. Maybe in the future, but I don’t think so.” Martinez defiantWayne Rooney also caught the eye in a midfield quarterback role and with 18-year-old Marcus Rashford continuing to justify Van Gaal’s faith up front, the United manager said that his captain was likely to play there again in future.“At this moment, I think that Rashford does a very good job in the striker’s position,” he said.“And now Wayne can contribute more for the team in midfield. I have seen today a great Wayne in midfield.”While Martial, De Gea and Rooney took the plaudits, it was a miserable afternoon for Lukaku, who also squandered two first-half one-on-ones, but Everton manager Roberto Martinez praised his all-round display.“Only the penalty-taker can miss a penalty, so I don’t think that’s a worry at all,” Martinez said.“His second-half performance was of a very mature footballer. The ball stuck, he allowed us to play around him.“He’s still a young man, he’s 22. This team shows that we invested in young players, giving them big roles. Today you saw that they’re starting to fulfil those roles.”A run of seven league games without victory, culminating in a chastening 4-0 humiliation by Merseyside rivals Liverpool on Wednesday, has hardened fan discontent towards Martinez, but he said that he was still the right man to take the club forward.“I’ve got so attached to Everton and my ambition is exactly the same as the club’s ambition,” he said.“I share the drive that the football club has, which is getting into the Champions League, getting into situations where we can bring silverware to the football club, and I’ll give everything I’ve got to fulfil those expectations.”Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more

Kyrgios ousts top seed Tsitsipas to reach Washington final

first_imgIt was the Greek star’s first match against Kyrgios, who is of Greek and Malaysian heritage. Each man won 91 points, hit 58 of 91 first serves, won 48 of 58 first-serve points and 16-of-33 second serve points.“I’m an anti-stat guy,” Kyrgios said. “I don’t look at any of that stuff.”Kyrgios broke in the third game and held from there to win the first set in 31 minutes, dropping only three points on his serve.“His serve was just unreal first set. I couldn’t do anything with it,” said Tsitsipas. “I haven’t seen anything like it.”Kyrgios broke again to open the second set but after a review call went against him double-faulted away a break, slamming his racquet and towels to the court in frustration.– ‘Shoe-pocalypse’ hits –Tsitsipas, who said he had a sore hamstring, suffered a broken left shoe for a fourth consecutive match, switching Adidas pairs on a changeover with Kyrgios up 2-1.A ballboy delivered a shoebox with the faulty footwear to Tsitsipas’s father/coach, Apostolos Tsitsipas, in the stands. But it was Kyrgios, waiting through a delay that would last four minutes, who took the shoebox from the far corner of the court.“I just thought it would speed the process up,” Kyrgios said. “By the way, Adidas sucks.”Kyrgios delivered it to a seated Tsitsipas, kneeling as he put the box at his rival’s feet, both of them smiling as the crowd roared with delight and laughter.“That was funny,” Tsitsipas said. Sometimes you can’t take anything serious. You have to go with the flow. You have to have the same channel and same fun as he is.”Tsitsipas broke another left shoe and needed another shoe switch at the next changeover, Indian tennis legend Leander Paes later bringing his dad a new shoe later.Kyrgios led 5-1 in the tie-breaker, lost the next five points, then saved match point with a service winner. He finally won after two hours seven minutes on an overhead smash.Share on: WhatsApp Australia’s Nick Kyrgios is through to the ATP final in Washington after a three-set victory over Stefanos TsitsipasWashington, United States | AFP |   Australia’s Nick Kyrgios overcame a mid-match meltdown and his rival’s shoe repair delays Saturday to defeat Greek top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and reach the ATP Washington Open final.The 52nd-ranked Aussie hammered 19 aces, saved a match point and often played to the crowd in a dramatic and emotional 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (9/7) victory over Tsitsipas, whose broken shoes caused two third-set delays.Tsitsipas, who becomes world number five on Monday, fell behind a set and a break, took advantage of Kyrgios losing control with racquet slams and call complaints to force a third set, only to fall in the tie-breaker.“It was spiraling out of control at one point,” Kyrgios said. “I’ve been in that spot before and it has gotten worse.“I’m pretty proud at how I was able to drag it back from a dark place. I’m pretty proud of how I battled back and dug deep.”Kyrgios will play for the $365,390 (328,851 euro) top prize against 10th-ranked Russian Daniil Medvedev, who eliminated German lucky loser Peter Gojowczyk 6-2, 6-2.The 24-year-old Aussie beat Medvedev this year in Rome in their only prior meeting.Kyrgios, who improved to 4-1 against top-10 rivals this year, seeks a sixth career ATP title and his first since Acapulco in March.“It’s probably one of the best tournament weeks of my life,” Kyrgios said.Medvedev, 23, seeks his fifth ATP title after taking his most recent crown at Sofia in February.Italy’s 62nd-ranked Camila Giorgi, a 2018 Wimbledon quarter-finalist seeking her third WTA title, and 79th-ranked American Jessica Pegula advanced to the women’s final at the US Open tuneup tournament.– Kyrgios fire and apathy –Kyrgios excited the crowd throughout with such flamboyant moves as underhand serves, between the legs shots and leaping drop shots. Other times he would just swat away.“He was on fire in some moments,” Tsitsipas said. “It felt like sometimes he didn’t care at all. It’s probably his plan to put you out of focus.”Kyrgios admitted, “I’ve always been able to play high level tennis. I just need to be more consistent. I have to be mentally tougher.”last_img read more