Top Stories

Thursday Kickoff: Mourinho blasts West Ham; Juninho hangs up his boots; and more

JoseMourinhoChelsea1-WestHam2014 (Getty)


Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was not a happy man on Wednesday evening.

Following a scoreless draw at Stamford Bridge against fellow London club West Ham United, Mourinho lashed out at West Ham manager Sam Allardyce for his tactical approach, calling it “19th century football.” Despite the scoreline and tactics, Chelsea had numerous chances to score including an early chance from Oscar that hit the crossbar and another shot by Eto’o that was palmed away by West Ham goalkeeper Adrian.

“It’s very difficult to play a football match where only one team wants to play, very difficult,” Mourinho told reporters after the match. “A match is about two teams playing. This match was only one team playing and another team not. I cannot be too critical because, if I was in this position, I don’t know if I would do the same. But at the same time this is not Premier League. This is not the best league in the world. This is football from the 19th century.”

The draw meant that Chelsea remained in third place in the English Premier League, two points behind Arsenal and three behind leaders Manchester City. In response, Allardyce laughed off Mourinho’s comments, saying that the Chelsea manager was just upset.

“He can’t take it, can he?” Allardyce told reporters following the game. “He can’t take it because we’ve out-tactic-ed him, out-witted him. He just can’t cope. He can tell me all he wants. I don’t give a shite, to be honest. I love to see Chelsea players moaning at the referee, trying to intimidate the officials, and José jumping up and down in his technical area. It’s great to see.”

Here are some more stories to start off your morning:


One of the world’s greatest free kick takers is set to call an end to his career.

Roberto Dinamite, president of Brazilian club Vasco da Gama, confirmed to reporters in Brazil that midfield wizard Juninho Pernambucano has decided to retire from soccer after a 21-year professional career that spanned the globe. Juninho returned to Vasco this past summer after a five-month spell with the New York Red Bulls but was unable to save the club from relegation. After suffering a thigh injury in November, Juninho had been working to return to fitness ahead of this year’s Rio de Janeiro state championship but he had reportedly been unable to reach a level of fitness that satisfied him.

“I want to make the official decision of Juninho Pernambucano,” Dinamite said. “During the past week we had already talked about it, and he decided to end his career. On Monday, Juninho will make his farewell as a Vasco player. He will give a press conference, and you (journalists) will be able to ask whatever you want.”

After making his professional debut with Sport Recife in 1993, the now 39-year-old Juninho moved to Vasco two years later and spent six years at the club, winning the Brazilian league twice and the Copa Libertadores in 2008. In 2001 Juninho moved to France and joined Lyon, beginning a dynasty that saw him seven consecutive Ligue 1 titles between 2002 and 2008.

Following a two-year spell with Qatari club Al-Gharafa, Juninho played a year and a half once more with Vasco before giving Major League Soccer a try. Following a frustrating month with less than desired results, Juninho and the Red Bulls mutually agreed to part ways, allowing the playmaker to return home to Brazil with Vasco one last time. 


It wasn’t good night for Brazilian clubs in the Copa Libertadores on Wednesday.

Both Botafogo and Atletico Paranaense fell on the road in the first round of the South American competition, setting up must-win matches at home next Wednesday. Playing in Ecuador, Botafogo, who had current AC Milan Clarence Seedorf on squad the last two seasons, fell 1-0 to Deportivo Quito thanks to a goal by former Chivas USA midfielder Victor Estupiñan.

Paranaense meanwhile traveled to Lima, Peru to take on Sporting Cristal, with the home team prevailing, 2-1. Sporting took the lead in the 29th minute when Irvin Avila slotted home inside the box, though Paranaense pulled one back from the penalty spot in the 54th minute to level the scoreline. However, Sporting earned a penalty kick of their own and Carlos Lobaton made no mistake with his shot into the top corner to give Sporting a huge first-leg win.


Valencia have confirmed that they have agreed loan deals with an option to buy for both Helder Postiga and AS Roma and Andres Guardado and Bayer Leverkusen. (REPORT)

The French courts have dropped all charges on both Karim Benzema and Franck Ribery after their role in an alleged solicitation of a minor . (REPORT)

Sunderland have confirmed the signing of Internacional forward Ignacio Scocco on a two and a half year contract. (REPORT)

Chelsea are set to complete the signing of French youth international Kurt Zouma from Saint-Etienne for a fee of €15 million. (REPORT)

Former Brazilian star Zico has resigned as manager of Qatari club Al-Gharafa just six months into a two-year contract following three straight defeats. (REPORT)


What do you think of these reports? Do you agree with Mourinho’s comments? Think that he should worry about his own team? What are your most memorable moments in Juninho’s career?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Lemee get this straight.

    The Chelsea coach is complaining that only one team played…and it was a draw….and he is complaining about the other team. How does that make any sense ?

    IF one team didn’t play and it was a draw, doesn’t that mean both teams didn’t play ?

  2. When Falcao left Atletico Madrid Scocco was one of the names thrown around as a replacement.
    He ain’t Falcao but Sunderland is not Atletico either.

  3. Mourinho moaning about defensive tactics is laughable. The man has made his entire career of playing highly defensive tactics, especially when playing against other high level teams. If you want a guarantee of an awful game, watch a Chelsea game when they play away at a big team this year, that game at United was the worst thing I have seen this season. Also why should a team like West Ham go to Stamford Bridge and come out and attack? Makes no sense

  4. If Mourinho had read “Inverting the Pyramid” by Jonathan Wilson, he would know that “19th Century” football was about as offensive as it gets, sporting 1-1-8 formations.

    • Yeah, true dat. Love seeing those old formation diagrams with one sweeper in the back and everyone else up at the halfway line.

      Actually, I believe it was Cantona who was the last advocate of the 1-1-8. Play beautiful, my friends.

    • Good point. 19th century players also refused to pass because it was unmanly. They just dribbled until they lost the ball. That was an awesome book.

  5. Juninho had a great career but I’ll always remember him as a guy who came to MLS thinking he was better than everyone and discovered he was no longer good enough to get a game with an MLS team so he sulked off home.

    • I’ll always remember him with Lyon. They had a killer team back then and it was always nice being able to watch and root for them them instead of the big bandwagon UCL teams.

    • I think his downward curve underlines that even technical players have sell-by dates. When people discuss a player like Xavi coming here, you want to point out Djorkaeff, Matthaus, or Juninho.

    • I’ll always remember him playing for Vasco vs D.C. United as a young up and comer in the 1998 InterAmerican Cup where you united beat him and Vasco dramatically in the 2 legged series! It was a great series with Felipe scoring for Vasco in leg 1 and Tony Sanneh & Eddie Pope scoring for United to win it in leg 2. You could see Juninho’s class!

  6. forest just signed a left back from southampton: danny fox. anybody know how good he is? hope he’s either there for depth, or so lichaj can return to right back.

  7. Mourinho complaining about defensive tactics? How rich.
    He seems to forget he bunkers down every time he plays Barcelona.
    Why is Guardado going to BL? I thought he was getting plenty of playing time

    • i’m not one to defend a confirmed @sshole like mourinho (although i also don’t like fat sam), but there’s a difference between bunkering and playing on the counter, which is what mourinho (and pretty much everyone else) does against barca.

      which is why i liked that fat sam thought he ‘out-tactic-ed’ anyone. i mean, i guess just hoping the other team doesn’t score is a tactic, but just barely.

      • It’s kind of a Kinnear thing, as long as he was delivering Pulis’ approach was tolerated. But when they were fighting for relegation AND playing negative soccer the owner got sick of it. It’s a fair choice and some teams like Swansea have committed to playing more attractive passing soccer.

        But was Mark Hughes the man to implement it? Who just sent QPR well on their way to last season’s relegation? I thought that was the big mistake.

        Far as the Big Sam controversy goes, CFC has itself been accused of negative soccer (in comparison to teams like Barca) when it used to have a better defense and liked to counter, and it’s really whatever works. Bunkering for 90 is usually punished because you’re playing for 1-0 or 0-0 and have little offense and have no margin for error if they score. I should know I’m a Dynamo fan.

    • Mourinho always says nonsense like this. I don’t really think he believes any of it but it keeps the attention on him and takes pressure off his players.

      His style is definitely not the most watchable but the man knows how to get results.

      • This. Instead of harping on his players for not executing, he berates the other coach for playing anti-football.

        Mou = master of man-management. He keeps the lens on himself to deflect it from his players.

        More important is how is Chelsea (or anyone else) catch up to Man City. Its like a Ferrari just accelerated past everyone else and is now in the lead, good luck catching that.

  8. Start you Jozy meter. Go.

    I imagine that the the likes of Borini and Catermole are really going to step up their game now that they have a world class striker. Welcome to the bench Jozy?

    • Scocco scored 3 times in 17 matches for his Argentine side. Compare that to Jozy’s 1 goal in 20 games (really 2) in the premier league and it’s hard to imagine Scocco will be an improvement. But he’s Argentinian so he mush be world class

    • He looks like an interesting player, plays multiple positions. But he’s generally been not all that productive if you break it down by year, ie, 5.3 goals/year for Newell’s (first stint), 9 goals/year for Pumas, 9 goals a year for AEK, 4.5 goals a year for al-Ain, 3 goals with Internacional. He really only had the one good year back with Newell’s, though it was quite good (24). And while he is an Argentine international he bare-minimum meets the definition with one cap.

      That being said, if Jozy continues to play bad, this is his replacement.

      • By all accounts Jozy played really well yesterday. If he and Scocco get to play alongside each other it might benefit the goal production of both players. A potentially very complimentary strike team, I think.

      • Scocco is more of a winged forward than a pure striker. I think he’ll play behind Jozy or on the right of a more 4-3-3 formation, the kind Jozy was used to at AZ.

      • that’s what i was thinking as well, but there’s an article up at espn that has quotes from poyet implying that he’ll be front and center:

        “He is someone who can bring something special around the box that we are missing. He is comfortable in a front three but we will use him further up the pitch because he is not really a defensive player.”

        unless i’m misreading, that seems to indicate scocco will be up top, with (most likely) johnson and borini flanking.

Leave a Comment