MANCHESTER, England (AP)If Manchester United went on the attack in games as much as its manager does in news conferences, England’s biggest team may not be in such a rut.Yesterday, a defiant Louis van Gaal criticised sections of the British media who reported this week he had offered to resign in the wake of United’s latest poor result a 1-0 home loss to Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday.”I think it’s awful and horrible,” said Van Gaal, who walked out of a news conference last month. “It’s the third time I’ve been sacked and I’m still sitting here.”Lose to second-tier Derby in the FA Cup today and even Van Gaal acknowledges the scrutiny could be too much to take.The Dutchman said yesterday that he hadn’t offered to quit and the support of Ed Woodward, United’s executive vice-chairman, was “fantastic.””It gives you a lot of pressure because when the board has such confidence in you, the pressure is much higher than when they say it’s your last game,” Van Gaal said. “Then the confidence is not so high.”United may be playing Derby just at the right time. They have won only one of their last six games in the FA Cup third round and have dropped off the top of the League Championship.Derby is managed by Paul Clement, the former assistant manager at Real Madrid where he worked under Carlo Ancelotti. Clement said he might speak to Ancelotti before today’s game at Pride Park.”I am not sure it will quite be a giant-killing if we get a good result,” Clement said. “It is a challenge we are really looking forward to, up against a team that is not in great form.”
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This episode happened in a forgettable Warriors’ overtime loss two … * * *Subscribe to the Mercury News and East Bay Times for $40 a year and receive a free Warriors championship coffee table bookOAKLAND – Steve Kerr charged to the official at halfcourt. He threw out his right arm. He yelled out a string of expletives.The Warriors coach showed so much anger over Draymond Green getting called for a technical foul that assistant coach Mike Brown needed to restrain Kerr at halfcourt.
On Thursday night, the head coach of the U.S. men’s national soccer team, Jurgen Klinsmann, decided he would not be taking Landon Donovan to the 2014 World Cup. Given that Donovan is one of the most decorated and long-standing soccer players in U.S. history, the news came as a shock to many American soccer fans.But for those who follow the sport closely, Donovan’s omission from the roster wasn’t so surprising. Klinsmann and Donovan got off to a rocky start in 2011, when Klinsmann first took the head coaching job and Donovan decided to take a break from soccer. Since then, Donovan has been working to get back into Klinsmann’s player pool, but nagging injuries sidelined him for much of 2013. At age 32, Donovan appeared to have lost some of his pace and ability to finish. Since scoring Oct. 6 of last year, he has taken 32 shots with the LA Galaxy and men’s national team, but he hasn’t scored a goal.Similarly, over the past three years, all of Donovan’s offensive statistics have been declining: goals, assists, expected goals and passing expected assists. (ESPN TruMedia does not have data available before the 2012 Major League Soccer season for these statistics. Passing expected assists are a measure of how many goals we’d expect his passes to generate based on where players received the ball and other context.) Donovan’s most recent performance makes a clear case against sending him to the World Cup.Klinsmann’s detractors are probably clinging to the memory of Donovan’s storied stoppage-time finish against Algeria at the 2010 World Cup, which sent the U.S. out of the group stage. No U.S. player has performed as well as Donovan in the past three World Cups in terms of goals scored (five), and he improved his ability to create scoring chances, complete passes and assists in each subsequent World Cup he played in.No longer finishing goals himself, the best reason to include Donovan on the squad in Brazil is probably his ability to create scoring chances for other people. Since the start of 2013, Donovan created 36 scoring chances in 12 games for the men’s national team — 15 more than any player going to Brazil.But four years is a long time, and a lot has changed for Donovan and soccer in the U.S. People expect something of the men’s national team this summer; simply qualifying for the tournament is no longer a point of pride. In previous World Cups, coaches might have taken a player along for his leadership qualities or experience, but Klinsmann has made it clear that a 32-year-old in bad form is not worth any amount of intangible qualities.It will be difficult to know whether Klinsmann made the right decision until June 26, when the U.S. finishes the group stage of the tournament. Because of Donovan’s name recognition and fan following, his absence might hurt World Cup viewership in the U.S. But the fact that the men’s national team is finally bigger than one player is great news for soccer in America.