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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 'frustrated' by lack of Europa League games

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 'frustrated' by lack of Europa League games


The only surprise coming from Liverpool's 2-1 defeat at Manchester United was that anybody at all was surprised by the result.

They've beaten United twice at Old Trafford in 14 years. Before a brief bout of success under Gerard Houllier, there'd only been two other wins in the 23 years before him. That's not great.

There was lots of confidence before the fixture, due to Liverpool's good form, allied to a curious belief that things weren't going quite so well for United.

Afterward Jurgen Klopp felt his side deserved something from the game, presumably based on possession stats skewed in the visitors' favour. This glossed over the fact United could have been 3-0 up at half-time if Juan Mata hadn't showboated with a gilt-edged opportunity.

Even that might not have altered perceptions, with Klopp as the football lover and Jose Mourinho the arch pragmatist, willing to do anything to win.

This isn't to insinuate that Reds fans haven't loved what they've been watching lately but with it appears to include a sneering element of football puritanism that's forgetful of how Liverpool won things in previous decades, one as recently as the 2000s.

It's reminiscent of what happened at Arsenal. Under George Graham their fans would happily sing "1-0 to the Arsenal," revelling in the regimented meanness of their defence.

Arsene Wenger had only been manager a few years before fans suddenly started shouting a sarcastic "Hoof!" whenever opposition defenders committed the same safety-first clearances they'd cheered to the rafters when Tony Adams made them.

Liverpool supporters aren't admirers of Arsenal in general, putting it mildly, so it would be a shame if they were suddenly guilty of the same hypocrisy.

Until such time as football starts to award points for artistic impression, Liverpool have to abide by the same rules as everybody else.

That means at least attempting to reduce the number of goals they concede and the Reds look likely to let in more than one goal per game for the eighth league season in a row.

Until now their main problem was holding onto leads in the closing stages of games. It had cleared up a little after the world-record signing of Virgil van Dijk but on Saturday's evidence it's clear much work is still needed.

The side selected was as positive a team as Klopp could've chosen; in itself an indication that there wasn't total respect for the opposition.

Joe Gomez might not have Trent Alexander-Arnold's speed and flair for attack but it's likely his defensive positioning would have been better for both Marcus Rashford's goals.

As all Klopp's in-form players showed a remarkable timidity in such a big game, there seemed little else there until United relinquished possession entirely to protect what they had.

Jose Mourinho didn't have Paul Pogba, his record signing, but still found a way.

Houllier's record at Old Trafford was a remarkable three wins and one defeat in five years. Apart from the goals you'd need an eidetic memory to recall anything else that happened in the games.

That mattered little to Liverpool fans who revelled in each win against their arch rivals. Eventually they tired of Houllier's full-on pragmatism and longed for more exciting football.

People laugh at superstitious fans. Just because a ground has been a poor hunting ground in the past doesn't necessarily mean it always will be.

That aside, there didn't seem enough preparedness for facing the team above Liverpool in the table, that won two trophies last season, could possibly win two more this season and has a manager with a track record of success stretching back to Porto 15 years ago.

Nobody would be stupid enough to want a return to Houllier's style. It was largely tolerated when it delivered trophies but became extremely tedious when failure crept in.

It stands to reason some balance is needed, often within the same match. Were there times -- Liverpool beating Arsenal by two goals, Sevilla by three -- when fans wished they followed NFL and could swap their gifted attacking XI for another group of dour, pragmatic grafters impossible to break down?

If there's been one criticism of Klopp's reign it is that. It would be nice to know he at least had such a dogged rear-guard action in his locker, not for permanent use but whenever necessary.

Old Trafford hinted at what might happen during the rest of the campaign. Liverpool had an exceptional record against the best teams last season but it's almost as if they've been "found out" now.

Having conceded 20 goals to other sides in the top six plus another five to Sevilla -- the best team they've faced in Europe -- it's clear where Liverpool need to improve most next season.

What's not clear is whether the will to make such improvements is there. Just spending £75 million on one defender won't be nearly enough.

Steven Kelly is one of ESPN FC's Liverpool bloggers. Follow him on Twitter @SteKelly198586.

Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini has told GQ there is more to his game than aggression.

The Belgium international's physical style has often been highlighted since he moved to the Premier League with Everton in 2008, but he says he is misunderstood.

"It think it's easy for them to portray me as an aggressive player but I'm not," Fellaini said.

"I try to play my game, I try my best to recover the ball quickly -- that's my job. Try to be better all the time, to give my best for the team, for the club. I always want to improve."

Fellaini is into his fifth season at Old Trafford and his second working with manager Jose Mourinho.

Mourinho has voiced his admiration for the midfielder, who said the feeling was mutual.

"I've learnt a lot with him. Jose is someone who wants to win every game: he pushes players to get the maximum from them," he said.

"He has a very good understanding with his players. He's a winner."

Rob is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.

Bayern Munich doctor Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt has said former coach Pep Guardiola is "a person with low self-esteem, who will do everything to hide it from others."

Muller-Wohlfahrt, 75, left his role as Bayern's club doctor after 38 years in the aftermath of a Champions League quarterfinal first leg defeat in Porto in 2015 following disagreements with Guardiola.

He has since returned for a third spell at the club, which he described as being "like a family."

In his autobiography, being serialised in Bild, Muller-Wohlfahrt wrote that "his sense of honour" had been hurt by Guardiola, Bayern coach between 2013-16.

He said he was "verbally attacked while the players were receiving treatment" and was "blamed for the numerous injuries, the physical condition of the players and ultimately for the defeat" in Portugal.

The Bild extract said Guardiola had said: "It cannot be that injuries here last six weeks, but in Spain only a fortnight."

Muller-Wohlfahrt said the coach "was upset every time a player had to come off with a muscle injury" and told him they should play on.

"I consider Pep Guardiola a person with a low self-esteem, who will do everything to hide it from others," Muller-Wohlfahrt wrote.

"He seems to live in constant fear of losing power and authority, rather than defeats."

Muller-Wohlfahrt accused Guardiola of "turning back the clock" at Bayern and "turning upside down our well thought-out, tried and trusted medical preparation programme."

The doctor claimed Guardiola was always "reproachful and indignant" when it came to injured players, adding: "He knew everything better."

He said Guardiola "wasn't interested at all in medical matters," but "expected medical wonders from us."

In the Bild extracts, Bayern president Uli Hoeness said he believed he could have prevented the falling out.

"If I hadn't been impeded [Hoeness was serving time in prison for tax evasion] I could have intervened in the conflict between Mull and Pep Guardiola," he said.

"Pep Guardiola is a very proud Catalan, and Spanish coaches have a totally different relationship with their club's medical department.

"Muller-Wohlfahrt, on the other hand, is a very proud doctor who doesn't like discussing his very successful treatment methods.

"Two fronts collided full on in the spring of 2015. I was missing as a mediator. After defeats, similar scenes often followed like after the 3-1 loss in Porto -- a lot more often that you imagine.

"A reason why Bayern Munich has become so successful is because of its exceptional medical department which Muller-Wohlfahrt was, and is responsible for again now. The club owes him a great deal."

Muller-Wohlfahrt had also briefly left in 2008 following a dispute with then coach Jurgen Klinsmann before returning the following year after Jupp Heynckes, now in charge again, had taken over.

Mark Lovell covers Bayern Munich for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @LovellLowdown.

Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is "really frustrated" that he can't play in the Europa League, and says the lack of regular games has made it more difficult to settle in at the club.

Aubameyang joined in a club-record deal from Borussia Dortmund in January but is cup-tied in the Europa League as the German side are in the knockout stages as well.

"I am really frustrated because the rules are a bit... I don't know how to say in English, but I am disappointed because I can't help my team," Aubameyang told reporters. "That's life. I have to deal with it."

Aubameyang has three goals in five Premier League games so far -- including two in his last two. But he said the longer breaks between games have made it more difficult to get into a rhythm in England.

"When I was in Dortmund, I was playing every three days but now I play once a week or have a long time between games. It is not easy," he said.

Aubameyang was given an early taste of the turmoil that often surrounds Arsenal after they lost four of his first five starts -- including the North London derby against Tottenham and the Carabao Cup final to Manchester City.

That has served to ramp up pressure even more on manager Arsene Wenger, whose future looks increasingly uncertain, but Gabon international Aubameyang insisted he's happy with his move to the Emirates and gave his backing to Wenger.

"Of course I am really happy because I am here because of him," Aubameyang said. "He had the interest in me so I am happy to play for him."

Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.