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Five smiley moments of EPL 2014-15

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LONDON, May 25- From Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney’s boxing celebration to Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson’s ‘ostrich’ outburst, the 2014-15 Premier League season came with a healthy dose of light relief.

Here, AFP Sports recalls five incidents from the campaign that raised a smile:

Rooney’s knockout celebration

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Wayne Rooney made the headlines in March after mobile-phone footage emerged of him being punched to the ground during a sparring session in his kitchen with former United team-mate Phil Bardsley.

But after scoring the third goal in a 3-0 home win over Tottenham Hotspur, Rooney took ownership of the story with a tongue-in-cheek celebration.

The England striker ran to the corner of the pitch and threw a flurry of air punches, before stiffening his body and falling backwards to the ground in the same manner as in the video.

Mourinho’s TV blackout thwarted

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Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho’s plans to stop his players following Manchester City’s game against Liverpool prior to their League Cup final encounter with Tottenham were thwarted by his goalkeeping coach.

Mourinho had banned his squad from keeping tabs on the game, which City lost 2-1, because he wanted them to concentrate on their meeting with Spurs.

But after a 2-0 win at Wembley, he revealed that his carefully laid plans had been inadvertently undermined by excitable goalkeeping coach Silvino Loura.

“I prepared the players for an impossible mission, which was we don’t want to know the Man City result. Forget Man City,” Mourinho said.

“I want complete silence. I don’t want reactions to that. And we were successful on that. But one member of my staff jumped on the bus. Silvino. I want to kill the guy. The member of my staff broke the rule!”

Jones faces the music

Olivier Giroud appeared certain to score for Arsenal at Manchester United earlier this month when a slip by United defender Phil Jones presented the Frenchman with a clear run on goal.

But the prone Jones, famed for his gurning facial expressions, innovated by throwing his face at the ball, which ricocheted off Giroud’s feet and went out for a throw-in. A torrent of internet memes followed.

Pearson’s ostrich moment

Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson accused a journalist of being “an ostrich” during a peculiar tirade following his side’s 3-1 loss at home to Chelsea.

Ian Baker, who was covering the match for AFP, asked Pearson to elaborate after he told his post-match press conference that his players had had to deal with “criticism and negativity”.

“Have you been on holiday for six months? Have you been away for six months?” responded Pearson, whose side were battling to avoid relegation at the time.

“Your question is absolutely unbelievable, the fact you do not understand where I am coming from. If you don’t know the answer to that question then I think you are an ostrich. Your head must be in the sand.”

Pearson also mocked Baker’s voice and described him as “very stupid”, but later apologised.

Van Gaal steals the show

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Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal became the talk of social media after an eccentric turn at the club’s end-of-season awards ceremony.

The 63-year-old delivered a rambling seven-minute speech, at one point punching the air and roaring “Yes!” as he recalled a team meeting at which Rooney had urged the team to push for second place in the Premier League.

After concluding his speech, which was broadcast live on United’s in-house television channel, MUTV, Van Gaal returned to the stage and interrupted the presenter by saying: “Hello, hello! Pay attention to the manager!”

He went on to chastise the crowd for not applauding a female saxophonist, saying: “I have seen a lady who plays the saxophone fantastically. Give her a big applause!”

Former United captain Gary Neville tweeted: “LVG is cracking me up here. Great entertainment! One of the best/funniest 20 mins I’ve ever had!”

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