Rabu, 28 November 2012

Glen Johnson says Liverpool are not too dependent on Luis Suarez

Glen Johnson: Feels that Liverpool can cope without Luis Suarez

The Uruguay international has already scored 10 Premier League goals so far this season while no other Reds player has managed more than one.

The issue adds further weight to the impression that, if Suarez does not find the net, neither do Liverpool - as was the case at Swansea on Sunday when the Merseysiders were held to a goalless draw.

However, Johnson does not feel the Anfield giants are too dependent on their 22million front man.

"We are not relying on Suarez at all," said the 28-year-old. "Obviously he is our main striker, but we are not relying on him.

"It's everyone's job to get around him and try and score.

"You need a bit of luck in front of goal and on another day we might have had

two or three (against Swansea)."

Brendan Rodgers' side are now eight games unbeaten in the top flight having recorded four wins and four draws.

And Johnson believes the Reds have a solid base from which to climb the standin gs as they prepare to face Tottenham.

"We will keep going and if we do get that bit of luck it will be okay," added Johnson. "It is a big game (against Spurs) and hopefully we will pick up three points."

Selasa, 27 November 2012

Harry Redknapp says 0-0 draw at Sunderland is positive start to his reign

Redknapp was appointed on Saturday morning and left Mark Bowen in charge for the trip to Manchester United that afternoon, where they lost 3-1.

The trip to the Stadium of Light was the former Spurs manager's first in charge of Rangers, and he says there were plenty to make him believe that they can escape relegation.

"It was a good performance, there were a lot of positives tonight," he said.

"I feel more optimistic than I did on Saturday, I must be honest. I thought tonight was good for us.

"Confidence is key in anything you do. That's the key, I've got to keep encouraging them. It's no good knocking anybody. When you are bottom of the league your confidence is low.

"What you are relying on now - there's a group who have travelled all this way tonight from London to support the team and we've got to give them something to get behind.

"QPR reminds me of my time at Portsmouth. The fans were very similar, great supporters, same ti me of stadium - small stadium - and if they really get behind us on Saturday I think the team can respond.

"If think we can become difficult to beat at home. We've got to win some games obviously but we've got to make the home form count - and the fans will play a big part in that."

Sabtu, 24 November 2012

Paul Lambert praises Aston Villa display after 0-0 draw with Arsenal

Brett Holman: Villa's Australian star has a rare shot at goal during the 0-0

The point was enough to take Villa out of the Premier League's bottom three as Lambert watched on from the stands because of his one-match touchline ban.

Lambert said: "We've played the two Manchester clubs and Arsenal in back-to-back games and it's a tough thing mentally.

"But I thought we played really well. We were excellent and might have nicked it. We defended really strongly. We are playing really well.

"We are a young side which is growing together and the way we are playing, we are a threat."

Lambert defended his decision not to include fit-again striker Darren Bent amongst the 18 players selected to face Arsenal.

He said: "It is my choice. I thought the squad I went with could win us the game. I've got 25-26 players to think about.

"The most important thing is this football club and I pick a team and squad I think will do well."

Jumat, 23 November 2012

Harry Redknapp on brink of taking charge at QPR and looking forward to challenge

Harry Redknapp: Set to take charge of QPR

The 65-year-old is poised to take over the reins at Loftus Road after Mark Hughes was sacked on Friday morning, and is on the brink of agreeing a deal following a day of negotiations.

Rangers are four points adrift at the bottom of the table after failing to win any of their opening 12 matches but Redknapp, who has been out of work since leaving Tottenham in the summer, believes he can guide them to safety.

"I'm hopeful we can get it done tonight, there shouldn't be any problems," Redknapp told Sky Sports News.

"I fancy getting back into the Premier League. QPR is a good club, with great fans and a great atmosphere.

"I am looking forward to it. It's a big challenge. It will be a tough job to take on but I am up for the challenge.

"Mark Hughes is a top, top manager and a great guy as well. He was just unlucky and they just couldn't get the results they needed.

"I'm ready to give it a go now and see if I can change thei r fortunes around. But it won't be easy for sure.

"There's some good players there and I have obviously got to find a way of picking a team that can win some games. They have gone 12 games without a win so you couldn't have too many worse starts than that.

"It's going to be a tough job to keep them up but it's a challenge and I love a challenge. I am going to go in and give it my best shot and if it works it will be fantastic."

Hughes' assistants Mark Bowen and Eddie Niedzwiecki will be in charge for Saturday's game at Manchester United, but Redknapp hopes to watch that match before taking over for Tuesday's trip to Sunderland.

He added: "I will travel up to Old Trafford probably on Saturday and just sit in the stand and watch the game.

"If everything gets sorted, and I'm sure it will, I'll be in Sunday morning, will have the team in training on Monday, then fly up to Sunderland."

Redknapp also revealed he hopes to have his f ormer Tottenham assistants Kevin Bond and Joe Jordan working alongside him at QPR.

Senin, 19 November 2012

Stoke manager Tony Pulis was content to settle for a point at West Ham

The Potters went ahead in the first half thanks to a brilliant set-piece which saw Jon Walters make a perfectly-timed run from the far post to convert Glenn Whelan's ball with a clinical finish.

But the Hammers came out fighting after the break and Joey O'Brien proved the unlikely hero as he prodded home Gary O'Neil's cross to level.

Pulis told Sky Sports: "It was chalk and cheese. Two halves, one for us and one for them, so I suppose a draw is a fair result.

"The worst thing that happened to us was half-time. I thought we played really well in the first half and if anything I was disappointed not to come in more than 1-0 up.

"But fair play to West Ham, when they get the early goal it's a fantastic place and stadium to play at. Their crowd really got behind them and we showed a lot of resilience in the second half.

"Give us credit first half, but I thought West Ham were very good second half. They pinned us back and our lads had to def end for their lives."

Pulis admitted his side had been working hard on the set-piece that led to Walters' goal and that they had also employed some questionable tactics.

He said: "We have worked on it for two or three days and never scored a goal in training doing it, but luckily tonight it went for us. It was a great ball in and a great finish from Jon Walters.

"I'm not supposed to say this but we blocked, we obstructed, a player. I'm not supposed to be that honest and say that."

On O'Brien's goal he added: "I have just seen their goal and it's touch and go whether it was offside. I suppose if you are playing at home you hope you get it, away from home sometimes you don't get it."

Police probe McClean threats

James McClean: Subjected to death threats

The 23-year-old was criticised for his decision not to wear a Remembrance Day poppy on his shirt during the Black Cats' 2-1 defeat at Everton last weekend.

The Republic of Ireland international subsequently received a mixed response from the travelling Sunderland supporters when he was introduced as a second-half substitute during yesterday's 3-1 victory at Fulham.

It is understood that threats have been directed towards McClean on Twitter, a social networking site which the player no longer uses, with police confirming on Sunday they are investigating.

A statement released by Northumbria Police read: "Police are carrying out inquiries following a third party report of threats made on social networking sites.

"Officers have spoken to Sunderland AFC and inquiries are ongoing."

After yesterday's game, Black Cats manager Martin O'Neill confirmed McClean had received death threats, and backed him to rise above any negative reaction from fans concerning his choice not to wear a poppy.

O'Neill said: "James will deal with it (the booing).

"I think it is to do with the issue last week, it's a free choice in this world.

"James has lived with a lot of things - he's getting death threats too now so that doesn't help."

Jumat, 16 November 2012

McDermott unaware of Dick talk

Brian McDermott: Saddened by Advocaat reports

The Royals lie 18th in the Premier League and have not yet won a game this season.

Reports in the Dutch press over the last week have linked Advocaat to McDermott's job, with Russian owner Anton Zingarevich reportedly interested in talking to the former Holland boss.

When asked if he was aware of the rumours, McDermott said: "(He is a) decent manager - I haven't actually (read anything).

"It is pretty sad to have conversations like this really I think - you have a bunch of people here absolutely trying their best to the nth degree at the club."

Advocaat's managerial record will be well known to Zingarevich as the 65-year-old has previously been in charge of Zenit St Petersburg and the Russia national side.

But McDermott did not want to comment on the speculation and was more concerned with preparing his side for Saturday's visit of Everton.

He said: "We have got six draws, which could have been different, and great staff. Sto ries like that are stories - that is all they are.

"It is completely out of my control and is nothing to do with football, nothing to do with what we have to do on Saturday. It is nothing to do with it - that is the only thing that I would want to talk about."

The 51-year-old McDermott again distanced the club from a January transfer window binge.

Zingarevich is reportedly keen on bringing in a host of big-name signings in the new year to help keep the club in the top flight, but McDermott still does not see that happening.

"It came across that we were going to sign 10 players but that isn't the case," the Royals boss said. "He (Zingarevich) said we were just looking at 10 different types of players.

"We are actually looking at loads of players because that is what we do. Ten different players coming in is not true and it is never going to happen - we haven't got a budget to sign 10 players.

"I don't see a massive change in policy he re unless I'm right in the middle of it."

Kamis, 15 November 2012

Tottenham midfielder Mousa Dembele will not return for Arsenal showdown

Mousa Dembele: Tottenham midfielder will not return in north London derby

The Belgian playmaker has missed Spurs' last eight matches with a niggling hip injury but had hoped to be fit in time for the Emirates Stadium clash.

Villas-Boas said he hoped the 25-year-old would not need surgery to rectify the problem but may still not be ready in time for next week's Europa League trip to Lazio.

Villas-Boas said: "Dembele does not have a chance, not for this game. There is a 50% chance he will be back for the Lazio game.

"I think surgery at the moment is out of the question, hopefully."

Villas-Boas also gave updates on Jermain Defoe, Kyle Walker and Aaron Lennon, who all suffered hamstring injuries in last week's 2-1 defeat to Manchester City, with the latter most likely to be ready to face the Gunners.

"They haven't trained with the team yet. They have had lighter sessions on their own," Villas-Boas said of the trio.

"We will have to see today how they return to see if there's any disturbance. L ennon had a scan yesterday, and it's fine on his hamstring."

Rabu, 14 November 2012

QPR star Esteban Granero calls on the side to end their 11-match Premier League losing streak against Southampton

Esteban Granero: Ready for 'massive' clash at home to Southampton

The west Londoners are currently sitting bottom of the Premier League table and without a victory in their opening 11 matches.

Mark Hughes' men hope to bring that run to an end when they welcome 19th-placed Saints to Loftus Road and Granero is aware of how important three pints would be.

"We know this is going to be massive for us," he told the club's official website.

"We play at home against one of our rivals. We know the supporters are with us and they deserve more than we are giving to them.

"All we can do is continue training hard and give everything on the pitch on Saturday."

Granero has also been quick to dismiss talk suggesting he could leave the club as soon as January.

"I believe the first win will change everything," he added. "We are doing the correct things and that is why I think it's going to be better for us very soon.

"The beginning has been a little bit tough but I am sure it is going t o get better soon.

"Am I happy here? Yes, more than ever. I came here for a challenge and this is what I have."

The former Real Madrid star added: "I wanted to face a big challenge with this club.

"It is a club with a lot of ambition and it wants to grow. I want to grow with it. Together we can move forward at the same time.

"I know the future is going to be good. Of course words mean nothing in football but I will say that we are training very hard for Saturday's game and we are ready."

Selasa, 13 November 2012

Chelsea's approach questioned after police drop Mark Clattenburg investigation

Peter Herbert: Chairman of the Society of Black Lawyers claims "football ca

Peter Herbert's organisation asked the Metropolitan Police to investigate whether there was a racially-aggravated element to the "inappropriate language" Clattenburg allegedly used to Blues midfielder John Obi Mikel during last month's game against Manchester United.

Chelsea lodged an official complaint with the Football Association, but neither the club nor Mikel went to the police with their claims and the investigation has now been dropped.

Herbert told Sky Sports News: "What seems to have happened is that although Chelsea made a report to the FA they've decided, in their infinite wisdom, not to submit the same papers to police.

"It appears on the face of it to be another example of the football industry seeking to sweep racism under the carpet.

"If there is anything we can do to put pressure on the victims concerned to go forward to the police with this matter, then we'll do that.

"It highlights the fact that football ca n not regulate itself and really, on this issue of race, always wants to take the path of least resistance."

Herbert believes a thorough police investigation would also be in the best interests of Clattenburg, who has not been charged with any offence and strongly denies any wrongdoing.

He said: "Given the publicity this engendered it's fair for all concerned, including the person who's alleged to have made the comment, that justice is seen to be done and it's not dealt with by the FA internally."

But a Chelsea official later told Sky Sports News the FA is the appropriate body to deal with the complaint, and its decision on whether to charge Clattenburg is expected by the end of the week.

Liverpool are chasing Anzhi Makhachkala striker Lacina Traore, according to his agent

Lacina Traore: A transfer target for Liverpool, according to his agent

Liverpool are widely thought to be in the market for a new striker when the transfer window reopens in January, with Brendan Rodgers short of attacking options at Anfield.

The Reds failed to bring in a replacement for Andy Carroll during the summer transfer window and with Fabio Borini injured Luis Suarez is the only recognised senior striker available to Rodgers.

Traore is now thought to be on Liverpool's radar after impressing for Anzhi against them in the Europa League clash last week.

The giant Ivory Coast hit-man scored the winning goal in last Thursday's Europa League tie and Traore's representative, Dmitry Selyuk, claims Liverpool are leading the race ahead of Udinese to sign the 22-year-old.

"Aside from Liverpool, Udinese are another on the list of clubs to have made contact about the purchase of Traore," Selyuk, told Izvestia.

"I'm afraid the Italian side won't be able to meet the player's valuation."

However, Selyuk claims Traore is in no rush to leave Anzhi for Liverpool.

"At the moment Lacina is happy with his situation at Anzhi," Selyuk added. "Not long ago he signed a new contract until June 2016.

"There's no reason for Traore to rush."

Sabtu, 10 November 2012

Sir Alex Ferguson says Manchester United comeback against Aston Villa 'magnificent'

Sir Alex Ferguson: Delighted with win at Villa Park

United won 3-2 at Villa Park, coming back from two goals behind to grab the win in the closing minutes through Javier Hernandez.

"Absolutely magnificent result for us, it is a magnificent game I must say that," Ferguson told Sky Sports.

"Aston Villa have done fantastic today, they have run their socks off, and you have to feel sorry for them the effort they put in, but we never gave in and hit the bar twice in the second half, but once we got the second goal we came alive and it was a fantastic game."

Ferguson admits his side were told at half-time they needed a big improvement, adding: "They were careless in the first half and there was no real tempo to the game, not a shot on goal and they had to improve on that and they did.

"We have put pressure on ourselves today but we came through it and that is a lesson that we really need to be better in defence.

"You admire the tenacity of the performance when they need to do it, t hey do it and the attacking play was terrific at times."

Ferguson was full of praise for Hernandez who came off the bench to claim the match ball.

"He does his natural thing, he is fantastic in the penalty box, his movement, his quickness and being in space has got him three goals today," he continued.

"I have said in the last weeks he is fresh after a good summer break and that has made the difference. When he came two years ago that is what we saw."

Ferguson admitted Hernandez was now set to start against Norwich City next week.

"When you score a hat-trick you pick yourself and I think he will be playing next week," he said.

Wayne Rooney went off late on and is now a doubt for England's friendly with Sweden with an ankle injury.

"He has an ankle knock, he has ice on it and we will see how he is tomorrow," he said.

Jack Wilshere has no plans to turn his back on Arsenal

Jack Wilshere: Determined to help bring success back to Arsenal

Since breaking through from the academy system at the Emirates into the first-team fold, Wilshere has been forced to watch on as key performers have headed for the exits - with the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Robin van Persie opting to move on.

It has been suggested that Wilshere could head the same direction unless Arsenal can prove that they are capable of challenging for top honours.

The England international insists he is prepared to play his part in bringing silverware back to the club, with the 20-year-old midfielder of the opinion that he is already in the 'perfect' place.

"I've been at this club for 10 years and to come through the academy at Hale End and break into the first team is a great story. It's a dream," Wilshere told the Daily Mail.

"To have my family 20 minutes from the training ground and an hour from the stadium is perfect for me.

"Cesc wanted to go home. Home for me is Arsenal. My family and friends are 20 minutes away. It's perfect."

Wilshere is also aware that he is still learning his trade, despite the expectation being placed on his young shoulders, and is convinced that Arsenal can help him to become a better player, and a winner.

He said: "I think I've played 39 games in the Premier League, which is nothing really when you look at players like Tony Adams and how many appearances they made.

Wilshere added: "Our ambition every year is to challenge for the Premier League title. If we didn't think we could do that, we would be underachieving.

"People might say we're a long way off - and the table doesn't lie, we are a few points behind - but we know what we have to do. We know we can't afford to drop points."

Jumat, 09 November 2012

Defender Rio Ferdinand says Manchester United won't get carried away despite season's bright start

Rio Ferdinand: Keeping his feet on the ground

United eased through from the Champions League group stages in midweek with two matches still to play, with the 33-year-old coming off the bench for only his 10th game of the season in the 3-1 at Braga.

It has been a marked improvement by Sir Alex Ferguson's men on their miserable show in the European competition last year and caps a stunning few weeks having also climbed to the top of the Premier League.

But a wary Ferdinand said: "We are in the position we want to be. I wouldn't say we are over-happy.

"We set our stall out at the beginning of the Champions League to make sure we qualify comfortably. We have done that with games to spare.

"But in the league, Christmas is when we really evaluate it. If we are in the same position then as we are now, we would say it is a good start to the season.

"But it is still too early to look at the league table and start singing and dancing."

After a frustrating spell with back problems, the former England captain is hopeful of a run of injury-free games alongside Johnny Evans with Nemanja Vidic still on the sidelines after knee surgery.

"I have not been speaking about my injuries over the past few months because there haven't been any," Ferdinand added.

"Over the last 18 months I have managed it really well. The club have helped

me. It is testament to the medical and science department that they have been

able to help me along.

"It means I have been playing consistently, week in, week out. If the manager needs me to play in the midweek games, that is fine as well.

"I am more than capable of doing that, as I have proved over the past 18


Rabu, 07 November 2012

Pep Guardiola's agent has refused to rule out a move to AC Milan

Pep Guardiola: Brother was at AC Milan on Tuesday

AC Milan moved quickly to issue a statement denying any contact between senior management and Guardiola's brother, Pere, who was spotted in the San Siro crowd for Milan's Champions League match against Malaga.

But Jose Maria Orobitg told radio station TMW on Wednesday: "Guardiola isn't going to Milan? Who told you that? I am Guardiola's manager, not his brother Pere.

"Anything is possible next year. I speak to (Milan vice-president Adriano) Galliani all the time, and when I speak to him he is very friendly. We have a good relationship. Who knows what will happen in the future?"

Guardiola is currently enjoying a sabbatical year in New York after guiding Barcelona to three Primera Division titles and two Champions League trophies in just four years.

"Milan is an option, as are Manchester City and Chelsea," Orobitg added. "Pep is listening to offers and evaluating them. But Guardiola will not coach this year. We'll talk about it in June."

Speculation has arisen concerning the managerial post at the San Siro given Massimiliano Allegri's poor start to the season, with the Rossoneri only able to hold Malaga to a 1-1 draw on Tuesday.

Orobitg added: "Why was his brother in Milan? Because he represents a lot of Malaga players, why is it strange that he would go and watch one of their games?

"The press talked about it like it was a special event. He just went to watch a game of football. He is also Luis Suarez's agent, but none of the papers talked about that."

A statement issued on Milan's website on Tuesday read: "AC Milan denies the occurrence of a presumed meeting between vice-president Adriano Galliani with family or agents of Mr Guardiola, following news stories that have emerged from several outlets."

Selasa, 06 November 2012

Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi has dismissed speculation linking him with a move to Liverpool

Ali Al Habsi: Played down talk linking him with a move to Liverpool

Reports over the weekend suggested Liverpool were lining up a move for Al Habsi as doubts continue to surround the long-term future of Pepe Reina.

Al Habsi has established himself as one of the best shot-stoppers in the Premier League since joining Wigan, initially on loan from Bolton, before making the move permanent in the summer of 2011.

The 30-year-old has dismissed the speculation and insists he is happy to stay at Wigan.

"I have said it many times before but I love this football club, I love the fans and I hope to give them much more," Al Habsi told the Wigan Evening Post.

"I heard about what was said at the weekend, but that kind of thing is not of any importance to me.

"I am very, very happy at Wigan - as has been the case since I first came here.

"I am doing well, my form is coming on with every game I play, and my confidence is very high.

"All I want to do is concentrate on my job here and to help the team, b ecause there is lots of work to be done."

Sabtu, 03 November 2012

Robert Mancini has shrugged off talk linking Pep Guardiola with Manchester City

Roberto Mancini: Unconcerned over speculation linking Guardiola with City job

The Spanish boss, who left Barca at the end of last season following a glittering four-year spell at the club, has been linked with a move to the reigning Premier League champions.

Mancini is already working alongside two former Barcelona men in new director of football Txiki Begiristain and chief executive Ferran Soriano, but he shrugged off speculation Guardiola could follow.

Mancini said of Begiristain: "I am very happy. He has a lot of experience with a top club like Barca. If we did well in the last two years, I think we can do better in the future.

"If people write that Txiki is here and maybe next year Guardiola will arrive or another manager, this is not my problem. I'm here, I want to continue to work well because I think we are ready to improve and build a stronger team."

Mancini insists he will retain control over City's signings despite Begiristain's appointment.

The Spaniard, who formerly held the same role at B arcelona, joined City last weekend, with the club announcing his role would include supporting the manager in player recruitment.

But the City boss expects Begiristain to fulfil the same role football administrator Brian Marwood has in previous transfer windows of completing the deals once targets have been identified.

Mancini said: "I want to decide which players we take, this is normal for every manager. I worked with Brian for three years, he was sporting director, I think Txiki will do the same job.

"I have my job and Txiki will have his job. I don't want to go to talk with other teams to buy players, this is not my job. Like every sporting director, he will talk with me before buying players."

Kamis, 01 November 2012

Pulis reveals pride in Stoke

Tony Pulis: Proud to manage Stoke

And nor has his determination to keep pushing the club forward.

The Staffordshire outfit, hovering just above the second tier relegation zone when Pulis was named boss on November 1 2002, are now in their fifth successive Premier League season, with appearances in the 2011 FA Cup final and last term's Europa League under their belts.

During his decade in charge - which is punctuated by a spell at Plymouth after he was dismissed by the Potters' Icelandic owners at the end of 2004-05, only to return a year later following Peter Coates' takeover - the Welshman has overseen a considerable transformation at the club.

His feelings towards Stoke remain unchanged, though, and for all he has achieved to date, Pulis is certainly not about to take his position for granted or ease up in his efforts to continue driving them onwards and upwards.

Speaking this afternoon at a press conference to preview Saturday's away league clash with Norwich, at which he was presented with a cake in recognition of his landmark, Pulis said: "It has been tough, but obviously I'm very proud of what we have done and achieved.

"I can remember sitting in the Waddington Suite (at the Britannia Stadium) on my first night with the Icelandic directors saying I was very proud to manage Stoke City, and I still am very proud to manage this football club.

"It has been a fantastic time here. It has had ups and downs and it is difficult - football clubs are not easy to manage.

"But I've enjoyed it, and I hope people will look back and feel I've played my part in what we've done over the last 10 years.

"It has been very, very good, but the biggest thing in life and in sport is that you can't rest on your laurels.

"You have got to keep driving forward and pushing forward. I know you are always three or four games away from taking a lot of stick, so you have to be on the front foot as much as you can.

"If you sit an d take slaps on the back and people saying well done, then you take your foot off the pedal.

"The Premier League is such a tough, tough league and it can all fall away so quickly."

Potters chairman Coates has hailed Pulis - who has guided Stoke to 12th, 11th, 13th and then last season 14th-placed finishes in the Premier League - as the club's greatest manager.

Coates told Stoke's official website: "He has done a remarkable job to establish the club in what is widely recognised as the most competitive league in the world, where the top teams and top players are world class.

"That is why I believe that he qualifies as our best-ever manager.

"Tony did well for us the first time around because he steadied the ship when we were facing relegation and he achieved it on a very modest budget.

"There was a time when I thought we would never get into the Premier League, but all that started to change when Tony came back (in 2006).

"He ha d a clear vision of what he wanted to achieve at the club and we have made incredible progress in a relatively short space of time."