Monday, 17 November 2014

Top Six a banker under Karanka? (Picture)

Aitor Karanka has enjoyed a successful first year at The Riverside but isn’t getting carried away with his recent praise.  Middlesbrough currently sit third in the championship just one point behind Steve McLaren’s table topping Derby County. Middlesbrough fans must be expecting at least a top six finish this season and hope their good form doesn’t slip away in their traditional after Christmas slump. 

Karakna recently admitted that his managerial style has been directly influenced by the ‘Special One’ Jose Mourinho. The Boro manager told ABC  “From Mourinho I learned that what is fundamental is that the players feel happy.” 

"He told me that it was a good place to grow and to fulfil myself. Chelsea have loaned us three footballers. After each match we speak and exchange messages. 

"He gives me advice – the best that he has given me, since I worked with him during those three wonderful years at Real Madrid is the that the team is above individuals."

Middlesbrough’s success one the pitch has seen a resurgence in support. Their next away match against Wigan on Saturday has seen the Smoggies sell out the 4,800 allocation – this will be the second highest away follow of any Championship team this season.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Bright Future for 3 years [picture]

Don't worry United fans, its all under control. The glory days aren't over, they're just on hiatus. A three year hiatus to be exact, according to manager Louis Van Gaal. Speaking in regards his teams cruddy start to the season the Dutchman explained its part of a process which will eventually see them return to the multi-title winning Champions they were under Sir Alex Ferguson's stewardship.

In a tense press conference this week, Van Gaal stated: 'I feel, myself, very lousy for the fans firstly, but also for the board because they have a great belief in me and my players and my staff and when you have 13 points out of 10 matches you are not doing well.'

'It's not good enough. But on the other hand, we are in a process, as I have said from the beginning. The process shall take more than one year, it shall take three years. I cannot say when the results are coming. When I did it with Bayern Munich it was December 8. It can be February 1. But it doesn't matter. This is a process of three years. I have signed for three years.'

His predecessor David Moyes wasn't even allowed a full season to attempt to acheive his Red Devil dream, only making it ten months into a six year contract. So patience when it comes to failure is a big ask when at a club so accustom to success, especially given the amount of money spent on the team over the summer transfer window.

United are currently four points worse off than they were this time last season under David Moyes and former player Paul Scholes has criticised Van Gaal's start to life at Old Trafford, stating following recent performances: 'It concerns me that expectation levels have slipped so far that many supporters I know felt relieved at snatching a late draw with Chelsea and losing narrowly to City.'

'The scoreline against City might have been more respectable than last season but the performance in the first hour of the game was very poor indeed. This is Manchester United. It is not simply good enough to play well for 20 minutes and lose.'

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Back Pardew Campaign Kicks Off

Newcastle manger Alan Pardew relieved himself further this weekend of the pressure which had been mouting upon him, with a second league win in succession. A poor start to the season had seen the Toon lingering in the bottom 3 of the Premiership, but a win over Spurs today saw them shoot up to 14th in the table.

Pardew's side fought back from a goal down to win 2-1, with half time substitutes Sammy Ameobi and Remy Cabella having a pivotal effect on the game. Speaking after the game Pardew praised the fight and belief that his side showed when turning things round for the Toon in the second half.

'At the moment, the Geordie nation does not really think I am good enough so hopefully that has ticked one box that I do know what I am doing. The players showed they are fighting for the shirt. That is what our fans want to see.'

'I have been here for 701 games now so it is pleasing for me and for my team, because we do a lot stuff that we think is important for the team. But the players have to carry it out. At the end of the day, you are as good as your players.'

'We have got some belief in them and they showed they are fighting for the shirt. That is what our fans want to see.'

It's a tough road ahead for Pardew with his next two games against Manchester City and Liverpool and it will take more than a couple of wins to convince certain sections of the Newcastle fans he is still the man for the job. Anti-Pardew website has vowed not to rest 'until Alan Pardew has been sacked.' Unfortunately due to logistical problems their Sack Pardew placards didn't make it down to White Hart Lane today, no doubt to the delight of the Toon boss.

Ask anyone who has been given the sack and they’ll tell you it’s not so nice. Henceforth, here at we are beginning the ‘Back Pardew Campaign’ to keep Alan from signing on at his local job centre. Print off your ‘Back Pardew’ placard and take it along to St James to show your support for the cause.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Darko Milanic Watermelon Test: 3 Games In [picture]

Massimo Cellino gave the watermelon test to a grand total of 36 managers during his 22 years in charge of Italian side Cagliari and this conveyor belt method of selection shows no sign of slowing after having taken over at Leeds.

With Brian McDermott, David Hockaday and Neil Redfearn having already been pulped in Massimo’s quest for the perfect manager, next in the firing line is previously unheard of Slovenian coach Darko Milanic.

Opting to roll the dice once again on another unknown and untested manager, Cellino gave an early vote of no confidence stating: 'I don't know why I've chosen Milanic. The coaches are like watermelons. You find out about them when you open them. His particular qualities? He is good looking, what can I tell you?'

Having a tough act to follow after Neil Redfearns decent interim spell, Milanic has yet to earn his first victory for the Whites since his installation last month. The Slovenian opened with a 2-0 defeat to Brentford and then followed it up with a nil-nil draw against Reading at Elland Road. He then made it two points out of a possible nine after fighting back to earn a 1-1 draw against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.

It is far off promotion form, however Leeds currently sit just six points behind league leaders Norwich. When asked about the chances of a play-off place Milanic refused to be drawn, stating: 'My job is to improve the team. I have to see the players on the field in a big game like this and they have the quality, yes. There's enough quality. But my job is to improve them like I said. We're working very hard to make a good team.'

Are you a betting man (or woman)? How many managers will Cellino get through in his first season at Elland road? For those who like a bit of online football betting check out the odds of Leeds here

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Hart's Not In It [picture]

Joe Hart was left sat on the bench for Manchester City's game against Hull this afternoon, with Manuel Pellegrini opting to give Willy Cabellero his Premier League debut rather than playing the England ace.

Pellegrini stated after the signing of Cabellero in the summer transfer window that he would not have a number 1 keeper and that either man could make the starting line up for any game, regardless of the competition.

He lived up to his word opting to play the Argentine keeper in consective games following his clean sheet City's mid-week Carling Cup game against Sheffield Wednesday. Speaking after today's game, Pellegrini stated: 'I think for Willy it was good to play not just one game but to play two in a row.'

'Joe played eight games in 32 days, a lot of games for a goalkeeper. I have a squad of 22, 23 players and I make rotations because I think it is better for the team. In this case I think it was good for Willy.'

There has been speculation linking Hart with a move away from City, which could gain further momentum if Pellegrini continues to opt for his former Malaga pal Cabellero. Hart is yet to be offered a new contract with City which has given rise to rumours that he could leave the Etihad for Premier League rivals Liverpool.

Speaking about his contract situation, Hart stated: 'Anything about a new contract is news to me. I’ve heard nothing. I’ve got a year, nearly two years, left on my deal. That is all I am aware of.'

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Billy Sharp Signs as Leeds reinforce squad

Souleymane Doukara scored twice on his first competitive outing at Elland Road as Leeds beat Accrington Stanley in the first round of the Capital One cup. David Hockaday’s side provided a much improved performance from Saturday’s loss against Millwall and were deservedly 2-0 ahead at half time. Accrington improved after the break and James Gray scored a late consolation for Accrington in the 84th minute. Leeds’ new signing Gaetano Berardi saw red in the 88th minute after a reckless flying tackle which led to a nervy last few minutes for the home side.

Leeds have added to their ranks this afternoon having announced the signing of Billy Sharp on a two year deal from Southampton. The experienced striker will help to replace goals missing since Ross McCormack departed Leeds this summer.

Leeds look set to announce three new signings this week as Massimo Cellino aims to improve his squad. Guiseppe Bellusci, 24, has signed a season long loan deal from Catania with the option for of a permanent deal at the end of the season. Chesterfield have also announced that a fee had been agreed for their central defender Liam Cooper after Leeds came back with an improved third offer for the 22 year old.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Wenger: Mourinho truly is the Special (at failure) One [picture]

Wenger has finally done it. The curse is lifted and the famine is over, Arsenal have won a trophy. You may not have heard, but it had been nine barren season's for the Gunner's without silverware. Thankfully with the winning of the FA Cup last Saturday that statistic can be put to bed and Wenger can focus on more important things, like doing battle with unruly coat zippers.

With the passing of one managers trophy drought, so beginneth another. Jose Mourinho followed up from his final season at Madrid with another trophyless season at Chelsea and as Arsene can attest they quickly start to stack up.

Mourinho branded Wenger a 'specialist at failure' earlier in the season and had looked to be proven right when the Gunner's Premier League title challenge fizzled out in trademark fashion, but a lifeline was provided when they scraped past Wigan on penalties in the Semi-final of the FA Cup.

Arsenal's bad luck had looked to have struck again when Hull went 2-0 ahead in the first eight minutes of the FA Cup final, but a hard fought comeback saw them win 3-2. Silverware was finally being brought back to the Emmirates and a smile was brought back to Wenger's face.

Speaking to Channel 4 following Arsenal's triumph, Mourinho stated through clenched teeth: 'I know. In the last nine years, Arsenal won an FA Cup. That’s a nice moment for them.'

Monday, 12 May 2014

No Sleep for Stevie [picture]

Steven Gerrard may suffer one or two poor nights sleep after Liverpool lost out in the Premiership title race to Manchester City after having been in the driving seat with three league games to go. The Liverpool captain had implored his team-mates not to let their lead at the top of the table slip following the win over City, only to play a pivitol role in the demise of his sides title challenge. His costly slip during the game against Chelsea helped hand the advantage back to City in the title race. Oh sweet irony!

Speaking following confirmation that City had clinched the league with a 2-0 victory over West Ham, Gerrard stated: 'I'm absolutely devastated. Personally gutted and gutted for the fans. They've been magnificent but we can't be too down because it's been a fantastic season and we need to bounce back for next year and try and go one better. It took me until I'm 33 to get the experience of a proper title race so the experience for these young lads is going to be vital and there is a lot of ability in the squad. It's growing and it's moving forward and hopefully we can keep improving it.'

'We have to congratulate Manchester City because they've been the best over 38 games so congratulations to them. I can certainly play at this level for another year for sure because I feel so fit and so strong and even though I am getting on. But the idea for me is to carry on until my legs pack in, but I will know when the day comes, but it is not here just yet.;

'Champions League was the target but if somebody asked me if we would go to the last day in the title race I wouldn't have believed them. It was our target the top four but after going on a run of 11 wins we got a bit of belief and we started dreaming. We gave it our best shot unfortunately we fell short of it, but if that point at Crystal Palace or the three points today got us in the top four we would be celebrating for weeks now.'

Saturday, 19 April 2014

This Doesn't Slip? Liverpool to win the Title [picture]

Steven Gerrard was heard giving his Liverpool a impassioned post-game speech after beating Manchester City at Anfield last Sunday in which he implored his team mates not to allow any points to be lost in the remaining four games of the season.

Liverpool's fate is in their own hands and Gerrard can win his first ever Premiership title if every one of their remaining fixtures are won. After having won the previous ten Premier League games, Brendan Roger's Liverpool juggernaut shows no sign of stopping, however Gerrard wants his side to take nothing for granted as they near the finish line.

In the centre of  a huddle of his celebrating team mates, Gerrard shouted: 'This does not f*****g slip. We keep going. Listen! Listen! We go to Norwich. Exactly the same.'

Speaking after the game Gerrard elaborated further on the attitude he feels his side needs to take going into the season final fixtures. 'Every game is getting bigger because we are getting closer to the last game of the season,' said Gerrard. 'Man City was always going to be huge because they are in the race with us but Norwich now become Man City. Norwich become Chelsea. Norwich become Manchester United. That's how big it is.'

'We have got to treat Norwich like we treated AC Milan in 2005. That's just how football is. We can't think about what colour shirts Norwich are wearing and the personnel in them. We have got to treat them like the best team in the world.'

'It is a remarkable run but you get nothing for it. You get a pat on the back. We've all had them but they come and go. What is key as a footballer is getting something to show for all the hard work. We have been on a magnificent run. We could win 13 on the spin but lose the last one and we will get nothing. Nobody will remember it. The only way people will remember it is if we go on and win it.'

'We have got to forget where we are and forget what we have done. We have just got to focus and prepare for Norwich now. We have got to treat it like it is the last game of all our careers. That is the mentality.'

Sunday, 23 March 2014

F.T Phone Home [picture]

Fernando Torres has hinted that he would like to make a move back to his former club Atletico as the next step in his career, citing his desire to work once again with former teammate Diego Simone as an opportunity he would like to take up.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has made no secret of his desire to bring in a new forward over the summer and it is possible Torres could be sold off as they look to strenghen their attack.

When speaking to Spanish newspaper AS this week, Torres stated: 'In football you never know. You can't be sure where you're going to be tomorrow or in a week or in 10 years.

'I have a lot of admiration for Diego Simeone from when we were team-mates. He helped me a lot and taught me to be captain. He taught me many things in our seasons together at Atleti.'

'I always want to work alongside people I admire. I admired from the outside Rafael Benitez and had the opportunity to work with him. It was the same with Jose Mourinho and Luis Aragones.'

'I have been fortunate to work with people who you say from the outside 'What do they have? What is their secret? Why do all their teams win?' Simeone is like Guardiola or other coaches. You'd get to see how they train.'

'The twists and turns of life are unknown. I don't have to meet Simeone either here at Chelsea or with Atleti. Who would have said I would work with Benitez at two English teams?'