Sunday, 19 June 2016

Klopp still grinning at swoop for £40 million star

After having raided Southampton for Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren and Nathaniel Clyne in previous seasons, Liverpool have now identified the next Saints player they want to lure to Anfield.

Manager Jurgen Klopp is understood to be increasing efforts to sign Southampton winger Sadio Mane according to reports today in the Sun on Sunday.

Klopp is determined to boost his attacking options and has made the Senegalese international one of his top transfer targets for this summers transfer window.

It is reported that Mane would be looking for wages of around £125,000 should the deal go ahead.

Klopp is known for his wide grin, however it is unclear whether a £40 million asking price from Southampton for Mane would be enough to wipe it from his face.

Sad Ronaldo swears that things will get better

It was a tough day at the office last night for Cristiano Ronaldo and his Portugal team mates, who were unable to catch a break and get a winning goal against Austria in their second group game of Euro 2016.

Ronaldo missed a penalty and had a goal disallowed as his team drew 0-0, a result which means Portugal now require a win from their final game to progress to the next round.

Speaking after the same, Ronaldo stated: 'Breaking Luís Figo's Portugal appearance record is a reason to be proud. It was a goal to be the most-capped international player and to be the national team's top scorer. But I'm a bit sad because this wasn't the way I wanted to break this record. We wanted to win. This was not how I envisaged it.'

'We had a lot of chances, and we did well, but we weren't able to finish. I also missed some chances – a penalty and some others. But that's part of football. We need to continue to believe, and once again thank the Portuguese fans who were here and also the ones who were supporting us from elsewhere. I'm sure Portugal will give their best in the next match, and if you try you'll always make it.'

'We, the players, need to think that it's still possible; if we win, we qualify. And also the Portuguese people, the fans who love Portugal, they also have to believe. The bad won't last forever, so we need to believe that things will get better.'

Ronaldo will be hoping he has better luck in Portugal's final group stage game on June 22nd against Hungary in which they still seek their first win of the competition.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

'Happy' Hodgson ready to end 50 years of hurt?

Roy Hodgson has spoken of his satisfaction with his team selection for his England side's opening Euro 2016 game against Russia this evening.

'I feel happy with it,' stated Hodgson, in reference to his team selection he revealed to his squad this morning. 'It is not something that has suddenly been sprung upon us over the last few days, it is something which has been emerging certainly over the last six months.'

'It hasn't emerged over the last four years or even over two years but certainly over the last six months the team I’ll pick tomorrow and the team I might pick in future games, they've been emerging and I feel very comfortable now I know what those players can do on the field and what they can do together.'

England go in to the competition after a good run of wins against France, Germany and Portugal. However, general levels of expectation for the England team seems lower than in previous competitions. Despite this, Hodgson still has worries that the pressure to succeed from fans and the media could have a negative effect on players mindset and performances.

'We know these players can play football. We see it at their clubs,' stated Hodgson. 'My fear as a coach would be that the players take anxiety on to the field, that they’re weighed down when they go out and play and don’t play as well as they like, imagining the headlines.'

'We try and encourage them to believe in themselves, go out and play the football we've been trying to play, and we’ll see what it brings. We hope it brings some good moments and the people back home like what they see.'

There has been some optimistic talk of England 'doing a Leicester' and becoming surprise victors at the competition. Can Hodgson's underdogs end 50 years of hurt?

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Chelsea Say Goodbye to Guus (Again)


Chelsea are set to say goodbye to Guus Hiddink for the second time after completing his second interim spell as manager of the Blues at the end of the season.

His return to Stamford Bridge has not been as fruitful as his first interim role in which he won the FA Cup and finished 3rd in the Premier League, however the Dutchman he is happy with how the season has progressed.

Speaking to De Telegraaf, Hiddink stated:'It turned out a great half season and I want to finish well with these last three matches.'

'The club was in a negative flow and there was panic. It was my task to restore a calm atmosphere and that happened.'

'If we kept losing, even to a club like Chelsea there could have been big problems – just like nobody expected Leicester to became champions, that could have happened.'

Hiddink is set to be replaced by Antonio Conte, who is taking on his first managerial role outside of Italy. Speaking in regards to the expectations Conte will face, Hiddink has stated that a strong title challenge will be required for him to keep his job.

'The pressure is on,' stated Hiddink. 'We have to see Chelsea next year again fighting for the title and being on top.'

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

End of a Weng-era?

 A 4-0 win over Championship side Hull City was not enough to quell dissent from travelling Arsenal fans as they unveiled a banner at the KC Stadium last night reading: 'Arsène, thanks for the memories but it’s time to say goodbye.' The long standing Gunner's boss had to address the issue when asked about the banner following the win.

There’s nothing disappointing for me,' stated Wenger. 'I do my job. Look at the history of the club, since the club exists, and you will see that I have nothing to be scared of. I don’t care. I do not want to speak about that because it is always the same story. It is enough now. If you have any questions ask other people. Do you know someone who has won it the FA Cup more than me?'

'We judge the season afterwards and I’m quite amazed so many people judge it so early. We have not given up anywhere and you will see that in the coming weeks. This club has been in a much worse position than it is today.'

Arsenal's season looks to be following a familiar pattern with them losing pace in the title race and all but out of the Champions League following a 2-0 home defeat to Barcelona.

After yesterdays's match the fan responsible for the banner explained his frustration, stating: 'At the end of the day we could have lost 4-0 today and everyone will say 'you’re overreacting’. So we can’t win.'

'But the fact is this is not because of a couple of bad results, not because we lost to Man United, not because we lost to Swansea. It’s the culmination of years and years and years of lies, and everything from the board to the manager - Arsene Wenger’s not solely responsible, and we need to get people to understand that.'

Could we be witnessing the end of a Weng-era this season?

Saturday, 27 February 2016

LVG: Big Players Back in Time for Arsenal Showdown

Louis Van Gaal has spoken about the return to fitness of a number of United's key players ahead of Sundays game against Arsenal at Old Trafford. The Dutchman has confirmed that he expects goalkeeper David De Gea to feature following recovery from a knee injury.

Speaking to the Manchester United's official website, Van Gaal confirmed that 'I expect [David can return] because I saw the way he was today,' Other player's in the frame include Chris Smalling, Anthony Martial and Marcos Rojo.

'Chris is a question mark, but you never know,' stated Van Gaal. 'I don’t know [if Martial can return] because it has happened before the match. I’ve talked with him. I have talked with the physiotherapist that already had control of him. I cannot say, but it is not as heavy as everybody thinks, but you never know.'

'I'm very happy with Marcos that he played 10 or 15 minutes and how he showed already his form and shape, he was very good. But I have to build him up in the games and that’s not so easy, because he only had two training sessions with me. On the first day, he was with the second team and, on the second day, he was with us. So I take also a risk to do that, but I think that I have to do that now with 15 minutes and then 30 minutes and like that and I hope we can build him up.'

Despite this boost to the United squad and that they are playing at Old Trafford, for the first time in the Premier League era Arsenal are favourites to win. A clear indication of how far the Manchester club have fallen since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Inside the Mind of Guardiola: Pep's Thoughts on City

It is one of the great mysteries of life that we never get to truly know what goes on inside the head of another human being. Despite this, here at Flaming Hairdryer we having undertaken the daunting task of understanding the mind of football management genius and future Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.

The result of hours of painstaking research and study has produced the above cartoon summarising our findings.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Breaking News: Sack for Mourinho

It could be the sack for Jose Mourino this Christmas after reports that Roman Abramovich has held a meeting with the Chelsea board of directors to discuss the future of the Special One at the club.

The results have been far from special so far this season and it now looks increasingly likely that Mourinho won't last the season with the Blues despite winning the Premiership last time round and signing a new contract with the club in August.

Things have taken a turn for the worse for this week with a loss against Leicester, which has led to an admission from Mourinho that a top for finish is no longer a realistic possibility for his side this season.

Speaking after Monday nights defeat, Mourinho stated: 'It's hard. All last season I did phenomenal work and brought them to a level that's not their level, which is more than they really are, or this season we are doing so bad that some of the players - of course I am not saying all of them, I don't want to put them all in the same basket - but clearly for some of them, it is so difficult.'

Chelsea's next fixture is against fellow struggler's Sunderland in a game which would not be unfairly billed as a relegation dogfight based on each teams league position and form, however Jose has stated: 'I accept that we are in the relegation zone, I don't accept we are in a relegation battle. To be in a relegation battle is when you feel that you are going to be there one, two, three or four months.'

It's been a good couple of season's since we've seen a new manager at Chelsea. Could Abramovich be lining one up for Chelsea this Christmas?

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Jo Mo's Lost his Mojo [picture]



What is it that makes the Special one so special? What are the ingredients that have made a recipe for success that has seen Jose Mourinho keep winning almost relentlessly year after year in his glittering trophy laden career? Whatever it is, it seems to have got up and left him this season, with little sign of return.

The aura of invincibility has evaporated from Mourinho and his side, to the extent that this weekend's game against the Potter's was no longer a routine victory and instead was the third Premier League defeat in a row for the Blues.

Chelsea captain John Terry has spoken in the past of Mourinho's ability to unite a team, stating 'He is a master motivator who makes us feel superior.' Keeper Asmir Begovic has also championed Mourinho's quality, stating: 'We are behind the manager you can see that from our performances. We think he is the right man and someone we work hard for. His spirit and his presence is always there. We wanted to get a result for him.'

Kurt Zouma stated after the Stoke defeat: '“We have to keep him, we have to. I don’t think the dressing room has abandoned him. On the level of performances, it is not like last year for sure. But mentally we are still all together, we are a group. The coach has always been behind us and we are behind him just like the supporters are. I think that is still the same situation. It is bizarre because last season we finished as champions and three months later we have started badly. Maybe we were relaxed mentally too much. In the last few matches we have played better and then we were unlucky but the confidence is still there.

However there has been talk of unrest within the Chelsea squad and its easy to see how a divisive character like Mourinho could cause contentions within his team, especially given the erratic and spiky mood the Special One has shown this season.

Jose still appears to have the backing of his team and the Chelsea fans, but Roman Abramovich is not known for his tolerance for failure. Can Jose refind his mojo before the axe comes a-swinging?

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Christiano Ronaldo: The Incredible Sulk [picture]

It's not easy being the worlds greatest footballer (except Messi). All the money, the
women, the trophies and personal honours still don't guarantee happiness. Not if you're Christiano Ronaldo anyway. The former Manchester United star is in the midst of one of his trademark strops and few are being spared his wrath.

After a blistering start to the season in which he scored 25 goal in 14 league games, Ronaldo's form has taken a downward turn which has seen his Real Madrid team concede the lead in the La Liga title race to Barcelona. His team have been knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Atletico Madrid and came close to being beated by Shalke in the Champions League.

Add to this the split between him and long-term girlfriend Irina Shayk and the Madrid fans jeering recent poor performances and you have got one angry Galactico on your hands. Team mate Sergio Ramos has shed some light on Ronaldo's foul mood, stating: 'He's used to scoring 60 goals a year and when he gets 40 he's not happy, he has a very competitive character.'

The Messi vs Ronaldo debate has started to swing back in the Argentinian's favour, with Brazil legend Pele stating: 'The two best at the moment are obviously Ronaldo and Messi. Is the best one? Messi has been the best player of the last 10 years. Ronaldo is that striker who scores goals, but Messi does that and helps with assists.' Comments which are sure to to make Ronaldo's blood boil.

Madrid play Barcelona at the Nou Camp tomorrow and a win would see them leapfrog their opponents back to the top of La Liga. A loss however would see a four point gap open up behind Barcelona, a result which would no doubt see Ronaldo hulking out once again.