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Photo Attribution: USATSII talked about Michael Harrison briefly in my Monday Mailbag and had every reason to believe he would be back for the 2013 season.However, Gina Mizell wrote a post yesterday in which she had this to say:Oklahoma State recently released its 2013 spring football roster, a handy tool as I prep for practice to begin on Monday.As I scanned each position while working on this daily series that will lead us up to that first workout, I noticed that Harrison wasn’t listed. I was told in December that the Cowboys expected him back in 2013 after serving his NCAA suspension for the 2012 season.So I inquired about it. And now, it appears things have changed, as an OSU source told me Harrison is no longer expected to rejoin the team. The source stressed Harrison did not get in trouble, but that his commitment to the program was in question.She’s right. A quick scan of the OSU spring roster and Harrison’s name isn’t on it.But Brendon Morris seems convinced that Harrison will still play next year as he tweeted this out last night after Gina’s post: Just saw WR Michael Harrison out to dinner with the rest of the #OKState receivers. Another indication he’ll be back this fall.— Brendon Morris (@brendon_wm) March 6, 2013I have no idea who’s right here and to be honest, I don’t know that anyone will know for sure until the fall.Harrison’s case has been a strange one. Usually there’s information on what somebody did or why he’s no longer on the team. With Harrison though it’s just been that he “was suspended by the NCAA and not Gundy.” That’s all we have.Clint Chelf could certainly use an extra target when OSU opens against Mississippi State but I don’t really think Michael Harrison is going to swing the Big 12 race.If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!
That’s it. 10 thoughts coming later.If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!
Football NewsA look at Oklahoma State’s defensive backfield headed into 2016. (NewsOK)Victor Salako aiming for improvement after offseason surgery. (NewsOK)James Washington continues to shine this spring. (Go Pokes)Oklahoma State ranked No. 10 in ESPN’s football power index preseason rankings. (PFB)A recruiting recap from the weekend. (PFB)Oklahoma State hosted a quarterback from Pearland, Texas at practice. (Go Pokes)Four-star shooting guard Tyson Jolly will visit Oklahoma State this weekend. (PFB)Hoops NewsBig Country spotting! (PFB)Davon Dillard with a nice between-the-legs jam. (PFB)If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!
If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers! The legend behind Marcus Arroyo continues to grow during his time in Stillwater. He’s been known to be an excellent closer on the recruiting trail (see: Chuba Hubbard, JD King) and he continues to impress with his knowledge of the game, even beyond the X’s and O’s.He talked with Robert Allen of gopokes.com a little last week about the progression of the running game, and also touched on some of the hot button topics like Chris Carson and the arrival of Barry J.His takes were awesome.“I think the one thing we have to be careful about,” Arroyo said, ” is building statues sometimes for something that hasn’t happened yet.”Striking right where OSU fans are most vulnerable. After the Cowboys landed highly touted running back Chris Carson last year, who flipped from Georgia to OSU, he quickly drew comparisons to Adrian Peterson (even from teammates). But Arroyo knows the jump even from junior college to D1 is a big move.“I’ll use Chris Carson as an example,” Arroyo continued. “A junior college kid coming into his first year with no summer training is not much different than a true freshman (like Jeff Carr) from a high school position.”So maybe Chris Carson had way too high of expectations placed on him going into his first year of D1 football. And Arroyo was smart to recognize that, and, just as coaches tend to do, limit the expectations in the preseason. He knows first hand the pace of Division I and seems to be an excellent fit at his coaching position to ease guys in.And of course, he talked Barry J., too.“Having experience is so monumental at the running back position, because if there’s a guy inexperienced with 65,000 people when the lights come on, you can’t put that in front of them on a Monday through Thursday practice. Fortunately Barry has been through that. He’s been through a very successful program, comes from a good background. Behaviorally and mentally are the big things he’s going to bring to the table. Not to undermine his physical abilities, it’s just knowing how important football is, not having trouble off the field, no distractions… He may not say it out loud, but I think there’s an emotional investment for him that’s really special.”Pretty cool interview with the second year running backs coach. You can listen to the entire interview here.
Defense wins championships. Even in the Big 12. Since moving to 10 teams back in 2011, every Big 12 title winner did the following things:Finished in the top three in the Big 12 in turnover marginFinished with an 8-1 record in conference playFinished with a top four defense in points per drive allowedDon’t believe me? Look. Here are the ranks of all the Big 12 champions since 2011 (I, unlike the Big 12, only count outright winners).Oklahoma State finished No. 1 in turnover margin in 2013 and 2015 and didn’t win the conference. Baylor’s 2014 defense was the “worst defense” to win the league since it went to 10 teams.Now look at the profiles of the two teams this year that have a chance of winning the conference. Only one fits the template of an outright Big 12 champion.Oklahoma has an historically atrocious defense for Oklahoma (more on this later on in the week) and currently ranks N0. 7 in points per drive allowed. No. 7! I put it at No. 6 though because the numbers for last week aren’t out yet, but I believe Baylor will drop below OU after whatever it was they did at AT&T Stadium on Saturday against Patty Mahomes.Furthermore, the worst points-per-drive number we have seen from a Big 12 champion is 1.91 from Baylor in 2014. OU’s is currently over 2.4! Here is a look at the current turnover margin leaderboard.OU could flip this board around if it wins the turnover battle 3-0 or something like that, but it would have to win it 5-0 or better to actually finish ahead of OSU.Does any of this mean Oklahoma State should be the favorite in Norman? Of course not. But if OU wins the Big 12 on Saturday, it will go against the recent trend we have seen since 2011 of great defenses and teams that create a ton of turnovers winning the Big 12 conference.It would also prove the conference critics right for once about the Big 12 lacking defensive prowess. That has largely been a false narrative, but OU winning the league this year with one of its worst defenses under Bob Stoops would bad for the league and its general perception.Which is obviously why you should root for Oklahoma State to win.If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!
Oklahoma State did one of those Q&A things with its top QB recently. These are usually sterile and only mildly interesting (more Kevin Peterson, please), but Mason Rudolph gave a perfect answer to this question: If you had to be stranded on a desert island for one month, which one of your teammates would you want to bring with you, and why?“It’d have to be J.W. Walsh, because I feel like he would be good with nature and he could probably find a way for us to get off the island.”When I think J.W. Walsh, I think “future coach” first, “gamer” second and “good with nature” third. I laughed out loud at that answer. Perfect.AdChoices广告On a more serious note, Mike Gundy commented on their relationship earlier this week.“They have a good relationship. As I mentioned before, J.W. has been tremendous for Mason, and they’ve worked well together. Eventually, J.W. wants to be a coach, and he’ll be able to coach. He’s been through it.“He has a good mentor in his father, and I think he’s getting great training by playing at this level. Even with Taylor [Cornelius], they’ve all got great lines of communication. They understand the game, and they understand our system. They help Mason out a lot during those times.”Rudolph was also asked about the best player he’s ever played against in that Q&A.“Well, I’ve only played a few games here, so I would say Jadaveon Clowney. I didn’t face him personally, but my high school played his when I was a freshman and he was a senior.“He’s obviously a freak, and he ended up being the No. 1 draft pick, so that was pretty cool. As far as in college, just being on the sidelines against Jameis Winston was pretty cool.”Being “obviously a freak” is next level human genetics. Thanks for not hurting him, Jadaveon! While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.
Uruguay 0 Argentina 0: Suarez hobbles off in draw Sacha Pisani 09:05 9/1/17 Getty Images Uruguay’s winless run extended to six matches after their 0-0 draw with Argentina as Luis Suarez limped off on Thursday. Luis Suarez appeared to aggravate a knee injury in Uruguay’s goalless draw at home to Argentina in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying.Suarez was surprisingly included in Uruguay’s starting XI, despite being sidelined with a knee injury since Barcelona’s Supercopa de Espana second-leg loss to Real Madrid on August 16.Barca boss Ernesto Valverde and the LaLiga club were left sweating when Suarez dropped to the ground clutching his knee in pain with seven minutes remaining before hobbling off in Montevideo on Thursday. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! ‘I’m getting better’ – Can Man Utd flop Fred save his Old Trafford career? Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Argentina dominated proceedings at Estadio Centenario but they were unable to make their possession count in Jorge Sampaoli’s competitive debut as head coach after he replaced Edgardo Bauza in June.The draw saw third-placed Uruguay – winless in six matches – improve to 24 points after 15 matches, a point adrift of Colombia and a point ahead of Argentina.Uruguay were boosted by the inclusion of Suarez, who was not expected to play. There were also three changes to the team that lost 2-1 to Peru in the country’s previous qualifier in March as Martin Caceres, Gaston Silva and Nahitan Nandez came in for Jorge Fucile, Maximiliano Pereira and Carlos Sanchez.It was a first competitive outing as coach for Sampaoli following friendly victories over Singapore and Brazil in June. And Argentina’s line-up on Thursday was almost unrecognisable to the side who went down 2-0 to Bolivia in March’s qualifier, when Bauza was still in charge. Sergio Romero, Angel Di Maria and Guido Pizarro were the only players to feature that day as the likes of Lionel Messi, Paulo Dybala, Lucas Biglia and Nicolas Otamendi came into the XI. Inter captain Mauro Icardi also earned his second cap, having not featured since making his debut in 2013.The start of the match was relatively subdued, though Argentina enjoyed most of the possession without creating any real clear-cut opportunities against a Uruguay side desperate to end a run of five consecutive defeats.Argentina – who won the reverse fixture last year – continued to control possession but they were almost caught out by Suarez’s audacious long-range attempt from just inside the halfway line as the clock ticked past the 30-minute mark.Uruguay had the best opportunity of the match in the 37th minute when Edinson Cavani’s rebound was charged down by Romero, who struggled to deal with Cristian Rodriguez’s shot, while Biglia fired narrowly wide at the other end.Messi came to life as the first half drew to a close, linking up with Dybala before surging down the middle and forcing Fernando Muslera into a save.Tensions were high in the second half, though neither team appeared any closer to breaking the deadlock.Messi did go close to making the breakthrough – his lovely free-kick approaching the hour-mark forcing Muslera into a diving save as he pushed the ball away for a corner.The clash petered out to a draw, not before Suarez was forced from the pitch after appearing to re-injure his troublesome knee. read more
PSG Neymar and Mbappe’s ‘incredible’ understanding at PSG hailed by Marquinhos Chris Burton Last updated 2 years ago 23:29 15/9/2017 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images PSG Neymar Kylian Mbappé Ligue 1 The Brazilian defender says the big-money frontmen look like they have ‘known each other for years’ after immediately clicking in the French capital Neymar and Kylian Mbappe have struck up an “incredible” understanding at Paris Saint-Germain following their big-money moves, says Marquinhos.The French giants embarked on an expensive recruitment drive over the summer as they sought to restore domestic dominance at Parc des Princes and push themselves into Champions League contention.Neymar 12/1 to be CL top scorer Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘I’m getting better’ – Can Man Utd flop Fred save his Old Trafford career? Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing A record-breaking €222 million was spent acquiring Neymar from Barcelona, while €180m is due to Ligue 1 rivals Monaco once an initial loan deal for Mbappe comes to an end.PSG’s investment has delivered immediate reward, with both of their new frontmen already among the goals, and Marquinhos has hailed the speed at which the pair have clicked in a new-look side.The Brazilian defender told reporters: “It’s incredible to see the connection between Neymar and Mbappe. It seems that they’ve known each other for years.“They need to keep working but I’m confident, I know they will find the perfect understanding on the field.”Marquinhos added: “It was easy for Neymar to feel as part of the team. He’s smart and he knows that it’s very important.“The integration of Mbappe was also natural and quick.“Concerning the foreign arrivals, they know that they have to speak French.“Dani Alves understands French because he plays alongside many French players but he asks me how to say ‘orange juice’ at the restaurant, for example. Concerning Neymar, it’s a little bit more difficult.”PSG boss Unai Emery has also been discussing the arrival of Neymar into a star-studded fold.He has so far taken a back seat as established forward Edinson Cavani has retained penalty duty, but his manager has conceded that the responsibility is likely to be shared once the Brazilian is fully settled in new surroundings.Emery said: “Neymar is here to help the team, to improve its quality. But he’s smart and also knows that the general interest of the team is more important first of all.“I’ve talked to Cavani and Neymar, and Cavani is the one who takes penalty kicks, but Neymar will take them soon, when the time is right.”Neymar has netted five times in as many appearances for PSG so far, while Mbappe has two in two.
Bayern München Heynckes return ‘a positive surprise’, says Robben Iain Strachan 04:41 10/13/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Bongarts Bayern München Bayern München v Freiburg Freiburg Bundesliga Carlo Ancelotti The Die Roten favourite has been appointed as Carlo Ancelotti’s interim successor at Bayern Munich and one player at least is in favour of the reunion Arjen Robben was pleasantly surprised at the return of Jupp Heynckes to Bayern Munich and has called on the team to improve in the weeks ahead.Bayern sacked Carlo Ancelotti last month after a poor start to the season, the 3-0 Champions League loss to Paris Saint-Germain proving too much for the club’s board to stomach.The Bundesliga title-holders have lured Heynckes out of retirement to lead the rescue mission. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. And Robben, who won the Champions League under the 72-year-old in 2012-13, was delighted to learn he will be working under a familiar face. “It was strange because I was gone in Holland and of course the Dutch media was full of speculation too but nobody ever mentioned the name Heynckes,” he said of the change in personnel made during the international break. “Therefore, it was a big surprise for me too but it was a positive surprise. I’m really happy [he] returned.”@ArjenRobbendiscusses Jupp #Heynckes, his international retirement and the upcoming fixtures! #packmashttps://t.co/FMWTYBj7Dm— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) October 12, 2017Bayern return to domestic action at home to Freiburg in the league this weekend and Robben knows the players have little margin for error if they are to catch the early frontrunners. “I’m confident we can get going in the upcoming weeks, beginning on Saturday, and I expect to have a good time together,” the veteran forward said.”Now it’s up to the players. We have to bring it on to the pitch now. It begins on Saturday. We’re trailing [Borussia] Dortmund by five points and of course we can’t afford to let this gap increase any further. “We have to establish a series now, we have to work on certain things and improve. We need to elevate our game and I am certain we will achieve that. As a team we have to show character now.”
Shakhtar Donetsk 2 Manchester City 1: Hosts through thanks to third home win Jamie Smith Last updated 1 year ago 05:39 12/7/17 Getty Images Manchester City suffered their first defeat of the season as Shakhtar Donetsk followed them into the Champions League knockout rounds. Bernard and Ismaily scored to send Shakhtar Donetsk through as Group F runners-up after a 2-1 home win against already-qualified Manchester City at the Metalist Stadium on Wednesday.City’s first defeat in any competition since April ended their 11-match winning streak away from home, although Pep Guardiola named an experimental team with an eye on Sunday’s Premier League derby at Manchester United.Teenager Phil Foden was given his full debut, becoming the youngest Englishman to start a Champions League game, with Gabriel Jesus, Leroy Sane, Ederson and Fernandinho the only regular starters included, and City’s lack of cohesion proved costly. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Shakhtar knew a draw would be enough to send them into the knockout rounds, regardless of Napoli’s result at Feyenoord, but they took the lead after 25 minutes, Bernard beating Danilo and bending a fine shot beyond Ederson after Marlos did superbly to create space.Right-back Danilo was at fault again six minutes later when Shakhtar extended their lead, a ball over the top from Marlos sending Ismaily clear and, when Ederson raced out of his box without getting the ball, his finish into the gaping goal was straightforward.City improved after the break – Sergio Aguero netting an injury-time penalty after Jesus was tripped – but Shakhtar closed out their third home win of the group stage, denying Guardiola’s men the chance to qualify with a perfect record from Group F.17 – Phil Foden is the youngest player to start a Champions League match for Manchester City (17y 191d). Promise. pic.twitter.com/gLujaXkIW3— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 6, 2017Taison fired a warning shot and Facundo Ferreyra had an effort blocked early on his 100th Shakhtar appearance as the hosts started on top against a much-changed City side.A Shakhtar break saw Marlos bend an effort straight at Ederson and the hosts took the lead after 25 minutes thanks to a tremendous strike from Bernard.Shakhtar moved the ball swiftly from their goalkeeper to the other end of the pitch, Marlos finding space to drive away from three City players to tee up Bernard, who sent Danilo the wrong way before whipping a glorious finish into Ederson’s top-left corner.Bernard almost added a second moments later, Taison this time creating the space with a clever run, but Ederson was equal to the Brazilian’s effort.But the second goal duly arrived after 32 minutes, Marlos sending a sensational ball in behind City’s sloppy defensive line for Ismaily, who capitalised on indecision from Ederson to slot home into an open goal.City finally created an opening of note when a superb Foden throughball sent Jesus in on goal, but the Brazilian hesitated and goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov made the tackle..@PhilFoden is the youngest Englishman to start a Champions League game. #fcsdvcitypic.twitter.com/Uk0PxoEqmr— Manchester City (@ManCity) December 6, 2017Leroy Sane forced a smart save from Pyatov seconds after the restart, Bernardo Silva’s cross turned goalwards on the volley by the winger as City aimed to avoid a first loss of the season.Guardiola replaced Sane with another youngster, Brahim Diaz – who had an effort turned onto the post – in a clear sign of where his priorities lay, although Aguero was sent on for former Shakhtar star Fernandinho for the last 20 minutes.Taison fired wide and Yaroslav Rakitskiy fired a free-kick at Ederson as Shakhtar sought to make the result even more emphatic, but City grabbed a consolation from 12 yards in stoppage-time as Aguero smashed in a penalty.ANOTHER GREAT VICTORY AND WE ARE THROUGH TO THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE KNOCKOUT STAGE! #ShakhtarManCity https://t.co/R61xEiQzqw pic.twitter.com/BIS2fNnI1l— FC SHAKHTAR ENGLISH (@FCShakhtar_eng) December 6, 2017 read more
Andrea Belotti Chelsea-linked Belotti avoids knee ligament damage Peter Hanson Last updated 1 year ago 22:40 12/28/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images Torino Serie A Chelsea Premier League Torino have confirmed that their star striker has not suffered a serious injury amid reports that he could leave the club in the January window Torino have ruled out a serious knee injury to reported Chelsea target Andrea Belotti amid fears he had suffered ligament damage.It had initially appeared that Belotti had sustained an anterior cruciate ligament injury to his right knee after going down in training on Wednesday.However, Torino provided a further update on Thursday to rule out significant damage to their star striker, who remains a reported target for many of European football’s heavyweights, including Antonio Conte’s Blues. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player A statement on the club’s website read: “Andrea Belotti suffered a distortive trauma to his right knee. “The investigations performed exclude a ligament or meniscal lesion. The prognosis will depend on the clinical evolution.”Belotti missed most of October with a knee injury, and he has just four goals in 15 Serie A appearances this season having netted 26 last term.
news Share via Email Amy Lawrence Chelsea have kickstarted a frantic scramble for reinforcements in the final week of the summer transfer window by agreeing a fee of around £35m with Arsenal for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, with the player potentially the first of three England internationals destined for Stamford Bridge before the cut-off on Thursday.Oxlade-Chamberlain, who has entered the final 12 months of his contract, had been offered new and improved terms to commit his future to Arsenal but made clear towards the end of last week that his preference was to seek a new challenge having apparently grown frustrated at the role he was being asked to play in the team. He was still selected for the 4-0 thrashing at Liverpool on Sunday and will depart despite Arsène Wenger having suggested this summer that the 24-year-old would “100%” stay at the Emirates Stadium.The manager’s hand appears to have been forced in the period since with the club’s hierarchy not prepared to lose Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mesut Özil and Alexis Sánchez under freedom of contract next summer. Given the lack of suitors for the German and the hierarchy’s intransigence over the prospect of selling Sánchez this summer – resolve that could be tested by Manchester City this week – that always left the Englishman as the likeliest to depart. Transfer window Share on Messenger Read more Arsenal Share on LinkedIn Another early-season breakdown for Arsenal but no sign of any change Topics Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Jürgen Klopp retains an interest in Oxlade-Chamberlain, who was secured from Southampton in 2011, and Liverpool could yet match Chelsea’s offer but relations between Arsenal and the Merseyside club have been tense since Wenger attempted to prise away Luis Suárez four years ago. That could scupper their hopes of securing the player. Regardless, Chelsea have been led to believe Oxlade-Chamberlain’s preference is to remain in the capital.Personal terms are unlikely to prove an issue – it had been suggested that Arsenal were willing to increase his wages to nearer £180,000 a week – with Antonio Conte hoping a versatile player will challenge Victor Moses at right wing-back and bolster his midfield options for the defence of their Premier League title and with a Champions League campaign ahead.England are willing to grant Oxlade-Chamberlain, and other members of Gareth Southgate’s 28-man squad, special leave to complete club moves rather than travelling to Malta on Thursday for the World Cup qualifier 24 hours later.The England manager recognises the timing of the deadline is problematic and demanding players travel with their futures in the balance would be counterproductive.Oxlade-Chamberlain could be joined at Stamford Bridge by Leicester City’s Danny Drinkwater, with talks continuing between the clubs. The fee for the midfielder, who has three England caps, is likely to top £30m. There is interest, too, in Ross Barkley at Everton – the attacking midfielder is in rehabilitation from a torn hamstring – with talks having taken place between the clubs after Sunday’s meeting at Stamford Bridge. Given Barkley is expected to be absent until the new year, there is less urgency with that deal though Chelsea are conscious they will have to deflect interest from Tottenham Hotspur.The Premier League champions have pledged to supplement Conte’s options after a tense summer behind the scenes, and could also move for Swansea City’s Spain forward Fernando Llorente as a back-up to the record signing, Álvaro Morata. They are seeking to move Diego Costa to Atlético Madrid, with other fringe players still expected to depart.Loïc Rémy is attracting interest from clubs in Spain and is available for a nominal fee. The young forward Jérémie Boga has signed a new three-year contract and become the 28th player to be loaned out by the club this summer, joining Birmingham City in the Championship for the remainder of the season. Share on Pinterest Share on WhatsApp Chelsea Reuse this content
Support The Guardian St Helens’ Ben Barba overshadowed by Wigan’s superb Sean O’Loughlin Read more Leigh Centurions Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on Pinterest Super League XXII Super League Share on Twitter Since you’re here… Widnes took a significant step towards a swift return to the top flight next year with a 24-8 victory here in the Super 8 Qualifiers. At times this season they have looked in serious danger of being in the Million Pound Game when the Qualifiers come around. But the Super 8s truly show what a team is all about and, with three rounds left, it looks much clearer who will finish where come the end of the Qualifiers.At the top Warrington andHull Kingston Rovers appear on course for a top-three finish and an automatic place in Super League for 2018. Below them is a three-team battle for the final spot between Widnes, Leigh and Catalans. This victory for Widnes, their third in succession, puts them firmly in pole position for the third.While 2017 has been an undoubted struggle for the Vikings this win, which was more comfortable even than the scoreline suggests, may enable them to avoid the final drama at Leigh’s expense.For Leigh, at times this season, their debut year back in Super League after a decade-long absence looked as if it could have even ended with a top-eight finish and no need to navigate a path through the Qualifiers.But in recent months the Centurions have struggled – and this was a worrying performance on an afternoon that could have gone a long way to securing their safety in the top flight.Below par throughout, Neil Jukes’s side now face the ominous task of a trip to the side at the top of the Qualifiers, Warrington, next weekend.Should they lose there, a Million Pound Game place may not even be certain with Championship sides such as London not yet out of the running for fifth. “I’ve not looked at the table,” Jukes said. “This was all our own doing today.”Widnes were never behind and by half-time they had established a 14-0 lead which, given how poor their opponents were, always felt commanding enough. Tries for Lloyd White and Alex Gerrard, coupled with two penalties from the boot of Rhys Hanbury, put the Vikings well ahead and, though James Clare reduced the deficit to give Leigh hope shortly after half-time, it would be in vain.Their woes were summed up on the next set when they surrendered possession – and from it Corey Thompson capitalised to put Widnes comfortably ahead again.Matty Dawson responded for Leigh in the closing stages but two more penalties, this time from Chris Bridge after Hanbury had gone off injured, confirmed what many people knew: on this occasion Widnes were much the stronger of the two sides.They now head to Hull KR on Saturday looking to prevent the Robins from rubber-stamping an immediate return to Super League.Should Tim Sheens’s side win their fifth consecutive game, they will be all but guaranteed a top-three finish following victory against Featherstone on Sunday. In the day’s other game Catalans beat Halifax 24-0 to remain in a Million Pound Game spot.Leigh McNally; Clare, Brown, Langi, Dawson; Reynolds, Drinkwater; Tickle, Mortimer, Hansen, Paterson, Vea, Burr. Interchange Higham, Hopkins, Stewart, Richards.Tries Clare, Dawson.Widnes Hanbury; Marsh, Bridge, Runciman, Thompson; Mellor, Craven; Buchanan, White, Dudson, Whitley, Houston, Cahill. Interchange Gerrard, Manuokafoa, Olbison, Walker.Tries White, Gerrard, Thompson. Goals Hanbury 3, Bridge 3.Referee B Thaler. Attendance 6,209. Topics match reports Share on WhatsApp Rugby league Share via Email Widnes Vikings … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share on Messenger Reuse this content
Share via Email Cricket Read more Australia cricket team Share on LinkedIn Reuse this content Trust between the players, the ECB hierarchy and the security staff may also need rebuilding over the coming weeks, not least since it was the latter who flagged up the Duckett incident to the team management, who then decided to release the news pro-actively.Both of those calls were made in light of the Bairstow situation at the start of the tour, which only came to the attention of the ECB and the coaches four weeks after the event – during the Brisbane Test – when a local reporter put it to them.There is a feeling among the squad that the delay in exonerating Bairstow and the curfew which then resulted was an error. Those above them are in turn staggered that certain individuals seem unable to grasp the significance of representing their country, not least given that the brief relaxation of the midnight cut-off resulted in another incident.The responses of the ECB and the team management to two acts that may otherwise have been considered trivial have been shaped by the arrest of Ben Stokes in Bristol last September after a night out, the fallout from which continues to affect events on and off the field.Certainly Australia are keen to use this latest situation to their advantage, with their wicketkeeper, Tim Paine, saying he and his team-mates intend to sledge England’s players about it on the field when what has been an acrimonious series resumes at the Waca this week.“I’m sure someone will bring it up at some stage,” said Paine. “But what’s happening in their camp off the field has no effect on the way we’re going to go about our cricket this week. The time we start worrying about them is the time when we’re not thinking about our own backyard enough. It’s not going to affect the way our team plays.” Australia’s Ashes angel Nathan Lyon has England in a spin before Waca Test Share on Twitter England cricket team The Ashes Share on Facebook Support The Guardian Share on Messenger news Since you’re here… Share on Pinterest Share on WhatsApp Topics Ashes 2017-18 Jonny Bairstow accepts England’s players have let down their captain, Joe Root, and must rebuild public trust by delivering on the field during the remainder of the Ashes series.Root and Trevor Bayliss, the England head coach, expressly told the players to behave before the Thursday night in Perth that resulted in Ben Duckett’s suspension from Lions duty for tipping a drink over Jimmy Anderson – and suggestions he was not alone in the caper.England insist their investigation into events has concluded, with no further action to be taken against others present that night. The midnight curfew is now restored – much to the chagrin of the squad members who know how to conduct themselves – and the focus is on the third Test which starts on Thursday.That it occurred in the same Avenue bar in Claremont where Bairstow’s now infamous “head-butt” greeting to Cameron Bancroft took place at the start of the tour has given rise to the perception of a squad out of control, something not helped by their being 2-0 down with three to play in what has been a faltering Ashes defence.“We need to rebuild the trust we had built over the last few years as a team,” said Bairstow, as the team’s representative at an event for Yorkshire Tea on Monday, the type of sponsors the England and Wales Cricket Board fears could be put off by such a sequence of events.“You rebuild it by winning games of cricket. You’ve got to go out and win games and that starts at training and then in the Test. The lads are still feeling positive and there is no reason we can’t go forward.”Asked if Root had been let down, replied: “I think everyone realises that is something we have done. And not just him. But we move on from that now. It is something that has been dealt with. We’ve got a chance as a group to go out there and front up.” Australia sport … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.
Ten things to look out for this weekend Nigel Adkins plays the peacemaker in struggling Hull City’s civil war Reuse this content Share on Messenger • Ryan Mason forced to retire from football after head injury• Football League: Sessegnon and January arrivals keep Fulham’s dreaming3) Blackman faces tall task of keeping out LeicesterJamal Blackman does not turn 25 until October but already has quite the CV, and doubtless a trophy cabinet to match. The 6ft6in Sheffield United goalkeeper, on loan from Chelsea, picked up a Champions League winners’ medal in 2012, after being part of Roberto Di Matteo’s successful squad in Munich. The same year he lifted the FA Youth Cup with Chelsea and last year was part of the Wycombe Wanderers team that ran Tottenham almightily close in a 4-3 defeat at White Hart Lane in this competition. Since progressing through the Chelsea academy, he has been loaned to Middlesbrough, Östersunds and beyond. Most importantly, he has impressed for the Blades this season and another strong display on Friday night, when they travel to Leicester looking to shutout Kelechi Iheanacho and co on home turf, will only enhance his development. BF• Sheffield United 2-1 Leeds United: Sharp at the double• David Squires on LDN, also home of the beatables4) Has Sanchez created a Pogba problem? José Mourinho’s relationship with Paul Pogba has become a simmering problem for Manchester United. Subbed off in his last two starts, both defeats, benched in the game between that, a 2-0 home stroll past Huddersfield, has an £89m signing become dispensable? A suggestion made by L’Equipe on Thursday was that Pogba holds regrets about re-joining United in the summer of 2016. Pogba played his best football on the left of a midfield trio for Juventus but Alexis Sánchez’s arrival on the left wing has Mourinho reluctant to leave that side of his defence unprotected. Sánchez’s demands to play every game, including cup matches, caused problems with Arsène Wenger, and whether Mourinho is similarly indulgent at Huddersfield will be telling. And where might that leave Pogba? From a choice of left midfield, sitting deeper or substitute, Pogba’s favourite position seems the least likely Mourinho option. Resting Pogba altogether from action at the Kirklees Stadium might be the pragmatic, expedient decision. JB• Mourinho’s stodgy, unstructured Manchester United are labouring Twitter Share via Email 5) A tie both teams will be happy to lose?In an episode of the criminally under-rated sit-com Malcolm In The Middle entitled Water Park, the titular character’s older brother, Francis, incurs the wrath of his Marlin Academy superior Commandant Spangler when the military veteran discovers he has been letting him win at pool and is in fact an accomplished hustler. To cut a long and convoluted story short, the pair end up in a titanic battle, featuring a dizzying array of outrageous trick-shots, to see who can lose each frame of 8-ball in the most spectacular fashion. While we are not suggesting that either West Brom or Southampton would deliberately tank their chances of advancing to this season’s FA Cup quarter-finals, it is this scene – minus the skill and technique – that springs to mind while pondering what might unfold between these two relegation-threatened Premier League sides when they face each other this weekend. BG• What difference do West Brom think sacking boardroom suits will make?• Corbyn on racism in football, Arsenal’s ‘library’ and pricey Freddos6) Are Conte’s eyes on FA Cup prize? If Antonio Conte actually wants to stay in the Chelsea job – and the outward signs are that he is not bothered either way – then Monday’s 3-0 victory over West Brom gave welcome respite. With reports of Luis Enrique being a shoo-in for his role, the FA Cup, should he last as long as May, could be an ideal way to wave off to those fans who still sing his name in the Stamford Bridge stands. For a manager of such standing, it is curious that Conte is still yet to celebrate victory in a knockout competition. His team selection against Hull might indicate how serious he might be about breaking that duck, though with Barcelona next week in mind, Friday is almost certainly a night for the fringe performers. The likes of Danny Drinkwater and Ross Barkley, players whose presence at Chelsea appears to bemuse their boss, seem likely to be given a low-key chance to shine against Championship strugglers. JB • Giroud the well-groomed, half-speed Costa, looks an ideal fit• Conte vows to fight job speculation ‘to the end’ Share on Twitter features Twitter Share on LinkedIn Pinterest 7) A Carvalhal reunion at HillsboroughSwansea’s surprise managerial appointment, Carlos Carvalhal, gets a quick return to his former stomping ground of Hillsborough, where he will stand in the adjacent technical area to his former club’s equally surprising choice of successor, Jos Luhukay. Sheffield Wednesday’s new manager had not got off to the best of starts, but a maiden league win against Derby County on Tuesday night will have silenced any hoots of disapproval from Owls fans. Lucas João scored either side of half-time in that win, prompting Derby manager Gary Rowett to describe him as unplayable. A peripheral figure in Wednesday’s squad during Carvalhal’s reign, the 24-year-old appears to have hit his straps at exactly the right time to show his former manager exactly what he can do. BG• Swansea owners: ‘We’ve made mistakes. But unfair to say we haven’t invested’ England friendlies with Qatar on cards after FA agrees partnership Read more Facebook Share on WhatsApp Calvin Andrew celebrates against Millwall during the FA Cup fourth-round replay. Photograph: Conor Molloy/Action Plus via Getty Images Topics Pinterest Despite his team’s troubles, Conte remains popular with fans at Stamford Bridge. Photograph: Craig Mercer/CameraSport Read more Facebook Twitter Share on Facebook Alexis Sánchez does not like being rested, as Arsène Wenger found. Photograph: Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images Pinterest Facebook Share on Pinterest 8) City an unwelcome distraction for WiganWigan have wobbled since toppling West Ham in the previous round, losing to Blackpool and Southend so the visit of Manchester City – although a free hit – is the last thing Paul Cook’s promotion chasers need. The Liverpudlian manager joked this week that he has asked the Football Association whether they can tackle City with 14 men. After hitting seven past Oxford before Christmas, they were seven points clear of third place but now have Blackburn Rovers breathing down their necks. These kind of games tend to go one of two ways; they either galvanise a team before the run-in or act as a distraction, leaving them devoid of all legs. Bristol City, for example, are still recovering from doing battle with City over two legs. After facing City, they face three league games in eight days. So, what will be the lasting effect of Wigan’s joust with City on Monday night? BF• City’s Gabriel Jesus in race to be fit for Carabao Cup final9) Locadia ready to make Seagulls bowThe lowest ranked side left in this year’s competition, Coventry City sit 63 places below their hosts, Brighton, on the league ladder. Despite a lowly League Two status inflicted upon them after years of hideously neglectful ownership, an incredible 28,343 supporters turned up at the Ricoh Arena to see them lose against Accrington last weekend following a successful promotion run by the club to help take the usual bare look off a stadium that usually struggles to attract crowds of more than six thousand. An insipid midweek defeat against Colchester, their third on the spin, has derailed Coventry’s promotion push and the absence through injury of their captain Michael Doyle, who will be forced to sit out their trip to Brighton this weekend. Few beyond Brighton fans would begrudge the 1987 FA Cup winners a place in the quarter-finals but unless they massively improve on recent performances, the Amex Stadium is where this year’s fairytale journey will end. Those same Brighton fans will be keeping their eyes peeled for a first sighting of their record signing, the Dutch striker Jürgen Locadia, the £14m January acquisition from PSV Eindhoven who has recovered from a hamstring injury and looks guaranteed to feature in Chris Hughton’s match-day plans. BG• Classic YouTube: Futsal finals, muddy faceplants and Boa Morte on MTV Cribs10) A shop window for Rochdale’s relegation-threatened journeymenRock bottom of League One, nine points from safety and with just one win in the third tier since late November, Rochdale welcome Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday as they attempt to make the quarter-finals for the first time in their history. They have played in the fifth round twice before, going out to Crystal Palace in 1990 and Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2003. Sunday’s visitors to Spotland get a considerable amount of stick for being relentlessly fawned over without ever actually winning any silverware, while Rochdale have quite literally never won a trophy on which the word “Lancashire” was not engraved. A team comprised of jobbing low-end journeymen who look destined for relegation could ask for no better shop window to showcase their talents and will be relishing the prospect of getting stuck into a Tottenham team that showed little or no appetite for a similar kind of scrap against Newport County at Rodney Parade. For Tottenham, this is quite the return to earth after their midweek adventures in Turin and romantics will be hoping Keith Hill will have his team primed to ensure their opponents landing is anything but smooth. BG• Alli says Rochdale pitch won’t worry Tottenham on Sunday• First the knife but then Juve’s assassin turns into a Sunday League fat bloke 1) Are Leicester City genuine contenders?Of the remaining teams in this season’s FA Cup, it could justifiably be argued that only one is in a position to give the competition their full and undivided attention. Whether it’s chasing other domestic or European titles (or several in the case of Manchester City), a Champions League or play-off place, or simply battling against relegation, no fewer than 15 of the 16 clubs have more pressing concerns , while Leicester City have no such distractions. Safely positioned in mid-table and just five points shy of the 40 that probably won’t even be required to guarantee safety, they may well secure theirs in consecutive league matches against Stoke, Bournemouth and West Brom. With that in mind, it’s difficult to escape the conclusion that it would be a gross dereliction of duty if Leicester did not go all-out to win the FA Cup for the first time, having lost the most recent of their four final appearances in 1969. They have rested key players in previous rounds, but with a home draw against Sheffield United and a quarter-final place up for grabs, Claude Puel ought to wheel out this heaviest artillery. With so many high end Premier League sides left in the competition, there would be no shame in not winning the competition, but as things stand it would be remiss of them not to give it their very best shot. BG• David Squires on Riyad Mahrez and Leicester City• The Knowledge: Footballers joining and leaving a club soon after2) Hull down to barest of bonesNigel Adkins is probably without more players than he can call upon. Three of his squad, Fikayo Tomori, Ola Aina and Michael Hector, are ineligible to play against Chelsea, their parent club while Seb Larsson is suspended and there a handful of injury doubts too. Therefore the onus will again be on the impressive Jarrod Bowen, the 21-year-old who netted at Nottingham Forest in the previous round. The striker, who joined the club from Hereford in 2014, has scored 13 goals this season and has been one of few highlights amid the doom and gloom of Hull’s disastrous season, with the club fighting to stay in the Championship. He has quickly won several Premier League admirers too. A trip to Chelsea will likely prove testing for an out-of-sorts Hull team but Bowen, at least, is sure to relish rising to the challenge. BF FA Cup
Reuse this content Cricket Read more Nick Evans Share on Twitter Rugby Football Union Share on WhatsApp Share on Facebook Share on Messenger Since you’re here… Rugby union Nathan Hughes’s carries will have England’s backs licking their lips Angus Bujalski, the legal and governance director for the Rugby Football Union, said: “At Twickenham the number of non-UK EU workers is about 25% of our match-day staff and I imagine that would be similar at Lord’s and Wembley. After Brexit, we envisage the wages of those able to be employed will go up because of the lack of availability. That will mean we’re not able to deliver the same returns to international federations, they will be harder to persuade.”Bujalski was addressing an EU home affairs sub-committee examining the effect of Brexit on the movement of people in sport.James Allen, the director of policy and governance at the Sport and Recreation Alliance, agreed major events would be less likely to be held in Britain after Brexit. “At the very least the uncertainty ahead is really unhelpful in terms of trying to attract or retain major events,” he said. “Potential increases in the cost to stage events will probably be passed on to the consumer and result in less money being invested in the grassroots. More generally, it will make the UK a harder place to visit for fans, athletes and support teams, plus a harder place to invest and to bring equipment in due to potential customs barriers making us relatively less competitive.“The other possible consequence of increased costs here is a diminished ability to pay a healthy return to the event organiser or international federation which again makes us relatively less attractive compared to other countries.” Brexit news Support The Guardian Share on LinkedIn European Union Share via Email … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Major sporting events including rugby and cricket World Cups are less likely to be held in post-Brexit Britain, the House of Lords has been warned.It is feared increased cost of visas for athletes and less availability of staff at stadiums could force up the price of holding events in Britain. This may reduce the profit margin for international federations, causing them to look elsewhere when assessing bids. Topics Share on Pinterest
Manchester United Brighton & Hove Albion FA Cup Mourinho’s standout selection choice was the exclusion of Alexis Sánchez, the Chilean dropped for the first time since he signed in January and unused from the bench. Paul Pogba suffered the same fate: after failing to regain his place after being a substitute in Tuesday’s dire Champions League exit at the hands of Sevilla, the Frenchman also went unused.In all Mourinho made five changes, as did Chris Hughton, who gave Brighton’s £14m record signing Jürgen Locadia a second start, with their top scorer Glenn Murray on the bench. Sergio Romero retained his place as Mourinho’s cup goalkeeper, and Luke Shaw, the left-back who had started in previous rounds, started again. Yet despite helping to create Lukaku’s 37th-minute opener, Shaw was removed at the break.Cue more frankness from the manager. “Luke in the first half – every time they come in his corridor, the cross was coming and a dangerous situation was coming so I was not happy with his performance,” Mourinho said.Nearly half an hour had passed before United threatened for the first time. The ball was exchanged between Anthony Martial and Juan Mata and, when Mata took aim, United won a corner. Mata took it, and after panic in front of Brighton’s goal Chris Smalling hit Tim Krul’s left post.Lukaku’s opener came after Shaw danced down the left and pulled the ball back to the excellent Matic. The midfielder clipped over an instant cross and up rose the Belgian for a 30th of the season in all competitions.This brought relief for Mourinho and his players and United did brighten for the rest of the half, though it was a relative improvement only. The truth was that when the break arrived it had not been the kind of play to suggest that the 2-1 defeat by Sevilla was a blip.Instead, when the sides wandered off the sense was of a tie still in the balance, and United were lackadaisical again after the break. Shaw was replaced by Ashley Young with Mourinho’s words confirming this as the latest setback in his United career. Twitter The Observer Old Trafford saw intermittent snow showers. Photograph: Jon Super for FA/Rex Shutterstock Share on Messenger Share via Email Topics José Mourinho was first out before kick-off as promised during Friday’s extraordinary extended monologue in which Manchester United’s manager promised to face his responsibilities. Really required, though, was safe passage to the FA Cup semi-finals, and this was duly secured.Yet Mourinho’s team were tame again, this win coming thanks to goals from Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic, the only two players named as consistently excellent during that 12-minute defence of his record. The Portuguese’s post-game assessment was frank. Mourinho stated he did not “like the game”, and questioned the courage of many of his players to don the United shirt. José Mourinho launches attack on Manchester United players despite win Facebook Share on LinkedIn match reports Read more Pinterest After an opening that had Brighton trapped in and around their area, United’s flakiness showed once more. The ball was given to Pascal Gross and he had a yard of space to aim at Romero’s goal, the shot just missing to the keeper’s right. Gross then floated the ball on to Leonardo Ulloa’s chest and, when it came to Beram Kayal, he pulled the trigger to warn United that Brighton believed they could equalise.They came agonisingly close through a moment of Locadia magic as the Dutchman fizzed a 20-yard shot at Romero’s top-right corner, the Argentinian flying high to save.United’s best hope of any attack at speed was on the counter. When Matic strode away from his area and found Jesse Lingard, suddenly Brighton were scattered. Anthony Martial received the ball next, but, when he tried to find Lingard, the pass again went awry.Now, there was another lull in quality from Mourinho’s team. Mata tried a ball over the top aimed at Martial but it was too long in what, otherwise, was a passage of Brighton possession. Hughton’s side seemed to be finishing better. First Matic blocked an attempt, then Smalling did the same to a Locadia shot.This woke up United as Lukaku and later Mata had crosses blocked. The latter seemed a little unlucky to be replaced by Marcus Rashford. By the close Matic had headed in Young’s free-kick and United had done what was needed, yet it left Mourinho in full-throttle complaint mode.“Sometimes there is a contradiction between what you work on in the past two days and what you did on the pitch,” he said. “That is more frustrating than the result. I blame everybody.”Hughton said: “I am delighted with the performance. The only differences were the moments in front of goal and the quality they can produce. We were always in the game.”This is what could hobble United’s aim to win a 13th FA Cup. They always allow the opposition hope. Share on Twitter Share on Pinterest Share on WhatsApp Share on Facebook Reuse this content
Share on LinkedIn Jürgen Klopp Zidane said he expected a clash of styles in Kiev on Saturday evening. “I don’t think we play the same kind of football as a team,” he said, adding that Real would be fully prepared and did not expect any surprises.“Everyone speaks about the three up front [Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané] and says they’re less at the back, but they’re a team unit. They’ve got to the final and deserve to be there, just like us.”Inevitably talk turned to Cristiano Ronaldo and Salah but Zidane was unequivocal when asked whether he would swap the Portuguese for Liverpool’s Egyptian forward.“Cristiano is the best; he shows it every year,” he said. “Sometimes pressure gets to players and it spurs others on. He is certainly the latter. He’s of maximum importance to us.”Zidane warned Liverpool that Real are as hungry as ever to win the Champions League, rejecting claims that they might have lost their edge, having won the past two finals and three of the last four.“We always have the same desire and nobody can say we don’t,” he said. “We’re in a third final [in a row] and we have the chance to do something historic and win it three times in a row. You can’t say Liverpool have more hunger than us; it simply isn’t true. Nobody can take our hunger away from us. We’re Real Madrid … We always want more and will always give our all to get more.” Topics Share on Pinterest Zinedine Zidane has praised his “formidable” opposite number Jürgen Klopp before Real Madrid take on Liverpool in Saturday’s Champions League final.The Frenchman was full of praise for the German manager, who has led Liverpool to two European finals since he took over towards the end of 2015.“I don’t know him personally, I’ve never spoken with him but I’ve seen his work and it’s formidable,” Zidane said. “He has shown it over the years, not only at Dortmund but also now with Liverpool. I respect him a lot for what he’s doing in the Champions League and Premier League.” Desire can deliver Champions League dream for Liverpool, says Jürgen Klopp Share on WhatsApp Champions League Share on Twitter Real Madrid Read more Share on Facebook Share via Email Liverpool Zinedine Zidane Share on Messenger news Reuse this content