Tag Archives: manager

COVID-19: Flamengo manager, Jesus test positive.

Jorge Jesus

says, I feel normal.


Brazilian football club, Flamengo have confirmed that manager Jorge Jesus has tested positive for coronavirus, while doctors perform a second confirmatory test.

The 65-year-old Portuguese and former Benfica coach underwent testing on Monday and was given a ‘weak or inconclusive’ positive result for COVID-19.


“It’s true that my test came up positive and it’s also true that I feel normal,” the Portuguese coach said on Instagram.

“I feel exactly the same today as I felt a month, a year, two, three years ago. I have no symptoms but the test was positive.”


“I am going to stay under quarantine. I think that in a week or two, God willing, I’ll be back to normal.”

A club statement read: ‘Clube de Regatas do Flamengo informs that the tests to detect the presence of Covid-19 in athletes, coaching staff and employees of the football department were concluded this Monday afternoon (16).


”The club reports that coach Jorge Jesus performed the first test for Covid-19 and the result was a weak or inconclusive positive. The result is being checked.

‘The coach is under the care of Flamengo’s medical department and is presently stable. The board reiterates its commitment to health and safety during the Coronavirus pandemic and has suspended all training for the first team and youth teams for at least a week.

‘Athletes, members of the football department and coaching staff tested negative for Covid-19. It is worth mentioning that the football department will follow the guidelines of the Ministry of Health during the Coronavirus pandemic.’


#Newsworthy…

Tottenham in trouble – Mourinho speak out.


Tottenham Hotspur manager, Jose Mourinho has explained why RB Leipzig thrashed his side 3-0 in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second-leg tie on Tuesday night.

Mourinho said his RB Leipzig won Tottenham because Julian Nagelsmann’s side was the best team on the night, adding that his team is in trouble with many injuries issues.


RB Leipzig defeated Spurs at the Red Bull Arena, thanks to two goals from Marcel Sabitzer and a strike from Emil Forsberg.

“Indeed the best team won, physicality, rhythm, in top condition with their best players and a bench full of quality against a team that is in trouble,” Mourinho was quoted Football London as saying after the match.


“Yesterday I was very positive, but that’s the way I have to be.

“I know that automatically my team will improve next season with these injured players.

“We’ll improve in other areas, but I will not tell you right now how I analyze.”

Tottenham’s next fixture is against Manchester United on Sunday.


#NobleSport

Arsenal Manager send warning to city ahead clash.


Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta, has warned Manchester City that the Gunners are going to make things difficult for them when both sides clash in Wednesday’s Premier League fixture at the Etihad Stadium.

Arteta, a former Man City assistant coach, said Arsenal are going to do their best to beat Pep Guardiola’s men in front of their home fans.


The Spaniard said this at his pre-match press conference on Monday.

Arteta’s men head to the game after defeating West Ham United 1-0 in their last Premier League encounter, while Man City lost 2-0 against Manchester United.


“We are going to go there trying to beat them, for sure,” Arsenal’s official website quoted Arteta as saying.

“That’s going to be the game plan.

“We will put all the things we can on the pitch to make it difficult for them to create the scenarios during the game, and let’s see if we turn up on the day at our best, and we can perform and win the game.”

The kick-off time for the match is 8:30 pm.


#NobleSport

2-0: United coach hail team on city’s trash.


Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s outstanding record against the rest of the Premier League’s big six improved on Sunday as he led his side to a 2-0 win over Manchester City.

Anthony Martial opened the scoring midway through the first half before Scott McTominay caught Ederson out of his net to fire home from long range late on and seal all three points for United.


Understandably, Solskjaer was in a jovial mood when speaking after the game (via the club’s official website). Here’s what he had to say.

On the Importance of the Result

“The result is always the deciding factor. I’m so happy with a win and another three points. The performance was as expected against them because you know that you have to defend well.


“The first 15-20 minutes were harder than maybe we should have made it. We started hurrying them and harassing them higher up and created chances, we had some big ones.

”It’s a privilege to have players like this. The desire and work-rate, that’s what I think the fans love about these players. To see the connections between the players, the team and the fans today [Sunday] – what an atmosphere.

“At the end, seeing everyone in the stands. You turn around and you see Sir Alex [Ferguson] up there, he is proud and it’s a big moment for every one of us.“

On Whether United Can Compete for the Title Soon

“We feel we’re improving all the time and we know we lack one, two or three players and some experience, to be considered a title contender. We know that and we’re not going to start talking about that now.

“We start talking about getting up the table, getting more points and challenging for that top four because Chelsea and Leicester are too far ahead of us for my liking.”

On Keeping Eight Clean Sheets in Ten Games

“Look at the two goals we’ve conceded though – one shouldn’t have been given against Club Brugge because the ball was rolling [from their goal-kick] and the last one was David [De Gea’s mistake], so we are getting there.”

On Fred’s Booking for Diving

Shortly before half time, midfielder Fred was shown a yellow card for an alleged dive in the penalty area, although replays showed that was more than a little unfortunate to not get the decision.

”He should have had a penalty, it’s a clear penalty. It’s a clear kick on his ankle [by Nicolas Otamendi]. It is one of those things that you hope doesn’t come back to bite us, but we got the result we needed.”

On His Forwards’ Relationships

“Anthony and Bruno [Fernandes] have hit it off but Bruno is that type of player. Of course, we’ve got set routines and I’ve seen them do it before. We’re going to improve as a team, they’re going to improve as players, because, you know, there were two or three times today, head up and we score goals.

“Twice Dan James could just square it, once for Bruno, one for Anthony. Anthony should square it for Bruno. Those little things they’ll come, but it’s a privilege because they want to learn as well and they listen to the advice we give them.”


#NobleSport

Zidane speak on who to blame after Real Betis trash Madrid.


After working so hard to pick up a 2-0 win over Barcelona, Real Madrid undid all their hard work by falling to a 2-1 loss at the hands of Real Betis on Sunday.

Betis, who came into the game in 14th in the table, took the lead through Sidnei late in the first half, but a Karim Benzema penalty saw the two sides head into the break level. However, a late Cristian Tello goal saw Betis pick up all three points and handed Barcelona the lead in the title race.

It was a frustrating evening for Zinedine Zidane, and speaking after the game (via the club’s official website), he made his feelings known.

On What Went Wrong

“It was a poor game for us from beginning to end. It’s a pity because we had a chance to put in a good performance but we didn’t.

“It was hard for us, we gave the ball away a lot and I have no explanation. I’m the person responsible. We are going to analyse what happened, but today we can’t be happy with our performance.

“This is the problem. It cost us. The players have tried, but nothing good has come out of it today and in the end, I’m to blame. I have to analyse the match to see what has happened to us. After this game we have to look ahead because what we did until now wasn’t so bad. We have 11 matches left and we are going to fight for the title until the end.”

On Taking the Blame

“I’m going to defend my players and if I have to tell them something, I’ll tell them. We didn’t have enough of the ball, which is not usually the case for us, and that was our biggest problem.

“When we don’t do what we talked about, I’m responsible. I’m not going to explain to you exactly what happened, but we can say that today was our worst game of the season.”

On Real’s Title Hopes

“We’ll keep fighting because there are solutions. We’ve had a good season and there are good and bad elements, we just need to correct the latter. We can come through this. We have to analyse the game and move on to the next one”.

On Recent Defensive Struggles

“We didn’t show enough energy to really trouble the opposition. It’s not just defensively, we conceded two goals but that wasn’t the problem today. I’m more frustrated by how we used the ball, we really struggled.”


#NobleSport

Torreira will be sidelined for 2 months amidst ankle injury – Mikel Arteta.


Arsenal have revealed that midfielder Lucas Torreira will be sidelined for at least eight weeks while he recovers from an ankle fracture.

Following a robust challenge, the Uruguayan went down with the injury during the 2-0 victory over Portsmouth in the FA Cup and was immediately stretchered off the field.


Since that game, Torreira has undergone plenty of tests to determine his recovery schedule, and the club confirmed on their official website that the midfielder is expected to miss between eight and ten weeks.

That could well mean that Torreira’s season is over for Arsenal. The Gunners’ final game of the Premier League season comes against Watford on 17 May, which is only nine weeks away.


However, there is a chance he could be ready to feature, but only if he recovers faster than expected.

In his place, Mikel Arteta can call upon the likes of Granit Xhaka and Mattéo Guendouzi, but it was Dani Ceballos who excelled in that deeper role in the recent 1-0 win over West Ham United.


The Spaniard led his team in total tackles, interceptions and passes, and was a constant menace at both ends of the field.

The Gunners will need performances like that from Ceballos for the rest of the season. They currently sit ninth in the league table, eight points and one game behind Chelsea in fourth, so they already need a minor miracle to fight their way into one of the European spots.

Lucas Torreira

Elsewhere, Shkodran Mustafi will face a late fitness test ahead of Wednesday’s clash with Manchester City (lucky Arsenal), while right-back Cédric Soares is expected to return to training this week to rotate with Héctor Bellerin.

Sead Kolašinac should be back in training by the end of March if his recovery from a shoulder injury goes well, but Calum Chambers will still be focusing on making his return from a knee injury next season.


#NobleSport

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hail Bruno Fernandes

…says he is a winner


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praised the leadership qualities of Bruno Fernandes as the midfielder prepares for his first taste of the Manchester derby.

Manchester United host rivals Manchester City at Old Trafford on Sunday buoyed by a nine-match unbeaten run in all competitions.

Portugal international Fernandes has been key to this resurgence, supplying two goals and as many assists in four Premier League outings since moving for an initial €55 million (£48m/$61m) from Sporting CP in January.


The 25-year-old arrived with an established reputation for prolific goalscoring from midfield and Solskjaer believes the continuation of this form speaks well of the player’s character.

“I like to see that in a player, he doesn’t change coming into a new team. He’s the same as he was at Sporting,” he said.


“That’s a boy with confidence, with quality, good form and that’s his personality. Everyone should be themselves.

“He’s come in as a leader and he’s shown he’s a leader. He’s a winner. He doesn’t take 99 per cent as good enough.”


United have beaten their neighbours twice at the Etihad Stadium this season, claiming an authoritative 2-1 Premier League triumph in December before eking out a 1-0 EFL Cup win a month later.

That was not enough to progress to the final of a competition City won for a third consecutive season last weekend, however, given Pep Guardiola’s men ran out 3-1 semi-final first-leg winners to extend an excellent recent record at Old Trafford.


In pursuit of his club’s first top-flight derby win on home soil for almost five years, Solskjaer will hope to have captain Harry Maguire available alongside right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka and winger Daniel James.

Maguire sat out Thursday’s 3-0 FA Cup fifth-round victory at Derby County after rolling his ankle in training, while Wan-Bissaka injured his back in last Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Everton that James missed with an unspecified knock.

“I hope [they will be fit] but none of them have been training yet since the last game. We’ve got to look at them on Saturday because Friday is a recovery day,” Solskjaer explained.

On Maguire, he added: “It’s touch and go because he rolled and twisted his ankle. Hopefully he’ll recover quickly. I hope he’ll be fit, yeah.”


#NobleSport

Thierry Henry: I will want to manage Arsenal till I die


Thierry Henry has revealed that he still harbours ambitions to manage Arsenal, who considered a club legend for the role back in 2018 following the departure of Arsene Wenger.

Henry played for the Gunners between 1999 and 2007, helping the club to win six major trophies in total, including two Premier League titles before returning for a brief loan spell in 2012.

The World Cup winner hit 228 goals in 376 appearances across all competitions for Arsenal, becoming their all-time record scorer in the process, and is widely regarded as the finest player in the club’s illustrious history.


Arsenal reportedly interviewed Henry for the position of head coach before appointing Unai Emery to replace Wenger two years ago, after the Frenchman’s successful spell as Roberto Martinez’s assistant for the Belgium national team.

Henry ended up beginning his managerial career at Monaco, but only lasted three months at the helm after recording a mere four victories from 20 games.


Montreal Impact offered Henry the chance to mend his damaged reputation in November, and he is now preparing for the new MLS season , but the 42-year-old admits he would still jump at the chance to return to Emirates Stadium should the opportunity arise.

“I do dream of managing Arsenal but I also dream of running up the court and doing a slam dunk. It doesn’t mean it’ll happen,” he told Canal Plus.


“But, yes, I’ll want to manage Arsenal until the day I die.”

Henry added on speculation he had initially been lined up to succeed Wenger at Arsenal: “It was already difficult before Arsene left. It was already difficult.


“I have learnt by coming onto this side of things (coaching), there are things that I heard, that you might hear something from someone you know or I know and we might know things.

“But we don’t actually know anything, certainly not enough to speak about it, since then I have decided it is best not to get involved in these sorts of things.”


Henry went on to discuss how high the “intensity” levels have risen in the Premier League over the last few years, with Liverpool and Manchester City setting the pace at the top of the table.

“The intensity, the rhythm that you have in the Premier League, it’s very high,” Henry said. “You see, when you watch Liverpool, even just watching them, you get tired. They move so quickly.

“When you go to Manchester City, before you have even looked up, there is pressing on you.

“If you control the ball, there are already three guys around you. The Premier League’s intensity is immense.”


#NobleSport

Rohr speaks to eagles over Sierra leone


Barring any last minute alterations, the 23-man Super Eagles list for the March double header against Sierra Leone will be delivered by Coach Gernot Rohr on Monday March 2nd to the vault of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) before its announcement to the public.


The Super Eagles will host the West Africans in Asaba on March 23 before traveling to Freetown for the reverse fixture eight days later.

There have been huge speculations about who-and-who would be on the list following some spectacular performances by Nigeria’s legion of Europe-based professionals but the German coach has revealed why he’s holding out yet on the list.


“I am meeting some players in Europe before giving my list next Monday,” Rohr told NationSport yesterday.

Such parley with players is a normal routine in international football and Rohr would expectedly check on some players including in-form striker Victor Osimhen in his native France before making whistle stops at other destinations.


Though the 66-year-old former Bayern Munich defender was coy about some of the Super Eagles he would be visiting in the coming days, he made a notable mentioning of Heracles striker Cyriel Dessers.

The 24-year-old, who was born in Leuven to a Belgian father and qualifies for Nigeria through his mother, reportedly committed his international allegiance to the West African nation in December.


The burly striker is currently the Dutch league’s leading scorer with an impressive 17 goals in 26 appearances on the last count.

“Dessers are a very good player,” Rohr equally said. “He has a chance to be in the 23 (for the double header against Sierra Leone).”

Incidentally, Dessers recently enthused in an interview with the BBC Sports that it would be a dream come true if he’s considered good enough for the Super Eagles.

“Everyone in the family is hoping – and to be involved with Nigeria would be incredibly amazing for my career, but I’ve got to keep proving myself first,” Dessers reportedly said.


#NobleSport

Chelsea vs Bayern: See what lampard said


Chelsea manager, Frank Lampard says The Blues have a lot to learn from Tottenham’s 7-2 defeat to Bayern Munich as his side prepares to face the German champions in the Champions League last 16.

Chelsea lock horns with Bayern for the first leg at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, just under five months on from Spurs’ heavy defeat in the group stage at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.


When asked about the Spurs-Bayern match and if it would impact his preparations for the upcoming fixture, Lampard said: “Definitely – that’s a big part of my job.”

When quizzed on how he would balance chasing the game if Bayern go ahead, with the fixture being played over two legs, he added:


“We have players with Champions League experience but we’ve also got some younger players who are in the early stages of their careers.

“They have to understand about the levels, going up, the mindset levels. A big part of my job tomorrow is to explain to the players that over two legs we need to be at our maximum.

“We must make sure every box is ticked in both games. We have to make sure we don’t get caught up during in-game moments.

“There will be times when we suffer because Bayern are an incredible side with the ball but that’s our job over the next two games.”


#NobleSport

Real madrid unsure if Hazard need surgery


Real Madrid are meeting with numerous medical professionals for advice on how to proceed with winger Eden Hazard’s latest injury,

The Belgian missed 83 days of action after fracturing his right fibula, but he managed just two games before aggravating the injury, and it has now been suggested that his season could be over after suffering the same issue again.

As noted by Marca, Real are eager to ensure that Hazard does not suffer another relapse when he eventually returns, so they are regularly speaking with doctors to determine whether or not to operate on the winger.

One of those who will be asked for advice is Dr James Calder, who operated on Hazard when he suffered a similar injury during his time with Chelsea back in 2017.

At the moment, it is believed that the option to send Hazard for surgery is winning. Specialists have suggested that Hazard’s fibula needs to be examined directly to determine whether there is something wrong with it, given this is his third injury in three years.

Several meetings will be held this week, with Hazard invited to attend and give his opinion, and Real are eager to make a decision which will benefit everyone in the long run.


Understandably, Hazard wants to be fit in time to feature at Euro 2020 with Belgium, and club officials are bearing that in mind. Fortunately, it is thought that he will be ready for this summer regardless of which route his recovery takes.

However, he will not be available for Real for several months, meaning his frustrating debut season in Madrid could have come to an abrupt end.

Hazard has managed just 15 appearances for Real this season, registering just one goal and five assists in all competitions, which is certainly not what Los Blancos expected when they parted with an initial €100m to sign him last summer.

In his place, Zinedine Zidane can still call upon the likes of Vinícius Júnior, Lucas Vázquez and Gareth Bale as they look to topple Barcelona and lift another La Liga title.


#NobleSport

Everton, ready for acid test – Carlo Ancelotti


Carlo Ancelotti says Everton are ready for an acid test of their revival under his leadership as the Champions League hopefuls head to Arsenal on Sunday at the start of a tough run of games.

Ancelotti’s side has taken 17 points from his eight Premier League matches in charge — a return bettered only by runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool (24) over the same period — and have moved from 15th to ninth since the Italian arrived in December.


There are more tests lying in wait for the Toffees after the trip to north London, with home games against Manchester United and Liverpool and a trip to fourth-placed Chelsea offering a closer examination of their European credentials.

“Of course we have to be focused on Arsenal, but if we want to think about Europe there are very important games after Arsenal,” Ancelotti said.


“We have to play against United, Chelsea, and Liverpool. After these four games, we can see what’s going for Europe.”

Everton arrives at the Emirates Stadium this weekend looking to close the five-point gap on Chelsea as they attempt to gatecrash the battle for Champions League.


Manchester City’s two-year European ban has opened the door for the team that finishes fifth to qualify for next season’s tournament, pending the result of City’s appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

However, Everton’s only meetings with England’s elite have ended in defeat since Ancelotti took over, with Manchester City beating them in the league and a youthful Liverpool side handing them a disappointing FA Cup exit.


Victory against Arsenal, who have European ambitions of their own after last weekend’s thumping of Newcastle, would be a significant statement of intent as Ancelotti aims to prove that Everton’s run is not a flash in the pan.

“This is a really important game against a strong team away but we need to have the confidence to do our best and try to win,” said the 60-year-old.


“I know that Arsenal improved a lot in the last period, they are more confident, they are playing better so it will be difficult, but the spirit of the team is good and we have confidence.”

– Competitive streak –
Ancelotti’s relaxed public persona masks a fiercely competitive streak that has taken him across Europe in search of more managerial glory at an age when many of his peers are ready to step away from such a stressful job.


He has won domestic titles with Chelsea, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, and Bayern Munich, as well as lifting the Champions League with Milan and Real Madrid.

His reputation lost a little lustre after a troubled spell with Napoli that ended with his dismissal from the Italian club in December after 16 months in charge.


Failure to qualify for the Champions League knockout stages last season was compounded by a poor run in Serie A this term, with talk of squad unrest.

So when Ancelotti arrived at Goodison Park to replace the sacked Marco Silva a few weeks later there were doubters who claimed his decision to join Everton smacked of one last payday before retirement.


Everton’s situation was hardly fitting for a man supposedly in search of a quiet life however as Silva’s struggles had left the club in a relegation battle.

Wisely retaining beloved interim boss Duncan Ferguson on his backroom staff, Ancelotti has brought a renewed sense of belief and a more positive style of play.


In his opening two games, Everton produced 43 shots — the highest number they had managed over successive games in four years.

He has brought the best out of striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who has six goals under Ancelotti, while Gylfi Sigurdsson has been revitalised as a deep-lying midfield playmaker.

Everton fans, who quickly labelled him “Carlo Fantastico”, have latched onto the hope provided by Ancelotti’s assured presence in the dug-out after so many years of unfulfilled expectations.

Whether he remains fantastic in their eyes will be influenced by results over the next few weeks.


#NobleSport

Paul Pogba isn’t your prisoner – Raiola tells Solskjaer


Mino Raiola hit out at Solskjaer after the Norwegian said Monday that “Paul is our player, not Mino’s.”

“Paul is not mine and for sure not Solskjaer’s property, Paul is Paul Pogba’s (property),” Raiola said, responding to Solskjaer.


“You cannot own a human being already for a long time in the UK or anywhere else. I hope Solskjaer do(es) not want to suggest that Paul is his prisoner.

“Before Solskjaer makes comments about things I say he should inform himself better about the content of what has been said.”


Paul Pogba joined Manchester United in 2016 for a reported fee of $116 million.
Pogba has been sidelined with an ankle injury having played just seven Premier League games this season.

The midfielder’s absence has coincided with Manchester United’ struggles — the giant is seventh in the Premier League with exactly half the points of leader Liverpool’s 76.


Raiola added: “I am a free citizen who can think and express my thoughts. Until now I was maybe nice to him. Solskjaer should just remember things that he said in the summer to Paul.

“I think Solskjaer may be frustrated for different reasons and is now mixing up some issues. I think that Solskjaer has other things to worry about. At least if I was him I would.”


Mino Raiola is one of the most powerful agents in football.
Solskjaer was asked about Raiola’s comments following United’s 2-0 win over Chelsea Monday, which came courtesy of goals from Anthony Martial and Harry Maguire.

“I don’t have to comment through the media on Mino, I can probably speak to him myself,” the former United star told Sky Sports.

Paul Pogba

“It’s not my area, Paul and Mino have their conversations and that’s fine.”

Pogba signed a five-year deal for United in2016 for a reported fee of €105 million ($116 million). He has made 150 appearances and scored 31 goals for the club.
United next plays Club Brugge in a Europa League round-of-32 clash Thursday.


#NobleSport

Liverpool qualifies for next season’s champions league


The knockout stage of this season’s Champions League hasn’t even started yet – but holders Liverpool have already qualified for next year’s competition.

Chelsea’s failure to beat Manchester United on Monday night means the Premier League leaders have guaranteed a top-four finish, reports the BBC.


Jurgen Klopp’s side are 36 points above fifth-placed Tottenham with 12 games remaining.

But Spurs play Chelsea at the weekend, meaning that if Jose Mourinho’s side did win all of their remaining games and Liverpool lost every one, Chelsea would only be able to reach 74 points and therefore finish behind Liverpool.


Liverpool have reached the last two Champions League finals and face Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their last-16 tie on Tuesday. They are the first team in Europe to secure their spot in the elite competition in European football for the 2020-21 season.

As it stands Manchester City are set to be banned from the Champions League next season, meaning that whoever finishes fifth will take their place in the competition.

When can Liverpool win Premier League title?

Liverpool can, in theory, win their first Premier League title against Bournemouth on March 7. That would require Liverpool to win all their matches in that time with Manchester City, and Leicester City in third, slipping up.
Manchester United hold the record for the earliest Premier League title win, with Sir Alex Ferguson’s men claiming the trophy in 2000-01 on April 14.


#Newsworthy…

Hazard returns ahead celta vigo’s clash – Zidane announce


Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has confirmed Eden Hazard will be available for Sunday’s meeting with Celta Vigo after spending the last two months out injured.

The Belgian hasn’t featured since Los Blancos’ 2-2 draw at home to Paris Saint-Germain on 27 November. He limped off during the clash with the French club, with subsequent scans revealing a hairline fracture in the foot, which has seen him miss 16 matches.

The first year of Hazard’s Real career has proved a testing one for the forward, who arrived carrying a hamstring problem. That delayed his debut until 9 September, while it also appeared to have an impact on his confidence and form.


However, he remains one of Madrid’s most prized possessions, with Zidane saying of his return (via the club’s official website): “I’m really happy that he’s back because he’s a unique player. We didn’t want to rush things with him to ensure that he feels really good.

“We know what he brings to the team and that’s why we signed him. He’s a really great player, and it’s time for him to be back and involved. He’s feeling good physically, but he’s not played in three months.


“It’s now all about the tempo and playing games. Fitness-wise, he’s ready to play. He’ll be with us tomorrow and is ready to play.”

Zidane refused to give a concrete answer after being asked what role Hazard would play on Sunday, explaining: “When you’ve got players who are all really good, it’s tough to name a starting lineup. Every one of them brings something to the team.

“I like to have all of them ready to play, but when it comes to naming the side, you’ve got to take enough time to think about it. I don’t always decide on the same day.

“I’ve got 23 available players, and I have to choose. What they do is focus and are committed, and I’m then the one who has to choose.”


#NobleSport

European football: Man City receive 2 years ban


Manchester City have been banned from European competitions for the next two seasons for “serious financial fair-play breaches”, UEFA announced on Friday.


The English champions, who were also fined 30 million euros ($32.5 million), immediately announced they were appealing the suspension to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) “at the earliest opportunity”.

“Manchester City is disappointed but not surprised by today’s announcement by the UEFA Adjudicatory Chamber,” the club said.


“The… flawed and consistently leaked UEFA process he (the UEFA chief investigator) oversaw has meant that there was little doubt in the result that he would deliver…

“Simply put, this is a case initiated by UEFA, prosecuted by UEFA and judged by UEFA.


“With this prejudicial process now over, the club will pursue an impartial judgment as quickly as possible” at CAS.

Pep Guardiola’s City face Real Madrid in this season’s Champions League last 16.


Announcing the ban a UEFA statement declared: “The Adjudicatory Chamber has imposed disciplinary measures on Manchester City Football Club directing that it shall be excluded from participation in UEFA club competitions in the next two seasons (ie. the 2020/21 and 2021/22 seasons).”

European football’s governing body said that City “failed to cooperate in the investigation”.


“The adjudicatory chamber, having considered all the evidence, has found that Manchester City Football Club committed serious breaches of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations by overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to UEFA between 2012 and 2016,” European football’s governing body said.

City lost a previous appeal to CAS over UEFA’s original decision to refer them to its adjudicatory chamber over the alleged FFP violations.


The investigation into City was based on leaked emails published last year by German magazine Der Spiegel as part of “Football Leaks”.

Guardiola’s City outfit currently sit second in the Premier League table, meaning that the fourth Champions League slot available for English teams would likely go to the fifth-placed club this term.


Sheffield United, promoted to the top flight last year, sit in fifth.

It is not the first time that Man City have fallen foul of FFP regulations, having been fined 60 million euros and seeing their Champions League squad reduced in May 2014.

Qatari-owned Paris Saint-Germain were also fined that year.

Seven-time European champions AC Milan were banned from this season’s Europa League for FFP breaches.


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Lionel Messi will finish his career at Barcelona – Guardiola


Pep Guardiola says he wants Lionel Messi to finish his career at Barcelona rather than join him at Manchester City.

Messi has a release clause in his contract this summer and reports in Spain and England have suggested he could trigger it after a rift with Barcelona’s sporting director Eric Abidal, who has accused the players of getting former manager Ernesto Valverde the sack.

Guardiola was Barcelona manager from 2008 to 2012 and works alongside former Barca directors Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain at City, so it is little surprise the Premier League champions have been tipped as favourites to sign Messi if he decides to leave the Camp Nou.


City have been linked with the Argentine striker every season since Guardiola arrived in England in 2016, but after spending his entire career with the Catalan club, the City manager repeated his oft-stated opinion that he thinks – and hopes – Messi will stay there until his retirement.

“He will stay there, that’s my wish,” Guardiola told reporters on Friday.


“I’m not going to talk about players for other clubs. I think he will finish his career there, that’s my wish.”

Meanwhile, Guardiola says Raheem Sterling could be out for “weeks” after the City winger injured his left hamstring in the defeat at Tottenham last Sunday.


Sterling will miss the Premier League game against West Ham this weekend and is in a race against time to be fit for when City resume their season after a two-week winter break.

They face Leicester on February 22 before the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie against Real Madrid four days later.


“It’s a hamstring and we will see. It takes weeks but we’ll see if he is fit to play against Leicester, Madrid and the rest of the games,” Guardiola said.

“I don’t know. It’s a problem, but it’s a problem we had with (Ilkay) Gundogan a couple of seasons ago and (Aymeric) Laporte this season when he was out for four or five months.


“It’s what it is. It’s a problem with this kind of (busy) season, particularly for the players.”

Long-term casualty Leroy Sane, who has been out of action since rupturing knee ligaments in the Community Shield game against Liverpool is training again and could return after the winter break.


“He’s started to train, he is still not there, he needs to recover the tempo, rhythm, confidence,” Guardiola said.

“It is not like an ankle or muscular injury. It still needs time. He needs more weeks of training.


“What’s important is he’s recovered well. He’ll come back stronger than before but now he needs time.”

Apart from Sterling, left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko will miss the West Ham game on Sunday through suspension after his red card against Tottenham.

France international Benjamin Mendy is in line for a recall to replace Zinchenko.

Mendy has not played since the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace on January 18.


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Manchester City falls 22 points behind Liverpool


Manchester City coach, Pep Guardiola has accepted defeat in his side’s defence of the premier league title they won in 2019, saying he will be focusing on other competitions now, after his side were beaten 2-0 by Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham on Sunday night.


Steven Bergwijn scored a debut goal while Heung-min Son’s scored again after Manchester City were reduced to 10 men following Oleksandr Zinchenko’s red card, leaving Guardiola’s side 22 points adrift of leaders Liverpool.

Guardiola, whose team is still in the FA Cup, Carabao Cup final and UEFA Champions league believes the EPL title is all over for him.


‘They are far away so they are unstoppable. They have a lot of points, we have dropped points quite similar to today.

‘Our targets are to win the remaining competitions and qualify for the Champions League next season.’


Guardiola also responded to claims he kept his players locked up in the away dressing room after the match for 40 minutes.

”No, I was not angry. Normally I don’t like it if we don’t play good, if we don’t run or we don’t fight,’ said Guardiola.


‘Never when we lose do I stay away from my players because I know them. But we lost the game so we talked about how to move forward and keep going. There’s a lot of months to play.’

He also took a thinly-veiled swipe at former Premier League chairman Richard Scudamore, who once said that City’s dominance could affect the EPL’s credibility ahead of last season after winning the title by 19 points in the previous campaign.

”The last two seasons they said City winning the title was bad for the Premier League and that it could not happen again,’ said the City boss.

‘They said someone has to stop City getting 100 points and winning it again. So now it is Liverpool you have to be concerned with about the Premier League.’


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Solskjaer: Don’t compare Fernandes to Ronaldo ..


Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said on Friday that it would be unfair to compare new signing Bruno Fernandes to Cristiano Ronaldo.

The 25-year-old followed the path first made famous by five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo in 2003 when he joined United from Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon on Thursday.


Solskjaer said that Fernandes would play a part in Saturday’s game against Wolves at Old Trafford, but warned against comparing him to his illustrious compatriot.

“Cristiano is unique so to compare the boy to him is not fair. Obviously we hope Bruno is going to come and have a fantastic career at Manchester United,” he said.


“He is another piece in the jigsaw and I am sure he is going to give us that X-factor that we have been missing at times this season.”

Fernandes said after signing that his “love of Manchester United” started while watching Ronaldo play for the club.


United were finally able to land Fernandes after chasing him for several months and Solskjaer says the Portugal international reminds him of former teammate Paul Scholes with his ability to make goalscoring runs from deep and provide assists.

Fernandes, who will wear Scholes’ old number 18 shirt, scored eight goals and set up six others for Sporting in the Portuguese Primeira Liga this season.


“Bruno is a goalscoring and assisting midfield player, a little bit like Paul Scholes,” Solskjaer added.

“He can strike a ball fantastically and he’s got wonderful technique. He will also get assists from set plays and with his range of passing.”


Scholes won 11 Premier League titles, two Champions Leagues and a host of other medals during two spells with United across the Alex Ferguson era.

“He’s a similar type to Scholes, fiery as well, with the same number on his shirt,” Solskjaer said.


“Bruno can do absolutely everything. He can play as one of three in midfield, as a number 10, he can play in off the wing, he can play in a diamond. But we will give him the time to find his best position.

“Of course we bring him in to play and we believe in him. But we are going to give him time to settle down in a new country and a new league with new teammates.”


Fernandes has arrived with United fifth in the Premier League, six points behind fourth-placed Chelsea who they play in their first game back after the winter break.

United are also through to the Europa League last 32 against Club Brugge and are still in the FA Cup.

Now the transfer window is shut, Solskjaer is ready to focus on the last three months as he tries to salvage a troubled season.

“I’m happy and confident that these players will keep improving. You cannot control results but of course, we are going to fight for a higher position in the league and trophies in the cups,” he said.


#Newsworthy…

Tottenham needs a striker – Jose Mourinho ..


Tottenham head coach Jose Mourinho insists he is “happy” with the club’s transfer business in January, but admits it “would be better” if they had signed a striker.
Spurs made three signings during the window – bringing in Gedson Fernandes on loan from Benfica, making Giovani Lo Celso’s contract permanent, and completing a deal for Netherlands winger Steven Bergwijn.

Mourinho’s side were also heavily linked with signing a striker after Harry Kane ruptured his hamstring, but potential deals for Olivier Giroud, Krzysztof Piatek and Willian Jose never materialised.


When asked about Tottenham’s business in the transfer market, Mourinho replied: “I’m happy.

“It would be better with a striker, We would need a striker to have a balanced squad to face the great challenges we have in front of us in three different competitions.


“Steven Bergwijn is the kind of player that is good for now but is also good for our future and is also good for the direction we want to go.

“With the difficulties of the market in January it was really hard to find the striker that is good, not just to resolve the problems of today, but also good for the future of the team.”

Tottenham head coach Jose Mourinho

“I am not expecting [more signings]. The market is open so anything can happen but I am not expecting anything to happen. I am happy.

“If it’s not possible it is not possible. We are all together for this in the club.”


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Sporting CP: Coach unsure about Fernandes future ..


The future of Bruno Fernandes continues to dominate headlines after he featured for Sporting CP on Monday amid transfer links.

Sporting CP head coach Silas could not confirm if Manchester United target Bruno Fernandes played his last match for the Portuguese club on Monday.

Linked to United this month and during the previous transfer window, Fernandes remains in Lisbon despite the ongoing speculation and captained Sporting in their 1-0 win over Maritimo.


With United and Sporting still reportedly trying to negotiate a deal before the window shuts, Silas was once again asked about the future of star skipper Fernandes.

“I can’t confirm it [if Fernandes made his last appearance against Maritimo], I would like him to stay,” Silas told reporters post-match. “Right now I don’t know if he will stay or not, but I would like to count on him at least until the end of the season.


“Bruno Fernandes is a different player, he sees things that no one sees. Being further back and seeing these movements, the defence begins to decline.

“Any team that had Bruno Fernandes in Portugal would suffer if they lost him. If so we will have to look for solutions.”

Fernandes, linked to Tottenham and Real Madrid previously, has scored 15 goals in all competitions for Sporting this season.

The25-year-old midfielder netted 31 goals last term, including 20 in Primeira Liga.


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Liverpool better than Manchester City – Pep..

…23 games, 22 victories, 1 draw


Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola conceded the Premier League title to Liverpool and believes no team in the world would be able to stay with the European champions this season.
Liverpool is well on course for a first league title in 30 years as they lead City by 16 points with a game in hand after winning 22 and drawing one of their 23 games.

City has won back-to-back titles with a combined 198 points, denying Liverpool last season despite Jurgen Klopp’s men posting 97 points – the third-highest tally in top-flight English football history.


“Liverpool obviously will be champions of the Premier League, but they would be champions in Spain, champions in Italy, champions in Germany,” said Guardiola.

“They would be champions everywhere after 23 games, 22 victories, 1 draw.”


City have lost five league games this season, but Guardiola defended their record by pointing out it would still be good enough to mount a title challenge in Europe’s other top leagues.

“In the recent past when Chelsea won the league, the next season, they didn’t qualify for the Champions League, Leicester the same and Chelsea again the same. When we won the league we repeated the league,” added Guardiola.


“In Spain, with the points we have we would be there, one or two points behind the leader, in Germany we would be there, one or two points behind the leader, in Italy as well.

“But Liverpool are just fantastic, phenomenal, overwhelming. So we have to accept it and learn from that.”


Guardiola won three league titles in a row at Barcelona and Bayern Munich but believes the mental strength to bounce back of his current squad is just as good as any he has coached before.

And City could still end the season with three trophies as they look to defend the FA Cup and League Cup and take on Real Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League next month.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola

“Honestly, it is one of the best I have ever handled or faced in my career for how they react in the bad moments,” he said.

“The numbers, the results, not just in this season, I think are good. Even in the previous seasons, I think it was phenomenal. That is why I am so proud.”


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Lampard addresses how Chelsea will make transfer..

…no movement now


Chelsea manager, Frank Lampard, has admitted the team “lost ground” following their transfer ban and Eden Hazard’s departure last summer.

Lampard, speaking to the media after their 2-1 win at Hull in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday said the Blues now have to play catch up.


However, the former England midfielder revealed they are not close to sealing any deal at the moment. NobleSport learnt

“There’s no movement to speak of now.


“It’s clear that we got a punishment in the summer for right or for wrong where we couldn’t bring in players and the punishment is meant to hurt you.

“And we lost certainly one of our biggest players in our history for what he did for this club over the last six or seven years, whatever it is.

Chelsea manager, Frank Lampard

“My job I suppose is to work everyday on the training ground, can we get better and to drive that. Then the other part is how do we move forward by bringing in players and we lost ground in the summer.

“So yeah, we’re trying to now, we need to now for the short term to push for this top four. I think it’s clear I have a strong feeling where we can improve personnel wise to take us going forward,” Lampard said


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