Dalglish praises Moyes ahead of derby

Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish has warmed up for Saturday’s Merseyside derby by praising Everton manager David Moyes.

Dalglish returns to Goodison Park for the first time as Liverpool manager since the famous 4-4 FA Cup draw which proved to be his last game during his first spell as manager at Anfield.

And instead of stoking the flames before the eagerly anticipated match, he decided to warn his players about the threat posed by the Toffees.

“Moysie has done a fantastic job and we’ve got a great deal of respect for David Moyes and also for the football club,” Dalglish said.

“They have done well and were unfortunate to have to go to Manchester City last week having played extra time on the previous Wednesday night, not having the benefit City had of making wholesale changes.”

“They put on a very resilient performance even though they lost but last year they won 3-0 so we know they will be competitive and we have to match it.”

“They will play to their strengths and we will play to our strengths.”

Dalglish also had strong words for his defence, who have struggled away from home, conceding five times in three matches with the Reds losing on two of those occasions, notably a 4-0 hammering at Tottenham Hotspur.

Whilst denying that Liverpool had a problem, the Scot said there was still room for improvement amongst the back five.

“I wouldn’t say we’re worried about it,” he added.

“It’s something we’ve got to continue working on but if we keep scoring more goals than the opposition then fine.”

“But it’s always nice to have your opposition with a nothing after their name, isn’t it?”

“Last week against Wolves we might have been under pressure a little bit and got a couple of tackles in around the box but for me we had by far the greater and most chances in the game.”

“It looked more likely that we would have extended our lead than lost it.”

“If you keep scoring goals, it makes it more difficult for the other team, but certainly losing not goals makes it a bit easier for ourselves as well as scoring at the other end.”

“If you want to get points, then it’s helpful not to lose any but I wouldn’t say we’ve got a problem with it.”

Fri 30 September, 2011
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Agent: Inter tried to swap Sneijder for Tevez

Carlos Tevez’s agent, Kia Joorabchian has revealed that Inter wanted to exchange Wesley Sneijder for Carlos Tevez earlier this summer.

Numerous reports suggested that Inter were keen on the Manchester City striker, but the deal failed to materialize.

Carlos Tevez’s agent has now revealed that there was truth behind speculation linking his client with a move to Inter.

“The Nerazzurri tried to set up an exchange between Tevez and Sneijder, but the negotiations were not remotely simple,” Kia Joorobchian told De Telegraaf.

“The talks collapsed completely once the Citizens signed Samir Nasri.”

Fri 30 September, 2011
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Norwich striker out until New Year

Norwich City striker James Vaughan will be sidelined until the New Year with a knee injury picked up in the 2-1 win over Sunderland on Monday.

Vaughan, 23, came on as a substitute at Carrow Road against the Black Cats but lasted just 10 minutes on the pitch before he was forced off with the knock.

The Canaries’ front man has since had surgery on his knee which has confirmed the worst for the former Everton forward.

He will have to sit out a substantial amount of the season, with Norwich boss Paul Lambert announcing Vaughan would be out until the New Year.

“He is going to be out for a considerable time – it is his meniscus,” Lambert said.

“It is a blow because he has been looking really good and is going to be out for three or four months.”

“He has had really bad luck with injuries.”

Vaughan joins longer term absentees Elliott Ward (knee) and Dani Ayala (knee) on the sidelines. Zak Whitbread returned to training this week but will not be considered for Saturday’s league trip to Manchester United.

Lambert admitted Vaughan’s latest injury setback was a cruel blow for the 23-year-old striker who has yet to start a first team Norwich game.

Fri 30 September, 2011
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Hodgson: Slow start is costly

West Brom manager Roy Hodgson says the Baggies are suffering because of their slow start to the season.

But Hodgson insists his squad is strong enough for the challenge.

Losses to Manchester United, Chelsea and Stoke have impeded the Baggies early progress and they remain in the bottom three, despite picking up four points in their last three games.

However, Hodgson believes it is a momentary setback and that his team has the quality to bounce back and stay clear of relegation.

The former Liverpool boss told reporters: “The first three games are the real bugbear for us because we got no points.”

“We are going to be playing catch-up for a considerable period of time.”

“It will take a while to get back into a position in the table we would be more comfortable with.”

“If we had taken three points from the first three games and were sitting on seven now, I’m sure the confidence would be higher and people would be feeling less anxious when they go out to play.”

“This is part of being a member of a Premier League team. It’s a lot of pressure at all times and that pressure hardly ever leaves you because there is always something to play for.”

“In the last three games, two of them away from home, we’ve taken four points which is a little bit more acceptable.”

“Those four points are not good enough to claw back the loss of the nine points in the first three games.”

“But I’m quite confident if the team can continue working hard, they won’t let myself or the club down and we will get the necessary points.”

West Brom managed to carry quite a force behind them in the closing games of last season, grabbing 20 points in just 12 games, but Hodgson concedes the Baggies have failed to carry such form over to the current campaign.

“We haven’t picked up the momentum of last season, or hit the rhythm I would like,” Hodgson said.

“But I am still seeing signs that we are relatively solid and I believe the solidity of the team and the quality of the players we have will see us through in the end.”

“I am much more confident this year that the depth and quality of our squad has been improved.”

“I’d like to think we are every bit as good, if not better regarding the first eleven because the players who have come into the team are as good, if not better than the ones playing last season.”

West Brom take on Sunderland on Saturday at the Stadium of Light, with Steve Bruce’s outfit still hurting from Monday’s loss at Norwich City.

Fri 30 September, 2011
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Afellay still in Dutch plans

Netherlands boss Bert van Marwijk is hopeful that Ibrahim Afellay will recover from a knee injury to play at Euro 2012.

Barcelona’s Afellay tore ligaments in his knee last week and will be in a race against time to be fit for the European Championships in Poland and Ukraine at the end of the current football season.

The winger was one of many big names not included in the Dutch squad for Euro 2012 qualifiers against Moldova and Sweden, with Inter Milan’s Wesley Sneijder and Everton’s John Heitinga ruled out with groin and knee injuries respectively.

“I spoke with Ibrahim (Afellay) several times already as he needs support after sustaining an injury like this just after he recovered from another tough injury,” Van Marwijk said.

“He is very important for my squad.”

But despite the missing stars, Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben returns, joining the likes of Rafael van der Vaart, Robin van Persie and Dirk Kuyt.

The upcoming matches are important for the Netherlands and if they manage to win just one of the two, they will consolidate their place as the second-ranked side in the world.

That would mean they would be a top seed for the Euro 2012 draw, something that could be pivotal in their hopes of bouncing back from their 2010 FIFA World Cup final heartbreak and winning their first major trophy since the 1988 European Championships.

Goalkeepers: Maarten Stekelenburg (AS Roma), Michel Vorm (Swansea City), Tim Krul (Newcastle United)

Defenders: Khalid Boulahrouz (VfB Stuttgart), Edson Braafheid (Hoffenheim), Jeffrey Bruma (SV Hamburg), Hedwiges Maduro (Valencia), Joris Mathijsen (Malaga), Erik Pieters (PSV Eindhoven), Gregory van der Wiel (Ajax Amsterdam).

Midfielders: Mark van Bommel (AC Milan), Nigel de Jong (Manchester City), Stijn Schaars (Sporting), Kevin Strootman (PSV), Rafael van der Vaart (Tottenham Hotspur), Georginio Wijnaldum (PSV).

Forwards: Eljero Elia (Juventus), Klaas Jan Huntelaar (Schalke 04), Luuk de Jong (Twente Enschede), Dirk Kuyt (Liverpool), Robin van Persie (Arsenal), Jeremain Lens (PSV), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich).

Fri 30 September, 2011
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Portugal recall Quaresma for Iceland game

Portugal head coach Paulo Bento has included Besiktas winger Ricardo Quaresma in his 23-man squad for the Euro 2012 qualifiers against Iceland and Denmark.

The former Inter man has not featured for his country since March 29, when he was a starter in the 2-0 friendly victory against Finland.

Real Madrid duo Pepe and Fabio Coentrao did not make the cut as they are struggling with injuries, just like Besiktas striker Hugo Almeida.

Koln’s Henrique Sereno has been handed his first-ever senior call-up after impressing for the Bundesliga outfit since his arrival on loan from Porto.

Portugal are currently at the top of Group H on 13 points, though they share the position with both Denmark and Norway. The Euro 2004 runners-up welcome Iceland on October 7 at the Estadio do Dragao before travelling to Copenhagen four days later.

The squad: Goalkeepers: Beto (Cluj), Eduardo (Benfica), Rui Patricio (Sporting Lisbon).

Defenders: Silvio (Atletico Madrid), Joao Pereira (Sporting Lisbon), Bruno Alves (Zenit St Petersburg), Sereno (FC Koln), Ricardo Costa (Valencia), Rolando (Porto).

Midfielders: Raul Meireles (Chelsea), Nani (Manchester United), Ruben Micael (Zaragoza), Carlos Martins (Granada),Danny (Zenit St Petersburg), Paulo Machado (Toulouse), Ruben Amorim (Benfica), Miguel Veloso (Genoa), Joao Moutinho (Porto).

Strikers: Ricardo Quaresma (Besiktas), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Eliseu (Malaga), Nuno Gomes (Sporting Braga), Helder Postiga (Zaragoza).

Fri 30 September, 2011
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Klopp demands results against Augsburg

Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp has made it clear that he expects his team to return to winning ways in Saturday’s Bundesliga match at home against Augsburg.

The reigning champions have been struggling to find their best form in the opening months of the 2011-12 campaign, and Klopp is determined to get back on track.

“We don’t have a problem with form. We have been dominant in our last four matches, but we have only got four points for it. I find that a little scant. We now have the chance to react defiantly against Augsburg,” Klopp said.

“I am not going to criticise anybody – we can play great football and we have a great attitude, but the results are not what we would have hoped for.”

“In defence, we are not clearing the ball and in attack, we are not putting it in.”

Dortmund currently sit joint seventh in the Bundesliga table with 10 points from seven games.

Fri 30 September, 2011
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Ferguson backs Mancini stance over Tevez

Sir Alex Ferguson has defended the way in which Roberto Mancini has dealt with the current issues surrounding Manchester City and Carlos Tevez.

The Argentine appeared to refuse to come on as a substitute in City’s Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich, with the club subsequently suspending the striker for two weeks while the manager told reporters after the game that he was ‘finished’ with the Argentine.

Ferguson, who managed Tevez for two seasons, believes the way in which his rival has dealt with the situation showed strength of character and management.

“I think that Roberto Mancini has come out and shown his strength of character, his strength of management and I think that is important,” he said.

“We have all experienced our own difficulties in management and you cope with it as best as you can. In my own experience strong management is important and there is nobody more important than the manager at a football club.”

Meanwhile, Ferguson confirmed that strikers Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez will be fit for United’s Premier League tie against Norwich City on Saturday.

Rooney was unable to play in United’s 1-1 draw with Stoke last Saturday while Chicharito was forced to leave the pitch after picking up a dead leg less than five minutes into the game.

“Wayne and Hernandez are fit for tomorrow. They trained very well yesterday, which is pleasing,” Ferguson said.

United have had a number of injury problems this season, with the loss of centre-backs Jonny Evans and Nemanja Vidic, makeshift right-back Chris Smalling, and rising starlet Tom Cleverley.

But the manager is hopeful of their return in the near future, adding: “We’ll hopefully have Jonny Evans back too. At the moment we’re making too many changes in the back four so hopefully his return will help us with the defensive part.”

“Vidic, Cleverley and Smalling should be ready after the internationals and available for Liverpool.”

United were criticised after their dismal performance in the Champions League against Basel on Tuesday, in which their opponents scored three goals after capitalising on a soft defence.

United gave up a 2-0 lead in the first half as it looked like they were cruising to yet another victory, but they allowed Basel to take the lead in the second, and only managed to come away from the game with a point after Ashley Young’s late equaliser.

“People will say our performance was careless against Basel and that we underestimated our opponents,” Ferguson continued.

“I think there’s an element of truth in that and we have to do better defensively. We are too cavalier at the moment.”

Fri 30 September, 2011
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Jol calls for 6+5 rule in Premier League

Fulham boss Martin Jol sees a brighter future ahead for European football when UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rulings begin to take shape.

The regulations, not yet including the ’6+5′ rule where teams are obliged to field five homegrown players, are intended to encourage clubs to spend within their means to protect the sustainability and competitiveness of football in Europe.

Jol’s Fulham is likely to benefit from increased parity when UEFA’s raft of sanctions are enforced in 2014, and the Dutchman is convinced the implementation of the controversial ’6+5 rule’ would help national teams and clubs alike.

“If you talk about Financial Fair Play, you could go on and on and on,” he said. “Everybody takes Barcelona as an example, everybody. But they are 450 million euros in debt!”

“It’s not the fairest set-up, but what I would like to see is the 6+5 rule, which will have the same effect. Play six players from abroad, and five English players. Then you will see the English national team benefit.”

“Of course you have got exceptions like [Wayne] Rooney and [Jack] Wilshere who started young, but these are big, big players.”

“Generally, will you see 19- or 20-year-old players in the England team? No. But if you see the Under-21s now with [Daniel] Sturridge, [Jordan] Henderson, [Phil] Jones – they have all come through the ranks.”

“I think the English are probably on the right path, but you will see if you get the 6+5 rule, it could be good and fair.”

Jol believes Austrian youngster Kerim Frei, a Fulham midfielder, would benefit from the implementation of the 6+5 rule.

“For example, I have got a player now in my reserves, Kerim Frei. He is 17 and has played eight games for us,” he continued.

“Now I feel he would never have played for us if we hadn’t given him the chance or if he was not good enough. But it was a necessity to play him because there was no Clint Dempsey and I needed someone to play on the left.”

“That’s the Dutch way – if your left winger is not there, you play the second one, and if he’s not there you play your third. Kerim Frei has played a few games for us and he was one of our best players against Chelsea.”

“If you have a 6+5 rule there will be more space for young players and it will start to pay off because it is not all about money.”

Though Fulham are only just out of the relegation zone, on four points after six matches, the Dutchman is proud of his side’s style and plans to stick to his playing philosophy.

“My ambition is to follow the same Dutch principle,” he continued. “If you play your best football, starting from the back, the results will come naturally.”

“If you don’t, you go back to the defensive, compact way – it’s good, because it’s the style Fulham used – but to go forward you need to score goals.”

“The focus for me is on the performance and style – if you get that right, then you will achieve your objectives.”

“On Saturday we could have won easily – we could have beaten Chelsea. Against Man City we came from two down to make it 2-2 and could have nicked it at the end.”

“If you play good football, your opponent will be under pressure, and they will be the ones who have to shift to a 4-5-1, and that was good to see against Man City.”

Fulham host Premier League new boys QPR on Sunday at Craven Cottage.

Fri 30 September, 2011
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Jovetic’s agent denies Chelsea rumours

The agent of Stevan Jovetic has moved to deny reports linking his client with a move to Stamford Bridge.

The Montenegrin forward has been attracting a lot of interest from big European clubs, but it looks as though he will be staying at Fiorentina after all.

Jovetic recently expressed his desire to sign a new deal with Viola, thus putting end to speculations linking him with a move away from the club.

His agent, Fali Ramadani has now commented on reports linking his client with a move to Chelsea.

“Chelsea’s interest is just a rumour. I will not even comment on it,” Ramadani was quoted as saying in La Repubblica.

“There are many teams interested in Stevan and Chelsea could be among these.”

Fri 30 September, 2011
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