Antic still believes in Barca

Former Barcelona coach Radomir Antic believes the club can overturn their 2-0 first-leg defeat to AC Milan and progress in the Champions League.

Former Barcelona coach Radomir Antic believes the club can overturn their 2-0 first-leg defeat to AC Milan and progress in the Champions League.

Barca were beaten at San Siro earlier this month, and after a 3-1 Copa del Rey loss to Real Madrid on Tuesday, many believe European elimination could well be on the cards.

Antic, however, insisted the tie remains in the balance.

“Barcelona have the quality to turn things around against Milan,” the Serbian told La Xarxa Radio.

“It is much easier to attack and charge forward when you’re 2-0 down than when it’s only 1-0 in my opinion. You have nothing to lose when you’re 2-0 down and must attack.

“The important thing is that Barcelona believe in themselves and are convinced that they can make it happen.”

The second leg of the Champions League round-of-16 tie takes place at Camp Nou on March 12.

Thu 28 February, 2013
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Bale gunning for revenge

Tottenham winger Gareth Bale hopes his side can exact revenge on north London rivals Arsenal at White Hart Lane on Sunday.

Tottenham winger Gareth Bale hopes his side can exact revenge on north London rivals Arsenal at White Hart Lane on Sunday.

Spurs suffered a 5-2 loss to Arsene Wenger’s side in the reverse fixture at the Emirates Stadium earlier this season, with Emmanuel Adebayor receiving a red card having given his side the lead early on.

But with Spurs sitting third in the Premier League and four points above their neighbours, Bale is keen to avoid a repeat of that result.

“It’s one we want to win,” the 23-year-old told reporters.

“We started well last time and the sending-off was a problem.

“We want to rectify that score now and hopefully get the three points. We go into the game full of confidence, looking for three points to boost our hopes of getting into the Champions League.

“It’s massive. We know how big it is – not just for us but for the fans.”

Thu 28 February, 2013
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Suarez best in Rodgers´ eyes

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers rates Reds striker Luis Suarez as his player of the season.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers rates Reds striker Luis Suarez as his player of the season.

Suarez has been in exceptional form this term, hitting 26 goals across all competitions.

The Uruguayan’s form has led to reported interest from current Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich.

Liverpool are in eighth place in the Premier League table and Rodgers believes Suarez’s qualities are a key reason why his side are in contention for European qualification.

“Who’s mine? (player of the year) Luis Suarez. He has been phenomenal. That’s not just an opinion as his manager,” Rodgers told reporters.

“Luis had to play as the only striker we had for six months and hasn’t missed a single day training. I couldn’t look further than Luis.”

Liverpool travel away to Wigan on Saturday looking to maintain the pressure on the teams above them.

Rodgers revealed that the side could be without Daniel Sturridge for the trip, adding that Raheem Sterling could be rested.

He added: “Daniel has had a little knock but we’ll assess that in the next day and see how he is for the weekend.

“This is a kid (Sterling) who’s got huge talent. I’ve got to make sure I protect him. He’ll need a wee rest, mentally and physically.”

Thu 28 February, 2013
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Marchisio keen on German football

Claudio Marchisio says he would prefer to play in the Bundesliga over the Premier League if he was to leave Juventus in the future.

Claudio Marchisio says he would prefer to play in the Bundesliga over the Premier League if he was to leave Juventus in the future.

The Italy international has been linked with a move to Bayern Munich on more than one occasion in recent years, and while committed to Juve, he has left the door open for one last European adventure.

“My priority is to stay at Juventus for the remainder of my career, but I am open to trying a new experience abroad in the future,” Marchisio told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“The Bundesliga? I really love German football. Their modern stadiums and facilities are great. Games are almost always sold out.

“And I like the attitude of the German fans. They do not even leave the stadium when their team is trailing by four goals.

“I prefer the Bundesliga over the Premier League.”

Marchisio has a contract with Juventus until June 2016.

Thu 28 February, 2013
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Lucas tips Suarez for top gong

Lucas Leiva feels Liverpool team-mate Luis Suarez deserves the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award ahead of Robin van Persie and Gareth Bale.

Lucas Leiva feels Liverpool team-mate Luis Suarez deserves the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award ahead of Robin van Persie and Gareth Bale.

The Uruguay international has been in fine form this season, netting 25 goals in 37 games so far, and is one of the favourites for the accolade.

His fellow South American insisted the forward is deserving of the crown after his ‘amazing’ season.

“Luis will certainly be challenging for that award,” the Reds midfielder told the Liverpool Echo.

“It has been such an amazing season for him. He has been scoring a lot of goals and showing everyone all the qualities he has.

“I just hope he wins because I think he deserves it after everything he has done this season.”

The Brazilian thinks Van Persie and Bale will probably be Suarez’s main rivals, and is hoping the Reds striker can maintain his good form until the end of the season.

“I think it’s going to be between Luis, Van Persie and Bale,” he added. “All three have performed really well and have scored a lot of goals.

“But we hope Luis has got the luck to win it. He has been so important for us and is a special player. It’s just so good to have him in our team.

“We just hope he can continue playing at this level and scores many more goals before the end of the season.”

Thu 28 February, 2013
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Subotic: We deserved more

Borussia Dortmund defender Neven Subotic has voiced his frustration at his side’s 1-0 DFB Pokal loss to Bayern Munich.

An Arjen Robben strike was the difference between the two sides, and meant Dortmund’s cup adventure came to an end in the quarter-finals, but Subotic feels his team could have emerged victorious with a bit more luck.

“I think we’ve got to be frustrated with ourselves because in the second half we deserved to score at least one goal and we didn’t,” Subotic told Bundesliga.com.

“It could all have been different if we had found that one goal and I think in the second half we definitely should’ve hit the net at least once.

“Then we would’ve gone into extra-time and who knows what might have happened.

“I think the main difference was that in the first half they had a lot of chances and they scored a dream goal. After the break we had some great opportunities, but we just couldn’t capitalise on them.”

Dortmund will be looking to return to winning ways on Saturday when they take on Hannover.

Thu 28 February, 2013
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Overmars open to Arsenal return

Former Arsenal star Marc Overmars says there is a distinct possibility he could take on a role with the club in the future.

The 39-year-old scored 41 goals in 142 appearances for the Gunners during a three-year spell which saw him lift the Premier League and FA Cup prior to a 25 million-pound move to Barcelona.

And the Dutchman, who currently serves as Ajax’s technical director, said he would be open to returning to the English club, but ruled out going into management.

“When you get older as a player, you work out what your qualities are for the future. I was quite fast to realise being a manager was not my job,” he told Standard Sport.

“The way I work with Ajax, I do the transfers, the contracts and organise the scouting, so it suits me. It wouldn’t surprise me if I work in the future at Arsenal – it could be a possibility.

“I’ve never discussed it with Arsene Wenger. But if the board think about the future and make a list of people to work at the club, it wouldn’t surprise me if I am on the list of people. However, at this moment, I want to stay at Ajax.”

Wenger’s men face a battle to qualify for next season’s Champions League and, barring a miraculous second-leg comeback against Bayern Munich, are set for an eighth season without a trophy.

Overmars cited the club’s move from Highbury to the Emirates Stadium as a possible factor in their recent decline.

“I went back to Highbury to look around that area and still felt such a power there,” he said.

“When we were playing at home, we were unbeatable. That’s how we felt. But that’s the problem with a bigger stadium, often you lose that aura.

“It used to be intimidating at Highbury – that is the difference between the new stadium and the old one. When you build a new stadium, you must try to get the people as close as possible to the pitch.

“I was playing with Ajax in the old stadium and then the new stadium and we had the same problem. All the opponents wanted to play in this nice stadium so you lose that home advantage.”

Thu 28 February, 2013
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Arshavin wants London stay

Arsenal forward Andrei Arshavin will be leaving the Gunners for another London club, according to the player’s representative.

The Russian forward’s deal at the Emirates is due to expire at the end of the current campaign, and the Gunners won’t be trying too hard to prevent the player from leaving.

Even though top Russian clubs are showing an interest in the experienced forward, his agent claims that Arshavin is likely to sign for another London club.

“Top English clubs won’t take him,” agent Dimitri Seluk told Sports.ru. “And considering the fact that he doesn’t want to leave London, the next club for Arshavin will be Fulham or something like that.”

Arshavin, 31, arrived at the Emirates as one of world’s top players, but he never quite managed to live up to his potential in North London.

After playing on regular basis during the first two years at the club, the Russian international lost his place in the side, and has since been mostly restricted to substitute appearances.

Arshavin has failed to start a single Premier League game this season, making 7 substitute appearances.

Thu 28 February, 2013
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Galliani: Milan must focus on Serie A

Adriano Galliani has warned AC Milan not to be distracted by their Champions League clash with Barcelona at the expense of Serie A.

Adriano Galliani has warned AC Milan not to be distracted by their Champions League clash with Barcelona at the expense of Serie A.

The San Siro side take on Lazio at the weekend and also meet Genoa before the second leg of their round-of-16 clash with Barca at Camp Nou, and Galliani has urged Massimiliano Allegri’s men to concentrate on their domestic duties.

“We cannot think about Barcelona now as we have two games to win first against Lazio and Genoa,” Galliani told the official Milan website.

“The next round of games will be an important one. It’s first against second as well as third against fourth. Except for Fiorentina, they’re all in action.

“There are many teams going for third: Us, Lazio, Inter, Fiorentina, Catania, Roma. Six teams for third. It’s a league within a league.”

Milan sit fourth in the league table with 45 points from 26 games and beat Barca 2-0 in the first-leg of their Champions League tie.

Thu 28 February, 2013
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Cazorla: We must beat Spurs

Arsenal attacker Santi Cazorla says his side must beat Tottenham on Sunday to keep their Champions League hopes alive.

The Gunners head into the north London derby at White Hart Lane in fifth place in the Premier League and four points behind their third-placed rivals.

Arsenal have never failed to finish in the top four under manager Arsene Wenger and, with the club’s trophy drought likely to stretch to eight years this term, Cazorla said they must not fail to qualify for Europe’s premier cup competition.

“We know how important it is and I hope we can rise to the challenge,” the former Malaga man told reporters.

“To beat them and get into the top four and the Champions League, which is our aim for the season, is essential.

“It is very important, not just because it is a great rivalry or that it is Tottenham versus Arsenal but the fact that they are a side with great players who are fighting with us for a top-four spot.”

Arsenal were 5-2 winners in the reverse fixture at the Emirates Stadium earlier this season, with Cazorla among the scorers for the hosts.

Thu 28 February, 2013
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