Sammer: Bayern want to be machines

Bayern Munich director Matthias Sammer has called upon the club to be ruthless for the full 90 minutes against Juventus on Tuesday.

Bayern cruised to a staggering 9-2 victory in the Bundesliga on Saturday, with Claudio Pizarro scoring four for the Bavarians, although they did allow the visitors to strike twice in the final 15 minutes.

Despite the astounding scoreline, Sammer was quick to stress the importance of avoiding such a late lapse in the Champions League quarter-final first leg.

“This should not happen to us if possible,” the 45-year-old told Bild when asked about conceding the two goals.

“We have to get a clean sheet against Juve. In recent weeks we have shown we are human. I can understand that. But now we want to be machines.”

Arjen Robben echoed Sammer’s thoughts about banishing any complacency ahead of the clash in Munich on Tuesday, despite the result against a ‘helpless’ Hamburg leaving them on the brink of regaining the domestic title.

“Of course, a result like that makes an impression – you don’t often see nine goals scored in Europe,” the 29-year-old said.

“But the result will not make us complacent. It was a dress rehearsal for the Champions League to a point but really it was more like a warm-up for the Juventus match. The opposition were helpless.”

Sun 31 Mar, 2013
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Van Persie taking lessons from Rio

Manchester United striker Robin van Persie has revealed how Rio Ferdinand has inspired him towards the Premier League title this season.

Van Persie has not won a trophy since Arsenal’s FA Cup win in 2005, while Ferdinand was forced to wait until he was 24 before he first won the title with Manchester United in 2003.

“Not winning a trophy has caused me a lot of pain. With Rio I spoke about the length of time I have been without winning a trophy. Rio said he knew how I felt. It took him a similar period before he started winning things,” Van Persie told the Daily Mirror.

“He told me it drove him bonkers at times. Then he said: ‘Once you’ve got that first big trophy in your hands, Robin, you get the taste of winning. That is the moment you want to keep going and keep winning titles. You want lots more in your career’.”

With Manchester United now sitting 15 points clear at the top, a Premier League title appears imminent and Van Persie insisted he will be hungry to secure more silverware.

“Rio also told me that once I win that first league title, I won’t settle for less,” Van Persie said.

“Anything less will not be good enough. Rio had to wait for a long time in his career and look what he’s won since.”

Sun 31 Mar, 2013
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Shaqiri, Robben revel in Bayern romp

Bayern Munich midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri says he has never experienced something like his team’s 9-2 demolition of Hamburg on Saturday.

The rampant Bavarians were 5-0 up by half-time, as they ripped apart Hamburg, who could have gone fifth in the Bundesliga standings with a win.

Shaqiri started on the left wing for Bayern and set up the second goal, claiming afterwards he cannot remember ever playing in such a dominant victory before in his career.

“I’ve never experienced something like this,” Shaqiri said.

Dutch winger Arjen Robben started on the other flank for Bayern and scored twice, while also creating one of Claudio Pizarro’s four goals for the match.

Robben claimed the Bundesliga leaders had been keen to ‘make a mark’, arguing Bayern had been somewhat lacklustre before last weekend’s international break.

“We said before the game, ‘today we need to make a mark’ because we didn’t play convincingly in the last weeks before the international break,” Robben said.

“In some games we didn’t play like we’re able to.

“Because of that we wanted to improve today.

“The next weeks are really getting hot and we need to be there.

“Today has been a good step.”

Sun 31 Mar, 2013
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Quagliarella not bothered by rotation

Fabio Quagliarella says he is ‘perfectly relaxed’ about his future at Juventus following Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Inter Milan.

The former Napoli and Sampdoria striker has frequently been linked with a move away from Turin due to a lack of first team opportunities and a reportedly strained relationship with coach Antonio Conte.

But after his goal in the Derby d’Italia on Saturday, the 30-year-old said he and his fellow attackers are happy to wait for their chances.

“The coach has been rotating the strikers for two years now, so we’re all perfectly relaxed about it,” he said after the match.

“Nobody moans when they’re not involved. The most important thing is to ensure you’re ready when your time comes to play.”

Quagliarella was delighted with his opener against Inter, and paid tribute to those who missed out so he could play.

“I’d put the goal down to instinct,” he said.

“I stopped, saw that I was free and kicked the ball towards goal. I’m very happy because it’s always good to find the breakthrough in a game against a great team.

“I hugged (substitute Nicolas) Anelka because he asked me to do so in the dressing room. It’s also nice to remember those who are on the bench in spite of all the work done during the week.”

Sun 31 Mar, 2013
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Jol relieved to hang on to Hangeland

Fulham manager Martin Jol has expressed his relief after captain Brede Hangeland signed a new two-year contract with the club.

The 31-year-old’s previous deal was set to expire at the end of the season, leading to speculation linking him with a host of Premier League clubs.

And Jol has admitted he was not certain the centre-back would elect to remain with the Cottagers beyond the 2012/13 campaign.

“We are ever so satisfied that he signed his contract because you never know,” Jol told reporters.

“It was quite challenging trying to keep him.

“I thought I could lose him – and he was a tower of strength this year, last year and before I came here. I always thought he wanted to stay, but you never know.

“He was on a free at the end of the year and it took a long time. But we did everything and in the end it was a happy outcome.

“He came to sign it on Thursday and it was a relief. He is one of the best players in the division, he is our skipper and a very nice man. So, we’re very pleased to keep him.”

Queens Park Rangers, who make the short journey to face Fulham on Monday, were one of the clubs thought to be eyeing a move for Hangeland should he have failed to agree terms.

QPR tempted Bobby Zamora to Loftus Road from Craven Cottage in the off-season but Jol – who was rumoured to have fallen out with the former Brighton and West Ham man – said he does not regret allowing the striker to leave.

“Bobby wanted to move,” he said.

“He thought he could help QPR and, if he’s fit, he can help any team as he’s a good striker.”

Sun 31 Mar, 2013
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Messi: International breaks don´t help us

Lionel Messi has admitted games following international breaks are often difficult after Barcelona’s 2-2 draw with Celta Vigo on Saturday.

The Argentine forward scored his 43rd Liga goal of the season at Balaidos – meaning he has now found the net against every league opponent in 2012/13 – but it was not enough as Barca failed to win on their return to action.

“Games after the international break, especially away from home against a team that have so much at stake like Celta, are always difficult,” Messi said after the match.

“It’s not easy to come back and play, because practically all of us are called up to national teams and we can’t prepare for the match in the way we would have liked.”

Meanwhile Cristian Tello, whose appearance against Celta was vindicated with the opening goal, spoke of his delight at being entrusted with a starting berth by his employers.

“I’m very pleased that the gaffer has confidence in me and I hope to continue growing. It was a difficult match because it was do or die for them. The result isn’t bad,” he said.

“Leo doesn’t surprise me, he’s the best. I hope he stays at the level for a long time.”

Sun 31 Mar, 2013
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Mulumbu apologises for sending off

West Brom midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu has apologised after being sent off for violent conduct in his team’s 3-1 defeat to West Ham.

The Congolese midfielder picked up the ball and kicked it at Gary O’Neil after being fouled in the final minutes of Saturday’s match at Upton Park.

Mulumbu will now serve a three-match ban and miss the upcoming fixtures against Arsenal, Newcastle and Southampton.

He used his Twitter account to express his regret over the incident.

“I’m really sorry about what (happened) this afternoon it doesn’t look like me,” he wrote. “Not a good example for the kids and all the WBA supporters.”

West Brom goalkeeper Ben Foster, however, sent the 26-year-old a message of support and insisted that the sending off was out of character.

“Don’t u worry about it mate, you’re Mr Professional, everyone slips up some times,” he posted on his own account.

West Brom manager Steve Clarke admitted Mulumbu had let his frustrations get the better of him on a disappointing day in east London.

“I think Youssouf thought he had been clipped and he overreacted,” he said.

“After the game, I said to the group in general that they have to control their frustrations. It was a frustrating afternoon for us. We chased the game for most of it.

“We also had some chances but you could feel the frustration building because we didn’t get the game back to 2-1 to give ourselves a chance of getting something from it. But you have to control yourself.

“The red card didn’t affect the game today because it happened so late but it will affect the group for the next three games. We’ve got a small squad and Youssouf will be a big loss to us.”

Sun 31 Mar, 2013
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Amrabat has no fear of Real Madrid

Galatasaray winger Nordin Amrabat insists his side do not fear Real Madrid as they prepare to clash in the Champions League quarter-finals.

The Turkish champions travel to Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday to face Jose Mourinho’s side, and although the Liga giants are favourites to progress to the last four, Amrabat is confident his side can upset the odds.

“Real Madrid are a very big club but we can reach the semi-finals,” he told Today’s Zaman.

“Both coaches (Mourinho and Fatih Terim) have more than enough good experience. I would like to get a result on Wednesday. If luck is with us we can overcome many obstacles.”

Galatasaray warmed up for the meeting with Real with a 2-0 home win over Istanbul BB, a result which took them seven points clear of Fenerbahce in the Turkish Super Lig.

And Amrabat suggested the Spanish champions are perhaps the ones who should be nervous heading into the tie.

“The opposition players do not bother me,” the former PSV Eindhoven man said.

“We have already evaluated them as a team. We are completely ready. The game is not at the Turk Telekom Arena but our supporters will make themselves heard. They may even be scared of us.”

Sun 31 Mar, 2013
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CSL wrap: Shandong keep winning, Qingdao keep pace

Shandong Luneng have continued their 100 percent start and moved top of the Chinese Super League after winning 2-0 away to Guangzhou R&F.

Roda Antar and Zheng Zheng scored in the second half for Shandong as they collected their third clean sheet from as many games this season and regained top spot in the CSL from Qingdao Jonoon.

Qingdao led the CSL for around half an hour on Sunday after they also maintained a 100 percent start to the 2013 season with a 1-0 victory on the road to Changchun Yatai.

After a goalless first half at Yuexiushan Stadium in Guangzhou, Lebanese attacking midfielder Antar broke the deadlock for Shandong in the 52nd minute, curling his shot inside the post from 25 yards out.

In a tight contest, Shandong wrapped up victory with five minutes remaining when Zheng smashed the ball home after Guangzhou failed to clear a corner.

The win took Shandong to nine points from three games and continued their run without conceding this season.

Qingdao sit second on the CSL table, only behind Shandong on goal difference, after Zhou Zheng scored the decisive goal in their triumph over Changchun.

With half-time looming, Zhou got to a corner first at the near post and headed the ball past Changchun goalkeeper Song Zhenyu, who came off his line but never got close to punching the cross away.

Shandong and Qindao’s victories have taken them two points clear of reigning champions Guangzhou Evergrande, who sit third, while fourth-placed Beijing Guoan are also on seven points.

In Sunday’s other CSL fixture, Shanghai Shenhua re
covered from two goals down at half-time to draw 2-2 with Liaoning Whowin.

Sun 31 Mar, 2013
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Baldini calls for derby redemption

Franco Baldini has urged Roma to redeem themselves against Lazio after falling to a 2-0 defeat against Palermo on Saturday.

Goals from Josip Ilicic and Fabrizio Miccoli gave the relegation-threatened Sicilians an invaluable win at the expense of Roma, who slip three points behind Lazio in sixth.

Sporting director Baldini, speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport, was clearly unhappy with the result but stressed the upcoming Rome derby was an ideal opportunity to right the wrongs of the loss.

“It was below par in terms of both our play and the result,” he said.

“We need to redeem ourselves in the derby. We went for the wrong approach, and then we didn’t take the scoring opportunities we created.

“I’m sorry for the fans. I wanted to give them a victory for Easter. But after a period in which we made good progress playing good football, we didn’t manage either of those things (against Palermo). This is a heavy setback for us. It hurts and must be immediately cancelled out.

“Next week we have to redeem ourselves against Lazio in what is an important game in the most important part of the season.”

Baldini, though scathing about the quality of Roma’s performance, was keen not to place too much blame on the shoulders of coach Aurelio Andreazzoli, who replaced Zdenek Zeman in February on a deal that runs until the end of the season.

“Our approach was worse than Palermo’s, no doubt,” he said.

“With the aggression they showed, they deserved to win. If we review the goals, they were both well executed. When we started showing the same desire as our opponents, it was too late to retrieve the result.

“Aurelio has enthusiasm and skill in his profession, and everyone respects him. We were hit by a nasty blow from Palermo but until yesterday things were going well.”

Sun 31 Mar, 2013
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