Tag Archives: attitude

Rafael Benitez furious comments attack onChelsea fans and the club

I'm leaving at the end of the season! Furious Rafa finally cracks and blasts fans with 'agenda' as well as Chelsea for making him 'interim manager'

By
Rik Sharma

PUBLISHED:

22:14 GMT, 27 February 2013

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UPDATED:

22:18 GMT, 27 February 2013

A furious Rafael Benitez has confirmed he will be leaving Chelsea at the end of the season.

The interim Chelsea manager blasted the fans for their negative attitude towards him and told them to support the team.

His comments came after Chelsea beat Middlesbrough 2-0 at the Riverside Stadium in the FA Cup fifth-round.

Benitez also claimed the club's decision to appoint him as an 'interim manager' was a massive mistake.

Come on: Chelsea were lethargic during the game but did enough to beat Boro

Come on: Chelsea were lethargic during the game but did enough to beat Boro

More to follow.

Brad Gilbert: Even after a four hour bout with Federer, Murray will edge out Djokovic too

Even after a four hour bout with Federer, Murray will edge out Djokovic too

By
Brad Gilbert

PUBLISHED:

01:12 GMT, 26 January 2013

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UPDATED:

09:16 GMT, 26 January 2013

After a four-hour match against Roger Federer, Andy Murray has a day less to prepare for the final than Novak Djokovic. But Andy is a very fit guy, and I’m not sure it makes that much difference.

It is not like the US Open where there is no rest day at all. Djokovic will know he had a cakewalk in the semis against David Ferrer; that will give him a little edge.

He made the world No 4 look like the No 100. He has won this title three times before. It is his most successful major.

Andy Murray has cut down on his tantrums and become far more focused on court

Head in the game: Andy Murray has cut down on his tantrums and become far more focused on court

He has a day less to rest and prepare for the final than Djokovic

Ice bath: He has a day less to rest and prepare for the final than Djokovic

Andy is playing as well as I have ever seen him. His serve is more accurate and heavy than before and his forehand is improved, too.

A few years ago, a lot of Andy’s game was about great defence, amazing movement and his backhand. But watching him against Federer, I was thinking it has been quite some transformation as his serve and forehand were the dominant shots.

He’s much more aggressive now and he’s not relying on defence any more.

He still has that in his locker but he’s much more attacking. It is partly down to confidence. He’s hitting a lot more winners. He served 21 aces against Federer, more than four times as many as the Swiss.

To have served only two double faults in the tournament is incredible. He will need to keep up that level as he is playing the world’s best returner.

Before, he too often was getting only 55 per cent of his first serves in. Now it’s 10 per cent higher. He can be freer on the court and take more risks.

Federer was gracious in defeat and admitted Murray outplayed him and deserved to win

Honest: Federer was gracious in defeat and admitted Murray outplayed him and deserved to win

His attitude is better, too. After that altercation in the fourth set with the umpire, he didn’t lose focus or mutter to his support team. He went and won the fifth instead.

It’s great watching him focusing on his tennis rather than getting distracted during matches.

Unfortunately for Andy, Djokovic does not have a weakness. His serve and forehand are also better than they have ever been.

Murray's serve demolished Federer for most of the match

Weapon: Murray's serve demolished Federer for most of the match

The pair are mirror images of each other and the world’s two best players at the moment. It will come down to who executes the big points best.

What will also be key is who can defend their second serve better. Andy showed resolve in his US Open final win against Djokovic. I’m sure that came from talking to Ivan Lendl about his experiences at the top.

I don’t think you’ll see the same probing rallies as in New York but more attacking, shorter rallies. It will be cool, which slows the court, too.

This match is what we call in American football a 'pick-em' – it's too close to call.

My hunch, though, is that Murray will edge it.

After looking rocking against Stan Wawrinka, Novak Djokovic cruised past David Ferrer

Warning signs: After looking rocking against Stan Wawrinka, Novak Djokovic cruised past David Ferrer

Michu bargain of the century? Football"s best ever buys

Is Michu the bargain of the century Sportsmail gives its verdict on the players to rival him for the title

PUBLISHED:

14:57 GMT, 10 January 2013

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UPDATED:

16:51 GMT, 10 January 2013

His manager Michael Laudrup called him the ‘bargain of the season’ but Gary Lineker has hailed Swansea star Michu as the ‘bargain of the century’.

The Spaniard has been the surprise star of the Premier League since his 2.2million move from Rayo Vallecano.

Bargain buy: Michu has had a big impact for Swansea this season following his 2.2m summer move

Bargain buy: Michu has had a big impact for Swansea this season following his 2.2m summer move

MICHU'S GOAL CELEBRATION

Michu’s goal celebration, in which he ‘turns up the volume’ next to his ear, has been the talk of Swansea since he moved to Wales in the summer. He first did the action to Granada fans to let them know he couldn’t hear them after he scored for Celta Vigo. Cheeky.

He scored 15 goals for the Spanish strugglers from midfield last season, helping them survive on the last day of the season.

This season he has already scored 13 for Swansea in the Premier League — does it make him the bargain of the century

We asked our team of writers to pick their best bargain of this century. Who is your pick Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Finding the net: Michu scored the opening goal in Swansea's Capital One Cup victory over Chelsea

Finding the net: Michu scored the opening goal in Swansea's Capital One Cup victory over Chelsea

MATT BARLOW
Robin van Persie (Feyenoord to Arsenal, 2.75m, 2004)

Arsenal got him for 2.75million. Once he got over his injuries and attitude problems he proved to be genuine world-class talent. Sold for nearly 10 times as much and still getting better.

Doing the business: Robin van Persie signed for Arsenal from Feyenoord

Doing the business: Robin van Persie signed for Arsenal from Feyenoord

ALEX KAY
Lionel Messi (Newell's Old Boys to Barcelona, Free, 2000)

The best player in the world… for almost nothing. So impressed were Barcelona with a young Lionel Messi they offered him a contract on a paper napkin and offered to pay for the boy’s medical bills if he moved from Argentina. The 11-year-old had been diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency. Luckily for Barca, he turned out all right.

Simply the best: Lionel Messi joined Barcelona for free as a teenager

Simply the best: Lionel Messi joined Barcelona for free as a teenager

SAMI MOKBEL
Edwin van der Sar (Fulham to Manchester United, 2m, 2005)

Sir Alex Ferguson fired plenty of blanks in his attempts to replace Peter Schmeichel. Massimo Taibi and Mark Bosnich, for instance, just could not cut the mustard. Enter Van der Sar. A colossus for United in his six years at Old Trafford.

Safe hands: Edwin van der Sar joined Manchester United late in his career but had a big impact at Old Trafford

Safe hands: Edwin van der Sar joined Manchester United late in his career but had a big impact at Old Trafford

JOHN EDWARDS
Cristiano Ronaldo (Sporting Lisbon to Manchester United, 12.2m, 2003)

It’s probably fair to describe Sir Alex Ferguson’s transfer dealings that summer as varied, until he struck gold with Ronaldo. Up to then, he had recruited David Bellion, Eric Djemba-Djemba, Tim Howard and Kleberson. Howard apart, it was hardly an array of new talent destined to take the Barclays Premier League by storm. Ronaldo, on the other hand, drew comparisons with some of the all-time greats to don a United shirt and had completed a clean sweep of club and individual honours by the time he joined Real Madrid for 80million on July 1, 2009. If we are analysing value, a profit of 68m surely takes some beating.

Making his mark: Cristiano Ronaldo would become the best player in the Premier League

Making his mark: Cristiano Ronaldo would become the best player in the Premier League

SAM CUNNINGHAM
Cristiano Ronaldo (Sporting Lisbon to Manchester United, 12.2m, 2003)

Six seasons at the club returned three consecutive league titles, an FA Cup, two League Cups, one Community Shield, a Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup. So that cost them roughly 2m per season, or 1.4m per trophy. Then they made 68m profit on him. Bargain.

LAURIE WHITWELL
Javier Hernandez (Guadalajara to Manchester United, 7m, 2010)

A relative unknown when Sir Alex Ferguson signed him before the 2010 World Cup. A handful of sparkling displays in South Africa later and 7m already looked a snip. Hernandez stormed the Premier League in his debut season, scoring 20 goals in all competitions as United won the title and made the Champions League final. His place came under threat last term but he has come again, netting 12 times this season despite the arrival of Robin van Persie meaning limited game time. A firebox character and a joy to watch. United can depend on him from the start or from the bench.

Super sub: Javier Hernandez hit the ground running following his move to Manchester United

Super sub: Javier Hernandez hit the ground running following his move to Manchester United

JAMES ANDREW
Louis Saha (Metz to Fulham, 2.1m, 2000)

When Jean Tigana arrived at Fulham in 2000 one of the first things he did was sell Geoff Horsfield to Birmingham for 2.25m and then bought Saha for 2.1m. It proved to be a masterstroke as the Frenchman went on to score 27 goals in Division One (now the Championship) and fire Fulham into the Premier League. While his years in the top flight were blighted by injury he rediscovered his goalscoring touch again in 2003-04 when he netted 15 goals in 22 games before a 12.4m move to Manchester United. A 10m profit and Premier League football is not a bad deal.

Saha so good: Louis Saha helped gain Fulham promotion to the Premier League in 2001

Saha so good: Louis Saha helped gain Fulham promotion to the Premier League in 2001

MIKE ANSTEAD

Vincent Kompany (Hamburg to Man City, 6m, 2008)

In among all Manchester City's eye-watering signings, there is Vincent Kompany. An exceptional defender, a leader on and off the pitch and an all-round good guy. Oh, and he became the first City captain to lift the league trophy in 44 years. Not bad for 6million…

Flying start: Vincent Kompany takes on the FC Copenhagen defence in a 2009 UEFA Cup tie

Flying start: Vincent Kompany takes on the FC Copenhagen defence in a 2009 UEFA Cup tie

MARK ALFORD
Gareth Bale (Southampton to Tottenham, 7m, 2007)

Shrewd business by Tottenham – no not selling Berbatov to United for 30milllion – but buying Gareth Bale for an initial 5m fee from Southampton in 2007. That figure was set to rise to 10m depending on honours and appearances but Spurs struck another shrewd deal with the Saints, agreeing an early settlement so the total bill was 7m. The Welsh wizard is coveted by the world’s finest football clubs now and it’ll take 50m to prise him away from White Hart Lane. Kerrching.

Spur of the moment: A youthful Gareth Bale scoring for Tottenham against Middlesbrough

Spur of the moment: A youthful Gareth Bale scoring for Tottenham against Middlesbrough

PHIL GRADWELL
Jay Jay Okocha (PSG to Bolton, free, 2002)

So good they named him twice – and he didn’t cost a penny. Okocha’s brilliance kept Bolton in the Premier League in 2003 and he scored a stupendous free-kick to help them to the Carling Cup final in 2004. Was made club captain by Sam Allardyce and dazzled the Reebok with his tricks, the best of which was an outrageous flick over Ray Parlour’s head.

Scorcher: Darren Anderton looks on in awe as Jay Jay Okocha unleashes a shot

Scorcher: Darren Anderton looks on in awe as Jay Jay Okocha unleashes a shot

CHRIS CUTMORE
Joe Hart (Shrewsbury to Man City, 100,000*, 2006)

Every great team needs a huge presence between the sticks – think Banks, Schmeichel or Casillas – and it cannot be questioned that Hart was a major force behind City’s Premier League title triumph last season. Roberto Mancini’s men saw off local rivals United on goal difference alone and Hart marshalled by far the stingiest defence in the league. His mistakes this season have shocked all the more because of his consistent brilliance previously. But don’t expect the dip in form to last long, or Hart’s Premier League medal to be his last.

*according to City deputy chairman John Wardle

Young at Hart: Joe joined Man City from Shrewsbury for the bargain price of 100,000 in 2006

Young at Hart: Joe joined Man City from Shrewsbury for a bargain 100,000 in 2006

LUKE BENEDICT
Fernando Torres (Atletico Madrid to Liverpool, 21m, 2007)

To get 65 goals out of a player and then make a near 30million profit is pretty good business. In fact, it surely ranks as the bargain of the century. Aged 23, El Nino took a pay cut to move to Liverpool for 21m from Atletico Madrid. He scored more than 60 goals in a 102 games. Then Chelsea infamously paid 50m for him and he’s scored only 26 in his first 100 games at Stamford Bridge. That’s an awful lot of profit for a striker who can hardly score.

Hit the ground running: Fernando Torres scores one of his first goals in Liverpool colours

Hit the ground running: Fernando Torres scores one of his first goals in Liverpool colours

Fulham need Dimitar Berbatov to be happy, says Martin Jol

Boss Jol admits only a happy Berbatov can help struggling Fulham prosper again

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 25 December 2012

Fulham's fortunes have fluctuated this season, almost in time to the mood swings of Dimitar Berbatov.

Manager Martin Jol wants to see his striker smiling again and he admits that it may require a nudge in the ribs to achieve it.

Fulham were thumped 4-0 by Liverpool on Saturday and another defeat at home to Southampton could see them sucked into a relegation battle.

Smile, it's Christmas: Dimitar Berbatov is without a goal since early November

Smile, it's Christmas: Dimitar Berbatov is without a goal since early November

Berbatov is without a goal since the start of November and Jol is clearly concerned.

'If things are going well then everyone will be happy with him but if things are not going well then he can be unhappy,' said Jol.

'He is almost used to winning at the clubs where he was [before] so we have to talk to him.

'He has to put in the same attitude and work rate that he always did. When he does that there’s no problem but he is a player who we have to keep on his toes. We were very happy with him for the first couple of months and we have to keep each other happy.'

Jol confirmed he is interested in Derby’s young midfielder Will Hughes but is unsure of winning the 10million race to buy him.

'He’s a wonderful talent. Believe me there is probably at least 10 clubs out of the Barclays Premier League having a look at him,' he said. 'We’ve been really stretched in the last few weeks so I feel that we will have a good look at the transfer market.'

Southampton’s search for points is even more urgent but manager Nigel Adkins wants entertainment too.

Adkins was unhappy with his side’s dour performance in the home defeat by Sunderland, when Southampton failed to score for only the fourth time in 18 Premier League games.

He said: 'I hope the Fulham game will be more entertaining. I get frustrated when the games aren’t entertaining.'

Kenny Dalglish: Managing in Premier League is nothing like old days

Managing in the Premier League is nothing like the good old days says Dalglish

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UPDATED:

17:41 GMT, 19 December 2012

Former Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish believes the definition of success has changed in the Premier League era.

The Scot, who remains the last Liverpool boss to have won a league title, in 1990, was sacked despite delivering the club’s first trophy in six years with victory in the League Cup and also reaching the FA Cup final.

Liverpool’s eighth-place finish persuaded owners Fenway Sports Group they needed to look elsewhere for progress, hiring Brendan Rodgers.

Legend: Dalglish won a host of trophies at Liverpool both as a player and a manager

Legend: Dalglish won a host of trophies at Liverpool both as player and boss

Dalglish is not bitter about his departure but admits that times have changed.

'Success is gauged in different ways.' said Dalglish.

'I am sure if you asked some of the clubs, fourth-bottom is success.

'Staying in the Premier League is important because the value of the league is a trophy in itself due to the financial reward.

Good old days: Dalglish believes that managers are judged differently in the modern era

Good old days: Dalglish believes that managers are judged differently in the modern era

Good old days: Dalglish believes that managers are judged differently in the modern era

Dalglish has only been back to Anfield once to watch the team he won three European Cups with as a player since his departure in May.

Patience: Dalglish believes that Rodgers needs time to adapt to the club

Patience: Dalglish believes that Rodgers needs time to adapt to the club

He stressed that was because of circumstances, but he also admitted it was unfair for him to comment on Rodgers' short reign.

'The last thing people need is for others to be giving their opinions,' he said.

'If you want to be manager of any club you have to adjust to the job.

'You just have to adopt whatever attitude you think is right whatever club you go to.

'And once you’re in, if you don’t adapt to it you are still going to have a problem, Liverpool is not exclusive in that.

Dalglish, who has recently been tipped for the vacant Scotland manager’s job, made clear that he had made no plans to return to the game.

'I have no ideas in my mind on what the future holds.

'Football is never going to leave your blood when it’s been your life but I can pass the time easily.

Happy days: Dalglish won the League Cup last season and has no regrets after his sacking in May

Happy days: Dalglish won the League Cup last season and has no regrets after his sacking in May

'If someone representing a job is going to come and ask me a question it will dictate what I do in the future.

'Until then there is no point in worrying about it.'

Dalglish was speaking at the launch of The Football Pools 90 Day Community Challenge at St Helens Junior Football Club.

Jamie Redknapp"s Weekend Watch: Manchester City"s failure to sign Robin van Persie proves costly

Jamie Redknapp's Weekend Watch: City will be kicking themselves over failure to sign Van Persie

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UPDATED:

23:33 GMT, 9 December 2012

STAR MAN: ROBIN VAN PERSIE

The balance of power has shifted again in Manchester because of one player: Robin van Persie. While Manchester City dithered in the summer, United pounced to sign a 30-goals-a-season match winner. City missed out, United got their man – and we all saw what it means yesterday.

Great buy: Robin Van Persie is already starting to repay his 24m transfer fee at Manchester United

Great buy: Robin Van Persie is already starting to repay his 24m transfer fee at Manchester United

SELL MARIO

How many chances does Mario Balotelli need How much more can City take of his unprofessionalism and bad attitude Roberto Mancini trusted him yesterday and he let his manager down again. Get him out in January, but who will want to solve City's problem

Days are numbered: Mario Balotelli didn't take too kindly to being replaced by Carlos Tevez during the Manchester derby

Days are numbered: Mario Balotelli didn't take too kindly to being replaced by Carlos Tevez during the Manchester derby

GO FOURTH, LIVERPOOL

Glen Johnson proved again why he is the best right back in the country with his display of overlapping power-play and a stunning goal at West Ham. Liverpool's next Premier League matches are against Villa and Fulham and they are showing no signs of form. Fourth place is up for grabs this season.

Best in the country: Liverpool's Glen Johnson was excellent against West Ham

Best in the country: Liverpool's Glen Johnson was excellent against West Ham

OH NO, MO!

I picked Mo Diame as my star man last week and he was impressive again against Liverpool. His torn hamstring puts him out for three months and West Ham lost their way after he went off. The injury might just keep him at the club and keep January predators away.

Injury blow: Mohamed Diame was stretchered off during the Liverpool game and could be out for three months

Injury blow: Mohamed Diame was stretchered off during the Liverpool game and could be out for three months

SPOT ON RAFA

The conversation in which Rafa Benitez said to Fernando Torres, ‘You take the penalties’ was an inspired one. Torres has been reluctant to step forward, but could you have imagined Alan Shearer giving up a chance, one versus one, against a keeper It’s a chance to increase a scorer’s goal tally.

Back in business: Fernando Torres scored twice for Chelsea in their 3-1 win at Sunderland

Back in business: Fernando Torres scored twice for Chelsea in their 3-1 win at Sunderland

BACK IN PLAY

Norwich are flying and it’s good to see Grant Holt back among the goals. It had been six weeks since he last scored and his goal at Swansea was only his fourth of the season. Norwich have shown they don’t have to rely on him but he’s a big player for them.

Slide: Grant Holt celebrates his goal during Norwich's 4-3 win at Swansea on Saturday

Slide: Grant Holt celebrates his goal during Norwich's 4-3 win at Swansea on Saturday

LANDING A PUNCH

Jason Puncheon is in the form of his life. If he isn’t scoring them for Southampton, he’s setting them up. He is playing with high energy and making driving runs from midfield. His manager Nigel Adkins has got him playing and Saints are better for it.

Packing a punch-eon: Jason after scoring the winner against Reading on Saturday

Packing a punch-eon: Jason after scoring the winner against Reading on Saturday

ICEMAN ON TARGET

Cardiff are ready for promotion, with their stadium and their manager — and the signing of marksman Heidar Helguson is inspired. He’s gone from the bottom with QPR to the top with Cardiff and knows about winning promotion.

Ice man: Heidar Helguson in the thick of the action for Cardiff in Friday night's game with Blackburn

Ice man: Heidar Helguson in the thick of the action for Cardiff in Friday night's game with Blackburn

Sale 6 Toulon 17: Jonny Wilkinson seals points for Toulon

Sale 6 Toulon 17: Sharks sink in the wet as Wilko wins again

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UPDATED:

23:03 GMT, 8 December 2012

Jonny Wilkinson has labelled
England's epic win over New Zealand as a 'turning point' for English
rugby and 'the most influential victory in five years'.

The record-breaking England stand-off
was speaking after helping his Toulon side beat a Sale team featuring
Danny Cipriani in a physical Heineken Cup fixture.

Wilkinson, the second highest points
scorer in Test match history behind New Zealand's Dan Carter, expressed
his admiration for Stuart Lancaster's England after watching the game
last Saturday on TV.

Kicking boots: Jonny Wilkinson kicks a penalty for Toulon

Kicking boots: Jonny Wilkinson kicks a penalty for Toulon

'We deserved to win against a very,
very good side and it could be a huge turning point for England after
what I believe is the most influential victory in the last five years
for English rugby.

'Their defence was uncompromising,
their work in the breakdown fantastic and the way they attacked the ball
exceptional. It's all about attitude now. If we can put the same
attitude into the next game, then the next, then England won't need Manu
Tuilagi to beat five players.

'They need to keep their feet on the
ground in one sense because what's important is the next game, not the
last one, but knowing the talent they have I was not surprised.'

Held his own: Sale's Danny Cipriani

Held his own: Sale's Danny Cipriani

Cipriani might have been playing for
England but for some off-field antics in recent times, but a move to
Sale appears to be calming the talented stand-off, although he remains,
at best, fourth in Lancaster's pecking order for the No10 jersey.

He put in a solid display against
Wilkinson, the man he twice replaced with England in 2008 through form
and injury, but both were denied the chance to shine in appalling
weather conditions as Toulon emerged the winners.

The odds were stacked against Sale
with the home side languishing at the bottom of the Aviva Premiership
and the visitors leading the French Top 14.

Moreover Toulon, arguably the form
team in Europe, were not just sporting a who's who of world rugby in the
form of Wilkinson, ex-Wallaby Matt Giteau, former All Black Carl
Heyman, former Springbok Bakkies Botha and French international stars
Frederic Michalak and Mathieu Bastareaud, but also former Sharks
returning for the first time to the new, Salford City Stadium in the
shape of Andrew Sheridan, France's Sebastien Bruno and Puma Juan Martin
Fernandez Lobbe.

Just short: Sebastien Tilous-Borde is stopped close to the tryline

Just short: Sebastien Tilous-Borde is stopped close to the tryline

The Armitage brothers, Delon and Steffon, also ran out in the gloom, determined to prove their worth.

Old England stars Simon Shaw – now 39
and still going strong – and Nick Kennedy made a powerful, all-English
reserve second row from the bench as well.

Pacing up and down the touchdown were
former head coach turned chief executive Steve Diamond and new
appointment, former All Black coach John Mitchell, hoping that, despite
the quality of opposition, the Heineken Cup could kickstart a recovery.
They would have been delighted, despite the loss, with what they saw in
terms of commitment and effort, although the inclement conditions
certainly helped the Sharks.

Cipriani missed two penalties, one
striking the bar, but scored with two more, while Wilkinson missed two
penalties and a conversion, and landed two penalties.

Dejected: Sale Sharks players look on

Dejected: Sale Sharks players look on

The difference at the interval was David Smith's try on the half hour after Fernandez Lobbe tipped Wilkinson's inch perfect up and under into the path of the Australian winger and Smith sprinted to the corner to score. Wilkinson nudged Toulon into an eight-point lead with another penalty and Botha thought he had finally broken the Sale rearguard action in the 67th minute, but Andy Powell held him up.It took a 75th-minute penalty from Wilkinson to finally settle the issue.

Toulon's grip at the top of Pool 6 has tightened as a result and Sale, for all their spirit, are all but out of the Heineken Cup, a fact likely to be confirmed next Sunday when they face the return game in Toulon.

Messrs Wilkinson, retired from England but hopeful of a Lions tour this summer, and Cipriani, hoping he may one day wear the red rose again, will be expecting some South of France conditions.

Euro 2020: Michel Platini insists good for fans

Platini insists Euro 2020 will be good for fans as hopes raised of major role for England

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UPDATED:

13:40 GMT, 7 December 2012

UEFA president Michel Platini has claimed the pan-continental Euro 2020 will be good for fans – and gave a boost to British hopes of hosting some matches at the tournament.

Platini said UEFA had held talks with fans group Football Supporters Europe and convinced it that the 'zany' format of holding games in 13 matches across Europe would benefit the majority of supporters.

The Football Association will bid for Wembley to host the final while Wales and Scotland will also bid for Euro 2020 games.

Big idea: Michel Platini came up with the concept for Euro 2020

Big idea: Michel Platini came up with the concept for Euro 2020

Platini told reporters at a briefing in Nyon: 'We have talked to the fans. They were against it originally but we told them we are going to help them and suddenly they had a much more positive attitude.

'Certainly it will be easier for the English to go to Wales and Scotland to watch a match instead of having to travel the world.

'We have some decisions to make now – some political, some geographical – for example we cannot have an English fan going to Lisbon, Kazakhstan and Sweden.

'We will have an intelligent solution – not chasing the fans all over Europe.

'The Euros are coming to the fans and taking matches to quite a number of countries.

'We have met with supporters’
associations recently and have reassured them we will do whatever is
possible to make sure fans get the necessary support when they travel.'

Platini
himself came up with the idea of staging the tournament but he said it
had been supported by every European country apart from Turkey, who had
hoped to host the Euros on its own.

Up for it: Wembley is a contender to host the Euro 2020 final

Up for it: Wembley is a contender to host the Euro 2020 final

He added: 'I just bring forward ideas and then national associations have their own meetings and workshops and 52 out of 53 said yes, I don’t decide, the national associations have decided.

'Poland and Ukraine was a great Euro but it was very expensive, almost as expensive as the Olympic Games.

'It is perhaps a bit of a zany idea but it is a good idea.'

Platini added that he wanted the finals and semi-finals to be in one city – and the FA will put London forward as a candidate.

He
said: “I’m in favour the final phase being in one city to give it more
importance, that’s my idea. The executive committee will decide whether
it’s a good or bad idea.

'I
think this would create a very special atmosphere among the supporters
and it will be a week of national teams and it could be a great party.'

Platini said FIFA president Sepp
Blatter had congratulated him on the Euro 2020 idea – and that he is
succeeding where the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi failed.

Champions: Spain will defend their title in France in four years' time

Champions: Spain will defend their title in France in four years' time

Gaddafi had suggested moving the
African Nations Cup around the continent, and Platini said: 'I got
congratulations from the president of FIFA, he said it is a marvellous
idea. He said somebody wanted to do it a few years ago with the African
Nations Cup and it was Gaddafi.'

He also hit back at criticism from FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke pointing out that the world governing body had ratified Japan and Mexico playing in South American competitions.

'FIFA accepts Mexico and Japan taking part in the Copa America and that is much more against the spirit than what we are suggesting,' said Platini.

The UEFA president also insisted he wants to support the Europa League rather than scrap it – an interview he gave to a French newspaper last week led to reports UEFA are considering getting rid of the tournament and having a 64-club Champions League.

He added: 'All I said is that there is a reflection going on to figure out what shape we want – we are discussing it, nothing is decided.

'I never said I am going to stop the Europa League. We have to look at all 53 countries and I believe the Europa League is great and that we need to support it and continue with it. It is a very popular competition.

'I am never going to organise competition for money's sake, only in the interests of football.'

Ben Youngs and Tom Youngs sign new contracts at Leicester

Youngs boost for Leicester as brothers extend stay at Welford Road

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UPDATED:

10:08 GMT, 20 November 2012

Leicester have announced new long-term contracts for England internationals Ben and Tom Youngs.

The brothers are currently part of
head coach Stuart Lancaster's England set-up, and both were involved in
last Saturday's 20-14 home defeat against Australia.

Family affair: Tom Youngs (right) and brother Ben (left) with father Nick

Family affair: Tom Youngs (right) and brother Ben (left) with father Nick

Scrum-half Ben has won 26 caps and recently clocked up a century of appearances for the Tigers. He made his Leicester debut five years ago and has played in four Premiership finals.

Hooker Tom, meanwhile, made his Test debut against Fiji earlier this month, having first featured for Leicester as a centre in 2006 before being converted into a front-row forward.

Both players are Leicester academy products.

Leicester rugby director Richard Cockerill said: 'It is excellent news that both Tom and Ben have agreed new deals with us. They are both very important to the club.

Youngs at heart: Ben and Tom played against Australia at the weekend

Youngs at heart: Ben and Tom played against Australia at the weekend

'They have grown up in a Leicester Tigers family. Their dad Nick played for the club, they know the history of this place and they have come all the way through the academy system here before establishing themselves as key first-team players.

'Ben and Tom both have an excellent attitude to their work.

'They are the kind of players we want to build the club around for the future, and we look forward to their continued development in the Tigers squad over the years to come.'

Arsene Wenger should have substituted Jack Wilshere – Graham Poll

Wenger should have followed Ferguson's lead and taken Wilshere off

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UPDATED:

06:18 GMT, 5 November 2012

Sir Alex Ferguson again proved he is a more savvy manager than Arsene Wenger on Saturday when he replaced Tom Cleverley with Anderson soon after his final warning from referee Mike Dean.

The game was not an overly physical contest but was littered with strong fouls which required cautions – eight of them – and felt like a game which would not finish with 22 players on the field.

The misconduct started with Jack Wilshere unnecessarily making a very heavy challenge in just the 13th minute and Dean had no option but to show the yellow card despite it being the Arsenal man’s first foul.

Dismissed: Jack Wilshere was sent off for Arsenal against Manchester United

Dismissed: Jack Wilshere was sent off for Arsenal against Manchester United

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Players often look incredulous at being cautioned so early, stating that it is only their first offence, but if the tackle is reckless it must be cautioned.

Ashley Young and Michael Carrick soon followed the Arsenal midfielder into Dean's notebook before Cleverley became the fourth player in the book in the first half for a poor challenge on Santi Cazorla.

Dean was clearly in control but with United only one goal to the good and Arsenal in the ascendancy the game had an edge to it which needed watching.

Dean issued what was clearly a final warning to Wilshere in the 54th minute after another poor challenge on Robin Van Persie. Then, showing consistency and common sense, did the same to Cleverley in the 56th minute after Cleverley brought Wilshere down. Both fouls could have been cautioned and probably would have been had they not already seen yellow.

Within four minutes Cleverley was substituted by Ferguson but Wenger failed to react despite a clearly tiring Wilshere being in danger of a red card. Before another ten minutes had elapsed, Wilshere flew into Patrice Evra and left Dean with no choice but to dismiss him.

Wise move: Tom Cleverley was subbed after receiving a yellow card

Wise move: Tom Cleverley was subbed after receiving a yellow card

I have spoken to Wenger regarding interaction between players and referees and he has always preferred to allow players to act as they feel and accept the consequences of their actions.

Maybe that’s why he left Wilshere on when it appeared to me fairly obvious that he was heading for an early bath.

GOOD WEEK
BAD WEEK

Referee Michael Oliver
Michael Oliver (above) and Anthony Taylor who refereed the live Sunday games at Loftus Road and Anfield respectively. Both are establishing themselves after being promoted to the select list in 2010. It takes a few years to be accepted by all parties but these two are showing that new referees can prosper on the elite list and there is hope for the future.

Kevin Nolan of West Ham United
Assistant referees are instructed to give the benefit of any doubt, where one exists, to the attacker when judging offside. Given how close the call was when Kevin Nolan (above) finished so expertly for West Ham, Peter Bankes cannot have been certain and so should have kept his flag down, especially when Nolan was onside.