Tag Archives: benitez

Demba Ba begs Rafa Benitez to play him and Fernando Torres up front together for Chelsea

Play me and Torres up front… we'll blast Chelsea back into the Champions League, insists Ba

By
Andy James

PUBLISHED:

14:45 GMT, 19 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

15:16 GMT, 19 April 2013

Demba Ba has told Chelsea boss Rafa Benitez that he and Fernando Torres are ready to start up front together in Sunday's Barclays Premier League clash against Liverpool.

Benitez has rotated the two strikers in a 4-2-3-1 formation since Ba joined from Newcastle in January but the pair combined effectively in the second half of last weekend's 2-1 FA Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester City.

Benitez faces a selection dilemma with Torres desperate to start at his former club and Ba's form in front of goal making him hard to ignore – but the Senegalese insists they can play together.

Ba

Torres

Partners in crime Demba Ba (left) has said he wants to play with Fernando Torres (right) up front for Chelsea

He told the London Evening Standard:
'When he came on the pitch against City he helped me a lot. We caused
them problems so I think we could play together.

'We combined against Brentford earlier
in the competition, too, so I don’t believe it would be a problem for
us. Most of the time we have to fight against the two central defenders
on our own. If you have an extra body there, it makes it easier.

'This is also very important in
football, to be able to control the game. I would understand if Fernando
wants to start against Liverpool. We’re not making the decision but I
would understand if he does.

One or the other: Ba (left) has rarely played with Torres, the two usually used as like-for-like replacements

One or the other: Ba (left) has rarely played with Torres, the two usually used as like-for-like replacements

Chelsea

Meanwhile, Benitez insists he is
focused only on the immediate future and not his past with Liverpool as
he prepares to take his Chelsea side to Anfield.

In a press conference on Friday the
Spaniard declined to assess Liverpool since his departure in June 2010
or to talk about events at Anfield ahead of his first return as an
opposing manager.

'I have a lot of respect, but I have to concentrate on my team,' Benitez said.

'I don't want any misunderstanding, so
I will concentrate just on Chelsea and the game and try to enjoy it,
especially if we can win.'

Job at hand: Rafa Benitez insists he is only focused on Chelsea ahead of his return to Liverpool

Job at hand: Rafa Benitez insists he is only focused on Chelsea ahead of his return to Liverpool

Benitez is expected to receive a warm
welcome in the week which marked both his 53rd birthday and the 24th
anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.

He spent six years at Anfield, helping
Liverpool to the 2005 Champions League in his first season, the FA Cup,
the Community Shield and European Super Cup, while the Reds finished
second in the Premier League in 2008-09.

His family home remains on Merseyside
and he supports the campaigners in their fight for justice for the 96
supporters killed at Hillsborough in 1989.

His is a lasting bond with Liverpool, but Benitez's aim is to defeat his former club.

'I'm a professional and I am committed
with Chelsea until the end of the season, to win, to achieve our
targets,' said Benitez, who is out of contract at the end of the
campaign.

Flying the flag: Benitez is still a hugely popular figure at Anfield, having won them the Champions League in 2005

Flying the flag: Benitez is still a hugely popular figure at Anfield, having won them the Champions League in 2005

'I was there for six years, winning a lot of things together.

'They (Liverpool supporters) will
appreciate that, but at the same time they will try to support their
team and they will understand that I have to try to do my best and win.'

Benitez recently was quoted as saying
he wanted to return 'home' to Liverpool and that his wish was to move to
a top club, possibly in England next season.

That was interpreted by some as a possible return to Liverpool, but Benitez meant his family home.

For reasons of clarity, the Spaniard declined the opportunity to appraise Reds incumbent Brendan Rodgers.

'I have a lot of respect for Liverpool Football Club and all their managers,' he said.

'What I said clearly is Liverpool is
my home, my family is living there and because I don't want any
misunderstanding, I will not talk about the club, the position or the
manager's position or whatever. My family's there, it's my home.'

Rafa Benitez plays down talk of David Luiz being future long term Chelsea captain

I'm not ready to make Luiz my captain yet, insists Chelsea boss Benitez amid doubts over Terry's future

By
Matt Barlow

PUBLISHED:

12:54 GMT, 16 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

13:15 GMT, 16 April 2013

Rafa Benitez has dismissed claims that David Luiz is in line to replace John Terry as the long-term captain of Chelsea.

Terry was left out of Chelsea’s FA Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester City at the weekend and has missed a number games this season.

Goalkeeper Petr Cech led the side in Terry’s absence at Wembley on Sunday, but Luiz has been cited as a possible long-term replacement.

Future leader: Rafa Benites has played down talk of David Luiz being Chelsea captain

Future leader: Rafa Benites has played down talk of David Luiz being Chelsea captain

But Benitez played down the suggestion saying he did not want to praise the Brazilin too much.

‘I don’t want to talk about the future when we’re involved in top four challenge and Europa League. He’ one of the important players we have, there are others, I don’t want to give too much credit to him. He is a key player and will be in the future.’

Southampton 2 Chelsea 1: Rafael Benitez stays calm and insists there is a long way to go in race for Champions League qualification

There's a long way to go: Chelsea boss Benitez stays calm despite top-four setback

By
Mark Bryans, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

20:35 GMT, 30 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

20:36 GMT, 30 March 2013

Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez maintains the race for a top-four finish in the Barclays Premier League will run until the end of the season despite seeing his much-changed side slip to a 2-1 defeat at Southampton.

First-half goals from Jay Rodriguez and Rickie Lambert handed Mauricio Pochettino another prized scalp, with Chelsea briefly drawing level courtesy of a John Terry header.

The Blues have now lost three successive away games in the league and dropped below Tottenham into fourth place, with fellow London rivals Arsenal just two points adrift in fifth.

Undone: Rafa Benitez's Chelsea side were defeated 2-1 by Southampton at St Mary's

Undone: Rafa Benitez's Chelsea side were defeated 2-1 by Southampton at St Mary's

Despite the result Benitez, who was again the victim of jeers and negative chanting from the travelling Chelsea support, reckons no-one will be certain of a Champions League position until the very end of the campaign.

'It is the same situation, if we had three points more it would be easier,' he said. 'We still have one game in hand and we have to carry on and concentrate and move on and start thinking about Monday (FA Cup quarter-final replay v Manchester United).

'In the league you still have a lot of games and I think it (the battle for a top-four finish) will run for the rest of the season.'

Opener: Jay Rodriguez slotted the ball past Petr Cech to give Southampton the lead

Opener: Jay Rodriguez slotted the ball past Petr Cech to give Southampton the lead

Back on level terms: John Terry headed home from a corner to equalise for Chelsea

Back on level terms: John Terry headed home from a corner to equalise for Chelsea

This was Chelsea's first game in a run of six matches in a 16-day period and Benitez made no fewer than seven changes from the team that won against West Ham before the international break.

The former Liverpool boss said the fixture pile-up is something the Football Association needs to 'look at' in the future but did not regret rotating his players.

'We had to manage the squad,' he said. 'We didn't have many options in some positions so we had the players we had to use. You have to approach every game like it is the most important and we thought with these players we would be fine.

'I think that you could see that in the first half we didn't have the intensity we were expecting.

'We improved in the second half, made more chances, but still we didn't make the right decisions in the final third but at least we were there and made the chances.'

Sublime: Rickie Lambert scored a beautiful free-kick to put the Saints back ahead

Sublime: Rickie Lambert scored a beautiful free-kick to put the Saints back ahead

Pochettino, who has now won three, drawn three and lost three games since replacing Nigel Adkins as Saints manager in January was quick to defend his Chelsea counterpart following the game.

'I have a lot of sympathy (for Benitez's position),' he said.

'I fully recognise the job that he has done. For me he is one of the best managers in the world and he has my full respect for what he has achieved in football.'

Going places: Mauricio Pochettino believes his Southampton side are on the right path

Going places: Mauricio Pochettino believes his Southampton side are on the right path

The win against Chelsea follows earlier home successes against Manchester City and Liverpool and Pochettino believes beating some of the league's biggest names can only boost the morale around the club.

'Victories like those of today prove that we are on the right path,' he said.

'It is very important for the confidence of my players and especially the people surrounding our club – the technical staff.

'It is important that we believe we can achieve results as we saw today and we can continue achieving them in the future.'

Jose Mourinho should return to Premier League – Andre Villas Boas

Bring back the Special One! Spurs boss AVB admits he'd love to see Mourinho back in the Premier League

By
David Kent

PUBLISHED:

15:51 GMT, 28 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:15 GMT, 28 March 2013

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas would welcome back rival Jose Mourinho to the Barclays Premier League.

The Special One has been linked to a surprise return to Stamford Bridge and a reunion with owner Roman Abramovich this summer.

Mourinho’s infamous antics have seen him fall out with the hierarchy at Real Madrid and interim Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez is in no danger of having his contract renewed.

Open arms: Andre Villas-Boas (above) insists he would welcome the return of Jose Mourinho (below)

Open arms: Andre Villas-Boas (above) insists he would welcome the return of Jose Mourinho (below)

Face in the crowd: Jose Mourinho was pictured wearing a dark hoodie at Chelsea

Asked what he thought about Mourinho’s potential return to Premier League football, the Tottenham manager said: ‘I think it will be excellent, excellent for everybody.’

Villas-Boas worked under Mourinho to great success at Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan, but the pair fell out when he left the San Siro on 2009 to go it alone as a manager and the rift has never fully healed.

Last year he admitted that the pair had not spoken for quite some time.

Tottenham have suffered three defeats in the row and need to rediscover their winning form in order to stay on course for a Champions League spot.

Training day: Tottenham prepare for their trip to Swansea this weekend as the Premier League resumes

Training day: Tottenham prepare for their trip to Swansea this weekend as the Premier League resumes

Training day: Tottenham prepare for their trip to Swansea this weekend as the Premier League resumes

Asked whether the international break would benefit his side or not after such a poor run, he said: ‘I don’t know, you can’t really say if it’s good or bad. I think all three of those defeats were very, very different.

I think we assume the worst one was Fulham in terms of performance, but I think it came as a consequence of the extra-time being played in Milan.

The Liverpool one was an excellent performance and in Milan, we left it very, very late to save the leg.’

Villas-Boas thinks faltering Tottenham Hotspur need 16 more points from their last eight games to secure a top-four finish in the Premier League and earn a another crack at Europe’s premier club competition.

Third place would guarantee a place
in the group stages of next season’s Champions League while fourth would
offer a playoff – the same route Tottenham used in their only previous
foray into the competition two seasons ago.

Tough time: Tottenham suffered a setback in the race for the Champions League after defeat to Fulham

Tough time: Tottenham suffered a setback in the race for the Champions League after defeat to Fulham

Dimitar Berbatov

Last season they finished fourth but were denied a chance to play in the Champions League this term because sixth-placed Chelsea took their place having lifted the trophy in Munich.

Tottenham had looked favourites to finish above Chelsea and Arsenal in third place until a few weeks ago, since when defeats by Liverpool and Fulham have halted their momentum.

They travel to Swansea City on Saturday in fourth place, one point behind Chelsea and four points above Arsenal, with both their London rivals having played a game less.

'Normally (to finish in the top four) requires in the 70-72 point margin,' Villas-Boas said.

'70 is usually enough to be in the four spots. There are 24 points to be played for so that means we need 16 more points. You never know, but I think at this time we are within our objectives.'

Alex Ferguson says Rafa Benitez should stand in front of him to shake hand

Rafa wants to shake my hand Well, he should stand in front of me next time! Fergie stokes new row with Chelsea boss

By
Graeme Yorke

PUBLISHED:

13:40 GMT, 15 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

09:41 GMT, 16 March 2013

Sir Alex Ferguson has re-opened his feud with Rafael Benitez over their handshake row.

The pair, who have a history of fall-outs, didn't shake hands before their FA Cup clash at Manchester United on Sunday.

Benitez later claimed that Ferguson ignored him prior to kick-off in the 2-2 draw at Old Trafford.

Scroll down for video

Clash: Sir Alex Ferguson (right) and Rafa Benitez on the touchline on Sunday

Clash: Sir Alex Ferguson (right) and Rafa Benitez on the touchline on Sunday

Hitting back: Sir Alex Ferguson (right) at the Cheltenham Festival with Paul Nicholls this week

Hitting back: Sir Alex Ferguson (right) at the Cheltenham Festival with Paul Nicholls this week

But Ferguson has now hit back, insisting that he did not refuse – before giving them Chelsea boss some advice.

He said: 'It is nonsense. Why would I refuse to shake his hand

'I was signing autographs and I never saw him. Why he has said that I have no idea.

Pointing the way: Benitez takes charge of Chelsea's training session on Friday

Pointing the way: Benitez takes charge of Chelsea's training session on Friday

'If he wanted to shake hands he could have stood straight in front of me. It is absolute nonsense.'

Ferguson and Benitez have had several run-ins in the Barclays Premier League – dating back to their United v Liverpool clashes.

The Spaniard famously held a press conference in 2009 where he ran down a list of 'facts' attacking Ferguson's record.

VIDEO “I didn't see him.” Fergie denies Benitez handshake claim

Absolute NONSENSE. Fergie rubbishes Benitez handshake claim

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Alex Ferguson on Rio and Reading

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Samir Nasri and Carlos Tevez relax in Manchester City training

Nasri and Tevez take weight of expectation in their stride as duo relax in City training

By
Graeme Yorke

PUBLISHED:

19:20 GMT, 28 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

21:06 GMT, 28 February 2013

Samir Nasri and Carlos Tevez appeared to be in high spirits today as Manchester City prepared for their trip to Aston Villa on Monday.

Fresh from beating top-four rivals Chelsea at the Etihad last weekend, Nasri, Tevez and the rest of the City squad were put through their paces at City's training base in Carrington.

And Tevez, who doubled City's lead over Rafa Benitez's visitors after Yaya Toure's opener, took the time to give the cameras a thumbs-up while he rested between training sessions.

Relaxed: Samir Nasri reclines in Manchester City's boot room at their Carrington training base

Relaxed: Samir Nasri reclines in Manchester City's boot room at their Carrington training base

Weight of expectation: Pablo Zabaleta puts a shift in as City prepare to take on Aston Villa on Monday

Weight of expectation: Pablo Zabaleta puts a shift in as City prepare to take on Aston Villa on Monday

No way: Joe Hart dives over a hurdle to keep the ball out as Costel Pantilimon (left) watches

No way: Joe Hart dives over a hurdle to keep the ball out as Costel Pantilimon (left) watches

Nasri, who made a late cameo appearance in the win which tightened City's grip on second place, but struck a pose for the club photographer while reclining in the bootroom.

City manager Roberto Mancini criticised Nasri's work ethic last week, claiming that the France midfielder only offers him 50 per cent.

In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, Mancini said: 'I think Samir has fantastic qualities

'With his quality, he should always play well. Every game he could be the difference. A player of this quality could be one of the best players in Europe. But it's not happening.

'Sometimes a player thinks it's enough what they did the year before and doesn't understand that every day they should improve.'

He added: 'You win the title, then you think it's enough to play 50 per cent and you don't arrive the next year.'

'If you are a top player you know you can improve until the last day of your career but sometimes you get players who think it is not important to work and this is their worst mistake.

'Samir can do better than this year. He is a top player but he has not been playing at his level.'

Pablo Zabaleta and Joleon Lescott undertook some weight training in their bid to be fully prepared for City's visit to Villa Park next week.

Goalkeepers Joe Hart and Costel Pantilimon were also pictured putting in a shift. Hart, who made an outstanding save from a Frank Lampard penalty to keep the game at 0-0 last weekend, dived over hurdles to keep the ball out in this afternoon's session.

Mancini will be desperate for his side to take all three points, as league leaders and cross-city rivals United could be 15 points clear at the top come Monday, provided they beat Norwich at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon.

Having a breather: Carlos Tevez gives a thumbs-up to the camera

Having a breather: Carlos Tevez gives a thumbs-up to the camera

Focus: Joleon Lescott powers through his training session

Focus: Joleon Lescott powers through his training session

Game for a laugh: Javi Garcia (right) shares a joke with Zabaleta and David Silva (left)

Game for a laugh: Javi Garcia (right) shares a joke with Zabaleta and David Silva (left)

Rafael Benitez crisis: Chelsea had Mourinho, Rodgers, Villas-Boas and Clarke – now they are full of resentment

Chelsea old boys Mourinho, AVB, Clarke and Rodgers are full of simmering resentment… is it any surprise after working at this club

)
Roberto Di Matteo (Mar 2012-Nov 2012)
Rafa Benitez (Nov 2012- )

It was no surprise the combustible Villas-Boas and Mourinho fell out, but more damagingly Clarke and Rodgers now have one of the frostiest relationships in the game.

Clarke played a pivotal role in getting Rodgers’ career started at Stamford Bridge and was torn apart by the way he was treated by the Ulsterman when their paths crossed briefly again at Liverpool last summer.

Clarke, regarded as one of football’s nice guys, had put his own reputation on the line to get Rodgers a job at Chelsea.

Brendan Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers

Now and then: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was once youth and reserve-team boss at Chelsea

Can West Brom's grim reapers Bag another Chelsea manager's scalp

Rafael Benitez will not be happy to see Chelsea's next opponents are West Bromwich Albion – the grim reapers of Blues bosses.

The Baggies have hammered the final nail into the coffin of Benitez's two predecessors in the Stamford Bridge hotseat, Andre Villas-Boas and Roberto Di Matteo.

Villas-Boas' reign was ended after just eight torrid months following a dismal 1-0 defeat at West Brom in March 2012, in which Gareth McAuley struck the winner.

Chelsea

And Di Matteo saw his reign terminated, despite winning the Champions League just six months before, after an unacceptable run of results culminated in a 2-1 defeat at The Hawthorns in November last year.

Shane Long and Peter Odemwingie scored the goals as the Italian's fate was sealed even before the Champions League defeat against Juventus three days later.

Yet when Rodgers arrived on Merseyside
to succeed Kenny Dalglish as manager, Clarke – the club’s
assistant manager – learned about his dismissal with a phone call from
the club’s human resources department, rather than from Rodgers himself.

Fortunately for Clarke, he has been able to rebuild impressively his shattered career at West Brom this season with the club standing seventh in the Premier League, and is too polite to follow Benitez’s example and go public with his grievances.

But as he walks out at Stamford Bridge this weekend, he’ll undoubtedly cast his mind back to 2004 when he was Mourinho’s assistant manager at Chelsea and Rodgers an unknown 31-year-old whose playing career had been cut short by injury.

When a vacancy came up as youth-team manager, Chelsea playing idol Gus Poyet was the hot favourite until Clarke remembered the keen young coach he’d met on a pro-licence course and recommended him to Roman Abramovich.

The rest, as they say, is history. Rodgers learned avidly under Mourinho and used four years at Chelsea as a springboard for his own managerial career, at Watford, Reading, Swansea and currently at Liverpool.

In all that time, Clarke felt his early assistance went unappreciated.

‘Even at Liverpool, Brendan never spoke to him through the process of Steve leaving his job. They knew each other well but he left it to another department to sort it out,’ confirmed a friend.

‘The thing that hurts most is he never got a thank you. It’s an understatement to say he was badly treated.’

Rafa Benitez will know how he feels. It must be a Chelsea thing.

CHELSEA IN 2007: WHEN ROMAN COULDN’T MOVE FOR MANAGERS…

Glory days: Mourinho and Clarke formed a strong bond which brought huge success to Chelsea

Glory days: Mourinho and Clarke formed a strong bond which brought huge success to Chelsea

JOSE MOURINHO (manager)
The Special One led Chelsea to their
first title since 1955 but was sacked after a Champions League draw against
Rosenborg. Now in charge of Real Madrid but tipped for a return.

STEVE CLARKE (assistant manager)
A former Chelsea player, he was able
to teach Mourinho all about the club’s history and tradition. After
being a long-time No 2, will be back at the Bridge this weekend as West
Brom manager.

BRENDAN RODGERS (reserve-team manager)
Clarke gave him a reference to become
Chelsea’s youth-team manager and he was promoted to the reserves. Now in
his fourth managerial job, at Liverpool.

ANDRE VILLAS-BOAS (scout and cheerleader)
Mourinho’s close friend from Portugal,
AVB was often a hot-headed figure seen on the Chelsea bench. Now
reinvented himself as a great thinker, he failed as Chelsea manager but
doing well at Spurs‬.

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

|

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.

Rafa Benitez and John Terry laugh together in Chelsea training ahead of Europa League game

Best of Friends: Benitez and captain Terry all smiles during Chelsea training session

By
Charlie Skillen

PUBLISHED:

13:07 GMT, 20 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:16 GMT, 20 February 2013

Rafa Benitez looks as if he’s finally found a friend at Stamford Bridge, with the interim manager and captain John Terry sharing a joke at the Chelsea’s Cobham training ground today.

The rest of the squad also looked in
good spirits as they prepare to face Sparta Prague at Stamford Bridge
tomorrow in the second leg of their Europa League last-32 tie, which
they lead 1-0.

Two players who won't be involved are Frank Lampard and defender Branislav Ivanovic, who Benitez confirmed would be rested.

Reports last week suggested Benitez and the Chelsea captain had a falling-out over Terry being selected on the bench due to a recurring knee injury, but there were clearly no hard feelings.

Scroll down for Kevin Quigley's video from Chelsea training

Buried the hatchet: Terry (right) and Benitez joke around during Chelsea's Cobham training session today

Buried the hatchet: Terry (right) and Benitez joke around during Chelsea's Cobham training session today

benitez terry

benitez

luiz

Still got it: Benitez (left) controls the ball while Brazilian defender David Luiz (left) has a laugh at training today

cfc training

Wrapping up warm: Fernando Torres (left) and Yossi Benayoun laugh as training begins today

Wrapping up warm: Fernando Torres (left) and Yossi Benayoun laugh as training begins today

The former England skipper insisted he had no problem with starting games on the bench, as long as Chelsea were winning games, while accepting fans’ criticism of the unpopular Benitez’s reign.

‘They pay their money so they are entitled to echo their thoughts,’ said Terry. ‘The most important thing is the team winning games.

'People speak about things but it’s not about Rafa, it’s not about me, it’s not about Lamps, it’s not about anybody.

Good spirits: Frank Lampard (left) and David Luiz share a joke today while the squad prepare for the visit of Sparta Prague in the Europa League tomorrow night, with the Blues ahead 1-0

Good spirits: Frank Lampard (left) and David Luiz share a joke today while the squad (led by Gary Cahill, below) prepare for the visit of Sparta Prague in the Europa League tomorrow night, with the Blues ahead 1-0 in the tie

cfc training

cfc training

‘It’s about this football club winning games and if we’re doing that the fans are happy. That’s all they want to see.

‘If that’s with me in the side, great; if not, then I will be their biggest supporter and I’ll sit there and support the team like the fans will.

‘If you are losing games, the pressure is on the manager. If you’re winning games, that gets taken away. Hopefully, as a group of players we can do that and it takes the pressure off him.’

VIDEO See the team warming up ahead of their Europa League clash

Play Video

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England 2 Brazil 1: Martin Keown verdict

Martin Keown: I'm convinced Hart and Cesar are the best keepers in England and Wilshere played like a Brazilian!

By
Martin Keown

PUBLISHED:

00:14 GMT, 7 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

12:15 GMT, 7 February 2013

There was plenty of talk ahead of the game about the outfield players but it was hard to ignore the goalkeepers once the action started. I saw Joe Hart and Julio Cesar go head to head when Manchester City visited QPR recently and was hugely impressed.

Now I am convinced that they are the two best goalkeepers in the Premier League. Hart did really well to save Ronaldinho’s penalty and then reach the rebound before the Brazilian. Cesar’s stops to defy Wayne Rooney and Gary Cahill were stunning.

The first reminded me of Gordon Banks keeping out Pele. Cesar showed his flexibility and Hart showed fantastic determination. They will be vital for their teams for the remainder of the season.

England goalkeeper Joe Hart and Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar

Joe Hart

Safe hands: Joe Hart and Julio Cesar proved themselves to be the best keepers in the Premier League

Glen kept Neymar in his pocket

Glen Johnson has looked nervy at times for England at Wembley in the past. Last night he looked more confident. He was good with and without the ball and kept Neymar quiet when confronted with him. On the opposite side, Ashley Cole looked a bit nervous as he won his 100th cap.

Kept him quiet: Glen Johnson had no trouble dealing with the threat of Brazil's Neymar

Kept him quiet: Glen Johnson had no trouble dealing with the threat of Brazil's Neymar

Blue is the colour

Six Chelsea players were involved last night — David Luiz, Ramires and Oscar for Brazil, Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole and Gary Cahill for England. They have enough quality to suggest Rafael Benitez’s side should be performing a lot better.

Chelsea connection: Ashley Cole (left) and Oscar were on opposite sides at Wembley

Chelsea connection: Ashley Cole (left) and Oscar were on opposite sides at Wembley

Well done, Frank

To go with some exciting young players,
England have some world-class experienced stalwarts. Frank Lampard’s
goal put him level with David Platt on 27. He’s only three shy of Tom
Finney, Nat Lofthouse and Alan Shearer on 30.

Jumping for joy: Frank Lampard scored England's winner against Brazil at Wembley

Jumping for joy: Frank Lampard scored England's winner against Brazil at Wembley

Game of two halves for Gary

Gary Cahill was exceptional in the first half, sniffing out danger and accomplished on the ball. He looked far better than he has in a Chelsea shirt this season. But the centre back undid that good work by overplaying for the Brazilian equaliser. He wanted to show that English defenders can play. That should be encouraged but there are moments when you can be too adventurous.

Turn for the worse: Gary Cahill was at fault for Brazil's equaliser at the start of the second half

Turn for the worse: Gary Cahill was at fault for Brazil's equaliser at the start of the second half

Jack's like a Brazilian

Jack Wilshere was the best player on the pitch. He looked so full of confidence and carried the game at times. Wilshere always wants to receive the ball, even if he’s under pressure and he is then technically gifted enough to use it in an intelligent way.

Since returning from injury, there was no doubting his ability but he is now fit enough to have the energy to match his technical prowess. The way he has come back from that lay-off to perform at such a level is impressive. We should cherish him.

Running the show: Jack Wilshere controlled the midfield on his first England start since 2011

Wilshere

Running the show: Jack Wilshere was the star of England's midfield as Brazil were overran