Tag Archives: complacency

The FA accused of showing "total apathy" towards fan safety at time of Hillsborough disaster

Hillsborough latest: FA were more 'interested in lunch' than fan safety in 1980s, claims former Wembley chief

|

UPDATED:

09:57 GMT, 21 December 2012

The Football Association have been accused of showing ‘total apathy’ towards fans and their safety in the 1980s at the time of Hillsborough disaster.

David Griffiths, who was chief executive of Wembley stadium in the 1970s and 80s, made the accusation and claims there was a 'culture of complacency' in the FA’s safety inspection regime.

In an interview with the Liverpool Echo, he said: ‘This culture of complacency existed all the way through the 70s and 80s. My belief is that it was prevalent at the time of Hillsborough.

Horror scenes: Fans spill onto the pitch during the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest

Horror scenes: Fans spill onto the pitch during the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest

'They would turn up and basically ask ‘what’s for lunch’

The FA have declined to comment on Mr Griffiths’ specific claims, but a spokesman said: 'The FA and English football has changed immeasurably and has learnt many lessons in the last 23 years.

'Through advancements in safety and investment in facilities English football is now a much safer, more welcoming environment for supporters.'

Mr Griffith’s comments comes as the FA prepare to be investigated by a new police probe for its role in the disaster.

Justice: The families of the 96 outside the High Court after the original accidental death verdicts were quashed and an order for fresh inquests

Justice: The families of the 96 outside the High Court after the original accidental death verdicts were quashed and an order for fresh inquests

The Hillsborough Independent Panel report said there was no meeting between FA officials and the police ahead of the 1989 semi-final that claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool fans at Sheffield Wednesday’s stadium.

Instead the arrangements that had been used in 1988 were confirmed for 1989 by telephone.

The panel also revealed that according to Sheffield Wednesday club secretary Graham Mackrell that there was no inter-agency pre-match briefing.

'Somebody should have been at that meeting. Had I been the chairman of the FA’s match and ground committee I would have wanted to see the people who managed Hillsborough.'

Andy Flower praises England team after India victory

They've done country proud! Flower hails England heroes after victory in India

|

UPDATED:

13:08 GMT, 17 December 2012

Andy Flower believes his England side have done the country proud after sealing a rare series victory in India.

Needing just a draw to claim a 2-1 win and their first series success in India for nearly 28 years, Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell both struck centuries as England safely negotiated the final day’s play in Nagpur.

Flower took particular satisfaction from the fact his side learnt from their mistakes after losing the first Test, although he warned them against complacency in the future.

Beer we go! Tim Bresnan, Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow

Beer we go! Tim Bresnan, Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow

'They’ve really done themselves proud here and their country proud,' he told Sky Sports 1.

'To come out here and show that they’ve learnt things is one of the special things about this victory.

'They’ve learnt how to play spin a lot better, obviously not the finished article but they’ve learnt how to play spin a lot better, they’ve learnt how to take 20 wickets in these conditions and they’ve learnt how to be resilient in foreign conditions.

'I think those are all things they can be very proud of.'

A nine-wicket humbling in Ahmedabad led to much derision from the media that England could not play spin in the sub-continent, following on from their 3-0 loss against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates earlier this year.

But Flower was rewarded for his patience with the batsmen as England charged back with victories in Mumbai and Kolkata.

'It's nice for that faith to be repaid,' he added. 'I must say after that first Test loss I was heartened by the way that we played in the second part of the first innings and heartened by the way we played in the second innings.

'I’ve also seen the work, obviously very close hand, that they were doing in training and I was convinced they were better players of spin than they showed in the first bit of that first innings in Ahmedabad – that cost us really dear there.

'We didn't know which way it was going to go but I think they’ve proved they've learnt a lot especially some of the older players.

'That is a testament to some of their humility and their maturity to continue their learning into this phase of their career.'

Captain Alastair Cook savoured a 'very special' series win.

He said: 'It’s a very special day for us, it’s been a special tour. The bowlers have been brilliant and our batters have contributed big runs. Everyone in the squad can be very proud, especially after Ahmedabad and that heavy defeat.'

Opposite number Mahendra Singh Dhoni admitted India’s batting at times had let them down, but praised James Anderson, named man of the match after taking four for 81 in India’s first innings.

Bowled over: Coach David Saker with Anderson

Bowled over: Coach David Saker with Anderson

'I think we struggled in the batting department but the difference between the two bowling sides was James Anderson,' he said.

'He bowled really well. He was testing the batsman quite often.'

The lifeless pitch in Nagpur attracted some criticism and Dhoni acknowledged it did not suit either side.

'There was not much really for the fast bowlers or the spinners,' he added.

'It was difficult to score runs but if you kept your head down it was difficult to get the batsmen out.'

Anderson, who finished with 12 wickets in the series after mastering reverse swing in the third and fourth Tests, said: 'When we come over here, people think that spinners are going to get all the wickets but we knew that the seamers had a job to do.

'I've bowled better than I have before. Reverse swing has been a key part of us doing well.'

Even after Anderson prevented India taking a first-innings lead, there were some concerns for England at 94 for three before Trott and Bell put on 208.

Trott said: 'We'd lost two pretty quick wickets there, but Ian and myself dug in and complimented each other quite well with the tempo we batted at.'

There was some ill feeling out in the middle late in yesterday's play, not least after Trott chased down a wayward Ravichandran Ashwin no-ball and cracked it for four, but the Warwickshire batsman added: “I enjoy that, it gets me going.

'We’d take all the runs we could at that stage, to get a boundary early on was important so I’ll definitely take it – I’m not giving it back.'

County colleague Bell agreed, saying: 'The way I was batting I would have done the same. I would have taken any run at that time.'

Bell's hundred was his first in Tests this year and salvaged a poor personal tour which started with a dismal golden duck in Ahmedabad before he missed the second Test for the birth of his first child.

He said: 'It's been a tricky tour so it’s nice to finish on a high and nice to contribute today. Up to now I (only) had a run-out so it was nice to get some with the bat as well.'

Lord Herman Ouseley steps down from Football Association

Kick It Out chairman Ouseley quits post at FA claiming football is going backwards over racism

|

UPDATED:

16:12 GMT, 14 December 2012

Lord Herman Ouseley stepped down from his position on the FA’s council this morning because he believes football is going backwards in tackling racism.

But he will continue as chairman of the game’s equality and inclusion campaign Kick It Out.

The 67-year-old said that black players have lost faith in the FA’s ability to deal with racism and that his position on the council had become ‘untenable’.

Backwards: Lord Herman Ouseley believes football is moving in the wrong direction when it comes to race cases

Backwards: Lord Herman Ouseley believes football is moving in the wrong direction when it comes to race cases

Stepping down: Lord Herman Ouseley

Stepping down: Lord Herman Ouseley

Lord Ouseley criticised the national game’s governing body for ‘allowing its own processes to be undermined in the way it handled the Terry and Suarez cases’ and that there has been ‘almost a complacency that’s been creeping in that we’ve achieved quite a bit and can move on. The sporting ethic seems to be lost in parts of game.’

And when asked on Radio 4 if football is going backwards in terms of racism he replied: ‘Yes, it clearly is.’ Ouseley wants football matches to be stopped if racist chanting is heard in the crowd and for people who run football clubs to show moral leadership adding ‘everyone just protects their own interests’.

The move is confirmation of comments he made earlier in the week. On Tuesday he hinted that he would be quitting in ‘a matter of days’.

And he added: ‘I believe there has been a collective failure on the part of people running the game. They have to come forward very soon with a plan to show that what happened in the last year will not happen again.

‘We need to see some dynamic leadership from David Bernstein [Football Association], Richard Scudamore [Premier League] and Gordon Taylor [Professional Footballers’ Association].

'These are good, committed people but they need to recognise that we’re now in a new climate. Vile chanting and abusive behaviour is out there and we are in very dangerous times with the increase of right-wing activity and intolerance.'

Untenable: John Terry was banned for four matches after racially abusing Anton Ferdinand

Untenable: John Terry was banned for four matches after racially abusing Anton Ferdinand

West Bromwich need to capitalise on first away victory, says Steve Clarke

West Brom need to kick on after first away victory, says Baggies' boss Clarke

|

UPDATED:

18:15 GMT, 10 November 2012

Wigan 1 West Brom 2

Read the match report here

West Brom boss Steve Clarke hailed his side's 'long overdue' first away win of the Barclays Premier League season at Wigan but warned his side must continue to guard against complacency.

James Morrison and an own goal from Gary Caldwell kept the Baggies in fifth place before Arouna Kone reduced the deficit for the Latics.

The Midlands outfit are level on points with fourth-placed Everton, with only unlucky losses to Manchester City and Newcastle preventing them from soaring even higher.

Playing away: Morrison wheels away after scoring against Wigan

Playing away: Morrison wheels away after scoring against Wigan

But Clarke said: 'I remember once as a player I was top of the league in November and ended up fighting relegation. The top division in England can come back quickly to bite you if you take your focus off it.

'This week we're happy with where we are. I know it sounds boring, but we just have to keep working from game to game.

'Our away performances have been as good as our home performances so this is long overdue. I don't really see it is a monkey off our back but it is nice to end it sooner rather than later and especially at such a difficult place as Wigan.

'Even though our away performances have been good, we have had a habit of losing late goals and dropping points and you start to think about that, so it was nice to hang on and get the 2-1 win.'

Heads up: Morrison nods home for Wigan and Caldwell scores an own goal (below)

Heads up: Morrison nods home for Wigan and Caldwell scores an own goal (below)

Heads up: Morrison nods home for Wigan and Caldwell scores an own goal (below)

Clarke went on to single out stand-in
keeper Boaz Myhill, who played his first senior game in 21 months in
place of the injured Ben Foster, and could continue to deputise against
Chelsea next weekend.

Clarke said: 'To talk too much about Ben coming back would be disrespectful to Boaz. He has waited a long time for his chance and he came in and did well. His handling was excellent he had a really assured performance.'

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez offered no excuses for his side's disappointing display, with Kone's close-range header moments after the Baggies' second goal the only bright spot on an otherwise below-par afternoon.

Martinez said: 'I don't think we are the sort of side that can get a result out of a scrappy performance. I don't think we were as good as we could have been today, and that is really the frustration.

Maintain the pressure: Clarkehas warned his team against complacency

Maintain the pressure: Clarkehas warned his team against complacency

'We know West Brom are a very strong unit and play with real confidence and are a difficult unit to break down, so to concede two goals early on was really disappointing.

'We started well enough but even though we presented the right attitude and attacking threat, I don't think we were as good as we can be. Our movement wasn't as sharp and our attacking threat wasn't good enough.

'We are frustrated with our performance. We really wanted to win today on the back of two great results.

'I thought we created enough chances to get something out of the game, but we weren't lucky enough to get that positive result.'

Celtic 5 St Johnstone 0 match report: Kris Commons hat-trick helps Bhoys into League Cup semi-finals

Celtic 5 St Johnstone 0: Lennon gets an explosive response as Bhoys rise to the bait

|

UPDATED:

00:10 GMT, 31 October 2012

Neil Lennon lit the fuse on Sunday. Here, he was able to step back and watch the fireworks at Celtic Park.

The Parkhead boss had left his players in no doubt about his fury after Saturday’s dismal 2-0 home defeat from Kilmarnock, delivering a blistering address when he gathered them together 24 hours later.

The message was clear. If there was any more sloppiness or complacency when dealing with domestic business then the perpetrators could prepare for a stint in the stand.

Kris is more like it: Commons slams home the second-half penalty which completed his hat-trick

Kris is more like it: Commons slams home the second-half penalty which completed his hat-trick

Match facts

Celtic: Forster, Lustig, Ambrose (McCourt 71), Wilson, Izaguirre, Commons, Brown (Matthews 64), Wanyama, Ledley, Hooper (Mulgrew 46),
Watt. Subs not used: Zaluska, Kayal.

Booked: Watt, Ambrose, Lustig.

Goals: Commons 28, 32, Hooper 38, Commons 57 (pen), Mulgrew 61.

St Johnstone: Mannus, Miller, Anderson, McCracken, MacKay, Millar, Murray Davidson (Robertson 64), Moon, Craig, Vine (MacLean 46), Tade (Hasselbaink 74). Subs not used: Tuffey, Scobbie.

Booked: MacKay, Anderson, Miller, Hasselbaink.

Att: 14,399.

Ref: Bobby Madden.

Click for all the latest SPL stats, tables and fixtures

It’s safe to say the warning was
heeded. A strong Celtic line-up — showing five changes from the weekend —
simply decimated St Johnstone to march into the semi-finals of the
League Cup. This was decisiveness in action.

Kris Commons led the way with a
clinical display of attacking prowess. The winger unquestionably scored
twice and laid claim to a hat-trick after his strike was deflected in by
Liam Craig for the opener. Gary Hooper and Charlie Mulgrew also placed
their names on a scoresheet which could have witnessed even more
entries.

The Perth side had defeated Celtic
2-1 at McDiarmid Park six weeks ago and were also the last Scottish team
to win at Parkhead prior to last weekend. Yet any hope was swiftly shot
down.

Celtic entered the match with
Lennon’s words ringing in the ears and with the additional motivation of
taking a step closer to the only domestic trophy missing under their
manager’s command. Two successive defeats in the final have left a
bitter taste they are determined to wash away this term.

Dejection: St Johnstone keeper Alan Mannus

Dejection: St Johnstone keeper Alan Mannus reflects on a hard night

The fans, however, remain less
stirred by this competition. The night before Hallowe’en, there was a
vaguely ghostly atmosphere about Parkhead, with the top tier closed and a
crowd of just 14,399 spread around the other seats.

Yet St Johnstone were unable to
capitalise on the lack of intimidation from the stands. Boss Steve Lomas
celebrates his first anniversary in charge this weekend and the
previous 12 months can rarely have delivered such a brutal defeat.

For all that Celtic were excellent in
much of their attacking play, Lomas would have cringed at some of the
efforts to keep them at bay.

It was no surprise to see Lennon make
sweeping alterations to his starting line-up after being left dismayed
by the plunge in performance levels at the weekend.

Out went Adam Matthews, James
Forrest, Beram Kayal, Mulgrew and Miku. In came Mikael Lustig, Scott
Brown, Victor Wanyama, Tony Watt and Hooper. There could be no question
about how seriously the Celtic manager was taking the tie.

Goal machine: Gary Hooper was on the scoresheet once again

Goal machine: Gary Hooper was on the scoresheet once again

Lennon was seeking a greater urgency
than witnessed in their feeble efforts against Killie and certain
individuals immediately answered the call.

Captain Brown always injects an
additional drive to the side and, stationed wide right in midfield, he
looked determined to raise the tempo whenever possible.

One nimble hurdle of Dave MacKay’s
sliding challenge took him into the penalty area, where his cutback was
forced behind by a desperate lunge from Saints centre-half David
McCracken.

Commons then smacked in a low effort
that squirted off goalkeeper Alan Mannus, before Lustig cut a neat pass
to Hooper for the striker to send a snapshot narrowly wide.

Celtic were clearly the dominant
side, yet there was a flicker of concern when Efe Ambrose reprised some
of the sloppiness that pockmarked his performance on Saturday.

The Nigerian over-ran the ball to concede possession to Kevin Moon, who promptly released Liam Craig on the left flank.

With Lennon glaring from the touchline, Ambrose was mightily relieved when a dangerous delivery was eventually cleared.

Crisp strike: Charlie Mulgrew unleashes Celtic's fifth

Crisp strike: Charlie Mulgrew unleashes Celtic's fifth

In truth, however, that was only the
briefest of deviations in a one-way first half. It seemed only a matter
of time before Celtic scored, but Commons took it upon himself to speed
up the process.

The Scotland winger seemed locked in a
one-man mission to torment Mannus as he peppered his goalmouth from
distance before enjoying a slice of good fortune when finally forcing
the opener after 28 minutes. He teased Dave Mackay on the fringe of the
area to engineer enough space to fizz in a right-footed cross-shot that
was diverted into the net by the outstretched foot of Craig.

It took only four minutes for
Commons to double the advantage. Brown fed Lustig down the left and his
clever low cross was gathered by Hooper around 20 yards from goal. He
slipped a through ball for Commons and an angled finish gave Mannus no
hope.

St Johnstone appealed in vain for an offside flag, with captain Mackay venting his anger at assistant referee Alan Mulvanney.

Steven Anderson then cleared a Lustig
header off the line as Celtic continued to rampage forward at will.
That, however, only served to delay a third goal until the 39th minute.
Again, the outstanding Commons was heavily involved as he sprinted free
on the left to deliver a pinpoint centre that was swept into the net by
the grateful Hooper. St Johnstone looked punch-drunk.

Improved performance: Neil Lennon demanded more from his players - and he got it

Improved performance: Neil Lennon demanded more from his players – and he got it

The interval would have come as a
blessed relief to Lomas and his players, but both sides were changed
when they reappeared for the second period.

Saints withdrew Rowan Vine to
introduce Steven MacLean, while Mulgrew replaced Hooper. Mulgrew took up
a role wide on the left, allowing Commons to move closer to central
striker Watt.

The switches did nothing to alter the
flow of proceedings. One fine run by Gregory Tade caused a degree of
panic in the home defence, but that was nothing compared to the disarray
in the Saints backline.

They fell further behind after 56
minutes when Anderson was penalised for tugging back Watt as he turned
to control a Mulgrew cross. Commons drilled in the spot-kick with
minimum of fuss to spark debate about whether or not he had actually
claimed a treble.

Five minutes later, it was 5-0. Watt
drifted wide right to angle in a cross that was brushed away by the
diving Mannus but gathered by Mulgrew at the far post.

For what seemed like an eternity, he
twisted this way and that against Gary Miller before eventually
whipping a left-foot shot into the net. Mulgrew’s composure was
admirable but the defending he faced was pitiful.

Fraser Forster had been a bystander
for so much of the evening but produced late saves from substitutes
David Robertson and Nigel Hasselbaink to set the seal on a satisfying
recovery mission for Celtic.

Tottenham not complacent against Panathinaikos, says Andre Villas-Boas

Villas-Boas bemoans sloppy Spurs but denies complacency led to Europa draw

|

UPDATED:

00:09 GMT, 5 October 2012

Andre Villas-Boas denied complacency got the better of his Tottenham team after they threw away a lead to leave Panathinaikos with a just a point.

Spurs were in complete control of their Group J game against the Greek side and took the lead after 35 minutes when Michael Dawson glanced Tom Huddlestone's cross past Orestis Karnezis.

Jermain Defoe, Gareth Bale, Clint Dempsey and Huddlestone then all missed chances to put the game to bed and Panathinaikos took full advantage through striker Toche, who left Dawson for dead and turned in a Giorgos Seitaridis 13 minutes from time.

Spurred on: AVB says Spurs were not complacent during the clash with Panathinaikos

Spurred on: AVB says Spurs were not complacent during the clash with Panathinaikos

Panathinaikos, who sit 12th in the Greek Super League after a dismal start to their season, lacked any penetration until the latter stages of the second half and were there for the taking.

Villas-Boas, whose team now sit third in Group J, two points behind Lazio, brushed aside suggestions his team thought the game was over before the final whistle.

'I don't think we were complacent,' Villas-Boas said. 'We have to give credit to Panathinaikos, they pressed much more and started to gain belief from that and that led to the goal.

'I think the whole team felt a bit disappointed because the first half was so positive and we were in control of situation.

'We were a bit sloppy in the second half. I understand the disappointment at not putting the game to bed, but in the end we congratulated the players because if it had been other way round, the whole perspective would have been different.

High and lows: Dawson scored Spurs goal but was found wanting for the equaliser

High and lows: Dawson scored Spurs goal but was found wanting for the equaliser

High and lows: Dawson scored Spurs goal but was found wanting for the equaliser

'Panathinaikos came at us very strong in the second half, they made a change with Ibrahim Sissoko. He improved the quality of their game and could not stay in control of game so much in second half.'

Dawson has found first-team opportunities hard to come by since Villas-Boas arrived at the club despite his status as club captain.

The 28-year-old, who turned down a 9million move to QPR this summer, is effectively fifth-choice centre-half and only started the game because Villas-Boas rested William Gallas.

Dawson's lack of match sharpness was evident in the first half when he was out-paced by Toche and Lazaros Christodoulopoulos and he almost put the ball in to his own net after the break.

With Lazio beating Maribor in the other game, Spurs may find it hard to qualify if they fail to beat the Slovenians in their next game, but Villas-Boas is not panicking.

'In the end it leaves us with two points. Maribor have three and Lazio have four so everything is open as we go into the double-headers,' Villas-Boas said.

'It's only after the fourth game that you tend to know who will go through or whether there is any competition for that second place.

'In a group like this, normally 10 or 11 points to qualify.'

Villas-Boas won the competition with FC Porto two years ago and re-iterated his desire to lift the trophy again with his new club.

'The ambition we set for this competition is to go to the final, to win the trophy,' the 34-year-old said. It is a trophy this club have won in the past so we embrace this tradition. We will try to qualify from this group and then take it from there.'

Manchester City v Dortmund: Edin Dzeko warns hosts not to blow Champions League chance

Beware of the Germans! Dzeko warns City not to blow Champions League chance

|

UPDATED:

12:43 GMT, 2 October 2012

Edin Dzeko has warned Manchester City to underestimate Borussia Dortmund at their peril as they aim to dodge another early exit from the Champions League.

After losing their opening group match away to Real Madrid last month, City are now determined to get off the mark on Wednesday night.

But they face another tough test against the champions of Germany, who are aiming to beat City to one of the two automatic qualifying places in the group they share with Real and Ajax.

Training day: Edin Dzeko, Samir Nasri, Aleksander Kolarov and Mario Balotelli prepare for the visit of German champions Dortmund

Training day: Edin Dzeko, Samir Nasri, Aleksander Kolarov and Mario Balotelli prepare for the visit of German champions Dortmund

On the ball: David Silva get to work at Carrington ahead of City's next Champions League clash

On the ball: David Silva get to work at Carrington ahead of City's next Champions League clash

And Dzeko, who is in line for a
starting spot after scoring the winner at Fulham on Saturday, has warned
City against complacency when they meet at the Etihad Stadium.

Dzeko, who spent three seasons at
German side Wolfsburg before joining City, said: 'Dortmund have won the
Bundesliga for the last two years and I know from experience that is
very hard to do so there is no doubt they are a top team and one we’ll
need to be at our best to beat.

'I remember playing against them on a
number of occasions and I think I scored maybe three goals against them
in perhaps seven games – I can only remember three, anyway!

'Dortmund have a made a similar start
to us this season in that they have been scoring goals but conceding
them as well. Having said that, they beat Monchengladbach 5-0 at the
weekend so they are showing signs of coming into form.

'Like us, it is difficult when you
are defending champions because everyone gives 150 per cent against you
and want to beat you perhaps more than any other team. It’s something
new for us this season, too, so there are definitely similarities
between the two clubs.'

Dzeko has impressed this season despite competition from fellow strikers Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli.

And the Bosnian insists he has no plans to quit even though his opportunities are limited.

He said: 'I’ve always wanted to stay at City and fight for my place and my motto has always been “never give up”.

'I hope the City fans, who have
always been fantastic towards me, have seen I can score some important
goals for the team and that’s what I want to carry on doing.'

Welcome to Manchester: City manager Roberto Mancini braves the elements at training

Welcome to Manchester: City manager Roberto Mancini braves the elements at training

Feeling the cold: Mancni wraps up as he watches his side go through their paces

Feeling the cold: Mancni wraps up as he watches his side go through their paces

Veteran defender Maicon has warned his team-mates they must make the most of home advantage.

'We can still win the group but you can’t think like that in the Uefa Champions League, we have to take each match as it comes and not think about first, second or third,' he said.

'All the group matches are very delicate, especially considering we didn’t get anything in Madrid – it makes the second match against Dortmund very difficult.

'You can’t afford to leave points behind in the Uefa Champions League in your home matches but Roberto Mancini knows this better than me and I’m sure we will go and play with the right spirit and the right attitude against Dortmund.'

City’s 2-1 win at Fulham suggests Roberto Mancini’s side are getting back to their best

'The onus is on us to hit top gear as soon as possible because Manchester City is a top club,' Maicon admitted.

'We approach every game in the best possible way, mentally, tactically, technically – do our best and then we will see where we end up.

Hat's off: Yaya Toure pinches team-mate Carlos Tevez's hat

Leave your hat on: Tevez recovers his hat as he laughs alongside compatriot Sergio Aguero

Hat's off: Yaya Toure pinches Carlos Tevez's hat but the Argentine, next to Sergio Aguero (R), later recovered it

Tough test: Mancini expects a difficult game against Dortmund at the Etihad Stadium

Tough test: Mancini expects a difficult game against Dortmund at the Etihad Stadium

Roy Hodgson says playing Moldova is like playing Brazil

It's just like playing Brazil! Hodgson warns England not to be 'foolish' against Moldova

|

UPDATED:

18:26 GMT, 3 September 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Roy Hodgson has told his players they cannot afford to be complacent as they take on minnows Moldova in Friday's 2014 World Cup qualifier.

Moldova will be most familiar to England's players and fans from the World Cup qualifiers the countries played in 1996.

Those saw the Three Lions rack up easy 3-0 and 4-0 wins but Hodgson was so determined for his players not to take Friday's match lightly that he will order them to imagine they were playing Brazil.

Careful now: Roy Hodgson has warned his charges against complacency

Careful now: Roy Hodgson has warned his charges against complacency

He said: 'I know that outside of our little group who are preparing for the game, there will be a lot of thought that Moldova are not very special, not very strong, but we certainly don't go into the game with that thought at all.

'We go into the game knowing they had a draw and a narrow defeat against Holland in the last qualifying campaign.

'If we are not aware of the fact that this is a major hurdle of the 10 hurdles we have to jump over then we would be very, very foolish.

Hurdle: Hodgson says England will not get an easy ride

Hurdle: Hodgson says England will not get an easy ride

'And, certainly, my message to the
players is that, “I don't care if they are called Moldova. As far as I'm
concerned, they could be called Brazil and we have to produce a
performance to win us the game”.

'And if it turns out that perhaps they are not that good after all then I will be very happy.

'But I'm expecting them to be good and certainly watching the Moldova v Albania game then they know how to play football.'

Get ready: Hodgson instructs Gary Cahill and Frank Lampard

Get ready: Hodgson instructs Gary Cahill and Frank Lampard

That Albania match was Moldova's most recent, a 0-0 friendly draw last month.

Hodgson added: 'They are like a lot of those teams – they are in that area to the side of Romania, close to Georgia and those parts of the old Soviet Union.

'They are technical players, players who are basically unknown outside of eastern Europe.

'Very few, if any of them, play in Moldova – they play in Russia or Ukraine and in quite good teams.

Research: Lampard and Co will watch videos of their opponents

Research: Lampard and Co will watch videos of their opponents

'So they are obviously highly-respected players but, of course, for us they are going to be pretty much unknown and we are doing as much research and as much video-watching as we can to get some sort of handle to what they will be like.

'We have to come to terms with what's the stadium going to be like, what's the atmosphere going to be like, what's the pitch going to be like – and how good are these players and relate that to the players we choose and make sure they go into the game with the best possible preparation.'

Samir Nasri relieved after win

Nasri breathes sigh or relief after grabbing late winner for City over dogged Southampton

|

UPDATED:

17:33 GMT, 19 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri was a relieved man after his side survived a scare at the Etihad stadium to come from 2-1 down to beat Southampton 3-2.

David Silva missed a penalty before Carlos Tevez opened the scoring before goals from Rickie Lambert and Steven Davis gave Southampton hope of a shock victory.

But Bosnian Edin Dzeko restored parity before Nasri scored an 80th minute winner.

Scare over: Samir Nasri scored the winning goal to make it 3-2 to Manchester City

Scare over: Samir Nasri scored the winning goal to make it 3-2 to Manchester City

Match-winner Nasri was happy that his side managed to come back to win the game.

He said: 'It was like the last game
of the season (when City beat QPR 3-2 to win the title), we've started
the same and I hope at the end it will be the same result for us. It was
a difficult game.

'Southampton played really good
football. It reminds me a little bit of Swansea last year, it was
difficult but at the end we got three points.'

'Sometimes it's a little bit
difficult when you miss the first chance of the game, it can make the
confidence a little bit low and they punished us. But I thought we
showed great character.

'We didn't panic. We said we can do it, we did it last year and for the remainder of the season we can do it.'

More to follow.

Back with a bang: Carlos Tevez opened the scoring for City before half-time

Back with a bang: Carlos Tevez opened the scoring for City before half-time

Spanner in the works: Rickie Lambert took his chance to level the scores up, sending the travelling fans into raptures

Spanner in the works: Rickie Lambert took his chance to level the scores up, sending the travelling fans into raptures

To the rescue: After Southampton went 2-1 up, Edin Dzeko bagged City's equaliser

To the rescue: After Southampton went 2-1 up, Edin Dzeko bagged City's equaliser

Frustrated: Roberto Mancini was left irritated by his players' complacency

Frustrated: Roberto Mancini was left irritated by his players' complacency

Frustrated: During the game Roberto Mancini looked irritated by his players' complacency

Injury worry: Sergio Aguero had to be substituted for Dzeko after a tackle by Nathaniel Clyne

Injury worry: Sergio Aguero had to be substituted for Dzeko after a tackle by Nathaniel Clyne

Manchester City v Southampton live

PREMIER LEAGUE LIVE: Manchester City v Southampton – as it happens from the Etihad Stadium

|

UPDATED:

03:00 GMT, 19 August 2012

Follow Sportsmail's coverage of the Barclays Premier League as Manchester City begin their title defence when they host new boys Southampton at the Etihad Stadium. Roberto Mancini's side are heavy favourites but will have to guard against complacency when they take on the Saints. Send me your thoughts on the action at [email protected] or contact me on Twitter @Ripinho.

*Follow live coverage from 3.30pm*

Home favourites: Carlos Tevez (left) and Manchester City will hope to begin their title defence with a win

Home favourites: Carlos Tevez (left) and Manchester City will hope to begin their title defence with a win