Tag Archives: consequences

Lucas thought career was over after injuries at Liverpool

Liverpool star Lucas feared career could be over after injury nightmare

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UPDATED:

09:12 GMT, 22 December 2012

Lucas Leiva has admitted he feared for his career after missing almost a year through injury.

The Liverpool midfielder damaged his cruciate ligaments in a collision with Chelsea's Juan Mata before suffering a thigh strain just a few games into his comeback.

And the 25-year-old Brazilian was worried his injury nightmare would never end.

All smiles: Lucas Leiva has recovered from his injury nightmare at Liverpool

All smiles: Lucas Leiva has recovered from his injury nightmare at Liverpool

'My first injury was a huge blow, but the second simply left me shattered,' he said in an interview published in Brazil.

'It was hard to take. You couldn’t help questioning if there was something wrong with my body.

'I thought “When is this going to end”.

'It goes without saying that I feared for the consequences for my career.'

Raring to go: Lucas hopes to help Liverpool improve their performances

Raring to go: Lucas hopes to help Liverpool improve their performances

Now fully recovered, Lucas is desperate to play his part in helping Liverpool climb the league.

'It’s a new beginning,' he added. 'After almost a year away, all I can think about is to play as many games as I can and gradually get back into form.

'It will be important for my confidence. I must not rush things but I am really eager to get back, especially after a lot of things changed at the club.'

Rangers booted out of the SPL after Scottish rivals reject newco appeal

Rangers booted out of the SPL after rivals reject newco appeal

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UPDATED:

14:57 GMT, 4 July 2012

Clydesdale Bank Premier League clubs have voted 'overwhelmingly' to reject the newco Rangers application.

The SPL announced the news in a brief statement after more than five hours of talks at Hampden on Wednesday.

Snubbed: Newco Ibrox owner Charles Green

Snubbed: Newco Ibrox owner Charles Green

SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster
earlier hinted the vote could be deferred amid fears over the financial
consequences of the Ibrox club starting their new life in the Third
Division, but clubs carried through their vow to deny Charles Green's
bid.

An SPL statement read: 'At today's
General Meeting, SPL clubs today voted overwhelmingly to reject the
application from Rangers newco to join the SPL.'

SPL clubs will now hope their Scottish Football League counterparts accept the newco in the First Division amid warnings that 16million could be lost to the Scottish game if they go down to the Third.

Three-quarters of Rangers fans on the season-ticket database voted for the lower tier in a poll for their preferred option, but Green has previously declared his intention to play at the highest possible level.

Green has confirmed the club will now apply to join one of the lower divisions.

He said: 'We are deeply disappointed
that our application to rejoin the SPL has been rejected overwhelmingly
by the member clubs.

'This time last week, all of us at Rangers were resigned to the fact
that we would not be admitted, due mainly to the public declarations of
clubs indicating they would not support our application.

End of old firm: There will be no league clash next season

End of old firm: There will be no league clash next season

'At the weekend, we were approached by representatives from the SPL suggesting our application still stood a chance of success and we should discuss this further with clubs. This we did in good faith but with the knowledge of the hurdles that lay ahead of us.

'We had asked the SPL whether it would be more appropriate for us to withdraw our application but were advised against this.

'We made a presentation to the SPL clubs this morning, detailing our proposals in support of our application and this included what we believed to be penalties and sanctions that would have dealt fairly with the difficulties caused by events at Rangers prior to our acquisition of the club on June 14.

'Sadly this was rejected by the other clubs and we regret that our club and our supporters were given false hope by this initiative. We will now proceed as we had planned from late June to apply for membership of the SFL.

'It is entirely a matter for them whether our application will be accepted or rejected and we will make no representation to any member club prior to that application being considered. We also recognise that the SPL has been placed in a difficult position because of the way events have unfolded.

Scottish Premier League clubs have voted overwhelmingly to reject the newco Rangers application

Trouble: Rangers crisis could have a devastating impact on SPL

'If our application were to be
accepted, Rangers will play in whichever division the SFL sees fit and
we will move forward from there.

'The club hopes that the supporters,
who have been absolutely tremendous since the club went into
administration on February 14, will continue to support the Club and
make Rangers a success once again.'Warnings have been made in the last
few days that up to half the SPL clubs could go into administration if
the Ibrox club are in the bottom tier.

It appears that most if not all of
the SPL's commercial contracts include exit clauses for sponsors and
partners allowing them to pull out or renegotiate if the Old Firm are
not present.

The clauses were inserted amid
speculation over the Glasgow pair moving to England or into a European
league but they have proved costly after Rangers went into liquidation
last month.

A package put to SFL clubs to accept
the Ibrox side in the second tier includes moves to merge the leagues,
promotion play-offs to the top flight and a 1million payment for
television rights.

Before the meeting this morning, Doncaster said: 'There are probably
three options for dealing with Rangers. Rangers coming into the SPL with
an appropriate range of sanctions is one option. Rangers going into the
second tier is another option.

Decisions, decisions: Raith Rovers chairman Turnbull Hutton chats to club director Eric Drysdale at Hampden

Decisions, decisions: Raith Rovers chairman Turnbull Hutton chats to club director Eric Drysdale at Hampden

'The option that a lot of people have talked about, Rangers in the
fourth tier, ultimately that would wreak huge financial damage on the
whole game and it's difficult to see why 41 innocent clubs should pay
the price for the misdeeds of one.

'So I think there are really two viable options that are in play at the moment.'

It is as yet unclear whether relegated Dunfermline or Dundee, who
finished second in the First Division, will replace Rangers in the SPL
although the proposal put to SFL clubs states the Dens Park club would
be promoted.

Green, whose Sevco firm bought the assets of Rangers for 5.5million,
attended the meeting with chairman Malcolm Murray and manager Ally
McCoist, who left before noon.

The verdict was announced by email about 2.20pm, with Green and Murray
leaving shortly afterwards, while SPL clubs continued to talk.

Green claimed earlier this week he was confident chairmen would listen
to his pleas after meeting several clubs to warn them of the financial
implications.

Murray issued an 'unreserved' apology on Tuesday in a move thought to be designed to pave the way for a U-turn.

But St Johnstone, St Mirren, Aberdeen, Hearts, Hibernian, Dundee United
and Inverness had already declared their opposition while Motherwell
last night announced their fans had voted to reject the application.
Green needed an 8-4 majority.

Euro 2012: Greece focused on Germany rather than eurozone problems

It's about football! Eurozone strugglers Greece ignore financial gloom ahead of Germany quarter-final

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UPDATED:

14:00 GMT, 18 June 2012

Greece's Euro 2012 squad spent more time watching election results on Sunday than they did watching quarter-final opponents Germany defeat Denmark 2-1.

The Greeks were shock qualifiers ahead of Russia and Poland in Group A, and are to face an imperious German side on Friday in Gdansk.

It's about football! Greece hope to beat eurozone benefactors Germany on Friday

It's about football! Greece hope to beat eurozone benefactors Germany on Friday

The clash pits the eurozone's biggest strugglers against its wealthy pay-masters, but the Greeks believe the economic climate will not have any bearing on proceedings.

'No, this will not have an impact, its football we're talking about, its sport,' midfielder Giannis Maniatis said.

'The most important thing for us is to give some happiness to the Greek people, that's all, to make them celebrate in the street, given everything that is going on.'

Bailout: Greece got out of Group A after beating Russia 1-0

Bailout: Greece got out of Group A after beating Russia 1-0

New Democracy, a centre-right party, won the Greek election on Sunday, and quashed the prospect of an exit from the euro which may have profound consequences for the European financial system.

Next up: Greece prepare to face Germany

Next up: Greece prepare to face Germany

Still, there are some tensions between the two countries.

There is some anger in Athens at Germany's enforcing of strict conditions for its international bailout, which have crippled Greek households – or anger in Berlin at what many see as the country's irresponsible financial past.

'They (the Germans) have in their mind that the whole situation is about politics,' team spokesman Panos Korkodilos said.

'It is not. It is just football. This is their character, not ours, we are not saying anything about this.'

The Greeks, written off before squeezing through the group stages thanks to victory over one of the stronger teams in Group A, Russia, were also bullish about their chances against a German team who have won all their games.

'It is a major achievement. We fulfilled the first of our targets even after we had injuries and some other unfortunate incidents in the games,' midfielder Grigoris Makos said.

'Of course we respect them but we are not afraid of them. We will look them in the eyes and fight.'

David Haye v Dereck Chisora is licensed – Frank Warren

Haye v Chisora is licensed, insists Warren as Luxembourg Federation considers options

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 4 June 2012

Frank Warren has denied that Dereck Chisora’s fight against David Haye next month will be unlicensed.

The controversy surrounding the July 14 bout in London escalated at the weekend when the European Boxing Union threatened to expel the Luxembourg Boxing Federation if they sanction a fight against the wishes of the British Boxing Board of Control.

There has been confusion since then over whether the contest will be cancelled, but Warren, who manages Chisora, insists it will go ahead under the auspices of the LBF. For their part, the LBF will discuss the ramifications of the EBU’s warning at a meeting on Tuesday night.

On track: Dereck Chisora's fight with David Haye is expected to go ahead

On track: Dereck Chisora's fight with David Haye is expected to go ahead

‘There are no consequences to the show at all,’ Warren told Sportsmail.

‘The facts are: the show will not be unlicensed, nor will it be run as an unlicensed show. The EBU’s decision does not mean Luxembourg can’t sanction this fight.’

Warren last week vowed to sue the BBBC in response to their stance that anyone involved would be subject to a hearing in which their licence could be revoked.

The 60-year-old, who is not the event’s promoter despite his role in its creation, added: ‘The BBBC, when they punished Dereck Chisora (for his part in February’s brawl with Haye), invited him to apply for a licence elsewhere. He has done so and because he is fighting on their territory they don’t like it.’

Not backing down: Frank Warren is set to take legal action against the BBBoC

Not backing down: Frank Warren is set to take legal action against the BBBoC

Euro 2012: Italy could quit

Italy could quit Euro 2012 'for the good of football' as Serie A is rocked by match-fixing again

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UPDATED:

11:55 GMT, 1 June 2012

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has claimed he would have 'no problem' if his team was withdrawn from Euro 2012 as the national game suffers another match-fixing crisis.

A wide-ranging police investigation into corruption led to 19 arrests being made on Monday, including Lazio captain Stefano Mauri, while Zenit St Petersburg defender Domenico Criscito was dropped from Prandelli's squad after being questioned at the national team's training headquarters.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti has
suggested the game would benefit from being suspended for 'two to three
years' to root out the problem, and Prandelli has said it would be fine
by him if he were told not to take his team to Poland and Ukraine.

Preparations: Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has revealed he would be willing to quit Euro 2012 should the football family demand as much over a match-fixing row

Preparations: Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has revealed he would be willing to quit Euro 2012 should the football family demand as much over a match-fixing row

'If you told us that for the good of football we should not participate, it wouldn't be a problem for me,' Prandelli told RaiSport. 'There are things that I believe are more important.'

Prandelli was speaking after the lawyer of Gianluigi Buffon spoke out to reject claims regarding the Juventus goalkeeper, who is not under investigation by the police.

Prandelli added: 'I dislike crusades. I prefer to face up to things and not take positions without considering the consequences. I would rather only talk about football, but events are conspiring against this.'

Investigated: Domenico Criscito (left) Lazio captain Stefano Mauri have been questioned by police

Investigated: Domenico Criscito (left) Lazio captain Stefano Mauri have been questioned by police

Investigated: Domenico Criscito (left) Lazio captain Stefano Mauri have been questioned by police

Buffon's lawyer Marco Valerio Corini went on SkyTG24 television to distance his client from the ongoing investigation.

'There is nothing which could even carry the faintest suggestion of a connection between Gianluigi Buffon and any betting activity that would concern him in any irregularity either with respect to federation rules or criminal law,' he said.

'There is not the slightest foundation for any suggestion that this is connected with a bet.'

Unsettling: Police visited the Coverciano site where Italy are training

Unsettling: Police visited the Coverciano site where Italy are training

Prandelli admitted he did not know what effect the matter could have on his goalkeeper.

'We keep on saying those players caught up in the investigation will not be going to Euro 2012,' he said.

'How is Buffon's mood You should ask him. He is very strong, with a great personality. He manages to hide uncomfortable moments, but despite this, even a person like him can suffer in a difficult moment like this.'

Middlesbrough have 90 minutes to keep Premier League dream alive… or face the consequences

Win or bust! Middlesbrough have 90 minutes to keep Premier League dream alive… or face the consequences

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UPDATED:

22:05 GMT, 27 April 2012

Middlesbrough manager Tony Mowbray will sit at his desk on Monday
morning and he'll either be planning for this season's play-offs or for
next season.

Saturday's game at Watford, and events at Crystal Palace, will
determine whether he will be preparing for a play-off meeting with West
Ham or Southampton, or for the start of the next campaign.

Pressure point: Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray

Pressure point: Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray

If Cardiff City win or draw at Palace, Boro's season is over. If Cardiff should lose, and Boro fail to win, they will miss out on sixth place and the Championship play-offs.

But if Boro emerge victorious at Vicarage Road, and Cardiff lose, they will grab the last available play-off place and will face the team which finishes third. West Ham and Southampton are the other two clubs fighting the final matter in the Championship this weekend.

Mowbray said: 'Potentially it could be the last game for some of these players. I think there are ten players in total who are out of contract and some we feel should go and try elsewhere with their career and with others there are financial expectations that won't probably meet what we will want to give.

'That's the whole of football really, outside the Premier League. Budgets are coming down. It's a very difficult time for out of contract players to pitch where they want to be. There is some talking to do.

Boost: Boro kept their play-off hopes alive by beating Southampton

Boost: Boro kept their play-off hopes alive by beating Southampton

'The players are fully aware that if we make the Premier League then discussions over contracts might be a lot easier.

'A few conversations would have to wait a little longer if we do reach the play-offs.

'We will be back in Monday regardless. That will be the day they are told what their summer programmes will be and I will sit down with those out of contract and give them my thoughts.

'Recruitment will be key for us. There will have to be some little diamonds pinched from a beach of pebbles. That's our job. To find players with for very little money who can make a huge impact.'

After spending most of the season in the top six, Boro's recent blip could not have come at a worse time.

But their home form has cost them dearly throughout the season. They have won just 10 games at the Riverside, often in front of sparse crowds, and in 2012 scored 21 goals in as many games.

Finances have been limited but six
figures were given to Coventry for Lucas Jutkiewicz in January and the
Polish striker has managed just two goals in 18 games. Not the return
which was going to take Boro back to the Barclays Premier League.

Mowbray said: 'We set ourselves such a good platform in the first half
of the season. Our media department always seemed to be telling me we'd
broken another record – wins away from home or the longest unbeaten run,
or most away wins on the bounce in the history of the club.

'On the back of those record-breaking four months it is a bit
disappointing to be sitting here on the outside of the top six now.

High point: Middlesborough have been in the top six all season

High point: Middlesborough have spent most of the season in the top six

'In August before a ball was kicked after finishing 12th last year on the back of winning the last four home games, those 12 points were massive. That season we were scrambling every week to make sure we didn't get sucked into that bottom three, watching over your shoulder. We finished so strongly we finished 12th and felt relatively comfortable, yet the reality was we were always looking over our shoulder.

'To spend the whole season in the top six you'd have to say is progress. If we' d lost the last four games of this season we'd probably have finished 12th again. Which season would you prefer You'd prefer to be at the top end most of the season.

'Let's wait and see how it finishes, but I think you'd say it's progress.

'You want to win the league but we've been flirting with the play-offs all season. I'd have to say it's an improvement and we're moving in the right direction. If I'm sitting here in a year's time and we're disappointed on the last day that we're going to be second or third, again I think that would be progress.'

Progress or not, Mowbray's immediate plans will be decided by events on the final day of the season.

More than 2,000 Boro fans will make the journey south and will no doubt keep their manager informed of events in the capital.

Mowbray himself has no plans to plant a radio or phone on the bench to get regular updates. But he is obviously relishing the prospect of a thrilling final day.

He added: 'The fans will transmit what's happening but there'll be nobody on our bench with an earpiece in.

'We have to win anyway so what are we doing differently We'll still be charging forward trying to get a goal. What difference is it going to make We have to win regardless.

'If they're winning 2-0 am I going to say, 'Listen lads, just forget it. Tell me our score afterwards, I'm going for a pint!'

'If we're 1-0 up we might sit on a 1-0 and bring everybody back, but that's still irrelevant to their score. We might be 1-0 up after two minutes and never cross the halfway line again – do a Chelsea in Barcelona and put nine men in the box for the next 88 minutes. We won't, but the potential is there!

'You'd have to say Watford with Chris Iwelumo up front might cause more problems to Chelsea. They'd have played different to Barca, they'd have put balls in the box. We have to find a way to win.'

Ally McCoist disgusted by death threats to SFA Panel

McCoist disgusted by threats to SFA Panel but defends demand for transparency

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UPDATED:

09:56 GMT, 26 April 2012

Rangers manager Ally McCoist has defended his calls for transparency regarding the Scottish Football Association's judicial panel and insists his comments were not a signal for fans to engage in threatening behaviour.

The SFA revealed on Wednesday night that Strathclyde Police have given security advice to the three members of the independent panel after their identities were revealed.

McCoist had demanded the trio be named after the administration-hit club were handed a 160,000 fine and a 12-month embargo on signing players for bringing the game into disrepute since owner Craig Whyte's takeover last May.

Rash demand: Rangers manager Ally McCoist called for the panel to be named

Rash demand: Rangers manager Ally McCoist called for the panel to be named

In a statement released this morning, McCoist said: 'I would not for one moment want anyone to interpret my remarks as a signal to engage in any form of threatening behaviour.

'Such activity disgusts me and anyone who engages in it does Rangers Football Club nothing but harm. No Rangers supporter should get themselves involved in it – not now nor at any time.'

On Monday, Rangers were found guilty of five charges in relation to their finances and the appointment of Whyte as chairman.

Speaking after the ruling, McCoist claimed the sanctions could kill the stricken Glasgow giants and demanded to know who had delivered the verdict.

However, in a statement last night the SFA said that the three panel members in question had been subjected to 'abusive and threatening communication' after their identities were 'compromised'.

McCoist said: 'I would like to make quite clear my position in relation to the decision by the SFA's judicial panel which earlier this week imposed sanctions against Rangers which have far reaching consequences for our club and Scottish football.

'I firmly believe that decisions of this magnitude should be fully transparent and everyone should have confidence in the system that has been created to deliver such a finding.

'When I called for full transparency on Tuesday I took the view that the decision by the judicial panel should be subject to proper scrutiny. It is unthinkable in any walk of life that such a significant punishment would be meted out without full transparency.

Targeted: Officers were summoned to Hampden after identities were exposed

Targeted: Officers were summoned to Hampden after identities were exposed

'I fully understand that there are difficult decisions to be taken in football and they will never suit everyone but in this day and age clarity and transparency are surely of paramount importance.'

Rangers administrators Duff and Phelps have already called for a swift appeal hearing and fear the punishment could further hamper hopes of naming a preferred bidder, with American tycoon Bill Miller and the Blue Knights still in the running to take over the club.

McCoist added: 'Our focus has got to be firmly on ensuring that the club's case in appealing the sanctions imposed on us is put forward robustly and in the appropriate manner.

'Rangers Football Club was a victim of what happened during the tenure of Craig Whyte. The club was not an accomplice, a co-conspirator nor a perpetrator of wrongdoing.

'We suffered from it and still are. I hope that our appeal can be dealt with by the SFA as quickly as possible as the situation for the club and the possible ramifications for Scottish football are very serious.'

Rangers fans' groups have raised the prospect of protests outside Hampden and boycotts of SFA sponsors, while calling on players to boycott the national team.

Police were called into Hampden to deal with threats issued against the men responsible for hitting Rangers with a one-year transfer ban.

And the entire judicial panel system has been thrown into turmoil after one of the volunteers 'outed' by internet thugs was pushed to the brink of resignation by the ugly backlash.

Rangers man: McCoist celebrates a goal against rivals Celtic

Rangers man: McCoist celebrates a goal against rivals Celtic

Following a rash public demand by McCoist that the SFA name the individuals who sat in judgment on the insolvent Ibrox club, the identities of all three were published on message boards and via social network sites.

All three panel members, as well as directors of the SFA, have now reported receiving abusive and threatening communications – threats considered serious enough to merit action by Strathclyde Police.

An SFA spokesperson, pointing the finger firmly at whoever leaked the identities of the independent judges, said: 'We are deeply concerned that the safety and security of Judicial Panel members appointed to a recent Tribunal has been compromised by a wholly irresponsible betrayal of confidential information.

'The Judicial Panel consists of volunteers from across the spectrum of sport and business in Scotland. They are appointed on the basis of anonymity, yet all three panel members have reported intrusion into their lives, including abusive and threatening communication.

Suffer: McCoist says Rangers are suffering from, but not responsible for, wrongdoing

Suffer: McCoist says Rangers are suffering from, but not responsible for, wrongdoing

'This has been extended to directors of the Scottish FA. It culminated tonight in a visit by police, who are taking seriously the threats made.'

It is understood that one of the three is considering his position and has revealed he has received advice from Special Branch regarding suspect packages.

The individual also released a statement saying: 'I can't discuss anything about the case for reasons of confidentiality.

'I hope that, when the statement of reasons is published by the SFA, responsible people will understand the reasons for the decision.

'I have no axe to grind with any football club.'

Former Rangers owner Sir David Murray's company has been ordered, meanwhile, to hand over all paperwork relating to the takeover by Craig Whyte.

Administrators Duff & Phelps are suing legal firm Collyer Bristow for 25million over their handling of the buy-out and the Court of Session has been told Murray will provide all e-mails, faxes, file notes concerning the deal.

RANGERS NOT EXEMPT FROM LEAGUE PROCESS

Scottish Football League chief executive David Longmuir has told Rangers they will have to go through the same process as any other club if they wish to join the Third Division.

The administration-hit Scottish Premier League outfit are battling to avoid liquidation and following heavy sanctions imposed on the Ibrox club by the Scottish Football Association this week, manager Ally McCoist admitted he could now be in favour of dropping down to the fourth tier of Scottish football.

'If Rangers or anyone else applied for entry into the SFL they would have to go through the same process as Annan, Spartans FC, Preston Athletic and Cove Rangers did four years ago,' Longmuir told the Daily Record.

'They would have to put a proposal to us on why they should be allowed in and then hope they were voted in by the SFL clubs.

'At the moment it's difficult for me to comment on Rangers' situation.

'But anything that brought excitement and freshness to the SFL would be something I'm interested in.

'It would be the same process, given any set of circumstances.

'When Annan were welcomed in the process took a couple of months during the close season.

'In the past we've had to assess the likes of Annan, Cove and Preston on the basis of ground criteria, facilities and financial stability.

'So checks have to be done, which would obviously be a bit different if Rangers were involved.

'However, at the moment there is no vacancy in the SFL. Rangers are in administration, which is a situation other clubs have found themselves in and survived.

'The same could happen to Rangers. As a Scottish football supporter, I hope they do.'

Rangers are appealing a 160,000 fine and 12-month embargo on signing players aged over 17 after being found guilty of five charges in relation to their finances and the appointment of Craig Whyte as chairman.

Mark Hughes admits QPR could get relegated

The masterplan is out of the window! Hughes admits QPR could go down

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 20 March 2012

Mark Hughes has admitted throwing his Barclays Premier League survival masterplan 'out the window' as he looks to kick-start QPR's revival with victory over Liverpool on Wednesday.

Rangers boss Hughes revealed he had tried to predict the results of all of the bottom five for the rest of the season at the start of the month and joked he had his side surviving 'by a million miles'.

But the controversial defeat at Bolton 10 days ago, which saw QPR denied a goal despite the ball crossing the line, forced Hughes to go back to the drawing board.

Blow: Mark Hughes was dismayed by Clint Hill's goal that never was

Blow: Mark Hughes was dismayed by Clint Hill's goal that never was

'I think that got thrown out the window when the assistant referee didn't give our goal!' he said.

'You do that and try and pre-empt who will win against whom, but it doesn't always run true to form.'

The Bolton defeat saw QPR slide into the bottom three with 10 games to go and Hughes admitted the prospect of relegation had been discussed at Loftus Road.

'We're not skirting around the subject, certainly,' he said.

'We've made it really clear that we need to perform and we understand the consequences if we don't.

'You can use it as a motivating factor, I'm sure.'

Not given: Hill's header had gone over the line before Adam Bogdan clawed it out

Not given: Hill's header had gone over the line before Adam Bogdan clawed it out

After an initial lift following Hughes'
January appointment, Rangers have now lost five and drawn two of their
last seven games in all competitions.

That is despite boasting arguably a stronger squad than all their relegation rivals.

'We understand very clearly that we're in a scrap and we need to start putting points on the board,' Hughes said.

'We understand that very, very clearly.

'There's no complacency in terms of what we have to do to ensure that we stay in the Premier League this year.

'We're fully in tune, fully focused.'

Stumble: The loss to Bolton has left QPR in severe trouble

Stumble: The loss to Bolton has left QPR in severe trouble

Asked if it was time his big-name
players stepped up, he added: 'Everybody has to step up. It's important
that we get big performances from everyone in the team, everyone who's
selected.

'If we have that
then we've got a chance because we can't afford to go into games with
one, two, three, four players not quite at the level they need to be.'

QPR's biggest advantage over Blackburn, Bolton, Wigan and Wolves is arguably their goal threat following the January arrivals of Djibril Cisse and Bobby Zamora.

Hughes said: 'We've got to exploit the qualities that they have.

'On occasions, we haven't done it to the best effect we can.

'The more we play together and the more those two play in the same side and the team gets used to the kind of runs and the kind of balls that they want then the better they'll become.

'In fairness, they've both scored a couple of goals each in very few appearances. So I'm pleased with what they've done so far.

Hi again: Djibril Cisse could kick-start QPR's survival bid against former club Liverpool

Hi again: Djibril Cisse could kick-start QPR's survival bid against former club Liverpool

'But we know that if we're going to score the goals that are going to keep us in the league then we have to release them in good areas.'

Cisse could be particularly motivated tomorrow against his former club, who jettisoned him despite the Frenchman helping them to Champions League and FA Cup glory.

Hughes said: 'Every player when they go up against their former clubs want to make a good impression.

'Maybe we might gain from a little bit of an extra edge to his general play.

'Given that it's Liverpool and one of the top clubs in the Premier League, there'll be an extra spark from Djib.'

West Ham owners want peace Millwall

West Ham owners make peace plea as Millwall come calling at Upton Park

West Ham co-chairmen David Gold and David Sullivan have pleaded with fans not to cause trouble ahead of Saturday’s derby with Millwall.

Disgraceful scenes marred the last meeting between the sides at Upton Park during a Carling Cup clash in August 2009 and Gold and Sullivan warned of punishments should there be any repeat.

‘We would just like to remind any supporter with the intention of doing anything but enjoying the game they will face serious consequences and will be dealt with in accordance with our matchday policies in conjunction with the Metropolitan Police,’ they wrote.

Flashpoint: West Ham and Millwall fans clashed at Upton Park in 2009

Flashpoint: West Ham and Millwall fans clashed at Upton Park in 2009

‘Previous incidents have seen nine season-ticket holders having their season tickets cancelled without refund and also received life bans from the club.

‘Fifty known supporters received life bans and most of those either received a three- or four-year football banning order.

‘This is your club; please show it the respect it deserves on the day, show your world-famous support and make it a day to be remembered for all the right reasons.’

Andrew Strauss admits corruption fears as England fly out to play Pakistan

Strauss admits corruption fears as England fly out to Dubai for Pakistan series

Andrew Strauss admitted that the scourge of corruption could still be hanging over cricket as he led England to Dubai for their highly-sensitive Test series against Pakistan.

‘I don’t think it’s possible to say corruption has been fully eradicated,’ admitted the England captain. Three Pakistan players – Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer – were jailed for their parts in the spot-fixing scandal during the 2010 tour of England.

Fear: Strauss admitted he does not know if corruption still exists in cricket

Fear: Strauss admitted he does not know if corruption still exists in cricket

‘There is more awareness, and there have been consequences for what went on at Lord’s, but it’s hard to get rid of it completely,’ added Strauss.

‘It’s very tough and there’s a huge responsibility on administrators and players to report and act upon any inkling of anything untoward.’

Guilty: Former captain Salman Butt

Guilty: Former captain Salman Butt

Pakistan have called up three players – Wahab Riaz, Umar Akmal and Imran Farhat – who were named during the corruption trial at Southwark.
But Strauss said: ‘It’s Pakistan’s duty to pick the best team. The spot-fixing stuff is something we’re desperately keen to move on from. No good can come from churning it all up again.’