Tag Archives: consistency

Liverpool transfer latest: Brendan Rodgers to wait until summer for big spree

Sturridge and Ince set to sign but Kop boss Rodgers plans to save spree until summer

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UPDATED:

16:23 GMT, 28 December 2012

Daniel Sturridge and Tom Ince remain Anfield-bound in January, but Brendan Rodgers is adamant his main transfer strategy for reviving Liverpool’s fortunes will be played out at the end of the season.

Chelsea striker Sturridge has already had a medical on Merseyside, while Blackpool forward Ince will follow him into Anfield, as Rodgers looks to give his team more attacking impetus.

But the additions Rodgers sees as vital to restoring Liverpool to their former status as regulars in the Champions’ League will be made after he completes an in-depth review of his first season in charge.

Waiting game: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers insists he plans to his big spending in the summer - not in January when the transfer window re-opens

Waiting game: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers insists he plans to his big spending in the summer – not in January when the transfer window re-opens

Rodgers cites instilling greater consistency as his main objective, and, much as Sturridge and Ince are expected to add energy and drive to the second half of Liverpool’s season, he admitted he will be looking for proven top-flight performers when the window reopens in the summer.

‘We have enquired about some players and hope to be able to do something in January,’ said the Liverpool manager.

‘There are a lot of names being mentioned, but we should be able to make some additions and make them pretty early.

Kop that: Chelsea's Daniel Sturridge is set to join Liverpool

Going back: Tom Ince is set to re-join Liverpool in January from Blackpool

At the double: Liverpool are set to sign Daniel Sturridge and Tom Ince (R) in the January transfer window

‘But the main review will take place in the summer, and it is clear we need that bit of experience up at the top end of the field.

'The best and most important period will be between now and the end of the season, when we can look at what needs to be done, in terms of progressing the club further, and then go again.’

Sean O"Driscoll sacked by Nottingham Forest

Forest sack O'Driscoll after thumping win over Leeds

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UPDATED:

19:15 GMT, 26 December 2012

Sacked: Sean O'Driscoll has left Forest

Sacked: Sean O'Driscoll has left Forest

Nottingham Forest have sacked manager Sean O'Driscoll just hours after a 4-2 home win over Leeds left the club one point adrift of the npower Championship play-off places.

Owners Fawaz Al Hasawi and Abdulaziz Al Hasawi say they have made the decision because they want a manager with Premier League experience.

O'Driscoll, who left Crawley in the summer to take over at the City Ground, leaves Forest eighth in the table.

Reds chairman Fawaz Al Hasawi admits the timing of O'Driscoll's departure is unfortunate.

He told the club's official website: 'We cannot speak highly enough of Sean as a man.

'He was appointed at an extremely difficult time for the club and can count himself unlucky to have lost his job with the team just one point away from the top six.

'But we have a responsibility to look to the future for this great club because we have huge ambitions for it.

'We knew when we bought the club in the summer that it would take time for the players we bought in to settle but that process has taken longer than we anticipated.

Two good: Billy Sharp (left) scored twice as Forest beat Leeds 4-2

Two good: Billy Sharp (left) scored twice as Forest beat Leeds 4-2

'We feel we have developed a really strong squad of players but are still searching for consistency in terms of team performance, underlined by the fact that we have not won more than two games in succession in the Championship this season.

'And with the January transfer window approaching, we feel it's the right time to make a change.

'We are looking to bring in an ambitious manager with Premier League experience.'

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers wants his team to aim higher than fourth

We can do better than fourth! Liverpool manager Rodgers wants his team to aim high after their recent form

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UPDATED:

22:33 GMT, 14 December 2012

Brendan Rodgers has told Liverpool’s players aiming for fourth place is not good enough – and urged them to believe they can climb even higher.

Talk of Liverpool challenging for a Champions League spot two months ago would have been swiftly dismissed but an improved run of form in recent weeks has left them four points behind Everton.

Rodgers gathered his squad together before training at the club’s Melwood retreat yesterday morning and reminded them what could be achieved in the coming months if they can maintain a high level of consistency.

Braving the cold: Liverpool's recent form has pleased Rodgers

Braving the cold: Liverpool's recent form has pleased Rodgers

Liverpool entertain Aston Villa today before facing Fulham, Stoke and Queens Park Rangers and Rodgers wants to see his side take advantage of inviting opportunity.

When asked if he felt fourth spot was up for grabs, Rodgers replied: ‘So is third. So is second and maybe even first. I said to the players this morning that everyone talks about fourth place.

‘But what about third We are 11 points off second; we have still to play Manchester City and we should have beaten them at home.

‘If we get a run of games and keep our mentality and focus then it is not fourth we want to aim for. You want to aim as high as you possibly can.’

Moving on up: Liverpool won 3-2 at West Ham last weekend and have only lost one of their last 10 matches

Moving on up: Liverpool won 3-2 at West Ham last weekend and have only lost one of their last 10 matches

Liverpool have not finished in the Champions League positions since 2009, which Rodgers acknowledged adding: ‘Of course, when the club has been out of top four for so long, that is the ultimate ambition to be in there.

‘We just need to focus on our work, tactically prepare the team, keep confidence high and keep as many players available as we can in order to get results. If we continue to do that through to January we will be in a good place in the second half of the season.’

Rodgers, meanwhile, has not given Stewart Downing any public assurances about his future ahead of his reunion with Villa. The England winger is expected to fill in at left-back today in the absence of the injured Jose Enrique but will be allowed to move in January if the right offer comes in.

‘Stewart is very low maintenance,’ said Rodgers. ‘He is a good man, an experienced player and he wants to play. I have got good communication with him and all the players. I constantly speak with them and that is important because they want to know where he stands and where he is at.’

Wilfried Zaha – what can England expect?

You've heard all about Zaha, but what can we expect from the Palace wonderkid

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UPDATED:

08:36 GMT, 14 November 2012

Wilfried Zaha has earned a shock call-up to the England squad for tonight's friendly in Sweden but can the Crystal Palace winger really live up the hype

So is this kid the real deal

It certainly looks that way. He's got everything in the locker to become an England regular for the next 10 years.

He's been scaring Championship full-backs half to death with his direct running this season and has got more tricks than a magician can shake his wand at. Pace, power and technique is a deadly combination.

Three Lions: Wilfried Zaha (centre) trains ahead of England's friendly

Three Lions: Wilfried Zaha (centre) trains ahead of England's friendly

Didn't we hear quite a lot about Zaha last season

You did during the opening weeks of the campaign. His performances under Dougie Freedman had Premier League scouts flocking to Selhurst Park. But his form waned during the closing months of the season, coinciding with Palace's alarming dip.

So does he have problems with consistency

That was certainly a criticism that could have been levelled at him last season, but definitely not this campaign. His performances for Palace this term have, so far, been breathtaking. Question is: can he maintain it until May

Making his name: Zaha has been in scintillating form for Crystal Palace

Making his name: Zaha has been in scintillating form for Crystal Palace

Sounds like a bit of a show pony

Maybe last year, but there is an end product with Zaha now. He will always be able to speed past defenders with his blistering pace, but he has added substance to his talent over the opening four months of the season. Getting on the scoresheet is still be a problem, scoring just four times this season. But his delivery from wide has improved markedly, as his ability to pick out an early pass.

Would playing him centrally help his shortage of goals

Possibly, and maybe one day he will become a centre-forward. But at the moment he is best suited to his current position down the Palace flanks. He has the ability to cut in from either left or right wing to make penetrative runs into the heart of the opposition back-four. And once in the box, he's a defender's worst nightmare. Penalty!

Fans' favourite: Zaha has endeared himself the Selhurst Park crowd

Fans' favourite: Zaha has endeared himself the Selhurst Park crowd

So is he worth 20million

Honestly…no He is 20-years-old, with what amounts to one good season under his belt. But if he continues to develop the way he has this season then he will become a superstar.

Why aren't the big club's lining up to take him then

They are! Arsenal WILL make a starting offer of 9million to Palace once the transfer window reopens in January.

That will not be enough to persuade the Eagles to part with their prized-asset, but a bid of around 15million will give chairman Steve Parish a real decision to make. Liverpool and Manchester United have also made regular checks on Zaha's progress.

Liverpool target Al Habsi pledges his loyalty to Wigan

I love it at Wigan! Liverpool target Al Habsi pledges his loyalty to Latics

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UPDATED:

08:00 GMT, 7 November 2012

Ali Al-Habsi has played down suggestions he is being lined up for a January move to Liverpool by insisting he is happy at Wigan.

The Oman goalkeeper’s reputation has blossomed over the past 18 months and he has become an integral part of Roberto Martinez’s squad, which has led to him gaining admirers.

Liverpool’s current No 1 Pepe Reina, by contrast, has suffered a dip in form recently and that has led to speculation that Brendan Rodgers is considering bidding for Al-Habsi when the window opens.

Impressive: Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi

Impressive: Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi

Al-Habsi, however, has stressed he is
settled at The DW Stadium and Liverpool’s main priority in January will
be to bolster their forward line.

Furthermore, at no point has Rodgers
ever said he is looking to replace Reina, who has missed the last four
games with a hamstring problem.

‘I heard about what was said at the
weekend but that kind of thing is not of any importance to me,’ said
Al-Habsi, who has flourished since moving to Wigan from Bolton,
initially on loan, in 2010.

‘I am very, very happy at Wigan – as
has been the case since I first came here. I am doing well, my form is
coming on with every game I play, and my confidence is very high.

Watching brief: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers

Watching brief: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers

‘All I want to do is concentrate on
my job here and to help the team, because there is lots of work to be
done. The most important thing for any professional is to enjoy what
they are doing and that goes for football as much as anything.’

Wigan have started to find some
consistency after a sticky start to the new campaign and their win at
Tottenham last Saturday was their second in succession.

Al Habsi told The Wigan Observer: ‘If
you enjoy what you're doing then you are able to do your job right, and
that has always been the case at Wigan.’

Kimi Raikkonen to stay at Lotus in 2013

Kimi gimme one more year! Raikkonen will stay at Lotus in 2013

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UPDATED:

12:04 GMT, 29 October 2012

Speculation surrounding Kimi Raikkonen's future has ended after Lotus announced he will stay at the team next year.

Lotus made the announcement in a video posted on youtube that the 2007 title with Ferrari will remain after making his return to F1 from rallying this season.

'We're delighted Kimi is staying with us for 2013,' the British-based team said on their official Twitter feed (@Lotus-F1Team) after posting a link to the film clip.

Staying put: Raikkonen (right) will remain at Lotus through the 2013 season

Staying put: Raikkonen (right) will remain at Lotus through the 2013 season

The Finn has been the most consistent driver on the grid, with 14 successive scoring finishes and every racing lap completed. He has been on the podium six times in 2012.

The 33-year-old is third in the championship, 67 points off the lead, with three races to go despite not having won yet this season.

Team principal Eric Boullier told reporters after Sunday's Indian Grand Prix that neither Raikkonen nor French team mate Romain Grosjean were likely to win any of the season's final three races.

'Realistically I would be kidding people if I said we would win a race this year,' he said.

Consistency: Raikkonen has enjoyed successful year

Consistency: Raikkonen has enjoyed successful year

'Yes I can be frustrated at not getting this missing, or elusive, win but we had a good start to the season with a new package and two new drivers. If you put us in the same position next year then it will be a different story.'

Raikkonen was seventh in India, Grosjean ninth. Boullier said an announcement on the full driver line-up could be expected soon.

Grosjean, despite several first corner crashes of the kind that got him suspended for the Italian Grand Prix in September, is almost certain to be kept on as well.

David Moyes calls for consistency at Everton

Good start, but now we need to be consistent, says Everton boss Moyes

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UPDATED:

22:01 GMT, 5 October 2012

David Moyes has challenged the most exciting Everton squad he has managed to replicate the consistency of the highest achieving group of his Goodison era.

Everton have made a blistering start to the season and four wins from six games have not only propelled them to second in the Barclays Premier League table, it is has triggered talk of a return to European competition.

The last time Everton began a campaign on such a positive note, they qualified for the Champions League in 2004-05. That achievement was made all the more remarkable as 12 months earlier they had finished one place above the relegation zone.

Time to build: David Moyes wants his Everton team to find consistency after their good start

Time to build: David Moyes wants his Everton team to find consistency after their good start

That squad, though, was made of teak-tough professionals and once they got into a groove Everton were very difficult to beat; the current squad may have more flamboyance but Moyes wants to see them match the old guard’s tenacity.

'I think there is a difference in the quality but we had really good players then, senior players and if you said that to them they would rebut that,' said Moyes.

'I think the challenge I am setting to the boys now is can you be as consistent as the team from 2004-05 That is part of the battle. You can win with flair but we won a lot of games 1-0 that year. We were consistent, hard to beat.

On the up: Nikica Jelavic has been chipping in with goals for Everton

On the up: Nikica Jelavic has been chipping in with goals for Everton

Keep it going: Leon Osman and Co need to find consistency

Keep it going: Leon Osman and Co need to find consistency

'So there are different ways of skinning the cat. We are maybe doing it slightly different, but what it comes down to is can you be as consistent We are in good form just now, but how long can we keep it going. It is a test of the players to keep reaching those standards.'

Spirit as much as anything carried Everton in to the top four eight years ago but Moyes does not feel his current crop will be caught short if, at some point, results do not go as they have been so far.

'The spirit actually exists and has grown,' said Moyes. 'I think it is in the DNA of the club, it is in the building and it is around Goodison. I think that spirit is there. At times when our form isn’t as good and we’re not playing very well I think a lot of that keeps Everton going.

'I think people would walk into Everton and there is a smell of an energy, a working club and a good atmosphere. I think that is a good environment to work in.'

Proof that Everton is a club where strong bonds are forge came in the aftermath of last Saturday’s exhilarating triumph over Southampton came when Moyes switched his phone on and discovered a message from Tim Cahill, his talisman from 2004-05.

'Tim texts me and whatnot saying we’re doing great and so on,' said Moyes over a player he allowed to leave in July for the MLS. “He’s in touch with me and he’s in touch with the boys and when I get a chance I’ll probably take the team out to see him in New York.'

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez hits out at Jordi Gomez dismissal after Sunderland defeat

Wigan boss Martinez hits out at Gomez dismissal after Sunderland defeat

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UPDATED:

17:54 GMT, 29 September 2012

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez was left fuming with referee Howard Webb after seeing his 10 men slip to defeat at Sunderland.

Midfielder Jordi Gomez was sent off
two minutes into the second half at the Stadium of Light for a lunging
challenge on Black Cats full-back Danny Rose.

Listen up: Fletcher celebrates scoring the winning goal early in the first half

Listen up: Fletcher celebrates scoring the winning goal early in the first half

Webb, who took charge of the 2010 World Cup final, immediately showed him a red card and Sunderland took full advantage within four minutes when Steven Fletcher scored the game's only goal.

Martinez, who is facing an FA charge over comments he made on Michael Oliver's handling of his side's 4-0 defeat by Manchester United earlier this month, felt the dismissal was harsh, and insisted that if Gomez had to go, so too should have Sebastian Larsson for a challenge on Arouna Kone later in the half which went unpunished.

He said: 'I think it's harsh. It's harsh because Danny Rose loses the ball slightly.

'Jordi tackles as a striker tackles, showing the studs, but he never leaves the ground, it's not a two-footed challenge.

'I can understand why the referee gave it, but I think it's very, very harsh.

'My disappointment is that Larsson has made a worse tackle against Kone and is not even shown a yellow card.

Red alert: Gones was shown a straight red for this challenge on Rose

Red alert: Gones was shown a straight red for this challenge on Rose

Red alert: Gones was shown a straight red for this challenge on Rose

Red alert: Gones was shown a straight red for this challenge on Rose

'That's just as you want as a manager, you want consistency for both teams.

'It's down to the referee's decision if he considers that that challenge
is a red card, but then every challenge in the same manner should be a
red card.

'That's the disappointment. At the moment, we are on the back of a few
bad decisions and you just need to take it in football. It happens.

'You just hope that over the course of the season, you are going to get
good calls coming in our favour even though now, we find it difficult to
understand that's going to happen.'

Opposite number Martin O'Neill admitted that the sending-off had changed
the game, but was not convinced Webb had any other option.

He said: 'My first thought was it looked a bit harsh to begin with.
Having seen it back, I'm not so sure that the referee had much
alternative.

Firing blanks: Wigan couldn't make the breakthrough in the controversial clash at the Stadium of Light

Firing blanks: Wigan couldn't make the breakthrough in the controversial clash at the Stadium of Light

'I was the first one to say on Tuesday night that Lee Cattermole deserved to be sent off.

'Whether Roberto agrees or disagrees with it – it may have been a
sending-off – but I think his main point was that maybe it changed the
dynamic of the game from that viewpoint because we reaped our reward
pretty quickly.

'We scored soon after that and it gave us some impetus, a lot of impetus, in fact.'

Wigan enjoyed the better of the first half with Simon Mignolet having to
make early saves from James McCarthy and Kone, while McCarthy fired
just wide two minutes before the break after Ivan Ramis had hacked a
Larsson free-kick off the line at the other end.

However, the game changed two minutes after the restart when Gomez
departed, and Fletcher cashed in when he turned home James McClean's
driven cross to claim his fifth goal in four Barclays Premier League
game.

The Scot's strike was enough to end a run of 12 league games without a win, and O'Neill was delighted.

Asked if his 12million summer signing was proving a bargain, he replied
with a smile: 'I agree, yes – 35million without a problem, and
add-ons.

'He did very, very well. He was brilliant today for us. Wigan came and
played their part, and I have to thank Mignolet for making two
incredibly good saves for us to keep it at 0-0.

'Fletcher has come up big again for us, so eventually we have won the
game, although it was edgy towards the end. But the win was vitally
important for us and it keeps us going.'

Arsene Wenger says home form will dictate Arsenal season

Home form will dictate whether Arsenal can challenge for title, says Wenger

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UPDATED:

13:28 GMT, 28 September 2012

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes his side's form at Emirates Stadium will dictate whether they can mount a sustained challenge for the Barclays Premier League title.

The Gunners head into Saturday's showdown with leaders Chelsea unbeaten so far this season – kicking off their European campaign with victory in Montpellier before battling to a draw at Manchester City, then sweeping past Southampton 6-1 and thumping Coventry by the same scoreline to reach the last 16 of the Capital One Cup.

After a goalless draw on the opening day with Sunderland, Wenger has challenged his side to make Emirates Stadium a fortress as they look to last the distance this time around.

Training day: Arsenal prepare for Saturday's game against Chelsea

Training day: Arsenal prepare for Saturday's game against Chelsea

'If we do well at home against the strong teams, it will of course have a big impact on our chances in the league,' said Wenger.

'We have played one [big team] where we got some belief, against Manchester City away.

'Saturday it is another one, but it is a different one because we are at home.'

Despite Arsenal earning praise for their performance in last weekend's 1-1 draw at City, which they could well have won but for Gervinho blasting over from a good position in stoppage time, Wenger maintains it is 'still a bit early' to be talking up any side.

On form: Arsenal remain undefeated this season after drawing against Man City last weekend

On form: Arsenal remain undefeated this season after drawing against Man City last weekend

'You will know more about us after 10 games or 15 games,' he said.

'I believe in our potential, but we have to show that we are capable to deal with all kinds of problems that consistency demands.

'We will certainly know a bit more about us on Saturday afternoon – but much more about us after 10 or 15 games.'

After a slow start with successive 0-0 draws, Arsenal have now hit nine league goals, conceding just twice.

Back in training: Jack Wilshere (left) and Emmanuel Frimpong (right) have been out with long-term injuries

Back in training: Jack Wilshere (left) and Emmanuel Frimpong (right) have been out with long-term injuries

Wenger, though, knows the likes of Lukas
Podolski, Gervinho and Olivier Giroud, who finally opened his Arsenal
account with a goal against Coventry in midweek, cannot afford to be
wasteful on Saturday.

'We had a difficult start on that front because we played Sunderland and Stoke and could not score. After that when we started to score, you felt in every game we had the chances to score,' Wenger said on Arsenal Player.

'For us it is more about converting the chances we have into goals. Our conversion rate from goal chance into goals is very important.

'In big games the number of chances is reduced, so it is important to put them into the net.'

All smiles: Wenger is looking forward to welcoming Chelsea to the Emirates

All smiles: Wenger is looking forward to welcoming Chelsea to the Emirates

Chelsea head to Emirates Stadium top of
the table from Manchester United by a point with four wins and a draw,
as well as on the back of a convincing midweek cup win.

New full-time Blues boss Roberto di Matteo is looking to reshape his squad, having brought in Belgian starlet Eden Hazard in a 32million deal over the summer.

Hazard, 21, is a player Wenger knows well, and previously had tried to sign for Arsenal.

'I am not surprised at all that he goes to Chelsea and straight away is one of their stars because everybody knew about him,' Wenger told a press conference.

Bac in action: Bacary Sagna (centre) strikes a ball at London Colney as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (left) and Andrey Arshavin (right) watch on

Bac in action: Bacary Sagna (centre) strikes a ball at London Colney as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (left) and Andrey Arshavin (right) watch on

'Let's not forget that all the big budgets in England were after him.'

Wenger feels Chelsea remain a potent threat, even if Arsenal's long-term tormentor Didier Drogba is no longer leading the attack.

'Chelsea have rejuvenated because they bought some very young players with maybe a more technical style, (they have) gone a little bit more creative,' he said.

'Until now it has worked well for them so it is a good challenge for us to beat them.'

Fernando Torres raring to go for Chelsea

Rejuvenated Torres raring to go after putting Chelsea troubles behind him

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UPDATED:

09:20 GMT, 10 September 2012

Fernando Torres believes his experiences with club and country last season helped him become a more complete player.

The Chelsea striker struggled to live up to his whopping 50million price tag as he fluffed his lines in front of goal.

But Torres helped his club win the Champions League before landing the golden boot as Spain won Euro 2012.

Reborn: Fernando Torres has been in fine form for both club and country

Reborn: Fernando Torres has been in fine form for both club and country

Reborn: Fernando Torres has been in fine form for both club and country

'I learned so much about myself last season and feel better for that experience now,” he said. 'I’m playing much more for my club and you can see that I’m starting to score more goals and play better.

'I am a different type of striker than in the past. I created a lot of chances for my team-mates last season and it means my game is more complete at this point in my career. To play in a new Chelsea team and still have something to aim for with Spain is exciting for me.

'The night of my 100th game for my country is something I will always remember. Many Spain players have reached 100 appearances and this says so much about the consistency of the team in the last few years. More will follow to get to 100 – Sergio Ramos and Cesc Fabregas for sure – but it was a special moment for me.

'Even after so many years, it is still a privilege to play in this great Spain team.'