Tag Archives: creativity

Schalk Brits ready to face Ruan Pienaar and Johann Muller

Pride at stake for Brits as Sarries hooker goes head-to-head with fellow Boks

-13.

Main man: Ulster rely heavily on Pienaar's creativity

Main man: Ulster rely heavily on Pienaar's creativity

Brits said: ‘I’ve been blessed with no injuries, and for the first time in two years I don’t feel over-played.

‘The club look after us unbelievably well and in return all we can do is to work very, very hard on the pitch.

‘That’s not been flashy. If it means making 20 tackles or hitting 20 rucks to ensure we win then that’s what we will do.’

John Obi Mikel set to be dropped by Rafael Benitez at Chelsea

Mikel fears Benitez axe as Chelsea boss aims to win fans over by beating Fulham

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UPDATED:

15:47 GMT, 27 November 2012

John Obi Mikel could be the first victim of Rafa Benitez's Chelsea reign.

The midfielder may be axed from the side for Wednesday's match against Fulham at Stamford Bridge.

As Benitez aims to produce more opportunities for under pressure 50million striker Fernando Torres, Mikel could pay the price for his lack of creativity.

Decisions: Rafael Benitez might put Oriol Romeu in ahead of John Obi Mikel (below)

Decisions: Rafael Benitez might put Oriol Romeu in ahead of John Obi Mikel (below)

At risk: John Obi Mikel could be chopped by Benitez for Fulham clash

The Spaniard wants to reshape his side and believes that Mikel is too defensive in his position in front of the back four.

Mikel was missing from the key
preparations for Chelsea's derby with Fulham and could now be replaced
by Oriel Romeu, who came on for him on Sunday.

Benitez said on Tuesday: 'I understand the feelings of the fans because of my time at Liverpool, where we had rivalry and it was quite difficult.

'But at the same time I will try to prove I'm here for the right reasons. We want to win, and we can do that together.

'I'll try and improve players and it'll be easier to win games and bring the fans back.

When told that a large number of fans were dead set against his appointment he replied: 'I know how they feel.

'I understand how they feel. It's not a situation we can change in one minute. But working hard, winning games, I can improve it. Starting with Fulham.

'I don't know if the fans will be kinder. But I can say that since coming here I've worked really hard, coming in at 8.30am and leaving at 8.30 at night, doing my job, talking to players and staff and trying to be ready for the game.

'I know how they feel, but the only thing I can do is try and win their trust working hard and doing my best.

Eyes open: Benitez has been working long days at Cobham

Eyes open: Benitez has been working long days at Cobham

He added: 'I can't worry if I'm upset or not. If it was a player, I'd be telling him to concentrate on his job. The best way to change things is to win games.'

Benitez also admitted he did not know whether Torres could recapture his Liverpool form at Chelsea.

He acknowledged the 28-year-old was not the same player he had been before joining Chelsea and needed to improve physically to stand a chance of recapturing his glory days.

Three Blues managers have failed to get Torres scoring regularly, each repeatedly insisting there was nothing wrong with the forward.

The man who knows his fellow Spaniard better than any of them said today: 'He's not exactly the same player now, because he was at maximum level at this time [at Liverpool].

'But I think he can come back. How close I don't know. It depends on the rest of the team. I'm sure he can improve, but the team has to help him.'

Hope: Benitez is trying to revive Fernando Torres' (second left) goalscoring form

Hope: Benitez is trying to revive Fernando Torres' (second left) goalscoring form

Torres also has to help himself, as does Benitez, following a run of just 19 goals in 88 games for the European champions.

'The first thing is to give him some confidence, instructions as to how he can do things in a different way, improve him a little bit physically,' said Benitez, who wants Torres's team-mates to create more chances for the striker and win the ball back more quickly in defence.

'You need to be stronger in defence, regain the ball easier and then you can create your own chances. That will benefit Torres.

'Players with mobility, quality… we can improve all these things.'

Benitez denied he was under pressure to pick Torres amid reports previous Chelsea managers had been given the impression by owner Roman Abramovich that the club's record signing must play.

'It's easy at the moment because [Daniel] Sturridge is still injured,' he said.

Watching on: Bolo Zenden and Chelsea interim manager Benitez

Watching on: Bolo Zenden and Chelsea interim manager Benitez

Indeed, Sturridge is Chelsea's only other recognised centre-forward and it seems unthinkable they will not attempt bolster their attack in the January transfer window.

But Benitez said: 'I can guarantee I've been so busy, I haven't had time to watch any DVDs, or have conversations about this or that player.

'I have to improve the players who are here.'

Chelsea's game against Fulham is a rather one-sided derby in that the Blues are far less excited about it than the Cottagers.

But Benitez insists his team will take to the game with the right attitude.

'I have some information. I know a derby's a derby. Maybe it's not the biggest rivalry for us, but we have a lot of respect for Fulham,' he said.

'We know it's a derby but not the biggest rival for us.'

Brendan Rodgers rues Jose Enrique being ruled offside

It was a goal! Rodgers rues Enrique being 'wrongly' ruled offside in Swansea return

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UPDATED:

17:56 GMT, 25 November 2012

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers felt his side had a perfectly good goal ruled out as his 'emotional' return to Swansea ended in a goalless draw.

The Northern Irishman was given a good reception by the Liberty Stadium faithful, but he could not leave with the three points as the Reds failed to make the most of the superiority they enjoyed for much of the opening hour.

The closest they came to a goal was Jose Enrique's close-range first-half effort from Luis Suarez's delicate pass, but it was chalked off for offside by the assistant referee.

Not given: Jose Enrique put the ball in the Chelsea net, but was flagged for offside

Not given: Jose Enrique put the ball in the Chelsea net, but was flagged for offside

Rodgers said: 'We were unfortunate with the offside goal we had ruled out; that was a goal, I have seen it on the replay.

'But we are now eight games unbeaten and we are chipping away and our method was good today.'

Enrique and Glen Johnson also wasted presentable chances for the Reds, while Raheem Sterling hit the bar and conspired to bungle a two against one situation with Luis Suarez as the pair bore down on Swansea left-back Ben Davies after a rapid break.

Rodgers admits his side need to be more clinical as they look to continue the progress being made at Anfield.

He said: 'The difference is that little bit of quality in the final third and that's something we will look to improve on as time goes on.

'But I was pleased with our build up, creativity and method and we were just a bit unfortunate with the offside goal and the chance we had with the two v one.

'It was a great opportunity to be two against one on a young defender. It was one where as a coach you look at it and think if Luis had gone three or four more yards he would have committed him and Raheem would have been in on goal.

Remember me Brendan Rodgers returned to the Liberty Stadium

Remember me Brendan Rodgers returned to the Liberty Stadium

Off or on The linesman did not give Enrique (back right) the benefit of doubt when he latched onto a Luis Suarez cross

Off or on The linesman did not give Enrique (back right) the benefit of doubt when he latched onto a Luis Suarez cross

'It looked like he played the pass too early and Raheem then gave him a ball that knocked him wide on the return.

'We would have hoped to be more clinical on that but that is experience, he is only 17.'

Rodgers praised the home support for the greeting he received.

He said: 'It was very respectful and I thank them for that, I will always remember my time here with good memories.

'It was an emotional return, I have seen so many people I shared great moments of my life with. It is a fantastic place to come back to and I was really looking forward to coming back to it.'

A point also continued Swansea's good run as they recorded a first clean sheet since August.

Michael Laudrup's side have now lost just one of their last eight games and remain above Liverpool in the Barclays Premier League table.

The hosts had their own chances to find a winner during an improved second-half showing and Ashley Williams, the focus of attention following his comments on Suarez, saw his header cleared off the line by former team-mate Joe Allen.

Frustrating: Luis Suarez could not add to his tally

Frustrating: Luis Suarez could not add to his tally

Man of the match Pablo Hernandez twice went close from distance and also forced Jose Reina into a superb fingertip save from his low free-kick in the dying seconds.

Laudrup was pleased with a point and praised the way Williams and Chico Flores had handled the threat of Suarez.

He said: 'I think it was a good point, I think we deserved that point.

'In the first half they had more chances than us but we had chances too and I am pleased with the performance.

'You know when you play against Suarez and (Steven) Gerrard they can always invent something, but I think we handled it well.

'There has been a lot of talk about Suarez and Ashley and today we saw two guys trying to do their best.

'Suarez did some good things, but maybe less than he is used to as he played against two guys who did very well. There was one foul and yellow card for Chico but it was a fantastic game defensively.'

Dimitar Berbatov disappointed by sale of Mousa Dembele

Where's Mousa going Berbatov disappointed by Dembele sale to Tottenham

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UPDATED:

20:14 GMT, 2 September 2012

Fulham manager Martin Jol has revealed Dimitar Berbatov was looking forward to playing with Mousa Dembele, only to be told the Belgium star was leaving for Tottenham.

Berbatov made his debut as a substitute in Fulham’s 3-0 defeat by West Ham on Saturday and would have benefited from having someone of Dembele’s quality alongside him.

What do you mean he's gone Dimitar Berbatov (right) was disappointed Mousa Dembele left Fulham

What do you mean he's gone Dimitar Berbatov (right) was disappointed Mousa Dembele left Fulham

Now that Dembele and Clint Dempsey have gone, the Bulgarian will be the focal point of Jol’s side. Jol said: ‘You build teams around good players – and Berbatov is excellent quality.

‘He showed exactly that when I was at Spurs. It’s about finding the right balance. If players come back it will be OK and maybe we have to change the system. With Dembele it was different.

‘He [Berbatov] really looked forward to playing with Dembele. The first thing he said to me was, “Where’s Dembele going” and I had to say he’s going to Spurs. He was disappointed.

‘He was told that before his medical, but luckily we managed to keep him in the building.

What a start: Dembele scored a goal in his debut against Norwich

What a start: Dembele scored a goal in his debut against Norwich

What a start: Dembele scored a goal in his debut against Norwich

‘We’ve made money but the problem is that we’ve not had enough time to spend it.’

Berbatov looked a bit rusty when he came on and lost possession easily on occasion but there were a few sublime touches and he set up chances for Damien Duff and Hugo Rodallega late in the game.

With the midfield lacking the creativity and drive of Dembele and the attack shorn of Dempsey’s poaching ability, Berbatov’s guile will be crucial to Fulham. He should relish his leading role.

Miralem Pjanic wanted by Tottenham

Tottenham target 12m Roma playmaker Pjanic as Modric replacement

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UPDATED:

07:09 GMT, 21 August 2012

No 1 target: Pjanic

No 1 target: Pjanic

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas is lining up a 12million deal to bring Bosnian international midfielder Miralem Pjanic to White Hart Lane from Roma.

With Luka Modric set to leave Spurs for Real Madrid, Villas-Boas is keen to bring in the 22-year-old playmaker to the club to add creativity to his midfield.

Roma captain Daniele De Rossi is set to announce that he will resist overtures from Manchester City to stay at the club and that news – according to the Evening Standard – means that Roma are prepared to let Pjanic go.

The Italian side paid Lyon 8.6m for Pjanic only last summer, but new coach Zdenek Zeman needs to sell before he can buy – and Spurs' interest has tempted the club to cash in.

Villas-Boas had made Portugal midfielder Joao Moutinho – who he coached at Porto – his No 1 target but the club are not prepared to meet the player's 25m asking price.

Pjanic's ability to play in a deep or advanced role fits in with Villas-Boas' plans to get Spurs playing with more fluidity in midfield and he is looking to wrap up a deal before the transfer window closes this week.

Euro 2012: Ruud Gullit"s Euro 2012 verdict

Ruud Gullit: Blame for crushed Orange lies at Van Marwijk's door

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UPDATED:

23:43 GMT, 17 June 2012

Dutch destroyed: Ruud Gullit knows why

Sportsmail columnist Ruud Gullit (right) was bitterly disappointed to see his countrymen bow out at the group stage following Sunday night's game against Portugal.

Their star-studded squad had left themselves too much to do after defeats by Denmark and Germany – so what and who is to blame

Here are the Euro 88 winner's latest thoughts on the tournament….

Solemn symphony: Bert van Marwijk oversaw three Dutch defeats

Solemn symphony: Bert van Marwijk oversaw three Dutch defeats

Seeing Holland go out in the group stage is a surprise, but the team have stood still for the past two years and this is the result of that.

In 2010, when they reached the World Cup final, Holland played in a certain system and it worked. But they haven't evolved – they have stayed exactly the same – and Germany, Portugal and others have improved.

Then and in the first two games here, Bert van Marwijk started with two holding midfielders – Mark van Bommel and Nigel de Jong – and they aren't at all creative.

Holding players: Mark van Bommel (left) and Nigel de Jong (right) lack creativity

Holding players: Mark van Bommel (left) and Nigel de Jong (right) lack creativity

Holding players: Mark van Bommel (left) and Nigel de Jong (right) lack creativity

They are both Roy Keanes. With them in the team, there aren't enough players who can provide chances for the front four. It's OK to have one holding midfielder – it's a good thing – but not two.

Everyone has been screaming at Van Marwijk, telling him to put a more creative player in there but he wouldn't do it.

Even after the defeat to Denmark, he didn't want to change. He was still loyal to the system.

He finally brought on Rafael van der Vaart at half time against Germany, but it was too late by then.

He refused to change things before it was too late.

It is the opposite of the Germans, who have a good balanced team.

Workhorse: Sami Khedira (right) does so much running for Germany

Workhorse: Sami Khedira (right) does so much running for Germany

Sami Khedira does so much running, getting forward and tracking back but they have Bastian Schweinsteiger next to him who is a playmaker.

Mesut Ozil is so creative, too, and Mario Gomez is an unbelievably good striker.

All their players offer something and work hard. It is good to see and it's good football.

In defence for Holland, left-back Jetro Willems had a tough time against Germany, but he is very good. At 18, he is the youngest-ever player to play at the Euros and he will do very well.

But why did Van Marwijk not put Urby Emanuelson in the squad when he has been playing left-back for Ajax and then AC Milan all season

It's another strange decision.

There has been a lot of criticism about Robin van Persie, who has struggled to be as clinical in front of goal as he was for Arsenal last season.

Finding it tough: Robin van Persie (right) feels the force of Miguel Veloso's challenge

Finding it tough: Robin van Persie (right) feels the force of Miguel Veloso's challenge

I feel for him and know what he's going through because I had the same problem in 1988.

I had a great season with AC Milan, but it wasn't easy at the European Championship.

I didn't score until the final and people criticised my form.

There was a lot of expectation, but I was too tired.

When you have such a good and hard season, most of the time you don't play that well in the summer tournament.

It's been the same with Wayne Rooney, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the past. There has been too much energy spent during the season proper.

England have done well. It's what we expected: a rigid set-up and not the best football to watch, but they have results and now Wayne Rooney is coming back.

They are in the hunt.

Big difference: Wayne Rooney (left) and Danny Welbeck (right) will pair up against Ukraine

Big difference: Wayne Rooney (left) and Danny Welbeck (right) will pair up against Ukraine

Roy Hodgson hasn't had time to work miracles so all he can do is make sure his team are solid and don't give away goals.

I can understand that, but they'll have to cut out the sloppiness they showed against Sweden.

Rooney will make a big difference.

I'd play Danny Welbeck alongside him.

Andy Carroll is someone who should be used as a pinch hitter, someone you bring off the bench later on when things go wrong.

Rooney and Welbeck play together at Manchester United and I'd expect Hodgson to pair them up front against Ukraine.

Carroll can be effective off the bench, and we saw Theo Walcott have a similar effect against Sweden, when their defenders were tiring.

It's about changing things up.

Spain are still my favourites to win the tournament.

Back in form: Spain's Fernando Torres is among the goals and Spain are Gullit's favourites

Back in form: Spain's Fernando Torres is among the goals and Spain are Gullit's favourites

Vicente Del Bosque changed his system after starting with six midfielders in the first match and they looked back to their best against Ireland.

It was good to see Fernando Torres score and playing well again.

When you're struggling in front of goal, sometimes you just need a game against weaker opposition so you can get a goal and start to feel confident again.

So I'm really happy that he scored.

Italy have surprised me in a good way.

Playing well: Andrea Pirlo's form means Italy could go a long way in the tournament

Playing well: Andrea Pirlo's form means Italy could go a long way in the tournament

Despite the difficulties they have had with the match-fixing allegations in their country, they have played really well.

Andrea Pirlo is playing very, very well and they could go far in this tournament.

Euro 2012: Ludovic Obraniak apologises for outburst

Obraniak apologises for petulant outburst after being subbed in Poland's draw with Russia

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UPDATED:

11:08 GMT, 14 June 2012

Ludovic Obraniak has apologised to Poland coach Franciszek Smuda for a petulant outburst when he was substituted in stoppage time of the 1-1 draw with Russia.

The 28-year-old, one of four first-choice players born or brought up abroad, swore and kicked a water bottle when he was taken off in the 93rd minute just as he was preparing to take a free kick.

The French-born midfielder said: 'My emotions were all out of control because of the match, that was what caused my reaction. It was a very bad reaction and I apologise for it.'

Flashpoint: Obraniak shares word with Poland coach Smuda

Flashpoint: Obraniak shares word with Poland coach Smuda

Euro 2012 email button

Coach Franciszek Smuda told reporters that the matter was already done with.

Polish media have speculated that Obraniak will be dropped against the Czech Republic on Saturday in favour of Adrian Mierzejewski, who came on against Russia, in a bid for more creativity up front.

The hosts have struggled to create more than a handful of half chances in two draws so far at the tournament and must win for the first time ever at a European Championship finals against the Czechs to reach the quarter-finals.

Pole position: Mierzejewski could take Obraniak's place against the Czechs

Pole position: Mierzejewski could take Obraniak's place against the Czechs

Fulham look to strengthen as they ramp up interest in St Etienne full-back Banel Nicolita

Fulham look to strengthen as they step up interest in St Etienne full-back Nicolita

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 7 June 2012

Fulham are showing interest in St Etienne's versatile full back Banel Nicolita.

The 27-year-old Romania defender can play on either flank and is equally adept in midfield.

Target: Romanian Banel Nicolita has attracted attention from Martin Jol

Target: Romanian Banel Nicolita has attracted attention from Martin Jol

He joined St Etienne only last summer but has impressed with his pace and creativity.

Fulham are also looking to bring in two strikers and another winger.

Huddersfield's Jordan Rhodes remains a target but his club want 7million.

Wanted man: Fulham's Clint Dempsey (right) has been linked with Everton

Wanted man: Fulham's Clint Dempsey (right) has been linked with Everton

Another player liked by Martin Jol, Wigan forward Victor Moses, says Liverpool and Chelsea have expressed interest in him but chairman Dave Whelan does not intend to sell.

Everton remain interested in Fulham's Clint Dempsey, with Tim Cahill looking increasingly likely to move to Saudi Arabia with Al Nassr.

Andy Carroll"s performance a boost for England

Carroll’s display a big bonus for Roy

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UPDATED:

23:25 GMT, 5 May 2012

When a team finishes as strongly as Liverpool did at Wembley, there is a tendency to sit in the dressing-room afterwards and think you’ve been a bit unlucky.

But the truth is the right team won the FA Cup on the balance of the whole game – it took Liverpool too long to get going and Chelsea were superior for the first hour, in control and dangerous going forward.

In contrast, Liverpool lacked creativity. In big matches you don’t want to leave anything in your performance but sometimes it happens, and it is hard to explain why.

Game changer: Andy Carroll's introduction gave Liverpool a boost

Game changer: Andy Carroll's introduction gave Liverpool a boost

The easy thing would be to say they should have started with Andy Carroll because he changed the game when he came on. But that’s too simplistic.

Not many teams would go up against Chelsea outnumbered in midfield. The reason Liverpool lost is because they didn’t play well enough for an hour, not because Carroll was on the bench.

Let’s give praise to Chelsea and three of their big players – Ramires, Didier Drogba and Petr Cech. If you look at all their big performances this season; against Napoli, Valencia and Barcelona, they have been integral.

Goal Carroll thought he had scored a second but the ball did not cross the line

Goal Carroll thought he had scored a second but the ball did not cross the line

On Saturday, it was the same – Ramires and Drogba scored the goals and Cech pulled off that wonderful save to deny Carroll, who thought he had scored.

The happiest manager apart from Roberto di Matteo might be the new England boss Roy Hodgson. John Terry made history by lifting the FA Cup as captain for the fourth time and Ashley Cole was outstanding as he collected his seventh winners’ medal.

He is outstanding season after season.

Premature: Carroll celebrates before realising the goal did not stand

Premature: Carroll celebrates before realising the goal did not stand

But the big bonus was Carroll. He changed the game when he came on and showed particularly good feet for his goal. If Hodgson was watching, he’ll know that Carroll can have a big influence on a big match and offers something different.

That is what you are looking at in a squad of 23. It will probably be between Carroll and Peter Crouch but certainly the Liverpool man didn’t do himself any harm with his showing.

Arsenal target Matias Suarez

Get ready for Suarez Mk II! Arsenal line up move for 10m Anderlecht hitman

Arsenal are lining up a January swoop to land Argentina forward Matias Suarez.

The Anderlecht star has caught the eye of Arsene Wenger's team of scouts and they are ready to make a bid.

We're Gunner get you: Arsenal are keen on Matias Suarez, who has scored 14 goals in 24 games for Belgium outfit Anderlecht

We're Gunner get you: Arsenal are keen on Matias Suarez, who has scored 14 goals in 24 games for Belgium outfit Anderlecht

Suarez is rated at just under
10million by the Belgian side but it is unlikely that the Gunners would
be prepared to pay that much.

Wenger has tempted legendary striker
Thierry Henry back on loan to the Emirates but he is still on the
look-out for fresh creativity.

Arsenal are losing Gervinho and
Marouane Chamakh to the Africa Cup of Nations and desperately need new
bodies as they bid to stay in the hunt for a place in the top four of
the Barclays Premier League.

Running the show: Suarez has been Anderlecht's stand-out performer so far this season

Running the show: Suarez has been Anderlecht's stand-out performer so far this season

Suarez, who arrived at Anderlecht from Argentina's Belgrano in 2008, has scored 14 goals in 24 games this season.

On moving away, he recently said: 'I
do dream of a big transfer, but at the moment it is quiet. I want to be
champions with Anderlecht.'