Tag Archives: cutting

Chris Wood will sign for Leicester for 1.5m

Foxes snare 1.5m West Brom hitman Wood to aid promotion push

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UPDATED:

17:10 GMT, 27 December 2012

Leicester have won the battle to sign Chris Wood after
agreeing a 1.5million deal with West Brom for the free-scoring New Zealand
striker.

Wood has been in prolific form during a loan spell with
Millwall, who were anxious to turn his temporary stay into a permanent transfer and were competing with Leicester, Huddersfield and several other
clubs for his signature.

But the 21-year old has opted for Championship promotion
chasers Leicester and will be confirmed as a Foxes’ player shortly.

Goal machine: Chris Wood has been in fine fettle for Milwall

Goal machine: Chris Wood has been in fine fettle for Milwall

Leicester manager Nigel Pearson bemoaned his side’s lack of
a cutting edge after seeing them follow a 1-0 home defeat by Cardiff with a
goalless draw at Hull on Boxing Day.

He was adamant that the addition of more firepower could
prove vital to their promotion prospects and admitted he was hopeful of a
transfer breakthrough in the next few days.

Though he played down speculation
that he was closing in on Wood, the burly West Brom target man was always his
main priority and is now heading to the East Midlands to bolster Leicester’s
promotion push.

Santi Cazorla dive: We should use technology, says Gordon Taylor

Time for technology, says Players' Union chief Taylor after Cazorla dive

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UPDATED:

15:06 GMT, 10 December 2012

Players' union boss Gordon Taylor has called for technology to be used in the fight against diving in the wake of the Santi Cazorla controversy.

Simulation has once again become a talking point after Arsenal playmaker Cazorla won a first-half penalty in Saturday's 2-0 victory over West Brom after going to ground following a challenge by Steven Reid.

Replays showed there had been no contact between the players and Baggies boss Steve Clarke condemned referee Mike Jones for missing what he viewed as a blatant dive.

Going down: Cazorla dived to gain Arsenal a penalty

Going down: Cazorla dived to gain Arsenal a penalty against West Brom

Gunners team-mate Mikel Arteta defended Cazorla, and while Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Taylor did not wish to comment on this specific case he believed the use of technology would help referees make the right calls.

'This has been a non-stop subject for a long time now – how we best deal with it given the pace of the game and the difficulties for referees and the assistant referees to judge,' Taylor told Sky Sports News.

'I think it's going to be inevitable that if technology comes in for goalline decisions and penalty decisions, then it will help in these situations.

Accusation: West Brom players make their feelings clear

Accusation: West Brom players make their feelings clear to ref Mike Jones

'Other sports move on and use technology and do all they can to be as successful as football, so we've got to keep at that cutting edge.

'I'm not saying change for change's sake but change if it makes the game better and there's more justice done.

'Also for a long time we've been talking about a panel of former players, referees, former managers, to look at such incidents with a view to recommending to the FA whether action should be taken if there is a player who blatantly looked to claim a free-kick or a penalty when there's no possibility of an offence being committed.'

In an interview given to the Daily Telegraph two months ago, Cazorla revealed that he views diving as 'not something that should be a big controversy'.

The Spaniard is set to be omitted from Arsenal's squad for Tuesday's Capital One Cup quarter-final at Bradford with manager Arsene Wenger expected to rely on his fringe players, but his actions have highlighted a problem that Taylor agrees must be addressed.

'I don't want to personalise it because he wouldn't be the first player accused of diving and he won't be the last, but it's an issue that we all need to address,' Taylor said.

'Management, coaching staff, players and supporters have all got to buy into this and condemn it.

'We must make sure the game is played according to the spirit of the game and the letter of the law.

'We've got to give the referee and his assistants every possible opportunity to get their decisions right because virtually every Sunday and Monday morning now we have decisions complained about.

'We must also look at matches reflectively and take later action, rather than just say “leave it how it was from the referee and we all move on”.'

Meanwhile, Baggies boss Clarke is taking steps to prevent his players demonstrating the same unsportsmanlike conduct as Cazorla.

Albion defender Liam Ridgewell was accusing of going to ground easily to earn a penalty in the 4-2 win against Sunderland a few weeks ago, as he fell down under minimal contact from Adam Johnson.

And The Baggies boss revealed that he has spoken to Ridgewell about the incident, saying: 'I’ve spoken to Liam on a number of occasions this season, yes.

'We spoke about a number of different incidents. He (Cazorla) is not one of my players and I don’t speak about players from other clubs.

'But if one of my players goes down with something similar to that, then we’ll talk about it.'

Rafa Benitez: Will appliance of science help him rise again?

Inside the mind and machines of Rafa Benitez: will the appliance of science help him rise again

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UPDATED:

23:36 GMT, 3 December 2012

Rafa Benitez has had an underwhelming start as Chelsea’s interim manager. But he has an unshakeable faith in his ability to succeed at the highest level.

In an interview given to France Football before his Stamford Bridge appointment, Benitez provided a fascinating insight into his methods, explaining:

Why he believes he can get the best out of players like Fernando Torres.How he blends cutting-edge technology and science with old-fashioned man- management.And why he laughs off mind games with Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho.

Come at me: Chelsea's interim boss Rafa Benitez has tried to pioneer new management methods

Come at me: Chelsea's interim boss Rafa Benitez has tried to pioneer new management methods

You have won the Spanish title and UEFA Cup with Valencia and the Champions League at Liverpool. What is your definition of a successful manager

A successful manager not only wins trophies but also gives stability to his club and helps them progress. If you do not have a plan, you can win but only in the short term.

You also need to consider financial fair play and how clubs operate economically. What is a successful season It depends on the plan. You can finish mid-table and be a success. Success for me is the realisation of that plan.

To succeed, though, managers need to have a good working relationship with players. What approach do you favour

My way of coaching, especially with players who can analyse a game, is not to give orders but to teach them. If we do not agree, we can discuss.

When players enter the dressing room at half-time, they must know you have a plan. You never win trophies if your players do not trust you.

You must spend time explaining difficult things. It can be an hour or five minutes, it depends on the player, but it is so he can improve, and trust is essential. Look at Torres. When he has confidence he is a top-class player, when he does not…

Steven Gerrard, when I arrived in Liverpool, played in the hole. He scored 10 goals a season. We made him play support striker, on the right, he scored 20.

Strong bonds: Benitez is a big believer in managing the man as well as the team and tactics

Strong bonds: Benitez is a big believer in managing the man as well as the team and tactics

You have a reputation for using technology. How important is that

We do not win with technology. It is a question of balance between data and team spirit. We have tons of information.

People tell me: ‘You won the Champions League because you got lucky.’

Well, I have a database for penalties since 1990, with all players and matches. We won the Under 19 Spanish Cup with Real Madrid against Barcelona on penalties. Why Perhaps because we worked on penalties

Technology can help. I saw a Japanese player during training. The coach was trying to explain an exercise through an interpreter. I use software to illustrate it with images. You don’t need an interpreter.

Every little helps: Benitez has been using technology since his early days in youth team management

Every little helps: Benitez has been using technology since his early days in youth team management

When did you start using technology

When I was the coach of Real Madrid Under 18s, I used to have a computer, and I was the only manager to do so. I had my own database, I created my own software on a Commodore 64.

I did my physical and technical test on players at the beginning of a season, and, by the end, they had increased by 30 per cent. We were at the top of the table, we had scored 114 goals and conceded only 14.

The director of the academy called me in and asked: ‘Why do you use the computer’ I replied: ‘We have scored 114 goals and conceded 14 and you’re wondering why I use a computer’

But, if you do not have people to analyse information, you’re wasting your time. We do not train with numbers or statistics but players. I have spent all my life in football, and I know that it is a strange sport. You can be incredibly precise in your shots and lose 1-0.

So, how do you use technology and science during training

We have settings for each player. It means we can explain that he has played too much, it would be better he remained on the bench. Sometimes they do not understand but they accept it a little better.

Training begins with consultation with medical staff. After that there is 60 to 90 minutes of exercises with the ball prepared according to the strategy of the upcoming match, the nature of the opponent.

Seventy per cent of the exercises are planned, the rest will depend on what you observe.

What are the biggest changes in your job since you started

For 10, 20 years, many people had no idea of financial fair play, the use of GPS systems in training, Opta, ProZone, marketing or training camps in Asia and the United States. The financial crisis will also play a role.

Are mind games important

The psychological battle is not that important. When you have many foreign players, they do not read the British press. These mind games do not mean anything to them!

England 38 New Zealand 21 match report: Owen Farrell, Brad Barritt, Chris Ashton and Manu Tuilagi secure victory

England 38 New Zealand 21: Sensational display of character sees Lancaster's men turn their autumn around

PUBLISHED:

16:19 GMT, 1 December 2012

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UPDATED:

18:46 GMT, 1 December 2012

England's young men came of age at Twickenham with a sensational record-breaking victory over world champions New Zealand.

Owen Farrell kicked England into a 15-0 lead before the All Blacks hit back with two tries in three second-half minutes from Julian Savea and Kieran Read.

Twickenham sensed the worst. The All Blacks had found their cutting edge and a third consecutive defeat to southern hemisphere opposition seemed in the offing.

But England responded with a stunning three-try blitz from Brad Barritt, Chris Ashton and Manu Tuilagi and the records tumbled.

Showmanship: Manu Tuilagi made two tries and scored one

Showmanship: Manu Tuilagi made two tries and scored one

Flying high: Chris Ashton goes over in typically exuberant fashion

Flying high: Chris Ashton goes over in typically exuberant fashion

Over: Ashton
England's records

England's previous biggest win over New Zealand was 13-0 at Twickenham in January, 1936.

England's previous highest score against New Zealand was the 31 points they scored in a 31-28 victory at Twickenham in November, 2002.

Only once in 498 Tests had New Zealand been beaten by a bigger margin – 28-7 against Australia in August, 1999.

England's last victory over New Zealand was 15-13 in Wellington in June, 2003.

England had not beaten New Zealand in their previous nine matches before this game.

New Zealand were unbeaten in their 20 Tests (19 victories and one draw) before this game.

New Zealand had not lost a Test to European opposition on an autumn tour since the 31-28 defeat to England in November, 2002.

The All Blacks had not lost in 20
matches. They had not lost an autumn Test for a decade, since England
beat them 31-18 in November 2002.

That England team went on to win the
Rugby World Cup a year later. Stuart Lancaster's current England team
are at the opposite end of their development.

The absence of Toby Flood through
injury left them without a single 50-cap player. England had fewer caps
in their entire starting line-up than New Zealand had in their front
row.

The team's character had never been
denied but their maturity and ability to turn positive performances into
results had been questioned after narrow defeats to Australia and South
Africa.

No longer. England rocked the All
Blacks. New Zealand were hit by a vomiting bug in the week. But not as
hard as they were hit by England.

The first signs of England's physical
dominance came in the lineout and with their early ball-carrying, with
Joe Launchbury, Tom Youngs and Tuilagi all making early ground.

But it was without the ball that
England really set the tone. Their kick-chase had the All Blacks under
pressure and they swamped New Zealand in defence.

On the charge: Brad Barritt breaks away before going over for England's first try

On the charge: Brad Barritt breaks away before going over for England's first try

On the charge: Brad Barritt breaks away before going over for England's first try

England had a slice of fortune when
Cory Jane was judged to have strayed marginally offside before
collecting Dan Carter's inch-perfect cross-kick.

Carter, almost inexplicably, also
missed two penalty shots at goal. England felt they had not had that
bounce of the ball against Australia and South Africa. Today they made
the most of it.

After 21 minutes, England won a scrum
penalty and Farrell kicked a fantastic touch, to move play into the All
Blacks 22 for the first time and Geoff Parling won a confident lineout.

England drove powerfully but fell
foul of the new five-second law after referee George Clancy, under the
mistaken impression the maul had halted, called on scrum-half Ben Youngs
to use it.

Setting nerves jangling: Kieran Read went on the charge for the All Blacks' second try

Setting nerves jangling: Kieran Read went on the charge for the All Blacks' second try

New Zealand were awarded the scrum
but England kept the pressure on. Tom Wood charged down Savea's
clearance to keep England in the All Blacks 22 and more pressure earned
another lineout.

Ben Morgan peeled off the driving
maul, Chris Robshaw crashed the ball up the middle and England moved it
wide through Morgan and Alex Goode to Ashton.

The wing dropped the ball but he was
well covered anyway and referee Clancy brought play back for a penalty,
which Farrell kicked confidently to push England ahead.

Almost immediately from the restart,
Morgan was penalised for hitting a ruck from the side but Carter missed
his second shot at goal from virtually in front of the posts.

On the charge: Julian Savea scores the first of his two tries to give New Zealand a foothold after half-time

On the charge: Julian Savea scores the first of his two tries to give New Zealand a foothold after half-time

New Zealand began to work through the
phases but England's white defensive wall responded with some ferocious
tackles, notably Tom Youngs on Carter, before Dan Cole won a turnover.

Israel Dagg tried to run back a Ben
Youngs box kick but he was smothered in his own half by Launchbury and
Wood, who won the penalty and Farrell coolly kicked the goal.

Keven Mealamu then overthrew a
lineout and England were back on the attack, with Tuilagi and Goode
combining to break the gain-line before Farrell slotted a drop-goal.

As the clock ticked down to
half-time, England kept the ball. Robshaw drove around the fringes, the
All Blacks were drawn offside and Farrell slotted his third penalty.

Metronomic: Owen Farrell's right boot accounted for 20 points

Metronomic: Owen Farrell's right boot accounted for 20 points

England then extended their lead
beyond two converted tries when the All Blacks scrum went down and
Farrell landed his fourth penalty from wide on the right.

But when Farrell scragged Aaron Smith at a ruck near England's line and was penalised, the tide appeared to have turned.

New Zealand went for touch, won the
lineout and then spread play to the opposite wing where Savea cut
infield and beat four defenders to score, with Carter converting.

Suddenly, the All Blacks had their
tails up. Farrell was under pressure as he tried to clear England's
lines and he failed to find touch.

Clearing his lines: Ma'a Nonu kicks under pressure Owen Farrell

Clearing his lines: Ma'a Nonu kicks under pressure Owen Farrell

Dagg danced down the right touchline,
England's defence was disorganised and the All Blacks cut them open
again with Jane and Conrad Smith combining to send Read over.

England could have wobbled under the
onslaught of two tries in three minutes. Instead, they hit back with a
vengeance with Tuilagi the destroyer in-chief.

Smith drifted too early in defence,
Barritt straightened through the gap and passed to Tuilagi before
receiving the offload back to score his first Test try. Farrell's
conversion hit the crossbar.

Tuilagi then crashed through two
defenders as England attacked from clean lineout ball and his
perfectly-delayed pass sent Ashton searing over the line for his first
try in 12 Tests.

Under pressure: England were 12-0 up at half-time, the first time New Zealand have failed to score before the break since 1998

Under pressure: England were 12-0 up at half-time, the first time New Zealand have failed to score before the break since 1998

Tuilagi then picked off a loose pass
from Read and galloped 50 metres for England's third try in eight
minutes, which Farrell converted before being replaced by Freddie Burns.

The Gloucester fly-half wrapped up the victory with two penalties.

Savea scored his second try with five
minutes remaining but nothing could deny England their first win
against New Zealand in nine years.

Kevin Pietersen has wet shave in India ahead of third Test

KP's close shave: After visit to barbers in India, let's hope he delivers another smooth performance!

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UPDATED:

11:16 GMT, 28 November 2012

It was thought Kevin Pietersen would have a close shave against India's spin bowlers in Mumbai, but after scoring 186 magnificent runs to set up an historic win for England, the maverick batsman decided to live life on the edge at the barbers.

The often-stubbled 32-year-old opted to go in for what he described on Twitter as a 'lazy shave' ahead of next week's third Test in Kolkata, and he duly posted a picture of himself being shorn with cut-throat razor alongside the tweet.

Cutting edge: Pietersen goes under the knife in India

Cutting edge: Pietersen goes under the knife in India

England fans will be hoping that the shave doesn't have the Samson effect on Pietersen, because if Pietersen continues to bat as he did in Mumbai, Alastair Cook's men surely have a chance of taking a 2-1 lead in the four-match series.

Following this week's 10-wicket win Matt Prior posted a picture of Pietersen enjoying a beer with his team-mates on Twitter, with the accompanying word 'reintegration complete'.

Reintegrated: Pietersen celebrates the win in Mumbai with his team-mates

Reintegrated: Pietersen celebrates the win in Mumbai with his team-mates

Reintegrated: Pietersen celebrates the win in Mumbai with his team-mates

It is certainly refreshing to see Pietersen enjoying himself in the company of his team-mates again.

Long may it continue.

Thomas Vermaelen says lackluster defending cost Arsenal

Not good enough: Vermaelen says lacklustre defending cost Arsenal

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UPDATED:

21:24 GMT, 24 October 2012

Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen gave a nod to a lack of a cutting edge in the final third after his side were beaten 2-0 at home by Schalke in the Champions League.

It was the Gunners` first home lost in the tournament since 2009 and, although they are still expected to progress from the group stages, it was not the performance they needed after a dismal defeat at Norwich on Saturday.

They were toothless at Carrow Road and a response was expected tonight but it never arrived.

Not good enough: Thomas Vermaelen says Arsenal did not defend well

Not good enough: Thomas Vermaelen says Arsenal did not defend well

'We are really disappointed,' he said.

'We lost on Saturday and wanted to be better today but it was the same story. We didn`t create enough chances to score goals. They got one and then got more.'

Asked why Arsenal were unable to right the wrongs of the weekend, the Belgium international added:

'It`s difficult to explain, we wanted to put it right.

Pure joy: Klaas Jan Huntelaar celebrates his goal

Pure joy: Klaas Jan Huntelaar celebrates his goal

'We gave 100 per cent but it`s difficult at the moment because we`re not creating enough chances to score goals.'

Arsenal had just one shot on target while Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Ibrahim Afellay showed them how it was done.

'Teams come here with strong organisation, technical ability and sometimes it is difficult to get through,' Vermaelen said.

Dreamland: Ibrahim Afellay puts Schalke 2-0 up

Dreamland: Ibrahim Afellay puts Schalke 2-0 up

Hunterlaar, who again proved his enduring class on the European stage, said: 'We are very pleased, we played well. We had our chances and scored two goals.

'We now have seven points and it is looking really well. We have three matches left.

'We had some good defence, played close to each other, then we countered. Arsenal are a good team so we had to take our chances.'

Arsene Wenger: Trust me (but is Olivier Giroud the new Gervinho?)

Trust me, says Wenger… but is Giroud the new Gervinho

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 26 August 2012

Arsene Wenger called for Arsenal's supporters to trust his judgment as Robin van Persie's departure was once more keenly felt at the Britannia Stadium.

Wenger's attack followed up last week's blank against Sunderland by firing another one in the Potteries during a goalless draw with Stoke as the replacements for the departed RVP failed to find their cutting edge.

Feeling the strain, Arsene: The Arsenal boss has called on fans to trust him

Feeling the strain, Arsene: The Arsenal boss has called on fans to trust him

Neither Lukas Podolski nor Olivier Giroud convinced and there was little from Gervinho on a day when defences were on top.

But Wenger asked for patience after the final whistle, saying the Gunners will make good that loss by several players chipping in, saying: 'I'm having the same questions now with Robin van Persie as I did when Thierry Henry left.

Under fire: But Wenger has eased the growing pressure on new boy Giroud

Under fire: But Wenger has eased the growing pressure on new boy Giroud

'Last season I had to answer, “Why do you play Van Persie as a centre forward” And you don't have to convince me that we have lost an exceptional player. I was the first to say that.

'We have to get around that by sharing more of the goals than we did before with Van Persie. If Giroud scores 20 and Podolski scores 20, we will get goals. I'm convinced about that.

New kid on the block: Podolski is still finding his feet at Arsenal

New kid on the block: Podolski is still finding his feet at Arsenal

'We have to share them around. But, a month ago, they did not know each other. The understanding is missing, but it will come.

'We have work to do on the training ground but you can feel the potential. The understanding can come quickly. But the more it is spoken about, the bigger the problem becomes.

'Giroud should not think he is a replacement for Van Persie in the number of goals. We want to play as a team and if we play well as a team, we will score goals.'

Olivier Giroud v Gervinho

The ill-will between the two clubs was never far from the surface but failed to flare up as the teams, well managed by referee Lee Mason, just about kept their tempers.

Stoke boss Tony Pulis said: 'I'm pleased with a point, although we were disappointing going forward. We looked unbalanced, but our commitment was first-class. As a club, we must never become blase about taking a point from the likes of Arsenal.'

Lukas Podolski lacks match fitness, says Arsene Wenger

Podolski lacks fitness, but Arsenal will prosper despite Van Persie exit, insists Wenger

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UPDATED:

13:19 GMT, 19 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Lukas Podolski isn't fully match fit, but Arsenal will soon find the right formula for attacking life without Robin van Persie after being left frustrated by Saturday's goalless draw against Sunderland.

Holland forward Van Persie has joined Manchester United in a 24million deal following a public statement earlier in the summer that he would not be signing a new deal.

The loss of their skipper – whose 30 Barclays Premier League goals last season dragged the Gunners into third place – is clearly a major blow from which to recover both psychologically and tactically.

Tough debut: Podolski lacked match fitness against Sunderland, according to Arsenal boss Wenger

Tough debut: Podolski lacked match fitness against Sunderland, according to Arsenal boss Wenger

Although summer signing Lukas Podolski showed plenty of the needed workrate, Arsenal lacked a cutting edge in the penalty area – although fellow new arrival Santi Cazorla produced an all-action display in midfield which does bode well for the battles ahead.

When the Gunners finally created a clear opening, which came after 81 minutes, substitute Olivier Giroud – who had netted 21 goals for Montpellier last season – snatched at his shot and fired wide from 10 yards.

Wenger, though, feels things will click into place soon enough, with a testing trip to Stoke coming up next weekend.

'I feel that Podolski is not (physically) ready yet, but he has the quality, and Giroud you could see has a presence when he is on the pitch in this position,' said Wenger, who is set to lose midfielder Alex Song to Barcelona in a 15million deal after Arsenal last night confirmed terms had been agreed.

'We went for a different formula last year and the balance is not always right. In some games it works, in some not.

New era: Wenger is building a new team after once again losing another captain

New era: Wenger is building a new team after once again losing another captain

'Against Sunderland we maybe needed one more creative player to be a bit more accurate in the final third.

'There was not a lot of space left to our strikers, everything had to be created from our midfield.'

Wenger added: 'It is always frustrating in the game when you have so much possession and so little points.

'You have to calculate that you make a draw or two or three during a season, but you don't want to make it at the start in the first game.'

Wenger, however, is adamant Arsenal cannot use the departure of Van Persie as an excuse for failing to produce a cohesive display against Sunderland, the match played out in soaring temperatures at the Emirates Stadium.

'When you are on the football pitch, you don't think about the players who are not there,' Wenger said.

'You try to make a good pass when you have the ball, all the rest is not a valid excuse.

'We had the opportunity to play the ball quicker, our overall passing was not quick enough today in my opinion. That is not necessarily linked with Robin.'

Spurned opportunities: Arsenal wasted a number of guilt-edged chances

Spurned opportunities: Arsenal wasted a number of guilt-edged chances

Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill accepted his side had been left drained in the latter stages, although the visitors had actually started the brighter as both midfielders James McClean and Jack Colback saw early chances saved.

O'Neill handed debuts to summer signings defender Carlos Cuellar and striker Louis Saha, on as a second-half substitute.

The Black Cats are expected to further bolster the squad before the transfer window closes on September 1 – with Wolves' forward Steven Fletcher a well-reported target.

'We obviously still have some players we want to bring to the club and I will try to play a system which suits the players,' O'Neill said.

'Because we needed some strength in the middle against Arsenal, playing a three does that.

'However, if we had some more flare in our team, maybe we could change things around.

'But we do need to get them in, otherwise it is going to be a tough old time.'

LONDON PARALYMPICS 2012: UK Sport want Britain to win more than 100 medals

No pressure! UK Sport want Britain's Paralympic team to win more than 100 medals

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UPDATED:

11:19 GMT, 17 August 2012

UK Sport have set Paralympics GB the target of winning at least 103 medals from at least 12 different sports, with the overall goal of once again finishing second in the medal table.

Britain's Paralympic campaign for London 2012 has been backed by more than 49million of funding over the last four years, with money being distributed to 18 different sports.

The overall Paralympics GB medal range is set between 95 and 145, with 16 sports targeting podium success.

Scroll down for video

Getting ready: Stratford will welcome the world again for the Paralympics

Getting ready: Stratford will welcome the world again for the Paralympics

Britain won 102 medals, including 42 golds, in Beijing four years ago to claim second place for a third consecutive Paralympic Games.

Retaining that position, but winning more medals than in Beijing, is seen by UK Sport as a bold ambition given how competitive the Paralympic Games will be.

Liz Nicholl, chief executive of UK Sport, said: 'Retaining second place on the medal table for the past three Paralympic Games has been a notable achievement for British athletes, especially given the ever-increasing competitive nature of Paralympic sport worldwide.

'With more countries investing time
and resource into Paralympic sport and therefore contributing to the
medal table, maintaining this standard of achievement in London should
not be underestimated.

'The
collective targets of all the Paralympic sports announced today show us
that our Paralympians are in a great position to deliver more magical
and inspirational performances to keep the overwhelming sense of
national pride in Great Britain at an all-time high.

'Our
Paralympians are among the best prepared and supported in the world;
with cutting edge technology, science and medical support, excellent
coaching, and the support of our enthusiastic home crowds, they are sure
to be a force to be reckoned with on home turf.'

As an indication of the competition
for second place, Britain and the United States in fourth place were
separated by just six gold medals in Beijing.

Britain are expected to deliver
approximately one medal for every hour of competition in the
Paralympics, with between 40 and 50 of them in the swimming pool. The
athletics target is between 17 and 30 medals, with cycling aiming for
between 15 and 23.

Golden moments: Eleanor Simmonds was one of Britain's Paralympic stars to enjoy success at the Beijing Games in 2008

Golden moments: Eleanor Simmonds was one of Britain's Paralympic stars to enjoy success at the Beijing Games in 2008

Tim Hollingsworth, chief executive of the British Paralympic Association, believe the targets set by UK Sport are realistic.

'ParalympicsGB is going into these home Games better prepared through the support of the National Lottery than ever before and we are ready to give everything to achieve our target of second in the medal table,' he said.

'Equally important is the fantastic news that our athletes will be competing in full venues.

'Winning medals in front of an excited home crowd will give us a great platform to help shift perceptions of Paralympic sport and ensure that our athletes get the recognition they deserve.'

The Paralympics begin on August 29 and Baroness Sue Campbell, the chair of UK Sport, believes they will have a profound effect on the country.

'The Paralympians really display what I call the best of the human spirit. You are watching athletic excellence but you are also watching something very special about who we are as people,' she said.

'The Paralympics is an opportunity to change people's mindset about disability sport and about disability.

'If the Olympics gave us an unbelievable sense of national unity and pride, I hope the Paralympics will add to that and I hope it will give us a strong sense of community inclusion and an acceptance of everybody in our society being able to achieve excellence in whatever they want to do.'

VIDEO: Team GB Paralympians aiming for second in medal table

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Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish gives his strikers a Stevie G up

Liverpool boss Dalglish gives misfiring strikers a Stevie G up

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UPDATED:

22:27 GMT, 16 March 2012

Kenny Dalglish has challenged
his squad to follow Steven Gerrard's ruthless example as he looks to secure
Liverpool's second trip to Wembley in two months.

Having endured a season when progress has at times been
checked by a lacking of a cutting edge, Dalglish was elated to see things
finally fall into place on Tuesday when Gerrard scored all the goals in a 3-0
win over Everton.

Easy pickings: Liverpool romped to a 3-0 win over Everton in midweek

Easy pickings: Liverpool romped to a 3-0 win over Everton in midweek

Liverpool's attack has struggled in the Barclays Premier
League since the turn of the year but Dalglish does not feel one impressive
performance means their troubles are over and wants to see others take the
burden off his captain against Stoke.

When the sides last met in January, Tony Pulis' side snuffed
out Liverpool's attack and Dalglish is well aware of the threat Stoke pose to
his ambitions of adding the FA Cup to their Carling Cup win.

'The first thing to do is create the chances, the second is
to believe we are good enough finish them off and the third thing is to put
them away,' said Dalglish. 'You can go out in training and everything is fine
and then you go into the match and there is nothing going in.

Demands: Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish

Demands: Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish

'We'll keep pushing ourselves forward and asking the
question how to solve it. If we need two chances to get one goal, then fine. I
didn't think we took all the chances we made because we still made a lot of
chances, but you couldn't have asked for any more (from Gerrard).'

This is
Liverpool's first appearance in the quarter-finals since they last won the FA
Cup in 2006 and the significance of completing a domestic cup double has not
been lost on Dalglish.

'The FA Cup was lost for a long time here,' he said. 'It was
Shanks's first trophy (in 1965) that set the club rolling and that's where the
momentum started to build. The FA Cup set this club on a path.'