Tag Archives: disappointment

B&Q pull out of deal with Football League over title sponsorship

EXCLUSIVE: Football League's attempt to hammer out a deal with B&Q break down

By
Charles Sale

PUBLISHED:

16:25 GMT, 23 April 2013

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UPDATED:

16:34 GMT, 23 April 2013

The Football League have suffered a huge setback after potential new title sponsors B&Q suddenly pulled out of negotiations.

The DIY chain had been expected to sign a three-year contract worth 21m to replace nPower as the backers of all three Football League divisions from the start of next season.

But talks broke down on Monday with the Football League unaware why B&Q, who had previously shown huge enthusiasm for the sponsorship, had changed their mind at the last minute.

No go: B&Q have pulled out of a deal to become the Football League's title sponsors

No go: B&Q have pulled out of a deal to become the Football League's title sponsors

Turning off the lights: NPower's sponsorship of the Football League will come to an end this summer

Turning off the lights: NPower's sponsorship of the Football League will come to an end this summer

Fresh deal: Domino's Pizza are in the mix

Fresh deal: Domino's Pizza are in the mix

The disappointment at the breakdown of the deal is compounded by B&Q, who have stores near numerous Football League clubs, being regarded as such a good fit for a sponsorship that has proved difficult to fill.

But their exit leaves the Football League commercial department having to go back to the companies who had shown interest before attention was turned to finalising the B&Q deal.

One of those companies is restaurant chain Domino's Pizza, who have released a football app and a football sitcom on their Facebook page.

Domino's marketing director Simon Wallis said: 'Football and Pizza are a match made in heaven.'

Anne Keothavong misses out on first WTA title in Brazil as Venus Williams also suffers defeat

Keothavong misses out on doubles title in Brazil as Venus also suffers defeat

PUBLISHED:

12:57 GMT, 2 March 2013

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UPDATED:

12:57 GMT, 2 March 2013

Anne Keothavong's attempt to win a first WTA title ended in disappointment when the Brit and her doubles partner Valeria Savinykh were defeated in the final of the Brazil Tennis Cup.

The pair lost 6-0, 6-4 to number one seeds Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain and Kazakhstan's Yaroslava Shvedova.

Defeat: Anne Keothavong missed out on her first WTA title

Defeat: Anne Keothavong missed out on her first WTA title

In the singles event, Venus Williams looked tired as she slumped to a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 loss to world number 109 Olga Puchkova in the tournament's semi-finals.

Puchkova, 25, will face Romanian Monica Niculescu in the final, after breaking Williams's serve late in the second and third sets to win the match in two hours and 31 minutes.

Surprise: Venus Williams was eliminated from the Brazil Tennis Cup by Olga Puchkova

Surprise: Venus Williams was eliminated from the Brazil Tennis Cup by Olga Puchkova

‘I gave my best but just couldn’t play consistent enough today,’ Williams said. ‘She played so well, it was hard.’

Dwain Chambers stormed off the track after a poor showing at the European Indoor Championships

Chambers storms off the track after failing to qualify from European indoor heats

By
Laura Williamson

PUBLISHED:

17:07 GMT, 1 March 2013

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UPDATED:

18:22 GMT, 1 March 2013

Dwain Chambers stormed off the track in anger after being eliminated in the first round of the men’s 60 metres at the European Indoor Championships this afternoon.

The 34-year-old, who won gold in this event in 2009 and a silver medal two years ago, missed out on automatic qualification after coming fifth in his heat.

Chambers’ time of 6.78 seconds – two tenths of a second down on his season’s best – was not enough to guarantee him a place in Saturday's semi-finals as a fastest loser.

Frustration: Dwain Chambers threw off his vest after failing to qualify for the final of the European Indoor Championships

Frustration: Dwain Chambers threw off his vest after failing to qualify for the final of the European Indoor Championships

The European indoor record-holder, who served a two-year ban after testing positive for the anabolic steroid THG in 2003, threw his British vest to the floor in frustration and ignored all interview requests as he left the Scandinavium Arena.

Chambers missed the UK trials in Sheffield to protect a back injury and looked out of sorts at the British Athletics Grand Prix in Birmingham three weeks ago, when he finished fifth.

But the 2010 world indoor champion, who said earlier this year he finally feels ‘part of the team again’ after spending half his time training with UK Athletics’ sprint coach Rana Reider at Loughborough University, had insisted he would not compete in Gothenburg if he was not fully fit.

Speaking after his frustration had subsided, Chambers said: 'The performance was not what I expected and I can only express my disappointment because a lot of time and effort was put into me getting to these championships, and I want to apologise to the people whose time I feel I have wasted.

Out of sorts: Chambers, who has won a silver and gold at the last two championships, struggled to a time 6.78s, not enough to see him go through as a fastest loser

Out of sorts: Chambers, who has won a silver and gold at the last two championships, struggled to a time 6.78s, not enough to see him go through as a fastest loser

'I came here with all the intention
to do well and fight for a medal, which is always what I have been
renowned for doing, but the injury obviously took more out of me than I
had anticipated. So with that I'm really disappointed and feel bad for
letting people down.

'There was no pain. I think what
happened is that I spent all my time getting ready to get on the plane
injury free and I didn't prioritise my time to prepare for the
championships.

'I thought I was going to be all
right, but that was the wrong mind process I'd put myself into – I just
wasn't ready. I'm disappointed that I've let people down.

'In situations like these where you
want to do well, you expect to do well and people expect you to do
well…it hurts. I know what I'm capable of doing and it is
disappointing that I am not able to do that today.

'Now I'm just going to cheer on the rest of the team.'

James Dasaolu, however, cruised through
his heat to post the third-fastest qualification time, easing off before
the line to finish second behind Michael Tumi of Italy in 6.62 seconds.
Harry Aikines-Aryeetey also reached tomorrow’s semi-finals with a
season’s best of 6.65 seconds.

No such problems: Fellow Brit James Dasaolu (centre) made it through to the semi-final

No such problems: Fellow Brit James Dasaolu (centre) made it through to the semi-final

Harry Aikines-Aryeetey said: ‘It's a
seasons best – another good run and we'll take it lower, that's the aim.
It’s another opportunity and I think I've been quite lucky indoors. We
haven't really focused on it, so I've done some speed work over the last
few weeks.

‘Dwain and I
have been training together which has really helped. I'm just going to
take each round as it comes. I'm in a GB vest, so it's not about my
personal gain, it's about representing the country and showing what
we've got.

‘I stumbled out of the blocks a bit, so hopefully in the next round I'll go even better.’

James Dasaolu said: ‘I'm really happy, I wanted to qualify as easily as possible. I don't feel like I've exerted too much energy and I think that's what it's all about – using as little energy as possible. I've run a PB in pretty much every race, so I'm in good shape.

‘In the next round I'm going to be more aggressive and run through the line. It wasn't the quickest of fields, so I knew I didn't have to hammer the start, it was just about getting through.’

Roberto Mancini vows to make Manchester City changes

If you're not willing to fight, then you're out! Mancini fires warning to City players after losing ground on United

By
Martin Ziegler, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

11:08 GMT, 11 February 2013

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UPDATED:

11:22 GMT, 11 February 2013

Roberto Mancini is ready to wield the axe on his Manchester City squad and has warned his players he will only pick those who are ready to fight every inch of the way for the rest of the season.

Mancini was furious at the limp manner of City's 3-1 defeat at Southampton at the weekend which now leaves the reigning champions 12 points behind leaders Manchester United in the Barclays Premier League with 12 games left.

Mancini said he will make significant changes for the FA Cup fifth-round visit of Leeds on Sunday.

Thumbs up: Roberto Mancini put his disappointment to one side whilst watching Sampdoria take on Roma yesterday

Thumbs up: Roberto Mancini put his disappointment to one side whilst watching Sampdoria take on Roma

He told the Manchester Evening News: 'I am sure we will change that, because I will change players next week.

'I only want players who are ready for the fight in the last 12 games.

'I am very angry with a lot of my players, and very disappointed at the performance, because it is impossible to play the way we did.

Down (and out): Manchester City are now 12 points adrift of United in the race for the Premier League title

Down (and out): Manchester City are now 12 points adrift of United in the race for the Premier League title

'We didn't fight for every ball. We can't always win by playing well – that is normal. Sometimes we play well and win, but you also need to be able to win because you fight for every ball, and fight against an opponent who also wants to win the game.

'Every team that plays against us treats it like a Champions League final, but we should know this, it is normal.

'We now have 12 games left, (we) need to do well in the Premier League, and we have the FA Cup – there are games left and we can do better. We need to finish the season the way we did last year.'

Blow: Joe Hart conceded three goals as City were soundly beaten by Southampton on Saturday

Blow: Joe Hart conceded three goals as City were soundly beaten by Southampton on Saturday

Carlos Tevez is expected to return to City this week after a family problem, and Vincent Kompany should also be available again, as will Matija Nastasic and Kolo Toure who were not risked after late returns from international duty.

Mancini branded the fixture demands caused by the international fixtures 'ridiculous' but did not hold his defenders – including midfielder Javi Garcia in a makeshift centre-back role – responsible for the Southampton defeat.

He added: 'The fixtures are ridiculous sometimes, as we played on Saturday and then had six players who came back on Friday, and five who came back Thursday night.

'Sometimes it is impossible. 'Nastasic came back Friday and Kolo came back three or four days ago – plus the last time Javi Garcia played there, he played really, really well.

'On Saturday we played well in defence, but the problem was that we didn't give the defenders any help. They were left to play alone, and we conceded two goals the like of which I have never seen in my life.'

Paul Lambert believes Aston Villa will be fine

We'll be fine! Lambert admits Villa feeling negative after another rout but believes in his side

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UPDATED:

20:36 GMT, 29 December 2012

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert was downcast after watching his side beaten 3-0 at home by fellow strugglers Wigan but still said his team would be 'fine'.

Since winning 3-1 at Liverpool on December 15, Villa have suffered three heavy defeats in a row, conceding a total of 15 goals and failing to score once themselves.

Only a last-minute Stoke equaliser against Southampton kept Villa out of the relegation places and Lambert said: 'The last three results have certainly hurt us.

Struggle: Paul Lambert cannot seem to get Villa firing

Struggle: Paul Lambert cannot seem to get Villa firing

'Everyone was positive after the Liverpool win but there is now a negativity after these three defeats.

'I understand that feeling but I have a belief that Aston Villa will be fine. The big disappointment is that there are a lot of experienced players out of the team.

'Andreas Weimann had to play at the last minute against Wigan despite having a leg injury. Once we get everyone back in January we will have to wait and see what happens.

'We had a decent spell in the first half when we looked like ourselves. We had a couple of half chances but in the second half there was no creativity. That was hard to take for sure.

'I will speak to the chairman to see what is happening in regard to bringing in some new players.

'I always knew it was going to be a massive job at Villa. It is a massive football club with a great tradition.

'This club has been in a survival battle for the last couple of years.

'The forthcoming Capital One Cup semi-final is not something that I have not really thought about to be honest. The bread and butter is the league. It always is. We are in a fight but so are the other teams.'

Despite their dire situation, Lambert paid tribute to the Villa fans.

He said: 'Since I've been here the fans have been brilliant with myself and the team.

Dejection: Villa's players seem to have lost heart in recent matches as games slipped away from them

Dejection: Villa's players seem to have lost heart in recent matches as games slipped away from them

'I never criticise the crowd here at Villa Park because they are behind the team. All we can do is our very best for the club. The fans have been brilliant and have gone away as hurt as we are. We have to stick together.

'I've been beaten up badly both as a player and as a manager. It happens. It was disappointing to lose to Wigan as it was an opportunity to climb the table.

'Spurs and Chelsea are fine teams but Wigan was an opportunity to pull away, especially at home. That is the disappointment. To be turned over 3-0 at home certainly hurts everyone.'

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez was in an upbeat mood after goals from Ivan Ramis, Emmerson Boyce and Arouna Kone gave his side a comfortable win.

He said: 'It was a really tense game before it started as both Villa and ourselves are in a similar position. We tried to play in the right way and the result was very important.

'In terms of the performance I thought it was similar to that we showed against Everton and Arsenal in the last two games.

'We were very clinical in both boxes and defended well, keeping (Christian) Benteke quiet. He is a footballer who can make a difference at this level. We covered this threat really well and had very good concentration.

Off-colour: In the past few games Christian Benteke has not been at his best

Off-colour: In the past few games Christian Benteke has not been at his best

'At the other end I thought we had even more opportunities to score in the closing stages. The players applied themselves in a great manner to get the result.

'This season I thought we started very brightly but then had a few difficult moments, particularly in November and December when we have had to cope with a lot of injuries and suspensions.

'This has been tough not to get the rewards on the pitch and its put a lot of pressure on the players.

'Not many foreign players can come into this league and cope with the physical side of the game.

'The know-how is important and the likes of Kone and Ramis are good examples how they have adapted. Being able to play in Germany and Spain has helped them a great deal.

'I was really impressed with Kone and I think he could have scored another couple of goals. But it will have boosted his confidence.

'Unfortunately we are losing players to the African tournament and other managers will tell you how difficult it is to lose important players at such a crucial stage of the season. I am sure that other players will come in and take the opportunity to shine.'

Long Run holds off Captain Chris to win King George chase

Long Run holds off Captain Chris to take victory at King George VI Chase

PUBLISHED:

15:39 GMT, 26 December 2012

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UPDATED:

15:50 GMT, 26 December 2012

Long Run got up in the final strides to collar Captain Chris and regain his crown in the William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton.

Captain Chris looked like going two better places than last year when he came through to head the winner of two years ago, who was also the runner-up 12 months ago.

However, Long Run, the 15-8 favourite trained by Nicky Henderson, rallied for amateur Sam Waley-Cohen, to get back up and score by a neck.


Jumping to victory: Long Run (right) took first place in the King George Chase

Jumping to victory: Long Run (right) took first place in the King George Chase

The winning rider said: 'He was so brave. I had to keep asking him – I asked him early and maybe I asked too much as he was tired but so brave.

'This is his fifth year of competing at this level and he means an enormous amount to us.
'That was racing at it's best for me. I can't put it into words. It's an honour and a privilege.'

Long Run is owned by Waley-Cohen's father Robert, who added: 'He's come here four times now and won three Grade Ones and been second to Kauto Star.

'I wasn't absolutely sure that we had got back up but as I came down the stairs from the stand, I saw his name go up and that was fantastic.'

Henderson was similarly thrilled to see his former Cheltenham Gold Cup victor return to winning form.

He said: 'It was a brave call to go on when he did and it was the right call to make.

Jumping to victory: Long Run edged Captain Chris to finish first

Jumping to victory: Long Run edged Captain Chris to finish first

'It was a battle out there today and not the best ground for any of them. He's young but has been doing everything right.

'You would have to say last year was a disappointment but he's been running good races all the time.'

Henderson continued: 'We had it in our minds that Bobs Worth would run in the Cheltenham race in January (Argento Chase), leaving Long Run free to run in the Denman (Aon) Chase at Newbury, but we'll have to discuss things with connections.

'I'd love to see Long Run back on better ground and I'm so pleased Sam and the horse have proved a point to people today.'

Jockey Richard Johnson said of the runner-up: 'I thought coming to the last I was going to win, but the other horse is a proven Gold Cup winner and he's just outstayed me.

'It was a great run and I'm just looking forward to riding him on better ground.'

Scudamore said of third-placed Grands Crus: 'He ran a great race and I'm most pleased he looks a lot more like his old self.'

David Pipe’s exciting grey, meanwhile, blew his rivals away to score by an eased-down nine lengths but that doesn’t come close to accurately describing his superiority over his rivals.

Sent of an 8-13 favourite, Tom Scudamore never had a moment’s worry and a soaring leap four-out sent Dynaste to the front before stretching clear in effortless style.

The six-year-old is now unbeaten in three starts over fences and he is following the same route as stablemate Grands Crus who won this race 12 months ago before being sent off a short price favourite for the RSA Chase.

And Darlan is the new Champion Hurdle favourite after sprinting to a four-and-a-half length victory in the Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle at Kempton under Tony McCoy.

The John McManus-owned five-year-old had, who was 3-1 for this seasonal reappearance, made it three Christmas Hurdle wins on the bounce for connections after Binocular’s wins in the last two runnings of the two mile contest, and he is now a 4-1 chance for the Cheltenham Festival showpiece.

Darlan finished behind Cinders And Ashes in last season’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle but Nicky Henderson’s charge comfortably revered that form as well as seeing off disappointing favourite Countrywide Flame who was such an impressive winner of the Fighting Fifth Hurdle last time.

Raya Star came home in second while Dodging Bullets finished third.

Mark Cueto believes Sale can perform an escape act inspired by their new coach

Cueto: We can perform the great escape despite record defeat in Europe

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UPDATED:

21:11 GMT, 20 December 2012

Sale resume their Aviva Premiership survival quest at Wasps on Sunday, on the back of a record defeat in Europe.

Losing 62-0 in Toulon was the lowest ebb this season, but Mark Cueto still believes the club can perform an escape act, inspired by their ‘intimidating’ new coach.

The former England wing was part of a side which was brutally put to the sword at Stade Felix Mayol last weekend, as Toulon amassed nearly a half-century of points in the second half.

Escape act: Former England wing Mark Cueto (pictured) is sure that Sale's new coach, John Mitchell will have a galvanising effect on the team as they attempt to avoid relegation

Escape act: Former England wing Mark Cueto (pictured) is sure that Sale's new coach, John Mitchell will have a galvanising effect on the team as they attempt to avoid relegation

Of all the grim setbacks in this troubled campaign, the massacre by the Med was the worst of all, leaving the Cheshire club in a dire state as they prepare to head to Adams Park.

Time is running out for the revival to commence. The only northern team in the Premiership lie at the foot of the table, six points adrift of 11th-placed London Irish, having won just one of their 10 league games so far.

Cueto has known plenty of high-stakes occasions with England and the Lions, as well as his club, over the years, and he is well aware of how much is on the line now.

Gruelling: Cueto is tackled during Sale's 62-0 defeat against Toulon, their heaviest ever defeat in the Heineken Cup

Gruelling: Sale's suffered a 62-0 defeat against Toulon, their heaviest ever defeat in the Heineken Cup

‘Our focus is on the Premiership — saving the club and saving our jobs,’ he said.

‘The defeat in Toulon was a massive disappointment but we have closed the door on it. We have to concentrate all our efforts on this fight for survival.

‘Deep down, I think our squad is too good to be relegated, but I’m also a realist and we’ve only won one of our 10 league games, so I do worry.

Galvanising: Cueto is sure that 'intimidating' new coach John Mitchell, a former All Black, will have a galvanising effect on the team as they fight to stay in the Aviva Premiership

Galvanising: Cueto is sure that 'intimidating' new coach John Mitchell, a former All Black, will have a galvanising effect on the team as they fight to stay in the Aviva Premiership

'I’ve got this season and one more on my contract, so I’m not sure if the situation we’re in is more worrying for me or a 21 or 22-year-old.

‘It’s probably more worrying for someone in my position, because at least they can move on. If the worst came to the worst and the club went down, I’m not sure what would happen, which is a huge worry.

'You have to think about those things but the main focus has to be on staying positive.’

A major concern stemming from the defeat in southern France last weekend is that it undid much of the positive work from the previous game against Toulon eight days earlier, when Sale had battled gamely before losing 17-6 at home.

That performance suggested that the arrival of former All Blacks coach John Mitchell was rapidly having a galvanising effect on Sale and Cueto insisted that the Kiwi’s impact has been positive, despite the result in France.

‘I still think we’ve moved forward in the last two weeks under John Mitchell,’ said the veteran wing.

‘Lots of the lads had pre-conceived ideas about John, but I don’t think he has lived up to the negative ideas people maybe had about him. He is an intense guy who has huge knowledge and experience.

'The way he has focused the squad has been brilliant. We’re not playing in a very different way, but he has brought in plenty of new ideas.

‘John is an intimidating bloke, but sometimes you need that — you can’t just all be best mates and getting on all the time. There has to be a boss; someone in charge. Any successful team in any sport has a guy like that.

‘I think he can instil the belief in us so that we can get out of this situation we’re in. We finished sixth last season and have added three or four good players, so we should be better than we were before, but it hasn’t worked out that way.

'We’re a much better side than we have shown so far, but if you lose four, five or six games on the trot, it starts to affect your belief and confidence.’

Bottom: Sale sit at the bottom of the Premiership table with just one win from their first 10 games

Bottom: Sale sit at the bottom of the Premiership table with just one win from their first 10 games

Cueto was candid in admitting that the club’s senior players are the ones who have let the side down, while rookies such as Ross Harrison and Tommy Taylor have performed admirably in trying circumstances.

Sale added quality signings in the summer, in the shape of Richie Gray and Danny Cipriani, while Eifion Lewis-Roberts returned from Toulon, but all these high-calibre component parts haven’t clicked into place yet.

They will have to soon, ideally against Wasps in High Wycombe, then five days later against Worcester in Salford.

‘We have two massive games coming up this weekend and next weekend, and we need two wins, really,’ said Cueto.

‘London Irish have Leicester at home and Quins away, so on form they should struggle, which means if we can pick up points against Wasps and Worcester, we should be in a much better position.

‘At this stage of the season, London Welsh don’t look like being the team who go down — it’s likely to be us or London Irish.

'But if we get a couple of wins, suddenly it can all turn around. If we win our next two and Irish lose their next two, then we can go ahead of them and would have momentum.

‘We really need to turn the corner soon. We’re under-achieving and we have to take that personally.

'I’ve been in this situation before with Sale and we’ve managed to fight our way out of it, but it’s not a pretty place to be.’

Cueto on Mitchell: 'The way he has focused the squad has been brilliant. Were not playing in a very different way, but he has brought in plenty of new ideas'

Cueto on Mitchell: 'The way he has focused the squad has been brilliant. Were not playing in a very different way, but he has brought in plenty of new ideas'

Oscar not happy at Chelsea but Rafa Benitez rejects rift talk

Oscar's not happy because he's not playing… but there's no rift, says Rafa

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UPDATED:

09:01 GMT, 19 December 2012

No problem: Rafa Benitez has played down talk of a rift with Oscar

No problem: Rafa Benitez has played down talk of a rift with Oscar

Rafael Benitez welcomes Oscar's dismay at his exclusion from Chelsea's starting line-up in Sunday's Club World Cup final against Corinthians.

Oscar will feature in tonight's Capital One Cup quarter-final at Leeds but has been used sparingly by interim manager Benitez to date, starting just three of his seven games in charge.

The Brazilian playmaker expressed his disappointment after being selected on the bench against Corinthians, but Benitez insists there is no rift with the player.

'Oscar is fine. He's a very good professional. We don't have any issue with him,' he said.

'I try to manage players, especially in his position because we have Eden Hazard and Juan Mata, who can do more or less the same job.

'It's difficult for them but it's good for me because I have different problems. There's are no issues or problems.

'Oscar will have a lot of time on the pitch and I'm sure he'll be a great player for the club.

Backing: Benitez believes Oscar will be great for Chelsea but warned he must bide his time

Backing: Benitez believes Oscar will be great for Chelsea but warned he must bide his time

'Oscar's not happy because he's not playing and that's fantastic. There would be a problem if it was the opposite.'

Leeds will be Benitez' eighth game in charge since taking over 25 days ago, a hectic schedule that continues with Christmas fixtures against Aston Villa, Norwich, Everton and QPR.

'We have to win every competition if we can. We have rivalry with Leeds and we have one less competition to win after losing on Sunday,' Benitez said.

'We can't just call it another game, it's a very important match for us.

'Christmas time is a crucial period because you can play so many games that will change everything.'

Plenty to ponder: Benitez admitted the club are busy identifying potential recruits for January

Plenty to ponder: Benitez admitted the club are busy identifying potential recruits for January

Benitez admits he is in daily discussions with technical director Michael Emenalo over potential transfer activity for January.

'Hopefully we have two or three days after this game where we'll have plenty of time to talk about names,' he said.

'There's no formal meeting because we can chat every day. Michael is watching the training session and we talk every day – about players and how the team is doing.

'I know what Michael likes and he knows what I like and we come to an agreement.'

Chelsea have been stretched by the loss of John Obi Mikel, Gary Cahill and Ramires to suspension and while striker Daniel Sturridge may return from his hamstring injury against Leeds, John Terry is still out with a knee problem despite returning to training yesterday.

Arsene Wenger tells Arsenal players to get back to business

Wenger challenges his wounded Arsenal players to bounce back after Bradford horror show

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UPDATED:

14:27 GMT, 16 December 2012

Manager Arsene Wenger has challenged his battle-weary Arsenal squad to look within themselves and provide a response at Reading tomorrow night.

The Gunners head to Madejski Stadium in need of a confidence boost following the shock penalty shoot-out defeat at npower League Two Bradford.

Despite their inconsistencies, Arsenal remain within striking distance of the top four of the Barclays Premier League, as yesterday's results left them three points off the top four, albeit without Tottenham and West Brom having played.

On your feet: Arsene Wenger wants his players to get back on track against Reading

On your feet: Arsene Wenger wants his players to get back on track against Reading

Wenger accepts the atmosphere has been somewhat subdued at Arsenal's Hertfordshire training base this week, but maintains it is now up to the players to show their strength of character.

'There has been disappointment and frustration [this week], but that is normal when you go out in a competition like that,' Wenger said.

'However, having said that, we can only look at ourselves, get on with it and look for the future.'

Although there have been plenty of calls for a fresh voice at the helm, Wenger, 63, maintains he is the right man to turn Arsenal's fortunes around.

England defender Kieran Gibbs, 23, believes Wenger's work in developing raw talents such as himself can never be underestimated.

Eye for it: Kieran Gibbs likes Wenger's record of bringing players through

Eye for it: Kieran Gibbs likes Wenger's record of bringing players through

'He has built a reputation for signing players for a modest fee and turning them into great players,' Gibbs told www.fourfourtwo.com.

'I don't think many people in England had really heard of Thomas Vermaelen before he arrived and yet he became an instant fan favourite at the club.

'The manager has an eye for noticing the potential in promising players.'

Much has been made of the role of assistant manager Steve Bould this season after he replaced Wenger's long-term right-hand man Pat Rice.

Full-back Gibbs feels the former Arsenal centre-half has helped make an impact on the side.

'Steve has his own view of the game and goes through a lot of detail after matches,' said Gibbs.

'He makes sure everyone understands their unique roles and we have worked on a number of things, including how to face attackers and moving up the pitch as a unit.'

Aim: Santi Cazorla said Arsenal need to work on being consistent

Aim: Santi Cazorla said Arsenal need to work on being consistent

Arsenal will be out to build some momentum in their Premier League campaign with victory over the struggling Royals, having beaten West Brom last weekend.

Midfielder Santi Cazorla accepts the Gunners cannot keep throwing away points and need to show more maturity when in winning positions.

'We haven't been consistent,' the Spain international told Marca.

'There have been games where we haven't been mature enough as a team and haven't held onto the positive results. We are hoping to make up some ground.'

Cazorla impressed after his summer arrival from Malaga, and is enjoying his role at the head of an attack-minded midfield trio alongside compatriot Mikel Arteta and England's Jack Wilshere.

'I am very comfortable with where the manager positions me, support striker, with the freedom I like to have,' he said.

'The team also plays a type of football which suits me very well and I take on more responsibility every day.'

Danny Guthrie did not travel to Sunderland as Reading midfielder"s "head wasn"t right", reveals Brian McDermott

Guthrie did not travel to Sunderland as Reading midfielder's 'head wasn't right', reveals McDermott

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UPDATED:

22:17 GMT, 11 December 2012

Reading boss Brian McDermott revealed that midfielder Danny Guthrie refused to play in the 3-0 defeat at Sunderland because 'his head wasn't right to travel'.

The former Newcastle player, signed by Reading in the summer on a free transfer, told his manager that he was not in the correct mental state to play at the Stadium of Light.

Not on the bus: Reading's Danny Guthrie (left) did not make the trip to Wearside

Not on the bus: Reading's Danny Guthrie (left) did not make the trip to Wearside

McDermott was unable to hide his disappointment that the 25-year-old would not travel back to the North East for the game. Reading lost 3-0 and slipped deeper into trouble in the bottom three.

The Reading boss said: 'Danny Guthrie made a decision that his head wasn’t right to travel. Everybody has got to be going in the same direction. You have to put yourself in a position to be selection. His words were that his head isn’t right.

Chin up: Brian McDermott saw his side sink to their fifth straight defeat

Chin up: Brian McDermott saw his side sink to their fifth straight defeat

'Was I disappointed He would have been traveling. Any player has to be part of what we’re about. We can’t deviate from that. We have to be pulling in the same direction.

'This is probably not a conversation for this evening, but it is something we need to address in the week.’

On target: The returning Steven Fletcher hit Sunderland's second at the Stadium of Light

On target: The returning Steven Fletcher hit Sunderland's second at the Stadium of Light