Tag Archives: disappointment

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Eden Hazard: No regrets over Chelsea move

Hazard: I've got no regrets about joining Chelsea… but I feel sorry for Di Matteo

PUBLISHED:

10:36 GMT, 8 December 2012

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UPDATED:

10:36 GMT, 8 December 2012

Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard has no regrets about moving to Stamford Bridge – despite the sacking of the manager who brought him to the club.

The 21-year-old was signed by the European champions and their boss Roberto Di Matteo in the summer from Lille when he was not short of options among the continent's elite.

It has been a turbulent start for the Belgium international as the Blues have crashed out of the Champions League, while Di Matteo has been replaced by former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez.

Eden project: Hazard insists he has no regrets about joining Chelsea

Eden project: Hazard insists he has no regrets about joining Chelsea

Hazard told The Independent: 'Look, I knew before I came here where I was “putting my feet” and the sort of club I was coming to.

'I knew that Chelsea was a club that changed its manager reasonably often.

'Obviously I didn't intend it to be that quick because Di Matteo was the person who signed me and I was looking forward to a relationship and working with him for some time. But, I don't have any regrets.

Disappointment: Hazard admits h felt sorry for axed boss Roberto Di Matteo

Disappointment: Hazard admits h felt sorry for axed boss Roberto Di Matteo

'We have a new manager now and again it is about stressing we must try to get as high as we can up the table, go as far as we can in the cups, play well and win as many trophies as we can.

'I think it's the first time it has happened to me in my career when a manager has gone. It's never easy. It's something that is part of football life.

'We have to put our disappointment to one side. Although I was sorry because he was the manager who signed me.'

On the ball: Hazard remains optimistic over Chelsea's future despite their Champions League exit in midweek

On the ball: Hazard remains optimistic over Chelsea's future despite their Champions League exit in midweek

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Roberto Mancini content with Manchester City draw

Mancini's men well set for title push after City earn draw at Chelsea

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UPDATED:

00:36 GMT, 26 November 2012

Roberto Mancini reclined in his seat, scarf knotted with its usual panache, legs crossed at the ankles and feet up on the wall of the dugout.

Were he judged on the rules of those sitting a few yards to his left, the Manchester City manager would have been sacked after crashing out of the Champions League before December, out at the group stage for the second year in a row.

As it was, on a day of protest at Stamford Bridge, he could barely have seemed more relaxed as his team extended their unbeaten run in the Barclays Premier League to 21 games.

Just chilling: Roberto Mancini (right) was comfortable throughout the draw

Just chilling: Roberto Mancini (right) was comfortable throughout the draw

Mancini was mildly irritated with his team’s work in the final third of the pitch but can be happy that City edged the game and created the better chances.

Europe may be proving a little awkward to crack, even for the filthy rich, but the Premier League champions are well placed to retain their title.

They are a point behind neighbours Manchester United and have not lost in the competition since visiting Arsenal in April, even if the manager was annoyed to surrender ground at the top of the table.

‘I am not satisfied with one point,’ said Mancini. Despite this disappointment, the Italian will be privately encouraged by what he saw yesterday. His team looked far more equipped than Chelsea for the slog ahead.

In control: Vincent Kompany (left) was impressive for Manchester City

In control: Vincent Kompany (left) was impressive for Manchester City

They have a stronger squad, with more depth and personality and a greater range of options on the bench.

Vincent Kompany played despite twisting a knee against Real Madrid last week and was impressive at the heart of the defence and Gareth Barry is close to his best again after hernia surgery in the summer.

Also, Mancini seems to have settled back into the formation which served them well last season, with a defensive six behind an attacking quartet.

It is almost as if Mancini has quelled his instinct to drive on and improve after realising that standing still may be good enough to resist the domestic challenges.

Next up for City are Wigan and Everton before the visit of Manchester United on December 9. Mancini’s team will not fear the derby at home, where they do not lose.

Look who's back: Mario Balotelli (right) was booked for simulation

Look who's back: Mario Balotelli (right) was booked for simulation

The Etihad Stadium has become a fortress like the Bridge used to be. It is one of several similarities between the team Jose Mourinho built at Chelsea and Mancini’s City.

Both units were big, muscular and powerful with a tight defensive grip, low risk tactics and quick, talented individuals in attack to win the games.

Two years of total domination at home, however, and Roman Abramovich became bored and started demanding flair, adventure and the European Cup.

Mancini may encounter similar impatience. For now, however, defending the title is a success and will be easier without the distraction of the Champions League.

VIDEO: GRAHAM CHADWICK'S PICTURES FROM CHELSEA V MANCHESTER CITY

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Ricky Hatton LIVE v Vyacheslav Senchenko

LIVE: Ricky Hatton v Vyacheslav Senchenko – round-by-round coverage of the big fight

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UPDATED:

23:36 GMT, 24 November 2012

Ricky Hatton's long-awaited comeback against Vyacheslav Senchenko at the Manchester Arena ended in bitter disappointment in front of a sell-out crowd.

Read Sportsmail's live round-by-round coverage of the fight as well as the best of the action from the undercard which featured middleweight Martin Murray as he takes on Jorge Navarro and Scott Quigg's rematch against Rendall Munroe.

Devastating: Ricky Hatton's comeback ended in defeat

Devastating: Ricky Hatton's comeback ended in defeat

THE NIGHT'S BIG FIGHTS

8pm: Scott Quigg v Rendall Munroe (Quigg wins in sixth round)

9pm: Martin Murray v Jorge Navarro (Murray wins in sixth round)

10pm: Ricky Hatton v Vyacheslav Senchenko (Senchenko wins in ninth round)

19:00: Welcome
to Sportsmail's coverage of Ricky Hatton's comeback fight against
Vyacheslav Senchenko. I'm ringside at the Manchester Arena ahead of what
promises to be an explosive, and emotional night of boxing.

I'll
bring you round-by-round updates from the main event as well as the
best of the action from the undercard which features Scott Quigg v
Rendall Munroe (8pm) and Martin Murray v Jorge Navarro (9pm).

Hatton is expected to make his ringwalk at around 10pm for what will be a 10-round fight.

19.05: Sergey
Rabchenko has made a successful first defence of his European
light-middleweight title after a split decision victory over Cedric
Vitu.

The
Belarusian is trained by Ricky Hatton and was given a tough examination
but scraped through on the scorecards: 116-113, 114-115, 116-113.

Vitu, who had 'Cantona 7' on his shorts, suffered his second career defeat from 37 contests.

Ready lads Martin Murray (L) and Jorge Navarro will go head-to-head later on tonight

Ready lads Martin Murray (L) and Jorge Navarro will go head-to-head later on tonight

19.15: Vitu's
corner are furious at the decision but unfortunately my French amounts
to 'merci' and 'oui'. I did hear 'terrible' however which I suspect
means the same in English.

The next fight promises to be a belter. Stephen Foster Jnr takes on Gary Buckland for the British super featherweight title.

It's fair to say the acoustics in here are phenomenal. I doubt the roof will still be in place come 10pm.

19.28: A
lot of holding in the opening three rounds and the referee has been
quick to warn both men but Wales' reigning champion Gary Buckland has
been on top of Foster Jnr thus far.

19.42: Foster Jnr is the home favourite but both men are being well supported in the Arena which is steadily filling up.

The challenger has a nasty cut on his head after the two came together in the sixth round.

The blood looks to be running into the eye which could spell danger. Buckland remains in front on my card.

19.46: The referee calls for the doctor at the start of the seventh but he gives Foster Jnr the ok to continue.

This
fight has suddenly comer to life with both men throwing caution to the
wind. If the fight was stopped now, we would go to the judges' cards.

19.54: Foster
Jnr's corner have pulled their man out at the end of the eighth round
which means Buckland remains his British title. It was a nasty cut but
the Welshman had been on top throughout.

Hyped: Hatton's fans were out in full force at yesterday's weigh-in

Hyped: Hatton's fans were out in full force at yesterday's weigh-in

Hyped: Hatton's fans were out in full force at yesterday's weigh-in

20.00: Ricky Hatton is in his changing room and will be making his ring walk in two hours' time.

Next up is the super-bantamweight rematch between Scott Quigg and Rendall Munroe.

The
two first met back in June when a clash of heads saw the latter badly
cut and the fight stopped in the third round which meant it was scored a
technical draw.

Quigg
is the younger man and will need to win to continue his rise and keep
alive hopes of an all-British showdown with Carl Frampton.

20.05: Both men are in the ring and I'll be bringing you round-by-round coverage from here on in.

If Quigg is to be believed, he was just getting warmed up when the first fight was brought to an abrupt halt.

I expect the Bury man, who expelled himself from school to concentrate on boxing, to prevail on points.

Over and out: Rendall Munroe (right) is downed in the sixth round

Over and out: Rendall Munroe (right) is downed in the sixth round

The
interim WBA world super bantamweight title is on the line here which
doesn't mean a whole lot but will propel the winner closer to a world
title fight.

Munroe
is looking for his second shot at the best in the business after losing
to Toshiaki Nishioka on points for the WBC belt in 2010.

20.18: Round 1: A watchful start from both men but Munroe landed the better punches with a couple of lefts to the head.

A little after at the bell. My score (Quigg first) 9-10.

20.22: Round 2: Quigg
ups the ante in the second session but Munroe tucks up well to deflect
the punches on to his gloves. Nevertheless, the Bury man does enough to
nick it. 10-9.

20.26: Round 3: Quigg
begins and ends the stanza well but Munroe gets thorough with an
uppercut and a strong left hand. A straight right from Quigg on the bell
is not enough to rescue it 9-10.

Hammer: Munroe had no response for the stinging blows to the body

Hammer: Munroe had no response for the stinging blows to the body

20.29: Round 4: both
men are unrelenting and this us shaping up to be a cracker. Quigg is
making a point of targeting the body and is getting through. Munroe has
the greater power though 10-9.

20.32: Round 5: Munroe
bizarrely stops mid round to complain about Quigg hitting round the
back, leaving himself exposed and the Bury man pops out a strong jab.

This session could be the start of Quigg dominating after a fine flurry towards the end 10-9.

20:36: Round 6: All
over! Munroe takes a knee with a minute of the round remaining and
although he's up at four, another flurry from Quigg has the same result
but this time he stays down. An impressive win for Quigg who was getting
in top.

20.50: That was impressive from Quigg and he's made a real statement with that stoppage.

He was clearly targetting the body throughout and it paid dividends in that sixth round.

Never
the most spectacular of shots to watch but the damage is all to clear
to see; just as Yusaf Mack after his defeat to Carl Froch last weekend.

The first rendition of 'Hatton Wonderland' rings round the arena and the band are in fine form.

Next up is Martin Murray against undefeated, but untested Jorge Navarro.

Impressive: Scott Quigg ended the fight in the sixth

Impressive: Scott Quigg ended the fight in the sixth

21.00: Both fighters are in the ring and both bring undefeated records.

Murray
drew with then world champion Felix Sturm in Germany last December but
has a frustrating year since, fighting just once against Karim Achour in
June.

The St Helens man is expected to face Sergio Martinez on April 27 in Argentina if he comes through this one intact.

Navarro
hails from Venezuela and has only a dozen contests to his name, winning
10 by KO. The 27-year-old could be anything but it wouldn't be the
first time we've seen a South American come with a 100 per cent record
only to look below-par when truly tested.

21.07: Round 1:
Perhaps I was a little harsh on Navarro. He comes out looking to fight,
controlling the centre of the ring and forcing Murray back to the
ropes.

But
the Venezuelan doesn't manage to connect with his opponent and looks to
be struggling when Murray lands, as he does with a big right hand that
sends Navarro to the canvas with seconds of the session remaining.

He beats the count and comes under sustained pressure but covers up well. My score (Murray first) 10-8

21.13: Round 2: Navarro
remains keen to take the fight to his opponent despite the knockdown
but I'm not convinced he has the power to hurt Murray who works well off
the jab without ,looking spectacular.

His
middleweight rival Matthew Macklin is commentating on the fight for BBC
Five Live alongside Barry McGuigan and will be an interested spectator
10-9.

21.16: Round 3: Murray knows he has the tools to hurt Navarro but doesn't seem overly concerned about finishing the job early.

Getting some rounds under his belt wouldn't be the worst thing for him but an impressive showing wouldn't go amiss either.

He ends this round with a solid left to the body which leaves Navarro wincing 10-9.

21.20: Round 4: Navarro gets through with a left hook to the body which Murray takes offence to and responds with a swift one-two.

The St Helens man has his hands low at several points in the round as if now unconcerned by his opponent's power.

A couple of decent exchanges ensue but nothing to get us on the edges of our seats. 10-9.

21.25: Round 5: Murray
senses blood now that he's worked our his opponent.

He lands with a
right then a left and then with 50 seconds remaining, peppers Navarro's
marked face but the visitor stays standing 10-9

21.27: Round 6: ALL OVER! Murray looks
impressive when he lets his hands go and Navarro is down again after
another big right.

He rises on eight but its only a matter of time and
he is put out of his misery his corner, they throw in the towel after another unanswered
barrage.

Easy does it: Martin Murray holds his arms aloft with the WBA Interim Middleweight Title in Manchester

Easy does it: Martin Murray holds his arms aloft with the WBA Interim Middleweight Title in Manchester

21.30: Once he started letting his hands go, Murray was impressive but as suspected, Navarro wasn't up to much.

Murray hopes to fight again before taking on Martinez in what will be his toughest assignment to date by a long way.

Next up… Ricky 'The Hitman' Hatton is back!

21.35: We actually have another bout before Hatton. highly-rated Adam Etches will be in action in an eight-round middleweight contest.

21.50: Etches has won his fight. Hatton is on track to be in the ring at 22.00.

Hold onto your hats!

21.55: Michael Buffer is ringside and preparing to step through the ropes to announce the fight.

Heavyweight champion David Price is also in the audience. This should be a cracker!

21.59: Buffer
enters the ring to a rapturous reception. I can only imagine what this
is going to be like when Hatton steps back into the ring.

22.01: The crowd are in full voice now! 'There's only one Ricky Hatton… Walking in a Hatton Wonderland!'

There's a real din in the MEN now.

Ringside,
there's a few celebrities too. Boxing greats Roberto Duran, Joe
Calzaghe as well as former footballers Paul Dickov and John Hartson!

Hatton will be out in just a few minutes now!

22.07: They are still not out. With all this noise, I hope Senchenko hasn't bottled it!

22.08: The
crowd have just caught a glimpse of Hatton waiting to come out on the
screens. He's pacing in the dressing room in his blue-trimmed shorts.
They let out a massive roar!

22.10: This is a 10-round fight at welterweight.

If
the Hitman wins this one, he could face old foe Paulie Malignaggi in a
home and away two-bout showdown starting in New York in spring.

22.14: Senchenko will come out first. He only lost his world title to Malignaggi six months ago in his only career defeat.

He
is taller than Hatton and boxes behind the jab, but if Hatton's as
sharp as he says he is, expect to see him get inside the Ukrainian and
stop this fight late on after a tirade to the body.

22.16: Senchenko, on cue, is on his way out. Cue a chorus of boos from the partisan crowd.

Here he comes: Ricky Hatton makes his long awaited return to the ring

Here he comes: Ricky Hatton makes his long awaited return to the ring

22.20: Here he is! The 34-year-old comes out as the 20,000 fans join in the chorus of Blue Moon!

Hatton is, of course, a lifelong Manchester City fan.

He
joins Senchenko in the ring. It's hard to resist joining in to be
honest. The decibel level rises again as he enters the ring.

But can he roll back the years Over to Michael Buffer again, with both fighters in the ring.

22.23: Hatton is pacing the ring, and Senchenko reveals he's wearing a MANCHESTER UNITED shirt! Cheeky.

Buffer can barely be heard above the din. But they all tune in – and join in – for the 'Let's get ready to rumble!'

22.29: Round 1: We're underway and Hatton has completed his first round in three and a half years.

The
Hitman and Senchenko are battling for the initiative. Hatton catched
his opponent flush on more than one occasion and relentlessly stalks the
Ukrainian, edging the round 10-9.

22.33: Round 2: So much for a more defensive Hatton! He is still that all-action fighter we know and love, with some wild shots coming in.

He has Senchenko in trouble with a sharp left-right, but the visitor shows a little bravado and beckons the Mancunian on.

Hatton is looking good, but must be wary of the taller fighter. 10-9.

Malignaggi has moved to ringside from the pundits' box. Is he preparing to greet the Hitman after an early finish

22.37: Round 3: Hatton is well on top in the third. He's got Senchenko rockingwith a left hook and then a straight right.

The
Ukrainian makes out he's not hurt but he must be. This fight is going
the right way for Ricky, but he's still catching a few of his own.
Senchenko lands a straight flush on the chin late in the round. 10-9.

22.41: Round 4: That was his best round yet. Senchenko tries to showboat again as he holds his arms out after taking a huge hit.

The
final minute is all Hatton though. A right to Senchenko's face, then
hatton pushes him against the ropes and delivers an uppercut.

Hatton smells blood here, and the home crowd are baying for a knockout. He must be patient though.

Senchenko will be hoping he'll tire after three years off!

Ouch: Hatton delivers a blow to Senchenko's body

Ouch: Hatton delivers a blow to Senchenko's body

22.45: Round 5: Senchenko
takes that round. Hatton was a little more sluggish, which could be a
worry for the Mancunian. That was a closer round, but the Briton is
still up in this one for me.

Both fighters are marked, but nothing serious at the half-way point. 10-10.

22.50: Round 6: That
was a worrying round for Hatton. He ships a big right hand and then
slips while attempting a wild left which misses by a mile.

He needs to get those hands back up and fight smart. He was picked off a number of times in the sixth.

There's still four rounds to go and he's got it on points… as it stands. 9-10

At his mercy: Hatton started the fight well but let up as the rounds went on

At his mercy: Hatton started the fight well but let up as the rounds went on

22.54: Round 7: Another round to Senchenko but he does have a nasty cut under his left eye.

He
is beating Hatton to the punch with worrying regularity. The crowd are
really backing Hatton though. It's the jab that does it this time, and
forces Hatton to chase Senchenko down to hit back. 9-10.

22.57: Round 8:
A better round for Ricky, but he is trying too hard for the KO to
impress the fans. A better fighter than Senchenko would have punished
him by this point.

Hatton needs to get through these final two rounds, learn from this and have a warm up fight before taking on Malignaggi. 10-10.

23.02: ROUND 9: HATTON CAN'T GET UP! Hatton is down on his knees after taking a heavy body shot.

He can't beat the count and the
referee stops it. It's over! Hatton's comeback ends in crushing
disappointment after Senchenko ends his night early.

Hatton collapses on the mat and his team are in the ring and to his aid.

He's OK and eventually gets up, but he's crying his eyes out. Emotional scenes and that's surely it from Ricky Hatton.

The Hitman embraces Senchenko and that is that.

23.07: Buffer announces Senchenko as the winner. Some of the fans are booing the Ukrainian.

That's a little harsh. He won fair and square. Perhaps the Manchester United shirt didn't help.

Devastation: Hatton is crushed after being knocked out by a body blow

Devastation: Hatton is crushed after being knocked out by a body blow

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Manchester City Roberto Mancini: We must beware Rafa Benitez"s Chelsea boys

Mancini worry: We must beware Benitez's Chelsea boys – a new boss means they'll be firing

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UPDATED:

15:16 GMT, 23 November 2012

Roberto Mancini has warned his Manchester City players that Chelsea will be at their most dangerous this weekend under new manager Rafael Benitez.

City travel to Stamford Bridge on Sunday hoping to put the disappointment of their Champions League exit behind them.

Mancini’s team are unbeaten in the league this season but lost for the first team in the league last season when they travelled to Chelsea in December.

Scroll down for video

Early start: Roberto Mancini (left) arrives at City's HQ ahead of first-team training today

Early start: Roberto Mancini (left) arrives at City's HQ ahead of first-team training today

Warning: Mancini reckons that Chelsea will be dangerous on Sunday because of their new manager

Warning: Mancini reckons that Chelsea will be dangerous on Sunday because of their new manager

City manager Mancini said: 'When a club changes manager they are always very difficult in the next game.

'Chelsea were a good team under Roberto di Matteo and they will be a good team under Benitez.

'They have very good players and have played some fantastic football this season. Not so long ago they were top of the league.'

As a manager who operates under extreme pressure himself, Mancini said this morning that he felt sorry for Di Matteo, sacked on Wednesday.

Mancini said: 'He won the Champions League a few months ago but this is our life.

Rafa revival: Chelsea's new interim 1st team manager Rafa Benitez with assistant Bolo Zenden during his 1st training session at the Cobham

Rafa revival: Chelsea's new interim 1st team manager Rafa Benitez with assistant Bolo Zenden during his 1st training session at the Cobham

'When you make the choice to be a manager you know at times it can be difficult.'

Mancini confirmed that captain Vincent Kompany is struggling to make Sundays game with a knee injury. Gael Clichy is fit.

The Belgium defender suffered a knee injury in a clash with Cristiano Ronaldo late in Wednesday’s Champions League encounter with Real Madrid at the Etihad Stadium.

The 26-year-old completed the 90 minutes of the 1-1 draw but required treatment after the game and left the ground on crutches.

His place for the champions’ Barclays Premier League trip to Stamford Bridge is in doubt but Mancini has not yet ruled him out.

The Italian said: ‘We need to wait until tomorrow. I hope we can recover him for Sunday because Vinnie is strong.’

VIDEO: Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini talks ahead of tomorrow's away fixture against Chelsea

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Rangers v Elgin postponed after too many tickets sold

Rangers match against Elgin postponed after too many tickets sold

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UPDATED:

18:13 GMT, 23 November 2012

Rangers' Irn-Bru Third Division game against Elgin has been postponed because too many tickets were sold.

The Light Blues were set to travel north for Sunday's lunch-time clash at Borough Briggs.

However, the Ibrox club have confirmed the match is off due to 'circumstances completely outwith Rangers Football Club's control'.

Are you sure Rangers boss Ally McCoist trying to sell MORE tickets

Are you sure Rangers boss Ally McCoist trying to sell MORE tickets

A statement from the Scottish
Football League read: 'Following today's pre-ops meeting for the above
match, it has come to light that there has been a substantial oversale
of tickets for this fixture and Elgin City Football Club could not
confirm the exact number of tickets which have been sold for this match.

'Therefore, on the grounds of public safety and in close consultation with all parties, this match has now been postponed.

'Further information regarding tickets which have been sold will be provided as quickly as possible.

Small capacity: The number of tickets sold for the clash here at Borough Briggs was far too high

Small capacity: The number of tickets sold for the clash here at Borough Briggs was far too high

'Elgin City FC would like to apologise sincerely for this disappointing outcome. The SFL will conduct a full investigation into the circumstances.'

Elgin's apology has been accepted by Rangers, however manager Ally McCoist expressed his disappointment at the postponement.

He said: 'We are disappointed the match has been called off at such short notice and I know Elgin are as well.

'This was due to circumstances
outwith our control but we were informed a short time ago that there was
no way the match could go ahead on safety grounds.

'I am sure this is a huge disappointment to our supporters, who have purchased match tickets and arranged travel in good faith.

'Elgin City have apologised to the club and we accept their apology but I feel for our fans.'

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Stephane Sessegnon was distracted by transfer rumours, says Martin O"Neill

Sessegnon was distracted by transfer rumours but he's getting back to his best, says O'Neill

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UPDATED:

19:42 GMT, 22 November 2012

Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill believes Stephane Sessegnon was affected by rumours of a move away from the north east, despite signing a new contract in the summer.

The Benin international scored his first goal of the season in last week’s 3-1 win at Fulham and finally started to show the ability which made him the club’s player of last season.

O’Neill, who has persevered with the midfielder despite his alarming loss of form, believes Sessegnon, and England winger Adam Johnson are now starting to repay his faith. But he admitted Sessegnon’s indifferent start to this season had been perplexing for player and manager.

Back to his best: Stephane Sessegnon is regaining his form

Back to his best: Stephane Sessegnon is regaining his form

O’Neill said: 'He was somewhat sidelined by being touted around major football clubs.

'The view was that he may not be at this football club because some of the major clubs from abroad would be in for him. It didn’t happen and at that stage, I think there was a bit of disappointment on his part. He did get a little sidetracked by all the furore that surrounded him.

'If your head does get turned by possible promises of being taken, here, there and everywhere, and it doesn’t materialise, maybe it sets you back a bit.

'Also his family was a bit unsettled but we have resolved that now and hopefully we are seeing signs of returning to form. He has come back, signed a contract and he wants to go and prove himself again.

'Overall he is a danger and it is really very good to see him back to form. In training you would not believe he would be suffering any sort confidence loss.’

Former Paris Saint Germain ace Sessegnon, who is currently enjoying his longest run at a single club, was linked with a summer return to the French capital, as well as attracting interest from Tottenham and Arsenal, before they signed Santi Cazorla in a 15million deal from Malaga.

Wanderlust: The much-travelled Sessegnon appears content on Wearside

Wanderlust: The much-travelled Sessegnon (right) appears content on Wearside

O’Neill sees many comparisons with the Spanish midfielder who has lit up the Premier League since his summer arrival.

He added: 'Cazorla is really a fantastic player. Players like him are a necessity, not a luxury.

'Sess has ability to sit in that bracket and the natural talent to be in there but more consistency would be great. There was little period last year when he was at the edge of penalty area when you always felt something might happen.

'This year he has been bit frustrated with his own decision making more than anything else but the game against Everton in the first half, and that goal at Fulham, should give him that boost now.

'What I would say is that Sess playing well is so, so important for us because he can cause problems and he makes other teams start to think about it.’

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Rory McIlroy says he can win with any club

World No 1 McIlroy dismisses Faldo's fear, saying: I can win with any club

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UPDATED:

22:37 GMT, 20 November 2012

Rory McIlroy laughed in the face of danger; well, he did if you believe Sir Nick Faldo’s opinion that ditching his Titleist clubs is a ‘dangerous’ move.

Here at the season-ending Dubai World Championship, which marks the first time all the winning Ryder Cup team have been in the same place since Medinah, McIlroy will have a last outing with the only brand he has used since he was a teenager.

Speaking for the first time about his impending switch to Nike, the 23-year-old feels sure that there will be no teething problems.

Out in front: Rory McIlroy will end the year as World No 1

Out in front: Rory McIlroy will end the year as World No 1

Play with any club: McIlroy has opted to ditch Titleist clubs in favour of Nike

Play with any club: McIlroy has opted to ditch Titleist clubs in favour of Nike

He breezily dismissed Faldo’s belief it will take time to adjust. Six-time major champ Sir Nick had said: ‘I’d call it a dangerous move because we get a split-second with the ball on the club and you get used to how a ball feels and sounds.’

Final event: McIlroy is playing in the pro-am event prior to the DP World Tour Championship on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates

Final event: McIlroy is playing in the pro-am event prior to the DP World Tour Championship on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates

Not so, countered Rory. ‘I think all of the manufacturers make great equipment these days and it is all very similar. A lot of the manufacturers get their clubs made at the same factories.’

With the Race to Dubai wrapped up alongside the American money list and a record-breaking win at the US PGA, McIlroy has had a ‘phenomenal’ year.

‘The highlight was, of course, winning my second major,’ he said. ‘Up to then, it had been a good year but nothing more than that —when you win a major, it changes everything.

The biggest disappointment was the stretch in the middle where I did not play so well and missed the cut in two big tournaments in the PGA at Wentworth and my defence of the US Open.

‘As for my best shot, I will go for my final putt at the PGA at Kiawah to seal the record win. It summed up how the week had gone, and it is a putt I will think about for a long time.’

McIlroy ends the year with almost the same demands on his time as Tiger Woods had when he was in his prime. He knows he will have to be selfish and say no a lot more than he says yes.

He began so yesterday with a none-too-subtle rebuke to Arnold Palmer, of all people. The King joked recently he would break McIlroy’s arm if he gave the Arnold Palmer Invitational a miss next March.

‘My first thought when I read it was that I’d have to play the Masters next year with one arm,’ said McIlroy.

Perhaps his best answer came when he was asked what motivates him now he is, by a long way, the world’s best golfer.

‘Winning, and trying to become the best golfer I can be,’ he said. ‘Trying to win majors. Those are the really big things for me — winning tournaments and trying to win as many majors as possible. That is the benchmark.’

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Chelsea must cope without John Terry, says Roberto Di Matteo after West Brom defeat

We must cope without JT, warns RDM after Chelsea concede 18 goals in 8 games

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UPDATED:

14:12 GMT, 18 November 2012

Roberto Di Matteo has challenged Chelsea to show they can cope without skipper and defensive lynchpin John Terry and stop leaking so many sloppy goals.

The Blues boss is set to put more emphasis on making his side hard to beat by changing personnel and formation after the 2-1 defeat at his former club West Brom.

Chelsea have now conceded 18 goals in their last eight games in all competitions and collected two points from their last four Barclays Premier League matches.

Plenty to ponder: Roberto Di Matteo insists his side must learn to cut out sloppy goals

Plenty to ponder: Roberto Di Matteo insists his side must learn to cut out sloppy goals

Pain game: Chelsea are without injured captain John Terry for three weeks

Pain game: Chelsea are without injured captain John Terry for three weeks

The absence of Terry with a knee injury for three weeks after only just returning from a four game domestic ban has added to their woes ahead of Tuesday's away Champions League clash with Juventus.

Di Matteo said: 'Clean sheets certainly give you a chance to win games and we certainly have to improve on that side.

'Defensively we just weren't good enough. Of course we miss John (Terry). He is an important player for us.

'He gives us a lot of confidence at the back and in general to the team.

'It's a shame that he is injured – but we will have to do without him until he comes back – and improve.'

Di Matteo added: 'It's trying to find the right balance for us, whereby we can still create chances to win games.

'Maybe it's a time where we might have to change a bit in terms of our selections and the way we play but certainly we have to start with paying more attention defensively.

Fall guys: Juan Mata reacts in disappointment after Chelsea's defeat at the Hawthorns

Fall guys: Juan Mata reacts in disappointment after Chelsea's defeat at the Hawthorns

'Against West Brom, the first goal came from a cross and our defenders should have done better in dealing with that cross.

'We also had enough bodies in there to deal with the second goal as well.'

At least left-back Ashley Cole should be available in mid-week after appearing on the substitute's bench at the Hawthorns after his hamstring injury denied him a 100th England cap in Sweden.

Di Matteo is also conscious of Chelsea suffering their now accustomed decline in fortunes during November and the need to at least partially address their annual slump.

After the trip to Turin, they entertain league champions Manchester City next weekend and can ill afford to lose if they want to remain realistic title contenders.

He said: 'They are two massive games coming up we've got the players with a lot of experience.

'We've been in this position before but, for some reason, November for our club is a bad month and it seems to again be the case this year. we have to try and address that.'

Chelsea looked more menacing when
Daniel Sturridge was switched to being the main striker after an
anonymous contribution from Fernando Torres.

Di Matteo said: 'I think we were pushing on and putting West Brom a bit more under pressure.

'Sturridge had at least two very good chances. He showed that he has an impact there.'

Crash and burn: Di Matteo was concerned that some of his international players were tired after their mid-weeks excursions

Crash and burn: Di Matteo was concerned that some of his international players were tired after their mid-weeks excursions

In
Chelsea's defence, Di Matteo was forced into five changes because of
gruelling trips back from mid-week internationals particularly for
several of his players.

He said: 'Players came back from mid-week fatigued and not in the right condition to start the game.'

Albion's
man of the match Shane Long headed his side in front and, after Eden
Hazard's equaliser, turned provider to set up the winning goal for Peter
Odemwingie.

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Giovanni Trapattoni praises Wes Hoolahan and Seamus Coleman

Trapattoni still hopeful after young Ireland team suffer harsh defeat against Greece

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UPDATED:

00:46 GMT, 15 November 2012

Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni may have received the ringing endorsement from his FAI bosses but Irish football fans stayed away in their droves as they lost their latest friendly in front of just 20,070 supporters.

It was a harsh defeat on the Ireland boss and his young, experimental team who enjoyed 61 per cent possession, but went down 1-0 thanks to Jose Holebas’s 30th minute winner.

But it was an encouraging performance from Ireland, on the night Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored four against England in Stockholm as part of their preparations for the crucial March World Cup qualifying showdown.

Not tonight: The Republic of Ireland suffered another home defeat against Greece

Not tonight: The Republic of Ireland suffered another home defeat against Greece

Trapattoni, who finally drafted in Norwich playmaker Wes Hoolahan for 45 minutes, and handed starts to Shane Long, James McClean, Ciaran Clark and Robbie Brady, said he was delighted with the impact of the young stars on show.

The Ireland boss said: 'Hoolahan He was very good. He confirmed his quality that we knew. He is a good option if we need one striker.

'We don’t have another player in this position, a particular position, maybe Robbie Keane. He can be an option for the qualifiers.

'Coleman He was fantastic. He was man of the match. We know him. We follow him. We ask him the next future. Our midfield is also two fullbacks and he could make 20 crosses which is fantastic.

'He is fast and recovers the ball and has a good personality. For the future we will continue to play with him.

'And don’t forget Clark was fantastic, and Brady … they can grow.

'The result is a great disappointment but the performance gave me confirmation about these players.

'It was important to make a good performance after Germany and this is a progression from Kazakhstan and the Faroes.

'Players like Coleman, McCarthy, Long and McClean. They confirmed against a great team, like Greece, their quality and their personality.'

Happy: Giovanni Trapattoni was delighted with Seamus Coleman (left)

Happy: Giovanni Trapattoni was delighted with Seamus Coleman (left)

Ireland should have been awarded a first minute penalty and Trapattoni criticised Israeli referee Eitan Shmuelevitz for failing to spot Kostas Stafilidis’s blatant handball, claiming he did not have the courage to give the spot-kick because it was so early in the game.

He also said Kevin Doyle was fouled for a second half penalty.

'It’s not an excuse,' he said. 'We saw it on the television.

'But it’s important that we looked to score, for our confidence and our personality.'

'For the first 20 minutes we played very great football and then we conceded the goal.

'Football is about the result but we had a good reaction and we had more possession in the second-half.'

Meanwhile Greece boss Fernando Santos believe Ireland can bounce back from their 6-1 humiliation to Germany to grab second spot in their World Cup group and claim a play-off spot.

Unlucky: Ireland lost with a young and experimental team

Unlucky: Ireland lost with a young and experimental team

Santos said: 'I believe the Irish team has many chances to qualify for the World Cup.

'Maybe not in the first position because that will be more difficult but the Irish team has great character.

'And with these two aspects they may be able to pass through the play-offs and get to Brazil.'

Ireland will have to overcome Sweden and Ibrahimovic to grab the runners-up spot and the Paris St Germain striker grabbed the headlines again with his four goals against England, including a sensational overhead kick.

Trapattoni said: 'I hope he has run out of gasoline in his tank.

'We know him very well because he has played in Italy and he scored a fantastic goal with heel when I was manager of Italy.

'We know he is a striker who can score but we’re not going there already beaten.'

Oi! At one point players from both sides got into a scuffle

Oi! At one point players from both sides got into a scuffle

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Lewis Hamilton regrets Mercedes move – Martin Whitmarsh

I hope Hamilton thinks he's made an awful mistake, says McLaren chief Whitmarsh

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UPDATED:

11:15 GMT, 9 November 2012

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh believes Lewis Hamilton has already experienced regrets over his move to Mercedes.

Whitmarsh concedes he still does 'not fully understand' why Hamilton opted to quit McLaren after 14 years and join Mercedes, who have won just one race in three years since their return to Formula One.

Whitmarsh can appreciate Hamilton's desire 'to flee the nest' but remains disappointed by his decision, in particular as he feels it was made after a bad result in Singapore.

End of the road: Hamilton will leave McLaren at the end of the season

End of the road: Hamilton will leave McLaren at the end of the season

Hamilton should have won more titles, says Whitmarsh

Read Sportsmail's exclusive here

That was a race Hamilton should have won to firmly thrust himself back into the title picture, only to retire on lap 23 with a gearbox failure.

'It is always bad to make a decision in the aftermath of a bad race,' Whitmarsh told the official F1 website.

'He was pretty sure he was going to win that race and it (the retirement) was a disappointment.

Leading the pack: Hamilton retired from Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Leading the pack: Hamilton retired from Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

'I respect his decision, but I believe he would be better off with us; we are the stronger team and we intend to beat him next year.'

Since Hamilton announced he was off to join Mercedes on a 45million three-year contract, the Brackley-based outfit have failed to score a single point.

McLaren have hardly set the world on fire either, although Hamilton should have won in Abu Dhabi on Sunday only to suffer another mechanical issue while leading from pole position.

On your bike: Hamilton will join Mercedes on a three-year deal next term

On your bike: Hamilton will join Mercedes on a three-year deal next term

Asked whether Hamilton already regretted his decision, Whitmarsh added: 'I think he has on occasions, yes. 'Probably, when you make a decision you have to tell yourself that the decision is made so you have to look forward.

'You say “Okay, that it is in the past”, so you don't spend too much time thinking about why. You just look forward and make the best out of the new situation.

'You have to justify your decision. He is not going to say “Hey, they offered me more money”.

Regrets: Whitmarsh (left) hinted that Hamilton may have had second thoughts

Regrets: Whitmarsh (left) hinted that Hamilton may have had second thoughts

Phil Duncan F1 blog

'He is also not going to say he's made an awful mistake. I hope he thinks today he's made an awful mistake and I hope he thinks that next year.

'He's made that decision and he has to live with that decision.'

Despite such comments, Whitmarsh knows the end of the final race in Brazil in just over a fortnight's time will be highly emotional.

'Right now we still want to win races. We are motivated by that and our conversation circles around that,' he added.

'Maybe he is completely dispassionate about it, but my guess is we both will have very emotional moments in Brazil.

'I have known him since he was 11 and worked with him since his teens and I know we will both be very emotional after Brazil.

'We have had one or two emotional moments since the decision was taken and I believe, but you must ask him, that we have a very good relationship.'