Tag Archives: disquiet

Roberto Mancini still keen on Daniele De Rossi

Mancini is still keen on 30m De Rossi as City boss prepares for crucial week

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UPDATED:

21:51 GMT, 24 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Roberto Mancini admitted on Friday that the next seven days will shape Manchester City’s season and confirmed he has not given up on prising Daniele De Rossi away from Roma.

In a stance that will shift the spotlight once more on to football administrator Brian Marwood, Mancini insisted he needed ‘two or three’ more signings before next Friday’s transfer deadline to sustain a challenge in the Premier League and Champions League.

One of them may yet be Roma and Italy midfielder De Rossi, despite a public declaration earlier this week that he was staying put.

Ready for the challenge: Manchester City welcome 'a title challenger' to Etihad on Sunday

Ready for the challenge: Manchester City welcome 'a title challenger' to Etihad on Sunday

Ready for the challenge: Manchester City welcome 'a title challenger' to Etihad on Sunday

Sportsmail revealed that was more an
attempt to allay public disquiet than any definitive statement on his
future, and Mancini appeared to echo the belief that Roma would be
hard-pressed to turn down a pre-deadline bid.

Asked if he was convinced by De
Rossi’s pledge, Mancini, who ruled out another approach for Liverpool
defender Daniel Agger and denied any interest in Inter Milan’s Maicon,
smiled and said: ‘I don’t know about this. It is difficult, but I don’t
know what can happen. From my experience, while the window is still
open, anything can still happen for every player.’

A 30million asking price could
still prove an obstacle to a deal going through, just as Athletic
Bilbao’s near-32m valuation of Javi Martinez looks like proving
prohibitive. Mancini is aware Bayern Munich’s pursuit of Martinez has
hit a snag over how the fee should be paid but fears the cost is ‘too
high for us’.

In demand: Roma star Daniele De Rossi in training this week

In demand: Roma star Daniele De Rossi in training this week

The City manager, who is close to
adding 23-year-old Swansea winger Scott Sinclair to 12m acquisition
Jack Rodwell, is still demanding action to guard against a repeat of
last season’s European woes.

‘If we are going to do something in the Champions League, we need to improve,’ said Mancini.
‘In the Premier League, you can make some mistakes and lose one game, or
one goal, but still have time to recover. In the Champions League, this
is not the case.

‘The reason I want to improve the squad now is because I want to improve for the Champions League.

Attacking talent: Despite Sergio Aguero's injury, City have plenty of options going into the match

Attacking talent: Despite Sergio Aguero's injury, City have plenty of options going into the match

Attacking talent: Despite Sergio Aguero's injury, City have plenty of options going into the match

Attacking talent: Despite Sergio Aguero's injury, City have plenty of options going into the match

‘If we are to be competitive on both
fronts, we need maybe two or three more players. The Premier League and
Champions League are at the same level, then you have the FA Cup and
League Cup.

‘When you think of that, and realise
that in January we will lose Yaya and Kolo Toure and Abdul Razak to the
Africa Cup of Nations, it is clear we could have a serious problem.’

With Sergio Aguero out injured, Mario
Balotelli is in line to reclaim a starting place against Liverpool on
Sunday. Mancini despaired at the way Balotelli picked up two yellow
cards in quick succession at Anfield last season and admitted he is
still unsure what to expect from his maverick striker.

Breaking into a broad smile, after
being asked if he noticed a new maturity about the Italy striker at this
summer’s European Championship, Mancini said: 'Mario is the same. The
Euros may have helped him improve his ways, but I don’t think he can
change too much in one month.'

Manchester United target James Rodriguez has 40m buy-out clause in contract

Rodriguez conundrum for United as Porto reveal winger's 40m buy-out clause

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UPDATED:

09:02 GMT, 20 June 2012

Manchester United may have to dig deeper than they imagined to land James Rodriguez after it emerged the free-scoring winger has a 40million buy-out clause in his Porto contract.

Sportsmail reported earlier this week how United were ready to turn to Rodriguez, should Nani’s increasing disquiet over his future lead to a move away from Old Trafford.

The 20-year old was widely thought to be valued at 25million, but Porto were quick to point out that he happily agreed last summer to a 45million euro escape clause being inserted into a contract that still has four years to run.

How much! Rodriguez (centre) has a 40million release clause in his contract

How much! Rodriguez (centre) has a 40million release clause in his contract

Though the Primeira Liga champions may not necessarily hold out for the full amount, they view it as a strong bargaining tool for pushing any asking price beyond 30million.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson had Rodriguez watched repeatedly last season, particularly towards the end of the campaign, as the Colombia winger put the finishing touches to an impressive tally of 13 goals from 20 League appearances.

He would be a ready-made replacement for Nani, whose quest for a new 120,000-a-week deal has elicited little response from United's hierarchy and left him pondering an end to his Old Trafford career, with two years left on his current agreement.

United front: Sir Alex will have to up his offer

United front: Sir Alex will have to up his offer

The 25-year old Portugal winger may not have as many suitors as he imagined, though. Strongly linked with Juventus, he was named by Antonio Conte as his number one transfer target when the 42-year old took over as head coach in Turin 13 months ago.

But others have overtaken Nani on
Conte's wish-list, after he switched to a 3-5-2 formation and began
looking for candidates to fill a wing-back role.

Juve
recently asked Manchester City if they could take Aleksandar Kolarov on
a year-long loan but were told he was available only on a 12million
permanent deal.

With
players needing to be sold to finance another attempt to prise Robin van
Persie away from Arsenal, Juve have put their pursuit of Kolarov on
hold for now.

Milan rivals Inter and AC are monitoring the uncertainty over Nani and may offer him a fresh start.

Aston Villa fans take out Birmingham Mail advert in Alex McLeish protest

EXCLUSIVE: Aston Villa fans take out ad in protest against furious McLeish

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UPDATED:

23:37 GMT, 4 May 2012

Aston Villa supporters have cranked up the pressure on Alex McLeish by taking out an advert in a local paper and calling for him to be sacked.

One of the fans' websites has held an online whipround and stumped up 700 to book space on the back of Saturday's Birmingham Mail.

Under pressure: McLeish is feeling the heat from Aston Villa's fans

Under pressure: McLeish is feeling the heat from Aston Villa's fans

Details of the advert were being put together on Friday night by the paper's staff but under the heading 'We told you so', fans have made public their disquiet.

Although the newspaper and club enjoy a close relationship, editors had little choice but to allow the advertisement, placed by myoldmansaid.com, as it is not offensive.

Scroll down for video
Tempers flare: Video footage shows Chris Herd (white shirt) being held back while James Collins stands in the background

Tempers flare: Video footage shows Chris Herd (white shirt) being held back while James Collins stands in the background

Herd then moves back while Fabian Delph (foreground) tries to calm the situation down

Herd then moves back while Fabian Delph (foreground) tries to calm the situation down

It is just the latest in a series of
incidents to have befallen the club owned by American billionaire Randy
Lerner, who threw his full weight behind the sanctions imposed by
McLeish in light of Sportsmail's revelations that three of the club's players had gone drinking after an awards evening.

The trio – James Collins, Chris Herd and Fabian Delph – had been embroiled in unsavoury scenes outside a nightclub.

Drama: James Collins (below left) and Chris Herd (above) were involved in a stand-off with members of the club's staff, while team-mate Fabian Delph is said to have acted as peacemaker in the incident

Drama: James Collins (below left) and Chris Herd (above) were involved in a stand-off with members of the club's staff, while team-mate Fabian Delph is said to have acted as peacemaker in the incident

Drama: James Collins (right) and Chris Herd (left) were involved in a stand-off with members of the club's staff, while team-mate Fabien Delph is said to have acted as peacemaker in the incident

Drama: James Collins (right) and Chris Herd (left) were involved in a stand-off with members of the club's staff, while team-mate Fabien Delph is said to have acted as peacemaker in the incident

McLeish, who has fined them, said: 'We won't tolerate that kind of behaviour – rules have been broken.

'It's
an embarrassment. A slur on the club. I feel for Randy Lerner and for
the fans of Aston Villa FC. 'It reflects on the lack of respect they
have for their profession. I'm not going to tolerate it.'

McLeish added: 'Maybe they thought we wouldn't do anything about it. But we have.

'Considering
what we are fighting for, I'm all the more baffled. We just don't need
this now. 'I hope it's an isolated incident. But clearly it's (a
drinking culture) still out there.'

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SORRY ISN'T THE HARDEST WORD

JAMES COLLINS APOLOGY

'I'm sorry for what has happened and I take responsibility for my actions.

'It does not show me in a very good light and does not put the club in a very good light.

'I know I should not have been out in
a club with my wife after the end-of-season dinner at that time in the
morning and I was wrong to be in that position.

'It was a misunderstanding and was resolved quickly but I understand how it looks and I apologise for that.

'As a senior, experienced player, I understand I am in a position of responsibility.

'I let myself get into a position in which I didn't act responsibly and I apologise for this.

'It was Monday night, it was early in the week, six days before we next play and I didn't have training the next day.

'But I know I've let myself down,
I've let the club down, I've let the manager down and most of all I've
let down the fans of Aston Villa who have been great to me.

'We have a very important game of
football on Sunday at Villa Park against Tottenham and I'm looking
forward to giving my full commitment, as always, and securing three
points.'

CHRIS HERD APOLOGY

'I would like to apologise for what
happened on Monday night and I apologise for being out at that time. We
had gone to a club after the end-of-season dinner with girlfriends and
wives accompanying us.

'It was no one's intention to get involved in any trouble but I realise that my actions on the night were not acceptable.

'Even if I felt at the time that the
prior situation inside the nightclub had not been dealt with properly, I
still should not have acted in the manner in which I did. I'm sorry to
the fans and I'll do everything I can to make it up to them as they have
been fantastic since I've come into the team.

'I would also like to apologise to
the club and my immediate aim is to help the team to finish the season
strongly and to secure our position in the Premier League.'

FABIAN DELPH APOLOGY

'I'm sorry for being out on Monday
night, the early hours of Tuesday morning and I apologise to the club,
the fans, the chairman, the manager and my colleagues.

'I am injured, I won't be fit again until pre-season and I probably thought that going out would not carry any consequences.

'I was sober, I was in control of my actions and I did try to calm down the situation. I didn't hit out or strike anyone but I should not have been there and I was wrong to be in this position.'

Shay Given calls for Aston Villa unity

Shay's plea for Villa unity before tricky Tottenham encounter

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UPDATED:

21:41 GMT, 29 April 2012

Alex McLeish’s players have made a plea for unity ahead of their crunch Villa Park clash with Tottenham.

So far this season, any public disquiet at McLeish’s reign has seen a few dozen disgruntled fans make their feelings clear on matchdays.

However, following the poisonous scenes at Villa Park in the wake of the home defeat by Bolton, Sunday’s game with Spurs could see far more vociferous demonstrations.

Plea: Shay Given wants a better atmosphere around the club

Plea: Shay Given wants a better atmosphere around the club

And, after a battling draw with local rivals Albion, both keeper Shay Given and defender Alan Hutton were keen to make their point.

‘Whatever their thoughts, the most important thing is that Aston Villa stay in the Premier League,’ said Given.

‘Of course, they were disappointed last Tuesday. We all were. It is important we stick together.

‘It’s not about the manager. It’s about the players. About Aston Villa as a club.’

Hutton added: ‘We know they are disappointed, but if they could put that to one side and get behind us for what is a huge game, it would be a massive help. It does give you a lift to have the crowd totally behind you, especially at such a big stadium as Villa Park.’

It was Given who produced a stunning stop in the dying seconds to prevent Peter Odemwingie snatching a win for Albion. ‘That’s what good goalkeepers do,’ said McLeish.

‘And for me Shay would rank among the best ever. I wouldn’t want to be as dramatic as to say it has saved us, but to lose in the last minute would have been utterly depressing.’

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LONDON 2012 OLYMPICS: Games set to win top award for hoasting

London 'on way to gold': Games get top marks after final inspection

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UPDATED:

22:02 GMT, 30 March 2012

London is in a position to win a ‘gold medal’ for its hosting of this summer’s Olympics, according to the final, glowing inspection by the IOC.

Lord Coe and his organising committee (LOCOG) enjoyed Friday’s back-slapping verdict on their preparations, though they were warned not to let up on the last lap.

Denis Oswald, the IOC’s chief inspector, said: ‘With 119 days to go until the Games begin, London is ready to welcome the world.

High praise: IOC president Denis Oswald is confident London will put on a good Olympic Games

High praise: IOC president Denis Oswald is confident London will put on a good Olympic Games

London presented us with a strong vision seven years ago and, while many details need to be finalised between now and July 27, they are well on track to deliver an outstanding event.

‘If you are in a race, details can make a difference between gold, silver and bronze. They are leading into the final straight and, if they remain focused and work as hard as they have so far, I’m confident the colour of the medal will not be a disappointment to them.’

Top marks: Prime Minister David Cameron with IOC President Jacques Rogge and Lord Coe

Top marks: Prime Minister David Cameron with IOC President Jacques Rogge and Lord Coe

Coe, sharing the stage with Oswald, said he perceived a swell of Games support around the country.

‘This is not a dance anyone wants to sit out,’ he said. He pointed to success in recruiting 70,000 ‘Games Makers’ to help run the Olympics and predicted the arrival of the Torch Relay on May 18 would prompt people to recognise ‘an extraordinary moment in the history of this country’.

Back slapping: Rogge and Cameron meet at No 10 Downing Street

Back slapping: Rogge and Cameron meet at No 10 Downing Street

For all the precision of the preparation, the ticketing policy has caused the greatest disquiet. However, a further million general Olympic tickets, plus another 1.5m football tickets and 1.5m Paralympic tickets, will go on sale in late April or May. Doubts also persist over transport demands.

Another point of controversy was underlined by about 25 protestors at yesterday’s press conference in the City of London.

They were angry that the wrap around the Olympic Stadium is sponsored by Dow Chemical, who took over the Union Carbide company that ran the Bhopal plant in India, scene one of the world’s worst chemical disasters in 1984.

Graeme Swann remains England No 1 but day one in Sri Lanka was day to forget for spinners

Swann remains No 1… but this was a day to forget for England's top two spinners

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UPDATED:

12:48 GMT, 26 March 2012

Graeme Swann's third ball of the series this morning produced both a compliment and a concern. It was lifted high over wide long-on for six by the classy Mahela Jayawardene, who – in keeping with the general tone of a day on which he showed off his flexibility – managed to send out two messages at once.

The first was the importance of Swann to England's attack – a twist on the old West Indian wisdom that, if you target the opposition captain, the rest will follow.

But the second, for England followers at least, may cause some disquiet. Because perhaps Jayawardene was making another point too. Is Swann's aura, he seemed to be wondering as he shimmied down the track, quite what it used to be

In a spin: Has Swann lost his aura... and can Monty learn to catch

In a spin: Has Swann lost his aura... and can Monty learn to catch

In a spin: Has Swann lost his aura… and can Monty learn to catch

It is a question that is increasingly aired now that people are wondering whether Swann is in fact England's best spinner.

The cricket in Galle provided some neat ammunition to those who feel the last few months have been rather kinder to Monty Panesar (his bowling, that is, not his fielding).

/03/26/article-0-12573695000005DC-250_634x370.jpg” width=”634″ height=”370″ alt=”Mixed bag: England made gains with the ball but will have ended the day frustrated” class=”blkBorder” />

Mixed bag: England made gains with the ball but will have ended the day frustrated

Mixed bag: England made gains with the ball but will have ended the day frustrated

And when the next leftie, Rangana Herath, finally appeared at No 9, he was expertly shielded by Jayawardene.

But these are the challenges a Test cricketer must overcome. And when Swann was finally removed after a second spell lasting 17 overs and yielding 74 runs, Samit Patel duly got rid of Herath with his second delivery. It was the stuff of Sod.

There is a school of thought that says Swann has been flattered by the number of left-handed batsmen in the modern era, plus the impact of ball-tracking technology, which has helped open umpires' minds to the possibility of front-foot lbws.

Those same critics will point to his record against Australia and India – he averages 40 against both.

And on days like these, with Swann forced to go round the wicket to increase the chances of an lbw verdict against the right-handers, he looks anything but the bowler whose overall career record of 166 wickets at under 29 apiece is in itself an answer to the naysayers.

Down and out: Patel was the only spinner to take wickets

Down and out: Patel was the only spinner to take wickets

Down and out: Patel was the only spinner to take wickets

Yet the debate remains one we are likely
to have only in Asia. At home, England simply don’t play two spinners.
And that means Panesar misses out.

For cricket purists, who love a specialist, this may sound counter-intuitive. But the suspicion that Swann is not on top of his game at the moment does not yet equate to thoughts of a terminal decline.

And while Panesar continues to drop chances as simple as the two he missed in the final hour to reprieve Jayawardene, he will never embody the overall package England demand from their spinner.

One thing is for sure. The only two wickets to fall to spin were both claimed by Patel, a debutant who was picked as much for his batting as his left-arm spin, and partly because Ravi Bopara was unable to bowl.

In the battle for the title of England's No 1 spinner, this was not a day for the annals.