Tag Archives: familiar

Jack Rodwell: I was surprised Manchester City bid for me

I was surprised City signed me, admits Rodwell as he reveals injury hell

through injury, but the youngster’s concerns were not limited
to his hamstrings after City made their move last summer.

Familiar face: Rodwell contests with future team-mate David Silva last season

Familiar face: Rodwell contests with future team-mate David Silva last season

Manager Roberto Mancini warned that
he had to improve while England boss Roy Hodgson expressed a fear that
he would spend much of the season on the bench at his new club. It did
not help when Rodwell’s misplaced passes led to City conceding goals
against Southampton and Borussia Dortmund in his first few games.

Asked if he was surprised at the
transfer, he said: ‘I was a little bit, yes, because of the injuries –
it was a good surprise though.

‘I’d seen the German doctor
Muller-Wohlfahrt a couple of months before City came in so I felt I was
fit at the time but I obviously wasn’t. I probably didn’t do enough work
after getting treated by him which I know now.

‘I don’t really think about the price
tag or anything like that. When you’re on the pitch you can’t think
about what the fans are thinking. It’s natural when you’ve spent that
much money and you’ve won the league last year, you do expect a little
bit of something in return.

‘I feel as though the fans saw a little bit more of me (against Chelsea) but there’s still a lot more to come in my opinion.’

Luiz Felipe Scolari returns to Chelsea for Brazil v Russia freindly

Big Phil back at the Bridge! Scolari returns to Chelsea…but only for Brazil-Russia clash

By
Dan Ripley

PUBLISHED:

15:33 GMT, 15 January 2013

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UPDATED:

17:34 GMT, 15 January 2013

He may not be Roberto Di Matteo but Chelsea fans will see a former manager return to the club next month.

Luiz Felipe Scolari will set foot inside Stamford Bridge again but it won’t be to replace interim boss, Rafael Benitez.

Scolari will lead his Brazil side out in an international friendly against Russia, managed by ex-England boss Fabio Capello.

Guess who's back: Luiz Felipe Scolari returns to Chelsea with his Brazil side

Guess who's back: Luiz Felipe Scolari returns to Chelsea with his Brazil side

Quick decline: Despite a promising start, Scolari failed to win over the Chelsea dressing room before being dismissed seven months into the job

Quick decline: Despite a promising start, Scolari failed to win over the Chelsea dressing room before being dismissed seven months into the job

The Brazilian spent just seven months in charge of the west London club before being sacked in February 2009 but admitted he was looking forward to returning.

Scolari said: 'Going to London is a great joy. It will be an opportunity to thank the Chelsea's fans for the affection and the great interaction I had with them.

‘The game against Russia will be very
important in order to prepare Brazil's national team for the
Confederations Cup in 2013 and the World Cup in 2014. Russia is a strong
opponent and it is traditionally hard to play against them.'

England's nemesis: Scolari eliminated the Three Lions from three successive tournaments between 2002 to 2006 while in charge of Brazil and Portugal

England's nemesis: Scolari eliminated the Three Lions from three successive tournaments between 2002 to 2006 while in charge of Brazil and Portugal

England's nemesis: Scolari eliminated the Three Lions from three successive tournaments between 2002 and 2006 while in charge of Brazil and then Portugal

Familiar face: former England manager Fabio Capello will lead out Russia against Scolari's Brazil at Stamford Bridge

Familiar face: former England manager Fabio Capello will lead out Russia against Scolari's Brazil at Stamford Bridge

Scolari enjoyed a positive start in his spell as Chelsea manager, winning 10 of his first 13 league games. But just four victories in his next 12 ultimately cost him his job as his side slipped out of the title picture.

The 64-year-old was appointed Brazil boss for a second time last November, having helped the country lift the World Cup in 2002 before going on to lead Portugal at Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup.

The match between Brazil and Russia will be the first international match at Stamford Bridge for 60 years – the ground having previously hosted four England games – and is due to take place on Monday March 25 at 7.30pm.

Joey Barton attends QPR v Liverpool match

A happy return, Joey Barton back from Marseille to watch parent club QPR collapse against Liverpool at Loftus Road

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UPDATED:

00:12 GMT, 31 December 2012

Joey Barton made the trip across the Channel from Marseille to watch his parent club Queens Park Rangers suffer a crushing defeat at the hands of Liverpool.

Barton played in Marseille's 1-0 victory over Saint Etienne on December 23, but took the opportunity to put in an appearance at Loftus Road to watch the basement side attempt to topple the visiting Reds.

It didn't go well for Harry Redknapp's men. Luis Suarez hit a double and Daniel Agger headed home to condemn Rangers to yet another defeat, leaving them rock bottom and eight points from safety.

Familiar face: Joey Barton (second row, centre) was back at Loftus Road

Familiar face: Joey Barton (second row, centre) was back at Loftus Road

The loanee made the switch to the Ligue 1 club this summer, but first had to serve a 12-match domestic ban for his part in the final-day fracas at the Etihad Stadium last season.

The 30-year-old midfielder has deputised 12 times for Marseille, who are level on points with league-leaders Paris Saint Germain and second-placed Lyon in the French league.

Barton scored his first and only competitive goal for the Ligue 1 title hopefuls against Borussia Mnchengladbach in their 2-2 Europa League draw in November.

Impressed Barton watched his parent club get hammered 3-0

Impressed Barton watched his parent club get hammered 3-0

Impressed Barton watched his parent club get hammered 3-0

Redknapp's QPR, on the other hand, are rooted to the bottom of the Premier League, having picked up a paltry 10 points from the first 19 games.

Barton, who has won over the fans of his temporary club, will be back in France for Marseille's Coupe de France tie against Guingamp on January 6 at the Stade Velodrome.

Is that it Luis Suarez led the charge for Liverpool and scored twice

Is that it Luis Suarez led the charge for Liverpool and scored twice

Contrast: It's all smiles at Marseille, who are level on points with league leaders Paris Saint Germain

Contrast: It's all smiles at Marseille, who are level on points with league leaders Paris Saint Germain

John Terry pictured in his pants watching Chelsea on TV v Monterrey

Meanwhile… in Cobham: The stadium might be half empty but Terry's watching his team-mates on TV

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UPDATED:

14:00 GMT, 13 December 2012

Even though there were only 36,648 fans in the 72,327 capacity Nissan Stadium in Yokohama to watch Chelsea's 3-1 Club World Cup semi-final triumph over Monterrey, skipper John Terry was watching on television.

As most of the Blues' players explored the delights of Japan in the past few days, life has been continuing as normal for two familiar faces.

Back at the club's training ground in Cobham, Terry continued his recuperation from a knee ligament injury and posted a picture of himself watching the game.

Support: John Terry backed his team-mates to beat Monterrey in the Club World Cup

Support: John Terry backed his team-mates to beat Monterrey in the Club World Cup

He has remained in the UK, alongside former club favourite Didier Drogba, who is back training with the club.

Terry had also posted an Instagram picture of
himself on an exercise bike in a deserted gym as he tries to get back to
full fitness to help with Chelsea's hectic schedule.

Lonely: John Terry posted this picture of himself in the gym at Chelsea's Cobham training ground as he continues he rehabilitation from injury while his teammates play in Japan

Lonely: John Terry posted this picture of himself in the gym at Chelsea's Cobham training ground as he continues he rehabilitation from injury while his teammates play in Japan

Old pals: Didier Drogba is also back in training with Terry and Chelsea as he prepares for the African Cup of Nations

Old pals: Didier Drogba is also back in training with Terry and Chelsea as he prepares for the African Cup of Nations

He also took a cosy snap of himself with Drogba, who left for Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua in the summer and who is back keeping his fitness levels up before representing Ivory Coast in the African Cup of Nations.

Terry is 6,000 miles away from the rest of his teammates, who are in Japan trying to cap their European Cup-winning year with more silverware.

Back in town: The Ivorian left Chelsea for Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua in the summer

Back in town: The Ivorian left Chelsea for Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua in the summer

The 31-year-old defender damaged knee ligaments in the 1-1 draw with Liverpool in November and is expected to be out for over a month.

In order to combat jetlag, manager Rafa Benitez took his players to a Yokohama bowling alley but admitted they were struggling to adapt their sleep patterns to the time difference.

They beat the Mexican side to advance to a final with Brazilian team Corinthians this Sunday.

Meanwhile... In Japan: Chelsea's squad on a walkabout in Yokohama before their Club World Cup semi-final with Monterrey

Meanwhile… In Japan: Chelsea's squad on a walkabout in Yokohama before their Club World Cup semi-final with Monterrey

Big in Japan: Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez meets fans as the team walk around Yokohama before the game

Big in Japan: Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez meets fans as the team walk around Yokohama before the game

Ready for the game: These two Chelsea fans were fully kitted out

Ready for the game: These two Chelsea fans were fully kitted out

John Terry and Didier Drogba train at Cobham as Chelsea play out in Japan

Meanwhile… in Cobham: Terry posts pictures of lonely training with old pal Drogba as Chelsea go for glory in Japan

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UPDATED:

09:37 GMT, 13 December 2012

As most of Chelsea's players explored the delights of Japan ahead of their Club World Cup semi-final with Monterrey on Thursday, life continued as normal for two familiar faces.

Back at the club's training ground in Cobham, captain John Terry continued his recuperation from a knee ligament injury alongside former club favourite Didier Drogba, who is back training with the club.

Terry posted an Instagram picture of himself on an exercise bike in a deserted gym as he tries to get back to full fitness to help with Chelsea's hectic schedule.

Lonely: John Terry posted this picture of himself in the gym at Chelsea's Cobham training ground as he continues he rehabilitation from injury while his teammates play in Japan

Lonely: John Terry posted this picture of himself in the gym at Chelsea's Cobham training ground as he continues he rehabilitation from injury while his teammates play in Japan

Old pals: Didier Drogba is also back in training with Terry and Chelsea as he prepares for the African Cup of Nations

Old pals: Didier Drogba is also back in training with Terry and Chelsea as he prepares for the African Cup of Nations

He also took a cosy snap of himself with Drogba, who left for Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua in the summer and who is back keeping his fitness levels up before representing Ivory Coast in the African Cup of Nations.

Terry is 6,000 miles away from the rest of his teammates, who are in Japan trying to cap their European Cup-winning year with more silverware.

Back in town: The Ivorian left Chelsea for Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua in the summer

Back in town: The Ivorian left Chelsea for Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua in the summer

The 31-year-old defender damaged knee ligaments in the 1-1 draw with Liverpool in November and is expected to be out for over a month.

In order to combat jetlag, manager Rafa Benitez took his players to a Yokohama bowling alley but admitted they were struggling to adapt their sleep patterns to the time difference.

They face Mexican side Monterrey in Thursday morning, hoping to advance to a final with Brazilian team Corinthians this Sunday.

Meanwhile... In Japan: Chelsea's squad on a walkabout in Yokohama before their Club World Cup semi-final with Monterrey

Meanwhile… In Japan: Chelsea's squad on a walkabout in Yokohama before their Club World Cup semi-final with Monterrey

Big in Japan: Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez meets fans as the team walk around Yokohama before the game

Big in Japan: Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez meets fans as the team walk around Yokohama before the game

Ready for the game: These two Chelsea fans were fully kitted out

Ready for the game: These two Chelsea fans were fully kitted out

Ricky Ponting retires from Test cricket

Former Australia captain Ponting announces retirement from Test cricket on eve of third Test against South Africa

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UPDATED:

07:06 GMT, 29 November 2012

Ricky Ponting has set his sights on a fairytale finish to his Australia career after announcing he will retire at the end of the third Test against South Africa.

Ponting, 37, will call time on a storied international career as the second highest run-scorer in Test history and the most successful captain of all time with 48 Test wins.

He cited recent struggles with the bat as the reason for his dramatic eve-of-Test announcement but holds out hope of a fitting final chapter against the Proteas in Perth.

Legend: Ponting is Australia's most successful captain

Legend: Ponting is Australia's most successful captain

Victory for the hosts would see them move back to first place in the ICC rankings and Ponting is fully focused on bowing out on familiar territory – on top of the world.

Ponting declined to offer a lengthy retrospective of his Baggy Green career – though he promised that would follow later – and instead outlined his burning desire to secure one last win.

'A few hours ago I let the team know my decision to make this Test my last. It’s a decision I thought long and hard about but at the end of the day it’s based on my results and my output in this series so far,' he said, after scoring nought and four in his last two knocks.

'It hasn’t been what I expect of myself or to the level I feel is required for batsmen in the Australia team.

World class: 'Punter' will go down as one of the best batsmen in Test history

World class: 'Punter' will go down as one of the best batsmen in Test history

World class: 'Punter' will go down as one of the best batsmen in Test history

'I continued to play as long as I felt I could contribute to wins but over the last couple of weeks I felt my level of performance has not been good enough to do that.

'My passion and love of the game has not changed one bit over the last 12-18 months, where things haven’t been as I’d have liked or pictured them.

'But as far as I’m concerned my immediate focus – and the focus of the team – is on what we’re presented with tomorrow. It’s an unbelievable opportunity in what is almost a grand final situation.

'I’ve prepared this week and I’m hungrier than ever. I want this win more than any game I’ve ever played in.

Old foe: Ponting and Andrew Flintoff face-off during the 2006-07 Ashes series

Old foe: Ponting and Andrew Flintoff face-off during the 2006-07 Ashes series

'If that happensd to lead to a win for the team and we get back to the top of the tree and No 1 in the world then there’s no better time to finish.'

The Perth Test will be Ponting’s 168th, meaning he will finish his career level with former captain Steve Waugh as Australia’s most-capped Test player.

Heading into his final match the Tasmanian, who will turn 38 next month, has scored an Australian-record 13,366 runs at an average of 52.21, including 41 centuries and a highest score of 257.

Ponting’s retirement comes nine months after he quit the one-day international arena and just under two years after he relinquished the captaincy of the Test squad following the 2010/11 Ashes loss.

Best ever: Ponting has more Test wins than any other Australia captain

Best ever: Ponting has more Test wins than any other Australia captain

His 41 Test wins as captain was another Australian record, although his leadership will also be remembered for three Ashes defeats, the first of them in 2005 coming after his country had held the famous urn for 16 years.

After making his debut in 1995/96 against Sri Lanka, scoring 96 before being given out LBW to a delivery that appeared set to bounce over the top of the stumps, Ponting became Australia’s most prolific batsman.

His international career will now wind down at the same ground where it began against Sri Lanka.

Bowing out: Ponting will play his last Test against South Africa

Bowing out: Ponting will play his last Test against South Africa

Ponting was named ICC Player of the Year twice, in 2006 and ‘07, the international body’s Test player of the year three times – in 2003, ‘04 and ‘06 – won the Allan Border Medal in 2004, ‘06, ‘07 and ‘09 and as well as being the Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 2006 was also CricInfo’s Player of the Decade for 2000-09.

He will play out the remainder of the summer with Tasmania and confirmed he will still play in the Big Bash with Hobart Hurricanes.

RICKY PONTING FACTFILE

1974: Born December 19 in Launceston, Tasmania.
1986: At the age of 12 he signs a bat contract with Kookaburra.
1992: Scores 56 against South Australia in his first-class debut for Tasmania, aged 17.
1995: February – Makes one-day international debut for Australia against South Africa aged 20, but is bowled by Eric Simons for one.
December – Makes Test debut against Sri Lanka, scoring 96.
1996: January – Makes his first ODI century with 123 against Sri Lanka.
March – At 21, becomes youngest batsman to score a World Cup century with 102 against the West Indies.
1997: Records his first Test century with 127 against England at Headingley in his first Ashes innings. However, he was in and out of the Test team for the next two years.
1999: A fight outside a pub in Kings Cross, Sydney earns him a suspension, but later in the year a century against the West Indies sees him cement his place.
2002: When Steve Waugh is dropped, Ponting vaults over vice-captain Adam Gilchrist to become Australia's ODI captain.
2003: Leads the team undefeated through the 2003 World Cup and makes an unbeaten 140 in the final.
2004: Steve Waugh's retirement opens the door for Ponting to assume the Test captaincy, and he wins his debut match against Sri Lanka in Galle in March.
2005: September – Becomes first Australia captain since Allan Border to experience Ashes defeat as England win a thrilling series 2-1.
Ponting scores 1,544 runs in the calendar year, an Australian record.
2006: January – Becomes the only player to mark his 100th Test with a century in each innings, scoring 120 and 143no against South Africa in Sydney.
March – Scores 164 from only 105 balls in the fifth ODI against South Africa in Johannesburg, but sees the Proteas make 438 for nine in reply to Australia's 434 for four.
December – Leads Australia to a 5-0 whitewash of England with his two centuries seeing him pass Waugh's record of 32 Test tons for Australia.
2007: April – In a World Cup match against South Africa in St Kitts, Ponting passes the 10,000-run mark in ODIs, the first Australian to reach the mark and seventh man in the world. Australia win the World Cup undefeated.
2008: January – Victory in the second Test against India makes it 16 in a row for Ponting's Australia, tying a record. India win the next Test in Perth to end the run.
May – Scores his 10,000th Test run against the West Indies in Antigua. Border and Steve Waugh are the only other Australians to reach the mark.
2009: August – Having scored 150 in the first Test in Cardiff, Ponting's team lose another Ashes series in England. 2-1 win.
September – Retires from Twenty20 internationals.
October – Australia win the ICC Champions Trophy with Ponting the tournament's leading run-scorer. He becomes the third man to pass 12,000 ODI runs.
2010: January – Named by an elite panel as the world player of the decade.
December – Ashes series sees Ponting lose the urn to England for a third time, this time in front of Australian crowds. He struggles for runs as England win the series 3-1.
2011: February/March – After missing a 6-1 one-day series win over England through injury, Ponting returns to lead Australia in the World Cup but his century is not enough to stop them losing to India in the quarter-finals.
March 29 – Resigns as captain of Australia but says he wants to play on for the team.
2012: January – Scores 134 and 221 against India in a return to form, passing 13,000 Test runs in the process.
February 20 – Dropped from the one-day side for matches against Sri Lanka and India.
February 21 – Announces his retirement from one-day internationals, but vows to play on in Test cricket.
November 29 – Announces the third Test against South Africa will be his last before retiring from Test cricket after scores of four, seven, 23, zero and four in his last five innings.

Manchester United rattled by bully Christian Benteke

United rattled again by big bully as Benteke tramples over Smalling and Ferdinand

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UPDATED:

00:35 GMT, 12 November 2012

After the general euphoria of a stunning second-half Manchester United comeback had died down, Sir Alex Ferguson will have left Villa Park on Saturday night with a familiar feeling.

It wasn’t the satisfaction of knowing that a trip to this happiest of hunting grounds for him had yielded three points in the most dramatic fashion.

Never mind that Manchester United’s manager departed Villa Park undefeated for the 17th time in succession, his 11th victory in that sequence having been chalked up courtesy of the half-time introduction of Javier Hernandez, the catalyst for the triumph.

SCROLL DOWN TO WATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS FROM SATURDAY'S GAME

Head and shoulders above: Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke (top) gets the better of Chris Smalling

Head and shoulders above: Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke (top) gets the better of Chris Smalling

No, for at least the third time this season, he spent a rather uncomfortable 90 minutes watching a big striker torment his centre halves.

It was a trend started by Marouane Fellaini at Everton. Then Rickie Lambert pushed Southampton within sight of a victory at St Mary’s.

On Saturday evening it would not be stretching a point to say that young Belgium forward Christian Benteke smashed Rio Ferdinand and Chris Smalling all around Villa Park.

It is a theme that is almost becoming as common as United’s rousing call to arms.

This wonderful fightback was the eighth time this season that Ferguson has watched his side claw their way to victory from a losing position.

While that speaks volumes for the character and mental strength that is an essential part of the make-up of any player who crosses the threshold at Old Trafford, it would be easier for everyone concerned had the problem not arisen in the first place.

In the continued absence of Nemanja Vidic, neither of Ferguson’s centre halves on Saturday relished the prospect of going head to head with a player whose strength and aerial ability unsettled them from the first whistle.

Indeed, it was almost comical when
Smalling attempted to use his upper body strength to knock Villa’s
targetman off balance in the final minute of the first half.

The
former non-League defender lay sprawled on the turf, clutching his
shoulder in a lame attempt to spare his embarrassment as Andreas Weimann
swept home Benteke’s subsequent cross for Villa’s first goal.

Too strong: Benteke (left) and holds off Manchester United centre-back Rio Ferdinand

Too strong: Benteke (left) and holds off Manchester United centre-back Rio Ferdinand

Five minutes into the second half, Benteke had pulled away from both players — presumably neither fancied coming second best to him for the umpteenth time — allowing Stephen Ireland to send Gabby Agbonlahor away to set up Weimann to score Villa’s second.

That should have been that.

But Paul Lambert’s side remain a work in progress and Hernandez exploited a lack of know-how in the home ranks. There had been no urgency prior to the Mexican’s introduction at half-time for the woefully ineffective Ashley Young.

Ferguson’s situation will be improved when Phil Jones returns to training this morning. Jones will certainly be a more viable alternative than using Michael Carrick as a stand-in defender, as Manchester United’s manager has in the past.

Poacher: Javier Hernandez's predatory instincts rescued three points for United at Villa Park

Poacher: Javier Hernandez's predatory instincts rescued three points for United at Villa Park

Moreover, it is a weakness that will have been noted at Carrow Road where Grant Holt will have watched Saturday’s proceedings with interest.
Roberto Mancini might also now be wondering if he should be unleashing Edin Dzeko against the neighbours at The Etihad next month.

At least Hernandez has caught the eye in United’s attack. He looked sharp, hungry and capable of getting behind a Villa defence which had looked comfortable with the play in front of them during an impressive first-half show by the hosts.

‘It’s Manchester United’s lucky story,’ said Hernandez, who left clutching the match ball after scoring twice and forcing a Ron Vlaar own goal with a shot across goal.

‘You know that. Every time you never want to give up, not until the end because the games are 90 minutes and you need to fight until the last minute.

‘It was unbelievable to score three goals. This is one of my best moments at the club. But we need to improve. We are conceding a lot of goals.’

It goes without saying the striker’s observation will not be lost upon Ferguson.

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Newcastle 0 West Ham 1 – match report

Newcastle 0 West Ham 1: Nolan refuses to celebrate after sinking former club

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UPDATED:

17:29 GMT, 11 November 2012

Former skipper Kevin Nolan returned to haunt his old club as West Ham condemned Newcastle to a first defeat in six games.

Nolan's 39th-minute strike, so typical of the goals he once scored for the Magpies, was enough to edge a tight encounter in which the visitors enjoyed the better of the first half but had to survive a stern examination after the break.

Newcastle were once again far from their best, but did create more than enough chances to get something out of the game and would have done but for some poor finishing and the resilience of goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen, who produced fine saves from Demba Ba and Hatem Ben Arfa.

Is that it Kevin Nolan refused to celebrate after scoring for West Ham

Is that it Kevin Nolan refused to celebrate after scoring for West Ham

MATCH FACTS

Newcastle: Krul, Santon, Simpson (Obertan 79), Williamson, S Taylor, Ferguson, Cabaye, Ben Arfa, Gutierrez (Anita 24), Cisse (Sh Ameobi 45), Ba

Subs not used: Elliot, Amalfitano, Bigirimana, Marveaux

Booked: Ben Arfa

West Ham: Jaaskelainen, Reid, McCartney (Demel 66), Tomkins, O'Brien, Nolan, Jarvis (Maiga 34), Benayoun (O'Neil 52), Noble, Diame, Carroll

Subs not used: Spiegel, Collins, Cole, Hall

Booked: Noble, O'Brien

Goal: Nolan 37

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Opposite number Tim Krul prevented Andy
Carroll from opening his West Ham account with a 72nd-minute save with
the visitors threatening on the counter-attack.

But ultimately it was Sam Allardyce, who was sacked by Newcastle after
just eight months at the helm, who was smiling as Alan Pardew was left
to bemoan another disjointed display and defeat at the hands of his
former employers in front of a largely disappointed crowd of 51,855.

There were too many familiar faces for comfort as the two sides took to
the pitch, with Nolan and Carroll key members of the Newcastle side
which fought its way back from relegation back into the top flight.

But it was perhaps the Magpies who had the greater cause for concern as
they went into the game without suspended duo Fabricio Coloccini and
Cheick Tiote, two of the men they rely most on in a scrap.

And that is exactly what it turned out to be as the Hammers launched a
series of direct balls towards Carroll and then looked to pick up the
pieces.

There was little to choose between the sides and even less to recommend
the game for much of the opening period, with both teams struggling to
find a telling final ball.

Matt Jarvis fired high and wide at one end and Papiss Cisse was
similarly wasteful at the other during the opening skirmishes, and
although Frenchman Ben Arfa lit up St James' Park with a series of
enterprising runs which left claret and blue shirts trailing in his
wake, neither goalkeeper was called upon to make a save until 25 minutes
had elapsed.

Cheer up! Nolan's team-mates were delighted with his contribution at his old club

Cheer up! Nolan's team-mates were delighted with his contribution at his old club

Even then, Jaaskelainen had little difficulty in collecting Yohan
Cabaye's dipping long-range effort and the game looked to be heading
into the break in stalemate until an explosive final few minutes.

The visitors forced their way ahead with six minutes of the half left to
play when full-back Davide Santon could only head Mark Noble's
left-wing cross out to full-back Joey O'Brien, who looked to have
dragged his right-foot shot harmlessly across the face of goal.

However, as he had done so many times at the Gallowgate End while
wearing a black and white shirt, Nolan turned up in exactly the right
place to divert it past Krul.

Remember me Andy Carroll received a mixed reception from Newcastle fans

Remember me Andy Carroll received a mixed reception from Newcastle fans

Nip and tuck: Shane Ferguson (left) tries to steal the ball in the first half

Nip and tuck: Shane Ferguson (left) tries to steal the ball in the first half

The 30-year-old really should have doubled the lead within two minutes
when he was played in by midfielder Mohamed Diame, but guided his
left-foot shot wide of the post.

Newcastle finally responded to mount a sustained assault on the West Ham
goal as time ran down and Shane Ferguson was desperately unfortunate to
see his goalbound shot hit George McCartney on the back and drop safe.

Ben Arfa saw an injury-time effort deflected into the side-netting and
Jaaskelainen got down well to parry Cabaye's well-struck effort as the
Hammers survived until the whistle.

Mixing it up: Carroll challenges former team-mate Steven Taylor

Mixing it up: Carroll challenges former team-mate Steven Taylor

The Finn came to his side's rescue once again within two minutes of the
restart when he somehow managed to claw Ba's header away after O'Brien's
attempted clearance had dropped nicely for him.

Jaaskelainen fielded another long-range effort from Cabaye four minutes
later, but was grateful to see Ba's effort from similar range fly past
his far post seconds later.

The home side might have fallen further behind had substitute Gary
O'Neil made more of the free header with which he was presented from
Nolan's 59th-minute cross.

Glad to be back Andy Carroll returned to his former club

Glad to be back Andy Carroll returned to his former club

Ben Arfa left McCartney for dead five minutes later, only to drift his
cross over Ba's head as he dived in, and the Senegal international and
Cabaye both forced saves from Jaaskelainen in quick succession.

Half-time substitute Shola Ameobi headed just wide from Cabaye's
69th-minute corner and Jaaskelainen pulled off a fine stop to keep out
Ben Arfa's drive two minutes later.

Krul blocked bravely to deny Carroll a first goal for his latest club as
the Londoners staged a breakaway with Nolan providing a tailor-made
final ball.

Lucas Moura denies Manchester United snub was for money

Moura claims PSG move not about the money after Brazil star snubbed United

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UPDATED:

10:42 GMT, 5 November 2012

Brazilian star Lucas Moura has denied money was the motivation behind his decision to snub Manchester United in favour of Paris St Germain.

The 20-year-old will move to the French capital in January after agreeing a 35million from Sao Paulo during the summer.

United, along with Inter Milan, were favourites to lure the midfielder away from his homeland, and were poised to have 30m bids accepted before PSG, who are bankrolled by the Qatari royal family, made their move.

Franch fancy: Lucas Moura will complete his move to PSG in January

Franch fancy: Lucas Moura will complete his move to PSG in January

But in admitting he is anxious ahead of the switch in 2013, Moura, who starred in the Olympic football tournament for Brazil, says he chose Paris for the familiar faces already at the club.

'Thiago Silva has told me a lot about the club and its facilities, and it will be nice to have him as my team-mate,' he told French media. 'However, I have to admit that I do have a bit of fear about how things will pan out. I don't know how it will go.

'I am not thinking about money, but I am more concerned with whether my next destination will be the right one. PSG's ambition and the presence of the other Brazilians convinced me to sign.

'I am following PSG from a distance. I am mainly focusing on the end of the season with Sao Paulo for now.'

At the time of the deal, Sao Paulo vice-president Joao Paulo de Jesus Lopes revealed the club's former star player Leonardo – now PSG's sporting director – had been key in seeing the midfielder chose Ligue 1 over the Premier League.

New Blackburn boss Henning Berg told Premier League or the sack

Premier League or the sack! New Blackburn boss Berg must win promotion

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UPDATED:

22:56 GMT, 1 November 2012

Henning Berg returned to Ewood Park as Blackburn’s new manager but faces the sack at the end of this season if he fails to guide the club back into the Premier League.

After seeing crowds plummet by 30 per cent in the Championship despite spending 15million on new players, owners Venky’s know that the consequences of another season outside the top flight are potentially disastrous.

Familiar territory: Berg is unveiled at Ewood Park on Thursday morning

Familiar territory: Berg is unveiled at Ewood Park on Thursday morning

Berg, whose first game is away to
Crystal Palace, takes over a team lying fifth in the table and a
three-year contract will mean little if the 43-year-old Norwegian does
not win promotion at the first attempt.

Asked if the new manager was clear about his target, Blackburn chief
Shebby Singh said: ‘Yes. Promotion is the minimum and the maximum.

‘We have emphasised that time and again. But the most important thing is that Henning welcomes the pressure.

‘He didn’t sit in front of us and say, “I need three years to build a
team or two seasons to get them promoted’”. He said, “I know what you
want and I want to be the man to deliver that”.

‘Financially we are on a par with every other club at this level. We all
know that getting into the Premier League is very important. We would
not like to be categorised as being a club in dire straits, but we share
the same pressure as every club in the Championship.’

Deal me in: New Blackburn manager Berg with Shebby Singh - the club's global advisor - at Ewood Park

Deal me in: New Blackburn manager Berg with Shebby Singh – the club's global advisor – at Ewood Park

Singh confirmed that talks took place with Harry Redknapp’s
representatives towards the end of a month-long search for Steve Kean’s
successor, after Blackburn were knocked back by Tottenham and Fulham in
their attempts to speak with two other former players, Tim Sherwood and
Billy McKinlay.

Berg won the Premiership title and League Cup as a player at Blackburn,
as well as the treble with Manchester United, but he accepts that some
fans may be concerned over his limited managerial experience at home in
Norway with Lyn Oslo and Lillestrom from where he was sacked a year ago.

‘I can understand that,’ he said. ‘People don’t know too much about what
I’ve done in Norway, and sometimes they feel more secure with an older
guy who has done it over many years and know what he’s done in the past.
But the most important thing now is the future.’

To the point: Berg had plenty of questions to answer as he was unveiled as Blackburn manager

To the point: Berg had plenty of questions to answer as he was unveiled as Blackburn manager

Unlike Kean, Berg will not have to make monthly trips to meet with
Venky’s in India and will also have more control over transfers than his
predecessor. ‘As a manager you have to have the final say in most
things,’ he said.

But he still had to face some uncomfortable questions over comments he
made earlier in the year saying that it would be ‘madness’ to work under
Venky’s and that ‘no manager with credibility’ would take the job on.

‘The comments were made by me looking in from the outside,’ explained
Berg. ‘Now I’ve spoken to the owners they’ve made many changes and the
club is going in the right direction.’

HENNING BERG FACTFILE

1969: Born September 1 in Eidsvoll, Norway.

1987: Has trial at Manchester United while a Valarenga player, but unable to secure a work permit to make the move.

1993: Leaves Lillestrom to join Blackburn in a deal worth 400,000.

1995: Misses just two games all season as Rovers win the Premier League title.

1997: Leaves Blackburn for Manchester United for 5million.

1999: Part of United`s title, FA Cup and Champions League winning squads, missing two two cup finals through injury.

2000: Wins the Premier League for a third time before returning to Blackburn, initially on loan, with the move later made permanent.

2003: Signs for Rangers, who he spends a year with before ending his career. Also makes his final appearance for Norway, retiring on 100 caps.

2005: Agrees a four-year deal to manage Lyn, taking them to a third-placed finish.

2008: Returns to Lillestrom on a five-year deal as manager.

2011: Sacked by Lillestrom.

2012: Appointed manager of Blackburn on a three-year contract.