Tag Archives: fear

David Moyes: I broke my rule to re-sign Steven Pienaar for Everton

I broke my rule to re-sign Pienaar for Everton, says Moyes

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UPDATED:

22:59 GMT, 7 December 2012

David Moyes has urged Steven Pienaar to rekindle Everton's push for the top four after admitting re-signing the South African went against all his beliefs.

Pienaar's return to Goodison Park from Tottenham, initially on loan in January, provided the spark for the good form Everton have enjoyed this year and he will have a key role to play at Goodison Park on Sunday when the two sides meet.

Key man: Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar

Key man: Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar

While Moyes is thrilled that Pienaar is helping make Everton tick, he was less happy in the summer when it came to completing his 4.5million move from White Hart Lane. At the back of the Everton manager's mind was a small fear that Pienaar, 30, would not recapture the form of his first spell.

'I had a worry when it was first mooted about him coming back,' said Moyes. 'But he has been inspirational to how we have played. He has helped the team and he has helped the crowd as well. He has certainly improved us and made us better.

Everton boss David Moyes

Call: Everton boss David Moyes

'I was worried about it second time around. At Everton we have always tried to do good deals and tried to buy at the right age or certainly at the right price. We had to buy Steven back for more than we sold him and he was a year older.

'It's been a great deal for us and we've been delighted to have him and I've done many a worse deal. But at the time it just felt as if it wasn't lying well with me.'

Martin O"Neill told he had "resigned" while watching video of Sunderland losing to West Brom

Double blow for O'Neill who was told he had 'resigned' while re-watching West Brom defeat

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UPDATED:

21:00 GMT, 26 November 2012

Martin O’Neill was still in his office at the club, watching a re-run of Sunderland’s defeat to West Brom, when he discovered he had 'resigned'.

The Sunderland manager was contacted on Saturday night by the club’s press officer Louise Wanless, and then owner Ellis Short, to be told news of his pending departure from the Stadium of Light had hit cyberspace.

'It was a double whammy,' O’Neill said. 'I’d just reached the point when the referee had given the penalty to West Brom so I was cursing twice.'

Oh no! Martin O'Neill heard the perplexing news while watching his team lose on video

Oh no! Martin O'Neill heard the perplexing news while watching his team lose on video

The rumour that O’Neill had offered his resignation was tweeted by his former player Stan Collymore and broadcast as a fact after West Brom’s 4-2 win.

Sunderland, and O’Neill, then had the difficult task of whether to comment fully on a non-story, in the fear that it would give it some credence.

'People tweet now and it runs like wildfire,' said O’Neill. 'It has got to the stage where I just accept it but if you go out of your way to dismiss it then it keeps running.'

O’Neill was in good humour as he sought the best way to deal with the issue three days later. He even quoted The Sundance Kid at one point. 'I wanna fight them,’ he said, without the accent. 'I want to fight 'em, so let’s stay and fight em.'

But there is the serious issue of his future and commitment to the Sunderland cause. O’Neill has been the subject of internet rumours for the last month, not helped by his side’s indifferent start to the season which saw them fell to 16th in the Premier League. He remains defiant and insisted he and owner Short are in it for the long haul.

O’Neill said: 'The owner has said to me this will take some time to get things together here. I don’t intend to do it in 10 years as that would bore the life out of everybody but I intend to do it as quickly as I possibly can.

'I don’t say I know Mr Short fantastically well but we’ve had some very good conversations and he is the one pointing out to me this will take time. He is not expecting anything at the minute and he genuinely wants stability at the football club.

Bad start: Sunderland have been less than impressive this season

Bad start: Sunderland have been less than impressive this season

'In the past it’s the teams who have shown stability who have come through it. It is tough, there is no doubt and like everybody else I would not mind a few more points on the board if we could get them, but I knew it would be tough. I want to do well at the club and more importantly I expect to do well.

'We will look to strengthen the squad. In the course of time I think both of us want to deliver a team that not only would the fans be delighted with but also a side that can compete.

'I spent five years at Wycombe, five years at Celtic and four and a half at Leicester and four years at Aston Villa. I am not sure where the quitting thing comes in.

Dark days: O'Neill admits times are tough at the moment

Dark days: O'Neill admits times are tough at the moment

'It is pretty tough. I have chosen the job, don’t get me wrong, there are as many dark days as rosy ones. You have to get through it and I would expect somewhere along the way my time in the game will stand me in good stead.'

O’Neill has not ruled out captain Lee Cattermole from QPR’s visit to Wearside on Tuesday night but John O’Shea is injured.

Police will advise supporters to set off early for the game after the A19 was shut north and south in Wearside on Monday.

O’Neill visited the Stadium of Light and is confident the pitch, subject to a postponement in the first month of the season, will handle another deluge on the day.

Kevin Mirallas sidelined for three weeks with injury

Blow for Everton as Miralles faces three weeks out with hamstring injury

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 13 November 2012

Everton fear that Kevin Mirallas is facing a three-week lay-off with a hamstring problem.

The Belgian forward was forced off during last weekend's 2-1 over Sunderland after pulling up sharply and immediately withdrew from his country's friendly with Romania.

Mirallas has undergone a scan and is out of Saturday's trip to Reading but if the results show a grade two tear, he will be sidelined for the remainder of the month.

We need to talk about Kevin: The Belgian faces three weeks out of action

We need to talk about Kevin: The Belgian faces three weeks out of action

Roy Hodgson faces moment of reckoning – Martin Samuel

Cagey Roy faces his moment of reckoning after England stutter to Poland draw

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UPDATED:

21:45 GMT, 17 October 2012

Top of the group, unbeaten in 11 games under Roy Hodgson, a point away from home, Wayne Rooney on the scoresheet again, so why did this not feel like the best of times for England

Perhaps because we can see what is coming. There is a moment of reckoning.

It may occur later in the season against Montenegro, or in the tournament itself in two summers’ time, but England cannot continue playing like this and hope to thrive.

Plenty to ponder: England manager Roy Hodgson saw his side struggle to a draw with Poland

Plenty to ponder: England manager Roy Hodgson saw his side struggle to a draw with Poland

Only one team should feel disappointed by a single point out of this game and it is the hosts.

Poland were more creative, more entertaining to watch and had the better chances. Both goals came from set-pieces but whereas this was just about all England offered, Poland were busy but wasteful with their final ball.

Hodgson’s England are famed for being hard to beat, but a better team would surely have won comfortably against them here. Poland are technically impressive, but lack a definitive finisher. Thank heavens.

When Hodgson took over, the fear was he would be a cautious coach and so it is proving. /10/17/article-2219292-158D08E7000005DC-235_634x343.jpg” width=”634″ height=”343″ alt=”Tough times: England players look dejected after Poland level the score in Warsaw” class=”blkBorder” />

Tough times: England players look dejected after Poland level the score in Warsaw

Carrick did not secure the centre defensively and his passing was inferior. Jack Wilshere cannot return soon enough; nor can Frank Lampard.

It was hardly a match worth waiting for. Those who travelled through rain to watch the game that wasn’t on Tuesday will be compensated and they would appear to have got the best of the deal.

Around 800 England fans returned to the National Stadium in Warsaw for this and they were, for the most part, a mute presence.

Loyal to the end, they know the reality. England lead Group H but that position is misleading.

Montenegro have a game in hand and it will take place at home to San Marino on November 14.
Barring a stunning upset, plague-like illness or the biggest coup at the bookmakers since the Hole In One Gang, Montenegro will top the table by Christmas.

They are the dark horses here. Montenegro have already defeated Ukraine away; the opponents England failed to beat at Wembley, and drew home and away with England in the qualifying campaign for the 2012 European Championship.

Not up to it: Michael Carrick struggled in the England midfield

Not up to it: Michael Carrick struggled in the England midfield

It is far too early to panic, but the fact remains that after four World Cup qualifying matches, the only nations Hodgson’s England have vanquished are Moldova and San Marino, ranked 47th and 53rd out of 53 teams in Europe.

The manager might not lose, but he is hardly enjoying a winning streak, either. Carry on like this and there will be matches in which only victory will do. Being hard to beat in those will ultimately be as valuable as the ability to juggle skittles.

The one development that has gone against Hodgson is the international retirement of John Terry. Put the circumstances to one side for a moment and consider his absence, instead, purely in football terms.

There were those who claimed he would not be missed. Madness. The words of goalkeeper Joe Hart before last week’s match with San Marino were ominous.

‘Football-wise the guy is an inspiration,’ said Hart. ‘He’s a great centre half, a great servant to his country and it’s a shame we’ve lost him. It’s a big blow. He’s still got so much ability.’

San Marino were never going to expose the hole where Terry once stood, but Poland most certainly did.

At fault: Joe Hart had one of his worst games for England and was partly to blame for Poland's goal

At fault: Joe Hart had one of his worst games for England and was partly to blame for Poland's goal

Specifically, his absence sucked the
confidence out of Hart, who had his least convincing game in an England
shirt for some time and was partly at fault for Poland’s equaliser.

Goalkeepers like to feel safe with the men around them. The central defenders like a goalkeeper they can lean on: the relationship between Hart and Terry was crucial to England.

Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson, Liverpool stalwarts, would never have a word said against the maverick Bruce Grobbelaar in goal.

Hansen’s point was that they always knew where they stood with Grobbelaar.

‘He came for everything,’ he recalled. ‘A defender wants to know precisely where he stands and we did with Bruce.

‘If a cross came into the penalty area, get out of the way because he’s going for it. Knowing that, we could concentrate on protecting the goal, just in case. He missed the odd one, but it was worth it for the certainty.’

Stronger together: John Terry and Hart

Stronger together: John Terry and Hart

Hart and Terry might not have had the familiarity of clubmates, but they had faith. Terry did not appear as confident with David James or Robert Green, for instance, as he did with Hart.

And it is worth remembering that Hart has lost not one, but two great central defenders: Rio Ferdinand being the other.

He knows Joleon Lescott from Manchester City — although he does not always make Roberto Mancini’s team — and Phil Jagielka has again been impressive for Everton this season but this triumvirate needs time.

Jagielka played as if under duress from his Polish relatives and, defensively, England were an accident waiting to happen: a trait inconsistent with the mantle of being hard to beat.

Ferdinand and Terry were also the best passers among England’s central defenders and that showed too on Wednesday night.

The Poles were more than happy for Jagielka and Lescott to have the ball, sensing that no good would come of it.

Ferdinand is known for his football brain, but Terry’s excellent passing is often overlooked. The toxic fall-out from his abuse of Anton Ferdinand makes him a hard player to miss, but judged purely for football reasons the void was noticeable in Warsaw.

It is hard to imagine it being very different in Podgorica, Kiev and, most worryingly, Wembley.

Enlarge

England v Poland

Matt Fryatt could be out for season with achilles trouble

Hull fear Fryatt could be out for season as achilles injury takes further setback

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UPDATED:

21:52 GMT, 4 October 2012

Hull striker Matt Fryatt, 26, could be out for the season after breaking down in his recovery from an achilles injury. He will undergo surgery.

'It looks like Matt is going to have to have an operation after he broke down this morning,' boss Steve Bruce told the BBC.

'It's devastating news but we just have to deal with it.'

Blow: Steve Bruce will miss his striker

Blow: Steve Bruce will miss his striker

Daniel Agger could miss Liverpool"s season through injury

Liverpool fear Agger will miss rest of the season with medial ligament injury

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UPDATED:

06:34 GMT, 24 September 2012

Liverpool could be without defender Daniel Agger for the rest of the season after he suffered a suspected medial ligament injury.

Agger was carried off on a stretcher at Anfield during his side’s defeat to Manchester United on Sunday.

Following the 2-1 loss. manager Brendan Rodgers talked about the injuries sustained by two of his players.

He said: ‘Fabio (Borini) had a badly swollen ankle. Agger’s doesn’t look good, the medics were saying it might be a medial ligament. We’ll see.’

In pain: Daniel Agger receives treatment before going off

In pain: Daniel Agger receives treatment before going off

Neil Lennon praises Celtic team for Benfica draw

Point made: Lennon hails Bhoys after 'decent' start to European campaign

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UPDATED:

22:20 GMT, 19 September 2012

Neil Lennon lauded his Celtic players after they battled to an opening-night point against Benfica.

In a game of few chances, the Scottish champions couldn’t find a way past the Portuguese defence to snatch the win they so badly craved.

But, having fielded a side with 10 Champions League debutants, the Celtic manager looked upon the outcome as a point gained rather than two dropped.

Content: Neil Lennon was pleased with his Celtic side's performance

Content: Neil Lennon was pleased with his Celtic side's performance

‘I haven’t set the team any targets but what I did say to them was if you aren’t going to win it, don’t lose it. So we’ve learned something there — we’ve gained a point already. It’s a decent start,’ he said. ‘I always felt we could compete and I hope we’ve gained a bit more respect tonight from the footballing world.

‘I think a draw was probably a fair result. We didn’t work their goalkeeper as often as we would have liked but, having said that, I was very pleased with the team performance.

‘There was a very good tempo and a very good shape to us. We were committed and played with real zest and no fear against a very good side. It’s a decent start for us.

‘It could have been better but could have been worse.

‘The players have sampled it now and have got a feel of it. There were 10 guys out there making their Champions League debuts against a very experienced side, so I’m very proud of the team tonight.’

Over; The Celtic players walk off the pitch after securing a point with Benfica

Over; The Celtic players walk off the pitch after securing a point with Benfica

Lennon was able to list Gary Hooper only as a substitute after the Englishman failed to fully shake off a knock sustained against St Johnstone.

Already missing a string of automatic selections, Lennon felt his makeshift side performed to the best of their capabilities.

‘Our leading goalscorer was ruled out to start this morning and we’re hoping Georgios (Samaras) will be fit for Moscow. But I was delighted with Miku. I thought he led the line really well. He showed what a good player he is.

‘Maybe our final ball at times lacked that bit of cutting edge but there were some superb performances.

‘I thought Charlie Mulgrew had a fantastic game, as did Adam Matthews, Kelvin Wilson, Victor Wanyama and Scott Brown.

‘I thought Brown, especially in the second half, was colossal for the team. He just gives the team real drive.’

Frustrated: Celtic were unable to find a way past the Benfica defence

Frustrated: Celtic were unable to find a way past the Benfica defence

Asked if he felt his side were capable of taking points on the road, Lennon replied: ‘Yes. It’s a different animal playing away from home, we know that.

‘We will probably have to get something away from home in one of the games anyway. It’s a tall order with our history in the competition but this is a different team and hopefully they can produce something away from home, although I won’t put my hat on that.

‘They’ll be the happier going away from the game tonight but there wasn’t anything between the teams.

‘I think we’d have lost that game this time last year. That’s four clean sheets in Europe this season and we haven’t lost a game since Atletico Madrid last year.

‘You’d like to win your home games but there are so many positives to take from this.’

Champions League fears for Montpellier with Arsenal next

Arsenal could score eight! Montpellier running scared of rampant Gunners

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UPDATED:

09:44 GMT, 17 September 2012

French champions Montpellier fear it will be men against boys when Arsenal come to town on Tuesday in the Champions League.

The Ligue 1 club have made a disastrous start to the defence of their title having won just once in their opening four fixtures, the most recent of which ended with a 3-1 defeat to newly-promoted Stade de Reims.

Montpellier are embarking on their first ever Champions League adventure but have looked short of their best this term following the departure of star striker Olivier Giroud to, of all teams, Arsenal, who won 6-1 on Saturday.

Struggles: Younes Belhanda (left) fears playing Arsenal in their current form

Struggles: Younes Belhanda (left) fears playing Arsenal in their current form

Struggles: Younes Belhanda (left) fears playing Arsenal in their current form

And speaking after their latest setback, midfielder Younes Belhanda, another of those linked with a move away over the summer, says his under-performing team-mates could find themselves on the end of serious beating.

'If we play like that against Arsenal, we'll concede eight goals,' he said. 'We have to show as quickly as possible that we are men, because we look like kids on the pitch. We're not dangerous, not sharp enough.'

Manager Rene Girard, himself inexperienced at this level, echoed the Moroccan international's thoughts.

He added: 'We did everything to win the game. I am very disappointed. I don't usually have any reason to reproach my players, but what is happening at the moment is a bit depressing.

'We need to waken up quickly because, if not, we are going to be in for a big fall on Tuesday. We are conceding silly goals. It is quite worrying. This is the first evening where I have had to ask myself some serious questions. We lost our values.

Rampant: Arsenal, with two from Gervinho, hit Southampton for six

Rampant: Arsenal, with two from Gervinho, hit Southampton for six

'We can be ashamed of ourselves tonight.

'I have to congratulate Reims though. They were courageous, they fought hard and took their chances. We can play like that too and have showed it in the past.'

Real Madrid captain Iker Casillas hails Luka Modric

Luka who's talking! Madrid captain Casillas hails Spurs star as transfer edges closer

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UPDATED:

09:20 GMT, 30 July 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Iker Casillas has no fear Luka Modric will be a valuable addition to the Real Madrid ranks IF he completes his move from Tottenham.

The Croatia star is desperate to jump ship from White Hart Lane with Spain his preferred destination. Paris St Germain are also keen.

Madrid are yet to meet Spurs' valuation of more than double the 15million they paid Dinamo Zagreb for Modric in 2008.

However that hasn't stopped Madrid goalkeeper and captain Iker Casillas hailing his potential future team-mate.

Waiting for a move: Luka Modric continues to fight to get out of Tottenham

Waiting for a move: Luka Modric continues to fight to get out of Tottenham

Come in, Luka: Iker Casillas is sure Modric would shine at Real Madrid if he joined

Come in, Luka: Iker Casillas is sure Modric would shine at Real Madrid if he joined

'I know him,' the Spain skipper told AS
newspaper. 'He has been a great player ever since he signed for
Tottenham. I faced him in the Euros and he had a very good season.

'If the manager thinks he ought to be then I am sure he will be at the level of this squad. It is not our responsibility to say anything more.

'The club and the manager are those that decide what is best for the team to move a step forward.'

Casillas was discussing Madrid's expectations for the new season, during which they hope to keep ahead of rivals Barcelona, whom they beat into second place for the first time in three years last season.

He added: 'Our goals are similar to those last year. We are hoping to move a step forward like we have in the other seasons since Mourinho has been with us.

'We want to win the league again, the Super Cup and then after two years of arriving at the doors of the Champions League final, we want to reach the final of Europe’s main competition.

'I think we have extraordinary fans, a magnificent stadium and an incredible squad. With all of this it is clear that this team deserves a European Cup, but there are many teams fighting for this title.'

London 2012 Olympics: Matthew Mitcham poses on top of rings

Lord of the rings: Daley's rival Mitcham poses on Olympic symbol in stunt

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 23 July 2012

Olympics 2012

Australian diver Matthew Mitcham has already scaled the heights at London 2012 — by posing on top of the Olympic rings outside the Athletes' Village.

'It is not as high as it looks,' said the 2008 10m platform gold medallist, who claimed it was ‘all’ his idea after posting the picture on Twitter.

Stunt: Mathew Mitcham atop of the rings

Stunt: Mathew Mitcham atop of the rings

‘It certainly was not 10 metres high. They are quite wide and quite safe so I had no fear about climbing that at all.’

Mitcham, 24, will renew his rivalry with Tom Daley in London.