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Chelsea must beat Shakhtar – Roberto Di Matteo

We must reign in Ukraine! Di Matteo upbeat as Chelsea plot Shakhtar's downfall

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UPDATED:

22:35 GMT, 22 October 2012

The wonderful Donbass Arena glows in the night like a flying saucer which has chosen to rest amid the distant coalfields and steelworks of eastern Ukraine.

Even if the doors were to slide open and other worldly occupants were to disembark, the chances are they would be wholly aware of the John Terry race storm.

The case has been rumbling for a year and Roberto Di Matteo has not known life as Chelsea manager without its suffocating presence.

Main man: Roberto Di Matteo runs the rule over his Chelsea side ahead of their clash in Ukraine

Main man: Roberto Di Matteo runs the rule over his Chelsea side ahead of their clash in Ukraine

Repercussions still eat away at English football, as the Kick It Out T-shirt debate proves, and hearts must have skipped beats within the camp when they heard someone called Fernandinho was playing in Donetsk. As it turned out, it was the Brazilian midfielder rather than a long-lost cousin of Rio or Anton.

‘I’ve had a good baptism, I have to say,’ said Di Matteo, when asked about the pressure he has faced. ‘From the day I took over last season. You just deal with the pressure. You get into a rhythm.

‘We don’t get time to enjoy anything, you know. After the win at Tottenham on Saturday, by 10 o’clock in the evening, you’re thinking already about Shakhtar.

‘And by 7-7.30 on Sunday morning, you’re back in the office. That’s maybe the only downfall.

‘You can’t even take in victories like that and the performance. You’re switching straight on to the next game. I’m sleeping very well though.’

Captain: John Terry will lead Chelsea against Shakhtar on Tuesday

Captain: John Terry will lead Chelsea against Shakhtar on Tuesday

Di Matteo should sleep very soundly indeed. Chelsea were out of the Carling Cup and well adrift in the Barclays Premier League when he took full control from Andre Villas-Boas. They were 3-1 down to Napoli after the first leg of a Champions League tie and facing an awkward FA Cup replay at Birmingham.

Yet, with the Champions League and the FA Cup secured, his team are perched four points clear at the top of the League after the best start to a season by any Chelsea manager since Jose Mourinho. Carry on like this and people may even forget Pep Guardiola is out of work. First, though, he must survive autumn without what has become a seasonal slump in Chelsea form.

‘I’ve looked at the past seasons,’ said Di Matteo. ‘That’s why I talk about waiting until Christmas to see where we stand. We have done everything in our power and planning that we think will help us to get through this period.’

As an attacking force, Chelsea were impressive at Tottenham but this is a different test in Donetsk, where no English team has won.

Pressure: Di Matteo has called on Chelsea to see off the threat of their hosts

Pressure: Di Matteo has called on Chelsea to see off the threat of their hosts

Shakhtar have beaten Arsenal twice, Spurs once and drawn with Fulham, and the domestic form of the Ukrainian champions is quite spectacular.

A 2-1 victory against Illychivets Mariupil on Friday was their 21st successive win in the Ukrainian Premier League, a record, and Armenian striker Henrik Mkhitaryan has scored 14 in 12 league games this season.

Shakhtar are 12 points clear at the top of the league and, of 16 games in all competitions this season, have won 15. The other, a creditable draw against Juventus, in Turin.

‘Yeah, yeah, I know the stats,’ said Di Matteo. ‘And they were unlucky not to win against Juventus. They were the better team.’

One concern for Chelsea is the strength of Group E, with only Danish minnows Nordsjaelland yet to collect a point. Last season, in a group where Villarreal lost all six group games, Manchester City failed to qualify with 10 points.

Danger man: Willian

Danger man: Willian

Unlike City, however, Chelsea are
hardy European travellers, although they have lost some of their most
grizzled Champions League veterans from the squad this summer.

‘Nordsjaelland are the weakest team in the group and the other three clubs look like we have the same amount of chances to qualify,’ said Di Matteo. ‘You will probably need more than the 10 points that normally qualifies you.’

Terry, who is serving a four-match ban in domestic football, and Frank Lampard are among those who may return but Marko Marin has a groin injury and has not travelled.

‘He should be training with us when we get back,’ said the manager. ‘He’s been hampered by injuries and is catching up with fitness levels and that has limited his opportunities and progress.’

Marin’s only action since his 7million move from Werder Bremen has been 20 minutes as a substitute in the Capital One Cup against Wolves.

It is the sternest test yet in the defence of the trophy but Di Matteo promised no sudden return to the bus-parking, defensive tactics which were the hallmark of last season’s triumph in Munich.

‘We’re on a path and we know what we want,’ said Di Matteo. ‘We still need to evolve and improve but that’s our platform. We have to become better all the time.’

Wayne Rooney: Manchester United won"t make same Champions League mistake

We got punished last season, but we won't make the same mistake this year, says Rooney as United prepare for Cluj test

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UPDATED:

10:24 GMT, 1 October 2012

Wayne Rooney insists Manchester United won't make the same mistakes as last season as they prepare for their Champions League clash with CFR Cluj on Tuesday night.

The Old Trafford club crashed out at the first hurdle last year after finishing third in their group.

United travel to the Romanian champions knowing if they can return to England with maximum points, they will have one foot into the knockout stages as both sides won their opening games.

Wayne Rooney

Sir Alex Ferguson

All smiles: Rooney and Sir Alex Ferguson appeared in relaxed mood on Monday morning

Flying Dutchman: Robin van Persie lunges in for a tackle during a United training session on Monday morning

Flying Dutchman: Robin van Persie lunges in for a tackle during a United training session on Monday morning

And that at least would be one objective for the season completed after last season's unexpected exit at the group phase.

'The Champions League is completely different to the Premier League,' said Wayne Rooney, who came off the bench in United's 3-2 defeat against Tottenham on Saturday.

'If you are not at your best you get punished, which is what happened to us last season.

'We have to make sure that won't happen again this year so this is a big game for us.

'Hopefully we will get a win which will put us in a good position to go through so early on in the group.'

After transforming United's performance, if not the result, at Old Trafford on Saturday, Rooney's contribution against Tottenham must surely put him in line for a start.

The 26-year-old is certainly up for the challenge given how highly he still rates the Champions League experience.

'I still think it is exciting,' said Rooney. 'It is a great competition to be in.

'You look at the teams involved and it is a great challenge for everyone. It is something I love playing in.'

Sir Alex Ferguson received some welcomed news on Monday when Jonny Evans was able to train ahead of his side's Champions League encounter.

Who are Roo laughing at: Ferdinand was also present

Who are Roo laughing at: Ferdinand was also present

Centre of attention: Kagawa trains alongside his tea-mates at Carrington

Centre of attention: Kagawa trains alongside his tea-mates at Carrington

Evans needed to be helped off at the end of United's defeat at Old Trafford.

And whilst Sir Alex Ferguson claimed the Northern Ireland international was only suffering from a dead leg, with so many defenders already injured, there was a worry Evans was about to join the casualty list. It does appear he will be available, though, and Rio Ferdinand was also present.

Silvestre

Jonny Evans

Welcome back: Former Man United defender Mikael Silvestre and Jonny Evans are put through their paces

Antonio Valencia, who missed Saturday's game with an ankle injury, was missing from the open portion of training, though, as was midfielder Michael Carrick.

Ferguson has changed his side's European routine this season, meaning they will do all their preparatory work at home before flying to Romania this afternoon.

Scott Wootton and Michael Keane were also amongst those training with the first team this morning, suggesting at least one of the youngsters will make the trip.

US Open 2012: David Ferrer beats Kevin Anderson

Ferrer overcomes dangerous Anderson in straight sets to ease into US Open second round

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UPDATED:

19:24 GMT, 29 August 2012

Fourth seed David Ferrer passed a potentially dangerous test with flying colours as he defeated big-serving South African Kevin Anderson in the first round of the US Open.

Ferrer has been elevated into the top four because of the absence through injury of his fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal and is seeded to meet Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals.

No sweat: David Ferrer won in straight sets

No sweat: David Ferrer won in straight sets

Although he is more renowned for this exploits on clay, Ferrer has had just as good results on hard courts and reached the last four in New York in 2007, losing to Djokovic.

At 6ft 8in tall, Anderson is not an opponent to be underestimated, but Ferrer was in control throughout and won 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (7/3) to set up a second-round meeting with Dutchman Igor Sijsling, who beat Daniel Gimeno-Traver 7-5, 6-3, 6-4.

Serbian 29th seed Viktor Troicki went out in the first round, losing 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 to Germany's Cedrik-Marcel Stebe.

London 2012 Olympics: Clare Balding is BBC"s best presenter – Mark Alford"s Goggle Eyes

Mark Alford's Goggle Eyes: Balding leads the way when comes to BBC anchors

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UPDATED:

22:13 GMT, 8 August 2012

An emerging rule of these Games is that if Clare Balding’s anchoring an event, it must be important. Wednesday she brought her enthusiasm and knowledge to Greenwich for the showjumping. It’s between Clare and Gary Lineker for the Beeb’s best in show.

Magic moment

Pride of Yorkshire Nicola Adams, from Leeds, was interviewed after reaching today’s women’s flyweight boxing final. She melted hearts when she said: ‘All I want to do is make my mum proud.’

Fight star: Nicola Adams beat India's Chungneijang Mery Kom Hmangte

Fight star: Nicola Adams beat India's Chungneijang Mery Kom Hmangte

Thumbs up for…

STAYING WITH BACKMARKERS: The director at the athletics resisted the urge to cut away from the action after the winners crossed the line in the 800 metres heats. Viewers saw three uplifting stories as a result. First, tearful Merve Aydin from Turkey hobbled home more than a minute after the field. Then Palestinian Woroud Sawalha, in a white hijab, ran a personal best time. And finally, Sarah Attar, the first Saudi woman to compete in athletics at the Olympics (left), trailed home. Top television.

Thumbs down for…

TALKING NOT SHOWING: Matt Baker was waxing lyrical about Flying Dutchman Epke Zonderland, who took gold on the high bar with an outrageous routine. The footage has become an internet sensation but the main BBC1 feed failed to show it at any point throughout the day.

Gold: Epke Zonderland's routine became an internet sensation

Gold: Epke Zonderland's routine became an internet sensation

Corner cam

Boxing coverage has rightly been criticised for not carrying on-screen scores during bouts — it still rankles! But praise is due for the camera and microphone bringing us the cornermen’s briefings between rounds. Fascinating stuff.

The Pundits' podium

GOLD: Andy Austin, showjumping: Same course, lots of different horses — it’s a tough job making it sound exciting but Austin and main commentator Mike Tucker do just that. Flawless.

SILVER: Brendan Foster, athletics: As passionate as ever. ‘Mo Farah, Olympic champion. I just love saying it,’ said Foster. We love hearing it, keep up the good work.

BRONZE: Jamie Staff, BMX: Impressed at the Velodrome but his ‘woop that time’ cry was a low point at the BMX track.

Jolly hockey sticks

The best thing on TV The thrilling women’s hockey semi-final penalty shootout in which Holland beat New Zealand. Each player was given eight seconds to beat the goalkeeper. Look and learn, football, this was proper drama.

Nathaniel Clyne will be sold, admit Crystal Palace

Palace playing 'cat and mouse' with Premier League suitors over sale of kid Clyne

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UPDATED:

10:08 GMT, 11 July 2012

Crystal Palace have admitted they cannot keep hold of Nathaniel Clyne and are ready to do a deal with a Premier League side.

The England Under 21 right-back has admirers at Manchester United, Newcastle, Reading, Fulham and West Ham but as yet no-one has snapped him up.

Clyne is out of contract at Selhurst Park but Palace would compensation at a tribunal if he departs due to his age.

Flying Eagle: Nathaniel Clyne (right) is bound for the Premier League

Flying Eagle: Nathaniel Clyne (right) is bound for the Premier League

Bright future: Clyne is an England U21 defender

Bright future: Clyne is an England U21 defender

But Palace chairman Steve Parish said that clubs are being put off by the prospect of a tribunal, where Palace would hope to command a fee of up to 5million.

Top-flight clubs value Clyne at closer to 2m, meaning Palace are having to play 'cat and mouse' to secure a deal away from a tribunal.

Parish said: 'We need to do a deal with Clyne.

'There is a bit of action in the background and we know there is a lot of interest.

'It is just about sorting out who it is best to go to and who will put the right money on the table. We’re all working to get an outcome.

'Clubs don’t want to go down the tribunal route. It is a game of cat and mouse on the fee — we’ve just got to let that play out.'

Noel Gallagher launches Manchester City home kit

Noel's in good Kompany: Oasis legend shows off new City kit, but will Van Persie be wearing it

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UPDATED:

10:36 GMT, 5 July 2012

Is this the shirt that Robin van Persie will be wearing next season

Following the news that Van Persie will not sign a new deal at Arsenal, Manchester City are one of the favorites to snap up the Dutch striker.

City are prepared to offer a whopping 225,000-per-week, but face competition from neighbours Manchester United who are also keen to sign the 28-year-old.

A kit of alright: Vincent Kompany and Noel Gallagher show off City's new home kit

A kit of alright: Vincent Kompany and Noel Gallagher show off City's new home kit

And if he does sign for the Premier League champions then this is the kit he will run out in next season

City launched their new Umbro kit with a little bit of help from former Oasis guitarist and lifelong City fan Noel Gallagher.

The High Flying Bird's singer joined skipper Vincent Kompany as part of the Umbro Show Your City campaign.

The City skipper returned the favour by introducing Noel on stage to a crowd of 80,000 at the Rock Werchter festival in his home country last weekend.

Pain and simple: City will wear a classic sky blue kit next season with a dark blue collar

Pain and simple: City will wear a classic sky blue kit next season with a dark blue collar

Noel is not the first Gallagher to help City launch a kit as the club turned to younger brother Liam last summer to show off the shirt they went on to win the league title in.

Noel will hope City can repeat the success of last season in the new kit.

Sweden v England – EURO 2012 LIVE

EURO 2012 LIVE: Sweden v England – the action from Kiev as it happens

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UPDATED:

18:50 GMT, 15 June 2012

Follow Sportsmail's coverage of Euro 2012 as England go in search of their first win of the tournament against the only pointless side in Group D, Sweden. Roy Hodgson's men achieved a credible draw in their opening match against France but know they will face an uphill struggle to qualify for the knockout stages should they miss out on all three points here.

Find me on twitter @JamesAndrew_ or email me on [email protected] to get your views across.

SWEDEN VS ENGLAND (KO: 8:00PM)

Sweden: Isaksson, Granqvist, Mellberg, Jonas Olsson, Martin Olsson, Larsson, Svensson, Kallstrom, Elm, Ibrahimovic, Elmander.

Subs: Wiland, Hansson, Lustig, Hysen, Antonsson, Wernbloom, Safari, Holmen, Bajrami, Toivonen, Wilhelmsson, Rosenberg.

England: Hart, Johnson, Terry, Lescott, Cole, Milner, Parker, Gerrard, Young, Carroll, Welbeck.

Subs: Green, Butland, Kelly, Walcott, Henderson, Baines, Jones, Jagielka, Downing, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Defoe.

Referee: Damir Skomina (Slovenia)

7.48pm: All over in Donetsk, the game ended France 2 Ukraine 0. That result puts France top of Group D with four points, Ukraine are in second with three, England have one point and Sweden are bottom without a point.

7.45pm: We should be kicking off in the Olympic Stadium in Kiev now, but due to the torrential rain in Donetsk which temporarily postponed France's game with Ukraine. So Kick off will be in 15 minutes.

7.40pm: Former Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher is in Kiev tonight, he has ensured that his world tour with new line-up the High Flying Birds were playing in Ukraine during the Euros, nice work if you can get it.

7.35pm: There are expected to be between 3,000-4,000 England fans in Kiev tonight. That is thought to be far less than Swedes, but there is no doubt that they will make enough noise to make sure they do not feel outnumbered.

7.32pm: Former England winger Chris Waddle being interviewed on BBC and is confident of an England win tonight.

7.25pm: Zlatan Ibrahimovic apparently has 11 tattoos on his back. Unlikely that will help or hinder him, but just a nugget of information.

7.10pm: Another goal in Donetsk, Newcastle's Yohan Cabaye has put the French two up. France 2 Ukraine 0

7.08pm Goal in Donetsk, France 1 Ukraine 0. Jeremy Menez has put the French ahead early in the second half. follow the action HERE

7.06pm: Just to give a little comparison between the two strike-forces, Danny Welbeck and Andy Carroll have England 10 caps and 2 goals between them. Where as Johan Elmander and Zlatan Ibrahimovic 142 caps and 47 goals for Sweden.

Blue moon: Noel Gallagher unravels a Manchester City flag ahead of the game

Blue moon: Noel Gallagher unravels a Manchester City flag ahead of the game

6.55pm: The Sweden team is in: Isaaksson, Grandqvist, Mellberg, J Olsson, M Olsson, Larsson, Svensson, Kallstrom, Elm, Ibrahimovic, Elmander.

6.50pm: In the build up to the game, Roy Hodgson has said he wants his team to be more clinical in front of goal, so was clearly in his mind when he opted for Carroll over Oxlade-Chamberlain and 4-4-2 formation

6.48pm: The England team is in, and as predicted the line-up is: Hart, Johnson,
Terry, Lescott, Cole, Milner, Gerrard (c), Parker, Young, Welbeck, Carroll.

Ready and waiting: England fans wait for the start of the game in the Olympic Stadium

Ready and waiting: England fans wait for the start of the game in the Olympic Stadium

6.44pm: Over in Donetsk the half time score is France 0 Ukraine 0, follow the action with my colleague Rik Sharma HERE

6.37pm: No confirmed team news as yet, but England are expected to make one change from the team that played on Monday with Andy Carroll coming in for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ashley Young moving to midfield.

Expected line-up: Hart; Johnson, Terry, Lescott, Cole; Milner, Gerrard, Parker, Young; Carroll, Welbeck

6.30pm: Good evening and welcome to tonight's game between Sweden and England in Kiev, after a solid point against the French on Monday, Roy Hodgson's men side will be looking to get their European campaign up and running with a win.

6.19pm: KICK OFF DELAY: Sweden v England will now kick off at 8pm due to the late running of the France v Ukraine in Donetsk.

Head to head: England and Sweden fans exchange banter in the build-up to the game

Head to head: England and Sweden fans exchange banter in the build-up to the game

Let's go: England fans converge at the fan zone as the count down to kick-off

Let's go: England fans converge at the fan zone as the count down to kick-off

You're in the minority! Three England fans are surrounded by Swedes in Kiev

You're in the minority! Three England fans are surrounded by Swedes in Kiev

Confident: Sweden's supporters enjoy a refreshing beer before the main event

Confident: Sweden's supporters enjoy a refreshing beer before the main event

Leading from the front: Andy Carroll was predicted to lead the line more than 24 hours before kick-off

Leading from the front: Andy Carroll was predicted to lead the line more than 24 hours before kick-off

Craig Bellamy to play for Wales against Mexico

Bellamy hints at Wales future after flying to Mexico for friendly

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UPDATED:

20:13 GMT, 25 May 2012

Craig Bellamy has given the biggest indication that his international career is not over by flying to America for Wales’s friendly against Mexico on Sunday night.

The Liverpool striker was considering ending his Wales career after the death of his good friend and former manager Gary Speed.

But he has made himself available to boss Chris Coleman.

Available: Craig Bellamy (left) looks to have a future with Wales

Available: Craig Bellamy (left) looks to have a future with Wales

And team-mate Steve Morison believes the 32-year-old wants to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil to pay tribute to Speed.

He said: ‘Craig wants to get to the World Cup more than anybody because Gary Speed was a good friend of his. The aim was Brazil and he (Speed) went a hell of a long way to putting us on the right path.’

wales (Probable, 4-5-1): Brown, Gunter, Williams, Ricketts, Taylor; Ramsey, Allen, Vaughan Ledley, Bellamy; Morrison.

TV: S4c from 7.40pm (kick-off 8.06pm).

Reading target Wilfried Zaha and Nathaniel Clyne from Crystal Palace

Reading line up Palace youngsters Zaha and Clyne for return to the big time

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UPDATED:

10:22 GMT, 24 April 2012


Flying Eagle: Forward Wilfried Zaha

Flying Eagle: Forward Wilfried Zaha

Reading are preparing moves for Crystal Palace youngsters Wilfried Zaha and Nathaniel Clyne ahead of their return to the Premier League.

The England Under 21 duo would cost the newly-crowned Championship winners around 8million.

Pacy forward Zaha, who would cost around 6m, passed an audition in front of Royals boss Brian McDermott by scoring in Saturday's 2-2 draw at the Madejski Stadium.

Clyne's contract is up at the end of the season and so a tribunal would set a fee – expected to be around 2m – for the 21-year-old full-back should he leave.

Reading would face a fight to convince him to move to the Berkshire club, with Manchester rivals United and City both said to be interested in the talented defender. Newcastle and Fulham are also watching Clyne.

In demand: Nathaniel Clyne (left) is wanted by a host of top-flight clubs

In demand: Nathaniel Clyne (left) is wanted by a host of top-flight clubs

Palace have already demonstrated their intent to hold on to Zaha, 19, by rejecting a big offer from Bolton Wanderers in January. The Ivory Coast-born flyer was named the Championship's Young Player of the Year this term.

Both Zaha and Clyne are on Stuart Pearce's short-list for the Team GB Olympic football squad.

Arsene Wenger lauds Robin van Persie

Wenger lauds Van Persie as flying Dutchman nets record in Wolves win

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UPDATED:

22:37 GMT, 11 April 2012

Arsene Wenger hailed Arsenal striker Robin van Persie after he equalled a Barclays Premier League goalscoring record in the 3-0 win at Wolves.

Van Persie netted against a 17th different team in the same season with his penalty at Molineux and he has only failed to hit the target against Manchester City and Fulham.

Dutch of class: Van Persie nets the opener from the penalty spot

Dutch of class: Van Persie nets the opener from the penalty spot

It mirrored the achievement of former Gunners hotshot, Ian Wright, who scored against every other side bar Manchester United and Sunderland in a 38-game season during the 1996-97 campaign.

The Dutchman ended his four-game run without a goal to take his overall tally to 34 in all competitions this season.

Wenger said: 'It is important for a striker, even like Robin van Persie who was not used to not scoring in the season, to find the net.

He's at it again: The Dutchman has taken his tally to 34 for the season

He's at it again: The Dutchman has taken his tally to 34 for the season

'He equalled the record of Ian Wright who scored against 17 different teams out of 19 in the Premier League.

'That is absolutely remarkable in the modern game to be able to do that. I'd like to congratulate him on that.

'When you only have 19 teams, and your striker has scored against 17 teams, that is something sensational.

'He could have beaten the record if he had scored against Manchester City at the weekend.'

On target: Walcott doubled Arsenal's advantage with 11 minutes gone

On target: Walcott doubled Arsenal's advantage with 11 minutes gone

Arsenal are now five points clear of fourth-placed Tottenham in the battle for a Champions League place.

Wenger said: 'It was overall a fantastic win. I'm very happy to be in this position but also very cautious as some teams were in the position we are in now before.

Three and easy: Benayoun scores Arsenal's third

Three and easy: Benayoun scores Arsenal's third

'We want to win our next game and from where we have come (trailing behind Tottenham at one stage) helps us be focused.

'We have come from very deep and being in that position helps us focus on that next game.'

Theo Walcott and Yossi Benayoun were the other scorers for the Gunners.

Wenger admitted he is puzzled at Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli escaping action after his challenge on Alex Song in the weekend clash, compared to QPR skipper Shaun Derry being sent off after making contact with Manchester United's Ashley Young.

He said: 'I don't still understand well. If you look at, for example, the case of Balotelli, okay you get an explanation and okay you have to accept it.

'If you look at the case of Derry and think okay you can accept it.

'But if you put the two together it looks absolutely unbelievable that one is suspended and the other isn't.

'But when the ref has seen something, no-one can get over the rule. I think we should have an exceptional committee of ethics to get over that.

'The global situation does not make sense. For people who love football, it is difficult to understand why one is not punished at all and the other one is punished.

In trouble: Connor's Wolves are rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table

In trouble: Connor's Wolves are rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table

'I'm not keen to get Balotelli suspended but for football fans it is difficult to understand.'

Wolves are now nine points adrift of safety and manager Terry Connor felt it harsh for Sebastien Bassong to be red-carded for the challenge on Walcott which led to the Van Persie spot-kick.

He said: 'There's definitely a tangle. The interpretation was Bassong fouled Theo. I just don't think the punishment fitted the actual crime.

'You could argue that he was the last man. The ref has no choice according to the rules but the rules look a bit harsh.

'It spoils the game for the supporters a little because they know they (Wolves) have little chance after that to come back.'

As regards Wolves current plight, Connor said: 'There's a chance and I have asked the lads to replicate that performance for the next five games and what will be will be.

'If they play with the heart, spirit and determination they did tonight, I can't ask anymore.'