Tag Archives: horizon

Joleon Lescott wants Manchester City to treat him with respect

Sign me up, or let me leave, says Lescott as City defender urges club to show him respect

By
David Kent

PUBLISHED:

07:12 GMT, 20 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

07:16 GMT, 20 April 2013

Joleon Lescott hopes Manchester City will treat him with respect when it comes to deciding his future.

The England defender is close to entering the last year of his contract with the FA Cup finalists and has yet to fix up a new deal.

He has told the Daily Telegraph that he wants to stay, but claims he is not naive enough to think that is assured.

New deal: Joleon Lescott hopes Manchester City will treat him with respect

New deal: Joleon Lescott hopes Manchester City will treat him with respect

New deal: Joleon Lescott hopes Manchester City will treat him with respect

And, with the World Cup on the horizon, the former Everton man wants a first-team place to show national boss Roy Hodgson that he is up to the job.

He said: 'If someone said when I signed here “you're going to win the Premier League, get to two FA Cup finals and represent your country in the Euros” I'd have snapped their hand off.

'So now to go into the final year of my contract uncertain about my future is quite strange. I'd love to stay. My wife's pregnant, we've just moved house, the kids are happy at school. But I'm not naive. When you've achieved all that and you're going into the last year of your contract your future might be elsewhere.

'I can't afford to go into a World Cup year being uncertain of whether I'm going to play [regularly] here.

England ambition: Lescott wants to be a regular in World Cup year

England ambition: Lescott wants to be a regular in World Cup year

'I feel I've done enough for the club to demand a bit of respect in terms of they come and tell me what they want, whether it's a new deal, which I would be delighted to sign, or [to go] elsewhere.

'I'm very respectful of the club with what they've done for me, how they were persistent when Everton were digging their heels in to keep me. I owe a lot to the club. I also feel I've done enough to demand a bit of respect to not see speculation about my future.'

Darren Barker proposes at Wembley Stadium

Knocked off her feet! Boxer Barker proposes via Wembley scoreboard… but did he get the answer he was looking for

By
Martin Domin

PUBLISHED:

00:57 GMT, 14 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

01:32 GMT, 14 February 2013

Roses Check. Chocolates Check. Dinner at a fancy restaurant Check.

As Valentine's Day dawns, men up and down the country will be hoping they’ve finally got it right.

But they will have to go some to beat the efforts of boxer Darren Barker who proposed to his girlfriend Gemma at Wembley Stadium.

The big question: Darren Barker proposed to girlfriend Gemma at Wembley Stadium

The big question: Darren Barker proposed to girlfriend Gemma at Wembley Stadium

The middleweight, who was at the ground
to promote his next fight at Wembley Arena on March 9, used the giant scoreboard to ask the all-important question – and the answer was a
resounding 'Yes'.

'It was short notice; I knew someone at Wembley and they said I could do it on the scoreboard,' Barker told Sportsmail. 'I’ve wanted to do it for a while, I’ve been with Gemma for 12 years so it was overdue; she’s been long suffering but she's over the moon.

'She didn’t think I had it in me; she’s a happy woman thankfully.'

Having pulled out all the stops for his proposal, Barker expects to get off lightly today.

'She’ll get a nice card from Hallmark and that will be her lot,' he joked. 'It’s what she’ll do for me, that’s the question!'

Darren Barker

Darren Barker

Sealed with a kiss: Barker got the answer he was looking for when he proposed at Wembley

With his next fight on the horizon, Barker has put the engagement party on hold.

'We went out for a bit of lunch, she had a glass of wine but I was on the mineral water! We’ll wait until after the fight.'

Gemma later tweeted: 'I was at
Wembley Stadium earlier where Darren was having a photo shoot and doing a
bit for the press…..I said yes!

'I'm
over the moon to be engaged was so lovely and we were lucky to have
some amazing photos taken on the pitch under the sign xxx'

The 30-year-old Chelsea fan, who expects to tie the knot next year, also got his hands on the FA Cup ahead of the Blue's replay against Brentford on Sunday.

Up for the cup: Chelsea fan Barker

Up for the cup: Chelsea fan Barker

'It was good getting hold of the FA
Cup,' he said. 'Brentford had their bit of glory getting a replay at
Stamford Bridge but I think you’ll see the true professionalism come
through now.'

Chelsea have struggled this season and the FA Cup is their only realistic chance of domestic silverware.

'In some respects I would rather have
gone right out of Europe,' Barker admitted.

'The Europa League is a bit
of a nightmare with the added fixtures and travelling. It’s second best
to the Champions League and we only want the best at Chelsea. I’d
rather win the FA Cup.'

After a long lay-off with injury, Barker returned to the ring in December when he stopped Kerry Hope inside four rounds.

With just over three weeks to go until the first bell, Barker's opponent has yet to be confirmed but he revealed to Sportsmail that a deal is close.

'It looks like being Simone Rotolo who I
was supposed to fight in September when I pulled out injured so I
suppose there’s a bit of unfinished business there,' he said.

'We won’t take him lightly as he’s a good
fighter and an experienced opponent. We were looking for a top 10
opponent but everyone’s either busy or holding out for a world title
shot.

'The next fight after this will be huge, either a big domestic dust-up or a world title shot.'

And when his big moment arrives, Barker would love nothing more than to fight at Stamford Bridge.

'It would be a real honour to fight at the Bridge,' he said. 'I’ve been going there for years and years as a kid and to fight there, I’d really have to pinch myself.

'It would have to be a big world title fight to fill a stadium like that.'

Sergio Aguero in line for Manchester City return against Fulham

Aguero boost as City striker is back in training… and he could play against Fulham

By
Ian Ladyman

PUBLISHED:

16:08 GMT, 16 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:24 GMT, 16 January 2013

Manchester City have been boosted today by the return to training of star striker Sergio Aguero and he has an outside chance of playing against Fulham on Saturday.

Aguero has not featured for the Barclays Premier League champions since injuring his hamstring against Stoke City on New Year’s Day.

Training day: Aguero was pictured in his kit at Carrington on Wednesday

Training day: Aguero was pictured in his kit at Carrington on Wednesday

Training day: Aguero was pictured in his kit at Carrington on Wednesday

Training day: Aguero was pictured in his kit at Carrington on Wednesday

But it is understood that the Argentine – who spent time with a specialist in Italy in a bid to make a quick recovery – took part in a light session today and has an outside chance of being ready for a return to action at the Etihad on Saturday.

A City source said: 'Sergio is back and looks good. He didn’t train fully with the first team so we won’t know until maybe Friday whether he will make the Fulham game yet.

On the mend: Aguero limped off against Stoke on New Year's Day

On the mend: Aguero limped off against Stoke on New Year's Day

'But he came through everything okay today and the signs are good.'

City manager Roberto Mancini will not want to rush Aguero back in to action, especially given that his team have tougher games than the Fulham one on the horizon.

Breeders" Cup 2012: Clouds on horizon as US Dirt puts off European elite

Clouds on the horizon for Breeders' Cup as reversion to US Dirt puts off European elite

|

UPDATED:

20:30 GMT, 29 October 2012

A glance across the idyllic scene from the magnificent Santa Anita grandstand suggests all is wonderful in the world of the Breeders’ Cup.

In the foreground, racehorses perform their daily work-out routines on the same circuit where the great Seabiscuit both ran and had his remarkable life committed to cinematic glory.

Not a fleck of white cloud spoils the azure blue sky and in the distance the San Gabriel mountains rise as a striking backdrop as if created by a celestial set designer.

The stage is set: Blue skies bathe the glorious Santa Anita but there may be trouble ahead

The stage is set: Blue skies bathe the glorious Santa Anita but there may be trouble ahead

The stage is set for the 29th Breeders’ Cup, the world’s richest race meeting which will see $25million up for grabs on Friday and Saturday.

But beneath the surface there is a rumble of uncertainty and questions surrounding the fixture which likes to think of itself as the annual world cup of Flat racing.

It may not have the long history of Royal Ascot and the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe in Europe or of the prestigious Kentucky Derby Stateside but the most glamorous race meeting on the globe since 1984 has always had glitter.

Horses like 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Zenyatta added the sort of glamour more associated with that showbusiness mecca just a few miles from Santa Anita, Hollywood.

But, Sir Henry Cecil’s Frankel, the A list topper this year, has not made the trip to California.

A combination of the 1.3million British Champion Day at Ascot, run for the second time this year and one of the growing number of global counter-attractions to the Breeders’ Cup, was his preferred target to the feature 10-furlong Classic on Saturday.

That shows the ever-evolving state of global racing – something that meeting promoters constantly battle.

But it was also a factor that Santa Anita, where John Gosden’s Raven’s Pass became the first British-trained winner of the Classic under Frankie Dettori in 2008, has ripped up its synthetic Pro-Ride surface and reverted to the traditional US Dirt so alien to European runners.

The result is that Aidan O’Brien’s 2011 Ascot Gold Cup winner Fame And Glory and Dermot Weld’s Sense of Purpose – both entered in Friday’s Marathon – plus Tom Dascombe’s Ceiling Kitty (Juvenile Sprint) are the only Europeans being raced on the dirt here.

The secret is in the dirt: The traditional American racing surface is putting off European runners

The secret is in the dirt: The traditional American racing surface is putting off European runners

The hope of a synthetic surfaces, similar to those used in Europe, being more widely used across American to provide a more universal playing field appears to be a dashed dream with the US breeding industry fiercely protective of the Dirt which has helped its bloodlines and studs develop.

That money-talks pressure has largely won over against the fears that Dirt is an animal welfare concern with an overly-high risk of attrition.

There is also disagreement surrounding the use of race-day medication – a regime US racing has developed.

Many want it banned because it allows the fallibility of certain lines to perpetuate with medical protection and penalises the sound and strong during an age where sports across the spectrum are desperate to look clean.

But there are fears from punters that established form will go out of the window and virtually every single racing body in America is keen to keep the status quo for fear of the commercial fall-out.

However, for the first time this year, all the two-year-old races at the Breeders’ Cup will be contested by runners who have been banned from using diuretic Furosemide, something only allowed during training in Britain but which must have cleared the system before a horse races.

Better known as Lasix or Salix – it is used as standard in America as a means of preventing horses breaking blood vessels during racing.

Its Breeders’ Cup ban has infuriated some of the domestic audience. Top New York-based owner Mike Repole has boycotted the meeting in protest.

Marathon runner: Ascot Gold Cup winner Fame and Glory is one of the only European horses this year

Marathon runner: Ascot Gold Cup winner Fame and Glory is one of the only European horses this year

But if the Breeders Cup sticks to its guns, it will also outlaw race-day medication from all races at the meeting next year and that could lead to drastic action, according to British-born trainer Simon Callaghan who is carving out a successful career from his Santa Anita base.

Callaghan said: ‘With no Lasix in the two-year-old races it makes it a fair level playing field, although the American horses have run on it all year and then have to come off it for the Breeders’ Cup.

‘I personally feel that Lasix is something which helps horses and prevents them from bleeding and that would be the feeing of the majority of trainers over here.

'If next year is a totally medication-free meeting, I think some people, although not me, might take a stand and not run their horses.’

Breeders’ Cup President Craig Favel, however, insists there will be no back tracking in their thinking.

Favel said: ‘It has been highly controversial, not so much the Breeders’ Cup but the whole issue of race-day medication.

‘In terms of the Breeders’ Cup, I think the industry has been very supportive but when you put on a championship, you can do it under the rules you present.

‘I talked to (top trainer) Todd Pletcher the other day and thanked him – he disagrees with (the policy) but he is here to run which is a credit to people’s sportsmanship.

‘Life has very few guarantees but our board has made no indication to back off of that.’

If they do stick to their guns, the line up for the 2013 and 30th Breeders’ Cup could be very interesting.

It will be a significant milestone but also a worrying one for the Breeders’ Cup as it strives to maintain its place at the top of the racing world.

London 2012 Games: Adam Gemili in no rush to commit to Olympics

Sprint sensation Gemili in no rush to commit to Olympics with World Juniors on horizon

|

UPDATED:

22:42 GMT, 8 June 2012

Britain's sprint sensation Adam Gemili
is more focused on qualifying for the World Junior Championships next
month rather than pushing for a place in the Team GB squad for the
Olympics.

Gemili, 18, became the second-fastest
British junior of all time over 100 metres when he clocked 10.08
seconds in Germany last weekend – well inside the Olympic qualifying
time.

Focused: teenage sprinter Adam Gemili

Focused: teenage sprinter Adam Gemili

Triple Olympic champion Usain Bolt had warned Gemili about the mental strength required to compete in the Games but the teenager revealed his main aim is to make the World Junior Championships in Barcelona.

'At the moment my main focus is going to be the World Juniors and go to the trials and hopefully make the team,' he said.

'The trials are only five days apart so my body will still be recovering and I don't want to go to the Olympic trials half-hearted and not at my best.

'If I was to make the Olympic team it would be a bonus because the World Juniors has been my main aim this year.'

Also a keen footballer, Gemili was in the Dagenham and Redbridge squad last season after starting out as a youngster at European champions Chelsea and did not even contemplate making the Olympic squad until his impressive outing at the Sparkassen Gala.

He said: 'Before I ran 10.08 I wasn't even considering the Olympics at all, maybe perhaps (I thought about) trying to run quick and get in for the relay but when I ran 10.08 it became more of a possibility.

'It is a good situation to be in rather than a negative one because have the option. It feels good because of the support I'm getting and the messages from everyone.'

Warning: Olympic champion Usain Bolt

Warning: Olympic champion Usain Bolt

Splitting his time between football and athletics was always going to be an issue when a time came to choose which would be the main focus but Gemili has settled with athletics and is looking to keep improving.

He said: 'Until this year I haven't been put up into a formal set-up but now I'm on a much more organised and structured training regime.

'Between October and January I mixed football and athletics but the decision came to either stop athletics totally and go with football or do both – and in January I decided to go with athletics.

'It could be possible if I keep progressing – I've just got to see how things go. I'm just looking to get more races and more wins under my belt.

'Technically I'm still improving, I think I've improved a lot in one year but there is a lot more that can be worked on.'

Dwain Chambers, who is still hoping to make the Olympic squad, is the only British sprinter in history to set a quicker 100m time as a junior and Gemili is delighted to be as quick as some of his idols, but also insisted he will continue to train and race his way.

'I'm really thrilled with what I have run and it does feel great that I've run quicker than all these guys you see on TV and it is great to know you're up there on a similar level with them,' he said.

'I'm just going to go and do my own race and do what I need to do – it is only me who can control what I do, I will go in to races and stick to my game plan, not run anyone else's race.'

Lewis Hamilton knows hard work will be needed

Hamilton knows hard work will be needed to put McLaren back on track in Barcelona

|

UPDATED:

22:11 GMT, 23 April 2012

Lewis Hamilton is ready to put in the extra miles to help McLaren solve the mystery of their alarming lack of pace in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Both Hamilton and teammate Jenson Button are not scheduled to take part in a three-day session at the Mugello track in Italy next week, with McLaren back-up drivers Oliver Turvey and Gary Paffett pencilled in to share the duties at the first mid-season test for three years.

But after a promising start to the 2012 campaign, such is Hamilton’s concern at the speed in which McLaren’s rivals have caught up that he admitted he may not be able to wait three weeks until the next race in Barcelona to get back in the cockpit.

At the wheel: Hamilton drives in Bahrain on Sunday

At the wheel: Hamilton drives in Bahrain on Sunday

'I need to get back in the car,' said a frustrated Hamilton whose lack of speed in Bahrain was compounded by two bungled pit stops. 'We need to figure out why the tyres are going off. If there are other things to test or ways to figure that out I will be the one to do it, not let someone else do it.'

The return to Europe after four flyaway races is traditionally the time when teams bring major upgrades to their cars.

And with Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull back on song after earning their first victory of the season in Bahrain, Hamilton is understandably worried about the formidable duo disappearing over the horizon like last season.

Plenty to ponder: Hamilton speaks to the press after the Bahrain race

Plenty to ponder: Hamilton speaks to the press after the Bahrain race

'We have a lot of work to do,' said Hamilton who could only finish eighth in Bahrain while Button did not even make the chequered flag. 'We really have to make some big improvements to the car because the qualifying pace is there but the race pace, at least in Bahrain, was miles off.'

The same applied to McLaren’s pit stops with even Button’s relatively trouble free visits to the garage lagging behind those of their rivals.

With both their drivers having lost valuable seconds during tyre changes this season, McLaren are considering copying pit-stop pacesetters Ferrari who, along with Mercedes, have an innovative system where the wheel nut is integrated into the rim.

The design limits issues of crossing threading which has dogged McLaren and has seen Ferrari achieve tyre changes times of less than three seconds this season.

Rory McIlroy on Chubby Chandler split: He led me down wrong path over PGA Tour

McIlroy reveals why he split with agent 'Chubby': He led me down the wrong path…

|

UPDATED:

07:48 GMT, 2 April 2012

Rory McIlroy has revealed he dumped manager Andrew 'Chubby' Chandler because he felt he was 'being led down the wrong path'.

The 22-year-old star made the decision in October last year and has gone from strength to strength, winning three times since the split and rising to second in the world rankings.

McIlroy told irishgolfdesk.com: 'I felt like the path I was going down wasn't the path I wanted to go down.'

Parting of the ways: Rory McIlroy (left) split from agent 'Chubby' Chandler last year

Parting of the ways: Rory McIlroy split from agent 'Chubby' Chandler last year

According to the website, McIlroy regretted giving up his PGA Tour card at the end of 2010 as well as not going to the Players Championship at Sawgrass under the influence of Chandler and International Sports Management stablemate Lee Westwood.

On Sawgrass, McIlroy said: 'That's
another example of being involved with Chubby and ISM and maybe being
led down the wrong path, or a path that I didn't want to go down. It was
something I sort of felt like I had to do.

Preparations: Members of the Augusta grounds crew ahead of the 2012 Masters

Preparations: Members of the Augusta grounds crew ahead of the 2012 Masters

Player: Rory can win 10 majors…

Read Sportsmail's interview with Gary Player

'I think just spending a little bit of time around Chubby and Lee and hearing their view of the PGA Tour – obviously they're very pro-European Tour – while I've always been one who wanted to play on the PGA Tour.

'Not playing Sawgrass was one of the decisions I look back on and regret a little bit.'

Success: McIlroy's split from Chandler came just months after he won the US Open

Success: McIlroy's split from Chandler came months after he won the US Open

McIlroy is now managed by Dublin-based Horizon Sports Management.

Chandler, the larger-than-life boss of ISM, said last week that he is not bitter about
losing young superstar McIlroy from his stable of top golfers.

Golf blog

On the eve of the US Masters at
Augusta National – a tournament many believe the Ulsterman blew a year
ago when, standing on the 10th tee with a one-shot lead, he hoiked his
drive into the garden of one of the houses that border the fairway –
Chandler admitted: 'I didn't really see it coming, but I don't think of
what we might have missed.

Meltdown: McIlroy is heading back to Augusta, scene of his collapse last year

Meltdown: McIlroy is heading back to Augusta, scene of his collapse last year

'We had four-and-a-half years of helping
to nurture an unbelievable talent. And, with our without ISM, Rory will
become a great player. He will go on to win 10 majors, maybe more.'

The split came four months after McIlroy's major breakthrough, when he won the US Open at Congressional Country Club.

Olympic slalom: Image of the week by Graham Chadwick

Graham Chadwick: My favourite image of the week… Olympic slalom

Each
week, Sportsmail's top snappers Andy Hooper, Graham Chadwick and Kevin
Quigley will be showcasing their favourite image.

Graham chooses this shot from the Lee Valley white water centre…

With the Olympics on the horizon, it is a great time to be a sports photographer. Last week I was at Lee Valley white water centre, which is where the canoeists will compete during the Games.

This image was captured while I was experimenting with slow shutter speeds. I like the fact that there is movement and that it shows that everything is flowing fast, just as you would expect.

Technical details: Lens 200mm, F/ 22, ISO 100, shutter speed 50th of a second

Olympic slalom

Kell Brook confident of beatnig Matthew Hatton

Brook promises explosive fight as Britain's next star gears up for Hatton war

PUBLISHED:

11:25 GMT, 17 March 2012

|

UPDATED:

11:25 GMT, 17 March 2012

Kell Brook has vowed to thrive on the pressure of topping the bill in front of 10,000 fans when he fights Matthew Hatton in his home city of Sheffield tonight.

The unbeaten Yorkshireman takes on Manchester veteran Hatton in an intriguing welterweight battle at the Steel City's Motorpoint Arena.

Brook admits he is taking a risk by facing such a dangerous opponent when he is so close to a world title opportunity, having revealed he took a fight with Hatton rather than push on with negotiations for a shot at one of the major belts.

War of the Roses: Kell Brook (right) and Matthew Hatton face off at the weigh-in

War of the Roses: Kell Brook (right) and Matthew Hatton face off at the weigh-in

However, the 25-year-old insists it is a risk worth taking should he deliver on his promise to 'smash' Hatton and make a statement against a fighter respected across the world.

Brook, who has attracted a crowd of nearly 10,000 to his hometown venue, said: 'There's pressure on me now because of all the tickets I've sold and the profile of the fight.

'But I thrive on that pressure. It's going to be a proper fight that lives up to the hype and the expectation levels.

'They've called it 'War of the Roses' and, believe you me, we're going to get in there and have one hell of a fight.

'When all's said and done you're going to see an explosive fight.

War of the Roses: Kell Brook (right) and Matthew Hatton face off at the weigh-in

War of the Roses: Kell Brook (right) and Matthew Hatton face off at the weigh-in

'It's a risk because we didn't need to take this fight but I wanted it. It's captured the public's imagination, it's been on the horizon for years and we've finally got it on.'

Brook (26-0, 18KOs) added: 'We've sold around 10,000 tickets for this and you start wondering how much demand there would be to see a world title fight in Sheffield.'

Brook will start as the heavy favourite with bookmakers pricing Hatton as generously as 6-1. Hatton (42-5-2, 16KOs) has concealed any irritation at being regarded as such a glaring underdog.

'All the pressure is on Kell, going into this fight,' he said. 'He's the man fighting at home, he's the favourite to win, and he puts even more pressure on himself by making comments like he's been making, about 'smashing me' et cetera.

On the rise: Brook is seen by many as Britain's next world champion

On the rise: Brook is seen by many as Britain's next world champion

'There's no pressure on me. Talk is cheap, and I'll do my talking on Saturday night. He's been making a lot of big noises and he's got to back it up now.

'I don't dislike Kell Brook. He's just in the way of what I want to achieve in the sport in order to provide myself and my family with a better life.

'He'll just be brushed aside on Saturday night. It's not personal.'

On the undercard in South Yorkshire, exciting super-bantamweight prospect Carl Frampton, from Belfast, defends his Commonwealth crown against Prosper Ankrah, while Surrey-based Pole Grzegorz Proksa defends his European middleweight title against Wales' Kerry Hope.

Steven Gerrard praises Andy Carroll

Gerrard hails team-mate Carroll for 'man of the match' display

Steven Gerrard hailed the performance of striker Andy Carroll after Liverpool strolled into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup with a 6-1 thrashing of Brighton at Anfield.

Brighton scored three own goals but Carroll was among the Liverpool players who also got on the scoresheet, along with strike partner Luis Suarez who missed a penalty but responded by heading in a late goal.

With the Carling Cup final on the horizon next week, Liverpool could have been forgiven for having their attentions elsewhere, but Gerrard believes their performance shows they can get better for the rest of the season with all of their top players available.

Better: Andy Carroll impressed against Brighton

Better: Andy Carroll impressed against Brighton

'It's always nice to first of all get the win and then to win convincingly,' he told ESPN.

'In the end we went through the gears and got better and better as the 90 minutes went on and we deserved our goals.

'The important thing was to focus on this game. The Carling Cup final was in our minds because we have a massive game at Wembley next week but we want to go to Wembley again in the FA Cup so today was just as important.'

There was the rare sight of Gerrard, Suarez and Carroll all starting a game together, and Gerrard hopes the end result is a sign of things to come.

'(Carroll) has been getting better and better in training and he was our man of the match today,' he said.

'We believe that the more we play together, the more we'll click. We're all good players and good players like playing with other good players. We're all on the same wavelength now.'

Pleased: Steven Gerrard was happy for his team-mate

Pleased: Steven Gerrard was happy for his team-mate

Carroll put the visiting defence under pressure all afternoon, contributing to the early own goal, before he got one of his own just before the hour mark.

'Every goal feels good, but it couldn't get any better today with the result as well and now we're through to the next round,' the striker said.

'We haven't played many games all together but we've been playing well in training and we put it into the game today.'

Liverpool will now go on to play Stoke in the next round while Brighton must regroup in their push for the npower Championship play-offs.

Manager Gus Poyet said: 'It's difficult to analyse because I think it was always a matter of holding them and making sure we didn't concede any silly goals.

'For long periods in the first half I think we were in the game, but the second goal changed it.

Assist: Carroll set up Luis Suarez as well as scoring himself

Assist: Carroll set up Luis Suarez as well as scoring himself

'If we had gone to half-time at 1-1 the message from the opposition changing room would have been very different, but then in the second half three or four of the goals were comic.

'You know you're going to have to defend, but I think we scored three own goals. I don't remember the last time that happened. I think we were naive, but welcome to the world of the Premiership.

'People think we are ready for the Premiership but we are not. If you want to one day get to the Premiership as a team or as a player you need to learn.

'The quality, the strength, the power the players have got is amazing. This is a top six team, but I don't think anyone likes to go to places in the top six and finish the game 6-1.'

Suarez took the penalty at the urging of manager Kenny Dalglish, who admitted he want the Uruguayan striker to get a goal to boost his confidence.

'That was a bad decision,' he said with a grin. 'There were three of them, Andy (Carroll), Charlie (Adam) and Dirk (Kuyt) wanted to take it as well and maybe if it hadn't been five (5-1) one of them would have done, but I wanted to give him a leg up with his confidence.

'In the end, he didn't need my help.'