Tag Archives: important

Demba Ba wants to join boyhood club PSG – despite QPR, Liverpool and Arsenal interest

QPR lead Liverpool and Arsenal in race to activate Ba's 7m clause… but Newcastle hitman eyes up PSG deal

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UPDATED:

10:30 GMT, 26 December 2012

Demba Ba has reinforced his desire to move to Paris Saint-Germain despite QPR's interest in his signature

The Newcastle hitman has a 7million release clause that several Barclays Premier League clubs are tempted to activate next month.

Along with Arsenal and Liverpool, QPR boss Harry Redknapp has targeted Ba in the hope he can provide the goals to secure top-flight survival, but all three could be beaten to the striker by mega-rich PSG.

In demand: Several clubs are interested in taking Ba from Newcastle

In demand: Several clubs are interested in taking Ba from Newcastle

‘I look at PSG as a fan, as a supporter,’ Ba said.

‘I have never concealed my attraction to the club as a fan, which I have been since I was little.’

As Arsenal stall, the 27-year old has most recently been linked with both Spurs, while Newcastle’s interest in Marseille’s Loic Remy still remains.

Dangerous: Ba is a proven Premier League goalscorer

Dangerous: Ba is a proven Premier League goalscorer

What has changed since Ba’s childhood days, however, is PSG’s capacity to challenge and to become true contenders in Europe.

They topped Group A in the Champions League and will face Valencia in the last 16 on February 12, 2013.

‘Now they are doing big and important things, and have big plans for the future. Of course I’d like to play in the colours of a team I support.

Thin: Rodgers has few striking options

Thin: Rodgers has few striking options

Survival: Redknapp's looking to spend

Survival: Redknapp's looking to spend

Needs goals: Wenger's Arsenal are struggling

Needs goals: Wenger's Arsenal are struggling

‘As I’ve said where Arsenal are concerned, now isn’t the time to leave the Magpies.’

Steven Gerrard put in a masterful performance against Fulham

Rolling back the years: Gerrard puts on a masterclass in 4-0 rout of Fulham

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UPDATED:

22:10 GMT, 23 December 2012

It was a moment that provided a reminder of a glorious past but one which also offered a tantalising glimpse of what the future may hold.

As Steven Gerrard surged on to a perfectly weighted ball from Stewart Downing then smashed a drive inexorably past Mark Schwarzer, he gave a demonstration of the skills which have consistently set him apart and also reinforced the point that, contrary to what some of his detractors may think, he remains one of the most influential midfielders in the Barclays Premier League.

Masterclass: Gerrard (pictured) scored one, set up two and covered a whopping 6.31 miles in Saturday's 4-0 rout of Fulham

Masterclass: Gerrard (pictured) scored one and set up two in Saturday's 4-0 rout of Fulham

This was comfortably Gerrard's finest display of the campaign. Aside from providing two assists in the 4-0 demolition of Fulham, nobody ran further than the 6.31miles he covered and another example of his current well-being can be seen in the fact he has played in every minute of Liverpool's 18 Premier League games.

Gerrard only has 18 months left on his current contract but this was the type of performance that showed why – even at 32 – Liverpool can ill-afford to be without him and it left Brendan Rodgers adamant that a new deal should be drawn up for their talismanic captain.

'He was at the top of his game,' Rodgers observed after a rout which was completed by Martin Skrtel and Luis Suarez.

Goal: Gerrard's goal come from a wonderful reverse pass from the rejuvenated Stewart Downing

Goal: Gerrard's goal come from a wonderful reverse pass from the rejuvenated Stewart Downing

'The mixture of his short passing and long passing was perfect, and he got his goal. I have no qualms about him whatsoever.

'He is right up there as one of the most influential midfielders in the Premier League; he's at the top in chances created, passing, possession all the important things.

'I find it incredible he can have had any criticism at all. It is absolutely ridiculous.

Stamina: The 6.31miles he covered was more than any other player on the pitch

Stamina: The whopping 6.31miles Gerrard covered was more than any other player on the pitch

'He may not be getting the goals he did five or six years ago, but that doesn't stop you influencing the game, and his influence for me – and especially once he was starting to understand what I'm looking for – has been absolutely top class, up there with the very best.

'We are improving, we are growing, and he has influenced that. He is vital to us, and I recognise that.

'I know he has 18 months left on his contract, but I would want him to go beyond that for this club and this team.

'I want him to stay beyond his current contract. There is absolutely no question about that.'

Rodgers, clearly, has never had any doubts about Gerrard but the same cannot be said of Downing, who was told last month he was free to leave in January if Liverpool received the right offer but with just eight days until the window opens, the England winger may have earned himself a reprieve.

Downing was outstanding against Fulham. Aside from creating Gerrard's goal, he got one of his own and caused havoc on the flanks with his pace and trickery.

It was particularly intriguing to see him perform like this, given that Daniel Sturridge is potentially ear-marked for Downing's role once his 12million move from Chelsea is officially ratified.

This type of performance showed why Kenny Dalglish was so desperate to spend 20million to bring him from Aston Villa.

Sturridge underwent a medical on Merseyside yesterday after several minor glitches in the deal were ironed out but Downing is in no mood to surrender his spot after describing the moment Rodgers told him he could go as being 'the kick up the ****' he needed.

Silenced: Stewart Downing silenced his critics with his first league goal for Liverpool since his 20m move from Aston Villa last August

Silenced: Stewart Downing silenced his critics with his first league goal and first league assist for Liverpool since his 20m move from Aston Villa last August

'I want to stay,' said Downing. 'I never wanted to leave but I was out of the team, I was frustrated and in that situation you have to look at something if it crops up.

'The only thing I can do is play well and make him keep me here. All I am trying to do is make him pick me for the team and stay in the team.

'If I keep playing like I did against Fulham, that will happen.'

EXCLUSIVE: Gary Neville takes Sportsmail behind the scenes at Monday Night Football

MNF star Neville takes Sportsmail behind the scenes of the TV show making fans fall in love with punditry again

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UPDATED:

23:31 GMT, 18 December 2012

It is 4.30pm and although Gary Neville is midway through rehearsals for that evening’s Monday Night Football, he is still going through his first item in painstaking detail. Things have to be right and he is unapologetically demanding and meticulous in his preparation.

‘What do we think about this’ the former Manchester United full back asks producer Scott Melvin, as a chart flashes up on his touch screen. ‘I don’t think that’s good enough.’ He is over-ruled. ‘Fine,’ he says, but his arms are folded — it is clearly not fine.

‘Are we comfortable with that colour on this graphic’ is the next question. ‘It’s disgusting,’ Neville continues, without waiting for a reply. ‘I’m not a colours man but… can’t you change it’ It is duly changed.

Oh what a night: Sportsmail's Laura Williamson joined Gary Neville and Ed Chamberlain in the Sky studio to see how the hugely popular Monday Night Football has become such a big hit

Oh what a night: Sportsmail's Laura Williamson joined Gary Neville and Ed Chamberlain in the Sky studio to see how the hugely popular Monday Night Football has become such a big hit

Oh what a night: Sportsmail's Laura Williamson joined Gary Neville and Ed Chamberlain in the Sky studio to see how the hugely popular Monday Night Football has become such a big hit

Neville has been at Sky’s studios in
west London since 9.30am, but he is still like a man on fast-forward,
running ‘at 100 miles per hour’.

His intensity, willingness to work
hard and genuine vigour for his sport are startling. It seems the same
qualities that characterised him as a footballer are the ones that mark
him out as a pundit.

‘This is different to football,’ says
the 37-year-old, ‘but there is pressure — and I think that’s the thing
that keeps me excited and stimulated. It’s got to be right.

‘I think information and the detail
are the most important things for me. Nice goals or a lovely finish or
an incident, that will get done a thousand times by everybody else and
there isn’t really much more you can say.

‘I prefer information. I try to do it as if I was looking at it as a player or a coach rather than as entertainment.

‘I don’t think, really, I’m a perfect
broadcaster by any stretch of the imagination. I think it’s more around
the information for me. That’s all I can do. If you want a pretty face
or a nice voice then don’t come here.’

Ed Chamberlin, the host of MNF, laughs. ‘Well, I won’t argue with that,’ he says.

The pair have been working together
for barely 18 months but have taken the format made famous by Richard
Key and Andy Gray and made it their own.

There is little ego or arrogance about
Chamberlin, who works without an autocue and fully understands his role
is to ensure Neville is the star of the show.

The presenter continually tries to
tease extra insight and information out of a right back who won 85 caps
for England, constantly asking ‘why’ and ‘how’, which seems to amuse and
frustrate Neville on alternate occasions.

Practice makes perfect: Chamberlain and Neville can be in the studio from 9.30am on the day of the game

Practice makes perfect: Chamberlain and Neville can be in the studio from 9.30am on the day of the game

NEVILLE'S MANIC MONDAY

9.30am Arrive at Sky’s studios in west London.

10am Production meeting. Neville has been feeding ideas to the production team since the previous Wednesday. They discuss what he wants to talk about and the order the pieces should run.

11.30am Neville goes through all the video clips, while Ed Chamberlin studies the running order and familiarises himself with all the links and music.

2pm Lunch.

3pm Rehearsals start on set.

6pm Make-up.

7pm On air. An hour of analysis from the weekend’s games and to preview that night’s Barclays Premier League fixture. Also includes interviews with the managers, live from the ground.

8pm Kick-off.

8.45pm Half-time analysis.

9pm Second half.

9.45pm Full-time analysis, a look back at the weekend’s goals and a Twitter Q&A.

11pm Off air.

‘Ed doesn’t offer opinions on
football,’ says Melvin. ‘It’s different with (Match of the Day
presenter) Gary Lineker. He was a footballer and you would never
begrudge him an opinion.

'But, for me, the presenter’s job is
to probe the guys who have played football. Ed drives it and keeps it
on the rails because otherwise, God knows what would happen.’

It is no mean feat keeping Neville in
check, that’s for sure. He revels in his Aladdin’s cave of touch-screen
boards, slow-motion clips, high camera angles, statistics and league
tables.

The former England defender even had a
screen installed in his Manchester home for nine days to practise
before he started at Sky, only to go bonkers when he found out they had
updated the technology when he arrived in London.

‘I’m obsessed with charts,’ Neville
says, laughing at the nerdy nature of his words. ‘I’ll say, “Make me a
chart, make me a chart”. They argue I don’t need one, just to say it,
but I want everyone at home to know those statistics are there.

‘Every time I do a piece I don’t just
get the clips, I get the statistics. I want statistics to back it up,
so it’s not just my instinct. It’s easy to get caught up in thinking,
“Arsenal are rubbish”. But where are they rubbish Why They can’t be
all rubbish, or all good.

‘You’ve got to offer some perspective. Everything’s so sudden, everyone’s always screaming.

‘I think that’s what people inside
football do better than people in the media because in the media there’s
a need to make everything so dramatic. But, inside football, you
analyse it. You look at it bit by bit and think that’s OK, that’s not
bad, rather than everything being bad or good.’

Neville’s proximity to the game, however, could easily compromise his willingness to say what he sees and how he feels.

He spent all his career at Manchester
United and has a four-year contract with the FA to work under Roy
Hodgson and coach the England senior team, after all.

Gary Neville gets ready for Monday Night Football

Gary Neville gets made up on Monday Night Football

Finishing touches: Neville is still new to football punditry but is brilliantly professional in his preparation

But as Neville watches Arsenal’s 5-2
win at Reading — from a ‘big, wide high camera angle’ because ‘that’s
the only way you can analyse it properly, you can’t watch the ball’ —
there is only a flicker of his allegiance to the national side. When
Jack Wilshere crumples to the ground in the build-up to Reading’s first
goal, Neville suddenly becomes even more animated.

‘Oh! Oh!’ he cries. ‘Wilshere’s done
his knee ligaments. Oh no. Or is it his groin Oh dear.’ Then, ‘Oh,
phew, he’s OK. What price 5-4 Reading now’

Neville’s affiliations make him more
accountable than most but he insists he remains deliberately detached
from the insular, pally world of football.

His reasoning is as clear as the
straightforward manner in which he is able to talk through a set-piece
or analyse the build-up to a goal: you cannot criticise someone on live
television one day and go for a pint with them the next.

‘I don’t speak to too many people,’
he says. ‘I think if you speak to too many people you become friendly
with them and it might not be as honest an assessment.

‘You get to know people — “All right,
how are you mate” — and a week later they think you’re stitching them
up. Don’t get too close. I do know people but I spent my life at one
club.

‘People at the start, understandably,
were asking how it would work, but I think I’ve been as honest as I
can be about United games and most people seem to have accepted the fact
that I’ve praised or criticised their team.

‘I think fans are pretty honest. They
don’t want rubbish. If their team play well they know they’ve played
well. If they haven’t, they know that, too. You try to show why or how
because they know the rest themselves. You’re always looking for the
most interesting bits. Less fluff, more gruff.’

And they're off: The show has received rave reviews this season thanks to Neville's expert analysis

And they're off: The show has received rave reviews this season thanks to Neville's expert analysis

The enjoyment Neville derives from his
new role is obvious, even if he can barely contain his energy, pacing
up and down during advertising breaks and badgering the producer with
ideas as early as the Wednesday before a show.

This opportunity to have the last
word on the weekend’s action is, after all, both the programme’s
strength and its continual challenge — how do you be significantly
different from what has gone before, on television and social media
and in the newspapers

Neville consumes information from all these outlets but still has to offer new insight on a Monday night.

As you can probably imagine, he is not
short of ideas, although the transition from player to pundit has not
been as straight-forward as you might think.

‘The more I relax, the more I become a
little lighthearted,’ says Neville. ‘But on the first show last year, I
was 100 miles per hour. I was like a train with no brakes. I used to
get an incredibly dry mouth because I was so nervous. I’ve not done
anything like this before in my life.

‘And my hands! Oh my hands. That was a
massive problem. What do you do with them when you’re standing at the
touchscreen Now I carry my pen with me because you’ve got something to
focus on.

‘I was everywhere — my hands were
terrible. I got a lot of feedback: hands and my hair, which is a
continual challenge — I’ve just given up on that.’

Giving up That must be a first for Neville, surely.

Sky Sports is the home of football
with more than 500 live matches every season including Barclays Premier
League, UEFA Champions League, internationals, the npower Football
League and more.

Nasser Hussain: We have to bring in DRS for all Test matches

Nasser Hussain: 'Enough is enough. We have to bring in DRS for all Test matches.'

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UPDATED:

21:47 GMT, 16 December 2012

The time has now come for the ICC to stand up to the Indian cricket board and say: ‘Enough is enough. We are using the decision review system in all Test matches.’

This series has provided all the proof needed that the game is categorically better off using technology rather than relying totally on the men in the middle.

Controversy: England captain Alastair Cook was given out caught despite the ball traveling well wide of his bat

Controversy: England captain Alastair Cook was given out caught despite the ball traveling well wide of his bat

Surely the world game’s governing body can now go to India and say, ‘we have listened to your reservations and we respect them, but just look at what has happened in a marquee series when technology hasn’t been used. Big mistakes have been made on both sides and your players have misbehaved because of it’.

All the boards bar India now seem to want the system in place. Spectators want it and, judging by his reaction to a decision yesterday, India captain MS Dhoni wants it.

And sitting in the Indian dressing room is the man who invented DRS, their coach Duncan Fletcher. What more do they need

Nobody is saying the technology used is perfect. But the very professional people behind it are working towards making it as near perfect as it can be. And if it had been used in these four Tests, I reckon there might have been one or two errors made with important decisions. Instead, there have been 10 or 12.

I was asked by Sky to come up with the blatant umpiring errors in this series, and I quickly picked out 10 that really should have been spotted by the naked eye by elite umpires. I’m sure there have been other mistakes too.

10 UMPIRING HOWLERS THIS SERIES

Batsman / Bowler – What happened…

Test: Ahmedabad (1st Test)

Samit Patel / Ravi Ashwin – Should have been given out lbw on four

Mumbai (2nd)

Zaheer Khan / Graeme Swann – Given out caught at short leg — nowhere near it

Mumbai (2nd)

Pragyan Ojha / Monty Panesar – Obvious glove to leg slip — missed by Aleem Dar

Mumbai (2nd)

Gautam Gambhir / Graeme Swann – Out lbw after edging the ball into his pads

Kolkata (3rd)

Alastair Cook / Ravi Ashwin – Caught at short leg, not noticed by umpire

Kolkata (3rd)

Monty Panesar / Ravi Ashwin – lbw after nicking it

Nagpur (4th)

Alastair Cook / Ishant Sharma – lbw, despite being hit outside line of off

Nagpur (4th)

Cheteshwar Pujara / Graeme Swann – Given out at short leg off the forearm

Nagpur (4th)

Alastair Cook / Ravi Ashwin – Caught behind, but didn’t hit it

Nagpur (4th)

Jonathan Trott / Ravindra Jadeja – Hit in line with the stumps, survived the lbw shout

I am just not sure it is right when people say the elite panel get 90 per cent of their decisions right. It certainly hasn’t been that way in this series.

The four umpires used in these games seem to have become uncertain once they have had their safety net taken away from them. They have seen from technology that more decisions are out than was perceived in the past and, without it, they are not sure what to give and what to turn down.

The genie is out of the bottle. The modern generation can’t understand why technology isn’t being used. It’s time for India to see the error of their ways and accept the views of the vast majority. We have seen with our own eyes that it is the only way forward now.

Commanding: Despite his unfair dismissal, Alastair Cook's (pictured) England team remain on course for an historic series win

Commanding: Despite his unfair dismissal, Alastair Cook's (pictured) England team remain on course for an historic series win

We
are unable to carry live pictures from the fourth Test in Nagpur due to a
dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and
international news organisations.

The
BCCI has refused access to Test venues to established picture agencies
Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies.

MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

Charles Sale: Portsmouth could face extinction after court date

Portsmouth's court date with destiny could end in extinction

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UPDATED:

23:16 GMT, 7 December 2012

The most important date in the history of Portsmouth Football Club will be taking place in London's High Court on Thursday.

The future of the club could now depend on a Chancery Division judge agreeing with the Pompey Supporters' Trust – the preferred bidder – over their estimation of a fair market value for their Fratton Park ground.

Otherwise, administrator Trevor Birch believes he will have no other option than to liquidate Portsmouth, FA Cup winners four years ago, before the end of the season.

Court date with destiny: Portsmouth could face extinction

Court date with destiny: Portsmouth could face extinction

Birch can sell Pompey to the PST – even though former owner Balram Chainrai still has a mortgage on the stadium – provided there is a court ruling over the true value of the ramshackle Fratton Park.

The rival factions are millions apart in their valuations, however.

The trust price the ground at 2.75million but Chainrai's Portpin company wants to recoup the 18m allegedly owed to them – 12m of which is secured against the stadium.

Birch, an experienced football operator, has spent nine months looking for other buyers but no-one is prepared to pay more than the PST offer.

So if the judge is not convinced by the fans and their legal team during the scheduled two-day hearing, Portsmouth face extinction.

Chainrai is the only other possible option but Pompey do not believe the Football League would sanction him taking control because of unanswered questions from his previous regime.

Hart, Carroll and Bent prepare for swoosh

Nike's official disposal of their Umbro brand to the Iconix Group this week is expected to see Umbro's few remaining marquee endorsed players – Joe Hart, Andy Carroll and Darren Bent – have their contracts switched for them to start wearing the swoosh boots.

Talks are taking place with their agents. John Terry and Michael Owen, two long-term Umbro clients, are no longer under contract.

Nike, who will be launching their first England kit well in advance of the team wearing it for the first time against the Republic of Ireland in May, have kept on Umbro's Duncan Thomson to manage their relationship with the FA.

Swoosh! Joe Hart is likely to have his Umbro contract switched over to Nike

Swoosh! Joe Hart is likely to have his Umbro contract switched over to Nike

Easy for Jim to refuse

Quality all-round TV sports presenter Jim Rosenthal is in as much demand as ever four years on from ITV showing him the door after his 60th birthday. However, Rosenthal is no longer presenting the FA Cup draw after ITV, who produce the event, offered him a hugely reduced deal. 'It was an offer I found very easy to refuse,' said Rosenthal, who has been replaced by Mark Pougatch.

Sky protects asset Melvin

Andy Melvin, deputy head of Sky Sports, has been given a consultancy role following his retirement next year.

The move safeguards new rivals BT Sport making a move for Melvin.

There is plenty of animosity between BT and Sky following the unexpected defection of match director Grant Best from Isleworth to BT's Olympic Park headquarters.

Keith is pitch perfect

Twickenham's Keith Kent has been rewarded for his work on the permanent Desso pitch, which is looking good as new after four autumn internationals and the Varsity match in less than five weeks, with a clean sweep of three groundsman-of-the-year awards.

The immaculate surface at Twickenham is another reason the RFU wouldn't countenance the England World Cup group match against Wales in 2015 taking place at the Millennium Stadium, where the removable pitches can cut up badly.

Easy for Jim: TV broadcaster Jim Rosenthal turned down a cut-price deal for the FA Cup draw at ITV

Easy for Jim: TV broadcaster Jim Rosenthal turned down a cut-price deal for the FA Cup draw at ITV

City presence at Onuoha's mother's funeral

Quite rightly there was a presence from Manchester City, including club secretary Bernard Halford, Dennis Tueart and Jim Cassells, at the funeral of Dr Anthonia Onuoha, mother of former City defender Nedum, who now plays for QPR.

Dr Anthonia died of cancer 15 months after ex-City CEO Garry Cook mistakenly sent her an email mocking her brave fight against the disease.

The message was meant to be for Cook's City colleague Brian Marwood.

At the Match can't keep pace

Glossy business and sport publication At the Match perhaps shouldn't trumpet the 'cutting edge features' in their 'highly acclaimed' magazine when their latest edition – caught out by football's furious merry-go-round – has deposed manager Mark Hughes dominating the front cover talking about his vision for QPR.

A bit late: Mark Hughes was on the cover of At the Match magazine despite his sacking last month

A bit late: Mark Hughes was on the cover of At the Match magazine despite his sacking last month

Roberto Di Matteo not commenting on Chelsea speculation

Di Matteo focused on Juventus clash as Chelsea boss faces fight to save his job

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UPDATED:

19:45 GMT, 19 November 2012

Roberto Di Matteo has refused to comment on speculation regarding his future ahead of tomorrow night's Champions League clash with Juventus.

Sportsmail revealed today that the Italian is fighting for his job just six months after his side were crowned champions of Europe.

Chelsea have won just three of their last seven games, and defeat against Juventus would put their Champions League campaign in serious jeopardy.

No worries: Roberto Di Matteo refused to be drawn on speculation over his job at Chelsea

No worries: Roberto Di Matteo refused to be drawn on speculation over his job at Chelsea

Di Matteo also stuck to his policy of not disclosing what conversations he and Abramovich might have had since Saturday's 2-1 defeat at West Brom.

'I'm not thinking about that,' he said. 'I'm preparing for tomorrow
and the team for tomorrow. I've some important decisions to make about
that. We're confident we can have a good game and hopefully a good
result.'

Saturday's loss heralded the first visible cracks in the Chelsea dressing
room, with players said to have argued loudly and Di Matteo also thought
to have been furious with their performance.

Battle: Chelsea need to avoid defeat against Juventus to preserve their Champions League hopes

Battle: Chelsea need to avoid defeat against Juventus to preserve their Champions League hopes

Chelsea players train

But the Italian 'absolutely' welcomed the frank exchange, saying: 'It's
important that we communicate with each other, and the players express
themselves. I've always encouraged that.'

Defeat will leave Chelsea staring at the ignominy of being the first champions to go out in the group stage.

Di Matteo said: 'There was frustration on Saturday and that's normal
when results don't go your way. We owe ourselves a good performance and
then anything can happen. We've proved before that when it counts our
players stand up to be counted.

Chelsea's Spanish forward Fernando Torres

Chelsea's Spanish forward Fernando Torres

Axed: Sportsmail understands Fernando Torres will be dropped by Di Matteo

'Motivation is going to be high and important we show the necessary
commitment. I feel confident. We have a good team. We know the
importance of the match. We know we have to play a good game.

'We're thinking positive. We played a very good game at home against
Juve. It's going to be difficult but they're under pressure to win as
well. It's going to make it interesting.

“They need to believe in themselves. We work together and at the moment we’re all in it together. We believe we have a good group and if we pull together we can get a good result.'

Warming up: Juventus train ahead of their Champions League clash with Chelsea

Warming up: Juventus train ahead of their Champions League clash with Chelsea

Meanwhile, Juventus are ready for their ‘biggest game of the year’ against Chelsea and are not running scared of the European champions.

The Italian giants are unbeaten in five games against English opposition in Turin, a run stretching nine years to Manchester United’s 3-0 win in 2003, but they have only won one of them and a draw favours Chelsea tomorrow.

The Italian champions and Serie A leaders are in good form but have concerns about the availability of Mirko Vucinic, who has been out with flu, although the Montenegrin striker was able to take part in training today.

Confident: Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio talks to the media ahead of his side's clash

Confident: Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio talks to the media ahead of his side's clash

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2235330/Juventus-dont-fear-Chelsea-Champions-League.html#ixzz2Ch6u8tzs

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Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2235330/Juventus-dont-fear-Chelsea-Champions-League.html#ixzz2Ch6u8tzs

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Juventus are ready for their ‘biggest game of the year’ against Chelsea and are not running scared of the European champions.

The
Italian giants are unbeaten in five games against English opposition in
Turin, a run stretching nine years to Manchester United’s 3-0 win in
2003, but they have only won one of them and a draw favours Chelsea
tomorrow.

The Italian
champions and Serie A leaders are in good form but have concerns about
the availability of Mirko Vucinic, who has been out with flu, although
the Montenegrin striker was able to take part in training today.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2235330/Juventus-dont-fear-Chelsea-Champions-League.html#ixzz2Ch6u8tzs

Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Juventus are ready for their ‘biggest game of the year’ against Chelsea and are not running scared of the European champions.

The
Italian giants are unbeaten in five games against English opposition in
Turin, a run stretching nine years to Manchester United’s 3-0 win in
2003, but they have only won one of them and a draw favours Chelsea
tomorrow.

The Italian
champions and Serie A leaders are in good form but have concerns about
the availability of Mirko Vucinic, who has been out with flu, although
the Montenegrin striker was able to take part in training today.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2235330/Juventus-dont-fear-Chelsea-Champions-League.html#ixzz2Ch6u8tzs

Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Claudio Marchisio said: ‘Maybe we have less experience but we should not be scared or discouraged. This year, we are back in the Champions League and my teammates have experience at international level.

‘We know it’s very important, our biggest game of the year, and we want to go through but we know we are facing the champions of Europe, who won this great trophy

‘Chelsea have invested a lot in the summer, so we have lots of respect for them. We have been put in a group which, together with Real Madrid’s, is the most difficult. We have respect but will do all we can to go through.’

Testing times: Juventus must avoid defeat to keep their European hopes alive

Testing times: Juventus must avoid defeat to keep their European hopes alive

There is astonishment in Italy at the notion that Di Matteo’s position may be under threat, just six months after he won the Champions League.

‘He did something extraordinary last season and he is showing it again this year,’ said assistant coach Angelo Alessio, standing in for head coach Antonio Conte, who is serving a touchline ban for his role in Italy’s latest match-fixing scandal.

‘We are pleased when an Italian coach does so well in England,’ added Alessio. ‘We are pleased with what he has done and what he is doing. I don’t think he is going to lose his job if they don’t qualify.’

SQUAD BACKS DI MATTEO

Gary Cahill tonight insisted Chelsea's players were 'all behind' Roberto Di Matteo and claimed their dressing-room bust-up at West Brom had been a good thing.

Cahill said the Blues' squad had as much confidence in their manager now as when he masterminded their march to Champions League glory exactly six months ago today.

That earnt caretaker Di Matteo a permanent contract but he goes into tomorrow's Group E game at Juventus under real pressure after an alarming slump in form, which has seen them lose three of their last seven matches.

Cahill said: 'From last year, when he took the job, he did tremendously well and achieved such a lot in a short space of time.

'We started the campaign really well.

'We're all behind him and he's definitely the right man.

'He proved it last year and I'm sure he will prove it this year as well.'

Edgar Davids gives his unique views of Roberto Mancini, Fabio Capello, his new job at Barnet and fashion

EXCLUSIVE: Edgar Davids gives his unique views of Mancini (lacks people skills), Capello (tactical genius), his new job at Barnet (I'm not being paid a penny) and fashion (it's important, man)

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UPDATED:

00:00 GMT, 17 November 2012

Edgar Davids has an opinion and, as is usually the case, he is not overwhelmed by a desire to keep it to himself. This time, it's about his interviewer's choice of clothing.

'It's safe,' he says. 'But there is no adventure. You wear a suit, but you are not trying to tell me something about who you are. It lacks flair. That's not for me. You should try something, man.'

Quite a spectacle: Edgar Davids at Barnet's training ground

Quite a spectacle: Edgar Davids at Barnet's training ground

The assault is not entirely unexpected. Davids, once the 'Pitbull' midfielder of some of European football's greatest sides, has been talking about fashion for more than five minutes.

'It's my passion,' he says. He is the creative director of Monta, a company specialising in street soccer apparel, and was previously engaged to Olcay Gulsen, a renowned designer.

Davids on… Wilfried Zaha

When I was at Palace, he was a big talent but
nothing more. He was also developing bad habits technically and no-one was stopping him. His end product was very poor at times, but now he is really showing his talent. He has worked hard at his game.

One rumour suggests that he turned away a journalist because he was unimpressed by an outfit.

'That did not happen,' Davids says. 'If I refused to speak, it wouldn't have been because of his clothes. However, if I thought he wasn't looking sharp, I probably would have told him. Fashion is important, man.'

And yet here he is, the winner of six league titles, 12 domestic cups, the UEFA Cup and the Champions League, talking about his new life as the 39-year-old player-manager of League Two Barnet, a club in the basement of British football and rarely considered to be chic.

'I don't get paid a dime to be here,' he says.

On the ball: Davids at the club's training ground

On the ball: Davids shows off his skills

Own style: Davids passes on some advice to one of the young players

Own style: Davids passes on some advice to one of the young players

It's the summer of 2012, and a Greek neighbour has called. 'Fancy a Sunday league game' he asks. Davids has been living in north London since his days at Tottenham, but has only really played Street Soccer events since leaving Crystal Palace after a three-month stint in 2010.

Davids on… ‘the greats’

I played with the best. Zinedine Zidane made me look differently at star players. Some guys with that talent don’t work so hard or want different treatment. Not him. Man, those skills. One player people don’t ask me about but should is Ledley King. Left and right foot perfect, fast, almost never made a foul. Technically, he is so gifted. So relaxed on the ball. But those knees.

'I coached a team in Brixton – Brixton United – for a while,' he says. 'We won two cups. They are a good team, but I only coached. No playing.'

The phone call from his neighbour doesn't appeal so much.

'I said, “No, man”, but I woke up in the morning and thought, “You know what Let's kick a ball around”. 'In the first half, I was like, “OK, let's keep it simple, move it around”. But then in the second half, I said the famous words that I got in trouble for on television last week.

'I just thought, “Hey, I'm f*****g Edgar Davids. I didn't want people to go away and say, “I played against Edgar Davids, it was OK”. I wanted them to say, “I played against f*****g Edgar Davids and he was nutmegging me”.

'Man, second half, I did like six nutmegs and got one assist. We won.'

The game prompts a second phone call, this time from Tony Kleanthous, the Greek-Cypriot chairman of Barnet who has heard on the grapevine that Davids dusted off his boots.

Edgar Davids of Barnet photographed exclusively at the club's training ground

Standing out: Davids is enjoying the challenge

Dressing down: Davids offers some style tips to our man Riath Al-Samarrai

Dressing down: Davids offers some style tips to our man Riath Al-Samarrai

Construction work continues on the club's new ground

Big job: Work continues on the new stadium in the background

Edgar Davids at the club's training ground

Front man: Davids leads by example in training

'A friend of mine gave him my number and then I get this call,' Davids says. 'He asked if I wanted to come over for a look.

'I saw the amazing training ground and listened to his plans for the future. It worked for me.'

Davids on… Barcelona

What a team. Would I have been good enough for today’s team Absolutely. You know what it is with Barcelona They play in the half of the opponent so the space is very small and the passes are very hard. To excel, it requires those skills and I have proven I possess those skills. I can do the same as Sergio Busquets or Javier Mascherano.

An agreement was reached and Davids was last month named as joint manager with Mark Robson. The club were bottom of the Football League.

'I've never had a big dream to be a manager, but I'm a curious guy and I want to see if I like it. I've been doing my coaching badges, just the (UEFA) “A” Licence to go, and this was a good chance to play a few games and learn about management.

'You know, I've worked for some pretty good managers so I have a few ideas.'

SIXTY. That's the number of major league titles and cups won by the managers Davids worked under for Ajax, AC Milan, Juventus, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Tottenham, Crystal Palace and Holland. Between them, they have won the Champions League/European Cup seven times and a World Cup.

'Some were good, others not so good,' Davids says. 'I try to take the good bits from them and leave the bad, but also trying to keep my own identity. I don't want to be anyone's mimic.'

Action man: Davids against Accrington Stanley on Friday night

Action man: Davids against Accrington Stanley on Friday night

Boost: Barnet's Mark /11/16/article-2234184-1611B6C3000005DC-445_634x525.jpg

Still a pitbull: Davids is sent off against Accrington

The list of influences includes Louis
van Gaal, Marcello Lippi, Carlo Ancelotti, Frank Rijkaard, Fabio
Capello, Roberto Mancini and Guus Hiddink. Hiddink sent Davids home from
Euro 96 after a radio interview in which he said the national team
manager 'should stop putting his head in some players' a***s'.

'We
made up and got on fine after that,' Davids says. 'I don't talk about
best managers,' he adds, but does so anyway. 'Van Gaal as a trainer was
one of the best – it was incredible how well he prepared for games.
Lippi was very, very good. He knew his team, he knew how to meld
together a group and make it a team.

Davids on… London

I just love living here. It is so multicultural. I love
that diversity. In Amsterdam, we have it a lot, and it’s like that here. Any dish you want you can have — Japanese, Indian, Chinese. You can go from Asian to black to Jewish in the same neighbourhood. It is a reflection of society nowadays. It’s why I love Brixton — a melting pot.

'Capello taught me so much about systems, about 4-4-2, how to pressure and squeeze a team.

'Rijkaard is not a good trainer but he is a really good manager of
people. You can see Mancini lacks people management, big time.' He adds:
'I don't want to talk negative about somebody. I do not want to talk
about Mancini as there were not so many positive things.'

At Barnet's training ground, Davids'
management style is developing. He is 'a little frustrated' by the
standard but says that is 'the challenge that makes me come down here
for nothing'. The players call him 'Mr' or 'Sir' and he does likewise in
return. 'I told them it is out of the question to call me Edgar. I
don't want to be called boss because I told them they are their own
boss,' he says.

Results have improved quite dramatically. Friday's night's 1-1 draw with Accrington Stanley meant they had picked up 11 points from the seven League Two fixtures played since Davids' arrival (they took three points from the previous 11). And the 'Pitbull' still has a bite – he was sent off in the 85th minute after receiving a second booking for a foul on James Beattie, the former Everton striker.

Graham Stack, the keeper, talks of the squad being driven upwards by a 'fear factor' from playing with 'one of the best in the world'.

Davids is content with his life. 'The feeling of stepping out to play for Barnet for the first time was the same as a Champions League match. It is just joy, an innocent joy. I love to play football and will continue as long as I feel that.

'Maybe I will love management – we will see. This is fun. But you never know. Maybe one day I will own a club. That is a possibility, too. Or maybe I will leave and go into fashion.'

With that, the interview ends and Davids gets up to leave. 'Your coat,' he says. 'Double-breasted. That's very, very safe, man.'

City scout Willian and Fernandinho after they hurt Chelsea

Get me those Brazilians! City scout Willian and Fernandinho after they cut Chelsea to pieces

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UPDATED:

12:54 GMT, 9 November 2012

Manchester City are scouting the two Brazilians who almost brought Chelsea to their knees.

Attacking midfielder Willian, who scored twice, and his sidekick Fernandinho are both now being tracked by City following their dazzling performances at Stamford Bridge.

Willian has long sinced wanted a move to England and was close to joining Spurs in the summer.

Willian competes with Branislav Ivanovic of Chelsea

Willian competes with Branislav Ivanovic of Chelsea

But during this Champions League campaign, Fernandinho (full name Fernando Luis Roza) has also emerged as a serious talent.

City have had problems this season and look as if they need freshening up, although they are still third in the Barclays Premier League.

However, they have flopped badly in the Champions league with only two points from four games and are on the brink of going out.

Fernandinho gets to grips with Chelsea forward Eden Hazard

Fernandinho gets to grips with Chelsea forward Eden Hazard

Fernandinho joined league leaders Shakhtar Donetsk seven years ago and his influence has been growing this season. City are now on his trail.

They have already been made aware of Willian – full name Willian Borges da Silva – and are keen on competing with Spurs for his signature in January, even though he will be cup tied from the Champions League if they manage to get through the group.

Willian said this week: 'Chelsea and Spurs have made offers for me in the past. Who knows what will happen in the future

'Maybe they will come back. At the moment all I am thinking about is Shakhtar and helping them to qualify for the next round of the Champions League.

'But I have always thought that one day I want to play for a big club in England, Spain or Italy, so it's very important for me to play so well against such an important team as Chelsea.'

In a recent interview with MailOnline, he said: 'I would love to play in England. The league is one of the best and there are some great clubs here.'


Can you stop me Willian wriggles away from fellow Brazilian Ramires

Can you stop me Willian wriggles away from fellow Brazilian Ramires

Shoulder to shoulder: Fernandinho (left) challenges Chelsea's Juan Mata

Shoulder to shoulder: Fernandinho (left) challenges Chelsea's Juan Mata

Play like Bobby Moore… I"d rather be Daniel Passarella, says Newcastle stopper Fabricio Coloccini

Play like Moore… I'd rather be Passarella, says Newcastle defender Coloccini

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UPDATED:

23:02 GMT, 26 October 2012

Fabricio Coloccini has thanked Alan Pardew for his Bobby Moore tribute – but wishes it had been Daniel Passarella.

Newcastle boss Pardew hailed his captain after his heroics in last Sunday's Wear Tyne derby draw.

Top man: Newcastle defender Fabricio Coloccini

Top man: Newcastle defender Fabricio Coloccini

The Argentina international was forced off with cramp in the latter stages at the Stadium of Light last week but before his withdrawal, he led from the rear as ten-men Newcastle defended their early lead.

Pardew compared Coloccini's heroics to former West Ham and England captain Moore and the tribute was not lost on the central defender who is back to lead Newcastle out against West Bromwich Albion.

Coloccini said: 'I'm very proud that the manager compared me to Bobby Moore. Bobby Moore is an important man in England so for me it is very good to hear the manager say that.

Anderson of Manchester United holds off a challenge from Fabricio Coloccini of Newcastle United

'I have to say thank you to the
manager for that compliment. He was one of the best players ever to play
for the national team in England. But of course, it would have been
nice for him to say Daniel Passarella!

'Of course I knew all about Bobby Moore. He is very famous in
Argentina, he is famous all over the world because he is one of the best
footballers of all time. For anyone to say I am like him makes me very
proud.

'I didn't have
just one hero when I was young. My biggest hero was my father Osvaldo,
because he played for 16 years in the first division in Argentina. In my
career, my aim has always been to get to the level that he was at.

'It is maybe easy for a player to get
to the first division, but it is not so easy to stay there for many
years like he did. I can say I'm better when I have played 16 years in
the top division like he did.'

Pardew will be without midfielder
Cheick Tiote following his red card at Sunderland and he has a number of
options to replace the Ivory Coast midfielder. He is also certain to
make changes after the latest Europa Cup triumph over Bruges on Thursday
night.

The Newcastle boss said his squad is coping well with the additional pressure of European competition and making his life easier.

He added: 'I have been picking sides which I think suit the game. Would we have won against Bruges with the team we played at Sunderland The energy we put out that day, I don't think we would have, if I am honest.

'You could argue I left nine players out from that team but if they had all played, I think we could have got beaten, I really do. The energy levels we had to produce were phenomenal and now we have got a quick turnaround so that on Sunday, we go again.

'It is pleasing for the club. We keep saying we have some good young players but they have to deliver. It is no good just doing it in training but lads like Shane Ferguson and Sammy Ameobi have produced it in games.'

David Moyes frustrated by refereeing decision

Moyes slates ref's 'rubbish decision' after Pienaar sees red for two yellow cards

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UPDATED:

18:13 GMT, 21 October 2012

Everton boss David Moyes described Steven Pienaar's sending off as 'a rubbish decision by the referee' after watching his side draw 1-1 at QPR.

Julio Cesar's own goal cancelled out
Junior Hoilett's early opener for Rangers, but Everton, and Phil Jagielka in
particular, had to defend desperately at times after they had Pienaar
sent off in the 61st minute.

As well as the sending off, referee Jon Moss turned down a strong penalty claim after Hoilett took a tumble in the area in the 80th minute.

Off you go: Steven Pienaar (right) was sent off for a soft-looking foul on Jose Bosingwa

Off you go: Steven Pienaar (right) was sent off for a soft-looking foul on Jose Bosingwa

'He had a poor game all day,' a frustrated Moyes said about Moss.

The Toffees boss added: 'I am happy with the point. We went down to 10 men and the players dug in. Overall it was a hard point.'

QPR boss Mark Hughes felt his side deserved to win and felt aggrieved by Moss' refusal to give his side a penalty late in the game.

He said: 'I think it's an important point, but ideally we would have preferred to take the maximum because I feel our performance warranted that.

'Overall I thought some of our play was excellent today, in the first half I thought we created some good movement, a stonewall penalty cancelled out.

'The referee was only about four yards away from it so why he hasn't given it I don't know.

Frustrated: Both David Moyes and Mark Hughes felt aggrieved by referee Jon Moss' decisions

Frustrated: Both David Moyes and Mark Hughes felt aggrieved by referee Jon Moss' decisions

Upset: Pienaar held his head in his hands after receiving his second yellow card

Upset: Pienaar held his head in his hands after receiving his second yellow card

'The goal we conceded was due to not picking up from a set play and we need to do better than that.'

Everton defender Phil Jagielka hailed the visitors' spirit as they held on for the draw.

'It shows the spirit we've got, we dug in,' the England centre-back told Sky Sports 1.

'Once we went down to 10 men I thought we did a very good job and limited them to very few chances.'

Everton captain Phil Neville felt his side deserved their point.

'I think so,' he said. 'With Steven Pienaar getting sent off it was backs to the wall. We knew QPR were going to be fighting for their lives.

'I think when we went down to 10 men we would have taken a point.'

Pienaar was dismissed for a second yellow card for a soft-looking foul on Jose Bosingwa.

'I think the second booking was a little bit harsh,' added Neville.

Reward: Moyes believes his side deserved the point after battling on with 10 men

Reward: Moyes believes his side deserved the point after battling on with 10 men