Tag Archives: lille

Joe Cole still thinks he can be Liverpool hero

Cole believes he can still make the grade at Liverpool after fine Europa League display

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UPDATED:

23:10 GMT, 22 November 2012

Liverpool midfielder Joe Cole believes he can still be a success story at the club.

The 31-year-old scored and set up Jonjo Shelvey in Liverpool's 2-2 draw with Young Boys at Anfield in the Europa League on Thursday night.

Cole claims he has impressed at each of his former sides and can repeat that on Merseyside.

Aiming high: Joe Cole says he can be a success at Anfield

Aiming high: Joe Cole says he can be a success at Anfield

'I was a good player at West Ham, Chelsea and Lille and I think I can be a good player at Liverpool,' he told ITV4.

'I'm getting stronger with every game. It is normal that a player wants to play all the time.

'It was my third game back from a hamstring problem and I felt good.

'On a personal note it was quite good. The overall sense though is disappointment that we didn't see it out in the end.

'But the young lads especially have been terrific this year. We just keep going.'

In a Liverpool side teeming with youth Cole was one of the more experienced figures.

Reds boss Brendan Rodgers said: 'It was nice for Joe Cole to play well. He has been working very hard in training.'

Asked if Cole had a future at the club, he added: 'He's certainly working hard. He knows it's difficult because he's been away from the club on loan.

'Joe's a fighter and he's working very hard. That's all he can do.'

Cole was upset that his side could not hold on to their slim lead, with a wonder goal from Elsad Zverotic after 88 minutes enough to earn the Swiss team a point.

Now they face a difficult away game in
Italy to play Udinese, in which they must at least match Young Boys'
result against Anzhi to progress.

Cole believes Liverpool should not be finding themselves in such a position, when a win meant they would have qualified.

Setback: Elsad Zverotic (left) struck late to confound Cole and Co

Setback: Elsad Zverotic (left) struck late to confound Cole and Co

'It's disappointing. It was just the game management at the end,' he said.

'We need to see the game out. Maybe we had a few young players on the pitch but we should have killed the game off.

'Fair credit though it was a good finish from their kid.'

Driven home: Cole fires in Liverpool's second of the game

Driven home: Cole fires in Liverpool's second of the game

Chris Foy: England needs ball players

Calling beasts and ball players… England needs you after dismal show against Australia

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 18 November 2012

England's 20-14 defeat against a weakened, under-pressure Australia was the lowest ebb of coach Stuart Lancaster's tenure and an alarming indication that they remain a long way adrift of the leading countries.

England have just five days to instigate a transformation before taking on South Africa.

Here, Sportsmail addresses the major problems and the action needed to resolve them.

Brace yourself: Chris Robshaw prepares to be hit by Wycliff Palu and Nicholas Phipps

Brace yourself: Chris Robshaw prepares to be hit by Wycliff Palu and Nicholas Phipps

Unbridled glee: Australia celebrate their third win in four Cook cup matches

Unbridled glee: Australia celebrate their third win in four Cook cup matches

FRANCE PUT LOCK ON NO FOURTH

France's impressive 39-22 win over Argentina in Lille on Saturday cemented their fourth place in the world rankings.

Unless Samoa beat France this Saturday, England will probably have to beat South Africa and New Zealand to get back in the top four.

The rankings on December 2 will determine the seedings for the 2015 Rugby World Cup draw, which takes place the following day, and England would have to be in the top four to avoid being in the same pool as France or the top three.

Calling the shots

Decision-making was a central flaw.

The most significant lapses came in the second half when chances to kick for goal were ignored as the hosts strove for tries.

Captain Chris Robshaw authorised
kicks to touch for attacking line-outs which came to nothing, while Ben
Youngs took a quick tap penalty which also produced no return. Even with
ample time remaining in the game it appeared an ill-advised approach.

Lancaster said:
'We thought it was the right thing to do. I'm not going to criticise
the players' decisionmaking. We will look at it and look at the
different things we could have done.'

Action:
Robshaw gauged that his pack were in the ascendancy and it didn't pay
off, but his leadership has been accomplished enough to give him the
benefit of the doubt.

Youngs has erred in this way recently
with his club and it can't keep happening. The simple solution is to
take points whenever they are on offer, particularly when a game is so
finely poised.

Going over: Manu Tuilagi scores England's first try to give the home side a 14-11 half-time lead

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Translating the training

There had been talk of how the
England squad were hitting excellence in their preparations, but that
quality didn't materialise.

During the first half, in particular, Australia's efforts with ball in hand were resoundingly superior.

England were ponderous, their side-to-side attacking wooden and predictable.

There was plenty of endeavour but
little awareness or artistry. It was as if their minds were cluttered
with training-ground scenarios and the result was a torrent of errors.

Lancaster said:
'We have to translate what we're doing in training into the execution
you need at the top level. Our intent to play was there, but we lacked
accuracy.'

Action: There is a need for more natural ball-players in midfield.

Perhaps 'paralysis by analysis' has returned, with so much detail in the game plan that players are muddled.

The coaches must pick creative backs and trust them to play instinctively.

Open the flood gates

Man of the match was Australia's rookie No 7 Michael Hooper.

His exploits in the loose and at the breakdown exposed the fact that England do not have an out-andout openside.

Robshaw is a fine player but his strengths are those of a No 6 rather than a No 7.

The best English openside is Steffon
Armitage but he is not being considered as he is at Toulon – even though
tonight he will receive an award in Paris for the best overseas player
in France.

Lancaster said (of players based in France): 'We could pick someone, but we wouldn't be able to play them against New Zealand, so what do we do then'

Of his team's breakdown problems, he
added: 'Understanding the referee's interpretation at the breakdown is
something we need to do better. If we are going to move the ball to the
wide breakdown, we've got to look after the ball.'

Action: Picking Armitage would be a positive step but it won't happen.

England must still rejig their back row but the minimum requirement should be to commit sufficient numbers to keep the ball.

Instead of a forward loitering in the line, their focus must be to hit rucks and deliver quick ball.

No mistake: Nick Cummins evades the attentions of Toby Flood to score Australia's opening try

No mistake: Nick Cummins evades the attentions of Toby Flood to score Australia's opening try

No mistake: Nick Cummins evades the attentions of Toby Flood to score Australia's opening try

Forward clout

England have a proud tradition of
forward domination but Lancaster's side had to operate with less
possession than Australia, even though the Wallabies had been pounded
into submission by France the previous weekend.

The most imposing forward was Australia's captain Nathan Sharpe, and England are crying out for figures of his stature.

While the home pack contains players
with a broad 'skills set', there aren't enough giants to intimidate and
dominate opponents.

Not even the anticipated scrum supremacy materialised as Joe Marler, in particular, struggled.

Action:
The set-piece problems can be considered a blip as England's star has
been on the rise in that department under Graham Rowntree's guidance.

But instead of recruiting
multi-purpose athletes and sending them to the gym to pump iron, maybe
there should be a hunt for one or two big beasts to spread terror in
rival ranks.

Mixed messages

Having insisted that it was 'time to
start beating these teams', England lost but then set about 'taking the
positives' and 'learning lessons'.

While head coach Lancaster insisted
that the home side were 'devastated' by the result, it jars when there
is an immediate attempt to highlight silver linings.

Nevertheless, there were a few
positives, such as Alex Goode's clever, inventive contribution at full
back and the impact of replacements such as Joe Launchbury, Tom Wood and
Mako Vunipola.

Action: England must accept and confront their shortcomings rather than lingering on modest areas of encouragement.

Only a harsh, intense response can revive them.

Quick ball: Nick Phipps releases early for Australia

Quick ball: Nick Phipps releases early for Australia

Reliable: The right boot of Toby Flood accounted for nine points

Reliable: The right boot of Toby Flood accounted for nine points

Selection

With the Springboks next and New
Zealand after that, Lancaster needs at least one win, although hopes of
being among the top seeds for the World Cup draw on December 3 have
faded.

He and his assistants will agonise over the best line-up to face the Boks.

Well, Alex Corbisiero should return
at loosehead and there is a strong case for Launchbury to partner Geoff
Parling in the second row.

Wood has done enough to return to the
starting XV and should wear No 7 as a more dynamic, explosive flanker
than Robshaw, who should switch to blindside.

Ben Morgan's hat-trick for Gloucester on Saturday is evidence he can usurp Thomas Waldrom at the base of the scrum.

There is little reason to change the
half-backs or back-three unit, but a daring move would be to employ the
power, passing and big boot of Billy Twelvetrees at inside centre
alongside Tuilagi.

PS: The 'regal purple' kit went down like a lead balloon and led to referee Romain Poite calling England 'pink'.

Manchester United and Chelsea want Lucas Digne

Man United and Chelsea keeping tabs on exciting young Lille defender Digne

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UPDATED:

21:58 GMT, 1 October 2012

Manchester United and Chelsea scouts watched Lille left back Lucas Digne, 19, against Rennes last Friday.

Digne, who has represented France at youth levels from Under-16 up to Under-19, broke into the Lille first-team last season and has continued his good form going into this campaign.

French fancy: Lille left back Digne (right) is attracting interest from United and Chelsea

French fancy: Lille left back Digne (right) is attracting interest from United and Chelsea

United are looking to replace ageing first-choice left back Patrice Evra and brought in Dutchman Alexander Buttner this summer.

Chelsea are also looking to boost their options in that area with Ashley Cole's contract set to expire at the end of the season.

Eden Hazard almost joined Tottenham

EXCLUSIVE: I almost joined Tottenham, reveals Chelsea star Hazard

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 24 September 2012

Close call: Hazard nearly joined Spurs

Close call: Hazard nearly joined Spurs

Chelsea star Eden Hazard has revealed he came close to joining Tottenham but was put off by their failure to qualify for the Champions League.

Hazard rejected advances from both Manchester clubs before moving to Stamford Bridge from Lille for 32million this summer.

It was seen as a three-way fight but the Belgium forward has spoken for the first time about an attempt by former Spurs manager Harry Redknapp to take him to White Hart Lane to replace Luka Modric.

‘It’s true that Tottenham tempted me because it was a young team which was third in the league,’ Hazard told Tuesday’s France Football.

‘Unfortunately, the end of the season did not go well. They did not reach the Champions League, which tipped the balance.’

Hazard, 21, has played a key role in Chelsea’s start to this campaign but needed convincing that their style of play would change. ‘Nobody was really a fan of Chelsea’s game last season,’ he added.

‘The directors told me they were going to recruit good players with whom I could play decent football. Marko Marin, Oscar and me, we like to have the ball at our feet. Juan Mata likes the ball, so does Ramires. The title of European champions, and Champions League qualification, counted for a lot because the club was not doing well in the league. Once Chelsea won the final, it was a natural choice.’

Options: Four English clubs wanted Hazard

Options: Four English clubs wanted Hazard

Hazard insists his fee has not been a burden, even after he fell flat on his face attempting a back-heel in the Community Shield. He said: ‘People were saying, “He’s worth 32m He tried a back-heel and fell over!” Even I laughed. In my head I said: “OK, you’ve seen the bad side, now come see the good side”.’

Lille manager Rudy Garcia says Newcastle unsettled Mathieu Debuchy

Lille boss Garcia slams Newcastle for unsettling defender Debuchy

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UPDATED:

10:02 GMT, 16 September 2012

Lille manager Rudy Garcia has criticised Newcastle for unsettling defender Mathieu Debuchy.

The France defender was strongly linked with a move to Newcastle during the summer with Lille rejecting a number of offers for the full-back.

Debuchy was thought to be keen on a move to Newcastle and remains hopeful that a deal could be resurrected in January.

Toon target: Mathieu Debuchy was wanted by Newcastle in the summer

Toon target: Mathieu Debuchy was wanted by Newcastle in the summer

Garica has blamed Newcastle for the move not happening, claiming they failed to meet Lille’s asking price for the 27-year-old.

'If Newcastle would have done what they had to, then Mathieu would have left,' Garica told L’Equipe.

Not impressed: Rudy Garcia says Newcastle unsettled his defender

Not impressed: Rudy Garcia says Newcastle unsettled his defender

'Now I believe Mathieu has swallowed it. He is now looking forward and that is the most important thing.

'How do I find his behaviour Perfectly normal, that is the right term. He longs to play again after his injury.'

Newcastle ace Yohan Cabaye issues Eden Hazard warning

My mate Eden is a real Hazard, warns Newcastle midfielder Cabaye

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UPDATED:

21:55 GMT, 24 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Yohan Cabaye is hoping that a phone conversation with his former team-mate Eden Hazard does not return to haunt him.

The France midfielder was one of the close confidantes Hazard called when he was pondering his move to England over the summer.

Danger man: Chelsea's Eden Hazard

Danger man: Chelsea's Eden Hazard

Cabaye, who had a sensational first season with Newcastle, was Hazard's close friend at Lille, where the pair formed a formidable partnership. He knew the Belgian sensation was tailor-made for the Barclays Premier League.

'The Premier League will be good for Eden's progression,' Cabaye said in Athens this week.

'He had already won two times the French player of the year award. Everybody in France knows him, so the best way for him to improve again and to become one of the big, big players in the world – which he can be – was to move here.

'I don't have much doubt that he'll become one of the best players in the league, especially if he continues to play like he did last week.

'He is relaxed with the ball. Every time, just before he gets the ball, he knows what he is going to do with it. For me, he did against Wigan what he did for Lille on many, many occasions.'

Ready for action: Newcastle's Yohan Cabaye

Ready for action: Newcastle's Yohan Cabaye

Cabaye travels with his Newcastle team-mates for the evening's kick-off at Stamford Bridge with both sides enjoying winning starts to the season. 'I will speak to Eden before the game,' added Cabaye. 'I'm sure we will have a laugh and joke with each other and it will be the same on the pitch.

'He is my friend, so I will smile with him. I've played against him once before, when France played Belgium, and we drew 0-0 and it will be the same this time.

'I spoke to Eden before he joined Chelsea. He asked me about the Premier League. I told him that this league would be everything he expected and more.

'It has been for me. I'm happy to be at Newcastle.'

'Every day I'm happy about my choice and I want to keep going and keep working with Newcastle, to keep winning games, to stay near the top of the league and play in Europe, too.'

Cabaye was one of the players rested by Newcastle manager Alan Pardew for Thursday's Europa League play-off first- leg draw against Atromitos in Athens. Hatem Ben Arfa, Fabricio Coloccini and Demba Ba will be among those who return to a side which showed nine changes from the opening-day win over Tottenham.

Old pals: Hazard and Cabaye at Lille

Old pals: Hazard and Cabaye at Lille

Striker Papiss Cisse, who scored two at Stamford Bridge last season, was not so fortunate. Due to injuries to his back-up strikeforce, Pardew was forced to play the No 9 for 77 minutes in the intense heat of the Greek capital but Cisse can expect to play again at lunchtime on Saturday.

Chelsea need no warning about the 9million Senegal striker. His second strike in the May fixture was one of the most incredible goals Petr Cech has conceded yet it was no surprise to Pardew.

The Newcastle boss said: 'Papiss is a player we all love. He's a finisher but we have to create chances for him. If you feed him he will score.'

Cisse added: 'I'm a team player, obviously.

'I love to play. When I go on the pitch I have to say I just want to score goals. It's my favourite part of the game, seeing the ball hit the back of the net.

'I'm not too tired, I didn't run around too much against Atromitos.

'I feel good and ready for Chelsea. It's my job to score goals and I hope we can get the same result as last year.'

Frank Lampard praises Eden Hazard

Lampard lauds debutant Hazard after Belgian inspires Chelsea to win over Wigan

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UPDATED:

15:41 GMT, 19 August 2012

Frank Lampard hailed the brilliance of Chelsea debutant Eden Hazard after he played a key role in the Blues' 2-0 win over Wigan at the DW Stadium.

The Belgian was a big-money summer signing from Lille and made an instant impression for the European champions in their Barclays Premier League opener, creating the first goal for full-back Branislav Ivanovic with a clever turn and weighted through-ball before winning the penalty which Lampard converted.

Lampard told Sky Sports: 'He (Hazard) was brilliant. It's a young age to come into the Premier League, no matter how good of a player you are.

Dream start: Eden Hazard (second left) celebrates with Frank Lampard (right) as Chelsea beat Wigan

Dream start: Eden Hazard (second left) celebrates with Frank Lampard (right) as Chelsea beat Wigan

'He showed the quality he has with the spin and the ball to put Ivanovic through and he showed great speed to get away from his man for the penalty. He was great to play with.'

Lampard was happy to start the season with a win, adding: 'It was a great start to the game. You always want to get a win on the opening day of the season. Coming here, with the way they finished last season, was always going to be tough.'

Wigan created chances of their own with Victor Moses forcing two saves from Petr Cech and Jordi Gomez twice going close for the Lancashire outfit.

Roberto Di Matteo was happy to get the season under way with a win and was delighted by the impact of new signing Hazard.

'Hazard was outstanding, he produced a lot of quality. He was a big threat and was difficult to mark. He managed to get away from his man and it was very pleasant to watch him today.' Di Matteo said.

Felled: Wigan's Ivan Ramis gives away a penalty by fouling Hazard (centre) inside the area

Felled: Wigan's Ivan Ramis gives away a penalty by fouling Hazard (centre) inside the area

'It was perfect today that we managed to score the two goals early on, it settled a lot of nerves. We prepared the team well for the fixture and they were looking to get a quick start today.'

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez refused to comment on speculation that Victor Moses could be set to join Chelsea.

'I dont think that's an issue, there are no offers on the table matching his valuation so it's an easy answer.' Martinez said.

'Nothing is going to be decided today. He started a bit slow but I felt he grew into the game after that and started to look his normal penetrating self and he's an important player for this team.'

Contrasting fortunes: Roberto Martinez (right) has work do to but Roberto Di Matteo will be content

Contrasting fortunes: Roberto Martinez (right) has work do to but Roberto Di Matteo will be content

The Spaniard was pleased with the reaction of his side to going behind early but felt the damage was already done.

'I don't think it takes too much to realise we didn't start well enough. We didn't have the intensity you need to compete well in this league We had a pre-season tempo and when you do that you put yourself in a difficult position.

'But the reaction was incredible, I was so so pleased with the character we showed. We had real intensity and you could see Chelsea using their experience at the end, wasting a lot of time.'

Roberto Di Matteo delighted with Eden Hazard

Outstanding! Di Matteo says new boy Hazard is exactly the player Chelsea wanted

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UPDATED:

16:58 GMT, 19 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Roberto Di Matteo hailed Eden Hazard’s debut and insisted his fleet-footed performance showed why Chelsea spent the 32million to land the Belgian forward.

Hazard could not have made a more impressive start to life in the Barclays Premier League following his summer move from Lille, as he created both goals in Chelsea's 2-0 win at Wigan.

He was given a standing ovation when the 25million Brazilian Oscar, another new boy, replaced him after 64 minutes.

Dream start: Eden Hazard (second left) celebrates with Frank Lampard (right) as Chelsea beat Wigan

Dream start: Eden Hazard (second left) celebrates with Frank Lampard (right) as Chelsea beat Wigan

His intelligence, skill and movement, coupled with the way he linked with Juan Mata and Fernando Torres, augurs well for the future and Di Matteo believes Hazard’s presence will transform his side’s style, something which Frank Lampard feels Chelsea’s fans are 'crying out to see'.

‘Eden showed all his quality,’ said the Chelsea manager after goals from Branislav Ivanovic and Lampard via the penalty spot secured victory. ‘He was outstanding. He combined well with his team-mates, was a threat. He was exactly what we were looking for.

‘He's got great technical ability, a burst of pace as well to get away from players; he can play with his back to goal. He has a lot of characteristics which he'll bring to our team.’

Felled: Wigan's Ivan Ramis gives away a penalty by fouling Hazard (centre) inside the area

Felled: Wigan's Ivan Ramis gives away a penalty by fouling Hazard (centre) inside the area

Equally impressive was Hazard’s ability to deal with some heavy challenges and, when asked if he feared teams singling him out for rough treatment, Di Matteo added: ‘These kinds of players, they're difficult to mark, they're good on the ball, they move… I don't think teams will try to.

‘I think it will be a matter of the game. I brought in another guy who's not bad himself (Oscar). I just wanted to freshen it up a bit. I thought we were always comfortable.’

Di Matteo, who is close to signing Marseille defender Cesar Azpilicueta, refused to discuss whether he will be adding Wigan’s Victor Moses to his squad. Wigan have dropped their initial 10million valuation and manager Roberto Martinez is frustrated with the uncertainty that has been caused.

Contrasting fortunes: Roberto Martinez (right) has work do to but Roberto Di Matteo will be content

Contrasting fortunes: Roberto Martinez (right) has work do to but Roberto Di Matteo will be content

‘The transfer window should close before the official games start,’ said Martinez, who admitted it was 'a risk' to start Moses. ’It's unfair on the fans and the footballers. Victor, in the last 10 days, has got himself focused.

‘He wanted to help the team, but it's unfair asking any player – at 21 or 31 – to cope with that mental pressure. That's very unfair. We want this league to be the best in the world, so we should look after our players.’

Wigan defended admirably after the lamentable start they made but Martinez said: ‘We didn’t play with our heads in the first seven minutes. In pre-season, you work over 55 sessions to get the right start but we were too soft. We had no defensive intensity.’

Gael Kakuta wants to leave Chelsea with Marseille keen

I need to leave Chelsea and return to France to save my career, says Kakuta

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UPDATED:

07:59 GMT, 14 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

French midfielder Gael Kakuta says he wants to leave Chelsea with Marseille keen to sign him.

The French club are keen to sign the 21-year-old as a replacement for Andre Ayew who could leave the club.

Kakuta told L'Equipe: 'My decision is final. This is an important time in my career. It’s better for me to leave the club (Chelsea) and find one where I could play more matches. I need to play.'

Time to go: Gael Kakuta says the best thing for his career would be to leave Chelsea

Time to go: Gael Kakuta says the best thing for his career would be to leave Chelsea

The midfielder joined Dijon on loan last season and believes a return to France would benefit him.

He added: 'In hindsight, I think the Ligue 1 will do me good. Marseille are one that I like. In France, Marseille is up there with Lille and Lyon, two of three clubs that I’m interested in most.

‘I’m not worried about Marseille. With the players they have, the club is not finished. In the coming months, the club will start to shine.'

Mathieu Debuchy pleas to leave Lille

Let me go! Newcastle target Debuchy pleas for move from Lille

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UPDATED:

09:06 GMT, 12 August 2012

Newcastle target Mathieu Debuchy says he still wishes to leave Lille, despite the club insisting that he won’t be sold.

Chairman Michel Seydoux said earlier this month that the France international will be staying after the Ligue 1 side rejected bids from the Magpies.

French fancy: Debuchy (left) is wanted by Newcastle

French fancy: Debuchy (left) is wanted by Newcastle

However Debuchy, speaking after Lille’s 2-1 win over St Etienne, remained hopeful of an exit from the Grand Stade Lille Mitropole.

'I don’t want to talk about my future,' he told Canal+. 'I heard what the chairman said. The transfer window is open until September 4 (in France). I still want to go. We will see.'

The 26-year-old right-back has made 219 league appearances for Lille since making his professional debut with the club in 2004.