Tag Archives: performance

Brendan Rodgers says Reading goalkeeper Alex McCarthy"s performance was the best he"s ever seen

McCarthy for England: Reading keeper's performance the best ever, says Rodgers

By
Riath Al-samarrai

PUBLISHED:

21:00 GMT, 14 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

00:57 GMT, 15 April 2013

At least there is hope, and failing that the prospect of receiving a hefty transfer fee.

Reading looked just about ready for the Championship on Saturday with the exception of a stand-in goalkeeper whose remarkable performance drew statements that were grand even by Brendan Rodgers’ standards.

Initially, the Liverpool manager said Alex McCarthy should be in contention for England; then he went as far as to describe his efforts in the 0-0 draw amounted to the best display of goalkeeping he had ever seen.

Scroll down for highlights from the Madejski…

England contention: Reading goalkeeper Alex McCarthy (right) produced a stunning display between the sticks for the doomed club

England contention: Reading goalkeeper Alex McCarthy (right) produced a stunning display between the sticks for the doomed club

Not many at the Madejski Stadium disagreed. His 10 saves, especially those that stopped Daniel Sturridge in the first half and Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez in the second, looked out of place in a doomed side capable of coughing up so many chances.

Best ever: Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers said it was the best goalkeeping performance he'd ever seen

Best ever: Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers said it was the best goalkeeping performance he'd ever seen

It’s anyone’s guess what impact he might have made on the club’s season had he not missed the past five months with a shoulder injury sustained when he collided with a goalpost against QPR in November.

None of this would have been a surprise to Rodgers, who oversaw Reading’s youth department and later managed the first team when the 23-year-old was coming through the ranks. He said: ‘Reading have always produced good goalkeepers and Alex is one who is next in line for me, he really is a top goalkeeper.

‘I was aware of him just before I left [as youth coach], and when I came back as manager he was still young. Goalkeepers need that experience so he went out on loan but he was always one that the guys here felt was going to be a top goalkeeper and you saw today that he has all the qualities to succeed.’

Having spent time on loan at Woking, Team Bath and Cambridge United, among other sides like Ipswich and Leeds, McCarthy only got selected after Adam Federici aggravated his ankle injury.

Asked if it was the best goalkeeping performance he had seen, Rodgers added: ‘Yes. I was sat in the changing room with the staff and said I couldn’t remember being at a game where a goalkeeper has made a performance like that, either as a manager, coach or spectator.

Attributes: Rodgers, who managed McCarthy when he was Reading boss, says the goalkeeper has all the tools to be one of the best

Attributes: Rodgers, who managed McCarthy when he was Reading boss, says the goalkeeper has all the tools to be one of the best

‘Normally goalkeepers make one or two saves that make a difference, but he made an incredible number of saves and when he was beat it was cleared off the line. It was a brilliant goalkeeping performance.’

Reading manager Nigel Adkins said: ‘We have some excellent goalkeepers. We have Stuart Taylor, Adam Federici, Alex McCarthy, Mikkel Anderson.

‘They are out there and have good competition for places which is important. Alex had been out for a long time, but had the opportunity and made some great saves. Now we have to ensure there is a consistency in his game.’

Frustrated: Liverpool had to settle for a second successive goalless draw

Frustrated: Liverpool had to settle for a second successive goalless draw

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Angus Porter, Professional Cricketers" Association chief, reveals Tom Maynard was not tested for drugs before death

PCA chief Porter reveals Maynard wasn't tested for drugs last season before death

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

16:57 GMT, 3 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:57 GMT, 3 March 2013

Professional Cricketers' Association chief Angus Porter has revealed Tom Maynard was not drug tested last season before his death in June.

Maynard was killed in the early hours of June 18 after he was electrocuted and hit by a tube train near Wimbledon Park station.

Maynard had been trying to evade police after abandoning his car, and a Westminster Coroners' Court was told last week that he was four-times the legal alcohol limit to drive and that he had also taken cocaine and ecstasy on the night of the accident.

Tragic death: Tom Maynard was not tested for drugs last season

Tragic death: Tom Maynard was not tested for drugs last season

A post-mortem report also revealed the 23-year-old Surrey batsman, who was regarded as a potential England international, had used cocaine for at least three-and-a-half months.

In the wake of the findings the PCA have begun talks with the England and Wales Cricket Board to increase the levels of drug-testing – which would also include out-of-competition samples.

While Porter said Maynard's recreational drug use would have been detected under the current policy – which focuses on performance-enhancing drugs – he confirmed the batsman had not been tested last season.

'We have a drug-testing regime in cricket like those in all professional sports which is primarily focused on detecting performance-enhancing drugs for very obvious reasons,' Porter told BBC Radio Five Live.

Tribute: Maynard is remembered in the pavilion at The Oval

Tribute: Maynard is remembered in the pavilion at The Oval

He added: 'The pattern of drug use in Tom's case suggests he would have been picked up by our existing drugs programme.

'Although the use of recreational drugs outside of competition is not a breach of the anti-doping code, use in competition is a breach.

'So he would have tested for recreational drugs had he been tested in competition. Unfortunately given that is a random process he wasn't tested last year.'

Porter confirmed talks with the ECB to initiate out-of-competition testing were ongoing and that 'hair sampling' was likely to now be used to catch recreational drug users.

Shocking: A post-mortem report revealed that Maynard had been using cocaine for at least three months

Shocking: A post-mortem report revealed that Maynard had been using cocaine for at least three months

'We're in advanced discussions with the England and Wales Cricket Board about implementing a testing programme for drugs out of competition and almost certainly using hair sampling,' he said.

'As the coroner identified that gives you a longer history and a more certain test.

'We need to be clear we are talking about testing, not to catch cheats, but testing to find people who have a drugs problem.

'Therefore, it will be linked with a confidential programme of help, support, advice and if necessary treatment to get them back on the right path.'

Porter also promised to 'redouble' efforts to educate players on the issues associated with drug taking.

At the inquest: Maynard's former Surrey team-mates Jade Dernbach and Rory Hamilton-Brown (below)

At the inquest: Maynard's former Surrey team-mates Jade Dernbach and Rory Hamilton-Brown (below)

Friend: Rory Hamilton-Brown goes into the inquest

'We work very hard to make sure that all players understand both the challenges they face as professionals and also understand the risks that go with those and the issues associated with being in the public eye,' he said.

'We'll be redoubling our efforts in that respect to make sure they are educated and have access to help when they need it.

'If we are going to turn this in to a positive in any way it's that the things we are wrestling with are ones that are challenges for society at large. If we can draw attention to those challenges then that will be a good thing.'

Jessica Ennis and Sir Dave Brailsford were among a number of British Olympians honoured by the Queen

Ennis, Rutherford, Adams and Rowsell lead the Olympic honours list while cycling boss Brailsford becomes a knight at the Palace

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Honoured: Jessica Ennis (second from left) Greg Rutherford (centre) and Nicola Adams (second from right) pose with Beefeaters after being honoured by the Queen for their heroics during London 2012

Honoured: Jessica Ennis (above, right) receives her CBE medal from Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace and poses before entering (below)

Honoured: Jessica Ennis (above, right) receives her CBE medal from Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace and poses before entering (below)

Jessica Ennis

Pride: Ennis shows off her newly awarded CBE

Pride: Ennis shows off her newly awarded CBE

Today’s ceremony will see honours go to a collection of athletes who became household names with their achievements as part of Team GB.

Greg Rutherford, 26, who landed a gold in the long jump, spoke of his excitement at being awarded the MBE. He said: 'I am very excited and very nervous as well.

Knighted: British Cycling performance director and head of Team Sky Sir David Brailsford (right) receives his knighthood from the Queen

Knighted: British Cycling performance director and head of Team Sky Sir David Brailsford (above, right) receives his knighthood from the Queen and stands with his family before entering the Palace (below)

Sir David Brailsford

'It’s not every day you get to do something like this and meet the Queen. The heart’s racing a bit.

'You dream of doing well at an Olympics, especially a home Olympics, and then the things that come along after that are just absolutely out of this world.

'I don’t think truly you can imagine these sorts of things happening and being awarded by the Queen. It really is just extraordinary.'

Sportsmail's own: Joanna Rowsell speaks with the Queen after becoming a Member of the British Empire

Sportsmail's own: Joanna Rowsell speaks with the Queen after becoming a Member of the British Empire

MBE: Sportsmail columnist Joanna Rowsell (right) speaks with the Queen after becoming a Member of the British Empire

Greg Rutherford

Nicola Adams

Collecting more medals Long jumper Greg Rutherford (left) and boxer Nicola Adams each picked up an MBE

Boxing gold medal winner Nicola Adams, 30, is also being awarded an MBE.

The flyweight, who outclassed China’s Ren Cancan to win, said: 'I’m over the moon, really excited.'

Wearing Kurt Geiger shoes and a black Phillip Lim jacket, she added: 'It isn’t every day you get to come to the palace and receive the MBE.

Sealed with a handshake: Double Olympic champion Jason Kenny collects his OBE

Sealed with a handshake: Double Olympic champion Jason Kenny collects his OBE

'I am over the moon and can’t believe I’m receiving this today.'

Double 2012 cycling champion Jason Kenny, 24, is to collected his OBE with team-mate and team pursuit gold medallist Joanna Rowsell, 24.

Ecstatic: Sir David shows his emotions while chatting to the Queen

Ecstatic: Sir David shows his emotions while chatting to the Queen

British Cycling performance director and principal of Team Sky, David Brailsford, will receive his knighthood.

Sir David led Britain to eight cycling gold medals for a second successive Olympics and Team Sky to an historic one-two in the Tour de France.

23 years own: Former England and Glamorgan cricketer Robert Croft was awarded an MBE

23 years own: Former England and Glamorgan cricketer Robert Croft was awarded an MBE

He receives his knighthood for services to cycling and the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

Cricketer Robert Croft, who retired during the summer, will pick up his MBE following a 23-year career with England and Glamorgan.

Arsenal financial figures show 120m in the bank after 17m six-month profit

Arsenal are sitting on whopping 120m in the bank… so why did they only spend 8.5m on a full back in January as their rivals left them behind

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The club, who are under increased pressure from fans to start competing in the transfer market, also showed that money was made on player sales once again, despite including the extra funds used to improve the contracts of Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott and others.

The news will receive mixed reviews from fans who are growing impatient at the lack of ambition shown in the market.

Show me the money: Arsenal have released their financial figures to show they turned a profit once again

Show me the money: Arsenal have released their financial figures to show they turned a profit once again

Arsenal were off the pace in the battle for fourth when the January transfer window opened, yet they waited until the final hours to strengthen their squad, only then spending a minimal 8.5m on left back Nacho Monreal.

The lack of action came after a summer in which the club sold their captain, Robin van Persie, to Manchester United for 24m.

Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood
said: 'Our ability to compete at the top of the game here and in Europe
is underpinned by our financial performance which gives the club
strength and independence.

'Our desire is to make everyone
connected with Arsenal proud of the club. We know that comes through
winning trophies but also through the way we do things and that will
remain our constant guide.'

The financial report states the that
'profit on sale of player registrations amounted to 42.5m' – down
from 63m in 2011 but still a cause of concern to those fans who
believe Arsenal have not replaced players such as van Persie and before
him Cesc Fabregas by those of similar quality.

Hill-Wood insisted, however, that was not the case.

He added in a statement: 'Let me be
quite clear that our intention is to keep our best players and recruit
new talent to make us stronger.

'Although we were disappointed to see Van Persie leave the club, we have taken steps to secure our best
players going forward and have recently signed Jack Wilshere, Theo
Walcott, Kieran Gibbs, Aaron Ramsey, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Carl
Jenkinson to new long-term contracts.

'During this financial period we also
invested 40.9m in the acquisition of new players, Lukas
Podolski, Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud, and the extension of other
player contracts. More recently we added Nacho Monreal to our ranks from
Malaga.'

Solitary buy: Monreal (left) was Arsenal's only purchase in January

Solitary buy: Monreal (left) was Arsenal's only purchase in January

Boost: Arsenal improved the deals of six homegrown players this season, but still turned profit

Boost: Arsenal improved the deals of six homegrown players this season, but still turned profit

Feeling the heat: Arsene Wenger

Feeling the heat: Arsene Wenger

Hill-Wood said that the Premier
League club's agreement to bring in financial fair play-style spending
controls would help Arsenal.

He said: 'These new rules will be good for us, good for the Premier League and good for the game as a whole.

'It is important that we maintain the
quality and level of competition if the game is to continue being a
compelling spectacle and we believe the introduction of tighter
financial regulation will assist all clubs to compete while remaining
financially responsible.'

Arsenal's football turnover dropped
from 113.5m to 106m as a result of four fewer home
fixtures compared to the same period last year.

The report also
confirmed an extended partnership with Emirates which will be worth up
to 150m.

Hill-Wood added: 'The Emirates
partnership is one of the biggest sponsorship deals in the game and is
an endorsement of the commercial approach we are taking.'

The figures are for the half year to the end of November 2012.

Protests: Arsenal fans have grown frustrated with a lack of spending compared with high ticket prices

Protests: Arsenal fans have grown frustrated with a lack of spending compared with high ticket prices

Protests: Arsenal fans have grown frustrated with a lack of spending compared with high ticket prices

The Arsenal Supporters' Trust (AST) said the figures highlighted the need for the club to spend more money on team strengthening.

An AST spokesman said: 'These figures contain few surprises. They show that Arsenal yet again made a profit from the sale of their best players and that the club has large cash reserves.

'Arsenal fans have contributed to this financial health through paying some of the highest ticket prices in world football. A further improvement in the club's financial strength is expected when new TV monies and commercial deals come on stream in 2013 and 2014. AST members want to see this money used for more, and better, investment in the team'.

Louis Smith and Pat Rice receive MBEs

Medals of honour: Team GB heroes Smith, Baker and Hosking and Arsenal legend Pat Rice given gongs by the Queen

team were today honoured at Buckingham Palace by the Queen.

Gymnast Louis Smith, who scooped silver on the pommel horse and bronze in the men's team competition, described being awarded the MBE as 'the proudest moment of his life', but risked being turned away when he showed up having forgot his invitation.

He tweeted: 'Hahaha not the greatest start. @gabstone9 forgot our invites to Buckingham palace. Not quite as easy getting in as a school disco #oops

Member of the British Empire: Team GB gymnast Louis Smith is honoured by the Queen

Member of the British Empire: Team GB gymnast Louis Smith is honoured by the Queen

Sophie Hosking

Pat Rice

Rowing and football: Sophie Hosking and Pat Rice's respective contributions were also honoured

Dressed to impress: Louis Smith MBE with Arlene Phillips CBE at Buckingham Palace

Dressed to impress: Louis Smith MBE with Arlene Phillips CBE at Buckingham Palace

'Today is the day I become Louis Smith M.B.E ooooooo exciting times'

Natasha Baker, who was also honoured
for winning two gold medals in dressage at the Paralympics said the
occasion was 'absolutely incredible', but had earlier tweeted in a panic
over her fear of missing the ceremony.

Baker had been stuck in traffic on the M4 but eventually made it to Buckingham Palace on time. 'Stuck in traffic on M4 on my way to collect my #MBE . Any police around to give me an escort!' she tweeted.

Louis Smith

Britain's Natasha Baker

Olympians: Louis Smith and Natasha Baker were among Team GB's most impressive performers at the Games

'Tempted to get Jordan (scooter) out and drive to Buck Pal! Think she would be faster than this traffic! Don't think I'm going to get there!'

Sophie Hosking, winner of gold in lightweight women's double sculls, was presented with an MBE at the investiture ceremony.

Pat Rice

Rob McCracken

In their element: Pat Rice (centre) with the FA Cup won at Arsenal at his peak and boxing guru Rob McCracken

British Amateur Boxing Association performance director Rob McCracken, who overlooked a haul of five boxing medals at London 2012, also receives the MBE, as was former Arsenal assistant manager Pat Rice, who spent 44 years at the club, winning seven trophies as a coach.

Valencia 1 Paris Saint-Germain 2: Ezequiel Lavezzi and Javier Pastore score before Zlatan Ibrahimovic is sent off

Valencia 1 PSG 2: Lavezzi and Pastore give visitors upper hand before Zlatan sees red

PUBLISHED:

21:37 GMT, 12 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

22:07 GMT, 12 February 2013

Adil Rami popped up with a crucial stoppage-time strike to hand Valencia a lifeline in their Champions League last-16 tie against Paris St Germain at the Mestalla tonight.

PSG looked on course for a dream result as first-half goals by Argentinian duo Ezequiel Lavezzi and Javier Pastore put Carlo Ancelotti's men firmly in the driving seat, but their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals suffered a setback in the space of two wild minutes at the end of the contest.

First Rami stole in behind the defence to reduce the arrears for Los Che before PSG's talismanic striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic was sent off for aiming a stamp at Andres Guardado.

Doubling up: Javier Pastore (right) scored Paris Saint-Germain's second of the evening

Doubling up: Javier Pastore (right) scored Paris Saint-Germain's second of the evening

Excellent start: Ezequiel Lavezzi (right) is hoisted up by Zlatan Ibrahimovic after opening the scoring for PSG

Excellent start: Ezequiel Lavezzi (right) is hoisted up by Zlatan Ibrahimovic after opening the scoring for PSG

Needless: Zlatan Ibrahimovic was red-carded for a lunge by referee Paolo Tagliavento

Needless: Zlatan Ibrahimovic was red-carded for a lunge by referee Paolo Tagliavento

MATCH FACTS

Valencia: Guaita, Rami, Joao Pereira, Guardado, Costa, Oliveira (Valdez 46), Feghouli (Viera 83), Banega (Canales 46), Parejo, Facundo, Costa, Soldado

Subs not used: Diego Alves, Ruiz, Albelda, Piatti

Booked: Joao Pereira

Goal: Rami 90

Paris Saint-Germain: Sirigu, Sakho, Alex, Maxwell, Jallet, Matuidi, Verratti, Pastore (Armand 88), Lucas Moura (Chantome 53), Lavezzi (Menez 76), Ibrahimovic

Subs not used: Douchez, Camara, Van Der Wiel, Gameiro

Booked: Verratti

Sent off: Ibrahimovic 90

Goals: Lavezzi 10, Pastore 43

Referee: Paolo Tagliavento (Italy)

Attendance: 55,000

The red card means Ibrahimovic is
suspended for the return leg along with defensive midfielder Marco
Verratti, who picked up his third booking of the campaign.

PSG's late implosion took the shine off an otherwise impressive performance by Ancelotti's troops.

Certainly the watching David Beckham,
who recently joined PSG on a five-month deal but was not in the squad
today due to a lack of match fitness, will have been encouraged by what
he saw.

However, that Lucas Moura played such
an influential role for the Parisians will not have been lost on the
37-year-old, with the Brazilian's pace and trickery down the right
channel not something the set-piece maestro can realistically expect to
replicate.

Lucas was a thorn in Valencia's side
in the opening period and had the first chance on nine minutes when he
latched on to the ball after Ibrahimovic's run was halted and crashed an
effort against the post.

PSG did not have long to dwell on that miss, however, as they took the lead 60 seconds later.

Marching order: Ibrahimovic will miss the next leg of the tie

Marching order: Ibrahimovic will miss the next leg of the tie

Consolation: Adil Rami gave Valencia hope of progressing after cutting PSG's advantage in half late on

Consolation: Adil Rami gave Valencia hope of progressing after cutting PSG's advantage in half late on

Colossus: Ibrahimovic holds off the challenge of Tino Costa

Colossus: Ibrahimovic holds off the challenge of Tino Costa

Making a mark: Salvatore Sirigu (centre) catches the ball to halt a Valencia attack

Making a mark: Salvatore Sirigu (centre) catches the ball to halt a Valencia attack

Lavezzi started and finished the
move, exchanging passes with Pastore on the edge of the area and
advancing beyond the lunging challenge of Ricardo Costa before crashing a
powerful finish beyond Vicente Guaita, who should perhaps have done
better.

Guardado flashed an effort over the
bar as Valencia went in search of the leveller, but it was PSG who
looked most likely to add to the scoring, with Lucas and Lavezzi
bringing saves from Guaita.

PSG's second goal arrived two minutes before the break, but again the Valencia goalkeeper will feel he should have done better.

Lucas, having impressed with a couple
of surging runs from his own half, gave a demonstration of what he can
deliver in the final third as he beat two men on the byline before
running into the area and pulling the ball back for Pastore, whose
first-time finish went through the legs of Guaita.

Aerial battle: Christophe Jallet (left) is unable to compete with Ever Banega in the air

Aerial battle: Christophe Jallet (left) is unable to compete with Ever Banega in the air

Anguish: David Beckham and Leonardo (right) watch the tie

Anguish: David Beckham and Leonardo (right) watch the tie

Valencia coach Ernesto Valverde
shuffled his back at the interval, with striker Nelson Valdez and
attacking midfielder Sergio Canales entering the action for Ever Banega
and Jonas.

Valdez almost made an immediate
impression when his back header from a corner was tipped over by
Salvatore Sirigu under pressure from Roberto Soldado.

Lucas' impressive outing was ended on
53 minutes as Ancelotti sacrificed the attacking flair of the Brazilian
for the more defensive midfield option of Clement Chantome.

Chantome's added midfield bite was
unable to prevent Soldado getting in behind the visiting defence on 61
minutes, the striker running on to Tino Costa's lofted pass only to see
the chance come to nothing as his heavy touch took the ball away from
goal.

On 72 minutes PSG were denied a third
when Chantome turned the ball home after a good move following a
free-kick, the substitute rightly ruled to have been coming back from an
offside position.

Making an appearance: David Beckham (centre) was inside the stadium to support his new team-mates

Making an appearance: David Beckham (centre) was inside the stadium to support his new team-mates

Making an appearance: David Beckham (centre) was inside the stadium to support his new team-mates

Valdez passed up a glorious chance to
get Valencia back into the contest when he stole in ahead of Alex to
reach another lofted pass by Costa, but the striker shanked his
left-footed finish into the side-netting.

Costa's powerful free-kick drew a
good parry from Sirigu in the 87th minute, but the PSG goalkeeper was
culpable for Valencia's late reply, which gives Valverde's men huge hope
ahead of the return.

No chance: Blaise Matuidi (right) snatches the ball away from Daniel Parejo (left) of Valencia

No chance: Blaise Matuidi (right) snatches the ball away from Daniel Parejo (left) of Valencia

Flare up: Visiting Paris Saint-Germain fans set off a flare in the stands

Flare up: Visiting Paris Saint-Germain fans set off a flare in the stands

Costa created the chance with a
chipped free-kick over the top of the Valencia defence, although as the
ball floated into the six-yard box the goalkeeper should have come to
claim.

Instead, Sirigu stayed rooted to his line, leaving Rami unchallenged as he cleverly steered the ball into the net.

And with almost the very last action
of the night PSG's efforts were further diluted when Ibrahimovic allowed
himself to become riled as he challenged with two Valencia players and
went over the ball in a challenge with Guardado, prompting the referee
to brandish the red card.

Star man: Lavezzi (left) was in exceptional form and looked a constant threat

Star man: Lavezzi (left) was in exceptional form and looked a constant threat

Tussle: Matuidi and Banega (right) battle away in the middle of the park

Tussle: Matuidi and Banega (right) battle away in the middle of the park

Sir Alex Ferguson fourth in Managers" Performance Table behind Nigel Pearson, Paolo Di Canio and Roberto Mancini

He's nine points clear and chasing a 12th Premier League title… but Fergie's not the best manager in the English game

By
John Edwards

PUBLISHED:

08:20 GMT, 5 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

09:29 GMT, 5 February 2013

Sir Alex Ferguson may be lording it over the rest in the Barclays Premier League, but he isn’t having it all his own way in a competition devised to allow managers from all four divisions to measure their achievements against each other.

The Manchester United boss is sitting on a nine-point gap at the top of the Premier League, but he can’t hold a candle to Leicester’s Nigel Pearson in the Castrol LMA Managers’ Performance Table.

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Nigel Pearson, the Leicester City manager

Best in the business: Sir Alex Ferguson (left) may have guided Manchester United to a 10 point lead in the Barclays Premier League, but Leicester's Nigel Pearson (right) trumps him in the LMA chart (below)

Enlarge

LMA manager performance list

Pearson leads the way, in the latest quarterly table, with Ferguson trailing in fourth behind third-placed Paolo Di Canio, of Swindon, and, gallingly for the man who christened The Etihad Stadium’s inhabitants his ‘noisy neighbours’, Manchester City’s Roberto Mancini in second.

Points are awarded for every competitive game played by all 92 Football League and Premier League clubs. There is a sliding scale for wins, draws, clean sheets, goals scored, winning margins and knock-out matches, with the total number of points gained divided by games played and, finally, multiplied by 10, to do away with decimals, to arrive at the Top Twenty score.

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini

Swindon Town manager, Paolo Di Canio

Flying high: Manchester City's Roberto Mancini (left) is second in the LMA table, while Swindon's Paolo Di Canio came in third

Though consistently in the top five or six, the three quarterly tables so far do not make pleasant reading for the fiery United manager.

Bad enough being fifth, behind Roberto Di Matteo, Ronnie Moore, Arsene Wenger and Port Vale’s Micky Adams, in the first, he suffered an even greater indignity in the second by finishing lower than his arch-rival Rafa Benitez.

Despite Benitez’s woes as interim Chelsea boss, he was second to Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe, with Paul Sturrock, Kenny Jackett and Gianfranco Zola also ahead of sixth-placed Fergie.

England v Scotland at the Six Nations – win tickets

Win tickets to England v Scotland at the Six Nations – courtesy of BMW

PUBLISHED:

15:08 GMT, 29 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

15:08 GMT, 29 January 2013

Sportsmail has teamed up with BMW to offer you the chance to watch England's Six Nations opener against Scotland at Twickenham.

As proud partners of England rugby, BMW are ready to give you tickets to be at the Calcutta Cup on Saturday, February 2.

BMW

BMW has launched the BMW Performance Academy, a programme that aims to support the RFU’s development of up and coming young players.

To be in with a chance of winning, just answer the following question:

Who is the coach of Scotland a) Scott Johnson
b) Gavin Hastings
c) Andy Robinson

E-mail your answer, along with your name, address and contact number to:

[email protected]

to arrive by 11am on Thursday, January 31.

PLEASE NOTE:
You must validate your entry with the words BMW ENGLAND V SCOTLAND in your
subject box; prize does not include travel or accomodation; normal Associated
Newspapers terms and conditions apply – the Editor's decision is final.

BMW

BMW will also have ten BMW Sweet Chariots on hand at Twickenham on England home match days throughout this year's RBS 6 Nations ready to carry lucky fans home.

For a chance for you or someone from your rugby club to enjoy a lift home in a chauffeur driven BMW X5, visit rfu.com/bmwsweetchariots

#SweetChariot Carry Me Home.

Brentford 2 Chelsea 2:

Brentford 2 Chelsea 2: Torres spares Rafa's blushes as holders are taken to replay

PUBLISHED:

13:54 GMT, 27 January 2013

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UPDATED:

14:14 GMT, 27 January 2013

Fernando Torres rescued Chelsea and Rafael Benitez from FA Cup humiliation today as the holders denied Brentford arguably the biggest scalp of all in this season of shocks.

Torres broke his latest miserable run in front of goal with his first of 2013, and one of the most important of his Blues career, to prevent the European champions crashing out of their second competition in five days and sixth in just six months.

It also stopped Brentford becoming the latest lower-league team to upset Barclays Premier League opponents this season, something they were seven minutes away from doing after a magnificent performance at Griffin Park.

Relief: John Terry celebrates as Chelsea earn a replay against Brentford

Relief: John Terry celebrates as Chelsea earn a replay against Brentford

Match facts

Brentford:
Moore, Hodson, Craig, Dean, Logan, Forshaw (Saunders 84), Douglas,
Diagouraga, Donaldson, Trotta (Adeyemi 70), Forrester (Barron 80).

Subs not used: Lee, Dallas, Reeves, Hayes.

Goals: Trotta 43, Forrester pen 73.

Chelsea: Turnbull, Ivanovic (Azpilicueta 79), Cahill, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Lampard, Marin (Mata 46), Oscar, Bertrand (Ba 82), Torres.

Subs not used: Hilario, Mata, Ferreira, Benayoun, Ake.

Goals: Oscar 55, Torres 83.

Booked: Cahill

Referee: Jon Moss (W Yorkshire)

The npower League One high-fliers were one in a line of sides to completely outmuscle Chelsea since Benitez took charge, Marcello Trotta firing them in front moments before half-time and Harry Forrester restoring their lead with a penalty after Oscar had equalised.

They might even have clung on had Ross Turnbull been sent off instead of cautioned for conceding the spot-kick, having already been lucky to escape a booking for holding on to the ball in a bizarre repeat of Wednesday's ball boy incident at Swansea.

As if to drive home the point that their own ball boys had come in peace, Brentford had them form a guard of honour as the European champions took the field, each of them waving a large white flag.

But there was no surrender from the 11 on the field as they tore into a Chelsea side interim manager Benitez admitted may be running on empty.

Over the rainbow: Marcelo Trotta opened the scoring for Brentford at home to Chelsea

Over the rainbow: Marcelo Trotta opened the scoring for Brentford at home to Chelsea

Running on sand was hardly going to
help their energy levels or the passing game Benitez admitted was their
only way of playing, but that was exactly the kind of surface that
awaited them in what was the archetype of the old-fashioned cup tie.

Ironically, the European champions'
millions helped pay for the pitch, as part of an agreement for them to
play under-21 games at Griffin Park.

Torres, whose 50million transfer fee could probably buy Brentford Football Club, was recalled today.

Mob rule: Brentford celebrate their shock goal against Chelsea in the FA Cup

Mob rule: Brentford celebrate their shock goal against Chelsea in the FA Cup

Fit-again John Terry also started his first game under Benitez but it was almost a nightmare return when Turnbull was penalised for clutching his captain's backpass.

Turnbull's refusal to release the ball for a quick indirect free-kick could hardly have been more ironic in the wake of the Eden Hazard saga, Forrester eventually blazing over the crossbar.

Terry and Turnbull continued to look like strangers, with Chelsea knocked out of their stride by relentless Brentford pressing and lightning breaks.

Spot kick: Tom Adeyemi is fouled by Ross Turnbull to earn Brentford a penalty which Harry Forrester scored

Spot kick: Tom Adeyemi is fouled by Ross Turnbull to earn Brentford a penalty which Harry Forrester scored

It almost led to a goal on the half-hour mark when Shaleum Logan won the ball and squared for Adam Forshaw, who drove narrowly wide.

There seemed only one outcome if Brentford could add incision to their industry, and they did just that three minutes from half-time.

Forshaw's sliding tackle robbed Frank Lampard and Forrester unleashed a shot Turbull needlessly parried straight to Trotta, who fired in the rebound.

The Italian delayed his own celebration in fear of an offside flag but the stadium was already in raptures.

Gary Cahill was booked for upending Logan before the break, which saw Marko Marin hauled off and Juan Mata tasked with orchestrating a comeback.

There was plenty of time for Chelsea to get their act together and it took them only 10 minutes to do so, Oscar pouncing on a loose clearance and bamboozling the Brentford defence before drilling into the top corner.

Mata almost finished off a sweeping move and Lampard's header from a corner was kept out by Simon Moore as the visitors began to show the kind of fight completely lacking in the first half.

But Brentford refused to panic, drawing Chelsea's sting before withdrawing Trotta for Tom Adeyemi with 20 minutes remaining.

It was inspired, the substitute winning a penalty almost immediately after being upended by Turnbull racing on to Clayton Donaldson's brilliant through ball.

Turnbull might have seen red but escaped with a booking before Forrester buried the spot-kick right in the bottom-left corner.

Chelsea briefly laid siege to the home goal, Branislav Ivanovic denied by Moore before being taken off for Cesar Azpilicueta.

Forrester followed for Scott Barron with Demba Ba finally arriving for Ryan Bertrand, who had just wasted a glorious headed chance to equalise.

Ba made the difference, challenging for an 83rd-minute ball that fell to Torres, who instinctively curled it into the top corner from 18 yards.

Lampard went close to a winner and Mata appealed furiously for handball in the box against Harlee Dean but that would have been a travesty of justice.

Lance Armstrong drug confession saddens Roger Federer

Armstrong has damaged all sports… not just cycling, says 'saddened' Federer

By
James Andrew

PUBLISHED:

05:37 GMT, 20 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

05:37 GMT, 20 January 2013

Roger Federer has expressed his sadness at American cyclist Lance Armstrong's admission that he cheated his way to seven Tour de France wins and believes it will have a negative impact on all sport.

Armstrong confessed in a televised interview with chat show host Oprah Winfrey this week to using banned performance-enhancing substances to establish himself as one of the biggest names in sport.

'What a sad story,' 17-times grand-slam winner Federer said after reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open.

Sad times: Roger Federer says Lance Armstrong's confession has hurt all of sport

Sad times: Roger Federer says Lance Armstrong's confession has hurt all of sport

'I don't know what to say. It just really saddens me to see that someone did this for such a long time.

'Obviously he's hurt his sport in a big way, even though he helped it in the beginning. But now the burden they live under, all other sports maybe as well.

'I'm an active athlete right now and it's not fun times really to be in sports to a degree. I guess all I needed to see was the first few minutes of the interview and then I knew what was the deal, and the rest I don't really care.

Coming clean: Disgraced cyclist Armstrong reveals all to Oprah Winfrey

Coming clean: Disgraced cyclist Armstrong reveals all to Oprah Winfrey

'It's just very saddening this story, to be honest.'

Serena Williams, who has won 15 grand slam titles, earlier admitted she had been 'glued' to the televised confessional.

'I think as an athlete, as someone that works really, really hard since I was four or three, I think it's a sad day for all athletes in general,' the American said.

Lance Armstrong

Roger Federer

Questions: Federer fears that Armstrong's admission will lead to people questioning other great athletes

'But I think overall it's even more disappointing for the people that were adversely affected through everything. You can only just hope for the best for them.

'Unfortunately, I think a lot of people now look and are like, okay, if somebody that great (has been cheating) what about everyone else in every other sport'

Dedicated: Serena Williams says the Armstrong saga was a sad day for athletes

Dedicated: Serena Williams says the Armstrong saga was a sad day for athletes