Tag Archives: solitary

Nigel Adkins proud of Southampton

Adkins proud of brave Saints after victory over Reading lifts them out of drop zone



20:18 GMT, 8 December 2012

Southampton manager Nigel Adkins is proud of the way his players rose to the challenge against fellow strugglers Reading today to move out of the relegation zone with a 1-0 victory.

Saints came into the match a place, and three points, better off than their opponents, who pipped the Hampshire side to the npower Championship title last season.

Adkins' side exacted revenge for that today, with Jason Puncheon's solitary goal enough to secure victory and propel Southampton up to 15th in the Barclays Premier League standings.

Delight: Jason Puncheon scored the decisive goal

Delight: Jason Puncheon scored the decisive goal

'It is a good three points for us,' the Saints boss said. 'It is important to win our home games, especially against the teams close to us in the league.

'I thought we thoroughly deserved the victory today and, in fact, I would have liked us to have scored some more goals from the opportunities we created.

'All-in-all, we've got to be happy with the clean sheet and three points. The players stepped up to the mark.

'There might be talk [of pressure] on the outside, but the players deserve all the credit.

'They work really hard on the training ground and there is a great togetherness about them.

'They've gone out and put on a very good performance. I think if we can keep concentrating on our performances and what we want to do, we give ourselves an opportunity to go and win.'

Right-winger Puncheon was the standout player for Southampton and Adkins felt he should have had two goals today, having seen a first-half header chalked off.

'It was a great goal, I am delighted with it,' Adkins said of the goal that did stand.

Eyes on the prixe: Adam Lallana looks to control the ball

Eyes on the prixe: Adam Lallana looks to control the ball

Struggle: Both Reading and Southampton are near the foot of the table

Struggle: Both Reading and Southampton are near the foot of the table

'Jason could have had a few more. He had a few opportunities and a perfectly good goal disallowed as well.

'But the goal is off the training ground and we have a midfield player dropping out in between the defender and the full-back.

'We get somebody in the pocket, our full-back playing up high and wide player coming inside. Good quick play and an excellent goal.'

Asked if he thought the disallowed goal was one of a number of decisions to have gone against Saints recently, Adkins retorted: 'Yes, but it will change.

'We will keep grafting, we won't whinge about it and we will get on with it.'

While there were many positives for Southampton today, including a second Premier League clean sheet, they did lose captain Adam Lallana to injury in the first half.

'We've got him in a brace and he is on crutches at the moment,' Adkins said. 'That is standard procedure.

'He has got a knee injury and what we will do is assess that over the next 24 to 48 hours and that will give us a better prognosis to how long potentially he will be out for.

'It could be short, it could be longer. We don't know so we won't guess at the moment.'

Southampton fans will hope the two-week break they now have due to scheduled opponents Chelsea's Club World Cup commitments will allow Lallana time to recover.

Proud: Nigel Adkins was delighted with the result

Proud: Nigel Adkins was delighted with the result

Adkins also revealed that the period should be enough for Argentinian goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga to return to training from a shoulder injury.

While Southampton can relax, starting with their Christmas party tomorrow night, Reading face a quick turnaround.

Brian McDermott's side were second best at St Mary's today as they slumped to a fourth successive defeat – hardly ideal preparation for a trip to Sunderland on Tuesday.

'We are disappointed,' the Reading boss said. 'We had an opportunity [to win] in the first half and hit the post.

'That first goal was always going to be really, really important. They got it.

'In the second half I didn't really feel we stepped on the way we needed to get three points, never mind one.

Ouch: Adkins hopes that the two weeks off they have will give Lallana time to recover

Ouch: Adkins hopes that the two weeks off they have will give Lallana time to recover

'I think it is hard to look and reflect straight after the game. At the moment, you would imagine there would be a lot of doom and gloom around the place after a loss like that.

'I understand that completely because the second half we did not really do ourselves justice, especially with the ball.

'We know we have to be better than that and we now have another game on Tuesday to pick ourselves up.'

Sebastian Vettel could lose title

Vettel could be stripped of title as Ferrari consider appeal over alleged illegal move



22:58 GMT, 28 November 2012

Sebastian Vettel's world title could be in serious jeopardy after it emerged Ferrari are considering lodging an appeal with the FIA over an illegal overtaking manoeuvre by the Red Bull driver during Sunday's chaotic season ending Brazilian Grand Prix.

Footage circulating on YouTube appears to show triple drivers' champion Vettel overtaking Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne under yellow flag conditions in the early laps of the rain affected race at Interlagos.

Scroll down to watch the video

Champion: Sebastian Vettel won the title in Brazil last weekend

Champion: Sebastian Vettel won the title in Brazil last weekend

Overtaking is outlawed under such a
caution by race stewards and usually results in the guilty party being
handed a drive-through penalty during the race. However, in cases where
the infringement is not spotted prior to the chequered flag, the
customary punishment is 20 second penalty handed out retrospectively.

Vettel finished sixth in the race while Ferrari's Fernando Alonso came home in second meaning he was beaten to the drivers' title by just three points by his Red Bull rival.

However, should Ferrari choose to lodge an appeal against the result with motorsport's world governing body, they have until Friday to do so, then Vettel could be demoted to eighth place if a time penalty is applied.


Such a dramatic outcome would see
Alonso crowned champion for a third time by a solitary point. Vettel
staged a remarkable recovery to take the crown in the spectacular season
finale after a first lap collision with Bruno Senna left him dead last.

Suspicions of illegality in passing moves on an HRT backmarker and Kamui Kobayashi of Sauber proved unfounded but it is the footage of Vettel's move on Vergne, who drives for Red Bull's sister team, which is being forensically examined by Ferrari's top brass who spent Wednesday afternoon lock in talks at their Maranello headquarters.

A Ferrari spokesman would only confirm that: 'Anything that threatens the credibility of the championship has to be examined.'

after clinching the drivers' championship for third time in successive
years, Vettel spoke out about the 'dirty tricks' Red Bull's competitors
had used to derail his title charge.

Gutted: Fernando Alonso (left) missed out on the title to Vettel

Gutted: Fernando Alonso (left) missed out on the title to Vettel

The remark was taken by most observers to be in reference to Ferrari's decision to sabotage Felipe Massa's gearbox at the penultimate race in Austin in order to boost teammate Alonso's grid position.

In addition, Red Bull have had to alter their car on numerous occasions this season after complaints by rival teams regarding the legality of their 2012 challenger's design.

Meanwhile, Alonso tweeted after the race seemingly questioning the manner of Vettel's comeback in Brazil, posting: 'I have no miracles, I make the correct laws my miracles.'

Paul Lambert feels the heat after Aston Villa"s worst start since 1970

The Doc's spectre looms large over Lambert as Villa stumble to worst start since 1970



22:30 GMT, 28 October 2012

First, the good news for Aston Villa’s supporters.

Following the club’s worst start to a league campaign in 43 years, they cannot be relegated to the third tier of English football, a fate suffered by Tommy Docherty and Vic Crowe’s crop in 1970.

Christian Benteke shows promise. Ron Vlaar is a resolute addition to the ranks. And Matthew Lowton efficiently goes about his business.

And here is the bad.

Home keeper Brad Guzan was rightly named man of the match by Villa’s matchday sponsors. That should be an adequate pointer.

Man of the match: Brad Guzan makes a save from Wes Hoolahan

Man of the match: Brad Guzan makes a save from Wes Hoolahan

The long walk: Tommy Docherty quits Villa in 1970

The long walk: Tommy Docherty after quitting Villa in 1970

Norwich boss Chris Hughton ditched his normal conservative press conference style to claim without hesitation that the Canaries had dropped two points. He was right, too.

Out of their nine matches so far, Villa have played just one team who finished in the top four last season — Tottenham — and have fixtures to come in the next four weeks that include Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal.

What’s more, against those teams last term they picked up not one solitary point.

Manager Paul Lambert appears to have over-estimated the quality of Villa’s playing staff. His brave policy of buying largely untried Premier League players appears flawed. Frankly, their midfield is the weakest in the division.

Tough times: Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert has the weight of the world on his shoulders as Villa struggled against former club Norwich

Tough times: Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert has the weight of the world on his shoulders as Villa struggled against former club Norwich

What’s more, the Scot is struggling to come up with any plausible way forward, apart from blind faith.

What is becoming clearer by the day is that a promising win over Swansea City was a false dawn and the sooner the whole club appreciates the gravity of this situation, the better.

The whole club — from the boardroom to the terraces — wants Lambert to succeed. But something needs to change. Villa are a quarter of the way through the season and boast six points.

Norwich, on the other hand, appear a far more organised outfit than the one who were spectacularly demolished by Liverpool last month.

Sebastien Bassong is a defender of Premier League class whom Hughton will need to keep on the pitch.Having seen the new Carrow Road chief organise a Birmingham City team that threatened to implode, he is whipping the Canaries into shape.

This is obviously where his reputation as a coach of substance comes from.

As for Villa, I’ll leave you with a little teaser. Who said the following

‘The new players have not performed as well as I anticipated,’ said this Scottish boss, ‘but I have complete faith and confidence in all of my players and in my own ability.’

The answer

Tommy Docherty. Twenty-four hours later, he was sacked. Four months after that, Villa were relegated.

Bradley Wiggins ready to embrace Tour de France success

'Amazing to think I'm an inspiration': Wiggins finally ready to embrace success



23:12 GMT, 22 July 2012

Half an hour before Bradley Wiggins set off yesterday he spoke to Ivan Speck about being a role model and how his success has affected those close to him…

Fire away. Love me to bits. As these words fell from the mouth of Bradley Wiggins, the glint in his eye betrayed a relish of the life to come.

Not a life on talk shows or at celebrity parties, although his name will already have been written on many invitations. Rather a life as a role model, an inspiration, a sporting idol, the sideburns and the Tour de France yellow jersey on posters plastered on the bedroom walls of teenage cyclists across Britain.

For the first time in a career which has been drizzled in success, you feel Wiggins is finally comfortable with triumph, that he understands that it can be the springboard to fulfilment, not a cliff edge overlooking oblivion.

Not letting go: Bradley Wiggins gets his hands on the Tour de France trophy

Not letting go: Bradley Wiggins gets his hands on the Tour de France trophy

After winning Olympic gold in the 4,000m individual pursuit at the Athens Olympics of 2004, Wiggins tumbled into a pit of alcohol-saturated despair.

Month after month it continued, all-day drinking sessions while at home his wife Cath lived through the pregnancy of their first child mostly alone.

It was a black hole into which his father Gary, a professional cyclist in the 1970s and 1980s had fallen, abandoning his family and returning to his native Australia to die an unsavoury, solitary death.

To his friends, it seemed as if Brad had the same inclination to self-destruct as he struggled to comprehend the lack of opportunities coming his way. He had realised a dream in winning Olympic gold, but wanted to feel appreciated. The birth of his son Ben saved him and gave him a focus.

Over and out: Wiggins crosses the line

Over and out: Wiggins crosses the line

Seven years on, there will be no black hole this time — and not just because the financial rewards of his Tour triumph mean his family’s future is assured. It is because young cyclists from Edinburgh to Exeter will regard him with the same adoration that he looked upon five-time Tour winner Miguel Indurain.

Wiggins said: ‘I think that’s fantastic to have role models. That’s why I’m here today because I was inspired by people like that. It’s nice because you are doing something that is inspirational. Hopefully someone will have watched my time trial yesterday and gone, “I want to be like Brad Wiggins. I want to go and ride my local time trial this weekend”. I remember watching Chris Boardman win the Olympics in 1992 and getting out on my bike on that summer’s evening and pretending I was Chris Boardman.

‘I’m comfortable as a role model in a sporting sense — everything you do on the bike, how I handle myself on the bike, respecting my fellow opponents — but I don’t want to be a role model as a person because I’m only human at the end of the day. I make mistakes like everyone in life.

‘You don’t want to shatter people’s illusions. You only have to get hurried along by a gendarme and not sign some poor little kid’s autograph because you’ve been moved on and they have a different perception of you then. It’s that I struggle with.

‘But in a sporting sense, fire away. Love me to bits.’

Since Saturday evening in Chartres when his time trial assured him of Sunday’s coronation, Wiggins has been bowled over by the impact his win has had.

He added: ‘The thing that’s struck me most is just what it means to other people around me, my personal photographer breaking down in tears in my room, my mechanic was in tears. You just think, “It’s not just me who’s gone through this, everyone else around me has lived it too”. I’m almost the last person to soak it up and know what it feels like.

Sealed with a kiss: Wiggins celebrates his win with wife Cath

Sealed with a kiss: Wiggins celebrates his win with wife Cath

‘I guess that will happen over time. A lot of it is relief. It’s a little bit like when I won the Olympics for the first time. It’s almost disbelief this is happening and it’s little things like seeing the front page of L’Equipe. You don’t realise it’s you on there. It’s strange.

‘I stood on the Champs-Elysees in 1993. (My family) came to Paris for the weekend and watched (Indurain) finish. I never imagined 19 years later I’d be coming down there in the same position. It sounds cliched and pathetic, but it’s the childhood stuff of dreams.’

A dream he intends to prolong as long as possible. ‘I don’t want this to go t**s up. I’ve got a couple more years and I need to keep going, keep up the momentum.’

Wiggins’s ability has always won him races. You feel it has now earned him a greater prize — fulfilment.

Wigan 1 Everton 1: Hugo Rodallega can shine

Martinez backs Rodallega to boost Wigan's survival bid after holding off suitors

Say what you like about Roberto Martinez but never accuse him of lacking optimism.

No matter that Wigan appear to be five months from losing Hugo Rodallega, Martinez is adamant the Colombian has the appetite for a fight.

January was a testing month for Martinez. The constant speculation that surrounded Rogallega’s future was unwelcome, so much so that Wigan’s manager referred to the problems caused to his squad by 'external influences' in his programme notes ahead of Everton’s visit.

Main man: Hugo Rodallega will remain at Wigan until the end of the season

Main man: Hugo Rodallega will remain at Wigan until the end of the season

Clearly, Rodallega’s head was turned amid interest from Tottenham, Queens Park Rangers and Fulham but there was no sign of a hangover when he emerged from the bench on Saturday, his lively cameo helping Wigan secure a 1-1 draw.

In the grand scheme of things, a solitary point has not done much to boost Wigan’s survival hopes. They remain five points from safety and they were perhaps fortunate that Everton were jaded following their exertions against Manchester City five days earlier.

But in Rodallega – whose contract expires at the end of the campaign – they do have a striker with talent and Martinez feels keeping him focused will dramatically enhance Wigan’s chances of extricating themselves from an improbable position once again.

‘It was a great moment for us when the window closed,’ said Martinez. ‘It settles everyone down and keeps everyone focused on the football again. Seeing Hugo come on like he did, in that manner, when he showed a real intent to play for Wigan and to help the team was brilliant.

Get in! Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi celebrates his side's goal

Get in! Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi celebrates his side's goal

‘That’s the attitude we all need to have. It’s a massive bonus having him still here. We have to be realistic, but he can play a big role over the rest of the season for us.

‘It’s important as a human being that everything is sorted and when there are so many distractions in the window, it is difficult to be focused. But Hugo’s been working really hard to help the team. He is a massive asset.

‘We were a bit down after the last two performances but we were back to our usual selves against Everton. Winning gives everyone confidence and belief but what pleased me most was the manner in which we played.’

Having fallen behind to a freak own goal from Phil Neville, Everton – who blooded new 5million signing Nikica Jelavic in the final 30 minutes – pilfered a draw thanks substitute Victor Anichebe’s glancing header but the main talking point for the visitors was Steven Pienaar’s performance.

Pienaar would never say he made a mistake leaving Goodison for Tottenham 12 months ago but after returning on loan to Everton minutes before the transfer window closed, he played as if he had never been away.

Late show: Victor Anichebe (right) earned Everton a share of the spoils

Late show: Victor Anichebe (right) earned Everton a share of the spoils

When the South African gets the chance to operate on a slicker, firmer pitch, unlike the DW stadium’s pudding surface, Everton’s passing and movement will significantly improve, as Leighton Baines was only too happy to testify.

‘He is probably the best player I have ever played with because he is so selfless as well,’ said Baines, whose pinpoint cross provided the opening for Anichebe to equalise. ‘The shift he has put in today after not playing very often and training once is unbelievable.

‘He gives everything. He does all the work you would want him to do and more. Sometimes he was over on the right and trying to make things happen. When it breaks down he is not the type to take his rest there, he will get back and help out as well.

‘It is nice to have him back. We didn’t take any time to get back into that familiar pattern because he is just a good player. He is a pleasure to work with.’

Wigan v Everton