Tag Archives: survival

Swansea 0 Southampton 0 match report: With nothing to play for Swans and Saints play out draw

Swansea 0 Southampton 0: With nothing to play for Swans and Saints play out draw

PUBLISHED:

15:52 GMT, 20 April 2013

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UPDATED:

17:08 GMT, 20 April 2013

Southampton edged closer to Premier League survival as they ground out a goalless draw in a lacklustre encounter at Swansea.

The Saints may feel aggrieved they did not leave south Wales with all three points after Adam Lallana had an effort ruled out for handball after an error by Michel Vorm just before half-time.

Nathan Dyer went closest for the hosts as Maya Yoshida cleared his effort off the line, but in truth neither side showed sufficient quality in the final third to craft a winner in what was, for large parts, a tepid game.

Chalked off: Adam Lallana (right) sees his goal disallowed for a foul on Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm

Chalked off: Adam Lallana (right) sees his goal disallowed for a foul on Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm

MATCH FACTS

Swansea: Vorm, Rangel, Chico, Williams, Davies, Britton, de Guzman, Hernandez (Ki 61), Michu, Dyer, Moore (Routledge 46).

Subs Not Used: Tremmel, Taylor, Monk, Shechter, Tiendalli.

Southampton: Boruc, Clyne, Yoshida, Hooiveld, Fox, Schneiderlin, Cork, Steven Davis, Lallana (Puncheon 77), Rodriguez (Mayuka 88), Lambert (Ramirez 63).

Subs Not Used: Kelvin Davis, Fonte, Ward-Prowse, Shaw.

Att: 20,561

Ref: Mark Halsey (Lancashire).

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Not that Southampton will mind too much.

Mauricio Pochettino's side are now eight points clear of the drop zone, and are well-placed to secure survival having been written off in some quarters at the start of the season.

Swansea can also look forward to another top-flight season, but Michael Laudrup will be concerned that their campaign is tailing off as they equalled their previous longest winless run in the Premier League of five games.

Swansea had made a promising start, with their movement causing the visitors problems without creating any clear-cut opportunities.

The best early chance fell to Jonathan de Guzman. Pablo Hernandez's pull-back fell behind Michu to the Dutch international, but several Southampton defenders were out quickly to block.

Doing the splits: Swansea's Chico Flores (right) tackles Southampton captain Lallana

Doing the splits: Swansea's Chico Flores (right) tackles Southampton captain Lallana

Racing away: Nathaniel Clyne takes on Swansea full back Ben Davies

Racing away: Nathaniel Clyne takes on Swansea full back Ben Davies

Luke Moore then narrowly failed to get on the end of Dyer's cross as Saints struggled for a foothold in the early going.

But Pochettino's men grew into the game, with the industrious Jack Cork forcing Vorm into the game's first save with a hopeful effort from the edge of the box.

Vorm made an excellent stop to deny Jay Rodriguez after 25 minutes, getting down low to hold the volley after Rickie Lambert had teed up his colleague.

I'll have that: Southampton goalkeeper Artur Boruc (centre) claims the ball ahead of Luke Moore

I'll have that: Southampton goalkeeper Artur Boruc (centre) claims the ball ahead of Luke Moore

Vorm continued to be the busier
goalkeeper and had to be at full stretch to deny Lambert his 15th goal
of the season, the Dutchman tipping over a free-kick that was arrowing
into the top corner.

But the keeper blotted his copybook
seconds later, failing to hold a simple Rodriguez cross for Lallana to
bundle in, only for the whistle to go for handball against the Saints
midfielder.

Laudrup removed Moore at the break and introduced Wayne Routledge in a bid to find some inspiration.

Why Lallana asks the linesman why his goal was disallowed

Why Lallana asks the linesman why his goal was disallowed

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The change almost paid dividends just two
minutes after the resumption, but Michu could not keep his header down
from the winger's cross.

Hernandez engineered another promising situation on the hour as he skipped past Nathaniel Clyne and put a teasing ball across the six-yard box, but there were no white shirts lurking to tap in.

Swansea went closer still six minutes later.

Lallana let the ball run loose inside his own area and Michu pounced to set up Dyer, but Yoshida got himself in the right place to clear off the line.

Southampton dropped ever deeper and packed midfield as the pressure increased and Daniel Fox survived an ambitious handball appeal as he blocked substitute Ki Sung-yueng's volley.

Artur Boruc then made two excellent saves as he denied De Guzman and Dyer when the pair were in on goal.

And with time running out the visitors almost snatched a winner.

Ki was muscled off the ball by Steven Davis, but Vorm sharply held Emmanuel Mayuka's effort.

Well defended: Flores steers Jay Rodriguez away from danger

Well defended: Flores steers Jay Rodriguez away from danger

Tricky: Former Southampton trainee Nathan Dyer (left) cuts inside of Steven Davis

Tricky: Former Southampton trainee Nathan Dyer (left) cuts inside of Steven Davis

Rafa Benitez urges Chelsea to catch Manchester City ahead of Southampton visit

Get City! Benitez urges Chelsea to reel in champions for second spot and forget about Tottenham and Arsenal

PUBLISHED:

13:00 GMT, 28 March 2013

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UPDATED:

13:50 GMT, 28 March 2013

Rafa Benitez insists Chelsea won't be looking over their shoulders and instead believes Manchester City can be caught in the final games of the season.

The Blues are four points adrift of City ahead of their trip to Southampton on Saturday.

Southampton meanwhile are engrossed in their survival battle. four points above the drop, with just nine games of the season remaining.

Strike: Fernando Torres and Demba Ba train ahead of Chelsea's Easter Saturday clash against Southampton

Strike: Fernando Torres and Demba Ba train ahead of Chelsea's Easter Saturday clash against Southampton

'I would like to see us reduce the
gap,' said Benitez. 'They (City) will be concerned like we are with
Tottenham, Arsenal and Everton.

'The
main things are that you are a team. We are playing very good football,
so if you keep the momentum going I won't be worried about the other
teams but watching Manchester City.'

The Chelsea manager confirmed that captain John Terry would be available for selection this weekend.

Case for the defence: John Terry, seen here with David Luiz, has impressed manager Rafa Benitez

Case for the defence: John Terry, seen here with David Luiz, has impressed manager Rafa Benitez

'He has been training and doing well.
I am very pleased with him,' Benitez added. 'He is training every day
and improving his fitness.

'But we’ve got nine games in four days, he can’t play every game. That goes for all the players.'

Fernando Torres was among the Chelsea players left behind in international week after he missed out on selection to the Spain squad for their qualifiers against Finland and France.

'He has been training harder,' said Benitez. 'Spain has a lot of good players so it’s normal he can be left out of the list.

'He has been working very hard. Not just Fernando, but all the players want to prove themselves. Strikers want to score goals, but for me it is also what he does for the team.'

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Wigan agree 5m fee with Spartak Moscow for Republic of Ireland winger McGeady

Wigan agree 5m fee with Spartak Moscow for Republic of Ireland winger McGeady

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

07:34 GMT, 31 January 2013

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UPDATED:

08:18 GMT, 31 January 2013

Back to Britain: McGeady is set to return

Back to Britain: McGeady is set to return

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez is hoping to push through a late 5million move for Republic of Ireland winger Aiden McGeady.

Sportsmail revealed last week that the Latics were looking to bring in McGeady on loan from Spartak Moscow, but now the Daily Mirror are reporting that the two clubs have agreed a fee for a permanent deal.

McGeady will have to take a pay cut from the 70,000-a-week wage he earns in the Russian capital, but the former Celtic man is thought to be keen on a move back to Britain.

The 26-year-old has 18 months left on his contract at Spartak and the
club are ready to cash in on the man they paid for 9.5m for back in August 2010.

High hopes: McGeady cost Spartak 9.5m back in August 2010

High hopes: McGeady cost Spartak 9.5m back in August 2010

McGeady, who has 57 caps for his country, is wanted by Martinez to help Wigan's survival bid and it is thought the Spaniard has beaten Sunderland to his signature.

DJ Campbell to return to QPR

Harry hoping DJ can put QPR in a spin with striker set to return from Ipswich

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UPDATED:

12:23 GMT, 31 December 2012

Harry Redknapp is hoping that DJ Campbell can help fire QPR to safety when he returns from a three-month loan spell at Ipswich this week.

Campbell’s Hoops career appeared to be over under Mark Hughes as he was frozen out the first-team squad and then sent to Portman Road on a temporary basis in October.

In a spin: DJ Campbell is heading back to Loftus Road in January after shining on loan at Ipswich

In a spin: DJ Campbell is heading back to Loftus Road in January after shining on loan at Ipswich

But a run of 10 goals in 16 games for Mick McCarthy’s Championship strugglers has seen the 31-year-old catch the eye and he will be thrust back into Rangers’ Premier League squad on his return to Loftus Road.

With both Bobby Zamora and Andrew Johnson out with long-term injuries Djibril Cisse and Jamie Mackie are the only fit strikers currently available to Redknapp.

The former Spurs boss is expected to bring in a frontman to bolster QPR’s survival bid once the transfer window opens but Campbell’s services will still be required as Rangers look to haul themselves to safety.

Welcome him back with open arms: QPR boss Harry Redknapp needs to bolster his attacking options

Welcome him back with open arms: QPR boss Harry Redknapp needs to bolster his attacking options

Harry Redkapp confident QPR will not be relegated

Redknapp confident that QPR will survive… despite only winning once this season and being eight points from safety

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UPDATED:

19:04 GMT, 30 December 2012

Manager Harry Redknapp came out fighting after his QPR side were beaten 3-0 at home by Liverpool.

Bottom-of-the-table Rangers put in an abject first-half performance against the Anfield club, being taken apart by two-goal Luis Suarez.

QPR head into 2013 in big trouble and eight points from safety, with Redknapp yet to kickstart the revival many expected when he got the job last month.

Plenty of work to do: Harry Redknapp has it all to do if QPR are to avoid the drop

Plenty of work to do: Harry Redknapp has it all to do if QPR are to avoid the drop

The veteran boss himself has criticised his players since taking over, particularly after the pre-Christmas loss to Newcastle, but tonight he had changed his tune.

'I still feel we'll be okay,' he told Sky Sports 1.

'I think we will look to get one or two in, there are some good lads here anyway, I think it's possible. It's my belief we'll be okay.'

Redknapp had previously said he would not encourage owner Tony Fernandes to spend next month if his side remained in trouble, but tonight gave a nod to a change in policy, believing new players could make survival possible.

Frustrated: A dejected Adel Taarabt of QPR sees another game go by without a win

Frustrated: A dejected Adel Taarabt of QPR sees another game go by without a win

'It's not easy getting players in at this stage at the bottom of the league, but if someone is up for the challenge, it's a great chance,' he said.

'We need new faces and if we get the right players we can make a real effort. We have some hard games to come but there is a long way to go. You could have 10 games to go and need 20 points and it can be done.

'Don't give up, we have to keep believing, keep going. Those that are with us are with us, those that aren't, we'll try and do something.'

Rooted to the bottom: Taarabt reacts after a chance on goal is wasted

Rooted to the bottom: Taarabt reacts after a chance on goal is wasted

The former Tottenham boss also stood by his players when asked if they had not tried against Liverpool.

Suarez went past QPR's defenders at will and Liverpool should have had more than their three, but Redknapp would not condemn his men.

'It's difficult,” he said. 'It's easy to sit there and say there's no fight. It's easy to say that. We got moved about by better players. Suarez… What can you do when he does that to Clint Hill

'I think it's easy to say it was a lack of effort. We started the season getting beat five by Swansea. You can only get the best out of what you've got.'

Where do Aston Villa and Paul Lambert go from here?

After their drubbing by Wigan, where do Aston Villa and Lambert go from here

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 30 December 2012

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There would be few prizes for guessing the topic of conversation as Aston Villa’s decision makers gathered for a summit meeting yesterday.

Owner Randy Lerner, chief executive Paul Faulkner and manager Paul Lambert would have but one subject in mind: where on earth do we go from here

Oh, to have been a fly-on-the-wall at Lerner’s converted farmhouse in the north Warwickshire countryside as the latest depressing episode in Villa’s history was dissected.

What now It was a case of it never rains but it pours for Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert as they slumped to a dire 3-0 defeat by Wigan on Saturday

What now It was a case of it never rains but it pours for Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert as they slumped to a dire 3-0 defeat by Wigan on Saturday

Fifteen goals conceded in three matches. The heaviest defeat in the club’s history at Chelsea. Back-to-back home reversals to Spurs on Boxing Day and relegation rivals Wigan Athletic on Saturday.

In 2010, as Gerard Houllier fought with Villa’s senior players, Lerner was backed into a corner and stumped up 18million with 6m add-ons to purchase Darren Bent and guarantee Premier League survival.

Twelve months ago the situation was not as desperate. But Alex McLeish still asked for, and received, temporary assistance in the shape of Robbie Keane. Villa limped over the line to safety, the club damaged by the bitterness surrounding a misguided managerial appointment.

After a change of policy to bringing in young and hungry players under Lambert, the club once more find themselves at a crossroads.

Several senior players are currently sidelined through injury. Another clutch of first-teamers have been marginalised at the manager’s discretion and there is a third group whose top-flight experience extends to half a season. The situation is crying out for decisive action.

Rock bottom: Villa's Stephen Ireland (left) and Chris Herd don't know where to look as Wigan take control of the match

Rock bottom: Villa's Stephen Ireland (left) and Chris Herd don't know where to look as Wigan take control of the match

Bizarrely, it is little more than two weeks since Villa won 3-1 at Anfield. It was in the week building up to that game that Lambert’s team defeated Norwich City to confirm a spot in the League Cup semi-finals against Bradford City. Incredibly, Wembley beckons.

But so, on the form of the past week, does relegation.

Of course, Lambert can do little about the series of injuries that have befallen key players.

Ron Vlaar, Gabby Agbonlahor, Charles N’Zogbia and Darren Bent are all on the treatment table.

The problem for Lambert is that these absences are recent. Villa were hardly pulling up any trees in the Premier League with their help.

And Bent finds himself in two groups. First, among those senior players who are missing through injury. However, he can also count himself among those who have been marginalised. When Lambert arrived, he did so with a promise to get the club’s star striker firing again.

Grim outlook: Some embarrassed faces on the Villa bench as they lose to Wigan

Grim outlook: Some embarrassed faces on the Villa bench as they lose to Wigan

He promptly made him captain.

Suddenly, Bent was dropped. Not just from the team, but from the squad. What happened

Lambert had tried to replicate what he had done with his previous club, Norwich City. When the former Champions League winner (as a midfielder with Borussia Dortmund) arrived at Carrow Road, he identified Grant Holt as the man who could keep order in the dressing room and set a good example.

When Lambert asked Bent to do the same at Villa, the club’s manager was disappointed with the response.

He was then faced with a dilemma. Should he allow the England international to continue in a role to which he clearly wasn’t suited Or does he exert his managerial authority and teach Bent a lesson

Too easy: Wigan's Ivan Ramis celebrates opening the scoring after three minutes

Too easy: Wigan's Ivan Ramis celebrates opening the scoring after three minutes

With so many young professionals, Lambert chose the second option. Bent is now recovering from a hamstring injury. And the Scot is under severe pressure. His honeymoon is over. The issue remains.

In fairness, Villa supporters have bestowed the most generous of mandates on Lambert to produce winning football.

‘We’ve had some really heavy defeats,’ said Brett Holman, who is as straight-talking as his Australian background would suggest, ‘we are in a dip.

‘People might say we lack Premier League experience, but they weren’t saying it after we beat Liverpool at Anfield.

‘It could help if you have a couple of players who have 200-300 league games behind them.’

Just a dip: Brett Holman (centre) defended Villa's young team

Just a dip: Brett Holman (centre) defended Villa's young team

And so to yesterday’s meeting. Lerner is reluctant to keep footing the bill for huge losses but appreciates he may need to dig deep to avoid a relegation battle once more.

Lambert wants an experienced centre half, an energetic, ball-winning midfielder and another striker. All preferably with Premier League experience.

But which player, of any experience and quality, is going to see Aston Villa as a good career move

Of course, Villa could always do nothing. Tough it out.

But with three cup-ties in January, not to mention home games against fellow relegation candidates Southampton and Newcastle, it would be a bold gamble.

Clint Hill warns QPR players to fight or leave club

QPR veteran Hill warns spineless players: If you don't want to fight, get out now

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UPDATED:

22:02 GMT, 29 December 2012

Queens Park Rangers defender Clint Hill has laid bare the dressing-room tensions at the Premier League’s bottom club ahead of the team’s crucial clash against Liverpool.

Hill revealed the discontent that the players who helped the club win promotion to the top flight felt when they were cast aside by previous managers Neil Warnock and Mark Hughes for a series of big-name signings, most of whom have failed to make any real impact.

And the 34-year-old veteran questioned whether the club’s imports had the desire to fight for Premier League survival.

Back in favour: Clint Hill (left) was overlooked by Mark Hughes at QPR

Back in favour: Clint Hill (left) was overlooked by Mark Hughes at QPR

‘Of course, I was hurt when I was dropped,’ said Hill. ‘And I’m not the only one. There were another 10 or 11 players who had done well for this club, bringing them up from the Championship. To see players who had fought for everything [discarded] is hard to take. We’re not nave enough to think that we didn’t need change, it’s just how much change.’

QPR have won just one game all season and are bottom of the table with 10 points. With games against Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham looming, they are likely to remain rooted at the bottom well into 2013.

New manager Harry Redknapp has already lambasted some of his best-paid players, claiming they are not giving value for money, and he fined Jose Bosingwa, a Champions League winner with Porto and Chelsea, 100,000 for refusing to sit on the bench for the recent clash against Fulham.

Hill, made captain by Redknapp for the game against West Bromwich Albion when Ryan Nelsen was absent, backs the boss’s stance on Bosingwa.

Bad books: Jose Bosingwa (left) was fined for refusing to be a substitute

Bad books: Jose Bosingwa (left) was fined for refusing to be a substitute

Hill said: ‘If you don’t want to go on the bench, then do you want to be here Do you want to fight Do you want to be in the scrap with your team-mates

‘We’ve all been on the bench, we’ve all been dropped, we’ve all been told we can go. But we all earn good money. If you can’t sit on the bench, there has got to be something wrong.
‘You want to be in this together. You want people next to you fighting for the cause. If you can’t sit on the bench and support the lads, then what are you doing here

‘We’ve got to be together and up for the fight. If you don’t fancy it, then January is round the corner, so off you go!’

Redknapp’s punishment of Bosingwa revealed the full-back’s 50,000-a-week wages and exposed the gulf in earnings between new signings and the pre-Premier League team. But Hill insists money is not an issue.

‘If you can get that money, then good for you,’ he said. ‘I’m more anxious about what players do on the pitch.’

Too much, too soon: Mark Hughes signed a whole new team in summer

Too much, too soon: Mark Hughes signed a whole new team in summer

The first wave of signings came when current owner Tony Fernandes bought the club in August 2011, with Joey Barton, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Armand Traore, Luke Young and Anton Ferdinand soon arriving.

When Warnock was sacked last January, Hughes brought in Nedum Onuoha, Samba Diakite, Bobby Zamora and Djibril Cisse during the transfer window, before almost an entire team was signed in the summer. Hughes bought Bosingwa and Nelsen along with Andy Johnson, Park Ji-sung, Esteban Granero, Rob Green, Julio Cesar, Junior Hoilett and Stephane Mbia, with Fabio Da Silva arriving on loan.

Of these, only Nelsen, now club captain, is an unqualified success. QPR also paid almost 7million in agents’ fees, the third highest in the Premier League behind Liverpool and Manchester City.

Hill suggests Hughes tried to build a new side too quickly. ‘When you look at the other teams that came up with us, Swansea and Norwich, they’ve done it gradually and brought big players in when they needed it,’ he said.

Struggling: Esteban Granero (right) has failed to live up to his billing at QPR

Struggling: Esteban Granero (right) has failed to live up to his billing at QPR

‘The players who came up from the Championship weren’t given enough trust. I think they could have done a job in this League. But all managers have their own transfer policies.’

Hill was voted player of the season by fans and players in 2011-12 but thought he would be sold on until Redknapp arrived five weeks ago and restored him along with Shaun Derry and Jamie Mackie from the promotion team.

Hill added: ‘I’m 34 and I’ve played most of my career in the lower leagues. You’re talking about a Champions League winner [Bosingwa] here and people who have won the Premier League and FA Cups. You hope there’s a desire within them. We need that as a team, as a unit. Everyone is frustrated and everyone is different. But it has to be hurting you to be bottom and to have won one game. If it isn’t, I’ve got to question them.’

Jose Bosingwa fined 100k by QPR

Bosingwa fined 100k by Redknapp for refusing to sit on QPR bench

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UPDATED:

23:57 GMT, 21 December 2012

Jose Bosingwa has been fined 100,000 by QPR after refusing to sit on the subs bench for the relegation threatened club.

The former Chelsea defender stormed out of Loftus Road after learning he would not be in the starting team to face Fulham last weekend.

And manager Harry Redknapp, angry at what he saw as an assault on his authority, invoked the maximum club penalty of two weeks wages as punishment.

Hot water: Bosingwa (left) received a hefty fine

Hot water: Bosingwa (left) received a hefty fine

Bosingwa, 30, was left behind altogether from the QPR squad that travelled for Saturday’s match at Newcastle although the club tried to hide the trouble, claiming the Portuguese star was suffering a back injury.

But his future at Loftus Road looks bleak as Redknapp tries to reshape his squad for the fight for Premier League survival with players who will be committed to the cause.

Mark Cueto believes Sale can perform an escape act inspired by their new coach

Cueto: We can perform the great escape despite record defeat in Europe

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UPDATED:

21:11 GMT, 20 December 2012

Sale resume their Aviva Premiership survival quest at Wasps on Sunday, on the back of a record defeat in Europe.

Losing 62-0 in Toulon was the lowest ebb this season, but Mark Cueto still believes the club can perform an escape act, inspired by their ‘intimidating’ new coach.

The former England wing was part of a side which was brutally put to the sword at Stade Felix Mayol last weekend, as Toulon amassed nearly a half-century of points in the second half.

Escape act: Former England wing Mark Cueto (pictured) is sure that Sale's new coach, John Mitchell will have a galvanising effect on the team as they attempt to avoid relegation

Escape act: Former England wing Mark Cueto (pictured) is sure that Sale's new coach, John Mitchell will have a galvanising effect on the team as they attempt to avoid relegation

Of all the grim setbacks in this troubled campaign, the massacre by the Med was the worst of all, leaving the Cheshire club in a dire state as they prepare to head to Adams Park.

Time is running out for the revival to commence. The only northern team in the Premiership lie at the foot of the table, six points adrift of 11th-placed London Irish, having won just one of their 10 league games so far.

Cueto has known plenty of high-stakes occasions with England and the Lions, as well as his club, over the years, and he is well aware of how much is on the line now.

Gruelling: Cueto is tackled during Sale's 62-0 defeat against Toulon, their heaviest ever defeat in the Heineken Cup

Gruelling: Sale's suffered a 62-0 defeat against Toulon, their heaviest ever defeat in the Heineken Cup

‘Our focus is on the Premiership — saving the club and saving our jobs,’ he said.

‘The defeat in Toulon was a massive disappointment but we have closed the door on it. We have to concentrate all our efforts on this fight for survival.

‘Deep down, I think our squad is too good to be relegated, but I’m also a realist and we’ve only won one of our 10 league games, so I do worry.

Galvanising: Cueto is sure that 'intimidating' new coach John Mitchell, a former All Black, will have a galvanising effect on the team as they fight to stay in the Aviva Premiership

Galvanising: Cueto is sure that 'intimidating' new coach John Mitchell, a former All Black, will have a galvanising effect on the team as they fight to stay in the Aviva Premiership

'I’ve got this season and one more on my contract, so I’m not sure if the situation we’re in is more worrying for me or a 21 or 22-year-old.

‘It’s probably more worrying for someone in my position, because at least they can move on. If the worst came to the worst and the club went down, I’m not sure what would happen, which is a huge worry.

'You have to think about those things but the main focus has to be on staying positive.’

A major concern stemming from the defeat in southern France last weekend is that it undid much of the positive work from the previous game against Toulon eight days earlier, when Sale had battled gamely before losing 17-6 at home.

That performance suggested that the arrival of former All Blacks coach John Mitchell was rapidly having a galvanising effect on Sale and Cueto insisted that the Kiwi’s impact has been positive, despite the result in France.

‘I still think we’ve moved forward in the last two weeks under John Mitchell,’ said the veteran wing.

‘Lots of the lads had pre-conceived ideas about John, but I don’t think he has lived up to the negative ideas people maybe had about him. He is an intense guy who has huge knowledge and experience.

'The way he has focused the squad has been brilliant. We’re not playing in a very different way, but he has brought in plenty of new ideas.

‘John is an intimidating bloke, but sometimes you need that — you can’t just all be best mates and getting on all the time. There has to be a boss; someone in charge. Any successful team in any sport has a guy like that.

‘I think he can instil the belief in us so that we can get out of this situation we’re in. We finished sixth last season and have added three or four good players, so we should be better than we were before, but it hasn’t worked out that way.

'We’re a much better side than we have shown so far, but if you lose four, five or six games on the trot, it starts to affect your belief and confidence.’

Bottom: Sale sit at the bottom of the Premiership table with just one win from their first 10 games

Bottom: Sale sit at the bottom of the Premiership table with just one win from their first 10 games

Cueto was candid in admitting that the club’s senior players are the ones who have let the side down, while rookies such as Ross Harrison and Tommy Taylor have performed admirably in trying circumstances.

Sale added quality signings in the summer, in the shape of Richie Gray and Danny Cipriani, while Eifion Lewis-Roberts returned from Toulon, but all these high-calibre component parts haven’t clicked into place yet.

They will have to soon, ideally against Wasps in High Wycombe, then five days later against Worcester in Salford.

‘We have two massive games coming up this weekend and next weekend, and we need two wins, really,’ said Cueto.

‘London Irish have Leicester at home and Quins away, so on form they should struggle, which means if we can pick up points against Wasps and Worcester, we should be in a much better position.

‘At this stage of the season, London Welsh don’t look like being the team who go down — it’s likely to be us or London Irish.

'But if we get a couple of wins, suddenly it can all turn around. If we win our next two and Irish lose their next two, then we can go ahead of them and would have momentum.

‘We really need to turn the corner soon. We’re under-achieving and we have to take that personally.

'I’ve been in this situation before with Sale and we’ve managed to fight our way out of it, but it’s not a pretty place to be.’

Cueto on Mitchell: 'The way he has focused the squad has been brilliant. Were not playing in a very different way, but he has brought in plenty of new ideas'

Cueto on Mitchell: 'The way he has focused the squad has been brilliant. Were not playing in a very different way, but he has brought in plenty of new ideas'

Roberto Martinez believes he can keep Franco Di Santo and James McCarthy at Wigan

Martinez confident he can keep hold of hot property like Di Santo in transfer window

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 14 December 2012

Wigan insist they will not be forced into selling key players like Franco Di Santo and James McCarthy in the January transfer window.

Di Santo, called up by Argentina last month, is out of contract at the end of the season but manager Roberto Martinez would rather let the striker leave for nothing in the summer than damage the club's bid for Premier League survival.

'It's not going to be a financial decision,' said Martinez, who adopted a similar policy with Mohamed Diame and Hugo Rodallega a year ago.

Lockdown: Roberto Martinez believes he can keep the likes of Franco Di Santo (right) at the club

Lockdown: Roberto Martinez believes he can keep the likes of Franco Di Santo (right) at the club

'I can guarantee that we're not going to
try and cash in early. We showed last season that if we feel a player
can give us something we'll keep him, even if he can walk on a free.

'To replace a player who can score 10 or 15 goals in the Premier League you've got to talk about 10million, so if you haven't got that sort of figure it would be foolish for us just to try and get a bit of money.'

Martinez accepts that McCarthy is destined for bigger things in the future but insists that Wigan will take the same stance as they did with Antonio Valencia, Victor Moses and Charles N'Zogbia by keeping the 22-year-old midfielder until they feel it is the right time for him to move on.

He added: 'James is a player who represents what we are as a football club. I've always said that he has the potential to play anywhere in the world, but has he fulfilled his potential with Wigan Athletic Not yet.

'I think there are many things he needs to experiment and improve. Once he does that maybe he will confirm what we expected three or four years ago; that James McCarthy can be one of the best midfielders in the Premier League or European football, but there is a long way to go.'

Wigan travel to Norwich on Satuday after dropping into the bottom three in midweek, but Martinez is not particularly concerned by a situation with which he has become all too familiar during his four seasons in charge.

'We would prefer to be in the top eight, there's no two ways about it, but I think we're close to being a really good team.' he said. 'I don't think we've performed as a bottom three club.'

Confident: Martinez believes Wigan's place in the table does not show their true ability

Confident: Martinez believes Wigan's place in the table does not show their true ability