Tag Archives: trafford

Robin van Persie will ignore Arsenal boos – Sir Alex Ferguson

Boos won't bother Robin! Ferguson urges Van Persie to ignore dissenting Arsenal fans

By
Chris Wheeler

PUBLISHED:

11:53 GMT, 26 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

13:00 GMT, 26 April 2013

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Sir Alex Ferguson has told Robin van Persie to ignore the Arsenal boo boys on his first return to the Emirates this Sunday.

Arsene Wenger’s side will give Ferguson’s newly-crowned Premier League champions a guard of honour at the Emirates, but Van Persie is assured of a hot reception after leaving the Gunners for United in a 24million move last summer.

It has paid off with the Dutchman’s hat-trick against Aston Villa on Monday securing his first title winner’s medal, but the Arsenal fans will be less understanding.

Lending a hand: Former United player Bryan Robson was at United's training this morning

Lending a hand: Former United player Bryan Robson was at United's training this morning

WENGER'S TAKE

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger wants fans of the north London club to show respect for their former player Robin van Persie.

Click here to read Wenger's opinion

‘I don’t really bother about it and I don’t think Robin should bother about it either,’ said Ferguson.

‘There was a bit of booing when he
played against Arsenal at Old Trafford and you probably expect a portion
of the fans to do that. That’s the modern generation and modern
society, I’m afraid.

‘But I’m glad Arsene has done that
(guard of honour) because when they came to Old Trafford some years back
and Wiltord scored the only goal we did that, and that’s what great
clubs should do.’

Ferguson said that he understands why
Arsenal are so upset over losing one of their prize assets but believes
they have to look to the future now.

Back to business: Robin van Persie (left) and his team-mates were training after their title triumph

Back to business: Robin van Persie (left) and his team-mates were training after their title triumph

Man in the middle: Rio Ferdinand and Tom Cleverley (left) practise their ball skills

Man in the middle: Rio Ferdinand and Tom Cleverley (left) practise their ball skills

He added: ‘I know about the Tottenham derby but United have been Arsenal’s biggest rivals over the last 20 years.

‘It doesn’t sit well with their fans, and nor with Arsene for that matter, but it does happen and you just have to move on.

‘Arsenal have moved on now. They’re
challenging for a Champions League place and have every chance of doing
so, and they still play as attractive foot as anyone in the league.’

Antonio Valencia

Danny Welbeck

Relaxed Antonio Valencia and Danny Welbeck look calm after they helped clinch the title on Monday

ECB announce 2013 Ashes dates and venues

England to start 2013 Ashes defence at Trent Bridge with Old Trafford another returning venue

PUBLISHED:

11:03 GMT, 1 June 2012

|

UPDATED:

13:01 GMT, 25 April 2013

The England and Wales Cricket Board have released the itinerary for next year's international fixtures, with Trent Bridge playing host to the first Ashes Test.

It is another packed schedule for England, with series against New Zealand in all three formats between May 16 and June 27 before the world's top-eight teams contest the Champions Trophy.

The Oval, Cardiff and Edgbaston are the home grounds for that tournament but, as ever, the focus will be on the arrival of Australia.

Scroll down for video

Ashes heroes: England will begin the defence of the Ashes at Trent Bridge

Ashes heroes: England will begin the defence of the Ashes at Trent Bridge

They will play two four-day warm-ups, against Somerset and Worcestershire, before the opening Test in Nottingham on July 10.

The second Test, at Lord's, follows immediately on July 18 before Australia face Sussex in another tour match at Hove.

The next two Tests are also back to back, with Old Trafford the venue for the third match, as it was in the memorable 2005 series, and Durham's first taste of Ashes cricket coming in the penultimate match of the series, starting on August 9.

The tourists then have a two-day fixture at Northampton before the sides meet again at The Oval, where England have clinched the urn for the last two home series.

Having announced his shock retirement from limited-overs cricket, Kevin Pietersen's international commitments will end on August 25, while his colleagues contest two Twenty20s and five one-day matches against the old enemy as well a stand alone trip to Malahide to face Ireland.

Happy memories: The England team celebrate winning the Fourth Ashes Test at Trent Bridge in 2005

Happy memories: The England team celebrate winning the Fourth Ashes Test at Trent Bridge in 2005

The final match on the calendar, a 50-over clash with Australia, takes place at Hampshire's Ageas Bowl on September 16 – four days later than its 2012 equivalent.

ECB chief executive David Collier said: 'The prospect of England defending the Ashes on home soil, the world's top eight teams competing in the ICC Champions Trophy, and a full programme of 50-Over and T20 International cricket will provide rich pickings for cricket fans next summer.

'Last season's international programme attracted a record aggregate attendance of more than 850,000 spectators and we would urge all fans to purchase their international tickets early for 2013 to avoid missing out on what promises to be a memorable summer.'

Collier also referred to the decision to hand Lord's the first Test of the summer against New Zealand, having initially awarded the fixture to Cardiff.

Australia announce Ashes squad

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Ticket sales for last summer's Test against Sri Lanka were disappointing and a compromise deal was reached which saw Glamorgan trade their Test for the Champions Trophy fixtures.

'Wales has earned an outstanding reputation for its ability to deliver world-class sporting events and we are delighted that Cardiff will be used as a host venue for the ICC Champions Trophy and stage a semi-final,' said Collier.

'Cardiff was originally scheduled to stage next summer's first Investec Test match against New Zealand and following further discussions between ECB, Glamorgan CCC, and MCC, this match will now be played at Lord's. We are grateful to both parties for their co-operation in this matter.'

2013 SUMMER DATES FOR NEW ZEALAND AND AUSTRALIA

New Zealand tour itinerary

May 4-6 v Derbyshire

May 9-12 v England Lions (Leicester)

May 16-20 v England (First Test, Lord's)

May 24-28 v England (Second Test, Headingley)

May 31 v England (First One-Day International, Lord's)

June 2 v England (Second ODI, Ageas Bowl)

June 5 v England (Third ODI, Trent Bridge)

June 22 v Kent (T20 warm-up, Canterbury)

June 25 v England (First T20 international, Oval)

June 27 v England (Second T20 international, Oval)

NB. T20 tour match at Canterbury on 22 June cancelled if NZ in Final of ICC Champions Trophy.

Champions Trophy

June 6-17 ICC Champions Trophy Group Stages

June 19-20 ICC Champions Trophy Semi-Finals

June 23 ICC Champions Trophy Final (Edgbaston)

Australia tour itinerary

June 26-29 v Somerset

July 2-5 v Worcestershire

July 10-14 v England (First Test, Trent Bridge)

July 18-22 v England (Second Test, Lord's)

July 26-28 v Sussex

Aug 1-5 v England (Third Test, Old Trafford)

AuG 9-13 v England (Fourth Test, Emirates Durham ICG)

Aug 16-17 v Northamptonshire

Aug 21-25 v England (Fifth Test, Oval)

Aug 29 v England (First T20, Ageas Bowl)

Aug 31 v England (Second T20, Emirates Durham ICG)

Sept 3 v Scotland (Edinburgh)

Sept 6 v England (First ODI, Headingley)

Sept 8 v England (Second ODI, Old Trafford)

Sept 11 v England (Third ODI, Edgbaston)

Sept 14 v England (Fourth ODI, SWALEC Stadium)

Sept 16 v England (Fifth ODI, Ageas Bowl)

Sept 3 Ireland v England (ODI, Dublin)

Alex Ferguson sends Manchester United scouts to watch Radamel Falcao

Fergie steps up move for 47m Falcao as United send chief scout to watch Atletico striker score a double

By
Graeme Yorke

PUBLISHED:

10:50 GMT, 15 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:17 GMT, 15 April 2013

Manchester United watched Radamel Falcao score twice for Atletico Madrid on Sunday night as Sir Alex Ferguson ponders a summer deal.

Sportsmail revealed last week that Ferguson is considering a 47million deal – that could involve Javier Hernandez as part of a swap – to land the Colombia striker.

As United won 2-0 at Stoke, Ferguson sent his chief scout Jim Lawlor to watch Falcao strike a brace in their 5-0 thumping at home to Granada.

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Wanted: Radamel Falcao (left) in action during Atletico Madrid's victory over Granada

Wanted: Radamel Falcao (left) in action during Atletico Madrid's victory over Granada

Wanted: Radamel Falcao (left) in action during Atletico Madrid's victory over Granada

Wanted: Radamel Falcao (left) in action during Atletico Madrid's victory over Granada

Star man: Falcao struck a brace in the triumph for Atletico at the Vicente Calderon

Lawlor is likely to return with
glowing reports of a striker who is also interesting Chelsea and
Manchester City, along with Europe's big guns.

Manchester City and Chelsea have both
been strongly linked with Falcao, who has established himself as one of
the world's most prolific marksmen by scoring 56 goals for Atletico
since arriving in Spain from Porto in 2011.

But it is United have
now joined the bidding for the 27-year-old Colombia star and are prepared to
let striker Hernandez move to Madrid as part of the deal.

On his way Javier Hernandez in action against Stoke on Sunday - but he could be off

On his way Javier Hernandez in action against Stoke on Sunday – but he could be off

Give us a hug! Sir Alex Ferguson celebrates with Robin van Persie during the win at Stoke

Give us a hug! Sir Alex Ferguson celebrates with Robin van Persie during the win at Stoke

The Premier League leaders are ready
to meet the 47m buyout clause in Falcao's contract by offering Atletico
27m cash plus Hernandez, who they value at 20m.

If they were to land Falcao it
would be a bitter blow to Chelsea, who thought they were winning the
race to sign him, and City boss Roberto Mancini who believes Robin van
Persie's decision to choose Old Trafford over the Etihad Stadium last
summer has been a key factor in this season's title battle.

However,
any club wanting to sign Falcao will have to resolve an issue of
third-party ownership due to the fact that a company run by former
United and Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon and agent Jorge Mendes
has owned a stake in the player since helping to finance his 34m move
from Porto.

VIDEO: Watch Falcao do what he does best – goalscoring

Sir Bobby Charlton says Sir Alex Ferguson will carry on at Manchester United "forever"

Fergie's time will never end: United legend Charlton backs Ferguson to 'go on for ever'

By
John Edwards

PUBLISHED:

14:25 GMT, 10 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:06 GMT, 10 April 2013

Sir Bobby Charlton fired an ominous warning to Manchester United’s main title rivals by insisting Sir Alex Ferguson looks like he will ‘go on forever.’

The United manager is closing in on his 13th Barclays Premier League crown at the ripe old age of 71, but any thoughts of bowing out after avenging last season’s late surrender to bitter rivals Manchester City could not be further from his mind, according to Sir Bobby.

‘There is nothing in his posture that suggests he is beginning to tire,’ said the United director. ‘Far from being tired, he has the same enthusiasm as ever. He is an unbelievable character, and I don’t see him ever losing that drive and enthusiasm.

Carry on, Fergie: Sir Bobby Charlton says Sir Alex Ferguson will go on for ever at Manchester United

Carry on, Fergie: Sir Bobby Charlton says Sir Alex Ferguson will go on for ever at Manchester United

‘He tried to retire once, and it was an absolute failure. Everyone wants to know the answer to that, because he can’t go on for ever. But I look at him and think that’s exactly what he will do.

‘He is a fantastic lover of football, and he is very clever when it comes to identifying a player he wants and coming to the board about it. He knows exactly what to do in those situations, and, to be fair, we try to give him exactly what he wants.

‘We haven’t got many directors at Old
Trafford, and we adopt the view that we need good players to be a top
team and that the manager is the best person to decide on who they
should be.

United heroes: Sir Bobby Charlton and Denis Law get together at Soccerex in Manchester

United heroes: Sir Bobby Charlton and Denis Law get together at Soccerex in Manchester

'We look after the business side of things, Alex the football side, and we give him what he wants. We leave pretty much everything to Alex, in a football sense.

‘The rivalry with City, and the way they have re-emerged, has probably provided him with an extra incentive. He just hates losing, no matter who the opposition are, and the defeat on Monday night will have hurt him.

'But the great thing is, he will pinpoint exactly why we lost and make sure it doesn’t happen again.’

Class of 68: Charlton exchanges shirts with former Benfica and Portugal legend Eusebio

Class of 68: Charlton exchanges shirts with former Benfica and Portugal legend Eusebio

A World Cup winner in 1966, Sir Bobby despairs of England ever lifting the trophy again.

‘When I’m asked about our prospects, I always feel obliged to say we’ve got a chance, but really it’s a fool’s errand,’ he said. ‘If so many places in Premier League teams are taken up by foreign players, we’ve got no chance.

‘Spain are absolutely my favourites for the finals in Brazil. Heaven forbid, but Germany are in with a chance as well, because they are so well coached, and Holland seem to be re-emerging as well.’

Manchester United champions scarves already on sale outside Old Trafford

It's not wrapped up yet! 'Champions' scarves already on sale outside Old Trafford… but not many fans will want to display their 'friendship' merchandise

By
Charlie Skillen

PUBLISHED:

18:35 GMT, 8 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

07:01 GMT, 9 April 2013

Fans heading to Monday night's Manchester derby are sure to take notice of some of the scarves on sale outside Old Trafford.

The merchandise traders have got in early by proudly selling United 'Champions 20 times' scarves – despite the Premier League title not yet being mathematically over.

With the slogan 'Are you watching
City' emblazoned across the top, they are likely to become collectors'
items should City's win spark a shock late run to the title.

Ahead of the game: A United scarf seller proudly displays a '20 times Champions' scarf

Ahead of the game: A United scarf seller proudly displays a '20 times Champions' scarf

While the '20 times' scarves are sure to be a popular purchase for the home supporters, another design on sale might not fly off the shelves.

Half-red, half-blue 'friendship' scarves were also on display, despite the rivalry between the two clubs.

But 'friendship' is sure to be the last thing on either side's mind as they battle for the title.

Friendship: Half-and-half scarves were also on sale despite the rivalry between the neighbouring clubs

Friendship: Half-and-half scarves were also on sale despite the rivalry between the neighbouring clubs

Scarves

Mixed messages: The United-City 'friendship' scarf (left) alongside a more partisan piece of merchandise

Mixed messages: The United-City 'friendship' scarf (left) alongside a more partisan piece of merchandise

Neil Warnock won"t be missed by referees – GRAHAM POLL

Bully Warnock behaved like a spoilt kid in a supermarket… I'm glad he's gone

By
Graham Poll

PUBLISHED:

21:41 GMT, 4 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 4 April 2013

Top-flight referees up and down the country will be breathing a sigh of relief at the prospect of Neil Warnock delivering on his threat to retire from management.

Warnock has been the bane of referees’ lives; almost imploding on the touchline when a throw-in went against his team and never failing to blame the official whenever his team lost.

He used to try to justify these attacks by claiming he was a qualified referee. Well, taking the exam is one thing but unless you are officiating matches regularly, you are not a referee.

Firebrand: Neil Warnock (right) protests his dismissal to Graham Poll (centre) in 2006

Firebrand: Neil Warnock (right) protests his dismissal to Graham Poll (centre) in 2006

Firebrand: Neil Warnock (right) protests his dismissal to Graham Poll (centre) in 2006

Bully: Sportsmail's Poll beileves Warnock at times behaved like a spoilt child

Bully: Sportsmail's Poll beileves Warnock at times behaved like a spoilt child

Of course, Warnock and I have
history. He was the manager at Old Trafford when his Sheffield United
side lost 1-0 to Arsenal in an FA Cup semi-final in April 2003.

According to Warnock, that defeat was
my fault, of course. I was also the referee who dismissed Warnock at
Bramall Lane in 2006 when the Blades were playing Leeds United.

Warnock should have been celebrating
his team winning promotion, which would allow him his first opportunity
to try his methods at the top level; where, of course, he has never
succeeded.

Instead, after a tackle from a Leeds
player, I heard him shout out to one of his team: ‘Next time break his
legs,’ referring to Gary Kelly.

I asked him to leave the technical
area, and he was suspended from the touchline for three games, two of
which would be his first in the Barclays Premier League.

Regular: Warnock would remonstrate with officials when things went against him. Here, as QPR manager during their match against Middlesbrough in 2010

Regular: Warnock would remonstrate with officials when things went against him. Here, as QPR manager during their match against Middlesbrough in 2010

Seriously An as Sheffield United manager after a match against Reading in 2005

Seriously An as Sheffield United manager after a match against Reading in 2005

A friend of mine is a Leeds fan and
went up to Elland Road for the game against Millwall. He and his son
could only laugh at Warnock’s antics that day.

And this is the point.
Warnock became a pitied parody of his former self — referees appeared to
allow his tantrums to go unchecked as they became less and less
effective.

The once-feared bully, who
successfully led teams to play-off glories, had become more like a badly
behaved child in a supermarket. Observers walked past shaking their
heads in disbelief at the sad spectacle.

It has become patently clear in his
later career that the aggressive and outdated approach to management
simply didn’t work in the top flight. Indeed, his powers seem to have
been on the wane for some time, with Leeds’ mid-table position only
serving to disguise the precarious position of the club from which he
has walked away.

Spoilt: Poll is glad Warnock's antics will not be a part of the game any longer

Spoilt: Poll is glad Warnock's antics will not be a part of the game any longer

Referees, fans and — most importantly — footballers just didn’t react in the same way to his smart-alec persona.

Back in April 2003 after that
semi-final defeat, Warnock came into my dressing room to have his
customary complaint; he came into referees’ rooms after virtually every
game.

He ended his tirade by stating to
fourth official Alan Wiley and me that he looked forward to retirement
as he would no longer have to put up with officials like us.

The feeling was mutual, but both of
us retired well before our sell-by date expired. I wonder if, when
reflecting on what has been a successful managerial career, Warnock will
be able to say the same.

The Footballers" Football Column – Alan Curbishley:

ALAN CURBISHLEY: The pressure of a relegation battle is huge… you're playing to keep the dinner lady and groundsman in jobs – as well as themselves

PUBLISHED:

07:19 GMT, 3 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

13:12 GMT, 3 April 2013

Alan Curbishley

Alan Curbishley is one of the most experienced managers in the Premier League – yet he has been out of work for more than four years. After 15 years and 729 games managing Charlton he decided to leave for a new challenge. That came in 2006 when he took over at a struggling West Ham. He kept the Hammers in the Premier League on the final day of the season against Manchester United at OId Trafford. In his debut Footballers' Football Column Curbishley writes about the pressures of a relegation battle and who he believes will go down this season. He also discusses his desire to return to the dug-out after his long absence. Before you read his column, make sure you watch his video.

Alan Curbishley: Footballers' Football column

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I feel for all the managers who are fighting relegation this season because I know how tough it is. There are so many different pressures being a Premier League manager and even more so when you are in a relegation battle.

The main pressure is the finances. You’re aware that if you get relegated you can lose up to 70 per cent of your income.

And if that’s the case you’ve got to start thinking about not just the players and the staff, but the ordinary people at the football club, the people who work in the restaurants and at the training ground. People whose livelihoods depend of the job and when there are cutbacks after relegation, they’re often the first people that take the hit.

Nigel Adkins

Harry Redknapp

Paul Lambert

Roberto Martinez

Tough times: Nigel Adkins, Harry Redknapp, Paul Lambert and Roberto Martinez are all feeling the pressure

So you’ve got the financial pressure, the pressure on yourself, because obviously you don’t want to be associated with relegation, and you know that it could be a long way back for the football club if that happens.

And then it’s the fans and the press and the media that seem to thrive on every bad moment. So there’s loads of different pressures going on, and I’ve not even mentioned the football, but you’ve got to be aware of all that and it takes its toll.

Every situation is different and it all depends how long you’ve been in that struggle for, if you’ve been in that all season it does take its toll and you do have to go game by game. You’re just hoping for that one match, that one thing that turns it around and starts giving people confidence.

Feeling down: Christopher Samba and Clint Hill look dejected after losing to Fulham

Feeling down: Christopher Samba and Clint Hill look dejected after losing to Fulham

More from The Footballers' Column…

GEORGE BOATENG: England fans may not agree but Steve McClaren is the best boss I have played for… and when I hang up my boots my dream is to manage Aston Villa
30/03/13

Edgar Davids – The Footballers' Football Column: England fans had the right to boo Rio but he made a smart decision… I sacrificed myself for my country. Playing for Holland jeopardised my club career
28/03/13

The Footballers' Football Column – Kevin Blackwell: The players I inherited at Leeds turned up in Bentleys… I was signing lads on 1,000 a week who drove battered Fords (and we still reached the play-off final)
26/03/13

JILL SCOTT: How Arsenal are on their way to winning a trophy (no, really) – and why we take the mick out of England's golden oldie
25/03/13

GARETH SOUTHGATE: If we give our young players a chance then the next Messi or Ronaldo could come from England
21/03/13

The Footballers' Football Column: McShane was doing 100 press ups a day at age seven, Meyler's 'as sharp as a spoon'… and brilliant Brady's a phenomenal footballer
20/03/13

RICHARD LEE: I've barely trained all season to the point now that the lads at Brentford call an easy day a 'Rich Lee'
19/03/13

GRAHAM WESTLEY: Being sacked by Preston was a relief… I was hamstrung, I knew the answers to problems but I wasn't allowed to solve them
16/03/13

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

But then there are the other clubs who feel safe and suddenly drop into it the last few games and they’re not used to that pressure, they’re not used to playing under than intense scrutiny and you can’t cope with it.

Sometimes the club that stays up is the battle-hardened one, who has been in it most of the season and just manages to get out of it near the end before the trap-door closes and that’s it.

When you are down there you look for positives but in reality there’s nothing better than winning a game. I’ve often thought, ‘What comes first – confidence winning you matches, or winning matches giving you confidence’

Sometimes it doesn’t matter how you get a win, as long as you’ve gone and got the three points on the Saturday, you know it can change the whole atmosphere around the club.

If you are down there then you have got to try different things to turn your fortunes around. Look back to last season, Wigan looked doomed.

But then Roberto Martinez switched his defence to three at the back and gave them a bit more stability, they won a couple of games 1-0 and suddenly the confidence was there, they went on a terrific run until the end of the season and stayed up.

Players react differently when they are in a relegation battle. Some players are affected by it, you know they are good players but they are struggle being in that position.

But then other players thrive on it and can handle it. When you’re in that battle you like to look around the dressing room and perhaps look at six or seven players, or even eight, and know what you’re going to get. Because unless that amount of players are performing you’re not going to win anything.

A relegation battle is tough for everyone and I certainly did not enjoy it. When I went into West Ham they were third from bottom, 14 points from 17 games, and so you know, even if you start taking a point a game, you’re going to be involved in it for the rest of the season. Anything better than that is European form.

I knew when I went into West Ham we had to get out of it quickly and we didn’t. Obviously we stayed in it and with 10 games to go we were doomed, but we got a bit of luck. We won a game at Blackburn where we scored a goal that never went over the line, and suddenly it changed.

We picked up the next result, the team selection was consistent, which it hadn’t been before I was at the club, and along with that came a bit of belief.

Has the luck run out Will Wigan be relegated this season after a number of years of narrow escapes

Has the luck run out Will Wigan be relegated this season after a number of years of narrow escapes

We won seven of our last nine games. Look at who we played – Arsenal, Everton, Bolton who were in a European position, Middlesbrough, who were just outside of European spots, and then the last game of the season at Manchester United.

What I remember about that game at Old Trafford is that nine of the players who played in that game were at the club before I arrived, so it got me thinking, and it’s what I thought all along, the players had the ability, so why were they in the position they were in

I had players in that run-in playing with so much confidence and doing things I couldn’t imagine they could’ve done weeks before. Consistent team selection helped, and results, and obviously the fans.

Often people talk about Tevez, but he hadn’t scored for 20 games before that. We kept five clean sheets, Robert Green was fantastic, Bobby Zamora scored two fantastic winning goals when we won 1-0 at Arsenal and 1-0 at Everton, but the fans played a massive part.

Alan Curbishley

Alan Curbishley

Contrasting emotions: Alan Curbishley shows the strains of West Ham's relegation battle and celebrates staying up on the final day of the season against Manchester United at Old Trafford

One of the games was Wigan away where I
think we took more fans than Wigan had there, it was just incredible, we
just responded and won 3-0 there and that was the first time, after
that game that I felt, ‘We’re going to do this’.

I look at the teams down there at the moment, and Wigan especially, is it finally their year They’ve survived so many times in the last games of the season. And I’ve just got a feeling this FA Cup run is going to cause them a problem; they’re a game behind the rest of the league at the moment, when they play their semi-final they’re possibly going to be two games behind.

If they get to the final they’re going to have to make up at least two or three games when there are only eight games left.

It’s going to take an emotional toll, we’ve seen it before with teams getting to a cup final and going down, I’m just wondering if it’s a bit too much for them. They’ve still got to win games. Having games in hand is nice, but you’ve got to win them.

When I look at the table I think Reading, QPR and Wigan are the three who are going to go down.

Staying up: Carlos Tevez celebrates scoring the goal that kept West Ham in the Premier League

Staying up: Carlos Tevez celebrates scoring the goal that kept West Ham in the Premier League

Playing his part: Bobby Zamora scored some key goals for West Ham in their survival bid

Playing his part: Bobby Zamora scored some key goals for West Ham in their survival bid

Stroke of luck: West Ham beat Blackburn with a goal from Zamora that never crossed the line

Stroke of luck: West Ham beat Blackburn with a goal from Zamora that never crossed the line

I think the timing for Reading to sack Brian McDermott was poor. December is traditionally the vulnerable time for managers as the chairman will think, ‘If I bring a new man in, he’s got to have a chance to bring some new faces in and change it around a little bit.’

But history has shown that no club in the bottom three who have changed their manager in March have managed to survive.

But when you consider whatever the compensation involved in letting McDermott go, the prize, if
they do manage to turn it around, is massive. You’re talking 60-70million, so I can see why they’ve done it.

But I think most people in football would look at it and think, ‘Perhaps if you’d have done it earlier then you might have had a better chance’.

Brian McDermott

Nigel Adkins

Poor timing: Curbishley says it was the wrong time for Reading to sack McDermott (left) and get Adkins

All managers in football, especially in the Premier League, who find themselves down the bottom, know that if they don’t pick up results soon they’re in trouble. I just think that this was so late in the day.

I have not worked in management since I left West Ham in 2008, but my exile has been self-inflicted. When I left West Ham I felt they were in the wrong and I was in the right, and it took its time to be sorted out and that was detrimental to me.

But I’ve had opportunities to come back in and maybe I’ve been a bit too picky. Perhaps the advice to managers that have been out of the game would be to get back in as quickly as possible, because you are easily forgotten.

Plenty of experience: Curbishley managed Charlton for more than 700 games between 1991 and 2006

Plenty of experience: Curbishley managed Charlton for more than 700 games between 1991 and 2006

Final bow: Sir Alex Ferguson is one of only a few managers to have taken charge of more Premier League games than Curbishley

Final bow: Sir Alex Ferguson is one of only a few managers to have taken charge of more Premier League games than Curbishley

I’m still the sixth most experienced Premier League manager and I haven’t worked for some time now. It goes Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger, Harry Redknapp, David Moyes, Sam Allardyce then myself, so I think I’ve still got a lot to offer.

But someone’s got to be attracted by my record, and, not take a gamble, but I only really want to come back in the Premier League and that is difficult. I’d like a Premier League job. Certainly if it was a Championship club it’s got to be one I think is going to go somewhere.

I’m quite happy doing what I’m doing at the moment, and there’s a lot less pressure. But if anyone wants to look at my record it stands up with the best of them, so we’ll have to see.

Cristiano Ronaldo New nike CR Mercurial Vapor IX boots

Ronaldo's new boots: He may not have celebrated in Champions League triumph over United, but he still loves to win

By
Charlie Skillen

PUBLISHED:

09:59 GMT, 29 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

10:05 GMT, 29 March 2013

Cristiano Ronaldo might have displayed his love for Manchester United when dumping his old side out of the Champions league with Real Madrid, but his new boots reveal he might not have been so loved-up if Sir Alex Ferguson's side had triumphed.

His signature Nike CR Mercurial Vapor IX boots have been re-worked in a new colourway – and with the Portugal star's 'love to win, hate to lose' logo on the heel, which is a heart with a big 'X' through it.

Bright spark: Cristiano Ronaldo's new boots are in neon colours with his 'love to win, hate to lose' logo (below)

Bright spark: Cristiano Ronaldo's new boots are in neon colours with his 'love to win, hate to lose' logo (below)

CR Mercurial Vapor IX_Dtl_.jpg

Behind the wheel: Ronaldo was snapped wearing the new collection, with the 'love to win' logo, in his car

Behind the wheel: Ronaldo was snapped wearing the new collection, with the 'love to win' logo, in his car

CR7

Brightly-coloured with neon yellow, orange and white, the boots also feature the number 7, Ronaldo's squad number at Real Madrid, and a safari print on the Nike 'swoosh' – referencing his cheetah-like pace.

The new boots are sure to continue the Real Madrid star's success – Ronaldo has hit 40 goals for club and country this season.

Jose Mourinho's side continue to be off
the pace in the Spanish La Liga – they sit 13 points behind Barcelona,
just one point ahead of city rivals Atletico.

Studs up: Nike's All Condition Control technology means the boots will perform well in all weather

Studs up: Nike's All Condition Control technology means the boots will perform well in all weather

Apologies: Ronaldo famously didn't celebrate when scoring at Old Trafford earlier this month

Apologies: Ronaldo famously didn't celebrate when scoring at Old Trafford earlier this month

However, a Champions League quarter-final clash with Galatasary – pitting Ronaldo against Didier Drogba – makes the Spanish giants favourite to progress.

United fans hoping for a romantic return to Old Trafford for Ronaldo can be pleased with their idol's new footwear, as it features Nike's All Conditions Control technology – meaning they are just at home in the pouring Manchester rain as the balmy Madrid sun.

The boots are part of a whole collection with the same design, featuring training wear, casual clothes and a matching ball, and is out April 11.

Wild animal: The 'safari' swoosh features in the collection, including a ball and other clothes (below)

Wild animal: The 'safari' swoosh features in the collection, including a ball and other clothes (below)

Collection

Strike a pose: Ronaldo, modelling his new collection, has scored 40 goals for club and country this season

Strike a pose: Ronaldo, modelling his new collection, has scored 40 goals for club and country this season

Jose Mourinho: Chelsea will always be in my heart

Chelsea remain in my heart, says Mourinho as Abramovich closes in on deal to bring back Special One

By
Richard Sharpe

PUBLISHED:

14:04 GMT, 26 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

14:09 GMT, 26 March 2013

Jose Mourinho has fuelled speculation he will return to Chelsea next season, saying the club remains in his heart and he has 'big emotional connections' with Stamford Bridge.

It comes amid rumours that a deal to bring the Portuguese back to the London club is as good as complete following discussions with owner Roman Abramovich.

Tellingly, the Real Madrid manager played down persistent rumours he will join Manchester United, calling it 'Sir Alex's Kingdom' and willing Ferguson to continue in the job for many years to come.

Return: Jose Mourinho has said Chelsea remains 'in his heart' as speculation of a second spell at Stamford Bridge grows

Return: Jose Mourinho has said Chelsea remains 'in his heart' as speculation of a second spell at Stamford Bridge grows

In an interview with Sky Sports News recorded in London, Mourinho said: 'I can't deny in spite of this disgraceful weather I love it here and I have a house.

'I have big emotional connections with Chelsea, and one day I think naturally I have to be back to English football to Chelsea or another club.

'Chelsea means for me different than other clubs. It's in my heart as Inter is for example. One day I have to be back.'

Mourinho had been due to return to Stamford Bridge last night, as Brazil played Russia in a friendly match.

Despite being on the guest list of the Brazilian FA, there were no sightings of the 50-year-old in the stands.

However, it is now widely reported that a deal to replace Rafa Benitez at his former club is close to being agreed.

Good times: Mourinho with his Chelsea team after winning the Premier League title in 2005

Good times: Mourinho with his Chelsea team after winning the Premier League title in 2005

Reunion: Mourinho is believed to be close to agreeing a deal with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich

Reunion: Mourinho is believed to be close to agreeing a deal with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich

In the long-term though, many believe he will succeed Ferguson at Old Trafford when he eventually retires.

On the subject, Mourinho said: 'I was in Manchester three weeks ago with much nicer weather.

'I had a lot of fun with Sir Alex, texting him on the day of the match – I said, 'what is this fantastic sunny weather in Manchester' It was really good.

'I think Manchester is Sir Alex's Kingdom and I would love that job to be forever, of course it can't but I would love it for many more years.

'In the other chair is Roberto Mancini, with a contract, he was champion last year so I don't think there is a move over there.

Kingdom: Mourinho said he wished his friend Sir Alex Ferguson could carry on forever at Manchester United

Kingdom: Mourinho said he wished his friend Sir Alex Ferguson could carry on forever at Manchester United

'I hope everything goes well for everybody, even Benitez. I hope everybody finishes the season well. I wish for them the same I wish for myself to finish the season well.'

Mourinho added he still has unfinished business with Real between now and the end of the season.

'At the end of the day, I am in Madrid and I am very committed to the rest of the season.

'We are in the last eight of the Champions League and we have a [Copa del Rey] final to play with Atletico.

'I am professional and at the moment I only think about my job in Madrid.'

Manchester United look at Porto"s Alex Sandro as possible replacement for Patrice Evra

United step up left-back chase in bid to replace Evra (and Porto's Sandro tops list)

By
Simon Jones

PUBLISHED:

23:00 GMT, 24 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

13:56 GMT, 25 March 2013

Manchester United have revived their search for a left back creating further uncertainty over the long-term future of Patrice Evra.

The 31-year-old France defender, who has scored four times this season, has been in good form and there has been talk of a one-year extension to his contract which runs out in 2014.

However, United scouts watched Porto left back Alex Sandro in the recent Champions League tie against Malaga and plan to look at others in the position before the season ends.

Targeted: Alex Sandro (left) is being monitored by Manchester United

Targeted: Alex Sandro (left) is being monitored by Manchester United

United have reservations about the defensive capabilities of Evra and have studied several candidates to replace him. Everton's Leighton Baines has long been admired but his 15m valuation means an offer has yet to materialise.

United signed Alexander Buttner for 4m from Vitesse Arnhem in the summer but he has played just 10 games with only two in the Premier League.

Evra has been linked with Paris Saint-Germain, former club Monaco and Fiorentina but is eager to stay at Old Trafford.

Alex Sandro has six caps for Brazil and cost Porto 8m from Atletico Paranaense in 2011.

Declining: Despite a better season than last, Patrice Evra is not the player he once was

Declining: Despite a better season than last, Patrice Evra is not the player he once was