Tag Archives: trains

Florent Malouda says Chelsea are "trying to break me mentally"

Chelsea are 'trying to break me mentally', claims Malouda after being frozen out at Stamford Bridge

By
Laurie Whitwell

PUBLISHED:

22:32 GMT, 11 February 2013

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UPDATED:

08:16 GMT, 12 February 2013

Not happy: Florent Malouda has hit out at Chelsea

Not happy: Florent Malouda has hit out at Chelsea

Florent Malouda has launched an astonishing attack on Chelsea, claiming the club are trying to ‘break him mentally’ by forcing him to train with academy players.

The France midfielder has hit out after being excluded from the 25-man Premier League squad all season and forbidden from even changing with the first team at their Cobham training ground.

Malouda, whose contract expires at the end of the season, has been banished since a move to North America collapsed last summer.

‘The details I’ll explain when I’m free,’ Malouda, 32, told newspaper France-Guyane.

‘But
the strategy they use is to make me look like a player seeking
substantial compensation. If you are excluded for one year, it is very,
very long.

'You must be armed mentally. All this is done to break me
mentally, but in reality it motivates me enormously.’

Meanwhile, Rafael Benitez believes his squad – the majority of whom won the Champions League last May – will realise how important the Europa League is when they arrive in Prague on Wednesday.

Chelsea play Sparta Prague in the last 32 tie first leg on Thursday evening, with Benitez admitting it will take an adjustment for players used to plying their trade in Europe's premier club competition.

'We will need some time (to talk),' said Benitez, who replaced Roberto Di Matteo in November after the holders were knocked out of the Champions League.

Happier times: Malouda (second from right) trains with his Chelsea team-mates

Happier times: Malouda (second from right) trains with his Chelsea team-mates

Happier times: Malouda (second from right) trains with his Chelsea team-mates

'In terms of flights and games it's like the Champions League, in terms of mentality, the first thought is “hmm, it's different”. But if you see the teams that are in the Europa League, you will see it could be quite difficult.

'The day before we will fly, we will be there, they will realise it's Europe and they can concentrate 100 per cent. I'm expecting that they will be focused. We will have to start thinking of it as a great competition, with good teams and we will try to do our best.'

The Europa League is one of two trophies Chelsea can realistically still win this term; they began the season in contention for seven. They sit third, 16 points behind leaders Manchester United with 12 games to play in the Barclays Premier League, but remain in the FA Cup.

The next four matches are key for Chelsea's season and could lift the mood at Stamford Bridge, by changing perceptions of Benitez's reign, which has been unpopular from the start.

On a roll: Chelsea head to Sparta Prague this week for their Europa League clash

On a roll: Chelsea head to Sparta Prague this week for their Europa League clash

Should Chelsea advance to the Europa League last 16, at the expense of Sparta Prague, beat Brentford in the FA Cup fourth round replay and win at Manchester City, cutting the deficit to the second-placed Premier League champions to one point, Benitez will be able to demonstrate progress.

Benitez is unfazed at the prospect of regular Thursday and Sunday fixtures which Europa League progress dictates, although it does limit the amount of time he has to work with his squad.

'Two games a week we can manage, if we have enough bodies,' added the Spaniard, who won the UEFA Cup with Valencia and Champions League with Liverpool. 'Normally when you want to improve your team tactically, you push them. But in this situation you can't because if you push them too much they will be tired. The balance is quite difficult.

'The day after a game you have a light training session. The second day is before the game, so you have a light training session. Then you have to play. That means when you try to do your tactical adjustments, your preparation, you cannot do too much.'

6 Nations: Alex Goode says England are always pantomime villains

The Six Nations has so much history… but England are always the pantomime villains

By
Alex Goode

PUBLISHED:

01:57 GMT, 2 February 2013

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UPDATED:

01:57 GMT, 2 February 2013

This is my first appearance in the Six Nations and I’m very excited to be involved in it at last.

The tournament has so much history and for as long as I can remember England have been seen as pantomime villains.

Part of the tradition seems to be for pundits from other nations to talk about how much they dislike the English and accuse us of arrogance, and that has happened again this week. I’m not sure why but it occurs in lots of sports. In football, everyone wants to beat Manchester United, for example.

Breakthrough: Alex Goode is getting ready to play in his first Six Nations

Breakthrough: Alex Goode is getting ready to play in his first Six Nations

It often comes across as if all the passion in these games comes from the other side, not England. People talk about all this passion Scotland have, but the English are passionate too. When we play against the Scots, of course we want to beat them. We would hate to lose against them. It’s not something we ever want to deal with. It’s the same with every team we play against.

I don’t have hatred for any other countries, but I definitely hate losing. I would hate to be involved in a game that led to stories in years to come when people talk about a famous Scottish victory against England. That would wind me up.

No-one likes losing and that can be what produces the passion. I know that me and Owen (Farrell), for example, are extremely competitive, whether it’s in training or playing for Saracens or England. We both hate to lose. We want to be the best and that drives us to try to get to the top.

Preparation: Goode (right) trains with debutant Billy Twelvetrees ahead of the Six Nations opener against Scotland

Preparation: Goode (right) trains with debutant Billy Twelvetrees ahead of the Six Nations opener against Scotland

We needed a bit of passion to beat New Zealand. I just remember how loud the crowd was that day, and I have never been part of a team that was more fired up. That showed we can be a passionate people too. That win against New Zealand was great, but we can’t make too big a deal of it.

As players, we would rather there wasn’t such a fuss because we want that standard to be our norm. We can only achieve that if we bring the same level of intensity to our performance against Scotland – an intensity they will struggle to match.

I’m relieved that I recovered from a shoulder injury to play. I was out for more than a month and the first reaction from the boys was that I had become ‘big-time’ and didn’t fancy playing in winter. When I used to play with Thomas Castaignede at Saracens, he would come out on a wintry day and say: ‘No electricity. No electrics in Thomas. Thomas don’t train!’ Then he’d walk back inside. So the lads said that about me and how I have changed!

Famous: Goode impressed during England's 38-21 win over New Zealand

Famous: Goode impressed during England's 38-21 win over New Zealand

It was tough when I realised the injury was worse than expected. It knocked me a bit, then it was a race against time, putting the hours in. Luckily, I came through a game for Saracens to prove my fitness.

You know there are always going to be people pushing you for that shirt. I’d had to wait longer than most to get my shot, before I made my Test debut in South Africa last summer, so I didn’t want to let it go. A year ago, I wouldn’t have imagined starting a Calcutta Cup game at Twickenham, but now I’m raring to go.

We have gone from being underdogs against New Zealand to favourites for this game. Everyone expects us to win – pundits and the public, but Scotland are bouncing back from a bad loss and they’ve got new coaches in Scott Johnson and Dean Ryan and they’ll be fired up to impress, which makes them dangerous.

This will be a dog-fight, but I’m hopeful we can win.

Thierry Henry trains with Arsenal

I'm back in town! Henry trains with Arsenal but no playing deal has been signed… not yet anyway!

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UPDATED:

14:37 GMT, 28 December 2012

Thierry Henry could be set for a third stint with Arsenal as he trained with the Gunners at their Colney base on Friday.

The club's record goal-scorer is just keeping fit during the MLS off-season and, as yet, no playing deal has been signed.

But Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hasn't given on securing the French forward on loan next month.

'I've not lost interest in him,' said Wenger.

Reunion: Henry linked up with the man who brought him to England from Juventus

Reunion: Henry linked up with the man who brought him to England from Juventus

Going for a jog: Henry gets put through his paces

Going for a jog: Henry gets put through his paces

He added: 'He's still coming to practice with us. We are very close (personally), but at the moment I think he has had a second spell at the club that was very successful. You have to be cautious that it's not one time too many.

'I have not completely ruled it out but I haven’t spoken about it with him at all.'

Henry scored the only goal in Arsenal’s FA Cup tie with Leeds when he was on loan at the Emirates Stadium in January before netting the winner in 2-1 league win over Sunderland.

Impact: Henry scored the winner against Leeds in an FA Cup tie when he returned to Arsenal on loan at the beginning of 2012

Impact: Henry scored the winner against Leeds in an FA Cup tie when he returned to Arsenal on loan at the beginning of 2012

Rio Ferdinand has to adapt to prolong his career – Martin Keown

Rio has to adapt his game to prolong his Man United career

By
Martin Keown

PUBLISHED:

21:00 GMT, 1 October 2012

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UPDATED:

21:00 GMT, 1 October 2012

Off the pace: Ferdinand was poor on Saturday

Off the pace: Ferdinand was poor on Saturday

I’ve heard a lot of people suggesting that Rio Ferdinand is past it after his part in Manchester United’s defeat by Tottenham.

But, with help from his team-mates – which he didn’t have on Saturday – he can still be very effective.

Yes, Ferdinand could have done things better on all three Tottenham goals but no central defender in the country could have dealt with Gareth Bale running at him like he did for Spurs’ second goal.

On the first goal, Ferdinand could have reacted quicker to Jan Vertonghen arriving in the box and on the third he will be unhappy that Jermain Defoe held him off so easily. But on each one, those around him left him exposed.

Rafael, Patrice Evra and Jonny Evans were all guilty of switching off and Ferdinand must now organise those in front of him to make sure it doesn’t happen again. When you face fast players, you need protection.

Euro mission: Ferdinand trains with his United team-mates on Monday

Euro mission: Ferdinand trains with his United team-mates on Monday

And Ferdinand must become the organiser. He can also make some adjustments to his game to help with losing his pace. John Terry, who is slower than Ferdinand, goes to ground earlier and deals with danger quickly as he knows he can’t win a race against many strikers. Ferdinand might need to do that more often.

I had to be more aggressive as I lost my pace because I had to deal with things quicker. By making the same adjustments, Ferdinand can extend his career.

England still suffering Olympic Games hangover – Wembley match zone

Wembley match zone: England fail to capture imagination amid Olympic hangover

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UPDATED:

23:03 GMT, 11 September 2012

They may be officially over but it’s hard to escape the Olympics and Paralympics in London. Tube trains carry the maps directing people to the different venues, for example, while many buildings are still adorned by flags of competing nations. At Wembley the England football team seemingly failed to capture the public’s imagination as the stadium was far from full at kick-off. Time to give us a reason to believe again, Mr Hodgson.

Applause: Olympic medalists were paraded at half-time

Applause: Olympic medalists were paraded at half-time

Blokhin still bitter

Ukraine coach Oleh Blokhin spent most of Euro 2012 picking fights with people, from journalists to football administrators and politicians. And it seems he still hasn’t forgotten the injustices he felt befell his side — who had a goal not given when the ball had crossed the line — during their defeat by England in Donetsk over the summer, when a Wayne Rooney goal separated the teams. ‘The referee made two mistakes,’ insisted the 59-year-old. ‘Of course he hurt us. But that’s history.’

Northern stars

The national team have rarely been as enthusiastically supported as they were when they travelled the country playing at different venues while Wembley was being rebuilt in the middle of the last decade. Many supporters would still like to see the odd game played ‘up north’ and this suggestion was perhaps given more credence by the fact that eight of the starting 11 play their football in either Manchester or Liverpool.

Wise head: Frank Lampard takes the captain's armband

Wise head: Frank Lampard takes the captain's armband

Team player Lamps

He may not be captain but Frank Lampard is a man who understands the team ethic. Seeing Tom Cleverley screw a chance wide in the first half — the second time the Manchester United man should have scored — Lampard ran 30 yards to give him a tap on the shoulder. Two minutes later, with his confidence restored, Cleverley hit the post with a brilliant shot.

Lescott loses out

Roy Hodgson has said he won’t be afraid to pick players who aren’t playing regularly for their clubs and one wonders if he will soon add Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott to that list. The 30-year-old had a superb season last time round but City manager Roberto Mancini has bought Serb Matija Nastasic as a long-term replacement because he is unsure about Lescott’s ability on the ball. On Tuesday, Lescott gave possession away cheaply in the build-up to the first goal.

Error: Joleon Lescott made a mistake for Ukraine's goal

Error: Joleon Lescott made a mistake for Ukraine's goal

Defoe's fast start

Coaches may be critical of a perceived lack of effort when the opposition have the ball but one of the enduringly impressive aspects of Jermain Defoe’s football is his ability to find his rhythm quickly and work goalkeepers from a variety of angles. In some ways it makes the Tottenham striker a perfect substitute but Defoe was into the game quickly, whipping a super right-foot shot past Ukraine goalkeeper Andriy Piatov in the 11th minute, only to be pulled back for a foul.

US OPEN 2012: Andy Murray keen to show progress

Murray keen to show progress by beating Bogomolov 18 months after shock Miami loss

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UPDATED:

08:16 GMT, 27 August 2012

Andy Murray will hope to show how far he has come in 18 months when he takes on Russia's Alex Bogomolov in the first round of the US Open later on Monday.

The Scot goes into the tournament sharing equalling billing with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic after beating both three weeks ago to claim the biggest title of his career and an Olympic gold medal.

Bogomolov does not provoke such good memories for Murray and his fans. In March last year, he suffered a straight-sets loss in Miami that left him questioning himself and his game.

Progress: Murray reacts during his 6-1, 7-5 defeat in March 2011

Progress: Murray reacts during his 6-1, 7-5 defeat in March 2011

Bogomolov was a qualifier then ranked
118th in the world and the defeat was Murray's fourth in succession in a
miserable run that began with an Australian Open final thrashing by
Djokovic and also included a defeat by Donald Young.

The Scot failed even to win a set in any of those matches and, looking back now, he says: 'I wasn't in the best place then.

'I'd lost in the first round of Indian Wells as well so it wasn't the best moment of my career but I got a chance to play him a couple of times after that last year and played well against him so it was good to reverse that result because it was a tough loss for me.'

That was the nadir, with Murray managing to turn things around during the clay-court season and, by the time he had reached semi-finals at the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open, it was forgotten.

Going for glory: Murray trains in New York with coach Ivan Lendl

Going for glory: Murray trains in New York with coach Ivan Lendl

Golden moment: Murray celebrates his win at London 2012

Golden moment: Murray celebrates his win at London 2012

He has taken another step forward this
season under coach Ivan Lendl, with the high points a run to the final
of Wimbledon and then that Olympic triumph, and many pundits believe New
York will be the venue where he finally wins a grand slam.

Murray does not see himself as too different a player to the one who looked so lost in defeat by Bogomolov, now ranked 73rd and having switched allegiance from the US to Russia.

He said: 'I have still had some up and down matches away from the grand slams the last few years.

'But when I have played in the grand slams I think I've played most of my best tennis or close to it, and I hope that will be the case again on Monday.'

Murray follows defending women's champion Sam Stosur on to Arthur Ashe Stadium, with the Australian opening her campaign against Croatia's Petra Martic.

The evening session on Flushing Meadows' main court begins with three-time champion Kim Clijsters, who will retire after the tournament, against American Victoria Duval before Federer takes on Young.

World No 1 Victoria Azarenka and third seed Maria Sharapova are also in action along with British pair Heather Watson and Laura Robson.

Watson has a tough task against ninth seed and former French Open champion Li Na while 18-year-old Robson faces an even younger opponent in 17-year-old America qualifier Samantha Crawford.

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers says Manchester City will have to spend big on Daniel Agger

Agger will stay at Anfield… unless Man City pay 'ridiculous money', says Rodgers

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UPDATED:

22:04 GMT, 8 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Brendan Rodgers has warned Manchester City they will have to pay 'ridiculous money' if they want to prise Daniel Agger away from Anfield.

The Barclays Premier League champions have made one bid for the Denmark international, who has two years remaining on his current contract, that Liverpool instantly dismissed.

City, however, remain interested in Agger and are likely to return with another offer but it would need to be in the region of 30million for Liverpool to even consider doing business.

Wanted man: Daniel Agger trains with Andy Carroll at Melwood on Tuesday

Wanted man: Daniel Agger trains with Andy Carroll at Melwood on Tuesday

Agger, who is set to start in the
Europa League qualifier against Belorussian side FC Gomel, has given no
indication he wants to leave Liverpool and Rodgers is not actively
looking to sell.

‘There’s no way I want to lose one of
my best players and Daniel is one of the leading centre halves in
European football,’ said Rodgers.

‘There’s been contact from City, yes.
But it’s nowhere near the valuation of what the player is worth and you
can only consider something like that if it is going to benefit you.

‘Of course you might lose a top
player but if it benefits you going forward – and you can make two or
three steps because of it – you may have to consider it.

‘But we don’t want to sell Daniel. So
unless someone comes in with a ridiculous offer, that makes you think
you can benefit in one or two other areas, (we will not).

‘Daniel and I have had a number of
conversations so he knows where I am at, he knows where the club are at
and he doesn’t want to leave, which is great.

Case for the defence: Agger in action for Liverpool against Tottenham last season

Case for the defence: Agger in action for Liverpool against Tottenham last season

‘In my first conversation with him at
the European Championships, he made that quite clear. He loves the
club, loves the supporters so that was music to my ears.’

Rodgers, who is hoping to complete
the signing of Joe Allen from Swansea and is also interested in taking
Nuri Sahin on loan from Real Madrid, enjoyed a considerable fillip on
Tuesday when Luis Suarez signed a new contract extension.

The Uruguay striker had been a target
for Juventus and Paris St Germain and Rodgers admitted that he was only
confident Suarez would be a part of his debut season at Anfield after
he signed his deal.

'We just never knew what would
happen, (simply) because I didn’t know the character and personality (of
Suarez) well enough,’ said Rodgers, who added that Suarez 'will start'
against Gomel as Liverpool look to protect their 1-0 first leg lead at
Anfield.

A new era: Luis Suarez joins Brendan Rodgers at Melwood

A new era: Luis Suarez joins Brendan Rodgers at Melwood

‘I had to exhaust my efforts to
ensure I could present to him the way forward, how exciting it was, and
what an integral part he would play.

‘You can never be 100 per cent
confident until the person signs the paper. So it was a concern (he
might leave), but his heart is here and in the end it was an easy
decision for him because he loves the club.

‘Obviously it has been difficult for
him over the last year but this is a new beginning. I can only judge on
what I have seen and he has been a breath of fresh air. He loves his
football and his best years are still ahead.’

Manchester City ponder 30m move for Wesley Sneijder

Manchester City poised to make fresh 30m move for Inter playmaker Sneijder

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UPDATED:

06:02 GMT, 30 May 2012

Manchester City could resurrect their
interest in Inter Milan midfielder Wesley Sneijder after missing out on
Eden Hazard, according to reports in Italy.

Roberto Mancini has been stung into
action after Belgian playmaker Hazard snubbed a move to the Etihad Stadium
in favour of Premier League rivals Chelsea.

Looking good: Wesley Sneijder trains with Dutch squad for Euro 2012

Looking good: Wesley Sneijder trains with Dutch squad for Euro 2012

Now City are ready to meet Inter's 30m asking price for Dutch midfielder Sneijder, reports the Gazzetta dello Sport.

Manchester United also held talks with the Italian club in January but were unable to agree a fee for the 27-year-old.

Ronaldo stunned by Rio Ferdinand snub

Rio's simply the best! Ronaldo stunned by Ferdinand snub

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UPDATED:

05:28 GMT, 23 May 2012

Cristiano Ronaldo believes Roy Hodgson has made a mistake by not picking his former Manchester United team-mate Rio Ferdinand for Euro 2012 but the Real Madrid star still believes England can do well.

Portugal forward Ronaldo spent six years at Old Trafford and would like to have seen Ferdinand in Ukraine and Poland.

Missing out: Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand

Missing out: Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand

Ronaldo said: 'Rio is the best centre-back in England and still one of the best in the world. I don't understand why he is not in the national team.

'Maybe the coach has justifications and we have to respect those. But I have to be honest, I love Rio.

'He's a great player, great man and he should be in the national team because he would help England do well… maybe to win the tournament,' Ronaldo told The Sun.

All smiles: Cristiano Ronaldo trains with Portugal

All smiles: Cristiano Ronaldo trains with Portugal

Despite the absence of Ferdinand there is still a good chance of success for England this summer, according to Ronaldo.

'I always expect England to win a big tournament,' he added.

'England have some of the best players in the world and are always tough opponents for any team.

'I hope England do well in the Euros because I have a lot of friends there. It is a country I like a lot. I expect big things for England, the new coach and the country.'

Mario Balotelli shares sweets with Manchester City team-mates

So sweet… Balotelli hands out treats to City team-mates ahead of train trip to London

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UPDATED:

15:30 GMT, 7 April 2012

Earlier this week, Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini admitted he would 'punch' Mario Balotelli in the head if he was his team-mate.

The controversial Italian striker was at the centre of controversy – not for the first time – as he rowed with his team-mates during last weekend's 3-3 Barclays Premier League draw at home to Sunderland.

Here you go: Mario Balotelli shares his sweets with Samir Nasri at Stockport StationHere you go: Mario Balotelli shares his sweets with Samir Nasri at Stockport Station

Here you go: Mario Balotelli shares his sweets with Samir Nasri at Stockport Station

But it appears he is desperate to make amends and offered his colleagues a peace offering at Stockport Station on Saturday – dishing out sweets to his City colleagues ahead of their trip to London.

Mancini's squad gathered at the platform to board the Virgin Trains journey to Euston en route to Sunday's make-or-break clash with Arsenal.

On the bench: Argentine pals Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero wait at the platform for their train to London

On the bench: Argentine pals Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero wait at the platform for their train to London

Title rivals Manchester United take on QPR before City's Emirates showdown and could open up an eight-point lead in the race for the championship if they win.

Smile: Tevez takes time to pose with fans

Smile: Tevez takes time to pose with fans

Mancini will be hoping Balotelli rewards his side with the treat of some goals and three points to maintain their push for glory…