Tag Archives: uncertain

Mark Hughes improved QPR, says stand-in Mark Bowen after Manchester United defeat

Hughes improved QPR, says stand-in Bowen, after Hernandez seals United win

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UPDATED:

19:01 GMT, 24 November 2012

Stand-in boss Mark Bowen launched a passionate defence of Mark Hughes' managerial reign following today's 3-1 defeat at Manchester United.

Hughes was sacked on Friday morning and has already been replaced by Harry Redknapp.

The new man was present at Old Trafford and will take training for the first time on Sunday, leaving Bowen facing an uncertain future.

However, the Welshman insists Hughes had improved Rangers, even though they remain at the foot of the Barclays Premier League with only four points, the worst return in the competition's history from the first 13 games.

Hughes is my fired: Stand-in QPR boss Mark Bowen

Hughes is my fired: Stand-in QPR boss Mark Bowen

'People ask me what went wrong but when this club stayed up on the last day of last season, clubs like Southampton and Reading had a better squad than us,' said Bowen. 'They had players who had been together and had success together.

'At times we have been criticised for the number of players who have left.

'Not one player we have let go is anywhere near the Premier League now.

'We have brought good players into the club. I have seen it every day in training. Maybe at times a few of the lads have been found wanting.'

Bowen denied reports Hughes had walked off the training ground on Friday, having been informed by chief executive Philip Beard he was going to be sacked no matter what the outcome of the game in Manchester.

Old and new: Mark Hughes (left) has been replaced by Harry Redknapp as QPR boss

Old and new: Mark Hughes (left) has been replaced by Harry Redknapp as QPR boss

'We were preparing for training and putting our ideas together about what we were going to do when Philip knocked on the door,' he said. 'No-one was called over. It was all handled with dignity.'

Redknapp left four minutes before the end of today's game, with Bowen confirming he had no input.

'I have not spoken to Harry and he has not spoken to the players,' he said. 'It has been difficult.

'Football is an emotive game and yesterday was a desperate day. Mark is my friend.

'I just said I would prepare the team to give everything it has got.'

Briefly, QPR threatened an amazing victory too, with Jamie Mackie putting them into a second-half lead.

Hopeful moment: Jamie Mackie celebrates his goal for QPR

Hopeful moment: Jamie Mackie celebrates his goal for QPR

It was the 14th time this season United have conceded the first goal, an astonishing statistic. And after a brief panic, the Red Devils eventually turned the game round with three goals in nine minutes.

Jonny Evans equalised with his third of the season before Darren Fletcher and Javier Hernandez completed the comeback.

'We played for 10 or 15 minutes,' said Ferguson. 'That was the sum total of our real performance from Manchester United.

'Of course it is frustrating we keep ending up in that position but when they scored it definitely sparked us up.'

Ferguson hailed the introduction of Anderson for Paul Scholes, who will miss Wednesday's encounter with West Ham through suspension, as pivotal.

Good to be back: Darren Fletcher scored on his return for Manchester United

Good to be back: Darren Fletcher scored on his return for Manchester United

However, Fletcher's goal was more notable, his first in the Premier League in 13 months as he made his first start in the competition for a year.

'Everyone is delighted,' he said.

'It has been a long road back for him. It is the first time he has played twice in one week. He didn't let us down again. He never does.

'It is lovely to have him back like that. We will look at Wednesday but he has made a great contribution today.;

Typically, Fletcher was anxious to divert attention away from himself and onto the team.

In tandem: Manchester United's Javier Hernandez (right) and Anderson celebrate the third goal

In tandem: Manchester United's Javier Hernandez (right) and Anderson celebrate the third goal

'The only thing it meant was that it put us in front,' he said.

'It is great coming back and scoring goals but you want to be on winning teams.

'When we went behind I thought 'oh no, here we go'. But the lads always respond.'

Ferguson also confirmed winger Antonio Valencia would miss the West Ham game with a hip injury.

'Antonio has had a bit of pain there for the last couple of weeks,' said Ferguson. 'He has been playing with it but he never mentioned it.

'When we asked him, he said it was sore.

'It won't be too long. He should be ready for next week.'

Stuart Pearce: England U21s contract extension is uncertain

Pearce admits he could face England U21s axe despite record-breaking year

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UPDATED:

15:36 GMT, 15 November 2012

Stuart Pearce has cast doubt on his long-term role as England Under 21 head coach after admitting he does not know if he will be offered a new contract.

The young Lions ended their most successful calendar year since 1991 with a 2-0 win over Northern Ireland on Tuesday. It was their sixth consecutive win, five were achieved with clean sheets, and It came after they qualified for Euro 2013 with success in Serbia.

England will warm up for the tournament in Israel with friendlies next year against Sweden and Austria at home, plus a trip to France, but whether Pearce will be in charge for the next qualification campaign, which begins next September, remains to be seen.

Uncertain future: Stuart Pearce does not know if he will be handed a new deal

Uncertain future: Stuart Pearce does not know if he will be handed a new deal

His current deal expires after Euro 2013 and The FA have not approached him over new terms. Pearce has been in the role since 2006 and remains relaxed that the discussions have not yet started.

Young Lions' year to remember…

Feb 29 – England 4 Belgium 0

Sept 06 – Azerbaijan 0 England 2

Sept 10 – England 1 Norway 0

Oct 12 – England 1 Serbia 0

Oct 16 – Serbia 0 England 1

Nov 13 – England 2 Northern Ireland 0

‘I enjoy the job I do’ said Pearce. ‘I have been reasonably successful but not as successful as I would have liked to have been. Who knows what is in the future

‘I am contracted until next summer and that has been the case every time I have gone into a major tournament. We will see (what happens).

‘Everything has got a plus to it and that is what you have to draw out of it. Yes, I would like more contact with players at times on a daily basis and more games to test myself.

Annus mirabilis: The young Lions have won six matches in a row under Pearce

Annus mirabilis: The young Lions have won six matches in a row under Pearce

‘The other side of that I have is the environment I am working in. It gives me great pride to work for the FA; working with the best players in the country is a fantastic option.

‘There are pluses and minuses in both options. I am enjoying what I am doing and we will see where it takes us over the next few months.’

England have set a record in qualifying for four consecutive tournaments but they have not been crowned European Champions at this level since 1984. Pearce, however, says success in Israel will have no influence over whether he stays on as head coach.

‘It would be irrelevant,’ he said. ‘I would like to win the tournament but I have been trying to do that for the last five years. We have had a final, a semi-final and a group stage.

‘We will try and prepare the team as well as we can and give them as many options going into the summer.’

Joleon Lescott and Gareth Barry on Manchester City"s defeat at Ajax

We've got to sort it out before we crash out, vow Man City flops as they stare at another early Champions League exit

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UPDATED:

11:02 GMT, 25 October 2012

Joleon Lescott has admitted Manchester City must sort out their defence as they face another European humiliation.

Big-spending City are on the brink of crashing out of the Champions League group stages after losing 3-1 at Ajax on Wednesday night.

That leaves them rock bottom of Group D with just one point from their opening three matches.

Shambles: Yaya Toure, Joleon Lescott and Gareth Barry look on during City's defeat

Shambles: Yaya Toure, Joleon Lescott and Gareth Barry look on during City's defeat

Hooked: Lescott was subbed on the hour after a night to forget in Holland

Hooked: Lescott was subbed on the hour after a night to forget in Holland

Lescott, who was woeful against Ajax,
was substituted after his error for the second Ajax goal and now faces
an uncertain future under boss Roberto Mancini.

And he has shed a light on their defensive failings that have seen them concede seven goals in three European games so far.

The England centre-back said: 'It's a
lot easier to do things in training because you don't know where the
opposition is going to play or how wide, and they showed they were
confident on the ball and worked for each other.

'It was hard for us to pinpoint our
positional play because they were so organised and compact. I think we
were prepared well enough, the same as for any other game, the only
difference was we trained at the stadium rather than at Carrington.

'It was just one of those things. We
know now it's going to be tough to go through, but we've now got two
home games so they are must win for us.'

City team-mate Gareth Barry is not prepared to give up on another frustrating Champions League campaign just yet.

Mancini says his side now need a
'miracle' to progress from a group that also includes Real Madrid and
Borussia Dortmund, and Barry concedes chances are slim.

But the England international intends to fight on until a place in the last 16 is mathematically out of reach.

Blame me: Roberto Mancini says the defeat was his fault

Blame me: Roberto Mancini says the defeat was his fault

Deserved: Ajax outplayed their opponents

Deserved: Ajax outplayed their opponents

Barry said: 'The way the results have
gone has made it tough but we have to try to win all three games and
that would give us an outside chance.

'We would have 10 points, and that is
all we can do – it's a massive, massive task, but it is still there and
we have to try to do it.

'Dortmund winning is the worst
possible result. When you are beaten you are looking for a bit of help
from elsewhere and it didn't come.

'But we have to concentrate on
ourselves rather than looking at other teams. There is an outside chance
and if they are behind us all the way it will make it easier for us.

'It's not over yet. You can't just
roll over when there are points available and we will give it our all to
try to win all three games.'

City's challenge resumes when they
host Ajax in a fortnight. That is followed by Real Madrid's visit to the
Etihad Stadium and then the trip to Dortmund in December.

The Barclays Premier League champions
have just one point from their first three games after surrendering a
lead given to them by a fine Samir Nasri strike.

Yet even that 22nd-minute effort came
much against the run of play and Ajax levelled on the stroke of
half-time through Siem de Jong.

A Niklas Moisander header and a deflected Christian Eriksen strike secured victory for the Dutchmen after the break.

New system: Micah Richards complained that the players were asked to play unusual formations

New system: Micah Richards complained that the players were asked to play unusual formations

Doubling up: Christian Eriksen scores Ajax's second goal in their win over City

Doubling up: Christian Eriksen scores Ajax's second goal in their win over City

Barry, 31, said: 'They dominated
possession in the first half, and we caught them on the counter-attack.
From that we should really build.

'We had a chance to maybe go 2-0 up
and didn't take it, and then they scored at a great time for themselves
just before the break. We started the second half well but they then
scored from a set-piece and that deflated us.

'Overall we can't complain as we were
beaten by a team that dominated the game. We didn't go out to start
slowly, it's just the way he game went.

'They played in the style they have
played for many years, by keeping the ball. We are not sure at the
moment what the problem was.

'From the outside people saw it as a
great chance to win, and then get back-to-back wins to set us nicely for
the last two games. It didn't work out like that and we have an uphill
task now.

'If we can get ten points we will
snap their hands off now. If it's not enough we will be disappointed
again but there are three games and we need to win all three.'

Barry also urged disappointed fans to stick with the team in the remaining games.

He said: 'If we have let them down in any way, we are sorry but we have two home games and one away and we need their support.'

Nani uncertain over Manchester United future amid Juventus interest

Will I stay at United Only God knows, says Nani as Juve eye 12m winger

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UPDATED:

06:56 GMT, 25 October 2012

Only God knows what the future holds for Nani, according to the Portuguese winger amid increasing uncertainty over his future at Old Trafford.

Talks over a new contract continue to stall and the 25-year-old has started just five of Manchester United's 12 games so far this season.

Sir Alex Ferguson named Nani as a substitute during Tuesday's 3-2 Champions League win over Braga and he was also on the bench for last weekend's Barclays Premier League victory over Stoke.

Uncertain future: Manchester United winger Nani admits 'only god knows' if he will stay at Old Trafford

Uncertain future: Manchester United winger Nani admits 'only god knows' if he will stay at Old Trafford

Russian big-spenders Zenit St Petersburg failed in a Deadline Day attempt to buy him earlier this summer, citing his 'unreal' wage demands for the breakdown in the deal.

Italian champions Juventus are keeping tabs on his ongoing contract saga and are believed to ready to pounce for his services in January at a cut-price 12million fee.

And Nani, who arrived at United for 14m from Sporting Lisbon six years ago, admits he does not not know what the future holds for him.

'Only God knows what awaits me,' he told The Sun.

'I am in perfect condition — I am physically good and feeling confident.

'I am the same Nani as always.'

John Terry axed by Chelsea if he"s found guilty of racism again

Final warning: Chelsea to get rid of Terry if he's found guilty of racism again… but critics say ban too lenient

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UPDATED:

07:56 GMT, 19 October 2012

John Terry has been warned he will be booted out of Chelsea if found guilty of racial abuse again.

He was summoned to a board meeting and told in no uncertain terms that his future at the club is on the line.

The defender was fined 220,000 — two weeks’ wages — but retained the captaincy after announcing he will not be appealing against the FA’s four-match ban for using racist language in an incident with Queens Park Rangers’ Anton Ferdinand last October.

Flashpoint: John Terry and Anton Ferdinand clash at Loftus Road in October 2011

Flashpoint: John Terry and Anton Ferdinand clash at Loftus Road in October 2011

GAMES TERRY WILL MISS

Tottenham (Premier League A) – October 20
Man United (Premier League H) – October 28
Man United (Capital One Cup H) – October 31
Swansea (Premier League A) – November 3

First game back:
Liverpool (Premier League H) – November 11

Reading striker Jason Roberts
criticised the Terry punishment, urging fellow professionals to refuse
to wear T-shirts backing the Kick It Out Campaign before fixtures this
month.

Roberts said: ‘The four-match ban,
for me, was not a heavy enough sanction for what happened. I’m not
happy. They should have given him a longer ban. I’m totally committed to
kicking racism out of football but when there’s a movement I feel
represents the issue in the way that speaks for me and my colleagues I
will support it.’

Terry is facing a 2million bill in legal costs covering his court trial and FA disciplinary hearing.

Making a stand: Reading striker Jason Roberts (right) is also a pundit on BBC Radio 5 Live

Making a stand: Reading striker Jason Roberts (right) is also a pundit on BBC Radio 5 Live

His Chelsea team-mate Ashley Cole was
fined 90,000 by the FA after admitting a misconduct charge for calling
them a ‘bunch of t****’ in a tweet after the verdict against Terry.

Former England defender Terry will
start the suspension on Saturday, when Chelsea travel to London rivals
Tottenham, and will miss two games against Manchester United as well as a
clash with Swansea.

Terry will avoid the potential
controversy of wearing a Kick It Out T-shirt in the warm-up before the
Barclays Premier League home clash with United a week on Sunday.

Show of support: The West Ham squad back the Kick It Out campaign in training at Chadwell Heath on Thursday

Show of support: The West Ham squad back the Kick It Out campaign in training at Chadwell Heath on Thursday

Despite Terry’s apology, in
which he said he wanted ‘to apologise to everyone for the language I
used in the game against Queens Park Rangers’, he has been criticised by
the Kick It Out Campaign again.

Lord Ouseley said: ‘We are
disappointed that there hasn’t been an acknowledgement in it of the hurt
experienced by many people caught in the crossfire during the past 12
months.

‘It does, however, form the basis of bringing closure to the matter sometime in the near future.’
In a statement released yesterday lunchtime, Terry said: ‘After careful
consideration, I have decided not to appeal against the FA judgment.

‘I want to take this opportunity to
apologise to everyone for the language I used in the game against Queens
Park Rangers last October.

Banned: John Terry is serving a four-match suspension

Banned: John Terry is serving a four-match suspension

‘Although I’m disappointed with the
FA judgement, I accept that the language I used, regardless of the
context, is not acceptable on the football field, or indeed in any walk
of life.

‘As I stated in the criminal case,
with the benefit of hindsight my language was clearly not an appropriate
reaction to the situation for someone in my position.

‘My response was below the level expected by Chelsea Football Club and by me and it will not happen again.

‘Looking forward, I will continue to
do my part in assisting the club to remove all types of discriminatory
behaviour from football.

‘I am extremely grateful for the consistent support of Chelsea FC, the fans and my family.’

Chelsea, who consistently promised to
clarify the club’s position the moment Terry made his decision not to
appeal, released a statement of their own within an hour.

The club said: ‘Chelsea Football Club
believes John Terry has made the correct decision by not appealing
against the FA judgment relating to language he used at the QPR match
last October.

‘Chelsea also appreciates, and
supports, John’s full apology for the language he used. The club firmly
believes such language is not acceptable and fell below the standards
expected of John as a Chelsea player.

Flashpoint: Terry was banned for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand (left)

Flashpoint: Terry was banned for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand (left)

‘The board has conducted its own investigation into the matter and considered the various issues involved.

‘The board has taken further
disciplinary action in addition to the four-match suspension and
220,000 fine imposed by the FA. In accordance with our long-standing
policy, that disciplinary action will remain confidential.

‘Chelsea enjoys support all over the
world. We have players and supporters from many different countries and
cultures and our club is committed to eradicating all forms of
discriminatory behaviour. John is fully committed to continue supporting
that.’

Apology: Terry has said sorry for his racist language

Apology: Terry has said sorry for his racist language

Chelsea justified their decision to
retain Terry as captain by claiming that their disciplinary process
always takes places behind closed doors.

They argued that stripping him of the captaincy would have dragged the process into the public arena.

Now Terry is counting the cost of his
trial at Westminster Magistrates Court and the decision by the FA’s
Independent Regulatory Commission that he should pick up the costs for
both sides.

Terry retained George
Carter-Stephenson QC on 10,000-a-day for his defence against the FA
charge and football’s governing body employed a silk on similar rates.

JOHN TERRY TIMELINE

2011: October 23 – Releases a statement denying he made a racist slur against Anton Ferdinand during Chelsea's defeat at QPR after videos had circulated on the internet.

October 25 – Scotland Yard announce they are assessing allegations of racist abuse of Ferdinand by Terry after a complaint from the member of the public.

November 1 – The Metropolitan Police confirm they have launched a formal investigation.

November 5 – England manager Fabio Capello confirms Terry will be selected for the friendlies against Spain and Sweden.

November 28 – Terry is interviewed under caution.

December 1 – Scotland Yard announce they have passed a file towards to prosecutors.

December 21 – The Crown Prosecution Service announce Terry will be charged with racially abusing Ferdinand and is due to appear before West London Magistrates' Court on February 1, 2012.

2012: January 28 – The FA cancels the pre-match handshakes before the FA Cup fourth-round tie between QPR and Chelsea “to defuse further tensions” relating to the Terry-Ferdinand situation.

February 1 – District Judge Howard Riddle orders that Terry should stand trial in the week beginning July 9 – following Euro 2012 – after hearing a number of other Chelsea players would not be able to appear as witnesses until the end of the football season.

February 3 – Terry is stripped of the England captaincy for a second time. The decision was taken by members of the 14-strong FA board, without consulting Capello.

February 8 – Capello resigns as England manager two days after criticising the decision to strip Terry of the captaincy.

July 13 – Cleared at Westminster Magistrates' Court of making a racist insult to Ferdinand.

June 24 – Plays the full 90 minutes and extra time as England suffer more penalty heartache, losing their Euro 2012 quarter-final to Italy on penalties.

July 27 – Charged by the FA with using abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour towards QPR defender Ferdinand. It is further alleged that this included a reference to the ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race of Ferdinand. Terry denies the charge and requests a personal hearing.

August 30 – Recalled to England squad, after missing friendly against Sweden, for September's World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine.

September 9 – Withdraws from England squad for Ukraine game after picking up ankle injury in 5-0 win in Moldova.

September 23 – Announces his retirement from international football, shortly before the start of his personal hearing to answer the FA charge.

September 27 – Banned for four matches and fined 220,000 by an FA independent regulatory commission.

October 5 – FA reveal written reasons behind independent commission's ruling, insisting Terry's racist language towards Ferdinand was used as an insult and finding “no credible basis” for his defence that he was only repeating words he believed the QPR defender said to him.

October 18 – Terry decides not to appeal against the four-match ban and fine. Terry also apologises for the language he used in the match against QPR.

Danny Cipriani set for Sale recall against Montpellier in Heineken Cup

Cipriani set for recall against Montpellier after match-winning cameo

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UPDATED:

08:12 GMT, 18 October 2012

Danny Cipriani’s match-winning intervention for Sale last weekend has earned him a starting recall for Sunday’s Heineken Cup clash with Montpellier in France, but the man who has picked him faces an increasingly uncertain future.

The 24-year-old fly half has been languishing among the reserves for his new club in recent weeks, after struggling to make an impact in a losing team following his summer arrival from Melbourne Rebels.

However, four days ago, Cipriani scored one try and created another to spark a stunning comeback against Cardiff Blues for the Sharks’ first win of the season.

Touching down: Danny Cipriani scores against Cardiff Blues

Touching down: Danny Cipriani scores against Cardiff Blues

Now, Sportsmail has learned that the one-time England No 10 prodigy has been given a chance to maintain his personal revival with a return to the starting XV. Yet, this encouraging development for Cipriani comes amid signs that there may be further turmoil within the upper reaches of the Aviva Premiership’s bottom club.

In the aftermath of the sacking of forwards coach, Steve Scott, it emerged that ex-All Blacks coach and Sale player, John Mitchell, was being lined up as a consultant. The Kiwi, renowned for his abrasive approach, is due to be in attendance in Montpellier as he prepares to re-join the club, and the latest indications are that he could be put in charge of team affairs soon.

Doubts: Bryan Redpath

Doubts: Bryan Redpath

Bryan Redpath, Sale’s director of rugby, reflected on the torrid start to the season and how it has led to doubts about his job. ‘Of course I was nervous about my position,’ he said.

‘There has been a lot of chat about
John. I have no issues with him and he’s got a wealth of experience. If
and when we get things sorted, I will tap into that as much as possible.
Steve and the owners have to make decisions for this club. The club is
bigger than me.

‘My role won’t change, it will be
supported with someone else. Every coach needs someone to bounce stuff
off and John has been through a lot himself. We’ve got to knuckle down.
Our egos have to be put to one side. I’ll worry about the next few
months later. It’s just about getting through each day and each week.’

Asked if rugby is becoming more like
football in terms of the ruthless hiring and firing of coaches, Redpath
added: ‘I think it is. Sadly, that’s the way the game has gone. I don’t
think it is healthy all the time, but I understand that’s the nature of
the game.’

Sale’s Scotland lock, Richie Gray, is wearing a surgical boot to protect damaged ligaments in his right ankle and the injury is likely to keep him out of action for three weeks – meaning he is in grave danger of missing his country’s Test against the All Blacks on November 11.

Injury concern: Richie Gray

Injury concern: Richie Gray

Leicester admitted that their England flanker, Tom Croft, won’t play any part in the autumn internationals, as his neck injury is taking longer than expected to heal.

‘Tom had an X-ray and the repeat graft is going very well, but not quite as quick as we would like,’ said the Tigers’ director of rugby, Richard Cockerill. ‘He could be six weeks away which is a bit behind schedule, but there is no rush for Tom, as it was a pretty serious injury and he will make a full recovery.’

Danny Ciprian set for Salerecall against Montpellier in Heineken Cup

Cipriani's recall as Sale freefall: Danny gets the nod for Montpellier clash after match-winning cameo

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 17 October 2012

Danny Cipriani’s match-winning intervention for Sale last weekend has earned him a starting recall for Sunday’s Heineken Cup clash with Montpellier in France, but the man who has picked him faces an increasingly uncertain future.

The 24-year-old fly half has been languishing among the reserves for his new club in recent weeks, after struggling to make an impact in a losing team following his summer arrival from Melbourne Rebels.

However, four days ago, Cipriani scored one try and created another to spark a stunning comeback against Cardiff Blues for the Sharks’ first win of the season.

Touching down: Danny Cipriani scores against Cardiff Blues

Touching down: Danny Cipriani scores against Cardiff Blues

Now, Sportsmail has learned that the one-time England No 10 prodigy has been given a chance to maintain his personal revival with a return to the starting XV. Yet, this encouraging development for Cipriani comes amid signs that there may be further turmoil within the upper reaches of the Aviva Premiership’s bottom club.

In the aftermath of the sacking of forwards coach, Steve Scott, it emerged that ex-All Blacks coach and Sale player, John Mitchell, was being lined up as a consultant. The Kiwi, renowned for his abrasive approach, is due to be in attendance in Montpellier as he prepares to re-join the club, and the latest indications are that he could be put in charge of team affairs soon.

Doubts: Bryan Redpath

Doubts: Bryan Redpath

Bryan Redpath, Sale’s director of rugby, reflected on the torrid start to the season and how it has led to doubts about his job. ‘Of course I was nervous about my position,’ he said.

‘There has been a lot of chat about
John. I have no issues with him and he’s got a wealth of experience. If
and when we get things sorted, I will tap into that as much as possible.
Steve and the owners have to make decisions for this club. The club is
bigger than me.

‘My role won’t change, it will be
supported with someone else. Every coach needs someone to bounce stuff
off and John has been through a lot himself. We’ve got to knuckle down.
Our egos have to be put to one side. I’ll worry about the next few
months later. It’s just about getting through each day and each week.’

Asked if rugby is becoming more like
football in terms of the ruthless hiring and firing of coaches, Redpath
added: ‘I think it is. Sadly, that’s the way the game has gone. I don’t
think it is healthy all the time, but I understand that’s the nature of
the game.’

Sale’s Scotland lock, Richie Gray, is wearing a surgical boot to protect damaged ligaments in his right ankle and the injury is likely to keep him out of action for three weeks – meaning he is in grave danger of missing his country’s Test against the All Blacks on November 11.

Injury concern: Richie Gray

Injury concern: Richie Gray

Leicester admitted that their England flanker, Tom Croft, won’t play any part in the autumn internationals, as his neck injury is taking longer than expected to heal.

‘Tom had an X-ray and the repeat graft is going very well, but not quite as quick as we would like,’ said the Tigers’ director of rugby, Richard Cockerill. ‘He could be six weeks away which is a bit behind schedule, but there is no rush for Tom, as it was a pretty serious injury and he will make a full recovery.’

Brendan Rodgers tells Stewart Downing and Jose Enrique they face Liverpool exit

Up your game: Rodgers warns Downing and Enrique that exit looms

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UPDATED:

21:49 GMT, 28 September 2012

Brendan Rodgers has warned Stewart Downing and Jose Enrique they are fighting to save their Liverpool careers after he raised questions about their attitude and desire.

England winger Downing became the fourth most expensive signing in Liverpool’s history when he arrived for 20million from Aston Villa in July 2011.

But he has struggled to make an impact and Rodgers said last month he may have to reinvent himself as a left-back to stay in the team.

Stern warning: Brendan Rodgers has told a number of Liverpool's star names to improve their game

Stern warning: Brendan Rodgers has told a number of Liverpool's star names to improve their game

Enrique, meanwhile, has suffered an alarming loss of form in recent months. He made a terrific start to life with Liverpool following his 7million signing from Newcastle 13 months ago but Rodgers has preferred using Glen Johnson in his position in the Barclays Premier League.

The Spaniard, 26, is unlikely to play at Carrow Road today, as he has been struggling with a knee injury, but Downing, 28, could come back into the squad after being left out of the 18 for last week’s clash against Manchester United. How long he stays there for, though, remains to be seen.

‘What is important is that you have good communication,’ said Rodgers. ‘I don’t waste time waiting until January to tell both players what I know now. So they know in relation to the demands of what we want and certainly what it is going to take for us to succeed and for them to fit into the group.

More needed: Stewart Downing faces an uncertain future at Anfield

More needed: Stewart Downing faces an uncertain future at Anfield

‘As coaches we are not magicians. For me football players are not different to plumbers, to joiners to bricklayers, they are self-employed and us as medics, coaches and managers we are the tools that help them to be better.

‘We will give them everything to help them to be better, but if they don’t want to show that self-motivation – and if they haven’t got that desire and hunger to succeed – then it can be very difficult. Stewart is a good guy but it hasn’t quite worked out for him as he would want it.

‘The big challenge for him now is that commitment to the cause – to fight – because he has the qualities. Talent alone is not enough. You have to work hard; you have to fight for the shirt. I will keep private the discussions Stewart and I have had but he is under no illusion that he has to fight.’

Coming up: Raheem Sterling is seen as a future star at Liverpool

Coming up: Raheem Sterling is seen as a future star at Liverpool

When asked if Enrique – whose last performance against Young Boys Berne in the Europa League saw him culpable for two of three goals Liverpool conceded – was in a similar position, Rodgers was just as emphatic.

‘It is about the hunger and desire and that is why you admire big players who stay at the top for as long as they can because it is not just what they are doing in games,’ said Rodgers, who is aiming to record his first Premier League win as Liverpool manager at Norwich.

‘In order to be like that, that is what they are doing every single day of their life. Look at Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher. They are immaculate. It is a way of life and if you prepare yourself right that will ultimately lead to success.

This way to the exit: Jose Enrique could find himself on the way out of Anfield

This way to the exit: Jose Enrique could find himself on the way out of Anfield

‘But if you are not quite right in your preparation and you come in looking in for an easy life, to pick up your money, it won’t be here. We are a club that has to be fighting going forward. I am out there every day, assessing what is going on.

‘Status does not matter. It is what you are like as a player. It doesn’t matter how much money you have come for. That doesn’t matter to me. I will play a 17-year-old if he fights and he has quality. It is quite easy.’

What will not be easy, after such a difficult start to the domestic programme, is bustling up the top four this year. Rodgers does not have to deliver Champions League football this season – owner John W Henry said so in July – but he is refusing to give up on that target.

Enlarge

The Anfield conveyor belt

‘We have got 99 points to play for,’ said the manager. ‘I believe that 70-plus points will allow you to arrive in the top four. So that gives us 68 points that we need over the remaining games. We can maybe have 10-odd games with problems. That maybe the next three games, you know

‘Of course, sooner rather than later, you want to get your points and get up and running. I want us to get the points our performances deserve. But we have got to achieve it. There’s no doubt it’s going to be a monumental achievement for that to happen but we have to work towards it.’

John Terry returns to Chelsea after race verdict

Terry returns to Chelsea training with uncertain future after FA find him guilty in Ferdinand race case

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UPDATED:

09:02 GMT, 28 September 2012

John Terry was back at Chelsea on Friday morning for the first time since being found guilty of racist abuse by the FA.

The Blues skipper drove into their Cobham training ground at around 9am as he considers an appeal.

His future is shrouded in uncertainty after he was banned for four matches by the FA and fined a record 220,000 for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand.

Terry expressed his 'disappointment', claiming the verdict went against his acquittal at Westminster Magistrates Court in July.

But the FA’s independent four-man panel left a significant stain on an already battered reputation. Terry has lost the England captaincy, chosen to retire from international football and seen major sponsors desert him.

Back: John Terry drives into Chelsea's training ground on Friday morning

Back: John Terry drives into Chelsea's training ground on Friday morning

Support: In Thursday's Dolce & Gabbana photoshoot, Juan Mata tweeted this picture of Terry's empty seat while he was away at his FA hearing at Wembley Stadium

Support: In Thursday's Dolce & Gabbana photoshoot, Juan Mata tweeted this picture of Terry's empty seat while he was away at his FA hearing at Wembley Stadium

As Sportsmail revealed at the time, Umbro
were quick to remove Terry from their major advertising campaigns last
season and had no intention of renewing a multi-million pound deal that
expired in the summer.

The verdict will be followed by a written report in the next week. It took 10 days to issue the report on the Luis Suarez case, but the FA hope to be faster on this occasion.

In their statement, the FA made it clear the 31-year-old had been punished for using racist language towards Ferdinand at Loftus Road last October.

Back in action: Terry featured against Wolves on Tuesday night

Back in action: Terry featured against Wolves on Tuesday night

They said: ‘The Football Association charged Mr Terry with using abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour towards Queens Park Rangers’ Anton Ferdinand and which included a reference to colour and/or race contrary to FA Rule E3[2] in relation to the Queens Park Rangers FC versus Chelsea FC fixture at Loftus Road on 23 October 2011.

‘Mr Terry has the right to appeal the decision of the Independent Regulatory Commission to an Appeal Board. An appeal must be lodged within 14 days from receipt of the written reasons for the decision.’

The fine for using the words ‘f****** black ****’ is the highest ever levied on an individual by the FA. It may be no coincidence that it corresponds to Terry’s weekly wage at Chelsea. Suarez was fined 40,000 for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra last season and in setting that figure, the independent panel said they ‘took account of the information that was placed before us about his weekly salary’.

All parties concerned stressed that they would wait for the written report before considering their next move.

Ferdinand, who was among those who gave evidence over the three-day hearing at Wembley this week, will not respond until he has read the full report. The FA have adopted the same position. They could appeal, arguing that four matches is not enough, but that is considered unlikely.

Chelsea, who ban for life any fan who uses racist language at Stamford Bridge, also want to see the report. A statement read: ‘Chelsea Football Club notes and respects today’s decision. We also recognise that John has the right to appeal that decision. It is therefore inappropriate for us to comment further.’

Precedent: Suarez (left) was banned for eight matches last season

Precedent: Suarez (left) was banned for eight matches last season

Cleared: Terry faced a court case earlier this summer regarding the same incident

Cleared: Terry faced a court case earlier this summer regarding the same incident

A spokesman for Terry said the player
was ‘disappointed’ the FA had reached a ‘different conclusion’ from the
‘not guilty verdict of a court of law’.

The
FA also came in for criticism. Why was Terry’s ban only four matches
when Suarez received eight for racially abusing Manchester United’s
Patrice Evra

And why,
once again, has a verdict been issued without a simultaneous written
explanation that removes any questions about the punishment.

Old pals: Jose Mourinho has defended his former captain, saying he is not a racist

Old pals: Jose Mourinho has defended his former captain, saying he is not a racist

Twitter on Terry

On the latter point, the FA will
argue that it is part of their disciplinary process. Some mitigation has
to follow the verdict before a written report is then submitted by the
QC leading the panel.

The
identity of the panellists — beyond former England winger Stuart
Ripley, now a sports lawyer — remained a closely guarded secret because they wish to limit the personal abuse they might receive
in such a high- profile case.

In
the eyes of many, the length of the ban does seem bizarre. For that
particular FA charge the statutory punishment is four matches and Suarez
received more because he repeated the word ‘negro’.

But a four-match ban for the use of racist language does seem lenient. Last season Ruesha Littlejohn, at the time a player for Liverpool Ladies, received a six-match ban for tweeting a joke that made reference to sexual orientation.

As Gary Lineker tweeted: ‘The FA find John Terry guilty and give him a 4 match ban and 220K fine. Just one game more than a regular red card’

Lord Ouseley, the chairman of football’s anti-racism body Kick It Out, said he hoped football could learn from this case.

'This isn’t about John Terry being a racist and clearly no-one should be accusing him and nobody has accused him of that,' he said. 'But we’ve all got to pull collectively to move forward in a way that makes football a better place where the sort of language that is used every day and on the field of play has to stop.'

JOHN TERRY – HIGHS AND LOWS

HIGH – Makes Chelsea debut against Aston Villa in October 1998.

LOW – Is one of four players fined two weeks' wages by Chelsea after their behaviour at a Heathrow hotel is criticised on the day after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

LOW – In 2002, Terry and Chelsea team-mate Jody Morris are cleared after being charged with assault and affray in connection with a nightclub incident. Terry, uncapped at the time, is ruled out of the World Cup by the FA until the legal case is completed.

HIGH – Makes England debut as substitute against Serbia and Montenegro in June 2003.

HIGH – Appointed Chelsea captain as the successor to Marcel Desailly in August 2004.

HIGH – Succeeds David Beckham as England captain in August 2006.

Moscow tears

LOW – Misses crucial kick in a penalty shoot-out to decide the 2008 Champions League final against Manchester United, who go on to lift the trophy.

LOW – In December 2009, Chelsea are forced to defend Terry after allegations he took secret cash payments to lay on a behind-the-scenes tour of the club's training ground.

LOW – In January 2010, Terry is named as the sportsman behind a gagging injunction involving his private life. A court order had previously been in place, covering an alleged relationship between married Terry and French model Vanessa Perroncel, a former partner of team-mate Wayne Bridge.

LOW – Is axed as England captain in February following a meeting with Fabio Capello.

LOW – Bridge refuses to shake Terry's hand before Chelsea's match with Manchester City on February 27.

HIGH – Is restored to the role of permanent England captain by Capello in March 2011.

LOW – In October 2011, Terry is accused of making a racist slur against Anton Ferdinand during Chelsea's defeat at QPR. A police investigation is launched which culminates in the Crown Prosecution Service announcing that charges would be brought. In February 2012, West London Magistrates' Court rules that Terry should stand trial in the week beginning July 9.

Snub

LOW – Terry is stripped of the England captaincy for a second time on February 3. The decision was taken by members of the 14-strong FA board, without consulting Capello. Capello resigns as England manager on February 8, two days after criticising the decision to strip Terry of the captaincy.

HIGH – Terry captains Chelsea to a famous 1-0 victory over Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final encounter at Stamford Bridge on April 18.

LOW – A week later, Chelsea's hopes in the second leg at the Nou Camp are hit when Terry is shown a straight red card for inexplicably kneeing Alexis Sanchez from behind in the first half.

HIGH – Is cleared at Westminster Magistrates' Court on July 13 of making a racist insult to Ferdinand, but two weeks later is charged by the FA with using abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour towards the QPR defender. It is further alleged that this included a reference to the ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race of Ferdinand. Terry denies the charge and requests a personal hearing.

LOW – Announces his retirement from international football on September 23, shortly before the start of his personal hearing to answer the FA charge.

LOW – Banned for four matches and fined 220,000 by an FA independent regulatory commission.

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Spurs to pick Brad Friedel ahead of Hugo Lloris for Reading game

Lloris unhappy as Friedel stays at No 1 for Reading game as French keeper settles for place on the bench

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UPDATED:

21:56 GMT, 14 September 2012

Andre Villas-Boas has told 12million signing Hugo Lloris he is the future of Tottenham — but admitted the present belongs to veteran Brad Friedel.

France captain Lloris, 25, returned from international duty to find that Friedel will keep the goalkeeper’s jersey for Sunday’s trip to Reading.

Villas-Boas had risked upsetting Lloris by naming Friedel, 41, as his first choice after his stunning saves in Spurs’ last outing against Norwich.

Feeling Bleus: France captain Hugo Lloris is facing an uncertain future at Spurs

Feeling Bleus: France captain Hugo Lloris is facing an uncertain future at Spurs

Lloris conceded that the news was ‘not nice to hear’ and France coach Didier Deschamps revealed that Lloris was unhappy at learning he would be second fiddle to Friedel. But if he was banking on a change in fortune at his first Spurs training session on Friday, he was wrong.

Villas-Boas said: ‘Brad is looking consistent and deserves his place. We’ve had the conversation with Hugo. We’re extremely happy he is part of this squad. We’ve no doubts about his talent and future at the club, but for the game against Reading, we made the decision to stick with Brad.’

Still No 1: Brad Friedel has impressed between the sticks this season

Still No 1: Brad Friedel has impressed between the sticks this season

Reports are emanating from France that Lloris, with 40 caps, could be dropped for their World Cup qualifier against Spain next month if he has not had regular club action.

But Villas-Boas said: ‘There’s no contract where you have to be entitled to a first-team place. We don’t work like that at Tottenham and no team in the world works like that. ‘Bearing in mind the market, the price we got Hugo for, and bearing in mind that he was Lyon’s keeper, the French No 1 and captain, it was an excellent grab for us.’

Feeling the heat: AVB would have wanted a smoother start at Spurs

Feeling the heat: AVB would have wanted a smoother start at Spurs

Some think Lloris could be at White Hart Lane longer than Villas-Boas, who, if they fail to win tomorrow, will become the first Spurs boss to go without a win from his opening four games in charge.