Tag Archives: unity

Kevin Pietersen should have been dropped: Nasser Hussain

Flower is justified in taking a hard line on Pietersen

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 12 August 2012

I have always believed that you should pick your best players and then manage them, whatever their shortcomings. Genius is very often flawed. But I am afraid that Kevin Pietersen has run out of chances and the ECB are absolutely right to drop him now.

It gives me no pleasure to say that because Pietersen is a special player and England will be weaker for his absence at Lord’s on Thursday. South Africa will certainly be chuffed to bits about this because, however good James Taylor and Jonny Bairstow might become, I’m sure Dale Steyn and company will prefer bowling to them this week than KP.

But I am afraid enough is enough. Over the last week, Kevin has acted like a child who does not know what he wants and, as any teacher will tell you, you only need one unruly kid in the class and the whole structure of the classroom can come crashing down.

Out on his ear: Kevin Pietersen has been dropped for the third Test

Sit this one out: Kevin Pietersen has been dropped for the third Test

I have never been a big fan of the concept of team spirit. That usually comes with winning matches. But unity and trust are different issues and whenever I went on to the field I needed the trust of those around me. There were players I didn’t like and who didn’t like me, but we all had to trust each other out on that field to act as a team.

I know for a fact there are players within this England side who cannot stand Kevin Pietersen, but that antipathy has not stopped them becoming the best Test team in the world. The question now is whether or not it has reached the point where it is genuinely having an adverse affect on the team.

It is so unfair of Kevin to say that he has never been backed by England, nor supported by them. There have been a lot of issues with him in the past, but they have been resolved without him being left out, and Andy Flower has done his utmost to cater for him and look after him where possible.

We have all sent texts where we have perhaps bickered about someone or criticised them. I’ve no doubt that some of my England team might have moaned about me to the other players when I left them out or when I decided to bowl first at Brisbane.

Wide of the mark: Pietersen has crossed a line in saying he has not enjoyed support from England

Wide of the mark: Pietersen has crossed a line in saying he has not enjoyed support from England

More from Nasser Hussain…

Nasser Hussain: I have sympathy for Pietersen but Tests must be his priority
07/08/12

Nasser Hussain: Broad's heroics prove that series is not over for England
06/08/12

Nasser Hussain: Magic Matt should be back in England one-day frame
05/08/12

Nasser Hussain Test dossier: England register on mettle detector
03/08/12

Nasser Hussain: Why have England fiddled with the tactics which made them world No 1
02/08/12

Nasser Hussain: How England can tame the big three of South Africa
01/08/12

Nasser Hussain: Finn would add 'oomph' to England's tired attack after South Africa defeat
23/07/12

Nasser Hussain: Taming Swann was key to South Africa's run torrent
22/07/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Yet there is a big difference between
that and undermining the team by sending derogatory texts about your
team-mates to opposition players. If Pietersen has done that then he has
crossed the line. Flower and Andrew Strauss do not deserve that after
all they have done for England and Pietersen the individual.

There
is only so much mental energy that Flower can have, and if he is
expounding far too much of it on Pietersen, then that cannot be healthy
for him or England. For instance, was the decision to leave Graeme Swann
out at Headingley the result of scrambled brains because of so much
attention on one man within the team

The
selectors should have had a two-hour meeting on Friday to pick the team
for the final Test and the one-day and Twenty20 squads to face South
Africa later this month. But that turned into a three-day session,
essentially because of one man. England have to plan for a must-win
Test, but so far it has all been about Kevin.

Pietersen
has made a lot of mistakes in the last week or so, from the content of
his press conference after the second Test to his decision to put a
video on YouTube on Saturday night without the blessing of the ECB. Why
didn’t he do a proper press conference with England if he wanted to
withdraw his one-day retirement And I didn’t hear him say sorry once in
the video he put out. He always flexes his muscles when he is at his
absolute best on the field but that was a time when a bit of humility
might not have gone amiss.

Not the mark of genius: Pietersen's YouTube interview was unwise

Not the mark of genius: Pietersen's YouTube interview was unwise

It
just seems that everywhere he goes he wants to move on to somewhere
else that will eventually prove to be more lucrative. I am sure the
bottom line in all this is his desire to play a full Indian Premier
League campaign, but he seems to have forgotten that it is with England
that he has achieved his fame and earned his fortune. England have made
him, not let him down.

Is
there a way back for him with England now I hope so. I really do. But
for that to happen, Kevin has to have a good, long look at himself,
clear his mind and decide exactly what he wants from life and what will
really make him happy. If that is a career playing lucrative Twenty20
cricket as a freelance player then fine, but at least be honest and
don’t keep on sending out mixed messages.

Again,
we do not want to have a team full of goody two-shoes players or
yes-men. In my England side, Andy Caddick sometimes said silly things
or rubbed his team-mates up the wrong way but we embraced him and
concentrated on what he was good at, rather than focusing on his
weaknesses. And Caddy could be an exceptional bowler for England. Pietersen is world-class, so I hope this is not the end for him in an
England shirt.

But Andy
Flower took on Robert Mugabe, so he can deal with Kevin Pietersen very
comfortably, if the point comes when it all gets to be too much. Andy is
also a winner, and he will want his best players in the team.
Pietersen is without doubt one of England’s best players. It is up to
him now to show that he truly does still want to be part of Team
England. And once back, stay there.

Blackburn boss Steve Kean pleads for unity

Under-fire Kean pleads for unity ahead of Blackburn's relegation showdown

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UPDATED:

23:55 GMT, 4 May 2012

Steve Kean has been at loggerheads with disgruntled Blackburn fans all season but he issued an impassioned plea on Friday for a show of unity ahead of Monday's relegation battle against Wigan.

Blackburn's under-fire manager wants long-suffering Ewood Park patrons to vent their anger on relegation rivals Wigan rather than himself or owners Venky's.

In charge: But Kean has come under fire from Blackburn fans this season (below)

In charge: But Kean has come under fire from Blackburn fans this season (below)

In charge: But Kean has come under fire from Blackburn fans this season (below)

'We need to create a hostile atmosphere for away teams,' he said.

'This is a massive game, one of the biggest we've had at Ewood for years, so let's all get behind the team.

'It is our last home game of the season, and we are determined to sign off with a win.'

Michael Appleton remaining optimistic of Portsmouth rescue

Portsmouth boss Appleton retaining hope of rescue for crisis club

Portsmouth manager Michael Appleton says he is still hopeful that the club will find a buyer, despite admitting that the situation at Fratton Park is alarming.

Administrator Trevor Birch has revealed that the club's financial problems are so bad that they might not be able to continue competing in the Championship this season.

But although he is clearly concerned at the situation the club find themselves in, Appleton said that administration is only making the players and staff at the club stronger.

On the brink: Fresh fears have been raised over the future of Portsmouth Football Club

On the brink: Fresh fears have been raised over the future of Portsmouth Football Club

'It is not great at the minute, but I
think things that have gone on over the last couple of months, it seems
to have made the players and staff stronger because it gets to the point
that you can’t really throw anything else at us,' Appleton told Sky
Sports News.

'There is a lot of unity together as staff and players and obviously we try and use that and utilise that on the field.

'It is worrying, of course it is, but it is something we can’t affect
and as I have said time and time again we can only affect what happens
on the field. Life has been difficult in terms of numbers and injuries
and not being able to bring players in.
Fears: Boss Michael Appleton may not see his side complete the season

Fears: Boss Michael Appleton may not see his side complete the season

'But if we are able to put 11 players on the field and get enough
players on the bench we will try and be as competitive as we possibly
can.

When asked if he feared the club might go into liquidation, Appleton
added: 'I think you would be daft if you didn’t, but I think the club,
as big as it is, with the passionate fans, it is more than a football
club in Portsmouth.

'I have got the same hope and feeling as everyone else that eventually something will sort itself out.'

And the former Preston and West Brom midfielder is still hopeful that that the club will find a buyer to rescue them.

How the Championship table would be affected…
Top six now

1 Southampton (62 points)

2 West Ham (61)

3 Reading (57)

4 Blackpool (55)

5 Birmingham (54)

6 Cardiff (53)

Top six if Pompey go

1 Southampton (61 points)

2 Reading (57)

3 West Ham (55)

4 Blackpool (54)

5 Middlesbrough (52)

6 Birmingham (51)

Bottom six now

19 Millwall (34 points)

20 Nottingham Forest (31)

21 Bristol City (31)

22 Coventry (28)

23 Portsmouth (26)

24 Doncaster (25)

Bottom six if Pompey go

18 Ipswich (34 points)

19 Millwall (31)

20 Nottingham Forest (31)

21 Bristol City (30)

22 Coventry (28)

23 Doncaster (25)

Struggle: Portsmouth's administration are concerned they will not receive any further funding this season

Struggle: Portsmouth's administration are concerned they will not receive any further funding this season

Football League blog

'I think I am still positive in the fact that I am sure there is someone
out there who would like to get hold of the football club and bring a
bit of stability to the football club as it has got so many memories and
good memories and good times,' he said.

'If it happened in the past why can’t it happen again in the future at some point'

Appleton took the opportunity to praise his players for remaining focused on their jobs despite the club's predicament.

The clock is ticking: Portsmouth are desperate to find a new owner, says administrator Trevor Birch

The clock is ticking: Portsmouth are desperate to find a new owner, says administrator Trevor Birch

'Under the circumstances, I have been delighted with the performances
and it has been well documented we have not had the rub of the green in
the last couple of games with some of the decisions, but these things
happen,' he added.

'From our point of view as long as we are competitive in every game that is all I ask of the players.

'We have 14 games left and we want to make sure every time we play they
[the opposition] know they have been in a game and I will be happy with
that.'

Stevenage v Oldham called off

Frozen out! Stevenage v Oldham called off as match falls victim to icy weather conditions

Stevenage's League One clash with Oldham Athletic due to be held tonight at the Lamex Stadium has had to be cancelled due to recent icy weather conditions which have frozen the pitch.

The two teams have already rescheduled the game once before due to Stevenage's FA Cup commitments and now the league clash has fallen foul of the inclement weather.

The Hertfordshire club had battled through the night with a team of staff an volunteers to clear snow and ice from the pitch and stands, but their efforts proved unsuccessful.

Snow joke: The match at the Lamex has had to be called off

Snow joke: The match at the Lamex has had to be called off

The referee's pitch inspection earlier on Tuesday mornign resulted in the match being abandoned, with the rescheduled fixture yet to be announced.

The club stated: 'We would like to thank all of the Stevenage supporters who came to help with the clearing of the snow: we were delighted with the turnout and the show of unity from the Boro faithful.

'Everyone now looks ahead to Saturday's home fixture against Carlisle United, a side that we are battling with for a Play off place, and we hope that huge support is shown again for our Boro heroes!'

And a statement on the Oldham website praised their opponents efforts in trying to make the pitch ready for play.

The statement said: 'Groundstaff and a band of volunteers worked for 24 hours and throughout the night to clear snow from the pitch at the Lamex Stadium.

'And despite their heroic efforts to clear around 10 centimetres of snow from on top of the frost covers for a 10.30am pitch inspection, the surface was ruled unfit.

'Large part of the surface were playable, but a number of sections were frozen which is why it failed the inspection and was called off.'

John Terry presence causes England concern at European Championships

The FA's Suarez stance causes concern for England at Euros

You win some, you lose some.

The FA, who sat back quietly and were praised for their cool reaction as Liverpool dug themselves into a hole over Luis Suarez's racism, are not feeling quite so content.

Not with the England captain on schedule to go to the European Championships with a court case hanging over him.

Plenty to ponder: England's captain will have a court case hanging over him when he travels to the Euros later this year

Plenty to ponder: England's captain will have a court case hanging over him when he travels to the Euros later this year

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Terry denies racially abusing Anton Ferdinand and will not have his case heard until July.

The FA have to afford him the presumption of innocence but after that, their lives get complicated.

Rio Ferdinand, Anton's brother and another potential England squad member, does not hold the same view of Terry and may not even shake his hand if they face each other for Manchester United and Chelsea on Sunday.

So, the country is heading for another major tournament with another major headache about captain Terry and his relationships with the rest of the squad.

It does not matter whether the doubts about Terry have a fair foundation or not when it comes to unity of a playing squad.

The FA can do little about it and have to leave manager Fabio Capello, who has twice made Terry his skipper, to sort out the mess at tournament time.

Spurs model of commonsense restraint

At the end of the transfer window, when all those freezing cold Sky Sports News reporters were finally allowed to go home, it felt like a new era had been entered in the Premier League.

Not one that would take television presenters closer to combustion but one that reflected the climate outside the game, and there was no better example than at Spurs.

Gambling was out, conservatism back in for this notoriously difficult transfer window. Previous extravagance curtailed, lessons learnt.

Restraint: Tottenham made sensible decisions in the transfer window

Restraint: Tottenham made sensible decisions in the transfer window

At Tottenham, Roman Pavlyuchenko, an expensive, last minute signing from August 2008 who has never properly settled, was sold. In his place came the cut price Louis Saha from Everton.

Saha's signing has been questioned because of his terrible injury record but he fits the bill style-wise and is more than capable of warming the bench.

Harry Redknapp wanted a striker who could play centrally on his own and has found one as a back-up to his myriad of other attacking options.

Pavlyuchenko, signed in the same season that Robbie Keane was a late and expensive re-signing, was not the only outgoing player though.

A total of 13 left the club on loan in January, three of them senior players and all but one of the others with first team experience.

Given Spurs' position in the table, seven points above fourth-placed Chelsea, it makes sense. A return to the Champions League is theirs to throw away now.

Exit: Keane and Pavlyuchenko departed Spurs

Exit: Keane and Pavlyuchenko departed Spurs

Exit: Keane and Pavlyuchenko departed Spurs

Harry Redknapp has a bloated squad that needs trimming, too, so even if the January solutions were all short-term, they were worth taking.

Tottenham, then, were symbolic of a general purse-tightening as Premier League spending came in at around 30million below the January window average of 92m.

It is 165m down on the same extraordinary period last year but that does not mean some clubs were not busy signing significant deals.

QPR have new owners and are desperate to stay up, and it showed as they changed managers recently and were among the bigger spenders.

Chelsea, too, got involved, but their transactions were a far cry from last year after they got their fingers burned with Fernando Torres.

When Newcastle's 10m signing of Papiss Cisse is seen as a big deal in the January business then it is clear the market- like the economy – is squeezed.

Jack hammer blow for Gunners

Desperate news about Jack Wilshere.

His potential return to the Arsenal team was the brightest light on the horizon for Arsene Wenger and it is hard not to fear things will be that bit darker this season now if, as the latest news suggests, he will be sidelined until the summer with an ankle injury.

Questions over the number of games he has played in his young career already and the rush to get him back will have to be asked.

Sidelined: Wilshere will sit out the remainder of the season

Sidelined: Wilshere will sit out the remainder of the season

Goal-line technology in sight, is it

FIFA, who have been asked to rule on and discuss goal-line technology for well over a decade, say they will make a definitive decision in July this year. Don't hold your breath.

Did you know

The performances of Shaun Wright-Phillips for QPR this season were suggested as a factor in Neil Warnock's sacking by the club.

The winger was seen as a poor signing and he has now reached 48 shots this term in the Premier League without scoring.

Let's hope Djibril Cisse, who scored just 13 goals in 49 league appearances for Liverpool, does a little better for Mark Hughes.

The Wright stuff The QPR winger is yet to make an impact at Loftus Road

The Wright stuff The QPR winger is yet to make an impact at Loftus Road

Wolves 1 Chelsea 2: Lampard to the rescue as Blues bounce back at Molineux

Wolves 1 Chelsea 2: Lampard to the rescue as Blues bounce back at Molineux

He might not have been at the centre of the celebrations which marked Chelsea’s first goal on Monday, but Frank Lampard supplied Andre Villas-Boas with something far more tangible when it mattered.

As the clock ticked down towards another frustrating afternoon for the young Portuguese, up stepped the club’s faithful on-field lieutenant to provide late relief.

Unity Chelsea players raced to the bench to celebrate Ramires' goal with manager Andre Villas-Boas

Unity Chelsea players raced to the bench to celebrate Ramires' goal with manager Andre Villas-Boas

MATCH FACTS

Wolverhampton: Hennessey, Stearman, Johnson, Berra, Ward, Forde (Jarvis 46), Frimpong (Fletcher 61), Henry, Hammill,
Edwards (Foley 76), Doyle.

Subs Not Used: De Vries, Elokobi, Ebanks-Blake, Hunt.

Booked: Hammill, Henry, Doyle.

Goals: Ward 84.

Chelsea: Cech, Bosingwa, Luiz, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Romeu, Meireles, Lampard, Mata (McEachran 83), Torres.

Subs Not Used: Turnbull, Lukaku, Ferreira, Hutchinson, Bertrand, Chalobah.

Booked: Lampard, Romeu.

Goals: Ramires 54, Lampard 89.

Att: 27,289

Ref: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire).

Lampard has scored more spectacular
goals with greater aplomb than Monday’s 89th-minute winner. But a
close-range volley enabled his under-fire boss to speak with greater
freedom about club unity, the need for improved consistency and neatly
sidestep any suggestion of player unrest.

Indeed, there was a show of togetherness which accompanied the visitors’
opening strike, nine minutes after the interval. Goalscorer Ramires,
joined by a clutch of his team-mates, made tracks to the Blues bench for
what appeared to be an impromptu celebration.

Lampard and skipper John Terry were late arrivals to the pitchside
throng. But they were at the heart of a resolute display against
determined hosts.

Villas-Boas, amid rumours that his senior players are in revolt at his
management style, refused to acknowledge the get-together after the
opening strike was in any way a public show of confidence in him.

‘I didn’t know it was coming,’ he said, dismissing its relevance. ‘It
was just them (the players) showing the unity of the team. We have had
our first bad period, so it’s good to see. We were incompetent against
Aston Villa and we didn’t do our jobs properly, but we recovered within
48 hours.’

Opening salvo: Ramires (left) fired Chelsea in front 10 minutes into the second half at Molineux

Opening salvo: Ramires (left) fired Chelsea in front 10 minutes into the second half at Molineux

It might help any negativity swirling around the west London club if credit was given where due by the club’s boss.

When asked about the veteran midfielder’s late contribution, Villas-Boas
said: ‘I think the whole team did well. No matter who scores. Romeu,
Mata – the most important thing is to find consistency.

‘Away from home we have less anxiety. We need to correct it at Stamford
Bridge. We have discussed it between ourselves and I think we can
correct it. It doesn’t matter who does the scoring, the most important
thing is the victory.’

Back in it: Stephen Ward (second left) scores Wolves equaliser against Chelsea

Back in it: Stephen Ward (second left) scores Wolves equaliser against Chelsea

Lampard was fortunate to be on the pitch for his winner. His
25th-minute lunge at Adam Hammill was out of character and horribly late
and could have easily ended in a dismissal.

As Lampard rose from the turf, acknowledging his error, howls of protest
rained down from the stands. The man in the middle, Peter Walton,
endured a dreadful first half and opted to caution the midfielder.

For some reason, he also refused to caution Ashley Cole, despite having
at least two opportunities to do so, and produced a flurry of five
yellow cards in eight minutes.

So close, yet so far: Wolves celebrate after they looked to have earned a point

So close, yet so far: Wolves celebrate after they looked to have earned a point

The official’s display overshadowed a first half in which Wolves could
have taken the lead. Chelsea enjoyed a number of opportunities but the
hosts came closest when Roger Johnson’s header from Hammill’s free-kick
thumped into an upright and Stephen Ward glanced wide from the same
source.

Shortly after the interval, the visitors found the net from Juan Mata’s
right-wing corner. Terry provided the faintest of flicks and Ramires
dug the ball out from under his feet before lashing into the top corner.
There then came the unusual sight of the goalscorer being joined by
Raul Meireles, Jose Bosingwa, Cole, Oriol Romeu and David Luiz running
over to the dug-out. Villas-Boas’s assistants jumped into the melee. It
was a very public demonstration.

Winner: Frank Lampard (centre) fires home to earn Chelsea all three points against Wolves at Molineux

Winner: Frank Lampard (centre) fires home to earn Chelsea all three points against Wolves at Molineux

The emphasis of the afternoon changed in an instant. The onus was then
on the hosts. For all their efforts, Wolves find it difficult to retain
possession and thus find it equally difficult to exert pressure.

The equaliser came when keeper Wayne Hennessey’s long free-kick was only
partially cleared to substitute Matt Jarvis on the right. The winger
centred and Steven Fletcher’s miscued centre arrived at Stephen Ward’s
feet. The left back connected sweetly and the ball flashed past Petr
Cech.

Wolves were now within sight of an unlikely point. But Lampard fed
Fernando Torres, who spotted Cole racing up the left flank. His low
cross was stabbed home by Lampard for his eighth goal of a disjointed
campaign. There was no rush to the manager this time.

Late show: Lampard celebrates after scoring what could prove to be a priceless winner for Chelsea

Late show: Lampard celebrates after scoring what could prove to be a priceless winner for Chelsea

McCarthy was furious about the late goal. ‘They should have defended the
cross,’ he said. ‘Chelsea shouldn’t have scored. I should be sat here
talking about a 1-1 draw. I’ve had a proper snarl in there because it’s
not acceptable for me.’

He left the press room paying tribute to Lampard. It didn’t go unnoticed
that it was more than the winning manager managed to do.

Lives to fight another day: Andre Villas-Boas (right) was saved by Lampard's goal

Lives to fight another day: Andre Villas-Boas (right) was saved by Lampard's goal

Shay Given out for a month Aston Villa

Villa suffer blow as keeper Given faces spending festive period on the sidelines

Aston Villa goalkeeper Shay Given will be sidelined for a month after suffering a hamstring injury against Manchester United on Saturday.

Scans showed the 35-year-old Republic of Ireland international had suffered a small tear in his left hamstring during the 1-0 home defeat against the Red Devils.

American Brad Guzan, who replaced Given seven minutes before the break on Saturday, will continue to deputise between the posts in this weekend”s Barclays Premier League game at Bolton.

Sidelined: Shay Given will miss a month of the season through injury

Sidelined: Shay Given will miss a month of the season through injury

Villa manager Alex McLeish said: “It is disappointing to lose Shay in such circumstances but, unfortunately, these things happen in football.

“We have to meet these challenges and we will. We have total faith in Brad who, as I said after the game against Manchester United on Saturday, can be proud of the way he stepped in when Shay had to come off.

“We will need within the football club for everybody to stick together and that strength of unity will help massively.”