Clement axed as Derby head coach

8 February 2016 19:34

Championship promotion contenders Derby County have sacked head coach Paul Clement after seven games without a win in the league.

Clement arrived at Derby to replace Steve McClaren having been assistant manager to Carlo Ancelotti at Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid.

The 43-year-old guided the Rams to the top of the table on Boxing Day after a 2-0 victory over Fulham, but – despite being backed in the transfer window – he has not tasted league success since.

A 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage on Saturday proved the final straw for owner Mel Morris despite Derby still sitting in fifth place, five points off leaders Hull City and Middlesbrough.

“We are grateful for the contribution Paul has made to the football club but the time is right to make a change,” Morris told the club’s official website.

“When Paul joined us last year we worked with him to develop a plan for the club which we asked him to embrace.

“It was clear in this plan, which was briefed to supporters, players, sponsors and all our stakeholders last summer that promotion this season was not the primary target.

“The priorities were building on the Derby way and style of football enjoyed in the past two seasons; adding depth and strength to our playing squad; and, developing and improving player and team performance.

“Sadly, on these measurements, we have not made enough progress and that is why we have decided to part company with Paul.

“I want to record our thanks to Paul for his efforts in leading the team through the first 30 games of this season and in achieving a top six position at this point. We wish him every success in his future career.”

Academy director Darren Wassall will take charge of the club until the end of the season.

Article source: http://www.soccerway.com/news/2016/February/08/clement-axed-as-derby-head-coach

Thiago Silva: PSG can stay unbeaten all season

8 February 2016 13:14

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Thiago Silva believes Paris Saint-Germain have what it takes to remain unbeaten in Ligue 1 all season.

The reigning champions beat Marseille 2-1 on Sunday to extend their unbeaten run in the French top flight to 34 games, a streak that stretches back to the 2014-15 campaign.

Laurent Blanc’s men have won 22 out of their 25 games this term, drawing the remaining three, and hold a massive 24-point lead over second-placed Monaco.

Silva has stressed that remaining unbeaten is not a specific goal for PSG, but believes it would be a fine performance if they do achieve it.

“I think if we continue like this, we can go through the entire season without loss,” the defender told Canal Plus.

“That’s not an objective, but if we can do it, it will be magnificent.

 “I think it was a good match against Marseille. They worked very hard and so did we. I don’t know if we deserved to win, but we won again.

“We’re very happy. We need to continue like this, with desire and humility, to finish off this great season.”

Article source: http://www.soccerway.com/news/2016/February/08/thiago-silva-psg-can-stay-unbeaten-all-season

FFA hit Wanderers with show cause notice

8 February 2016 06:58

Football Federation Australia (FFA) has issued a show cause letter to Western Sydney Wanderers for the actions of their supporters in Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Melbourne Victory.

A section of the travelling Wanderers fans let off flares and sound bombs at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, the former of which caused the A-League fixture to be suspended for around a minute due to limited vision on the pitch. 

Victory managed to score immediately from the restart through Besart Berisha, but Brendon Santalab struck an 89th-minute equaliser to salvage a point for the table-topping Wanderers.

FFA released a statement on Monday stating the Wanderers have until 5pm Wednesday (AEDT) to show cause why they should not be punished.

“The show cause notice has been sent after FFA today received detailed incident and match reports from Victoria Police, Etihad Stadium management and FFA’s security advisers, outlining incidents that took place on Saturday night,” a statement read.

“FFA has given the club until 5pm [AEDT] Wednesday afternoon to show cause why they should not face sanction for bringing the game into disrepute through the conduct of its supporters.”

FFA chief executive David Gallop condemned the actions of the Wanderers supporters, adding: “This behaviour has clearly alarmed many people inside and outside the game. It simply cannot be tolerated.

“It is especially disappointing that it has happened at a time when we are working collectively to implement security and banning processes to rid of our game of this type of behaviour for the benefit of football and the true football fans who are tainted by these actions. 

“That is an unfortunate but very real consequence of this behaviour and it underlines the damage that these troublemakers cause.”

A potential sanction for the Wanderers may include financial penalties and the loss of competition points under the FFA Code of Conduct.

Article source: http://www.soccerway.com/news/2016/February/08/ffa-hit-wanderers-with-show-cause-notice

Flores believes Tottenham are Premier League´s best

8 February 2016 01:00

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Leicester City might be stealing the headlines but Tottenham are the best team in the Premier League, according to Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores.

Flores said Tottenham played like “animals” as they broke down their stubborn opponents on Saturday to force a 1-0 win over Watford at White Hart Lane and move into second place in the Premier League table.

Tottenham have now won four league games in a row and trail Leicester by five points but after seeing them up close, Flores believes Tottenham are the more complete team.

“For me, it’s the best [team we’ve played],” Flores said.

“We played twice against [Manchester] City, twice against Tottenham, twice against Chelsea, and I think this is the more complete team.”

Flores said it was particularly hard to deal with Tottenham’s intense pressure.

“It was impossible … we try to train a lot, and try to take care a lot what happens in transition. We know perfectly what we want to do when we [recover] the ball, we try to play, but it was impossible.

“It was impossible because they are like animals there, trying to beat and [recover] the ball as quick as possible.

“You need high velocity in thinking and playing, and it was impossible today.”

The Spanish manager said his players could recognise they were playing a superior team but were powerless in trying to outsmart them.

“They [the Watford players] know that we were playing against an amazing team. They recognise that this may be the best team we play this season,” Flores added.

“When you are on the pitch and the level of the other team is better than you, the most important thing is to recognise it. 

“We tried to survive. We had an option till the end because at 1-0 everything is possible in football, but that was the only good news for us.”

Article source: http://www.soccerway.com/news/2016/February/08/flores-believes-tottenham-are-premier-leagues-best

Van Gaal fumes at United composure after ´unbelievable´ Chelsea draw

7 February 2016 20:01

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Louis van Gaal criticised Manchester United for a lack of composure after they drew 1-1 away to Chelsea thanks to a late Diego Costa equaliser.

United took the lead through Jesse Lingard just past the hour-mark but Costa turned home early in injury time to preserve the champions’ unbeaten run under Guus Hiddink.

Van Gaal described the result as “unbelievable” given his side’s performance but was left angered at the way they invited pressure in the closing stages.

“I think we played a superb game until the last quarter. Then we didn’t keep the ball, or attack in the way I think we have to,” he told Sky Sports.

“Chelsea were pushing with long balls, more aggression, but you have to keep the ball and be composed when you defend, not kick the ball away without any meaning. And we could have scored after the first goal, but you don’t reward yourselves when you play such a game against a fantastic team like Chelsea.

“We were the better team but, again, we didn’t win. It’s unbelievable. We don’t reward ourselves.”

Van Gaal remonstrated with the officials just after the final whistle, and he admitted he was angry that referee Michael Oliver allowed Chelsea to take a corner beyond the allotted six minutes of additional time, only to end the game just as United looked to break.

“This referee gave them a lot of free-kicks at the end of the game,” he said.

“The time was already over the six minutes and he let them kick the corner. Then, we had a free pitch, a lot of space, and he whistles. He did it in the first half also.

“You cannot do that. Don’t let them kick the corner, the six minutes have passed. It’s not fair on the two teams.”

United are now six points behind fourth-placed Manchester City and Van Gaal accepted the race for the top three or four is looking increasingly difficult.

“When your aim is to be third, or second, or first, you need to win, because the gap is already big and it’s now bigger. That’s not good,” he added.

“I know we have to play a very nasty duel against Chelsea and of course I will say to my players ‘fantastic performance, until the last quarter’. But we have to reward ourselves. It’s not the first time.”

Article source: http://www.soccerway.com/news/2016/February/07/van-gaal-fumes-at-united-composure-after-unbelievable-chelsea-draw

Guardiola can bring stars like Messi to Man City

7 February 2016 13:25

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Incoming manager Pep Guardiola will be able to lure superstars to Manchester City and a move for Lionel Messi is not out of the question, according to former City striker Darius Vassell.

Bayern Munich head coach Guardiola has agreed a three-year deal to take over from Manuel Pellegrini at the end of the season despite City remaining in the running to win the quadruple this season.

Vassell, who played for City between 2005 and 2009, feels the former Barcelona boss’ arrival will take the club to a new level and thinks the likes of Messi will want to come to play for him.

He told Omnisport: “It is going to be the new manager comes in and all these superstar players are going to be signed. This is what I envisage. 

“City do need a few players to be really competing with the top teams in the world and hopefully in the next couple of seasons we will see that happen.”

Asked if Guardiola could bring in stars like Messi, Vassell said: “Yes, I think so. 

“I think that [Guardiola’s move] is a great incentive for those kind of players to cross whatever ocean it is. But more than that, I think the respect. He has played football at the highest level, managed football at the highest level and won a lot of trophies.” 

Vassell is extremely confident that the status of Guardiola will ensure City’s star players are at their best for him and deliver silverware.

The ex-England man added: “I don’t think that there will be players in the team unwilling to work for him. So that can only sparkle things for Man City in the future.

“I think his record as a manager speaks for itself. I think they are all big players at Manchester City; they will respect him as soon as he walks through the door and I think with Manuel that is half the battle. 

“If you have got the respect of the players and you are dealing with players who have the quality, then you have got every chance of making a squad, making a formation and making a game-plan that is going to get you some trophies at the end of the season.”

Article source: http://www.soccerway.com/news/2016/February/07/guardiola-can-bring-stars-like-messi-to-man-city---vassell

PSG drop Lavezzi amid China exit rumours

7 February 2016 06:53

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Paris Saint-Germain have left Ezequiel Lavezzi out of the squad that will face Marseille on Sunday amid reports the Argentine is set to complete a move to China. 

PSG will be looking to maintain their unbeaten run in Ligue 1 when they travel to take on Marseille, but they will have to do so without Lavezzi.

The Argentina international was a notable exclusion from the squad that was named on Saturday, with reports in previous days linking him with a move to Chinese Super League outfit Shanghai Shenhua.

Lavezzi, a €30million signing from Napoli in 2012, has made over 150 appearances in all competitions for PSG, scoring 35 goals.

However, the 30-year-old has found game time hard to come by this season, with the signing of compatriot Angel Di Maria reducing him to a bit-part player.

If a move does eventuate, Lavezzi will join the likes of Ramires and Alex Teixeira (both Jiangsu Suning), Jackson Martinez (Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao), Gervinho (Hebei China Fortune) and Fredy Guarin (Shanghai Shenhua) in the CSL. 

Article source: http://www.soccerway.com/news/2016/February/07/psg-drop-lavezzi-amid-china-exit-rumours

La Liga Review: Atletico Madrid move level with Barca, Villarreal draw at Athletic

7 February 2016 00:45

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Atletico Madrid moved level on points with Barcelona at the top of La Liga after Fernando Torres’ 100th goal for the club sealed a 3-1 win over Eibar at the Vicente Calderon.

Substitute Torres had been one strike away from the milestone ever since netting against Eibar in the reverse fixture back in September, but his search for the elusive century goal finally came to an end with a strike in second-half stoppage-time.

That capped a solid comeback win for Diego Simeone’s title chasers, who ended their four-match winless run in all competitions.

Early in the second half, a slip from makeshift centre-back Saul had enabled Keko to open the scoring for the visitors, but Jose Maria Gimenez headed in at the near post in the 56th minute to restore parity.

Saul then made up for his earlier error by nodding Atletico ahead, before the scoring was completed by Torres steering home a cross from fellow sub Luciano Vietto.

Barcelona have two games in hand on Atletico and play at Levante on Sunday as they look to re-establish a three-point cushion.

Elsewhere on Saturday, fourth-placed Villarreal extended their unbeaten run to 10 La Liga matches, but missed the chance to join Real Madrid on 47 points after a 0-0 draw at Athletic Bilbao.

Both sides ended the match with 10 men after the hosts’ Inaki Williams was shown a second yellow card in the last minute for a foul on Manu Trigueros, before the away side’s Daniele Bonera received a second booking for handball in stoppage-time having only come on as a 72nd-minute substitute.

Athletic are sixth in the table and will keenly watch the clash between their closest rivals for a European place as fifth-placed Sevilla meet seventh-placed Celta Vigo on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Deportivo La Coruna are now without a win in seven league games after being held to a 1-1 draw at Sporting Gijon, with Jony’s strike for the hosts being cancelled out by Luis Alberto in the first half.

Rayo Vallecano recorded a priceless 2-0 win over relegation rivals Las Palmas, with Miku and Bebe grabbing the goals. 

In-form Rayo have only lost once in their last six league games, while the defeat means Las Palmas drop into the bottom three as they still wait for a first away league win of the campaign.

Article source: http://www.soccerway.com/news/2016/February/07/la-liga-review-atletico-madrid-move-level-with-barca-villarreal-draw-at-athletic

La Liga Review: Atletico Madrid move level with Barca, Villarreal draw at Athletic

7 February 2016 00:45

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Atletico Madrid moved level on points with Barcelona at the top of La Liga after Fernando Torres’ 100th goal for the club sealed a 3-1 win over Eibar at the Vicente Calderon.

Substitute Torres had been one strike away from the milestone ever since netting against Eibar in the reverse fixture back in September, but his search for the elusive century goal finally came to an end with a strike in second-half stoppage-time.

That capped a solid comeback win for Diego Simeone’s title chasers, who ended their four-match winless run in all competitions.

Early in the second half, a slip from makeshift centre-back Saul had enabled Keko to open the scoring for the visitors, but Jose Maria Gimenez headed in at the near post in the 56th minute to restore parity.

Saul then made up for his earlier error by nodding Atletico ahead, before the scoring was completed by Torres steering home a cross from fellow sub Luciano Vietto.

Barcelona have two games in hand on Atletico and play at Levante on Sunday as they look to re-establish a three-point cushion.

Elsewhere on Saturday, fourth-placed Villarreal extended their unbeaten run to 10 La Liga matches, but missed the chance to join Real Madrid on 47 points after a 0-0 draw at Athletic Bilbao.

Both sides ended the match with 10 men after the hosts’ Inaki Williams was shown a second yellow card in the last minute for a foul on Manu Trigueros, before the away side’s Daniele Bonera received a second booking for handball in stoppage-time having only come on as a 72nd-minute substitute.

Athletic are sixth in the table and will keenly watch the clash between their closest rivals for a European place as fifth-placed Sevilla meet seventh-placed Celta Vigo on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Deportivo La Coruna are now without a win in seven league games after being held to a 1-1 draw at Sporting Gijon, with Jony’s strike for the hosts being cancelled out by Luis Alberto in the first half.

Rayo Vallecano recorded a priceless 2-0 win over relegation rivals Las Palmas, with Miku and Bebe grabbing the goals. 

In-form Rayo have only lost once in their last six league games, while the defeat means Las Palmas drop into the bottom three as they still wait for a first away league win of the campaign.

Article source: http://www.soccerway.com/news/2016/February/07/la-liga-review-atletico-madrid-move-level-with-barca-villarreal-draw-at-athletic

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