Pochettino ´positive´ over Kane fitness

22 October 2016 17:34

Mauricio Pochettino has confirmed Harry Kane is close to making his Tottenham return after missing seven games with an ankle injury.

The England forward sustained ankle ligament damage after scoring the winner against Sunderland in September, and has not played since.

He returned to training this week but was not fit enough to make Spurs’ matchday squad for their goalless draw with Bournemouth in the Premier League.

However, the 23-year-old could be back on the pitch very soon, with Pochettino positive about his ongoing recovery.

“He’s not too far [away],” Pochettino said of Kane at his post-match media conference.

“Every day we need to assess. We are very positive. 

“We’ll see if he starts to be available very soon.”

Goals have been hard to come by without Kane and Saturday’s blank meant they have only scored one goal in their last three games in all competitions.

Pochettino remains positive about Tottenham’s attacking threat, but acknowledged their inability to score may come back to haunt them later in the campaign.

“I’m not concerned,” he added. “When we analyse all the situations and the other things involved around the team, it’s true we need to improve. 

“It’s true that if we want to be a real contender [for the title] after two away games at West Bromwich and Bournemouth, we need to win at least one. 

“At the same time, we need to see the value in the point. 

“The effort was fantastic, but to be contenders, you should or must win one game.”

Article source: http://www.soccerway.com/news/2016/October/22/pochettino-positive-over-kane-fitness

Suarez open to Ajax return

22 October 2016 11:22

Luis Suarez has suggested that he would be open to a return to Ajax if he ever feels he is no longer good enough to play for Barcelona.

The Uruguay international enjoyed a successful spell with Ajax between 2007 and 2011 after joining the Amsterdam side from Groningen and vowed upon his transfer to Liverpool that he would one day return to the Amsterdam ArenA.

Suarez seemed to rule out a move back to Ajax when he stated that he aims to retire at Barcelona, but he has now hinted that a return could still be on the cards.

“All my dreams came true at Barcelona and I hope to stay here for the remainder of my career,” the 29-year-old told De Telegraaf.

“But I will have to keep playing at the highest level.

“Of course, I would like to return to Ajax some day. Even if it was just to thank Ajax. Ajax are the club that made me famous in Europe.”

The prolific attacker endured a difficult childhood, but he feels his tough upbringing has helped him become the man he is today.

“I am a street kid. That’s how I learned to fight and not to complain when I am suffering,” he added.

“I will only ask for a substitution if I really cannot continue. I made a lot of sacrifices as a child.

“We did not even have money to buy football shoes. That has helped me appreciate things more now.”

Article source: http://www.soccerway.com/news/2016/October/22/suarez-open-to-ajax-return

Stekelenburg grounded despite penalty heroics

22 October 2016 05:16

Everton shot-stopper Maarten Stekelenburg has already moved on from his heroics against Manchester City, saying he is just a mistake away from being the “worst keeper”.

The Dutchman stopped penalties from Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero to see his side hold on for a 1-1 draw against City last time out.

But, ahead of a trip to Burnley in the Premier League on Saturday, Stekelenburg knows how quickly things can change.

“I sit here now with a lot of people talking about it – and if you stop two penalties in a game and you get a result it is always different,” he told UK newspapers.

“If you lost 4-0 or 5-0 I don’t think I will be sitting here with so many people. When it wins you a point it is nice, especially there, because I don’t think many going there will take points.

“I must focus on my game and my part against Burnley.

“If I make a mistake there and we lose the game the world is different. That’s the job we have. One game you are the hero and the next, the following game, maybe you’re the worst keeper they ever had. That’s the way it is.”

Stekelenburg had to dive to his left to save both penalties, earning sixth-placed Everton a point at the Etihad Stadium.

While he had advice, the 34-year-old said he accepted some spot-kicks were simply unstoppable.

“Wait as long as possible. That’s what I do. You don’t want to make it too easy for the taker,” Stekelenburg said.

“Almost all goalkeepers will agree with me that if you go too early you make it easy. If you go too early they will just pass it to the other side.

“You need luck as well. You can go to the right corner but if it is taken with speed and it’s good then you don’t have a chance.”

Article source: http://www.soccerway.com/news/2016/October/22/stekelenburg-grounded-despite-penalty-heroics

Guardiola pleads patience for injury ravaged Kompany

21 October 2016 23:31

Pep Guardiola wants Vincent Kompany to be mentally and physically fit before giving the Manchester City captain a sustained run of first-team action.

Kompany has been ravaged by a succession of muscle injuries over recent seasons, with calf problems decimating his 2015-16 campaign, in which he started only 20 of City’s 58 games.

The last of those came in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid, the centre-back lasting only 10 minutes due to a groin and thigh injury that required surgery and ruled him out of Belgium’s Euro 2016 campaign.

The 30-year-old made his first appearance under Guardiola in last month’s EFL Cup tie at Swansea City, only for a fresh groin strain suffered in stoppage time to send him back to the treatment room.

An unusual substitute cameo as a striker in last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Everton was followed by Kompany missing out on the matchday squad for City’s 4-0 Champions League loss at Barcelona, prompting reports Guardiola is ready to end the player’s time in Manchester.

But the former Barca and Bayern Munich coach told reporters he was considering selecting the defender at Camp Nou before Kompany told doctors he did not feel 100 per cent.

“In that moment, what happened over the last two years, I don’t know. We are working on that, with the doctor and him,” Guardiola told reporters.

“I thought two days ago, maybe Vincent in Camp Nou for his personality, but one day after in the training session he said ‘I didn’t feel like this’.

“In that moment, when his head is not ready and what happened in the last two years it is better to stay out.

“I spoke with Vincent on that, so don’t put a lot of pressure about how many games [he can play] or big, big targets.

“Try to train good, week after week, training with no injuries and after we play a game. After you play 75 minutes or 90 minutes – maybe it was my mistake in Swansea to not put on another player.

“We will see but I think when he is trying to play one game and after another one he will take a lot of confidence and maybe he will be able to play more games.” 

Speaking ahead of Sunday’s Premier League match against Southampton, Guardiola offered assurances that Kompany is very much part of his plans at City.

“I’ve never trained with him in the past,” he said. “What I have seen from when he’s fit is that he’s a real centre defender. I like him.”

Article source: http://www.soccerway.com/news/2016/October/21/guardiola-pleads-patience-for-injury-ravaged-kompany

It was not mutual consent, I was sacked by Chelsea

21 October 2016 17:28

Jose Mourinho bears no grudges to anyone at Chelsea despite confirming he was sacked in December 2015 and did not leave by mutual consent.

Mourinho was shown the door seven months after leading the west London club to the title, after Chelsea opened their defence at the start of the 2015-16 season with nine defeats in their first 16 games.

At the time the club statement claimed the Portuguese had left by mutual consent but Mourinho, who returns to Stamford Bridge for the first time since with Manchester United on Sunday, was adamant he was dismissed by owner Roman Abramovich.

He told Sky Sports: “Mr Abramovich decided to sack me. I left with not one bad word about anything or anyone at the club.

“It was not mutual consent. That was in my first period at Chelsea when I agreed it was time to change. 

“I was keen to change, more than ready to go to other countries but this time it was not like that.

“It was a decision by the owner and I was informed of that decision. I accepted it in a polite way and we signed the papers. I did it in a calm, respectful way.”

Mourinho continued to live in London before he was named United boss in May.

“I waited for what I preferred, which was to stay in England, in the Premier League and I was lucky to have a big club like Manchester United,” he added.

“It took a couple of days [to get over it] and then it was finished and I started my life in a common way.

“I was still in London, I kept a house there, I was walking in the street, going to the gym, watching football…”

Mourinho, who guided Chelsea to two Premier League titles in his first spell in charge, believes the sack is a part of modern management.

“It’s not nice for me or anyone but that’s life, I took it in a positive way,” he said.

“To be sacked is [part of] football, many of the best managers in the history of football have had their moment to be sacked.

“Of course there are exceptions but normally, and especially in modern football, you are in a position where it can happen to anyone.

“If it was a club where I gave nothing it would be more difficult. When I leave the club that in two different periods I gave titles and, to the fans, some of the best moments that a club’s supporters can have, then I leave with a feeling of ‘I did my job’.”

Mourinho claimed the fans wanted him to stay before the axe fell.

“I don’t think they wanted it but, even if they did, they cannot remove me from Chelsea history,” he said.

“I am in their history and they belong to my history too, so there is no reason for bad feelings.”

Article source: http://www.soccerway.com/news/2016/October/21/it-was-not-mutual-consent-i-was-sacked-by-chelsea---mourinho

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