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Blanc praises Luiz's versatility

The defender has showcased his ability to play in more than one position of late, with his coach delighted with his efforts further forward

Laurent Blanc has praised David Luiz for stepping into midfield and plugging a gap in Paris Saint-Germain’s side in recent weeks.

Following injuries to Yohan Cabaye and Thiago Motta, Blanc has opted to move Luiz out of his normal defensive role and has been delighted with the Brazil international’s performances.

“It is not a question of a plan B,” said Blanc. “He has helped us.

“We know he can play very well in this position, and it has allowed Cabaye and Thiago Motta to recover.

“[Adrien] Rabiot can play three positions but I think he [Luiz] is a better runner, and Marco [Verratti] in front of the defence lacks something.”

Luiz is expected to continue in midfield on Wednesday as PSG meet Monaco in the quarter-finals of the Coupe de France three days after drawing 0-0 with the same opponents in Ligue 1.

“I hope it will be more lively, with goals,” Blanc added.  ”I do not mind meeting again after a three-day interval.

“We hope some of our injured players will recover to play. The medical staff have been doing everything to get some players fit. 

“We have important games ahead with a limited workforce.”

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LIVE: Hull City vs Sunderland

Meanwhile, Sunderland boss Gus Poyet has decided to make four alterations to the side that started against Manchester United on Saturday, with Patrick van Aanholt, Jordi Gomez, Adam Johnson and Connor Wickham making way for Santiago Vergini, Liam Bridcutt, Jack Rodwell and Danny Graham, respectively. Meanwhile, both John O’Shea and Wes Brown are available after the latter’s red card, which was wrongly awarded to him on the weekend, was rescinded by the Football Association.

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LIVE: Southampton v Crystal Palace

Meanwhile, Palace manager Alan Pardew has significantly more absences to contend with. Midfielder Jordon Mutch picked up an injury in the weekend win at West Ham, joining Marouane Chamakh, Frazier Campbell, Jonny Williams, Yaya Sanogo and Jerome Thomas in the treatment room, while Glenn Murray – the recipient of a red card at Upton Park – is suspended. As a result, Dwight Gayle starts in attack, but he won’t be short of support, as Puncheon, Zaha and Bolasie all begin the match.

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Edu: Physical Brazil amongst Copa favourites

The ex-Arsenal star believes Dunga’s side have turned a corner since the World Cup but warned of the threat posed by Alexis Sanchez in the BGT clash with Chile in March

Former Brazil international Edu Gaspar has named Dunga’s Selecao among the favourites for this year’s Copa America, insisting their new physical approach will ensure there will be no repeat of their 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat to Germany.

Dunga succeeded former coach Luiz Felipe Scolari following the World Cup and has led the Selecao to six consecutive Brasil Global Tour victories.

And former Arsenal and Valencia star Edu, who made 15 appearances for Brazil but missed out on a place at World Cup 2006 through injury, insists the Selecao have now moved on from their World Cup disappointment.

“What happened at the World Cup is in the past and must stay in the past,” Edu told the official Copa America website.

“Brazil will arrive at the Copa America with a lot of desire to win it because they will want to show what Brazil are in world football. With Dunga, there will be a more forceful style of play, including being more physical, as Dunga was as a player.”

He added: “The 2015 Copa América will be a great tournament to follow.

“At the World Cup the South American teams did very well and from what I can see these teams will continue to get better with the competition there is.

“Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay will always be favourites because they have great squads, but Chile could also have something to say. They have an attacking style and have become very powerful over time.”

Brazil meet Chile at the Emirates Stadium in London on March 29 and Edu has warned his compatriots they face a player at the top of his game in the form of Roja and Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez.

“Alexis is a phenomenon,” he said.

“At Arsenal he has found what I think he was hoping for; to be an undisputed starter and main player, something he was never able to achieve at Barcelona, despite playing well and receiving praise from the press and fans.

“I think at the moment he is among the five best players in the Premier League, there is no doubt about that.”

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Transfer Talk: Nasri out, Isco in at City?

Liverpool join Illarramendi chase

Reports suggest Brandan Rodgers sees the out-of-favour Real Madrid midfielder as a potential replacement for Steven Gerrard, who is set to make a move to LA Galaxy at the end of the season.

Source: Daily Star
Tuesday, March 3, 2015 17:02

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