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Thauvin would welcome Bielsa arrival

23 April 2014 16:03

Marseille midfielder Florian Thauvin is confident Marcelo Bielsa’s approach would benefit the club if he were appointed as coach.

The former Argentina, Chile and Athletic Bilbao boss is reported to be close to taking the reins at Marseille – who have been without a permanent coach since Elie Baup departed in December.

With Jose Anigo having been in interim charge following Baup’s dismissal, Bielsa is expected to be appointed sooner rather than later, bringing with him a reputation as a disciplinarian.

However, Thauvin would welcome such an approach, claiming it could benefit the squad.

Asked on his no-nonsense style, he told L’Equipe: “That does not worry me at all.

“I have heard what has been attributed to him and if it happens he will bring a lot to Marseille.”

Following his drawn-out transfer from Lille to Marseille last year, his former club – for whom he never made an appearance – are on course to secure the final UEFA Champions League spot.

Marseille, however, have work to do if they are to secure their spot in the UEFA Europa League but Thauvin insists he is happy to have left the Stade Pierre Mauroy.

“I do not regret anything, and I congratulate Lille on their season. I am very happy to be here every day, I’ve learned a great deal here,” he added.

“I will 100 per cent be at Marseille next season. I’ve suffered enough to get here in the first place.”

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Martinez will not rush Jagielka

23 April 2014 15:57

Everton manager Roberto Martinez has no intention of rushing Phil Jagielka back into action despite Sylvain Distin’s injury.

Distin picked up a suspected hamstring injury in Sunday’s 2-0 victory over Manchester United at Goodison Park, and was replaced by Antolin Alcaraz at half-time.

The injury to the veteran Frenchman leaves Everton with just two recognised centre-backs available, in the form of Alcaraz and John Stones.

Jagielka – who too has a hamstring problem – has not featured since Everton were defeated 1-0 at Chelsea in February, and there have been suggestions the England international may be brought back into contention.

However, Martinez will take no risks with his captain, and is willing to wait until the former Sheffield United defender is 100 per cent fit.

“Phil Jagielka has got his own programme and it is important that we follow that and we don’t rush him back,” he told the club’s official website.

“He has been involved with the first team training now and that is a really good sign. We want Phil back as quick as we can but not because we have got an injury with Sylvain.

“We aren’t going to rush and do the wrong things in his individual programme.

“Phil is going to be fully fit very soon and I do expect that he will probably be able to make the squad against Manchester City and that’s always been the plan. I do believe that we will be able to reach that.”

Everton are currently locked in a battle for the last UEFA Champions League spot in the Premier League.

Martinez’s men are one point adrift of fourth-placed Arsenal with just three matches remaining.

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Bremen to focus on developing young players

23 April 2014 15:48

Werder Bremen can no longer expect to spend millions of euros on transfers, according to general manager Thomas Eichin.

The Bundesliga outfit have struggled for form this season and have rarely made it out of the league’s lower reaches, but they almost certainly secured their safety with Saturday’s 3-1 win over Hoffenheim.

However, Bremen will go a fourth successive season without European football next term, and Eichin insists there is little room in the budget for big-money transfers.

“We will have to try to incorporate young players and to do more creative transfers,” he told Weser Kurier. “We will not be able to make five- or six-million transfers as in the past. We need to develop quality again.”

Among the quality already in Bremen’s possession is midfielder Eljero Elia, but Eichin has no intention of selling the Dutchman to raise funds.

“Eljero is important to us,” he continued. “Eljero is much, much better in my team than not in my team.”

And Eichin was equally keen to hang on to centre-back Sebastian Prodl.

“Sebastian Prodl has had a very, very good season,” he added. “If we want to play a better role in the future, I need some depth and competition in the squad.

“Because it is better for me to have four strong central defenders in the squad than three.”

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Brady hoping to win race against time

23 April 2014 15:34

Hull City winger Robbie Brady is hoping to win his race against time and be fit for next month’s FA Cup final against Arsenal at Wembley.

Brady started the season in excellent fashion, scoring four goals from his first nine appearances.

A series of groin problems have hampered his campaign though, and after undergoing surgery last month, his season looked to be over.

But a quick recovery has the Republic of Ireland international hopeful of featuring at Wembley on May 17.

Brady told the club’s official website: “I thought I’d be out for the season.

“But I’m a couple of weeks ahead of my rehab now and we have the FA Cup final against Arsenal at the end of the season so, hopefully, I’ll be back in contention for that game.

“If I can get fit for the Everton game on May 11, that’ll have me in good stead.

“There are international games coming up as well, which could give me a bit of game time under my belt.”

Brady acknowledged that he may have rushed back on his last return from injury but says a repeat will not be happening, despite the frustration sitting on the sidelines gives him.

“Maybe I came back a bit soon (last time) but that was just me being eager,” he added.

“I don’t think there was anyone going to stop me coming back. If I felt I could play, I was going to play, but I have to be a bit more careful this time because I don’t want anything flaring up.

“(Being injured) is a nightmare. I hate sitting around every week watching them getting ready for a game or going out training on the pitch when I’m going straight into rehab in the gym.

“My first season in the Premier League was almost a write off, but hopefully I’ll get the last couple of games in.”

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Alexis would take Juve to next level – Ravanelli

23 April 2014 15:29

Fabrizio Ravanelli believes Alexis Sanchez would take Juventus to the “next step” amid rumours of a switch from Barcelona.

Alexis has racked up 17 goals in 30 La Liga appearances for Gerardo Martino’s charges this season.

However, the Chile international has often been named on the substitutes bench for key matches, including both UEFA Champions League quarter-final games with Atletico Madrid and the Copa del Rey final with Real Madrid.

That has led to speculation that the 25-year-old could return to Serie A – where he spent five years at Udinese – to link up with Antonio Conte’s side who are set to clinch a third consecutive league title.

Former Juve striker Ravanelli, who spent four years in Turin between 1992 and 1996, believes any move for Sanchez would be shrewd business for the club.

Speaking to TuttoMercatoWeb, he said: “Sanchez would definitely be the right man for Antonio Conte’s team.

“To have him in attack alongside (Carlos) Tevez and (Fernando) Llorente would be fantastic.

“Obviously, playing at such a high level with Barcelona these past few years is a real help – they’re not just any team.

“I believe he’s the right man because over the last three years he’s amassed a wealth of experience in Europe.

“Juve can make that next step with someone like Sanchez.”

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