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Ki out to prove himself at Swansea

30 July 2014 12:13

Ki Sung-yueng has vowed to fight for a first-team spot and prove his talent at Swansea City this season.

The South Korea international, who featured at the World Cup, returns to the Liberty Stadium after spending the previous campaign at fellow Premier League side Sunderland.

He started in Swansea’s 4-0 friendly win at Plymouth Argyle last Sunday and played an hour of the 2-0 win over Exeter City on Tuesday.

The 25-year-old midfielder, who helped Swansea win the League Cup in 2013, recognises that there is much competition for a starting berth at the Welsh outfit but is confident he can be a valuable asset to the team.

Speaking to the club’s official website, he said: “It’s good to be back. After the World Cup I had three weeks off before I joined up with the team.

“Now I want to get as fit as I can so I can prove myself in the team.

“It was a very good time for me at Sunderland. I showed that I can help the team, so I hope to do that at Swansea [too].

“There is always competition for a position here – that goes for every player.

“If you play well then you will play, if not you will be on the bench or not involved, but I will push myself as hard as I can.

“Everyone in this team has great quality. Every season Swansea get stronger and stronger.

“With the mix of new players along with the players here last year, it will be a good balance.”

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Garcia plays down importance of Real scalp

30 July 2014 11:39

Roma’s victory over Real Madrid has no significance in the club’s ambitions to win the Serie A title, according to head coach Rudi Garcia.

Francesco Totti’s 58th-minute goal handed Roma a 1-0 victory in the International Champions Cup at the Cotton Bowl in Texas on Tuesday.

Garcia, while praising the triumph, was keen for Roma not to get ahead of themselves and insisted that his team still have much work to do to get to the level of the European champions.

“Real Madrid are ahead of us,” Garcia said.

“We won a friendly match. Of course it is always better to win. We are ambitious and it is nice to dream, because if you do not dream then you get bored.

“In the Champions League we are thinking of progressing from the group stage. Our priority is the league and we want to finish on top.

“There are so many good teams but we want to finish out ahead.

“What do Roma lack for the Champions League right now? It’s hard to say we still have much to do. However, we are on the right track.”

Roma finished second in Italy’s top flight last season and veteran captain Totti has urged the team to fight to go one better this time around.

“Is the objective the Scudetto? Yes, we want to do better than last season. This club must fight for the Scudetto,” he added.

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Evian complete Bruno signing

30 July 2014 11:33

​Evian have strengthened their attacking options with the signing of Lille striker Gianni Bruno on a four-year contract.

The 22-year-old spent last season on loan at Bastia, scoring eight Ligue 1 goals to bring him to the attention of Evian.

The Belgium Under-21 international worked his way through the youth system at Lille before making his first-team debut in January 2012.

With the likes of Solomon Kalou and Divock Origi ahead of him in the pecking order, Bruno moved to Corsica on loan and impressed in his 31 league appearances.

He had a year left on his Lille contract but chose to move to Evian after being convinced by coach Pascal Dupraz that it was the best place for his development.

“The speech from the coach simply seduced me,” Bruno told the club’s official website. “I think that there are values that correspond me here.

“This is a club that is growing, the facilities are great, and the squad looks welcoming and friendly.

“There is everything to make a good season.”

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Poyet frustrated by lack of new faces

30 July 2014 11:21

Gus Poyet has voiced his frustration over Sunderland’s slow progress in the transfer market during the close-season.

Sunderland saw a host of players depart the Stadium of Light at the end of last season after the club pulled off a great escape to ensure Premier League survival.

Thus far, last term’s League Cup runners-up have added four players to their first team squad with goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon, full-backs Patrick van Aanholt and Billy Jones and midfielder Jordi Gomez penning deals at the club.

However, head coach Poyet is keen to acquire further additions and has urged the club to press on with signing four more players by next Wednesday so he has enough time to work with a completed squad before the league opener at West Brom on August 16.

“One or two they are close, but if you had asked me last week I would have said those two were close too,” Poyet said after Sunderland’s 1-0 friendly win over Recreativo de Huelva on Tuesday.

“I cannot wait another week. We are going to be off Monday and Tuesday, so next Wednesday I need to have four new players.

“It’s clear we need a few new players, and it has not been as quick as I would have expected.

“It’s getting a little close to the part where I really want to work with the main squad.

“I am like any other manager, the sooner you get the players the better. I hope it is now, today, tomorrow.

“It’s difficult for me because there are things we need to work on this week, and the beginning of next week and that’s practically it.

“The only thing you can do [in the last week of pre-season] is ensure everything is in place and refresh things that you’ve done.”

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Mexes convinced Milan are improving

30 July 2014 10:54

Milan may have suffered two heavy pre-season defeats in the International Champions Cup but Philippe Mexes is convinced they are improving.

It had been hoped that the arrival of Filippo Inzaghi as head coach would signal an upturn in form at San Siro after a disastrous campaign that saw them finish eighth in Serie A.

Massimiliano Allegri and Clarence Seedorf both failed to halt the slump last season and early indications suggest there is still some way to go to for Milan after a 5-1 defeat to Manchester City and a 3-0 loss against Olympiacos.

However, Mexes is confident the tide is beginning to turn for the 18-time league champions and they will be challenging at the top of the table this season.

“In my opinion, even if the results say otherwise, we are on track,” Mexes told the Gazzetta dello Sport. “During training I see great will and commitment on the part of all, we want to follow the what Inzaghi tells us.

“It is clear that we cannot be happy because defeats for a team like Milan are never nice to digest, but we know where to improve.

“We must not forget that Inzaghi has just arrived. He is absolutely not guilty of what happened, the players are responsible, it is our fault that the coaches tell you how to play and then you do not know to put it into practice.

“I believe that with his ideas and the respect that Inzaghi the basics are there to improve.”

The defender is so confident Milan can return to their former levels that he is keen to renew his contract with the club, with his current deal due to expire in June 2015.

“I have never thought of leaving,” he added. “I’m happy at Milan.

“I’m proud of the mentality of this club, it gives me great desire to help make it reborn.

“I have not talked with anyone about anything, and I’d like to renew.”

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