Vilanova targets Barca sweep

18 August 2012 17:47

New Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova has challenged his side to win every trophy possible this season.

Vilanova, who replaced the hugely successful Pep Guardiola at the end of last season, insists the Catalan giants have the ability to continue their winning ways under his management.

“What I expect? To win everything. I think we have enough in our team to win any match,” he said.

With Guardiola winning a total of 14 titles during his reign at the club, the pressure is on Vilanova to deliver the same success.

And the former assistant manager believes his team are still motivated to win despite their continued success.

“I have always seen the motivation, and last year we won four titles, with the Club World Cup among them, a tournament I think the club have only won once. But I see them (the players) as motivated as ever,” he said.

Vilanova also promised the side would not change its attractive style of passing football, which has been the key to their success.

“It’s is clear that we will try to continue with the same profile. I hope we have a good season and make people happy with the team’s behaviour on and off the pitch,” he said.

The Barcelona man also hinted that Arsenal midfielder Alex Song could be on his way to the Catalan giants, although he refused to give too much away about the potential move.

“I’ve said before that I’ll never comment about players that are not in the team. It is not worth talking about them until the signing is complete. And that is the case for this player (Alex Song) or anyone else who has the chance to come,” he said.

Barca set for midday fixtures

18 August 2012 17:15

Mediapro president Jaume Roures has confirmed that unlike last season, Barcelona will play games at lunchtime in the upcoming campaign.

The television company, who are in charge of scheduling the hours of football in Spain together with the LFP, have added Tito Vilanova’s team to the midday schedule in order to accommodate the Asian and Middle-Eastern markets.

“Barcelona will play at 12 o’clock,” Roures said in an interview with RAC1.

“This agreement is good for all the fans because now they will have no doubt what time they can watch the games.

“The club (Barcelona) will play at 12 like all the other teams. Last season that was not possible because of the European calendar.”

Another issue that has been generating controversy has been the unequal allocation of television funds between the clubs.

But Roures has dismissed claims that this agreement is disturbing the balance in the Spanish league.

“If Barca and Real Madrid win the league, it is not due to the television rights, because they are only 25 percent of their budget,” he said.

Chinese Super League wrap: Everglade extend advantage

18 August 2012 17:12

Guangzhou Everglade strengthened their grip on top spot in the Chinese Super League after a 2-1 away win over Changchun Yatai.

South American duo Dario Conca and Cleo scored one goal each in the second half to deliver Marcello Lippi’s side the victory and open up a five point gap between them and second-placed Jiangsu Sainty.

Jiangsu recorded a disappointing 1-1 draw at home with struggling Shanghai Shenxin.

The visitors went ahead through a Wang Yun strike in the 29th minute before a Cristian Danalanche penalty two minutes before half-time drew the home side level.

Neither side could break the deadlock in the second half, with the result leaving Jiangsu with work to do to catch Guangzhou.

Third-placed Guizhou Renhe were beaten 2-1 away to Dalian Aerbin.

Rafa Jorda’s 84th-minute strike looked to have gained Guizhou a point before Peter Utaka scored from the penalty spot in the 90th minute to give Aerbin the win.

In other results, Didier Drogba’s Shanghai Shenhua were unable to find the back of the net against Dalian Shide in a 0-0 draw at home, while Tianjin Teda were 2-1 victors away to Hangzhou.

Dawson: Villas-Boas eyeing silverware

18 August 2012 16:56

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas is aiming for a top-four finish in his first season in charge, according to defender Michael Dawson.

Spurs were denied a place in this season’s Champions League by Chelsea’s triumph in the competition last term.

Villas-Boas is aiming to go one better than the departed Harry Redknapp and cement the team’s place in the competition.

And Dawson says Tottenham and their new boss will set out with a point to prove this term.

“Since he has come in he has been enthusiastic and wants to do well,” Dawson told The Sun.

“There are always changes in football, from managers to players, it is never something you get used to but it is something you have to deal with.

“When Harry left, the new gaffer came in and everybody starts afresh. You have got to show him what you can do.

“To be back in the Champions League is where we want to be.”

The England international admitted finishing fourth in the English Premier League but still missing out on the Champions League was hard to take.

But Dawson is adamant the heartache will motivate the squad, not deter them, in their quest to return to Europe’s premier club competition after an impressive debut two seasons ago.

“To finish fourth and miss out on the Champions League left everyone devastated,” Dawson said.

“You work hard all season and maybe don’t deserve to miss out in the way we did, but that’s football.

“Every game you want to win. What he (Villas-Boas) has brought to the football club is that he wants to win trophies.

“You go into the start of the season and hope you can do that.

“We have got players in that dressing room who believe. We always want to improve. Andre certainly gets involved. He is enthusiastic – you see that from the way he is on the touchline. He came in and set high standards.”

Ancelotti rules out Lichtsteiner pursuit

18 August 2012 16:54

Paris Saint-Germain coach Carlo Ancelotti has ruled out signing Stephan Lichtsteiner from Juventus.

The French capital club were expected to announce the arrival of full-back Anthony Reveillere from Lyon last week, but the deal reportedly fell through.

These developments have reportedly rekindled PSG’s interest in Swiss defender Lichtsteiner, but Ancelotti has moved to squash such claims and insisted that Lichtsteiner is not in his plans.

“It is not remotely true that we are interested in Lichtsteiner.” he told reporters.

“We do want a right-back, but we are looking for a Frenchman for that role.”

PSG began their Ligue 1 campaign last weekend, drawing 2-2 with Lorient thanks to a brace from new signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic.