Toure: Tevez saga in the past

14 August 2012 01:31

Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure says Carlos Tevez has moved on from his fall out with the club and is central to their Premier League defence.

Argentina international Tevez scored during his team’s Community Shield victory over Chelsea over the weekend to further enhance his reputation after an impressive end-of-season cameo last term following a six-month exile.

And former Barcelona midfielder Toure has lauded his team-mate and believes the striker has moved on after almost departing Eastlands last season.

“Carlos has always been committed to the club,” Toure told reporters. “He has always helped what we have done.

“He made a mistake, but the most important thing when you make a mistake you have to apologise. He apologised to everyone.

“He has come back and wants to show he will give everything for the team. For me, the most important thing is his commitment, because the boy is unbelievable.

“He’s one of the most important players in the team and we’re very happy to have him because he’s such a fantastic player. He’s a fantastic professional and he always trains very hard. Carlos is one of the best.

Toure believes that the Sky Blues can retain the Premier League title with a fit and focused squad, but also underlined the importance of improving on last season’s disappointing Champions League group stage exit.

“The most important thing for us is to continue to keep improving,” he said. “When the team spends money, it’s not spending for the sake of it. You have to keep getting good players to get a good squad and be competitive.

“So many people said things about us. We know it will be difficult to repeat last season. We played well all season and it’s going to be very exciting this season.

“If I didn’t think I was going to win anything with Manchester City, I would leave the club.

“We want to take this team as far as it can go. It is so important for this club that we get to the second round of the Champions League. We have a fantastic squad, with a fantastic manager and I’m sure we can go far.”

League Cup wrap: Wednesday, Forest battle through

14 August 2012 00:42

Sheffield Wednesday scored four second-half goals to win 4-2 away to Oldham Athletic in the first round of the League Cup.

Oldham jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the opening 30 minutes of Monday’s match at Boundary Park.

A seventh-minute goal from Jordan Slew put the home side in front before Jean-Yves M’voto scored the second goal 20 minutes later.

The score remained the same at the break but after half-time Wednesday, who have moved up to the Championship this season, turned the tide against their former League 1 rivals.

Jermaine Johnson scored the visitors’ first goal in the 53rd minute before substitute Chris O’Grady turned the game.

O’Grady hit the back of the net in the 62nd and 70th minutes to put Wednesday in front and Michail Antonio wrapped up the win with a goal three minutes from full-time.

Another Championship club, Nottingham Forest, found it tough going to overcome League 2 side Fleetwood Town in their 1-0 win.

Visitors Nottingham had to wait until the second half to score, Dexter Blackstock striking the winner in the 57th minute.

Preston North End also move through to the second round after defeating Huddersfield Town 2-0, with Nicky Wroe and Jack King getting on the scoresheet.

Arsenal stay not an option for Bendtner

13 August 2012 23:41

Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner has confirmed he wants to leave the club and revealed he has received offers from European rivals.

The 24-year-old has previously stated that he would not play for the Gunners again due to a lack of first-team opportunities, and was shipped out on loan to Sunderland last year.

After giving a good account of himself at the Stadium of Light last term and impressive for Denmark at Euro 2012, Bendtner has reiterated his intention to leave the Emirates Stadium before the transfer window closes.

He told “It is not an option to stay at Arsenal. It’s not something I want or Arsenal.

“I expect that there will be a clarification on my club situation before the transfer window closes. There are concrete talks.”

When asked if he had rejected any offers, Bendtner was reluctant to state which clubs were interested in securing his signature.

However, he claimed to have had approaches from Italian, Spainish and German teams.

“Yes, I have (rejected offers), and it may be, for various reasons. I have some requirements to be fulfilled and they have not been so, it becomes a no,” he said.

Reports this week have suggested that the Gunners are prepared to use Bendtner as makeweight in a deal that would see AC Milan defender Phillipe Mexes make the switch to north London.

Agger prefers Anfield stay

13 August 2012 23:19

Daniel Agger has claimed he would like the opportunity to stay at Liverpool, but admits the club may have no choice but to sell him.

The 27-year-old, who arrived from Danish club Brondby in 2006 for six million pounds, has cemented his position as a key member of the Reds’ squad in recent seasons despite lingering injury problems.

With Manchester City reportedly having had two bids rejected, the Danish international concedes that he may not have a say in where his future lies if the Reds get an offer too good to refuse.

When asked about possible interest from other clubs, Agger told Ekstra Bladet: “No, I haven’t heard anything. That is how the club wants to do it. I would prefer to stay.

“I can’t imagine playing for other clubs in England. But, you never know if the club prefers to sell me.”

The heavily-tattooed defender recently had ‘YNWA’ imprinted on his knuckles, an acronym standing for Liverpool’s club anthem, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.

That fuelled speculation that the centre-back could stay at Anfield for the remainder of his career.

However, Agger dismissed suggestions that the tattoo had anything to do with his current situation at the club.

He added: “It is a gesture towards the Kop, towards Liverpool and towards the people around the club.”

Sneijder eager for fresh start

13 August 2012 23:33

Netherlands midfielder Wesley Sneijder is looking forward to working under new national team coach Louis van Gaal.

The Dutch experienced a disastrous Euro 2012 campaign and lost all three of their group games to crash out in the first stage.

The failure cost Bert van Marwijk his job and Inter Milan playmaker Sneijder believes it was the right time for a change of management.

Speaking about his expectations with the Dutch squad in the future, Sneijder told Algemeen Dagblad: “We all should accept things. It is hard when you play good at your club, but sit on the bench in Oranje. But only if we accept these things, is it possible to make a new start.”

Sneijder is yet to work under Van Gaal and is not sure what to expect from the former Barcelona coach.

He also said he is prepared to assume the Netherlands captaincy should Van Gaal make the offer.

“I’ve never worked with him before,” said the 28-year-old of Van Gaal. “Maybe he is another coach than Van Basten or Van Marwijk.

“Who should be the new captain? Somebody who can take the lead. Am I somebody like that? Well, I wouldn’t say no.”

Van Gaal took charge of his first training session on Monday as his side

prepare for a friendly international with Belgium on Wednesday.

Netherlands kick off their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign with games against Turkey and Hungary in September.