Townsend tips QPR winning streak

10 March 2013 15:37

QPR winger Andros Townsend believes the Premier League strugglers are primed to put a winning run together after their win over Sunderland.

Loic Remy, Townsend and Jermaine Jenas scored in the 3-1 victory at Loftus Road to lift Harry Redknapp’s team to within four points of top-flight safety.

And the on-loan Tottenham youngster has claimed they turned the corner by beating Southampton the previous weekend to secure their first league triumph since January 2.

“I don’t think we won in my first three games here, but our heads didn’t drop because we knew how good we are as a team in terms of the players we’ve got,” Townsend told reporters.

“We knew once we got that first win we could go on a run. We’ve got two wins now and hopefully we can carry on doing that. We’ve got massive six-pointers and that is why our heads didn’t go down.

“We keep saying each game is a massive game and that it is a must-win but as a team we are relishing that.

“We know we can’t drop points now and we’re relishing that. You could see that against Sunderland and last week (against Southampton).”

Townsend’s stunning strike completed Rangers’ comeback, leading him to praise Redknapp’s attacking outlook.

“It sat up nicely to hit, cut across it and luckily it has gone straight in the top corner,” Townsend said of his 70th-minute effort.

“If you look at the team we put out, we had two out-and-out wingers and two strikers so we were going for it. Junior (Hoilett) on the left was unbelievable in the first half – he tore the right-back to pieces.

“We came in at half-time and the manager was saying that was the best we had played in the first half and to take it into the second.

“It didn’t quite work out that way. It was a bit up in the air, we couldn’t get the ball down and play but the goal kind of settled us down and got us on the way to the win.”

Draxler delight at slick Schalke

10 March 2013 15:08

Julian Draxler has hailed Schalke’s defeat of Borussia Dortmund on Saturday and said his side did not allow their fierce rivals to breathe.

The 19-year-old opened the scoring on 12 minutes before Klaas-Jan Huntelaar doubled the home side’s advantage towards the end of the opening period.

Robert Lewandowski pulled a goal back in the second half but the damage had already been done, with Schalke moving into the top four to leave Draxler overwhelmed with emotion.

“The adrenalin was really flowing. I didn’t know how to handle my emotions – I think you could see that,” he told Bundesliga.com.

“I think we were really, really good in the first 45 minutes. We didn’t give Dortmund room to breathe.

“Everything really came together: my 100th appearance, my first derby win and a derby goal to boot. It doesn’t get much better for a Schalke player than that.”

The midfielder now has seven league goals to his name this season, including three in his past two games and the teenager admitted he was glad to be adding an end product to his game.

He added: “I want to score goals. I said that a few weeks ago. I could still do with another 15, but I’m really pleased to have scored three in the last two games.

“Now I’ve got seven this season and would really like to make it into double figures. I’ve always said I carry more of a goal threat playing as a number 10 rather than on the left, but I don’t just measure myself by goals.

“At the end of the day, it’s about Schalke finishing the season in the European places.”

The Gelsenkirchen club will turn their attentions to the Champions League where they face Galatasaray in the second leg of their last-16 clash on Tuesday, after a 1-1 draw in the first leg.

CSL: Hangzhou Greentown 1 Changchun Yatai 1

10 March 2013 14:55

A 77th-minute strike from Brazilian striker Isac has earned Changchun Yatai a 1-1 draw away to Hangzhou in the Chinese Super League.

The home side took the lead in the first half through Di Gao but they were unable to hold on for three points as Isac took advantage of a goal-mouth scramble to score a second-half equaliser.

Ivorian striker Davy Claude Angan set up Hangzhou’s goal in the 37th minute, receiving the ball near the halfway line and turning immediately to release Mazola in behind Yatai’s left full-back.

Mazola burst forward before losing control of the ball but the Brazilian forward kept the pressure on, bundling one of the visiting defenders over and ensuring a fumble from Yatai’s goalkeeper before Gao smashed home the rebound.

But with 13 minutes remaining plus stoppage time, Yatai grabbed a share of the points when Hangzhou’s defence failed to clear a free-kick from captain Zhang Xiaofei and the ball fell at the feet of Isac, who reacted smartly to score.

Villas-Boas will wait to gloat at Abramovich

10 March 2013 14:46

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas says he must wait until the end of the season before he can react to his sacking by Roman Abramovich.

The 35-year-old was axed by the Chelsea owner less than a year into his contract in 2012 after struggling to build a consistent run of results and experiencing problems with a number of senior players.

Spurs currently sit above Chelsea in the Premier League after going 12 games unbeaten, and can move five points ahead of the Blues with a win over Liverpool on Sunday afternoon.

Villas-Boas feels Spurs are now strong enough to hold on after the pain of missing out on the Champions League last season.

“We won’t know that until the end of the season,” he said when asked if Spurs’ 12-game unbeaten run proved anything to Abramovich. “I won’t be egocentric now – we must wait.

“Even if we have a setback I think we are able to bounce back. The players are really up for it after what they suffered last season.”

Tottenham have had a hectic schedule after beating Inter 3-0 in the Europa League on Thursday night and overcoming Arsenal 2-1 last Sunday, but Villas-Boas suggests a fine run of form will boost the players instead.

“Liverpool wanted to win (the Europa League) too,” he said. “I am sure Brendan (Rodgers) would still prefer to be in it. Legs can be a little bit tired but we can respond as we have in the past after the Europa League.

“Most of the players now look at each other with pride. That makes a difference because all of them see that we’re going in the same direction towards achieving success.”

McLaren makes move on U21s job

10 March 2013 14:45

Former England manager Steve McClaren has hinted that he could make a shock return to the national set-up as Under-21 boss.

The 51-year-old’s role as coach of the senior national side ended ignominiously in 2007 after a 3-2 home defeat by Croatia meant the Three Lions had failed to qualify for Euro 2008 – the first failure to qualify for a major tournament in 14 years.

The coach is currently without a club after leaving Dutch side FC Twente at the end of February, and leading the Under-20s into a June tournament in Turkey could be a precursor to taking over the England Under-21 side from Stuart Pearce.

“I have always said that I want to give something back,” he told Sunday People Sport.

“I’ve seen how Holland and Germany have developed their youth programmes. I can see that working in England.”

The Under-20s role has been publicly advertised despite the reported anger of the FA’s coaches, and with Pearce’s future in doubt after this summer’s Under-21 European Championships, McClaren could be next in line for the role.

McClaren was appointed assistant manager at Manchester United in 1999 before coaching with England, and has since managed Middlesbrough, England, Twente – twice – Wolfsburg and Nottingham Forest.