Mancini: Dzeko, Tevez staying

12 August 2012 10:49

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini says he is ‘happy’ with his strike force and expects his four first-choice strikers to stay.

Edin Dzeko and Carlos Tevez have both been linked with moves away from the Premier League champions, while Mancini revealed recently the club had received several offers for Mario Balotelli.

However, the Italian wants the trio to stay at the Etihad, along with Sergio Aguero, and says the forwards all have his complete backing.

“We scored 93 goals last year so I’m happy with those four. They will stay here,” he told The Sun.

“I still have confidence in them.”

Mancini was also happy to speak further about Tevez, who was absent for a large period of last season following a dispute with the club that saw him return to Argentina for several months.

The striker subsequently returned to Manchester and played a part in the title success, scoring a hat-trick against Norwich, and Mancini has been impressed with his behaviour in pre-season.

“I am happy with Carlos, he’s worked really well since we started training. His attitude is excellent — now he must continue like this,” Mancini said.

“It was hard for him last season because he had six months out, so when he came back he was a long way behind.

“But he played a part. He scored four or five goals at the end of the season and those were important.”

Debuchy holding out for Newcastle switch

12 August 2012 09:44

Newcastle target Mathieu Debuchy is hoping to complete a move from Lille to the Premier League club before the transfer window closes.

Newcastle had a fresh bid for the France international rejected earlier this month, with Lille coach Rudi Garcia declaring that Debuchy is not for sale.

But the 26-year-old, speaking to Canal+ after his side’s 2-1 victory over Saint-Etienne, stated: “I don’t want to talk about my future.

“I heard what the chairman said. The transfer window is open until September 4 (in France). I still want to go. We will see.”

Newcastle are pursuing Debuchy after enjoying great success with the capture of Yohan Cabaye from the 2010/11 French champions, with the midfielder proving key to their fifth-place Premier League finish.

Lille are understood to be holding out for a fee of around 8 million euros.

Turning his attention to on-field matters, Debuchy was pleased Lille managed to start the Ligue 1 season with a win.

“It was important to start the league with a victory and make a good start to the campaign,” he said.

“To win here is never easy. We produced good football, we stepped back a little in the second half but we did well at the end.”

Di Matteo confident Torres will shine

12 August 2012 09:40

Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo has given Fernando Torres his full backing and is expecting goals from the forward this season.

The Spain international managed just six Premier League goals last term but Di Matteo wants more from Torres this campaign, particularly now Didier Drogba has left the club for Shanghai Shenhua.

“He scored some important goals for us last season,” Di Matteo said.

“I don’t want to put pressure on one player. We operate as a team. Hopefully, our strikers will score lots of goals. But he’s not the only one. We have Daniel Sturridge and midfielders who can score, too.

“His price comes from the fact that he’s been superb for the teams he’s played for in the past. We have every confidence in him.”

Torres’ struggles at Chelsea have been well-documented but, having scored against Barcelona in the Champions League last season as well as collecting the Golden Boot at Euro 2012, Di Matteo says things are looking up and that the Spaniard is raring to go.

“I was very happy with him at the end of last season,” Di Matteo said.

“There are great expectations on the club and the team and he is part of that. He was brought in to be a fantastic striker and, hopefully, he will be able to fit into our team and show the qualities he has. He’s full of confidence and is looking good in training.”

Chelsea go into the new season with trophies to defend, after winning the FA Cup and Champions League last season, but Di Matteo says he has already put the European Cup triumph behind him.

“I have to forget about the Champions League, absolutely,” he said.

“It’s part of the past, done and dusted. We have a new start, new challenges and it’s going to be difficult for us. Everybody is going to raise their game against us.”

Hummels plays down Bayern clash

12 August 2012 08:56

Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels has played down the significance of a DFL-Supercup victory over Bayern Munich on Sunday.

Juergen Klopp’s men travel to the Allianz Arena to take part in the annual curtain raiser to the Bundesliga season.

While Hummels believes Dortmund’s traditional rivals have strengthened significantly, it will in his opinion be unrealistic to predict how either team will finish their campaign in the league based on the match.

“Even if we secure our sixth consecutive win against Bayern Munich, I would not consider it to be a big deal,” the Germany international told Bild.

“This game does not have the meaning of a true Bundesliga match. Neither we, nor they, are at 100 percent.

“It will be impossible to judge how dangerous Bayern will be this season at this point in time, as we know all too well ourselves. Borussia once trounced Roma 4-0 in pre-season, but ended up 13th in the league.

“While we’ve lost an exceptional player in Shinji Kagawa, we’ve brought in another excellent player, Marco Reus, while Mario Goetze is fit again. I won’t speak of titles for ourselves just yet, but at least we definitely are not weaker than last season.”

The German league champions will begin the defence of their crown when they host Werder Bremen on August 24.

International friendly: El Salvador 1 Guatemala 0

12 August 2012 08:46

A stunning Nelson Bonilla goal has given El Salvador a 1-0 victory over Guatemala in an international friendly on Saturday.

The Alianza forward struck from range on 28 minutes to give his side the win at the Home Depot Center in California.

In what was an otherwise uninspiring affair, Bonilla blasted a 35-yard shot past Leon Manuel.

Carlos Ruiz missed a glorious opportunity to equalise for Guatemala just moments later, shooting wide after Mario Rodriguez found him with a cross.

Both teams struggled to take their chances as El Salvador, ranked 24 places higher than their opponents in 64th by FIFA, had Bonilla to thank for their victory.