Mourinho praises Real´s team spirit

10 August 2012 18:40

Coach Jose Mourinho believes that strong bonds between his players have been a key factor in Real Madrid’s success.

Since the former Chelsea boss arrived in the Spanish capital, Real have won one Copa del Rey and stormed to Liga glory last season, posting a record 100-point tally.

And the 49-year-old feels that his squad have become a strong collective over the last two years, which helped them grow as a unit.

“It helps that people know each other and get on well together,” he told the club’s official website.

“The players might have been together for a long time, but if there’s no empathy and pleasure in working together, you have a bigger problem than when you’re putting together a group.

“We all get along well, we know each other well on a personal level, and in terms of football. They know the way I work and my ideas, and I know them.

“We’re excited about our third year after two in which we’ve gone from strength to strength.”

The Spanish champions are in the US preparing for the new season, and Mourinho is happy with the work-out his side have undergone.

“It’s going well. We worked hard and well in the first period, and later the games have turned out how we wanted them to,” he said.

“We’re playing well, once again putting together the pieces of a machine that was already working well.

“(In the 5-1 friendly over AC Milan) we played well in the first half against a very closed team that came on with a defensive strategy and many players at the back.

“When we scored the second goal in the second half, they wanted to attack, and the profile of the game changed. They played more offensively, leaving a lot of space. It was a great game to train us tactically.”

Reina happy with Rodgers´ impact

10 August 2012 18:22

Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina feels that new manager Brendan Rodgers’ footballing philosophy is starting to bear fruit.

After cruising into the play-off round of the Europa League, with a stylish and dominant display in their 3-0 win over FC Gomel at Anfield, Reina thinks the side’s performance could be a sign of things to come.

“It was a good night’s work,” Reina told the club’s official website.

“We kept a clean sheet and got the result, played well, got through, and I’m happy for the fans.

“It’s always enjoyable for me when the team wins, especially when we keep a clean sheet. That’s the way it should be in almost every game, especially at home.

“It’s coming along little by little. We have to be patient. It will take time – it’s not a four-week project. We want to create our own style of play and that will take a little longer than four weeks.

“All we ask from the people is to be patient and have trust in the team because I think we are going to come good.”

The game also marked a first goal for the club’s only signing of the summer so far Fabio Borini, and Reina was full of words of encouragement for the young 21-year-old Italian forward.

He added: “It was a great strike – he finished it very well.

“He was clever. He had some really good moments throughout the game and he should be happy with his performance.”

With the start of the new Premier League season just over a week away now, Reina was glad to be back in action for his club after a busy summer with his country at Euro 2012 and is raring to go ahead of the new campaign.

“I’m always happy to come back. It’s been a busy summer – a happy, but busy summer – but it’s great to be back.

“I’m looking forward to the start of the season and hopefully we can continue to keep getting positive results at Anfield.”

Carrasso positive ahead of Ligue 1 opener

10 August 2012 18:10

Bordeaux goalkeeper Cedric Carrasso is confident of his team’s prospects on the eve of the new Ligue 1 season.

Bordeaux struggled early last season but recovered to finish fifth, leading Carrasso to believe the side can improve again this season.

“We will try to continue on the good process launched last year,” Carrasso said.

“The group is good, even if there are some things to improve on. But we have a fresh mind and we want to have a good season.”

The 30-year-old is in his third season with Bordeaux and claims his team’s advantage is the familiarity among the squad.

“Yes, it’s an advantage of having a team with players who know each other. But the championship is going to be difficult, so we need many good players.

“The most difficult aspect is to have a competitive team throughout the season and I would say that we are confident, after this, the rhythm of the season will tell if we are good or not.”

Carrasso’s side are well behind PSG in title favouritism after the Parisian side’s off-season spending spree but he said he is just looking to their opening fixture against Evian.

“Yes it is an away game against a team (Evian) that will be difficult to play. I think every game is tough these days. It remains a difficult match and we should be prepared.”

Di Matteo: Lukaku may go out on loan

10 August 2012 17:58

Manager Roberto Di Matteo said striker Romelu Lukaku may have to move away from Stamford Bridge for first-team experience.

The 19-year-old has struggled to break in to the first team since joining the club for a reported 13 million pounds from Anderlecht a year ago, and is yet to score in eight appearances.

The teenager was viewed as a long-term replacement for Didier Drogba and is now likely to be loaned out, with Di Matteo’s former club West Bromwich Albion reported to be among the potential suitors.

“At this stage of his career the most important thing is to play,” Di Matteo told reporters.

“It might be a bit more difficult here with us so it’s the best choice to let him go out on loan.”

Di Matteo has not wasted any time in making additions to his squad, with Eden Hazard, Marko Marin and Brazilian playmaker Oscar all completing moves so far this summer.

The Italian did not, however, rule out the prospect of making further signings for the 2012-13 campaign.

“We are a little bit light in a couple of positions and we’ve got one or two young players who are interesting but we will see what is going to go on and see what happens when the market closes,” he added.

Another player who has been linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge is striker Daniel Sturridge, but the former midfielder has claimed that the youngster remains firmly in his plans.

“He is part of the squad, of the team, and still has a lot to give,” Di Matteo said.

“He still has a lot to learn as well but we are hopeful he can develop even more and become a great player for us.

“He did very well to recover from his illness in a short period of time. He is a very exciting player and it’s great for him to be involved in the England squad.

“Daniel has the ability to play in more than one position. He made it quite public he likes to play as a number nine but there is competition, which is good, and we will see as the season starts who is going to play.”

Buffon: Conte´s ban will hit Juve hard

10 August 2012 17:42

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon believes Antonio Conte’s 10-month ban could have an adverse affect on his team-mates.

It was announced on Friday morning that the 43-year-old coach would be forced to miss all of the Bianconeri’s title defence after failing to report match-fixing activities to the authorities during his time at Siena.

And the Italy international has dismissed the notion that Conte’s absence will serve to motivate his team ahead of Sunday’s Supercoppa Italiana meeting with Napoli.

“When things like this happen, they can destabilise the environment. We Italians like to say it makes you stronger,” he told reporters.

“Personally, I do not think that they can help an individual or a team. That said, we are totally relaxed and want to do our duty: win the Supercoppa.

“We come into this from a defeat in the Coppa Italia final, and losing a final is never good. As for the coach, he has the will to fight in his DNA, and also, we are only at the first stage of his judgement.”

Two Juventus players, Simone Pepe and Leonardo Bonucci, were cleared of all charges after initially being suspects in the case, and Buffon went on to voice his happiness at his team-mates’ being acquitted.

“I am happy for Simone and Leonardo, who are friends of mine. I congratulate them because they have been through this with great courage, while Bonucci, who played sensationally at Euro 2012, has proved that he is a strong man.”

Napoli and Juventus play on Saturday in Beijing.