Lallana buoyed by win over Newcastle

26 November 2012 04:09

Southampton midfielder Adam Lallana says the 2-0 win over Newcastle at St Mary’s was a great display, and feels they could have scored more.

The victory coupled, with the 3-1 success at Queens Park Rangers in their last Premier League outing, saw Southampton’s rise out of the relegation zone ahead of both Reading and Aston Villa, a feat Lallana attributed to the quality of play across the entire team.

“We’re starting to find our feet, so we’re learning off each other and playing well,” Lallana told the club’s official website.

“We’re creating chances, which is exactly what we want to achieve. It would have been nice to get a couple more goals because we hit the woodwork three times and Jay (Rodriguez) had a goal disallowed at the end. We’ve kept a clean sheet, so it was an all-round great display.”

Lallana, who earned a call-up to Roy Hodgson’s senior England squad in September, pointed to the performances of Gaston Ramirez, who scored the Saints’ second goal, as well as goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga, as key to the win.

“Gaston Ramirez is a class act,” Lallana said.

“He had a bad injury that kept him out for three or four weeks, so maybe he was a little bit rusty when he came back.

“But we all know what ability the lad has got, and it’s a pleasure to play and train with him. Hopefully we can all learn off him as we start to gel with him.

“Paulo made a great save when we were 2-0 up and that kept us in the game – you need that bit of luck sometimes.”

Southampton next welcome Norwich to St Mary’s Stadium and will be confident of obtaining another three points despite the Canaries’ recent impressive form.

Cech urges fans to give Benitez a chance

26 November 2012 04:08

Petr Cech has urged Chelsea fans to give Rafa Benitez a chance as their new manager after the Spaniard was booed in his first game in charge.

The 52-year-old was greeted with boos and chants of ‘There’s only one Di Matteo’ when he emerged from the tunnel before Chelsea’s goalless draw against the defending Premier League champions.

Cech understands the supporters’ hostility towards the former Liverpool manager but asked fans to support the new boss at Stamford Bridge.

“Unfortunately you cannot change the history,” Cech told Sky Sports.

“You don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. Mr Benitez was the Liverpool coach obviously, we had a lot of rivalry and it comes from there.

“But he is here to try and change things and put us in a winning mode. He needs to be given a chance to prove his worth.”

The Czech international also expressed his sympathy for former manager Roberto Di Matteo after his sacking earlier in the week.

“It’s always bad news as a player because you are responsible for the situation as well. The manager and players are in the same boat and if you don’t do well it’s the players’ responsibility as well as the manager’s,” he added.

“Unfortunately you cannot change the whole team, the manager has to go, that happened again.”

Martinez delighted with first Bayern strike

26 November 2012 04:08

Javi Martinez has spoken of his happiness after scoring his first goal for Bayern Munich during the 5-0 win over Hannover on Saturday.

The Spain international has endured a difficult start to life at the Allianz Arena since his off-season move from Athletic Bilbao, but notched the first goal as Bayern cruised to an easy win over Mirko Slomka’s side.

“It was my first goal in the Bundesliga for Bayern Munich, and it’s something special,” he told Bundesliga.com.

“I’m very happy because it helped the team. I’m taking the ball, it’s special for me, and I’m keeping it as a souvenir. I’ll look after it very carefully.

“Another win against a difficult team, and I’m very happy to have scored my first goal. The team started very well. We tried to keep the ball in their half and cause them problems right from the start.

“My goal helped us.”

Martinez went on to reveal that the over-head kick was the first that he had tried which had come off.

The Spain international said: “I’ve tried a few in the past, but that’s the first that’s gone in.”

Garde: Toulouse too strong for beaten Lyon

26 November 2012 03:37

Lyon head coach Remi Garde believes his team were outmuscled in their 3-0 Ligue 1 defeat at Toulouse on Sunday.

Two late goals made the win flattering for Toulouse, their first victory in four attempts.

Lyon, fourth, remain level on points with third-placed Saint-Etienne but their form on the road is proving costly for Garde’s men as they still look for their first away win of the season.

And things do not get any easier in the coming week, with Lyon travelling to second-placed Marseille on Wednesday before hosting champions Montpellier on Saturday.

“There is always pressure, before Marseille, before Montpellier,” Garde said.

“It’s also a good way to revive ourselves.

“We did not manage to put any pressure on Toulouse. We didn’t know how to reply to their direct style of play. Their physical impact in the first half was really important. It was an intermittent game, with lots of fouls. We had trouble defending.

“While there are more difficult games than others, once again Toulouse played across all the field, they troubled us by dodging our lines and by using their physical strength. It’s true that we played better in the second half when they were up 1-0.

“I changed some players to try to come back and we were punished at the end of the game. I prefer to lose one time 3-0 than three times 1-0.”

Vilanova talks down Barca advantage

26 November 2012 01:54

Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova says the Liga title race is not over, despite his side opening up an 11-point lead over champions Real Madrid.

Barca cruised to a 4-0 win over Levante on Sunday, capitalising on Madrid’s 1-0 defeat to Real Betis on Saturday to consolidate their position at the top of the table.

However, Vilanova has warned there is still a long way to go this season, and highlighted the threat posed by second-placed side Atletico Madrid, who defeated Sevilla 4-0 at Vicente Calderon earlier on Sunday.

Vilanova told reporters after the match: “We scored very quickly in the second half and that defined the match. The first half was what we expected, because they are a team that works very well (together) and they break quickly.

“The league is not finished. Firstly because we’ve only played third of it, and then because Atletico are behind us and are very strong.

“There’s still a lot to play for, 75 points is a lot. Also, remember that in the first year that we were 11 points clear of Real Madrid and had to go to the Bernabeu and win.

“Atletico have had a good start, which isn’t a surprise as they finished last season very strongly. All we can do is focus on beating Athletic. I want to focus only on us.”