Silva: Mancini not to blame for European failure

15 December 2012 10:18

Manchester City attacker David Silva says the players must accept responsibility for their Champions League failure.

The defending English Premier League champions crashed out of the competition with just two points from six games, finishing bottom of their group and failing to make it through to the Europa League by securing third place.

Silva has come to manager Roberto Mancini’s defence and said it was impossible to expect City to be successful in the Champions League so quickly after rising to title contention in England.

“We’re all responsible for what has happened this season. The way we played in the Champions League – we all have to take the blame for that,” he told the Mirror.

“It didn’t start well in the Champions League and it became an uphill task for us. It didn’t happen. But you can’t just blame the manager.

“I can’t put my finger on what went wrong in Europe. All I can say is when I came to City they were looking to get in the top four. Since then they have won the Premier League, the FA Cup.

“People can’t expect to win the Champions League straightaway. We’ve got very good players and we will get there. It’s an ambition to win it with City but one step at a time.”

Despite their European failures over the past two seasons, Silva was insistent that Mancini remained the right man for the City hot seat.

“All I would say is that since I joined City up to now we have made progress with Roberto,” he said. “All there has been is progress.”

City trail rivals Manchester United by six points at the top of the Premier League table after suffering defeat in the derby, but Silva pointed out they had reeled Sir Alex Ferguson’s team in before.

“It is a gap, it is a big gap but last year we saw how they were in front by quite a lot of points and we won the league anyway,” Silva said. “It can be done – the players do have the hunger to win it again so we’ll go for it.

“If we did that, it would be right up there (as one of his biggest achievements). Winning the Premier League is seen as a big thing. It would be a great achievement to retain it. I’ve been lucky I’ve won a lot of medals but I’d still like to win more.”

Loew plays down Real Madrid link

15 December 2012 09:55

Germany coach Joachim Loew says replacing Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid is the last thing on his mind.

The trainer made clear he has two more years on his contract and is intent on guiding Germany to glory at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

When asked whether there is some truth in the rumours suggesting he could replace Mourinho, Loew was adamant that such a development was not an option at the moment.

“At some point, perhaps I may return to coaching at club level. Right now is not the time,” Loew told Sport 1.

“I am incredibly proud to be national team coach, and this has given me great joy during all these years.”

He told ZDF: “I do not concern myself (with the rumours). This is just speculation, Jose Mourinho has a contract until 2016. I have a contract with the DFB until 2014.

“The best thing I could hope for is to become world champion with Germany before I leave. I have never said I will call it quits for sure after World Cup 2014.

“I have not thought about it or talked with anyone on this topic. We must first secure qualification. Then I will hold talks with everyone involved.”

Loew served as Juergen Klinsmann’s assistant for two years before taking the helm of the national team after the 2006 World Cup.

Morgan hopeful of regular role

15 December 2012 07:01

Liverpool striker Adam Morgan is eyeing a starting spot in Brendan Rodgers’ side and believes he is good enough to have an impact.

The 18-year-old watched on from the bench as an unused substitute as his team came from behind to edge West Ham United 3-2 in their last outing.

Despite not being given an opportunity in a Liverpool side which had Jonjo Shelvey playing up front, Morgan said he was pleased to be in the squad.

“It was still nice to be involved in the squad,” Morgan told Goal.com Singapore.

“Shelvey’s one of the players I looks up to, he’s a good friend of mine and I’ve seen him come a long way from his younger days at Charlton (Athletic). It didn’t bother me that he was playing up front.”

Morgan is a proven goalscorer at every level he has played at so far and he believes he has what it takes to stake a claim for a regular spot.

“In my own opinion, I wouldn’t say I’m not good enough for the first team,” he said.

“I always welcome the challenge to play in the Premier League with Liverpool. Hopefully the manager has faith in me, and I wish in a couple of months or years, I can be playing regularly in the first team.”

Despite Liverpool’s poor form in the first half of the campaign – they sit 10th in the league – Morgan is adamant they can finish in the top four.

“We all know we should be back in the Champions League, everyone in the team is working really hard now to make sure the club get back on the right track,” he said.

“There are a lot of young players installed in the team this season and if those lads can gel with the older players, I see no reason why we can’t get back into Europe this season.”

Luiz happy to play his part

15 December 2012 06:07

Chelsea’s David Luiz has spoken about his willingness to play anywhere after being deployed in midfield for Thursday’s win over Monterrey.

The 25-year-old started alongside John Obi Mikel in the middle as Chelsea ran out 3-1 winners against the Mexican side to seal their place in the Club World Cup final.

And, despite playing the majority of his career at centre-back, Luiz underlined his happiness to adapt for the club.

“Since he (Rafa Benitez) arrived he’s been talking about playing me there if the opportunity arose,” he told the FIFA website.

“He spoke to me in the team talk and we decided to do it for that game. I was happy with the result, about getting through to a big final, and with my performance as well.

“It was Rafa’s decision to make the change for this game. He wanted me to play in a more advanced position and I was delighted with my contribution to the team and with our overall performance too.

“I’ve been working in training every day on other aspects of my game so I can help out in different ways.

“They’re things we’ve been practising, and the coach has a gift for seeing when a player can make a positive contribution in a certain position.

“Getting up there in attack is not my main job. All I want to do is help the team, no matter what my position is. I love playing for Chelsea. I love playing. And I hope we can take the title.”

Luiz insisted there would be no conflict of interest when he faces fellow Brazilian side Corinthians in the tournament’s final.

“It’s another final, and that’s always special for me, whoever we play,” he said.

“Everyone tries to help. And when they’ve got some information to give they’ve got the freedom to come out and tell the team about it.

“We’ve been talking a lot this week about the importance that we attach to the (Club) World Cup in South America and especially in Brazil.

“I’ve always made it clear that it’s been a dream of mine to play in a (Club) World Cup and that I’d give anything to win it.”

Bradley glad to play with Totti

15 December 2012 05:55

Roma midfielder Michael Bradley says it is an honour to play with Francesco Totti, describing him as ‘one of the best players in history’.

The United States international earned a transfer to Roma following an impressive 2011/12 campaign with Chievo.

He has since become a regular starter under Zdenek Zeman, making 10 Serie A appearances for the capital club, and Bradley believes the opportunity of working alongside Totti each day has been a rewarding experience.

“Everything has gone well so far,” Bradley told topmercato.com. “I feel great, even if I have to improve my distribution and usage of the ball.

“I also appreciate the presence of a leader like Totti. He is one of the best players in history. I feel lucky to play alongside him.”

After an inconsistent start to the season, which culminated in a derby defeat to Lazio in early November, Roma have strung together a run of five straight victories, including a 4-2 win over league rivals Fiorentina last weekend.

And Bradley believes his side have hit form at the right time, as the fight for a Champions League finish prepares to heat up.

“We are a young team, but players like Totti and (Pablo) Osvaldo enable us to learn a lot,” he said.

“Napoli, Lazio and Fiorentina are very strong, but we plan to fight with them for a place in the Champions League.”