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 “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.”

Redknapp desperate for three points

15 December 2012 03:42

QPR manager Harry Redknapp has issued a rallying cry to his players ahead of their meeting with London rivals Fulham on Saturday.

Redknapp’s side sit bottom of the Premier League after 16 games but could vacate that position with a victory at Loftus Road.

And the former Spurs manager knows that there is far more than just local bragging rights at stake.

“I think about winning tomorrow,” Redknapp told the club’s official website. “That’s all that enters my mind. It’s a big game, bigger than anything.

“We’re at home in a London derby, we’ve got to give everything we’ve got. We’ve got to give blood, sweat and tears tomorrow to see if we can get that win.

“The fans will be with us. It will be a really good game with two teams wanting to win hopefully. We’ve got to want it more than they do and, if we do that, we’ve got a chance.”

Despite his side’s three-match unbeaten run, Redknapp conceded he faces a big task in keeping the club in the top flight.

He added: “You only have to look at the league table to see there’s a lot to do. The players have trained well again this week, I couldn’t ask for any more of them.

“If they continue to do that then the wins will come, we’ve got to keep believing. We have had three draws since I’ve been here, we’ve done very well in the games so that’s a positive.

“We’re unbeaten so we need to keep that run going. Three points will make all the difference to us.

“We’re close to getting that first win, hopefully it will come tomorrow but it won’t be easy. Fulham have done well and they’re a tough team to beat.

“(Fulham manager) Martin Jol has done a great job with them so it will be a difficult game.”

Heynckes pleased despite draw

15 December 2012 03:14

Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes had no complaints with his side’s performance in their 1-1 draw with Borussia Moenchengladbach on Friday.

The visitors took a surprise lead at the Allianz Arena through Thorben Marx’s penalty in the first half, but Bayern rescued a point after the break when substitute Xherdan Shaqiri netted the equaliser on the hour mark.

Heynckes said the point was the least his side deserved from the contest, claiming that they performed ‘outstandingly well’ and were simply unfortunate not to capitalise on more of their chances.

“I am very happy, even though we only drew 1-1,” he told reporters. “We dictated the game for 90 minutes, especially in the second half. We played outstandingly well and did not give Borussia an opportunity to score.

“It was definitely not easy to defend against them, but I think that we deserved to win because of our second-half performance.”

Heynckes reserved special praise for Gladbach goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, whom he branded as the man of the match in Bavaria, but reiterated that his team could not have done much more to claim the victory.

“Ter Stegen was the best player on the pitch, he was outstanding,” he said.

“We had a lot of chances, but we were not able to take them. We did not leak anything defensively. I can’t fault my team.”

Klopp calls for Hoffenheim scrutiny

15 December 2012 02:17

Borussia Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp has called on the referee to keep an eye on Hoffenheim when the two teams play on Sunday.

Despite Dortmund’s success in the past two seasons, Klopp’s team have only beaten Hoffenheim once in their past five meeting.

This weekend’s game will pit third from top versus third from bottom but Klopp is wary of Hoffenheim and has demanded the referee be strict on Dortmund’s hosts.

“I have to say that according to the recent year it would be OK to have a very strict referee against Hoffenheim,” Klopp said.

“I don’t know who’s blowing the whistle but they played very hard in the last years against us.

“I don’t have anything against a physical game but shouldn’t be inordinately (violent).

“I think there is a high pressure in Hoffenheim, so I would be good to have a strict referee.

“Anyway we always have the feeling that we have a score to settle with them and we would like to do that on Sunday.”

Hoffenheim have the worst defensive record in the Bundesliga but sit above Augsburg and Greuther Furth in the relegation play-off position.

After five defeats on the trot, Hoffenheim desperately need points to try and bridge the gap to 15th-placed Fortuna Dusseldorf.

But despite Hoffenheim’s desperate position, Klopp does not think the hosts will simply defend at Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena.

“I don’t think they will build a wall in front of their goal but the better we play the more defence will be our challenge,” Klopp said.

“So I hope they will be very defensive at a certain point, because it means we play well.

“We just need to grab our chances then.”

Lambert confident ahead of Anfield test

15 December 2012 01:44

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert is confident his side can rise to the challenge of facing Liverpool in the Premier League on Saturday.

Villa sit just outside the relegation zone by virtue of goal difference and face a Reds team growing in confidence under new manager Brendan Rodgers.

But Lambert believes the Midlands side can get result at Anfield, with the historic nature of the ground serving as inspiration.

“My players will thrive on it. They will love the atmosphere and the occasion of it,” Lambert told the club’s official website.

“It’s a really prestigious stadium and the players who have played there, past and present, have been world-class. Arguably the greatest player to come out of Liverpool is Kenny Dalglish.

“They have won European Cups, league championships and it is a club steeped in tradition.

“I know how hard it is going to be. They have got some great players at the minute too. Brendan has a really good side there.

“I know Brendan very well, he’s a great guy and he did a brilliant job at Swansea. He’s then gone to Liverpool and got them going.

“It will be a good atmosphere and something we will try to enjoy.

“We’re doing really fine. The other night the lads were excellent the way they went about things but regardless of that result, Liverpool was always going to be tough.

“We’ve always said that it’s important not to let the mood go down when you lose and we will try and keep things in perspective now we’ve won.

“Regardless of Tuesday, going to Anfield was always going to be difficult. But we are going to try to win it.”

Villa are on a five-match unbeaten run, and the Scot is happy with the progress his team have made so far this term despite their precarious position in the standings.

He added: “We’ve had two defeats in eleven matches, it is not too bad is it? I think people think because we are young we are not going to do this or that. They are getting the credit now they deserve because they are playing really well.

“Since the win at Sunderland we’ve been doing really well and I don’t have a problem with performances.

“Yes, you’d like to have more points on the board but the one thing I can’t argue with is the effort and the way they are playing. Only Manchester United and Manchester City have beaten us during that run and that shows how well we are playing at the moment.

“There are a lot of young lads, a lot of enthusiasm and energy, and we are playing with freedom which is great.”

“You sense they are playing well. They have got the belief to go and win. A lot has been made of being young but they are good enough and that’s the belief I have got.”