Malaga´s uncertain future worries Pellegrini

14 April 2013 14:37

Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini is ‘worried’ about the club’s immediate future after their 1-0 win over Osasuna on Saturday.

The La Liga side have been banned from entering European competition next time they qualify by UEFA after failing to meet financial requirements, a punishment the club still hope to overturn.

“It would be a shame,” Pellegrini told AS when asked about the club’s troubles.

“The club’s future is not up to me. We’ll see what happens in the coming months. It is a subject that is on our minds and continues to keep us worried.”

Malaga sit fifth in La Liga, one point behind Real Sociedad, and were grateful to Julio Baptista for his 93rd-minute strike to take the three points on Saturday.

“We played one of our best games of the year and the goal came at the death,” Pellegrini said.

“It was difficult to go out of the Champions League (3-2 on aggregate against Borussia Dortmund), but physically and in terms of the football we played, the team responded.

“Julio has had a hard time, and scored a goal. I’m happy for him – he is a very important player for us. Hopefully this will increase his performance.

“I also want to thank the Malaga fans for the emotion they made me feel today. I lack the words to explain it.”

Carroll back on Rodgers´ radar

14 April 2013 14:18

Brendan Rodgers has revealed Andy Carroll may yet have a long-term future with Liverpool.

The England striker has prospered while on loan at West Ham this season with Saturday’s equaliser at Southampton, a goal that moved Sam Allardyce’s side closer to safety, representing his fifth in his past seven games.

Carroll, who was signed by Kenny Dalglish for a British record fee of 35 million pounds in January 2010, became the highest profile casualty of Rodgers’ revolution at the start of the season, but his recent goalscoring exploits appear to have brought about a change in the former Swansea manager’s stance.

“It’s a case of reviewing the objectives,” Rodgers, whose side drew blank for the second match in succession at Reading on Saturday, told Sky Sports.

“This season was all about getting Andy playing games. When I came in in the summer he’d had a frustrating time up until that point because he wanted to play.

“I couldn’t guarantee he was going to play every game especially with Luis and the type of player we were trying to work with.

“But there’s absolutely no doubt that come the end of the season we’ll sit down and talk because he’s obviously a player for Liverpool and one that can contribute to what we’re trying to do.

“Andy is the type of player where there’s a certain style that will suit him when you think of his game and his goals; he’s got three from set-pieces, one from a penalty and one from a cross.

“There’s no doubt he can get goals it’s just about the style that can utilise his strengths and qualities. But there’s no doubt he’s a player who can contribute.

“Like I said, he and I will speak at the end of the season and then we’ll take it from there.”

Neymar thanks Barcelona for their ´affection´

14 April 2013 14:16

Santos star Neymar has refused to dispel rumours of a proposed transfer to Barcelona, thanking them for their interest in him.

The 21-year-old has been prolific for the Brazilian outfit, and netted all four goals in Santos’ 4-0 win over Uniao Barbarense on Saturday.

It is this type of form which has attracted attention from some of Europe’s biggest sides, including Barcelona’s great rivals Real Madrid.

Various outlets in Brazil have reported that two of the strikers’ representatives, Andre Cury and Marquinhos Malachi, as well as possibly his father, were in Barcelona for talks – suggestions that Neymar has neither confirmed nor denied.

“Who is not a fan of Barcelona?” the two-time South American footballer of the year told Sport.es.

“I’m happy and I appreciate their affection and support. Regardless of whatever team I sign for, I’m one of the happiest people in the world.”

Neymar, who has already amassed 31 international caps, was relatively tight-lipped about any possible move to Europe, but nevertheless has prompted many to believe an announcement on his future may be soon to come.

“It’s what I’ve always said,” he said.

“When my family and I are ready, we will be happy to speak, but for now I ask for calm.”

Mancini deserves credit, says Silva

14 April 2013 14:10

Manchester City star David Silva believes Roberto Mancini deserves credit for turning them into a modern superpower.

Despite leading City to last season’s domestic title and the FA Cup a year earlier, the Italian’s position has been a constant source of speculation as a result of a wretched Champions League campaign and failure to keep pace with rivals Manchester United, who hold a 12-point lead at the top of the table.

The Spanish midfielder, who is battling to be fit for Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea after aggravating a hamstring injury in Monday’s derby victory, has come out in support of the man who signed him from Valencia nearly three years ago.

Silva told reporters: “I don’t know why Mancini doesn’t get credit but the players certainly appreciate him. We are with him and together we are a team.

“The players give him all the credit for being part of the success we have achieved.

“That success has been done together. All managers are different. Some criticise players more publicly, while others do it inside the club. For me, it is each to their own.

“If you are concentrating on football and doing your best, then things should not affect you. As far as I am concerned, it doesn’t affect me. If you know that you are doing the best you can every game, then it shouldn’t bother you. You just do the best you can.”

Bayern turn attention to Barcelona

14 April 2013 13:42

Bayern Munich captain Philipp Lahm says his side are desperate to overcome Barcelona and reach the Champions League final.

The German giants are on course for a famous treble having secured the Bundesliga title with a 1-0 win over Frankfurt on April 6.

They are also in the semi-finals of both the Champions League and DFB-Pokal, but it is the memory of last season’s defeat against Chelsea in Munich that stands as a real motivator, according to Lahm.

“We are happy with the win against Nuremberg (a 4-0 Bundesliga victory),” the 29-year-old full-back told Tuttosport.

“And we are motivated for Tuesday’s game against Wolfsburg in the DFB-Pokal, but we cannot hide our thoughts are all directed to the match against Barcelona.

“The whole team wants to reach the final in London to erase last season’s defeat against with Chelsea.”

Bayern’s 4-0 aggregate win over Juventus set up the semi-final encounter with the first leg to be played in Munich on April 23.

“When you play games against teams like that, it doesn’t matter if you play first at home or away,” Lahm said when asked if playing at Camp Nou second was advantageous.

“The important thing is to focus on qualification and to play as we know we can in Munich and Barcelona.”