Di Canio wants to earn hero status

first_img The 44-year-old announced his arrival in style on Sunday when, in just his second game at the helm, he guided the Black Cats to a 3-0 victory over Newcastle at St James’ Park, their first on Tyneside for 13 years. However, the Italian is adamant that one victory, or even saving the club from relegation to the npower Championship, should not afford him that status. He said: “I don’t want to be a hero now. I don’t want to be a hero when we stay up, I don’t want to be a hero next year.” Di Canio added: “It’s easy for the fans to call the players, the manager, heroes if they do the right things and an incredible job. Maybe one day if we win something, they can call me hero, but it’s not the time now, even if we stay up. It’s not the time for a single game. “I understand what it means – I used to do the same as a Lazio fan. We won the derby, [Bruno] Giordano was a striker who scored an incredible goal and he was my hero. I know, but it’s not enough for me, not even if we stay up. If we stay up, it would be a fantastic step to build a good future. “One day, in 10 years’ time if I became the best manager in this club’s history, they can call me hero, otherwise it’s not enough, one game, two games, 10 games, 20 games.” Di Canio’s laudable pragmatism reflects the position in which he inherited Sunderland from predecessor Martin O’Neill. They remained outside the Barclays Premier League relegation zone only on goal difference and had not won in nine games as they headed for St James’ Park, and the three points with which they returned may count for little if they lose to Everton at the Stadium of Light. That is something they have done 12 times in their last 16 league meetings. Di Canio said: “I have to be honest, obviously the day after Newcastle, I saw a very good mood. It was fantastic for the players. But I was more happy two days later when we started again with a training session together because, to be honest, I saw them really focused and really concentrated on the next match. “I was worried the day before I met them because I was thinking, ‘I don’t know them, I haven’t known them for many years, so I don’t know how they will react’. That can be a poison instead of an extra lift, but to be honest, the way they have done things in the last few days has made me very happy because I have seen them really focused for the next match.” Press Associationcenter_img Paolo Di Canio does not want to be regarded as a hero on Wearside just because he has won one derby.last_img read more

Lewandowski ‘the one that got away’

first_imgWest Ham manager Sam Allardyce rues the day he was denied the chance to sign Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski. Rovers were one of a number of clubs, including Tottenham and West Brom, who were offered Lewandowski by his then parent club Lech Poznan for just three million euros (£2.5m) in 2010. “It’s true,” the West Ham boss said. “He was put forward to sign very strongly by our recruitment staff and unfortunately it was one that got knocked back. “My distant memory isn’t that great but I think (former Rovers chairman) John (Williams) and the board said we are not going to commit that amount of money. “I think they wanted three or four million euros but we were particularly strapped financially at the time at Blackburn. I watched him play. But I didn’t get the chance to meet him.” It goes without saying that if Blackburn did have the man who ran rings around the Real defence in their team, they would not be at the wrong end of the npower Championship now. And for Allardyce, who spent just under three years in charge of Blackburn, knowing that he missed out on coaching the talented 24-year-old is particularly galling. “I think about it every time I see him play.,” the 58-year-old said. “He would have had a period of getting used to the level and the physical presence, but with a talent like that it wouldn’t have been too long before he started to shine and score goals.” Press Associationcenter_img Lewandowski underlined his status as one of the hottest properties in world football on Wednesday night when he scored all four goals in Dortmund’s Champions League semi-final thrashing of Real Madrid. Had it not been for an Icelandic ash cloud, or the financial constraints of the board at Ewood Park – Allardyce cannot remember which – the Pole could have been fighting relegation to League One with Blackburn instead. last_img read more

Hughton hails Canaries character

first_img “I think overall we deserved the three points,” he said. “But the result reflects the draw because we conceded two soft goals. Overall from a neutral point of view probably we deserved the three points and we did enough.” Martinez’s first competitive match did not end in success due to van Wolfswinkel’s intervention and the former Wigan boss was happy to acknowledge the Dutchman’s achievement. “That is what he’s all about,” he said. “I think as a striker when you get very few chances and you take them it speaks volumes of yourself. “I thought we kept him really quiet throughout the game but then he scored the chance. It showed he’s got a real sense of being in the right place at the right time.” The draw would have been seen as an even better result for Norwich after they lost Robert Snodgrass in the build-up to the game. Hughton confirmed the Scotland winger returned from international break without any knocks but failed a late fitness test after suffering a groin injury. “He has a slight groin (problem),” Hughton said. “We had a big decision to make before the game. He came in yesterday morning and felt it slightly. Fitness test before the game, and we had a big decision to make. If we’d played him he might’ve been fine but you never know.” Gary Hooper also missed out for the hosts after Hughton had initially hoped the new signing would be back from his shin injury in time to sit on the bench. “He’s not as close as what we would have liked,” he said. “We feared last week because he was in a fair amount of pain. He has taken a fair whack. We will look to push him and hopefully the weekend.” The two clubs had to settle for a share of the spoils after four goals in a 20-minute period during the second half. Steven Whittaker opened the scoring for the hosts before Everton hit back with goals from Ross Barkley and Seamus Coleman. Everton boss Roberto Martinez and Norwich manager Chris Hughton were left in disagreement as to whether the 2-2 draw was a fair result at Carrow Road. Norwich debutant Ricky van Wolfswinkel then headed in a 71st-minute equaliser with his manager Hughton declaring he felt his side did enough to warrant a draw. “I thought it was a fair reflection of the game,” he said. “We were up against a full strength Everton side. If you look at the quality and maturity they’ve got in the side you can see why they’ve done so well over the years.” Hughton, who saw his side hammered 5-0 on the opening day at Fulham on the opening day last year, was happy that his players showed the heart to recover after falling behind. “I thought we showed great character. I thought it was a fair result on the balance of things,” he added. “That’s one of the most pleasing things for me. The lad Barkley scored an absolute screamer, but we could have done better with the second goal. “To go 2-1 down to a team who are as free-flowing in possession showed great character. We got in some really good crossing positions. Overall I was pleased.” Martinez, following his first game in charge of Everton, disagreed with Hughton’s view and felt his side deserved to head back to Merseyside with the win. Press Associationlast_img read more

Cazorla welcomes ‘spectacular’ Ozil

first_img France defender Koscielny has become an integral part of the Gunners’ rearguard and developed a good understanding with Germany international Per Mertesacker, as captain Thomas Vermaelen continues to recover from a back injury. The 28-year-old, signed from Lorient in July 2010, believes he has now fully adjusted his game to match the demands of the hustle-and-bustle of the English top flight, learning how to best respond to any untimely errors. “I feel that I’m better, better in quite a lot of areas. I have more confidence in challenges, I feel that I hurt opponents more,” Koscielny said in an interview with French newspaper L’Equipe. “I need to be more aggressive, though, but in all areas I have gained in physical presence. However, you will never hear me say I am an undisputed first-choice for club or country. “Repeatedly playing in big games allows you to acquire experience. I still make mistakes, a bad clearance, bad positioning, but rarely do I play badly for the full 90 minutes. It is just that after a mistake, you have to be able to start again with the simple things.” While Ozil was Arsenal’s marquee signing of the summer, free transfer Yaya Sanogo hopes to soon make an impact on the first team. The France under-21 forward, brought from Auxerre in July, has made a couple of substitute appearances so far, and admits he will have to “toughen up” for the challenges ahead. Sanogo said on Arsenal Player: “I will need time, it’s a new way of life, a new league and it will take time to adapt. It’s something I will manage. “I will have to toughen up and improve my strength, that’s part and parcel of such an intense league as the Premier League. “My main aims are to come here and learn, progress in the game and learn my trade with such great players. Now I’m training with them, I’ll gradually make progress.” The confidence of Gunners boss Arsene Wenger proved vital in Ozil’s £43million deadline-day switch, after it became clear he no longer was central to the plans of Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti following their world-record signing of Gareth Bale from Tottenham. It was, though, a decision which left many of the 24-year-old’s former team-mates at the Bernabeu stunned, such is the high regard in which Ozil is held among his peers. Madrid’s loss, however, is Arsenal’s gain and Cazorla cannot wait to link up with Ozil, who could make his Premier League bow at Sunderland on Saturday. In an interview with Spanish newspaper Marca, Cazorla said: “I am very happy that Ozil is here. He is a spectacular player and we are very lucky (that) we are going to learn alongside him. “I don’t understand that (why Real Madrid sold him), (because) he is a unique player. “You will have to ask the club for reasons why they sold them, but at the same time he didn’t think he was getting the opportunities he deserved and luckily he has come to us. “He is an important player and he is going to be very good for the team and the way we play. I hope he can help us fight against the big teams in the Premier League.” Creative talent Cazorla has impressed since his move from Malaga in the summer of 2011, and was reported to have attracted interest from Atletico Madrid. However, the 28-year-old maintains it was never something on his mind. He added in the Spanish newspaper: “The Atletico president said there was nothing in this, and I always very relaxed about it.” Arsenal have responded well since their opening-day 3-1 home defeat by Aston Villa, where defender Laurent Koscielny was sent off, to qualify for the group stages of the Champions League and then beat Spurs before the international break. Press Association Midfielder Santi Cazorla cannot understand why Real Madrid sold “spectacular” Mesut Ozil, but hopes the German playmaker will fit right in at Arsenal as they aim to launch a sustained assault on the Barclays Premier League title.last_img read more

Swans earn derby spoils

first_img Bellamy was at the heart of everything good in Cardiff’s play and another surging run picked Swansea apart, but again Jones could not profit from the veteran’s good work, prodding wide. Vorm saved a dipping Whittingham volley as, while being penned back, the visitors had sights of goal. A frantic first half, enlivened by an uncompromising tussle between Jones and Williams, ended goalless but the second was under way for barely a minute before the opener arrived. Pablo Hernandez, on for Emnes at the interval, threaded a pass beyond a dozing Fabio for Routledge to race into the box and beat Marshall for his first league goal of the season. Cardiff’s response was instant, with Bellamy clattering the crossbar after coming in from the left and unleashing a powerful drive, while Kim Bo-kyung had a penalty appeal turned away as he went to ground under Ben Davies’ challenge. Dyer’s dribble ended with the winger bending an effort narrowly wide as the contest opened up. Cardiff should have been level with 12 minutes left. Bellamy’s free-kick struck Ben Turner and fell to Kim, but the Korean hooked his volley over the bar. The miss proved costly as Swansea killed the game off. Routledge and Hernandez led a breakout, with the former’s cross dropping perfectly for Dyer to head low into the corner of the net. And Bony capped off the win by powering a header into the roof of the net from Hernandez’s corner to claim his 17th goal of the season, allowing Monk to savour the delight of the home support at the final whistle. It may take time for the role to become a good fit for Monk, who, understandably, did not always look comfortable with the attention focused on him and regularly sought counsel from the likes of Alan Curtis and Pep Clotet in the dug-out. But he will not care one jot after claiming such a valuable three points which moved the club he has served for a decade four points clear of the relegation zone and into the top half of the Premier League table. Cardiff, who missed the chance to record the first league double in this fixture, have now lost four of the five league games Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has taken charge of and they remain 19th, three points adrift of safety and with an inferior goal difference to all the sides above them. Monk had demanded pride and passion from his players at the end of a tumultuous week, and there was no shortage in a high-tempo opening as the hosts pinned the Bluebirds back with the old guard of Ashley Williams and Leon Britton setting the tone. After just 44 seconds David Marshall was forced into action when Marvin Emnes, making a first appearance since his loan move from Middlesbrough, beat Ben Turner and broke forward to free Routledge, whose tame shot was easy for the Cardiff keeper. Two minutes later Marshall made a superb challenge on Bony as Routledge’s reverse pass picked out the bustling striker, the keeper pushing the ball clear as the Ivorian tried to round him. As the tempo eased, so Cardiff began to settle and Jones should have given them the lead in the 14th minute. Bellamy dug out an excellent cross from the byline but the Trinidadian headed wastefully wide. A better chance arrived soon after. Peter Whittingham controlled a poor clearance and burst towards Michel Vorm’s goal, only to slip at the crucial moment. Monk, installed as head coach following Michael Laudrup’s dismissal, watched Wayne Routledge give his side the lead just after the break before Nathan Dyer and Wilfried Bony secured the bragging rights late on. Kenwyne Jones missed two excellent first-half chances while the superb Craig Bellamy rattled the crossbar for the visitors. Garry Monk’s audition to become Swansea’s next manager got off to the perfect start with a handsome 3-0 victory over local rivals Cardiff in a frenetic south Wales derby. Press Associationlast_img read more

Stokes relishing Scotland clashes

first_imgAnthony Stokes insists Ireland’s Euro 2016 qualifying section is too close to call. He said: “It’s a difficult group, as most of them are. But I’m sure we will be able to compete and I’m looking forward to it. “Germany will be the firm favourites while Poland have a very strong squad, so it should be interesting. It’s too hard to say which way it will go. Every game will be important. It will be one of those groups that goes right to the wire.” Stokes could find himself facing off against Celtic Park team-mates Scott Brown, Charlie Mulgrew, James Forrest and Leigh Griffiths when Ireland travel to Hampden to face the Scots on Friday, November 14. “There’s already been a bit of banter with the boys,” said Stokes. “I never used to get on too well with Broony (Brown) when I was playing against him so who knows what will happen this time. “But he’s a great lad and I know his qualities. He will give us some stiff opposition. “I think it will be two great games. It’s two closely-matched teams. You never know how it will go on the night.” Stokes found himself ostracised by former Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni when he pulled out of a Carling Nations Cup game in May 2011 citing fatigue. He only made his return against Germany last October after two and a half years in the wilderness when the Italian was sacked a month previously. Former Celtic boss Martin O’Neill is now in charge but Stokes admits he still has work to do to make himself a regular for his country. “I want to make an impact and I want to do as well as I possibly can in training when I get there to give myself the best chance to play,” he said. “I’ve played a few competitive games but I’ve never really had a spot in the team or had a chance to go to a tournament, so for me, to get through this group and reach the finals would mean everything to me. It’s something I have always wanted.” Martin O’Neill’s squad were drawn in Group D alongside Germany, Scotland, Poland, Georgia and Gibraltar. Celtic striker Stokes expects Germany to top the six-team pool but says the race for the second automatic qualifying slot could go right to the wire. Press Associationlast_img read more

Koeman wants duo to show aggression

first_img Saints manager Koeman admitted his attacking summer signings from Holland need time to adapt to England’s physicality. Southampton laboured to a goalless home draw with West Brom in league action on Saturday, prompting Koeman to admit he is still chasing further transfer window recruits. Press Association The former Holland defender could well pitch both men into League Cup action on Tuesday, to accelerate their English immersion. “For Pelle and Tadic it’s a higher level and they need to be stronger to be competitive in the Premier League,” he said. “They need time for that, because it’s a big change. “The defenders are stronger and it’s more physical than in Holland. “The qualities they have, but they need time to adapt.” Southampton are thought to have submitted an increased offer to Tottenham in their battle to prise England flyer Townsend away from White Hart Lane. Koeman is also understood to have made enquiries to Atletico on the availability of Belgium defender Alderweireld, who has attracted attention from Liverpool, Arsenal and Napoli. The St Mary’s outfit are understood to be pursuing both Spurs winger Andros Townsend and unsettled Atletico Madrid defender Toby Alderweireld. Saints take on Championship club Millwall in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night, with Koeman keen to see his side fire back to finishing form. “I think sometimes he can be a little bit more aggressive maybe, to expect in which position the ball falls down,” Koeman told the Southern Daily Echo of Pelle, Saints’ Italian summer recruit from Feyenoord. “But he needs players from the midfield and with movements around him. “If there comes a long ball, you have to expect something. “If you wait and you go then, sometimes you are too late.” Tadic joined Saints from FC Twente in the summer, recruited to replace Liverpool-bound Adam Lallana. Koeman believes both Pelle and Tadic can thrive in the Premier League, but admitted they will take time to acclimatise after stints in the Dutch top-flight. Graziano Pelle and Dusan Tadic must be more aggressive to thrive in the Premier League, according to Southampton boss Ronald Koeman.last_img read more

Ferdinand saw no point in appeal

first_img Press Association Ferdinand, a Twitter regular with almost six million followers, opted not to appeal the ban which the FA said was partly issued because he “should have known better”. Quoted in the Sun, he said: “I won’t be quitting Twitter, I love it. I use it to talk to fans. “I didn’t see the point (of appealing). The rate of success of appeals on this type of disciplinary panel is almost zero. “I didn’t see myself getting the games taken away – it would prolong the affair, so I’m nipping it in the bud now. You’ve got to pick your moments. “The problem is sometimes you’re at home, you’ve lost, you’re sitting there and you’re looking through your Twitter feed and you’re frustrated. “This time I was deemed to have gone over the line. So I think you have to be mindful of what you say and when you say it. Normally I’m good at doing that.” Rio Ferdinand “didn’t see the point” of appealing his three-match suspension for comments made on Twitter.center_img The Football Association gave the former England captain the ban after he used the term “sket” on social media. The word is a term for a promiscuous girl or woman and the 35-year-old used it on September 1 following a message that his team, QPR, needed a new centre-half. last_img read more

Koeman: It’s a two-team title race

first_img The Dutchman has led Saints to second place in the Barclays Premier League after replacing Mauricio Pochettino over the summer, with a number of his recruits already starting to make names for themselves in the division. Graziano Pelle was brought in from Koeman’s former club Feyernoord and, as well as scoring on his Italy debut, he has notched six league goals and picked up the player of the month award for September. Dusan Tadic has arguably had an even better start, with the Serbia winger up for the October award having starred in the 8-0 demolition of Sunderland. Leicester are the visitors to the south coast on Saturday before a tough run of fixtures that will see Koeman’s side face Man City, Arsenal and Manchester United in the space of eight days. Reigning champions City are currently third in the table with runaway leaders Chelsea looking almost unstoppable, but Koeman believes his Southampton charges could deal blows to either side’s title hopes, even if Saints cannot last the pace to challenge for the crown. “I think it is a two-team race because I still believe that City and Chelsea are stronger over the whole season,” he said. “In one game I think we can beat them but over the whole season normally they are much stronger than us. “We know our situation and we know our ambitions but we live game by game, and it is not important and not necessary to look more forward because, in my opinion, that is not the best way to be successful. “Of course we would like to continue in the good direction the club has been going in the last three or four years. The next step is playing in Europe, we know that. “It is a dream for the club and a dream for the fans. We have to do it but I have confidence that we can reach that.” Ronald Koeman believes his Southampton side has the beating of Chelsea and Manchester City – but only over 90 minutes and not the course of a season. Press Association The Foxes travel to St Mary’s having lost four of their last five matches and without a win since their famous 5-3 victory over Man United. But, with a stern test to come in the run-in to Christmas, Koeman believes Nigel Pearson’s men will still prove a threat. “We know our schedule for the month of December and the end of November and we will have a tough week at the start of December, but we look forward to that,” he said. “It gives us the possibilities to play well and see what we can do against the big ones, but the first one we have to play is this weekend against Leicester and maybe that is more difficult than playing Man City.” Other than long-term injury absentee Jay Rodriguez, Koeman has a fully-fit squad at his disposal for the weekend and the former Barcelona midfielder believes current form, which has seen Southampton win 10 of their last 11 fixtures in all competitions, is key as no player wants to miss out on such a run. “The team and the players are still in good shape, we don’t have injuries. The team is fit and full of confidence,” said Koeman. “We had a good pre-season, that is important, and we have time between the weekends to do training sessions because we don’t play European football. “We are winning, that is the most important motivation to be in a good shape in a physical way because it is easier to keep going.” last_img read more

Pulis reveals clear the air talks

first_img Press Association Cole was poised to join Albion on transfer-deadline day having agreed terms and passed a medical, with the Hammers in turn ready to seal a move for another strker in Emmanuel Adebayor from Tottenham. But as that deal fell through at the last minute, so West Ham pulled the plug on Cole linking up with Pulis at The Hawthorns. Less than two weeks later, Cole is now likely to figure for West Ham in Saturday’s FA Cup fifth-round clash at Albion “That’s the way it spins at times,” said Pulis, who then confirmed the exact nature of what transpired between the two clubs over Cole. “There was never a deal to be done unless West Ham agreed to it, which was right through to the last minutes of the negotiations. “West Ham had said right from the start – they were very up front and very honest – they had to bring someone in before they would let Carlton go, and we understood that. “Both clubs thought it was going to be done at one stage, but it wasn’t, which is no fault of West Ham’s whatsoever. “David Sullivan even called our chairman (Peace) and spoke to him, and that shows you how disappointed both parties were. “But there was never any secret as to what the situation was. If they (West Ham) had brought someone in Carlton would have been available. “If they didn’t he was going back, which was made clear, so that was fine.” Assessing Cole’s merits, Pulis added: “I’ve always thought he’s a good player who gives you different options. “On his day he’s a handful, whilst his goalscoring record – when he plays – is decent. For us, he would have been different to what we have.” Pulis, meanwhile, has confirmed he will be “going flat out” for a win that will give Albion a place in the sixth round for the first time since 2008. Pulis said: “In the context of the season the priority is obviously to stay in the Premier League, but we also want to do well in the Cup. “Sam (Allardyce) will also know how important this game is for West Ham, who are bringing up 5,000 supporters. That’s how important it is to that football club. “We’ve sold over 15,000 and we need to sell another 3,000 to 4,000 because the last thing we want is to play at The Hawthorns where we’ve the away support making more noise than the home support. “Fingers crossed we can get close to a full house and make it a real Cup atmosphere.” With Darren Fletcher cup tied, Chris Brunt is again handed the captain’s armband after losing the honour to the midfielder following his deadline-day arrival from Manchester United. Striker Victor Anichebe is a doubt with a groin strain, whilst midfielder Callum McManaman may only figure on the bench after being withdrawn before the hour mark of Wednesday’s 2-0 win over Swansea with a knock. Goalkeeper Boaz Myhill may play after recently recovering from a finger injury, whilst midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu is available again following his recent exploits with Democratic Republic of Congo in the African Nations Cup. West Brom head coach Tony Pulis has revealed clear-the-air talks were held between West Ham chairman David Sullivan and Baggies counterpart Jeremy Peace following the recent collapse of a deal for Carlton Cole. last_img read more