Nelson Akpo

Nelson Akpo

Frank Lampard was not surprised to face criticism from his former manager Jose Mourinho following Chelsea's heavy loss at Manchester United last weekend.

Mourinho questioned Lampard's decision to leave a number of experienced players out of his starting line-up at Old Trafford, including the half-fit N'Golo Kante, with Chelsea collapsing to a 4-0 loss.

The defeat marked an unwelcome start to Premier League management for Lampard, but Chelsea's all-time leading goalscorer does not plan on getting involved in a slanging match with the Portuguese, who

coached him at Stamford Bridge.

"I was very ready for that," Lampard told reporters ahead of Sunday's game against Leicester City.

"Being a player who played here, we were always competitive for leagues and Champions Leagues. The level of attention and criticism on your performance is inflated as a manager because you take on more

responsibility.

"I wasn't surprised by it. You have to be ready for it. You have to be ready to answer questions. You have to be ready to know what your feeling is. Whether you should say something bad. 

"My first feeling is can I protect my players? Can I protect my club? Can I protect myself? Because I know we are working with the right intention and in the right direction. I know you have to pick and choose your

battles."

Chelsea also slipped to defeat in midweek as they were edged out on penalties by Liverpool in the UEFA Super Cup.

Christian Pulisic, Olivier Giroud and Kante came into the side as the Blues delivered a much-improved performance in a game that finished 2-2 after extra time.

Lampard's team had a more solid look about them with Kante in midfield but the 41-year-old wants his tactics to be adaptable.

"I think it will evolve," Lampard said of his game plan. "I hope so because you need to be thinking to evolve all the time. I don't want us to be a one-trick pony. I want us to have different strengths to our game.

"Liverpool, for instance, have one of the best front threes in the world [Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah]. We know that. A lot of speed, a lot of quality to hurt you and so we have to think about

that and change the approach to do that. I don't think there is one certain shift.

"What I did love was the way the players took on the information we gave them. There was a really short space [of time] from Manchester United. Then there were a few messages, and they took it on brilliantly.

"There were generals on the pitch. I thought Jorginho was fantastic the other night. He was constantly talking to people around him. Constantly talking to the back-line to drag them up and playing with quality.

They are the players who are the ones that drive when they get out there.

"That was the most pleasing thing from me - that the spirit and attitude of the players felt really special."

Sunday, 18 August 2019 12:20

Ramsey 'very proud' after Juventus debut

Aaron Ramsey said he was "very proud" after making his debut for Juventus in a friendly match against Triestina.

Ramsey made his first appearance for Serie A champions Juventus since leaving Arsenal on a free transfer at the end of 2018-19 – the Wales midfielder coming off the bench in Saturday's 1-0 win.

The 28-year-old had been sidelined with a hamstring injury since April, but Ramsey replaced Federico Bernardeschi 20 minutes from the end at Stadio Nereo Rocco, where Paulo Dybala's 38th-minute stunner settled the

game.

"I feel good. I have had a good rehab so hopefully now I can stay fit and healthy and help the team as much as I can," Ramsey said.

"I am really excited to be a part of it [Italian football] and experience the Italian league. We start now on Saturday, so I am looking forward to that and playing my first competitive match. I am really looking forward to

it.

"This was a very proud moment for me to put on this famous jersey. I am happy that I got a few minutes out there tonight. I have been working hard to get back fit and hopefully now I can stay fit. I am naturally

quite good physically.

"I have been working hard, and I know I haven’t had the minutes on the pitch, apart from tonight, but I feel good physically. It will take a few games to get there.

"I think I have had a good pre-season. We have got a new coach who has given us his own ideas. We have been adapting to that. I think the team is in good shape and hopefully now we can have a very successful

season.

"We have been working hard on certain tactics and I think he wants to do good to the team, and we have put that into practice a few times. We are feeling quite confident."

Gareth Bale must play for Real Madrid as he has helped deliver titles, insisted team-mate Casemiro.

Bale reminded Zinedine Zidane what he is capable of with an assist in an impressive performance as Madrid opened their LaLiga campaign by beating Celta Vigo 3-1.

The Wales star had been tipped to leave Madrid after head coach Zidane said last month it would be better for him to depart the Santiago Bernabeu, where Bale has won four Champions League titles and a LaLiga

crown among other trophies.

Bale – who was linked with a move to the Chinese Super League – now looks set to remain in the Spanish capital, and Madrid midfielder Casemiro praised him following Saturday's triumph.

"He [Bale] has given us titles, he's scored in finals and he has a lot of respect from us all," Casemiro said.

"He has to play. He's a great player and is very important for us."

Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois added: "He is an important player and played a great match. Everyone loves him and it is important that he plays for us. We are so happy with Bale."

It was a winning start for Madrid, who survived a Luka Modric red card as they overcame Celta with 10 men away from home.

Bale teed up Karim Benzema for the 12th-minute opener before Modric was sent off for catching Denis Suarez on the heel following a VAR review approaching the hour mark.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, Madrid wrapped up all three points thanks to Toni Kroos and Lucas Vazquez, while Iker Losada netted a stoppage-time consolation.

"Preseason was not easy for us, there were games in which we did not play well, but we knew we doing things right," Courtois said. "We feel good, today we showed that. We played a good game and we went

ahead with 10 players. That is key.
 
"We knew that in the second half they were going to press us. In the one-on-one with Aspas I did well, made a good save. I have good reflexes and I got a hand to it. That helped give the team real confidence. We

did well today but it is a shame not keep a clean sheet. We need to keep it up and work hard. Now we focus on Valladolid."

Leroy Sane will not be signed by Bayern Munich this year, the club's chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge says.

The Manchester City winger, who has two years left on his contract, faces an estimated seven months on the sidelines after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in the Community Shield against Liverpool.

Sane is undergoing surgery in Austria this weekend, the Germany international opting to be treated by Professor Christian Fink rather than City's usual specialist, the Barcelona-based Dr Ramon Cugat.

Despite the 23-year-old being likely to miss most of the 2019-20 campaign, reports have suggested Bayern could still continue their chase for Sane even though Ivan Perisic has arrived on loan from Inter and Philippe

Coutinho is set to follow from Barcelona.

However, despite the need to replace veterans Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, Rummenigge has ruled out a move for Sane ahead of the Bundesliga's transfer window closing next month.

"No, guys. Everyone knows what a cruciate ligament tear means and what the downtime is," Rummenigge told reporters on Saturday.

Bayern have confirmed a deal in principle is in place for Coutinho to join on loan from Barca for the season, with the deal for the Brazil international including a purchase option.

Rummenigge, meanwhile, would not say whether Bayern intend to keep defender Jerome Boateng at the club.

"I cannot say anything conclusive today about that," he added. "The transfer market is open until September 2. And then we'll see how the whole thing develops."

Boateng was an unused substitute as Bayern opened their title defence with a 2-2 home draw against Hertha Berlin on Friday, when Benjamin Pavard and Niklas Sule started in central defence.

Bayern have also confirmed Javi Martinez, who was not available to face Hertha due to injury, returned to training for Saturday's session.

Pep Guardiola insists the use of VAR must be more consistent after Manchester City were denied a late winner in the 2-2 draw against Tottenham.

Gabriel Jesus thought he had slammed in a last-gasp third goal for City, only for VAR to chalk the strike off due to a handball from Aymeric Laporte - in scenes similar to those from the epic Champions League clash

against Spurs last season.

While the video review system came to Spurs' rescue, it did not aid City earlier in proceedings, when Erik Lamela clearly man-handled Rodri from a corner.

Guardiola was swift to point out the discrepancy, joking VAR was taking a break during the incident. 

"In the first half, the penalty? Ask the two referees around the corner. Then go to London to ask the VAR," he said in a news conference.

"Go to London, ask the big bosses. I'm not VAR. They make an example to Premier League manages, which I saw. But what can I say?

"It was a penalty. Lamela goes over Rodri, and it was a penalty. Maybe in that moment, VAR was taking a coffee.

"Why is it not handball with [Fernando] Llorente in the Champions League quarter-final last season, but why is it hands today? Why?

"That is what needs to be clarified. Why is [Andreas] Christensen not hands, and the Wolves game is hands? 

"It's a pity because it's the last minutes. We lived through the Champions League and today it's the last action and we scored a goal. But ask the VAR guys."

Jesus replaced Sergio Aguero, who appeared to argue with Guardiola as he left the pitch, but City's boss shrugged off any suggestion of a serious dispute.

"He believed that I was unhappy with him for the goal we conceded," Guardiola said.

"But it was just the fact that I wanted movement in that moment and Aguero could not do that. But it's part of our game, it's emotions and we talked after and talked during. I love him a lot."

Kylian Mbappe has become a "real killer" in front of goal as Abdou Diallo hailed the Paris Saint-Germain's development.

Mbappe has flourished at PSG since arriving from Monaco, helping the French giants to back-to-back Ligue 1 titles.

The 20-year-old World Cup winner scored a league-high 33 goals last season, and 39 across all competitions.

Diallo – who left Borussia Dortmund for PSG in the off-season – knows Mbappe from the pair's time together at Monaco and the centre-back told reporters: "He grew up, he gained a bit of weight.

"But he is the same. Of course, he is more mature. Now, we can talk about more things with him.

"When I was in Monaco, he was very, very young. But he is still the same.

"In the game, he is becoming a real killer. He didn't have those qualities when he left Monaco, even if he scored many goals for Monaco. Now, he is very accurate."

Mbappe scored as PSG opened their Ligue 1 title defence with a 3-0 win at home to Nimes last week.

PSG are away to Rennes on Sunday amid uncertainty over the future of Neymar, who continues to be linked to LaLiga champions Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Kylian Mbappe has become a "real killer" in front of goal as Abdou Diallo hailed the Paris Saint-Germain's development.

Mbappe has flourished at PSG since arriving from Monaco, helping the French giants to back-to-back Ligue 1 titles.

The 20-year-old World Cup winner scored a league-high 33 goals last season, and 39 across all competitions.

Diallo – who left Borussia Dortmund for PSG in the off-season – knows Mbappe from the pair's time together at Monaco and the centre-back told reporters: "He grew up, he gained a bit of weight.

"But he is the same. Of course, he is more mature. Now, we can talk about more things with him.

"When I was in Monaco, he was very, very young. But he is still the same.

"In the game, he is becoming a real killer. He didn't have those qualities when he left Monaco, even if he scored many goals for Monaco. Now, he is very accurate."

Mbappe scored as PSG opened their Ligue 1 title defence with a 3-0 win at home to Nimes last week.

PSG are away to Rennes on Sunday amid uncertainty over the future of Neymar, who continues to be linked to LaLiga champions Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Manchester City are not perfect after all. VAR can stop them.

Last weekend's 5-0 demolition of West Ham at London Stadium led to some suggestions the 2019-20 Premier League title race could become a procession, with Pep Guardiola's side in irrepressible form and Raheem

Sterling hitting a hat-trick.

But despite being completely outplayed at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, Tottenham were able to claim a 2-2 draw that may offer hints as to how this City team, winners of an unprecedented domestic treble last

term, can be halted.

It is fair to say City could and probably should have been out of sight with a rampant first-half display, the 2-1 scoreline hardly a fair reflection of their total dominance in the opening 45 minutes.

Kevin De Bruyne ran the game, as he did in spectacular style in that remarkable Champions League quarter-final second leg against the same opposition in April, when VAR also came to the fore in memorable fashion.

But Erik Lamela cancelled out Sterling's headed opener by converting the only shot Spurs managed before the break, the visitors displaying a clinical edge Guardiola's men lacked.

City retook the lead before the interval, De Bruyne providing his second assist by laying a low cross on a plate for Sergio Aguero, but Spurs could expose defensive weaknesses in the champions even though they

were mainly camped in their own half.

Set-pieces have been City's soft underbelly throughout Guardiola's reign but the arrival of Rodri, a club-record signing from Atletico Madrid and a towering presence at the base of midfield, was supposed to help them

defend corners better.

A mere 19 seconds after his introduction for Harry Winks, though, Lucas Moura rose above Kyle Walker in City's problem near-post area to flick home the equaliser for Spurs.

It was the first corner the champions had conceded, and they defended it dreadfully. Walker turned to look for someone to blame but it was the right-back who did not properly track the run of Lucas as City's

preferred zonal marking system failed.

Mauricio Pochettino's side rarely looked like going on to win the match but they managed to keep City out despite some erratic goalkeeping from captain Hugo Lloris, who was making his 300th appearance for the

club.

And a flashpoint on the sidelines when Guardiola hauled off Aguero after 65 minutes, the striker replaced by Gabriel Jesus, perhaps indicated everything is not quite rosy in the City garden.

Aguero made his displeasure clear and, while it is never a surprise to see a player unhappy to be withdrawn, the dissent he showed to a clearly annoyed Guardiola was notable. Such rows are typically kept to the

dressing room rather than played out in front of the world's watching media.

Guardiola put the incident down to "emotion" and something of a misunderstanding, but the pair have seemingly had an uneasy relationship. Guardiola often preferred to use Jesus in attack during his first season

with City before Aguero's increased work rate and continued weight of goals convinced his manager he should be first choice.

It was Jesus who forced a late winner only for VAR to rule Aymeric Laporte handled the ball in the build-up to his cool finish. City fans, who had to watch VAR cancel out a late Sterling goal for offside in the

European tie between the sides four months ago – a moment that sent Spurs into the semi-finals – could hardly believe it.

In the first half City, could also have easily been given a penalty when Lamela appeared to drag Rodri down in the Spurs box. Guardiola will hope VAR decisions even themselves out over the course of the season.

With an element of fortune, Spurs held out despite allowing the champions 30 shots to their own meagre haul of three, with City now already two points behind last season's title rivals Liverpool.

That heavy win over West Ham never really proved anything new, but the title race is certainly alive now.

Tottenham winger Lucas Moura made an instant impact by scoring 19 seconds after coming off the bench against Manchester City.

The Brazil international was brought on for Harry Winks in the 56th minute and glanced home Erik Lamela's cross with his first touch of the ball to make it 2-2 at the Etihad Stadium.

But Lucas is still some way short of the eight seconds it took Sammy Ameobi to score for Newcastle United as a second-half replacement against Spurs in 2014.

Below are the quickest ever goals by substitutes in Premier League history, using data supplied by Opta.

Sammy Ameobi, 8 seconds: (Newcastle v Tottenham at White Hart Lane, 26/10/2014)

Antoine Sibierski, 15 seconds: (Wigan Athletic v Derby County at Pride Park, 12/01/2008)

Andrew Johnson, 17 seconds: (Fulham v Wolves at Molineux, 23/04/2011)

Gerard Deulofeu, 17 seconds: (Watford v Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, 09/03/2019)

Yakubu Aiyegbeni, 18 seconds: (Everton v Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park, 17/04/2010)

Apostolos Vellios, 18 seconds: (Everton v Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, 15/10/2011)

Lucas Moura, 19 seconds: (Tottenham v Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, 17/08/2019)

Andre Bikey, 19 seconds: (Reading v Chelsea at the Madejski Stadium, 15/08/2007)

Stelios Giannakopoulos, 19 seconds: (Bolton Wanderers v Tottenham at White Hart Lane, 26/04/2008)

Matt Derbyshire, 22 seconds: (Blackburn v Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium, 11/08/2007)

Shane Long, 22 seconds: (Reading v Newcastle at the Madejski Stadium, 27/10/2007)

Chris Smalling, 22 seconds: (Manchester United v Burnley at Old Trafford, 11/02/2015)

Sam Vokes, 22 seconds: (Burnley v Watford at Vicarage Road, 07/04/2018)

Liverpool's victory over Southampton on Saturday not only sent the Reds back to the top of the table but also matched a club record for successive Premier League wins.

Sadio Mane's sublime strike and a second-half effort from Roberto Firmino proved enough to secure the points at St Mary's Stadium, despite a late howler from goalkeeper Adrian gifting Danny Ings a goal against his old

club.

The result brought up an 11th straight top-flight triumph for Liverpool, matching their best winning streak in the Premier League, previously set between February and April 2014 under Brendan Rodgers.

Jurgen Klopp's side will now have the chance to go one better when they return to Anfield next week, with Arsenal - who have won both of their opening matches - visiting Merseyside.

Anthony Martial is relishing the opportunity to prove himself in a central striking role all over again at Manchester United with the help of team-mate Marcus Rashford.

The France international reclaimed the number nine shirt this season following Romelu Lukaku's exit and he impressed through the middle in last weekend's 4-0 win against Chelsea, scoring the second of his side's goals.

A change in position means increased responsibility to get on the scoresheet but Martial is embracing the pressure that comes with leading the line, having been shunted out to the flank by former boss Jose Mourinho.

"Since I was a young kid, I have always played as a striker but, then again, I'm fine with playing more out wide as it's a position that I enjoy playing," Martial told United's official club app.

"It's a real pleasure to find myself back in that more central role so I hope I can really help the team from there and go on to score plenty of goals."

Martial was handed the number nine jersey when he joined the club in 2015 and scored 17 goals in his debut campaign at Old Trafford, but was made to change number and position following Lukaku's arrival two years

later.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer challenged the 23-year-old and strike partner Rashford to fill the void left by Belgian and the early signs have been positive.

Asked about his ability to swap positions with Rashford, he said: "We work on that a lot in training and I think it's improving all the time.

"It's good for us as it allows us to move the opposition defence around. It definitely helps to unsettle them and that's a good thing for us.

"It also means we can switch roles when we want to have a bit more time and a few more touches on the ball. It's very important and the key is to keep the right balance for our team."

Please publish modules in offcanvas position.