Chelsea Ready For Stoke Clash – Mourinho

chelseaChelsea Manager, Jose Mourinho, on Friday said that none of his players have returned from their international duty with injury, adding that those who have fitness problems have recovered.

The Chelsea boss made known the clean bill of health for his squad at his pre-match media conference.

According to Chelseafc.com, Mourinho told journalists that Diego Costa who came off in the last league game at Hull City, due to a hamstring injury, will be available for tomorrow’s match against Stoke, adding that a decision is yet to be made on whether the striker will begin the game or be on the bench.

“Diego trained yesterday and today with the group and he is not injured,” Mourinho said.

“I don’t know if I start with him or not because after a muscular injury and then just two days with the group, I need to analyse the situation with him and make a decision.

“His injury was the same as before, hamstring, and he dedicated himself to that with no days off for him or the medical department, working morning and afternoon. We did all the tests and scans to confirm the situation two days ago and at the moment the muscle is fine, but football is more than that, you need confidence, you need to believe you are free to express yourself at the maximum intensity and that is our doubt at the moment. Let’s see in the next 24 hours.

“All the season he works on prevention to make the muscle stronger and at the same time elastic and flexible, recovering well with no big accumulation of fatigue. Myself and the medical department always believe that an operation is the last resort for every injury – so we try always to train and recover to compensate the little problems. I don’t believe we will ever go to the surgery option.”

Speaking about John Mikel Obi, he said the Midfielder is in full training again, following minor knee surgery, but will not be considered for the game.

“Mikel is fine and working all week with the group but he is very tired so he is not selected, but he is not injured,” the manager said, explaining that rehabilitation training differs significantly from training for match action.

The Manager added, “He is tired because he was injured for a month, he had surgery and he was not working with the group, so after four sessions with the group he needs time to adapt and needs time to be in condition.”

The Nigerian’s tiredness is different, Mourinho told the conference, from that attributed to Eden Hazard, following his international action. There is no doubt the Belgian will be ready for action tomorrow.

“Eden was tired because he played two games in three days and he played in Israel. He traveled and he didn’t sleep as he arrived in Belgium at 5 or 6 in the morning. He is tired because he played and we think that he can recover in these couple of days and he starts the game tomorrow.”

“That is football for a player who is important for club and national team. He is a player that I want to play every time and his coach for his country wants to play him every time. He is player who plays with the ball, he creates and dribbles and plays with lots of intensity so it is not a surprise he can be a bit tired – but I believe in him, I believe in the team and I believe in his ambition to play and his desire to play and help the team to reach the season’s objective, so I start with him.”

Speaking on the game against Stoke city the Chelsea boss said,”Everybody knows the way Stoke play but they are difficult opponents and that is why they have no problem staying in the Premier League. They have a manager who is there a couple of years and has a new contract and the same players and they are very stable. Everyone knows the way they play but it is difficult for everyone.”

Mourinho added that the team needs six victories and one draw from nine remaining matches.

Wenger Says Messi Shouldn’t Have Won Ballon d’Or Award For 2012

Arsene Wenger the manager of Arsenal revealed that to him, Lionel Messi does not deserve the Ballon d’Or award for 2012 that was awarded to him as either Cristiano Ronaldo or Andres Iniesta would have fit best to have won the 2012 edition of the award.

“No, not this year,” the Gunners boss told the Arsenal Magazine. “For me Messi is certainly the best player I have ever seen in the game, but I believe that this year he has really been rewarded for what he did individually, rather than what he won for his team.

“For once he has not been in a team that won absolutely everything. He did not win the Champions League, he did not win the Spanish league and he didn’t win anything with his country, but individually it’s true he had an exceptional year, scoring 91 goals.

“I believe he has been rewarded for that, but for me I’m more a fan of collective sport, so I feel people like [Iker] Casillas, [Cristiano] Ronaldo – who won the championship – and especially [Andres] Iniesta deserved it more.

“He’s always number two or three, but he won the European Championship with Spain – he could have deserved it this year.”

Making it his fourth time to claim the Ballon d’Or award in a ceremony that took place in Zürich, the Barca forward had Cristiano Ronaldo and Iniesta to contend with.

Taking a peep into Messi’s achievement, the only trophy the Argentine forward can boast of is the Cope Del Ray which was won last season despite his optimal performance as an individual player after he broke Gerd Muller’s goal scoring record, netting 91 times in a calendar year in contrast to Ronaldo and Iniesta who have done so much good and were also given recognition in their clubs and countries in the 2012 season after they won major laurels.

Wigan boss charged by FA over post match comments against United

The English Football Association has charged Wigan Manager Roberto Martinez for unruly post match comments that he made after the Barclays Premier League game against Manchester United last week.

The Latics lost 4-0 at Old Trafford during which he was unhappy about a penalty awarded to the hosts as well as a Danny Welbeck challenge on Franco di Santo which he felt warranted a red card.

After the match, Martinez said: “I have come to United three times before today and for whatever reason we don’t seem to be measured in the same manner as the team at home. Today the penalty is as bad a decision as you are going to see in the Premier League.”

He went on to say: “In many ways, you feel as though you are fighting against a mountain. There were tackles flying around that if they had been the other way round there would have been a couple of red cards.”

Martinez described Welbeck’s challenge as “completely reckless”, adding: “It is a red card, for a Wigan player, Manchester United, everyone.”

Manchester City will prove a tough one for Real Madrid – Mourinho

Manchester City’s owners have built a team capable of winning the Champions League but will find it difficult to maintain long-term success, according to Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho.

According to footballbuster, Mourinho said the hundreds of millions of pounds invested in City in recent years had made them a force to be reckoned with on the European stage and a danger to Madrid in their forthcoming Champions League clashes.

“Manchester City is powerful because they have players at the highest world level,” he said. “City is a team built to win the Champions League. The objective of the investment, made year after year, is to lift the European Cup. It will be tough. Tough for Real Madrid … and tough for them because Madrid is Madrid.”

Last Friday’s draw saw Premier League title Holders City and La Liga champions Madrid thrown together in a so-called Group of Death alongside last season’s Bundesliga victors Borussia Dortmund and Eredivisie winners Ajax.

Mourinho said each team within the group could cause the others problems, adding: “Dortmund are two-time champions of Germany, a top team full of internationals, many from Germany and the best players from Poland.

“They are picking up experience in the Champions League, they have an impressive stadium and fans who support them till the end. With Ajax you never know, they could give you trouble. There is no margin for error.”

Mourinho said he was confident that Madrid would progress but concerned that such a tough group could harm his side’s prospects further into the competition.

“The two teams who come through our group, we will not reach the knock-out phase in the same conditions as the other 14,” he said. “We will need to be at our best from the first minute and in every game through the group phase with the maximum of intensity, concentration, commitment and pressure.

“We will arrive at the quarter-finals with effort in our legs and our heads. The others will arrive fresher, and without yellow cards or suspensions, having rotated players to control the numbers of minutes played. We will arrive with physical and mental fatigue.”

The Portuguese coach would not comment on the reasons behind Cristiano Ronaldo’s recent “sadness” comments, but did say he was not worried that cash-rich clubs such as City or Paris St Germain would lure Madrid’s best players away.

“Madrid, Barca, Bayern … these clubs have unique historic capital,” he said. “The trophies, the European Cups, the history, the fans … things you cannot buy with money.

“The best players will want to be at these clubs, the three I have mentioned and some others who have trophy cabinets full for almost a century. That is a determining factor for the players.”

The former Chelsea manager said he welcomed UEFA’s forthcoming Financial Fair Play regulations, which would work in favour of Madrid and other big, traditional clubs.

“There will be difficulties for clubs which are not well structured, although they have wallets full of money,” he said. “Madrid’s structures are well prepared for this, and we can enter successfully into the new era.

“We have the potential and history to keep our best players, Cristiano Ronaldo, Iker Casillas, Karim Benzema, Gonzalo Higuain. Everyone in our squad, Barca, too.

“But clubs which live just from the investments from their owners will not have it so easy, because they do not have the structures of the historic clubs. In that way, Financial Fair Play will be good for football.”

Aguero sure of early return against Stoke – Mancini

Argentine and Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero has given a major boost to his teammates and manager Roberto Mancini after he broke the news that he could be ready and fit for the clash between Manchester City and Stoke City, as City will be travelling to Stoke come September 15th.

The injury which the Argentine sustained in Sunday’s EPL match against Southampton which also ended 3-2 in favour of the Blues’ sprung initial fears amongst his teammates and management, thinking it will rule the striker out for the whole of the season.

But City boss Roberto Mancini confirmed after a scan had been done on him and with a period of assessment that Aguero could be back within a month.

According to Mancini, the whole squad has been worried over the injury but they are happy that he will be back after the international break which is obviously fantastic news for them all and the recent development came as a relief for everyone, Aguero inclusive.

There was also encouraging news about two of Mancini’s other injured stars. Gareth Barry and Micah Richards could also see first-team action sooner than expected.

Defender David Luiz ruled out of Chelsea-Reading clash

David Luiz Chelsea defender revealed today that he will not be kitting up for Chelsea against Reading in a Premier League clash taking place on tonight as he has picked up a knee injury.

The 25-year-old who partnered John Terry in the centre of the west London outfit’s defence at the DW Stadium during their 2-0 win over Wigan on Sunday passed this information via the social media network Twitter explaining why he had to pull out of Chelsea’s second league game of the season.

David Luiz said in his message that he is a bit sad today, because he will not be playing tonight, revealing that he has a pain in his knee and there is every possibility that Gary Cahill will take up his position in his absence.

He moved to Benfica at the age of 19, remaining with the club five seasons (three complete). He joined Chelsea in January 2011, winning the Champions League and the FA Cup in the following season.

On 31 January 2011, Luiz completed a move to Chelsea for an undisclosed fee, which Benfica confirmed to be €25 million [£20m], on a five-and-a-half-year contract, with Nemanja Matić joining Benfica at the end of the season after his transfer spell away at Vitesse in the Netherlands.

He made his official Premier League debut on 6 February, replacing José Bosingwa in a 1–0 home loss against Liverpool. He made his first start for Chelsea, in a 0–0 draw against Fulham at Craven Cottage, eight days later.

Instantly becoming a cult hero amongst the Chelsea fans, David Luiz was awarded the Barclays Man of the Match award for his performance, despite giving away a penalty in the 93rd minute of the game, which was saved by Petr Čech.

On 1 March, David Luiz scored his first goal for Chelsea, firing in a half volley to help the Blues come from behind to win 2–1 against Manchester United, at Stamford Bridge, with Frank Lampard scoring a late penalty winner.

On 20 March, he scored his second goal for the Blues, heading in from a free kick against Manchester City (2–0 home win), and again receiving the Man of the match award, as well as the Player of the Month for March.

Newcastle Manager Pardew charged by FA for shoving assistant referee Kirkup

Alan Pardew; Newcastle United Manager has been charged by the Football Association for shoving assistant referee Peter Kirkup from Northampton.

The incident happened during the game between Tottenham Hotspurs and Newcastle United which ended in favour of Newcastle United in a Barclays Premier League game which took place on Saturday.

Although Pardew gave an unreserved apology afterwards but this didn’t prevent the FA from bringing the hammer on the manager and he has been given till 4pm on Thursday to respond to the charge.

Pardew said it was ridiculous and he has apologised publicly saying Kirkup was right in front of him and he thought the ball was out and he shoved him.

Pardew said he went to see him and told him it was stupid and he didn’t know what he was thinking.

Pardew was ordered to watch the final 20 minutes of the match at Sports Direct Arena from the stands.

Pardew reacted angrily having thought Kirkup had missed a throw-in for his side moments before Spurs shot narrowly wide.

The incident was missed by referee Martin Atkinson but it was immediately brought to his attention by fourth official Lee Mason.

Lukaku must earn playing time -West Brom Manager

Steve Clarke the manager of West Brom has told Romelu Lukaku who is the new signing of the club from new European champions Chelsea that he should show his worth as he will not be given automatic shirt in the first team, meaning he will have to earn it.

The youngster before now has always blamed Chelsea for his lacklustre performance saying he never got playing chances. He concluded saying that his year at Stamford Bridge was a waste of time.

This information really does not impress Steve Clarke as Lukaku thought a sob-story would earn him a soft spot but it made his situation worse.

Clarke says he won’t take any crap from Lukaku even though he understands the forward’s desire to play, he’s only going to get opportunities by earning them and to do that he’ll have to shut up and work hard.

Accroding to Clarke “Whether he has grievances with Chelsea is not for me to comment on. I don’t know what happened last year at Chelsea. It was obviously going to be difficult for him to get in the team ahead of Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres and that proved to be the case.

“But he’s got a clean slate this year. He’s one of a number of strikers competing for a place in my team and I’m hoping that at the end of this year he’s not complaining about anything.”

Although Lukaku won’t face as much competition as he did at Chelsea behind the likes of Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres, West Brom also have a number of forwards that he has to fight his way ahead of, including Peter Odemwingie, Shane Long, Marc-Antoine Fortune and Markus Rosenburg.

He’s a player that needs to work on a few things, including his terrible first touch, and he’s in good hands with Steve Clarke. Although I’m annoyed by what he’s said, I’ll be willing to forgive his rudeness if he shows us what he’s capable of whilst on loan at the Hawthorns.

Liverpool sack Dalglish

Earlier, it was reported that Liverpool club management has been mum over the rumoured exit of their present manager, Kenny Dalglish. Now there is a new twist as the Merseyside club owners, Fenway Sports Group and club management confirmed that the contract of the former Anfield legend has been terminated.

The announcement came barely 24 hours after the former Liverpool player’s return from the United States assisted by his assistant coach to attend a meeting with John Henry and Tom Werner who are the principal owners.

“This is a price for failing to close the gap on the top four as the Reds finished the league with eighth position even after so much investment” Dalglish said.

The Scot was given a three-year contract a year ago but an inability to sufficiently close the gap to the top four despite a significant outlay on transfers appears to have persuaded Fenway Sports Group a change was required.

In a joint statement by Fenway Sports Group and the Club management it was confirmed that Dalglish is to relinquish his position as the manager of the Anfield club as his appointment has been terminated with immediate effect so as for change to be effected and the decision was not taken hastily.

Part owner Werner said they had made a tough decision to remove a man who is held in such high esteem at Anfield following his exploits as a player and manager in his previous spell in charge.

He acknowledged the effect the 61-year-old had had in putting things back in shape after a disastrous six months under Roy Hodgson but felt a change was required.

Despite winning the Carling Cup and reaching the final of the FA Cup the Reds’ league results were disappointing.

A 14th defeat of the season at Swansea on the final day of the season condemned the club to their worst league finish for 18 years and their lowest points tally (52) since 1953/54.

Prior to the start of the season Henry had suggested that Champions League qualification was the minimum requirement.

There had been progress made under Dalglish, who initially took temporary charge in January 2011 with the club dangerously close to the foot of the table after Hodgson failed badly.