UCL: Pochettino Expects ‘Exciting Game’ Against Leverkusen

Pochettino, UCL, Champions League, Bayer LeverkusenTottenham Hotspur coach Mauricio Pochettino is looking forward to an ‘exciting game’ against Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League on Tuesday night. 

Pochettino remains optimistic despite losing defender Toby Alderweireld to injury.

Eric Dier and Kevin Wimmer are possible replacements for Alderweireld against Leverkusen.

While Spurs are the Premier League’s only unbeaten side, they stumbled badly in their opening Champions League group, losing 2-1 at home to as Monaco.

Meanwhile, Bayer Leverkusen coach, Roger Schmidt has also praised Tottenham’s ‘ tactics and organised play ahead of Tuesday night’s game.

It will be an important Group E game for both teams, both of whom are vying for the three points.

Leverkusen have had a patchy start to the season and come into the game with two wins from their last seven games.

With two points from their opening two group games – one fewer than Spurs and two behind leaders Monaco, Leverkusen know they cannot afford another defeat.

Champions League: Atletico, Real Madrid Arrive For Milan Final

Champions League, Atletico, Real MadridThe city of Milan is getting ready for the final of the UEFA Champions League as arch rivals Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid compete for the coveted trophy on Saturday evening.

Majority of the Spanish fans are expected to start arriving by air, rail and road on Saturday. Fans already arrived in Milan are hoping that they would see an exciting match.

10-time European champions, Real Madrid have arrived their Milan hotel ahead of the Champions League final against Atletico Madrid.

Cristiano Ronaldo was the first player off the bus and the Portuguese should be fit to play.

The Portuguese set alarm bells ringing on Tuesday when he ended training prematurely with a knock but was fit to train again the following day.

He has scored 16 goals in the competition this season.

Zinedine Zidane’s men are without defenders Raphael Varane and Alvaro Arbeloa for the game.

Meanwhile a crowd of Atletico Madrid fans gathered outside the Hotel Melia in Milan to also welcome their team as they arrived.

Atletico players briefly waved at a group of supporters, many dressed in the team’s jerseys and waving red and white flags, before entering their hotel.

While Madrid will be missing two players, Atletico have a clean bill of health.

It is a far cry from the dishevelled state in which Diego Simeone’s team arrived at the 2014 final, when they struggled with fitness after a long season and suffered key injuries.

The teams’ face off at the San Siro stadium is a repeat of the 2014 final in Lisbon which saw Real come from behind to win 4-1 after extra-time.

Champions League: Ronaldo Injury Scare Ahead Of Final

Champions League, RonaldoReal Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo says he will be fit to face Atletico Madrid in the Champions League final on Saturday after limping out of training.

Ronaldo left the pitch with a thigh problem following a clash with goalkeeper Kiko Casilla.

The Portuguese forward was seen showing his thigh to medical staff, receiving attention, he later described the injury as a minor scare.

“I had a small problem in the training session, a ‘sandwich’ (bocadillo) as they say in Spain. But tomorrow or the day after I will be fine,” he told reporters.

Ronaldo has not completed his last three training sessions.

Real Madrid boss, Zinedine Zidane has admitted that Ronaldo sat out a full training as a precaution.

“There will be no problem with that. We had a game among ourselves on Saturday and (Ronaldo) didn’t play, but (only) as a precaution as he felt something small.

“He is preparing for the final and I think we’ll be in good shape physically,” Zidane said.

Europa League: Liverpool Will Take This Opportunity – Jurgen Klopp

LiverpoolLiverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp, has promised that Liverpool will give everything to lift the Europa League trophy.

This came after the Reds booked a place in the final with a 3-0 victory over Villarreal at Anfield.

A Bruno Soriano own goal in the seventh minute was followed by Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana strikes in the second half, which overturned a deficit from the first leg in Spain.

The Reds therefore progress to a meeting with Sevilla in Basel on May 18 – and deservedly so according to Klopp, who was delighted with his team’s display.

During his post-match press conference, Kloop was full of praises for his players admitting excitedly that their performance surpassed his expectations on the night.

“The problem is I’m not a native speaker so I don’t have the right words for this performance. It was nice to watch and nice to be part of it; the whole performance, not from the first, second (but) from 6.45pm when we drove through the road again. It’s nice.

“The first half-hour… what power! The will was obvious, I would say. Then for 15 minutes we lost a little bit of patience, that’s normal. We tried (to be) a little bit different and it made not too much sense. In the second half, (it was) back to the plan – still very emotional plus very smart, wonderful goals, well deserved.”

Kloop also had good words for striker Daniel Sturridge, who he admitted had a great game but mainly because he had a great team to play with, maintaining that the entire team was outstanding.

The 2016 Europa League final is Liverpool’s first European final since 2007 and Kloop considers this a great feat considering how the season has been for the club and particularly how difficult the Europa League started for them.

“When I came here, the tournament didn’t sound too nice for the people – three draws or something like that. It was a difficult group I thought and we came through with a nice game in Russia. That was good. We felt really comfortable in this tournament…

“I think, especially in 2016, the team has showed a lot of times what they are capable of and what they could be capable of in the future. That’s a really good sign. That’s more important for me as a manager.

“But then when you perform in the right moments like we did tonight, or against Dortmund or against United or Augsburg then you want to have more. That’s what we try now.

“Europe is big and a lot of teams want to go to finals, it’s not too easy. Now we are there. It’s a great opportunity and we will take it as an opportunity,” he said.

He admitted, however, that while outstanding performances are required, the club would also need some luck to win the title.

Real Madrid Stars React To Champions League Final Qualification

Real MadridIn a repeat of the 2014 Lisbon final, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid will meet each other at the San Siro on May 28 in the 2016 Champions League final.

Real Madrid beat Manchester City 1-0 to set up the all Spanish final for the second time in three seasons after a first-half own goal from Fernando was enough to secure a narrow win that barely reflected Real’s dominant.

It was a perfect night for Zinedine Zidane. He has just passed the four-month mark as Real Madrid coach and his team are now through to the Champions League final.

The Frenchman had the following to say about his team reaching the final in Milan; “I’m happy, not just for myself; it was a team effort. I’m happy for the players because what they did tonight was fantastic. We suffered because that always happens in semi-finals, but we’ve got through to the final and that is what is important for us.

“We won the game 1-0 and that shows that we had to dig in against a very strong side. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and can say that City didn’t do anything in the game. I think that they did a lot. We hardly allowed them any chances because we defended well and got things right tactically.”

On his part in the success; “I’m the coach of this team. For sure, I’m doing something right. But, it’s not just me, it’s down to everyone who works alongside me. The most important ones are the players, it’s them who allow us to enjoy the football.

“I love football and when I see them doing what they do, I’m happy. I suffer a bit more as a coach than I did as a player. I feel tense during the games. We’ve got to enjoy these moments.”

Important Goal

Madrid went ahead in the first half when Bale picked up Dani Carvajal’s pass and aimed a cross towards the far post that was deflected by Fernando past Joe Hart into the top corner.

He said of the goal that has been credited as an own goal, “The most important thing was to get the goal and that the ball ended up in the net. It doesn’t matter who scores it, the only thing that matters is that it was an important goal which has sent us through to the final. We’ve now got the chance to win another Champions League title”.

Other Real Madrid stars have also spoken about the victory and their expectations from Milan.

Left back, Marcelo said; “In the Champions League there is always a lot of tension, they are tough games. In every competition we play in, we try to do the best we can. It is difficult because they are tough competitions, but we are in the Champions League final and we have a very difficult game ahead of us. We are going into the end of season strong.”

Jesé says; “Last time I wasn’t in the final and now I have the good fortune and opportunity to be there and help the team. This year we deserve to win something and I’m happy.

“All madridistas want to win the Champions League and important things and now we have the opportunity. It is the product of months of work and in the final we have to fight till the last”.

Tough Season

Veteran defender Sergio Ramos considers it a very special night coming off a very tough season.

“After such a tough season, the hard work and the team’s togetherness means that we’re able to enjoy our second final in three years. We dug in and we worked together when we had to.

“The Champions League demands great concentration levels, we performed very well defensively and we put away the chance that we had. We must now enjoy this because it’s a special moment and it takes a lot of hard work to get to a final”.

“The team and the supporters deserve it. Once again, they got fully behind us and were our 12th man. We’ve now got to enjoy this and give our all in another final, we’ve already shown that we know how to win the final.

“It was a very special night for the Real Madrid fans and we’re really keen to bring the eleventh European title back home to our supporters.”

La Liga Quality

Cristiano Ronaldo, in his analysis of the semi-final win against Manchester City, tagged it a busy game.

“The team did well, we controlled the game and had more opportunities. We could have killed the game with a second goal and 1-0 is a small result but it is sufficient. We are in the final, which was our aim. We knew we needed to score and in the first game in Manchester we deserved to. Today as well, we were the better team and it is fair that we are in the final”.

“It is a final. We are facing Atletico again and I’m happy. This shows the quality of La Liga. I am very happy to be in the final and we still have a chance in La Liga.”

Ronaldo also had good words for the coach; “Zidane is doing a fine job. He is helping us and we are happy with his work. I admire him as a coach and as a person, and I hope that he stays with us.

“We have always been with him. He is a humble person, he likes to learn and listen to the players and it is very easy in this sense.”

Real Madrid will go in search of their eleventh European Cup title, against Atlético de Madrid at the San Siro.

It will be the fourth time that this stadium plays host to a European Cup final after the previous showdowns in 1965, 1970 and 2001.

It is the second time in the history of the European Cup that two sides from the same city face each other in the final. The first of these meetings was also between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.

In a repeat of the final from two years ago, in which Real Madrid lifted the Décima in Lisbon, Zinedine Zidane’s men will be looking to win and claim their eleventh European Cup title.

UCL: Real Madrid, Manchester City Bosses Laud Players

Real MadridReal Madrid Coach, Zinedine Zidane, is pleased with his side’s 3-0 win against Wolfsburg at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Spain.

Zidane said that although it was a challenging match, he could not deny the fact that they did a good job.

“It is not easy to start how we did, scoring two goals in 15 minutes. We went in with a really high intensity (and) we showed the opposition that it was important for us to win and go through,” the French said on the club’s website.

He also commended the Whites’ messiah, Cristiano Ronaldo whom he described as the world’s best player, saying he was demonstrating what he is.

“What can I say about Cristiano Ronaldo? He is demonstrating what he is, the best player in the world. That’s what makes him a special player,” he said.

Manchester City Manager, Manuel Pellegrini, has also asked his side to go all the way in the Champions League after their historic 1-0 win over Paris Saint-Germain (PSG).Manuel Pellegrini

Kevin De Bruyne fired city through to the last four of the league for the first time with his 76th-minute winner at the Etihad stadium.

As Madrid and City progress to the semi-final in the UEFA Champions League (UCL), Manuel Pellegrini could meet his city successor, Pep Guardiola should Bayern Munich beat Benfica on Wednesday.

Champions League: Arsenal Must Attack Barcelona – Mertesacker

ArsenalPer Mertesacker says Arsenal can rediscover their “killer instinct” by attacking Barcelona at the Nou Camp.

The Gunners head into the second leg of the Champions League last-16 tie having lost 2-0 at Emirates Stadium in February.

Arsène Wenger’s side were knocked out of the FA Cup by Watford on Sunday, but Mertesacker believes a strong attacking performance in Barcelona can get their season back on track.

“You have to give us credit because we kept going against Watford and created chance after chance,” he said. “But at the moment we lack that killer instinct. We need to work on that if we want to be successful in the Premier League and the Champions League.

“We were not relaxed against Watford. Even in the box we played and always found good positions, with the man in the right position but we lacked that relaxation even to hit the target. We did not do that sometimes. We missed it too often.

“We cannot afford to concede against Barcelona. We have to go there and try to attack, no matter what, that is the only possibility we have. We can be fortunate to have such big game in front of us.

“They are the ultimate team at the minute, so we are straight away under pressure and we have to go away from home. I think the confidence is there, we are just missing something.

“The season is not over. We play in a confident way, we maybe lack that bit at the end. The desire to play together and to be good as a team is there, you can feel that.”

 

UCL: Chelsea Captain, Terry To Miss PSG Game

ChelseaChelsea FC captain, John Terry, will miss Wednesday’s Champions League last-16 second leg against Paris St Germain at Stamford Bridge due to injury.

Diego Costa, Pedro and Kenedy were all involved in the team’s final training session before the game, but John Terry was absent as the 35-year-old central defender is still struggling with a hamstring problem that has kept him out of the last five matches.

Confirming the fears, Terry said on Instagram on Tuesday. “I’m gutted to be missing the PSG game.

“It’s so frustrating missing any game but these big Champions League nights at the Bridge are unbelievable and it hurts as a player not to be involved.

“I have thrown everything at my injury trying to get back fit but sometimes you have to let the injury settle. thankfully I’m on the mend and hope to be back soon.”

Diego Costa missed Saturday’s draw with Stoke because of a minor tendon injury, but he joined the group in training on Tuesday, as did Pedro who suffered a hamstring injury at Southampton.

John Terry and Kurt Zouma were the only absentees from the Chelsea first team squad.

PSG lead 2-1 from the first leg in Paris.

Arsenal Can Do ‘Great Things’ Against Barcelona – Coquelin

ArsenalFrancis Coquelin says Arsenal can do “great things” against Barcelona if they maintain their self-belief.

The Gunners host the Champions League holders – who are unbeaten in their last 32 games – on Tuesday in the first leg of their last-16 tie.

Coquelin could potentially line up against Andres Iniesta and the Frenchman says he would relish the challenge.

“He is a player I really like,” he told Arsenal Player. “Every player they have got is almost the best in every position. Playing Iniesta is going to be tough, but I’m ready for it and I’m looking forward to it.

“Any player wants to play players at this level and I’m ready for it if I’m involved. Everyone wants to play these types of games. We are really looking forward to it.

“Barcelona are probably the best team in the world at the moment. We are obviously looking forward to it even if it is really tough. Hopefully we can do something against such a massive team.

“Everyone needs to be at 100 per cent and I don’t think we need to play with fear. We need to be ready and believe we can do something.

“If we have that belief, we can do great things. We showed that in the past against Bayern Munich a few months ago. Not many people said we could win this game and we showed we can compete with great teams as well.”

Chelsea Have Quality To Overcome PSG – Hiddink

ChelseaGuus Hiddink says his team are improving with every game and believes they have the quality to overcome Paris Saint-Germain and progress in the Champions League.

The absence of the skipper, John Terry, who has a minor problem with his hamstring and ligament, is a big blow, but Hiddink feels they are well equipped to cope.

“Well, it was not a decision made by me,” said the Chelsea manager.

“He was having too much trouble to travel. We made a test this morning and it didn’t work out well, so the decision was made to leave him at home. He was, himself, also convinced he could not be of worth to the team at the moment.

“He has a bit of a problem on his hamstring and on the tendon in that area. That’s why we had the test this morning and we decided he would not participate. It will be difficult to say whether he can play this weekend. That’s why we’d prefer him to keep undergoing treatment back at Cobham.

“We’ve practised with other people in at central defence, so it was not a surprise for the players that we had to make some changes. Of course, not having John is a bit of a setback. He’s a leader. But I’m not the type of coach to moan and moan. We have to go on. The players who will replace him I have complete faith in them.”

The current form of the team notwithstanding, Hiddink considers the Champions League a winnable trophy for Chelsea.

“It’s about winning the Champions League, not looking just to get back into it next year,” said Hiddink. “You have so many good teams, though, it’s very difficult. It’s beautiful to win a big, big cup.

“We are growing. Everyone knows the situation of Chelsea in recent months and weeks. We have, step by step, tried to establish more security in the team. To play with the quality of players we have.

“We are not quite where we’d like to be. We’d like to have an array of games where you’ve imposed the way you like to play. We’ve tried to do that step by step. But to give even more security, you need a number of games won where you’ve controlled and been dominant.”

Paris Saint-Germain have been impressive domestically this season, but Hiddink feels the teams are evenly matched.

“It’s 50-50,” he said. “If you see where we are now and where PSG are now, they are building a very strong team and dominating the French league completely. They are 24 points ahead, and are focusing to get this Champions League. A big club has to win the Champions League.

“The league didn’t start well for us this year, and we’ve had some recovery from December up to now, but we’re desperate to get into the next round of the Champions League.

“It’s a big test for us to get into the next round and I hope we can do something to swing it to our advantage.”

Mourinho, Wenger Commend Players’ UCL Win

Mourinho, Wenger Commend Players’ UCL Win Managers of English clubs, Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger, have praised their teams’ performance in Wednesday night’s UEFA Champions League (UCL).

Chelsea Manager, Jose Mourinho, commended the Blues for not being content with a draw as his side’s 2-0 win over his former club, FC Porto, saw them progress into the last-16 of the champions league.

FC Porto Manager, Julen Lopetegui, had earlier said Chelsea remained favourite for the tie, insisting that their poor EPL form would not have a bearing on the match.

Mourinho expressed joy that his under-fire players were able to rise to the challenge during a tense evening at Stamford Bridge.

In another development, Arsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger, has extolled the Gunners’ character after Olivier Giroud’s treble inspired rampant Arsenal to reach last 16 of the league.Arsenal

Arsenal needed an emphatic win to leapfrog Olympiakos into second place in group F and had Giroud to thank for leading the cavalry charge in a 3-0 victory.

Wenger praised the whole of his team, who came together to produce an unforgettable performance despite a catalogue of injuries to key players.

Arsenal, Bayern Munich Coaches Anticipate UCL Victory

Arsenal, Bayern Munich Coaches Anticipate UCL Victory
Arsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger

Coaches of English and Bundesliga giants, Arsenal and Bayern Munich, have expressed optimism of securing victory in Wednesday night’s UEFA Champions League (UCL) Group F matches.

Speaking ahead of the ‘make-or-break’ clash against Olympiacos, Arsenal’s manager, Arsene Wenger, affirmed that the Gunners could win anywhere in Europe.

Arsenal visit the Greek champions needing to win by two clear goals or by scoring at least three times in their final Group F game to pip their opponents to a place in the last 16.

Wenger believes the challenge holds no fear for his players addig that nerves could prove an issue for the Greeks.

In the meantime, Bayern Munich coach, Pep Guardiola, said the Bundesliga giants want to keep winning as they prepare for their clash with Dinamo Zagreb.

Bayern Munich Coach, Pep Guardiola

Bayern have already secured top spot in Group F, while the Croatian champions are bottom of the group with only three points in five games.

Guardiola insisted his players always want to win every game as they look to rebound from their first league defeat of the season.

Brazilian full back, Rafinha, also echoed his manager’s sentiments, saying that winning was imperative for Bayern every time they take to the pitch.