Zidane aware of Real’s winning demands


Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane insists he isn’t shocked by criticism following three consecutive draws due to his experience of the unique demands at the Spanish giants.

Zidane has masterminded a huge turnaround in Real’s fortunes since taking charge in January, winning the Champions League in May and leading Madrid on a club record 16-game winning La Liga run to move a point clear of Barcelona at the top of the table.

However, that streak was snapped by back-to-back draws against Villarreal and Las Palmas, whilst Madrid were forced to settle for a point once more in a 2-2 draw at Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on Tuesday.

“This is Real Madrid. I was a player here, it is the top of the top and that is how it is. What interests me is looking for solutions,” Zidane said on Saturday ahead of Eibar’s visit to the Santiago Bernabeu. Naijabet.com

“The demands of this club are day-to-day. People can value the fact we won the Champions League or not, but if we don’t do things well tomorrow I know what can happen.

“I know where I am.”

Continue reading “Zidane aware of Real’s winning demands”

I’d be happy to end my career at Liverpool – Klopp


Jurgen Klopp says he would be content to see out his managerial career with Liverpool but will retire in the next 10 years.

Klopp is 49 and has admitted he does not want to be “sitting on the bench at 60”, which gives him 11 years in which to achieve his ambitions at Anfield.

The German celebrates a year in charge of the Reds next week and with Saturday win,to build on a flying start of four wins in six Premier League games.

Klopp said “I certainly will (return to Germany) to live, but I don’t know if I will be back there as a coach yet. The day will come when I say, ‘thanks, it was a pleasure’. Naijabet.com

“It’s very, very unlikely that I will still be sitting on the bench when I am 60. And, if at the end of my career I only got to coach Mainz, Dortmund and Liverpool, then it will certainly have been three fantastic clubs.”

Continue reading “I’d be happy to end my career at Liverpool – Klopp”

Match Preview : Manchester United vs Stoke City


Manchester United struggled to a 1-0 win over Zorya on Thursday, which has killed some of the momentum gained from their 4-1 win over Leicester in the league last weekend. Jose Mourinho will want to finish on a high before the international break.

Stoke managed to stop the bleeding last time out but still only managed a 1-1 draw with West Brom. The absence of Jack Butland is really being felt between the sticks, although Xherdan Shaqiri’s return should improve their play going forward.

United haven’t lost at home to Stoke since 1976. They’ve won 15 of the resulting 16 matches at Old Trafford since then and Mourinho will not accept anything else other than three points.

They cannot afford to fall further behind their title rivals before the second international break of the season and should overcome a Stoke side short on confidence. Naijabet.com

Team News
Manchester United – Wayne Rooney overcame a back problem to feature off the bench in Thursday’s 1-0 win over Zorya in the Europa League. Anthony Martial also made his first appearance after missing their last two matches through injury. Luke Shaw is suffering from illness and may miss out here.

Continue reading “Match Preview : Manchester United vs Stoke City”

Wenger stays open over Arsenal future


Arsene Wenger’s 20th anniversary celebrations climax with a trip to Burnley on Sunday, but there are still questions over his future with Arsenal beyond the current campaign.

Wenger is out of contract at the end of the season and the Gunners boss has refused to rule out the possibility of taking charge of England in the future following Sam Allardyce’s sudden departure from that role this week.

With Gareth Southgate appointed as England’s caretaker coach for the next four matches, there remains an opening the Frenchman could fill when his contract expires at the end of the season. Naija and Bet

“Right now my priority is to do well here,” Wenger said when asked about the England situation.

“This has always been my club and if I am free one day, why not? I’m focused on my job right now.”

Continue reading “Wenger stays open over Arsenal future”

Crystal Palace hold Everton up to draw


Everton moved up to third place in the Premier League despite being held to a 1-1 draw by Crystal Palace as Belgium strikers Christian Benteke and Romelu Lukaku both got on the scoresheet in a battling encounter on Friday.

Benteke headed the equaliser for Palace five minutes into the second half after Lukaku opened the scoring in the 36th and remarkably it was the Everton forward’s first Premier League goal from a direct free kick out of the 65 he has scored.

The draw took Everton to 14 points from six matches before their rivals play this weekend with a top-of-the-table clash that sees leaders Manchester City, who have a maximum 18 points, visiting Tottenham Hotspur in second on 14.

“It’s a good point in the end. We defended set plays and second balls well against a difficult team,” said Everton manager Ronald Koeman. “The team performance was outstanding, although we’d like to create more opportunities. Naijabet.com

“We’ve had a good start to the season. The position in the table is not everything at the moment and we need to improve, but we’re doing a good job.”

Continue reading “Crystal Palace hold Everton up to draw”

Spainish big three to renew title battle


After another stellar week for Spanish clubs in the Champions League, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid resume their three-way battle for La Liga supremacy on Sunday.

Real were the only Spanish side not to win in midweek, but got a creditable 2-2 draw at Borussia Dortmund to remain on course for the last 16.

However, the European champions have now failed to win any of their last three games as draws to Villarreal and Las Palmas have seen their lead at the top of the table whittled down to just a point by Barca.

Zinedine Zidane’s men conceded a late equaliser for the second time in four days in Dortmund, but defender Danilo insisted Eibar will bear the brunt of Real’s frustration when they visit the Santiago Bernabeu this weekend. Naija and Bet

“We drew again, but we are playing well and we’re calm,” said the Brazilian international.

“We are not satisfied with the draws but Eibar will pay for that at the weekend.”

Continue reading “Spainish big three to renew title battle”

Improving United set to punish struggling Stoke


Manchester United appear to averted the crisis that was developing in the wake of a recent run of three successive defeats, but there is still plenty of room for improvement at Old Trafford.

Jose Mourinho questioned the personality of his players after they lost 3-1 at Watford two weekends ago and the Portuguese displayed some of the haunted look that characterised his fateful last few months at Chelsea.

However, three straight wins across three competitions since have gone some way to lightening the mood and last Saturday’s 4-1 Premier League win over champions Leicester was particularly emphatic, and means that United sit in the top six as they prepare to host winless Stoke on Sunday.

Thursday’s 1-0 Europa League group-stage win over Ukrainian minnows Zorya Luhansk was rather less impressive, but it did at least demonstrate that Mourinho’s ability to dig out scrappy victories appears to have returned following his troubles at Chelsea last season. Naijabet.com

An ability to grind out positive results under pressure may be vital, given that United have testing league trips to Liverpool and Chelsea during October, as well as a Europa League meeting with Turkish club Fenerbahce.

Continue reading “Improving United set to punish struggling Stoke”

Ranieri challenges Vardy to end his goal drought


Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri has challenged Jamie Vardy to prove his curious pre-match drinking ritual still works by ending his goal drought against Southampton on Sunday.

Vardy revealed in his new autobiography that he superstitiously drank a glass of port out of a Lucozade bottle the night before every match last season.

The England international striker’s unusual habit worked a treat as he left opposing defenders punch drunk en route to scoring 24 times in Leicester’s incredible Premier League title triumph.

But Vardy, 29, who also said he consumes three cans of Red Bull and two espressos on the day of a game to boost his energy, has only three goals this term and has gone five matches without scoring. Naijabet.com

Keen to keep him on his toes, Ranieri questioned if the ritual had lost its magic following Vardy’s latest blank, in Leicester’s 1-0 Champions League win over Porto on Tuesday.

“He took it before Porto? Why didn’t he score?!” Ranieri said.

Continue reading “Ranieri challenges Vardy to end his goal drought”

Guardiola expects City to fly at Tottenham


After a ding-dong 3-3 draw with Celtic in the Champions League, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola anticipates another breathless encounter in this weekend’s Premier League showdown with Tottenham Hotspur.

With six wins from six matches, City are the league leaders and early title favourites, but Tottenham, four points back in second place, are enjoying their best start to a top-flight campaign since 1965.

Guardiola and his Spurs counterpart Mauricio Pochettino employ an aggressive, high-pressing style and the City manager thinks the fans at White Hart Lane on Sunday could be in for a treat.

“What I like is teams who are active and you see that when they play, they want the ball,” said Guardiola, who could become the first manager to win his first seven Premier League matches. Naijabet.com

“They want to keep it and they are so aggressive without the ball. I like to see that and Liverpool and Tottenham are both teams in that way.

“I think it’s fantastic what happened in Glasgow. One attacked, then the other did, it was 3-3 and the fans enjoyed it and the people here watching did too.

Continue reading “Guardiola expects City to fly at Tottenham”