Fulham’s new permanent manager Kit Symons says that he wants to take advantage of the poor form at Blackpool to get another three points for his club. Blackpool have become the latest Championship strugglers after losing four games on the bounce. This has seen them part company with José Riga, who lasted just 15 games in charge of the club. They have appointed former Birmingham City manager Lee Clark as his replacement. He lost his first match incharge of the club after a 2-0 defeat against Ipswich Town. Despite this, Blackpool remain defiant that they can get away from relegation trouble even with all the financial problems.
It was only a few years ago that Blackpool were in the Premier league under the management of Ian Holloway. Even though they continue to receive the parachute payments, the club has been slowly slipping down the table. There is real danger of relegation after the rest of the pack have cut off in the last few weeks. Blackpool need to make up eight points just to get level with Bolton Wanderers in the 23rd place. They also have to come up with a further nine in order to catch Fulham, who have done well since the appointment of Symons.
“Good results at home give you a platform to build on and I remember when I was a player, we fancied ourselves against anyone at Craven Cottage. That’s the kind of atmosphere I want to create here again, it’s early days but we are getting there. We want to carry that on on Wednesday, it what will be a very tough game, and we will have to be on top form to do so,” said Symons. “Jacob’s very versatile and he’s got an abundance of pace and great attacking ability,” said Blackpool manager Lee Clark about the club’s new signing, Jacob Murphy, after his first match.
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has claimed that he feels sorry for his counterpart at Newcastle, Alan Pardew. The former West Ham boss has had to undergo a lot of abuse from his own supporters, who have not been happy with him from day one. Pardew, however, has managed to take the club to great heights during the last few years. They almost managed to sneak it into the Champions League a few years ago. It is widely believed that Pardew maybe out of his job if results do not improve sooner rather than later.
They head into the weekend’s match against Tottenham at White Hart Lane still looking for the first win of the season. All of the points that they have collected have come through draws, which simply will not be enough to keep them in the division. They still remain in the relegation zone, albeit away from the bottom of the table, after a couple of draws in recent matches. Pochettino also has had a tough start to his life at Tottenham. He has been unable to get results on a consistent basis. While his team has been performing exceptionally well in the Europa League, they have struggled in the Premier League.
“I obviously feel sympathy for him. I don’t like it when every single manager is under pressure or is getting criticised. In your career, always you have ups and downs. It is important to get some respect because in this job it is always, always you go through moments with some difficulties. The best way to deal with this situation is to just be natural, be professional, try to deliver your best and, after that, in football everything can happen,” said the former Southampton boss. Tottenham’s hopes of finishing in the top four appear to be slowly slipping after poor results.
QPR manager Harry Redknapp is set to stay at the club beyond the current campaign irrespective of the results this season according to club owner Tony Fernandes. The Malaysian businessman invested a lot of money into the club when he first arrived a few years ago. However, even the lavish spending was unable to prevent the club from going down into the Championship. Redknapp was the manager of the club when they were relegated, but he had taken over from Mark Hughes only towards the end of the campaign. The former Tottenham manager was instrumental in getting the club back into the Premier league at the first instance.
After returning to the Premier League, QPR got their first victory of the campaign after a 1-0 win against Sunderland before the international break. This finally brought a relief to the club after they had suffered defeats in the opening two matches. The heavy defeat against Tottenham in the previous match was especially of huge concern for the club, who had once again made sizeable investments in the summer to bring in players like Rio Ferdinand. Fernandes has been rumoured to be considering the position of Redknapp, but the manager recently said that he has been offered a new two-year contract extension.
Confirming this news, Fernando stated that Redknapp will stay as the manager even if QPR are relegated this season. “What happens if we don’t win for 12 or 13 games? But I think we’ve made our mind up to stick – we’ll just stick with Harry come what may. We want stability, we want players to know he’s the manager. A different approach, I think. My whole life’s been stability. People who have worked with me have for a long time. I don’t believe football clubs can be any different,” said the QPR owner.
Atletico Madrid have got into the noses of their arch rivals Real Madrid by saying that their new signing Antoine Griezmann is much better than Madrid’s marquee signing of the summer, James Rodriguez. Griezmann has been signed from Real Madrid for a transfer fee of € 25 million, which would have been unthinkable a couple of years ago given the financial problems faced by Atletico. However, success in the league followed by an appearance in the Champions League final last season has boosted their revenues significantly. Further, the sale of players like Diego Costa and Filipe Luis has also provided manager Diego Simeone with significant transfer funds.
After spending on the likes of Mario Mandzukic in the last few weeks, Atletico recently brought in Griezmann. They also witnessed the arrival of James Rodriguez, who was the superstar at the World Cup with six goals. Rodriguez moves to Real Madrid just one summer after his € 30 million move to Monaco. The impressive World Cup campaign has boosted his price to € 80 million, which is reported as the figure paid by the Spanish club to the French outfit. This makes Rodriguez the fifth most expensive player in the world.
Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo says that despite the price, he feels that Griezmann has the ability to become a better player.
“Antione is a player who is more tested across Europe and is the signing of the summer. [Griezmann] is comparable to players like Luis Suarez. He’s a great reinforcement for the club and we made a great effort to bring him in. Though I had many offers, he decided on a serious and important club like Atletico. We don’t know about James because he still doesn’t have a defined path,” said the Atletico Madrid president at the unveiling of Griezmann.
Dutch national team boss Louis van Gaal has defended the tactics of his team in the 2-0 win over Chile. For most of the match, Netherlands tried to defend. Whenever they got their ball, they tried to quickly bring their strikers into play with long balls. Winger Arjen Robben was also playing as the striker along with Jermain Lens. The Dutch, though, failed to take a number of opportunities that fell their way particularly to Robben. After the introduction of Memphis Depay brought out of the first goal of the match.
It was a frustrating match from Netherlands after having given football fans across the globe a lot of entertainment in the first two group matches. They had beaten Spain 5-1 in the opening match followed by a 3-2 win over Australia in the subsequent group match. They came into the match against Chile already having qualified, but with the group winner yet to be decided. Being the group winner was extremely important for both teams since it would meant avoiding Brazil in the last 16 of the tournament.
Netherlands managed to achieve this with a 2-0 victory. They will face Mexico in the last 16 of the tournament, while Chile go on to face Brazil. Louis van Gaal stated that they were certainly not going to play to the strengths of Chile. Hence, they adopted this tactic. “If I played 4-3-3 against Chile, Robben would have had to run after them. They can’t do that for 90 minutes. You just have to play according to your strengths, it’s all about winning. I’ll pick a system that helps me win. This is proof of the pudding. We’re not giving away very much, but we’re creating a lot. If I didn’t do that, you’d chop off my head,” said Van Gaal.
Spain striker Diego Costa has stated that he is not worried about his fitness right now. There is a lot of concern surrounding the 25-year-old’s fitness, which took a turn for the worse in the last few weeks of the campaign. The Atletico Madrid striker was forced off the last few matches of the league football campaign, while he also played only a couple of minutes in the Champions League final as well. He has been struggling with a hamstring problem. As a result, there is a lot of doubt as to whether he will take part in the World Cup 2014.
He has been included in the squad by Spain manager Vicente del Bosque, but he has not been moving freely in the recent warmup friendly matches. Despite this, he has stated that he will be fit for the opening match against Netherlands. This is expected to be a tough World Cup for Spain, who come into the tournament as the defending champions. However, they do not have the finest compliment of strikers. This led to Spain calling Costa, who was born in Brazil and is also eligible to play for the host nation. This is expected to create a lot of hostility surrounding the 25-year-old.
“Things are going well for me. People have treated me well and in the manner I hoped. I have the support of most people who understand what has gone on. My parents are very happy that I am here, close to them. They support my decision. I needed the match with El Salvador. Now I am fine and I will have no problems for the first match,” said the Spain striker. Costa is widely expected to agree a £ 32 million move to Chelsea in the summer. The striker scored more than 35 goals last season.