Daily Archives: December 27, 2017

Mauricio Pochettino: Harry Kane amongst the world’s finest forwards

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Mauricio Pochettino has claimed that Harry Kane is amongst the finest players in the world right now and, when making comparisons, whether there was a more lethal No9.

Pochettino said that does not consider either Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo — winner and runner-up to the FIFA Best player awards — to be pure centre-forwards.

“Harry is world-class,” Pochettino said. “Of course, Messi and Cristiano are different. Today — one striker in the world, a specific position — who is better than Harry?”

“It’s difficult to say he’s the best but he’s shown to everyone he’s one of the best. Both of his records are massive — to break the Premier League record set by Alan Shearer and then, if you see that over the last seven, eight or nine years, it’s always Messi and Cristiano and now, it’s Harry as well.”

While acknowledging another great milestone for Kane, Pochettino believed that the Englishman’s challenge now was to maintain his level and reproduce these numbers over a period of years.

“Becoming better may be a very small step of improvement but when you are at this level, you need to fight with all your determination to keep at this level,” the Argentinian added.

As for Kane, the player himself promised to take his team-mates for dinner to thank them for helping him to his latest landmarks.

“It was hard not to think about the records today and I’m very proud of them,” he said. “Messi and Ronaldo have dominated football for so long and they’re two of the greatest players ever so it’s an honour to even be compared to them.

“I’ll keep working harder. It’s about finding little per cents to get better and doing things on the training ground to make you better. How have I improved this year? I’d say physically, recovery from games, eating right and looking after my body. We have such a busy schedule but I feel sharp and I feel at my best. I’m getting more experience.”

Fabio Capello: Leonardo Bonucci can’t play his role at MIlan

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Former AC Milan boss Fabio Capello says Leonardo Bonucci “can’t defend” and was fortunate to play in a system that suited him at Juventus.

Italy international Bonucci moved to San Siro from the Serie A champions in a shock €42 million deal but the player has found himself on the wrong side of scathing criticism from a former Rossoneri coach after a poor start to life at San Siro.

It was telling of Milan’s struggles at the back as the Serie A giants — who spent £160 million to bring in 10 players in the summer transfer window — as the Rossoneri conceded 25 goals in 18 games, and with only 22 goals, for them languishes at 3 goals against in goal difference.

Capello, who guided Milan to four Serie A titles and the 1994 Champions League in a glittering spell in the early 1990s, has since offered his own assessment of Bonucci’s qualities and the reason behind his poor performances.

“He’s the best Italian defender when he has the ball at his feet. He’s among the top three in the world,” Capello said.

“But he can’t defend. He has big problems. It was ideal for him at Juventus, where he was free. It’s perfect for him to play in a three [in defence]. Playing in a four is hard.”

Bonucci has played in 16 of Milan’s 18 Serie A matches this season.

Gennaro Gattuso’s side, who face Inter in a Coppa Italia quarter-final on Wednesday, sits at 11th place in the league table while their neighbouring rivals stays at 3rd place, just five points behind leaders Napoli.

David Moyes: West Ham United set to sign Steven Nzonzi from Sevilla

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West Ham United manager David Moyes said that his club could sign French international Steven Nzonzi if Sevilla decides to sell the French midfielder next month.

With West Ham needing to strengthen their squad especially in midfield as the club struggles against relegation, the Hammers has set their eyes on Nzonzi — who has fallen out of favour at Sevilla.

However, Moyes suggested that the matter of a deal for the player could be complicated by Sevilla sacking Eduardo Berizzo last week.

“I think he’s somebody who would be of interest to us if he came on the market,” Moyes said. “I wouldn’t say that about others but he’s not playing for some reason at Sevilla – albeit the manager’s gone, so maybe that changes the situation there.”

West Ham are a point above the bottom three after their 3-3 draw against 18th‑placed Bournemouth on Tuesday. They had shown signs of improvement under Moyes, picking up seven points from his first three games, but losing to Rafael Benítez’s Newcastle side last weekend had brought about their relegation fears once more.

Arguably, Moyes’s team could have strengthen their case for survival — if only not for a decision that left the West Ham manager in a spin against the Cherries after the referee, Bobby Madley overruled Simon Long, his assistant who had flagged for offside, and award Bournemouth a 93rd-minute equaliser.

“I think you could question the offside, I think you could question whether that was right or wrong because it looks pretty level,” Moyes said.

“But what you can’t do is question whether the Bournemouth player put it in with his arm, so the goal should be ruled out one way or the other. We didn’t defend it well, but when the linesman’s flag goes up I think: ‘Oh good, we have got out of jail there a little bit.’ But to lose a goal like that is a killer.”

Andres Iniesta: Liverpool’s Coutinho won’t take my Barcelona spot

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December 22 — FC Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta has said that doesn’t see Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho as someone who will come in and replace him but as a player who could improve the current Barca squad.

Barca had failed with three bids for Coutinho in the summer, but they intend to test the waters again January with CEO Oscar Grau saying the Catalan club ‘are prepared’ to sign him.

There had already been talk on where the Brazilian playmaker would fit into once he arrives, with some saying he would play take Iniesta’s place in midfield. However, the 33-year-old Spanish international — who signed a lifetime contract with the club earlier this year — indicated that he doesn’t see Coutinho as competition and would welcome his arrival at Camp Nou.

“I think Coutinho’s a great team player with a huge amount of talent,” Iniesta said. “He can use both feet, he scores goals, he links play well and gets between the lines in attack.”

“He’s a player with qualities like ours and it would be a great signing if it’s finally done. I don’t see him as competition for me, but as a step forward for the club.”

Iniesta will be leading his side in Saturday’s Clasico against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu, where league leaders Barcelona are six points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid and 11 ahead of fourth-placed Real, who have played a game less.

“We are in a confident mood at the moment,” Barca midfielder Paulinho said. “We know it will be tough in all competitions but we are on a winning run and we are very solid as a team.”

“Madrid are a quality team and we will have to be on the ball for 90 minutes, but we just have to worry about ourselves and put in a good performance. A Clasico can be decided at any moment and we have to be almost perfect.”