Monthly Archives: March 2018

Andreas Christensen: defender sought John Terry advice after slump

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Andreas Christensen had sought out former Chelsea captain John Terry for advice this month after experiencing a first slump since establishing himself in the first team amongst the Blues.

The Denmark international returned from a two-year loan spell with Borussia Monchengladbach last summer and immediately found himself a place in Antonio Conte’s backline, effectively ousting David Luiz.

However, the 21-year-old centre-half, 21, was culpable for Barcelona’s equaliser in the first leg of Chelsea’s Champions League knockout tie last month and for concessions in subsequent defeats by Manchester United and Manchester City.

Therefore, Christensen had duly sought out Terry, now at Aston Villa but a visitor to Chelsea’s training ground this month, for reassurance.

“I try to keep things inside the club, not bringing anything home with me,” Christensen said. “I have had a smaller talk with John Terry: he has also experienced setbacks and it is always nice to talk to someone watching it from the outside and to learn that they have experienced the same.”

“He told me that it is natural to make mistakes and he tried to put it in perspective for me saying that, if a forward misses a chance, he can make it good again by scoring when he gets the next opportunity. But (as defenders) we can’t change a goal scored against us, so when we make mistakes it is more crucial and it is easy for people to point fingers. I have realised it, looked at it and now I have moved on.”

Christensen subsequently impressed in Chelsea’s 2-1 FA Cup quarter-final win at Leicester City on Sunday — where he was substituted for Gary Cahill in extra time following his midweek exertions at Camp Nou, and continues to benefit from his head coach’s support.

Mohamed Salah could get better before end of season — Jurgen Klopp

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes that Mohamed Salah still has more to offer the team this season.

Salah, 25, scored 36 goals for Liverpool in all competitions this season, including four goals against Watford on Saturday as he leads the Premier League top scorer rankings with 28.

However, Jurgen Klopp still demands further improvement despite also admit that Salah’s talents as a striker are proving as revelatory to Klopp as to the man himself.

“He [Salah] played more on the wing for Roma, where he had a very dominant striker in Edin Dzeko,” Klopp said. “Nobody could know [that he could play as a striker]. We learned it step by step. We didn’t know exactly that he’s capable of playing in the centre.”

“But we will not treat him like: ‘You don’t have to train, Mo – just come on Saturday for the game and we’ll see you there at Anfield or whatever.’ He doesn’t want that. He’s in the moment of his career but he knows there is a lot for him to come. He wants to learn and he wants to improve.”

During the Watford game, Salah could be seen chasing back towards his own half — one of his few attempts at adding something defensively to Liverpool’s cause, but Klopp believes that others such as Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane are also putting in a lot of effort so Salah can concentrate on the offensive.

“He does it. But sometimes he needs a little … [reminder],” Klopp said of Salah’s defensive skills. “A lot of my players need that. Don’t misunderstand me, it’s only a thing, it’s not exactly the same strength. If you talk about Roberto, he loves running in that direction and chasing the players. If I said to him ‘Stop it’, he couldn’t.”

“That’s why I took him off, because he will never rest. He runs all the time but then Mo didn’t stop as well tonight — in the other direction. He took each sprint like the 100-metre final in the Olympic Games. That’s what I mean: the team adapts to the strengths. Nobody is talking and saying, ‘Mo, but you have to …’ At the moment, nobody is saying anything to Salah other than “carry on”.

US football chief: rest of the world will follow youth heading ban

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A US football chief believes that the rest of the world will eventually catch up with the United States’ pioneering ban on heading in youth football.

Kevin Payne, the chief executive of US Club Soccer and principally involved in youth football, was involved in the discussions which led to the restrictions back in 2015.

“While there is not a lot of direct evidence or research which draws a straight-line correlation between heading a ball at young ages and potential issues later in life we think it is a logical assumption as younger children’s technique will not be as good and their brains are not as fully developed,” Payne said.

“Until such time as that research has been completed and there are conclusions to be drawn we thought it was much safer to err on the side of caution.”

Part of the issue is that no one really knows what are the consequences of heading a ball at this young age,” he added. “Until we do know the answer the only responsible course of action is to do everything possible to minimise the chance of it creating problems.There were some individuals who were not happy about it and I am sure there are still, the old guard who think it is silly not to allow heading.”

In the meantime, a major study into the long-term effects of heading and potential links to dementia and brain damage commissioned by the Football Association and PFA began two months ago, although initial findings are not expected for at least three years.

FA Cup: Chelsea enters semi-finals after Pedro’s extra time goal

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Pedro’s extra-time winner for Chelsea earned victory for the Blues at Leicester City and set up an FA Cup semi-final encounter against Southampton at Wembley.

Antonio Conte’s side were digging deep after being widely criticized for their midweek Champions League defeat in FC Barcelona to keep their hopes of silverware alive as they survived an attacking assault from The Foxes.

However, the Blues drew first blood through Alvaro Morata when the Spanish forward took Willian’s pass in his stride to beat Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel in composed fashion to give Chelsea the advantage just before half-time.

Still, the Foxes were able to get their equalizer when Jamie Vardy made amends for a poor headed miss when he pounced in a goalmouth scramble for a 76th minute equaliser.

The decisive moment then came just just before the interval in extra time when Chelsea substitute Pedro beat the onrushing Schmeichel to N’Golo Kante’s cross and headed in the winner.

“t was a tough game but we knew this,” Conte said after the game. “The last game at home [a 0-0 draw in January] we suffered a lot against Leicester.”

“We must be pleased. I saw a good performance and great character from my team. After the game in the Champions League, when we spent a lot of energy, they showed good heart to beat Leicester.”

Chelsea will play Southampton — who reached the last four by beating Wigan earlier on Sunday, while Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, who won their respective quarter-finals on Saturday, will contest the other tie.

FA Cup quarter final results:

Swansea City 0 : 3 Tottenham

Wigan Athletic 0 : 2 Southampton

Man United 2 : 0 Brighton

Leicester City 1 : 2 Chelsea