“All the requirements are there for Vidal not to leave before the end of the transfer market,” Juve general director Giuseppe Marotta told Gazzetta dello Sport. “The contract extension he signed has made more solid the marriage between Juve and Vidal. “Vidal has always said he wanted to stay here and we are more than happy to keep him.” Vidal, who has also been linked with Arsenal, moved to Juve from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer of 2011. He made 32 league appearances for the Bianconeri last season, scoring 11 times and setting up five others to greatly contribute to Juve clinching their third successive scudetto. Juventus are confident reported Manchester United target Arturo Vidal will remain at the club. The Chilean midfielder has been strongly linked with a move to the Barclays Premier League this summer. The 27-year-old Vidal only signed a new contract with Juve back in December, which will see him tied to the Turin-based club until June 2017. Press Association
Harry Redknapp has launched an extraordinary rant against his QPR star Adel Taarabt, claiming he cannot “protect people who are about three stone overweight”. “I can’t keep protecting people who don’t want to run about and train, who are about three stone overweight. “What am I supposed to keep saying, keep getting your 60, 70 grand a week but don’t train? “What’s the game coming to? “The others are as good as gold.” Richard Dunne and Steven Caulker’s own goals floored QPR despite a hugely impressive showing against Brendan Rodgers’ patchy Liverpool side. Philippe Coutinho was the only Liverpool player on target in spite of the fortunate victory. Leroy Fer hit the bar twice in the first half with Bobby Zamora bewitching the Liverpool defence at every turn. Dunne’s own goal opened the floodgates though, with Eduardo Vargas twice equalising, only for QPR to end up empty-handed and rooted to the Premier League’s foot. Redknapp shrugged off speculation linking the likes of Tim Sherwood with taking the Loftus Road helm, claiming he has turned the club’s fortunes around after a disorganised summer. “I think you have to understand that two weeks before the season started I had 12 players,” he said. “Now I’m not making excuses, I had 12 players at this football club, outfield players. “I went on tour to Ireland and I took 12 players with me. “There wasn’t another one injured, or hiding behind the training ground, that was what I had, 12, left over from last year’s Championship. “And it was a last-minute job when we had to bring players in. “I couldn’t give a monkey’s about speculation. There’s no one could do any better here at the moment than me, I don’t think. “I hear other names mentioned, but they couldn’t do any better than what I can do, that’s for sure.” Redknapp challenged Taarabt to prove he has the work ethic to deserve his “60 to 70 grand a week” wages. “No, he’s not fit: he’s not fit to play football, unfortunately,” said Redknapp of the 25-year-old, who has only featured three times this season due to persistent ankle problems. “He played in a reserve team game the other day, and I could have run about more than he did. “So no, I can’t pick him. “I pick people that want to try, and deserve to be at a good football club like QPR, and want to work, and come in every day and want to work, and train, and show a good attitude. “And that’s what I got today from the players. “When he starts doing that, whether he ever can do it, maybe he’ll get a game. “The other lads, I’ve got a fantastic group of lads here, absolutely superb, all of them. Press Association A furious Redknapp snapped when quizzed on Morocco forward Taarabt’s injury status after QPR’s gut-wrenching 3-2 home defeat to Liverpool. The Rangers boss paused in his post-match press conference to thump an advertising board that had been squeaking against his chair, exclaiming “that f***ing thing”, before laying into Taarabt.
Press Association A team featuring 11 changes to the one which lost 1-0 in Scotland on Friday night beat the United States 4-1 in a friendly at the Aviva Stadium to end the calendar year on a positive note. However, despite seeing Hull midfielder Robbie Brady turn in a fine display from left-back and debutants David McGoldrick and Cyrus Christie shine, O’Neill remained very much focused on March’s clash with Group D leaders Poland in Dublin and the return against Scotland in June. He said: “The qualifying games are the most important and everything else is a build-up to them, even including tonight. “We scored four goals tonight and it was nice, and it was nice to regain momentum from Friday night. But the most important fixtures, again, are the matches that we have in 2015, so those are important for us. “We have seven points on the board. It was disappointing not to have got something from the game on Friday, but it is not fatal. Regardless of the result on Friday, if we had got a point of out the game, we would have still been looking to try to beat Poland and Scotland. “Those next two matches are of vital importance to us.” Ireland got off to a flying start when McGoldrick combined with Anthony Pilkington to allow the Cardiff man to open the scoring with a deft seventh-minute finish, and although Mix Diskerud levelled before the break, Brady restored the home side’s lead within 10 minutes of the restart. The United States, who had hit both the post and the bar during the first half, remained in the game until the latter stages when substitute James McClean’s deflected 82nd-minute shot finally gave the Republic breathing space and set the stage for Brady to seal the win with a fine 87th-minute free-kick. O’Neill, who started Brady at the back in the absence of Stephen Ward, said: “He has things to improve on as a defender, he knows that himself, but he is an excellent footballer, a really excellent player. He’s got great attitude to it as well, and I was really delighted for him. “Do you know, he was in such confident mood, I felt that he would score from the free-kick. They are easy words now, but I thought he would score from that, but for the second goal for him to be following up and to be on the edge of the penalty area and to score from the left-back position, it was great.” United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann was happy with elements of what he saw from his much-changed team, but admitted errors had cost them dearly. He said: “Always at 1-0 and then getting back into the game and equalising it, you hope to get the lead, even before half-time – there were enough chances there and also right after half-time, we could have scored that second goal. “They scored then the second and third goals.Individual mistakes cost you at this level, you can’t allow those type of mistakes defensively, you are not getting away with it, and that punished us. “Then obviously, you want your younger players coming in and getting some minutes on that level and in that atmosphere and getting experience, and there’s always a risk that you might [concede] another one, which happened through a beautiful free-kick, no doubt about it. “But we saw a lot of things, some good stuff, some not so good stuff and we will address that, obviously, with the guys. “We have finished off a long year, 2014, which overall was a positive year. “We are building and when you build a new cycle and you introduce new fresh players into the group, then there will be some growing pains along the way. That’s just normal.” Republic of Ireland boss Martin O’Neill immediately turned his attention to next year’s Euro 2016 qualifiers against Poland and Scotland after seeing his under-studies deliver their lines to perfection.
Defender Glen Johnson appears resigned to leaving Liverpool at the end of the season after insisting he will not “go crawling” to the club for a new contract. Press Association “I have enjoyed the majority of the six years; I’ve had some good times and some bad times, but if I haven’t got a contract then I can’t stay,” said the England defender. “Of course it plays on your mind but that is when you have to be professional and try to do a job for your team, and I respect my team-mates and I want to put in a performance for them. “I want to play for a club that wants me – I am not going to go crawling to anybody. The club know where I am and they know the situation. “There were minor talks at the end of last season but nothing I could accept or reject.” Asked whether he was surprised Liverpool had not made more effort to extend his contract, Johnson added: “I have not really thought of it like that. “Whether it is football or business I don’t really worry about things I can’t control. “All I can do is try to keep doing my job every weekend and whatever will unfold will unfold.” As he enters the last six months of his contract the right-back is entitled to sign a pre-contract agreement with overseas clubs, but is remaining focused on his immediate future. “It is not my business to talk to other clubs at the moment,” he said. “I want to play my football, keep winning for Liverpool and I want to respect my contract, and that is what I am willing to do.” Johnson’s first goal since December 2012, stooping to convert a low header after Rickie Lambert’s header had come back off the crossbar, gave his side a 1-0 victory over Stoke. Having ended a three-match losing run in the league the defender believes a top-four finish is still very much within their grasp. “You enjoy winning games, scoring goals and being involved in assists – they are the great parts of football so on a personal level I am very happy,” he added. “Nothing has changed from last year. The backroom staff, the playing staff are fighting for the same cause and the objective is still the same, but in football you go through some sticky patches. “The quality is not in doubt, it is about confidence and trying to put a run of performances together.” Talks to extend his current deal, which expires in the summer, ground to a halt in the close season when the two parties reached an impasse over terms. It is understood the Reds wanted Johnson, who turned 30 in August, to sign a reduced-terms contract to reflect his age but he is unwilling to accept that.
Spieth added a second round of 66 to his opening 64 to post a total of 130, one shot better than the previous best set by Ray Floyd in 1976. That also equalled the 36-hole record in any major – shared by Nick Faldo, Brandt Snedeker and Martin Kaymer – and at 14 under is the lowest 36-hole score in relation to par. Jordan Spieth carded the lowest halfway total in Masters history to take a massive step closer to a first major title at Augusta National on Friday. Faldo was 12 under on his way to winning the 1992 Open at Muirfield, with Snedeker and Kaymer 10 under at the 2012 Open and 2014 US Open respectively. ” It’s cool. Any time you can set a record here is pretty awesome,” said Spieth. “I’m very excited about today and the way I struck the ball. I struck it, I thought, better than yesterday and didn’t rely on the breaks as much.” Spieth, who led by two shots after seven holes of the final round 12 months ago before finishing second to Bubba Watson, came into the week having finished first, second and second in his last three events. And the 21-year-old has experience of winning tournaments by big margins after claiming the Australian Open by six shots in December and the Hero World Challenge by 10 a week later last December. “I just need to keep my head down, set a goal for myself,” the world number four added. “It’s definitely going to be more challenging and I am going to have to be aware of that and be okay with a bogey or two. “The hardest thing to do is put aside wanting to win so bad and just kind of going through the motions and letting my ball striking and putting happen. “I got off to a great start and had a chance to win last year on Sunday. I’d like to have that same opportunity this year. Again, this is only the halfway point and I’m aware of that. W hat I learned (last year) was patience. The weekend of a major, those rounds can often seem like two rounds in kind of the mental stuff that’s running through your head, the stress levels.” Spieth is just five months older than Tiger Woods was when he became the youngest Masters champion in 1997 and is playing at Augusta for only the second time. ” I got the awe factor out over six months before I even played the first time here,” he explained. “To get here and to play rounds ahead of time; to play the golf course and after getting into contention last year and seeing what Sunday in the final group was like, now it feels more like a regular event. “I think just having the experience of playing it a few times was all I needed to feel that way.” As the second round drew to a close, Spieth held a record-equalling five-shot lead over fellow American Charley Hoffman, who bogeyed the last to add a 68 to his opening 67. Ernie Els was another four shots back after a disappointing 72 with Tiger Woods on two under after a 69, his first sub-70 score at Augusta since the final round in 2011. “I have been there before but then again there’s a pretty big separation between first and third which I didn’t have back in 1997,” Woods said of Spieth. “He has played beautifully, I played with him and Ben (Crenshaw) on the back nine on Wednesday and it was just a matter of continuing that and he has. “Anything can happen here. You can play well and shoot over par, it’s one of those courses that does that to you.” Els added: ” Jordan is playing unbelievably well but we know how far there is to go. Front runners tend to do well here, but there have been some really good comebacks, so it’s a big weekend ahead. “I’d really like to shoot two 67s and see where that leaves me. That’d make me 15 under and that’s about as good as a man can do. “If it keeps blowing like this and the nerves get going… I don’t want to wish badly on anyone but if he takes his foot off the gas or has a bad break here and there, it really gives you thought of catching him.” Rory McIlroy’s bid to complete the career grand slam looked certain to end in disappointment, the world number one covering the front nine in 40 before a birdie on the 10th left him two over par and just inside the projected cut. Press Association
“We’re delighted to announce the signing of Clinton Njie, subject to international clearance and work permit,” the Barclays Premier League club posted on Twitter. “The 22-year-old joins from Lyon and has signed a contract with the club until 2020.” Njie, who also celebrates his 22nd birthday on Saturday, can play as a centre-forward or off either flank. He becomes Spurs’ fourth summer signing, after Kevin Wimmer, Kieran Trippier and Toby Alderweireld. “I’m very happy to join Tottenham, such a big club in England,” Njie said on www.tottenhamhotspur.com. “I’m still young, still growing up and it’s a big challenge – the Premier League is one of the biggest leagues in the world. “The club is ambitious and I’m ready to give my best to help the club achieve its aims. “Like I said, I’m still learning and I’m here to give my best. I just hope I get the chance to give (back) to the club what they are giving to me. Tottenham have announced the signing of Clinton Njie from Lyon on a five-year contract. Press Association “I’ve always loved playing football and it’s always been my dream to play professional football so when I had my chance, I had to grab it.” There will be a familiar face at White Hart Lane for Njie – his former Lyon team-mate Hugo Lloris. The pair had a year together at Les Gones before the goalkeeper – Tottenham’s newly appointed captain – moved to England in 2012. “He is a very nice person and a good captain,” the forward said. “He has his fighting spirit and his winning spirit and helps the younger players. He is a good leader.” Spurs have been on the lookout for a new striker for some time, with Friday’s sale of Roberto Soldado to Villarreal and Emmanuel Adebayor not being given a squad number for the new season leaving Harry Kane as the only senior striker on the north London club’s books. And their search concluded on Saturday, with confirmation of the deal for the Cameroon frontman.
O’Shea said: “The negative vibe around because of such poor performances has not totally gone – we didn’t win, we got a draw, but it’s something to start with.” The home side started the game well, but fell behind on the stroke of half-time when their concentrations slipped and Bafetimbi Gomis pounced to convert Kyle Naughton’s pass for his third goal in as many games. However, Sunderland were back on level terms with 62 minutes gone when Jermain Defoe fired past Lukasz Fabianski from Jeremain Lens’ through-ball, and they might have claimed all three points in a rousing finish during which they might have been awarded a penalty for handball against Ashley Williams. All in all, it was a much improved display from Advocaat’s men, with O’Shea’s leadership and organisational skills proving invaluable on his return to the team after being named only among the substitutes for the opening two fixtures. The Republic of Ireland international said: “Look, it’s one of those things. The manager is the manager. I have always been brought up in the way that you have to respect the decision of the manager. “I do my stuff in training and if he is going to pick me, he is going to pick me. That’s the way I have always kind of done things. “I was obviously delighted to come back in and help the team anyway I can. But more importantly, the squad a s whole, we have to have that attitude if we want to succeed in the Premier League. “Yes, everyone wants to play, but as the manager will always say, he’s going to have to disappoint a few people. That’s just the Premier League.” Sunderland skipper John O’Shea has urged his team-mates to use their first point of the season as a springboard to ease themselves up the Barclays Premier League table. The Black Cats belatedly opened their account for the campaign with a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Swansea on Saturday and showed commendable resilience to claw their way back into the game after falling behind. It was not the win head coach Dick Advocaat craved after desperately poor performances in defeat by both Leicester and Norwich and they remained at the foot of the table on goal difference, but it was a start. Advocaat hopes to increase that competition further during the remaining days of the transfer window and sent a fresh message to chairman Ellis Short, who had earlier used his programme notes to hit back at criticism of his reign, after the final whistle. The Dutchman said: “We still need something, and hopefully our president will realise that as well because you cannot bring that every week.” Opposite number Garry Monk headed back to South Wales bemoaning the two points that got away, but was satisfied with his side’s start to the season. He said: “At this moment in time, I think as a team we are a handful. That’s the way we set up, it’s the way I want us to play. “We are aggressive without the ball and we will try to be aggressive with it as well. Unfortunately, we didn’t the get three points we probably should have had.” Press Association
The Potters thrashed Tottenham and Liverpool at the end of last season to finish ninth in the table but have failed to carry that momentum into the current campaign. No wins in six league games so far see Mark Hughes’ side languishing in the bottom three ahead of this weekend’s clash but Howe has warned his players not to underestimate their opponents. Press Association ”When I have reviewed Stoke’s games I have been very impressed,” Howe said. ”They don’t look like a team that haven’t won yet. They are the kind of side that you will see in a few weeks and they will be in a very different position. ”But we don’t need to worry about that. We know that if we are at our best levels we can beat anyone in this league, so it’s down to us. ”The performance against Sunderland was good, but we will prepare for Stoke on an individual basis. ”We are not at the stage where we can start to group games together. We want points from every game.” Bournemouth have enjoyed an encouraging start to life in the top flight. Wins over West Ham and Sunderland, as well as a draw against Leicester, mean the Cherries sit 14th and they scraped past Preston on penalties in the Capital One Cup third round on Tuesday. A second consecutive league victory against Stoke could see Howe’s side climb into the top half but they will have to do it without captain Tommy Elphick and midfielder Harry Arter, who are both injured. Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe insists Saturday’s opponents Stoke will soon climb away from the Barclays Premier League relegation zone. ”Both Tommy and Harry are still out,” Howe said. ”Tommy has flown to Sweden to get an update on his injury and Harry is still continuing his rehab. ”Harry has had a little niggle this week, not on his original injury, so it’s just a case of letting that settle down. But that’s only natural when you’ve been out for the length of time that he has. ”Tommy has gone to see a specialist he used when he was at Brighton. Hopefully after that it will be a case of building him back up quite quickly.”
October 24: Chelsea lose again, 2-1 at West Ham, losing Nemanja Matic to a first-half red card and also having assistant first-team coach Silvino Louro sent to the stands. Mourinho does not emerge on the touchline for the second half, having also been sent off. October 26: Mourinho charged with misconduct over his behaviour at West Ham. October 27: Holders Chelsea are knocked out of the Capital One Cup after losing their fourth-round tie to Stoke on penalties. October 31: Chelsea suffer yet another defeat as Liverpool are 3-1 winners at Stamford Bridge. The club’s position on his future, publicly at least, is unchanged from the vote of confidence at the start of the month. November 2: Press Association Sport learn legal papers will be served on Mourinho as part of separate but connected claims against him and against the club by Carneiro. November 2: Mourinho is given a one-match stadium suspension with immediate effect and fined £40,000 after admitting an FA charge of misconduct over his behaviour at West Ham. November 6: The FA releases its written reasons for Mourinho’s ban, saying he called referee Jon Moss “f****** weak”. November 7: With Mourinho absent from the game due to his ban, Chelsea lose 1-0 at Stoke – the club’s seventh league loss of the campaign. November 23: It is announced that Chelsea made a loss of £23.1million in their Premier League-winning season. November 29: Costa is dropped to the substitutes’ bench for the 0-0 draw at Tottenham and throws his bib in Mourinho’s direction when it becomes apparent he would not feature. December 5: Blues go down 1-0 at home to Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth. Substitute Glenn Murray was on the pitch for one minute 39 seconds before netting 82nd-minute winner. December 14: Chelsea beaten 2-1 at Leicester, putting the Foxes back top of the Premier League and leaving Mourinho’s men one point above the relegation zone after 16 matches. Mourinho says after the game that his work was “betrayed” by his players, and admits all top-four hopes are “gone”. Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho suffered another setback on Monday night, saying he felt his work was “betrayed” by his players after a 2-1 loss at Leicester. Here, Press Association Sport looks at the Portuguese’s troubled and controversial start to the season, on and off the pitch. August 8: Mourinho criticises Chelsea first-team doctor Carneiro and physiotherapist Jon Fearn for naivety in running on to the field to treat Eden Hazard in the opening-day draw with Swansea. Mourinho is cleared by the Football Association of abusing Carneiro, who then subsequently leaves Chelsea. Press Association August 16: Chelsea lose 3-0 away to Manchester City, with Mourinho substituting captain John Terry at half-time. August 29: Mourinho’s 100th Premier League home match results in only a second loss as his side go down 2-1 to Crystal Palace. September 12: The Blues lose again as they are beaten 3-1 at Everton, Steven Naismith with a hat-trick. September 19: Diego Costa is banned retrospectively for a running feud with Arsenal defenders Laurent Koscielny and Gabriel in Chelsea’s 2-0 win. Arsene Wenger avoids censure afterwards for calling referee Mike Dean “weak and naive”. Mourinho turns his frustrations to Wenger and the FA. September 29: Chelsea lose 2-1 to Mourinho’s old club Porto in the Champions League. October 3: Following a fourth league defeat, 3-1 to Southampton, Mourinho questions whether he will be sacked and subsequently receives the first vote of confidence in a manager in the 12 years of Roman Abramovich’s ownership. He is, though, hit with a £50,000 fine and suspended one-match stadium ban for comments after the loss about referee Robert Madley, which, an independent panel judges, alleged bias. October 15: The Portuguese maintains his attack on the FA, calls his fine a “disgrace” and says: “I’m happy that I don’t have an electronic tag.” October 17: Mourinho rounds on star player Hazard after dropping him to the bench for the 2-0 win over Aston Villa and demands the Belgian improve his defensive work rate.
Manchester City are still unsure when captain Vincent Kompany will be fit to return to action. Press Association The influential Belgium defender has made just 12 appearances this season due to calf injuries and was expected to be out until at least the end of January. Now manager Manuel Pellegrini has conceded even that target date might be optimistic as the player undergoes analysis to try to get to the bottom of his persistent problems. The 29-year-old’s current lay-off is his 12th for a calf injury since the start of the title-winning 2011-12 campaign, and his third this season. Asked if he could give an update on Kompany’s progress at his latest press conference, Pellegrini said: “Not in this moment. It is difficult because Vincent is doing a lot of different things to try to understand and to find the reasons for so many injuries. At this moment it is difficult to tell you an update about that.” He later added: “Vincent maybe not so soon, but for the last part of the season he could be fit.” City’s Barclays Premier League title challenge has suffered in Kompany’s absence. Of the 11 games in which he has not featured, the team have kept just one clean sheet. When he has been on the field, they have only conceded once. Now with Eliaquim Mangala also sidelined with a hamstring injury, City are looking short of central defensive options, but Pellegrini has no plans to sign cover during this month’s transfer window. He said: “We have (Martin) Demichelis, we have (Nicolas) Otamendi, we have Bacary Sagna, who can play in a central defensive position, we have Cameron (Humphreys), who is a young player who featured in pre-season with the squad. Mangala will return soon. So, at this moment, we are not thinking about making a change.” Pellegrini also insisted he had no plans to sign a new striker and instead praised 19-year-old Kelechi Iheanacho, who scored his fifth goal of the campaign in Saturday’s FA Cup win at Norwich. He said: “Kelechi has been involved from the first game of this season. He’s in the squad because he’s important in that position. It’s important for him that when he has the opportunity to play, to do it in the way he did in the last game against Norwich. “He’s the answer for a lot of questions that you asked before about whether we need to bring in another striker – the other striker is Kelechi.” Forward Wilfried Bony has struggled to make an impact since his £28million move to City from Swansea last January but Pellegrini would not comment on reports he could leave the club. The Chilean said: “It’s speculation – nothing more. I don’t talk about rumours. Our squad is complete. Nobody will come and nobody will go out. We have options until the last day, but at the moment, no news.” City return to Barclays Premier League action on Wednesday as they host Everton a week after they were beaten at Goodison Park in the first leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final. “The games are not related,” Pellegrini said. “Everton will be more related with Crystal Palace, who we must play on Saturday, because we are going to have less than 72 hours to recover the players. “Every game is different. We must try to beat Everton (on Wednesday), and after that we are going to think about Crystal Palace.” Pellegrini’s future remains the subject of considerable speculation with the much-coveted Pep Guardiola having revealed he wants to work in England after he leaves Bayern Munich at the end of the season. City have been consistently linked with the Catalan in recent years. Guardiola has apologised to any managers his announcements may have undermined, but Pellegrini is indifferent to the situation. He said: “I’m not worried about that. I don’t think he has to apologise to me. I have nothing to say about that.”