Villas-Boas admits to Chelsea regrets as he plans coaching return in Germany after racing career

The former Blues and Tottenham boss concedes that he made mistakes in England but is looking to return to the dugout at some stage in the future

Andre Villas-Boas admits “England was bad for me”, but the former Chelsea and Tottenham manager is planning a return to coaching in Germany.

Having followed in the footsteps of mentor Jose Mourinho at Porto to forge a reputation as one of the finest young bosses in world football, the Portuguese took the reins at Stamford Bridge at just 33 years of age.

He would last only nine months in that post before taking on another Premier League challenge across London at White Hart Lane.

Villas-Boas fared a little better with Spurs, making it through one full season before being moved on, but left English football aware that he had made several mistakes.

He told those in attendance at the WebSummit in Lisbon: “England was bad for me, I was not flexible in my ideas. 

“I learned to be more flexible when I went from Chelsea to Tottenham. I always thought more in the long run without thinking in the short term. 

“I was thinking about the future, but the results were irregular.”

Villas-Boas has since spent time in the dugout at Zenit St Petersburg and Shanghai SIPG, with the most recent of those spells coming to a close in November 2017.

He has moved into motor sport since then, taking part in the Dakar Rally, but still sees football forming part of his future – potentially in the Bundesliga, with Goal having revealed how he has previously been considered by Borussia Dortmund.

“I’m learning German now, it’s a market that pleases me and I need to know the language,” he added.

Villas-Boas will be well prepared for any challenge he takes on, but he believes there is still a lot more that football could learn from other sports when it comes to preparing players for elite competition.

He said: “It does not happen in the US, the NBA or the NFL. The players spend eight hours in the centres. 

“It was important to do the same in football – training in the morning, controlling nutrition, analysing opponents, for example.”

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Southampton win vital for 'brilliant' Man City after Liverpool draw – Sterling

The England international insists there will be no complacency from the Premier League champions as they look to retain their title

Raheem Sterling says it was vital Manchester City capitalised on Liverpool dropping points by thumping Southampton to return to the top of the Premier League.

Sterling scored twice in City’s convincing 6-1 win over the hapless Saints at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, netting his 50th goal for the club in all competitions along the way. 

Wesley Hoedt’s own goal, Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Leroy Sane completed the scoring for Pep Guardiola’s side, who went two points clear at the top of the table after Liverpool could only draw with Arsenal on Saturday.

“It was a good day’s work from the team. The boys came out well. You can get complacent at home but started well and carried on throughout the game,” Sterling told Match of the Day.

“These are the games we need to capitalise on. The top teams drop points, we need to win. Big week this week. We go again in the Champions League.

“I thought it was a great team performance. Not just with the ball. We were brilliant at times today.”

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After scoring either side of half-time, Sterling passed up the opportunity of a hat-trick in the closing stages by choosing instead to set-up Sane for City’s sixth goal.

The former Liverpool forward says that’s a sign of the spirit and togetherness in the City squad as they look to retain their title.

“Leroy is always a man who looks up for me,” Sterling added. “He always has his eyes open. I was on a hat-trick but I am happy to set one up for him.

“I am grateful for the position I am in, learning and trying to get better. It is great times at the moment.

“After Liverpool dropped points it was important that we won today. They are a brilliant side.”

Those thoughts were echoed by Germany winger Sane, who added : “I was lucky at the end with the goals, I tried to score in the game, but the whole team was really strong today.

“You can see we’re keeping going with how we play from last season, we enjoy playing together. It was important to be top today.”

Man City will now turn their attentions to the Champions League and a tie against Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday before welcoming rivals Manchester United to the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League next weekend.

Memphis continues blistering 2018 in win over France

The 24-year-old scored a late penalty as the Netherlands defeated the world champions on Friday

Memphis Depay’s fantastic run in 2018 continued on Friday in the Netherlands’ 2-0 Nations League win over France.

The Lyon striker scored a late clincher from the spot against the World Cup winners at De Kuip in Rotterdam, his 23rd goal combined for club and country in the calendar year. 

In total, Depay has been directly involved in 41 goals in 52 matches for club and country in 2018, which includes 23 goals and 18 assists. 

With four goals and two assists, the 24-year-old has also been involved in half of the Netherlands’ 12 goals in 2018.

After missing out on World Cup 2018, the Netherlands have begun to turn things around and on Friday became the first team to defeat France after Les Bleus lifted the World Cup in Russia this summer. 

With the win the Dutch are now just a point back of France in Nations League Group 1 with a game in hand, while third-place Germany have been relegated. 

Liverpool star Georginio Wijnaldum, who opened the scoring against France on Friday, has also played a big part in his country’s turnaround.

Wijnaldum’s goal meant he’s now scored in two consecutive games for the Netherlands for the first time in 20 matches.

The Dutch will look to keep their strong form going when they take on Germany on Monday, with a win taking them to the last four of the Nations League. 


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Rose: Playing at Wembley isn’t nice anymore, it’s not an honour

Tottenham continue to play their home games at England’s national stadium, but the appeal of such a stage is wearing thin for players and supporters

Danny Rose admits playing at Wembley is “just not nice anymore”, with the honour of gracing such a stage having lost its appeal during Tottenham’s residence at the home of English football.

Initially, with White Hart Lane undergoing redevelopment, the opportunity to turn out at the home of English football on a regular basis was embraced by players and supporters.

What was supposed to be a one-season lease has, however, been extended indefinitely through the 2018-19 campaign.

Fans are now voting with their feet, with only 33,012 in attendance for a 3-1 midweek win over Southampton, and Rose concedes that everybody is tired of the stadium delays and relocation.

A man who has graced Wembley on a regular basis with England alongside his club commitments told reporters: “It’s just not nice anymore.

“It’s lost its… I don’t feel it’s an honour to play at Wembley. The atmosphere is a bit flat.

“I obviously sympathise with the fans, travelling further to come to Wembley, but it’s the lowest attendance since we’ve been at Wembley. That speaks volumes.

“We’re all itching to get in the new stadium and hopefully it’s not too much longer.”

Spurs have taken in 41 fixtures at Wembley across Premier League, domestic cup and Champions League competition.

They were supposed to be back at White Hart Lane in September, but that grand opening continues to be pushed back.

A meeting with Manchester United on January 13 is the target, but there is no guarantee that everything will be in place by then.

“The manager has said we’re all itching to get in,” Rose added.

“We’re disappointed it’s taken longer than expected but we know everybody is putting in the hours to make sure the stadium is as good as possible.

“It’s not that much longer now, so hopefully over the next couple of months we’re going to be in there and we all sympathise with the fans.

“We just have to stick together now. We know it’s not going to be too much longer.”

Tottenham’s next two fixtures are set to take them out on the road, to Leicester and Barcelona, before returning to Wembley for a meeting with Burnley on December 15.

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Cecafa cancels 2018 Senior Challenge Cup

Cecafa have now confirmed to Goal that the regional tournament will not take place because they could not secure another host

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Cecafa have confirmed the cancelation of this year’s Senior Challenge Cup.

Kenya had been picked to host the tournament but they pulled out in the last minute. Cecafa have now confirmed that the tournament will not take place because they could not secure another host.

“It is not possible to have the tournament played this year. We have tried our best to secure a new host but none is willing to. And also it will not be possible since the Caf Champions League and Caf Confederation Cup will be played in the same period.

“We have moved to cancel the same and will try to stage the tournament next year,” Cecafa secretary Nicholas Musonye told in an interview.

Kenya were handed the rights to stage the tournament, a year after winning it following a penalty shootout win against Zanzibar at Machakos Stadium. The regional tournament brings together over 13 countries from the region.

Is Mourinho good enough? Man Utd don't know what pieces are missing from jigsaw, says Neville

The former Red Devils defender admits inconsistencies at Old Trafford make it difficult to pin the blame on a manager or underperforming players

Manchester United’s “jigsaw is half empty”, says Gary Neville, with the Red Devils unaware of what pieces are missing and whether Jose Mourinho or underperforming players should be shouldering the blame.

A testing 2018-19 season is seeing plenty of uncomfortable questions asked at Old Trafford, with a disappointing transfer window having set the tone for what has unfolded so far in Premier League, Carabao Cup and Champions League campaigns.

Talk of dressing room unrest, potential player sales, struggles to land fresh faces and inconsistent performances across multiple competitions has United wondering in which direction they will head from this point.

Former defender Neville admits he is unable to predict what will happen, with a derby defeat to Manchester City on Sunday highlighting old flaws and opening new wounds for a club lacking direction and a clear long-term plan.

He told Sky Sports of the current state of play: “There is not just one piece of the jigsaw or one answer at Manchester United here, where they can say this is what we need and all of sudden they are going to win the league. 

“The jigsaw is half empty, but the problem is at the moment when you’re looking at it, you’re not quite sure what pieces are missing and that’s something the board, the owners, the senior recruiters, the coach, they have got to sit down and say how do we build a title-winning team? You build a title-winning team by keeping clean sheets.”

Neville added: “I’ve seen [these players] under Louis Van Gaal a lot of these players, I saw them and I didn’t like what I saw when he was the coach..

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“At this moment in time, Manchester United don’t look like they can win a game proactively. They finished second last season, the best since Sir Alex Ferguson finished. 

“I’m not defending Jose Mourinho, but could the manager get more out of them? Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t know if the players are good enough, I haven’t got a clue.

“Look, if you asked me: ‘Is Ashley Young playing the best he could play?’ Yeah. ‘Is this the Chris Smalling we have seen for the last few years?’ Yeah. [Victor] Lindelof is playing better than he has ever played. [David] De Gea’s not. 

“It’s so confusing when you watch Manchester United, it’s so confusing because what would you change? If you were going in there as the manager tomorrow what would you change?”

A 3-1 defeat to City has left United eighth in the Premier League table, 12 points adrift of their neighbours at the summit and seven short of the top four.

Emery rules out striker signing to cover Welbeck's injury-enforced absence

The Gunners have seen their attacking ranks depleted, but their manager insists he has no plans to find reinforcements during the January window

Arsenal manager Unai Emery has no intention of signing a striker during the January transfer window, despite losing Danny Welbeck to a badly broken ankle.

The Gunners have confirmed that their England international forward suffered “significant” damage during a Europa League clash with Sporting.

Welbeck is now facing a long road to recovery, while his contract is also running down, but cover will not be sought over the winter.

Instead, Emery – who has overseen a 15-match unbeaten run across all competitions for his side – is looking to promote from within if Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang need a rest.

Quizzed on whether he will be seeking attacking reinforcements, the Spaniard said: “The first [choice] is to look inside, and we have one striker also who is working well with the under-23s and is improving also, Eddie Nketiah, and he could have chances.

“But I think it’s early for speaking about the possibility [of making signings] in January.”

Nketiah is a highly rated product of Arsenal’s famed academy system.

The 19-year-old has netted six times for the club’s U23 side this season and was handed a senior bow by Arsene Wenger last season, recording his first goals in a Carabao Cup win over Norwich.

He could be handed more first-team opportunities in 2018-19, while the Gunners have the option of recalling Reiss Nelson from a loan spell at Hoffenheim.

The England U21 international has been starring for the Bundesliga side, finding the target six times in seven appearances, and could prove to be a useful addition if Emery does find himself short of numbers.

For now, though, there are no plans to return the talented teenager to north London.

Emery has said: “At the moment we don’t speak about that.

“With Reiss, we are very happy with him at the moment. We follow him every match. We are thinking about how he can help us in the future.

“It is our idea with him [to let him get regular playing time in Germany]. He can take responsibility, minutes and confidence in a team where he can play more. Then the objective is to come back with us and grow with this experience.”

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Sissoko insists Tottenham are Premier League title contenders

Mauricio Pochettino’s side beat Crystal Palace 1-0 at the weekend, and the Frenchman feels they have the quality to mount an assault on the title

Moussa Sissoko insists Tottenham have the quality to be Premier League title contenders.

Sissoko has enjoyed a renaissance this season, going from one of Spurs’ most-maligned players to perhaps one of their most important.

An excellent display against Crystal Palace at the weekend helped Mauricio Pochettino’s men to a 1-0 win at Selhurst Park, while he also enjoyed a productive performance in the 3-2 win over Wolves.

Indeed, the Frenchman earned a recall to the national team following a series of selections in the club’s starting XI – he has been involved in Tottenham’s last six encounters – with the north London side currently fourth in the Premier League.

And Sissoko insists that he and his team-mates can challenge for the title.

“Every season, this league becomes more difficult, but we have to stick together and play our game, and do the right things to try and hopefully get something at the end of the season,” he told reporters.

“It won’t be easy because Liverpool are here, Chelsea are here, Manchester City and Arsenal are here and it will be a tough battle.

“But we have the quality to answer them.”

Spurs have lost three of their opening 12 games, to Watford, Liverpool and Manchester City, and lie five points behind Pep Guardiola’s side, though they are three clear of fifth-placed Arsenal.

They are next in action against Chelsea following the international break, before a must-win Champions League clash with Inter.

Spurs have four points from their opening four Champions League group games, and sit three behind the Italian giants, to whom they lost in their opening European game.

However, a win over Inter may not guarantee qualification, as they may also need to defeat Barca in the final game of the campaign, though the encounter will take place at Camp Nou.


Man Utd star Mata reveals what is 'special' about Arsenal boss Emery

The Red Devils midfielder reveals all about his former boss in an exclusive extract from a new authorised biography about the Gunners head coach

Arsenal head coach Unai Emery has worked with some of the biggest names in world football, from Neymar to Kylian Mbappe at Paris-Saint Germain and Juan Mata to Alvaro Negredo during his time as a manager in Spain.

Emery is a former European Coach of the Year and led PSG to a treble-winning season in 2017-18. He is notorious for giving little away to the media and is considered to be a very private person, yet there remains much intrigue behind the man who was appointed as Arsene Wenger’s successor over the summer.

‘El Maestro’, a new authorised biography written by journalist Romain Molina, traces Emery’s journey from his Basque roots to north London, based on interviews with people who know and have worked alongside the former Sevilla coach.

One of those who know him better than most is Juan Mata. The Manchester United midfielder worked under Emery when he was manager at Valencia and has revealed in the book how psychology proved to be an integral part of the training regime during his tenure.

The importance of psychology

“The managers I’ve known all had their own specific way of working. Apart from the set pieces, I think what’s special about Unai is the way he communicates. In his talks, he used to write, three, four or five things on the board: those were the points he was going to bring up. Sometimes it was five phrases or metaphors he was going to explain. I’ve never seen that with my other managers. 

“They usually revolved around phrases about positivity, camaraderie, the values he wanted to create in his team. To do that, he did something no one else did, that is, he communicated by means of the points he had written down. His talks could go on and on because he didn’t notice the time and carried on talking, but what he said was always intense, and he would ask you questions. That turned it into a kind of seminar that brought in the whole group.

“One particular memory stands out for me. He was talking about the criticism we’d received after we’d lost a match. This was pretty harsh, and so he talked about our relationship with the press and how we should react to the criticisms: ‘I don’t read what they write about us when things are going badly. I don’t let myself be influenced by what they might say, and only read the press when things are going well’.

“He liked positive thinking and the fact that it gives you more energy. He was also the first manager who talked to us about the incredibly complicated relationship there can be with criticism: the pressure, the repercussions and how to manage them. If you’re a professional footballer, you’re open to negative comments with every game, but he showed us that we were above all that, that the journalists could say what they liked, we had to concentrate on our job, which was to make progress. […] I think that the emotional factor, particularly in football, is a very important phenomenon.

“I think that being confident gives you more freedom, it liberates you, helps you have the courage to do things on the football pitch. You have to feel free enough to do what your body is telling you to do. Sometimes though, the pressure of winning and the fear of defeat limit your performance. I used to talk about that with Unai and Carcedo because I needed to. Their positive attitude, even at the most difficult moments, meant that the players felt more relaxed on the pitch. And that’s what I found personally.”

Unai Emery El Maestro tells the story of Emery and includes interviews with the players, coaches and those closest to the Arsenal head coach.

Man City star Sterling signs £15m-a-year contract extension

The England international had been linked with Real Madrid but will now remain at the Etihad Stadium until at least 2023

Raheem Sterling has signed a three-year contract extension with Manchester City, the club have announced.

Sterling is now tied to the club until 2023 after agreeing a lucrative new deal that could earn him as much as £300,000 per week. 

City had been trying to renew the England international’s contract since last season but only reached a break through in the past few weeks. 

The 23-year-old had been linked with a move to Real Madrid but has now committed his future to City for the next five years.

“I’m delighted to sign,” Sterling said in a club release. “My development here has been incredible. I felt from the minute I got here it was the right choice for me. It’s really paid off for me and I’m really grateful.

“Every season you come in you want to do better than your previous season. You want to try and develop and get better.

“With the facilities we’ve got here there’s no reason not to. With the coaching staff and the players we have in this team it’s the perfect environment to develop and get better.”

Sterling is in his fourth season with City after joining the club from Liverpool in 2015. 

The England international has established himself as one of the Premier League’s top attacking players, and put together a career year last season as City won the Premier League and Carabao Cup. 

Sterling scored 23 goals and added 17 assists in 46 matches across all competitions in 2017-18, and has continued that form into this season with seven goals in 14 games in all competitions.

“This is a significant moment for the club,” Manchester City director of football Txiki Begiristain said.

“Raheem has improved dramatically in the past two seasons and is now one of the Premier League’s best attacking players. His statistics tell their own story.

“He’s quick, strong and excellent in front of goal – everything a modern-day forward needs to excel.

“We’re all delighted he has committed his future to City.”

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