EPL

  • De Bruyne admits to being below his best...

    Kevin De Bruyne admits he has been below his best for Manchester City but believes regular game time will help to rediscover his spark. The Belgium international enjoyed a stunning 2017-18 campaign, in what was a record-breaking season for all concerned at the Etihad Stadium. H...

    De Bruyne admits to being below his best during injury-hit season at Man City

    Kevin De Bruyne admits he has been below his best for Manchester City but believes regular game time will help to rediscover his spark. The Belgium international enjoyed a stunning 2017-18 campaign, in what was a record-breaking season for all concerned at the Etihad Stadium. He delivered eight goals and 16 assists in Premier League competition, having posted six efforts and laid on 18 more in 2016-17. The target has been found just once this term, but De Bruyne has been severely hampered by injury. Ligament damage in his right leg kept him out for three months early in 2018-19, while a similar ailment in his left knee sidelined him in November. He has been restricted to just two Premier League starts as a result, and told reporters of his form after the most recent of those against Huddersfield: “I’m getting better. “You need a run of games where you play a lot because I’m not used to playing every three days, but I’m getting there. “I’m happy with the way I’m performing. It’s not the same record as last year, but you can expect that because I’ve been out since the World Cup. “To come back twice is not mentally not that easy, but I’m happy to be back playing football again.” De Bruyne concedes that the only way he is going to make the contribution expected of him is to take in more minutes. With that in mind, he is eager to figure as often as possible over the coming weeks. City’s next outing is set to come against Burton Albion in the second leg of a Carabao Cup semi-final clash that they already lead 9-0 on aggregate. “I want to play every game,” said De Bruyne. “We know with Burton, we should go through, but every game you need to show respect to the other teams. What they did is amazing for them. In the end, it is the manager’s decision who plays on Wednesday. “We want to go as far as possible and until now we have done well, so we will try to keep that going.”

  • LIVE SCORES: All the goals as they go in

    LIVE SCORES: All the goals as they go in

    LIVE SCORES: All the goals as they go in

    LIVE SCORES: All the goals as they go in

  • Man Utd flying but Mata admits Solskjaer...

    Juan Mata admits Manchester United “want more” after stretching a record-setting run under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to seven successive wins. The Red Devils were going nowhere fast prior to making a change in the dugout back in December. Jose Mourinho was relieved of his duties and...

    Man Utd flying but Mata admits Solskjaer's resurgent side 'want more'

    Juan Mata admits Manchester United “want more” after stretching a record-setting run under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to seven successive wins. The Red Devils were going nowhere fast prior to making a change in the dugout back in December. Jose Mourinho was relieved of his duties and replaced by Solskjaer, who returned to Old Trafford on an interim basis. He has enjoyed a dream start to life at the helm, and is yet to suffer a setback of any kind, but there is a desire within the squad he has inherited to achieve even more. Mata wrote on his personal blog after seeing United edge out Brighton 2-1 on home soil: “We continue on our good run of results. “To win seven games from a possible seven is not a simple task in any way, so we are proud and happy with how things have gone in recent weeks. But we want more. “We know that we are on the right track, but the most important part of the season is still ahead of us. “We have to continue in the same way if we want to achieve our targets, and we are all motivated to make the coming months very positive ones.” “As I’ve said, the win against Brighton on Saturday was our seventh in a row. We battled through at the end, to be honest, but I believe it was deserved. “When you’re on a good run, there are games that you win which otherwise, in other circumstances, you might have ended up drawing. “We played with energy and the desire to keep on improving. We started out by making it 2-0, thanks to a penalty from Paul [Pogba] and a great goal from [Marcus] Rashford. “Marcus is a truly special player. He already is, and is going to continue to be, a very important player for club and country and it is a pleasure to see his progression up close. “He’s also a great lad, with his mind focused on the important things and extraordinary physical attributes. He has everything to keep on growing without slowing down, and he deserves to.” The big games keeping on coming for United, who are now just three points adrift of the Premier League’s top four. They sit level on points with Arsenal just outside the Champions League spots, with the Gunners providing their next opposition in a heavyweight FA Cup fourth round clash. Mata added: “Now we’re looking ahead and, on Friday evening, the FA Cup returns with a very tough clash away against Arsenal. “The Emirates is a spectacular stadium, it is always tough to play there, and this time the game is important given that we are playing to go through in a competition which, as you all know, is very important to us. “Our opponent just beat Chelsea and will, therefore, be in a good place in terms of confidence, but we intend to keep pressing on in the cup.”

  • 'Hudson-Odoi is an outstanding talent' -...

    Callum Hudson-Odoi has been hailed as an "outstanding talent" by former Germany star Michael Ballack. Chelsea winger Hudson-Odoi is a transfer target for Bayern Munich, as first revealed by Goal, with the Bundesliga champions' sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic confirming last...

    'Hudson-Odoi is an outstanding talent' - Ballack talks up Chelsea starlet amid Bayern talk

    Callum Hudson-Odoi has been hailed as an "outstanding talent" by former Germany star Michael Ballack. Chelsea winger Hudson-Odoi is a transfer target for Bayern Munich, as first revealed by Goal, with the Bundesliga champions' sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic confirming last week that talks remain ongoing between the clubs. The 18-year-old has earned 10 first-team appearances for the Blues this season but is yet to make a Premier League start and is reportedly tempted by the prospect of greater opportunities with Bayern. "We're talking about a player who just came recently from the youth level. He's trying to achieve the step to the professional level in a top club," Ballack told Omnisport. "This makes it a lot more difficult for a young player because the standard is very, very high. It's hard to say whether the player is good enough for this demand or not. It's a fact that he's an outstanding talent. "Chelsea have to evaluate whether they want to keep him or maybe send him on loan. I think that's the philosophy of all top teams - to educate young, top players and to give them the possibility to play. "It's the most important thing during that young age, to play without losing the player. Bayern had their focus on Hudson-Odoi very early. We will see if the transfer is happening or not." Ballack was a far more established performer when he swapped Bayer Leverkusen for Bayern in 2002, having inspired Germany's run to that year's World Cup final, and he is reluctant to impart any pearls of wisdom upon Hudson-Odoi. "I don't have any advice for him. He has to see if he has a realistic chance at Chelsea in the first team or not," he said. "[Recently] he was often part of it and showed his qualities. Is it the right time to go to another top club like Bayern? Every player has to decide this on his own. There's no special recipe." The success of 18-year-old England international Jadon Sancho at Borussia Dortmund has been viewed, to a certain extent, as a motivation for Bayern's interest in signing Hudson-Odoi. Arsenal's 19-year-old forward Reiss Nelson has also impressed on loan at Hoffenheim this season and England manager Gareth Southgate welcomed the openness to such opportunities among his next generation. "I think Jadon and Reiss Nelson are the obvious ones who have trodden that path, there are some other young players who have done that and haven't yet appeared in first-team football," Southgate said, speaking courtesy of William Hill at a Football Writers Association dinner held in his honour in London on Sunday. "I think it's good that the opportunity is there. Young people now in our country are less restricted in their decision making. They don't view travelling the world in maybe the way we did when we were younger. "They're more secure in themselves and they're ready to go if it gives them an opportunity to play. For all young players, that opportunity to play first-team football is really important."

  • Lukaku hits out at 'lies' amid Man Utd e...

    Romelu Lukaku has hit out at the “lies” being spread about him as speculation builds regarding a possible transfer away from Manchester United. The Red Devils invested £75 million ($96m) in the Belgium international back in the summer of 2017. Jose Mourinho moved to prise him a...

    Lukaku hits out at 'lies' amid Man Utd exit talk

    Romelu Lukaku has hit out at the “lies” being spread about him as speculation builds regarding a possible transfer away from Manchester United. The Red Devils invested £75 million ($96m) in the Belgium international back in the summer of 2017. Jose Mourinho moved to prise him away from Everton after seeing the 25-year-old become one of the most prolific strikers in the Premier League. He delivered a 27-goal return in his debut season at Old Trafford, before going on to net four times for his country at the 2018 World Cup. Lukaku was, however, to endure a slow start to the current campaign, going 12 games without finding the target for United at one stage. As he toiled, Mourinho was eventually shown to the exits and replaced by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The new man at the helm is yet to hand Lukaku a Premier League start, with a substitute role having to be accepted as Marcus Rashford shines in a central striking berth. A lack of minutes has sparked talk of a move being made, with Juventus among those said to be open to the idea of landing a proven frontman. Lukaku, though, appears to have quashed the exit talk with a post on Instagram which read: “When the hate don’t work they start telling lies.” Solskjaer has already sought to assure Lukaku that he still has a part to play in his plans. The Norwegian knows all about life in a star-studded squad at Old Trafford from his own playing days. He often had to contend with being an impact option off the bench, and thrived under Sir Alex Ferguson to establish a reputation as one of the best in the business in that role. Lukaku may have to do likewise, but has impressed enough in training to suggest that he will get regular opportunities to impress. Solskjaer said: “I used to be one of four strikers when we played with two. Now we have six forwards and we play with three. “There are enough games. It is about taking your chances when you get them. “No-one is scoring as many as Romelu in training.” Despite starting just one FA Cup game under the Red Devils’ new boss, Lukaku has managed three goals in his last five appearances. More chances will come his way, but for now Rashford is leading the line with Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial offering support from wide attacking posts.

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