Monday, May 21st, 2012
Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “It was a huge disappointment when I saw the starting line-up, maybe the biggest disappointment of my life. If it wasn’t for the fans many times this season I would have thrown in the towel. There have been many ups and downs and many moments where I felt lost and I didn’t know what to do and where to be… Now the season is finished we will have more talks to see what happens in the future because this is not the role for which I came and I’m not happy. Winning the Champions League makes up for it of course but as far as the future is concerned… well. Right now I do feel it’s all worth it but the truth is I’ve gone through some very bad moments – the worst moments of my career – during the season and I am not willing to relive those moments… I wanted to take a penalty but they didn’t let me… The ideal for me for next season is if someone tells me what is going to happen. What role will I have in the team? What function will I have and what is expected of me? Then I can evaluate if it is worth it.” – Fernando Torres.
Runner-up: ”As long as I’ve not put pen to paper, I won’t say where I’m going. Chelsea makes you hesitate. They’ve won the Champions League and they’ll be in it next season… My agent has met with Manchester and with Chelsea. They both give good offers and are both great clubs. I don’t know. It’s not been finalised yet.” – Eden Hazard.
Chelsea: Champions League Champs
Chelsea players plead for Roberto Di Matteo to be given permanent post (Dominic Fifield, Guardian) Roman Abramovich will decide this week whether Roberto Di Matteo will remain as Chelsea’s manager with the players’ chants of “we want him to stay” still ringing in his ears after the club’s first European Cup victory.
No sentiment in next chapter of Roberto Di Matteo’s Chelsea story (Richard Williams, Guardian) In the cold light of a Chelsea morning he may feel that one season and promotion from the third to the second tier of English football with MK Dons, followed by a spell with West Bromwich Albion that came to an unhappy conclusion halfway through the second year, do not represent a managerial curriculum vitae substantial enough to entitle its owner to be entrusted with the work that must follow Saturday night’s outpouring of joy and relief.
Roberto Di Matteo’s negative strategy can be forgiven when it brings Chelsea the ultimate reward (Alan Hansen, Telegraph) Finals are about one thing only. Winning. If you want to talk about boring finals, I’d advise you never to watch a tape of Liverpool’s 1984 European Cup win in Rome, a game so poor it made Saturday’s game look a thriller.
How Chelsea’s defensive blanket wrapped up Bayern Munich’s star duo (David Pleat, Guardian) Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben were discouraged to go on the outside and instead induced to work the ball back inside or take one touch too many. Both were disappointing; Robben, in particular, was a disaster.
Chelsea’s Ryan Bertrand reveals how secret videos inspired players (Guardian) Where the squad had anticipated ProZone graphics flitting across the big screen clamped to the far wall, instead the messages delivered were of a far more personal nature. Two weeks previously, Di Matteo had commissioned the club’s video analysis team to compile video messages from members of each player’s family, their words of encouragement inter-cut with YouTube clips from games and even footage of them growing up as children, which were duly delivered in Big Brother style in front of an increasingly emotional audience. The presentation lasted around half an hour, the playing staff veering from fits of laughter to the brink of tears.
Has rouble dropped for Roman that Di Matteo is the way forward? (James Lawton, Independent) We are led to believe that the brilliant holding operation of Di Matteo, the one that finally delivered on the £1bn investment, has merely placed him in the field somewhere behind the likes of Fabio Capello and Pep Guardiola.
Roman: Gimme 4 (Sun) Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich wants FOUR Champions League titles.
Europa League Spurs
Crazy…but fourth was never with Tottenham on this one (Martin Samuel, Mail) It may seem harsh on Tottenham that they should finish so near yet so far, but they are not victims. They knew the rules from the start… If Tottenham feel any emotion this morning, it should be bitter regret. Every other team in the top four won at Aston Villa this season, as did Bolton Wanderers, West Bromwich Albion, Liverpool, Swansea City and Chelsea.
This killed off Spurs’ chance of ever dining at England’s top table (Paul Eddison, Independent) Spurs, despite their attractive football, don’t yet have the pedigree to attract the top players without the lure of Champions League football. The Spurs team which looked like challenging for the title when they went to the Etihad in February will now be dismantled. Much as I want to believe otherwise, Luka Modric and Gareth Bale will both be on their way in the summer, and Eden Hazard and Loïc Rémy won’t be coming in to replace them. Instead, Harry will again have to scout around for a bargain.
City reward Mancini with offer of three-year £15m contract deal (Mail) A £5m-a-year deal would see Mancini leapfrog Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson in terms of salary but would still leave him behind Arsene Wenger, who earns £6m a year at Arsenal.
Euro 2012: England Expects
Now anything is possible (Alan Shearer, Sun) What an incredible end to the Premier League and Champions League — now what price a fairytale at the European Championships? I believe what Manchester City and Chelsea have achieved this season could have a real knock-on effect for England… Hart, Cole, Cahill and Terry will make up most of England’s the back four. Lampard will be at the centre of midfield and I’m convinced Barry and Milner will also play a big part. They will all go into the tournament believing that with belief and determination anything is possible.
Reds move for De Boer (Sun) Liverpool have made Ajax boss Frank de Boer their No 1 target. De Boer has shot to the top of their wanted list after winning successive Dutch titles…. De Boer is considered the Dutch Pep Guardiola and is widely regarded as one of Europe’s most talented coaches.
Villas-Boas in no rush to accept Liverpool role… former Chelsea boss to hold talks this week (Mail) The Portuguese, who is a target for Italian side Roma, is set to hold talks with Liverpool this week over becoming Kenny Dalglish’s successor.
Villas-Boas refuses to be rushed over Liverpool job (Ian Herbert, Independent) After his traumatic nine-month experience at Chelsea, he will seek assurances about the new structure FSG are putting in place and the resources available for what the Americans view as an entire restructuring after 18 months of ownership at Anfield.
The Transfer Lies
Hazard tempted by Chelsea (Sun) Eden Hazard last night revealed he is leaning towards a £32million move to Chelsea. Lille’s attacking midfielder has been offered £250,000-a-week by the Blues but is also wanted by Manchester City and Manchester United.
Drog’s out! Didier China-bound after his Champions League win (Mail) Didier Drogba has almost certainly kicked his last ball for Chelsea, with the club expecting him to confirm his free transfer to Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua.
Get tough with Modric (Sun) Spurs chief Daniel Levy has been urged to get tough with Luka Modric again over the summer.
Boy from Brazil: Will Spurs sign Damiao instead of Adebayor or Remy? (Mirror) Redknapp sent top spy Ian Broomfield to watch the £15 million-rated hit man in action for his club Internacional in South America last night.
Former favourite Cole tops Allardyce wish list as Hammers look for staying power (Mail) West Ham will explore the possibility of bringing Joe Cole back to Upton Park after securing their top-flight return. And Cole is not the only former Hammer who could be on his way back to east London as the club target Nigel Reo-Coker and Kieran Richardson.
Berbatov: Why I must go (Sun)
Royals eye £2.5m Matt (Sun) Reading will make a £2.5million bid for Blackpool winger Matt Phillips, 21.
Cahill emerges as target for super-rich Saudi club (Mirror) Everton star Tim Cahill is a shock target for super-rich Saudi club Al Nassr who want to take him away from the Toffees.