International News - Issue 280




New Liverpool Manager Klopp Outlines Coaching Philosophy

New Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says he always wants his teams to "play at full throttle". The Reds confirmed Klopp's appointment as the successor to Brendan Rodgers last week, who was sacked after three years on Merseyside. Klopp won two Bundesliga titles with Borussia Dortmund and reached the 2013 UEFA Champions League Final, where they lost to Bayern Munich. "Winning is important but so is how you win and how you play the game. I believe in a playing philosophy that is very emotional, very fast and very strong," Klopp told the club's official website. "My teams must play at full throttle and take it to the limit every time. It is important to have a playing philosophy that reflects your own mentality, reflects the club and gives you a clear direction to follow. Tactical, of course, but tactical with a big heart. "Liverpool has extraordinary supporters and Anfield is a world-renowned home, with an incredible atmosphere. I want to build a great relationship with these supporters and give them memories to cherish. I hope we can feed off each other's energy and that we take this journey together. "I would like to offer thanks to the ownership of Liverpool for showing faith in me and my staff and presenting us with this wonderful opportunity. They have presented to me a very clear vision and I share their ambitions and model of work. "I am very excited by the challenge we face and eager to start the job and begin implementing our ideas and ways of working with this team. This is a talented group of players and there is still much to compete for this season."

Danny Blind has hinted there was something to the reported training ground bust-up between Memphis Depay and Robin van Persie, but says it is all over now. Reports suggests the two clashed ahead of last weekend’s 2-1 win against Kazakhstan, a game for which Van Persie was left out of the starting line-up. Blind insists the incident had no affect on his team selection. “There are sometimes situations in training where players think different, then you talk about it. That's what happened and then it's over,” he says. Van Persie left Manchester United in the summer for Fenebahce, a month after Depay arrived at Old Trafford.

England defender Phil Jagielka feels the future is bright for his national team following their successful Euro 2016 qualifying campaign. The Three Lions became just the sixth team in the history of the qualifiers to win all ten of their qualifying games, beating Lithuania 3-0 on Monday to round off the perfect campaign. Jagielka captained the team in Wayne Rooney and Gary Cahill’s absence, and the Everton defender feels the national side can be “something special” in future. "We knew it was going to be a difficult task to win all 10, but that was the gameplan from day one and thankfully we managed to do it," he told ITV. "Obviously the squad was mixed up a little bit but it proves what good strength we have got and, obviously with the goalscorers, what good youth we have got coming through. Hopefully if we nurture them right they could be something special." Roy Hodgson’s men face Spain, France and Germany in upcoming friendlies ahead of next year’s championships in France, and Jagielka knows his side must still prove themselves against the very best. "They are massive," he said of England’s forthcoming matches. "Obviously we have chosen to play against some really tough nations before we travel out to France so it is going to be difficult to try and get in the team. "But if you get in the team they are going to be hard games to go out and prove yourselves. But that is what we are all about, we are all competing for the same goal, we want to be on the plane to get out to France and once we get out there we want to be part of a successful England team. "The tougher the games the better, and hopefully all of us who played here have done ourselves no harm."

Robin van Persie has revealed Patrick Vieira showed him how to be mentally strong and handle pressure during their time together at Arsenal. Van Persie is having a tough time of late, as he is seeing limited game-time at new club Fenerbahce, while he was recently stripped of the Holland captaincy by head coach Danny Blind. However, the striker is drawing inspiration from the example set by ex-Gunners enforcer Vieira. "When you're young you don't know how to deal with situations like this," Van Persie was quoted as saying by The Daily Mirror. "But let me explain who was my guide to a great balance in life. Patrick Vieira showed me how to stay mentally strong and cope with all the pressures."My first season at Arsenal was Patrick's last. There were lots of stories about him going to Real Madrid. There was so much happening around this guy, it was incredible, and yet he was a tower of strength and an icon of calmness. "He just remained our natural leader. Nothing could affect him. He was totally in balance, he was on top of everything and felt he could master it all. "As a young player I was completely in awe of him. I admired that mental strength in him, and I think everybody else did."

Bayern Munich star Thomas Muller has hinted he may leave the Bundesliga for England in the not-too-distant future. The 26-year-old German international was recently linked with a move to Manchester United, and he says a switch to the English Premier League could not be a million miles off. “In the end we should not forget that playing football is our job, so people should accept that wages will always play a role in a player's decision-making,” he told Welt am Sonntag. “Of course, the wages that are being paid in the Premier League are very tempting. It would be hypocrisy to deny that. "You have to look at the complete package to determine whether something is right for you. What's good for you one day will not necessarily still be good for you the day after. "I know that a lot of German clubs are unhappy with the Premier League clubs' spending, but I think it is something good for all clubs in the end. It can only be a good thing for football when clubs invest so much money."

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Manchester City could face Manchester United without Sergio Aguero and David Silva after both players suffered injuries on international duty. Aguero is expected to be out for a month after suffering a muscle tear in his thigh, while Silva has an ankle injury that could keep him out for two to three weeks. Aguero was injured during Argentina’s shock 2-0 home defeat to Ecuador in a World Cup qualifying match last Thursday, while Silva was injured during Spain’s 4-0 win over Luxembourg in Friday’s Euro 2016 qualifier. Both will certainly miss City’s League match at home Bournemouth next weekend, followed by the Champions League clash with Sevilla; and are unlikely to be fit for the Manchester derby on 25 October. “To recover from the tear I’ll surely need a month, although it will depend how it evolves,” Aguero said. A statement on the Spanish national team website stated that Silva suffered a badly sprained internal lateral ligament of the right ankle.

Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech believes his former team Chelsea are still favourites for the Premier League title this season. Chelsea have had their worst ever start to the season as they currently find themselves in 16th place, with eight points from their opening eight games. However, Cech believes The Blues are still title favourites under Jose Mourinho despite their poor form seeing them 10 adrift of log leaders Manchester City. "I'm surprised at their form because Chelsea are among the best in the Premier League," the Czech international told iDNES. "I'm not there anymore, so it is hard for me to evaluate what's going on. But the season is long and Chelsea are still favourites in my eyes." Arsenal, on the other hand, have enjoyed a good start to their campaign as they sit in second spot, just two point behing the Citizens. Following an impressive 3-0 win over Manchester United last weekend, Cech is confident The Gunners are up for a genuine title challenge themselves this season. "After our first defeat against West Ham, everyone said that we can never win anything big. Now we're being compared to the famous Arsenal who didn't lose once during a season [in 2003-04]," said the 33-year-old shotstopper. "I know that we have a team that can fight for the title until the final round."

Brazilian icon Pele says the current national side is not short of individual talent but lacks cohesion as a team. The 74-year-old gave his assessment after the Samba Boys started their World Cup qualification campaign with a 2-0 defeat to Chile. The Selecao - a record five-time world champions - are desperate to reassert their pedigree following their 7-1 humbling by Germany at the 2014 World Cup and quarter-final exit at this summer's Copa America. "We have not lost passion for football. We have the best players for Brazil but unfortunately, we don't have time to prepare the team," Pele told reporters. "Individual players are important but to have a good team you need to play together well as a team. That's the big problem. Individually we have the best players but as a team we've a lot of problems. "In my time the players used to belong to the clubs but today players are managed by their agents. Presently we have a lot of problems in different positions of the field."

Gareth Bale's agent insists there is no bad blood between his client and Cristiano Ronaldo. Bale's representative Jonathan Barnett acknowledges the Real Madrid stars are not especially close, but he maintains they enjoy a cordial relationship. "They don’t go out eating every night together, but it’s fine," he told the Guardian when asked about rumours of a rift. "There’s no hatred there. "Gareth is a quiet guy. They’re complete opposites. But I think Gareth can learn a little bit from Ronaldo as well, interacting maybe a little bit. But he wants his own life and he lives it." Barnett added that Bale is committed to becoming the best footballer in the world. "Gareth is a great footballer, he doesn’t want anything more. "He has some very good endorsements, but his whole life is to be the best footballer in the world."

French legend Zinedine Zidane considers Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain the favourites to win this season's UEFA Champions League. The clubs will meet in the tournament later this month, having both won their first two Group A games against Malmo and Shakhtar Donetsk. "For me, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain are the two best clubs around in Europe at the moment," Zidane, who coaches Real's reserve team, told Canal. "Paris know the French league inside out, they are on another level to their rivals. "They are the best two teams for me, perhaps alongside Barcelona. Bayern are slightly behind those teams." PSG will host Los Blancos on Octobter 21, with the return duel at the Bernabeu on November 3.

Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana is relishing working with new Reds manager Jurgen Klopp. Klopp penned a three-year deal on Merseyside last week following the sacking of Brendan Rodgers. The 48-year-old German won two Bundesliga titles with Borussia Dortmund and reached the 2013 UEFA Champions League Final, where they lost to Bayern Munich. "I am excited, very excited, to work with the new manager," Lallana told a press conference. "I saw the press conference and, like everyone there and the reaction he is getting, it is going to be exciting. "I have obviously got one more game with England and I am fully focused on it, but I am excited to get back to the club afterwards." Liverpool are 10th in the Premier League standings, and naturally Lallana is hoping for a swift resurgence. "Of course it is a big season. Last year was frustrating," he said. "Even the beginning of this season was frustrating, picking up yet again another injury. "I am working really hard to keep fit because I feel if I stay fit, then the club will see the best of me. "It was obviously disappointing to see Brendan go and our indifferent start, but change happens in football."
Borussia Dortmund are confident that former manager Jurgen Klopp will not raid the club for its top players. Klopp joined Liverpool last Thursday, and already reports are doing the rounds that Dortmund stars like Marco Reus and Ilkay Gundogan could join their former boss at Anfield. However, the German club’s CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke is confident that won’t be the case. “Jurgen would never do anything that would damage BVB's interests,” he told Bild am Sonntag. “I am 100 per cent certain about that. He would never approach any players behind our back. “We are simply too close for things like that to happen. We have been through too much together."

Chelsea forward Pedro Rodriguez has thanked compatriots Cesc Fabregas, Diego Costa and Cesar Azpilicueta for helping in his transition to the Premier League. The former Barcelona speedster joined the London club in August after a successful career in La Liga, winning five League titles and three Champions League winners medals, yet opted for a new adventure elsewhere after falling down the pecking order at Camp Nou. The 28-year-old admits it was tough to leave Spain, but is happy with the decision he made. "When someone gets to play, they gain rhythm, confidence, you're happier, you try out more things," Pedro is quoted as saying on the Spain national team's website. "Leaving Barca was tough for me but I'm happy with the change." The Spain international however says the switch to England was made easier by his international teammates at Stamford Bridge, which include Fabregas, Costa and Azpilicueta. "They've been a great support to me," he said. "The adaptation has been quicker given I already knew them from here and they've treated me very well in the dressing room, showing me how the club works.” Pedro is currently on international duty with La Furia Roja, who will guarantee their spot at Euro 2016 with a win over Luxembourg this evening. Pedro admits his side were disappointing at last year’s World Cup, where they were knocked out in the group stage, yet feels the team is now back on track. "Obviously we know that we weren't our best at the World Cup, we didn't give a good account of ourselves," he said. "But I think in the qualifying matches for the European Championships... the team has shown a new image and that's the way to go."

Chelsea striker Diego Costa feels the players are to blame for his side’s recent woes this season, and admits he was overweight at the start of the campaign. The Blues lie 16th in the Premier League standings after a dismal start to the defence of their League title with coach Jose Mourinho feeling the heat, yet his Spanish forward feels the manager shouldn’t be the one singled out for the club’s problems. "We know we're not in the form we were supposed to be at the beginning of the season," he said. "We need to blame the players because we came back from holiday very confident, thinking we could go back into how it was last season, and then realised the team was already in a bad situation. "In some cases they blame the players. In this case they blame the manager, maybe because the manager is Mourinho. Maybe he gets criticised because he is very good. Maybe he gets criticised because he is Mourinho. I have been here for more than a season and have seen sides that have lost many more games than Chelsea, and no one criticises their managers. "I'm here because I'm happy with the manager but I'm not only speaking on my behalf. I am here to speak for everyone, for the group. All that matters at the end of the day is the group. Yes, he has supported me, but he has shown support for all of the players. "I have spoken to all of the players and they all feel the same way about Jose. I don't like giving interviews, but I'm speaking for the group. We all feel the same way about Jose." Costa admits he was not in ideal physical condition at the start of the campaign, and did not shire away from taking some of the blame himself. "I'm going to be very honest: Maybe a few weeks ago, five or six weeks ago, I was not on top of my game. At least physically," he said. "Maybe I got out of my diet and, when I came back [from holiday], I was not the way I was supposed to be. I was a little bit overweight. That affected my game. You can be selfish and blame it on the manager but I'm not going to do that. "I'm responsible 100 percent, and so are the other guys. So all we can do now is train very hard and work very hard to try to get back to that level where we were the season before." Chelsea will look to get their season back on track when they host Aston Villa on 16 October.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter has announced he will appeal the 90-day ban imposed on him by the organisation’s Ethics Committee. Blatter was relieved of his duties as the world football governing body’s leader amid ongoing investigations into an alleged £1.35 million payment made to Uefa president Michel Platini, who has also been suspended. Blatter’s advisor and friend Klaus Stohlker has announced the 79-year-old’s decision to immediately appeal the ban imposed on him. "He [Blatter] has appealed already to Fifa's appeal committee,” Stohlker said. “He is defending his position and he is sure that he will be found not guilty." Platini has also announced he will appeal his ban, with Uefa set to meet in crisis talks next week to discuss the way forward, with the Frenchman’s ambition to run for Fifa president now in tatters. In Blatter’s absence CAF president Issa Hayatou, who is Fifa's longest-serving vice-president, has taken charge in the interim.