Former Chelsea star Frank Lampard has indicated that he is focused on the managerial role at Derby County amid the speculation linking him with the Blues job. The 40-year-old has done tremendously well during his debut season in management and he has the opportunity of propelling Derby to the Premier League, should they beat Aston Villa in the Championship play-off final.
Amidst this, there have been reports suggesting that he could take over at the helm at Chelsea this summer but Lampard has stressed that he is concentrating on the Rams duty for the moment, he said: “When I started out in management, people said; ‘Your dream must be to be Chelsea manager.’ It’s an easy link. My dream was to do as well as I can day in and day out to be successful. I can’t call that one. Those things happen or they don’t or whatever. My focus is completely on the here and now. I find it quite difficult because (Chelsea) have got a game coming up. More importantly for me we’ve got a game coming up before that.”
Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum has admitted that it would be disappointing to end the campaign without winning any silverware. The Reds went toe-to-toe with Manchester City in the pursuit of the Premier League title but they were eventually finished as the runners-up with the Citizens outclassing them by the solitary point.
Still, the Reds have the opportunity to end their seven-year trophy drought with the Champions League crown and Wijnaldum insists it would be really sad to come up with nothing in the final against Tottenham Hotspur, he said: “If you look back when you’re on vacation on this season, I think everyone will realise we had a really good season, a wonderful season. Ninety-seven points, we’d normally be champion with.
Cardiff City captain Sean Morrison has hailed the performance of the team following their 2-0 win over Brighton & Hove Albion on the road on Tuesday night. The Welsh outfit had faced a must-win game to keep their survival hopes alive and they managed to do so with Morrison and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing finding the scoresheet.
Speaking after the game, Morrison acknowledged that the club were facing a do or die situation on the night and they managed to excel in flying colours with the three points, he said: “It was do or die tonight. It was a very important game. We’ve got two very tough games ahead of us and tonight was of great importance.
Ben Johnson has been able to agree a new contract with West Ham that will keep him at the club for the next three years. The 19-year-old featured in the Premier League for the first time in the 1-0 loss against Manchester City. However, he has been featuring regularly with the first team in training. After making 16 appearances for the under 23 squad is so far this season, the defender appears to have impressed manager Manuel Pellegrini sufficiently to earn himself a new contract. This is yet another commitment from West Ham to promote from within, as the youngster has been with West Ham since seven years of age. After starting out as a winger, the 19-year-old soon became a regular at right back.
His versatility will be one of the talking points for West Ham as they look to strengthen the squad going into the summer. He has also spoken fondly about his debut, which was against one of the best teams in the Premier League. Despite his lack of experience, Johnson was able to put in a decent performance. The 19-year-old is aware that he needs to keep working hard in order to feature more regularly in the first team. Interestingly, Johnson is related to former Tottenham captain Ledley King, who happens to be his cousin. Former England defender Paul Walker is also related to Johnson.
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has said that he is preparing for the forthcoming season with the Blues despite the regular speculation regarding his future. The west London giants have endured a mixed campaign where they have struggled to find the consistency, but they are still on course to finish in the Champions League positions.
Speaking to reporters, the Italian tactician said that he is only focused on the performances of the team while talks have already begun over the plans for next pre-season, he said: “We were talking about the programme of the next pre-season, so we were trying to organise in the best way the next pre-season. [Speculation] is not a big problem, the problem is the results. The rest is not important in this moment. I want to win for the team, for the club, not for me. So it’s not important. I was confident in the past, I am confident now but I want to think only about our performances and our results.”
Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford has backed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for the permanent managerial role at Old Trafford. The Norwegian has transformed the club’s fortunes since his temporary appointment in December and he has guided them to victories in 11 of the 13 matches under his tutelage.
As such, there have been growing suggestions that he should be appointed as the permanent head coach and Rashford has no concerns regarding the same. Speaking to Sky Sports News, the England international talked about the man-to-man management from the United favourite and believes there is no reason to deny him the contract, provided the form is sustained for the rest of the campaign.
ESPN football expert Sid Lowe has told Arsenal fans not to expect much of Denis Suarez in the scoring and assisting point of view, given the midfielder does not possess an impressive record in that aspect through his career. The Spaniard recently made his debut in the second half of the 3-1 defeat to Manchester City but he could not make a notable impression.
Speaking on ESPN FC, Lowe highlighted that Suarez can’t be expected to improve the performances of the players around him and lot of his success may rather depend on how the rest of the team live up to the challenge, he said: “Well I must admit I think a lot of this will depend on what’s around him rather than on Denis himself.
West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini has said that he is confident of keeping Andy Carroll at the club despite the ongoing speculation regarding the Englishman’s future. The 29-year-old has just six months remaining on his existing deal with the Hammers and this has recently witnessed him linked with Celtic and former club Newcastle United.
However, speaking after the Hammers’ 2-0 FA Cup win over Birmingham City, Pellegrini indicated that he was pleased with the performance of the former Liverpool man, who found the scoresheet after coming off the bench for Marko Arnautovic during the first period, he said: “He scored, missed a good chance, cleared two or three difficult balls. He will return to be the player that we know, for sure. He does not want to go anywhere, he is happy here at this club.”
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has urged the likes of Victor Moses and Danny Drinkwater to improve on the tactical side of their game, if they are to remain with the west London side on a long-term basis. Drinkwater has not featured for the Blues since the Community Shield at the start of August while Moses has been restricted to six appearances – just two of those coming in the Premier League.
Speaking ahead of the Crystal Palace, Sarri was asked about the futures of the Blues duo and he replied in a rather pessimistic fashion saying: “I don’t know; they have to improve, but the characteristics are a little bit different. The situation is that Drinkwater for me is not suitable for a midfield with two midfielders.I told him two months ago what I think. And Moses is more suitable for playing like a wing-back than like a winger or a full-back.”
Manchester United legend-turned-pundit Gary Neville believes Anthony Martial has genuinely struggles with his movement which often sees him drifting out of games. The Frenchman has found some good form this month with four goals across all competitions but Neville remains critical of the attacker’s play without the possession of the ball.
Speaking on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football, he said: “There’s never been a player for the last 10 years at Manchester United I’ve been confused by as much, in terms of what is he?. I can’t make my mind up, some weeks he’s brilliant, other weeks I’m not sure he’s a Manchester United player. What drives me crazy about him is his off the ball work, I’m not talking about his defending, forget his defending, what does he do going forward? He hasn’t got any timing in his runs off the ball.”