Pardew said: “The characters grow, the characters will grow as we go along. “This is a difficult club to play for, I think. It can be the greatest club in the world to play for when you are winning, but we are not winning, so it becomes even harder to play for us, and we need to make sure we can handle that. “These players are going to learn more in the next six weeks, probably, than they have for the last two years of their careers.” Even the most opinionated of Newcastle fans have largely been able to compartmentalise their support for the team and their distaste for Pardew and owner Mike Ashley over the years, but for a growing section, patience has now run out. The manager has been subjected to sustained criticism before, during and after recent games, and he admits that cannot have gone unnoticed by the players. He said: “It’s something you can’t disguise from them. Initially this season, the third or fourth game in prior to Southampton, I could shield them to a degree, and I was trying to shield them from the pressure that was coming on me. “But I think it’s too late now. The pressure is going to come through the team, it’s coming through the staff, it’s coming into the training ground, so although it is signalled on me, of course the whole squad is feeling it. “It’s really important for us on Saturday that we give a performance that gets us clapped off at the end, even if it isn’t good enough. I think that’s what we have got to look for on Saturday. “That will be my hope, that our fans clap our players off.” Pardew’s squad underwent significant change during the summer and the likes of Remy Cabella and Emmanuel Riviere, who have been thrown in at the deep end, have struggled to adapt during the early weeks of the campaign. Their lack of Premier League experience, coupled with the club’s failure to land a proven striker, have led some to call into question the club’s well-known transfer policy, although the manager insists that is unfair. He said: “The way players are brought in, it’s obviously a process that we go through, but the model is to buy younger players, and that makes it difficult if you are not winning. “This is the first season we have brought in new players again and not won. Every time I have been here, we have got off to a good start and it helps players bed in quickly. “We have produced some fantastic signings at this football club – I don’t think anyone would deny that – so we can’t suddenly say we have got it all wrong and this is the wrong model and these are the wrong players. “We have got to give them time, and it hasn’t helped, the fact that we haven’t won. But we haven’t got time to wait for players to come through. We need that to happen now. “Remy Cabella has got to start performing now, our younger players like Sammy [Ameobi] and [Paul] Dummett have got to deliver now. We aren’t hanging about anymore. You have to deliver now. “But that might not be a bad thing. If we were in this position with six games to go, I’d be worried. We’ve got a lot of games to go and we’re getting battle-hardened.” Press Association Alan Pardew is convinced his shell-shocked Newcastle players will be stronger for the experience once they have emerged from the storm in which they are currently engulfed. The Magpies travel to Swansea on Saturday without a win in their opening six Barclays Premier League games of the campaign and with their manager facing concerted calls for his departure. However, the 53-year-old believes there is the character within the dressing room not only to cope with a difficult situation, but to use it as a building block in the development of a new-look team.
Manuel Pellegrini has warned that Manchester City will be facing a different Tottenham to the side who rolled over twice against the Premier League champions last season. City triumphed 6-0 at home and 5-1 at White Hart Lane against Spurs in the last campaign but they have made a promising start under Mauricio Pochettino. Pellegrini said he has admired Pochettino as an adversary both when the Argentinian was at Espanyol and at Southampton, and that he did not expect Tottenham to collapse so easily in the lunchtime kick-off on Saturday. Press Association Pellegrini told a news conference: “Yes I am sure it is a different Tottenham. “Last year one of the best games that we played was against Tottenham away. Here also we played very well but we are not expecting that we can score six or five goals every time we play Tottenham. “They are a very strong team. Mauricio Pochettino is a very good manager. I’m not saying Villas-Boas wasn’t in that moment, but really we played our best last season. We hope on Saturday we can do a very good game also. “He (Pochettino) is a young manager that was very successful in Spain with Espanyol, it was a team that always played good and attractive football and it was a creative team. “He is trying the same way he did it last season at Southampton. That was a team that played very well, he continues now at Tottenham that is an important club with big players.” Pellegrini said Yaya Toure was in contention for a place despite playing for the Ivory Coast in a 4-3 home defeat against DR Congo on Wednesday, with the midfielder returning to Manchester on Thursday. If Toure is feeling any tiredness, that may open the way for Frank Lampard – the club’s player of the month for September – to start. Pellegrini said he was not surprised by how well 36-year-old Lampard has been performing for City. “For me it is maybe not a surprise because I know his quality,” said the City manager. “When you have the age of Frank Lampard you are not able to play three games in a week but when you have so great a player, you can resolve a lot of problems that we have during the game and I think that Frank is doing these duties at this moment. I am very happy with him.” Eliaquim Mangala is set to miss out against Spurs with a thigh injury. The defender was an unused substitute for France in midweek and should be fit for City’s Champions League match in Moscow on Tuesday. All the other City players are fit apart from Samir Nasri, who is still recovering from groin surgery. Younes Kaboul has told Tottenham to prove their worth on Saturday. Spurs lost 6-0 and 5-1 to City last season amid a number of heavy defeats to title-chasing teams and their rivals for a Champions League spot. Mauricio Pochettino’s side are unbeaten away from home this season, including a 1-1 draw at Arsenal, and hope to surprise City at the Etihad Stadium. “Last season’s games are in the past and in football you always have to focus on the present and look to the future,” the France defender said on tottenhamhotspur.com. “We can’t wait for this match, we want to go there and play our game. “We need to repeat the same performance as we produced against Arsenal. “In these big games we need to do something to show everyone what we are capable of.” The heavy losses to City came under Pochettino’s predecessors Andre Villas-Boas and Tim Sherwood, and the Argentinian cared little when reminded of the 11-1 aggregate scoreline of last term. The Tottenham boss will give goalkeeper Hugo Lloris every opportunity to prove his fitness ahead of the match after being forced out of France duty with a thigh injury. Michel Vorm is on standby to come into the side. Belgium midfielder Nacer Chadli (hip) will be given a chance to prove his fitness, too, while striker Emmanuel Adebayor and Nabil Bentaleb were to be assessed on their returns from international duty on Friday. Pochettino hopes to blend the established first-team stars and new recruits with academy talent in future, like he successfully managed to do at previous club Southampton. “We need to get the balance – you buy players and then you provide players from the academy who deserve to arrive in the first team,” Pochettino added. “Always in football it’s the balance question. It’s important. “Tottenham have spent a lot of money on keeping the academy and creating a magnificent training ground, and now we need to get the benefits from that.”
After Fernandez was sent off by Stroud, Dejan Lovren’s header snatched a 2-1 win to send Liverpool through to the quarter-finals. “It’s clearly not a red card whatsoever,” Monk told BBC Sport. “If anything, the Liverpool player Coutinho’s feet actually come in above our player’s. “So how he saw it as a red card is not good, but he’s a good referee and hopefully he sees some sense and will rescind that red card.” Monk intends to hold talks with former referee Mike Riley, general manager of Professional Game Match Officials Limited, the body that trains and provides match officials, about recent decisions. “I’ll speak to Mike (Riley) on Friday. Just to chat and go through things, there’s one from Stoke and obviously this one (at Liverpool),” Monk said. Swansea announced on Wednesday: “Swansea City can confirm that the Football Association will not be taking any further action regarding media comments made by manager Garry Monk following the recent Barclays Premier League fixture at Stoke City. The FA, who asked Monk for his observations following the fixture, has reminded the Swansea manager about his responsibilities regarding media comments.” In the wake of Swansea’s League Cup exit at the hands of Liverpool on Tuesday, Monk’s wife reacted angrily after saying a letter was hand-delivered to the couple’s family home criticising her husband’s performance in his post. Lexy Blackwell posted on Twitter, saying she had received the letter from a neighbour. She wrote: “Absolutely incensed a NEIGHBOUR has the audacity2hand deliver a letter moaning at Garry’s handling of things/everything he’s doing wrong. “If u want2talk2him go2the Swans.Don’t come2my childrens home. Or better still,as u think u know better than him,y don’t u bcome a manager.” Swansea will be hoping for a favourable verdict from the FA after appealing against the red card shown to Federico Fernandez late in the game at Anfield. The Argentinian was dismissed by referee Keith Stroud in stoppage time for a challenge on Philippe Coutinho and faces a three-match suspension. Swansea announced they informed the FA of their appeal before Wednesday’s 1pm deadline, allowing the governing body to make a decision before Saturday’s league trip to Everton. The Football Association announced Monk will not face any further action following his post-match comments on October 19, when he was incensed over Moses winning Stoke a penalty from which they equalised on their way to a 2-1 win over Swansea at the Britannia Stadium. Monk also described referee Michael Oliver’s decision to award the spot-kick as “disgusting” and was asked to explain himself by the FA. Swansea boss Garry Monk has avoided punishment after accusing Stoke winger Victor Moses of “clear cheating” – and saw his wife rally to his support on Wednesday. Press Association
“If we play the same amount of fixtures we have in the past four years we’re no chance because we’re not going to qualify through nine games,” he said. Asked why he thought other nations were not playing Ireland, Porterfield added: “I’m not sure, I can’t put my finger on it. Warren and the people behind the board have done a fantastic amount to try and organise fixtures, but I’m guessing it is up to boards to agree to play us. “We’ve got an open door to anyone so I’m guessing teams aren’t agreeing to play us.” Only half of the full-member nations have met Ireland in an ODI since the 2011 World Cup. Perhaps most significantly neither Bangladesh or Zimbabwe, the two lowest-ranked full-member countries, have played against Ireland in that time. Since the last World Cup Bangladesh have played 49 ODIs, and Zimbabwe 36, while they have met each other in 13 games. World champions India, who have not played Ireland either since lifting the trophy, have totalled 100 ODIs and toured to both Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. Any reluctance to meet Ireland could be put down to the fact there is little for opposing nations to gain in playing them and there might even be more to lose. Under the ICC’s new World Cup qualification pathway that should change but, with rankings points now to defend, it remains to be seen just how willing those teams above Ireland will be to meet them, especially on Irish soil where they need international matches to continue to grow the game. “I’m not asking for seven game fixtures against Australia or India, we’ve got to be playing teams around us first and foremost and more often which we’re not getting,” Porterfield added. “Hopefully being in this top 12 we’ll get this opportunity. That’s what we need and the proof is going to be in the pudding over the next 12-18 months if we get these fixtures.” Ireland will get the chance to play at least six ODIs over the next six weeks as they look to defy the odds and get out of their group for the second time in the past three tournaments. With Zimbabwe, the lowest-ranked full-member nation, in Group B along with an under-strength West Indies that would appear a possibility. Ireland meet West Indies first in Nelson on November 17 in a game that could shape their chances and when asked what would constitute a good World Cup, Porterfield said: “Getting out of our group. We’ve done that on previous occasions in different formats of World Cups. “That’s first and foremost, that’s our goal to get through that and reassess from there. “Once you get through your group you are in straight knockout games. That’s the priority for ourselves to get into that top four.” Since the last World Cup in 2011 – when Ireland famously upset England in Bangalore – they have played just nine one-day internationals against full-member nations. It is a scenario that Porterfield believes is holding back a nation that, under Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom, has been proactive in nearly all departments but for the key exercise of playing international matches. “We need fixtures. We’re crying out for that,” Porterfield said. “We need that kind of support. As a player it is very frustrating. We’ve talked about World Cups and they’re four years apart. We’ve played nine games against top-eight teams since 2011. “Nine games in four years is nothing really. We need to be playing more.” Last month the International Cricket Council handed Ireland the chance to qualify for the 2019 World Cup directly for the first time, should they raise their ranking into the top eight by a cut-off date of September 30, 2017. Under the system Ireland, and Afghanistan, will no longer play in the World Cricket League Championship – the 50-over tournament for associate and affiliate nations – and instead against the other 10 full-member nations. Porterfield points out, however, that unless Ireland play more matches that any new pathway to the World Cup will effectively be closed off to them anyway. Ireland have built a reputation for causing shocks on the big stage only to then, in the intervening fours years, slip back into the relative wilderness of associate cricket. Porterfield blames that on a lack of desire from other nations to play Ireland outside the major tournaments. Captain William Porterfield believes Ireland’s quest to become more than just World Cup giant-killers is being hamstrung by a chronic lack of matches against full-member nations. Press Association
Tomas Rosicky has revealed he considered leaving Arsenal in January following a lack of first-team football, but hopes to play a full part in the Gunners’ end-of-season run-in. “Since the start of the year things have improved, the team has started to play better football and what’s more I’m playing. Compared to the first six months, it’s much better. We’ll see how it goes from here,” Rosicky said to Czech press, quoted by www.isport.blesk.cz. “I don’t really know [why I didn’t play]. It’s a good question, I would also like to know. “The coach gave me a chance towards the end the year and then began to give me more playing time. I don’t know, maybe it was a watershed moment.” Rosicky added: “We had talked about [me leaving in January] in previous meetings back in September and October, but then the market closed and I couldn’t do anything. “When you don’t play a single game in December and the market opens, [the prospect of leaving] is obviously on the agenda. Then you start to have second thoughts. “It was an exception for me though, I really thought about it. Then Arsenal said stay and that was that. “The rest of the season will go quickly, then we’ll look for a solution. “Arsenal is still an option for me next season, the ball is in their court. When I get back from international duty we will start to talk about it. After not starting in the Barclays Premier League until the Boxing Day win over QPR, the Czech playmaker has now chalked up some 23 appearances overall as Arsenal moved back into the top four and also booked a place in the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley. Rosicky, 34, has not ruled out extending his stay at the Emirates Stadium club, which has been hampered by an unfortunate series of injuries. “There are two options open to me [stay at Arsenal or go elsewhere]. At the moment I am in a situation where I make the decision.” Captain Mikel Arteta is another player whose future has to be resolved, the Spaniard out of contract in the summer, but expected to be offered a one-year extension. Arsenal have most of their first-team squad away on international duty. German midfielder Mesut Ozil missed the win at Newcastle on Saturday through a minor illness, but was subsequently spotted in a Berlin nightclub. While Ozil was set to leave for Germany on Saturday night anyway, Arsenal are expected to seek the player’s version of events when he reports back for training ahead of the crucial Premier League match with Liverpool on April 4. Press Association
Press Association Mikey Fogarty was taken to hospital for checks on his right leg after a crashing fall at Clonmel. The rider was unseated early on from Oscar Invitation in the Holy Thursday Handicap Hurdle, won by Jo Go at 20-1. Turf Club medical officer Dr Adrian McGoldrick said: “He has a concussion and has been referred to hospital for X-rays on a possible fracture to his radius in his right leg. “I spoke to the doctor at the track and he was conscious and alert, but taken for checks as a precaution. “He will be automatically stood down for six days.” Dr Bernard Healy at Clonmel confirmed: “He has suffered a concussion and has been taken for X-rays with a query fracture of his right knee, but hopefully it is only a soft tissue injury.” Fogarty’s mount in the following Slievenamon Beginners Chase was taken by Johnny Burke, who guided the Mary Louise Hallahan-trained Deano (3-1) to a 13-length success from The Herds Garden. Hallahan said: “It’s a pity for Mikey Fogarty and I hope his injury isn’t too serious, but Jonathan gave him a great ride and he jumped great. “I’m not too sure where he’ll run next but if the ground gets too quick, he’ll be left off. We’ll look for a winners’ of one over the next few weeks but a lot will depend on the weather.”
This time around, it will be in-form Crystal Palace threatening to upset the home fans as manager Alan Pardew looks for a fourth consecutive league victory and his eighth in the 12th game since he left Newcastle for Selhurst Park. His opposite number this weekend revealed he has kept a close eye on the Londoner, who presided over his former club’s previous four derby defeats, since a chance meeting in Spain some time ago. Advocaat said: “He started in January, so he had the time to do so. Pardew is an excellent coach – I met him once in Spain when he was the manager of Charlton. He probably doesn’t know, but I still remember that. “They were there at the training centre in Marbella and we talked with each other. He’s a nice man, I like him and then from that moment, I started following him. “He did a great job, in my opinion, at Newcastle, and what he is doing now is unbelievable.” Advocaat will be without Sebastian Larsson, who is suspended for two games after collecting his 10th booking of the season on Sunday, but fellow midfielder Jack Rodwell is available after shaking off a hamstring problem. Advocaat said: “We have to not think about Newcastle any more – I have told them that – because we have in principle five games in which we have to do it. “We still have a chance in the last two away games, but in principle, we have to do it in the first five games, so the most important game is now tomorrow.” The Dutchman’s pragmatism is perhaps well-founded – Sunderland’s derby success has proved short-lived in recent seasons with their previous three victories in the fixture having been followed by defeat, on each occasion by Hull, with two of their reverses coming at the Stadium of Light. He said: “I don’t want to talk about that. I heard that story last week as well, but what can we do about that? We have to forget that, just concentrate on the game and get a result.” The Black Cats turned in arguably their best performance of the season to date to see off the Magpies, with Jermain Defoe’s blistering lone strike scant reward for a hugely committed display. Asked if he was surprised at their lowly position having seen what they could do, Advocaat, who once again fended off speculation that he could extend his stay beyond the end of the campaign, said: “There are many, many good teams in this league. “Surprised? What I have seen is if everybody works hard – you cannot do it all on your own – if they work as a unit, not just 11 players, but the whole squad, if they realise that they cannot do it on their own. We have to do it as a unit and as a team, then we can become successful. “Hopefully we still have enough time to achieve that.” Press Association Dick Advocaat has ordered Sunderland to forget their derby victory over Newcastle and concentrate on securing Barclays Premier League survival before they need shock wins to do it. The 67-year-old head coach guided the Black Cats to the first success of his reign and their fifth on the trot over their arch-rivals on Sunday to ease them three points clear of the drop zone. Wearside has been in celebratory mood since, but having warned his players in the immediate aftermath of the game that it was only a start, he has now challenged them to fend off the spectre of relegation long before they head for Arsenal and Chelsea in their final two fixtures.
Order Of St George is the star attraction at Down Royal on Friday evening as he bids to regain winning ways in the concluding Her Majesty’s Plate. Press Association The Galileo colt is the sole representative for Aidan O’Brien at the County Antrim circuit and taking a sizeable drop in class, he should make the journey north from Ballydoyle worthwhile. The Magners Berry Handicap gets proceedings under way, in which the Garvan Donnelly-trained Catwilldo will likely be all the rage to complete a quick-fire hat-trick. The five-year-old mare won as she liked at Bellewstown at the start of the month and followed up in good style at Navan a fortnight ago. She may well be capable of defying a small rise in the weights. There is not much good form to go in the Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Auction Maiden and any market support for newcomers from the respected stables of Ger Lyons (Roibeard) and Jessica Harrington (Ms Brinkleys) would be noteworthy. The Tom Mullins-trained Peace Mission has shown up well on each of her two starts to date and has a good opportunity to make it third-time lucky in the Not A Moment Too Soon Fillies Maiden, while Lake George, Mr Good Guy and Chaplin Boy are among those worth considering in a wide-open Magners Light Handicap. The Magners Irish Cider Fillies Handicap is another interesting heat, with John Oxx’s Colour Rhapsody open to more improvement than most. The Tipperary winner returned from almost a year off to finish fourth in last month’s Ulster Oaks and a small step forward would make her hard to beat. Monolight, a winner at Roscommon two and a half weeks ago, can defy top-weight in the Apple Orchard Handicap. The three-year-old showed some useful form as a juvenile last season, highlighted by a wide-margin romp in testing conditions at Leopardstown. He did not make his seasonal reappearance until turning up in the Curragh Cup late last month and ran with plenty of promise, going down by just a short-head to stable companion Bondi Beach.
McClaren said: “Southampton had a good season last season and they got into Europe but I think that will hinder them as the season goes on. “But does it at the beginning? I don’t think so, because they have started their competitive games earlier and they have got into that rhythm.” McClaren knows enough about his opposite number Koeman from his time in Holland not to under-estimate the threat posed by Saints despite their loss of key players Nathaniel Clyne and Morgan Schneiderlin. Southampton recovered impressively from a wholesale exodus of first-team players at the start of last season. And McClaren added: “Of course they can do it again – they have lost a few players this summer but they have brought some more in. “He (Koeman) always builds good teams. He came to Southampton when they were losing key players and everyone was thinking it was all going to crumble, and he came in and adapted quickly. “I think they were the surprise team of last year, not so much in where they finished but in the way they played the game, so there is no doubt we have got a tough start.” McClaren must decide whether to risk new boys Aleksandar Mitrovic and Chancel Mbemba who are short on match-fitness, while captain Fabricio Coloccini is struggling to recover from an Achilles knock. The Magpies boss has acknowledged Ronald Koeman’s men will travel north well-prepared for the season opener after easing past Dutch side Vitesse in their latest qualifying round on Thursday. But McClaren is less convinced by the long-term implications of such a busy early-season schedule once the full effects of the Premier League campaign kick in. Steve McClaren has warned Southampton that success in the Europa League could come back to haunt them ahead of the Saints’ trip to face Newcastle at St James’ Park on Sunday. Press Association
Press Association Flores does not have final say on new players as he forms only part of Watford’s transfer committee, and the Spaniard admits it has been a challenge to keep everyone happy so far. “It is difficult because I want the players to feel happy,” Flores said. “We have a lot of players who are not on the list and there are a lot of players who want the possibility to play. “We are a new team and we are creating a new base. Everything is new. We have how many new players? Too many. “It is important not to create bad feelings with the new players.” Watford currently have 21 foreigners on their books but will only be able to name 17 in the final 25-man squad submitted to the Barclays Premier League. It means the club are likely to offload a number of fringe players before the end of the window but Flores believes there are likely to be more incomings too. “Will there be more signings? Probably,” Flores said. Watford head coach Quique Sanchez Flores admits he is finding it difficult to accommodate the club’s 12 summer signings but believes there will be even more arrivals before the end of the transfer window. The Hornets have made wholesale changes to the squad that won promotion from the Championship last season, with seven new recruits featuring in the goalless draw against Southampton on Sunday. Three of the club’s new signings, however, failed even to make the bench at Vicarage Road, including Matej Vydra, who saw his loan deal from Udinese made permanent in July but is yet to play a minute under Flores this term. “Because we have been working this way for the last two months to complete the final squad.” Southampton are hoping to avoid drastic changes to their own squad, with Sadio Mane and Victor Wanyama reportedly attracting interest from Manchester United and Tottenham respectively. Ronald Koeman reiterated his stance on Sunday that neither player will be sold ahead of the transfer deadline, while the Dutchman is keen to add another defender to his ranks. The clean sheet against Watford came as a welcome boost for Saints, who deployed three centre-halves after conceding five goals in their opening two league matches. “It was to give us a little bit more sureness defensively,” Koeman said. “When you change the system it’s always about the players you have. “Last season we played four or five times out of this system and after the five goals we had conceded it was a good time to change.”