Stoke City boss Mark Hughes says with confidence that the club’s season will not fizzle out after a shock 4-1 defeat against Blackburn Rovers.
This was the second consecutive defeat by the same score for Hughes, whose team now have nothing to look forward to in the remainder of the season. They are very close to achieving the magical 40 point mark that will guarantee them safety. As a result, it has been suggested that Stoke may not care about winning from here on. Dismissing those concerns, Hughes says that he is targeting a win from the next match against Aston Villa.
It will be easier said than done rejuvenated Aston Villa team will be featuring Tim Sherwood in the dugout the first time. Villa brought an end to a run of three successive defeats with a 2-1 win over Leicester City.
Further, they will be having the home advantage for this weekend’s league match. Hughes opted for a number of players with less playing time this season. They include the likes of midfielder Steve Sidwell, who featured for 38 minutes. This was only the second game for Sidwell in almost month. As a result of top teams like Chelsea and Manchester City dropping out early, there was an opportunity for Stoke to go further in the FA Cup.
“We’re absolutely determined not to allow that to happen. We’ve had a good season up to this point, two games won’t change that.The last two games have knocked the stuffing out of us somewhat. But we’ve a week now, we can pick ourselves up, and we’ll go again, we’ll be fine.It hurts me whenever we get beaten, but I’m pleased for Blackburn that they’ve progressed. They’re a good club. I had a fantastic time here, but I certainly didn’t want this to be at my expense,” said Hughes.
Mark Hughes has strongly hinted that a new deal is on the table for Peter Crouch and he would be penning it soon.
Crouch’s current deal with Stoke is close to getting finished and for the past few weeks, there had been reports coming from various quarters that the 2014-15 League might put a full stop on the forward’s stay at the club.
West Bromwich Albion had been speculated as his probable future destination.
But, if Mark Hughes, the man who is in charge of Stoke City, is to be believed, Crouch is someone who is central to the future plans of the Potters and there is no chance of the club letting him go come the next summer.
Crouch has always been there as a regular starter for Stoke. From every manager that he has played under at Britannia Stadium, he has got a lot of admiration and praise.
Even during this season too, he has been starting and has been playing quite well. His most recent heroic came in the game versus Manchester united where he set it up beautifully for one of his fellow attackers to get the ball into the post and get Stoke ahead by 1-0.
It’s another thing that Stoke lost the lead later on and the game was a draw.
Talking about Crouch last evening, Hughes said, “You would have seen him play against United. How energetic he was. These rumours don’t bother him single bit.”
“There would always be stories in the media. But, one thing that I would clarify here is that we are planning our future with Peter in mind. So, he is going to stay with us only.”
In total, Crouch has featured 118 times for Stoke City in the Premier league.
Roy Hodgson, the Three Lions boss, has admitted that Wayne Rooney is not the best of the speakers, but, despite that, he believes that the Manchester United player is a great leader as he inspires the other members in the squad.
Rooney has taken over from Steven Gerrard as captain very recently, but, he is not getting the support of the entire football fraternity in England. Many people are questioning his suitability to be able to lead a side.
His way of talking is obviously one thing that people are concerned about, but, his temperament is also under the scrutiny after the way he behaved with an opposition player the other night in a league game versus West Ham United. He was sent off for that act of his, but, that left his critics with a lot to speak about.
It was not the first time this season that Rooney seemed to have lost his cool on the pitch. It has happened two or three times now. For a guy who is not only the captain of his national team, but, also the captain of a 20-time Premier League winning club, that doesn’t send a positive message outside.
Rooney was a brat player initially in his career, but, over the years, he matured and in the past few seasons, people had not been having too many complaints with his on field behaviour, but, his short tempered attitude this season has led the critics saying that the striker might be reverting to his teenage years.
Hodgson, however, doesn’t think that. Speaking about Rooney the other day, the English manager said, “I don’t think Wayne is lacking temperament. Obviously, I cannot stop the journalists from writing what they think, but, I don’t agree to them at all.”
Steve Sidwell has said that one of the reasons because of which he has signed for the Potters is their first team coach Eddie Niedzwiecki.
Sidwell had been coached by Niedzwiecki for the first time when he was at the Emirates Stadium. Since then, he has a very good relationship with the Welshman.
The two had worked together for a brief period of time at Fulham as well when Sidwell had moved there in 2011.
Talking about Niedzwiecki in one of his interviews last weekend, Sidwell said, “It’s very hard to find a person who doesn’t like Eddie. He is such an awesome man that you’ve got to like him. He is not intense at all while working with the players during the training sessions. He is very jolly and he creates an atmosphere in which everybody feels comfortable.”
“He is also a very honest coach. If he feels that something is not correct with your game, he would tell you straightaway. I have had the experience of working with him. That’s why, I rate him so highly.”
When asked why he opted for Stoke City only, Sidwell said, “Obviously, Eddie’s presence here was one of the factors that influenced my decision. I didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity of getting united with him. Secondly, I do feel that Stoke is one of the clubs that are going in the right direction. I hope I play some good football here over the next couple of years.”
Sidwell has been signed by Stoke City on free transfer as he was released by Fulham. The 31-year Old play maker made more than 90 Premier League appearances for Fulham between 2011 and 2014 and found the back of the net 14 times.
Fulham’s campaign has seen them going through 2 managers until appointing their current coach Felix Magath who is struggling trying to take the Premier League club out of the bottom relegation zone, something has turned into a rather impossible things for the past coaches who have taken the hot seat.
Steve Sidwell is arguably the best player that Magath has at his disposal as the English midfielder is the club’s top goal-scorer having scored 7 league goals which is more than any other player in the club.
When Felix Magath was asked about the future of Steve Sidwell, he replied by saying that Fulham is already prepared to offer Sidwell a contract extension but it will ultimately be on the hands of the player as he has sparked the interest of clubs around Europe.
‘’Yeah sure, there is no doubt about that. Steve is a good player for us and I would be glad if he were signed for another season after this year." Magath replied.
The 31 years old English midfielder of Fulham, Sidwell has a contract with Fulham which expires at the end of the season giving the chance for any other club to launch an offer for him and lure him away from the relegation threatened Fulham.
Sidwell’s career has seen him playing in the top tier league of England, the Premier League to being transferred on a loan deal to a Division Two League club as well as spending 2 seasons in the Championship league. The English midfielder has experience performing in a number of leagues and he expressed how difficult it will be for Fulham to escape the relegation zone.
Sidwell said: “I can’t contemplate life outside the Premier League. I started my career at Arsenal then took a few steps down the ladder to come back up. I played in the Championship for many years and know it is a tough, tough league to get out of. We don’t want to be in that situation’’.
Newcastle United has not had a very busy transfer window during January as they only signed Luuk de Jong on a loan deal that will be seeing the 23 years old forward playing at Newcastle United for the remainder of the season.
The Premier League club was interested in securing the services of the young striker for quite a while now. They initially tried to lure him into the club back in 2012 but Borussia Monchengladbach acted faster and signed Luuk de Jong for a price tag of €15 million.
Luuk de Jong went through a nightmare spell with the German club as he could only manage to score 6 goals in 36 appearances. The arrival of Raphael and Max Kruse overshadowed the few contributions that Luuk de Jong managed to make for Borussia Monchengladbach.
The Dutchman is now trying to reignite his career by moving to the Premier League and joining Newcastle United.
Steven McClaren is a coach that has vast experience in dictating clubs of different leagues as he has already been in charge of England, Wolfsburg, Twente and Derby County and the tactician suggested Luuk de Jong on not making a switch to Germany as he was not ready for it.
“The club knows what I think about it. Luuk de Jong would stay if it were up to me, unless stupid money is offered. Only since the winter of last season has Luuk been playing as a No 9.
He must have at least one full season playing as a real striker to become a top player at a big club.”McClaren stated.
The suggestion made by the former coach of England was not heard as Luuk de Jong made his move to the German side Monchengladbach some years ago and now is going to try spark it back to life in England, playing in Newcastle United.
Fulham goalkeeper David Stockdale has said that only a team effort can help Fulham prevent relegation from the Premier league this season. After spending several years in the top flight, the club are in danger of relegation into the Championship.
The poor form throughout the season has culminated in the sacking of manager Martin Jol, but the results have not improved even after the appointment of former Manchester United coach Rene Meulensteen. The club, though, finally managed to break the run of poor form with a 2-1 win over West Ham on Saturday.
The win brought much-needed relief to everyone at the club, as it also helped them stay in touch with other teams fighting against relegation. There is still a lot of work to be done at Craven cottage in order to get the club out of trouble, and Stockdale reckons that it has to be a team effort. The red card to Kevin Nolan certainly helped in Fulham's case, as they came from behind to win the match. Sidwell opened the scoring for Fulham before Dimitar Berbatov secured the win. The Bulgarian striker is expected to score most of the goals for the club in the coming campaign, but he has been disappointing so far.
"I wouldn't say my save was pivotal. I'd say the second goal was pivotal as it won us the game. I'm just doing my job and, if I can keep the lads in the game, then so be it. It's not until afterwards that you think about it; at the time you just want the three points. We're in a relegation battle and we won't get out of it by sitting back and looking at individual performances - we have to play as a team," said the goalkeeper to the club's official site.
The Fulham midfielder, Steve Sidwell, has admitted that his team hasn’t managed to make an ideal start to the ongoing season.
Fulham had secured victory in its opening match of the season against Sunderland, but, they couldn’t carry on that momentum further as they suffered defeats in their next couple of Premier League games against Arsenal and Newcastle United respectively and slipped down in the points table.
The Cottagers’ next Premier League game is against West Bromwich Albion. That’s a home game for them and it will take place tomorrow.
Talking to the reporters ahead of that clash, Sidwell said, “We have had a couple of tough games, but, there are a lot of games ahead. We are better than how we have performed so far and we will prove that in the upcoming games.”
“In one of my interviews a few months ago, I had said that we went through transitional period in the previous season. Now, in this season, we need to move on.”
“We are not lacking talent at all. If we play as well as we can, there is no reason why we can’t defeat top teams.”
Meanwhile, the manager of Fulham Martin Jol has said that the club is looking to extend the contract of Sidwell.
In a press conference earlier today, Jol said, “The talks are going on between the club and Steve regarding the contract extension. I believe he is interested in the new deal too.”
Sidwell had signed for Fulham at the start of 2011 after leaving Aston Villa. He has been pretty consistent during his 2 and half years tenure at Craven Cottage so far. He has featured for Fulham in 76 matches till now and has found the back of the net 10 times.
Fulham were often mediocre performers last season, but midfielder Steve Sidwell expects the team to perform brilliantly as they have been working their socks off in pre-season.
Fulham manager Martin Jol has changed the training plan of the team significantly in order to bring about a new enthusiasm to the club, which recently changed ownership after 16 years.
Fulham have some players who are known for their lethargic attitude like Dimitar Berbatov. The club recently brought in Adel Taarabt on a loan deal from QPR. After the announcement was made, Sidwell has said that no player at Fulham can expect to get away with being lazy.
He has said that everybody is expected to put the shift in this season. Taarabt is regarded as one of the finest technical players in the Premier league right now. His presence will certainly add to the creativity of the team according to Sidwell, who finally appears to have found a place where he can play regular football.
The former Reading midfielder has been having a few seasons of wilderness since departing Chelsea. Despite coming under the new ownership of Shahid Khan, the club has largely been inactive in the transfer window. Sidwell has said that the club certainly did not see the change in management before.
“The general joke going around the training ground at the minute is I’m going to have to do loads more running. I’m sure the manager’s looked at that and it’s great to have these players like Adel, Bryan and Berba but if they’re not going to do their job… everyone’s got to work for the team. It doesn’t matter who you are, you can’t be lazy, everyone’s got to put the work rate in," said the midfielder. The club will be having an away match against Sunderland in the first match of the season.
The midfielder of Fulham, Steve Sidwell, has said that Martin Jol should make the summer signings early to give the squad a settled look before pre-season.
The last season wasn’t that successful for Fulham. They were inconsistent for most parts of the season and ended up at no. 12 in the Premier League points table. They managed to win just 11 out of their 38 matches.
When asked about Fulham’s performance in the last season, Sidwell said, “It was a mixed season for us. We were terrific in some games, but, in others, we were ordinary. We struggled for consistency throughout the season.”
“We had quite a few young players in the squad last season. So, you can say that it was a transitional season for us.”
“There will be some young guys coming in this summer as well. It’s important to make those signings as early as possible so that we can have a settled squad before the start of the pre-season training.”
“I am very excited to see who arrives this summer. Last time around, some hugely talented guys had come in.”
Fulham has already signed a few players this summer. The most noticeable of those signings is Maarten Stekelenburg who has plenty of experience in club football.
Fulham has bought Stekelenburg from Roma after paying a transfer fee of 6 million Euros.
Fulham’s other signings this summer are Fernando Amorebieta (from Athletic Bilbao) and Derek Boateng (from Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk).
Fulham is also linked with the English midfielder Scott Parker who is expected to be put on sale by Tottenham Hotspur.
However, securing the services of Parker is not going to be that easy for Fulham as many other clubs including Queens Park Rangers and Sunderland are also interested in him.