Roberto Martinez has played down the significance of Sunday's relegation showdown with QPR insisting it is not do or die. insists will still have time to save themselves if they cannot continue their recent good run at Loftus Road. "It is not a pivotal weekend," he said. "We are all set for the final eight games of the season and this period of eight games will be pivotal. "QPR is not pivotal in that it will define our season. Instead it is one game in a period of games which allows you to win as many games as you can. "And when you're in this positionentre-half has yet to feature for Arsenal since joining on loan from Flamengo last month.And Arteta will only play Mari once he is ready.Speaking at the club’s warm-weather training camp in Dubai, Arteta said: “With Pablo a little bit more than Cedri, the margins of error are very small. "Away from home this year we have been strong – we've only had one defeat away in 2013. "That will be tested against QPR and we must be ready for that. We're in the moment of the season where you need to reach your highest performance levels and we need to make sure we are as good as we can be on Sundaynt Wanyama is eyeing a move to AC Milan.While Club Brugge are in talks with Spurs over a fee for the Kenya international, any move could hinge on the Rossonero.Soccer Link says Wanyama favours a switch to Italy at Milan, where he is under considerati." Martinez also dismissed talk that a Wigan win would all but condemn Rangers to the drop. "I don't see it in that manner," he said. "I see it as an important game because we are playing against a team in a similar position to ourselves. "If we get three points on Sunday that does not mean we have achieved what we want to achieve and if we lose it does not mean we will not achieve our goals." Martinez, who claims Callum McManaman has fully recovered from his ankle problem, hopes Arouna Kone can continue his red-hot form and the striker has bagged eight in his last 11 games. Kone has scored late winners in each of Wigan's last two games and Martinez is delighted with the Ivory Coast star. "He's a player we know well and we have been very impressed with how quickly he settled into the league," said Martinez. "For any striker coming into our league, it takes time to get up to the tempo of the game, but he has adapted really well. "We lost him for a period when he went to the Africa Cup of Nations, but he has come back and is working hard for the team. "He's a very important player for us and he's someone who has that knack of making the right decision to score a goal." Al Habsi, Boyce, Caldwell, Alcaraz, Scharner, Figueroa, Beausejour, Gomez, Maloney, Espinoza, McCarthy, McArthur, Stam, McManaman, Kone, Di Santo, Henriquez, Golobart, Robles, Lopez.
Sir Alex Ferguson has put his weight behind radical plans to introduce 'sin-bins&adane has indicated that Modric was on the bench for the game against Espanyol due to his rotation policy.The Frenchman also stressed that the Croatian is fully fit and needs no rest at the moment.”We always talk to the players,” Zidane told the presspos; in the Champions League. is one of the prime movers who want to see the ruling – which has proved a success in rugby – brought in to punish players for on-field indiscretions. Ferguson, chairman of a UEFA forum of elite coaches, is also hoping to see UEFA increase the number of substitutes to 11 in European finals – to recognise the contribution a squad plays in getting teams there. "I chair a forum of elite coaches that meet every year and I'm a member of the technical study group of the Champions League and the European Championship," said Ferguson. "So I'm still involved in football at the highest level. Right now we're looking at the possibility of introducing sin-bins like they have in rugby – a 10-minute suspension during the match. "But we want to be careful that somehow it isn't exploited if it's introduced." UEFA has already ruled that, from this season, yellow cards will be wiped out after the quarter-final stage in the Champions League and EuropAncelotti is delighted with Napoli’s deal for Roma defender Kostas Manolas.Manolas’ move was rubberstamped yesterday.The Napoli coach said, “We’re waiting for Manolas to arrive, as he is a strong, quick player who with Kalidou Koulibaly will form aa League, to ensure players do not miss the final for accumulated bookings. United duo Roy Keane and Paul Scholes were suspended from the Treble-clinching 1999 win over Bayern Munich, while Darren Fletcher misssed the 2009 defeat to Barcelona in Rome after being red-carded in United's semi-final win over Arsenal. Chelsea had three players – Branislav Ivanovic, Ramires and Raul Meireles – suspended from their at the German club's stadium. And Real Madrid's Xabi Alonso was suspended for after picking up a third knockout phase booking in the second leg of his team's semi-final. "We lost Darren Fletcher from the 2009 Champions League final against Barcelona and also missed Keane and Scholes for picking up cards in the 1999 Champions League final against Bayern Munich," said Ferguson. "Now, they'd all played in all the previous rounds, so it wasn't fair that they missed out. We're also looking at allowing 11 substitutes on the bench for big finals in Europe. "That way you can recognise the contribution the squad's made and allow a wider range of substitutions." Ferguson joked: "Mind you, it wouldn't work in the Premier League. Too many chairmen would moan about the increase in bonuses they'd need to pay!" Are you in favour of sin-bins in football?0+ VOTES SO FAR
Here are Queens Park Rangers' fixtures for Premier League season 2012-2013 August 18 Swansea (H) 25 Norwich (A) September 1 Man City (A) 15 Chelsea (H) 22 Tottenham (A) 29 West Ham (H) October 6 West Brom (A) 20 Everton (H) 27 Arsenal (A) November 3 Reading (H) 10 Stoke (A) 17 Southampton (H) 24 Man Utd (A) 27 Sunderland (A) December 1 Aston Villa (H) 8 Wigan (A) 15 Fulham (H) 22 Newcastle (A) 26 West Brom (H) 29 Liverpool (H) January 1 Chelsea (A) 12 Tottenham (H) 19 West Ham (A) 29 Man City (H) February 2 Norwich (H) 9 Swansea (A) 23 Man Utd (H) March 2 Southampton (A) 9 SunderlandPierre-Emerick Aubameyang is again in focus at Arsenal.Aubameyang liked an Instagram post demanding that Arsenal sell his team-mate Granit Xhaka.Xhaka has come under fire by Arsenal fans for his performances so far this season, with supporters vocal (H) 16 Aston Villa (A) 30 Fus assurances from the Egyptian FA over how Mohamed Salah will be managed if he is to be released for the Olympics this year.Ahram Online says Klopp will seek a ‘comprehensive file’ on Egypt’s training programme for the 2020 Olympics before he decideslham (A) April 6 Wigan (H) 13 Everton (A) 20 Stoke (H) 27 Reading (A) May 4 Arsenal (H) 12 Newcastle (H) 19 Liverpool (A)
Phil Jagielka is set to miss England’s World Cup double header against San Marino and Montenegro. Jagielka, 30, has had surgery on the badly-gashed ankle he suffered and is unstete.Ramos has hit out at referee Alejandro Hernandez Hernandez following Real Madrid’s shock loss.Los Blancos had appeals for a penalty turned down when they thought Jose Campana had handled the ball in the box and Ramos, who was booked 10 minutes intr City fullback Benjamin Mendy insists they’re not conceding the Premier League title to Liverpool just yet. The champions remain a distant 11 points behind the runaway leaders.But after victor over Leicester City, Mendy declared: “Of course. If nlikely to recover in time for the games at the end of the month. Roy Hodgson’s side play San Marino away on March 22 before facing Montenegro three days later. The centre-half is gutted by his injury, sustained in a challenge with Adam Le Fondre, and has not missed a single league game all season for Everton. David Moyes was unhappy with Le Fondre’s tackle and the Royals striker apologised after the game to Jagielka, claiming it was accidental. Jagielka will also miss Everton’s FA Cup quarter-final at home to Wigan on Saturday and their important league clash with Manchester City at Goodison Park the following Saturday.
Daniel Saking to Bleacher Report in a Q&A, James named manager Frank Lampard alongside three of his current Blues team-mates in an all-time Chelsea dream team.Cesar Azpilicueta earned the nod over James himself at right-back while World Cup winner N’Goloturridge faces a race against time to be fit for the Merseyside derby later this month, Scans have revealed that the Liverpool FC striker will be ruled out for two to three weeks due to the thigh injury he suffered on international duty. Sturridge will miss the Reds’ home Premier League clash with Aston Villa on Saturday as well as next Tuesday’s opening Champions League group match against Ludogorets at Anfield. is also doubtful for next weekend’s trip to West Ham and is unlikely to feature against Middlesbrough in the Capital One Cup the following Tuesday. However, Liverpool are hopeful Sturridge will have recovered in time to face Everton at Anfield on Saturday, September 27. Sturridge limped out of training with England last Friday and was forced to sit out their Euro 2016 qualifying victory over Switzerland on Monday night. He returned to Melwood for treatment and initial fears about a long spell on the sidelines have now been eased after he was diagnosed with a minor thigh strain. Whinternational made 97 appearances for Spurs over three-and-a-half years at the club, but has found regular game-time difficult to come by in this campaign. Wanyama could make his debut for Montreal against FC Dallas on Saturday – Henry’s side won theo'll score most goals this season?2000+ VOTES SO FAR
Chelsea are set to clinch the £7million signing of Gary Cahill in January. Bolton have agreed to sell the England defender, rather than lose him for nothing when his contract expires in June. Chelsea are prepared to pay the fee Bolton want and Blrt after victory over Torino.Inter were comfortable 3-0 winners in Turin.Conte said, “This season, three important players like Mauro Icardi, Radja Nainggolan and Ivan Perisic wenuary.Football Insider reports that the Championship side, who are pushing for promotion, are very interested in the right back.Justin is very highly rated at Leicester, but he is second fiddle to the excellent Ricardo Pereira at the moment.The 21-yeat away, but we could pocket a pretty impressive transfer war chest wiues boss Andre Villas-Boas has been given the go-ahead to do a deal. Talks have moved along so fast that the 26-year-old will be cleared for Stamford Bridge after the Christmas games. Villas-Boas is ready to ship out centre-back Alex, while David Luiz’s form has been repeatedly questioned. Chelsea could also add Everton’s Jack Rodwell to their squad in January, although the cash-strapped Toffees will want around £25million for the midfielder.
Tottenham legend Ossie Ardiles is promising to sing if Spurs win the . Ardiles famously made the charts with “Ossie’s Dream” when Tottenham won the FA Cup in 1981. believes his can lift his first trophy on Sunday and said: “If Tottenham win the final, then I will sing it – I phas launched a furious blast at Getafe and their coach Jose Bordalas.Joaquin hit the equaliser from the spot for the 1-1 draw, with teammates William Carvalho and Loren Morón both being sent off.Afterwards, the veteran barked: “I do not want my wordromise. “Mauricio is doing a very, very good job. He has tried to improve the players bon Villa defender Tyrone Mings admits they were poor for defeat at Wolves.Mings partnered £12 million summer signing Ezri Konsa in defence after first-choice centre-back Bjorn Engels was ruled out through injury.Konsa made his debut, with goalkeeperoth technically and in their fitness. “He is enjoying it very much, the future looks promising and Spurs are doing much better, looking much stronger than last year.” Despite , Ardiles believes youngsters and Ryan Mason can help them overcome Chelsea. Ardiles added: “Kane has been a revelation. We did not think he would be this good last season. “He can carry on improving but if the season stopped now then he would be player of the year. “Mason is also having another tremendous season and I’m so happy the young players are getting their chance.” In pictures – Spurs 2-2 West Ham: Who'll win the Capital One Cup?3000+ VOTES SO FAR
Stoke boss Mark Hughes heaped more pressure on David Moyes by insisting Manchester United cannot afford any more o Inter from Cagliari this week.“I feel very good, Inter really wanted me and I’ll try to repay their faith in me,” the midfielder said at a Press conference.“I joined up with my teammates a bit later and I’ll try to be at 100 percent as soon as slips if they are to retain their title. Sparky takes to Old Trafford on Saturday defender Harry Maguire.The Sun says a deal for Leicester’s star defender is even more pressing as Eric Bailly will be out until the new year following a knee op.After Manchester United’s 1-0 friendly win against Kristiansund in Norway last night, by believing United have now lost the fear factor they once had. Hughes, who played more than 400 games for , said: “They can’t afford any more slip-ups. Maybe they are a little bit vulnerable. “I don’t think there’s that aura around the club at the moment and maybe it’s a good time to meet them. “There are only a certain amount of games you can lose. Five or six keeps you in the title race. Lose any more and you make it very difficult, nigh on impossible.”
Under fire keeper Simon Mignolet is strong enough to come through his current torment, according the boss Brendan Rodgers. The Liverpool manager revealed yesterday has had a heart to heart with his number one, and insists his state of mind is fine to face the physical challenge of Stoke at the weekend, despite a , that “Migonolet is fine. I had a good chat with him. We paid a lot of money for him to come in, and he has saved us in a lot of games over my time,” Rodgers explained. “His performance has been like the rest of the team, he has struggled at times. It can affect confidence, but it is part of the sport, part of the game and all you can do is focus on being the best you can be in the next game.” Rodgers reckons Mignolet simply has to show the mental toughness demanded of all players at this level – and he insisted he wouldn't be at Liverpool unless he had that. “The focus on you is magnified at one of the great clubs in the world and you have to accept it as part of the job. If not, then you don't come to a club like this,” he added. “You have to embrace it – if you are going to be at this level of football then you have to cope with it. Sometimes it won't always go your way and you have to fight even harder then to ensure you come back.” The manager also suggested the rest of the team have to rally round to ensure everyone takes respofrom their Champions League exit.The Citizens thought they had won their quarter-final tie against Tottenham before Raheem Sterling’s late winner was ruled offside by VAR.He told BBC Sport: “Yes, this time it did take a little bit [to recover]. Two ansibility “It's just a collective – it is a team game. When you are scoring goals it has an impact for midfielders and defenders. For us it's about collective respons a section of the support.The Sun says he reached breaking point when Chelsea fans chanted “Sarri out” and “f*** Sarri-ball” during the win over Cardiff in March.The Italian, 60, will return to his homeland with Juventus after just one season in Londibility, not just about one player. “An unfortunate aspect of being a goalkeeper is the focus is on your mistakes, it's what you get when you choose to do that. But he's a strong enough character to get through that. Like the team his confidence will come back as the season progresses.” Liverpool will still be without Mario Balotelli for the visit of Stoke.
have released some spectacular opening images taken from the air as a part of their upcoming Old Trafford from Above collection. Aeroflot, official carrier, are set to gather aerial film and photography content of fans and the stadium over the course of the current campaign. The first selection of images were taken ahead of , featuring a giant Aeroflot branding next to Old Trafford. The logo takes up an area of over 2,600 square metres. All in, the collection is a part of the company's Top Flight Performance marketing came Vincent Kompany to stay this season.Kompany left in the summer to become Anderlecht player-manager – leaving City short of centre-halves.”I tried to convince Vincent a lot to stay one more year with us – a lot,” said Guardiola.”In the last weeks, Ipaign which will see them look to create unique content and stage a range of fan experiences both at Old Trafford and around the world. Aeroflot are one of a host of commercial partners that the Red Devils have agreed deals with and the Premier League chUnai Emery last year.Cavani’s infamous bust-up with Neymar over a disputed penalty almost saw El Matador driven out of the club.The Uruguay international recalled: “I think the responsibility goes to Unai Emery. The shooter should always be defined bampions were .
Phil Neville came out in defence of his brother Gary – and reckons the TVold the club’s board that many players do not care about results.Ljungberg has been very disappointed at the attitude of many players within the squad, including senior professionals.The Gunners have only a single victory in their past 12 games, with pundit is even popular on Merseyside. Former Manchester Unitedtar Tanguy Ndombele.The French central midfielder is a wanted man this summer.He has been linked to a host of top clubs, including Manchester United and City.However, theDaily Star indicates that it will be a straight fight between Spurs and Juve for defender Gary Neville, now a Sky pundit, was branded “ridiculous, biased and comical” by Andre Villas-Boas after his recent attacks on Chelsea. But Everton captain Neville reckons his older brother is talking sense and has even won over Liverpool fans despite being public enemy No.1 at Anfield because of his United connections. The Toffees defender said: “He has been fantastic – he has impressed everybody. “I work on Merseyside, where opinions were divided when he got the job. But I think he has won over a lot of people by being honest. “I think he’s done that even on Liverpool, that’s the feedback I’m getting. He is saying it how it is. That is all you can ask for from a pundit. “I don’t think he has been outspoken at all – that’s the one thing he hasn’t been. I think he is just being totally honest. “He has done Man City games, Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea – and I think he has given a fair account of what has been happening. “Even though he is a diehard Man United fan, I think he has been pretty impartial. “When he was playing, he did a bit of punditry in the 2002 World Cup. He has always had good and strong opinions. People like listening to him – I know I do.” Younger brother Phil was equally honest about Everton, who lost 1-0 to Arsenal at the Emirates. “People say we need a centre-forward,” added Neville. “Well, we’re getting in great positions, we’re just not producing the final pass. “Your final pass doesn’t come from your centre-forward, it comes from your midfielders, your full-backs or your defenders. Maybe we need to start giving our centre-forwards more chances to score.”
On the face of it, Evertonians could be forgiven for feeling a little apprehensive going into the new season. Tim Cahill, their goalscoring talisman for much of David Moyes' reign, has gone and now Manchester City have also nabbed England midfielder Jack Rodwell. But look a little closer, and Everton are probably in the best shape they have been for a long time. Yes, Moyes probably would have liked to have kept Rodwell, having nurtured him for so long. But central midfield is probably the one area in which Moyes is particularly blessed. He's got Marouane Fellaini who, , is one of the most underrated midfielders in the Premier League, the emerging Ross Barkley, Darron Gibson and Leon Osman. , with the potential for another £4million isn't a bad bit of business, given he missed most of last season through injury. There is also the school of thought that he hasn't developed quite as much as he looked like he would a couple of seasons ago. That £12million for Rodwell will keep the banks happy and perhaps fund one or two more acquisitions by Moyes. He has already dofter last season’s disappointment.The Reds finished second behind Manchester City with a club-record 97 points.And Heskey thinks the experience will serve Liverpool down the home stretch this season.”Man City will keep the pressure on Liverpool all sne well this summer, picking up Steven Naismith on a free from the debris of Rangers. Finally, Everton look a real threat up front with Naismith, who scored a hat-trick against AEK Athens the other week, and his former Gers team-mate Nikica Jelavic. Supplying the ammunition for these pair will be Stephen Pienaar and re-signing him for £4.5million is yet another good deal. Pienaar has proved he can do it for Everton and will shine again at Goodison Park with Moyes' support. Moyes has also trimmed several million off the club's annual wage bill by offloading Cahill and Joseph Yobo. While Cahill has been brilliant for Everton, his form no longer justified his massive contract at Everton, which still had several years to run. Although Everton have not been massive spendings in the transfer market in recent years, they have paid their top players ha it end as catastrophically as the incident between Fabian Delph and Harry Kane in the Champions League.Kane suffered an ankle injury after a collision with Delph during Tottenham Hotspur’s win over Manchester City at the New Tottenham Hotspur Stadiundsomely and removing Cahill and Yobo from this ever-growing wage bill is a smart bit of business. Just as importantly, Everton have retained the core of their team in Phil Jagielka, Fellaini, Leighton Baines and Jelavic. This has contributed to the stability at Everton and contrast them with their neighbours across Stanley Park who always seem to be trying to shift some highly-expensive dead wood, Tottenham or Aston Villa. All the bricks are in place for Everton to have another successful season and don't be surprised if they finish above Liverpool again. Read David Anderson's Everton column exclusively on MirrorFootball every Monday
Footballing excuses worthy of a national comedy award have always been with us. In the days before colour TV, if a player had been on the wrong end of a night-club scrap, his facial bruises were passed off as a “gardening accident”. And if he failed a medical due to the detection of venereal disease, the club would say they werondon as the hosts for a trio of Champions League finals, according to the Associated Press, reports, /.The news agency reports that Russian side Zenit St Petersburg’s 68,000-capacity Gazprom Arena will host the final of European club soccer’s premieen’t signing him due to concerns over “high blood pressure.” More recently, David James put an inability to catch crosses down to fingers strained by his PlayStation, and Stephen Ireland invented not one, but two, dead grandmothers to get out of playing for Ireland. But when it comes to extricating yourself from your contract, some comic sagas are worthy of a month’s run at the Edinburgh Festival. Think Carlos Tevez saying he had to leave Manchester City for Italy, so he could be closer to his daughters. Who lived in Argentina. Or Luis Suarez claiming he had to get out of Liverpool to escape the intrusive London-based English media, before agitating for a move to London-based Arsenal. However, . For two years running, Dimitri Seluk – the agent Toure calls “Dad” – has dreamt up scripts so surreal that Eddie Izzard on LSD could not surpass them. Barcelona-based Seluk currently believes his distraught client should be allowed to walk away from a four-year contract he signed only last summer, and is worth more than £200,000-a-week, because Manchester City didn’t give him a cake to celebrate his 31st birthday. . As a pointer for inexperienced agents stuck for ways to navigate a player towards the exit door, here’s how I imagine the phone call that sparked Cakegate went: YAYA: So, what’s this year’s plan to get me back to Barcelona, Dad? AGENT: I’m thinking 'lack of love'. There’s not enough Yaya shirts in the club shop or pictures of you around the ground e Lille striker Nicolas Pepe.The Arsenal-transfer-news-Kieran-Tierney-Nicolas-Pepe-Unai-Emery-rumours-gossip-news”>Daily Express says it’s understood Arsenal’s spending this summer is far from finished.The Gunners expect Celtic left-back Kieran Tiernetc… YAYA: You used that last year and all we got was a pay rise. Come on. One more year and Barca mightn’t want me. It was my 31st birthday last week. AGENT: How did that go? YAYA: I don’t want to talk about it. AGENT: What’s up? YAYA: It was the cake City got me. It wasn’t…. y'know.. AGENT: Are you saying it wasn’t Postman Pat? But they know you love to pick the yellow Smarties off the top of his sponge van. YAYA: I didn’t get a Jess The Cat “31 Today” badge either. AGENT: The heartless b******s. How about when you landed in Abu Dhabi? No bouncy castle? (SILENCE) AGENT: No chocolate fountain or pinata? Tell me they gave you a pinata to hit? (SILENCE). Okay. If the sheikhs didn’t give you the bumps at the airport, we’ve got them for emotional negligence. YAYA: Nobody even shook my hand. Will Yaya Toure still be at City next season?4000+ VOTES SO FAR AGENT: (PUTS CONVERSATION ON CONFERENCE CALL WITH JOURNALIST IN LONDON) When it was Roberto Carlos’ birthday, the president of Anzhi gave him a Bugatti. I don’t expect City to present you with a Bugatti, we only ask that they shake your hand. It shows they don’t care about Yaya. It is really, really sick. (ENDS CONFERENCE CALL WITH JOURNALIST). YAYA: So, what’s the line? AGENT: Forget lack of love. This year it’s lack of respect. Tweet that everything I say is true and that you’ll explain after the World Cup, which you will now try to focus on despite the deep pain. That gives us a chance to make up some more stories of neglect. And next year we celebrate your birthday at the Nou Camp. Agreed? YAYA: Can you get Postman Pat cakes there? AGENT: Indeed, my son. And all the Smarties are yellow. YAYA: Agreed.
re ppa Italia semi is still alive after defeat to Napoli last night.Napoli won the first-leg 1-0 via a Fabian Ruiz effort.Biraghi said, “We need to accept this loss and focus on the fact that there is also the return leg. We’re a great team, playing aprepared to SELL Paul Pogba to Real Madrid in January, it has been revealed.That’s according to Okdiario’s chief pundit Eduardo Inda, when speaking on El Chiringuito. “(Real coach Zinedine) Zidane has an obsession, which is still Pogba. The French
Manchester United's Javier Hernandez has posted a cryptic message on his official Instagram account – which could again fuel talks of him departing Old Trafford. came on as a substitute during but is thought to be unhappy at his lack of game time under David Moyes this season. And he uploaded this post after the game at Old Trafford, with the words: "Ya llegará el tiempo de hablar sobre muchas cosas… " – and also translated them into English: "The time to speak about so many things will come…" Last month, there were reports that as he fears for his chances of playing for Mexico in the World Cup this summer. His agent later confirmed he would stay and fight for hable to hold on against Jeonbuk Motors in the AFC Champions League on Wednesday.The Sky Blues went from a goal down to lead 2-1 thanks to goals from Trent Buhagiar and Adam Le Fondre.But Jeonbuk silenced the home crowd when Brazilian substitute Murilis place but the 25-year-old could be part of Moyes' squad overhaul, which is expected at the end las Burdisso insists Daniele de Rossi is staying.Roma great De Rossi has been linked with a coaching post within Italy’s national teams.“Daniele came to Argentina to play for Boca because it was his wish,” Burdisso said at a Press conference.“He’of the season. Meanwhile, the United boss has thought they had finally secured the win after peppering the visitors goal throughout but Darren Bent nodded home late on to rescue a point and sink United's season to a new low. Moyes said: "Today was as bad as it gets. "We gave away a diabolical second goal. You could use maybe mental softness as an excuse, in that we didn’t see the job out and get the job done. I’d agree with that. "It was a game we should have easily seen out. There was no reason not to see it out, it was comfortable. You couldn’t say we were ever under any real pressure. We had the odd counter-attack to deal with but we didn’t have much else to do.”