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Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard hits the town after Aston Villa dash his dreams of fairytale ending

looked down in the dumps on a night out in London following Liverpool's FA Cup exit on Sunday. The Reds skipper was spotted outside Boujis nightclub iampion League tie with Real Madrid in good form.Bernardo insists winning the next two games is crucial to going to the Bernabeu in the best shape possible.“They are really good opponents,” he said.“I think the best way to prepare is to win the nen Kensington after their 2-1 defeat against Aston Villa left their season in tatters. Gerrard was denied a fairytale ending to his Anfield career as to set up a showdown with holders . The midfielder turns 35 on May 30 – the same day as the final – but will bring the curtain down on his playing days the weekend before at Stoke instead. Gerrard admitted the Reds looked 'nervous' at Wembley as they froze on the big stage. In pictures – Alex Gerrard laps up the sun in Dubai "We didn't play today, we looked very nervous for some reason,” the Kop hero told talkSPORT after the game. “We're a team that'suito midfielder Jose Cifuentes admits he’s had an offer from Manchester City.The 20-year-old never made the move but he has revealed that City were interested but he wasn’t allowed to leave the club.“All contacts are closed, it was published by the built on passing and playing it quickly but we were very disappointing in that aspect and they were much better than us. "We were very disappointing. I thought were much better than us today and that's the overriding feeling after the game." Liverpool had got their noses in front when Philippe Coutinho gave them the lead on the half-hour mark. In pictures – Aston Villa 2-1 Liverpool However, Christian Benteke continued his red-hot streak in front of goal to level before Delph landed the decisive blow after the break. had no complaints about the result as the Reds faithful were made to suffer another trophyless season. "We were very disappointing – Villa were much better than us," said Rodgers. "We were nervous for some reason, maybe when you want to win something so much perhaps it plays on your mind. "For a team with a lot of energy we has no energy today. It is disappointing that in another big game we didn't show that courage. Villa did, they had good energy and are playing with a bit more freedom." Pressure on the Ulsterman has cranked up another notch, with Liverpool also seven points off the pace in the race for the Champions League spots. But former Anfield favourite for the foreseeable future. He said: “Brendan [Rodgers] is there for the long haul. He’content_imgs moved the club forward. Some of the problems this year were out of his hands. “He couldn’t have predicted what Luis Suarez was going to do in the World Cup, meaning he had to revamp his squad. “ has had some horrendous injuries this year. What you could question is some of the recruitment at Liverpool." Will Steven Gerrard win anything in the MLS?3000+ VOTES SO FAR

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Robin van Persie wants Champions League win with Manchester United

Manchester United striker Robin van Persie has admitted winning the Champions League would be the ultimate achievement. moved to Old Trafford from Arsenal in 2012 to boost his chances of silverware content_imgand guided United to the Premier League title in his debut campaign. And while are unlikely to repeat that success this season, the Champions League final in Lisbon is very much in their sights. For van Persie it would be the ultimate success, having been an unused substitute when Arsenal lost to Barcelona in the 2006 final. The Dutchman told Uefa.com: "It would mean the world to me. "Of course, it's a trophy many players don't win; once, if you're very lucky. It is a very special trophy and everyone wants to win it this year. "Only one team can win it, and it's very hard. It see at West Ham today after his drugs scare.And boss Pep Guardiola says the way is also open for the £60million Algerian to make an impact after Leroy Sane’s injury.Mahrez was pulled out of last Sunday’s Community Shield clash with Liverpool amid fearsms to get harder every year to win it, because the teams are getting better and better. "So it's always hard if you want something everyoAC Milan goalkeepr Pepe Reina hopes to earn a late career return to the LaLiga.But he concedes it’s a long shot.”I think it’s hard for me to finish my career in Spain,” the former Barcelona keeper admitted.”If God wants it and everything goes well, maybe I can coach there.”I want to stay connected to football and I will live there, but as a player it’s hard to see.”ne wants." United face Olympiakos in the last 16 of this year's competition, having secured their routine progression from Group A, despite their wobbly league form. Their quest to finish in the top four this season has not been helped by van Persie's current thigh problem, – along with first-choice strike partner Wayne Rooney.

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Tottenham striker Roberto Soldado admits he has struggled to settle in England

Roberto Soldado has refused to make any excuses for his struggles at Tottenham Hotspur. cost £26million when signed from Valencia in the summer but has struggled to find the net on a consistent basis. That cost him his place in the last two Premier League matches – but the Europa League may have given the Spanish international a way back into the first team for this afternoon's clash with Liverpool at White Hart Lane. . "It was special for me to score three goals and a boost for my own confidence," he said. Soldado accepted that the two wins in the games for which he was omitted may mean he is again on the bench. "They were absolutely vital wins for us," he said. "We have a great side. "Yes, it has been difficult for me to settle but I don't think the change of country and a new lnounced the hospital he is attending this week.Mihajlovic is undergoing a second round of chemotherapy.“The patient’s clinical condition is very good,” the hospital said in a statement.“The tests carried out before he was released the first time anguage is any excuse whatsoever for not performing at the level I expect of myself". "I think I have been here longgend Gaizka Mendieta hopes the club can retain the services of Ferran Torres, but admits offers are likely to come.Torres started his footballing career with Valencia’s youth set-up at the age of six.He made his first-team debut against Real Zaragoza enough now to have a good understanding with my team-mates during the game. "Let us hope from now on you will start to see another Roberto Soldado." He added: "The first few months are quite difficult and as soon as you leave content_imgtraining, you have a lot of things to sort out – school for the kids, a house… It is not easy when you change league and change countries. "You are going to need time to settle." The aftermath of the 6-0 defeat at Manchester City was not pleasant. "That result was a real shame," he said, "but now we need to keep a good run going." Soldado and his wife Rocio have also had to deal with the trauma of a miscarriage. It happened a fortnight ago. "A month ago she was pregnant but unfortunately she lost the baby two weeks ago," said Soldado.

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Wolves 0-5 Man United: Daily Mirror match report

Back from the Basque Country to the Black Country, Manchester United resumed normal service on the home front yesterday. And shambolic hosts Wolves, who are no Athletic Bilbao, provided the perfect cure for a European hangover for the second time this season. As Sir Alex Ferguson’s side moved four points clear of Manchester City at the top of the table, their only disappointment will be they did not score a Premier League record of double figures and also overtake their neighbours on goal difference. But the turkey shoot ended with only five goals – all in the first 61 minutes – as 10-man Wolves tumbled back to the bottom of the Premier League. In a slapstick season which has seen Mick McCarthy sacked, fan protests and the club captain arrive at training worse for wear, the entire team turned up not fit to play yesterday. They have now conceded 14 goals in their four matches under caretaker Terry Connor and won just once in 15 in the league in a horror run starting with defeat at Old Trafford. That 4-1 reversal in December came three days after Manchester United exited the Champions League. Yesterday Wolves were again the whipping boys following United’s Europa League ­elimination to a team sitting seventh in La Liga. The only good news for Wolves is United cannot go out of Europe again this term – and they will not have to face them for a third time. The bad news is it is increasingly unlikely they will be playing Sir Alex Ferguson’s side next season either. At least the home fans, some of whom disgraced themselves after the home defeat to ­Blackburn, could see the funny side after Ronald Zubar’s first-half red card (below) made an unlikely comeback impossible. After taunting United by chanting, “It’s just like watching Bilbao”, the went on to question the weight of chief executive Jez Moxey and the wisdom of building a spankilit says Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk had a nightmare against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday.The Dutchman clumsily gave a corner that lead to a Saul Niguez which ultimately decided the game.Gullit told beIN Sports: “Van Dijk has a nightmare today, ng new stand ready for the Championship next season. But if they had not laughed they would have cried after a ninth home league game without a win. The gap between the best and worst in the top flight was bordering on the embae wants to “finish his career” at relegated Fulham after signing a new contract at the club.The 28-year-old midfielder’s new deal will keep him at Craven Cottage until 2024 but could be extended by a further year.”The club has been amazing to me,” sarrassing. Antonio Valencia, returning after a seven games out with a hamstring strain, ran riot down the right, scoring one and setting up two. Wayne Rooney did not find the net but Javier ­Hernandez got two to preserve a record of United remaining unbeaten this season when the duo start a game. And it is eight wins and one draw in the league since Paul Scholes returned in January. The 37-year-old could be playing in matches as easy at this one when he is 67. Wolves had the best early chance, Steven Fletcher heading wide from seven yards. But if bad at scoring, they are even worse when it comes to conceding. They have not kept a clean sheet in the league since 27 August – 26 games and counting – and it was easy to see why. After 21 minutes, Michael Carrick had space to sidefoot Rooney’s corner back into the six-yard box and Johnny Evans was left unmarked to score his first goal on his 119th appearance for United. Wolves, who ended United’s unbeaten start to the season in February last year, then enjoyed a brief spell of possession and pressure before Frenchman Zubar lost his head in Marie Antoinette style. The right-back could have been sent off for a two-footed lunge on Rooney after 28 minutes. He made another horrible ­challenge, on Welbeck 12 minutes later, and ref Anthony Taylor showed a red card. The game was ­effectively over before the break. After 44 minutes, content_imgHernandez and Rooney combined to release Valencia and he ran unopposed to the six-yard box before ­slotting home. In first-half injury time, Evans picked out the Ecuadorian with the pass of the match and his cross was stroked home by Welbeck. The red shirts came out early for the second half looking for more and Hernandez obliged. After 56 minutes, the Mexican was left unmarked six yards out to head home a Rafael Da Silva cross and he then crashed in a Valencia cross five minutes later. United’s Premier League record win – 9-0 against Ipswich in 1995 – was then in their sights. They settled for five. Wolves were lucky to get none. Fergie challenges City to 'follow that' against Chelsea

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Liverpool’s Mario Balotelli struggling to be an Eric Cantona-style maverick striker – because he isn’t really a striker

As Mario Balotelli stood over the ball, sizing up an improbable free-kick from fully 40 yards, his captain quietly intervened. Steven Gerrard cast a long, disber Nicolas Pepe.Sky Italia says Arsenal have made a fresh move for the Ivory Coast international in the last 24 hours.Napoli were regarded as favourites to land Pepe, with Lille president Gerard Lopez admitting a deal was likely.However, it’s emergedelieving sideways look at , and gestured for him to get into the penalty box. In that moment, you had, crystallised, the essence of Balotelli’s Liverpool experience so far. other players haven’t bought into the Super-Mario mythology. That much is painfully clear from their on-field body language. Every false move he makes, every exasperated breath he takes, is greeted with visible disdain. There is more than a suspicion they don’t quite believe in him. Not as a person – forget all that baggage and talk about his off-field antics – it’s nothing to do with that. Quite simply, it seems that, from management down, Liverpool don’t know if he has what this team desperately needs from their striker out on the pitch. Perhaps that’s why it simply isn’t working. According to Hull boss Steve Bruce, , if ever a player like Balotelli is going to succeed, then it is because he is embraced. “When you sign someone like Mario, you understand – a bit like me taking Hatem Ben Arfa [on loan from Newcastle where he had become an outcast], there’s always a lot of nonsense about them. You take them, and the one thing they ain't going to do is change. You have to find a way of getting the best out of them without changing them.” Bruce calls Balotelli a “maverick”. He should know. He was captain of Manchester United when the ultimate maverick arrived, to transform that club’s fortunes in the early 1990s. Mario may be the little prince, but there is only one King of the maverMerson’s claims about Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.Warne has responded to Merson’s claims that Klopp could take the Millers into the Premier League.”I think the German coaching badges are a lot better than the English ones,” Warne joked.”Jurgen is icks. Eric Cantona was a catalyst, the missing ingredient. And crucially, he was recognised as such. Bruce added: “Cantona was big, and let me tell you, he was a maverick, no doubt, but the dressing room accepted him straight away. “Of course he was a maverick, and he was a bit different. But he was also dedicated. He carried a bag with vitamin pills and things to make him better, well before anyone else [did it]. He got himself physically right. He was a magnificent specimen, physically. “I think he came into the team at United and we accepted him. We all liked him – which helps the manager. So when he turns up in flip-flops and baggy jeans at a civic reception, then there’s only him can get away with it, let me tell you! “I remember, as captain, I questioned Fergie about it, and he said, ‘Tell the rest of the team if they all play like him, then they can all wear raggy jeans and flip flops’.” Bruce made another point afterwards, as he questioned who was better than Balotelli in a subdued-but-improved Liverpool performance: “Seriously, they had Sterling and Lallana, who was £25m. But . “When you take one of these players though, you have to be sure you are taking them for the right reasons. It’s a bit like Ben Arfa. I thought long and hard about it, how could Hull be signing a player of his ability? “He’s been terrific, been back in the afternoon 10, 12 times, done everything I’ve asked of him. But you accept he’s not going to be… he’s going to be a bit different to other people.” That’s the thing about Balotelli. He’s different. In part because he’s not really a striker in the true sense of the word. It is a slightly weird thing about him: How has he reached this level without ever possessing the art of a true striker? He’s an athlete, yes. No doubt. But a real, instinctive striker? Nope. Not in any sense of the notion. After watching him perform so far this season for Liverpool, including against a depleted Hull side fielded their No3 keeper and without Michael Dawson at centre-half, it is the only conclusion you can draw. From there, you must draw a further conclusion: That someone who isn’t a true striker can’t lead the line alone. Balotelli himself has admitted as much, but for evidence, you merely needed to witness this contest. He tried, bless him. There really was more effort than his mindset normally allows. As his manager says, he wants to perform. Yet he doesn’t really know how, and there you have the crux of why Liverpool are struggling so badly right now. Liverpool woucontent_imgld have won this game had the Italian taken either of two incredible chances, one a header, the second – with the final kick of the game – from a position four yards out that the natural striker would net with his eyes closed. He didn’t look like scoring either. Perhaps worse though is the fact he can’t provide the two other things this Liverpool system needs – demands – from their centre forward: Movement, both wide and in behind, and pressing. They are what Luis Suarez had and Daniel Sturridge has but poor Mario doesn’t have much of a clue about. That the Italian can’t do those things should come as no surprise to an Anfield player recruitment team that largely came from Manchester City. And it seems to be a surprise. So why persevere with him in that position, when even his team-mates’ body language suggests they don’t believe he can do it? First, and most obviously, because they have very few other options. Second, because Rodgers has perhaps the best track record of any young coach in developing players, even ones like Balotelli who Bruce believes is unteachable. Rodgers was, in turn, exasperated by and . He knows those misses cost the game, he knows with Sturridge in the side, they’d have won against a Hull side limited by five injuries and with a third choice keeper, as well as he performed. Does the manager truly believe he can develop Balotelli, just as he did Suarez? “Yes. He probably is a player that likes to drift and open up spaces for others and get opportunities from that. Tactically, I think he can play a number of positions. "He is 6ft 3in, quick and strong. You look to play to players' strengths. I think you are never too old to learn. They key is if you want to learn. That is the key question. And I think Mario does. "He will be disappointed because he had two big chances. The header was one. The ball comes into the box… I could see John Aldridge there. It was a great opportunity. “Then there was the one at the end, but it wasn’t to be. It just didn’t fall for him. "He wants to do it though, he’s out there on the training pitch, and he’s getting into the positions. It will come.” There was one more snapshot of Balotelli, after his injury time miss. The whistle went immediately, as he sat on his haunches in the six-yard box. Eventually, he trudged from there to the tunnel, fully 70 yards, eyes fixed to the turf without raising his head once. No one came to him. No one looked at him. He looked at no one. Alone in his misery. Now, can you recall Cantona with his blazingly-defiant eyes cast to the ground. Ever? Will Balotelli be at Liverpool next season?13000+ VOTES SO FAR

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Maynor Figueroa must be punished for horror tackle on Stephen Ireland, insists furious Mark Hughes

Furious Mark Hughes claims it will be “an absolute joke” if Maynor Figueroa is not banned for his horror tackle on Stephen Ireland. in a deep calf gash and is out of action for several weeks. There was no booking from referee Neil Swarbrick when Hull defender Figueroa launched into Ireland in the first half of , despite Hughes claiming it could have ended Ireland’s career. But the FA will only take ­retrospective action against Figueroa if the officials confirm they did not see it and it took place off the ball. Raging said: “The assistant referee was 10 yards away. I would imagine when the report goes through he’ll say something like, ‘Well I saw it and didn’t deem it to be worthy of a sending-off’, which will be an absolute joke.” Hughes slammed for his attitude to a fellow professional. He added: “I don’t know what ­intention the lad had. It might be mistimed, but when you are a player you still have to protect your fellow professional. “But I don’t think he did at any point. It was a shocking challenge. It could have finished Ireland’s career. Why it was not a straight red, I have no idea.” TV pundits highlighted an earlier tackle by Ireland on David Meyler and suggested that what Figueroa did was Hull’s rnley.The Hammers were well beaten at Turf Moor as first half goals from Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood, added to Roberto’s own goal after the break, completed a miserable afternoon for the visitors.Rice said, “When we had that high at the start of thevenge. “Ireland’s wound is going to take any number of weeks to heal,” said Hughes. “It’s not great for him but he’s actually been a very lucky boy because it could have been a ­career-ending injury. It’s a horrible gash, it’s terrible, straight down the middle of the calf and deep. “It was a dangerous, reckless challenge that should have been recognised by the referee at least. “Thoscontent_imge type of challenges are the ones referees need to be able to read and understand. “If they can’t filter those from the ones that are innocuous and not career-threatening then there is ­something wrong.” Hughes could face a fine for his attack on Swarbrick and his ­officials, but he insisted: “I haven’t ­questioned their integrity, or any bias, I’ve juss he won’t push to leave for Manchester United.United are expected to make an opening offer of €60m for Fernandes this week.Asked about his situation, Fernandes said: “I don’t care about the market. “I’ve talked about this a lot, I don’t need to tat said they need to do the job better. It was a poor performance.” Should Figueroa be retrospectively punished for his challenge on Ireland?2000+ VOTES SO FAR

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Craig Kieswetter poised for England recall following injury to Matt Prior

England are considering turning to a wicketkeeper who did not tour with them in Australia after Matt Prior’s Achilles injury kept him out of action yet again. Neither Jonny Bairstow nor Jos Buttler have instilled enough confidence to be handed gloves against Sri Lanka, opening the door for Craig Kieswetter or possibly Steve Davies to return. is the man Alastair Cook wants to do the job, but he suffered a relapse in his injury last week and is now battling to get on the park. Former Sussex team mate Mushtaq Ahmed is set to leave his 80-day per year contract as England’s spin bowling coachcontent_img as he bids to link up with Waqar Youn a part to play for their trip to Liverpool.Emery says there’s a “big motivation” to get something from Anfield on Saturday.He said today, “It’s a bster City for next season.David Silva is leaving, as is back-up keeper Claudio Bravo, while there are doubts over a host of other first-team stars.Benjamin Mendy, Kyle Walker, John Stones and Joao Cancelo all have question marks hanging over them.Pepig challenge. Each match is a big challenge and each match is for us to prepare best as possible. The is and Pakistan.

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Ugly scenes: Ferdinand left bleeding as free-flowing Manchester derby marred by scuffles

Rio Ferdinand has tweeted in the wake of those chaotic scenes at the content_imgEtihad. The United man seemed to take his injury in remarkably good spirits despite the coin that hit him drawing blood, congratulating its thrower on a 'good shot'. City, meanwhile, have apologised to Ferdinand: "We apologise to Rio," said a Manchester City spokesperson. "We condemn the actions of the individual concerned. "We are rding Paul Pogba.United bosses are furious with the controversial agent for again stirring transfer talk around £89million Pogba, who has played only eight games this season and hasn’t featured since Boxing Day because of ankle trouble which requiredeviewing the CCTV with the police and our normal security. "We will support the police with any investigation and hopefully identify the person as soon as possible." United's dramatic 3-2 win over City was marred when the Manchester derby turned ugly after an object thrown from the crowd bloodied Rio Ferdinand. The Reds defender was left wiping blood from his face in the aftermath of an incident which took place following Van Persie's injury-time free-kick. United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said the focus should be on the football. He told Sky Sports following the game: "It's just unfortunate towards the end a City fan runs on and then they throw coins at our players and that. I don't think you need that. "The same thing happened at Chelsea which was masked really by all the other things that happened. "But, you know, two fantastic teams today, I think, and a fantastic game against Lyon.Both players have been absent from preseason training due to injury concerns.Speaking after Sunday’s 3-0 loss to Napoli, Klopp said: “Shaqiri and Keita as well, they trained already with us once, one session. They will come tomorrow andof football, and it could do without that." Winning goal scorer Van Persie was unaware Ferdinand had been injured when he was questioned immediately after the game. The Dutchman said: "I missed the thing with Rio so I will have to look back at it, but that should not really happen on a football pitch." The violent scenes were in contrast to earlier in the match. Greater Manchester Police are not currently investigating the incident and tweeted there had only been one arrested at 2pm of a suspected ticket tout outside the stadium, However, during the game GMP announced that another man was arrested inside the ground on suspicion of committing a racially aggravated public order offence after officers heard racist chanting. Earlier, the match commander Supt Craig Thompson said: "I have every confidence this match will mirror the two derbies last season and the football will be the only talking point."

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Luis Suarez ‘fell’: The funniest and most outrageous sporting excuses of all time

Luis Suarez says he didn't bite Giorgio Chian boss Antonio Conte is adamant they didn’t deserve defeat at Barcelona.Inter lost their Champions League tie 2-1, despite taking a third minute lead through Lautaro Martinez. Barca eventually winning via a Luis Suarez brace.“Compliments are nice,ellini – he FELL. Despite copious video footage and plenty of evidence to the contrary But, much like him, He's not the first sports star to try it on though – here's a selection of some of the best ones. Darts player said the air conditioning was at fault for his loss to Raymond Barneveld in 2003. He said it was effecting his throwing despite the fact it was turned off throughout the match. once blamed a streaker for him losing seven straight frames against Steve Davis and losing the match. Ok then… was blamed for Spain's loss to Switzerland at the 2010 World Cup for distracting boyfriend Iker Casillas by standing behind the goal. said their 2001 ICC Champions Trophy loss was because … their clothes were too tight. laughed off a positive cocaine test by suggesting it was from a woman he kissed in a nightclub. Remarkably officials believed him! Baseball player claimed he broke his wrist washing his car. He'd actually been doing wheelies on his motorbike but shhhhhh. Figure skater blamed his lack of inner peace for his failure to arrive on time at the 2006 Winter Olympic games. "I never felt comfortable in this building. I didn't feel my inner peace. I didn't feel my aura," he said. said diet pills were to blame for a positive drug test. The Australian leg spinner wanted to look less fat on TV – no jokes in the back! took their 1995 World Cup loss to South Africawell blaming a waitress for poisoning their water before the final. Another drug denial courtesy of . The US sprinter claimed a masseuse put testosterone cream on his legs without him knowing. Pull the other testosterone covered leg pal… Former NFL quarterback said his 35 thrown interceptions in his rookie year was down to colour-blindness. To be fair to be him that would explain why he kept throwing it to the other team… claimed that he couldn't pay a speeding fine because he had received no income after retiring from fooChelsea boss Frank Lampard says striker Tammy Abraham is “relatively positive” after meeting a specialist in Barcelona about his ankle injury.Lampard said: “Unfortunately he’s content_imgunwell at the moment. He’s off for a couple of days with a bit of a bug, so there’s no further update on the injury.”tball. Yes that's Michael "£120,000-per-week" Ballack. Hmmm. Zambian tennis player said his jockstrap was too tight in his match with Musumba Bwayla. He also said his opponent farted too often. . Grey kit. You know the rest.

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Il joue bien: Ancelotti praises Beckham’s contribution as PSG go through to quarters

Carlo Ancelotti singled out David Beckham for special praise after the former England skipper played a key role in Paris Saint-Germain's 2-0 Coupe de France victory over fierce rivals Olympique Marseille. Beckham joined PSG in January after leaving LA Galaxy, and, having made his debut in a 15-minute cameo off the bench in Sunday's win over the same opposition, was handed his first start by Ancelotti in the last-16 tie. And the Italian was rewarded, Beckham impressing in a deep-lying midfield role as PSG eased through to a quarter-final clash with Evian thanks to two goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic. "Beckham played very content_imgwell, as he usually does," said Ancelotti in L'Equipe. "His passing was good, as was his positioning, and he complemented point in the race for a top four finish.The Blues, Spurs, Manchester United, Wolves and Sheffield United are all involved in the race to see who finishes fourth.And with Leicester City slipping recently, it appears third place could also be up for g (Blaise) Matuidi well in midfield. He showed he can play." Beckham was pleased to have repaid Ancelotti's faith in him. "I was just very happy to play tonight and to help set up goals for others," he said. "I had a slight hand in the second goal on Sunday and again here so I'm happy. "I came here knowing that I wouldn't e”from his players ahead of Sunday’s derby against Tottenham.Lampard continues to challenge his team to show more fight, but has warned them not to overstep the mark at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.Asked if he would fear passion spilling over, Lampabe in the team from the word go. We have a good team and I want to add something to it. If that means starting then great, and if it means being on the bench then great." Beckham is expected to play a part in PSG's Champions League clash with Valencia next week – his first appearance in Europe's premier club competition since leaving Real Madrid in 2007 – and he is excited at the prospect. "I played in some big games in the USA but you always miss being involved in big games like this in Europe," he added. "It is a while since I played in the Champions League so I am excited. It is a big game for the club but it doesn't mean that it will be easy." PSG go into the second leg of the last-16 tie with a 2-1 advantage but will be without the suspended Ibrahimovic following his red card at the Mestalla.

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Cardiff City full-back Kevin McNaughton has loan spell at Bolton Wanderers extended

Kevin McNaughton has extended his loan spell at Bolton until January. The Scottish full-back, 31, has made three appearances for Dougie Freedman’s men and is yet to be on the losing side ahead of today’s Championship clash with Ipswich. McNaughton, from Aberdeen in 2006, was set to return to the Welsh capital next week, but both clubs have agreed a two-month extension. Nicknamed the "Silver Fox" by teammates be denies claims he was a Liverpool fan growing up.James and United are at the champions-elect today.He said: “It definitely isn’t true that I supported Liverpool. It’s been a crazy 12 months and ever to sell Kieran Tierney at the end of this season.The Daily Star says the Foxes have identified Tierney, 22, as the perfect replacement for Ben Chilwell should the England ace leave the King Power Stadium.Chilcontent_imgwell has been heavily linked with a move y day I think of what I was doing a year ago.“I cause of his greying hair, McNaughton has won four caps for Scotland. He made his international debut for Scotland against Nigeria in 2002.

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West Ham’s Andy Carroll: Big Sam can lead us into the Champions League – and beyond

Andy Carroll is adamant that West Ham can stay in the Champions League places – and go ‘all the way to the top’ under Sam Allardyce. The most expensive British footballer of all time netted his first two goals of the season as reached the top four with on Sunday. And is refusing to countenance any defeatist talk about West Ham inevitably slipping down the League, believing they have the quality and squad depth to continue their unlikely challenge to play among Europe’s elite. Carroll said: “I think there is no limit, we can go all the way to the top. We have a great squad and I can’t say we are going to give up now we are in the top four. We have a great team and we can go all the way. “I think with the team we have and the manager, the way he is playing and coaching everyone, it is fantastic and I don’t think we will be giving up at all.” Carroll, who broke the British transfer record when he moved from Newcastle to Liverpool for £3 Daily Star says the mega-rich Qatari owners of Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly on the verge of sealing a potential £120million takeover of Leeds United.Qatari Sports Investments (QSI) are closing in on a deal worth around £10million to secure a5million in 2011, scored at Upton Park for the first time since his £15m permanent switch to West Ham in the summer of 2013. had from Liverpool – allowing the Ivory Coast striker to leave Vitesse Arnhem for Swansea instead. And Carroll said: “I hadn’t seen seen anything about that – but he chose the right one, didn’t he?” After a lengthy lay-off with an ankle injury suffered in pre-season, Carroll believes due to a raft of impressive signings, such as fellow strikers Diafra Sakho and Enner Valencia as well as midfield maestro Alex Song. He said: “It is always easier when you have got a big squad. You are not relying on one player and we have so many quality -0 win over Derby County. The win puts United through to the FA Cup quarter-finals where they will face Norwich City at Carrow Road.Luke Shaw opened the scoring at Pride Park after 33 minutes with a fortuitous strike that deflected off the back of Jeplayers that can come in. That is why the players who are not playing are disappointed and the players who are in are putting the performances in to not be left out. “Diafra and Enner are great players, as they have shown at the start of the season. Both have goals in them and Diafra has come off the bench ancontent_imgd got one against Swansea, he could have had another. They are both great players and it is fantastic to see them fit again. “Sakho is a fantastic signing, the manager has brought in a lot of great players and that shows what the manager is capable of. He is keeping everyone happy as well. We have a big squad and everyone is over the moon to play for him. “Every game Alex Song has played he has been fantastic. He is just so comfortable on the ball and slows the game to his own tempo. It is a benefit for us that he can do that. Even when we were one down against Swansea, we didn’t go gung-ho. He still held it for us and was our anchor.” Carroll admits he was frustrated at having to wait so long to score at Upton Park but insists he is close to 100 per cent, four games into his comeback. He said: “It has been a long wait. I have been out for a long time and the previous couple of games, I haven’t been fully fit. “There have been a lot of injuries and I was put in unexpectedly really and played a couple of 90 minutes before I was fully fit. Now I’m feeling strong and I can put myself about a bit more. It is a great feeling for any striker to get goals.” Will West Ham be playing in Europe next season?500+ VOTES SO FAR

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Bring it on: Barton “can’t wait” for chance to spoil City’s title party

Joey Barton has warned Manchester City will get a "reality check" if they are already planning a victory party at Eastlands on Sunday. Roberto Mancini's side need to win their final game of the season to claim the title for the first time since 1968. But QPR are looking for the point that would guarantee their Premier League survival in their first y Kevin De Bruyne insists the players still believe in the methods of manager Pep Guardiola.The champions have not yet given up on a third successive Premier League title but, as they trail leaders Liverpool by 11 points having played a game more.Belgear back in the top flight.              And Barton, who spent five years at City after coming through their youth system, said his new club are ready to capSolskjaer insisted he has no fears over his job after Mauricio Pochettino’s sacking at Tottenham.”It doesn’t bother me at all,” Solskjaer said. “I’ve got the best job in the world. If you’re in a job or out of one as a manager you want this job.”It ditalise on the pressure weighing down on the Premier League favourites.              "I can't wait for the game – I can't wait to go tcontent_imgo Man City," he said. "They expect us to turn up and them to probably stuff us and go on and win the league             . "If that is their attitude, they will get a reality check. It's 11 men against 11 men, there is a lot of pressure out there – I can't wait for it.              "We have one game to go and we are masters of our own destiny." Barton was booed from the field when he was subbed during QPR's win over Liverpool in March. But the 29-year-old midfielder, who won one cap for England, insisted he has since rediscovered his finest form.              "I'm strange – I'm one of those players who needs a rocket up my backside all the time," he explained.              "It's six weeks since the Liverpool game – that implosion moment when you hit rock bottom.              "I dug in and was always confident in my own ability. I've played as well at this football club in these last six weeks as I have at any period."

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Suarez vs Bale: Liverpool’s Luis wins shootout to give Rodgers biggest win

Luis Suarez won his shoot-out with superstar Gareth Bale to give Brendan Rodgers . Suarez scored Liverpool’s opener at before winning the penalty for their late clincher. Rodgers was delighted to record his first victory over a top-four side to climb to sixth spot – just two points off landing a place in Europe. “It’s an important three points,” said the Liverpool boss. “People talked about how we hadn’t beaten anyone in the top 10, then it was the top eight and top six and now it’s top four. The most important thing for me is the growth in the group." Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher claimed Suarez had come out on top over Bale. “I’ve been saying for I don’t know how long that he’s a top player and we’re delighted to have him,” said Carragher who made his 500th league appearance for thecontent_img Reds. “There’s a lot of talk between him, Robin van Persie and for the Player of the Year. “Those other two are top players at against Belgium.The midfielder came off and was replaced by Ryan Fraser during the first half of the Euro2020 qualifier.It is unclear if Armstrong suffered a serious injury or the substitution was a precaution.The Scottish were disappointed in the- Bale showed fantastic touches in this game and crosses – but Luis won the Man of the Match so he obviously comes out on top today.” Liverpool boss Rodgers added: “The players were brilliant. It was a great win against an outstanding team in Tottenham. “It’s a few years since Liverpool have beaten them and this is another marker in terms of our growth.” lmieri admits he’s disappointed by the departure of Maurizio Sarri.Sarri will be presented as new Juventus coach on Thursday.Emerson said, “We played a great season: we finished third, we won the Europa League and we reached the League Cup final, SarAndre Villas-Boas agreed that Suarez was fouled by Benoit Assou-Ekotto for Liverpool’s spot-kick and the Uruguayan played down the flare-up between the players at the end. “I think I had contact with Ekotto and you can see that on TV,” said the 22-goal Premier League top scorer. He added: “Things happen when you have an angry match with contact and speaking at the end, but everything was on the pitch and now forgotten.”

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Picture this: The Premier League’s best photos of the weekend

Well, that was another doozy of a Premier League weekend, wasn't it? Saturday wasn't a good day to be a fan of a Manchester side, as of this still young Premier League season and City followed up last weekend's derby victory by twice throwing away the lead as they stumbled to . nternational says he was contacted by Les Bleus as a en has turned down thecontent_img chance to be Vincent Kompany’s first signing as Anderlecht manager.The 33-year-old is available on a free transfer next month after five injury-plagued years at the Nou Camp.New player boss Kompany, former of Manchester City, wteen.He said, “I could’ve played for France. Sportingly speaking, it would’ve been the best thing to do.“At 18, when I played for Lyon, their CT called me. He was interested in me, but it was t Meanwhile, Chelsea's visit to White Hart Lane brought plenty of subplots – from the smoldering tension between Jose Mourinho and Andre Villas-Boas' to Fernando Torres getting his claws out, there was plenty going on in . In south Wales, a new Arsenal bright young thing announced his arrival on the scene, as Serge Gnabry scored his first ever Gunners goal to help propel his side to the top of the table . And then rounding the weekend off was the shy and retiring Luis Suarez, who netted twice on his Premier League return in . Remember all the action in our fabulous gallery.