EPL

European Super League: Chelsea follow English clubs in confirming breakaway withdrawal

By Sports Desk April 20, 2021

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  • Thomas Tuchel and Bayern Munich take ‘energy’ from Leipzig win Thomas Tuchel and Bayern Munich take ‘energy’ from Leipzig win

    Bayern Munich boss Thomas Tuchel wants to build on his side’s last-gasp win over Leipzig when they travel to Freiburg on Friday.

    Harry Kane’s stoppage-time winner last Sunday ended Bayern’s run of three straight defeats in all competitions.

    “It’s been a good week,” Tuchel told a press conference. “A win always helps everyone, particularly a last-minute win. It’s given us confidence and a positive general feeling.

    “We’ve had a good week, the messaging hasn’t changed much. We’re carrying on. Tomorrow it’s about being ready. The focus is more than ever on the here and now.”

    Bayern remain eight points adrift of Bundesliga leaders Bayer Leverkusen so their season probably hinges on overturning a 1-0 deficit against Lazio in the second leg of their Champions League meeting on Tuesday.

    But Tuchel insisted: “The match takes place before Lazio. It’s a completely different match.

    “The best preparation for one match is a successful performance. We have to take it up a notch. We managed a little uptick against Leipzig, which has given us energy.

    “I’m confident we’ll win tomorrow, but it’ll only happen with full focus. It’s always difficult in Freiburg.

    “They’re very flexible, very variable and do a lot of running. They carry the ball well down the right with (Ritsu) Doan. (Vincenzo) Grifo on the left tries to be a threat with crosses from deep.

    “They also use long balls with up to seven attacking players. We need answers and that’s what we’ll prepare the team for. It’s always passionate in Freiburg, too.”

    Tuchel will hand a late fitness test to former Manchester City winger Leroy Sane.

    “Leroy always wants to play,” he said. “He’s someone who can tolerate pain extremely well. He’s felt something in the last few weeks.

    “Maybe he’s been grinning and bearing it a bit too much. I get the impression he’s not completely free. He has a lot of aches and pains and is paying a bit of a price for the overload.

    “We need to find the best solution for tomorrow. He’s doing an individual test now. If he can, we’ll take him into the final training session.

    “We’ll see if he can make the squad tomorrow and perhaps help us from the bench. We have to look from day to day.”

    Matthijs de Ligt is suspended in Freiburg so Minjae Kim will come into the side.

    “Serge Gnabry is back in training but it’s too early to take him,” added Tuchel.

    “Alphonso Davies is also back in training, he’ll be in the squad. Kingsley Coman, Sacha Boey and Noussair Mazraoui aren’t available.”

  • Jordan Henderson was ‘one of our best signings’, says Saudi league vice-chairman Jordan Henderson was ‘one of our best signings’, says Saudi league vice-chairman

    Jordan Henderson’s short-lived move to Saudi Arabia benefited the country’s league “a great deal”, its vice-chairman has said.

    The 33-year-old England midfielder completed a move to Dutch side Ajax last month after leaving Al Ettifaq less than six months into a lucrative three-year contract.

    Henderson hinted at regrets over his move to the Middle East in his introductory press conference in Amsterdam.

    He had previously championed LGBTQ+ rights and was widely condemned over the move to Saudi Arabia, where same-sex relationships are criminalised.

    However, Saudi Pro League boss Saad Al Lazeez told the Financial Times Business of Football Summit on Wednesday: “Jordan Henderson, even though he left, was one of the best signings in the Saudi Pro League.

    “We signed 93 players in the summer window, and I would say 28 to 30 of them would be in anybody’s list of the top 300 players, and you don’t expect all of them to stay.

    “Sometimes things do not work out, sometimes the player does not adapt, you expect those things to happen.

    “But I still maintain Jordan Henderson was one of our best signings, we benefited a great deal from his signing, we’re learning a lot of lessons and we will continue to grow from there.

    “We have been with Jordan throughout his journey from the day we signed him in the UK. We still maintain a good relationship with him. He’s a great guy, a great person. It just did not work out. So that’s life.”

    Henderson said on January 19: “In life, if you want to call them regrets or mistakes, you can call them that.

    “But, at the same time, they’re only mistakes if you don’t learn from them.

    “Looking back, at the time, obviously it was a big decision. It was a decision I felt was right for me and my family at the time, but things happen. Things change quickly in football.

    “I had to make another decision and this (joining Ajax) is the one I felt was right decision for me.”

  • You learn to dance in the rain – Steve Evans hails hard-fought win You learn to dance in the rain – Steve Evans hails hard-fought win

    Steve Evans was pleased to see his Stevenage side ‘dance in the rain’ as Boro returned to the top six with a 1-0 win over managerless Cambridge in League One.

    Jordan Roberts turned and swivelled on the edge of the box to score and press home Stevenage’s dominance after Us keeper Jack Stevens was called into action on multiple occasions, with his side now just five points above the relegation zone.

    As for Stevenage, they leapfrogged Oxford to move back into the play-off spots and Evans hopes his side have what it takes to weather the challenges ahead in the run-in.

    He said: “When you are in the promotional season, I have been in it many times. There are loads of storms that come.

    “Storms can be opposition, they can be officials or players getting injured. Storms could be bad misses; storms can be bad mistakes at the back or a bad error.

    “But you learn to dance in the rain, and that means you learn to work hard and be disciplined and I thought my players danced in the rain tonight.”

    Stevenage were threatened by Cambridge sporadically in the second half, and the home side failed to add a nerve-settling second goal for the second game in a row after failing to put 10-man Wycombe to the sword on Saturday.

    Evans said: “I think tonight there is no reason why we don’t score more, and we had a couple of one-on-ones and we have to take them.

    “We moved it around and we had big opportunities to get the second goal and then enjoy our evening, but I think this season we have never done it the easy way compared to last year.”

    Cambridge, meanwhile, have won only once in their last six games and find themselves without a manager ahead of a crunch trip to third-place Bolton on Saturday, with Barry Corr expected to take charge in the north-west.

    The interim head coach said: “Stevenage are very direct and get numbers around the ball, and we needed to do something about that.

    “You have to combat Stevenage and they are good at what they do. They spend ages over everything and Stevenage is a difficult place to come this year and they are having a brilliant season.

    “The fixtures have been difficult in the last three games, we played three teams in the top six. I don’t want to make excuses but these games won’t define our season and playing Bolton away won’t define our season.

    “But we will go there and we will look to be as competitive as we can, and we don’t want to feel sorry for ourselves.”

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