One of my worst moments – Neville

 Posted by at 8:02 AM
Feb 042016
Neville has led Valencia in eight league games without recording a win

Gary Neville says watching his Valencia side get demolished 7-0 by Barcelona at the Nou Camp was one of his “worst experiences” in football.

Wednesday’s loss in the Copa del Rey semi-final first leg has increased the pressure on Neville, who is without a league win in eight matches.

“I am not going to sleep well tonight,” said the former England player, who insisted he would not quit as manager.

“This is one of the worst experiences I’ve ever gone through in football.”

BBC Match of the Day presenter and former Barcelona striker Gary Lineker gave his thoughts

‘Neville go now’

Soon after the match, #Nevilleveteya, which translates to Neville go now, was trending in Valencia on Twitter.

The former Manchester United full-back was appointed in December, his first managerial job.

“I last doubted myself 18 years ago,” said Neville, as he was repeatedly asked about his future in the post-match news conference. “After that, I developed coping mechanisms to deal with situations. I’m fine.”

Neville’s younger brother Phil is also on the Valencia coaching staff.

Spain radio station Cadena Cope has claimed that Valencia owner Peter Lim will decide in the next few hours whether or not to sack Neville.

Spain newspaper AS enjoyed a joke at Neville’s expense on Twitter


Uruguay’s Luis Suarez scored four goals and world player of the year Lionel Messi netted a hat-trick for Barcelona, leaving Neville with just four cup wins from his 14 games in charge.

Valencia travel to Real Betis in La Liga on Sunday, 12th in the table and just five points clear of the relegation zone.

“The people I feel most sorry for are the Valencia supporters,” Neville added. “They don’t deserve a performance like that.

“We were playing against three of the best players in the world and we gave them three-on-twos I don’t know how many times.

“It was unacceptable and we have to recover very quickly. We need to win a league game. I wish the match against Betis could start in 10 minutes.”

‘Feeling helpless’

Valencia sporting director Jesus Garcia Pitarch described the defeat as one of the worst results in the club’s history.

“When I have moments like this I don’t enjoy them at all, it was painful,” added Neville.

“I stood out there both halves feeling helpless, trying to change it in some way, knowing the tide of the game was against us.

“We were playing against a fantastic team, keep that in perspective, but the scoreline is unacceptable.

“I need to make sure everything in the players’ minds now shifts to Betis. Be clear, we have to deliver on Sunday. “

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Everton 3-0 Newcastle United

 Posted by at 5:22 AM
Feb 042016
Everton’s previous home win came against Aston Villa, a 4-0 victory on 20 November

Everton claimed their first home league win since November with victory over Newcastle at Goodison Park.

The Toffees, without a Premier League win since Boxing Day, went ahead through Aaron Lennon’s low finish.

Ross Barkley’s shot was tipped onto the bar, Tom Cleverley’s free-kick tipped onto the post, while Newcastle’s Jonjo Shelvey headed against his own bar.

Barkley converted two late penalties to secure the win, the second a delightful chip after Jamaal Lascelles saw red.

Roberto Martinez’s Everton move up to 11th in the table, while Newcastle remain 18th, two points from safety in the relegation zone.

Re-live Everton’s win over Newcastle

A collective sigh of relief

The Toffees had blown leads in three of their last five league matches, and after striking the Newcastle woodwork three times in four second-half minutes, it looked as if they might again pay for failing to take their chances.

Three minutes after Shelvey diverted Barkley’s free-kick onto the Newcastle bar, Aleksandar Mitrovic wasted the away side’s only clear opening of the match – volleying wide from close range after static defending.

Barkley’s two late penalties added gloss to what was at times a nervy showing.

Lennon was fouled by Rolando Aarons in the box with two minutes left and Barkley stepped up to send the keeper the wrong way, before delighting the crowd with a Panenka after being tripped by Lascelles, who was sent off.

Newcastle struggling in front of goal

Only Norwich and Aston Villa have conceded more than Newcastle this term, but the majority of the £83m the club has spent since the end of last season has been on offensive acquisitions.

Ivory Coast forward Seydou Doumbia, who arrived on loan from Roma on deadline day, was an unused substitute, while Andros Townsend, signed from Tottenham for about £12m, was an isolated figure on the left wing.

More than 54% of Newcastle’s attacks came down the right flank, while new signing Andros Townsend featured mostly down the left

Had summer signing Mitrovic taken Newcastle’s best chance, then Steve McClaren’s side may not have capitulated in the way they did in the last few minutes.

But a draw would have been harsh on Everton, who created the clearer chances and carried the greater attacking potency, especially through Barkley.

‘Phenomenal’ Barkley

“Phenomenal footballer, phenomenal person,” Martinez said of his attacking midfielder Barkley. “He took responsibility with both penalties and showed he is an assured, technical footballer,” he added.

There were moments when Barkley’s technique didn’t quite match his creativity but his second penalty wasn’t one of them. The poise he showed when chipping the ball delicately home was the exclamation point in a vital win for the home side.

Man of the match – Ross Barkley (Everton)

Ross Barkley’s passing, dribbling and invention was impressive and he showed brilliant composure to score twice from the spot

Everton manager Roberto Martinez: “It’s fair to say we are learning from painful lessons. There have been times where opponents score too easily when they come into a game but we were compact today.

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Everton showed real focus – Martinez

“The second goal was decisive. Scoring the second goal made it a different game and allowed us to control things. We showed a mature way of playing. Back-to-back clean sheets now and the team has the intent to please our fans and show what we can do.”

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Scoreline harsh on Magpies – McClaren

Newcastle manager Steve McClaren: “In the first half you could see that the Everton players and supporters were nervous, we didn’t take advantage of that, we weren’t aggressive enough.

“In the second half we had a go but it wasn’t enough. Too many players were below par. We can’t play like that in front of 52,000 fans on Saturday, we need a reaction, we have to do better than that.”

The stats you need to know

  • Barkley has scored in four of his six Premier League games against Newcastle United [five goals].
  • The 22-year-old made his 100th league appearance, becoming the second-youngest player to reach the landmark for Everton, after Michael Ball.
  • Newcastle have conceded a league-high eight goals from outside the box in the Premier League this season.
  • The Magpies have gone nine league games without a clean sheet. Only Sunderland, without a clean sheet in 10 matches, have a worse record
  • Everton won their first league game at Goodison Park since 20 November when they beat Aston Villa 4-0. It was also their first clean sheet at home since then.

What next?

Everton are away at Stoke in a 15:00 GMT kick-off in the Premier League on Saturday, when Newcastle play at home to 14th-placed West Brom.

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Aberdeen 2-1 Celtic

 Posted by at 5:03 AM
Feb 042016

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Highlights: Aberdeen 2-1 Celtic

Aberdeen breathed new life into the Premiership title race with a deserved win against league leaders Celtic.

After a dominant start from the visitors, Aberdeen exploded into life when Jonny Hayes fired home an unstoppable drive from 25 yards.

Simon Church marked his debut with a goal when he bundled home from close range to make it 2-0 at Pittodrie.

Leigh Griffiths pulled one back in injury time, but the Dons held on to cut the gap on Celtic to three points.

It was a sensational atmosphere in this top-of-the-table clash, which saw striker Church make his debut for the hosts with Efe Ambrose taking a seat on the bench.

The early exchanges were combative and committed but restricted to long-range efforts that did not threaten an opener.

Church turns the ball home from close range to put Aberdeen 2-0 up

Celtic grew in confidence going forward during the first half, and there were strong claims for a penalty as Shay Logan was thought to have handled the ball.

The contest then erupted and it was Aberdeen who decisively struck.

Hayes gathered a clearance about 25 yards from goal and hit a fabulous strike which crept inside goalkeeper Craig Gordon’s post.

As Celtic manager Ronny Deila looked on in horror, things got worse for his side as Aberdeen roared further ahead.

Hayes sent in a corner, Kenny McLean nodded on and debutant Church kneed the ball home from close range to send Pittodrie wild.

Celtic’s lead at the top of the Premiership has been cut to three points

McLean came close to a third just before half-time with a fierce drive from outside the box which Gordon diverted.

Deila’s half-time response was to hand a debut to Colin Kazim-Richards at the expense of Stuart Armstrong.

However, it was Aberdeen who should have gone further ahead.

Defensive indecision presented Church with a glorious chance to seal it, but he somehow screwed the ball wide from close range.

Celtic struggled to create until Scott Brown hooked the ball across for Griffiths, who looked certain to bury a header back across goal, but it inched past the far post.

Niall McGinn then fired from distance and Gordon cleared the ball as it looked to be heading just wide.

Then Griffiths cut inside onto his left foot and fired past Scott Brown to pull one back for Celtic in stoppage time, but there was not enough time left to search for an equaliser.

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Van Gaal not to blame – Lingard

 Posted by at 10:39 PM
Feb 032016
Jesse Lingard scored United’s first first-half goal since the Champions League game against Wolfsburg in September

Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal is not to blame for the team’s recent troubles, says winger Jesse Lingard.

Lingard scored 14 minutes into Tuesday’s 3-0 league win over Stoke to end United’s run of 11 home matches without scoring a first-half goal.

United remain five points adrift of the top four, but the margin of victory gave Van Gaal respite from criticism of his team’s dour displays this season.

“It’s not the manager’s fault – we’ve been on the pitch,” said Lingard.

United, jeered after losing 1-0 to Southampton in their previous home game, outclassed Stoke, with Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney also scoring.

Lingard, 23, described his early goal as “massive” for the team’s confidence.

“It’s a weight off our shoulders and we can just play football now,” he added.

“We are playing with freedom and we’ve got a lot of energy in the team.”

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I’m a very happy coach – Van Gaal

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