Sports

Feb 082016
 
Pellegrini’s side have not beaten any side currently in the top six of the Premier League this season, drawing three and losing four

Leicester City have the advantage in the title race because they only have the Premier League to aim for, says Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini.

The surprise leaders have 13 top-flight matches left to play, having already been knocked out of both domestic cups.

Pellegrini’s side could play 27 times as they challenge for four trophies.

“It is important that Leicester are always able to play with the same team,” the Chilean said. “They haven’t got too many injuries at this moment.”

Leicester are five points clear of second-placed Tottenham following Saturday’s 3-1 win over Pellegrini’s team at Etihad Stadium.

“Going forward, Leicester have an advantage. But I don’t think that will be the only thing they need from now to the end of the season,” Pellegrini added.

The Blues have dropped to fourth, but are still chasing an unprecedented quadruple of the Premier League, League Cup, FA Cup and Champions League.

But their ambitions have been hampered by a fixture pile-up and a host of injury problems, leaving Pellegrini complaining that his squad has been stretched.

Spain attacking midfielder David Silva became the latest to join that lengthy injury list after hurting his ankle against Leicester.

“We have seven players injured at the moment in the same positions – two centre-backs, Vincent Kompany and Eliaquim Mangala – and in attack – Kevin de Bruyne, Jesus Navas, Wilfried Bony, Samir Nasri and now Silva,” said Pellegrini, who will be replaced by Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola at the end of the season.

“That makes it more difficult. Let’s hope we can recover.”

Pellegrini’s side host second-placed Spurs on Sunday – a key day in the title race as Leicester also travel to third-placed Arsenal.

Analysis

Former Arsenal, Leicester and England defender Martin Keown

“Apart from after one round of midweek Premier League games in March, Leicester will almost always have a full week between each fixture between now and the end of the season. That’s something I don’t think will suit them.

“They have just beaten Liverpool and won at Manchester City in the space of five days and I think the quick succession of games really helped them.

“They look like a team of high-energy players, and we see that in their games, so Claudio Ranieri is going to have to gear training towards their fixture schedule – to keep them relaxed but ready to go at the right times.”

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Feb 082016
 

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‘Title gap is growing and growing’

Louis van Gaal says that Manchester United do not need to clarify his future after reports that Jose Mourinho is in talks with the club.

The BBC understands that Manchester United have opened negotiations with representatives of Mourinho.

Speaking after Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Chelsea, Van Gaal asked a reporter: “You’ve spoken with [chief executive] Ed Woodward?

“Why does the club have to deny it, when you are creating stories?”

Van Gaal, 64, said last month that journalists had “sacked” him three times already this season and grew irritable by further questions over his immediate future.

He is out of contract at the end of next season and the draw at Stamford Bridge left United six points short of the top four.

“OK. So you didn’t speak to Ed Woodward, not with [Manchester United owners] the Glazers and you are inventing a story,” Van Gaal said.

“And then I have to answer this question. I don’t answer this question. And I shall repeat myself every week.

“Now I have to say that you [a reporter] are getting the sack tomorrow. What is your name? Then I can announce your name also.”

United had the better of the first 70 minutes at Stamford Bridge and led through Jesse Lingard’s excellent goal, only for Diego Costa to equalise in added time.

Van Gaal said his team should have done enough to earn the praise from the media and referenced Sir Alex Ferguson’s three years without a trophy at the start of his reign.

He said: “It was not a ‘boring’ match. For the third game in succession our football was sparkling.

“So I hope to get the support of the media this week.

“But you write what you like. Maybe you remember the difficult first years of Fergie. You have to study, study statistics.”

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Feb 082016
 
John Terry has played 478 Premier League games for Chelsea

Chelsea captain John Terry said there has been “no communication” between him and the club despite boss Guus Hiddink suggesting he could stay.

Terry, 35, said last week that he had not been offered a new deal when his contract expires in the summer.

Asked after Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United whether anything had changed, he told Sky Sports: “Not from my point of view.

“I made it very clear I wanted to stay,” he added.

Since Terry suggested last weekend that he would leave, Hiddink appeared keen to discuss a possible contract extension with the centre-back.

But speaking on Sunday, Hiddink said: “I’m not going to speculate.”

Terry added: “It’s a difficult one. The club is the most important thing. There is no communication between me and the club at the moment.

“I’ll never forget my memories here and they will live with me forever.”

Terry has been linked with moves to Qatar side Al Arabi