Michael Kightly ended 10 hours and 55 minutes without a goal in their 2-2 draw at Leicester on Saturday. It set a club record by four minutes, the previous one dating back to 1970, before Ross Wallace pinched a point with a last-gasp free kick. Boss Sean Dyche lifted the pressure off his strikers and backed them to fire despite Burnley’s goal drought setting a new club record. “One result doesn’t define the next result. But what I do know is that this was more like how I expect the team to perform,” he said. “I use the term doomed flippantly. But I realise people will think the challenge is huge for a club like Burnley, we haven’t spent a lot of money, we haven’t played regularly in the Premier League. But we have got a group who are very honest, who want to learn, who want to improve – and they want the challenge.” Riyad Mahrez’s goal looked like winning it for Leicester before Wallace struck deep into stoppage time It denied the Foxes a second home win of the season and midfielder Dean Hammond insisted they deserved victory. “We’re disappointed, we deserved to win even if we weren’t at our best. We’ll take point and move on. There are a lot of positives, unfortunately we conceded a couple but that’s the way it goes. We’ve had a decent start to the season,” he told Foxes Player. “We’re unbeaten at home and would like a few points but it was a fortress last year and it’s starting to look like that again. Everyone wants to play in the Premier League, that’s what we worked so hard for. “I’m loving every minute. It’s a challenge every week but I think we’ve performed well and we are looking forward to the rest of the season.” Press Association Dyche said: “The question marks have been there for obvious reasons. We believe as a group we can operate at this level, certainly compete, and we kind of have done, barring last Sunday. “Goals have been hard to come by, that’s for sure, and that goal acted as a release, and then we go and get a second, and they feel a bit more relaxed about it. They don’t get any pressure from me by the way, none of them. “Brian Clough said scoring is the hardest thing in the world. He actually said it to Teddy Sheringham, before reminding him that he’d managed it 251 times in 274 games, but that was a typical Brian Clough moment. “I know that; I don’t put any pressure on our strikers. They’ve got the freedom to go and score goals and I believe they will come for our strikers.” Lukas Jutkiewicz set up Kightly’s strike, which cancelled out Jeff Schlupp’s opener, and is yet to score since his £1.5million summer move from Middlesbrough but Dyche is pleased with his efforts. “He’s doing well. I just said to him, try and believe a little bit more.” he said. “He’s had chances and it’ll come but he’s another one, a young man learning his trade at a higher level, and it is a higher level, a tough level, make no mistakes. But he’s going about his business in the right manner.” Burnley have been without the injured Danny Ings and Sam Vokes but ex-Bournemouth striker Ings is expected back after the international break following his hamstring problem. The Clarets are still winless and the point lifted them off the bottom of the Barclays Premier League after their horror 4-0 defeat at West Brom but Dyche insisted they need more.
Referring to the £59million capture of Di Maria from Real Madrid, he told MUTV: “When you can identify ability like that for Manchester United, they have the resources to do that – fees I never quite equalled but they needed a big injection this year.” On the other signings, he added: “Herrera played against us three years ago for Bilbao, he’s a talented young player and we scouted him quite a lot. He’s quite aggressive for a lad who’s not got a great frame. “I watched Rojo at the World Cup and thought he did well. He’s capable of playing left side or centre back. “Luke Shaw we tried to get when he was 16. They (Southampton) wouldn’t sell him but they always said we’d be the first to know if he did. He’s a talented boy, good footballer and likes to get forward. “Daley Blind is a common-sense footballer, a version of Darren Fletcher a few years ago. And Falcao is the one we’re all waiting to see, he’s got fantastic goalscoring ability.” Despite the big-money arrivals, Ferguson is pleased that Van Gaal has decided to use the club’s academy as well. He added: “The rebuilding of the team, they’ve brought in some good quality which is really important because you need quality at Manchester United, you need the best players. “What’s pleased me about Louis is he’s given about seven of the young kids their debuts, which falls into line with the history of the club. I think the supporters will respond well when a young player gets his opportunity.” Ferguson was often pictured in the stands last season as the man he initially chose to replace him, David Moyes, struggled to get the team performing. There was never anything to suggest Ferguson was influencing Moyes, but he is adamant he has nothing to do with Van Gaal when it comes to first-team affairs. “There’s no ongoing dialogue. He comes into my office sometimes after a game, we have a chat, it’s not a matter of picking up the phone to him as he’s a very capable person, a strong leader. He knows what I’m about but there’s no need for him to phone me,” he said. Ferguson remains a United ambassador and director, as well as filling a number of other roles. He continues to work with UEFA and the League Managers’ Association, but says fewer managers are now calling him for advice, as was often the way in the past. “One or two do, not many. I think they probably think I’m dead!” he said. Press Association Sir Alex Ferguson felt Manchester United needed the injection of talent provided by manager Louis van Gaal and chief executive Ed Woodward. United responded to a poor first season after Ferguson’s retirement by bringing in Van Gaal and underneath him the likes of Daley Blind, Angel di Maria, Radamel Falcao, Ander Herrera, Marcus Rojo and Luke Shaw. The new signings have helped United into the top four already despite some indifferent performances, and Ferguson believes fresh faces were needed.
He said: “I didn’t think we deserved to lose the game, but we didn’t do enough to win it. We had enough of the ball, we had good movement in front of the ball, we just lacked maybe that wee bit of creativity and invention in the final third of the field. “Anything we had to deal with until the goal, we dealt well with defensively, there were no real issues. But we made a mistake and the mistake, unfortunately, has cost us the game and that’s the biggest disappointment of it all.” Rodgers, however, was unhappy that referee Andre Marriner only booked Sissoko for a second-half challenge on Joe Allen when he felt a red card was the only option. He said: “The only one I have seen was Sissoko’s challenge on Joe Allen where he should have been sent off, if you watch that again. “That was the only challenge I thought that probably looked not as bad at the time, but when you see it again, it was a bad challenge.” While Pardew can enjoy another week on the training ground – albeit without midfielder Gabriel Obertan, who suffered a serious thigh injury – Rodgers faces the task of raising spirits for Tuesday night’s daunting Champions League trip to Real Madrid. He said: “We have worked very hard for a couple of years to get to this level and playing against Real Madrid in the Bernabeu says we’ve been doing okay. “We are in a transitional phase and have to do better. It’s a wonderful game for us. It is a big week against the best in the world at the moment. We will go into the game hoping to get something out of it.” Pardew said: “It is Halloween! Bobby Robson had some dark days here, don’t worry about that. If you are Newcastle manager, it is not all gin and tonics and aperitifs. There will be rough days. “I always knew, and I kept saying it, that we have good spirit and good talent. I am not saying I saw the wins coming, but I knew there was talent. “Our fans are brilliant. It will be fantastic in the town tonight – I might even go in myself, the first time for a while. “That is what this city is about. It breathes and loves football. When it does not go well, they let you know, and when it is going well, they let you know. You take the good with the bad.” Pardew, who celebrates four years in the job next month, sent out his team brimming with confidence after victories over Leicester, Tottenham and Manchester City. And while it was a commendable defensive solidity which limited the visitors, for whom Mario Balotelli and Raheem Sterling were largely anonymous, it was Newcastle who found the cutting edge. There were 17 minutes remaining when the once again impressive Moussa Sissoko played a one-two with full-back Paul Dummett before sending in a low cross which was cut out by Alberto Moreno, but swiftly dispatched into the back of the net by Perez. It would have been 2-0 four minutes later had Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet not managed to keep out Remy Cabella’s goal-bound effort with his foot and Newcastle emerged as deserved winners, although not in the view of Reds boss Brendan Rodgers. The 53-year-old, who has come under intense pressure from disaffected fans in recent weeks, saw striker Ayoze Perez come off the bench to fire the Magpies to a 1-0 win at St James’ Park, their third on a trot in the league inside a morale-boosting fortnight. He wore a broad smile at the final whistle as one fan dressed as a skeleton paraded around the stand behind him holding a placard which said, “Pardew, back from the dead”. Alan Pardew was in good enough spirits to consider a rare night out among Newcastle fans after guiding them to a fourth successive victory as Liverpool became their latest victims. Press Association
Press Association City moved level on points with Barclays Premier League leaders Chelsea thanks to a brace from David Silva and Yaya Toure’s fourth goal in six matches. But Warnock thought his team could have taken something from the game had they not wrongly had a goal chalked off while the hosts were 2-0 up. “I think we could have come away with something. That’s why I am bitterly disappointed because we worked so hard all week and it’s nothing to do with us why that goal gets chalked off. We could have put them under the cosh for 20 minutes. “I wish I was still working in the media so I could say what I want without getting fined.” City had eight attempts in the first half, but Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni did not have a save to make because of City’s wayward finishing. The hosts improved after the break though and Silva put them ahead with a deflected shot that looped over Speroni. The Spaniard converted Aleksandar Kolarov’s square pass to double City’s lead before Toure sealed the win with nine minutes to go. “I was always confident (we would win),” Pellegrini said. “We had the patience to try to create the space. We did not allow them to have not one counter attack. “I was absolutely sure we were going to score and in the end we scored three goals against a difficult team that defended very well.” Pellegrini and his players came in for criticism at the start of the season for being unable to keep pace with Chelsea, but after a run of six straight league wins City are now equal on points with the Blues, who play Stoke on Monday. Pellegrini has been happy to see Toure return to form, but also pointed others out for praise following the win. “Yaya was very criticised at the beginning of the season but it was not only Yaya (who) was not putting in his best performance,” the Chilean said. “I said then, when our midfielders like Yaya, Fernandinho, (Samir) Nasri and Silva return to their normal performance, the team will play again the way we normally do. “I think that all of them this moment are in a very good moment, especially Fernandinho, Yaya and Nasri. They are playing regular and David is returning from a long injury with his knee the way he knows how to play.” Pellegrini was sure City would recover from their poor start to the campaign. “We are in a good moment,” said Pellegrini, who had to play James Milner up front because Sergio Aguero, Stevan Jovetic and Edin Dzeko were injured. “Maybe nobody believed one or two months ago we can continue in Champions League and be involved in the fight for the title but we always trust in what we do and the way we work every day and that is why I am so happy the squad demonstrates why we won the title last year. “You do not win the title in December but it is a key month. “If you want to be involved and have a chance to win the title, you must be as near as you can be to the lead of the table.” When asked whether any of his strikers would be fit for City’s game at West Brom on Boxing Day, Pellegrini said: “I don’t think so.” Manuel Pellegrini was happy to see Manchester City move joint top of the table, but Neil Warnock was in a much darker mood following Crystal Palace’s 3-0 defeat at the Etihad Stadium. James McArthur’s effort was disallowed halfway through the second period even though he was played onside by City midfielder Fernandinho. “It was a disgraceful decision,” the Palace boss said. “The linesman was in a terrible position. “I don’t understand why top-class officials get it wrong like that. “There is no explanation for it. The linesman will be disappointed when he sees (a replay) but that’s no consolation to me. It was a game-changing decision. “You could tell the crowd were nervous. It could have been 2-1 with 20 minutes go but it’s a canter for them all because of that. “You have to do your job right if you are at the top level if you are a linesman. “It’s not hard to look over and see. It’s not even close, it’s miles onside.
However, Meyer wrapped things up when he fired into the empty net with Carsen Chubak on the bench for the extra attacker. Jordan Mayer scored a hat-trick and Will Frederick added a goal and an assist as Hull Stingrays recorded a 6-3 victory on the road over Edinburgh Capitals and in the evening’s final game, a pair of Jordan Fulton goals gave Fife Flyers a 3-2 win over Dundee Stars. Stefan Meyer scored twice as Braehead Clan moved to within a point of Elite League leaders Sheffield Steelers thanks to a 5-2 victory over Belfast Giants. Lee Esders, Tristan Harper and Matt Keith scored within a span of 2:31 midway through the second period to give the Clan a 3-0 lead before Mike Kompon got the Giants on the board shortly after. Meyer’s 20th goal of the season restored the three-goal advantage but Kompon’s second powerplay effort of the night got Belfast back into it. Press Association
“I was disappointed we played that way,” Van Gaal said. “Nowadays the result is very important but I think the playing style is also important because you play for the fans. Manchester United has a lot of fans, so you have to play for them. “Next match we can show that we are still in our process and positive.” The first signs of unrest came last month at QPR when United fans demanded Van Gaal ditch his three-man defence by chanting “4-4-2”. The 63-year-old has acquiesced to their demands in recent weeks, altering the formation to a 4-4-2 diamond, but he concedes – eight months into the job – that he still does not know they best way to line up his United team. “No, I don’t think so,” Van Gaal said when asked if he had found the right balance in his starting XI. “I have played five or six systems and I am looking still for the balance. But this system is more attractive than normally and I can play with more attacking players. “That’s the reason I am doing that. “In spite of the fact that we are looking for the balance, our results are not bad and our defensive organisation is not bad, we also score a lot of goals. So, I cannot say that I am very disappointed about that. But we have to do it now, and normally you have to do it pre-season.” Van Persie is a doubt for Monday’s match because of an unspecified injury, Van Gaal revealed. The knee injury Phil Jones suffered against Burnley is not as bad as first feared, but he is unlikely to play at Preston. Daley Blind, who came off in the first half against Burnley after a clash of heads, is more likely to play, though. Van Gaal reported some bad news regarding Michael Carrick, who has suffered a setback in his recovery from the calf injury he suffered at the end of last month. Carrick was supposed to be out for four weeks, but his lay-off could last longer. “He has a setback,” Van Gaal said on MUTV. “That’s not unusual with injuries so we will also have to wait and see.” Scholes won 20 major trophies at United under Sir Alex Ferguson, but it is safe to say he is less than impressed by the man who is currently in charge at Old Trafford. The former England midfielder said some of United’s play under the Dutchman had been “miserable” and complained that strikers Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao looked like “strangers” in the 3-1 win against Burnley on Wednesday. Scholes also criticised Van Gaal for playing Wayne Rooney in midfield. The 40-year-old is not the only person to criticise United of late. Falcao’s agent Jorge Mendes said United would not be struggling if Ferguson was in charge, Sam Allardyce branded Van Gaal’s team “long-ball United” and even veteran Preston striker Kevin Davies mocked the former Bayern Munich coach ahead of Monday’s FA Cup tie with the Red Devils at Deepdale, claiming the squad looked unhappy. “I don’t worry about it, it’s not so interesting I think because he (Scholes) is one of the fans, I hope, and he can criticise,” the United boss said. “Fans can criticise, and that’s not a problem. “I am used to it and I think all the players are used to it because they are professional football players. “Maybe some players are affected, but normally most of the time it does not affect me or the players.” Although United returned to winning ways this week after the drab draw at West Ham last Sunday, a few fans made their displeasure at the team’s style of play known by whistling at the players in the first half on Wednesday. Van Gaal admitted he was concerned about the negativity from the supporters and he hopes to bring a smile back to their faces by recording a comprehensive win at League One Preston. Louis van Gaal insists neither he nor his Manchester United players will lose any sleep over the latest barrage of criticism from Paul Scholes. Press Association
Press Association The video, filmed by a passenger on the London Underground, appears to show West Ham supporters chanting anti-Semitic songs before Sunday’s 2-2 draw at White Hart Lane. The latest clip shows a group of fans standing in the Tube chanting “I’ve got foreskin, how about you? F******Jew.” “If anyone has any information on such behaviour we would urge them to report it to the club, Kick It Out or the police so it can be investigated thoroughly.” Lord Ouseley, the chairman of anti-discrimination group Kick It Out, condemned the incident allegedly involving West Ham supporters. He said: “What would have happened if we hadn’t seen this footage or it hadn’t been reported? We need to give people the confidence to challenge discriminatory and abusive behaviour, and this can only be reinforced by action being taken by the police and within football by the clubs and authorities. “Anti-Semitism must be tackled with the same vigour as all other forms of discrimination. There is a heightened level of concern within the Jewish community about anti-Semitism with some feeling unable to live their everyday lives without fear of harassment, abuse and violence.” At the weekend, Scotland Yard released images of three men in connection with their investigation into a group of supporters who pushed a black commuter off a train and chanted a racist song in the French capital on Tuesday ahead of Chelsea’s Champions League clash with Paris St Germain. Ouseley praised the approach taken by Chelsea in banning five supporters from Stamford Bridge. “I think Chelsea have been excellent in the way they approached things,” he told Press Association Sport. “They came right out of the traps and took responsibility for the fans even though they would rather those individuals didn’t call themselves Chelsea fans. “Chelsea have set a new standard in that you have to be responsible first and foremost. You (the club) didn’t send these people to go out and behave like that – you don’t ask your fans to conduct themselves in public like that. “What we can’t do is say it is nothing to do with us. It requires the whole of football to get more involved and take action and at the present time it doesn’t seem as though we have that as a response.” Tottenham have called for tough action against fans who were shown on a video clip chanting a “vile” anti-Semitic song. West Ham have said any fan behaving inappropriately faces a possible life ban. The latest incident comes days after a racist incident involving Chelsea football fans on a Paris Metro train. Tottenham, who have historic links to the Jewish community, said they hope those involved are identified and dealt with seriously. A Spurs spokesman said: “Anti-Semitism in any form is wholly unacceptable and we support all efforts to kick it out of the game. “We hope that those individuals responsible for this vile behaviour are identified and dealt with in the strongest way possible.” The footage was uploaded to Twitter by Spurs fan @RomanGeezer, who said: “On the train on the way to the game, West Ham fans break into song in Stamford Hill, a Jewish area, scum.” British Transport Police is investigating the latest incident and a spokesman said: “We take these incidents very seriously, and it is clear what happened on the Paris Metro and at St Pancras the following night were not isolated events.” West Ham said they had emailed every supporter who bought a ticket to Sunday’s game to remind them they were acting as ambassadors for the club. A spokesman said: “If any individual is found to have behaved in an inappropriate way, the club’s simple, zero-tolerance policy dictates that they will face the strongest possible action, including the option of a life ban from the Boleyn Ground.
Stoke boss Mark Hughes believes his side can virtually assure a top-10 finish by winning their next two matches. The Potters have successive home games, against Hull on Saturday and Everton on Wednesday, and if they can take all six points on offer Hughes believes they will end the season in the top half of the Barclays Premier League table. They head into the weekend four points clear of 11th-placed Newcastle, unlikely to trouble the European spots and clear of relegation strife. Press Association “It’s progressing well, there’s will on both sides to get it done,” he said. “It’s a club that’s still going places and we’v got a lot to achieve here. The next few years can be really exciting.” Stoke have Geoff Cameron back from a one-match suspension on Saturday. Ryan Shawcross (back) and Bojan (knee) remain out, while Jon Walters, Erik Pieters, Marc Wilson and Stephen Ireland should all feature again having returned from injury against Aston Villa. Hull may be looking to stretch their unbeaten run to four matches against Stoke, but manager Steve Bruce has warned his players they remain in a “horrible dogfight”. The Tigers took just three points from a possible 12 in January and their prospects were looking bleak after successive defeats to West Brom, West Ham and Newcastle. But a battling draw at Manchester City raised spirits and victories over fellow strugglers Aston Villa and QPR see Bruce’s boys head into Saturday’s match in 15th place. There is no sense of complacency, though, with Bruce well aware of how quickly the picture could change again between now and May. “The result against Manchester City gave everyone a lift at the right time and back-to-back wins against teams around us…how good that feels,” he said. “Two weeks ago we were in the bottom three and now we’re four points clear, but we’ve got to maintain it. “We’re not out of the woods yet. We’re in a horrible dogfight and there’s eight or nine teams in with us who are all feeling it. “If you can put another couple of results together at this particular stage of the season it will really help. “They’re all really big games – how often have we said that? – but within a week we’re nearly down to single figures in terms of games to play.” Should Hull emerge from their trip to the Potteries and Tuesday night’s home clash with Sunderland with two positive results, they would surely be a long way towards guaranteeing a third straight season in the top flight. Bruce is aiming for a regular seat at the top table and sees Stoke as a perfect example of what is possible. “It’s a really healthy club,” he said. “That’s something we aim to achieve here. Stoke and West Brom are two types of club we can take an example from. “They’re well run, they built their training grounds up and the infrastructure to go with it, and over the years they’ve steadily become established Premier League teams. “That’s something we can aspire to. The longer we’re here, the better the squad becomes and the better facilities become.” The only sour note for Bruce this week has been the continued absence of midfielder Mohamed Diame. The Senegal midfielder was a revelation in the weeks following his summer switch from West Ham, scoring four times in his first five matches, but he has not been seen since a knee injury on December 3. A new setback last week scuppered his planned return and he is not yet back in training. But Hughes insists there is still a tangible goal to play for. “I think we can do that (guarantee a top-10 place) with two wins, certainly that will make the gap really difficult to overcome for the teams below,” Hughes told Stoke City Player. “That can help us because we want to get as high as we can. It’s our priority, something we’ve talked about since the start of the season and it’s still very much on for us if we win the games we know we’re capable of.” Hull have taken seven points from their last three games to catapult them out of the bottom three, but Hughes does not expect his men to be outdone in terms of self-belief when the teams meet. “There’s been a couple of good results for Hull, but they needed them…they were on a terrible run in fairness,” he added. “They’ve been able to pick up points from the teams around them, which is important in their situation and winning breeds confidence so they’ll be better mentally than they were three or four weeks ago. “But we’re in good nick ourselves and they won’t be looking forward to coming here and matching themselves up against us.” Hughes also confirmed that negotiations over a contract extension were heading in the right direction.
“Boruc returns to the Goldsands Stadium, where he spent the majority of last season on loan, following his release from Southampton.” Boruc, 35, joined Eddie Howe’s men on an initial short-term loan in September and helped Bournemouth climb towards the top of the Sky Bet Championship table, leading to an extension in January until the end of the campaign. The Poland international, who kept 18 clean sheets in all competitions, has put pen to paper on a one-year deal, with the option for a further 12 months. He becomes the club’s first summer signing as they prepare for a maiden season in the Premier League, where the former Celtic stopper made almost 50 appearances in three years with Southampton. The goalkeeper helped the Cherries win promotion to the Barclays Premier League this season during a loan spell . A club statement confirmed: “AFC Bournemouth have completed the permanent signing of goalkeeper Artur Boruc on a free transfer. Press Association Bournemouth have signed Artur Boruc on a permanent deal following his release by Southampton.
Press Association West Ham have three rounds to negotiate before August’s play-off round determines the 22 teams advancing to the group stage. West Ham’s joint-chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold said in a statement: “We are delighted to have won a place in the UEFA Europa League as we want to ensure the Boleyn Ground the best send-off possible, and progress in this competition will certainly help with that. “Starting in early July will bring its challenges but everyone at the club, from the board to the players and supporters, will be relishing the opportunity to feature on the European stage. It should be a fantastic experience.” West Ham will find out their opponents when the draw is made for the first and second qualifying rounds on June 22. Entering the Europa League at this stage is likely to prove an interesting challenge for Allardyce’s successor. Former West Ham defender Slaven Bilic is overriding favourite with the bookmakers to replace him and the Croatian has confirmed he will leave Turkish giants Besiktas. Roberto Di Matteo is second favourite after resigning as Schalke coach, while David Moyes, Unai Emery and Steve McClaren figure prominently on the list. Rafael Benitez and Jurgen Klopp are others to have been linked to the West Ham job. Just days after the end of the season and news that Sam Allardyce is leaving, the Hammers have confirmed they have secured European qualification for the first time since the 2006/07 season. The east Londoners finished top of the Barclays Premier League’s Fair Play table and will be amongst 104 teams whose Europa League campaign begins with the first qualifying round on July 2. West Ham’s new manager will have Europa League football to contend with after the club announced they have qualified through the fair play league.