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O’Neill admits defeat in first game as Forest boss was a ‘learning curve’

Martin O’Neill admitted it was a big learning curve for him as he suffered defeat on his return to Nottingham Forest as manager, with Bristol City spoiling the City Ground party with a 1-0 win. Lee Johnson‘s side were more comfortable than the narrow scoreline might have suggested, as they notched up a fifth straight victory and an 11th game uneaten, thanks to a crisp, precise finish from Famara Diedhiou in the 70th minute. Forest did have flashes of menace in front of a sell-out crowd, but were thwarted by some wayward finishing and some good saves from Frank Fielding, when they did hit the target. “I was hoping that today, with the crowd right behind us and with that momentum, we could find a bit of strength,” said O’Neill. “We will think about a lot o...

Ferrari admits ‘interest’ in Mick Schumacher

Ferrari has confirmed its interest in Mick Schumacher. Ferrari has confirmed its interest in Mick Schumacher. This week, multiple authoritative sources have claimed that the son of F1 legend Michael Schumacher is about to sign up with the Ferrari young driver ‘academy’. The deal is slated to include F1 outings in the post-race young driver tests after the Bahrain and Spanish grands prix this year. Ferrari would not confirm the news, but when asked, a spokesman said Ferrari is “naturally interested in Mick”. Schumacher, 19, steps up to Formula 2 this year, having won the European F3 title. Nico Rosberg, the 2016 world champion, warned that the pressure on Schumacher is rising. “It’s important that he does not lose the joy of driving,” Rosberg, whose...

We are far from a top-six side, admits Swansea boss Potter

Swansea boss Graham Potter believes his side are “some way off” being a top-six team after watching them struggle to a disappointing 1-1 draw against 10-man Preston. Potter was left frustrated as the Swans wasted a glorious opportunity to close the gap to the play-off places. Swansea hit the front 10 minutes into the second half when Courtney Baker-Richardson rifled home, but they were pegged back just five minutes later when Daniel Johnson kept his nerve from the penalty spot following a handball by Connor Roberts. Potter said: “We scored a really good goal and started the second half really well and had control of the game. “But when you concede it changes the game and they had a spell where it became scrappy and then it favoured them. “You need to survive k...

Result: Leaders Leeds still eye the prize after Bielsa admits Rams raid

Leeds produced a scintillating display to brush aside Derby but the 2-0 win was overshadowed by Marcelo Bielsa’s admission that he was behind the spying incident at the Rams’ training ground. The build-up to the Sky Bet Championship fixture was dominated by Derby’s claim that a Leeds employee was escorted from the perimeter of their training complex by police on Thursday after “acting suspiciously”. Bielsa accepted responsibility for the incident in a pre-match interview, although he insisted he had done nothing illegal. The United head coach could face action from the Football Association but he would have been delighted with his side’s response on the field as they beat Derby comfortably for the second time this season. Kemar Roofe scored his 14th goal of the campaign to give Leeds a des...

FA to investigate after Bielsa admits responsibility for spying incident

Leeds manager was behind Derby training ground snooping.

Pep Guardiola admits ‘there will be doubts’ following City’s defeat at Leicester

Pep Guardiola admitted that doubt could be starting to creep into the Manchester City camp following their 2-1 defeat at Leicester on Boxing Day. Successive Premier League losses have seen Guardiola’s team slip seven points behind leaders Liverpool and drop to third in the table behind Tottenham. It is the first time in two years that City have lost back-to-back Premier League games and they have now suffered three defeats in four league outings, following losses against Chelsea at the beginning of the month and Crystal Palace last weekend. FULL-TIME Leicester 2-1 Man City Ricardo’s stunning strike is enough to sink the champions and give Leicester a 2nd #PL win in a row#LEIMCI #PL pic.twitter.com/kYBaj1YLXi — Premier League (@premierleague) December 26, 2018 City were unable to hold...

Benitez admits Premier League survival will be ‘miracle’ for Newcastle

Rafael Benitez has admitted it would be “a miracle” if he kept Newcastle in the Premier League for another season even if he has money to spend next month. The Spaniard described last season’s 10th place finish as miraculous and insisted in the immediate aftermath of Saturday’s 0-0 home draw with Fulham a repeat would take some doing given the fact that most of the clubs around the Magpies invested far more heavily on recruitment last summer. However, he later went further, suggesting the imbalance was so great that simply keeping the club, which owner Mike Ashley had hoped to sell by Christmas, in the top flight this time around would be a major achievement. Benitez said: “We have to be realistic and understand that we will be in the bottom half during the wh...

Pochettino admits Spurs need more consistency to mount title challenge

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino admits his side need to improve their consistency if they are to mount a title bid. A 6-2 thrashing of Everton moved Spurs to within two points of second-placed Manchester City and six behind leaders Liverpool. It was their seventh Premier League victory in the last eight matches – with only the 4-2 defeat at north London neighbours Arsenal spoiling that run – but Pochettino wants to see that replicated for the second half of the season. Thank you for your incredible support today! 👏 #COYS 👏 pic.twitter.com/jtLyv67V4p — Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 23, 2018 Their current run of four successive victories equals their best of the campaign and their manager is keen for them to avoid any slip-ups which may interfere with that, starting at ho...

Carl McHugh admits Motherwell are in the midst of a relegation battle

Well are fourth bottom in the table. Motherwell midfielder Carl McHugh admits Saturday’s defeat by St Mirren has hammered home the fact that they are in a relegation dogfight. Second-bottom Saints cut the gap on Well to six points with a 1-0 win at Fir Park and Motherwell remain closer to the bottom of the Ladbrokes Premiership than the teams above them. Motherwell host Kilmarnock on Boxing Day looking to arrest a run of three consecutive defeats against Steve Clarke’s men, before travelling to Hamilton three days later. McHugh said: “It was an opportunity for us to move clear of them and we have not taken it. It puts a lot more emphasis now on the two games coming up. “If we were under any illusions before, we are definitely involved in it now. Every game becomes bigger and it’s up to us ...

Cyrus Christie admits Fulham need to improve their finishing

Cyrus Christie is convinced Fulham can pull off a Premier League escape if they can find a killer touch in front of goal. The Cottagers kept their first clean sheet of the league campaign in Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Newcastle, a drab affair during which the home side failed to trouble goalkeeper Sergio Rico once. They might have emerged with a rare victory had either former Magpie Aleksandar Mitrovic or substitute Aboubakar Kamara managed to make the most of late opportunities at St James’ Park. And Christie knows that is where they have to improve as they prepare for home clashes with Wolves and Huddersfield. Christie said: “They are two big games. We are getting better as the games go by. We’re defending well, but we just need to score a few more goals now and keep the clean sheets and I’m...

Benitez admits Premier League survival will be ‘miracle’ for Newcastle

Rafael Benitez has admitted it would be “a miracle” if he kept Newcastle in the Premier League for another season even if he has money to spend next month. The Spaniard described last season’s 10th place finish as miraculous and insisted in the immediate aftermath of Saturday’s 0-0 home draw with Fulham a repeat would take some doing given the fact that most of the clubs around the Magpies invested far more heavily on recruitment last summer. However, he later went further, suggesting the imbalance was so great that simply keeping the club, which owner Mike Ashley had hoped to sell by Christmas, in the top flight this time around would be a major achievement. Benitez said: “We have to be realistic and understand that we will be in the bottom half during the whole season. “For me, it is alm...

Silva admits Everton closing gap to Premier League’s big six is slow process

Everton manager Marco Silva admits closing the gap to the Premier League’s established big six will be a slow process but believes his side have the quality to do so. Since the start of the 2008-09 season the Toffees have won just five of 65 matches, losing 37, against Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Sunday’s opponents Tottenham. Their last victory against one of that group was in January 2017 when they surprisingly beat Manchester City 4-0 at home. A succession of managers have tried various approaches to reduce the gulf and this season, with United’s struggles under Jose Mourinho before he was sacked representing their best opportunity in a while to break into the top six. They are only two points behind the sixth-placed Red Devils heading into the wee...

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