Champions

Pique urges Barcelona to up their game for Champions League clash with Lyon

Gerard Pique fears Barcelona risk defeat in the Champions League at Lyon on Tuesday if they do not improve on the performance produced in their 1-0 victory over Real Valladolid. By their standards, Barca laboured to a win secured by Lionel Messi’s 43rd-minute penalty, and while they sit seven points clear at the top of La Liga, their influential defender believes they need to significantly improve. “We didn’t play well, it wasn’t a good game,” he told Movistar Partidazo. “The only good news is the victory, to get back to winning three points but we have to improve. For Tuesday, we have to be better. “If not, it will go poorly. You have to find fluidity and play, that is what has brought us titles. If we don’t speed up the ball, we have posses...

Allegri happy with Juventus form ahead of Champions League return

Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri believes his side are in fine fettle heading into a crucial stage of the season. The Bianconeri cruised to a 3-0 home win against Frosinone on Friday night courtesy of goals from Paulo Dybala, Leonardo Bonucci and Cristiano Ronaldo. Juve extended their unbeaten Serie A run this season to 24 matches and hold a 14-point lead over nearest challengers Napoli, who play Torino on Sunday. Their latest win was also the ideal warm-up for the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie against Atletico Madrid in Spain next Wednesday. “Yes, we are in a good condition,” Allegri told a post-match press conference. “Apart from the setback against Parma we are doing well, and we are at a particularly important moment. The team’s effort has been good and it has b...

Herrera insists United can still progress in the Champions League

Ander Herrera has not given up on Champions League progress and is confident that Manchester United’s loss to Paris St Germain will not “hurt” or throw Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side off kilter. After winning 10 out of his first 11 matches in all competitions, the caretaker manager tasted defeat for the first time in the first leg of United’s eagerly-anticipated Champions League round of 16 tie against the French champions. Angel Di Maria proved the scourge of his former club as he provided assists for Presnel Kimpembe and Kylian Mbappe in a 2-0 loss to PSG that could have been worse had David De Gea not been alert when his team-mates lost their discipline after going behind. Paul Pogba was sent off late on at Old Trafford (Martin Rickett/PA) Paul Pogba’s sending off compounded a bad night fo...

PSG fans in party mode in Manchester city centre ahead of Champions League tie

Anyone in Manchester on Tuesday afternoon would have found it difficult to ignore Paris St-Germain supporters ahead of their team’s game against Manchester United. The fans of the French champions were in the north of England for the Champions League last-16 first leg between the two teams, and were in full voice ahead of kick-off. “(I) Was just walking around the city centre and it just went crazy. Trams were stopped. Flares all over the place,” Ross Byrne, 19, told the Press Association. PSG fans being absolute dons in Manchester atm pic.twitter.com/JP6Ut4sovu — Ross Byrne (@rossbyrne100) February 12, 2019 According to Ross, police had to stop a couple of trams to get flares off the lines, while one tram was apparently “swinging due to the banging and screaming of the fans.” But while th...

Paris St Germain in focus ahead of Champions League tie with Manchester United

PSG head to Old Trafford for Tuesday’s first leg. Paris St Germain take on Manchester United in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 clash at Old Trafford on Tuesday. Here, Press Association Sport takes a closer look at the reigning French champions. Domestic form ?? @PSG_English held off Bordeaux yesterday, winning 1-0, and welcoming back Marco Verratti, but @ECavaniOfficial ‘s injury will have the leaders worried ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Manchester. ➡ https://t.co/XhPVp2hJom#PGFCGB pic.twitter.com/ISDQ0g0EqO — Ligue1 English (@Ligue1_ENG) February 10, 2019 PSG appear to be cruising to their eighth Ligue 1 title. They are 10 points clear of closest challengers Lille with two games in hand. Their recent 2-1 loss at Lyon was their first league defeat of th...

5 talking points ahead of this week’s Champions League action

The Champions League returns this week with Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur in last-16 action. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s revived Reds take on Paris St Germain at Old Trafford, while Borussia Dortmund and their in-form England winger Jadon Sancho head to Wembley. Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at some of the main talking points surrounding this week’s games. Solskjaer’s big test Roll on Tuesday. #MUFC #UCL pic.twitter.com/RpqUYpJ5S8 — Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 10, 2019 When United were paired with PSG during the final days of Jose Mourinho’s reign this tie was seen as nothing more than a formality for the French champions. How times have changed. United have since won 10 and drawn one of their 11 games under interim manager Ole Gunnar Sols...

Vive la France – World Cup winners dominate the Champions League

France’s World Cup winners have followed up their summer success by powering their clubs to the knock-out stages of the Champion League. Research by Press Association Sport shows that among the 16 teams left in the competition, French players have had the most playing time in the competition proper. Their total of 11,429 minutes puts them ahead of Brazil, who with 10,945 edged out Spain (10,500) for second place. Here, Press Association Sport looks at the key facts arising from the data. The top three (PA Graphic) France’s total includes four players who were ever-present in the group stage – Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann, Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte and Lyon duo Houssem Aouar and Ferland Mendy. Griezmann’s fellow World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe is not far behind, p...

Focus is on Leicester despite looming Champions League clash, insists Pochettino

The Spurs manager is adamant they will not take their eye off the ball against Leicester.

Torreira believes Arsenal ‘deserve’ to be playing Champions League football

The Gunners are three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea. Lucas Torreira believes Arsenal “deserve” to be playing Champions League football because of the club’s status. The Gunners, who have failed to qualify for Europe’s premier club competition for the past two seasons, are currently off the pace in the battle for a top-four Premier League finish. Unai Emery’s side sit sixth on the back of Sunday’s 3-1 loss at champions Manchester City, a point below Manchester United and three behind fourth-placed Chelsea. Uruguay midfielder Torreira admits his team must improve their recent form, which has seen them collect only 10 points from the last 21 available, if they are to achieve their primary objective. “Just a few weeks ago, (Manchester) United were obviously behind us but it’s happened an...

Result: England stun champions Ireland in Dublin

England stunned reigning Six Nations champions Ireland 32-20 to take a giant step towards reclaiming their crown with a first win in Dublin for six years. Leading 17-13 in an epic opening-weekend title showdown that lived up to expectations, they engineered the decisive moment in the 66th minute when Henry Slade and Jonny May combined brilliantly from a scrum for Slade to touch down. It was a try made possible by the pace of May, who along with Jack Nowell on the opposite wing was magnificent throughout an afternoon of drama and high-quality rugby. Owen Farrell was on target with a penalty to put the game beyond Ireland’s reach as the Aviva Stadium was stormed for the first time in the Six Nations since 2013, securing Eddie Jones’ 29th win in 36 Tests. Joe Schmidt’s Grand Slam champions fe...

PSG’s Neymar ruled out of Champions League tie with Manchester United

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side take on the Ligue 1 champions at Old Trafford on February 12. Neymar will miss both legs of Paris St Germain’s Champions League last-16 tie with Manchester United after being ruled out for up to 10 weeks with a foot injury. The 26-year-old Brazil forward, the world’s most expensive player, suffered the injury against Strasbourg in the Coupe de France last week. PSG travel to Old Trafford on February 12, with the return leg in France on March 6. A statement on the PSG website said: “On Tuesday evening Paris St Germain gathered together a group of world-renowned medical experts at the Ooredoo Training Centre to carry out a thorough review of the injury to Neymar Jr’s right foot, sustained against Strasbourg in the Coupe de France roun...

Result: Newcastle United stun Manchester City to dent champions’ title hopes

Newcastle United overcome conceding after just 24 seconds to stun champions Manchester City with a 2-1 victory at St James’ Park. Newcastle United have dealt a significant blow to Manchester City‘s title hopes with a shock 2-1 win over the champions at St James’ Park this evening. The Magpies had failed to win any of their previous 22 league meetings with City before this evening, during which time they had taken only three points from a possible 66, but they overcame a nightmare start to produce a stunning result which boosts their own hopes of survival. Sergio Aguero gave City the lead after less than 30 seconds as they looked on course for an ninth straight win across all competitions, but Salomon Rondon levelled things up in the second half before Matt Ritchie fired h...

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