Villas-Boas airs Chelsea regret and Germany plans

first_imgAndre Villas-Boas admits “England was bad for me”, but the former Chelsea and Tottenham manager is planning a return to coaching in Germany.Having followed in the footsteps of mentor Jose Mourinho at Porto to forge a reputation as one of the finest young bosses in world football, the Portuguese took the reins at Stamford Bridge at just 33 years of age.He would last only nine months in that post before taking on another Premier League challenge across London at White Hart Lane. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! Villas-Boas fared a little better with Spurs, making it through one full season before being moved on, but left English football aware that he had made several mistakes.He told those in attendance at the WebSummit in Lisbon: “England was bad for me, I was not flexible in my ideas. “I learned to be more flexible when I went from Chelsea to Tottenham. I always thought more in the long run without thinking in the short term. “I was thinking about the future, but the results were irregular.”Villas-Boas has since spent time in the dugout at Zenit St Petersburg and Shanghai SIPG, with the most recent of those spells coming to a close in November 2017.Andre Villas BoasHe has moved into motor sport since then, taking part in the Dakar Rally, but still sees football forming part of his future – potentially in the Bundesliga, with Goal having revealed how he has previously been considered by Borussia Dortmund.“I’m learning German now, it’s a market that pleases me and I need to know the language,” he added.Villas-Boas will be well prepared for any challenge he takes on, but he believes there is still a lot more that football could learn from other sports when it comes to preparing players for elite competition.He said: “It does not happen in the US, the NBA or the NFL. The players spend eight hours in the centres. “It was important to do the same in football – training in the morning, controlling nutrition, analysing opponents, for example.” Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.last_img read more

Spieth Takes Master’s Big Choke

first_imgAUGUSTA, Ga. — Jordan Spieth couldn’t bear to watch, turning his head before another shot splashed into Rae’s Creek. Moments later, Danny Willett looked up at the large leader board at the 15th green and couldn’t believe what he saw.This Masters turned into a shocker April 10, right down to the green jacket ceremony.Spieth was in Butler Cabin, just like everyone expected when he took a five-shot lead to the back nine at Augusta National. Only he was there to present it to Willett, who seized on Spieth’s collapse with a magnificent round that made him a Masters champion.“You dream about these kind of days and things like that, but for them to happen … it’s still mind-boggling,” Willett said.It was a nightmare for Spieth, especially the par-3 12th hole. Clinging to a one-shot lead, he put two shots into the water and made a quadruple-bogey 7, falling three shots behind and never catching up. Instead of making history with another wire-to-wire victory, he joined a sad list of players who threw the Masters away.“Big picture? This one will hurt,” Spieth said. It was a comeback that ranks among the most unlikely in the 80 years of the Masters on so many levels.Willett wasn’t even sure he would play this year because his wife was due — on April 10, no less — with their first child. She gave birth to Zachariah James on March 30, sending him on his amazing journey to his first major.“We talk about fate, talk about everything else that goes with it,” Willett said. “It’s just a crazy, crazy week.”He became the first player from England in a green jacket since Nick Faldo in 1996, and the parallels are bizarre. Faldo shot a 5-under 67 and overcame a six-shot deficit when Greg Norman collapsed around Amen Corner. Willett also closed with a 67, with no bogeys on his card, to match the best score of the weekend.The most compelling images came from the guy who suffered.Coming off two straight bogeys to start the back nine, Spieth still had the lead when he went at the flag with a 9-iron on the par-3 12th and saw it bounce off the slope into the water.From the drop zone, he hit a wedge so fat that he turned his head and removed his cap, not wanting to look. He got up-and-down from the back bunker, and suddenly faced a three-shot deficit.“I actually heard everyone grunting and moaning or whatever they do to the scoreboard when the scores go up,” Willett said.“He obviously had a terrible run, which basically put it right back in anyone’s hands. And fortunately enough, I was able to seize the opportunities.”He finished at 5-under 283 for a three-shot victory over Spieth and Lee Westwood (69).Spieth was trying to become only the fourth back-to-back winner of the Masters, and the first player in 156 years of championship golf to go wire-to-wire in successive years in a major. And it looked inevitable when he ran off four straight birdies to end the front nine and build a five-shot lead.This didn’t look like one of those Masters that would start on the back nine. But it did — quickly.Spieth made bogey from the bunker on No. 10. A tee shot into the trees on the 11th, missing an 8-foot par putt. He still had a two-shot lead and only needed to get past the dangerous par-3 12th to settle himself, especially with two par 5s in front of him. But he couldn’t. Not even close.“It was a lack of discipline to hit it over the bunker coming off two bogeys, instead of recognizing I was still leading the Masters,” Spieth said.The turnaround left him dazed. Spieth was five shots ahead on the 10th tee and three shots behind when he walked to the 13th tee.“It was a really tough 30 minutes for me that hopefully I never experience again,” Spieth said.Willett poured it on with a shot into the 14th to about 4 feet, and a tee shot on the par-3 16th to 7 feet for a birdie that stretched his lead.Spieth still had a chance when he birdied both par 5s to get within two shots, and then hit his tee shot to 8 feet behind the hole on the 16th. But he missed the birdie putt, and when he hit into a bunker and failed to save par on the 17th, it was over.Spieth had led after seven straight rounds at the Masters, a streak that ended in a most cruel fashion. He shot 41 on the back nine for a 73, and was runner-up for the second time in three years.Westwood, playing with Willett, made eagle on the 15th hole to get within one shot of the lead, and then three-putted the 16th hole to fall away.Dustin Johnson also had an outside chance, even after four putts for a double bogey on the fifth hole. He missed eagle putts from 15 feet and 20 feet on the par 5s on the back nine, and then took double bogey on the 17th. Johnson closed with a 71 and tied for fourth with Paul Casey (67) and J.B. Holmes (68).Smylie Kaufman, one shot out of the lead in his Masters debut, closed with an 81.Willett moves to No. 9 in the world. He returns home to England with a gift like no other for his infant son.“People were saying, ‘Try to bring the jacket home for little man.’ I think it’s a little bit big,” Willett said. “But I’m sure in a few years’ time he’ll grow into it.”(DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Real & Barcelona beware, Valencia are back!

first_imgPrimera División Real & Barcelona beware, Valencia back in the big time thanks to Marcelino Ben Hayward Last updated 2 years ago 01:00 10/28/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(28) Simone Zaza Valencia Getty Images Primera División Deportivo Alavés v Valencia Valencia Deportivo Alavés Opinion Los Che have long considered themselves to be behind only Real Madrid and Barcelona, and now look like they can finally challenge again in La Liga They saw themselves as “el tercer grande”. Before Atletico Madrid’s La Liga win 2013-14, the previous team from outside Spain’s top two of Real Madrid and Barcelona to claim the Primera Division was Valencia, in 2002 and 2004. They were the nation’s third big club.As well as those triumphs, the Mestalla-based side also reached back-to-back Champions League finals in 2000 and 2001, losing to Los Blancos and then to Bayern Munich. And in 2004, they won the UEFA Cup. Times were good.Even a poor season under Ronald Koeman in 2007-08 ended in Valencia winning the Copa del Rey and, with Unai Emery as coach, Los Che finished in third place in the Primera Division for three successive seasons between 2010 and 2012. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Valencia 4/6 to beat AlavesFans, however, were not satisfied as big-name players left the club one after another, with Juan Mata, David Silva and David Villa all departing. And despite the funds brought in, huge debts meant Valencia were forced to leave their new stadium only half-built.Valencia gfxA return to the Champions League in 2015 following a takeover provided new impetus, but that turned out to be another false dawn and the following season, coach Nuno was gone. In his place came Gary Neville, with no top-level experience, and the Englishman proved a disaster. He lost 7-0 to Barca and took the club from the Champions League to the brink of relegation.Recovery has taken time. A 12th-placed finish in 2015-16 was followed by a repeat of that position last season and Valencia were no longer seen as a top team in Spain.In fact, when Emery moved from Sevilla to Paris Saint-Germain, Valencia-based sports paper SuperDeporte was widely ridiculed for their headline: “Five years on, Emery is about to join another grande”. The Mestalla outfit had fought relegation while Sevilla had just won the Europa League three times in a row.But now Valencia are back. After nine rounds of La Liga, Los Che lie in second place with 21 points and remain unbeaten (along with leaders Barcelona and Atletico, in fourth). And this time, it looks like they are set to stick around at the top of the table.Coach Marcelino Garcia Toral has been key to their success. The Asturian has had success wherever he has been, taking Recreativo Huelva into La Liga and securing an eighth-placed finish with the Andalusians, securing promotion amid a crisis with Zaragoza, steering Racing Santander to their best-ever placing of seventh in the Primera Division and enjoying further success with Villarreal, leaving the Yellow Submarine in the Champions League before his surprise sacking last year.Valencia La Liga Simone ZazaMarcelino’s obsession with diet has seen Valencia’s players subjected to a strict regime and midfielder Dani Parejo admitted this week: “I have lost five and a half kilos since he has been here”. And he added: “It’s hard at first, you go through a bad time, you’re hungry, but your body adapts. Now I feel more agile and faster.”Parejo has been a revelation in central midfield this season, but the 28-year-old had actually made the decision to leave Valencia at the end of the last season. He stayed, however, when he found out Marcelino was joining the club. “I knew that we would do well with Marcelino,” he said. “Because of the way we learn, the way we train every day, the way he prepares matches.”It is not only Parejo who has been transformed by the arrival of Marcelino. Many of the players who under-performed last season, including Jose Luis Gaya, Ezequiel Garay, Martin Montoya, Rodrigo and Simone Zaza, have been excellent. The Italian striker, a flop at West Ham and so disappointing at Valencia in 2016-17, won the award for Player of the Month in September and has scored more in La Liga (eight in nine games) than anyone else apart from Lionel Messi (11 in nine).On top of that, the summer signings have all done well. Following high-profile disappointments in recent seasons such as Alvaro Negredo and Nani, Marcelino had a big say in the arrivals this time around and they have delivered.Marcelino ValenciaMidfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia has slotted in seamlessly after a difficult spell at Inter, while goalkeeper Neto has made sure nobody now misses Diego Alves, and Gabriel Paulista has impressed at the back. “Marcelino told me he was going to change everything at Valencia and he has been good to his word,” the former Villarreal and Arsenal defender said.Colombia international Jeison Murillo has also done well since arriving on loan in the summer from Inter, but the greatest of them all has been Portuguese starlet Goncalo Guedes, who moved from PSG on a year-long deal and has already made his mark with some scintillating displays.The 20-year-old’s best game of all came in the 4-0 win at home to Sevilla at the weekend, when he struck two goals, including one stunning strike as he raced forward and cracked an unstoppable drive in off the crossbar.That result, along with the team’s 2-2 draw at the Bernabeu and their unbeaten start to La Liga, has convinced some supporters that even a title tilt is possible this time.And although that maybe a step to far, there is no doubt that after some turbulent times, Valencia are back where they belong – challenging to be considered as Spain’s third great club.last_img read more