Manchester derby - advantage City

Manchester City go top of the Premier League with this derby win over United.

Pep Guardiola will finally step out at Wigan Athletic's DW Stadium in Manchester City’s fifth-round FA Cup tie with the third-tier side on Monday -- 13 years after he almost joined the Lancashire club as a player.
I Wasn't Good Enough to Play for Wigan: Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola will finally step out at Wigan Athletic's DW Stadium in Manchester City’s fifth-round FA Cup tie with the third-tier side on Monday -- 13 years after he almost joined the Lancashire club as a player.
The defender may not play again for the Toffees, with Sam Allardyce fearing the on-loan Manchester City man will be out for a lengthy stretch
Everton fear 'long-term' injury for Man City loanee Mangala
The defender may not play again for the Toffees, with Sam Allardyce fearing the on-loan Manchester City man will be out for a lengthy stretch
Wigan Athletic turned down Pep Guardiola as a player, the Manchester City manager revealed.
I wasn't good enough – Guardiola reveals Wigan rejection
Wigan Athletic turned down Pep Guardiola as a player, the Manchester City manager revealed.
Pep Guardiola emphasised his desire to keep Bernardo Silva at Manchester City for a long time by insisting he will never let the player leave whilst he's the manager of the club.
'Whilst I'm Man City manager, Bernardo will never leave' - Guardiola
Pep Guardiola emphasised his desire to keep Bernardo Silva at Manchester City for a long time by insisting he will never let the player leave whilst he's the manager of the club.
Pep Guardiola emphasised his desire to keep Bernardo Silva at Manchester City for a long time by insisting he will never let the player leave whilst he's the manager of the club.
'Whilst I'm Man City manager, Bernardo will never leave' - Guardiola
Pep Guardiola emphasised his desire to keep Bernardo Silva at Manchester City for a long time by insisting he will never let the player leave whilst he's the manager of the club.
Pep Guardiola emphasised his desire to keep Bernardo Silva at Manchester City for a long time by insisting he will never let the player leave whilst he's the manager of the club.
'Whilst I'm Man City manager, Bernardo will never leave' - Guardiola
Pep Guardiola emphasised his desire to keep Bernardo Silva at Manchester City for a long time by insisting he will never let the player leave whilst he's the manager of the club.
Road to Wigan: Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says he "wasn't good enough" to play for Wigan (AFP Photo/SEBASTIEN BOZON)
Road to Wigan: Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says he "wasn't good enough" to play for Wigan
Road to Wigan: Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says he "wasn't good enough" to play for Wigan (AFP Photo/SEBASTIEN BOZON)
Road to Wigan: Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says he "wasn't good enough" to play for Wigan
Road to Wigan: Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says he "wasn't good enough" to play for Wigan
Road to Wigan: Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says he "wasn't good enough" to play for Wigan
Road to Wigan: Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says he "wasn't good enough" to play for Wigan
Road to Wigan: Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says he "wasn't good enough" to play for Wigan
Road to Wigan: Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says he "wasn't good enough" to play for Wigan
Ederson has won rave reviews at Manchester City but Claudio Bravo's cup displays have sealed his place for the Wembley date with Arsenal.
Bravo for Claudio! Guardiola to pick keeper at Wembley
Ederson has won rave reviews at Manchester City but Claudio Bravo's cup displays have sealed his place for the Wembley date with Arsenal.
Manchester United secured an FA Cup quarter-final tie with Brighton & Hove Albion in a manner that can only be ­described as straightforward. Despite the build-up and aftermath being dominated by ­questions over Paul Pogba – a man who may or may not have recovered from ­illness in time for Wednesday’s trip to Seville – they never looked in danger for a moment against a ­determined, gutsy but ultimately limited, Huddersfield Town team. They scored twice from ­lightning quick breakaways and might well have had a third were it not for the latest video assistant referee ­controversy. In many ways, this was the default Jose Mourinho performance: contained, controlled, efficient. And about as exciting as reading a washing machine instruction manual. Still, Mourinho expressed a ­significant degree of satisfaction with what was achieved. Not least because, due to a sudden flurry of injuries – with Pogba succumbing to a bug on the morning of the match – apart from David De Gea, he was unable to give any of his players the weekend off ahead of the critical Champions League tie in Spain against Sevilla. “Look, I didn’t rest one single player so we had every player ­available. I didn’t rest anyone, I brought two kids that played yesterday [Friday] 90 minutes because I don’t have another player,” ­Mourinho ­explained, in what may well have been a dig at Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, who recently named only six substitutes against Burnley, insisting he couldn’t call up youth players ­because they had played the day ­before. "Can we recover some of them for Wednesday? I believe so. I think [Marcus] Rashford, [Ander] Herrera and [Antonio] Valencia have a chance. Paul [Pogba] I don’t know. Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, ­Marouane, [Fellaini], Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] – I don’t think they have any chance, so we arrive at this crucial moment with some problem.” Gutted I won’t be at Huddersfield but I need to get better. Come on United ���� @ManUtd— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) February 17, 2018 Mourinho was, understandably, frustrated by Pogba’s late withdrawl. Not least because he had planned to use him in apparently his favourite position – on the left of a midfield three – in a bid to help him recover some form and ­confidence as the business end of the season approaches. Instead, the United manager was obliged to call on the services of the veteran Michael Carrick who, at 36, may be many things – calm, ­accurate, disciplined – but one for future he isn’t. Still, the United manager will have noted one thing about the way his side brushed aside David ­Wagner’s team: Alexis Sanchez’s eye for a killer pass has not been dulled by his move from Arsenal. The Chilean had spent much of the first half looking increasingly dispirited as his team-mates drifted ever deeper in their attempt to smother Huddersfield’s busy ­midfield probing. He could be seen constantly waving colleagues ­forward, when Mourinho might have hoped he had joined them in defensive duties. But just after half time, he took matters into his own hands and supplied the game’s one standout moment: a laser-guided return ball into the path of Romelu Lukaku, who barrelled forward and scored. Sanchez drifted in and out of the game Credit: Getty images The Belgian’s finish – as it had been when he latched on to an ­almost equally telling ball from Juan Mata after just three minutes for the opener – was not as true as he might have hoped. Oddly, that worked to his ­advantage, as Jonas Lossl in the Huddersfield goal seemed to ­misread his shot, perhaps anticipating a clean strike. Throughout his career, Lukaku has tended to score goals in patches. And if, with Sanchez providing a new supply of ammunition, he has rediscovered a scoring touch ­temporarily mislaid after his ­blistering start in a United shirt, his timing could not be better. Certainly his midfield colleague Nemanja Matic, who spent much of the game scurrying and scrapping but seldom dominating possession, seemed relieved that the Lukaku mojo has resurfaced. “He is important for us,” Matic suggested. “It’s very important for his confidence that he is scoring goals and he is a great striker, very strong and he is still young, I am sure he will be important for us ­until the end of the season.” As for Pogba, Mourinho said he had no clue if the Frenchman would be available for the European tie. He could only express hope that his midfield lynchpin enjoys a swift ­recovery. While wildcat rumours circulated after their defeat at ­Newcastle United of a dressing-room bust-up were fanciful, there is no denying that the Frenchman has looked out of sorts of late. While there is relief in the fact his main striker has rediscovered the route to goal, the manager knows that, without a fully committed, fully engaged Pogba, his chances of further advance in Europe are limited indeed.
Paul Pogba could go straight back in to Man Utd team for Sevilla game
Manchester United secured an FA Cup quarter-final tie with Brighton & Hove Albion in a manner that can only be ­described as straightforward. Despite the build-up and aftermath being dominated by ­questions over Paul Pogba – a man who may or may not have recovered from ­illness in time for Wednesday’s trip to Seville – they never looked in danger for a moment against a ­determined, gutsy but ultimately limited, Huddersfield Town team. They scored twice from ­lightning quick breakaways and might well have had a third were it not for the latest video assistant referee ­controversy. In many ways, this was the default Jose Mourinho performance: contained, controlled, efficient. And about as exciting as reading a washing machine instruction manual. Still, Mourinho expressed a ­significant degree of satisfaction with what was achieved. Not least because, due to a sudden flurry of injuries – with Pogba succumbing to a bug on the morning of the match – apart from David De Gea, he was unable to give any of his players the weekend off ahead of the critical Champions League tie in Spain against Sevilla. “Look, I didn’t rest one single player so we had every player ­available. I didn’t rest anyone, I brought two kids that played yesterday [Friday] 90 minutes because I don’t have another player,” ­Mourinho ­explained, in what may well have been a dig at Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, who recently named only six substitutes against Burnley, insisting he couldn’t call up youth players ­because they had played the day ­before. "Can we recover some of them for Wednesday? I believe so. I think [Marcus] Rashford, [Ander] Herrera and [Antonio] Valencia have a chance. Paul [Pogba] I don’t know. Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, ­Marouane, [Fellaini], Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] – I don’t think they have any chance, so we arrive at this crucial moment with some problem.” Gutted I won’t be at Huddersfield but I need to get better. Come on United ���� @ManUtd— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) February 17, 2018 Mourinho was, understandably, frustrated by Pogba’s late withdrawl. Not least because he had planned to use him in apparently his favourite position – on the left of a midfield three – in a bid to help him recover some form and ­confidence as the business end of the season approaches. Instead, the United manager was obliged to call on the services of the veteran Michael Carrick who, at 36, may be many things – calm, ­accurate, disciplined – but one for future he isn’t. Still, the United manager will have noted one thing about the way his side brushed aside David ­Wagner’s team: Alexis Sanchez’s eye for a killer pass has not been dulled by his move from Arsenal. The Chilean had spent much of the first half looking increasingly dispirited as his team-mates drifted ever deeper in their attempt to smother Huddersfield’s busy ­midfield probing. He could be seen constantly waving colleagues ­forward, when Mourinho might have hoped he had joined them in defensive duties. But just after half time, he took matters into his own hands and supplied the game’s one standout moment: a laser-guided return ball into the path of Romelu Lukaku, who barrelled forward and scored. Sanchez drifted in and out of the game Credit: Getty images The Belgian’s finish – as it had been when he latched on to an ­almost equally telling ball from Juan Mata after just three minutes for the opener – was not as true as he might have hoped. Oddly, that worked to his ­advantage, as Jonas Lossl in the Huddersfield goal seemed to ­misread his shot, perhaps anticipating a clean strike. Throughout his career, Lukaku has tended to score goals in patches. And if, with Sanchez providing a new supply of ammunition, he has rediscovered a scoring touch ­temporarily mislaid after his ­blistering start in a United shirt, his timing could not be better. Certainly his midfield colleague Nemanja Matic, who spent much of the game scurrying and scrapping but seldom dominating possession, seemed relieved that the Lukaku mojo has resurfaced. “He is important for us,” Matic suggested. “It’s very important for his confidence that he is scoring goals and he is a great striker, very strong and he is still young, I am sure he will be important for us ­until the end of the season.” As for Pogba, Mourinho said he had no clue if the Frenchman would be available for the European tie. He could only express hope that his midfield lynchpin enjoys a swift ­recovery. While wildcat rumours circulated after their defeat at ­Newcastle United of a dressing-room bust-up were fanciful, there is no denying that the Frenchman has looked out of sorts of late. While there is relief in the fact his main striker has rediscovered the route to goal, the manager knows that, without a fully committed, fully engaged Pogba, his chances of further advance in Europe are limited indeed.
Pep Guardiola will finally make it to Wigan’s DW Stadium for competitive action tonight, 13 years after the Manchester City manager almost signed for the League One club as a player. In one of the more surreal examples of alternate football histories, then-Wigan manager Paul Jewell actually thought he had agreed a deal for Guardiola, then 34, to move to Lancashire as the ex-Barcelona player sought a deal in England towards the end of his career. Jewell’s hopes ended when Guardiola’s agent called to say he would instead be accepting a more lucrative offer in Qatar, before he eventually moved to Mexico, although tonight’s fifth round FA Cup tie at least gives the Catalan the chance to survey the surroundings he might once have called home. “Yeah, it was years ago,” said Guardiola. “But I was not good enough! That is the truth, yeah. “I was old, really old, as a football player to come here. I tried to come here to play in English football but I was not able. The same happened when I came here to Manchester City, with Stuart Pearce. They were so clever! "They were so clever because I was not good enough! “Wigan were interested in me, I didn't choose the club. It didn't happen and that's all.” Paul Jewell was impressed with how much Guardiola knew about Wigan Credit: Getty Images Guardiola’s modesty not withstanding, Jewell recalled his conversation with the City manager differently, in a later interview. “I got a call from Guardiola’s agent and he gave me Pep’s number so I rang him and left a message,” said Jewell. “Quite remarkably, five minutes later he rang me back. He knew all about Wigan, all about our players – I was really impressed. “We had a terrific conversation and he told me he would like to come and play in the Premier League. His wages weren’t extortionate and he was all set to come when his agent called me a couple of days later saying Pep had received a mind-blowing offer from Qatar. So it was Qatar or Wigan.” Wigan have fallen far from their eight-season stay in the Premier League which culminated, of course, in beating City in the 2013 FA Cup Final. But victories in this season’s competition over Bournemouth and West Ham mean that Guardiola will treat the tie with caution although he is adamant that back-up goalkeeper Claudio Bravo remains his first choice for domestic cup competitions. That guarantee seems to assure the Chilean of starting for City in Sunday’s Carabao Cup Final meeting with Arsenal - City’s first opportunity to secure one of the four trophies they are currently chasing. “He’s going to play, Claudio,” said Guardiola. “We are in the Carabao Cup Final thanks to him. So I cannot forget what happened, he saved two rounds of penalties, and the way he played, the safest, in the Carabao Cup. “That is the decision this season. The other (competitions), we will see. Claudio Bravo will feature for Man City in cup competitions Credit: Getty Images “The goalkeeper’s a different position to the other 10 team mates but, you know, it all depends on the performance and the quality but in this competition Claudio is going to play.” The 34-year-old Chilean lost his first team place last summer when Guardiola signed young Brazilian Ederson, who has been in inspired form this season. Bravo has not started a single Premier League game in the current campaign although his manager insists his selection as “cup keeper” is not simply in order to keep him satisfied. “I don’t do that to keep him happy,” said Guardiola. “It’s because in the top clubs we need two good goalkeepers so you cannot survive with just one goalkeeper - if he is injured, suspended, something like that and the other one doesn’t have the level. “So all the big clubs who play a lot of competitions have two good goalkeepers and we have. “His reaction has been perfect. I know for the players, not just Claudio, when they don’t play regularly it’s not an easy situation. “They are here to play, I understand completely. But he was perfect and he knows, in football, situations change from one day to the other and he has to be ready.”
Pep Guardiola on nearly signing for Wigan 15 years ago: 'I tried to play in England but I was not good enough!'
Pep Guardiola will finally make it to Wigan’s DW Stadium for competitive action tonight, 13 years after the Manchester City manager almost signed for the League One club as a player. In one of the more surreal examples of alternate football histories, then-Wigan manager Paul Jewell actually thought he had agreed a deal for Guardiola, then 34, to move to Lancashire as the ex-Barcelona player sought a deal in England towards the end of his career. Jewell’s hopes ended when Guardiola’s agent called to say he would instead be accepting a more lucrative offer in Qatar, before he eventually moved to Mexico, although tonight’s fifth round FA Cup tie at least gives the Catalan the chance to survey the surroundings he might once have called home. “Yeah, it was years ago,” said Guardiola. “But I was not good enough! That is the truth, yeah. “I was old, really old, as a football player to come here. I tried to come here to play in English football but I was not able. The same happened when I came here to Manchester City, with Stuart Pearce. They were so clever! "They were so clever because I was not good enough! “Wigan were interested in me, I didn't choose the club. It didn't happen and that's all.” Paul Jewell was impressed with how much Guardiola knew about Wigan Credit: Getty Images Guardiola’s modesty not withstanding, Jewell recalled his conversation with the City manager differently, in a later interview. “I got a call from Guardiola’s agent and he gave me Pep’s number so I rang him and left a message,” said Jewell. “Quite remarkably, five minutes later he rang me back. He knew all about Wigan, all about our players – I was really impressed. “We had a terrific conversation and he told me he would like to come and play in the Premier League. His wages weren’t extortionate and he was all set to come when his agent called me a couple of days later saying Pep had received a mind-blowing offer from Qatar. So it was Qatar or Wigan.” Wigan have fallen far from their eight-season stay in the Premier League which culminated, of course, in beating City in the 2013 FA Cup Final. But victories in this season’s competition over Bournemouth and West Ham mean that Guardiola will treat the tie with caution although he is adamant that back-up goalkeeper Claudio Bravo remains his first choice for domestic cup competitions. That guarantee seems to assure the Chilean of starting for City in Sunday’s Carabao Cup Final meeting with Arsenal - City’s first opportunity to secure one of the four trophies they are currently chasing. “He’s going to play, Claudio,” said Guardiola. “We are in the Carabao Cup Final thanks to him. So I cannot forget what happened, he saved two rounds of penalties, and the way he played, the safest, in the Carabao Cup. “That is the decision this season. The other (competitions), we will see. Claudio Bravo will feature for Man City in cup competitions Credit: Getty Images “The goalkeeper’s a different position to the other 10 team mates but, you know, it all depends on the performance and the quality but in this competition Claudio is going to play.” The 34-year-old Chilean lost his first team place last summer when Guardiola signed young Brazilian Ederson, who has been in inspired form this season. Bravo has not started a single Premier League game in the current campaign although his manager insists his selection as “cup keeper” is not simply in order to keep him satisfied. “I don’t do that to keep him happy,” said Guardiola. “It’s because in the top clubs we need two good goalkeepers so you cannot survive with just one goalkeeper - if he is injured, suspended, something like that and the other one doesn’t have the level. “So all the big clubs who play a lot of competitions have two good goalkeepers and we have. “His reaction has been perfect. I know for the players, not just Claudio, when they don’t play regularly it’s not an easy situation. “They are here to play, I understand completely. But he was perfect and he knows, in football, situations change from one day to the other and he has to be ready.”
Disgraced West Bromwich Albion captain Jonny Evans will be given every chance to redeem himself after head coach Alan Pardew stripped him of the armband for Saturday’s FA Cup sixth-round clash against Southampton. Evans, one of the quartet dubbed The Cab Four after allegedly stealing a taxi at the end of an all-night bar crawl on a team trip to Barcelona last week, could yet face criminal charges along with Gareth Barry, Jake Livermore and Boaz Myhill following the incident, which is said to have taken place at around 5.30am on Thursday outside a 24-hour McDonald’s takeaway in the Catalan capital. The four will be subject to the club’s own disciplinary procedures regardless of the outcome of an ongoing Spanish police investigation and can expect hefty club fines, but Albion are particularly anxious to avoid any fractured relationships, especially with Evans. In addition to needing his leadership qualities if they are to have any chance of avoiding relegation from the Premier League, the club have an interest in maintaining his current high transfer value. He is believed to have a clause in his contract that will trigger a cut-price exit if Albion go down but should they survive they will be desperately keen to realise at least a sizeable percentage of their £25 million valuation, having rejected bids from Manchester City, Leicester City and Arsenal in the last two transfer windows. Gareth Barry, left, was also among the four who apologised on Friday Credit: PA With his contract due to run out next year, the next window is likely to be the last chance to cash in. Pardew hinted strongly in the wake of Saturday’s defeat that his decision to hand the captaincy to veteran defender Gareth McAuley may have been only a slap on the wrists for Evans. “Obviously I was furious with what happened but at the same time I’ve got to give the players the chance to remedy the situation,” he said, before adding that he had been impressed in particular with the way Evans had responded. “Gareth Barry was OK today but I thought Jonny was very good actually in the circumstances. “I felt I needed to make a little bit of a statement about the events, which is why I made Gareth (McAuley) captain. “As for future games I’ll have to have a look at that this week and see how we go.” Meanwhile, the miscreant four found support from an unexpected source in Southampton head coach Mauricio Pellegrino, who believes that allowing players occasionally to break some lifestyle “rules” – even by indulging in beer and Big Macs – is important to their wellbeing. While not condoning any criminal behaviour, the former Liverpool player, who had a taste of Merseyside’s after-hours culture after Rafa Benitez signed him from Valencia in 2005, said that the players “have a right to enjoy themselves”. “They are all very professional because the pressure for them is to be out there on the pitch, to be on top of preparation, to be on top of nutrition, to rest – it is really hard to play at this level,” he said. “Today when players are out together they have to be 100 per cent of the time aware of their behaviour. Everybody makes mistakes. The problem is that everybody knows these lads, they are famous, they are on the TV every single week. Mauricio Pellegrino says players "have a right to enjoy themselves", but Pardew is "furious" Credit: REUTERS “But they have a right to enjoy themselves. The right nutrition is important but they have a right to sometimes eat things just to enjoy.” Southampton’s victory, fashioned by goals from Wesley Hoedt and Dusan Tadic, countered by Salomon Rondon, in a repeat of their Premier League win on the same ground two weekends ago, earns them a quarter-final trip to Wigan or Manchester City, who meet tonight in a repeat of the 2013 final. Pellegrino also hopes it will provide momentum in their own Premier League relegation struggle. Although not in the same straits as Albion, bottom of the table and seven points from safety, Southampton are themselves in the bottom three after one win in 14 matches. “It is a win that will help everybody’s confidence and spirit and the important thing now is to believe in our way from now until the end of the season,” he said. For Pardew, another defeat seemed almost incidental, but he knows the focus will quickly return to his future after achieving just one win in 13 Premier League matches since he took charge. He is aware his job is on the line but believes he is the right man for the task ahead, despite the club’s decision last week to fire the men who appointed him, chairman John Williams and chief executive Martin Goodman. “I’m an experienced manager,” he said. “I’ve got out of this situation before, at Newcastle and Crystal Palace, and I’m determined to get out of this one as well.”
West Brom captain Jonny Evans to be given chance to redeem himself after apologising for 'Cab Four' night out
Disgraced West Bromwich Albion captain Jonny Evans will be given every chance to redeem himself after head coach Alan Pardew stripped him of the armband for Saturday’s FA Cup sixth-round clash against Southampton. Evans, one of the quartet dubbed The Cab Four after allegedly stealing a taxi at the end of an all-night bar crawl on a team trip to Barcelona last week, could yet face criminal charges along with Gareth Barry, Jake Livermore and Boaz Myhill following the incident, which is said to have taken place at around 5.30am on Thursday outside a 24-hour McDonald’s takeaway in the Catalan capital. The four will be subject to the club’s own disciplinary procedures regardless of the outcome of an ongoing Spanish police investigation and can expect hefty club fines, but Albion are particularly anxious to avoid any fractured relationships, especially with Evans. In addition to needing his leadership qualities if they are to have any chance of avoiding relegation from the Premier League, the club have an interest in maintaining his current high transfer value. He is believed to have a clause in his contract that will trigger a cut-price exit if Albion go down but should they survive they will be desperately keen to realise at least a sizeable percentage of their £25 million valuation, having rejected bids from Manchester City, Leicester City and Arsenal in the last two transfer windows. Gareth Barry, left, was also among the four who apologised on Friday Credit: PA With his contract due to run out next year, the next window is likely to be the last chance to cash in. Pardew hinted strongly in the wake of Saturday’s defeat that his decision to hand the captaincy to veteran defender Gareth McAuley may have been only a slap on the wrists for Evans. “Obviously I was furious with what happened but at the same time I’ve got to give the players the chance to remedy the situation,” he said, before adding that he had been impressed in particular with the way Evans had responded. “Gareth Barry was OK today but I thought Jonny was very good actually in the circumstances. “I felt I needed to make a little bit of a statement about the events, which is why I made Gareth (McAuley) captain. “As for future games I’ll have to have a look at that this week and see how we go.” Meanwhile, the miscreant four found support from an unexpected source in Southampton head coach Mauricio Pellegrino, who believes that allowing players occasionally to break some lifestyle “rules” – even by indulging in beer and Big Macs – is important to their wellbeing. While not condoning any criminal behaviour, the former Liverpool player, who had a taste of Merseyside’s after-hours culture after Rafa Benitez signed him from Valencia in 2005, said that the players “have a right to enjoy themselves”. “They are all very professional because the pressure for them is to be out there on the pitch, to be on top of preparation, to be on top of nutrition, to rest – it is really hard to play at this level,” he said. “Today when players are out together they have to be 100 per cent of the time aware of their behaviour. Everybody makes mistakes. The problem is that everybody knows these lads, they are famous, they are on the TV every single week. Mauricio Pellegrino says players "have a right to enjoy themselves", but Pardew is "furious" Credit: REUTERS “But they have a right to enjoy themselves. The right nutrition is important but they have a right to sometimes eat things just to enjoy.” Southampton’s victory, fashioned by goals from Wesley Hoedt and Dusan Tadic, countered by Salomon Rondon, in a repeat of their Premier League win on the same ground two weekends ago, earns them a quarter-final trip to Wigan or Manchester City, who meet tonight in a repeat of the 2013 final. Pellegrino also hopes it will provide momentum in their own Premier League relegation struggle. Although not in the same straits as Albion, bottom of the table and seven points from safety, Southampton are themselves in the bottom three after one win in 14 matches. “It is a win that will help everybody’s confidence and spirit and the important thing now is to believe in our way from now until the end of the season,” he said. For Pardew, another defeat seemed almost incidental, but he knows the focus will quickly return to his future after achieving just one win in 13 Premier League matches since he took charge. He is aware his job is on the line but believes he is the right man for the task ahead, despite the club’s decision last week to fire the men who appointed him, chairman John Williams and chief executive Martin Goodman. “I’m an experienced manager,” he said. “I’ve got out of this situation before, at Newcastle and Crystal Palace, and I’m determined to get out of this one as well.”
Pep Guardiola will finally make it to Wigan’s DW Stadium for competitive action tonight, 13 years after the Manchester City manager almost signed for the League One club as a player. In one of the more surreal examples of alternate football histories, then-Wigan manager Paul Jewell actually thought he had agreed a deal for Guardiola, then 34, to move to Lancashire as the ex-Barcelona player sought a deal in England towards the end of his career. Jewell’s hopes ended when Guardiola’s agent called to say he would instead be accepting a more lucrative offer in Qatar, before he eventually moved to Mexico, although tonight’s fifth round FA Cup tie at least gives the Catalan the chance to survey the surroundings he might once have called home. “Yeah, it was years ago,” said Guardiola. “But I was not good enough! That is the truth, yeah. “I was old, really old, as a football player to come here. I tried to come here to play in English football but I was not able. The same happened when I came here to Manchester City, with Stuart Pearce. They were so clever! "They were so clever because I was not good enough! “Wigan were interested in me, I didn't choose the club. It didn't happen and that's all.” Paul Jewell was impressed with how much Guardiola knew about Wigan Credit: Getty Images Guardiola’s modesty not withstanding, Jewell recalled his conversation with the City manager differently, in a later interview. “I got a call from Guardiola’s agent and he gave me Pep’s number so I rang him and left a message,” said Jewell. “Quite remarkably, five minutes later he rang me back. He knew all about Wigan, all about our players – I was really impressed. “We had a terrific conversation and he told me he would like to come and play in the Premier League. His wages weren’t extortionate and he was all set to come when his agent called me a couple of days later saying Pep had received a mind-blowing offer from Qatar. So it was Qatar or Wigan.” Wigan have fallen far from their eight-season stay in the Premier League which culminated, of course, in beating City in the 2013 FA Cup Final. But victories in this season’s competition over Bournemouth and West Ham mean that Guardiola will treat the tie with caution although he is adamant that back-up goalkeeper Claudio Bravo remains his first choice for domestic cup competitions. That guarantee seems to assure the Chilean of starting for City in Sunday’s Carabao Cup Final meeting with Arsenal - City’s first opportunity to secure one of the four trophies they are currently chasing. “He’s going to play, Claudio,” said Guardiola. “We are in the Carabao Cup Final thanks to him. So I cannot forget what happened, he saved two rounds of penalties, and the way he played, the safest, in the Carabao Cup. “That is the decision this season. The other (competitions), we will see. Claudio Bravo will feature for Man City in cup competitions Credit: Getty Images “The goalkeeper’s a different position to the other 10 team mates but, you know, it all depends on the performance and the quality but in this competition Claudio is going to play.” The 34-year-old Chilean lost his first team place last summer when Guardiola signed young Brazilian Ederson, who has been in inspired form this season. Bravo has not started a single Premier League game in the current campaign although his manager insists his selection as “cup keeper” is not simply in order to keep him satisfied. “I don’t do that to keep him happy,” said Guardiola. “It’s because in the top clubs we need two good goalkeepers so you cannot survive with just one goalkeeper - if he is injured, suspended, something like that and the other one doesn’t have the level. “So all the big clubs who play a lot of competitions have two good goalkeepers and we have. “His reaction has been perfect. I know for the players, not just Claudio, when they don’t play regularly it’s not an easy situation. “They are here to play, I understand completely. But he was perfect and he knows, in football, situations change from one day to the other and he has to be ready.”
Pep Guardiola on nearly signing for Wigan 15 years ago: 'I tried to play in England but I was not good enough!'
Pep Guardiola will finally make it to Wigan’s DW Stadium for competitive action tonight, 13 years after the Manchester City manager almost signed for the League One club as a player. In one of the more surreal examples of alternate football histories, then-Wigan manager Paul Jewell actually thought he had agreed a deal for Guardiola, then 34, to move to Lancashire as the ex-Barcelona player sought a deal in England towards the end of his career. Jewell’s hopes ended when Guardiola’s agent called to say he would instead be accepting a more lucrative offer in Qatar, before he eventually moved to Mexico, although tonight’s fifth round FA Cup tie at least gives the Catalan the chance to survey the surroundings he might once have called home. “Yeah, it was years ago,” said Guardiola. “But I was not good enough! That is the truth, yeah. “I was old, really old, as a football player to come here. I tried to come here to play in English football but I was not able. The same happened when I came here to Manchester City, with Stuart Pearce. They were so clever! "They were so clever because I was not good enough! “Wigan were interested in me, I didn't choose the club. It didn't happen and that's all.” Paul Jewell was impressed with how much Guardiola knew about Wigan Credit: Getty Images Guardiola’s modesty not withstanding, Jewell recalled his conversation with the City manager differently, in a later interview. “I got a call from Guardiola’s agent and he gave me Pep’s number so I rang him and left a message,” said Jewell. “Quite remarkably, five minutes later he rang me back. He knew all about Wigan, all about our players – I was really impressed. “We had a terrific conversation and he told me he would like to come and play in the Premier League. His wages weren’t extortionate and he was all set to come when his agent called me a couple of days later saying Pep had received a mind-blowing offer from Qatar. So it was Qatar or Wigan.” Wigan have fallen far from their eight-season stay in the Premier League which culminated, of course, in beating City in the 2013 FA Cup Final. But victories in this season’s competition over Bournemouth and West Ham mean that Guardiola will treat the tie with caution although he is adamant that back-up goalkeeper Claudio Bravo remains his first choice for domestic cup competitions. That guarantee seems to assure the Chilean of starting for City in Sunday’s Carabao Cup Final meeting with Arsenal - City’s first opportunity to secure one of the four trophies they are currently chasing. “He’s going to play, Claudio,” said Guardiola. “We are in the Carabao Cup Final thanks to him. So I cannot forget what happened, he saved two rounds of penalties, and the way he played, the safest, in the Carabao Cup. “That is the decision this season. The other (competitions), we will see. Claudio Bravo will feature for Man City in cup competitions Credit: Getty Images “The goalkeeper’s a different position to the other 10 team mates but, you know, it all depends on the performance and the quality but in this competition Claudio is going to play.” The 34-year-old Chilean lost his first team place last summer when Guardiola signed young Brazilian Ederson, who has been in inspired form this season. Bravo has not started a single Premier League game in the current campaign although his manager insists his selection as “cup keeper” is not simply in order to keep him satisfied. “I don’t do that to keep him happy,” said Guardiola. “It’s because in the top clubs we need two good goalkeepers so you cannot survive with just one goalkeeper - if he is injured, suspended, something like that and the other one doesn’t have the level. “So all the big clubs who play a lot of competitions have two good goalkeepers and we have. “His reaction has been perfect. I know for the players, not just Claudio, when they don’t play regularly it’s not an easy situation. “They are here to play, I understand completely. But he was perfect and he knows, in football, situations change from one day to the other and he has to be ready.”
Pep Guardiola will finally make it to Wigan’s DW Stadium for competitive action tonight, 13 years after the Manchester City manager almost signed for the League One club as a player. In one of the more surreal examples of alternate football histories, then-Wigan manager Paul Jewell actually thought he had agreed a deal for Guardiola, then 34, to move to Lancashire as the ex-Barcelona player sought a deal in England towards the end of his career. Jewell’s hopes ended when Guardiola’s agent called to say he would instead be accepting a more lucrative offer in Qatar, before he eventually moved to Mexico, although tonight’s fifth round FA Cup tie at least gives the Catalan the chance to survey the surroundings he might once have called home. “Yeah, it was years ago,” said Guardiola. “But I was not good enough! That is the truth, yeah. “I was old, really old, as a football player to come here. I tried to come here to play in English football but I was not able. The same happened when I came here to Manchester City, with Stuart Pearce. They were so clever! "They were so clever because I was not good enough! “Wigan were interested in me, I didn't choose the club. It didn't happen and that's all.” Paul Jewell was impressed with how much Guardiola knew about Wigan Credit: Getty Images Guardiola’s modesty not withstanding, Jewell recalled his conversation with the City manager differently, in a later interview. “I got a call from Guardiola’s agent and he gave me Pep’s number so I rang him and left a message,” said Jewell. “Quite remarkably, five minutes later he rang me back. He knew all about Wigan, all about our players – I was really impressed. “We had a terrific conversation and he told me he would like to come and play in the Premier League. His wages weren’t extortionate and he was all set to come when his agent called me a couple of days later saying Pep had received a mind-blowing offer from Qatar. So it was Qatar or Wigan.” Wigan have fallen far from their eight-season stay in the Premier League which culminated, of course, in beating City in the 2013 FA Cup Final. But victories in this season’s competition over Bournemouth and West Ham mean that Guardiola will treat the tie with caution although he is adamant that back-up goalkeeper Claudio Bravo remains his first choice for domestic cup competitions. That guarantee seems to assure the Chilean of starting for City in Sunday’s Carabao Cup Final meeting with Arsenal - City’s first opportunity to secure one of the four trophies they are currently chasing. “He’s going to play, Claudio,” said Guardiola. “We are in the Carabao Cup Final thanks to him. So I cannot forget what happened, he saved two rounds of penalties, and the way he played, the safest, in the Carabao Cup. “That is the decision this season. The other (competitions), we will see. Claudio Bravo will feature for Man City in cup competitions Credit: Getty Images “The goalkeeper’s a different position to the other 10 team mates but, you know, it all depends on the performance and the quality but in this competition Claudio is going to play.” The 34-year-old Chilean lost his first team place last summer when Guardiola signed young Brazilian Ederson, who has been in inspired form this season. Bravo has not started a single Premier League game in the current campaign although his manager insists his selection as “cup keeper” is not simply in order to keep him satisfied. “I don’t do that to keep him happy,” said Guardiola. “It’s because in the top clubs we need two good goalkeepers so you cannot survive with just one goalkeeper - if he is injured, suspended, something like that and the other one doesn’t have the level. “So all the big clubs who play a lot of competitions have two good goalkeepers and we have. “His reaction has been perfect. I know for the players, not just Claudio, when they don’t play regularly it’s not an easy situation. “They are here to play, I understand completely. But he was perfect and he knows, in football, situations change from one day to the other and he has to be ready.”
Pep Guardiola on nearly signing for Wigan 15 years ago: 'I tried to play in England but I was not good enough!'
Pep Guardiola will finally make it to Wigan’s DW Stadium for competitive action tonight, 13 years after the Manchester City manager almost signed for the League One club as a player. In one of the more surreal examples of alternate football histories, then-Wigan manager Paul Jewell actually thought he had agreed a deal for Guardiola, then 34, to move to Lancashire as the ex-Barcelona player sought a deal in England towards the end of his career. Jewell’s hopes ended when Guardiola’s agent called to say he would instead be accepting a more lucrative offer in Qatar, before he eventually moved to Mexico, although tonight’s fifth round FA Cup tie at least gives the Catalan the chance to survey the surroundings he might once have called home. “Yeah, it was years ago,” said Guardiola. “But I was not good enough! That is the truth, yeah. “I was old, really old, as a football player to come here. I tried to come here to play in English football but I was not able. The same happened when I came here to Manchester City, with Stuart Pearce. They were so clever! "They were so clever because I was not good enough! “Wigan were interested in me, I didn't choose the club. It didn't happen and that's all.” Paul Jewell was impressed with how much Guardiola knew about Wigan Credit: Getty Images Guardiola’s modesty not withstanding, Jewell recalled his conversation with the City manager differently, in a later interview. “I got a call from Guardiola’s agent and he gave me Pep’s number so I rang him and left a message,” said Jewell. “Quite remarkably, five minutes later he rang me back. He knew all about Wigan, all about our players – I was really impressed. “We had a terrific conversation and he told me he would like to come and play in the Premier League. His wages weren’t extortionate and he was all set to come when his agent called me a couple of days later saying Pep had received a mind-blowing offer from Qatar. So it was Qatar or Wigan.” Wigan have fallen far from their eight-season stay in the Premier League which culminated, of course, in beating City in the 2013 FA Cup Final. But victories in this season’s competition over Bournemouth and West Ham mean that Guardiola will treat the tie with caution although he is adamant that back-up goalkeeper Claudio Bravo remains his first choice for domestic cup competitions. That guarantee seems to assure the Chilean of starting for City in Sunday’s Carabao Cup Final meeting with Arsenal - City’s first opportunity to secure one of the four trophies they are currently chasing. “He’s going to play, Claudio,” said Guardiola. “We are in the Carabao Cup Final thanks to him. So I cannot forget what happened, he saved two rounds of penalties, and the way he played, the safest, in the Carabao Cup. “That is the decision this season. The other (competitions), we will see. Claudio Bravo will feature for Man City in cup competitions Credit: Getty Images “The goalkeeper’s a different position to the other 10 team mates but, you know, it all depends on the performance and the quality but in this competition Claudio is going to play.” The 34-year-old Chilean lost his first team place last summer when Guardiola signed young Brazilian Ederson, who has been in inspired form this season. Bravo has not started a single Premier League game in the current campaign although his manager insists his selection as “cup keeper” is not simply in order to keep him satisfied. “I don’t do that to keep him happy,” said Guardiola. “It’s because in the top clubs we need two good goalkeepers so you cannot survive with just one goalkeeper - if he is injured, suspended, something like that and the other one doesn’t have the level. “So all the big clubs who play a lot of competitions have two good goalkeepers and we have. “His reaction has been perfect. I know for the players, not just Claudio, when they don’t play regularly it’s not an easy situation. “They are here to play, I understand completely. But he was perfect and he knows, in football, situations change from one day to the other and he has to be ready.”
Manchester United secured an FA Cup quarter-final tie with Brighton & Hove Albion in a manner that can only be ­described as straightforward. Despite the build-up and aftermath being dominated by ­questions over Paul Pogba – a man who may or may not have recovered from ­illness in time for Wednesday’s trip to Seville – they never looked in danger for a moment against a ­determined, gutsy but ultimately limited, Huddersfield Town team. They scored twice from ­lightning quick breakaways and might well have had a third were it not for the latest video assistant referee ­controversy. In many ways, this was the default Jose Mourinho performance: contained, controlled, efficient. And about as exciting as reading a washing machine instruction manual. Still, Mourinho expressed a ­significant degree of satisfaction with what was achieved. Not least because, due to a sudden flurry of injuries – with Pogba succumbing to a bug on the morning of the match – apart from David De Gea, he was unable to give any of his players the weekend off ahead of the critical Champions League tie in Spain against Sevilla. “Look, I didn’t rest one single player so we had every player ­available. I didn’t rest anyone, I brought two kids that played yesterday [Friday] 90 minutes because I don’t have another player,” ­Mourinho ­explained, in what may well have been a dig at Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, who recently named only six substitutes against Burnley, insisting he couldn’t call up youth players ­because they had played the day ­before. "Can we recover some of them for Wednesday? I believe so. I think [Marcus] Rashford, [Ander] Herrera and [Antonio] Valencia have a chance. Paul [Pogba] I don’t know. Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, ­Marouane, [Fellaini], Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] – I don’t think they have any chance, so we arrive at this crucial moment with some problem.” Gutted I won’t be at Huddersfield but I need to get better. Come on United ���� @ManUtd— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) February 17, 2018 Mourinho was, understandably, frustrated by Pogba’s late withdrawl. Not least because he had planned to use him in apparently his favourite position – on the left of a midfield three – in a bid to help him recover some form and ­confidence as the business end of the season approaches. Instead, the United manager was obliged to call on the services of the veteran Michael Carrick who, at 36, may be many things – calm, ­accurate, disciplined – but one for future he isn’t. Still, the United manager will have noted one thing about the way his side brushed aside David ­Wagner’s team: Alexis Sanchez’s eye for a killer pass has not been dulled by his move from Arsenal. The Chilean had spent much of the first half looking increasingly dispirited as his team-mates drifted ever deeper in their attempt to smother Huddersfield’s busy ­midfield probing. He could be seen constantly waving colleagues ­forward, when Mourinho might have hoped he had joined them in defensive duties. But just after half time, he took matters into his own hands and supplied the game’s one standout moment: a laser-guided return ball into the path of Romelu Lukaku, who barrelled forward and scored. Sanchez drifted in and out of the game Credit: Getty images The Belgian’s finish – as it had been when he latched on to an ­almost equally telling ball from Juan Mata after just three minutes for the opener – was not as true as he might have hoped. Oddly, that worked to his ­advantage, as Jonas Lossl in the Huddersfield goal seemed to ­misread his shot, perhaps anticipating a clean strike. Throughout his career, Lukaku has tended to score goals in patches. And if, with Sanchez providing a new supply of ammunition, he has rediscovered a scoring touch ­temporarily mislaid after his ­blistering start in a United shirt, his timing could not be better. Certainly his midfield colleague Nemanja Matic, who spent much of the game scurrying and scrapping but seldom dominating possession, seemed relieved that the Lukaku mojo has resurfaced. “He is important for us,” Matic suggested. “It’s very important for his confidence that he is scoring goals and he is a great striker, very strong and he is still young, I am sure he will be important for us ­until the end of the season.” As for Pogba, Mourinho said he had no clue if the Frenchman would be available for the European tie. He could only express hope that his midfield lynchpin enjoys a swift ­recovery. While wildcat rumours circulated after their defeat at ­Newcastle United of a dressing-room bust-up were fanciful, there is no denying that the Frenchman has looked out of sorts of late. While there is relief in the fact his main striker has rediscovered the route to goal, the manager knows that, without a fully committed, fully engaged Pogba, his chances of further advance in Europe are limited indeed.
Paul Pogba could go straight back in to Man Utd team for Sevilla game
Manchester United secured an FA Cup quarter-final tie with Brighton & Hove Albion in a manner that can only be ­described as straightforward. Despite the build-up and aftermath being dominated by ­questions over Paul Pogba – a man who may or may not have recovered from ­illness in time for Wednesday’s trip to Seville – they never looked in danger for a moment against a ­determined, gutsy but ultimately limited, Huddersfield Town team. They scored twice from ­lightning quick breakaways and might well have had a third were it not for the latest video assistant referee ­controversy. In many ways, this was the default Jose Mourinho performance: contained, controlled, efficient. And about as exciting as reading a washing machine instruction manual. Still, Mourinho expressed a ­significant degree of satisfaction with what was achieved. Not least because, due to a sudden flurry of injuries – with Pogba succumbing to a bug on the morning of the match – apart from David De Gea, he was unable to give any of his players the weekend off ahead of the critical Champions League tie in Spain against Sevilla. “Look, I didn’t rest one single player so we had every player ­available. I didn’t rest anyone, I brought two kids that played yesterday [Friday] 90 minutes because I don’t have another player,” ­Mourinho ­explained, in what may well have been a dig at Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, who recently named only six substitutes against Burnley, insisting he couldn’t call up youth players ­because they had played the day ­before. "Can we recover some of them for Wednesday? I believe so. I think [Marcus] Rashford, [Ander] Herrera and [Antonio] Valencia have a chance. Paul [Pogba] I don’t know. Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, ­Marouane, [Fellaini], Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] – I don’t think they have any chance, so we arrive at this crucial moment with some problem.” Gutted I won’t be at Huddersfield but I need to get better. Come on United ���� @ManUtd— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) February 17, 2018 Mourinho was, understandably, frustrated by Pogba’s late withdrawl. Not least because he had planned to use him in apparently his favourite position – on the left of a midfield three – in a bid to help him recover some form and ­confidence as the business end of the season approaches. Instead, the United manager was obliged to call on the services of the veteran Michael Carrick who, at 36, may be many things – calm, ­accurate, disciplined – but one for future he isn’t. Still, the United manager will have noted one thing about the way his side brushed aside David ­Wagner’s team: Alexis Sanchez’s eye for a killer pass has not been dulled by his move from Arsenal. The Chilean had spent much of the first half looking increasingly dispirited as his team-mates drifted ever deeper in their attempt to smother Huddersfield’s busy ­midfield probing. He could be seen constantly waving colleagues ­forward, when Mourinho might have hoped he had joined them in defensive duties. But just after half time, he took matters into his own hands and supplied the game’s one standout moment: a laser-guided return ball into the path of Romelu Lukaku, who barrelled forward and scored. Sanchez drifted in and out of the game Credit: Getty images The Belgian’s finish – as it had been when he latched on to an ­almost equally telling ball from Juan Mata after just three minutes for the opener – was not as true as he might have hoped. Oddly, that worked to his ­advantage, as Jonas Lossl in the Huddersfield goal seemed to ­misread his shot, perhaps anticipating a clean strike. Throughout his career, Lukaku has tended to score goals in patches. And if, with Sanchez providing a new supply of ammunition, he has rediscovered a scoring touch ­temporarily mislaid after his ­blistering start in a United shirt, his timing could not be better. Certainly his midfield colleague Nemanja Matic, who spent much of the game scurrying and scrapping but seldom dominating possession, seemed relieved that the Lukaku mojo has resurfaced. “He is important for us,” Matic suggested. “It’s very important for his confidence that he is scoring goals and he is a great striker, very strong and he is still young, I am sure he will be important for us ­until the end of the season.” As for Pogba, Mourinho said he had no clue if the Frenchman would be available for the European tie. He could only express hope that his midfield lynchpin enjoys a swift ­recovery. While wildcat rumours circulated after their defeat at ­Newcastle United of a dressing-room bust-up were fanciful, there is no denying that the Frenchman has looked out of sorts of late. While there is relief in the fact his main striker has rediscovered the route to goal, the manager knows that, without a fully committed, fully engaged Pogba, his chances of further advance in Europe are limited indeed.
Paul Cook has an interesting pre-match routine. After every game has kicked off, the Wigan Athletic manager spends the first five or so minutes standing in the dugout sipping a cup of tea. “It’s all your nerves. It’s a control thing,” he says of the superstition. “I say to the kit man, ‘Make sure you bring us a cup of tea.’ As a player, I used to tie my laces at every set-piece. It’s weird, football. The amount of times I’ve thrown the tea away you wouldn’t believe.” That happened in Wigan’s last two outings. Having been unbeaten for 16 matches, back-to-back defeats by Southend and Blackpool have seen Wigan relinquish top spot in League One and in both games Cook’s side were behind after just three minutes. Cook is hoping he has no reason to throw away his tea prematurely against Manchester City at the DW Stadium this evening, even if he knows his team will have their work cut out against the runaway Premier League leaders. Wigan – then managed by Roberto Martinez – famously beat City 1-0 in the 2013 Cup final, the biggest upset in the competition since Wimbledon overcame Liverpool a quarter of a century earlier, and also defeated the Manchester club in the quarter-finals the following season. But claiming a third scalp promises to be the tallest of orders, despite the confidence Wigan will take from already dispatching Premier League Bournemouth and West Ham United. Cook is full of respect for City and, as someone who grew up supporting Liverpool in the late 1970s and 1980s and insists his teams get the ball down and play, there is huge admiration for Pep Guardiola. But he has no interest in making up the numbers or obsessing about which wine to pour his Catalan counterpart. Cook is full of respect for Guardiola Credit: Reuters “A can of Skol!” Cook joked when asked if he had a tipple in store for Guardiola. “We respect Pep but our drinks cabinet won’t change for anybody. “I think we got David Moyes [the West Ham manager] a £12 bottle of wine from Tesco. We’ll show him the utmost respect and I’m sure by the time he leaves he’ll have a good experience of Wigan. “But we’re not here to be Pep’s best mate, we’re genuinely not. Man City bring something different to the town, of course they do. You have got the best team in the world possibly, maybe the best manager in the world. For people to just say it’s a normal game, it’s not. “But we are not here to make best friends with Man City and everyone pat us on the back after they’ve beaten us by five and say, ‘Have a good season.’ We want to try and win the game. For me, I’d rather lose being positive than sitting back, so for anyone who wants to know how we’re going to play, we are going to take the game to Man City as much as we can.” West Ham were beaten by a team who played with verve and vibrancy, but Cook offers an interesting insight into the challenges of management and getting players to commit to a philosophy of playing. “The biggest thing about management is you only feel pressure when you’re getting beat,” he said. “There are not many teams in football who don’t go long quick when they’re getting beat, so everyone’s values get thrown out the window and it’s hard then.” Has he always tried to resist that? “Yeah, but it’s impossible,” said Cook. “At the end of the Blackpool game, you wouldn’t recognise your own team. That disappoints me. “We have a style of play that we believe in, although it will be very challenging against Manchester City. We’re not stupid. If City score two goals in the first 10 minutes, will it force us back? Without a shadow of a doubt.” Cook has already taken his team past two Premier League teams in this season's FA Cup Credit: Reuters There are other things he thinks get mixed up, too. Cook was at a spellbound Anfield last month to watch City lose 4-3 to Liverpool. “The next morning, on talkSPORT, they were talking about Arsenal getting beaten by someone and yet we’d just witnessed one of the best games that anyone who was there would ever see, from two absolutely fantastic teams on the day, just going for it,” he said, nonplussed. Can he take any encouragement from what Liverpool did? “You have to put your chances away,” he said. “Any team put under pressure can make mistakes. If you sit off City too much, they’ll just get more and more confident. We’ve got to disrupt them. We have to be aggressive with our play, our formation. Not our physicality – our play.” At the very least, he will hope he gets to finish his cup of tea.
Wigan manager Paul Cook: 'Wine? Pep Guardiola will get a can of Skol like everyone else'
Paul Cook has an interesting pre-match routine. After every game has kicked off, the Wigan Athletic manager spends the first five or so minutes standing in the dugout sipping a cup of tea. “It’s all your nerves. It’s a control thing,” he says of the superstition. “I say to the kit man, ‘Make sure you bring us a cup of tea.’ As a player, I used to tie my laces at every set-piece. It’s weird, football. The amount of times I’ve thrown the tea away you wouldn’t believe.” That happened in Wigan’s last two outings. Having been unbeaten for 16 matches, back-to-back defeats by Southend and Blackpool have seen Wigan relinquish top spot in League One and in both games Cook’s side were behind after just three minutes. Cook is hoping he has no reason to throw away his tea prematurely against Manchester City at the DW Stadium this evening, even if he knows his team will have their work cut out against the runaway Premier League leaders. Wigan – then managed by Roberto Martinez – famously beat City 1-0 in the 2013 Cup final, the biggest upset in the competition since Wimbledon overcame Liverpool a quarter of a century earlier, and also defeated the Manchester club in the quarter-finals the following season. But claiming a third scalp promises to be the tallest of orders, despite the confidence Wigan will take from already dispatching Premier League Bournemouth and West Ham United. Cook is full of respect for City and, as someone who grew up supporting Liverpool in the late 1970s and 1980s and insists his teams get the ball down and play, there is huge admiration for Pep Guardiola. But he has no interest in making up the numbers or obsessing about which wine to pour his Catalan counterpart. Cook is full of respect for Guardiola Credit: Reuters “A can of Skol!” Cook joked when asked if he had a tipple in store for Guardiola. “We respect Pep but our drinks cabinet won’t change for anybody. “I think we got David Moyes [the West Ham manager] a £12 bottle of wine from Tesco. We’ll show him the utmost respect and I’m sure by the time he leaves he’ll have a good experience of Wigan. “But we’re not here to be Pep’s best mate, we’re genuinely not. Man City bring something different to the town, of course they do. You have got the best team in the world possibly, maybe the best manager in the world. For people to just say it’s a normal game, it’s not. “But we are not here to make best friends with Man City and everyone pat us on the back after they’ve beaten us by five and say, ‘Have a good season.’ We want to try and win the game. For me, I’d rather lose being positive than sitting back, so for anyone who wants to know how we’re going to play, we are going to take the game to Man City as much as we can.” West Ham were beaten by a team who played with verve and vibrancy, but Cook offers an interesting insight into the challenges of management and getting players to commit to a philosophy of playing. “The biggest thing about management is you only feel pressure when you’re getting beat,” he said. “There are not many teams in football who don’t go long quick when they’re getting beat, so everyone’s values get thrown out the window and it’s hard then.” Has he always tried to resist that? “Yeah, but it’s impossible,” said Cook. “At the end of the Blackpool game, you wouldn’t recognise your own team. That disappoints me. “We have a style of play that we believe in, although it will be very challenging against Manchester City. We’re not stupid. If City score two goals in the first 10 minutes, will it force us back? Without a shadow of a doubt.” Cook has already taken his team past two Premier League teams in this season's FA Cup Credit: Reuters There are other things he thinks get mixed up, too. Cook was at a spellbound Anfield last month to watch City lose 4-3 to Liverpool. “The next morning, on talkSPORT, they were talking about Arsenal getting beaten by someone and yet we’d just witnessed one of the best games that anyone who was there would ever see, from two absolutely fantastic teams on the day, just going for it,” he said, nonplussed. Can he take any encouragement from what Liverpool did? “You have to put your chances away,” he said. “Any team put under pressure can make mistakes. If you sit off City too much, they’ll just get more and more confident. We’ve got to disrupt them. We have to be aggressive with our play, our formation. Not our physicality – our play.” At the very least, he will hope he gets to finish his cup of tea.
Disgraced West Bromwich Albion captain Jonny Evans will be given every chance to redeem himself after head coach Alan Pardew stripped him of the armband for Saturday’s FA Cup sixth-round clash against Southampton. Evans, one of the quartet dubbed The Cab Four after allegedly stealing a taxi at the end of an all-night bar crawl on a team trip to Barcelona last week, could yet face criminal charges along with Gareth Barry, Jake Livermore and Boaz Myhill following the incident, which is said to have taken place at around 5.30am on Thursday outside a 24-hour McDonald’s takeaway in the Catalan capital. The four will be subject to the club’s own disciplinary procedures regardless of the outcome of an ongoing Spanish police investigation and can expect hefty club fines, but Albion are particularly anxious to avoid any fractured relationships, especially with Evans. In addition to needing his leadership qualities if they are to have any chance of avoiding relegation from the Premier League, the club have an interest in maintaining his current high transfer value. He is believed to have a clause in his contract that will trigger a cut-price exit if Albion go down but should they survive they will be desperately keen to realise at least a sizeable percentage of their £25 million valuation, having rejected bids from Manchester City, Leicester City and Arsenal in the last two transfer windows. Gareth Barry, left, was also among the four who apologised on Friday Credit: PA With his contract due to run out next year, the next window is likely to be the last chance to cash in. Pardew hinted strongly in the wake of Saturday’s defeat that his decision to hand the captaincy to veteran defender Gareth McAuley may have been only a slap on the wrists for Evans. “Obviously I was furious with what happened but at the same time I’ve got to give the players the chance to remedy the situation,” he said, before adding that he had been impressed in particular with the way Evans had responded. “Gareth Barry was OK today but I thought Jonny was very good actually in the circumstances. “I felt I needed to make a little bit of a statement about the events, which is why I made Gareth (McAuley) captain. “As for future games I’ll have to have a look at that this week and see how we go.” Meanwhile, the miscreant four found support from an unexpected source in Southampton head coach Mauricio Pellegrino, who believes that allowing players occasionally to break some lifestyle “rules” – even by indulging in beer and Big Macs – is important to their wellbeing. While not condoning any criminal behaviour, the former Liverpool player, who had a taste of Merseyside’s after-hours culture after Rafa Benitez signed him from Valencia in 2005, said that the players “have a right to enjoy themselves”. “They are all very professional because the pressure for them is to be out there on the pitch, to be on top of preparation, to be on top of nutrition, to rest – it is really hard to play at this level,” he said. “Today when players are out together they have to be 100 per cent of the time aware of their behaviour. Everybody makes mistakes. The problem is that everybody knows these lads, they are famous, they are on the TV every single week. Mauricio Pellegrino says players "have a right to enjoy themselves", but Pardew is "furious" Credit: REUTERS “But they have a right to enjoy themselves. The right nutrition is important but they have a right to sometimes eat things just to enjoy.” Southampton’s victory, fashioned by goals from Wesley Hoedt and Dusan Tadic, countered by Salomon Rondon, in a repeat of their Premier League win on the same ground two weekends ago, earns them a quarter-final trip to Wigan or Manchester City, who meet tonight in a repeat of the 2013 final. Pellegrino also hopes it will provide momentum in their own Premier League relegation struggle. Although not in the same straits as Albion, bottom of the table and seven points from safety, Southampton are themselves in the bottom three after one win in 14 matches. “It is a win that will help everybody’s confidence and spirit and the important thing now is to believe in our way from now until the end of the season,” he said. For Pardew, another defeat seemed almost incidental, but he knows the focus will quickly return to his future after achieving just one win in 13 Premier League matches since he took charge. He is aware his job is on the line but believes he is the right man for the task ahead, despite the club’s decision last week to fire the men who appointed him, chairman John Williams and chief executive Martin Goodman. “I’m an experienced manager,” he said. “I’ve got out of this situation before, at Newcastle and Crystal Palace, and I’m determined to get out of this one as well.”
West Brom captain Jonny Evans to be given chance to redeem himself after apologising for 'Cab Four' night out
Disgraced West Bromwich Albion captain Jonny Evans will be given every chance to redeem himself after head coach Alan Pardew stripped him of the armband for Saturday’s FA Cup sixth-round clash against Southampton. Evans, one of the quartet dubbed The Cab Four after allegedly stealing a taxi at the end of an all-night bar crawl on a team trip to Barcelona last week, could yet face criminal charges along with Gareth Barry, Jake Livermore and Boaz Myhill following the incident, which is said to have taken place at around 5.30am on Thursday outside a 24-hour McDonald’s takeaway in the Catalan capital. The four will be subject to the club’s own disciplinary procedures regardless of the outcome of an ongoing Spanish police investigation and can expect hefty club fines, but Albion are particularly anxious to avoid any fractured relationships, especially with Evans. In addition to needing his leadership qualities if they are to have any chance of avoiding relegation from the Premier League, the club have an interest in maintaining his current high transfer value. He is believed to have a clause in his contract that will trigger a cut-price exit if Albion go down but should they survive they will be desperately keen to realise at least a sizeable percentage of their £25 million valuation, having rejected bids from Manchester City, Leicester City and Arsenal in the last two transfer windows. Gareth Barry, left, was also among the four who apologised on Friday Credit: PA With his contract due to run out next year, the next window is likely to be the last chance to cash in. Pardew hinted strongly in the wake of Saturday’s defeat that his decision to hand the captaincy to veteran defender Gareth McAuley may have been only a slap on the wrists for Evans. “Obviously I was furious with what happened but at the same time I’ve got to give the players the chance to remedy the situation,” he said, before adding that he had been impressed in particular with the way Evans had responded. “Gareth Barry was OK today but I thought Jonny was very good actually in the circumstances. “I felt I needed to make a little bit of a statement about the events, which is why I made Gareth (McAuley) captain. “As for future games I’ll have to have a look at that this week and see how we go.” Meanwhile, the miscreant four found support from an unexpected source in Southampton head coach Mauricio Pellegrino, who believes that allowing players occasionally to break some lifestyle “rules” – even by indulging in beer and Big Macs – is important to their wellbeing. While not condoning any criminal behaviour, the former Liverpool player, who had a taste of Merseyside’s after-hours culture after Rafa Benitez signed him from Valencia in 2005, said that the players “have a right to enjoy themselves”. “They are all very professional because the pressure for them is to be out there on the pitch, to be on top of preparation, to be on top of nutrition, to rest – it is really hard to play at this level,” he said. “Today when players are out together they have to be 100 per cent of the time aware of their behaviour. Everybody makes mistakes. The problem is that everybody knows these lads, they are famous, they are on the TV every single week. Mauricio Pellegrino says players "have a right to enjoy themselves", but Pardew is "furious" Credit: REUTERS “But they have a right to enjoy themselves. The right nutrition is important but they have a right to sometimes eat things just to enjoy.” Southampton’s victory, fashioned by goals from Wesley Hoedt and Dusan Tadic, countered by Salomon Rondon, in a repeat of their Premier League win on the same ground two weekends ago, earns them a quarter-final trip to Wigan or Manchester City, who meet tonight in a repeat of the 2013 final. Pellegrino also hopes it will provide momentum in their own Premier League relegation struggle. Although not in the same straits as Albion, bottom of the table and seven points from safety, Southampton are themselves in the bottom three after one win in 14 matches. “It is a win that will help everybody’s confidence and spirit and the important thing now is to believe in our way from now until the end of the season,” he said. For Pardew, another defeat seemed almost incidental, but he knows the focus will quickly return to his future after achieving just one win in 13 Premier League matches since he took charge. He is aware his job is on the line but believes he is the right man for the task ahead, despite the club’s decision last week to fire the men who appointed him, chairman John Williams and chief executive Martin Goodman. “I’m an experienced manager,” he said. “I’ve got out of this situation before, at Newcastle and Crystal Palace, and I’m determined to get out of this one as well.”
Disgraced West Bromwich Albion captain Jonny Evans will be given every chance to redeem himself after head coach Alan Pardew stripped him of the armband for Saturday’s FA Cup sixth-round clash against Southampton. Evans, one of the quartet dubbed The Cab Four after allegedly stealing a taxi at the end of an all-night bar crawl on a team trip to Barcelona last week, could yet face criminal charges along with Gareth Barry, Jake Livermore and Boaz Myhill following the incident, which is said to have taken place at around 5.30am on Thursday outside a 24-hour McDonald’s takeaway in the Catalan capital. The four will be subject to the club’s own disciplinary procedures regardless of the outcome of an ongoing Spanish police investigation and can expect hefty club fines, but Albion are particularly anxious to avoid any fractured relationships, especially with Evans. In addition to needing his leadership qualities if they are to have any chance of avoiding relegation from the Premier League, the club have an interest in maintaining his current high transfer value. He is believed to have a clause in his contract that will trigger a cut-price exit if Albion go down but should they survive they will be desperately keen to realise at least a sizeable percentage of their £25 million valuation, having rejected bids from Manchester City, Leicester City and Arsenal in the last two transfer windows. Gareth Barry, left, was also among the four who apologised on Friday Credit: PA With his contract due to run out next year, the next window is likely to be the last chance to cash in. Pardew hinted strongly in the wake of Saturday’s defeat that his decision to hand the captaincy to veteran defender Gareth McAuley may have been only a slap on the wrists for Evans. “Obviously I was furious with what happened but at the same time I’ve got to give the players the chance to remedy the situation,” he said, before adding that he had been impressed in particular with the way Evans had responded. “Gareth Barry was OK today but I thought Jonny was very good actually in the circumstances. “I felt I needed to make a little bit of a statement about the events, which is why I made Gareth (McAuley) captain. “As for future games I’ll have to have a look at that this week and see how we go.” Meanwhile, the miscreant four found support from an unexpected source in Southampton head coach Mauricio Pellegrino, who believes that allowing players occasionally to break some lifestyle “rules” – even by indulging in beer and Big Macs – is important to their wellbeing. While not condoning any criminal behaviour, the former Liverpool player, who had a taste of Merseyside’s after-hours culture after Rafa Benitez signed him from Valencia in 2005, said that the players “have a right to enjoy themselves”. “They are all very professional because the pressure for them is to be out there on the pitch, to be on top of preparation, to be on top of nutrition, to rest – it is really hard to play at this level,” he said. “Today when players are out together they have to be 100 per cent of the time aware of their behaviour. Everybody makes mistakes. The problem is that everybody knows these lads, they are famous, they are on the TV every single week. Mauricio Pellegrino says players "have a right to enjoy themselves", but Pardew is "furious" Credit: REUTERS “But they have a right to enjoy themselves. The right nutrition is important but they have a right to sometimes eat things just to enjoy.” Southampton’s victory, fashioned by goals from Wesley Hoedt and Dusan Tadic, countered by Salomon Rondon, in a repeat of their Premier League win on the same ground two weekends ago, earns them a quarter-final trip to Wigan or Manchester City, who meet tonight in a repeat of the 2013 final. Pellegrino also hopes it will provide momentum in their own Premier League relegation struggle. Although not in the same straits as Albion, bottom of the table and seven points from safety, Southampton are themselves in the bottom three after one win in 14 matches. “It is a win that will help everybody’s confidence and spirit and the important thing now is to believe in our way from now until the end of the season,” he said. For Pardew, another defeat seemed almost incidental, but he knows the focus will quickly return to his future after achieving just one win in 13 Premier League matches since he took charge. He is aware his job is on the line but believes he is the right man for the task ahead, despite the club’s decision last week to fire the men who appointed him, chairman John Williams and chief executive Martin Goodman. “I’m an experienced manager,” he said. “I’ve got out of this situation before, at Newcastle and Crystal Palace, and I’m determined to get out of this one as well.”
West Brom captain Jonny Evans to be given chance to redeem himself after apologising for 'Cab Four' night out
Disgraced West Bromwich Albion captain Jonny Evans will be given every chance to redeem himself after head coach Alan Pardew stripped him of the armband for Saturday’s FA Cup sixth-round clash against Southampton. Evans, one of the quartet dubbed The Cab Four after allegedly stealing a taxi at the end of an all-night bar crawl on a team trip to Barcelona last week, could yet face criminal charges along with Gareth Barry, Jake Livermore and Boaz Myhill following the incident, which is said to have taken place at around 5.30am on Thursday outside a 24-hour McDonald’s takeaway in the Catalan capital. The four will be subject to the club’s own disciplinary procedures regardless of the outcome of an ongoing Spanish police investigation and can expect hefty club fines, but Albion are particularly anxious to avoid any fractured relationships, especially with Evans. In addition to needing his leadership qualities if they are to have any chance of avoiding relegation from the Premier League, the club have an interest in maintaining his current high transfer value. He is believed to have a clause in his contract that will trigger a cut-price exit if Albion go down but should they survive they will be desperately keen to realise at least a sizeable percentage of their £25 million valuation, having rejected bids from Manchester City, Leicester City and Arsenal in the last two transfer windows. Gareth Barry, left, was also among the four who apologised on Friday Credit: PA With his contract due to run out next year, the next window is likely to be the last chance to cash in. Pardew hinted strongly in the wake of Saturday’s defeat that his decision to hand the captaincy to veteran defender Gareth McAuley may have been only a slap on the wrists for Evans. “Obviously I was furious with what happened but at the same time I’ve got to give the players the chance to remedy the situation,” he said, before adding that he had been impressed in particular with the way Evans had responded. “Gareth Barry was OK today but I thought Jonny was very good actually in the circumstances. “I felt I needed to make a little bit of a statement about the events, which is why I made Gareth (McAuley) captain. “As for future games I’ll have to have a look at that this week and see how we go.” Meanwhile, the miscreant four found support from an unexpected source in Southampton head coach Mauricio Pellegrino, who believes that allowing players occasionally to break some lifestyle “rules” – even by indulging in beer and Big Macs – is important to their wellbeing. While not condoning any criminal behaviour, the former Liverpool player, who had a taste of Merseyside’s after-hours culture after Rafa Benitez signed him from Valencia in 2005, said that the players “have a right to enjoy themselves”. “They are all very professional because the pressure for them is to be out there on the pitch, to be on top of preparation, to be on top of nutrition, to rest – it is really hard to play at this level,” he said. “Today when players are out together they have to be 100 per cent of the time aware of their behaviour. Everybody makes mistakes. The problem is that everybody knows these lads, they are famous, they are on the TV every single week. Mauricio Pellegrino says players "have a right to enjoy themselves", but Pardew is "furious" Credit: REUTERS “But they have a right to enjoy themselves. The right nutrition is important but they have a right to sometimes eat things just to enjoy.” Southampton’s victory, fashioned by goals from Wesley Hoedt and Dusan Tadic, countered by Salomon Rondon, in a repeat of their Premier League win on the same ground two weekends ago, earns them a quarter-final trip to Wigan or Manchester City, who meet tonight in a repeat of the 2013 final. Pellegrino also hopes it will provide momentum in their own Premier League relegation struggle. Although not in the same straits as Albion, bottom of the table and seven points from safety, Southampton are themselves in the bottom three after one win in 14 matches. “It is a win that will help everybody’s confidence and spirit and the important thing now is to believe in our way from now until the end of the season,” he said. For Pardew, another defeat seemed almost incidental, but he knows the focus will quickly return to his future after achieving just one win in 13 Premier League matches since he took charge. He is aware his job is on the line but believes he is the right man for the task ahead, despite the club’s decision last week to fire the men who appointed him, chairman John Williams and chief executive Martin Goodman. “I’m an experienced manager,” he said. “I’ve got out of this situation before, at Newcastle and Crystal Palace, and I’m determined to get out of this one as well.”
Paul Cook has an interesting pre-match routine. After every game has kicked off, the Wigan Athletic manager spends the first five or so minutes standing in the dugout sipping a cup of tea. “It’s all your nerves. It’s a control thing,” he says of the superstition. “I say to the kit man, ‘Make sure you bring us a cup of tea.’ As a player, I used to tie my laces at every set-piece. It’s weird, football. The amount of times I’ve thrown the tea away you wouldn’t believe.” That happened in Wigan’s last two outings. Having been unbeaten for 16 matches, back-to-back defeats by Southend and Blackpool have seen Wigan relinquish top spot in League One and in both games Cook’s side were behind after just three minutes. Cook is hoping he has no reason to throw away his tea prematurely against Manchester City at the DW Stadium this evening, even if he knows his team will have their work cut out against the runaway Premier League leaders. Wigan – then managed by Roberto Martinez – famously beat City 1-0 in the 2013 Cup final, the biggest upset in the competition since Wimbledon overcame Liverpool a quarter of a century earlier, and also defeated the Manchester club in the quarter-finals the following season. But claiming a third scalp promises to be the tallest of orders, despite the confidence Wigan will take from already dispatching Premier League Bournemouth and West Ham United. Cook is full of respect for City and, as someone who grew up supporting Liverpool in the late 1970s and 1980s and insists his teams get the ball down and play, there is huge admiration for Pep Guardiola. But he has no interest in making up the numbers or obsessing about which wine to pour his Catalan counterpart. Cook is full of respect for Guardiola Credit: Reuters “A can of Skol!” Cook joked when asked if he had a tipple in store for Guardiola. “We respect Pep but our drinks cabinet won’t change for anybody. “I think we got David Moyes [the West Ham manager] a £12 bottle of wine from Tesco. We’ll show him the utmost respect and I’m sure by the time he leaves he’ll have a good experience of Wigan. “But we’re not here to be Pep’s best mate, we’re genuinely not. Man City bring something different to the town, of course they do. You have got the best team in the world possibly, maybe the best manager in the world. For people to just say it’s a normal game, it’s not. “But we are not here to make best friends with Man City and everyone pat us on the back after they’ve beaten us by five and say, ‘Have a good season.’ We want to try and win the game. For me, I’d rather lose being positive than sitting back, so for anyone who wants to know how we’re going to play, we are going to take the game to Man City as much as we can.” West Ham were beaten by a team who played with verve and vibrancy, but Cook offers an interesting insight into the challenges of management and getting players to commit to a philosophy of playing. “The biggest thing about management is you only feel pressure when you’re getting beat,” he said. “There are not many teams in football who don’t go long quick when they’re getting beat, so everyone’s values get thrown out the window and it’s hard then.” Has he always tried to resist that? “Yeah, but it’s impossible,” said Cook. “At the end of the Blackpool game, you wouldn’t recognise your own team. That disappoints me. “We have a style of play that we believe in, although it will be very challenging against Manchester City. We’re not stupid. If City score two goals in the first 10 minutes, will it force us back? Without a shadow of a doubt.” Cook has already taken his team past two Premier League teams in this season's FA Cup Credit: Reuters There are other things he thinks get mixed up, too. Cook was at a spellbound Anfield last month to watch City lose 4-3 to Liverpool. “The next morning, on talkSPORT, they were talking about Arsenal getting beaten by someone and yet we’d just witnessed one of the best games that anyone who was there would ever see, from two absolutely fantastic teams on the day, just going for it,” he said, nonplussed. Can he take any encouragement from what Liverpool did? “You have to put your chances away,” he said. “Any team put under pressure can make mistakes. If you sit off City too much, they’ll just get more and more confident. We’ve got to disrupt them. We have to be aggressive with our play, our formation. Not our physicality – our play.” At the very least, he will hope he gets to finish his cup of tea.
Wigan manager Paul Cook: 'Wine? Pep Guardiola will get a can of Skol like everyone else'
Paul Cook has an interesting pre-match routine. After every game has kicked off, the Wigan Athletic manager spends the first five or so minutes standing in the dugout sipping a cup of tea. “It’s all your nerves. It’s a control thing,” he says of the superstition. “I say to the kit man, ‘Make sure you bring us a cup of tea.’ As a player, I used to tie my laces at every set-piece. It’s weird, football. The amount of times I’ve thrown the tea away you wouldn’t believe.” That happened in Wigan’s last two outings. Having been unbeaten for 16 matches, back-to-back defeats by Southend and Blackpool have seen Wigan relinquish top spot in League One and in both games Cook’s side were behind after just three minutes. Cook is hoping he has no reason to throw away his tea prematurely against Manchester City at the DW Stadium this evening, even if he knows his team will have their work cut out against the runaway Premier League leaders. Wigan – then managed by Roberto Martinez – famously beat City 1-0 in the 2013 Cup final, the biggest upset in the competition since Wimbledon overcame Liverpool a quarter of a century earlier, and also defeated the Manchester club in the quarter-finals the following season. But claiming a third scalp promises to be the tallest of orders, despite the confidence Wigan will take from already dispatching Premier League Bournemouth and West Ham United. Cook is full of respect for City and, as someone who grew up supporting Liverpool in the late 1970s and 1980s and insists his teams get the ball down and play, there is huge admiration for Pep Guardiola. But he has no interest in making up the numbers or obsessing about which wine to pour his Catalan counterpart. Cook is full of respect for Guardiola Credit: Reuters “A can of Skol!” Cook joked when asked if he had a tipple in store for Guardiola. “We respect Pep but our drinks cabinet won’t change for anybody. “I think we got David Moyes [the West Ham manager] a £12 bottle of wine from Tesco. We’ll show him the utmost respect and I’m sure by the time he leaves he’ll have a good experience of Wigan. “But we’re not here to be Pep’s best mate, we’re genuinely not. Man City bring something different to the town, of course they do. You have got the best team in the world possibly, maybe the best manager in the world. For people to just say it’s a normal game, it’s not. “But we are not here to make best friends with Man City and everyone pat us on the back after they’ve beaten us by five and say, ‘Have a good season.’ We want to try and win the game. For me, I’d rather lose being positive than sitting back, so for anyone who wants to know how we’re going to play, we are going to take the game to Man City as much as we can.” West Ham were beaten by a team who played with verve and vibrancy, but Cook offers an interesting insight into the challenges of management and getting players to commit to a philosophy of playing. “The biggest thing about management is you only feel pressure when you’re getting beat,” he said. “There are not many teams in football who don’t go long quick when they’re getting beat, so everyone’s values get thrown out the window and it’s hard then.” Has he always tried to resist that? “Yeah, but it’s impossible,” said Cook. “At the end of the Blackpool game, you wouldn’t recognise your own team. That disappoints me. “We have a style of play that we believe in, although it will be very challenging against Manchester City. We’re not stupid. If City score two goals in the first 10 minutes, will it force us back? Without a shadow of a doubt.” Cook has already taken his team past two Premier League teams in this season's FA Cup Credit: Reuters There are other things he thinks get mixed up, too. Cook was at a spellbound Anfield last month to watch City lose 4-3 to Liverpool. “The next morning, on talkSPORT, they were talking about Arsenal getting beaten by someone and yet we’d just witnessed one of the best games that anyone who was there would ever see, from two absolutely fantastic teams on the day, just going for it,” he said, nonplussed. Can he take any encouragement from what Liverpool did? “You have to put your chances away,” he said. “Any team put under pressure can make mistakes. If you sit off City too much, they’ll just get more and more confident. We’ve got to disrupt them. We have to be aggressive with our play, our formation. Not our physicality – our play.” At the very least, he will hope he gets to finish his cup of tea.
Paul Cook has an interesting pre-match routine. After every game has kicked off, the Wigan Athletic manager spends the first five or so minutes standing in the dugout sipping a cup of tea. “It’s all your nerves. It’s a control thing,” he says of the superstition. “I say to the kit man, ‘Make sure you bring us a cup of tea.’ As a player, I used to tie my laces at every set-piece. It’s weird, football. The amount of times I’ve thrown the tea away you wouldn’t believe.” That happened in Wigan’s last two outings. Having been unbeaten for 16 matches, back-to-back defeats by Southend and Blackpool have seen Wigan relinquish top spot in League One and in both games Cook’s side were behind after just three minutes. Cook is hoping he has no reason to throw away his tea prematurely against Manchester City at the DW Stadium this evening, even if he knows his team will have their work cut out against the runaway Premier League leaders. Wigan – then managed by Roberto Martinez – famously beat City 1-0 in the 2013 Cup final, the biggest upset in the competition since Wimbledon overcame Liverpool a quarter of a century earlier, and also defeated the Manchester club in the quarter-finals the following season. But claiming a third scalp promises to be the tallest of orders, despite the confidence Wigan will take from already dispatching Premier League Bournemouth and West Ham United. Cook is full of respect for City and, as someone who grew up supporting Liverpool in the late 1970s and 1980s and insists his teams get the ball down and play, there is huge admiration for Pep Guardiola. But he has no interest in making up the numbers or obsessing about which wine to pour his Catalan counterpart. Cook is full of respect for Guardiola Credit: Reuters “A can of Skol!” Cook joked when asked if he had a tipple in store for Guardiola. “We respect Pep but our drinks cabinet won’t change for anybody. “I think we got David Moyes [the West Ham manager] a £12 bottle of wine from Tesco. We’ll show him the utmost respect and I’m sure by the time he leaves he’ll have a good experience of Wigan. “But we’re not here to be Pep’s best mate, we’re genuinely not. Man City bring something different to the town, of course they do. You have got the best team in the world possibly, maybe the best manager in the world. For people to just say it’s a normal game, it’s not. “But we are not here to make best friends with Man City and everyone pat us on the back after they’ve beaten us by five and say, ‘Have a good season.’ We want to try and win the game. For me, I’d rather lose being positive than sitting back, so for anyone who wants to know how we’re going to play, we are going to take the game to Man City as much as we can.” West Ham were beaten by a team who played with verve and vibrancy, but Cook offers an interesting insight into the challenges of management and getting players to commit to a philosophy of playing. “The biggest thing about management is you only feel pressure when you’re getting beat,” he said. “There are not many teams in football who don’t go long quick when they’re getting beat, so everyone’s values get thrown out the window and it’s hard then.” Has he always tried to resist that? “Yeah, but it’s impossible,” said Cook. “At the end of the Blackpool game, you wouldn’t recognise your own team. That disappoints me. “We have a style of play that we believe in, although it will be very challenging against Manchester City. We’re not stupid. If City score two goals in the first 10 minutes, will it force us back? Without a shadow of a doubt.” Cook has already taken his team past two Premier League teams in this season's FA Cup Credit: Reuters There are other things he thinks get mixed up, too. Cook was at a spellbound Anfield last month to watch City lose 4-3 to Liverpool. “The next morning, on talkSPORT, they were talking about Arsenal getting beaten by someone and yet we’d just witnessed one of the best games that anyone who was there would ever see, from two absolutely fantastic teams on the day, just going for it,” he said, nonplussed. Can he take any encouragement from what Liverpool did? “You have to put your chances away,” he said. “Any team put under pressure can make mistakes. If you sit off City too much, they’ll just get more and more confident. We’ve got to disrupt them. We have to be aggressive with our play, our formation. Not our physicality – our play.” At the very least, he will hope he gets to finish his cup of tea.
Wigan manager Paul Cook: 'Wine? Pep Guardiola will get a can of Skol like everyone else'
Paul Cook has an interesting pre-match routine. After every game has kicked off, the Wigan Athletic manager spends the first five or so minutes standing in the dugout sipping a cup of tea. “It’s all your nerves. It’s a control thing,” he says of the superstition. “I say to the kit man, ‘Make sure you bring us a cup of tea.’ As a player, I used to tie my laces at every set-piece. It’s weird, football. The amount of times I’ve thrown the tea away you wouldn’t believe.” That happened in Wigan’s last two outings. Having been unbeaten for 16 matches, back-to-back defeats by Southend and Blackpool have seen Wigan relinquish top spot in League One and in both games Cook’s side were behind after just three minutes. Cook is hoping he has no reason to throw away his tea prematurely against Manchester City at the DW Stadium this evening, even if he knows his team will have their work cut out against the runaway Premier League leaders. Wigan – then managed by Roberto Martinez – famously beat City 1-0 in the 2013 Cup final, the biggest upset in the competition since Wimbledon overcame Liverpool a quarter of a century earlier, and also defeated the Manchester club in the quarter-finals the following season. But claiming a third scalp promises to be the tallest of orders, despite the confidence Wigan will take from already dispatching Premier League Bournemouth and West Ham United. Cook is full of respect for City and, as someone who grew up supporting Liverpool in the late 1970s and 1980s and insists his teams get the ball down and play, there is huge admiration for Pep Guardiola. But he has no interest in making up the numbers or obsessing about which wine to pour his Catalan counterpart. Cook is full of respect for Guardiola Credit: Reuters “A can of Skol!” Cook joked when asked if he had a tipple in store for Guardiola. “We respect Pep but our drinks cabinet won’t change for anybody. “I think we got David Moyes [the West Ham manager] a £12 bottle of wine from Tesco. We’ll show him the utmost respect and I’m sure by the time he leaves he’ll have a good experience of Wigan. “But we’re not here to be Pep’s best mate, we’re genuinely not. Man City bring something different to the town, of course they do. You have got the best team in the world possibly, maybe the best manager in the world. For people to just say it’s a normal game, it’s not. “But we are not here to make best friends with Man City and everyone pat us on the back after they’ve beaten us by five and say, ‘Have a good season.’ We want to try and win the game. For me, I’d rather lose being positive than sitting back, so for anyone who wants to know how we’re going to play, we are going to take the game to Man City as much as we can.” West Ham were beaten by a team who played with verve and vibrancy, but Cook offers an interesting insight into the challenges of management and getting players to commit to a philosophy of playing. “The biggest thing about management is you only feel pressure when you’re getting beat,” he said. “There are not many teams in football who don’t go long quick when they’re getting beat, so everyone’s values get thrown out the window and it’s hard then.” Has he always tried to resist that? “Yeah, but it’s impossible,” said Cook. “At the end of the Blackpool game, you wouldn’t recognise your own team. That disappoints me. “We have a style of play that we believe in, although it will be very challenging against Manchester City. We’re not stupid. If City score two goals in the first 10 minutes, will it force us back? Without a shadow of a doubt.” Cook has already taken his team past two Premier League teams in this season's FA Cup Credit: Reuters There are other things he thinks get mixed up, too. Cook was at a spellbound Anfield last month to watch City lose 4-3 to Liverpool. “The next morning, on talkSPORT, they were talking about Arsenal getting beaten by someone and yet we’d just witnessed one of the best games that anyone who was there would ever see, from two absolutely fantastic teams on the day, just going for it,” he said, nonplussed. Can he take any encouragement from what Liverpool did? “You have to put your chances away,” he said. “Any team put under pressure can make mistakes. If you sit off City too much, they’ll just get more and more confident. We’ve got to disrupt them. We have to be aggressive with our play, our formation. Not our physicality – our play.” At the very least, he will hope he gets to finish his cup of tea.
Bristol City’s inability to hold on to a lead proved a welcome weakness for new Leeds manager Paul Heckingbottom, who marked his first Elland Road game with a point that kept alive his team’s play-off hopes. After throwing away a three-goal lead against Sunderland last weekend, Lee Johnson’s side were just as frail today, racing into a 2-0 lead inside 16 minutes but, ultimately, being fortunate to emerge even with a point. With the last touch of the game, Pierre-Michel Lasogga rose menacingly to meet a Pablo Hernandez cross which thundered against the City bar and Johnson breathed a sigh of relief. The result left City still in the play-off places but with just one win in any competition since Boxing Day, a period which had also seen them take on ­Manchester City at the end of their famous run to the Carabao Cup semi-finals. “We are where we are really,” said Johnson. “I’ve never gone shouting my mouth off saying my team is going to smash promotion because we’re not there. “With 14 games left we’re in a good position and we’ve got belief. We’re a work in progress with a lot of young players who haven’t experienced this sort of atmosphere. We know we’ve done well to turn this team around; this time last year we were effectively competing against relegation. Now we have jumped 12 or 13 places up the division.” City looked every inch a promotion contender in that devastating opening spell which brought two goals, both from long throw-ins launched by Icelandic defender Hordur Magnusson. After 11 minutes, Leeds’ panicked goalkeeper Felix Wiedwald punched out to City forward Famara Diedhiou, who took a touch – a poor one, as it transpired – but still had time to drive the ball in from 12 yards. Five minutes later, Leeds again froze at a long throw, allowing Aden Flint to flick on to Marlon Pack, whose drive was turned in at the far post by Bobby Reid. There was certainly no clue of Leeds’ eventual fightback as their 10th manager in the past six years heard his team booed off at the interval. And the opening exchanges of the second half were no better as supporters sarcastically greeted the occasional accurate pass by their players with an “ole”. But, slowly, Hernandez was becoming more of an influence and Heckingbottom was using his bench effectively. After 72 minutes, Hernandez’s far-post cross picked out Lasogga, who volleyed emphatically past Frank Fielding and, eight minutes of Leeds pressure later, a Hernandez corner was flicked across goal for substitute Kemar Roofe to slide in the equaliser. By now Elland Road was an intimidating place, one which Johnson later admitted might have got to some of his younger players, and the situation might have become even more dire for the visitors. In a frantic finale, Adam Forshaw created room to curl a shot wide, another sub Kalvin Phillips headed over from yet another Hernandez set-piece and, with that last kick of the game, Lasogga rattled the City woodwork. “We definitely had opportunities to win it and I know when I watch it back I’m going to be cringing ­because they were good chances as well,” said Heckingbottom. “We still think we can make the play-offs. If we had lost, the gap would have been 11 points and that would have been big but we’re still in it. “We’ve got teams to play around us but nobody is getting away from us. If we can pick up some positive results against them, we will see where we are in the last few games.”
Leeds 2 Bristol City 2: Visitors struggle to hold on to lead again as hosts rally for new manager
Bristol City’s inability to hold on to a lead proved a welcome weakness for new Leeds manager Paul Heckingbottom, who marked his first Elland Road game with a point that kept alive his team’s play-off hopes. After throwing away a three-goal lead against Sunderland last weekend, Lee Johnson’s side were just as frail today, racing into a 2-0 lead inside 16 minutes but, ultimately, being fortunate to emerge even with a point. With the last touch of the game, Pierre-Michel Lasogga rose menacingly to meet a Pablo Hernandez cross which thundered against the City bar and Johnson breathed a sigh of relief. The result left City still in the play-off places but with just one win in any competition since Boxing Day, a period which had also seen them take on ­Manchester City at the end of their famous run to the Carabao Cup semi-finals. “We are where we are really,” said Johnson. “I’ve never gone shouting my mouth off saying my team is going to smash promotion because we’re not there. “With 14 games left we’re in a good position and we’ve got belief. We’re a work in progress with a lot of young players who haven’t experienced this sort of atmosphere. We know we’ve done well to turn this team around; this time last year we were effectively competing against relegation. Now we have jumped 12 or 13 places up the division.” City looked every inch a promotion contender in that devastating opening spell which brought two goals, both from long throw-ins launched by Icelandic defender Hordur Magnusson. After 11 minutes, Leeds’ panicked goalkeeper Felix Wiedwald punched out to City forward Famara Diedhiou, who took a touch – a poor one, as it transpired – but still had time to drive the ball in from 12 yards. Five minutes later, Leeds again froze at a long throw, allowing Aden Flint to flick on to Marlon Pack, whose drive was turned in at the far post by Bobby Reid. There was certainly no clue of Leeds’ eventual fightback as their 10th manager in the past six years heard his team booed off at the interval. And the opening exchanges of the second half were no better as supporters sarcastically greeted the occasional accurate pass by their players with an “ole”. But, slowly, Hernandez was becoming more of an influence and Heckingbottom was using his bench effectively. After 72 minutes, Hernandez’s far-post cross picked out Lasogga, who volleyed emphatically past Frank Fielding and, eight minutes of Leeds pressure later, a Hernandez corner was flicked across goal for substitute Kemar Roofe to slide in the equaliser. By now Elland Road was an intimidating place, one which Johnson later admitted might have got to some of his younger players, and the situation might have become even more dire for the visitors. In a frantic finale, Adam Forshaw created room to curl a shot wide, another sub Kalvin Phillips headed over from yet another Hernandez set-piece and, with that last kick of the game, Lasogga rattled the City woodwork. “We definitely had opportunities to win it and I know when I watch it back I’m going to be cringing ­because they were good chances as well,” said Heckingbottom. “We still think we can make the play-offs. If we had lost, the gap would have been 11 points and that would have been big but we’re still in it. “We’ve got teams to play around us but nobody is getting away from us. If we can pick up some positive results against them, we will see where we are in the last few games.”
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says he did not join Wigan Athletic because he 'was not good enough'
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says he did not join Wigan Athletic because he 'was not good enough'
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says he did not join Wigan Athletic because he 'was not good enough'
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says he did not join Wigan Athletic because he 'was not good enough'
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says he did not join Wigan Athletic because he 'was not good enough'
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says he did not join Wigan Athletic because he 'was not good enough'
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says he did not join Wigan Athletic because he 'was not good enough'
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says he did not join Wigan Athletic because he 'was not good enough'
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says he did not join Wigan Athletic because he 'was not good enough'

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