Jose Mourinho has dismissed any parallels between 2007 and now, insisting he has the desire and determination to lead Chelsea out of their current malaise.The Blues won the 2014-15 Barclays Premier League title at a canter, but have four points from four games and sit eight points behind leaders Manchester City ahead of Saturday’s match at Everton, who frustrated Mourinho in his pursuit of John Stones.With the Toffees sticking to England defender Stones, Chelsea had to turn to other players, like the unheralded Papy Djilobodji, prompting speculation Mourinho was unhappy just weeks after signing a four-year contract.Mourinho had a categorical response for those thinking his second spell at Stamford Bridge could unravel and end as quickly as the first.“Let’s be objective. I don’t want to leave the club, in any circumstances,” the Portuguese said.“And the club doesn’t want me to leave. I’m not going to walk away. The club is not going to sack me.“If somebody anyone thinks that I walk, or I leave the job, it’s somebody that doesn’t know.“Chelsea fans know me for good and for bad and that’s not my profile, to run away from problems, in this case to run away from bad results.” Jose Mourinho 1
James Tomkins believes West Ham defender Aaron Cresswell could be the man to benefit from Luke Shaw’s misfortune.Shaw, England’s first-choice left-back, is out of the remaining Euro 2016 qualifiers and is also facing a battle to be fit for next summer’s finals after suffering a horrific double leg fracture during Manchester United’s midweek clash with PSV Eindhoven.Tomkins feels desperately sorry for the 20-year-old, but says his lengthy absence could open the door for uncapped Hammers teammate Cresswell to be given a shot at international level by Roy Hodgson.Speaking on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast, he said: “Hopefully, he [Shaw] gets back soon but when someone goes down, there is a chance for someone else and if Cressy keeps performing and doing well I have told him already there is a chance there for him.“Roy is trying to push the youngsters forward and Cresswell is not old, he is only 25, so if he can keep performing there is definitely a chance there.”
Divock Origi Fenerbahce are interested in signing Liverpool striker Divock Origi in January, according to reports in Turkey.The Yellow Canaries apparently tried to take the Belgian on loan during the summer before landing Lazar Markovic from the Merseysiders.However, the Turkish giants, who lost forwards Moussa Sow and Dirk Kuyt in the summer, have not given up hope of luring Origi to Istanbul and are readying a January bid, newspaper Fanatik is claiming.Liverpool signed Origi from Lille in July 2014 but immediately loaned him back to the French club for the whole of last season. He is back on Merseyside this season, but the 20-year-old has featured just twice for Brendan Rodgers’ team this season.And, with the likes of Christian Benteke, Daniel Sturridge and Danny Ings ahead of him in the striking pecking order, Rodgers could consider another loan deal. 1
Piers Morgan has accused Arsene Wenger of misleading fans over his decision to leave Petr Cech on the bench against Olympiacos.Wenger opted to start with back-up goalkeeper David Ospina for the crucial Champions League game and saw the Colombian make a terrible error as his side crashed to a second successive group stage defeat.The Frenchman suggested after the match that Cech’s omission was down to a minor injury but, according to ardent Gunners fan Morgan, that was not the case.And the journalist and TV host has described Wenger’s selection call as a ‘disgrace’.He told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast: “In the summer, we signed one player. We were the only team of any substance in Europe who didn’t sign a single outfield player.“He [Wenger] put all his chips on Petr Cech, a very, very good goalkeeper who has won the Champions League, who is our most experienced Champions League player. So, what does he do? In a game that Wenger described as must-win, he dropped him.“It is a 100 per cent fact that Cech was not injured. He was dropped.“I have also been told overnight by a very good source that Ospina has been guaranteed games like the one last night that he played. If that is true, that is an absolute disgrace, but the dropping of Cech is an absolute disgrace.“Why in a game that you have to win would you drop your only world class player?”Piers Morgan went on to urge Arsenal to ditch Arsene Wenger and bring in Jurgen Klopp. More here.
Host Ray Stubbs was joined in the studio by Tony Evans and Andy Dillon for this week’s Press Pass.At the top of the agenda is Brendan Rodgers’ sacking as manager of Liverpool, whether it was the correct decision and what the whisperings are around Anfield regarding his successor. There is also all the fallout from England’s elimination from the Rugby World Cup.
But France boss Didier Deschamps, also ex-Chelsea, has recognised the signs of a hugely promising talent. He handed Zouma two caps from the bench in a pair of friendlies against Denmark over the past year. They are undoubtedly the first of many.Growing UpMaturity is Zouma’s most striking characteristic. The responsibility that comes with being a father might have something to do with that. He has two children, 18-month-old son Kais and three-month-old daughter Sihame, with wife Sandra.Early exposure has also honed his professionalism and sharpened his work ethic. At just 16, Zouma was thrust into Ligue 1 action with Saint-Étienne.“I was very young and when you are that age playing games, your recovery has to be strong,” he recalls. “You think about going out to clubs like every other young guy in life. But it is not the same for you because you are a footballer. You have to recover, you have to sleep, you have to train your game, you have to travel and stay with the team.”Still languishing in 14th, 12 points adrift of the top four, Chelsea have a long way to go to salvage something from this year. That said, the coming week could see them gather momentum. They host Bournemouth on Saturday evening before Porto head to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday for a group-deciding European tie. Two victories would put a spring in Chelsea’s step for their trip to Leicester on December 14.Backing BlueThe squad would do well to adopt Zouma’s viewpoint. He sees media criticism as an inevitable irrelevance, but remains convinced that his side is turning a corner.“We are not listening to what [outside voices] are saying because we are very close already,” he says. “We know they have to critique us because we are not playing very well, but since a few matches we are playing better and the confidence is coming back. 5 5 “When I signed here, I knew that I would be learning a lot. As a defender, you can take a lot from just looking. Whenever I was on the bench, I watched them play. They are competitive, but they are always there to help you and to speak with you.“When I started to play, they told me how different the English league is. They said that I had to be ready for the impact. In England, strikers are very strong and very clever. You have to be ready for that…“The English league is the most difficult physically, and even mentally. After a game, sometimes you need a whole week to recover. There are no easy games to win.”Mourinho has been forthcoming with praise, albeit laced with typical bluntness. He held up Zouma, winner of the champions’ Young Player of the Season award, as an example to academy graduate Ruben Loftus-Cheek. The manager also stressed marked improvements from an inauspicious 2014/15 pre-season.Zouma lets out an infectious chuckle on admitting that his positioning had to get better because “tactically, I was very bad” on arriving in southwest London.Another self-deprecating smile surfaces as he discusses a footballing hero. The phrasing is telling. Zouma says: “I know that people now compare me to Marcel Desailly,” almost incredulous that anyone could possibly liken him to the former Stamford Bridge favourite, who amassed 116 internationals for Les Bleus. “I am Muslim. Before every game, I pray. I ask God to protect me from injury, to help me have a good game, to protect everybody in the stadium and everybody in the world. Like everybody, I want peace. I want people to enjoy the game if they are playing or watching. That’s what I was thinking.”After a ghastly start to their Premier League title defence – prior to the Canaries’ visit, Chelsea’s record read seven losses from 12 outings with 23 goals conceded – that 1-0 win might have halted Chelsea’s slide. And Zouma has aided a subtle shift in fortunes.An imposing, unfussy central defender, he subdued Harry Kane in last Sunday’s 0-0 draw with Tottenham. In the week leading up to that clash, there was a towering header to seal a 4-0 Champions League win over Maccabi Tel Aviv.Zouma came on as a substitute for John Terry in Israel, the second of three consecutive clean sheets, when Chelsea’s captain was stretchered off with an ankle problem. Looking long-term, Jose Mourinho had surely intended to groom an heir to his skipper when acquiring Zouma from Saint-Etienne in January 2014.ApprenticeshipIn terms of appetite and attitude, the Portuguese manager found an ideal protege to his club captain.“I knew that Chelsea was one of the biggest clubs,” says Zouma, who has made 20 appearances so far this campaign across all competitions. “I knew they had great defensive leaders in John Terry and Gary Cahill. “In this kind of season, you cannot think about yourself. You have to think about the team. We are not in a good place – you have to tell the truth. With our players, Chelsea should be first or second every year.“There have been difficult moments, but our spirit has always been good. Everybody helps everybody and the dressing room is happy. There is no problem with the boss, no problem with anybody. I think we are going to grow in the table, for sure. If we continue to play the way we are doing, that will happen very quickly. If we think game by game, we can do something brilliant.”Zouma finishes on a note appropriate for a man with Happy for a middle name:“I’ve come here to play. I’ve come here to show that I want to be at Chelsea for a long time. It was a dream to come here. I’m very happy and very proud.” 5 5 Kurt Zouma This interview appears in the current edition of Sport magazine. Download the iPad app for free here, and follow on twitter @sportmagukWhen Chelsea welcomed Norwich to Stamford Bridge a fortnight ago, the world was still trying to process the shock and grief caused by the sickening terrorist attacks that had ripped through Paris eight days previously.The cover of the matchday programme communicated a sense of solidarity with those mourning across the Channel: it featured Frenchman Kurt Zouma transposed over a blue, white and red Tricolore.Observing players during the few seconds prior to kick-off can be revealing. Lyon-born Zouma, whose parents emigrated from the Central African Republic, is a devout Muslim and spends this period in quiet reflection. Before facing Norwich, he stood on the edge of the Blues’ penalty area, held up his palms and whispered a few words skywards. Faith is a sturdy pillar supporting his measured outlook.Four days after France visited Wembley and England fans offered their voices to La Marseillaise – an occasion he calls a “really, really, really great moment” – the 21-year-old leant on his beliefs more than ever.“Norwich was an emotional day for me,” Zouma tells Sport. “What happened [in Paris] was very sad; we had to think of the victims. 5
England and Wales will come up against each other for a “firecracker of a game” in Euro 2016 with the two British teams to meet for the first time in a major tournament.Roy Hodgson says England will approach the match in Lens full of respect for Chris Coleman’s Wales side, not least for Gareth Bale, with Russia and Slovakia also drawn in Group B.It was a draw Coleman had been hoping to avoid, but not as daunting as Northern Ireland’s – drawn in Group C with world champions Germany, Poland and Ukraine – nor that of Martin O’Neill’s Republic of Ireland side who have to face Belgium, currently top of the FIFA world rankings, Sweden and Italy in Group E.England v Wales will be on Thursday June 16, the second match for each of the teams, and England boss Hodgson – who sold Coleman to Fulham when he was Blackburn manager – said his team would be full of respect for Welsh, and not least Real Madrid star Bale.Hodgson said: “The Wales game is the one that’s going to excite the imagination.“Wales are a very good team and Chris has done a fantastic job – I have been very impressed with them.“They have a very strong spine, Ashley Williams has done a magnificent job at centre half, Aaron Ramsey is there and Chris has put in a lot of players to get the best out of in particular Gareth Bale who is right up there as one of the top players in Europe, that’s why Real Madrid paid so much for him.“We all know about their threats and they will know about ours.“It will be an incredible atmosphere in Lens.”Coleman had said before the draw that meeting England in the group would be a distraction, but was relieved it will not be their opening match of the tournament.He said: “It’s going to be a firecracker, a great game. England are one of the best teams, and we would have wanted to avoid it, but now we just look forward to it.“You look around all the coaches here and you feel so honoured and proud to be here, representing Wales. I am very excited, we’re in a group with some hot competition.“But that is why we are here, we deserve to be here and I think the tournament will be a fantastic one.”
Liverpool fans were not happy with Brendan Rodgers in September As part of our build up to the new year, we reveal the most popular content on talkSPORT.com for every month of 2015 and this was September…BEST OF TALKSPORT.COM: SEPTEMBER 2015MOST READAfter a poor showing against Norwich in September, Liverpool fans were not happy with the side under manager Brendan Rodgers and a number of them tweeted owner John Henry their thoughts. They got their wish a month later and a few even got the man they really wanted in the hot seat, as you can see here…MOST POPULAR FEATUREWith the transfer window shut, talkSPORT assessed all 20 clubs’ summer business by ranking them in order of how well they did. Have a look here at the worst to best.MOST POPULAR INTERVIEWShortly before Rodgers lost his job at Liverpool, former Reds midfielder Danny Murphy explained to talkSPORT he believed the manager had been ‘killed’ by the club’s recruitment policy. Listen to Murphy’s view here.TALKSPORT.COM PICK OF THE MONTHAn alternative explanation to why David De Gea’s proposed move to Man United did not go through.DISCLAIMER: Like Man United and Real Madrid trying to agree a transfer deal, this video is just a joke 1
1 Cheick Tiote Newcastle midfielder Cheick Tiote is on the verge of a move to Shanghai Shenhua.The Magpies have accepted an offer of around £8million for the Ivorian and he is expected to complete a move to the Chinese club later this week.Steve McClaren is willing to let the 29-year-old leave having agreed a deal to sign Jonjo Shelvey from Swansea.Shelvey is to undergo a medical at St James’ Park on Tuesday after the Swans accepted a £12m bid from their Premier League rivals.With the Englishman incoming, Tiote, who has made 12 appearances for Newcastle this season, is heading for the exit.He has agreed in principle to join Shanghai, where he will link up with another former Newcastle man in Demba Ba.The big-spending Chinese Super League also have ex-Everton star Tim Cahill and former Liverpool midfielder Momo Sissoko on their books.
1 Steve Bruce Hull City went to the top of the Championship after edging a 1-0 victory at Fulham.Steve Bruce’s side capitalised on another Middlesbrough slip up by beating Slavisa Jokanovic’s men at Craven Cottage.In-form Abel Hernandez, who scored a hat-trick against Charlton last week, netted his 17th goal of the campaign. With ten minutes to go, Lasse Vigen Christensen was reckless and the Tigers had a penalty, with the Uruguayan coolly firing home.Birmingham moved level on points with sixth-placed Sheffield Wednesday as they eased to a 3-0 victory over ten-man Ipswich.Sunderland loanee Will Buckley put the home side ahead on his first start following up a shot after goalkeeper Dean Gerken parried.The Tractor Boys’ Jonathan Douglas was dismissed before the break as referee Michael Bull showed a straight red card for a lunge.Spanish midfielder Jon Toral, on loan from Arsenal, added a second and Maikel Kieftenbeld soon made it three with a stunning volley.As mentioned, Middlesbrough have now lost back-to-back games, this time at home to Nottingham Forest 1-0.Aitor Karanka’s men were beaten at Bristol City last week and their usual strong home form did not make a difference to Dougie Freedman’s side, Jamie Ward firing well into the bottom corner.The league’s early pace-setters Brighton picked up their second win on the spin as they beat in-form Huddersfield 2-1.Last week Chris Hughton’s side won their first game since December 5 and they have now made it two wins in a row.The Terriers were on a five-match unbeaten run but Bobby Zamora and Manchester United loanee James Wilson scored either side of Harry Bunn’s strike for Huddersfield.Strugglers Bolton got a much-needed 3-1 home victory over relegation rivals MK Dons at the Macron Stadium.The financially-stricken club took the lead when Bolton youngster Rob Holding netted inside ten minutes, before their advantage was doubled by Darren Pratley before the break.Norwich loanee Josh Murphy made it two goals in as many games as he pulled one back for MK Dons but Shola Ameobi scored in injury time on his final game for Bolton. The former Newcastle forward’s short-term contract expires this week and the club cannot afford to offer him a new deal.Brentford moved up to tenth with a 3-1 win at Preston.Greg Cunningham’s own goal gave the Bees an early advantage before Adam Reach put Simon Grayson’s men back on level terms.Alan Judge put Dean Smith’s side back in front shortly before the interval with his 12th goal of the season and Chelsea loanee John Swift added a third late on.Play-off chasers Sheffield Wednesday conceded in the second half to deny them a fourth consecutive win as they drew 1-1 at Reading.Gary Hooper made his stay at Hillsborough permanent this week when he joined from Norwich and he celebrated that with a goal after just ten minutes. The forward continued his good form to score his seventh goal in as many games.Barry Bannan struck the post for the visitors before Reading’s Matej Vydra hit the woodwork from the spot.Jake Cooper’s brilliant header drew Brian McDermott’s side level with 74 minutes on the clock and the Royals have now won just twice in their last ten outings.Anthony Pilkington netted twice for Cardiff as they drew 2-2 with Rotherham.The former Huddersfield and Norwich man scored before the half-hour mark and Joe Newell levelled the visitors before the break. Pilkington scored an own goal early in the second half before making amends by grabbing Cardiff’s second on the hour.Elsewhere, Souleymane Doukara’s solitary strike handed Leeds a 1-0 home win over Bristol City and strugglers Charlton drew 1-1 with out-of-form Blackburn.And earlier today, Wolves were held to a 1-1 draw at QPR, click here for the full report. Full Championship results:Birmingham 3-0 IpswichBolton 3-1 MK DonsBrighton 2-1 HuddersfieldCardiff 2-2 RotherhamCharlton 1-1 BlackburnFulham 0-1 HullLeeds 1-0 Bristol CityMiddlesbrough 0-1 Nottm ForestPreston 1-3 BrentfordReading 1-1 Sheff WedQPR 1-1 Wolves