‘I’ve proved myself!’ – Man Utd striker Lukaku expects more respect for scoring exploits

The 24-year-old has been in impressive form for the Red Devils this season but feels the criticism he receives is a bit too much

Romelu Lukaku feels he has proved his ability as a striker and believes he deserves greater respect for his goalscoring exploits.

The striker has netted 22 goals in 40 appearances in all competitions for Manchester United following his £75 million move from Everton in the close season.

Lukaku, 24, is two goals short of a century in the Premier League in his career, having also excelled for Chelsea and West Bromwich Albion before a spell at the Toffees.

The Belgium international played a key role in United’s 2-1 win over Chelsea on Sunday, equalising soon after Willian’s opener for Chelsea.

That strike was his first against a top-eight side in the league this season, and although he insisted recent criticism had no effect on him, Lukaku expects more admiration.

“I started playing when I was 16. Year in, year out people expect 20 goals from me. I’ve been doing it for 10 years straight so I think I’ve proved myself,” he told reporters.

“You expect a bit more respect but it’s the situation we’re in. I don’t listen to it. I just want to improve and show the people what I can do on the pitch.

“As long as I win and lead my team to winning that’s when I will be really satisfied. As a football player, I don’t play for the individual. A lot of big players that we recognise today in the game are players who have won something and I want to be [the same]. The road is still far ahead but I’m ambitious and I’ll work every day for my team to win – I’m not thinking about myself.

“I can still improve everything about my game. I’m 24 and I think I have a lot of years ahead of me before my prime so I’m never satisfied. I always want to improve and get better and it’s a nice challenge.

“I think I have got a nice record. I’ve scored a lot this season and I just want to keep going. I know that I can improve and I want to improve and really work hard. I want to win trophies. We are still in the fight in two competitions. It’s not going to be easy but it’s a nice challenge.”

Ex-Anderlecht star Lukaku had the chance to return to Chelsea in the summer instead of heading to Old Trafford, but he is happy and believes he made the right call.

“When I make a choice it’s with my head and my heart,” he added.

“I made the right choice for me. As you can see, I’m in a good situation. I’m with a manager and players who push me every day. The challenge is there to win and it’s something that I wanted.”


Soccer Football – Champions League – Manchester United vs CSKA Moscow – Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain – December 5, 2017 Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku celebrates Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

Source: www.goal.com

Wenger singles out ‘exceptional’ De Bruyne ahead of Carabao Cup final

The Gunners boss has hailed the Manchester City midfielder, who he believes has developed into one of the Premier League’s best players

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has praised Manchester City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne, claiming that he is one of the biggest strengths for the Carabao Cup finalists.

The Gunners take on the Citizens at Wembley on Sunday, February 25 as Wenger hopes to become the eighth manager to win the English top-flight as well as the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup.

However, he is wary of the threat posed by the Belgium international, hailing the 26-year-old’s progress in the Premier League since his 2015 transfer from Wolfsburg for £55 million.

“He’s had an exceptional development,” Wenger told reporters. “One of the big strengths of Manchester City is De Bruyne.

“He is a modern midfielder for me, he can be decisive in the final third.

“He works very hard; he is right footed, left footed, a fighter as well. Overall, I am not surprised [by his performances].

“They have so many players that you could think about how to stop that it is better you focus on the team plan rather than any individual.”

Sunday’s final is Arsenal’s eighth in the competition, but they have only won the competition on two of those occasions. Manchester City are playing in their third final in the past five years and their sixth overall.

Source: www.goal.com

Aguero to face no action over Wigan fan fracas

The FA has been investigating events at the DW Stadium throughout Tuesday and it has decided not to take any action against the Argentina striker

Sergio Aguero will face no punishment from the Football Association for his role in a fracas with Wigan fans following Monday night’s FA Cup clash, Goal has learned.

The FA has been in discussions with Manchester City and Wigan throughout Tuesday, and sources have told Goal that the governing body has recently informed Aguero that he will not be charged.

Hundreds of Wigan supporters flooded the pitch after their side knocked City out of the FA Cup at the DW Stadium on Monday, one of several other incidents under investigation by the FA.

Aguero was approached by a small number of fans and was seen jostling with them, seemingly after being provoked, before he was pulled away from the scene.

Sources have told Goal that City and Aguero are considering legal action against one fan, who they allege hit the striker, spat at him and said “suck my d***’.

Goal also reported earlier on Tuesday that the FA would be studying footage of the incident, captured either by broadcasters or supporters, to establish the facts.

They have since decided that Aguero does not have a case to answer, and have conveyed that message to City’s lawyers.

Aguero was approached by a small number of fans and was seen jostling with them, seemingly after being provoked, before he was pulled away from the scene.

Sources have told Goal that City and Aguero are considering legal action against one fan, who they allege hit the striker, spat at him and said “suck my d***’.

Goal also reported earlier on Tuesday that the FA would be studying footage of the incident, captured either by broadcasters or supporters, to establish the facts.

They have since decided that Aguero does not have a case to answer, and have conveyed that message to City’s lawyers.

Man City striker Aguero clashes with fan after game

The striker shoved a fan who stormed the field after Wigan’s shock FA Cup win and had to be restrained as the two engaged in a shouting match

Sergio Aguero was involved in a post-game clash with a fan which involved a shove and a shouting match following Manchester City’s shock 1-0 FA Cup loss to Wigan Athletic.

Following the Wigan victory, the club’s fans rushed the field to celebrate their club’s monumental upset.

And one of those fans made contact with Aguero, who shoved him off. Then Aguero needed to be restrained as he engaged in a shouting match with the fan, with multiple people coming between them.

Aguero started and went the distance in the FA Cup fifth round contest at the DW Stadium, home of the League One side.

City were put in a difficult position in the contest, thanks red card Fabian Delph in stoppage time of the first half, which left manager Pep Guardiola fuming.

However, it still took a bit of magic from Wigan striker Will Grigg, who scored in the 79th minute to give his side the shock advantage, which held until the final whistle.

Wigan fans ran onto the field after the final whistle, and one made contact with Aguero, causing the striker to swing his arm to push the fan away.

He then was momentarily held back by Wigan’s Cheyenne Dunkley before charging toward the fan. Another fan got between them, while a City player pulled back Aguero.

Aguero ducked away, while more people came between the two. Both he and the fan appeared to be shouting at one another.

It was only City’s third defeat of the season in all competitions. Previously they had lost a meaningless Champions League group stage game against Shakhtar Donetsk, with only meaningful defeat prior to Wigan a 4-3 setback at Anfield to Liverpool.

The loss ends Manchester City’s hopes of achieving the quadruple this season. They can still pull off the treble though, as they remain 16 points ahead of rivals Manchester United in the Premier League, are in the final of the Carabao Cup against Arsenal and have a commanding 4-0 lead in their Champions League last 16 tie with Basel.

Source: www.goal.com

‘Scared’ Jesus sought Ronaldo’s advice after ‘complicated’ knee injury

The striker admits he is a bit “scared” as the knee injury he picked up in December proves to be more complicated than first thought

Gabriel Jesus sought the advice of Brazil legend Ronaldo in his recovery from a knee injury, with the Manchester City forward “still a little scared” about his condition.

Jesus suffered ligament damage during an awkward fall in the 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace on December 31 and was initially expected to return to training after between four and six weeks.

But the Brazil international remains sidelined and still has not returned to full training, with the injury thought to be more complicated than originally suspected.

Jesus has spoken to Ronaldo about his situation, seeking help from the 41-year-old who endured several serious knee problems during his illustrious career.

“Besides being a fan of him as a player, I had the pleasure of getting to know the person he is, which made me admire him even more,” Jesus told UOL Esporte.

“He’s conquered everything, but is still humble and great company. I’m proud to be able to have his help and advice.”

Jesus believes his knee is getting better, though he is very conscious of the risks of rushing a comeback ahead of the World Cup in Russia.

“I’m getting better every day and recovering,” the 20-year-old added. “But I must recover well, not too fast.

“The knee is very complicated, even more so as I’ve never had an injury there. I need to take good care of myself so that I can get back better than I was.

“There were a lot of negative things in my head. When I felt the pain there, I tried to continue, but I couldn’t.

“That moment was complicated because I had thoughts about the national team [and the World Cup], about the rest of the season – I thought of everything.

“I’m hitting the ball a little bit now. I missed that a lot, but I’m still a little scared. In a week, I’ll spend more days hitting the ball and, in a short time, I’ll train with the team again.”

Source: www.goal.com

Basel vs Man City

The Swiss champions, currently second in their domestic league, face their sternest challenge of the season so far

Manchester City begin their Champions League knock-out journey fresh in the knowledge that they have a 16-point gap between themselves and cross-town rivals United in the Premier League.

As such, Pep Guardiola can afford to field his strongest side against one of the lesser lights left in Europe’s top club competition in FC Basel.

The Catalan coach will be further buoyed by Sergio Aguero’s four-goal performance against Leicester at the weekend, with Gabriel Jesus still unavailable through injury.

Basel, currently second in the Swiss Super League, five points behind Young Boys, bounced back from a home defeat to Lugano with an away win at FC Thun on Saturday and will look to bring the game to visiting City at St. Jakob Park.

Squads & Team News

Position FC Basel players
Goalkeepers Vaclik, Salvi, Vailati, Antonio
Defenders Lacroix, Lang, Suchy, Balanta, Riveros, Petretta, Pacheco
Midfielders Frei, Zuffi, Campo, Okafor, Stocker, Die, Elyounoussi, Manzambi, Bua, Xhaka, Calla
Forwards Van Wolfswinkel, Oberlin, Ajeti, Pululu

Raphael Wicky looks likely to be without defensive midfielder Luca Zuffi as the Switzerland international struggles with injury, while goalkeeper Germano Vailati remains a long-term absentee.

Potential Basel starting XI: Vaclik; Lang, Suchy, Balanta, Petretta; Xhaka, Die; Stocker, Elyounoussi, Bua; Van Wolfswinkel

Position Manchester City players
Goalkeepers Bravo, Ederson
Defenders Walker, Danilo, Kompany, Stones, Laporte, Mendy, Adarabioyo, Otamendi
Midfielders Sterling, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Delph, Sane, B. Silva, D. Silva, Fernandinho, Zinchenko, Yaya Toure, Foden, Diaz
Forwards Aguero, Jesus, Nmecha

Gabriel Jesus (knee), Benjamin Mendy (knee) and Leroy Sane (ankle) will all miss Tuesday’s clash.

David Silva is also a doubt after missing Saturday’s match with Leicester due to a hip issue.

The return of John Stones gives Pep a selection headache at the centre of defence, while Phil Foden offers the coach an additional option in midfield.

Potential Manchester City starting XI: Ederson; Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Danilo; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Gundogan; B. Silva, Aguero, Sterling

A surprising draw away to Burnley at the beginning of February remains the only recent hiccup in Man City’s seemingly unstoppable charge to the Premier League title, with 16 points now separating Guardiola’s charges from second-placed Manchester United.

City’s Champions League campaign has been going much the same way, with a defeat in Ukraine to Shakhtar Donetsk still the only black mark on an otherwise flawless European season so far.

Injuries to Gabriel Jesus and Leroy Sane have been well covered by Sergio Aguero and Bernardo Silva, with the former having scored four goals in City’s 5-1 rout of Leicester at the weekend to give Basel real food for thought as they prepare to face the English champions-elect.

Given their opponents’ routine dominance of possession in games, Basel will likely opt for a sole striker rather than two up top, with exciting youngsters Dimitri Oberlin and Albian Ajeti almost certain to make way for the more experienced Ricky van Wolfswinkel to spearhead the attack.

Old heads Marek Suchy and Serey Die will undoubtedly be looked at to provide calm amongst a fairly young squad, while Taulant Xhaka, brother of Arsenal’s Granit, will be aiming to give a good account of himself against one of the strongest midfields in recent memory.

‘Every team would love to have De Bruyne’ – Aguero praises Man City team-mate

The Belgian had a hand in three goals as Pep Guardiola’s side ran out big winners, and their four-goal hero was quick to praise his team-mate

Manchester City are lucky to have a star like Kevin De Bruyne at their disposal, team-mate Sergio Aguero said after the attacking midfielder helped orchestrate a 5-1 win over Leicester City on Saturday.

Although Aguero stole the headlines by scoring four times as the Premier League leaders thrashed Claude Puel’s men at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, De Bruyne played a pivotal role with three assists to take his tally to 14 in the English top flight this season.

The 26-year-old has received immense praise for his performances this term,earning comparisons to five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo from team-mate David Silva for having “moved up to another level”.

The Belgium international signed a new contract last month which keeps him tied to the club until 2023, and Aguero feels they are lucky to have the former Chelsea and Wolfsburg star to call upon as he feels he would shine at any team in the world.

“Luckily, Kevin De Bruyne is playing for us, helping us to score,” he told CityTV .

“I’m very happy because most of the goals come from his assists and I just have to hit the ball and obviously I’m very happy for him as well.

“He’s a great player and every team in the world would love to have him.”

Aguero has now scored 21 goals in 22 league games this season, marking the fourth straight campaign in which he has netted at least 20.

The Argentina international hopes City can continue their good form and hold on to their place at the top of the table.

“I’m really happy personally because the goals are helping the team to win and obviously that’s very important,” Aguero said.

“Hopefully we can keep doing the same way.”

City are 16 points ahead of second place Manchester United, who visit Newcastle United on Sunday.

Pep Guardiola’s side face Basel in the second round of the Champions League in their next game before facing Wigan Athletic and Arsenal in the FA and Carabao Cups respectively. They then return to league action on March 1 with an away clash against the Gunners.Source: www.goal.com

Manchester City announce match in New York City during 2018 pre-season tour

The Premier League club confirmed they will visit the Big Apple next summer

Manchester City have announced the club will play in New York City during their 2018 pre-season tour of the United States.

The Citizens will take part in the International Champions Cup in the U.S. for the second straight year.

The opponent for the New York City match was not revealed in the statement, as Manchester City say they will announce other locations and opponents in “the coming weeks.”

The tour was announced in New York itself, with injured City defender Benjamin Mendy doing the honours in front of fans gathered in the Big Apple.

“The soccer fans in the United States are so passionate about the game and it’s always a pleasure to visit here,” Mendy said in a statement released by the club.

“When I go back to Manchester and tell the players about my trip I know they will be really excited to come here in the summer. We can’t wait to play in front of our US fans again.”

In 2017, the club faced rivals Manchester United in Houston, Real Madrid in Los Angeles and Tottenham in Nashville.

New York City is the home of one of the club’s sister teams, New York City FC of Major League Soccer.

Man City star Sterling reveals: I run like my mum!

The winger also says his side can go all the way in four competitions this season as long as they do not get ahead of themselves

Raheem Sterling says he has inherited his distinctive running style from his mother.

The 23-year-old has been one of Manchester City’s key players this season with 19 goals, though he still insists he has “missed so many chances” and that his team-mates should not dare go near him when he fails to find the back of the night.

But he says he is ready to be laughed at for the way he runs on the football pitch, though he insists it never stopped his mother from being part of the Jamaican athletics team in her youth.

“My mum went to my little brother’s sports day and she sent me a clip of her running and I thought, ‘Ok, that’s where I get it from!'”, he told talkSPORT.

“I’d never seen her run before. It’s my mum. Don’t laugh but yeah. Before she had my sister she was in the Jamaica athletics team when she was young.

“I don’t think my running style is something to pass on though, I’ll take all the laughter myself.”

The England winger is enjoying the best goal-scoring season of his career, though he says he has already assured Sergio Aguero, City’s all-time record scorer, that he no chance of matching his record.

“He said, ‘You need to catch up with me’. I said, ‘I can’t, you’re Sergio Aguero. He’s a player I look up to in crucial moments of games and he does what I want to be doing, and I try to keep on doing it.”

He added: “I’ve missed so many chances, I try to improve on it every day. I want to get better and help win crucial matches. If I miss a chance, don’t speak to me. I always try to improve. I’m a bit too harsh on myself, that’s how I am and that’s how I always will be – in order to get better.”

City are 15 points clear of the top of the league, will face Wigan in the fifth round of the FA Cup, Basel in the last-16 of the Champions League and Arsenal in the final of the Carabao Cup, and Sterling says his side can go all the way, as long as they do not get ahead of themselves.

“If we keep playing like we are we’ve got a great chance, but at the moment we are just looking to the next game and that’s Burnley,” he said.

“We focus on that and then the next game, we are going out to win every game and if that wins the quadruple then that’s what it does.”

[Source: www.goal.com]


The highly-rated French centre-half has joined the Premier League leaders late in the January transfer window from La Liga outfit Athletic Bilbao

Manchester City have completed the signing of French centre-half Aymeric Laporte in a €65 million deal with Athletic Bilbao.

The highly-rated 23-year-old, who Goal revealed was on his way to the Etihad Stadium after seeing his release clause triggered , has committed to a contract with the Premier League leaders through to 2023.

He is to inherit the number 14 jersey within Pep Guardiola’s squad and is looking forward to getting started and helping his new club finish the job of securing major silverware this season.

Laporte told the club’s official website upon the announcement of his arrival: “I am very happy to be here.

“City are a club with a lot of ambition and they are one of the best teams in Europe.

“I am looking forward to working under Pep Guardiola and trying to help the club to achieve success.

“It means a lot that the club have shown faith in me and I am excited to get started.”

Laporte made his breakthrough at Bilbao in 2012 and has departed the club having made 222 appearances.

During his time in Spain, he was named in the La Liga Team of the Year for 2013-14 and tasted Super Cup success in 2016.

He is yet to earn senior international recognition, with either France or Spain, but is being backed to kick-on in his career with City and grace the very top of the game.

The Blues’ director of football, Txiki Begiristain, added on the new arrival at the Etihad Stadium: “We are delighted to have signed Aymeric.

“We have assessed defensive options and he is a player we have admired for a long time.

“With his quality and ability to play out from the back, we feel Aymeric will fit in perfectly with Pep Guardiola’s playing style.”

[Source: www.goal.com]