He added: “But just being involved with a Premier League team, living the experience of first-team football and learning from other players and other teams has been very good. “You always improve and pick up new things from new managers and new players. “That was the point of the whole exercise, and I hope to show what I’ve learned when I return to Old Trafford.” Press Association Manchester United striker Angelo Henriquez has not ruled out a return to Wigan next season even though they have been relegated. The 19-year-old Chilean joined the Latics on loan in January but made just eight appearances – which included only four in the Premier League as substitute – with his only goal coming in the 3-2 defeat at Sunderland. “I didn’t play a lot of football, which was obviously the target when I arrived in January,” Henriquez told the Wigan Evening Post. “I have enjoyed my time here (Wigan) and I wouldn’t rule out coming here again if that is a possibility. Who knows?”
Press Association It was announced on June 13 that Chelsea and Bayer Leverkusen had reached an agreement for his transfer and the 22-year-old’s move to Stamford Bridge was confirmed after paperwork was completed. He said on chelseafc.com: “I am so happy now I have signed and it is an honour for me to play for this club, with this team and for these great fans. I am really looking forward to it.” Chelsea have completed the signing of forward Andre Schurrle from Bayer Leverkusen on a five-year contract, with the Germany international becoming the first recruit of Jose Mourinho’s second spell in charge at Stamford Bridge. Schurrle, who can play as a creative wide player or central striker, will wear the number 14 shirt. He has scored seven goals in 24 appearances for Germany, since making his debut in November 2010 while at Mainz, whom he joined from Ludwigshafener in 2009. He signed for Leverkusen at the end of the 2010/11 season. In his first campaign he scored nine times in 40 appearances and last term he netted 14 in 43 to earn his move to Stamford Bridge.
Lambert was also fuming when a penalty appeal was turned down, prompting angry scenes between the two managers. Villa’s manager insisted such feisty altercations are part and parcel of the game but claims both men laughed off the incident. “Do you know what, there was nothing in that at all,” he said. “We had a laugh and a joke about it afterwards. It was nothing serious. There was nothing in that, people made a lot of it in the way they portrayed it. We had a laugh and a joke as you normally do in football. “Nobody is there to be Mr Nice but it never transferred into any heated thing. I saw him after the game and it was totally fine. I’m pretty sure it will be the same this time.” Ahead of Saturday’s tea-time Barclays Premier League clash with the leaders, Lambert added: “I had a drink with Jose after the match. There was never any (issue). “I think people tried to make something out of it that was never there.” Villa will be without on-loan left-back Ryan Bertrand when they face his parent club. The 24-year-old’s ineligibility opens the door to Joe Bennett or Antonio Luna, who are competing for his spot in Paul Lambert’s XI. Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert insists there is no grudge between himself and Chelsea counterpart Jose Mourinho following their touchline spat earlier this season. Fernando Torres could be included in Chelsea’s squad as his groin injury was not as bad as was first feared. The striker withdrew from the starting Iine-up following the warm-up prior to the 4-0 defeat of Tottenham, but could play at Villa Park or be saved for next Tuesday’s Champions League contest with Galatasaray. Defenders David Luiz (groin) and Ashley Cole (knee) remain out. Mourinho believes Chelsea are ahead of schedule in challenging for the Premier League title this term, but still believes the destination of the trophy is out of their hands. The Blues could go 10 points clear of Arsenal and Liverpool, who enter the weekend in joint-second place and each play on Sunday, with victory at Aston Villa on Saturday but Mourinho maintains the table is not accurate. Manchester City, who are nine points adrift with three games in hand, are Mourinho’s title favourites and Chelsea hope to keep their composure entering the remaining nine games, beginning at Villa Park. “The team is motivated and the team is strong and the team has a good mentality and a good spirit, but not because of the table,” Mourinho said. “They know the table is fake. What they also know is that every match we have to try to win, every match we have to try to improve. “We have clear objectives for next season. If we can do it this season, we don’t say no. “We are very calm, we are very relaxed. I think that’s important.” Mourinho would not be drawn on how many points Chelsea, who have 66 after 29 games, would need to win the Premier League. “I don’t want to think about it,” he said. “Tomorrow we have a match, a very difficult one. Three points would be fabulous. “One point is not a bad result at Villa Park. Zero points would be a negative result. “After Villa comes Arsenal (on March 22) for the Premier League and we go match by match.” Lambert goes toe-to-toe with Mourinho again this weekend reminded of their confrontation at Stamford Bridge at the start of the campaign. The Scot was infuriated when Blues defender Branislav Ivanovic escaped a red card for an alleged elbow on Christian Benteke before going on to score the winner in a 2-1 defeat for Villa. Press Association
Press Association “We know it’s tough because we have been very inconsistent but we are capable of doing it.” Norwich sit four points off the relegation zone with eight matches remaining, while the win saw Saints usurp Newcastle in eighth. Victory was a fine end to a week which saw Ralph Krueger appointed chairman, but manager Mauricio Pochettino was frustrated at the end by Saints’ slack defending at the end. “It’s a great lesson that we have to learn from today’s game,” the former Argentina defender said. “We’re a young side that’s still growing and the main lesson today is that, obviously, the game is not finished until the final whistle has blown. “I thought the game was overall controlled. It is true that when Rickie Lambert came on his contribution was very good and was great for the team and also Sam Gallagher’s contribution was very good. “It is true that we’re well satisfied with the game at 3-0, but it goes to show that when you lose a little bit of focus, you lay your guard down, we basically made two quick mistakes, we conceded two soft goals and, again, it is a lesson we have to learn.” It was not all bad at the end, though, as 18-year-old Gallagher managed to net his first Premier League goal to secure victory. “We all know what Sam has been going through,” Pochettino said, referring to the recent passing of the striker’s father. “He has been going through a really tough time. It doesn’t change his situation, but it will go a long way to making him happy and his surroundings and his family – everyone around him that wishes the best for him. It will be a good thing for him.” Under-fire manager Chris Hughton could understand Norwich supporters’ anger after the relegation-threatened side slipped to defeat at Southampton. The odds on Hughton leaving Carrow Road shortened after the loss on the south coast, where the Norwich boss was subjected to chants of “you don’t know what you’re doing” after making a triple second-half substitution. “For the majority of the game a very good Southampton team were better than us and if you concede three goals like we did you make life very difficult for themselves,” Hughton said. “It’s never nice to hear those chants but I understand. We have more than 2,000 supporters who have travelled to watch the game and it’s their club and team, and they want to see a team competing. “What they saw for too long was a Southampton team that were better than us. It’s never nice but you have to take the criticism on the chin.” Southampton had a three-goal lead heading into the final five minutes courtesy of efforts from Morgan Schneiderlin, Rickie Lambert and Jay Rodriguez, only for sloppy play to allow Johan Elmander and Robert Snodgrass to net. However, Norwich were unable to eke out a draw and teenager Sam Gallagher put the game out of sight in stoppage time. “The two goals certainly flattered us,” Hughton said. “If the game had finished 3-2, it wasn’t a 3-2 game. They were far better than us today. “But we did get the two late goals so if I am looking for any pluses then we have shown enough character in that final period to get back into the game, irrespective whether we deserved it or not. Despite staging an improbable late comeback at St Mary’s, the Canaries were unable to avoid falling to a 4-2 defeat – their fifth in succession on the road. Given they face Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal in the final four fixtures, matches like the one at Southampton are the kind of games Norwich need to win if they are to beat the drop.
Gaps in the 22-year-old Black Cats star’s paperwork were highlighted following a routine drugs test, and the Premier League and Sunderland resolved the issues as a result. The Premier League remains comfortable with the punishment handed out to Sunderland, and is not thought to believe any legal challenge can be mounted against the decision. Sunderland forward Ji was correctly registered on arrival at the club in 2011, but issues arose after a loan spell with German club Augsburg. Despite always being correctly registered with the Premier League and the Football Association, Ji’s name was missed off a list of Sunderland players sent to world governing body FIFA for doping purposes. Sunderland are thought to have reported this issue to the Premier League as soon as it was brought to their attention. Press Association Sport understands the Premier League’s investigation found that an online form had not been properly submitted to FIFA. Sunderland are thought to have told the Premier League they submitted the form, but that a technical fault caused it never to reach FIFA correctly. The Premier League board is understood to have determined that the technical nature of the oversight merited the fine meted out. Sunderland will not face a points deduction from the Premier League in the continuing row over fielding Ji Dong-won with incomplete registration. The Press Association understands no further action will be taken, despite two of Sunderland’s relegation rivals making enquiries into the Premier League’s disciplinary process. Following Norwich’s 0-0 draw at Chelsea, manager Neil Adams suggested the Canaries are assessing their options relating to Ji. Adams said: “It’s for the board. They’ll look at it, I’m sure, but I wouldn’t want to comment on that. It’s not a football matter. “But I’m well aware of what’s happened. They’re aware of it, and I’m aware that they’re aware of it. But that’s for them. My brief is football matters. That’s the legal side.” Press Association Sport understands the Premier League is confident any issues regarding Sunderland striker Ji’s incomplete registration were resolved as soon as they were uncovered. Fulham and Norwich are understood to have contacted the Premier League for clarification on the fine handed to Sunderland over fielding Ji for four games without full registration. Press Association
Press Association Robert Koren has joined A-League side Melbourne City on a two-year deal after being released by Hull. Melbourne head coach John van ‘t Schip told the club’s website: “Robert is someone who we feel can add something extra to the team and can help us get to the next level. “He is a team player who we believe will contribute well and help our entire squad reach their full potential and help deliver results.” Koren, who has been given Melbourne’s number 10 shirt, will join up with his new team-mates for training on Monday. The 33-year-old midfielder, who was the Tigers’ club captain last season but was not offered a new deal, becomes the Australian side’s marquee player for the 2014-15 campaign. Slovenia international Koren joins up with Damien Duff, who signed for Melbourne in June after his release by Fulham.
“Manchester United are not quite sure what they’re doing with him so out of respect for them, it’s not for me to talk about that,” Parish told Sky Sports News. “I’m sure that if he can, he’ll try to be a permanent fixture at Manchester United this season. “It’s up to the manager, the players we sign. It’s not up to me. I’m there to help him get the squad he wants. “There’s a sentimental value and I loved Wilf as a kid and he did sensational things for us. “I know the fans would like him back and that will play a part, but in the end the manager will decide what we do.” Parish hopes to complete the signing of two players before Saturday’s Barclays Premier League opener against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. “We’re looking at a Premier League midfielder. It’s someone we’re interested in and if we can get the deal right we’ll try to do it,” Parish said. “Hopefully the other player will be here in the next couple of days and that shouldn’t be the end of it, although it will be as much as we can do before the Arsenal game.” Parish revealed that the row over bonuses – the squad have demanded a bigger sum this season – has been brought to a successful resolution. Zaha was sold to Manchester United for £15million in January 2013 but has failed to shine and his Old Trafford future is shrouded in doubt. Parish insists the 21-year-old winger would be welcome back in south-east London, but stresses the decision is up to Palace boss Tony Pulis – and United. Crystal Palace co-chairman Steve Parish has hinted that the Eagles are ready to take Wilfried Zaha back to Selhurst Park. Press Association
After three seasons on loan at Atletico Madrid, the 22-year-old Belgium goalkeeper has returned to Stamford Bridge and taken the place Cech has occupied for a decade. Courtois has two years remaining on the contract he signed when moving from Genk in July 2011, with an extension close. “It’s not yet signed,” Courtois told Sky Sports. “I am here with the national team so it is difficult, but when I am back at Chelsea I will probably sign the new contract.” Courtois started the first three Barclays Premier League games of the season ahead of Cech. It is a situation reminiscent of when Cech was installed as number one ahead of the established Carlo Cudicini after his signing from Rennes in June 2004. Mourinho’s decision led to suggestions Cech would leave, but the Czech Republic goalkeeper remains after Monday’s closure of the summer transfer window despite reported interest from Paris St Germain and Real Madrid. Courtois added: “We don’t talk about the situation, but of course I know he has played 10 years at Chelsea and that now I am playing and for him it’s not the nicest situation. But that is the decision of the board and the trainer. “He is working hard in training to be ready when I cannot play or I am maybe not playing well. We work well together. “Of course as a professional and a winner you always want to play every game, so we will see what the decision is of the coach. “But of course I am a professional player and I want to play every game that is possible.” Press Association Thibaut Courtois has revealed he is close to signing a new contract with Chelsea after ousting Petr Cech as Jose Mourinho’s first-choice goalkeeper.
Ex-Republic of Ireland international Reid was reunited with Clarets boss Dyche, who is just 10 years his senior, this summer after agreeing to play for him at Turf Moor. The two played alongside each other with the Lions at the start of this millennium, meaning it took Reid some time to get used to calling his former team-mate ‘gaffer’. “He was very unfortunate to lose his job at Watford when he did; he did a fantastic job there and rightly got back into football with the opportunity at Burnley. “I’m sure he surprised a lot of people outside the club, but I’m sure there’s no one who has met him and worked with him that was surprised with the job he’s done, the way he goes about his business and gets that group togetherness. “Certainly for the first couple of months I’ve been involved it’s no surprise to me what they did last season.” Reid was recruited this summer along with the likes of Matt Taylor to inject some much-needed top-flight experience into Dyche’s ranks. But the former Blackburn and West Brom midfielder, who has been restricted to a pair of cameo appearances off the bench thus far, admits there has been no need for any pearls of wisdom yet. “From what I’ve seen so far I don’t think that will be the case too often,” Reid said. “The lads have gone into the season with no fear; you saw that in the opening game at Chelsea. The lads have hit the ground running and there’s been one or two times already where, physically, we’ve had the upper hand in a couple of those games. “Maybe looking forward that might be the case but at the moment the lads are really enjoying the challenge and we’re looking to climb the table as soon as possible.” However, the 33-year-old has always known Dyche to be an authoritative figure who was one day destined to be calling the shots as a manager. “We’d get the odd man-of-the-match rating in the paper on a Sunday when we obviously went on and won the league with Millwall,” Reid explains. “One or two of us were getting plaudits – myself, Tim Cahill, Paul Ifill, Richard Sadlier – the group that were doing well at that time. “But you’d soon know about it on a Monday morning if you tried to get above your station, it was not the friendliest of atmospheres on the training ground. “The senior pros were maybe doing one or two things that you wouldn’t get away with in the modern game. But it was all part and parcel then and it certainly built your character.” Those who have played alongside or coached Dyche during his playing days claim his leadership skills then suggested a future managerial role beckoned. And the fact he led unfancied Burnley into the Barclays Premier League with a thin squad and on limited resources came as no surprise to Reid. “There’s one or two (managers) that you are surprised with but from the moment he came in at Millwall you knew that he was going to go on and have a future in coaching and management,” he added. Steven Reid is happy to act as a mentor to Burnley’s youngsters, although he is unlikely to use the same methods his former Millwall team-mate Sean Dyche deployed to keep him grounded. Press Association
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has refused to rule out the possibility of signing goalkeeper Victor Valdes. “I have always done that, and not only with big players but ones you’ve never heard of.” Valdes’ compatriot David de Gea has enjoyed an outstanding couple of seasons as United’s number one, but currently faces little competition for his first-team spot. Anders Lindegaard looked set to leave Old Trafford in the summer, but he stayed to compete with Sam Johnstone and Ben Amos to be De Gea’s backup. Press Association United announced on Thursday that Valdes, a six-time Primera Division winner, is being allowed to use the club’s training facilities as he bids to return from the anterior cruciate ligament injury that has kept him out since March. The 32-year-old, who is a free agent after leaving Barcelona this summer, will join in with first-team training once he has recovered from the injury. When asked whether he would consider signing the Spaniard if he returns to full fitness, Van Gaal gave a cryptic hint that it might be a possibility. “Manchester United has always their eyes open,” the United manager said at his pre-match press conference on Friday. Van Gaal handed Valdes his Barcelona debut in 2002 during his second spell in charge of the Catalan giants. The Spanish goalkeeper became Van Gaal’s first choice and remained so until the Dutchman decided to leave the Nou Camp in the summer. Valdes had been linked with a move to Liverpool, whose first-choice goalkeeper Simon Mignolet has come under fire for some sub-par performances this term. But Van Gaal, whose goalkeeping coach Frans Hoek also worked with Valdes at Barcelona, was happy to give the three-time Champions League winner the opportunity to recover from the injury at United’s state of the art training ground in Carrington. “For me it’s not a surprise (decision) because I have done it already with a lot of players,” he said. “I have a relationship with a lot of players. I gave Ronald de Boer or Edgar Davids rehabilitation possibility or training possibility when they needed that, so he is one of these players. “Robin van Persie also when he played for me in the Dutch squad last year, I allowed him to come to our medical department to get him fit for the World Championship (World Cup).