Mourinho finds room for improvement

first_imgJose Mourinho believes there is plenty of room for improvement in his Chelsea side, yet the manager is not surprised that his side are within reach of the Barclays Premier League summit on Christmas Day. “Every game is very hard. The distances (between clubs in the table) they open and they close, they open, they close. “Of course we go there to try to win and we go there with the objective of being top of the league, but if we don’t, I don’t think it’s crucial.” Mourinho recognised Palace could trouble his side, who continued to lack the ruthless streak City have demonstrated at home despite extending their own formidable record at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea are now unbeaten in 16 league matches at home, as Mourinho’s record was extended to 68 undefeated. The Portuguese added: “I was expecting an easy victory; I was expecting big problems. I was ready for both things. “When I was reading the game and analysing the situation I was feeling the game could go in both directions. “You score a goal that kills the opponent, 2-0 or 3-1, the game is over and you can go to a different result. “When you don’t do that, I knew they were a team who would give problems. “For me, this result could be 5-1, could be 2-2.” Palace have now won two of Tony Pulis’ four matches in charge to return to the pack after appearing likely to be cast adrift. Pulis said: “To be in the game for 94 minutes is testament to the commitment and the effort. “The important thing is that the lads keep believing that we have got a chance and that we keep playing with that spirit and commitment.” The former Stoke boss reserved special praise for the Palace goalscorer. “I thought when we got it to Chamakh we played some good stuff,” Pulis added. “Chamakh slows it down for us, gets a pass off and gives us time to get runners up the pitch. “(Yannick) Bolasie came on and was a threat, (Jason) Puncheon was a threat and Cameron Jerome was smashing. There’s a threat there.” Contrary to outside perceptions, Chamakh has applied himself well under Pulis. The Welshman added: “The lads have bought into what we’re trying to do. The most important thing is to galvanise a spirit within a football club. “Marouane has bought into that. You’ve seen the quality, he’s a top player. Wenger doesn’t buy players who can’t play. The kid can play. “It’s helped, I think, that he’s been given the responsibility to play just off the striker, where he’s got more room and space and he hasn’t got his back to play all the time.” Press Association Chelsea made hard work of a 2-1 win over relegation-threatened Crystal Palace after Fernando Torres’ opener was cancelled out by Marouane Chamakh, with Ramires netting what proved to be the winner in the first half. Mourinho’s men are now within two points of leaders Arsenal, who lost at Manchester City earlier on Saturday, and can assume the Premier League lead by winning at the Emirates Stadium on December 23. Mourinho, who watched most of the second half of the match at the Etihad Stadium prior to kick-off at Stamford Bridge, said: “I’m not surprised because it’s our nature. It’s in this club’s DNA over the years to try to fight for trophies. “It’s my way of work, too; it’s the mentality we want the players to have. “We all know that this is a transitional period, we all know that we have just a few players from the winning side from the past. We all know we have lots of young talent to improve. “I believe in another club with a different profile everybody would say ‘okay, let’s work and wait calmly, the results will come in the near future’. “We are not like that. We want to build, but at the same time we want to fight for titles. And in this moment in the Premier League we are there, two points behind the leader in a group that is there.” Whether Chelsea do assume pole position by Christmas is not significant, according to the Portuguese. “It’s not important,” Mourinho said. “In this league to be top of the league by December or even by the end of January, I don’t think is crucial. I think this will be open till very, very late. last_img read more

Successful Start at the Tournament in Belgium for Emina Hadžiahmetović

first_imgThe best Bosnian table tennis player Emina Hadžiahmetović was very successful on the first day of the “ITTF Gac Group Belgium Open” Tournament.Hadžiahmetović entered the group phase of the tournament in Belgium as first ranked and won against Marie Maesen from Belgium with 4:0 and Michaela Karlsson from Sweden with 4:1.In the knock out phase of the match she won yesterday against Audrey Zarif from France with 4:1 while she will play the next match against Misako Wakamiya from Japan.(Source: Klix)last_img

Africa football boss wants Europe to back Morocco World Cup bid

first_img– Shake up –Last week the head of the French Football Federation, Noel Le Graet, promised French backing, praising Morocco’s development and saying Africa deserved another World Cup given the quantity of talented players emerging from the continent.Ahmad said CAF was supporting the five African teams who have qualified to take part in the 2018 World Cup in Russia, offering them financial and material support.“We were part of the preparation, we can say that it was with a modest sum of money, but these are our means,” he said. “We contributed as much as $500,000 (about 407,000 euro) per team.”Looking ahead to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN), he said that the host nation Cameroon is expected to overcome problems with preparations, including delays on building work on stadiums. He said an official report on the issues was being drawn up.“But we have always said that seeing the will of the president (Paul Biya), everyone is going to get on with it and go ahead.“So far, I believe that is what will materialise. How do I not believe in a head of state. Where politics goes, all must follow.”For the first time, the 2019 CAN will be expanded from 16 teams to 24 and will be held in the northern hemisphere summer, rather than in the winter.“That’s what people want,” said Ahmad, referring to the 24-team draw and the summer kick-off.“For me, I have a management principle: if I’m elected it is to respond to the expectations of the stakeholders, be it the federations, the players, the coaches.“To be in harmony with their mandate, you have to satisfy people at your base. And I think it’s justified, legitimate because there are some countries emerging in the football world that are about to shake up the established nations of African football.”He said that the switch to summer was not fixed in stone and could be adapted for future tournaments.Share on: WhatsApp Cairo, Egypt | AFP | The head of African football, Ahmad Ahmad, has urged Europe to back Morocco’s drive to host the 2026 World Cup, in return for African support for a future European bid.In an exclusive interview with AFP, Ahmad Ahmad, the Confederation of African Football president, appealed to European self-interest, saying: “Vote for us and we’ll vote for you next time.”Morocco is a two-horse race against a rival united bid from the USA, Canada, and Mexico. The decisive vote will take place at the FIFA Congress in Moscow on June 13, one day ahead of the start of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.In a wide-ranging discussion, Ahmad, who replaced long-serving Issa Hayatou as head of CAF in March 2017, spoke of the importance of Africa’s bid to host the World Cup for only the second time, as well as significant changes that will shake up next year’s Africa Cup of Nations (CAN).He said Africa and CAF stood solidly behind Morocco’s bid to organise the 2026 World Cup, which will come 16 years after South Africa staged the tournament.“Being in Africa while this is happening, standing ahead of this objective (the World Cup) I think that Africans, whether francophone or anglophone… it’s in the continent’s interest,” he said.“The World Cup has an enormous impact for Africa. Why? Because it inspires hope for many young Africans.”Ahmad said he was working to win backing from European nations for Morocco’s candidacy, saying that any support would be reciprocal.He added that a Moroccan World Cup would offer significant advantages to Europe.“Time zones, distance, fans, they are all of interest to Europe,” as opposed to the united North American bid.“Visa also: Europeans don’t need a visa to come to Morocco. For all of that, we think that Europe should vote for Morocco.”last_img read more