Benitez: Lampard and Cole could yet stay
<!-- end mod-article-title --><!-- begin story body -->Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard have made nearly 850 Chelsea apperances between them
By ESPN staff
Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez has backtracked on comments he made suggesting Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard would be allowed to leave the club at the end of the season.
Cole and Lampard are both out of contract at Stamford Bridge at the end of the season, with Benitez appearing to reveal at one of his opening press conferences as the club's interim manager that the England duo would be departing the Blues next summer.
The Spaniard has now moved to clarify those comments, however, suggesting that both players could yet end up staying in west London.
Cole has been strongly linked with a move to Paris St Germain in recent weeks, while Lampard is believed to be a target for MLS side LA Galaxy and Ligue 2 club AS Monaco.
"When I was asked the other day, maybe it was a misunderstanding or maybe my English was not good enough, but the situation I know is that they are finishing their contracts [in the summer]. Past that, I do not know," Benitez said on the club's official website.
"I know that Frank is happy here and he is a player that is part of the leadership, he is one of the important players, but I do not know about his future.
"So I cannot say yes or no, he will stay or he will leave, in January or even at the end of the season. At this moment, I do not know."
Benitez confirmed that he met with the Chelsea hierarchy on Friday, but insisted that potential January signings were on the agenda - not who might leave.
"We didn't talk about any players going," he said. "The board were asking me about players coming but not about any players leaving."
The Blues have been linked with Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao and Metalist Kharkiv forward Taison in recent weeks.
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Brendan Rodgers leaped to the defence of Luis Suarez as a new controversy hit the Liverpool striker.
The South American was booked for handball during the 1-0 victory over Southampton and will now miss the visit to West Ham next week, after reaching five bookings this season.
It leaves the Reds boss without a recognised centre-forward for the visit to east London, and there was criticism of the striker after the game against Southampton for trying to score with the aid of his arm.
But Rodgers insisted: “If he’s handled the ball, then it’s probably just natural instinct. I didn’t see it clearly, but I’m sure it was instinctive and not cheating as someone suggested.
“With instinctive stuff like that, of course it’s needless, but sometimes they happen. He’s done so well to arrive at this stage without that extra booking, but there we go.”
Rodgers admitted a certain frustration at losing Suarez for such an annoying offence, but said: “I do still have people capable of getting goals.
“I’m not going to lose sleep because he’s not available. At least it means he will more than likely start now against Udinese. We’ll be strong there.”Edited by zocoss 03 Dec `12, 2:37PM
RAFA BENITEZ launched a furious attack on his Chelsea players, claiming they have no leaders, no confidence and no character.
The Blues boss turned on his side after Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at West Ham — and is now ready to rush back the injured John Terry and Frank Lampard.
Benitez, who was again booed by Blues fans, said: “Normally when you lose, you are not happy — but I was angry. We did not manage their physical game, the long balls, the second balls, the corners.
“We gave them too many options to play their game and we could not be comfortable in possession.
“That is when you have to show character and quality — and we did NOT do that.
“Character and leadership is always necessary in a team.
“Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea team had a lot of character but it is a different time now.”
The European champions face two vital games this week — against Danish minnows Nordsjaelland in the Champions League and then struggling Sunderland in the Premier League on Saturday.
They must beat the Danes — and hope Juventus lose — to make the last 16 of the Champions League.
Both knee injury victim Terry and Lamps, who has a calf problem, could return to face the Black Cats, with Benitez admitting he is desperate for their leadership qualities.
He said: “Terry will train part of the session on Monday so, hopefully, will be close, although with the knee you never know. Frank will train on Monday as well. Sunderland? We will see.
“I will talk with them and then the doctor afterwards.
“Normally I wouldn’t play them if it was not necessary but a lot of players can play with problems. It depends on the risk.
“But character and leadership are necessary in a team.”
Rafa admitted that confidence is low throughout the team. He said: “We have young players in their first year in the Premier League.
“They have talent and quality but you still have to show that on the pitch.
“If you cannot cope with the physical demands of the game, you cannot show your quality so we have to give them confidence.
“I’ve not had too much time in training every day but we will try to adjust things.
“They are experienced players, they’ve won the Champions League and a lot of trophies but they have to show that character.
“And they need confidence to do that.
“Some players might show character but if one or two are not at that level, the whole team suffers.
“That is what happened in the second half at West Ham.”
Benitez insisted he had not bitten off more than he could chew at Stamford Bridge. He said: “I knew it was a challenge. If we had beaten Fulham, when we had control, and West Ham, everything would be different and I am confident things will change.
“I just came to do my job and I am sure that the team is good enough to win things. We have to win games and then everyone will be happier.”
Juan Mata, who scored the opener at Upton Park, said: “In the last few weeks we’ve been dropping down and losing points and we need to change that. It’s important that we improve.”
PREMIER LEAGUE 2012
Manchester City vs Manchester United
Sunday, 9 December 2012
Time: 9:30pm - (Live)
Mio Channel 102 in HD
EPL Game 16
Manchester United :
De Gea, Ferdinand, Rafael, Smalling, Buttner, Evans, Evra, Carrick, Giggs, Scholes, Cleverley, Fletcher, Hernandez, Welbeck, Robin Van Persie, Young, Rooney, Lindegaard.
Powell, Macheda, Bebe.
Doubtful : Valencia, Anderson, Jones.
Injured : Vidic, Nani, Kagawa.
EPL - Match 16 - December 8 / 9 / 10 / 12 Fixtures
Saturday, December 8, 2012
Sunderland v Chelsea 11:00 Mio 102
Arsenal v West Bromwich Albion 11:00 Mio 103
Swansea City v Norwich City 11:00 Mio 104
Aston Villa v Stoke City 11:00 Mio 105
Southampton v Reading 11:00 Mio 106
Wigan Athletic v Queens Park Rangers 11:00 Mio 107
Sunday December 9, 2012
Manchester City v Manchester United 9:30 Mio 102
West Ham United v Liverpool 12:00mn Mio 102
Everton v Tottenham Hotspur 11:00 Mio 103
Monday December 10, 2012
Fulham v Newcastle United 4:00am (Tue) Mio 102
Wednesday December 12, 2012
Sunderland v Reading 3:45am (Thur) Mio 102
Saturday, December 15th Weekend, 2012
Chelsea v Southampton
Liverpool v Aston Villa
Manchester United v Sunderland
Newcastle United v Manchester City
Norwich City v Wigan Athletic
Queens Park Rangers v Fulham
Reading v Arsenal
Stoke City v Everton
Tottenham Hotspur v Swansea City
West Bromwich Albion v West Ham United
Ridgewell’s bum note: West Brom star apologises after being pictured wiping his backside with pile of £20 notes
West Brom defender Liam Ridgewell has apologised after an embarrassing picture emerged of him wiping his backside with a wad of £20 notes.
The former Aston Villa and Birmingham defender claims the picture was taken to wind up a friend after he won a bet and he never intended on it becoming public.
Ridgewell told The Sun: ‘The photo was taken in the privacy of my home around eight months ago as a joke to wind up a mate, who I had just won a personal bet with.
‘I only intended him to see the photo but now it’s public, I can understand how it will be viewed. I am sorry for any offence it causes.’
The picture showed the 28-year-old squatting over a toilet with nearly £1000 worth of £20 notes scattered over the floor.
The West Brom player earns around £20,000-a-week and the picture is sure to anger fans – especially as that is the average annual salary in the West Midlands – one of the most deprived areas in the country.
The picture was sent to the newspaper by a fan who asked not to be named, he said: ‘The people of West Bromwich earn a fraction of what this idiot earns yet he makes a mockery of his good fortune like this. It makes me sick.
‘We’ve always thought footballers were arrogant, overpaid buffoons and this just proves it.’
The club distanced themselves from the issue saying it was a private matter.
They told The Sun: ‘This is a private issue for Liam that has become public.
‘It does not put the club in a good light and we will deal with the matter internally.
‘Since Liam joined us 11 months ago, his conduct on club duty has been exemplary.’
San zero: Premier League clubs on alert as Sneijder threatens to leave Inter for FREE
Dutch playmaker is claiming breach of contract, which interests the likes of United, City, Liverpool and Spurs
Wesley Sneijder is ready to walk out of Inter Milan for free – sparking a Premier League scramble to sign the Dutch master next month.
Sneijder, a £35million target for Manchester United 18 months ago, is taking legal advice to discover whether he can force his departure from the San Siro after being ordered to take a pay-cut by the Italian giants.
Inter want to slash his £180,000-a-week wages by half – and have told him he will continue to be frozen out by coach Andrea Stramaccioni until he signs the new deal.
Sneijder, 28, will ask FIFA to intervene but has already been assured he is within his rights to walk out on Inter for breach of contract and restraint of trade.
That would allow him to sign for another club while FIFA investigate his case – and it could take FIFA up to two years to make a ruling.
Sneijder’s availability will once again alert Sir Alex Ferguson.
The United manager wanted to sign the Dutchman last summer but pulled the plug on the deal when the player demanded wages of £250,000-a-week.
Sneijder’s advisers have made it clear he is now ready to take a small cut to around £160,000-a-week.
Manchester City, Tottenham and Liverpool have all been informed of Sneijder’s impending availability. And although Paris St Germain and Fenerbahce have made their interest clear, the player would prefer a move to England.
Sneijder has made just five Serie A appearances for Inter this season and hasn’t played since September 26. He said: “I am super-fit and I want to play.”
Inter are trying to slash their wage bill as the world economic crisis grips Italian football. Sneijder still has two-and-a-half years left on his contract, but Inter will extend it by a further season if he accepts a pay-cut.
Inter’s technical director Marco Branca warned: “We have given Sneijder time to think about our offer and during this situation we will not select him for games.”Edited by zocoss 02 Dec `12, 10:42AM
Rafa axe fear
West Ham 3 Chelsea 1
RAFA BENITEZ last night admitted he could soon be AXED as Chelsea boss.
Interim chief Benitez revealed he was “not 100 per cent” certain of his future after the defeat at West Ham.
Benitez admitted: “I would say that it depends on the things that we can do on the pitch. So, if we improve on the pitch, it will be easier for everyone.”
Pressed on the fact he did not sound 100 per cent sure of his position, he replied: “No, I am not 100 per cent. We didn’t win today — that is the main thing.”
Benitez knows owner Roman Abramovich may pull the trigger after a shaky start to his Stamford Bridge career, which has seen two draws, one defeat and just one goal scored.
He was again booed by the Chelsea fans and taunted with chants: “You’re getting sacked in the morning.”
West Ham boss Sam Allardyce warned Benitez he will NEVER succeed at the club unless he wins over the fans.
Allardyce said: “You can’t manage a club if the fans are not behind you. It just won’t happen. And the only way you can get them on your side is by winning games.”
“If you’re winning, the fans will always back you.”
And Big Sam believes the nature of the job makes it impossible to feel sorry for Benitez.
He added: “We don’t have sympathy for each other.
“We compete against each other, we toil against each other and we play mind games against each other.
“I said to my players in our pre-match team-talk that a lot of people have been saying Chelsea would be relieved to be playing away from home after the problems they’d had in their last two home games.
“I told my players to make sure that wasn’t the case and we came out on top.”
Usually the case after one fellow talk big pre-match...
Allen was his usual self, poor in midfield again. Dunno where he find his confidence... Must be from his manager...
Bale was amazing, he ran 50 yards cutting through pool's defence like a hot knife through butter... And he left 4 pool defenders behind watching...
Downing and Henderson started again, looks like they chase Sahin for nothing... Pay $80 odd k pounds a week to park butt on the bench.
EPL - Match 15 - Dec 1 / 2 / 3 FixturesMatches on Singtel Mio Tv :
Saturday, December 1st, 2012
West Ham United v Chelsea 8:45 Mio 102
Manchester City v Everton 11:00 Mio 102
Liverpool v Southampton 11:00 Mio 103
Arsenal v Swansea City 11:00 Mio 104
Fulham v Tottenham Hotspur 11:00 Mio 105
West Bromwich Albion v Stoke City 11:00 Mio 106
Queens Park Rangers v Aston Villa 11:00 Mio 107
Reading v Manchester United 1:30 Mio 102
Sunday December 2nd, 2012
Norwich City v Sunderland 12:00 Mio 102
Monday December 3rd, 2012
Newcastle United v Wigan Athletic 4:00 Mio 102
December 8th Weekend, 2012
Arsenal v West Bromwich Albion
Aston Villa v Stoke City
Everton v Tottenham Hotspur
Fulham v Newcastle United
Manchester City v Manchester United
Southampton v Reading
Sunderland v Chelsea
Swansea City v Norwich City
West Ham United v Liverpool
Wigan Athletic v Queens Park Rangers
Chelsea issue partial apology over Mark Clattenburg affair
• Chelsea: initial statement needed 'more consideration'
• Club regrets impact of media scrutiny on ClattenburgMark Clattenburg returned to action as a fourth official when Tottenham Hotspur played West Ham United on 25 November, nearly a month after Chelsea's complaint.
Chelsea have expressed regret over their handling of aspects of the complaint of racist abuse lodged against Mark Clattenburg, with all parties involved now seeking to draw a line under the controversy ahead of the official's return to top-flight refereeing on Wednesday night.
The Chelsea chairman, Bruce Buck, had met face to face with Clattenburg at the National Football Centre in Burton upon Trent on Monday, discussing the issue with all 16 of the elite referees, the Professional Game Match Officials Limited general manager Mike Riley, and the Premier League's chief executive, Richard Scudamore. Those talks were deemed as frank but constructive, with a joint statement duly issued by the club, PGMOL and the Premier League in which Chelsea admitted they should have "given more consideration" before making their allegation public.
The Football Association determined last week that no charges would be brought against Clattenburg after investigating a claim by the Chelsea midfielder Ramires that he had heard the official describe Mikel John Obi as "a monkey" during the 3-2 defeat by Manchester United on 28 October.
The club had confirmed in the immediate aftermath of that game that they had lodged a complaint to the Premier League match delegate, alleging "inappropriate language used by the referee and directed at two of our players". They made a formal complaint to the FA the following week over the alleged incident with Mikel, but dropped their accusation over comments allegedly made towards Juan Mata.
"There was a constructive and open discussion," read the joint statement issued on Wednesday. "The club regrets not having given more consideration before issuing a statement on the evening of Sunday 28 October. The club also regrets the subsequent impact the intense media scrutiny had on Mark Clattenburg and his family. The referees accept that given Chelsea had received a good faith claim from one of their employees, the club had an obligation under FA rules to report the allegation."
The statement fell short of issuing the public apology demanded by the referees' union, Prospect, with Chelsea conscious that Ramires still resolutely stands by his original testimony and that the FA welcomed the manner in which the club followed the formal process with their complaint. The PGMOL has also accepted the club followed protocol in lodging the complaint once their employee had made his claim.
Yet there has been recognition within the club's hierarchy of the personal pressures placed on Clattenburg, who had always denied any wrongdoing but had been omitted from the referees' roster for the four weekends since the game at Stamford Bridge while the FA conducted its inquiry. Having been fourth official for Tottenham Hotspur's victory over West Ham on Sunday, he will take charge of Wednesday's game between Southampton and Norwich at St Mary's.
Buck made a point of stressing the club saw no issue with the 37-year-old officiating at games involving Chelsea. "There was recognition by all parties that the impartiality and integrity of refereeing in this country remains paramount," concluded the statement. "Chelsea made it clear they would welcome Mark Clattenburg back to Stamford Bridge in the future and PGMOL would have no issue in appointing him to a Chelsea FC match going forward. It was a thoroughly professional meeting. All parties now believe it is time to draw a line under this incident, learn from it and move on for the good of all Premier League clubs, players and match officials."
Prospect's national secretary, Alan Leighton, said the use of the word "regrets" in the joint statement was "an important move forward in confirming Chelsea's recognition of Mark's integrity and impartiality".
Mikel has requested a personal hearing having been charged with misconduct for using threatening or abusive words and/or behaviour after he stormed into the officials' changing room after the final whistle. If the charge is upheld, he is expected to face at least a three-match ban. That could be extended to as many as five if the mitigating circumstances are rejected.
The star of this match could turn out to be Dempsey tonight. In his last game he was really impressive, like he has finally settle into the Spurs team since moving in late Aug. So if Pool emphasize alot on Bale, Dempsey may surprise everyone...
Let's see if Allen have to eat humble pie at the end of this match...
Buck holds Clattenburg talks as Chelsea seek to rebuild ties
Chelsea made the first move towards a reconciliation with referee Mark Clattenburg when the club's chairman, Bruce Buck, paid him a personal visit yesterday.
Buck travelled to St George's Park in east Staffordshire where the 16-strong group of select referees were having their regular meeting in an attempt to explain why Chelsea pushed ahead with their allegation of racism by Clattenburg towards midfielder John Obi Mikel.
Since Thursday's decision by the Football Association that Chelsea's evidence that Clattenburg called Mikel "a monkey" during the game against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on 28 October was not strong enough to warrant a charge, talks have been ongoing between the club and Mike Riley, general manager of the referee's association.
While Chelsea's decision to push ahead with the complaint was judged to be justified by the FA, despite the evidence of midfielder Ramires being judged to be insufficient, the club have been looking at ways of building bridges with the refereeing community.
There are elements among the referees in the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMO) who are understood to be very unhappy about the manner in which Chelsea approached the issue and determined that some such acknowledgment be made by the club.
The discussion with Buck is also believed to have touched on the possibility of Clattenburg taking charge of Chelsea games in the future.
Gunns are all the wage'DEADWOOD' ... Arsenal flop striker Chamakh
ARSENAL’S board will face more questions when bitter rivals Spurs release their figures for last season.
They are set to reveal Tottenham spent £1million less PER WEEK on wages than the Gunners.
Arsenal have already confirmed a wage hike of 15 per cent to £143.4m in 2011-2.
If reports are correct, that Spurs remained at their 2010-11 level of £91.1m — or below it — it would mean Arsenal spent £52m more to finish just a point ahead.
Gunners chief executive Ivan Gazidis will say ‘Ah, but we qualified for the Champions League.’
Yet it was only Chelsea’s Munich miracle which denied fourth-placed Spurs and the Gunners will recoup that £50m from this season’s competition only if they win it.
Some Arsenal fans will also see further evidence the club are not using their wage budget effectively.
There is particular dismay about “deadwood” like Marouane Chamakh, Sebastien Squillaci and Johan Djourou, who earn the best part of £150,000 per week between them but are yet to make a Premier League appearance this season.
PREMIER LEAGUE 2012
Manchester United vs West Ham
Wednesday, 28 November 2012
Time: 4:00am - (Live) (Thur Morning)
Mio Channel 103 in HD
EPL Game 14
Manchester United :
De Gea, Ferdinand, Rafael, Smalling, Jones, Buttner, Evans, Evra, Carrick, Giggs, Cleverley, Fletcher, Anderson, Hernandez, Welbeck, Robin Van Persie, Young, Rooney, Powell, Lindegaard.
Doubtful : Valencia - hip problem
Suspended : Scholes
Injured : Vidic, Nani, Kagawa.Edited by zocoss 27 Nov `12, 11:04AM
Rafa must win this match to even get some goodwill to at least last him for the next few weeks... The booed he got was quite strange as i can't remember the last time a club show off their new manager got so much boo by their own fans.
I bet with the unhappiness of the fans, Rafa would be wise to stay at home and not wander around Chelsea side of London...