Sean Dyche trusts that exploring his options for next season will not have any impact on Danny Ings’ brilliant form for Burnley. He said: “Over a season you think that (playing well) pays you back. There’s no guarantee that it does. But if there’s a future in your performances on a weekly basis, people are improving, then you want that to bring points your way. “There’s still a frustration with certain key moments in games and things that have happened where we know we could do better, and there’s other games where we’ve done very well and still not got the result. “I thought we were excellent at Man United last week, didn’t get the win, so we know that needs to change of course. We’re scoring more freely but we’ve got to make sure we find that balance.” Burnley face an extremely tough run of fixtures over the next couple of months and arguably the hardest comes on Saturday with a trip to league leaders Chelsea. The pair met at Turf Moor on the first weekend of the season when Scott Arfield gave the hosts a shock lead before Chelsea turned on the style to win 3-1. Dyche said: “At the beginning of the season I thought anyone who finishes above them must be some side and I still think that because they’ve got strength everywhere, they’re showing that, and they just keep getting results whichever way they need to. “We are a side that’s learning and progressing but we’re not like a non-league side going there. We’ve shown we’re capable to compete at this level. We have that underdog spirit but also that freedom to play.” The 22-year-old reportedly held talks with Real Sociedad boss David Moyes in Spain last weekend as the race for his signature hots up. Ings is out of contract in the summer and has also been linked with a host of Premier League clubs, including Liverpool and Manchester United, while an England call-up has been mooted. Press Association Dyche weighed into the debate on Sunday by voicing his opinion that Ings should stay in the Premier League and, although a new contract is on the table at Turf Moor, the Clarets boss appears resigned to losing his star asset. But he expects Ings to continue the fine form he has shown up until now, with his ninth goal of the season in last week’s 3-1 loss to Manchester United making him Burnley’s record Premier League goalscorer. Dyche, who joked Ings had brought him a donkey back from Spain as a souvenir, said: ” It’s just a reality of the business now. That’s what the rules state. He’s respectful of it. “I’ve got no reason to doubt his thoughts about Burnley Football Club and what we’re doing, you can tell that by his performances. He’s been terrific all week in training so he certainly looks ready to play. “He’s known me a while so he knows he can trust me, and I think he trusts the people here. We’re always very honest and open and I think he understands that.” Ings’ goal was the highlight of a performance at Old Trafford that earned Burnley plenty of praise but no points. It is becoming a slightly worrying trend for Dyche’s side, who have picked up only one point from their last four Premier League games despite leading 2-0 on two occasions. Results last week saw them slip back into the bottom three, a point from safety, but Dyche expects the rewards to come.
Press Association The Happy Prince got off the mark at the second attempt in the National Student Raceday Maiden at Limerick – but not before giving his backers a fright. “He’s a nice horse who had a nice run last year. He has plenty speed and when I gave him a crack he had a little look and is still quite green,” said Joseph O’Brien. “I was never worried though and he had plenty in hand.” Corail produced an excellent effort on her reappearance to land the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Median Auction Fillies Maiden. Dermot Weld’s Mulkeyya was sent off the 1/3 favourite and was travelling best on the home turn, but Corail (3/1) swept into the lead under Chris Hayes and maintained her advantage all the way to the line, scoring by a length and a quarter. “I had this race in mind from the turn of the year. Obviously I was hugely worried about Mr Weld’s filly though,” acknowledged Deegan. “She showed plenty last year and I always thought she’d be a better three-year-old. “She didn’t grow as much as a I thought, but she did grow some and strengthen. “I’ll speak to James Kelly and Lady O’Reilly but the Guineas Trial could be her next race. “She’s a smart filly and she’d be better with a step up in trip. Mentally she’ll mature more.” Aidan O’Brien’s charge was sent off the 4/9 favourite and travelled sweetly, moving into the lead just after the home turn, but when Joseph O’Brien asked for maximum effort, he veered violently to the left, giving Gussy Goose another bite of the cherry. O’Brien junior was able to get the colt back on an even keel in time, though, eventually coming out on top by a length and a quarter.
“I don’t think fans want to see players surrounding referees. We don’t – maybe we should because other teams would have for the Mirallas challenge,” he said. “It is impossible he stays on the football pitch. I have no clue (why it was not a red card) – high, late. I don’t understand how he wasn’t sent off. “It is nothing about him as a person, it is just factually in my opinion a red-card challenge.” Dyche also had issue with a first-half Ross Barkley penalty, saved by goalkeeper Tom Heaton, which was awarded despite David Jones’s tackle on Aaron Lennon appearing to be outside the box, and also a challenge on Scott Arfield at the other end which Jones decided did not warrant a spot-kick. “I was interested in the view of the penalty he had,” added the Clarets boss. “I have seen it back and it was outside the box. Tom made a fantastic save and we carried on. “Then Scotty Arfield is dancing across their box and there is an attempted challenge that misses and we all know if he goes down it (a penalty) is probably going to be given. “If Barnes gets booked earlier in the game for attempting and missing (a tackle) then the principle should be the same. “We attempt not to simulate. We attempt not to have too many rows with the referee yet you don’t get things, so where does it leave you. “You do it right and you get nothing, you do it wrong and you get something – which is kind of against the principles of the game.” Dyche had no complaints about Barnes’s sending-off, which rules him out of next weekend’s crucial visit of fellow strugglers Leicester. “It was just two silly challenges, not malicious. I think to be fair this ref got that one right, that was good,” he said. The 29th-minute winner scored by Mirallas, which made it 13 points from the last five matches for Everton, was almost forgotten but there was a debate to be had over the Toffees’ penalty-takers. Despite Leighton Baines, scorer of 15 from 16 from the spot, being on the field Barkley was the preferred option. A similar thing happened in January when Mirallas stepped up in front of the England defender against West Brom but failed, after which manager Roberto Martinez clarified his left-back was the confirmed taker only for striker Romelu Lukaku – who returned from a month out with a hamstring injury as a second-half substitute – to score the next three. Martinez’s thinking on the issue was slightly more muddled this time around however. “Romelu is the penalty taker. After that there are three or four players who can take the penalties,” he said. “There is no such thing as a best penalty taker. I don’t agree with penalty takers being a designed one apart from Romelu being on the pitch. “We have Leighton Baines who is a specialist, Gareth Barry who has an incredible record – it depends on how you feel at that moment. “Ross showed incredible responsibility and Leighton Baines was happy to given him that responsibility.” Martinez also sought to defend Mirallas for his challenge on Boyd. “I don’t think it is a red card. He stands on his feet. He is well controlled when the referee gives the challenge,” he added. “It is just a normal action. Not malicious from Kevin, a typical striker’s challenge.” The Clarets lost 1-0 at Everton after Ashley Barnes was sent off on the stroke of half-time for two bookable offences yet Toffees goalscorer Kevin Mirallas escaped with only a yellow card for a studs-up challenge on George Boyd. Dyche was amazed the Belgium international stayed on the pitch and wondered whether the outcome would have been different had his players followed the example of some Premier League teams in surrounding referee Mike Jones. Press Association Burnley manager Sean Dyche claims his side are being punished for playing the game the right way and not haranguing referees in order to win decisions.
Paul O’Connell will play his final game for Ireland at this autumn’s World Cup after the Irish Rugby Football Union confirmed he has been granted early release from his contract. O’Connell is set to join Toulon upon completion of England 2015, with the IRFU agreeing to terminate his agreement with Munster in recognition of his contribution to his province and national team. The Ireland captain, however, hinted at his desire for a return home in a coaching capacity once his playing days are over. “After the World Cup I’d like to experience new environments and it is my genuine hope and ambition that I will have some future involvement with Munster and Irish rugby,” O’Connell said. “I would like to thank Munster and the IRFU for releasing me from my contract at the end of the World Cup. As a proud Limerick, Munster and Irishman, I will forever treasure my association with Munster Rugby.” O’Connell has won 101 caps and will lead Ireland’s assault on the looming World Cup, a tournament they enter as Six Nations champions. The 35-year-old was captain of the 2009 British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa and also toured in 2005 and 2013, playing in a total of seven Tests. “Paul has been a fantastic servant to Irish rugby. Over the course of his 101 Ireland caps to date he has set the standard for the model Irish professional,” IRFU chief executive Philip Browne said. “His contribution to Irish rugby is immeasurable in terms of not only driving success on the field but also raising the profile of Irish Rugby around the world.” Press Association
Diamanti has been training with Watford for more than a week but his move, understood to be a season-long loan, from Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande is yet to be officially confirmed. Watford host West Brom, hoping to build on an encouraging 2-2 draw at Everton in the Barclays Premier League last weekend, and Diamanti could make his debut if the transfer goes through before midday on Friday. “Will the move be completed in time for Saturday? It is difficult for Saturday but it’s close,” Flores said. “He’s training with us every day, he’s performing well – the teams are talking to arrange the last details and he has the possibility to be incorporated onto the list.” Diamanti scored eight goals for West Ham in 2009-10 and is set to become Watford’s 11th signing of the summer. “Now we have a good group of players who can play differently, who can make the ball move quickly in the last third,” Flores said. “We need speed. We now have (Steven) Berghuis, (Almen) Abdi, (Jose Manuel) Jurado, Diamanti – this is part of the style of the team. “If you allow the players to attack, they will attack with freedom and that is good for us. “He brings technical qualities, vision of the pitch and he is really strong at set-pieces with free-kicks so it is very, very nice to have him. He also has experience, which is important for us.” Watford led twice against Everton but a late Arouna Kone goal denied the Hornets victory on the opening day of the season. Watford head coach Quique Sanchez Flores believes incoming forward Alessandro Diamanti will inject pace into his Hornets attack but says the Italian is unlikely to face West Brom on Saturday. Press Association Flores handed six players their debuts at Goodison Park and the Hornets’ head coach believes the best is yet to come from his much-changed squad. “It’s only the first match. We are really, really far away from the sort of performance we could produce at the end of the season,” Flores said. “We have only worked for six weeks together and we are incorporating new players every week. We are still a long way from the performance we could produce.” Flores added: “It’s a necessity to remove the idea that we are new and with innocence to be competitive in this league. “We want to improve but it’s very important we show to the league we are an experienced team who can manage different situations.” West Brom’s start to the season was less assured as the Baggies were thrashed 3-0 at home by Manchester City. Tony Pulis’ side were uncharacteristically sloppy in defence and Flores is urging his players to dominate the contest at Vicarage Road. “We don’t need to change the mentality, the opposite, we have to enforce the things we did against Everton,” Flores said. “But the match will be completely different – we are playing at home, West Brom are maybe not interested to keep the ball, always playing long ball. “For us, our aim is to control the ball, to try to defend high – sometimes it was impossible to do against Everton because Everton are a good team with a lot of experience and players who can play very quick. “Against West Brom I think it will be a little bit different.” Abdi and Berghuis are both available again for Watford after the duo recovered from knee and upper leg injuries respectively.
A 7-1 aggregate victory over Club Brugge also gives United a route back to some of the biggest money in European football. :: Should they make it all the way to the final and lift the trophy in Milan next May, they could secure over £40million in prize money alone. :: United receive £9.92million just for beating the Belgian side and qualifying for the group phase. :: Up to £6.4million could be won, depending on performances, in the group stage and qualifying for the last 16 brings an additional prize of £3.9million. :: Another £4.3million follows for quarter-final qualification and, should United reach the last four, they will gain another £5million. :: The winners of the showpiece final in Milan will bag a £10.7million prize. :: An additional chunk of the £343million of television income would also go to the club, depending on their performances and those of their English peers in the competition. Manchester United made it through to the group stages of the Champions League on Wednesday, returning after a season’s absence. Press Association
Raheem Sterling struck his first Manchester City goal as Manuel Pellegrini’s men maintained their flying Barclays Premier League start with a 2-0 win over Watford. Fernandinho was also on target as City chalked up a club record 10th successive league victory with another empahtic performance at the Etihad Stadium. The result completed a perfect start to the season for City, who will head into the international break with a record boasting 12 points from four games, 10 goals scored and none conceded. Bacary Sagna also tested Gomes while Sergio Aguero turned and flashed an effort wide. Manager Pellegrini looked a frustrated man as the half-time whistle blew and he made a change with Samir Nasri replacing the ineffective Navas. The breakthrough came just two minutes after the restart as Watford lost possession outside the area and Sagna whipped in a superb cross. Sterling timed his run perfectly and turned the ball home unmarked from six yards. The game began to open up and a second goal followed from a free-kick nine minutes later. Yaya Toure’s set-piece was blocked by the wall but the excellent Fernandinho followed up, heading forward for Silva and then rifling past Gomes after taking a return pass. Soon after Silva curled a free-kick over and Toure blasted over from a good position. Watford were a beaten side and could not get back into the game. Sterling left the field to a good ovation when he was substituted in the final minute. TWEET OF THE MATCH “Sterling has scored his first goal for Manchester City. Bargain!” – Match of the Day host Gary Lineker. https://twitter.com/GaryLineker/status/637641979770372096 PLAYER RATINGS Manchester City Joe Hart: 6 (out of 10) Bacary Sagna: 7 Eliaquim Mangala: 7 Vincent Kompany: 7 Aleksandar Kolarov: 7 Yaya Toure: 7 Fernandinho: 8 Jesus Navas: 5 David Silva: 7 Raheem Sterling: 8 Sergio Aguero: 7 Substitutes Samir Nasri: 6 Fabian Delph: 5 Kelechi Iheanacho: 5 Watford Heurelho Gomes: 6 Allan Nyom: 6 Sebastian Prodl: 7 Craig Cathcart: 7 Jose Holebas: 6 Etienne Capoue: 6 Valon Behrami: 6 Almen Abdi: 6 Odion Ighalo: 6 Jose Manuel Jurado: 7 Troy Deeney 7 Substitutes Ikechi Anya: 5 Miguel Layun: 5 Ben Watson: 5 STAR MAN Raheem Sterling. The former Liverpool star was one the livelier players as City looked for an opening in the first half and had a couple of good chances. He then got the goal his performance deserved, and put City firmly in control of the game, in the second minute of the second half. MOMENT OF THE MATCH Fernandinho. The Brazilian midfielder was also impressive and scored a superb goal to put City 2-0 ahead. He won the ball after a Yaya Toure free-kick was blocked and followed up his own hard work to take a return pass from David Silva and fire home. VIEW FROM THE BENCH Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores sent his side out to defend and frustrate City. A point seemed the limit of their ambition and for 45 minutes the plan proved effective. They may gain confidence from how they resisted a side with a formidable attack for a long spell. City boss Manuel Pellegrini had to play a more patient game but with such a powerful squad at his disposal, there was never any need to panic. He will feel highly satisfied heading into the international break. MOAN OF THE MATCH898 It was good to see Pellegrini put some of his youngsters on the bench in Patrick Roberts, Pablo Maffeo and Kelechi Iheanacho – but it would be nice to see some of them on the field a bit more. They only got one minute between them as Iheanacho came on at the end, even though the game had long seemed in the bag. WHO’S UP NEXT? Crystal Palace v Manchester City (Premier League, September 12) Watford v Swansea (Premier League, September 12) Press Association City had to wait until the second half to break promoted Watford’s resilience, but once Sterling had opened his account the result never seemed in doubt. Sterling may not be the club’s record signing for much longer, with City apparently closing in on a reported £58million deal for Wolfsburg’s Kevin de Bruyne. But the £49million man was impressive from the start and City, who would not confirm reports De Bruyne was undergoing a medical as they focused on business on the field, were highly efficient. They were forced to play a patient game as Watford sat back and focused their efforts on defence. The Hornets were well organised but limited. Captain Troy Deeney seemed to spend more time fulfilling the duties of a right-back than he did leading the line as City probed in the first half. But with City having played some exhilarating attacking football in their first three games, little blame could be attached to the visitors. They had their own unbeaten record to protect after making three successive draws on their return to the top flight. City controlled possession but it was 17 minutes before they had a first serious chance. Aleksandar Kolarov curled his free-kick over after Jesus Navas was fouled. Sterling was one of City’s livelier players and twice got in on goal but Craig Cathcart blocked his first shot and Heurelho Gomes palmed away his second.
Leinster moved into the top four of the Guinness PRO12 table with a comfortable 27-3 bonus point victory over Treviso in Italy. The Irish side welcomed back their international stars following the World Cup, with fly-half Johnny Sexton making his first appearance after his return during the summer from Racing Metro. Leinster made the ideal start when Jack McGrath went over after only three minutes, with Sexton adding the conversion. Press Association But the Ireland star was then sin binned for an off-the-ball tackle after Jayden Hayward had scored what proved to be Treviso’s only points with a penalty. Treviso could not capitalise, though, and Fergus McFadden made it 10-3 with another penalty before Isa Nacewa’s try on the stroke of half-time extended Leinster’s lead further. It was a fine end to the week for Nacewa, who was confirmed as Leinster’s permanent captain on Friday. A flowing move in the 56th minute led to a third Leinster try scored by Jack Conan and Treviso’s hopes of ending a 12-match losing streak were hampered further by a yellow card for Ludovico Nitoglia. Leinster did take advantage, Ben Te’o grabbing their fourth try and the bonus point, and it was third time lucky for McFadden as he kicked the conversion to complete a first away win of the season.
The boss insists he has to be the figurehead to inspire his beleaguered squad ahead of Saturday’s trip to Southampton. Villa have lost nine of their last 10 games and are winless in the Barclays Premier League since the opening day of the campaign. They have fewer points than Derby did at this stage of the season when the Rams were relegated with a record-low total of 11 in 2007-08. “Sometimes you can have a quite good collective game and then you make some individual mistakes or you are not playing at your best level. “They have a personal responsibility but until now I didn’t see any players who were not giving me a good answer of what I want.” Villa face a Saints side looking to bounce back from their 6-1 Capital One Cup quarter-final drubbing at home to Liverpool on Wednesday. Boss Remi Garde knows he must be the man to lead Aston Villa back from the brink. And Garde admits he must lead by example if they are to survive with Villa bottom of the league and seven points from safety after last week’s 3-2 defeat to Watford. “It’s my job to make them stronger and more committed and more involved,” he said. “I have to show the way, I’m a guide. “We need to improve and work as a team to defend but that’s not only the back four. It’s everywhere. “I’m not saying that everything is perfect with the tactics but if you look at the goals we concede, the desire to win the ball must be stronger.” Garde wants his players to be careful at Christmas and focus on their jobs. Jack Grealish has been exiled from the first team squad for this weekend after he was pictured partying following last month’s 4-0 defeat at Everton, although he is expected to return to first-team training on Monday. Either Joleon Lescott and Jores Okore are standing by to replace the banned Ciaran Clark while skipper Micah Richards is a doubt with a knee injury. Mistakes were costly against Watford, with Alan Hutton scoring an own goal, and while he has been happy with the effort Garde knows they are undermining their hard work with errors. He said: “It’s mainly about confidence but as individual players everyone has to improve the level we are playing at the moment. Press Association
Former Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas was forced to fend off rumours of dressing room revolts against Mourinho earlier in the season. Now Emenalo has further backed Chelsea’s players, insisting none of the Stamford Bridge squad had any part to play in Mourinho’s exit. The Blues are said to favour Italy manager Antonio Conte as their top choice for a long-term appointment, but his contract runs until after Euro 2016. Bayern Munich’s Pep Guardiola – long admired by Abramovich – is also a certain contender. Whether he is interested remains to be seen as the prepares to announce his future plans. First-team coach Steve Holland could take charge of Saturday’s home Premier League clash with Sunderland, to hand the Blues board more time to complete the search for Mourinho’s short-term replacement. Former Holland manager Hiddink took interim charge at Chelsea in 2009 after the sacking of Luiz Felipe Scolari, and could now reprise his caretaker role in west London. “This is essentially the same group of players who won the league and the league cup last season,” said Emenalo. “They did it in style, and they did it by showing commitment, and by sweat and blood, tears and blood for the club, when needed. “They play to instruction, they adhere to everything the manager asked them to do. “So I think it’s very easy to make that inference (that the players helped caused Mourinho’s exit) but it’s not one that the club accepts. “Obviously we know now that the players have a responsibility to go out and prove everyone wrong, and show a certain level of commitment to the decision that’s been made tonight, to try to get the club up the league table. “That’s what they have to do, that’s what they were supposed to do, and I believe that’s what they’ve been trying to do.” Chelsea confirmed Mourinho’s departure in a statement on Thursday afternoon. “Chelsea Football Club and Jose Mourinho have today parted company by mutual consent,” the London club’s statement read. “All at Chelsea thank Jose for his immense contribution since he returned as manager in the summer of 2013. “His three league titles, FA Cup, Community Shield and three League Cup wins over two spells make him the most successful manager in our 110-year history. “But both Jose and the board agreed results have not been good enough this season and believe it is in the best interests of both parties to go our separate ways. “The club wishes to make clear Jose leaves us on good terms and will always remain a much-loved, respected and significant figure at Chelsea. “His legacy at Stamford Bridge and in England has long been guaranteed and he will always be warmly welcomed back to Stamford Bridge. “The club’s focus is now on ensuring our talented squad reaches its potential.” Chelsea cancelled their regular weekly press conference that was scheduled for Friday afternoon in the wake of Mourinho’s departure. Mourinho was pictured leaving Chelsea’s Cobham training ground for the last time on Thursday afternoon, with a hoodie pulled down over his head. It was an ignominious exit for the ‘Special One’ to indicate the depth of Chelsea’s troubles. The final match of Mourinho’s second spell as Chelsea boss ultimately proved Monday’s 2-1 Premier League loss at surprise table-toppers Leicester. Mourinho accepted in the wake of that defeat in the East Midlands that Chelsea could not now challenge for a top-four finish to secure Champions League qualification for next season. Mourinho had said after Monday night’s defeat at Leicester that he had been “betrayed” by some of his players. Mourinho said: “It is a big frustration to accept the goals because my work was betrayed, if that is the right word.” Chelsea parted company with Mourinho on Thursday after two days of crisis board meetings, with Guus Hiddink the front-runner to slot in as interim boss. Blues chiefs insisted Mourinho had left the club “by mutual consent”, just seven months after lifting the Premier League title. Press Association And Chelsea’s technical director Emenalo insisted club bosses do not accept accusations the Blues’ players had any underhand role by trying to undermine Mourinho. “Whilst there is huge sentiment for the individual who has done so much for the club, the fact of the matter remains that Chelsea Football Club is in trouble,” Emenalo told Chelsea TV. “The results are not good. There obviously seems to be palpable discord between manager and players, and we feel it was time to act. “The owner is forced to make what was a very tough decision for the good of the club. “Make no mistake about it, Chelsea Football Club is one of the biggest clubs in the world, is one point above relegation in the English Premier League and that’s not good enough. “Anyone who loves the club, who has any kind of affiliation to the club, can understand that this club is in trouble, and something needed to be done.” Mourinho’s departure has centred around nine defeats in 16 league games this term, a shocking descent into the relegation mire. The messy September exit of Dr Eva Carneiro, now taking action against the club, after being branded “naive” by Mourinho in August, has been viewed externally as causing extra unrest. Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea exit boiled down to “palpable discord” with his Stamford Bridge squad, according to Blues board member Michael Emenalo.