Van Gaal has second in his sights

first_img Press Association But with games against Tottenham, Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea to come over the next few weeks, Van Gaal knows United have an opportunity to move away from the rivals lurking just outside the top four. And despite recent criticism of his team, Van Gaal also believes United can even overcome the five-point gap that separates them from their cross-city rivals. “The coming matches are very decisive,” the United manager said. “We are so close to a lot of clubs. We can be second or third. It is not a big difference, I believe. “Manchester United have to be one of the teams who have to play in the Champions League.” Van Gaal remarked earlier this season that he owned an “iron shield” to protect him from any criticism that comes his way. Despite being fourth in the table and losing just three of his last 23 games, Van Gaal has been criticised for his style of play. Paul Scholes unleashed his latest volley on Friday, remarking in his Independent column that some of United’s play in their defeat to Arsenal was “prehistoric”. Van Gaal won a trophy in his first year at Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, but his chances of achieving the same feat at United are remote. United were knocked out of the FA Cup by Arsenal on Monday and they sit 10 points behind Barclays Premier League leaders Chelsea, who have a match in hand. Louis van Gaal believes Manchester United can still climb above Manchester City and finish second in the Barclays Premier League. In fairness, the former United midfielder said he was confident Van Gaal would be a success at Old Trafford and the manager himself seems pretty sure about that too. All he needs is for his players to start reproducing the kind of form they have shown in training on the pitch. “We have the confidence to reach the goal we set at the beginning of the season,” said Van Gaal, who was told last summer that his target this year was a top-four finish. “I have a lot of confidence in my players. From what I see in training sessions, we have progressed. But there is a big difference between training sessions and matches. ” We have to wait for the big victory. Then, maybe, we shall have more spirit and also more confidence to win our games.” Radamel Falcao has been one of the biggest disappointments of Van Gaal’s reign so far. United beat a host of their rivals to sign the Colombian on loan from Monaco last summer, but he has only scored three goals since and had to play 72 minutes for the Under-21 side on Tuesday night. The Dutchman insists the idea was to help the striker rebuild his shattered confidence, rather than punish him. ”That is one of the aspects that I let my players play in the second squad,” Van Gaal said. ”It is not a humiliation.” Falcao failed to find the net in the match, which ended in a 1-1 draw. And Van Gaal did not appear overly impressed with the striker’s performance. He said: ”Falcao did not play his best match in the second team but he has tried his utmost best. I cannot ask more from players.” The former Ajax coach dodged a question on whether United would exercise their right to buy the forward for £43.2million in May. “That is a discussion I have with (executive vice-chairman) Ed Woodward, not with you,” Van Gaal said at a press conference on Friday. Van Gaal also rejected the opportunity to discuss how close he came to signing for Sunday’s opponents Tottenham last summer when they sacked Tim Sherwood. “I don’t want to answer that type of question any more,” he said. “It is not interesting anymore. It is the past and we live in the present. “(Mauricio) Pochettino is working there and I am working here. I am very pleased I am working here and Pochettino should be very pleased he is working there.” Angel di Maria’s dismissal against Arsenal means he is suspended this weekend and so is Jonny Evans, who is two matches into a six-game ban for spitting at Newcastle’s Papiss Cisse. Defender Marcos Rojo is a doubt with a groin problem and Van Gaal confirmed Robin van Persie will be out for at least the next two games as he is yet to overcome the ankle injury he suffered against Swansea. last_img read more

Ciaran Clark claims Ireland will not rest on laurels after first-leg draw

first_img Press Association It could have been even better for Martin O’Neill’s men as they took an 82nd-minute lead through Robbie Brady’s low strike only for Edin Dzeko to level three minutes later. The result means a 0-0 draw will see Ireland progress to the finals in France next summer, but Clark is not taking any perceived advantage for granted. Republic of Ireland defender Ciaran Clark says his side will not rest on their laurels after earning a 1-1 draw with Bosnia & Herzegovina in the first leg of their Euro 2016 play-off. center_img “As a team it was a good performance, defensively,” the Aston Villa man said on Sky Sports 1. ” This game is done now and we have to concentrate and get ready for the game on Monday night now. That’s half-time effectively. “We are confident we can go out there and get a result. It’s going to be a tough game for both teams for sure, we have got the away goal, but we’ve got to go out there as if it is 0-0 and we’ve got to go again and concentrate on Monday night.” The game, and the second half especially, was played in dense fog that made playing conditions difficult, with Bosnia goalkeeper Asmir Begovic admitting he could not see beyond the halfway line. Clark added: “The fog did get worse in the second half, but it is the same for both teams and both teams had to deal with it.” Bosnia know they have to score at the Aviva Stadium on Monday if they are to book their place in France and Begovic concedes his side had a tough night. “It was a difficult night, Ireland are a tough team to break down, they are organised and we couldn’t quite get the ball down and play it the way we wanted to so it was difficult,” he said. “Both teams made it difficult for each other so it’s all to play for in the second leg. “Obviously we need to score, but there is still 90 minutes to play and we fancy ourselves against anyone.” On the inclement conditions, the Chelsea goalkeeper said: ” It was difficult conditions, but we dealt with them in the main okay.” last_img read more

TS Melissa Fading in Atlantic, as South FL Deals with Rough Ocean Conditions

first_imgTropical Storm Melissa, which has been causing rough conditions along our coast during the weekend, is about to fade away.According to the National Hurricane Center, the 45-mph storm is weakening and is now expected to become a post-tropical remnant low by Sunday night or Monday.Melissa formed off New England as a subtropical storm on Friday, as thunderstorms surrounded the nor’easter that has been affecting people from New York to Boston.After becoming a tropical storm on Saturday, Melissa was moving east in the Atlantic Ocean, and away from North America.Northwest swells from the storm have combined with onshore winds to kick up our seas as high as nine feet during Sunday.According to our news partner, CBS12, large breaking waves, strong rip currents and beach erosion remain likely, and a small craft advisory is still in effect for boaters.In related news, the NHC says in its 2 p.m. Sunday advisory that a “vigorous” tropical wave with a 70 percent chance of development is moving off the African coast. The advisory states, “Showers and thunderstorms are beginning to show signs of organization, and environmental conditions are expected to be conducive for the development of a tropical depression during the next few days while the disturbance moves west-northwestward to northwestward over or just east of the Cabo Verde Islands.”Strong winds in the upper atmosphere are expected to prevent any further development of the system.Two other disturbances, one over the southwestern Caribbean Sea and the other in the central Atlantic, have a 20 percent chance of development.Upper-level high pressure will continue to bring South Florida mainly dry weather through the middle of the week. A slow-moving front and higher moisture will begin to increase our shower and storm chances by the end of the week.last_img read more

UNC looks to extend streak vs Wake Forest

first_imgUNC looks to extend streak vs Wake Forest Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditNorth Carolina (10-13, 3-9) vs. Wake Forest (10-13, 3-10)Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Tuesday, 8 p.m. ESTBOTTOM LINE: North Carolina looks for its seventh straight win in the head-to-head series over Wake Forest. North Carolina has won by an average of 19 points in its last six wins over the Demon Deacons. Wake Forest’s last win in the series came on Jan. 5, 2014, a 73-67 win. February 10, 2020 Associated Press center_img BIG MEN ON CAMPUS: Wake Forest’s Olivier Sarr has averaged 12.5 points and nine rebounds while Brandon Childress has put up 14.4 points and 4.3 assists. For the Tar Heels, Garrison Brooks has averaged 15 points and 8.9 rebounds while Armando Bacot has put up 10.5 points and eight rebounds.BROOKS CAN GET BUCKETS: In 23 appearances this season, North Carolina’s Brooks has shot 53.1 percent.SCORING THRESHOLDS: North Carolina is 0-7 when its offense scores 65 points or fewer. Wake Forest is a perfect 5-0 when it holds opponents to 64 or fewer points.SHARING THE BURDEN: Wake Forest is a perfect 5-0 when at least four of its players score 10 or more points. The team is 5-13 when fewer than four Demon Deacons players score in double-figures.DID YOU KNOW: Wake Forest gets to the line more often than any other ACC team. The Demon Deacons have averaged 23.4 free throws per game this season.___ For more AP college basketball coverage: and was generated by Automated Insights,, using data from STATS LLC,,Update on the latest sports,Update on the latest sportslast_img read more

Golf: Smokin Hills to Hold Ijesu Festival September 3

first_imgOlawale Ajimotokan in AbujaGolfers from across the country will spice up the activities to mark the Ijesu Festival at Smokin Hills Golf Resort, Ilara Mokin, Ondo State on September 3.The Marketing and Promotions Manager of the course, Bayo Aderinto, disclosed over the weekend that a field of 60-100 golfers in outlook will be registered for the tournament at the close of registration on Wednesday. Aderinto said the tournament is mooted as part of efforts to celebrate the host community’s culture and identify with the people.The amazing Smokin Hills owned by Chief Michael Ade-ojo, the Chairman of Toyota Nigeria, is located next to nature and nestled among the cascading hills of Ilara-Mokin, a few kilometres from Akure. Its rising and descending fairways are defined by water features and pot bunkers, making it one of the best golf courses in Nigeria.The 18-hole course which was opened in 2011 has played host to two professional events, the CMCL Open Championship and West Africa Golf Tour, won by Sunday Olapade and Kingsley Oparaku.The special kitty will tee off from 9 am-12noon. Golfers who take part in the kitty, will enjoy hospitality package that will include accommodation for two nights; covering six meals, cart and caddy fees plus facility tour of Elizade University, Ilara- Mokin.The registration fees vary from Adeojo package, which costs N45,000, to Alba N55,000 and Sunview N65,000.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

Conte Inquires about Sanches

first_imgChelsea manager Antonio Conte personally enquired about Renato Sanches earlier this week, according to Bayern Munich chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.Sanches, who was voted best young player at Euro 2016 and also won the 2016 Golden Boy award, suffered a frustrating first season with Bayern as he struggled to establish himself under Carlo Ancelotti. The 19-year-old admitted earlier this week he is “not satisfied” with his lack of playing time at Bayern and would consider leaving in search of more playing time.AC Milan have held talks with Bayern about Sanches but Rummenigge says they are one of a number of clubs, including Chelsea, interested in signing the Portuguese international.“There are at least 10 teams after Sanches,” Rummenigge told Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport.“Conte asked for some information about him after Tuesday’s match because he knows he can make the difference on the pitch.“Carlo Ancelotti was pleased with his performance against Chelsea so we can make some decisions on him later.”He added: “Almost certainly we’ll let him leave just on loan, we still count on him.”Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

Syracuse annihilates Maryland Eastern Shore by program record 71-point margin

first_imgCornelia Fondren was positioned at the top of the key. Quentin Hillsman was on the sideline with his eyes blankly staring, focused on the play in front of him.The head coach shouted for Fondren to cut to the basket. The sophomore obliged and raced forward to the dish, where Shakeya Leary fed her the ball for the easy finger roll.It was like clockwork. All night, Syracuse bullied Maryland Eastern Shore, scoring on command.“We just got it clicking,” Hillsman said. “Tonight, I’ll be honest with you, we played phenomenal, and Maryland Eastern Shore obviously didn’t play that well tonight.”The words “phenomenal” and “not that well” could classify as an understatement. The Orange (4-0) routed the Lady Hawks (1-3) 113-42 at the Carrier Dome in front of 402 fans. The points scored and the margin of victory were both program records for Syracuse.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe catalyst for the Orange was Brianna Butler, who scored SU’s first nine points. She posted a career-high 23 points on 7-of-11 shooting from behind the arc. The sophomore played only 20 minutes, but was given tons of open opportunities.With the Orange being outscored in the second half, Hillsman went back to his starters who had been out for the past seven minutes about halfway through. Butler went back to work. Just moments after being reinserted into the game, she knocked down her seventh 3-pointer to propel an 8-0 run by Syracuse.After the ball swished through the net, she calmly put her head down and jogged down the court.“When I caught the ball for the first time I was in rhythm,” Butler said. “And when I see the ball going in, I just got my confidence up. I was just able to hit the open shots that my teammates hit me with.”Butler and fellow sophomore Brittney Sykes combined for 42 points, the most they’ve had as a duo as Syracuse players. But they weren’t the only ones to get a piece of the action. Twelve of the 14 Syracuse players that saw the court put the ball in the basket.The large lead came as cold comfort to Hillsman, however. He spent the majority of the game pacing the sidelines, barking orders. Instead of calling it a night with the game in hand, he urged his players to keep their feet on the gas.“I was worried about going into halftime with such a large lead that our players wouldn’t come out in the second half and play hard,” Hillsman said.They proved him wrong, posting 49 second-half points. The only drama as the game waned into its final minutes was whether or not Syracuse would break the record for points in a game.La’Shay Taft put the fears to bed as she knocked down her third 3-pointer of the half to give SU a 104-39 lead, breaking the previous record of 103 points set on Jan. 24, 1978. Eighteen seconds later, she hit another 3.Taft wasn’t aware until after the game that her 3 had broken the record.“I guess I’ll be known for that for the longest,” Taft said, laughing, “until somebody snaps the record. It’s a good thing. It’s a plus.”The laughs flowed throughout the postgame press conference, as the Orange could reflect on a game where all the players were able to contribute.“Coach always talks about team basketball, and no matter what the score is on the clock,” Sykes said. “He’s really persistent, and really hard on us about team basketball.“We still need to play clean basketball and be sharp, because those are the teams that go far in the season.” Comments Published on November 20, 2013 at 11:14 pm Contact Sam: | @SamBlum3 Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Syracuse men’s basketball opponent preview: What to know about No. 12 North Carolina

first_imgNEW YORK — For the first time since joining the league five years ago, Syracuse (20-12, 8-10 Atlantic Coast) won a game in the ACC Tournament by defeating Wake Forest (11-20, 4-14) on Tuesday night, 73-64. Up next: 12th-ranked and sixth-seeded North Carolina. A win might mean SU goes dancing. A loss almost certainly means it will not.“We’re just playing basketball,” junior guard Frank Howard said last night. “We don’t look at any game as a do or die.”The Orange and Tar Heels tip off tonight at 9 p.m. on ESPN2 (expect that to be delayed, with Virginia Tech and Notre Dame not finishing up until about that time after tipping at 7). Here’s everything you need to know about the matchup with UNC.All-time series: North Carolina leads, 10-4.Last time they played: UNC escaped the Carrier Dome with a 78-74 win on Feb. 21. SU had fallen behind by double digits before making a late comeback and tying the game at 74 with three minutes left. But the Orange was marred by turnovers late, most notably guard Joel Berry II’s steal out of the hands of Paschal Chukwu that turned into a go-ahead fastbreak layup.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe North Carolina Report: Before that game two weeks ago, The Daily Orange’s Tomer Langer previewed the Heels. He wrote of UNC’s high-powered offense, which at 83 points per game now ranks 22nd in the country. He detailed the team’s well-rounded starting five, which contains four players who score in double digits. And he explained UNC’s greatest strength, its rebounding. The Heels grab more than 42 rebounds per contest, the best mark in the country. They boast an offensive rebounding percentage of 38.7. That, according to, is the nation’s second-best rate.Those facts have not changed. The Tar Heels have two All-ACC first-team players averaging more than 17 points per game in Berry and forward Luke Maye, who was also named the league’s Most Improved Player (Frank Howard earned second place in that category).But since beating SU, UNC has dropped two-straight, losing to Miami and Duke. The former seemed to be trending well for the Heels, but Miami’s Ja’Quan Newton somehow sunk a half-court buzzer-beater to stun Berry and Co. on senior night. In the latter, the Blue Devils smothered the Heels in the second half, turning a 10-point halftime deficit into a 10-point win. How Syracuse beats North Carolina: The Orange will be well positioned if it continues to score the way it did last night. SU averages less than 68 points per game but dropped 73 last night — one less than it had against UNC before going scoreless in the game’s final three minutes.So, clean it up down the stretch. Tyus Battle and Howard were both asked yesterday about what they need to do to turn last month’s close loss into a win, and they both mentioned the sloppy play that lost SU the game in crunch time. SU finished the game with 10 turnovers.“Just finish the game,” Howard said. “I think we’ve got to — some good schemes we can run against them. They’re a great team, attack the zone very well, but I think down there, there were just some costly turnovers, and we’ll just have to clean those things up.”Stat to know: 10-7That’s UNC’s record against Quadrant 1 teams, an important figure the selection committee will use in determining who’s in and who’s out. For SU’s purposes, it means this: UNC is approaching double-digit losses, and that’s why it is playing already on the tournament’s second day. But the Tar Heels have faced the nation’s toughest schedule and are probably better because of it. They’ll want to show they’re better than the six seed they earned.Kenpom odds: Kenpom gives Syracuse a 28 percent chance to win and predicts a 74-67 loss.Player to watch: Theo Pinson, forward/guard, No. 1Syracuse did a decent job of containing UNC’s strongest weapons last month. Luke Maye finished with just nine points and Joel Berry netted 18 on 6-of-17 shooting, but Pinson, who averages just under 10 points per game, dropped a career-high 23 points. He thrived inside the zone, making nine of his 12 shots and dishing seven assists. SU knows well what happens when a role player breaks out (see: Marek Dolezaj last night) and can’t let something similar happen again. Comments Published on March 7, 2018 at 12:06 pm Contact: | @jtbloss Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Clippers hoping for different outcome vs. Rockets

first_imgPLAYA VISTA >> The last time the Rockets and Clippers met, Chris Paul was sidelined, James Harden had a triple-double and the night ended with the entire Rivers family — those who work for the Clippers at least — ejected and watching a 24-point loss from the visitors’ locker room.“Half the team was thrown out the last time,” Doc Rivers said prior to Tuesday’s practice. “Coach I heard was thrown out, I’m not sure.”The Clippers will have Paul and, yes, both the Riverses when the Rockets come to Staples Center on Wednesday. Whether the result will be any different, remains to be seen.For the Clippers, the gameplan starts, but certainly does not end, with leading MVP candidate James Harden, who is averaging 28.8 points per game and a career-high 11.3 assists. His more than three 3-pointers per game are also the best in his career. “They spread the floor, they space the floor and (Harden) attacks,” Rivers said. “He’s probably the toughest cover in the league one-on-one, so he clearly draws in help, and when he does, give him credit, he makes the right pass at the right time.”It’s been a dramatic development for both Harden and the Rockets.“They play the way they play for a reason,” Paul said. “They’re going to shoot 3s (Wednesday) night. Ain’t like they’re going to start shooting mid-range against us.”Houston (42-19) leads the NBA in 3-pointers made and 3s attempted, are second in points per game and assists and, oh, by the way the Rockets occupy the third seed the Clippers (36-23) are still ostensibly chasing in the playoff hunt.Blowout losses last week to the conference leading Warriors and Spurs did not help the Clippers argument that they are ready to contend. At full strength, finally, they would like to see that change. “I don’t think we would have rewrote any story had we beat them,” Paul said. “They (weren’t) going to crown us then. I don’t think it’s over for us now.”Guarding Harden, Rivers said, will be a collective effort, as it always is against elite players. Paul, J.J. Redick, Austin Rivers and Luc Mbah a Moute “are the four main guys” who will take turns on Harden, Doc Rivers said. “We’ve learned with Harden, there’s not one guy that’s going to guard him for a whole game,” Doc Rivers said. “I just think it’s impossible.”The Clippers historically have been able to slow Harden, although Paul said he is not “a believer in all that ‘what’s happening in the past’ stuff.’”“Especially,” he said, “when you’re talking about great players.”Speaking of great players, Paul’s presence should at least cause some headaches for the Rockets and coach Mike D’Antoni.On Sunday, in his second game back on the court since tearing a ligament in his thumb, Paul shot just 4-of-18 from the field but managed 15 points to go with 17 assists and 9 rebounds.“I feel good,” he said, “every game is different. I’m just happy to be back on the court.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

Lakers coaching hire hailed as a win and smart on social media

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error RELATED• Luke Walton to become 26th coach in Lakers history• Hiring Luke Walton is Lakers’ best move in years• Photos: Lakers reach agreement with Luke Walton• Heisler: My top 3 for Lakers coach — Luke Walton, Luke Walton and Luke Walton The Lakers got no chill for your Friday night plans. The team announced Luke Walton would be their new coach in the middle of the NFL Draft. For a front office that’s been criticized a lot more than praised this decade, everyone seemed to be in agreement: This was a good hire.See what basketball insiders said about the hire above.Having trouble viewing on mobile device? Click here. last_img read more