Ramires and Eden Hazard gave the Blues a 2-0 lead which Shaun Maloney halved after 58 minutes, before Lampard’s 86th-minute strike saw him move to within four of Bobby Tambling’s club goalscoring record of 202. Substitute Marko Marin then added a stoppage-time fourth as Chelsea. “We deserved to win,” Benitez said. “To win is something you have to do. Top sides, if you want to win something, you have to be consistent winning. It’s normal. But it’s not the end of the world if you draw a game you deserve to win. The problem for me would be if we don’t create chances; we create chances every game.” Press Association Rafael Benitez expressed delight after Frank Lampard scored his 198th Chelsea goal in a 4-1 victory over Wigan to end a four-match winless run and ease the pressure on the interim boss. He went on: “We score goals. We’re making some mistakes, but we have a lot of positives. Today four goals could be six goals at the end.” The result is likely to at least delay Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, who is not renowned for his patience, reaching for the trigger. Benitez was unfazed. “It was just speculation,” he said. “Nobody is in contact with the owner to find out if he says this or that. It is my job: try to win every game. That’s it, so I have to concentrate on that.” There was a moment of alarm when, with Chelsea leading 2-1, the visitors had a penalty appeal declined after Ronnie Stam’s shot struck Ashley Cole on the arm and Wigan boss Roberto Martinez reckons officials should be given further guidance for such incidents. “The referees need a bit of clarity,” Martinez said. “I tell my defenders not to put themselves in a position where it could be a penalty. The defender should have had his arm ‘attached’ to his body. Clearly the arm wasn’t. “But it’s down to the interpretation of the referee. It’s a difficult call.”
Swansea return to league business with Laudrup adamant their strong campaign must not finish with a damp squib. The Swans have compiled 37 points from 27 games, just three short of Laudrup’s initial target of 40 points. But the Dane does not want a repeat of last season, where the Welsh side tailed off badly after getting to 39 points, winning just two of their final nine games. He said: “If you look at some of the sides we have to play, they all have something to play for. Newcastle are not 100 per cent safe, neither are Norwich. West Brom are still playing for a place in Europe while Arsenal and Tottenham are going for the Champions League. “We cannot stop being competitive because if we do we will lose all the games. “It is part of being more mature; I am not saying we have to win six or seven of these games but we must keep being competitive. “Look at last year when the team reached 39 points after some very good weeks, then suddenly lost five of the last nine, so we cannot stop competing, we have to go on.” The only low point in last weekend’s emphatic 5-0 Capital One Cup final victory over Bradford was the unseemly row between Nathan Dyer and Jonathan de Guzman over who would take Swansea’s spot-kick, after Matt Duke had been sent off for bringing down the Dutch international. But Laudrup has confirmed De Guzman is now Swansea’s designated penalty taker, and said: “It was was very unusual as we had not had a penalty before, but maybe we will now have a penalty on Saturday. As for who will take it – you never change a winner so if Jonathan de Guzman is on the pitch he will have it.” Manager Michael Laudrup has moved to make sure there will be no penalty ructions when Swansea face Newcastle on Saturday. Press Association
Moyes said: “It’s a great honour to be asked to be the next manager of Manchester United. I am delighted that Sir Alex saw fit to recommend me for the job. I have great respect for everything he has done for the football club. “I know how hard it will be to follow the best manager ever, but the opportunity to manage Manchester United isn’t something that comes around very often and I’m really looking forward to taking up the post next season.” With Moyes committed to concluding the season at Everton, he will not be introduced as United manager until after the campaign is over. “I have had a terrific job at Everton, with a tremendous chairman and board of directors and a great set of players,” he added. “Between now and the end of the season, I will do everything in my power to make sure we finish as high as possible in the table. “Everton’s fantastic fans have played a big part in making my years at Goodison so enjoyable and I thank them wholeheartedly for the support they have given me and the players. Everton will be close to me for the rest of my life.” Having decided to end his near 27-year stint at United this summer, Ferguson quickly came to the conclusion his fellow countryman would be the right man to follow. “When we discussed the candidates that we felt had the right attributes, we unanimously agreed on David Moyes,” said Ferguson. “David is a man of great integrity with a strong work ethic. I’ve admired his work for a long time and approached him as far back as 1998 to discuss the position of assistant manager here.” Press Association The 50-year-old has signed a six-year-contract with the Old Trafford outfit and will join officially on July 1 after completing the season with Everton. Moyes has the backing of Sir Alex Ferguson, who confirmed his retirement on Wednesday, and his first official competitive game will be the Community Shield against either Manchester City or Wigan at Wembley on August 11. Manchester United have confirmed David Moyes as their new manager.
Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio is closing in on a move to appoint Inter Milan’s Valentino Angeloni as his new head of scouting. However, the former Swindon boss has indicated he intends to bring in six or seven new faces this summer to re-shape a squad which only just avoided relegation last season, and he is keen to establish a new scouting system to facilitate a long-term rebuilding programme. Owner and chairman Ellis Short invested heavily in Scotland striker Steven Fletcher and England winger Adam Johnson last summer, handing then manager Martin O’Neill a total of around £22million to land his two main targets. However, Short is keen to adopt a more sustainable approach by, much like derby rivals Newcastle, targeting young talent with sell-on value. Angeloni was himself a professional player and made more than 350 career appearances after coming through the ranks at Sampdoria. He went on to work at Cremona, Torino and Udinese, but moved to Inter in March last year to head up the club’s scouting set-up. The Black Cats have already been actively sounding out potential signings with Basle midfielder Cabral and Maritimo defender Valentin Roberge among their initial targets. Press Association The Black Cats recently dispensed with the services of the vastly-experienced Bryan “Pop” Robson, and it is understood that Angeloni is being lined up as his replacement. Di Canio has wasted little time in recruiting his own staff having arrived at the Stadium of Light along with assistant manager Fabricio Piccareta and goalkeeping coach Domenico Doardo, and compatriot Roberto De Fanti is expected to take on the role of director of football.
Stoke boss Mark Hughes has made his second signing since arriving at the club, bringing in young defender Marc Muniesa from Primera Division champions Barcelona. “It wasn’t a big decision for me to make. I came to England to meet the people at the club and look around the training ground, which is very impressive. My season only finished a fortnight ago when the European Championships ended, but I can’t wait to get started for Stoke. I would start tomorrow if the club asked me to.” Muniesa made his La Liga debut with Barca as a 17-year-old and was an unused substitute for the Champions League final success over Manchester United in 2009. The 21-year-old, who can operate at left-back or in the heart of defence, was more recently a fixture in the Barcelona B team, although Stoke still had to fend off interest for Muniesa in Spain before completing the deal. “Marc has been well-schooled by Barca. Technically, he’s a very good player and I’ve no doubts he will be an excellent addition to our squad,” Hughes said. “I know he’s very highly-regarded in Spain and was attracting interest from clubs in La Liga, but he’s an ambitious young man and wants to test himself in English football.” Stoke chief executive Tony Scholes revealed Hughes’ link with Barca had helped seal the deal. “Marc has an excellent pedigree, as you would expect from someone who has come through the ranks at a club like Barcelona, and we’re delighted to have secured his signature,” he said. “We were alerted to his availability and moved quickly to make him a Stoke City player. “The whole process was greatly helped by Mark Hughes’ links with Barcelona and it’s clear to see he’s very excited by the challenge of making an impact in the Premier League with us.” Muniesa arrives at the Britannia Stadium on a four-year deal and with significant pedigree after he helped Spain to last month’s European Under-21 Championship title. His arrival follows the signature of PSV Eindhoven’s highly-rated defender Erik Pieters as Hughes begins to stamp his mark on his new club. Hughes’ links with Barcelona, where he spent a season as player in the late 1980s, helped alert Stoke to the possibility of signing a player who stated his eagerness to make the switch. “I’m very excited about moving to England to play for Stoke City and will do everything I can to help the club,” he told Stoke’s official website. Press Association
Patrice Evra cannot believe how Manchester United have been written off in this season’s Barclays Premier League title race. Despite wrapping up their 20th championship with four games to spare last season and eventually finishing 11 points ahead of their nearest challengers, Manchester City, United were only third favourites in most bookmakers lists. That situation remains the same, even after their impressive 4-1 win at Swansea on Saturday, with Chelsea and City tipped to scrap it out for the main prize instead. Given Paul Scholes is the only departure so far and Wilfried Zaha has been added, it is a strange situation, and one the only explanation for is the exit of Sir Alex Ferguson and appointment of David Moyes. Yet, according to Evra, it is not a new phenomenon. “It is not just this season,” he told MUTV. “It is every year. “I have been here eight years now and every year people say we are going to finish fourth or fifth in the league. It is unbelievable.” Although there was an element of rustiness about United’s play, especially early on, the eventual outcome at the Liberty Stadium was not the performance of a club whose standards have dramatically slipped. Evra is not bothered about the wider message it has sent out to the league. But he does feel it will have reminded his own dressing room of their status. “The way we are working we feel good,” he said. “But the result is not a message for our opponents. It is a message to trust what are doing with this new manager, trust the way we want to play and the way he wants to win. That is it. “The message is for us, for ourselves and the Manchester United fans. “I always say the biggest opponent for Manchester United is Manchester United. Every year I play for this club I will say the same.” Given United were beaten by Everton on the opening weekend last season, not too much should be read into Saturday’s result. Robin van Persie’s brace against Swansea matched his contribution to the Community Shield win over Wigan, whilst Danny Welbeck has already doubled his league tally for the whole of last season. Moyes was delighted with Welbeck’s first, a close range effort the Scot felt showed a striker’s instinct. It was the second which was more eye-catching though, an impudent injury-time chip over Michel Vorm after Welbeck had been released by Wayne Rooney. “When he came back from the national team I said ‘why do you only score for the national team but you don’t score for your club’,” said Evra. “Now he has answered back. “I am glad for Danny. He is a striker and he deserved his goals. The second was a great finish. “Overall, it was a great start. “We worked very hard in pre-season and even if we had some bad results, the important game was the Community Shield because it was for a trophy. “Winning that was good for the spirit of the team. “We accept some compliments for this result but it is only the first game. Now we have to focus on Chelsea.” Press Association
Birmingham-born Irishman Dan Martin has withdrawn from the Vuelta a Espana following a crash on Friday’s seventh stage. Martin, nephew of 1987 world champion Stephen Roche, wrote on Twitter: “Nothing broken, but the most painful crash (I’ve) ever had. “Sad to leave the Vuelta but can’t race with these bids flying round my head. “I hit a hole or rock in the road. Down I went.” Martin also criticised race officials for compromising on rider safety. He added: “Stunned at UCI (International Cycling Union) commisaires lack of compassion. Should concentrate on rider safety and less on UCI fundraising.” Press Association The Garmin-Sharp rider, who has enjoyed a strong season which included a Tour de France stage win and victory in one-day classic Liege-Bastogne-Liege, suffered a blow to the head and pulled out prior to Saturday’s eighth stage. He will now recuperate before leading Ireland’s bid for glory in the Road World Championships in Florence on September 28.
The Portuguese hopes, after responding from successive defeats to Everton and Basle by beating Fulham and Swindon, drawing at Tottenham and winning at Steaua Bucharest, the Blues can win again at Norwich on Sunday. “It would be good,” said Mourinho, ahead of the final Barclays Premier League encounter before the international break. Jose Mourinho acknowledges his Chelsea side are far from the finished article and will suffer setbacks while they make advances. “We have a lot to improve, we have a lot to work. We will have moments of ups and downs, because teams of this profile, with young people, with some people that are not mature, the normal tendency is that performances are not always very stable. “We will have our ups and downs for sure. I’m ready for that.” Chelsea are still to win away from home in the Premier League this season. Their two victories away from Stamford Bridge were at Swindon in the Capital One Cup and in Romania last Tuesday night. The Champions League Group E game was all the more important after the loss to Basle and Mourinho was pleased with his side’s response. Following a run of a three successive away matches, Mourinho would like success in the fourth to enter the international break on a high, with the momentum continuing in the right direction. “Away, away, away, away is never easy, but we managed to get a good result under pressure in Bucharest, because we were really under pressure,” Mourinho said. “If we didn’t win that match we would’ve been in big trouble. We managed to win that game and that gave us a bit of confidence. “If we can win now, 15 days without football it will be a period to reflect, to analyse and to prepare for what is coming.” Chelsea play at home to Cardiff and Manchester City, either side of a Champions League match at Schalke, following the international break. Mourinho spoke highly of Norwich counterpart Chris Hughton, the investment made in recruiting the likes of Ricky van Wolfswinkel from Sporting Lisbon and insisted Chelsea would not underestimate the Canaries. Mourinho added: “They made a great investment this season. They had money to spend, they spent it. “They brought in good players, players with future, not just the next couple of years. The squad is very good. “The manager in my opinion is good too. I like the way he coaches. “I like the way he organises his teams, always a good mentality, always well organised. “We know it’s one more difficult match for us.” Juan Mata, who has impressed Mourinho with the new-found work ethic demanded by the manager, is confident of success at Carrow Road. The playmaker said on chelseafc.com: “We need our first away league win as soon as possible. “If we want to fight for the title you need to win your home games but also pick points up away as well. “Obviously when you play away it’s difficult, especially against teams like Norwich who are very good at home, but we’re good enough to do it. “We won 1-0 on Boxing Day there last season, I scored and I think we played really well, particularly in the first half. Now we are full of confidence and we believe we can go there and win again.” Press Association
Gunners fans jeered Chelsea from the pitch and chanted that the Blues were ‘boring’ at the end of the goalless draw after watching their side shackled by a resilient defensive performance by Mourinho’s men which extended Arsene Wenger’s winless run against the Portuguese. Responding to the ‘boring’ chants, Mourinho said: “I’d agree. I played against them 10 times and I never lost. Press Association Jose Mourinho taunted Arsenal after extending his unbeaten run over Arsene Wenger to 10 games in Chelsea’s 0-0 draw at the Emirates Stadium on Monday night. “There are other sports without contact and fantastic sports and sports that demand a lot from the players, but no contact. “Football is a game of contact. English football, winter, water on the pitch, the sliding tackles become at a fantastic speed. So be proud, play with pride.” The Portuguese was content with the result which took his side fourth, two points behind Barclays Premier League leaders Liverpool, who lead Arsenal on goal difference and play at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. Mourinho added: “Happy with the result? I would say not unhappy. We came to win, we wanted to win, we didn’t want to lose. It’s very important not to lose, because if we lose we are five points behind the leader. “And, with a point, we are two points behind both leaders. That’s a completely different picture. We tried to win, but we are not unhappy with the point.” “‘Funny, funny Jose’. Ten times, they don’t win once. What do you want to call me?” The Blues boss also criticised Mikel Arteta for overreacting to a John Obi Mikel tackle. Arteta was on the receiving end of two ankle-high tackles from Mikel and Ramires, while Arsenal might have had a penalty after Willian’s challenge on Theo Walcott in the first half. Asked about Arsenal’s reaction to the decisions which went against the hosts, Mourinho said: “They like to cry – that’s tradition. I prefer to say that English people – and I give one example, Frank Lampard – would never provoke a situation like that. “Players from other countries, especially some countries, they have that in their blood. “Foreign players are bringing lots of good things, but I prefer English blood in football and English blood in these situations is ‘come on, let’s go’.” Asked specifically about Mikel’s tackle, Mourinho insisted it was fair. He added: “It was a hard one, an aggressive one. Football is for men or for women with fantastic attitude.
The Ivory Coast international reported a problem during the warm-up ahead of Saturday’s defeat at Chelsea and was immediately withdrawn from the starting line-up. “Obviously with this sort of injury it is normally weeks rather than months,” Martinez told City Talk 105.9. Everton’s on-loan striker Lacina Traore is expected to be sidelined for a number of weeks with a hamstring injury, manager Roberto Martinez has confirmed. “The type of player Lacina is, a sprinter, means these sort of injuries need to be well recovered.” The 6ft 8in forward arrived from Monaco, having not played since November because of the winter break in the Russian season while at previous side Anzhi Makhachkala, on January 24 with an existing hamstring injury to his other leg. That delayed his involvement until he scored on his debut in the FA Cup victory over Swansea on February 15, which remains his only appearance. He now looks like missing possibly the majority of March, so the return to fitness of Everton’s other on-loan striker Romelu Lukaku is timely. The Belgium international injured an ankle in the Merseyside derby defeat at Anfield a month ago but would have been fit to play last weekend had the match not been against parent club Chelsea. “Romelu has been working really well and been looking fresh and ready. It has been such a demanding season for him,” Martinez told evertontv. “You need to refresh a little bit and get back even stronger and that is where we will see the benefit. “He watches every single game and has been keeping an eye on what we have been doing.” Everton have appealed to fans attending Saturday’s match at home to West Ham to bring donations for a food bank to help less fortunate people in the city. Staff from the club’s community department will be collecting food and toiletries to be distributed at a ‘People’s Picnic’ at Goodison Park after the match with any leftover items donated to a local food bank and various Merseyside charities. Press Association