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  1. Saturday Aug 10: Didn’t take long for the glow of last night to be extinguished did it? I think we all expected City to win, but winning 5-0 was a bit fucking much like wasn’t it? West Ham are shite, but is this what we’ve got to look forward to on a weekly basis? You know, as demoralising as City’s relentlessness is, the thing that’s bothering me most today is fucking VAR. Along with oil money, this is the worst thing to ever happen to football. I hate it. It’s shit. It needs fucking off. What happened in the City game today was an absolute nonsense, regardless of whether the decisions were right or not. This isn’t what footy is supposed to be about . We’re going to have this kind of debacle on a weekly basis. Sometimes it will be us affected but even when it’s not I still hate it. That City goal that was disallowed for offside today was a joke. I don’t need decisions to be THAT precise, but the real problem is how this kind of shit is just killing the spontaneity of the moment. We’re going to reach a point very soon where we don’t celebrate a goal because we’re waiting to see if there’s going be VAR. In fact we already have. Technology does need to be used, but not like this. The u18s kicked off their season today and won 7-1 away at Blackburn. Impressive that, especially considering hardlyany of last year’s side were playing and I’d never heard of most of these lads. I’m sure the names will become familiar soon enough if they keep this up. Sunday Aug 11: United spanking Chelsea 4-0 was great. Why? Because they’re shite but this will make people think they aren’t. Let them get their hopes up. Let them think Maguire is going to be their Van Dijk and that this is the season when Pogba lives up to all of his hype. It’s going to make it all the more enjoyable when it all goes to shit and they lose 3-0 at home to Villa or Bournemouth. Maguire getting man of the match was a classic case of the narrative being written before the game. If United won and didn’t concede a bucket load, he was always getting man of the match, the weird looking cunt. I don’t care much for him. This is just a teaser, click to view the full article Please note that 'the Week that Was' is only available to website subscribers. Subscriptions cost just £2 a month (you need to register first) and can be purchased here.
  2. I’ve had a great summer. It started in June with us winning number six. It got even better a few weeks later as I sat on the Kop watching Bon Jovi performing “Livin’ on a Prayer”. Then we got a new puppy. So life was good, it was a dream summer. And then the new season starts, Man City win 5-0 away and all of a sudden I’m sat here thinking “winter is coming”. I expect in a few weeks I’ll end up on a self imposed boycott of their games but for now I’m going to soldier on and report back with my thoughts on the fuckers. In fairness I can’t say what City did this weekend surprised me too much as West Ham are dreadful. They’re starting Jack Wilshere, for fucks sake. That tells you all you need to know. Fortunately for the Hammers he’ll be injured in a few weeks and Mark Noble will be back in. Noble has his critics but I always feel that West Ham are better with him than without. West Ham had a club record signing starting up top against City. £45m he cost and I’ve never even heard of the cunt. He’s bound to be shit, although I thought that about Felipe Anderson last year and he’s been very good. Still, they had to get one right eventually. Jesus set City on their way but the goal was all about the raw blistering speed of Walker. Obviously we all know he’s quick, but fucking hell that was mad how he just burned off Cresswell. Last time I saw pace like that it was Gabby Agbonlahor at Anfield, before he went fat and shit. Walker was like the fucking road runner. Honestly, if I had ever been able to run like that I’d have been utterly unbearable as I’d be shouting “Beep Beep” every time I sprinted past someone. De Bruyne put the second on a plate for Sterling, and seconds later it looked like it was three when Jesus tapped in Sterling’s cross. VAR chalked that one off though. Sterling was literally an inch offside, and even that was only visible by the lines drawn on the screen, as to the naked eye he looked well on. Sterling made it 3-0 with a lovely composed finish. VAR had a look at that too, as it looked more offside than the first one in real time. This one was an inch onside and the goal stood. Is this really what we want though? Technically both decisions are right, but the whole thing is a fucking farce and fans and players aren’t celebrating goals properly because they’re worried it will be chalked off. It intervened again when Aguero’s shit penalty was saved by Fabianksi, only for it to be retaken because VAR spotted that Rice had encroached and because he cleared the rebound, Aguero got a second chance which he buried. VAR was brought in to remove the controversy over incorrect decisions and stop people talking about bad decisions. Instead everyone is talking about VAR. It hasn’t made anything better, it’s just a different kind of shit. I hate it. Sterling broke clear for his hat-trick in stoppage time. He’s a good bet for the Golden Boot this year I reckon, he seems to score every fucking week and he’s hardly ever rested either. If he keeps improving the way he has been he might be worth us taking a look at in a year or two. This is just a teaser, click here to view the full article Please note that PL Round Ups are only available to website subscribers. Subscriptions cost just £2 a month (you need to register first) and can be purchased here.
  3. Report by Dave Usher It's not quite the Champions League but it was still a nice feeling seeing Hendo and the lads repeating their trophy lift routine. It was also nice not to lose a penalty shoot out. The game itself provided more cause for concern than reasons to be cocky, but we won so that makes it easier to put those concerns to one side. I’m sure Klopp and his staff will have seen things they want to iron out as quickly as possible though, as I didn’t think we played well at all. We didn’t deserve to win the game but we didn’t deserve to lose either. We should have beaten City the other week and losing on pens was a bit of a kick in the teeth. Had we lost this one, I don’t think we’d have had too much cause to feel hard done by, other than by VAR which I’ll get to in due course. The Super Cup isn’t the biggest trophy in the world, but I’ve got a spring in my step today. There isn’t that euphoric buzz of winning a Champions League, but it still feels good doesn’t it? UEFA will be delighted too. A packed crowd, great atmosphere, exciting game and the winning side celebrating like it genuinely means something. They couldn’t have asked for more. It was also the first game to be officiated by an all female refereeing team and they did well. That too has to be seen as a success, despite the cack handed attempt to help them out by the VAR crew. Again, I’ll get to that in a bit. As Big Virg said afterwards, it was a good game for the neutrals. Chelsea probably feel a lot like we did after losing the Charity Shield. The loss stings but they’ll have taken a lot of positives out of the way they played. For us it’s a case of just grabbing the trophy and getting the hell home to rest up. Forget about the performance, but take some lessons from how easily Chelsea were able to open us up at times. Chelsea were good to be fair. I was a bit surprised at how well they played, but I wonder how much of that was down to us not being at the level we expect. Norwich looked good too, let’s not forget. There’s something not quite right with us at the minute. Everyone is talking about this high line we’re playing and it’s clearly not working exactly as it’s supposed to. Teams are getting behind us too easily, but Chelsea were also running at us as well as in behind us. We looked all over the place at times. This is just a teaser, click here to view the full article Please note that Match Reports are only available to website subscribers. Subscriptions cost just £2 a month (you need to register first) and can be purchased here.
  4. Report by Dave Usher A 4-1 home win to kick off the season isn’t anything to be sniffed at, which is why I had to chastise myself at full time when I realised that my pleasure at the result was tinged by mild disappointment and a sense of missed opportunity. I’m aware that’s daft and goes against every traditionally held viewpoint, and that’s why I had to check myself. That being said, City’s win the next day does kind of validate my initial reaction, to some extent at least. Before you stop reading, log off and call me a miserable, impossible to please bastard, allow me to explain. It’s a mark of how special this team is - and also of the almost impossibly high bar that has been set by Guardiola’s side - that a 4-1 win isn’t wholly satisfactory anymore, especially when it was 4-0 at half time. This team is so good that winning by three goals at home is almost level par, nothing special, just what we’ve come to expect. That’s the standard they’ve set for themselves in recent years. Unfortunately the standard City have set is marginally higher, which they demonstrated again by topping our 4-1 result with a 5-0 win away at West Ham. Annoying bastards. Despite the tinge of disappointment at letting a really big score get away from us, I’m trying not to allow what City do lessen the enjoyment I get from watching the Reds. It isn’t always easy though. After how last season went it’s always in the back of your mind that we need to try and match them, not just point for point but also goal for goal, in case it comes down to that. Trying to do that and constantly thinking about it is fucking tiring though, isn’t it? Last season was torture at times, and it’s almost like the summer never happened as I’ve just picked up those exact same emotions I was having last year. Even though it’s fucking August!! We can’t control what they do except when we play them but if we’re going to challenge them again like we did last year then we’ll need to take every opportunity that comes our way. From that perspective, I think we let one slip through our grasp a little here, because goal difference might end up being important. That said, I enjoyed the game and it was refreshing to come up against an opponent that didn’t just pack their own box and try to stifle us. Norwich’s approach to the game was actually quite astonishing I thought. Other than Man City, I bet we won’t see anyone else try to play that way against us. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The amount of times Tim Krul just passed it five yards to his centre back from goal kicks was incredible. They tried to play their way out time and time again and in fairness they managed it more often than not. They’re going to be fun to watch this season. I thought it was foolhardy but that’s how the coach wants his team to play and fair play to him for being brave enough to do that against us, especially at 4-0 down. At times early in the second half it looked like we were going to overwhelm them as they were trying to play out from inside their own box while we were pushed right up on them. Doing that against us is like throwing a used tampon into a shark tank. Our lads were swarming all over them and the only surprise was that we didn’t score from one of those situations. We almost did when Salah bent one inches wide after Fabinho had won the ball in their half, but overall Norwich played through our press far better than I would have expected them to. This is just a teaser, click to view the full article Please note that Match Reports are only available to website subscribers. Subscriptions cost just £2 a month (you need to register first) and can be purchased here.
  5. Saturday Aug 3: Klopp makes a completely innocuous comment about our spending capability in relation to other clubs (“we don’t live in a transfer fantasia” or something), and City got their knickers in a knot. I’ve said before about how their press office are utterly obsessed with us and what they see as the unbalanced reporting in our favour, so it’s no surprise they saw their arses over this. I expect that of them, because they’re a mixture of small time dickheads who have no idea how big clubs are supposed to be have, and Abu Dhabi trained zealots who think they can control everything said or written about them (see the leaked emails from that chief exec fella). It’s a bit much when old Baldiola weighs in talking absolute bollocks as well though. “We don’t get enough credit wah wah wah” “Kevin De Bruyne should have been player of the year but you gave it to Salah wah wah wah”. “We won five trophies wah wah wah”. How does he not get this? When you spend what they spend, it’s expected that you’ll win everything. It’s only a story when you don’t. Spending what they’ve spent isn’t a guarantee of anything of course, but it does make it easier. Still, not even I would try to suggest he hasn’t done a great job. He really has. His squad is full of £50m players but he’s taken the sum of those parts and built a team that’s greater than it, which is far from easy. He’s a great coach, but Klopp finished one point behind him on a fraction of the budget and he also won the Champions League. So pipe down, baldy, you’re getting the credit you deserve, it’s just that we deserve more. Tell you what winds me up though. City keep using the wage bill thing to show that they aren’t spending more than us and United. Firstly, the figures they are putting on their accounts are obviously complete horseshit and I’d estimate there’s at least £100m a year they aren’t declaring. Secondly, even by their own cooked books the difference is still only £4m a year between us and them, but they’re spending quadruple what we are on transfer fees. Thirdly, Man City are fucking minuscule in comparison to us and United, so how is it possible they can spend more without breaking the rules? The answer is that it isn’t possible. I’m not arsed about the Charity Shield itself one tiny bit but I desperately want to fucking smash them everywhere tomorrow. Sunday Aug 4: Aaaaaargh fuck off. We should have won that, we were better than them and they got out of jail. We didn’t start well and the organisation at the back wasn’t quite there, but we had no problems creating chances and the longer the game went on the more we just got a stranglehold on it. It was impressive stuff and in time I’m sure I’ll be able to focus on that. Right now though I’m just so pissed off we didn’t beat them. They celebrated a little too exuberantly I’m told. I wouldn’t know as my toys went out the pram as soon as the whistle went and I turned the TV off, but it probably tells you a lot that they reacted like that. City know they were second best but it doesn’t really matter when they also know they’ll have very little trouble with the rest of the league. From their point of view, they need to avoid defeat in the games against us and they’ll probably be ok. So we need to fucking beat them, preferably twice. To do that we need to be much more clinical than we have the last few times we’ve played them. Did we learn anything about Klopp’s plans for this season? I think we did. There were some interesting selection decisions. Gomez starting over Matip for example. That tells me that Joe will start the season and has regained his spot as Virgil’s main partner. It’s hard to argue with that but it’s not what I’d have done. Maybe Gomez is better than Matip, but for me Matip was in possession of the shirt and did nothing to deserve losing his place. The only thing that happened was the season ended. Right now I think he’d my first choice and Joe would have to wait for his opportunity. It’s not something I feel especially strongly about and I’m not moaning about it, but that’s just how I see things. Divock on the left was significant too. Not because he’s likely to play there often, but because he’s clearly the next in line when ANY of the front three are missing. He’ll play left when Sadio isn’t there, central when Bobby isn’t and I’d guess that he’d also get the nod when Mo isn’t playing, albeit he might be on the left with Sadio switching over. For all the whining from some about us needing to sign someone, I don’t see too many players out there that would even make our bench. Ideally I’d have wanted a fourth match winner that we could rotate in and out with the rest of the front three, but that ship sailed when Klopp decided to give Divock a new deal. He’s put his faith in Origi and although I still feel he has plenty to prove (he’s played well in spurts but we need to see him do it consistently) but if Klopp believes in him then who am I to doubt that? He knows what he’s doing, so instead of cryarsing about us not buying new players, how about putting faith in the ones we actually have, because let’s face it, after 97 points and a European Cup they deserve it. This is just a teaser, click here to view the full article Please note that 'the Week that Was' is only available to website subscribers. Subscriptions cost just £2 a month (you need to register first) and can be purchased here.
  6. Divock Origi has spoken about the importance of building momentum in the early stages of a new campaign.The striker got a start alongside Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah with Sadio Mane only returning to training on Monday after a well deserved break following international commitments.The Belgian made a impression in the first ten minutes of the game when his cross was steered by Norwich captain Grant Hanley into the back of his own net.After goals by Mo Salah and Virgil Van Dijk, Origi put a exclamation mark on a terrific first 45 minutes of the season when he headed home from a trademark pinpoint pass by Trent Alexander-Arnold.It continued a rich vein of form for Origi as it was his fifth goal in his last six games for the Reds in all competitions.While the pre-season form of the Reds was understandably scratchy with key players absent, the community shield against Man City was a key step forward, and the clash against the Canaries followed in the same fashion. The Official site reported Origi as saying:"As a first game, we wanted to make another step from the game against [Manchester] City and obviously winning 4-1 against a very good team is good for us."I think there's a lot of good elements, some elements where we can still improve. But it's still the start of the season, so I think it's very positive."We had a lot of respect for this team and we knew that if we didn't play at 100 per cent we could have problems."You could see in some instances that they had a lot of quality but I thought we dealt with it well. "In the end, 4-1 is a very good performance for us."The games keep coming thick and fast for the European Champions early in the season where they take on Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday evening in Istanbul.The opportunity to play for these kinds of honours is what Footballers live for and Origi said the level of expectation within the squad is high."I think there's something special going on."Last year we could finish the season off with a cup and that was good for us. "But now we have to make the next step. "Also in the Premier League, we have a lot to play for, a lot of prizes to play for this season."I think we have a very good group and we're all very motivated." View full article
  7. Divock Origi has spoken about the importance of building momentum in the early stages of a new campaign.The striker got a start alongside Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah with Sadio Mane only returning to training on Monday after a well deserved break following international commitments.The Belgian made a impression in the first ten minutes of the game when his cross was steered by Norwich captain Grant Hanley into the back of his own net.After goals by Mo Salah and Virgil Van Dijk, Origi put a exclamation mark on a terrific first 45 minutes of the season when he headed home from a trademark pinpoint pass by Trent Alexander-Arnold.It continued a rich vein of form for Origi as it was his fifth goal in his last six games for the Reds in all competitions.While the pre-season form of the Reds was understandably scratchy with key players absent, the community shield against Man City was a key step forward, and the clash against the Canaries followed in the same fashion. The Official site reported Origi as saying:"As a first game, we wanted to make another step from the game against [Manchester] City and obviously winning 4-1 against a very good team is good for us."I think there's a lot of good elements, some elements where we can still improve. But it's still the start of the season, so I think it's very positive."We had a lot of respect for this team and we knew that if we didn't play at 100 per cent we could have problems."You could see in some instances that they had a lot of quality but I thought we dealt with it well. "In the end, 4-1 is a very good performance for us."The games keep coming thick and fast for the European Champions early in the season where they take on Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday evening in Istanbul.The opportunity to play for these kinds of honours is what Footballers live for and Origi said the level of expectation within the squad is high."I think there's something special going on."Last year we could finish the season off with a cup and that was good for us. "But now we have to make the next step. "Also in the Premier League, we have a lot to play for, a lot of prizes to play for this season."I think we have a very good group and we're all very motivated."
  8. Jurgen Klopp has spoken of his joy as the the European champions opened the new Premier League season on Friday evening with a 4-1 victory over a gallant Norwich outfit. However, the manager was quick to point out that that there is plenty of room for improvement.The Reds had put the game to bed in the first 45 minutes, with goals to Mo Salah, Virgil Van Dijk, Divock Origi and a own goal by Norwich captain Grant Hanley.But the Canaries gave the scoreline some respectability in the second half courtesy of Finland striker Teemu Pukki. Sky Sports reported the manager saying that the the game was split into two sections. "It [the scoreline] tells the story of the first 60 minutes. "We were really sharp from the first whistle, we did what we wanted to do and we scored goals. Klopp was very impressed with what he saw from the Canaries."Norwich are good and now a lot more people know it."They showed up and it was difficult for them in the first 60 minutes but after that, staying that cheeky and staying that lively is impressive. "It was really good and there are so many good, young players in that squad. I liked a lot what they did. Klopp said after a somewhat disjointed pre-season with many absentees, he was just happy to clinch the three points as they look to negotiate the early stages of a new campaign."We have to learn some things that are not completely new, and if someone had told us before the game we were going to win 4-1, we would have taken it."They were good but we deserved the three points, which is the most important. Klopp pinpointed defensive intensity as something the team can work on in the weeks ahead."The main problem today defensively was the reaction to the second balls. " We won all the headers but none of the second balls in the first half and that kills you. "They were really good and have really interesting young players, but in the end, you have to deal with it in these different situations."There's a lot of space for improvement but a lot of things were there today as well. The main blow on the evening was the injury to goalkeeper Alisson who was helped off the ground after suffering a calf injury giving former West Ham keeper Adrian a competitive debut for the club in the same week he signed on as a free agent." The Alisson situation is a shadow on that game. "He has injured his calf, and we have to see how much time he is on the sidelines." View full article
  9. Jurgen Klopp has spoken of his joy as the the European champions opened the new Premier League season on Friday evening with a 4-1 victory over a gallant Norwich outfit. However, the manager was quick to point out that that there is plenty of room for improvement.The Reds had put the game to bed in the first 45 minutes, with goals to Mo Salah, Virgil Van Dijk, Divock Origi and a own goal by Norwich captain Grant Hanley.But the Canaries gave the scoreline some respectability in the second half courtesy of Finland striker Teemu Pukki. Sky Sports reported the manager saying that the the game was split into two sections. "It [the scoreline] tells the story of the first 60 minutes. "We were really sharp from the first whistle, we did what we wanted to do and we scored goals. Klopp was very impressed with what he saw from the Canaries."Norwich are good and now a lot more people know it."They showed up and it was difficult for them in the first 60 minutes but after that, staying that cheeky and staying that lively is impressive. "It was really good and there are so many good, young players in that squad. I liked a lot what they did. Klopp said after a somewhat disjointed pre-season with many absentees, he was just happy to clinch the three points as they look to negotiate the early stages of a new campaign."We have to learn some things that are not completely new, and if someone had told us before the game we were going to win 4-1, we would have taken it."They were good but we deserved the three points, which is the most important. Klopp pinpointed defensive intensity as something the team can work on in the weeks ahead."The main problem today defensively was the reaction to the second balls. " We won all the headers but none of the second balls in the first half and that kills you. "They were really good and have really interesting young players, but in the end, you have to deal with it in these different situations."There's a lot of space for improvement but a lot of things were there today as well. The main blow on the evening was the injury to goalkeeper Alisson who was helped off the ground after suffering a calf injury giving former West Ham keeper Adrian a competitive debut for the club in the same week he signed on as a free agent." The Alisson situation is a shadow on that game. "He has injured his calf, and we have to see how much time he is on the sidelines."
  10. tlw content

    Opposition View - Norwich City

    This season TLW will give the readers a look into the opposition camp as we progress through what should be another thrilling season. The opening game against newly promoted Norwich on Friday night is the perfect launching point for this piece. Connor Southwell (@cjsouthwell1902) and Anita Byrne (@anitajbyrne) from @NorwichCityMFW give an insightful viewpoint about what it means to be back in the Premier League, the impact of their impressive manager Daniel Farke and who their key players are to keep an eye on throughout the season. Before we look ahead, belated congratulations for your return to the Premier League. Can you talk our readers through what it means to be back in the top tier of English Football and perhaps a personal highlight or two from your outstanding Championship winning season? CS: Thank you! The majority of the Canary nation would proclaim that the feeling is one of profound sweetness. To contextualise, you have to rewind two seasons previous, where Daniel Farke had just been installed, and the club felt like it was in somewhat of a slump. Disconnect between the players and the supporters became fractious with the general perception of underachievement because of the highest ever wage budget Alex Neil oversaw. The last two years have proved transformative. Sporting Director Stuart Webber has instigated the most significant culture change the club has ever experienced, with a lower budget being embraced and youth were provided with a chance. The bridge between the first team and the academy has been non-existent for a while. From there, it was all down to Farke. He’d experienced a tough first season which was put down to the transitional state of the club. Recruitment was a key factor, but the German deserves all the praise for sculpting a side to play football that was aesthetically pleasing but equally effective. The combination of youth and entertaining football made for a season that will be confined to the history books forever. That underdog spirit was something special and, at times, Carrow Road was a cauldron of noise. In terms of highlights, there are two that stand out in my mind. That win at Elland Road where Norwich schooled Marcelo Bielsa’s men and tactically outthought them. That was the night many Norwich fans became believers and then Blackburn at home, the game that secured promotion. It’s good to be back, but now they need to prove they deserve to stay there. Can you give an insight into your manager Daniel Farke. From an outsiders point of view he has come to the club, assessed what needed to be done and went about it in a methodical fashion, much like what his countryman Jurgen Klopp did for the Reds. What has impressed you most about the man and his methods? CS: I think there’s an assumption about every German coach who comes to these shores that their methodology and philosophy is identical to that to Jurgen Klopp because of the impact he’s made at Liverpool. The influx of German coaches with Farke, Wagner, Siewart, Stendel and Hassenhuttel (although Austrian) has altered the dynamic with fresh ideas and a style of football that places entertainment at the forefront of the game. Spanish possession and tika-taka have been developed with ideas of pressing. However, with Farke, Norwich has seen a more Thomas Tuchel approach whereby it’s all about being the protagonists in-game and using that possession-based approach to create overloads with an emphasis on attacking phases. The full-backs occupy high positions, and the wingers become number tens. It’s all about locating space between the lines. His ability to get an extra percentage out of players has been a massive strength. Players like Moritz Leitner, who was on the bench for Borussia Dortmund in the 2013 Champions League Final and have lost their way slightly, he’s managed to rejuvenate players careers on a shoestring with a style suited to the Premier League. He’s proven himself to be an adept and pragmatic operator. What’s impressed me more than anything is his temperament. Regardless of the club’s fate or situations, he always remained level headed. After a 4-0 defeat to Millwall, he was calm and rational, and equally so after the game that sealed promotion. Football is an emotional game, but it shows his composure. For fans all over the footballing landscape, the new season breeds plenty of hope especially in terms of a newly promoted club. Some promoted clubs like Huddersfield and Cardiff see the first season almost as a free hit and a true adventure, whilst others like Bournemouth, Burnley and Wolves seemingly have a structure in place to have a long term stay. Of course there are plenty of variables to take into account throughout the course of a season, but do you feel the club have a strong structure in place to become an established Premier League club? CS: The structure has been built over the last two years. I don’t see anything dramatic changing, particularly. They are ahead of the curve in terms of their long-term project to become established. They’ve developed the training ground and also have several assets on the pitch in terms of young talent so relegation wouldn’t be harmful in that sense. Naturally, the aim is to survive and prosper in the Premier League, but it’s about cultivating that underdog spirit and thriving off it. Every pundit, predictor and supporter outside of Norfolk will undoubtedly have Norwich in their bottom three, that’s what Norwich have developed momentum from. That attitude of overcoming adversity and proving people wrong. The group they’ve constructed has been designed purposefully to have the characteristic of being on the football rejection line. That culture they’ve installed is due to stand the test of time, regardless of who occupies the dugout. So in that regard, Norwich won’t alter their core beliefs irrespective of the league they are in. There was a point where relegation was feared, now, because of that strong structure, if they go down, then there is a belief they’ll come back. If they stay up, then the potential is there to sustain themselves. AB: Norwich have not changed our squad significantly or spent big money in the transfer market, which has targeted the club for some negativity and accusations of “lack of ambition” and “naivety." However, if you look at Fulham and its spending last season it doesn’t always amount to success. We have a team we don’t have individuals that think they’re bigger than the club. The camaraderie and bond has extended itself to the fans, which in return has increased atmosphere, it’s a double-edged sword. Any players that would come into the club would have to buy into its philosophy. Also making too many changes could alter that balance, let’s reward our players that got us promotion. Some of our players proved they are worth more than our rival teams are spending. Talk us through some of your squad. Who are some of your key players that Liverpool need to keep a close eye on and who do you feel have the qualities needed to thrive at this level? CS : Teemu Pukki is going to be a primary protagonist for Norwich’s survival mission. His 30 goals in all competitions were bettered only by James Norwood in the EFL. In terms of free transfers, he has to be one of the best in the club’s history: a natural goalscorer but an intellectual mover who can finish from all angles. Another is Emi Buendia, a name that I’m sure will be accustomed to all come May. The Argentinean is one of those footballers capable of provoking emotion with his creative style. His ability to impact games and produce moments of genuine quality excites the Canary faithful. Buendia can unlock doors that many can’t. His temperament is a concern, and his relentless graft often becomes aggression. Another intelligent operator, Buendia’s game, is reliant of locating those spaces between the lines and turning on the half turn. He’s a technical footballer whose ceiling is way beyond his current level — one to watch. Then, of course, there is a plethora of young talent at Farke’s disposal. Max Aarons and Jamal Lewis, the two full-backs, have been pivotal for asserting Farke’s possession-based philosophy. Their dynamism and physicality are vital to providing width and an out ball when the space in the central phase is condensed. Which of your summer signings have impressed you most in the pre-season? AB: Man City winger Patrick Roberts (pictured below) who has joined on a season long loan is a player I could see getting some valuable minutes on the pitch, lets hope he can reproduce his success at Celtic. Injuries have hampered him and our coach has already got the best out of players who feel they need a second chance and got it all to prove. This could also apply to former West Ham and Leeds right back Sam Byram. Just as being the first match on centre court for the Wimbledon Championships or facing the first ball in a Lords test match is a massive occasion, there must be great sense of pride for the club to be involved in a stand-alone season opener under the Anfield lights? AB: In my eyes Anfield is the best way to kick off our start in the top flight of football. Klopp v Farke, two German coaches both from Borussia Dortmund, with mutual respect. Klopp was known to be following the Canaries results closely last year having worked with Moritz Leitner, Mario Vrancic and Marco Steipermann in the past. First game against the champions of Europe, a huge stage to start on. I would love Farke to become as successful as Klopp, there is no doubting how both have won the hearts of their fans. CS: This is what the players worked so tirelessly for last season, for nights and opportunities like this. Without pressure, they can go and showcase themselves on one of the most famous sporting backdrops in the world. There is pride, but Norwich has a group who will travel to Anfield with a desire and belief that they can win. They don’t fear anyone, nor will their natural inclination to be to put men behind the ball. Norwich will come to Anfield believing they can return with three points, of course, they won’t possess the same amount of the ball, so it’ll be interesting how they approach it but, of course, it’ll be an uphill battle. Thankfully for the Canaries there is no Luis Suarez in the Liverpool lineup. But in an opposition fans’ opinion, who are the key men that Norwich need to contain in your quest to get a result? CS: Haha! Thank goodness for no Luis Suarez! Whoever Liverpool deploy will ooze quality, so dismantling the Reds system and nullifying the supply line to that potent front three is key. What Liverpool possess is a game that doesn’t provide respite, whether they are on or off the ball or in transition. It’s going to be an uphill battle for the Canaries… Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are undoubtedly the operators Norwich to somehow contain but reducing Liverpool’s time in possession and attempting to stop the ball as it travels through the thirds is the challenge. It’ll be a counter-attacking performance at Anfield from Norwich; I think that’s the case for every team who finds themselves in the opposing dressing room. I’m intrigued to see how it pans out, but that front three is mortifying for every team in the division. With their extended summers for varying reasons, hopefully, they have a rare off day come August 9th. If money was no object who is the one player which current Liverpool player would you love to have in your lineup? AB: Without hesitation PFA player of the year... Virgil Van Dijk would be the player I would jump at having in our line up. He must be one of or if not the best Centre back in the world. He has it all! Good on the ball, pace and can even use his head. A defender who is as equally great in both boxes, hard working and still young enough to improve. Worth every penny of his huge transfer fee, not something us as Norwich fans could ever believe we could spend under our current module. CS: The obvious answer would be to say any of the front three. That would be tremendous fun to consume every week. Instead, I’ll apply it to Norwich at the moment; the goalkeeping situation is still not fixed, so Alisson would be perfect for occupying that spot. With the youthful exuberance in the defence, then an assured, positive influence in goal who can win points singlehandedly, that could be a massive asset in the bid for survival. One of the best goalkeepers in the world, you can’t turn your nose up at that! So what is your score prediction for this fixture? CS: I think it’ll be an exciting game with a curious dynamic, but I’ll be pragmatic and go with a humbling 3-0 defeat. As long as it isn’t humiliating, then Norwich can dust themselves down and go again. And in broader terms where do you think you will finish in 2019/20? AB. Survival is crucial this season for us to then learn and build the following season. I would be happy with 15th however if we could finish above that i would class that as a huge success. Watching Nuno’s Wolverhampton proves that a club can come up from the Championship and build on their success, let’s hope Norwich can do just that.
  11. This season TLW will give the readers a look into the opposition camp as we progress through what should be another thrilling season. The opening game against newly promoted Norwich on Friday night is the perfect launching point for this piece. Connor Southwell (@cjsouthwell1902) and Anita Byrne (@anitajbyrne) from @NorwichCityMFW give an insightful viewpoint about what it means to be back in the Premier League, the impact of their impressive manager Daniel Farke and who their key players are to keep an eye on throughout the season. Before we look ahead, belated congratulations for your return to the Premier League. Can you talk our readers through what it means to be back in the top tier of English Football and perhaps a personal highlight or two from your outstanding Championship winning season? CS: Thank you! The majority of the Canary nation would proclaim that the feeling is one of profound sweetness. To contextualise, you have to rewind two seasons previous, where Daniel Farke had just been installed, and the club felt like it was in somewhat of a slump. Disconnect between the players and the supporters became fractious with the general perception of underachievement because of the highest ever wage budget Alex Neil oversaw. The last two years have proved transformative. Sporting Director Stuart Webber has instigated the most significant culture change the club has ever experienced, with a lower budget being embraced and youth were provided with a chance. The bridge between the first team and the academy has been non-existent for a while. From there, it was all down to Farke. He’d experienced a tough first season which was put down to the transitional state of the club. Recruitment was a key factor, but the German deserves all the praise for sculpting a side to play football that was aesthetically pleasing but equally effective. The combination of youth and entertaining football made for a season that will be confined to the history books forever. That underdog spirit was something special and, at times, Carrow Road was a cauldron of noise. In terms of highlights, there are two that stand out in my mind. That win at Elland Road where Norwich schooled Marcelo Bielsa’s men and tactically outthought them. That was the night many Norwich fans became believers and then Blackburn at home, the game that secured promotion. It’s good to be back, but now they need to prove they deserve to stay there. Can you give an insight into your manager Daniel Farke. From an outsiders point of view he has come to the club, assessed what needed to be done and went about it in a methodical fashion, much like what his countryman Jurgen Klopp did for the Reds. What has impressed you most about the man and his methods? CS: I think there’s an assumption about every German coach who comes to these shores that their methodology and philosophy is identical to that to Jurgen Klopp because of the impact he’s made at Liverpool. The influx of German coaches with Farke, Wagner, Siewart, Stendel and Hassenhuttel (although Austrian) has altered the dynamic with fresh ideas and a style of football that places entertainment at the forefront of the game. Spanish possession and tika-taka have been developed with ideas of pressing. However, with Farke, Norwich has seen a more Thomas Tuchel approach whereby it’s all about being the protagonists in-game and using that possession-based approach to create overloads with an emphasis on attacking phases. The full-backs occupy high positions, and the wingers become number tens. It’s all about locating space between the lines. His ability to get an extra percentage out of players has been a massive strength. Players like Moritz Leitner, who was on the bench for Borussia Dortmund in the 2013 Champions League Final and have lost their way slightly, he’s managed to rejuvenate players careers on a shoestring with a style suited to the Premier League. He’s proven himself to be an adept and pragmatic operator. What’s impressed me more than anything is his temperament. Regardless of the club’s fate or situations, he always remained level headed. After a 4-0 defeat to Millwall, he was calm and rational, and equally so after the game that sealed promotion. Football is an emotional game, but it shows his composure. For fans all over the footballing landscape, the new season breeds plenty of hope especially in terms of a newly promoted club. Some promoted clubs like Huddersfield and Cardiff see the first season almost as a free hit and a true adventure, whilst others like Bournemouth, Burnley and Wolves seemingly have a structure in place to have a long term stay. Of course there are plenty of variables to take into account throughout the course of a season, but do you feel the club have a strong structure in place to become an established Premier League club? CS: The structure has been built over the last two years. I don’t see anything dramatic changing, particularly. They are ahead of the curve in terms of their long-term project to become established. They’ve developed the training ground and also have several assets on the pitch in terms of young talent so relegation wouldn’t be harmful in that sense. Naturally, the aim is to survive and prosper in the Premier League, but it’s about cultivating that underdog spirit and thriving off it. Every pundit, predictor and supporter outside of Norfolk will undoubtedly have Norwich in their bottom three, that’s what Norwich have developed momentum from. That attitude of overcoming adversity and proving people wrong. The group they’ve constructed has been designed purposefully to have the characteristic of being on the football rejection line. That culture they’ve installed is due to stand the test of time, regardless of who occupies the dugout. So in that regard, Norwich won’t alter their core beliefs irrespective of the league they are in. There was a point where relegation was feared, now, because of that strong structure, if they go down, then there is a belief they’ll come back. If they stay up, then the potential is there to sustain themselves. AB: Norwich have not changed our squad significantly or spent big money in the transfer market, which has targeted the club for some negativity and accusations of “lack of ambition” and “naivety." However, if you look at Fulham and its spending last season it doesn’t always amount to success. We have a team we don’t have individuals that think they’re bigger than the club. The camaraderie and bond has extended itself to the fans, which in return has increased atmosphere, it’s a double-edged sword. Any players that would come into the club would have to buy into its philosophy. Also making too many changes could alter that balance, let’s reward our players that got us promotion. Some of our players proved they are worth more than our rival teams are spending. Talk us through some of your squad. Who are some of your key players that Liverpool need to keep a close eye on and who do you feel have the qualities needed to thrive at this level? CS : Teemu Pukki is going to be a primary protagonist for Norwich’s survival mission. His 30 goals in all competitions were bettered only by James Norwood in the EFL. In terms of free transfers, he has to be one of the best in the club’s history: a natural goalscorer but an intellectual mover who can finish from all angles. Another is Emi Buendia, a name that I’m sure will be accustomed to all come May. The Argentinean is one of those footballers capable of provoking emotion with his creative style. His ability to impact games and produce moments of genuine quality excites the Canary faithful. Buendia can unlock doors that many can’t. His temperament is a concern, and his relentless graft often becomes aggression. Another intelligent operator, Buendia’s game, is reliant of locating those spaces between the lines and turning on the half turn. He’s a technical footballer whose ceiling is way beyond his current level — one to watch. Then, of course, there is a plethora of young talent at Farke’s disposal. Max Aarons and Jamal Lewis, the two full-backs, have been pivotal for asserting Farke’s possession-based philosophy. Their dynamism and physicality are vital to providing width and an out ball when the space in the central phase is condensed. Which of your summer signings have impressed you most in the pre-season? AB: Man City winger Patrick Roberts (pictured below) who has joined on a season long loan is a player I could see getting some valuable minutes on the pitch, lets hope he can reproduce his success at Celtic. Injuries have hampered him and our coach has already got the best out of players who feel they need a second chance and got it all to prove. This could also apply to former West Ham and Leeds right back Sam Byram. Just as being the first match on centre court for the Wimbledon Championships or facing the first ball in a Lords test match is a massive occasion, there must be great sense of pride for the club to be involved in a stand-alone season opener under the Anfield lights? AB: In my eyes Anfield is the best way to kick off our start in the top flight of football. Klopp v Farke, two German coaches both from Borussia Dortmund, with mutual respect. Klopp was known to be following the Canaries results closely last year having worked with Moritz Leitner, Mario Vrancic and Marco Steipermann in the past. First game against the champions of Europe, a huge stage to start on. I would love Farke to become as successful as Klopp, there is no doubting how both have won the hearts of their fans. CS: This is what the players worked so tirelessly for last season, for nights and opportunities like this. Without pressure, they can go and showcase themselves on one of the most famous sporting backdrops in the world. There is pride, but Norwich has a group who will travel to Anfield with a desire and belief that they can win. They don’t fear anyone, nor will their natural inclination to be to put men behind the ball. Norwich will come to Anfield believing they can return with three points, of course, they won’t possess the same amount of the ball, so it’ll be interesting how they approach it but, of course, it’ll be an uphill battle. Thankfully for the Canaries there is no Luis Suarez in the Liverpool lineup. But in an opposition fans’ opinion, who are the key men that Norwich need to contain in your quest to get a result? CS: Haha! Thank goodness for no Luis Suarez! Whoever Liverpool deploy will ooze quality, so dismantling the Reds system and nullifying the supply line to that potent front three is key. What Liverpool possess is a game that doesn’t provide respite, whether they are on or off the ball or in transition. It’s going to be an uphill battle for the Canaries… Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are undoubtedly the operators Norwich to somehow contain but reducing Liverpool’s time in possession and attempting to stop the ball as it travels through the thirds is the challenge. It’ll be a counter-attacking performance at Anfield from Norwich; I think that’s the case for every team who finds themselves in the opposing dressing room. I’m intrigued to see how it pans out, but that front three is mortifying for every team in the division. With their extended summers for varying reasons, hopefully, they have a rare off day come August 9th. If money was no object who is the one player which current Liverpool player would you love to have in your lineup? AB: Without hesitation PFA player of the year... Virgil Van Dijk would be the player I would jump at having in our line up. He must be one of or if not the best Centre back in the world. He has it all! Good on the ball, pace and can even use his head. A defender who is as equally great in both boxes, hard working and still young enough to improve. Worth every penny of his huge transfer fee, not something us as Norwich fans could ever believe we could spend under our current module. CS: The obvious answer would be to say any of the front three. That would be tremendous fun to consume every week. Instead, I’ll apply it to Norwich at the moment; the goalkeeping situation is still not fixed, so Alisson would be perfect for occupying that spot. With the youthful exuberance in the defence, then an assured, positive influence in goal who can win points singlehandedly, that could be a massive asset in the bid for survival. One of the best goalkeepers in the world, you can’t turn your nose up at that! So what is your score prediction for this fixture? CS: I think it’ll be an exciting game with a curious dynamic, but I’ll be pragmatic and go with a humbling 3-0 defeat. As long as it isn’t humiliating, then Norwich can dust themselves down and go again. And in broader terms where do you think you will finish in 2019/20? AB. Survival is crucial this season for us to then learn and build the following season. I would be happy with 15th however if we could finish above that i would class that as a huge success. Watching Nuno’s Wolverhampton proves that a club can come up from the Championship and build on their success, let’s hope Norwich can do just that. View full article
  12. tlw content

    Time to bring back Philippe Coutinho?

    To say Philippe Coutinho’s switch to Barcelona hasn’t gone to plan would be an understatement following his £105m move in January 2018, but should Liverpool even entertain the idea of bringing him back to Anfield? The Brazil midfielder failed to demonstrate his quality under Ernesto Valverde last season, netting five times and registering just two assists in 34 La Liga appearances. In that time, Liverpool reached the Champions League final for the second time in two years, this time winning their sixth European trophy againstTottenham Hotspur. With Barcelona’s recent acquisition of Antoine Griezmann for £107m and their attempt to lure Neymar back to Camp Nou, the Catalonian giants are actively seeking to sell players, with Coutinho among that bunch. Neymar’s time at PSG looks to be coming to a premature end, so one Brazilian could fund the move for another. After leaving Liverpool to pursue a childhood dream of playing for Barcelona, it didn’t work out and just 18 months later Coutinho has been left wondering where the next step in his career will take him; could it be a return to Merseyside? Following rumours linking the 27-year-old with a move to Manchester United, Coutinho’s agent Kia Joorabchian stated it would be very difficult to switch to a direct rival of Liverpool. He said: “I think Liverpool lies very, very deeply in his heart. He was a big fan of them throughout the campaign [last season]. “He was wishing for them to win the title and he has a very strong affinity there, so I think it will be very difficult for him to go to a direct competitor of Liverpool from a personal standpoint.” Coutinho’s transfer to Barcelona sparked mixed opinions among the Liverpool fan base, questioning his morals and actions during the process. The Brazil midfielder reportedly faked a back injury to assist in forcing the move through, which angered some fans and left a sour taste on what was a magnificent six-year tenure at the club. However, Jurgen Klopp’s side have proved their quality without Coutinho, competing at the highest level in both European competitions and the Premier League. There is a split in opinion for the Reds fans as they debate whether they would take him back, and if you fancy betting on the outcome, click here to get football betting offers as Coutinho is currently 5/1 to switch to Liverpool. If you look at Coutinho’s statistics during his time at Liverpool, he scored 54 goals and registered 45 assists in 201 appearances. The Brazil midfielder possesses an abundance of quality and would undoubtedly be an excellent asset for Liverpool. He has proven himself in the Premier League, and if a deal was available, it would be difficult for Klopp to turn him down given how familiar he is with his ability. Reuniting Coutinho at Anfield would be an unexpected turn of events, but the Reds would be thoroughly aware of what an outstanding talent they would be acquiring. Again, his ethical approach is questioned among the fans for the way he left, but overall, it would be difficult to reject him after the magic and affection he displayed towards Liverpool. However, the Brazil midfielder’s future remains firmly in the balance and could still play a key part in helping Barcelona reach the heights they desire to reach, with Champions League the main target. Griezmann arrived from Atletico Madrid and there was debate as to whether he would take the number seven shirt which Coutinho currently occupies. It was recently announced, however, that the France striker will wear the number 17 shirt, which could suggest that Coutinho still has a future at the Camp Nou, but it will be interesting to see what happens over the next few weeks.
  13. Report by Dave Usher This game was a microcosm of last season. We gave them a huge scare, we were the better side, but we missed chances while the woodwork and a goal-line clearance meant that we had to watch them walk away with the silverware. Firstly, let me state that I know this game is just a glorified friendly. I think that teams who list the Charity Shield on their honours list are embarrassing and I’m fully on board with the notion that how we played in this game bodes well for the season ahead. There’s no reason to be discouraged about what we saw and there are lots of positives to take from it. My confidence in what then team can achieve this year has not been knocked in any way by this, far from it. It’s all good. You know there’s a ‘but’ coming here though, don’t you? And the 'but' is that despite all I've just said above, I was still gutted when we lost that shoot out. I know I shouldn't be, and my head is telling the rest of me to stop being a dickhead, but it is what it is. You can't help how you feel. If you have shrugged it off and are genuinely not bothered about us losing on penalties then more power to you. That’s the sensible, rational way to look at things. Me? The train to sensible and rational pulled out of the station as I was getting there, so I had to jump the 'fucking hate these FFP dodging manc pricks' train instead. I’m far more pissed off about this than I should be. It's irrational but I’m proper wound up and that’s not a good sign because if I’m this bothered about a relatively unimportant game like this, then this season is going to be fucking hard going for me. It might be even more stressful than last year. The price of success I guess. This is the problem now. The bar has been set so high by City that every game matters, every chance is important, every mistake can be crucial. Especially when it’s against them. Fucking hell, there’s so little margin for error that the games against them are going to be pivotal. We didn’t win the title last season because of the head to heads with City. We know we can go toe to toe with them and this was further proof. We need to make that count though because a lot of teams don’t even try against them *cough* Everton *cough* which makes it vitally important that we take points from them. There were no points at stake in this one but I felt like it was still really important just for the psychological aspect. Beating them would have seen the seed of doubt they already have grow significantly. We know we’re in their heads and they see us as the only threat to their dominance. Beating them would have helped with that, but I suppose this was the next best thing. We didn’t lose (the penalties were irrelevant in the grand scheme of things as it's not a proper trophy) and we outplayed them. Moral victories are hollow as fuck though. I wanted to win though. I badly wanted to win. And it’s put me in a bad mood that we didn’t. Not because “it’s a trophy”. I could not give less of a fuck about that. It’s not a trophy, no more so than any of the other pre-season trinkets you see teams winning when they go on tour. Fuck the Charity Shield, we were only in it by default anyway as we didn’t win the league or the cup. The ‘trophy’ itself was meaningless, I just wanted to beat City. We should have done too. The penalty shoot out shouldn’t have been necessary because they should have been dead and buried long before then. How many chances did we squander? Six? Seven? May have even been more. So that’s a positive in the sense that we had no trouble whatsoever carving them open and creating great opportunities. We didn’t take the opportunities but we’re still in pre-season and the cobwebs are being blown off. We made them look ordinary in that second half though and on the balance of play we should have won by a couple of goals at least. We didn’t though, and I’m pissed off about it. Not pissed off at any individual, just pissed off about not winning. It’s easy to point the finger at Salah for how incredibly wasteful he was, but he’s been back in training for less than a week and frankly, his performance was bordering on sensational all things considered. It’s just that his finishing was shite in the first half and he was a little unlucky in the second. He tormented them all day though. This is just a teaser, click to view the full article Please note that Match Reports are only available to website subscribers. Subscriptions cost just £2 a month (you need to register first) and can be purchased here.
  14. Pep Guardiola has claimed that winning the Champions League is similar to a spin of a roulette wheel at a casino and he much prefers the success of a title winning campaign.In a clear attempt to downplay the achievement of his closest rivals Liverpool ahead of their first meeting in the community shield this afternoon, Guardiola left no one in doubt to where his priority lies.The Mirror reports Guardiola as saying:" The Premier League is always the most important thing, the stand-out competition, because it is every weekend.“I think we will be closer to achieving in Europe when we have more Premier League titles. That is the right process at Manchester City. The furthest that City have gone in Europe's elite competition in a semi final in 2015/6 when they lost to Real Madrid 1-0 over two legs. City are always one of the favourites with online betting sites but despite their domestic dominance they have under-achieved in Europe. The manager who won the competition twice in his time with his time with Barcelona admits that his team has to do better in the competition but it is not his number one priority."Of course we have to win in Europe because it’s an important tournament and difficult to win."But I am not going to go to the casino and gamble everything I have in my pocket on just seven games.“From my point of view, that’s too risky. "To maintain the health and focus of the team, it always has to be the Premier League." Why am I going to wait until February for seven games and put everything on black? Guardiola who clearly wanted to get a few things of his chest before the season started, felt that his players have been under appreciated as not one City player made the cut for the FIFA Best Football awards.In comparison the Reds had three nominations in Virgil Van Dijk, Mo Salah and Sadio Mane due to their outstanding triumph in Europe." Of course we would like to win the Champions League - so big respect to Liverpool.“But is why is that a higher (achievement) than what we did in 11 months?" I am pretty sure Liverpool would have liked to have won the Premier League, because it is 29 years since they last did."It’s incredibly good what they did in the Champions League, but we were better in the league."What we did (domestic treble) has never been achieved before. "It was awesome – and I think my colleagues and football players worldwide know how difficult it is." It doesn’t matter if the people who consider the UEFA awards or FIFA awards don’t select one of our players."But I don’t think one player had a better season that Bernardo Silva, for example, who also won the Nations League with Portugal."And the year we won the title with 100 points, there was huge respect for Mohamed Salah – but come on, guys!“Kevin De Bruyne, that season, was above and beyond any normal situation."Of course, it is about opinions – and of course we accept it if our players don’t deserve to win."Maybe we have to win five titles - or maybe Bernardo has to win six"Or maybe we have to get 250 points next season – but we are going to try"The fuse has been lit for another fascinating battle between the two current powerhouses in English (and quite possibly world football.)Let's hope come this time next year, the Spaniard has plenty to whinge about courtesy of an empty trophy cabinet from this season. View full article
  15. Pep Guardiola has claimed that winning the Champions League is similar to a spin of a roulette wheel at a casino and he much prefers the success of a title winning campaign.In a clear attempt to downplay the achievement of his closest rivals Liverpool ahead of their first meeting in the community shield this afternoon, Guardiola left no one in doubt to where his priority lies.The Mirror reports Guardiola as saying:" The Premier League is always the most important thing, the stand-out competition, because it is every weekend.“I think we will be closer to achieving in Europe when we have more Premier League titles. That is the right process at Manchester City. The furthest that City have gone in Europe's elite competition in a semi final in 2015/6 when they lost to Real Madrid 1-0 over two legs. City are always one of the favourites with online betting sites but despite their domestic dominance they have under-achieved in Europe. The manager who won the competition twice in his time with his time with Barcelona admits that his team has to do better in the competition but it is not his number one priority."Of course we have to win in Europe because it’s an important tournament and difficult to win."But I am not going to go to the casino and gamble everything I have in my pocket on just seven games.“From my point of view, that’s too risky. "To maintain the health and focus of the team, it always has to be the Premier League." Why am I going to wait until February for seven games and put everything on black? Guardiola who clearly wanted to get a few things of his chest before the season started, felt that his players have been under appreciated as not one City player made the cut for the FIFA Best Football awards.In comparison the Reds had three nominations in Virgil Van Dijk, Mo Salah and Sadio Mane due to their outstanding triumph in Europe." Of course we would like to win the Champions League - so big respect to Liverpool.“But is why is that a higher (achievement) than what we did in 11 months?" I am pretty sure Liverpool would have liked to have won the Premier League, because it is 29 years since they last did."It’s incredibly good what they did in the Champions League, but we were better in the league."What we did (domestic treble) has never been achieved before. "It was awesome – and I think my colleagues and football players worldwide know how difficult it is." It doesn’t matter if the people who consider the UEFA awards or FIFA awards don’t select one of our players."But I don’t think one player had a better season that Bernardo Silva, for example, who also won the Nations League with Portugal."And the year we won the title with 100 points, there was huge respect for Mohamed Salah – but come on, guys!“Kevin De Bruyne, that season, was above and beyond any normal situation."Of course, it is about opinions – and of course we accept it if our players don’t deserve to win."Maybe we have to win five titles - or maybe Bernardo has to win six"Or maybe we have to get 250 points next season – but we are going to try"The fuse has been lit for another fascinating battle between the two current powerhouses in English (and quite possibly world football.)Let's hope come this time next year, the Spaniard has plenty to whinge about courtesy of an empty trophy cabinet from this season.
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