Nothing can stop us

WOLFSBURG — Striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang believes no-one can stop Borussia Dortmund in the wake of their spectacular 5-1 win at Wolfsburg in a Bundesliga match on Tuesday.

Dortmund took their tally of goals to 17 in the last three games as Aubameyang (twice), Raphael Guerreiro, Ousmane Dembele and Lukasz Piszczek all found the net at Volkswagen Arena.

Daniel Didavi replied for Wolfsburg.

Aubameyang, understandably, is buoyant about their prospects of securing a first league title since 2012.

“Nothing can stop us, nothing,” he told reporters.

“Of course I’m happy about my two goals and again we have played a great game, but we must not be satisfied, we must continue to work hard anyway.”

In contrast to his ebullient striker, manager Thomas Tuchel was keen to downplay the significance of his side’s free-scoring early-season form.

“I’m more happy about the consecutive victories and the away win we’ve notched up,” he told reporters.

“The position in the Bundesliga table is obviously always the result of these victories, but there are a few teams which can surpass us.

“We’ve also lost a match not that long ago and we can evaluate that correctly.

“Our focus is on the next match at home.”

Dortmund’s next match sees them playing Freiburg on Saturday. — Agencies


‘Neymar just wants to have fun’

MADRID — Barcelona superstar Neymar received support from the most unlikeliest of sources for his provocative showboating, after he criticised following the Catalan’s victory over Leganes last weekend.

Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone and Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane defended Neymar over the harsh words he has received from the opponents fans and media.

“Neymar is an extraordinary player. He won the Olympic Games after being criticised in Brazil after the two first games,” Simeone told reporters.

“He has found in Barcelona the right place to express his talent.

Everyone has his own style and his own way of playing. He has been criticised, even in his personal life.

“He enjoys himself, sings, dances and destroys teams. They can keep criticising him, the kid responds where he must respond.”

Zidane too has come to Neymar’s rescue.

“I’m not inside Neymar’s head but for me, I don’t think it’s a provocation. Everyone interprets football as he sees fit and he interprets it his way.

“He does things that not many players can do. I don’t see it as him provoking but you’d have to ask him.”

Neymar’s Barca teammate Lionel Messi, also backed the Brazilian as he praised the trickster over his contribution for the Catalans since his arrival.

The trio of Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar have regularly destroyed opponents, with Neymar known for his samba skills but is known to sometimes frustrate supporters by overdoing some of his tricks and flicks.

Barca legend, Michael Laudrup had criticised the 24-year-old for his recent over the top skills.

“Neymar is a very cheerful guy, he has no evil, he adapted very quickly to Barca for the kind of person he is, coming very young but he’s an amazing person,” said Messi.

Neymar had been accused of showboating against Atletico during a Copa del Rey tie in 2015. — Agencies

Emery delighted with ‘difficult’ win

PARIS — Manager Unai Emery was satisfied with Paris St Germain’s performance in their 3-0 win over Dijon in Ligue 1 at Parc des Princes on Tuesday.

An Adam Lang own goal, Edinson Cavani penalty and Lucas Moura header gave PSG the win.

Emery was pleased as his side moved top of the table, ahead of with second-placed Monaco’s match against Nice this morning.

“It was a difficult match because Dijon defended well,” Emery told reporters.

“We managed to open the scoring and it helped The second goal allowed us to settle, but we needed the third goal to put the game to bed.

“It bodes well before the match against Toulouse (on Saturday).”

A deflection led to PSG’s opener off Lang before Cavani clinically converted a spot-kick after Jordan Loties clumsily brought down Adrien Rabiot.

Lucas completed the scoring when he headed in a Maxwell cross in the second half. — Agencies


it’s war, then

LONDON — Yaya Toure’s agent has declared war on Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola after refusing to apologise.

Dmitri Seluk was on Tuesday told by Guardiola he must say sorry to the club, players and the manager or his player will not play for City again.

However, Seluk reacted furiously to Guardiola’s words and seemed to accuse the city boss of stabbing his predecessor Manuel Pellegrini and goalkeeper Joe Hart in the back.

“I will apologise to Guardiola if he will apologise to Manuel Pellegrini for what he did to him. If you are a gentleman this just does not happen,” Seluk said.

Seluk was referring to how Pellegrini was treated by City, as he signed a new contract last year only to be pushed out at the end of last season to make way for Guardiola.

The Ukranian agent was also adamant Guardiola needs to apologise to Hart, saying: “It’s not right to come to England and then get rid of a few English players.

“If Pep Guardiola wants a war, then he can have one. Pep didn’t like my opinion? But what does he expect me to say when he does this to Yaya?

“Yaya has won the Premier League twice, he has won the FA Cup, he has won the League Cup twice and he helped them reach the semifinals of the Champions League for the first time.

Seluk said he spoke out because he felt Guardiola was being vindictive.

“He has reacted to what I have said about him by punishing Yaya again. I’m not surprised.

“Pep doesn’t want players with personality. He only wants players who will do what he says.

“Yaya and Hart have been big personalities in the dressing room at City and Pep doesn’t like that.

“He was the same at Barcelona.

“He forced Samuel Eto’o to leave the club. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a player who cost £57 million (RM307 million), was also sold for just £18 million (RM97 million).

“It has to always be about Pep Guardiola, no-one else.

“Will I apologise? Well, I have learned that you must never say never.

“Pep wins a few games and thinks he is king. I live in Europe so I can say whatever I like and Pep can’t stop me.”

That reaction has left the two sides firmly entrenched, and Toure in limbo.

Seluk, who has been Toure’s agent since he was a youngster at Metalurh Donetsk has repeatedly made outrageous claims about his player , and has repeatedly agitated for a move.

Toure, meanwhile, announced his retirement from international football on Tuesday. — Agencies


Dugarry blames ‘dynamic duo’ for defeats

LONDON — Manchester United’s troubles are down to two of their biggest summer arrivals according to former Birmingham striker Cristophe Dugarry.

United suffered their third successive defeat at Watford on Sunday to slip six points behind rivals Manchester City, leaving manger Jose Mourinho seemingly in crisis months into his reign.

Dugarry, who won the World Cup with France in 1998, believes the Portuguese and new striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic are at the root of the problem.

Ibrahimovic has scored four goals in his first five games for United and arrived in England after a record breaking season for Paris St Germain.

However Dugarry, who played for AC Milan, Barcelona and Marsellie during his career, believes the 34-year-old is not mobile enough for the English game.

“People talk about his stats, but Ibrahimovic is a cone,” Dugarry said on his RMC radio show.

“When you see his matches, it’s not possible to do that. It’s English football, it goes at 2,000km an hour.”

Dugarry was even more scathing of Mourinho, whose last tactical triumph he said was six years ago.

“I get the feeling Mourinho’s last tactical success was that Champions League game between Inter Milan and Barcelona,” Dugarry said, referring to Inter’s 2009-10 Champions League semifinal victory.

“He’s won titles since, but I think he’s lost the plot. He believes he has become more important than the team.

“Tactically, I think he doesn’t put anything in place. Apart from the players, who have changed, it’s the same organisation as last season under Louis van Gaal.

“He always blames the referee or their opponents’ good fortune. There is no self-criticism.” — Daily Mirror


Fabregas Take That!

LEICESTER — Midfielder Cesc Fabregas hopes his match-winning performance for Chelsea in their League Cup third-round win over Leicester “shuts” up his critics.

Fabregas made his first start since Chelsea’s 3-2 win over Bristol Rovers in the competition last month at King Power Stadium on Tuesday, having tasted just 32 minutes of action in the Premier League.

Despite favouring N’Golo Kante, Oscar and Nemanja Matic over Fabregas in midfield this season, Chelsea boss Antonio Conte recently insisted the 29-year-old features in his long-term plans although the admission wasn’t enough to stop stories linking the Spaniard to AC Milan.

Fabregas had used social media to strongly deny any rift between him and Conte and, after scoring two goals in extratime to send Chelsea into the fourth round, the midfielder took aim at his critics.

“It was a bit unfair they scored twice in the first half, they scored two goals although they were probably our mistakes, not focus maybe, but we played quite well,” he told Sky Sports.

“We were quite comfortable but we know they are a dangerous team on the counter and this is what they did — and we paid for it.

“We showed great character as we’ve been showing the whole season.

“I was happy to play, first of all, from the start and secondly if I can help the team then fantastic.

“Hopefully this will shut a few journalists, dailies, a few whatever who were talking rubbish all the time and (help me) focus on what is important, Chelsea winning and playing well. I know what I can do.”

Conte suggested improving the defensive side of his game is Fabregas’ most likely route back into the first team.

Although the Italian praised Fabregas, Conte was not ready to offer any guarantees.

“Cesc is Chelsea’s player, I am happy about him, for his attitude and his behaviour during training sessions,” Conte told reporters.

“In my opinion he’s improving a lot in many aspects, above all the defensive situations.

“I’m very clear with my players: when a player deserves to play, I put him in the team.”

Fabregas’ former club Arsenal are up next in Saturday’s London derby at the Emirates.

“All the players in my squad have the possibility to play against Arsenal,” said Conte.

“There are three days before the game and they have the opportunity to show me during the training sessions — to convince me to put them in.

“I want my players to create good competition and game by game give me the opportunity to choose the best line-up.”

Chelsea’s poor defending, which allowed Shinji Okazaki to put Leicester 2-0 up with a first half brace, did not sit well with Conte, although he praised the character shown by his players after Gary Cahill launched the fightback on the stroke of the interval and Cesar Azpilicueta volleyed in a sensational equaliser.

“I am not happy about the two goals we conceded but I saw a great reaction from the players and this is very important,” said Conte.

“They showed the will to win — the will to go through to the next round. — Agencies


Wenger hails Lucas, Xhaka

NOTTINGHAM — Manager Arsene Wenger felt vindicated after a reserve Arsenal side crushed Nottingham Forest 4-0 in the third round of the League Cup on Tuesday.

Wenger made 11 changes from the side who had beaten Hull in the Premier League on Saturday — teaming expensive summer additions Lucas Perez and Granit Xhaka with highly-rated youth team prospects including Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Jeff Reine-Adelaide.

After a slow start, the Gunners came alive when Xhaka scored another long-range thunderbolt to add to his strike against Hull, though this one was slightly deflected, before Lucas added two goals in the second half to open his Arsenal account.

Wenger is likely to ring the changes once more on Saturday, when Chelsea arrive at the Emirates, but now believes he has the squad to compete on multiple fronts.

The Frenchman reserved particular praise for the two summer additions who cost a combined £50.9 million (RM274 million).

“I knew we had a strong squad. It was a full house, a completely motivated team against us and we had a complete performance,” Wenger told reporters.

“The speed and movement of our play was fantastic. Lucas and Xhaka were very good.”

Lucas’ second goal was particularly worthy of praise, the striker holding off Michael Mancienne as he bore down on goal before rounding Vladimir Stojkovic and tapping home in style, adding to a penalty he had scored on the hour.

“I liked Lucas’ second goal as he showed it was not only good technique but also good determination, to fight for the ball and finish.” said Wenger.

“I liked as well the part he played in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s goal because it shows he can combine with others and he is an intelligent player.

“He’s quick, he’s determined, he uses well his left foot — a bit too much for my taste, and not enough his right foot, but overall he’s like all left-footed players.” — Agencies

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