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Guardiola versus Conte

first_imgMANCHESTER, England (AP):Pep Guardiola started the season calling Antonio Conte a “master tactician.” Now, he’s labelling him “maybe the best” coach in world football.”His statistics, his numbers, the way they play, are really good,” Guardiola said yesterday, a day before his Manchester City side takes on Conte’s Chelsea in a match between two of the title favourites in the English Premier League.It will be the first time that Guardiola, a serial winner in spells at Barcelona and Bayern Munich, and Conte, who won three Italian titles with Juventus, have come up against each other as managers. They vaguely recall facing each other as players when Juventus (Conte) played Brescia (Guardiola) in Serie A in 2003.”You and me had hair in that time!” Guardiola said, laughing. “Wow, it was a long time ago!”City and Chelsea sit in the top three of the Premier League after 13 games, with their coaches having contrasting starts to their first jobs in English football.City won their first 10 games in all competitions under Guardiola but have stuttered since, winning just three of their last seven matches in the Premier League.It took Conte time to get his methods across at Chelsea, but he now has the team firing after switching to his favoured three-man defence. With seven straight wins in the new 3-4-3 formation, Chelsea lead the league.”They were contenders to win the Premier League from the beginning, but now, maybe more than before. It’s a good test for us,” said Guardiola, who gave his players two days off this week ahead of the game.”We are going to take them on with ambition and see what we can do to win the game.”Chelsea have conceded just one goal in their recent winning run that has taken in victories over Hull, Leicester, Manchester United, Southampton, Everton, Middlesbrough and Tottenham.”Tomorrow is a great test for us, for our formation, to continue in this way,” Conte said. “We know that it won’t be easy because tomorrow we face a really great team.”We want to show we are working very well and we are growing. Tomorrow is another step to show us if something changed compared to the start of the season.”last_img read more

‘Fantastic’ Spurs star earns praise from England boss

first_imgRoy Hodgson has hailed Harry Kane’s emergence as “fantastic” after handing the Tottenham striker a first senior England call-up.Kane has enjoyed a stunning breakout season at White Hart Lane, netting 26 goals in all competitions for the north London club.He is now in line to make his international debut, with the 21-year-old included in a youthful 24-man party for the European Championship qualifier against Lithuania at Wembley next Friday and the friendly with Italy in Turin four days later.“His rise has been fantastic since he broke into the Tottenham squad, he’s done so well,” said Hodgson of Kane, who also boasts a prolific record for the England Under-21s.“It would have been much more of a surprise had he not been selected than him being selected and we’re delighted to welcome him to the fold and try and help him establish himself because he’s like a lot of the players in our squad.“They are young but some of them have gone on, having been given their chance to really establish themselves and we hope that is going to happen for Harry as well. We do know quite a lot about him, not least of all from his work with the Under-21s. I worked with him myself for a period of two or three days when I took charge of the Under-21 team.”With Kane in the squad alongside the likes of Ross Barkley, Daniel Sturridge, Fabian Delph and Kyle Walker, the future looks bright for an England side currently unbeaten in the European qualifiers.But Hodgson was keen to keep thoughts on the present when asked whether he would like to extend his deal beyond 2016.“I want to make certain that I do the job for which I’m currently contracted for to the best of my ability and make sure there are no slip-ups along the way,” he said.“I hope that this team and this group of players will continue to develop. I hope that when we go to France, as I’m sure we will because I believe we will qualify, I believe we’ll be in a good position to give a good account of ourselves and, frankly, I don’t need to look at anything beyond that at the moment.“I’m perfectly happy in my life, I’m happy with where I find myself with the team. I am pleased that the major disappointment of the World Cup has been to some extent put behind us, although it is a memory that will always live with us.“But I also hope that maybe we’ll learn from that and some of the younger players who were there will be stronger in future competitions as a result of that bad experience.”He added: “The fact is it’s a magnificent job and I’m really pleased to have this job and to be given the chance to do this job.“At the moment, the fact that the players and the people who employ me seem comfortable with me and as comfortable with me as I am with them, that’s enough for me.“I don’t need to look further at this stage in my career. We’ll see what transpires, we’ll see what happens and when the day comes we’ll discuss it.“I don’t want to out stay any welcome that’s for sure, we’ll see what happens.” Harry Kane celebrates scoring for Tottenham 1last_img read more