Mourinho plays down title hopes

first_img Chelsea have won the title once since Mourinho’s departure – in 2009-10 under Carlo Ancelotti – and his second Blues team is often compared to his first. The Chelsea boss believes his current squad have the potential to replicate the long period of success enjoyed by his first team, who won the Blues’ first championship in 50 years in Mourinho’s first season in 2005. “My team here was an amazing team, it was a team that lasted for almost a decade and won lots of trophies for the club,” Mourinho said. “These people here are just starting and I don’t want to compare. “Potentially this team is good and hopefully we will have a good decade because only John (Terry) and Frank (Lampard) and a couple more are over 30, after that they are young guys with lots of years to play.” Hazard could be the cornerstone of the Chelsea of the present and future. But Mourinho does not believe the Belgian’s performance against the Magpies was any better than other displays in recent weeks. “The only difference was that he scored a hat-trick for the first time,” Mourinho added. “But it was a very similar performance to the one he had at Hull, at City, at home against (Manchester) United, against Liverpool, at Southampton. “He’s playing basically the same way. In my opinion he’s playing really well. Big evolution, consistency, ambition. Fantastic.” The latest victory came without captain Terry, who missed his first Premier League minutes of the season as a precaution due to a muscular strain but could be back for Tuesday’s match at West Brom. “It’s not an injury, it’s almost an injury,” said Mourinho, who revealed Fernando Torres could also play at The Hawthorns. “We decided not to risk and to protect him. Normally he’s ready for Tuesday.” Newcastle boss Alan Pardew bemoaned injuries, the form of Hazard and substitute Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa’s decision to wrestle Samuel Eto’o to the ground and concede a penalty. Pardew said: “I don’t know why he’s grabbed him quite in that manner and I think Mapou’s scratching his head about why he got himself in that position.” Newcastle were already two down at that point as Hazard enjoyed his afternoon and Moussa Sissoko fluffed a chance at 1-0. The Newcastle boss believes the current Chelsea squad is as good as any from Mourinho’s first spell and is also optimistic of a resurgence from his team. “This is as good as he’s had. They’ve got a good chance,” Pardew said. “We need those players back, especially for games at this level. “Tottenham is a game I’d like to think we can get through and hopefully get a strong result. “And then after that I think a lot of our big players will come back to us and for the next 13 games I think we’ll be strong and then in the summer we’ve got work to do.” Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho again downplayed his side’s title chances after Eden Hazard’s hat-trick earned a 3-0 win over Newcastle which took the Blues to the top of the Premier League standings. “We are playing well. People individually are in a good moment, the team is getting results and we are top of the league. “That is something that we can’t hide, but I say the same and I feel the same. I don’t change.” When told that bookmakers had made Chelsea title favourites, Mourinho said: “I don’t bet.” Hazard struck two goals in eight first-half minutes and a second-half penalty as Chelsea capitalised on Arsenal’s 5-1 loss at Liverpool and Manchester City’s goalless draw at Norwich. “A big result is always surprising,” Mourinho added. “When two big teams are playing against each other, you are never expecting such a big result, but sometimes it happens. “Norwich is not easy. We beat them there in the last minutes. “These are the results that can happen to any one of us. But when it happens to City it’s more surprising, because City are City, their attacking power is fantastic, so when they get this kind of result, it’s a bit surprising.” Press Association Mourinho is now tired of his little horse metaphor coined after Monday’s win at Manchester City, but he maintains Chelsea are still third favourites behind Arsenal and City despite taking advantage of their rivals’ slips on Saturday. “It’s time to kill the horses,” Mourinho said. last_img read more

IHOC : Teammates Marty, Menard square off in international cup

first_imgStefanie Marty is used to performing on the international stage. The Syracuse captain has competed for Switzerland in multiple world championships and two Olympics, so playing in the 2011 MLP Cup in Kreuzlingen, Switzerland, earlier this month was just another tournament.For teammate Isabel Menard, though, it was as big as it gets. The sophomore represented Canada for the first time in international play.‘It’s almost both ends of the spectrum,’ Syracuse head coach Paul Flanagan said. ‘You got a veteran like Marty, who it’s no big deal going to something like that, and then Isabel getting a taste of it was pretty good.’The contrast between the teammates goes beyond their experience levels and to their home countries. Switzerland must battle for respectability in international play, and Canada is the perennial gold-medal favorite. On a continent where hockey has little fan support, Marty’s Swiss team is an afterthought. It certainly doesn’t have the buzz swirling around like Menard’s team, from the birthplace of hockey.The two countries and SU teammates met in the opening round of the tournament. Friends from Syracuse pitted against each other in Switzerland, creating a unique tournament experience for the pair.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textMarty said she couldn’t help smiling for a moment when the game against her college teammate began. Still, though, she knew she had little time to relax against a dominant Canadian team — one that has much more firepower than the Swiss.‘You are not really playing differently on the ice because you know someone over there,’ Marty said. ‘We knew we were the underdogs on our team, and everyone was kind of scared of Canada. I’m like, ‘Guys, we can play with them. I’ve played with them in the leagues.”Menard enjoyed the Orange camaraderie across the Atlantic Ocean, knowing she may never get to face Marty again. Though this Canada squad was just an under-22 group playing against full national squads, Menard understood why other teams were intimidated by this perennial power.‘Obviously, other countries, they sort of know, ‘We’re playing Canada. Oh, that’s going to be a tough win or it’s going to be tough to win,” Menard said.Canada proved to be too tough for Switzerland, which finished fifth, and every other country at the tournament. After defeating the Swiss 5-0, Canada beat Germany, Russia, and Sweden en route to its eighth gold medal at the tournament in nine years. Canada defeated its four opponents by a combined score of 29-0.Marty recorded two goals in an overtime loss to Germany and then skipped the fifth-place game against Finland to return for Syracuse’s series against Mercyhurst. She said she wanted to get back to SU sooner because it is her senior season.Menard, who missed the Mercyhurst series, said she was nervous before the first game but soon settled in. She scored two goals and recorded an assist in helping Canada to gold.She also picked up some new skills and a new perspective after the experience. She said Canada had a coach who spoke to each player individually before every game about mental toughness and national pride.‘He just talked to us, just to remind us why we were here, and we got chosen to represent the country, and just how we’re fortunate to be part of it,’ Menard said.Menard believes the little things she learned in international play, such as mental toughness and teamwork, have already made her a better player.And despite missing Marty for one game and Menard for three, Flanagan said the experience helps his team in the long run, too. It motivates the younger players to work hard to reach that elite level of competition.‘You’d like to think some of our younger players aspire to play on a U.S. or Canadian national team at some point,’ Flanagan said. ‘I think it gives them a little insight as to what it’s like, and watching Isabel and Stefanie day in and day out, they should have an idea of what it takes physically and then how demanding it can be.’Their backgrounds may be different, but Marty and Menard are both talented players and leaders for the Orange. While Flanagan encourages them to keep playing at the highest level, both he and his team welcomed Marty and Menard’s return home.Flanagan said getting them back for the Robert Morris series was exactly what the team needed to snap its five-game winless streak.‘If they were away sick and they were gone, as soon as they return, it picks our team up,’ Flanagan said. ‘They’re those types of players.’rjgery@syr.edu Published on January 19, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Ryne: rjgery@syr.edu Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Commentslast_img read more

Ilya Kovalchuk leaves Los Angeles Kings, contract to be terminated

first_imgThe Ilya Kovalchuk era in Los Angeles is over.On Monday, it was announced that Kovalchuk had left the team and was being placed on unconditional waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract. The 36-year-old had not played for the Kings since Nov. 9, and was reportedly being shopped around despite holding a no movement clause. TSN reported that Kovalchuk had received the final signing bonus for his contract on Sunday, but he will still count as a $6.25 million hit against the Kings’ salary cap through the end of next season. The Russian forward signed a three-year, $18.75 million deal with the Kings in 2018. MORE: Which NHL head coaches are now on the hot seat?Once he clears waivers and has his contract terminated as expected, Kovalchuk will become an unrestricted free agent. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reported that, along with the remainder of this season’s wages, Kovalchuk will forfeit his 2020-21 salary — $4.25 million with no other bonuses, according to CapFriendly — by leaving the Kings.The first overall pick in the 2001 draft, Kovalchuk has 436 goals and 859 points in 897 NHL games. With the Kings, Kovalchuk tallied nine points (three goals) in 17 games this season.last_img read more