Mourinho: Blues Cesc’s first choice

first_imgChelsea manager Jose Mourinho maintains it took him only 20 minutes to convince Cesc Fabregas to sign from Barcelona – and reckons the former Arsenal captain never wanted to move back to his old club. Mourinho added: “I don’t think so (sign any more players). The market is open, but we are so happy with what we have. “We feel that our squad is what we want “We don’t want a squad of only end products. We also want to bring to the first team, three or four under-21s, we are going to develop players and are happy with this balance we have.” Mourinho maintains the disappointment suffered by hosts Brazil this summer will not impact on the domestic form of Ramires, Oscar and Willian. “I was more worried last season. Last season I felt them too much connected with the World Cup and we were January, February and March and I was feeling them already there and that really worried me, it was a difficult situation,” he said. “Now it was a big disappointment, but you have to move on from that in football. “I am waiting for them and I don’t think it will be a problem. “I have to try to use it in a positive way – you didn’t succeed so this season is important for you, let’s change the image and the feelings and go back to what you are as what you were in the World Cup was your twin brother.” BT Sport is set to again showcase the Premier League with some 38 exclusively live matches, including 18 ‘top picks’, which will start with Manchester United’s opening match against Swansea on August 16. Mourinho believes the 2014/2015 campaign will be the most difficult to predict. “Why I like the Premier League so much is that at this moment, nobody knows who is going to win the title,” he said. “I know that we want to and I know that we can, but it is the kind of competition where I can’t say. “At this moment, I think between us, Liverpool, Arsenal, Man United, Man City – who is going to be first, who is going to play in the Europa League, I don’t know.” Mourinho added: “There were good teams last season and there will be better teams this season because everyone is investing. “If you make a team to be champions, then you have a big chance to finish in the top four.” The Blues have been quick to bolster their squad this summer, bringing in Fabregas before the World Cup, and have since added fellow Spaniard Diego Costa and also defender Filipe Luis from Atletico Madrid, as well as promising 19-year-old midifielder Mario Pasalic from Hajduk Split. Arsenal had first option to bring Fabregas back to the club he left in 2011, which manager Arsene Wenger passed up as he pursued other targets. Mourinho, though, feels Stamford Bridge was always the midfielder’s preferred destination. “I spoke with him 20 minutes. I think he really wanted to come to us,” said Mourinho, who is an ambassador and pundit for BT Sport next season and took part in a Q&A session at BT Tower in central London on Friday night. “As you know, Arsenal had an option where they could interfere, but I think he was not open to that, I think he was very, very much in our direction, so it was an easy job for me.” Chelsea have been linked with several other big names this summer, including German World Cup winner Sami Khedira – also a reported target for Arsenal – and Monaco forward Radamel Falcao, who did not play for Colombia in Brazil because of injury. Mourinho, though, indicated the Blues’ chequebook was closed. “I have to say my club did a fantastic job, and not just becaue of what we bought, but because we did it in almost record time. The transfer market closes 31 August and we close our market on July 19. We finished the market today,” he said. “The club did fantastic, we knew the targets, we knew the players and the club attacked them and their clubs at a very early stage. “We got exactly what we need and what we want. The squad is one which I like very much and I look forward to starting the season.” Press Associationlast_img read more

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Lakers can’t shake third-quarter blues

first_imgQuick turnoverThe Lakers have shown no signs they can offer the sort of rim protection and grittiness needed to become a strong defensive team. But they could at least mitigate their season-long defensive issues by minimizing turnovers.Without three true point guards in Steve Nash (nerve issues back), Steve Blake (hyperextended right elbow) and Jordan Farmar (torn left hamstring), however, the Lakers have fared 26th overall in turnovers (15.4). “We have to make smart basketball plays,” said Lakers guard Kendall Marshall, who has averaged 2.9 turnovers in nine games since the Lakers signed him from the Development League three weeks ago. “We’ve been stressing it. It’s been an emphasis. When we’re in a flow, we’re not turning it over.” The Lakers have also suggested they need to set better screens better for Marshall and space the floor more consistently. “God gave (Marshall) the ability to have an unbelievable passing ability,” D’Antoni said. “We’re closing the floor up on him. If we do that, we’re going to turn it over. That’s not his fault. That’s a team fault.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error The Lakers don’t appear at a loss for words for the solution, suggesting they’d do just fine in “Scrabble.”“It’s something that consciously we have to do a better job and come out with confidence and aggressiveness,” Lakers forward Pau Gasol said. “We have to do a better job of stopping people, forcing guys and teams to make tougher shots. It seems like teams are playing with too much confidence and taking the Lakers for granted. “They’re thinking, ‘It’s an easy game and we’ll just score 120, 130 points. Everybody will get their numbers and it will be a wonderful night.’”This season, the Lakers have ranked last out of 30 NBA teams in third-quarter margins (-3.4 points), 28th in third quarter total defense (26.1 points per game) and 26th in third-quarter points per game (22.7). “We need motivation. We need to get on one another and hold each other accountable,” Lakers forward Nick Young said. “Once we get down a little bit in a game, we continue to get down on ourselves.”center_img Among one of the many disastrous elements surrounding this Lakers season takes place when most fans are waiting in lines at the concession stands.But those who make it back to their seats as the second half begins see the Lakers playing as if they’re the ones who just consumed hotdogs and nachos.The Lakers (14-23) have dropped 10 of their last 11 games for the first time since the 2004-05 season, and six of those losses coincided with pitiful third quarters. Consider the recent third-quarter scoring deficits against the Clippers (31-8), Houston (33-15), Denver (33-22), Philadelphia (34-25), Phoenix (26-17) and Golden State (26-15). “I don’t know if we’re getting tired,” said Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni, who gave the team the day off Saturday since the Lakers don’t play until Tuesday against Cleveland (13-23) at Staples Center. “When we come out, we’re not quite ready to roll. Other teams are also probably talking at halftime, ‘Okay, let’s knock them out of the box.’ It’s a combo of them good and us bad.” last_img read more

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