Pellegrini not giving up on title

first_img The Chilean said: “I think the team knows perfectly what they have to do. “We lost that game but we have still to play six games more and we will fight to the end to win the title. “If we don’t do it, it is because Liverpool will win their four games, but I don’t think some things change after the game on Sunday. “Of course, the fans believe that we can do it. “The two games postponed – if we win both we are just one point behind Liverpool. “If you don’t believe (when you are) just one point behind the leader, nobody can believe anything. “We have had a very good season so far and we hope we finish in the last six games in the same way.” City’s title destiny may be out of their hands but they will look to apply pressure as they play the first of their games in hand at home to bottom side Sunderland on Wednesday. Pellegrini insists little has changed as a result of Sunday’s defeat to leaders Liverpool. The loss left third-placed City trailing the Reds by seven points and Chelsea by five but, with two games in hand, Pellegrini claims the battle could still be too close to call. Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini is convinced his side are still firmly in the Barclays Premier League title race. “The important thing is that we win our games,” Pellegrini said. “We can do nothing about the other teams but we can do a lot of things here. “That is why I am sure the players know exactly what they have to do and we will try to start winning one of the two games postponed so both teams, Chelsea and Liverpool, must feel we are only three or four points behind them with one game also to play at the end of the season.” City will be without key midfielder Yaya Toure, who limped off just 19 minutes into Sunday’s game with a leg injury and will be out for 10 days to a fortnight. That means he could also miss matches against West Brom and Crystal Palace but the problem does not appear as bad as first feared. Vincent Kompany and top scorer Sergio Aguero, who made his comeback at the weekend after five games out with a hamstring injury, are both fit. Meanwhile, Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet has admitted he would willingly swap places with arch-rivals Newcastle as he attempts to drag the club back from the brink of relegation. The Black Cats head into a daunting visit to the Etihad Stadium knowing their Barclays Premier League destiny could be all but decided if they emerge with a sixth successive defeat with seven points currently separating them from safety. Poyet admitted after Saturday’s 1-0 home reverse at the hands of high-flying Everton that a root and branch review of the club is required if it is to ever release itself from a seemingly perennial tailspin which is sucking it back towards the Football League. And he has cast an envious eye along the road to Newcastle, where counterpart Alan Pardew finds himself entrenched in a battle to win over his club’s fans despite the Magpies sitting ninth in the table. Asked to characterise the challenge of managing in the north-east, Poyet said: “The most important part, which is the fans, they love it, they love football and they are desperate to do well. “Go across the river and go to Newcastle – they are in an unbelievable situation in the table and there is a nightmare. “Can we change over? Because that is a great problem to have, to be ninth? “Why? Because it’s that drive to get better all the time and to be always on top and it doesn’t matter how many games you have won in the past because you need to win the next. “That part of football, I love it because it’s the best way to do it, to try to get better all the time. “In terms of mentality for me, it’s perfect, the north-east. It’s always better if you finish ninth instead of 10th, and I am like that. “The problem is at the moment it is so bad that it’s not enjoyable, so the idea is to make sure that we don’t put ourselves in this situation anymore. “It doesn’t matter who is the manager, I am talking about the club now, the club itself.” Full-back Phil Bardsley will miss the trip through suspension after collecting his 10th booking of the season against Everton. Midfielder Liam Bridcutt will also be absent because of a personal issue, while striker Steve Fletcher (ankle) is unlikely to play again this season and goalkeeper Keiren Westwood continues his recovery from a shoulder injury. Press Associationlast_img read more

Badgers extend season

first_imgDEREK MONTGOMERY/Herald photoThe Wisconsin women’s soccer team was finally able to unleash some aggression this weekend by collecting two potent victories. Their first and most important victory came Friday when the Badgers defeated Northwestern 1-0 to advance to the Big Ten tournament. The Badgers then defeated Colorado College 2-0 at home Sunday to fashionably close out the regular season.Sunday’s non-conference game was another must-win for the Badgers. With the win, Wisconsin was able to reach the 10-win plateau. A 10-win season is also important if the Badgers hope to qualify for the NCAA tournament.”This was a must-win game for us,” head coach Dean Duerst said. “We needed 10 wins, and hopefully more than 10 wins, [because] you never know what a committee is going to do. We have had a very strong record and sometimes, that tenth record is going to put you over the edge. … This was a game that could potentially put us in the NCAA [tournament].”Wisconsin started the game sloppy, missing plenty of scoring opportunities against Colorado College’s goalkeeper Geneva Sills. At the 20-minute mark, forward Taylor Walsh sent the ball flying over the head of Sills to a wide-open Allison Preiss. Preiss was unable to handle the header and sent the ball sailing over the net.Both teams were unable to generate any points during the first half.Wisconsin later picked up momentum in the second half when junior Kara Kabellis scored in the 64th minute to give the Badgers a 1-0 advantage. Marissa Brown passed the ball to Kabellis, who shot it past a diving Sills. The ball wound up landing in the back left corner of the net.Freshman Sandy Jorgensen scored the final decider in the 80th minute on a header off a cross from Walsh.The Badgers out-shot the Tigers 6-1 in the second half and concluded the game with a 12-6 advantage. Sophomore goalkeeper Lynn Murray posted two saves and her second-straight shutout.Wisconsin’s final season victory was catered by energy following another must-win contest against Northwestern Friday. Both teams needed a victory to advance to the Big Ten tournament.Wisconsin prevailed in the match, with freshman Elise Webber scoring the lone goal in the 70th minute and Preiss giving the assist. The junior passed the ball to an open Amy Vermeulen, who found Webber opened near the net. Weber then snuck the ball past Northwestern goalkeeper Whitney Jones with her left foot to put the Badgers back in the Big Ten tournament.”The result [against Northwestern] was great,” assistant coach Carrie Barker said. “They knew what they needed to do. Over the last five games, the opportunity to get into the Big Ten tournament got smaller and smaller and pressure was getting bigger and bigger. The girls stepped it up and accepted the pressure and knew they had no other choice but to get a win. It is great to see us playing our best soccer at the right time when it really matters.””It’s a pretty good indication, especially when you go through some rough times, how you finish your season,” Duerst added. “Right now, we are playing our best soccer and that was important that [the team] hung in there mentally. [The seniors] were a huge boost to our whole program because [they showed] how you are mentally able to handle adversity and stick together as team. You need that heart and soul of a team to be your leaders and to help carry you. [This weekend] was dedicated to our seniors for the legacy and the impact they have left to the program.”-Shannon Van Curen contributed to this reportlast_img read more