Roberto Mancini has been backed to become the new coach of the Italy national team by Marcello Lippi.
Zenit coach Mancini will enter talks over the job at the end of the Russian Premier League season, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) has confirmed.
The FIGC previously named Mancini on their shortlist for the position, along with Chelsea’s Antonio Conte and interim boss Luigi Di Biagio, while Claudio Ranieri and Carlo Ancelotti were among the other rumoured candidates.
Italian great Lippi, who led the Azzurri to the World Cup in 2006, believes Mancini is the right man to turn the country’s fortunes around after they failed to qualify for Russia 2018.
“Mancini is a top coach with great international experience,” Lippi told ANSA.
“All three names that have been put forward, I think, have been welcomed by the fans: Ancelotti, Mancini and Ranieri. There was also talk of [Atalanta coach Gian Piero] Gasperini.
“If it’s Mancini, he will certainly be a coach with great international experience. He’s managed great champions before, and it seems to me that he has huge desire to coach the Italy team. That’s the minimum requirement.”
David Wagner said Huddersfield Town fully deserved their point after holding Premier League champions Manchester City to a 0-0 draw at the Etihad Stadium.
Huddersfield became the only team to have kept a clean sheet away to City in the league this season, as Pep Guardiola’s men performed below their best ahead of collecting the trophy.
A vital point edges the Terriers three points clear of the relegation zone, although their remaining two matches are against top-six opposition in the form of Chelsea and Arsenal.
Wagner, though, was keen to hail his side’s achievement after a determined defensive display, with Huddersfield even having late chances to win the game on the break.
“I think this was anything but lucky today – it was totally deserved the point we collected today,” Wagner told Sky Sports.
“This is what you have to show when you want to stay in the Premier League and the players would love to stay in the Premier League.
“What they have to do is to try everything and invest in the belief that in football the impossible sometimes is possible. Today was such a day.
“It looked impossible to keep a clean sheet against City and collect a point here but the players have done it and I am over the moon for them.”
A clean sheet against the squad of a 100 goals. I’m very very proud to have been a part of this massive team effort and incredible spirit we showed today . Also a big congratulations to @ManCity with their trophy, what a fantastic team. #htafc #utt
— Jonas Lössl (@JonasLoessl) May 6, 2018
City had various Premier League records in their sights but holding the champions instead provided a huge boost to Huddersfield’s survival hopes.
“I think proud is not enough to describe how I feel for my players and my backroom staff and everyone who supports Huddersfield Town today,” Wagner added.
“I think to have a clean sheet against this team, which scored 100 goals, against the champions, to look solid defensively and to create the one or other chances as well, it’s fantastic. This was an absolutely deserved point, I think, from my point of view for all the effort the players have shown.
“We have to give credit to City for everything they have done this season – it’s an outstanding team so big credit to Pep and his team. I’m very happy for them that he won the title this season.
“We found a good idea of how we can neutralise them and try to hurt them on the counter attack. The effort and the shift the players put in was outstanding, the players worked their socks off all over the pitch and what they did was amazing.
“We don’t like to be too greedy, we collected a point against the champions away, a clean sheet against the champions away. It’s fantastic at this stage of the season to collect what could be a crucial point.”
Bournemouth 1-0 Swansea
Swansea remain just a point outside the relegation zone following their 19th defeat of the season at Bournemouth. Ryan Fraser’s first-half strike made the difference at the Vitality Stadium, as the Swans’ winless run stretched to seven matches.
Bournemouth’s victory moves them up to 12th place, level on points with Crystal Palace and Newcastle. A top-half finish is not yet out of the question for Eddie Howe’s men, who finish the campaign at Burnley next weekend.
Goals: Fraser 37′
Leicester 0-2 West Ham
West Ham edged closer to Premier League safety and piled the pressure on Claude Puel with a 2-0 victory at the King Power Stadium. The Hammers were on top for much of the first half and had their reward when Joao Mario broke the deadlock in the 34th minute, before Mark Noble added a second with a brilliant volley after the interval.
Leicester are now without a win in five league games, and manager Puel is likely to receive further criticism for this defeat. West Ham, meanwhile, are all but safe after their first away triumph since January.
Goals: Mario 34′, Noble 64′
Stoke 1-2 Crystal Palace
Stoke were relegated to the Championship after losing at home to Crystal Palace. Xherdan Shaqiri’s deflected free-kick gave the hosts the advantage shortly before half-time, but James McArthur rounded off a fine Palace counter-attack to level the scores in the 68th minute.
The Potters struggled to create chances despite knowing they realistically needed a win to keep their survival hopes alive, and it was the visitors who looked the more likely to grab the game’s decisive third goal. Their attacking intent was rewarded when Patrick van Aanholt slid the ball past Jack Butland to condemn their opponents to the second tier and secure Palace’s top-flight status.
Goals: Shaqiri 43′ — McArthur 68′, Van Aanholt 86′
Watford 2-1 Newcastle
Watford won their first game in eight to move level on points with opponents Newcastle. Roberto Pereyra opened the scoring with just 118 seconds on the clock, the Argentine sidefooting the ball home after being picked out by Abdoulaye Doucoure.
Andre Gray then doubled the home side’s lead in the 28th minute, but Troy Deeney missed the chance to make it three when his penalty was saved by Martin Dubravka. Ayoze Perez halved the deficit 10 minutes after the restart, but Watford held on for a long-overdue win.
Goals: Pereyra 2′, Gray 28′ — Perez 55′
West Brom 1-0 Tottenham
West Brom kept their slim survival hopes alive with a dramatic defeat of Champions League-chasing Tottenham. Neither side was able to make the breakthrough within the 90 minutes, but Jake Livermore’s stoppage-time goal against his former club moved the Baggies to within two points of safety.
It is still likely to be a case of too little, too late for Darren Moore’s men, while Spurs’ top-four fate is still in their own hands ahead of upcoming Wembley assignments against Newcastle and Leicester.
Goals: Livermore 90+2′
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp remains hopeful of having Emre Can and Joe Gomez fit for the Champions League final.
Can picked up a back problem in the win over Watford on March 17, while defender Gomez took a knock during last week’s goalless draw with Stoke City.
Neither player will be fit for Sunday’s Premier League trip to Chelsea, but it is hoped they will show sufficient signs of recovery next week to be considered for the showdown with Real Madrid in Kiev on May 26.
“As far as I know, nothing else happened [with injuries],” Klopp told a news conference on Friday. “We’re all still fit. Adam [Lallana] trained the first real football session at Rome, the morning after the game.
“I’ve had contact with Emre as well. We can make the decision on Monday if he starts training with us immediately. It could be good news for the final but probably not the last game of the season.
“Joe, we still wait for final assessments. We’ll know about that in a few days, probably. But he’s not available for Chelsea.”
ALLEZ ALLEZ ALLEZ
Turn that sound ON and enjoy tonight’s slightly extended ‘Match in a Minute’… pic.twitter.com/bVuFt0yXer
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) May 2, 2018
Klopp was keen to praise the form of captain Jordan Henderson and James Milner in recent matches, given Liverpool are without Can and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in midfield.
“You cannot be where we are if you have players in these positions who hide,” he said. “They showed up because they have the quality to do so, physically, football-wise and in mindset.
“We are really quite thin in midfield and they did a fantastic job, but I’m not surprised.”
Pep Guardiola wishes he could have played in the Premier League and asked Bobby Robson for the chance to sign for Newcastle United.
The Manchester City manager was coming towards the end of his playing career at Barcelona, where Robson won three trophies in a brief spell in charge.
Guardiola has since built a reputation as one of the world’s finest coaches, winning the Champions League twice at Barca, but he wishes he could have experienced playing in English football.
Speaking in new film Bobby Robson: More Than A Manager, Guardiola confirmed he was close to a Premier League move in the late 1990s, reuniting with Robson.
“I am going to explain something secret,” Guardiola said. “After the purge in Barcelona, he went to Newcastle and I sent him a letter to offer me the chance to go to him and play at Newcastle.
“One of my dreams would have been to have played in England. He answered me and said it was not possible because he had a lot of quality and he was right, but, even in that tough moment, he was always so kind.
“He wrote a simple letter and it was like it meant so much more. Bobby is one of the nicest people I have ever met in my life.”
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) July 31, 2013
Instead of joining Newcastle, Guardiola stayed at Barcelona before spells with Brescia and Roma in Serie A, ending his playing career via periods at Qatar side Al-Ahli and Mexican club Dorados de Sinaloa.
Robson followed legendary Barca boss Johan Cruyff at Camp Nou and Guardiola said it must have been hard for the Englishman to step into the role.
“I learned, when I saw him, how lonely the manager feels,” Guardiola said. “And, in the bad moments, how always he had a typical smile.
“In my case, in that situation, it would have been impossible to react how he did. I know, for him, it was a tough period. I learned a lot because, in that period, I thought, ‘I want to become a manager’.
“How he handled that situation was incredible. I admired him a lot. It doesn’t matter what the media says or everyone pushing always try to be calm.”
Neymar will re-join Paris Saint-Germain’s squad over the next two days but outgoing head coach Unai Emery does not know when the Brazil star will be ready to play a full part in training.
The world’s most expensive player has been sidelined since suffering a broken metatarsal during a 3-0 Ligue 1 win over Marseille at the end of February.
His race to be at peak fitness in time for Brazil’s World Cup campaign in Russia has remained a source of intrigue and Neymar told reporters last month he was eyeing a return to training on May 17 – two days before PSG’s final game of their triumphant Ligue 1 campaign against Caen.
Speaking at a news conference to preview the champions’ trip to Amiens, Emery offered hope that the 26-year-old might come back ahead of schedule.
“Regarding Neymar, I do not know exactly when he will come back – Friday or Saturday – but he will come back to be here with us,” said Emery.
“Training with the group? For now, I do not think so. I do not know – we will see when he arrives.”
Emery added: “We want him to be with us. He will first come to work individually with the physio, then we want him to be with [us]. When he is well, he will return to training.”
Neymar has scored 28 goals in 30 competitive appearances for PSG since arriving for €222million from Barcelona.
Emery will be without captain Thiago Silva and winger Julian Draxler due to muscular problems for the Amiens game, while Marco Verratti underwent adductor surgery on Thursday and is out for the rest of the season.