English League 1

Bidwell to stay with Bees

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Wed, 06 Mar 2013 16:49:00

NEC Nijmegen coach Alex Pastoor has signed a new one-year deal with the club.

The 46-year-old, who took charge at the Stadion De Goffert in July 2011, was under contract until the end of this season but will now stay in Nijmegen for a further 12 months.

"NEC are developing in many areas," Pastoor said.

"The ambitions of the club, the atmosphere in Nijmegen and the further professionalisation of the club - I can help contribute to all of that."

NEC are seventh in the Eredivisie standings and in contention for a Europa League play-off place.

Ronaldo had mixed emotions after scoring the winner for Real at Old Trafford in a 2-1 victory, and it capped off an incredible week which saw Jose Mourinho's side also triumph twice over domestic rivals Barcelona.

The Spanish champions are now into the quarter-finals of the Champions League, and Ronaldo told reporters: "We have a long way to go, we've beaten one of the best teams in the world in Man U.

"So we have a long way to go and will go step by step but we are in a good shape.

"This week was unbelievable with two wins against Barcelona and now Manchester United. It was fantastic for us."

The Portuguese winger paid tribute to the reception he received from the United fans on his first return to the club since leaving Old Trafford in 2009.

He added: "It was an unbelievable night, a very emotional night. What the supporters did with me was massive - I am never going to forget this moment. The only word to describe it is unbelievable.

"On the one side I feel happy for Madrid to go through to the next round, the other side I feel a little bit sad because it is not easy to forget this home.

"I played six years here and the people were very nice to me and I came here like a child. The feeling was strange - it was not just this game but the first game too; I felt a little bit shy in my game.

"But I'm happy because Madrid got through. I defend my colours and I play for Madrid and I try to do my best all the time."

Ronaldo went to speak to the distraught United players after the match and made special mention of 39-year-old Ryan Giggs, for whom it was his 1,000th professional game.

"I went into the dressing room to speak to all the players, the coach, the president, to the Glazers," said Ronaldo.

"I spoke with Giggsy and he's an incredible player, still fit and still playing in these kind of games. He is the flag of this club and I'm happy for him. I think he's going to finish when he's 50!"

Ronaldo said he had not seen the incident which saw Nani controversially sent off for a chest-high challenge - a decision which changed the game in Real's favour.

"I didn't see it," he said. "Things happen in football, sometimes the referee makes good decisions, sometimes wrong decisions, it's part of the game."

Meanwhile, Xabi Alonso, Madrid's former Liverpool midfielder, hailed the win as a "massive step" for Mourinho's men, with Real now strong favourites to go all the way to the final in Wembley.

He said: "We knew it was going to be a massive night for both sides - make or break for one of us. Happily we have gone through.

"Credit to United - they pushed really hard even with 10 players. It was a great atmosphere, a great night and now we're through we're really delighted.

"It was a massive step that we've taken. It was a key week for us - this is what we wanted but there's still a long way to go."

The 19-year-old centre-back made just one substitute appearance for the Robins and has been behind fellow loanee Michael Hector who has started every match since joining from Reading.

"I want to thank Manchester United and Luke," manager Mark Yates told the club's official website.

"Both have been superb and we totally understand why the reasoning for the recall. Luke has had to be very patient but we were happy to have him round here and I hope the experience of being around a first team has been beneficial for him."

McCullough will return to his parent club straight away.

Bale caught the world's attention in October 2010 when he scored a hat-trick at the San Siro and then went on to make a mockery of Brazil right-back Maicon when Inter went down 3-1 to Spurs in the reverse fixture the following month.

The victory, and the "Taxi for Maicon" chants that rang out around White Hart Lane that night will live long in the memory of Tottenham fans, but Bale's determination not to dine out on those two games for the rest of his career has allowed him to develop in to an even more devastating player.

Bale starred for Tottenham last season, but it is only in this campaign that the 23-year-old has come to be regarded as having similar quality to the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Bale has scored 20 goals for Spurs this season - comfortably his best return as a professional - and his manager thinks the Welshman is primed to cause yet more damage to Inter when the two teams lock horns in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie at White Hart Lane tomorrow.

"I think Gareth has evolved as player. He is even more threatening now," the Tottenham manager told a press conference.

"I remember seeing the highlights of Inter - Tottenham, and how Tottenham came back into the game late on.

"Maicon was an outstanding right-back, one of the Brazilian right backs, so to see a young player like Gareth play like he did against him demonstrates his talent.

"Now, two years on, he plays in a different position. He's become a different player; a bigger player and a more complete player.

"He's the kind of player who can determine the outcome of a game, as we've seen in recent matches."

Bale, as Villas-Boas points out, has been crucial to the unbeaten 12-match run that has seen Spurs climb above Chelsea in to third place.

The Welshman has scored nine times in seven games. Without those goals Tottenham would be seventh.

Bale has struggled with injuries in the past, but Villas-Boas sees no reason to rest the forward.

"He is fine. Most of the players feel fine and fresh," the Portuguese said.

"There is a lot of rest time between a Thursday and a Sunday (when Spurs play Liverpool."

Bale has been linked with a move to Real Madrid thanks to his exploits this year.

The suggestion he could be bound for the Spanish capital gathered pace on Tuesday day when he was spotted at their Champions League clash against Manchester United, but Villas-Boas denied anything should be made of Bale's attendance.

"I had no problem with it," the 35-year-old said.

"I was told about it in the afternoon. We spoke about the game (Wednesday). It's a great game of football."

While much of the attention will understandably be on Bale tomorrow, the visit of Inter also brings back fond memories for Tottenham's manager.

Villas-Boas spent 18 months at the San Siro operating as Inter's head scout under Jose Mourinho before he decided to go it alone after being offered the manager's position at Academica de Coimbra.

Villas-Boas' decision to leave his mentor and branch out in to management angered the now Real Madrid boss at the time, but his protege still thinks he made the right choice.

"It was a difficult moment of my professional life (to leave Inter)," Villas-Boas said.

"At that time I was scouting for Jose. We had conversations because I wanted to be a little bit more involved with first-team training

"Jose had always seen me doing the job I was doing.

"It was a difficult step to take, but it was probably the right one."

Villas-Boas confirmed on Wednesday that striker Emmanuel Adebayor has only a slim chance of playing due to a knee injury he suffered in Sunday's north London derby win.

Villas-Boas is likely rotate his goalkeepers again, with Hugo Lloris making way for Brad Friedel.

The 19-year-old left-back has been with the Bees since September and was due to return to Goodison Park on Wednesday.

The renewed deal keeps him with Uwe Rosler's promotion-chasers until April 6.

Bidwell has made 38 appearances for the Bees this term in addition to the 25 games he clocked up during a stint at Griffin Park last term.

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