English League 1

Kiwomya: Bialkowski brilliant

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Sat, 23 Mar 2013 20:03:00

Liverpool youngster Philippe Coutinho has been pleased with his start to life at Anfield and is hoping to make a big impact at the club.

The 20-year-old Brazilian has already impressed on Merseyside since making the move from Inter Milan in January, notching up two goals and two assists from his four starts.

Coutinho is happy with how things are going and the playmaker hopes he can establish himself as an important player for the Reds.

"Things have gone really well for me here so far," Coutinho, who spent time on loan at Espanyol last season, told the Liverpool Echo.

"Maybe because I played in Italy and spent six months in Spain last season that has helped me adapt more quickly to English football.

"Also I must thank my team-mates as they have helped me a lot with my first few games. Everyone has made me feel so welcome.

He added: "The games are quicker and more physical but I like that. I am learning all the time.

"Every player wants to improve and get better and I am the same. I am still young and have so much still to learn.

"I hope to be here for many years and become a big player for Liverpool. I will continue to work hard and do my best to improve my performances and help Liverpool."

Faith



Coutinho is enjoying working under manager Brendan Rodgers and wants to repay his faith by helping the club back to success.

"The manager here is still young but he's an excellent person and a very good coach. He speaks openly to everyone and I'm pleased to be working with him," he said.

"The manager has shown a lot of faith in me and hopefully I will repay that. I want to win some titles here to compensate the club for what they've done for me."

The Brazilian does not speak English and has the help of an interpreter but says he is keen to pick up the language.

He added: "Communication between myself and my team-mates is still a bit difficult. The people here speak very fast so it's difficult to pick up the words but I'm trying.

"If the manager wants to get some information across to me in training he speaks Spanish. (Fellow Brazilian) Lucas has also helped me a lot."

The Spain international has previously been linked with a host of top-flight clubs including Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham, while Everton were thought to have shown interest in January.

Reports suggest financially-stricken Sevilla could look to offload him as they seek to lower their wage bill.

Negredo, who joined Sevilla from Almeria in 2009, claims the club received offers for him in the winter transfer window but says it was not the right time to leave.

The 27-year-old, contracted at the Primera Liga side until 2016, hopes to join the Premier League when the moment is right.

"I have always said it, I have never hidden it," he told Estadio Deportivo. "It is a league that I like.

"I do not know if it will be soon, or maybe further down the road, or tomorrow, but I will play there.

"The president (Jose Maria del Nido) received some offers, but he did not accept them. Nobody said anything directly to me, and it was not the right moment to leave.

"I do not know what will happen in the future. It depends on what the club wants and what it needs."

Magpies goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski was in brilliant form, producing an outstanding performance to deny the Robins two precious promotion points.

Bialkowski even drew praise from MacDonald, who saw his team squander the opportunity to put clear daylight between themselves in second place and the chasing pack.

The Pole made important saves from Louis Thompson and Tommy Miller in the first half but it was in the second half when Swindon increased their pressure that the former Southampton stopper excelled.

Simon ferry saw one effort held on the line by the giant Bialkowski, who then used his long legs to keep out shots from Alan McCormack and James Collins in a hectic last 10 minutes.

At the death he also held a Darren Ward header on the line as the Robins plunged every man forward in a bid for victory.

"It is frustrating and disappointing and one of the reasons is that their goalkeeper has stopped us," said MacDonald.

"James Collins was unhappy at missing chances he would normally expect to put away but in the first half we did not have enough shots.

"The players are unhappy with the result. They feel the frustration of the fans and know they should have won.

"We have spoken about it and said that if the performances are good enough over the remainder of the season then we will win more games than we lose. There are only a handful of games left now and the pressure is on but we have some good players here and the belief is there that we will succeed."

Bialkowski even drew praise from Robins boss Kevin MacDonald, who was left to rue a missed opportunity to put clear daylight between his second-placed team and the chasing pack.

The Pole made important saves from Louis Thompson and Tommy Miller in the first half but it was in the second half when Swindon increased their pressure that the former Southampton stopper excelled.

Simon ferry saw one effort held on the line by the giant Bialkowski, who then used his long legs to keep out shots from Alan McCormack and James Collins in a hectic last 10 minutes.

At the death he also held a Darren Ward header on the line as Swindon plunged every man forward in a bid for victory.

Magpies manager Chris Kiwomya, who saw his side hit the crossbar through Enoch Showumni's deflected effort, said: "Bartosz is a good lad and a great character. One day he will be a top class goalkeeper because he is only 24 and has plenty of time.

"I think 0-0 was a decent result and a useful point. Swindon put a lot of balls into our box and we had to withstand a lot of pressure. We had two very good counter-attacks and should have scored, but luckily our goalkeeper was in great form.

"We came here and battled hard but even when we were under the greatest pressure we were always looking for a chance on the break.

"Swindon bossed the second half. They are a good side, playing good football and poured balls into our box."

Kiwomya added: "We are six points off the play-offs. I will speak to the chief executive next week to see if I can get in a player or two before the transfer deadline but, if not, we will battle on."

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