Bell pens Burton extension
Mon, 11 Mar 2013 12:07:00
Raul Albiol has promised Real Madrid will not take their eye off the ball in the Primera Division despite admitting cup success has emerged as their main objective for the remainder of the season.
Madrid moved up to second, ahead of city rivals Atletico but still 13 points adrift of leaders Barcelona, with a 2-1 win at Celta Vigo courtesy of two goals from Cristiano Ronaldo.
It completed a wonderful week for Madrid who cruised into the last eight of the Champions League on Tuesday night with a 3-2 aggregate defeat of Manchester United.
And while retaining second place in La Liga is important, Spain international Albiol accepts the Champions League and the Copa del Rey - they meet Atletico in the final in May - are now the priority.
He told the club's official website: "It's clear that La Liga is out of reach. But we have the Copa del Rey and the Champions League, which are in the knock-out stages, and that's our strong suit. You have to focus 100 per cent on these competitions, but without forgetting about La Liga.
"It's our obligation to finish at least second, which means we have to keep adding three points and hope that Atletico lose ground."
Madrid were again reliant on Ronaldo at the Estadio de Balaidos with Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain drawing another blank.
Benzema and Higuain share the lead striker responsibilities for Jose Mourinho's men but have managed just one goal between them in Madrid's last four games.
Aitor Karanka, Mourinho's assistant, said: "They are forwards and they always say, and it is the truth, that there are spells of form.
"It might seem that they are not being accurate enough but the important thing is creating the chances.
"Last year they were going in and this year they are not going in as easily but the important thing is to keep creating the chances and they will start going in and we will win matches more comfortably."
The 16-year-old centre-half took in two spells at Anfield during January and February, allowing him to catch the eye of the Reds' coaching staff.
With Liverpool eager to bring the best European talent into their youth set-up, an offer is set to be made to Polgar.
His representatives are confident that an agreement will be reached to take the promising youngster to England on a permanent basis.
Tibor Pataky, director of the Careers Management Group which owns Polgar's registration, said: "Kristof trialled with Liverpool on two occasions earlier in the year, and he and his parents are currently in Liverpool enjoying the hospitality of the club.
"We are looking forward to an exciting day, and in a few days the Hungarian presence at Liverpool will be extended."
Liverpool already have Hungarian goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi in their first-team squad, while Krisztian Adorjan is captain of their U21 side.
Lukaku scored his 13th goal of the campaign during Saturday's 2-1 home success over Swansea to keep alive their hopes of securing a European spot.
Morrison knows the 19-year-old will leave a big hole to fill should he be recalled by the Blues next season.
The Scotland international said: "Romelu's goals are one of the reasons we are where we are. Hopefully the club can get the deal sorted (for next season).
"He is a pleasure to have and I think he will be even better next season.
"Will he benefit from another season at West Brom? Definitely. You think how young he is for such a big unit.
"He's got a lot of hard work to go but I'm sure he is going to be a top player. I'm sure Chelsea are going to develop him.
"He is big and strong and scores goals and is quick and powerful. He is a handful for anyone."
Morrison also believes Albion will need to strengthen their squad if they qualify for Europe.
He said: "We will need some players in if we are going to (play in Europe).
"You saw what we were like in December and January when we couldn't pick a win up (through players missing). "Probably the manager will realise that and hopefully we can get there and build a squad for it."
Scans have confirmed the 19-year-old has damaged medial ligaments in his right knee and he will see a consultant on Monday.
The promising defender, operating in a midfield role in recent weeks, sustained the injury in last week's goalless home draw with Colchester and is expected to be out for up to six weeks.
"It's a blow for us and for Jack because of the form he had been in," Pools manager John Hughes told the club's official website.
"We're hoping that Jack is a quick healer and can be back quicker than expected, but we can't rush him so we'll make sure when he does return that he's 100 per cent right."
Baldwin, who made his first-team breakthrough last season, has started the last nine games, playing a key role in midfield as the club have stepped up their bid to escape relegation.
"It gives the opportunity for others to come in and show what they can do," added Hughes.
"But it is disappointing for Jack given that he had enjoyed a good run in the side."
The 29-year-old, who enjoyed loan spells at the Pirelli Stadium in 2005 and 2007, signed an initial one-year deal at the start of this season.
The former Crewe man has been pivotal to Albion's success so far this campaign, making 42 starts in all competitions.
He told the club's official website: "It's good to have my future sorted out and now it's all about focusing on the run-in and let's see where we can finish in the table.
"It's a fantastic, well-run club. The manager and the players are ambitious, so it's great to be part of a club that is moving forward and, hopefully, we can achieve something this season."
Gary Rowett's side currently occupy the final automatic promotion spot ahead of their trip to Aldershot on Tuesday night.