Premier League

Bale sidelined for two weeks

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Fri, 05 Apr 2013 17:56:00

Valencia have confirmed that Manuel Llorente has resigned as president of the La Liga club.

Llorente, who will continue as a director, announced the decision at a board meeting today, reportedly in protest at boardroom changes at the club.

The club also confirmed Jose Antonio Garcia Moreno had resigned as vice-president.

"Today I informed the board of my resignation from the presidency of Valencia. I go with the conscience of a job well done," Llorente, who became president in June 2009, was quoted as telling a press conference.

Valencia lie sixth in the Primera Division table.

The 72-year-old takes charge of his final game on Saturday before making way for Derek McInnes, and the SPL clash with Dundee United at Tannadice is a must-win match for both teams.

Even then the winners need Kilmarnock to drop points at home to bottom club Dundee to ensure a top-six finish.

Brown said: "Normally it would be a very good fixture, the local derby, but it's now even more important because there could be something at stake.

"If Kenny Shiels' team does its job with a home victory it won't matter really, but it will matter for us from a point of view of pride and eventual league position so it's a good end to the season.

"It's not as good as we would have hoped but it's acceptable.

"We have to say Kilmarnock are favourites, then Dundee United with home advantage, then ourselves and Hibernian.

"It's a cup final. We've got to try and get a victory. We have to go and challenge them to defend because we're very good when we attack and United will know that."

When asked about the prospect of going out on a high with the help of former club Dundee, Brown said: "It would perhaps be a fairytale, but I think it's not out of the bounds of possibility.

"I thought at one point with the fixtures in front of me, that it was a possibility Kilmarnock could end up with two draws.

"If you were a betting man you would bet on Kilmarnock, but what we have to do is make sure that Aberdeen are the team that will be there if they slip up."

Brown took some time to look back on his reign, drawing satisfaction from stabilising the club after taking over in December 2010 when they were struggling near the foot of the table.

And he added that his major disappointments were losing to Hibernian in the William Hill Scottish Cup in the last two seasons.

"My major regret is that in the Scottish Cup semi-final we were beaten and I feel quite disappointed for the Aberdeen fans but also a bit angry that the inefficiency of an assistant ref cost a winning goal," he said.

"I didn't say that at the time but I thought it was quite apparent that (Garry) O'Connor was offside when he passed the ball to (Leigh) Griffiths.

"I'm not saying we would have won that game but we looked to be in the ascendancy and that was a big regret that that goal beat us.

"The goal that beat us at Easter Road this year was a good one but we missed a penalty and we should have had another one.

"So these are regrets, major ones, but you can't live in the past and be moping about it, you've got take it on the chin.

"Because I've had many pleasurable times to more than compensate for these disappointing times."

Brown insisted he had not had the time to reflect too much on the end of his managerial career.

"This is a 24-7 job," the former Scotland boss said. "It's next week I will feel the difference.

"If you ask me a week today, I would think there will be a void in my existence then, although I might be nipping off to the Masters next week.

"At the moment I don't feel anything in terms of sadness or emotion but there might be next week.

"I've not felt too much emotion but I've felt a contentment because the good will is quite exceptional.

"They (fans) have given us gifts and cards and lovely emails and messages and the only payback we can give them is if the team performs well at Tannadice and gets the required result."

The former Ibrox midfielder, 28, is in his second spell at the Easter Road club which brought him through its ranks but does not fear falling victim to the usual Old Firm abuse.

Hibs need to win and hope results involving Aberdeen and Dundee United, who play each other, and Kilmarnock, who play bottom side Dundee, go their way in order to clinch a top-six spot in the SPL

Celtic, though, will retain the championship with a win as long as Motherwell lose at home to St Mirren and that scenario may well preoccupy the Hoops fans.

"I think the Celtic fans will be more bothered about other things rather than me," the former Middlesbrough player said.

"I don't think they will give me a second thought.

"I will just go there, hopefully enjoy the game and hopefully put on a good show.

"Old Firm games are brilliant, probably the best game you can ever play in.

"I was fortunate enough to have a good record against Celtic when I was at Rangers although I had a couple of disappointing results when I was at Hibs the first time.

"It is a difficult place to go for any team - you seen the top European sides struggle in the Champions League.

"So we are under no illusion, it is going to be a difficult game.

"The boys need to enjoy it first and foremost, and not get caught up in the atmosphere.

"But we need to go there believing. What's the point of going there thinking you can't get anything out of it?

"That's not the way I play football. I will be telling the boys that we fancy our chances and try to get them up for it.

"Neil Lennon will be the same, he will have them up for it. But it is a chance for us to go there and spoil the party."

Thomson admits he is enjoying his football again after a traumatic two-and-a-half years at Boro, which was ruined by injury and ended with him becoming a target for the boo boys.

After leaving by the Championship club in January, he agreed to forego wages to re-join Hibs until the end of the season and he is glad to be back at a club where he feels appreciated six years after leaving to join Rangers.

"It has been great," he said. "It is always nice to be somewhere where you are appreciated.

"I was appreciated here, then appreciated at Rangers and then for some reason I never got going at Middlesbrough and I had a bit of bad luck.

"I came back here and the reception I have had from the fans has been brilliant."

Bale was carried off on a stretcher during the dying seconds of Spurs' 2-2 draw against Basle on Thursday night, prompting fears the 22-goal striker could be out for a lengthy period.

The Welshman, Aaron Lennon and William Gallas - who also had to come off during last night's Europa League quarter-final first leg - all underwent scans today and the news was positive for the London club.

A Spurs statement read: "The club can confirm that Gareth Bale (sprained ankle ligaments), William Gallas (calf strain) and Aaron Lennon (soft tissue contusion below the knee) all underwent scans today (Friday) after being forced off with injuries during our Europa League quarter-final first leg draw with Basel last night.

"The results of these scans have indicated that all three players are expected to return to training within two weeks.

"Bale, Gallas and Lennon have all commenced their treatment today (Friday) and are responding positively."

Many thought Andre Villas-Boas was just being optimistic when he claimed last night that Bale would be out for a short time of around three weeks.

The way that David Degen trod on the 23-year-old's standing ankle, twisting it almost at a right angle to his right leg, led to a shriek from the player and Spurs fans inside White Hart Lane started to fear the worst.

Yet the results of Friday's scan are even better than expected with the Welshman possibly missing two matches - next Thursday's second leg against Basle, which follows Sunday's visit of Everton in the Barclays Premier League.

He is scheduled to return to training before Tottenham's crunch match against Barclays Premier League champions Manchester City on April 21.

There are many statistics that can be used to highlight just how important Bale has been to Tottenham's success this season, the main one being that he has already found the net 22 times.

Many of those goals have been crucial ones that have decided the outcome of matches that seemed lost before he took them by the scruff of the neck.

Yet Lennon's contribution on the right flank has been almost as important, with the England winger finding the best form of his career under Villas-Boas, whose team sit third in the league with seven games of the season left.

Villas-Boas spoke confidently about Bale's situation after last night's game.

He said: "Gareth will definitely play again this season.

"We will know better (on Friday) but I'm pretty confident.

"From the medical department's first analysis, everything is positive.

"It shouldn't be as bad as it looks because Gareth has torn that ligament before and there's nothing to tear now."

Spurs fans will no doubt be hoping Gallas is not rushed back in to action too soon.

The 35-year-old endured a torrid night against the Swiss and looked well off the pace in the previous round against Inter Milan.

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