Premier League

Kagawa: No regrets over Utd move

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Mon, 22 Jul 2013 15:40:00

Millwall have confirmed Mick Harford as their assistant manager, after earlier turning down new role at Newcastle.

The 54-year-old former Luton and QPR boss was in talks with Newcastle at the weekend over a position assisting director of football Joe Kinnear at St James' Park.

But Harford turned down the opportunity to rejoin the club for whom he briefly played during the early 1980s and will instead be number two to new Lions boss Steve Lomas.

"I'm delighted that Mick has joined us. He's a vastly experienced coach who I have known for many years now," Lomas told Millwall's website.

"Mick will be a great addition to the staff and I'm pleased to have finalised my backroom team.

"I know there was speculation about Mick going to Newcastle because of his past connections with Joe Kinnear, but he's fully committed to Millwall and to doing a job for us here."

Harford added on Sky Sports News: "I've been in talks with Millwall over a period of time and just felt it better suited me at the moment. I didn't feel that at Newcastle."

Lomas has also installed Tim Breaker as first-team coach and Kevin Pressman as goalkeeping coach while club legend Neil Harris, who retired from playing this summer, will work with both the first team and development squads.

Pellegrini, who quit the Spanish club to take over at the Etihad Stadium this summer, has promised to improve City's brand of football.

The Chilean guided Malaga to the quarter-finals of the Champions League last season and it appears he wants City to follow the same formula for success.

Milner told City TV: "So far we have worked very hard, more on the defensive aspects of the game and changing how he wants us to set up as a team.

"It will take a bit of time to get everyone on the same page as to how he wants us to play and get that, but once it clicks - I think you can see the jobs he has done at his previous clubs.

"We have watched videos of his previous teams doing it to get prepared and see exactly how he wants things doing, as well as doing it on the training field.

"You see the organisation and the record Malaga had in the Champions League last year was really good defensively.

"With our record in the Premier League and the players we have, hopefully we can keep improving."

City began their pre-season preparations in South Africa and have now travelled to Hong Kong to participate in the Barclays Asia Trophy, along with fellow Premier League sides Tottenham and Sunderland.

Pellegrini has left the tour to return to Chile due to the death of his mother but is expected to rejoin the team in due course.

Assistant managers Brian Kidd, who had a spell in caretaker charge at the end of last season, and Ruben Cousillas Fuse have taken over in his absence.

Milner feels disruption to the squad has been kept to a minimum.

Milner said: "Obviously the manager is new anyway, he is still getting to grips.

"Ruben and Kiddo took over. We are used to changes and things like that, so we just get on with the job in hand.

"Hopefully everything is all right with the manager."

Kagawa was a central figure in Dortmund's back-to-back Bundesliga triumphs, but left Germany last summer when he opted to join Manchester United in a £17million deal.

Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp claimed it broke his heart to see Kagawa leave, and then end up playing on the left wing rather than his preferred central position.

As he also suffered a significant knee injury that kept him out for nearly two months, the 24-year-old could be forgiven if he felt a rather big mistake had been made with his career.

Yet he insists watching Dortmund lose that all-German final against Bayern Munich at Wembley in May just made him more determined.

"I was proud to see my former team play in the Champions League final, and I was very excited for them - but it didn't make me feel I had made the wrong choice," he said.

"In fact it made me feel stronger because I want to be on the same field in future."

There were high points, in particular a hat-trick against Norwich in April.

But Kagawa summed up his feelings in a Japanese TV interview shortly after linking up with his team-mates for the latest leg of their five-match pre-season tour.

"It was a tough time for me with a lot going on in my head. I am not happy with my performance for the team at all," he said.

"I didn't score that much and I also had my injury.

"It was great we won the league. I just don't feel that I achieved everything that I wanted.

"For me personally, it wasn't a good season."

Kagawa clearly has a lot of affection for Dortmund.

Indeed, he claims he would like to return one day if the conditions were right.

However, he has important work ahead of him, proving to new manager David Moyes he is a top-class talent and just the man to step in for Wayne Rooney should the England forward get his wish to join Chelsea.

According to Moyes, predecessor Sir Alex Ferguson spoke "in glowing terms" of Kagawa.

But those words will mean little unless he matches them with deeds on the pitch.

"I have met the manager for the first time and we had a talk in the car on the way here," Kagawa said as he addressed the media ahead of tomorrow's encounter with Yokohama F Marinos.

"We still need to spend more time together to get to know each other.

"I am looking forward to building a relationship with him."

Though he is unlikely to feature for long, having done little training since the Confederations Cup ended a month ago, Kagawa will be the centre of attention given his obvious superstar status in his homeland.

Yet, for him, the biggest name on the pitch will be former Celtic midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura, who once scored a brilliant free-kick against United at Parkhead and has now moved back home.

"Nakamura is a very big global player and I am happy to be on the same pitch as him," Kagawa said.

"I would like to become the same global player one day.

"I will do my best for the team then hopefully it can happen."

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