Premier League

Koscielny to miss three weeks

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Thu, 29 Nov 2012 10:47:00

Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti has denied accusations that the Serie A club are "blackmailing" midfielder Wesley Sneijder.

The Nerazzurri had stated that the Holland international would not play again until he agreed to extend his contract, which currently runs until 2015, while simultaneously taking a pay cut.

Head coach Andrea Stramaccioni subsequently insisted that Sneijder's absence from first-team action is purely a tactical choice.

But FIFPro, the worldwide trade union for professional footballers, issued a statement requesting dialogue with FIFA, UEFA and the European Commission to share its concerns over what it called 'blackmail behaviour of clubs'.

Moratti told inter.it: "As far as the club is concerned, we are completely open to the player, there is no sort of blackmail.

"If a contract is valid, it's certainly valid to ask a person if it can be improved in some way. That doesn't change the fact that for the time being he's not playing for technical reasons.

"Obviously no one would want to throw away someone of his value. The club is calm, we haven't forced anyone to do anything. His contract is valid, no one is forcing him, Sneijder is free."

The former Real Madrid playmaker has not featured since September and Moratti would not be drawn on whether he would return against Palermo this weekend.

"That's entirely down to the coach, if he thinks he's physically and psychologically up to playing," he added.

The FIFPro statement read: "FIFPro signals a growing number of players who are put under pressure to prolong their contract. This is no new phenomenon.

"A club forces a player with a contract nearing expiry to sign a new contract. If the player refuses, the club puts him on the reserve bench or in the grandstand.

"This professional footballer doesn't get a chance to play any more. Only when he has signed a new contract he can resume playing."

Hughes, 48, who replaced Neale Cooper at Victoria Park earlier this month, lost his first two games in charge of League One's bottom club, but stopped a run of five straight defeats with a draw at Walsall last weekend.

"There have been no promises from day one," Green said. "We've always been realistic. He's not said 'I will keep you up'. Nobody can say that in football, if they could they would be magicians and manager at Man United.

"But there's always a gamble, don't get me wrong, bringing him to his first job in England. But we feel that the odds are stacked in our favour with choosing John and taking the gamble we've made."

Hughes' side, recently thrashed 6-1 at Chesterfield in the FA Cup, are without a fixture this weekend as the competition stages the second round proper.

The Magpies came within nine minutes of ending their wait for a Premier League victory and five of avoiding a fourth successive top-flight defeat for the first time since 2008 at the Britannia Stadium.

However, Papiss Cisse's 47th-minute opener ultimately counted for nothing as Jon Walters and substitute Cameron Jerome struck at the death to render a much-improved display by the injury-plagued visitors futile.

Alan Pardew's men have now won only one of their last nine league games and currently sit in 14th place in the table, and the situation could deteriorate further over the weekend as they are not in action again until Monday night, when Wigan head for St James' Park.

But Tiote told the club's official website: "This was so difficult for the team to take.

"We played well and were the better team on the pitch. We tried to pass the ball well and scored the first goal, but after that we were unlucky because it was two sloppy goals that cost us the game.

"Everyone is very disappointed, but we were much brighter than we have been recently and had more energy on the pitch.

"If you play well like we did, then you expect to win the game, so if we continue to play like this, we will get three points again very soon."

Full-back Danny Simpson was equally disappointed, but also confident that a corner has been turned after cards-on-the-table discussions following Sunday's tame 2-0 defeat at promoted Southampton.

He said: "It was a big blow. You can't fault our performance and we gave it everything, every single one of us.

"We looked comfortable and we felt comfortable at the back. We were dealing with everything they threw at us and we were trying to get a second goal.

"We had a couple of chances, but the first goal and then the second one straight afterwards were just a big blow because I think we deserved a win, to be honest with you.

"We all had a good chat after Southampton and said it wasn't good enough and that we need to perform better away from home to give us a chance, and it was the complete opposite from Southampton.

"We did everything right. The game-plan was perfect and we went 1-0 up. But those two goals were a killer because I thought we deserved to win the game.

"I don't think they were better than us, but they got the two goals.

"We have got a couple of days now before the next game and we have to pick ourselves up and get going again."

Robertson left the field on a stretcher after coming on as a second-half substitute during Wednesday night's 1-0 defeat to Hibernian.

He was expected to spend the night in Perth Royal Infirmary following the Scottish Premier League clash at McDiarmid Park.

The club has now confirmed initial fears of a leg break.

They wrote on Twitter: "Confirmed that @davidrobbo12 broke his leg in last nights game and is to undergo surgery today."

Koscielny limped off after just four minutes at Goodison Park and Gunners boss Arsene Wenger said afterwards he expected the centre-back to be out for three weeks.

Wenger was pleased to leave Merseyside with a point despite his side dominating the last 10 league meetings, winning eight and drawing just two.

"It was a game of big physical intensity, we had a good start and after that I felt Everton came back into it and their direct game was always a threat," he said.

"There are regrets on the goal we conceded but 1-1 is a fair result and it is a good point here.

"We needed to show great spirit to get away with a point and I am pleased with the effort they put into the game."

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