Premier League

Mourinho: JT must prove himself

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Sat, 20 Jul 2013 08:41:00

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has confirmed the club's interest in signing Lyon striker Bafetimbi Gomis.

Pardew has been linked with a host of forwards this summer as he looks to bolster his attacking options at St James' Park.

Gomis is the latest name to appear on Pardew's radar with Lyon thought to be willing to sell the French international after a contract row with the 27-year-old.

The likes of Aston Villa, Swansea and Cardiff have been credited with an interest in Gomis, but Pardew is hoping to win the race to bring the player to England.

"We have expressed an interest in Gomis," Pardew told The Times.

"We think that he's a player who has great potential.

"He's a French international who's played at the highest level for his club."

The 30-year-old forward re-signed for the club on Friday, shortly before the Steelmen were drawn against Russian outfit Kuban Krasnodar in the third qualifying round of the Europa League.

Motherwell exited the qualifying stages for both the Champions League and the Europa League at the first hurdle last year, at the hands of Panathinaikos and Levante respectively.

But McFadden is hopeful they can progress further this time around with a bit more self-belief.

He said: "It's going to be tough. Regardless of who we got in the draw it was going to be a tough game.

"But I think we've got to believe we can win the game.

"We need to go there and play to the best of our ability and hope it's good enough.

"They are in Europe so they must have had some success last year and they will be strong.

"But we must believe we can win. We are not here for fun; it's not a day out.

"The manager has brought in some really good players and we have to have confidence that we can win the game."

McFadden has no fears about Well's domestic campaign suffering if they do enjoy an extended run in Europe.

He added: "We are professional players, it's our job, and we want to play in as many big games as we can.

"We've got to try to get into the next round. No matter who we get in the next round, we want to try to get into the group stages.

"We want to do things we've not done before. We want to progress.

"The league form might suffer but it might not.

"You've got to do the best you can do in every game you play in."

McFadden penned a one-year deal after enjoying a successful return to Motherwell in the second half of last season.

His capture was welcomed by boss Stuart McCall, who said: "He's still very hungry to succeed, not only here, but on the international stage as well.

"It's a great acquisition for us."

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United continue to be heavily linked with Cesc Fabregas and Marouane Fellaini, whilst it is also being suggested Newcastle's Yohan Cabaye could be of interest.

With Paul Scholes retired, Darren Fletcher's future open to debate and Anderson running out of last chances, it is easy to see why Moyes would be targeting that specific area of his squad.

Speaking to reporters in Sydney ahead of Saturday's 83,500 sell-out encounter with the A League All Stars, Moyes said: "When I got the job, I was made aware of what could possibly be done to improve things.

"Signing a midfield player was one area where we thought we could possibly add to the squad.

"It's hard to get top quality players who can come in and affect your team. That's why we're trying to go for what we see as the right players and the best players.

"If you're a player and you're brought up to play football, and you look out of the window and see Old Trafford, if you've got any ambitions about being a footballer, and you're a top-end one, then I think you'll want to play for Manchester United."

Robin van Persie was one who felt that way 12 months ago and was rewarded for the risk he took in leaving Arsenal by getting his hands on the Premier League medal he craved.

And now United hope Fabregas reaches the same conclusion after lodging a bid for the former Arsenal skipper earlier this week.

Not that Barcelona are giving them much encouragement.

Barca vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu said: "Barca can assure everyone that they will not entertain any offers for Cesc.

"It is totally ruled out as Fabregas is non-transferable."

United do not see the situation in quite the same way, with Moyes admitting he was hopeful of hearing some news from executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward in the coming days.

"I couldn't tell you exactly," said Moyes, when asked for a progress update yesterday.

"I am in contact with the chief executive who has been dealing with it. I will hopefully know a little bit more in the next day or so."

The striker has withdrawn his transfer request and agreed a new deal at Villa Park until 2017.

The 22-year-old's change of heart came after a "full and frank discussion" with manager Paul Lambert

He said on the club's official website: "I spoke with the manager when I returned to training and we had a good talk. I am very happy to be back here in Birmingham and at Aston Villa, and to sign a new contract.

"This is a great club and it has given me a lot. Now I have to give back to my team-mates and the fans who have always been right behind me.

"The end of last season was very good and the lads were very strong. It was not easy but we came through it and the confidence is high. So everyone knows what we have to do now - be better. I need to be better than last year."

Keeping Benteke is a huge coup for Villa, with the Belgium international establishing himself as one of the Barclays Premier League's most feared strikers in his first season at the club.

It was less than two weeks ago that Villa confirmed he had asked to leave.

Lambert said: "I had a full and frank discussion with Christian Benteke on his return to training this week regarding his future. It is my opinion that the best thing for Christian is to remain at Aston Villa.

"He enjoyed a terrific first season at the club and can use that as a platform to hopefully enjoy more success this season.

"I'm delighted, having time to re-evaluate his future, Christian has decided to commit to the club. It's a huge bonus and I'm sure the supporters are every bit as delighted as me to have him on board and raring to go."

Signed from Genk last summer, Benteke scored 19 Premier League goals to help keep the midlands club in the top flight.

It was in general a season of struggle for Villa, who battled relegation for much of the campaign before finishing five points clear of the drop.

The 32-year-old defender was the man who lifted the trophies in Mourinho's first spell as boss from June 2004 to September 2007 and has been skipper since, but he will receive no favouritism from the Portuguese.

"He's not safe, and he knows he's not safe," Mourinho said.

"The only thing he knows is safe is our friendship, our relationship, but professionally, nobody's safe.

"I need to be honest with everybody and I think he appreciates that. We spoke about it and he understands perfectly.

"We used to say in Portugal: friends are friends, but business is 'apart'. This is kind of a business.

"In football, you have to prove yourself every day and every week.

"I trust him completely. I know he's a very good player, but he has to prove himself like everybody else.

"I feel the motivation is there, the pleasure of training and playing is there.

"His class is there. His position is there. From a physical point of view, he needs to work hard and not have injuries because injuries break the evolution of the player.

"For me, that's the key point for John."

Mourinho is happy with his squad and has just one transfer target: Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney.

The pursuit of Rooney has led to question marks over the future of Fernando Torres, who has struggled at times since his January 2011 arrival at Stamford Bridge from Liverpool in a £50million deal.

Mourinho is confident of rejuvenating the World Cup-winning Spaniard.

"I think I know Fernando quite well in terms of a player," said Mourinho, who believes Torres is at his best when he can run in behind defences.

"I think I know the best way for a team to play to try to get the best out of him, so I will try to help him, the same way I try to help other people."

Torres is trying to rediscover his former self, but Mourinho is eager to experience further success at Chelsea, rather than rely on his reputation.

"I don't want to be loved for what I did before," he said.

"I want to be loved because of what I'm doing now and what I will do in the future."

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