Premier League

Rules must be followed - PDC

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Tue, 02 Apr 2013 17:42:00

Galatasaray travel to Real Madrid for the first leg of their Champions League last-eight tie, 12 years to the day since the Turkish club faced the same opposition on their last quarter-final appearance in the competition.

Galatasaray should take confidence from successive away victories against Cluj, SC Braga and Schalke 04 in this season's European campaign but Real present their toughest challenge yet, particularly at the Bernabeu.

Madrid have won 13, and lost one, of 16 European home fixtures since the appointment of Jose Mourinho.

The Madrid boss will field his strongest side on Wednesday, having rested the likes of Xabi Alonso, Mesut Ozil and Angel Di Maria at the weekend.

Raphael Varane and Fabio Coentrao are also expected to return after missing the 1-1 draw with Real Zaragoza with slight muscle injuries.

But goalkeeper Iker Casillas will only be on the bench, despite recovering from a hand injury, meaning Diego Lopez will start in net.

While Real have been eliminated in the semi-finals in the past two seasons, it is almost a quarter of a century since Galatasaray last reached the last four.

However, their cause is boosted by having two Champions League winners among their ranks who Mourinho knows very well.

Striker Didier Drogba won the Premier League twice under Mourinho's management at Chelsea between 2004 until 2007, before the Portuguese departed Stamford Bridge.

Drogba went on to further glory with Chelsea, scoring the winning penalty in last year's final as they beat Bayern Munich in a shoot-out after having also scored the Blues' equaliser in the Allianz Arena.

The 35-year-old quit the London club for a stint in China before moving to Turkey and he will lead the line against Real.

Alongside Drogba in attack will be Dutchman Wesley Sneijder, who won the Champions League with Mourinho at Inter Milan in 2010.

Galatasaray also have a number of other players with Champions League experience such as former Arsenal player, Felipe Melo and Fernando Muslera, who have represented Juventus and Lazio respectively.

The match also pits the two top scorers in this year's tournament against each other, with Burak Yilmaz lining up for the away side and Cristiano Ronaldo in the home ranks. Both have eight goals to their name.

The 24-year-old has become an increasingly important member of Arsene Wenger's squad this season, scoring more goals and providing more assists than ever before.

Walcott penned a new long-term contract at the Emirates Stadium in January and earlier this month racked up his 250th appearance for the club against Sunderland.

However, the England international would give up such personal achievements for club glory, with Arsenal's trophyless spell soon to reach an eighth year.

"I would personally take all of [my] appearances away to win something at this club," Walcott told Arsenal Player.

"Some people may think I'm mad but I think I'm not selfish. I like to think for the club and the fans.

"Appearances are great but winning things means more. Hopefully next season, when I hopefully reach 300 appearances, there will be a trophy on the end of that. That's the biggest target.

"I'm very proud of that [reaching 250 appearances]. I've worked hard through all the lows and the highs. This season especially, there have been a lot of highs. It's a nice positive.

"I don't want it to stop there. I want to continue to play and get back fit soon. It's a fantastic achievement and I'm very happy.

"I've definitely matured as a player. I've always been the same sort of person off the pitch. I've always got time for people. I think at times, the players might look for something to come from nowhere and at times that's maybe [up to] me or the likes of Jack [Wilshere].

"This season has been my best goalscoring and assist-making season. I can see why people may think that now. That's been the biggest step for me.

"The assists are something I'm very proud of. A lot of those come from the wing as well. An assist is just as important as getting a goal."

The pair have been added to a list of former Madrid stars who will feature in the 'Legends Are Back' friendly against past United heroes at Old Trafford on June 2.

Steve McManaman, the former Liverpool and Manchester City player who twice win the Champions League with Madrid, is also confirmed along with - amongst others - Fernando Hierro, Fernando Redondo, Emilio Butragueno, Christian Karembeu and Ivan Helguera.

Former United players set to take part include Dwight Yorke, Andrew Cole, Denis Irwin, Lee Sharpe, Dion Dublin, Quinton Fortune, Edwin van der Sar, Jaap Stam, Teddy Sheringham and Nicky Butt.

The line-ups have been announced by the Manchester United Foundation, who are raising money for disadvantaged young people under their Red Heart United banner.

Di Canio, who accepts he is viewed in some quarters as "the mad Italian", said he is ready to give any lazy players a "kick up the bottom" and claimed the sceptics will soon be cheering his name to the Stadium of Light's rafters.

He also insisted he can weather the storm blown up by Labour MP David Miliband quitting as club vice-chairman over the 44-year-old's past statements professing to be a "fascist but not a racist".

Sunderland are a point off the relegation zone and the new manager admitted his first training session came as a shock to some players, stressing the need for discipline.

Di Canio, who previously achieved success as manager of Swindon, said: "You have to know how to manage your players.

"It is obvious you have different egos in the Premier League, but you have to have strict rules, discipline, and work hard on the field during the week otherwise the product you deliver on Saturday is not good.

"That won't change. It's not just Paolo Di Canio's opinion, all managers around the world think the same.

"If everybody interprets the game wrong because they do not train properly during the week or because there is no discipline you have an anarchists' team, and if there is anarchy maybe the players try to do the right thing but doesn't work in the way it should.

"Especially the new generation, not because they are bad guys but they are young and full of technology, they go round the town and if you don't make them concentrate during training sessions you don't help them to be focused.

"I am not saying it happened here, I have to be clear. I don't know what happened here but with the players we have got I can't imagine how we are one point from relegation zone.

"Yesterday was the first training session and it was a shock for them.

"But they showed fantastic commitment and we are going to change a bit our philosophy in the way we approach our training sessions, because if you do not prepare yourself the best in your training session you can't do a good job in a Saturday or Sunday game.

"We have a very good foundation with five or six players with fantastic talent and a group of young players who are full of enthusiasm to prove their quality.

"We can now light the fire and let them play together with energy and quality."

Di Canio added that he has identified confidence among the players as one issue he has to deal with, especially with only seven games remaining of the season.

"From the last two games I watched against Norwich and Manchester United it is clear that some players are not fully confident, probably because the last few results weren't good," he said.

"But I am sure through my job and my staff's job we can help them to restore this belief and play as they used to play before.

"Obviously it's a hard job as we have only seven games but we are fully confident.

"We have to think that on May 19 we are going to celebrate because this club will still be in the Premier League."

Di Canio claimed that those who doubt his ability as a manager will have to eat their words.

"It is obvious that in the past people have been sceptical because it was my first job as Swindon, League Two, League One, the mad Italian, he will fight his players, but at the end I won the league.

"I am young, people say the same, I have no experience in the Premiership but I am not worried.

"People sometimes think I am from Mars and am different from all the others, but it's obvious it's a different situation but I am good enough to deliver.

"I will prove that I am a winning manager. For the sceptical people they are going to say 'we were wrong when we said Paolo di Canio is not ready'.

Sunderland announced on Tuesday that four coaches who worked under Di Canio at Swindon are joining him in on Wearside; first team coach Fabrizio Piccareta, goalkeeping coach Domenico Doardo, fitness coach Claudio Donatelli and physiotherapist/masseur Giulio Viscardi.

Sunderland confirmed that Steve Walford, Steve Guppy, Jim Henry and Seamus McDonagh, who worked under Martin O'Neill, have left the club.

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