Scottish Premier League

McInnes defends Pawlett

Share This Story

   
 

Thu, 09 May 2013 17:56:00

Leeds United forward El-Hadji Diouf has dismissed claims about him signing for Guinean club AS Kaloum as "complete rubbish".

The African club publicly claimed they expected to sign the former Senegal international during the transfer window, despite the fact he has a year remaining on his current contract.

And Diouf, who joined Leeds from Doncaster Rovers last year, has dismissed the claims of a move away from Elland Road as nonsense.

"It's complete rubbish," he told the club's official website.

"I have a contract with Leeds United, I will be back for pre-season training on June 27, and I'm looking forward to the new season."

The Bosnia international was non-committal about his future as he met reporters at City's pre-FA Cup final media day.

Dzeko, who has scored 14 goals this season, has been the subject of speculation linking him with elsewhere as City consider a summer revamp of their squad.

When asked if he could leave at the end of the season, Dzeko said: "We will see. Everything is open."

Dzeko's present thoughts are on helping City beat Wigan in the final at Wembley on Saturday.

The 27-year-old was guilty of a glaring miss in last weekend's draw at Swansea but made amends with a well-controlled winning volley against West Brom on Tuesday.

Dzeko, an unused substitute when City beat Stoke in the 2011 final, accepts he again may not start but is keen to be part of the action.

He said: "Everyone is hoping, everyone wants to play.

"I don't know. I don't think about that but I think that's not important. It's important to win it.

"It means a lot to the club, to the fans, to us players, to everyone."

Dzeko earned a tag of 'super sub' earlier this season after a spell of scoring goals off the bench. Six of his first seven came as a substitute.

It was not a nickname the player particularly liked but he is focused only on team glory rather than personal success this week.

He said: "That's my job to score goals, if I come on after 60 minutes or if I start."

When asked if he dreamt of scoring the winner, he said: "I think it is important just to win it.

"I'm not sure about scoring the winner but I am dreaming of playing and winning the title."

Terry missed Chelsea's 2012 Champions League final victory through suspension and Lampard, who is closing in on Bobby Tambling's 202-goal club goalscoring record, is in the final weeks of his current contract, with uncertainty over whether his stay at Stamford Bridge will be extended.

Benitez suggested there was no room for sentiment in his team selection, confirming only that Lampard would start at Aston Villa on Saturday and that the full team for the Barclays Premier League match and next Wednesday's Europa League final with Benfica in Amsterdam is still to be determined.

"What I can say is that Lampard will play against Aston Villa and I cannot say anything about the final," Benitez said. "The only player that I can guarantee today who will play against Aston Villa is Lampard. The final, I don't know. I haven't decided [the team] yet."

Former England captain Terry has not started in the last three games and was an unused substitute in last night's 2-2 draw with Tottenham.

Benitez declined to reveal his defensive preferences.

"The competition in this position is really hard here," he said.

"[Gary] Cahill, [Branislav] Ivanovic, David Luiz, they are doing well, too.

"Now we have four centre-backs, they have to compete and they are doing well."

If Terry's motivation for the final is to play a part before lifting the trophy - unlike in Munich, when he was a spectator before changing for the celebrations - Lampard has a personal landmark to reach.

The midfielder, who will be 35 in June, is one short of Tambling's record mark with three games remaining.

Benitez again backed Lampard to break the record and hopes it can be accomplished against Villa - to make his final team selection more straightforward.

"I have confidence that he will do it," Benitez said.

"He can play one more game and after see what will happen in the other two [games].

"If he can score against Aston Villa it will be easier for me in the last two games.

"If he scores two goals against Aston Villa, we'll begin to talk about what we will do.

"I will do what I have to do to win games and if at the same time I can help Frank, I will do it."

Chelsea hope victory at Villa Park will confirm their Champions League return, after a draw with Spurs delayed their bid to seal a top-four place.

Benitez expects the retirement of Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov - following his battle against acute leukaemia - to have a galvanising effect as Paul Lambert's side bid to preserve their Premier League status, but believes Chelsea's desire is also strong.

Benitez said: "They have enough motivation. For some of them it will be a little bit more [because of Petrov's announcement].

"For us we have our own motivation and we will try to do our job anyway.

"All of them [the three remaining games - against Villa, Benfica and Everton] are important, but the main one will be Aston Villa.

"It was a pity yesterday, because I think we should have won the game, but we have to do it against Aston Villa and try to be sure that we will be in the top four, top three and concentrate on the final.

"We know that it's really important but at the same time we know that we have to win one game.

"If we can win against Aston Villa, it will be easier to approach the final with confidence.

"If we cannot, still we have another chance, and even with a draw and a win, with the goal difference, we can finish third.

"We're in a very good position. We want to be in a better position by winning against Aston Villa."

Chelsea may be without Eden Hazard (calf) and Victor Moses (leg) for the trip to Birmingham, while Ryan Bertrand (knee) remains out.

Yet with players playing for a final place, they have plenty of quality to win at Villa Park.

Benitez, who will depart at the end of the campaign, is content with Chelsea's current position, but knows there is still work to do to finish the season - and his spell in charge - in the Champions League and with silverware.

He said: "We're pleased where we are at the moment. Hopefully we can be happy at the end."

The Dons this week accepted a two-match Scottish Football Association ban for Pawlett, whose simulation over the incident that led to Niall McGinn equalising from the spot consigned Dundee to bottom place in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League on Sunday.

But they claimed any appeal would have been fruitless because of the negative publicity surrounding the incident.

Dundee manager John Brown mainly hit out at referee Alan Muir after the game, pointing out that jobs would be lost as a result of the decision, but also criticised Pawlett's fall as Lewis Toshney tried to prevent contact.

Some of Pawlett's previous diving misdemeanours - two bookings this season and an earlier two-match ban - were highlighted on television on Sunday night and McInnes feels his player has become a scapegoat.

McInnes said: "We have accepted the punishment. Any incident like that will be dealt with internally.

"It's dealt with, we move on from it. What has to be clear is that no way is Peter Pawlett going to be made a scapegoat for Dundee's relegation.

"There's been a lot aimed at him and I'll be looking in the future if there's the same outrage and comment on players in instances like that.

"To label people losing their jobs and the consequences of Dundee being relegated on Peter Pawlett is bang out of order.

"Dundee have had 36 games to sort themselves out. They were 1-0 up against a team with 10 men with half an hour to go and could have dealt with that situation better."

Dundee have only lost one of nine SPL games since Brown took over in February and McInnes believes the focus should be on the stark contrast between their displays under the former Rangers midfielder and predecessor Barry Smith.

"For me the words honesty and integrity have been bandied about," he said.

"If I'm a Dundee fan and I see my team running that extra yard for the manager, when was that evident prior to John Brown coming in? Honesty and integrity."

McInnes was reluctant to update his opinion on the incident itself after claiming there had been contact in the immediate aftermath of the game.

McInnes, whose team face relegation survivors St Mirren in Paisley on Saturday, said: "I'm not talking about the decision. I hadn't seen it before press on Sunday and I had seen it once before I spoke to Sky on Sunday and for me it's still not clear."

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by

SOCCER Headlines