Robertson suffers broken leg

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.”