Gabby never considered exit
PSG director Leonardo suggested his team are more suited to
playing in the Champions League than Ligue 1 after an embarrassing
defeat to 10-man Reims.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side went down 1-0 in Reims as Grzegorz
Krychowiak scored in the 64th minute, six minutes after the hosts
had Christopher Glombard sent off for a second bookable
PSG had already seen Zlatan Ibrahimovic denied a goal for a
questionable offside decision, but missed several other chances and
surrendered vital ground in the tight Ligue 1 title race.
It was a second away defeat in a row for PSG and Leonardo warned
there could be more as his expensively-assembled team was
constructed for grander stages.
“We are perhaps not made to play in these types of games,” the
Brazilian told Infosport. “We created a team to play in the
Champions League, not the championship.
“We don’t know yet how to handle games where the situation is
against us, where the surface is difficult and we have an important
game every three days.”
However bold their ambitions on the continental stage, Leonardo
admitted they must find a way to win at home in order to stay in
control of the title race.
“When games are based on a fight, we do not succeed,” he said.
“We will have to learn how to face games like these when it gets
tough, as they are common here and this will not be the last
But while Leonardo’s comments seemed to question PSG’s title
credentials, coach Carlo Ancelotti insisted he had no worries about
his team’s attitude.
“It’s a big disappointment, because we had the opportunity to
win this game with the chance for (Ezequiel) Lavezzi in the first
half and the (disallowed) goal of Ibrahimovic in the second,”
“The only thing I can say is we have to accept this defeat and
better manage matches like this.”
Prior to this match, PSG had enjoyed back-to-back victories over
rivals Marseille in the league and cup, but they also lost their
last league outing away from home in losing 3-2 to Sochaux.
“This is different to Sochaux,” Ancelotti added. “Today we do
not have any attitude problem. It was not a problem of
concentration, but a technical thing. We encountered difficulties
in the game because the pitch was not good. If you cannot play
football, it is hard.
“But I cannot be angry because the team is doing a good job and
we are still leading (the table). We might have won if Lavezzi took
that chance and then the officials had made a different
Tevez has re-established himself as a regular in Roberto
Mancini’s side this season, something that was almost unthinkable
last year as he went on unauthorised leave in his homeland for
several months, apparently ready to quit the game.
“I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to come back,” Tevez told the
Sunday Times. “I’d left City and you could almost say I’d left
through the back door. But it is almost like there are two Tevezes.
There’s the Tevez before, who had a problem, and there’s the Tevez
now, who no longer has problems.”
Tevez said the key has been getting his family back together.
Tevez had requested a transfer from City prior to his walkout when
his wife and children returned to Argentina, but now they are all
back in England Tevez said he has a different perspective on his
“It totally changes everything, your disposition, your humour,
just having them close,” he said. “If I wasn’t selected in the past
I’d be in a terrible mood. Now I’m still gutted but I go home, see
my daughters, it takes my mind off it and I feel better.”
The 29-year-old has 11 goals in 33 appearances in all
competitions this season, not quite matching the outstanding return
of his pre-walkout days but still a highly valuable part of Roberto
Despite that, a sizeable number of City fans still bear a grudge
after last season, with Tevez’s goals often met with a more muted
celebration than those of his team-mates.
Tevez can understand that, but is still working to win them over
with his new attitude.
“I knew it would be difficult for the fans to accept me again,”
he said. “But I hope, little by little, match by match…you give
everything for the shirt and win them over through hambre de gloria
(hunger for glory). I was once a real idol for these fans, they
were so supportive of me. I hope I’m able to win them back.”
While his standing with the supporters still needs work, Tevez
is adamant he and Mancini are now “fine”, their once fiery
relationship “a lot calmer now”.
“It might be down to maturity,” he added. “Maybe, before, I was
under a lot more pressure. I was a leader of the team. People would
often say, ‘If Carlos has a bad day, City have a bad day’. Maybe
you just reach a point where there’s worse things in life than
disappointment in football.
“If I come off the bench and score but I’m not in the next
starting line-up I’m a lot more accepting.”
Ronaldo returns to Old Trafford on Tuesday as Real Madrid take
on United in the second leg of their Champions League last-16
The Portuguese star’s future has been the subject of speculation
for the last few weeks as talks over a new deal at the Bernabeu
have dragged on.
Although Ferguson has previously admitted he would love to see
Ronaldo back at Old Trafford he has dismissed talk that a move
could be on the cards this summer.
“There hasn’t been anything to encourage me to think Cristiano
would come back here,” said Ferguson.
“As far as I am aware, there is nothing in it at all. Ronaldo
has got two years left on his contract and it seems to me it is all
part of the negotiations that are going on about a new deal.
“Maybe his agent is playing the game. I think it is false hope.
Cristiano will get a good reception. All our former players,
especially the ones who have been great for this club, get a good
reception when they return.”
Ferguson believes Ronaldo is at the peak of his career and has
joked he has two ways to try and stop the forward ending their
Champions League dreams.
“He is a better player now than he was when he was with us
because he has matured,” added Ferguson. “He is 28 and at the peak
of his career. From 28 to 32, with the fitness Ronaldo has got – he
never misses a game and is never injured – he will be at his
absolute best,” he continued.
“I’ve got a plan to stop him: it’s called a machete. Plan B is a
Ronaldo returns to Old Trafford for the first time since his
world record ?80million move to Real Madrid, bidding to dump his
old club out of the Champions League.
The former World Player of the Year has already done some
damage, cancelling out Danny Welbeck’s opener at the Bernabeu three
Any intervention this week could prove terminal to United’s
hopes of progress but, having spoken to his former team-mate in the
aftermath of that 1-1 draw in Madrid, Evra feels Ronaldo may find
it difficult knowing so much good feeling for him remains amongst
the Red Devils faithful.
“It is difficult when you play with love,” Evra told MUTV.
“Cristiano will get a great reception on Tuesday because of what
he achieved for Manchester United. The fans will never forget what
“Also, he still loves the club.
“I remember after the game in Madrid we had a chat.
“He said it was going to be more difficult to come here.
“This is his house, so there will be a lot of emotion. I hope he
doesn’t play well because of that.
“But Ronaldo is a winner. He is a big competitor. If he can win
against Manchester United he will do it.”
Agbonlahor is currently Villa’s longest-serving player – he made
his debut seven years ago – and the England international has often
been linked with a move away from the club.
He will come face to face on Monday evening with Manchester City
duo Gareth Barry and James Milner who both opted to move on, but
academy product Agbonlahor is content to remain with Villa even
though he is still searching for his first trophy.
He said: “Do I regret being a one-club player? I think, for me,
I have always enjoyed playing my football here at Villa so it’s
hard for me to say that.
“Players who have left the club have had their reasons for
“For me I’ve always enjoyed playing my football, maybe other
than the one season where I wasn’t playing as much as I wanted to,
which was disappointing.
“Apart from that, I have enjoyed my football and when that it
the case you have no reason to look elsewhere.
“If that changed, then you would have to obviously look
elsewhere. But if I’m in the team and enjoying my football, there
is no reason to do that.”
When asked if the possibility exists for him to never win a
trophy at Villa, Agbonlahor is hopeful that scenario will be
He said: “It’s hard to say that. We were especially disappointed
this season to lose to Bradford (in the Capital One Cup semi-final)
but it showed we are getting closer.
“We got to a semi-final so we are closer to getting back to
Wembley. Hopefully next season we can go that one step further.
“But, as much as you want to win things, as long as I am here
and enjoying my football, and the club still want me, I am happy to
Villa dropped back into the Premier League bottom three after
last weekend’s defeat at Arsenal and were beaten 5-0 at City
earlier in the campaign.
Agbonlahor said: “The Premier League is the only place you want
to be playing. That is why, if I’m asked if I am thinking about
relegation, the answer is I’m not.
“I am thinking about helping the team to get out of where we are
now. This is the league you want to be playing in, the best league
in the world. There’s no reason I’d want to leave it.
“Does the threat of relegation scare me? I think it would scare
anyone. As long as you are in the bottom three, it is in your mind
as a player.
“But, if it was a massive gap, you would be a lot more scared.
But it is only a point or two and you are out of there.
“Hopefully we start getting points against the teams around us.
We play QPR and Reading soon, which are massive games and then you
start to think you can climb.”
Agbonlahor added: “Between now and the end of the season that
(relegation) can’t be on our mind.
“We just want to get the results sooner or later to get out of
the current situation.
“We have games coming up we feel we can win, and that’s what we
have to do, go into every game feeling we can win.
“There will be twists and turns but, if we can go into games
with the attitude and the tempo we have been showing, we will be
Agbonlahor admits the clash with City has important consequences
for both teams.
He said: “Is it a must-win situation? I think they know that as
well. I don’t want to talk about that part of the league because we
have got to concentrate on our situation.
“But, if you ask them, they know they will need to win every
game as Manchester Utd don’t drop too many points.
“We have got to concentrate on our own game and what we are
fighting for. As long as we go into the game fighting, we will try
and get a result.
“As much as they need to win, we need to win as well. We need
points as well.”