Cook: Bad start cost us

BY foxsports • March 20, 2013

Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini has been ruled out of the friendly against Brazil and will likely also miss the World Cup qualifier against Malta due to an ankle injury.

The 28-year-old took a knock during Juventus' Serie A victory at Bologna on Saturday night but was still named in Azzurri head coach Cesare Prandelli's 27-man party, who face Brazil in a friendly match on Thursday night in preparation for Tuesday's World Cup qualifier in Malta.

Chiellini, however, has failed to recover in time to feature and will return to Turin for further treatment, national team doctor Enrico Castellacci has confirmed.

He told FIGC.it: "We conducted new tests on Chiellini's condition this morning and, although recent therapy has improved his condition, I can say with certainty he will not be available for the Brazil game.

"The player is also borderline for the Malta game."

Italy challenge Luiz Felipe Scolari's Selecao in Geneva before travelling to Valletta as Group B's bottom nation host an Azzurri side in pole position to qualify for next year's World Cup in Brazil.

Johnson saw his Latics team cruise through a vital relegation clash which brought their first win in four games and lifted them out of the League One drop zone.

The 31-year-old, whose father Gary is boss at Yeovil, was a surprise appointment at Boundary Park and is the Football League's youngest manager.

But his side were far too strong for Hartlepool - who now need a miracle to avoid relegation according to manager John Hughes.

Johnson said: "It was a fantastic performance and I've thanked the players for doing everything we asked of them.

"I knew we only had 70 minutes to play at a really high tempo because their fitness isn't quite there are the moment, so our philosophy was to go for it.

"They put their bodies on the line and to a man they were all fantastic. The positivity of the players was very encouraging and hopefully this result gives us the momentum to push on."

Robbie Simpson nodded home the opener before big centre-half Jean Yves Mvoto powered home a header of his own soon after to put Oldham in first-half control, with the outstanding Jose Baxter, who had provided both the earlier assists, sealing victory in the 70th minute.

Johnson added: "The fans gave me a nice reception and it's a great way to start, although it felt weird to be a manager instead of a player and there were times when I wanted to go for headers.

"The way we played and pressured Hartlepool meant we could free up Jose Baxter, who was a genius. It isn't just the result that I'm delighted with, it's also the way we achieved it."

The relegation-haunted Gulls got off to a flying start with on-loan Notts County midfielder Joss Labadie heading them into a second-minute lead.

Top scorer Rene Howe took his tally to 16 goals for the season by doubling Torquay's lead in the eighth minute by deflecting on-loan Sheffield United winger Jordan Chapell's goal-bound shot past Tommy Lee.

Cook, whose side scored late on through Liam Cooper, said: "Our game plan and everything else went out the window in the first eight minutes.

"We knew Torquay would be fighting for their lives. We had them watched on Saturday at Southend and they played really well.

"Unfortunately for us we did not start the game in any shape or form. We were second best for long periods and we end up getting 2-0 down and it's hard to come back from that.

"We did give ourselves a little lifeline in the second half and, to be fair to the players, they did keep working at it and kept trying, but the game had gone by then.

"You could be here all night trying to work out why we made a slow start. The message to the players was how important the game was and how we wanted to get off to a good start.

"We did not start and if you don't start well you get punished, no matter who you are playing."


share story