Lampard Hails How Conte Changed Everything For Chelsea

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Antonio Conte is the reason Chelsea are different from the way they played last season, according to Frank Lampard.

Chelsea were close to relegation last season, but are now regarded as title favourites, going eight points clear of Arsenal.

Conte was appointed as Chelsea coach in the summer and led them on a record equalling 13-game winning run.

“I can’t see anyone catching them,” the Blues legend told Jamie Carragher in an interview with the Daily Mail. “They are the most organised team. [Diego] Costa and [Eden] Hazard are the difference. You have got to give the manager [Conte] a load of credit, too.

“They were in a bad place last year. I went back and got treatment for a week last season when I was injured. The dressing room felt terrible. Guus Hiddink was there, they were 12th in the league.

“People were injured, they weren’t playing well and you could smell it wasn’t right. They needed to change the whole mentality. Conte has done that without changing too much in terms of players. He made a few additions and [N’Golo] Kante has been fantastic, but Conte was exactly what they needed.

“I’ve seen what he does. He runs them. They all look fit, lean and know their jobs. They are flying. I watched them against Hull. They were a bit off the pace but win 2-0.

“Arsenal got out of jail last week but I don’t see them or Manchester City churning wins out like Chelsea. I like Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp but they don’t have the consistency.”

After Carragher hailed summer signing Kante for his performances at Stamford Bridge, Lampard added: “Don’t forget [Cesar] Azpilicueta. He’s been brilliant.

“Costa and Hazard get the limelight but he’s basically a right back and a centre half. He is tailor-made for that role. He’s probably been player of the season.”

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Big Brother Naija Eviction Week: Bally, Kemen, Marvis, TBoss And CoCoIce Up For Eviction

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It was nomination week and five housemates: Bally Kemen, CocoIce , TBoss and Miyonse were nominated by the housemates for eviction after receiving the least votes.

Miyonse however was saved by new Head of House Uriel, who replaced him with Marvis. Housemates were called into the diary room by Biggie who gave them up to 45 mins to name their choice for eviction.

The eviction notices will be like a splash of cold water on housemates after just performing for Biggie and eliciting so much emotion that there was not a single dry eye in the house.

The nominations went as follows:

TallThinTony nominated Efe and Marvis

CoCoIce nominated Bisola and Uriel

Kemen nominated TallThinTony and Marvis

Uriel nominated Soma and Bally

Gifty went for Uriel and TallThinTony

Marvis nominated Kemen and Efe

Bally picked Uriel and Efe

Bisola nominated Efe and TallThinTony

TBoss nominated Bisola and Miyonse

Gifty nominated Uriel and TallThinTony

Efe nominated Marvis and TallThinTony

Miyonse chose TBoss and Soma.

At the end of the day, Bally, CoCoIce, Miyonse, TBoss and Kemen had the least votes. HOH Uriel decided to save Miyonse and replaced him with Marvis when given the opportunity by Biggie.

While the housemates expect the first eviction to take place on Sunday, Big Brother will be introducing a surprise, which is two additional housemates. The excitement continues so do not change the channel!

 

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Guardiola To Use Kompany Soon

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Pep Guardiola has confirmed that captain Vincent Kompany could return from injury against Crystal Palace.

The 30-year-old has been out since November, after picking an injury against Palace, but has returned to training earlier this month.

Guardiola is still to decide if to use Kompany in the FA Cup clash at the Selhurst Park, but has stated he’ll have to use him sooner rather than later.

“He is fit. That is the most important thing. He is training and he feels good,” the City boss said.

“The factor (we have to consider) is that he has not played for a long time and we have to evaluate his condition. He has a lot of experience and I think he will handle (returning) as quick as possible.

“Sooner or later we are going to have to take a risk. In the next games he is going to try and play. I don’t know if it is going to be tomorrow or afterwards.”

Guardiola is expected to rotate his squad again and insists he will only play players he has full confidence in.

“I like to move the team. I like everybody to be involved,” he said.

“The players play more regularly because they give me more confidence than the other ones. If they don’t play they have to win my confidence in them. It’s the same for all of them.”

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Henry Onyekuru Accuses KAS Eupen Of Trying To Force Him To Sign For CSKA Moscow

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Celtic strike target Henry Onyekuru has gone AWOL from Belgian club KAS Eupen after accusing club chiefs of trying to railroad him into changing his agent and moving to CSKA Moscow.

Missing from the Eupen squad which faced Standard Liege in the Jupiler League, the Nigerian was the subject of a £1million move by Celtic earlier this month.

Eupen insist the 19-year-old strike sensation is not for sale this window, chief executive Christoph Henkel claiming he is too good for the SPFL.

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Speaking to Africanfootball.com, however, Onyekuru explained his decision to absent himself from training and games by saying: ‘Eupen are acting funny on my transfer. They are frustrating me and my agent for their own interest.

‘They promised to let me move in January if I have a good offer, now there are good offers but they now want me to sign for their own agent, before I move and they want me to sign for CSKA Moscow which I am not interested in. This is unfair and not acceptable.’

Manager Jordi Condom Auli hit out at the player, who has scored 10-goals this season, saying: “The transfer window confuses some players.

“Me, I need guys who are 500 per cent involved in the project of the club. When you are under contract with a club, what matters is the team.”

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EFCC Boss Magu Stirs Gender Controversy: “Men More Corrupt Than Women”

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The Acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, on Friday stirred a gender controversy about corruption when he said “men have more corrupt tendencies compared to women.”

 “Looking at the number of people that have been apprehended by the commission, the men involved outnumbers the women,” the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quoted Magu as saying on Friday, in Abuja.

The embattled EFCC Boss made the statement when the executive committee of the National Council of Women Society (NCWS), paid him a courtesy visit.

He said, however, that women were not pure or immune to greed, but that they were only less corrupt.

Magu described women as nation builders, stressing that their roles in ensuring the right societal values could never be over-emphasised.

The EFCC boss also spoke about the need for collaboration between the commission and NCWS in the fight against corruption.

He explained that the commission had never undermined the rule of law in its anti-graft fight, adding that the EFCC, aside tackling economic crimes, was working hard to put an end to political corruption.

“We respect the independence of the judiciary and auditing bodies in our efforts to ensure that the corrupt are prosecuted, while stolen assets are returned,” he said.

Magu craved women’s support in the fight against corruption, and disclosed that the Lagos zone of the “Women Against Corruption” would be launched on Feb. 22, 2016 to enlist that support in the battle to rid Nigeria of the menace.

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Brendan Rodgers Confirms Chelsea Bid For Goalkeeper Craig Gordon

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Brendan Rodgers confirms Celtic have received an offer from Chelseafor Craig Gordon but insists his keeper is not for sale.

The Stamford Bridge club are looking to line up a replacement should Asmir Begovic, number two to Thibaut Courtois, move to Bournemouth.

Chelsea reportedly bid around £3million for the 34-year-old Scotland keeper but speaking at Celtic’s Lennoxtown training complex, Rodgers said: “There has been an offer but nothing that we would (make us) even think about moving him.

“He is a player very much part of what we want to do. He has 18 months left on his contract and I want to keep him here to build a team around.

“We have no interest in selling him.”

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Falcao Revals He Rejected Three Big-money Offers From Chinese Clubs

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Former Manchester United and Chelsea striker Radamel Falcao has turned down three big-money offers to move to China.

The Colombian, now back playing in French football with Monaco, says he snubbed the opportunities because he wants to win silverware with his current club.

China has emerged as a super-power in the world transfer market, with its clubs spending vast sums to recruit big-name players, mostly from European sides.

“It’s not easy to refuse this offer,” Falcao said. “I’ve already said no three times about going over there.

“And I believe that it’s also not easy for the club, who have turned down a lot of money.

“But I feel something in my body, it’s important for my career and for the team to be here. I want to win with Monaco. I want to show that I’m at 100 per cent.”

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Beware! Female Boko Haram Radicals Now Use Babies During Suicide Bombings

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The Defence Headquarters has warned the public to beware as female Boko Haram suicide bombers in the North East are now evading detection from security operatives by carrying babies on their back.

It was gathered that one of such attacks involving babies occurred on January 13 in the town of Madagali in Adamawa State, when two women passed a vigilante checkpoint disguised as mothers, since they were carrying babies.

10 Reported Dead During Army Recruitment Drill In Cameroon

The female jihadists killed themselves, two babies, and four other people when they successfully carried out the bombing, officials said.

Two other female suicide bombers, who were not carrying children, were stopped at the checkpoint, where they detonated their devices.

Army Insists “Recruitment Form Is Free”, Warns Nigerians Against Fraudsters

A statement issued by the Acting Director Defence information, Brig.-Gen. Rabe Abubakar, in Abuja on Friday stated that the attention of the DHQ had been drawn to the new tactic.

The statement read: “The DHQ wishes to seize this opportunity to appeal to members of the public to be patient and cooperate with the military and other security agencies while carrying out thorough security search and checks as the essence is to nip in the bud the murderous intention of the Boko Haram suicide bombers.

“The DHQ wishes to state further that the usual traffic “go-slow” at military and security check points as a result of rigorous security checks are not meant to cause public discomfort or a deliberate action to induce traffic disruptions on our roads, but an effort put in place towards protecting the lives and properties of our innocent citizens.

“Members of the public are, therefore, urged to always volunteer useful information to the military and other security agencies that would assist in exposing Boko Haram and their evil machinations in our society and to make our communities safe and secure for all to live.”

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Lyon Midfielder Clement Grenier Joins Roma On Loan

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Clement Grenier  joined Roma on loan from Lyon, subbing interest from Middlesbrough and West Ham

The midfielder had been told he can leave Lyon during the current transfer window after making just four league appearances this season.

Both West Ham and Middlesbrough have expressed an interest in the Frenchman.

However,  Clement Grenier has agreed to join Roma on loan for the rest of the season.

The Italian club can also reportedly make the 26-year-old’s move permanent in the summer if they cough up £3m.

“The Olympique Lyon player, 26, has made more than 150 appearances for Les Gones – after emerging from the club’s fabled youth academy in 2009.

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Frank Lampard Reveals He’s Not Retiring And He Has Offers From Several EPL Clubs

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Frank Lampard says he’s not yet ready to retire from football, revealing he’s had offers to join various Premier League clubs.

The 38-year-old Chelsea legend left New York City FC last year after two seasons in the MLS, but told Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher in an interview with the Daily Mail that he’s not yet ready to call time on his career.

“There is a part of me that wants to stay in the game, sometimes I don’t know why, it just feels this is what I do,” said Frank Lampard. “I don’t want to leave and think to myself, ‘Maybe I should have stayed a bit longer’, I’m dwelling on it, I have turned down a few Premier League offers.”

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Joe Gomez Signs New Five-year Contract With Liverpool

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Following speculation this week, Liverpool have confirmed that full-back, Joe Gomez has signed a new long-term contract at the club.

The 19-year-old centre-back, who signed from Charlton for £3.5m in 2015, has recommitted until 2020.

Gomez has made five Premier League starts for the Reds and nine overall, including two in the FA Cup this season.

The youngster is set to feature in Liverpool’s fourth-round clash with Wolves on Saturday lunchtime.

Joe Gomez had already impressed under former boss Brendan Rodgers, who installed him in Liverpool’s first-choice starting line-up following his £3.5m move from Charlton Athletic.

Speaking to his club’s official website on Friday, he stressed how  thankful he was to Klopp and Liverpool for showing faith in him throughout his long lay-off.

“It’s massive. It means a lot to me – it’s a massive gesture from the club to show that trust and faith in me. That’s why it was so important I did the same and done it so quickly, because I’m very happy here,“ he said.

“I’ve loved living here and playing here and learning under the new manager, so it was a quick decision.”

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Football Papers: All The Latest Football News And Transfer Rumors This Night

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LIVERPOOL ECHO

  • Liverpool defender Joe Gomez is set to sign a new five-year contract. Jurgen Klopp has been the driving force behind Gomez being offered enhanced terms having been hugely impressed by him.
  • West Bromwich Albion would demand the return of the £1m loan fee they paid Everton in order to end Brendan Galloway’s loan early.
  • Everton have handed former player Jose Baxter a 12 month contract.

LONDON EVENING STANDARD

  • Queens Park Rangers are hoping to bring in “one or two” players before the January transfer window shuts, director of football Les Ferdinand has confirmed.
  • Manchester United midfielder Sean Goss is set to join QPR.
  • Jose Fonte has only been training with his West Ham team-mates for a week but Darren Randolph has already seen his leadership qualities in the flesh.

MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS

  • Manchester City have been encouraged in their pursuit of Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic – with reports that the midfielder is one of several players to be sacrificed to keep Lionel Messi.
  • Aaron Mooy says he had no second thoughts about signing for Manchester City.
  • Jose Mourinho insists Anthony Martial will start Manchester United’s next Premier League fixture if he performs ‘magnificently’ against Wigan on Sunday.
  • Ashley Young is expected to stay at Manchester United beyond the winter transfer window despite interest from a host of Premier League clubs.

SUNDERLAND ECHO

  • Patrick van Aanholt ‘openly stated’ that he did not want to play for Sunderland, chief executive Martin Bain has revealed.
  • Sunderland are continuing their search for a left-back, and the Echo understands that Bordeaux’s Diego Contento is being considered as an option.

BIRMINGHAM MAIL

  • West Brom may be hopeful they can beat Russian giants Zenit St Petersburg to the signing of Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic, because the Serbian is likely to wish to remain in England.

EXPRESS & STAR

  • Paul Lambert has confirmed that Wolves are in talks to make Helder Costa’s loan deal a permanent one.
  • On-loan Wolves midfielder Joao Teixeira is set to leave Molineux and join Nottingham Forest.

THE SENTINEL

  • Port Vale are set to reveal whether Ryan Taylor will be staying at the club after the 32-year-old’s short-term deal ran out.

THE DAILY ECHO

  • A £200m Chinese takeover of Saints is still some way from completion and may not happen at all, the Daily Echo understands.

HULL DAILY MAIL

  • Marco Silva has confirmed that Hull City have missed out of Leon Bailey, as he looks set to join Bayer Leverkusen.

LANCASHIRE TELEGRAPH

  • Blackburn captain Jason Lowe says he will continue to give his all for the football club despite still waiting on a new contract offer.

LEICESTER MERCURY

  • Leicester City will have to match Middlesbrough’s valuation of Gaston Ramirez if they want to sign the playmaker, says Boro boss Aitor Karanka.

DERBY TELEGRAPH

  • Derby County have completed the signing of Kyle McAllister from Scottish side St Mirren.

EVENING GAZETTE

  • Aitor Karanka has expressed his frustration after learning that Gaston Ramirez has demanded to leave Boro in the next four days.

THE BOLTON NEWS

  • Chris Taylor could be reunited with Oldham Athletic if Bolton’s space saving exercise fails in the next few days.
  • Bolton are keen on Reading striker Dominic Samuel and could snatch him from under the noses of promotion rivals Southend.

THE ARGUS

  • Brighton’s bid to add a striker to their table-topping squad remains in the balance after the temporary exit of young defender Rob Hunt for a League One relegation battle with Oldham.

IPSWICH STAR

  • Preston North End boss Simon Grayson has made it clear to Ipswich Town that striker Jordan Hugill is not for sale ahead of next Tuesday’s deadline.

EVENING TIMES

  • Mark Warburton hopes Rangers can reach a resolution to retain the services of Ibrox veterans Kenny Miller and Clint Hill beyond the summer.
  • Eboue Kouassi has insisted that the pulling power of Brendan Rodgers helped to lure him to Glasgow.

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Snodgrass Swaps Hull City For West Ham

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West Ham have completed the acquisition of Robert Snodgrass from Hull City.

Snodgrass joined West Ham for a fee of £ 7 million, which could rise to £10 million with add-ons.

The Scot follows Jose Fonte in signing for West Ham, after completing his medical at the London Stadium.

Burnley and Middlesbrough have also been looking to sign the forward. With Burnley having a £10 million bid accepted also.

Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka suggested his team’s position in the Premier League could deter Hull from selling to a rival – with the two sides just four points apart.

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Wenger Gets Four-Match Ban

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Arsene Wenger has been slapped with a four-match touchline ban for pushing fourth official Anthony Taylor last weekend.

The ban which will be served with immediate effect will see him miss the matches against Southampton, Watford, Chelsea and Hull City and also pay a £25,000 fine.

The Gunners will not be appealing the decision which was made by an independent panel and announced by the Football Association on Friday.

A statement from the FA reads: “Arsene Wenger has been given a four-match touchline ban with immediate effect after he was charged for misconduct following Arsenal’s game against Burnley on Sunday 22 January 2017.

“It was alleged that in or around the 92nd minute, he used abusive and/or insulting words towards the fourth official.

“It was further alleged that following his dismissal from the technical area, his behaviour in remaining in the tunnel area and making physical contact with the fourth official amounted to improper conduct.

“The Arsenal manager, who was also fined £25,000, admitted the charge and requested a personal hearing which took place before an Independent Regulatory Commission [on Friday].”

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Simeone Relishing Barcelona Copa Del Rey Semifinal

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Atletico Madrid will play Barcelona in the Copa del Rey semifinals and Diego Simeone has challenged his men to get the win.

The winner of the encounter will face either Alaves or Celta Vigo, with Real Madrid crashing out to Celta Vigo.

Simeone says it is no surprise to meet Barcelona at this stage of a major competition and wants his men to show they are as good as the Blaugrana players.

“I value it as a semi-final and it’s normal to face these against major teams, we’re used to that,” he told a news conference on Friday.

“To reach the best, you have to be champion and you have to go through them [Barca]. They’re the best in the world.

“We’ve had five years here and I don’t understand any way to be champion other than to face them. They’re usually in the semi-finals of the Copa, of the Champions League…

“It’s the normal road for the Copa.”

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Kimmich Says He Doesn’t Miss Guardiola

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Bayern Munich midfielder, Joshua Kimmich has stated he does not miss former manager Pep Guardiola, despite the role he played in his development.

The 21-year-old grew into an important first team player under Guardiola, with the Spaniard describing their relationship as that of father and son.

He has downplayed the importance of Guardiola on his career, and spoke highly of Carlo Ancelotti.

“I do not miss Guardiola. This is simply the way things go in football,” Kimmich told AZ.

“I had a coach at Leipzig as well who really helped me improve, Alexander Zorniger. It is not a bad thing for a player to have a number of coaches, because that will teach you different things.

“I did not see Pep as my footballing father, that was just something impulsive he said. But of course, it was great that Pep believed in me. But he did help me become a better player last season.

“Ancelotti also believes in me. I got plenty of playing time before the winter break. But I have set the bar higher for myself. I joined Bayern from a 2. Bundesliga side last term. I am not a Germany international who played at the Euros.”

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Paula Patton Gets Restraining Order Against Robin Thicke

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Robin Thicke has been ordered to stay away from ex-wife Paula Patton and their son after she accused him of domestic violence.

The 39-year-old singer has been ordered to stay at least 100 yards away from the actress, their six-year-old son Julian and her mother Joyce Patton after she claimed he had punched and kicked her during their marriage and recently stood outside her mom’s house for two hours demanding to see his son.

Paula Patton

 

Robin Thicke and Paula Patton got married in 2005, a union which lasted 10 years as they were divorced in 2015.

Larry Bakman, Paula’s attorney, wrote in the request for the restraining order: “[Patton] is in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury to herself and the child.”

According to reports, the restraining order is in place “until further notice” and it’s also reported that Paula accused Robin of “physical and emotional abuse, infidelity and drug and alcohol addiction”.
Both Robin and Paula had gone to court on Thursday, January 26th, 2017 seeking complete temporary sole custody of Julian, but the singer was told to stay away after the restraining order was issued.

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Apostle Johnson Suleman Vows To Sue The DSS Over Arrest Attempt

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Apostle Johnson Suleman of the Omega Fire Ministries, has threatened to sue the Department of State Services, DSS, over their failed attempt to arrest him in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State.

The secret police had in the early hours of Wednesday attempted to arrest the preacher but were prevented by the Ekiti State governor, Ayo Fayose.

Suleman’s attempted arrested was said to be connected to his message where he urged his members to kill any Fulani herdsman found around him and the church.

In a message to his congregation, Suleman had said, “I told my people, any Fulani herdsman you see around you, kill him. I have told them in the church here, that any Fulani herdsman that just entered by mistake, Kill him, Kill Him. Cut his head. If they are busy killing Christians and nothing is happening, we will kill them and nothing will happen.”

Speaking to reporters in Benin, the Edo state capital yesterday, the lead counsel of Olayiwola Afolabi and Co, Olayiwola Afolab disclosed that the preacher plans to institute a legal action against the secret police.

The law firm disclosed that it has the backing of the preacher to take legal action against the DSS claiming “exemplary damages for its politically motivated moves against our client.”

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Fulham Youngsters Lasse Vigen Christensen and Cauley Woodrow Join Burton On Loan

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Burton have signed Lasse Vigen Christensen and Cauley Woodrow from Fulham on loan until the end of the season.

Burton boss Nigel Clough, speaking to the club website said: “Lasse has a good season or so under his belt in the Championship and is a good attacking midfielder. He’s quite young but with the right experience.

“He’s been a bit unlucky not to feature much this season but they see him in their long terms plans and will it help for him to play for us.

“Cauley is one to add to our striking options. With Luke Varney out for four to six weeks and Will Miller’s hamstring injury it was important to get another striker in.”

 Lasse Vigen Christensen and Cauley Woodrow of Fulham Fc pose for a picture with young Fulham fans during the signing session

England Under-21 international Woodrow has made just one start in the Championship and his last appearance in the side came in the EFL Cup defeat to Bristol City in September.

It has been a similar situation for Danish midfield schemer Christensen with the player making just four appearances in the Championship this season.

The duo were keen to stay and fight for their places in the team, but Fulham felt the pair would benefit by going out on loan and getting regular first-team action under their belts.

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Saido Berahino Grateful To Stoke City

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Saido Berahino has been speaking at a press conference today and he’s had some interesting things to say about his move to Stoke fromWest Brom.

“The last two years have been difficult but I am a stronger person now and am looking to create great memories here,” he says. “I have regrets and I could have handled things better, but I was young and you live and learn from those mistakes.

“It was hard for me, especially because the West Brom fans didn’t really know what was going on.

“I am just so grateful that Stoke came after me window after window, and showed tremendous faith in me. It means a lot. I need a bit of guidance now to get back on the right track, and Mark Hughes will give me that – I totally believe that.

“I made this move because everything about it was right for me. The manager, the players, the staff. It feels special.”

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Steven Gerrard Nervous About Academy Role At Liverpool

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Steven Gerrard has admitted that he has mixed feelings ahead of his return to former club Liverpool, as he prepares for the first step in his coaching career.

The 36-year-old will take up the youth-team role in February, just three months after bringing an end to his 19-year playing career.

Gerrard, who made 710 appearances for Liverpool before departing in 2015 for a stint in Major League Soccer with Los Angeles Galaxy, is ‘excited but nervous’ ahead of his impending return to Anfield.

“Liverpool are prepared to help me an awful lot. They want to help me to become a better coach or a better manager,” he told BBC Sport. “But at the same time I’ve got to commit to it and put in the hard work.

READ ALSO: Steven Gerrard Returns To Liverpool As An Academy Coach

“With me and Liverpool there will always be an emotional pull. But the decision to go back as a coach and what that entails, I couldn’t really make that decision on sentiment or emotion because I’d have been doing it for the wrong reasons.

 “I’m very excited but at the same time a little bit nervous and a little bit anxious because it’s a brand new role, one that I’m really looking forward to getting my teeth into.”

Gerrard also had the chance to take over at MK Dons in November, only to admit after talks that the job had arrived “too soon” in his coaching career.

“There’s no rush [to become a manager], no timescale,” he added. “The silly thing for me would be to rush and go in when I’m not ready. I’ve got incredible people around me and hopefully in the future there’ll be some exciting opportunities.

“I’ve a lot of dreams and aspirations to be the best I can be in terms of coaching and management – but we’ll have to wait and see if I’m going to be good enough.”

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McGuigan: Bellew Might Try To Tire Haye Out By Running

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Shane McGuigan, Haye’s trainer believes Tony Bellew might try running in the first few rounds to tire his opponent out.

Both boxers have vowed to stand and fight when they face off at the O2 Arena on March 4.

But McGuigan sees Bellew adopting evasive tactics against the former two-time heavyweight champion.

“It’s going to be a great fight with Tony Bellew,” McGuigan told Sky Sports News HD.

“Depending how Tony Bellew approaches it as well. I think he’s going to probably run and move away for a few rounds, try and tire David out.

“But you’re in there with a guy like David, he’s a cool cat, doesn’t rush into any punches or punishment.

“He’s a guy who has been in these situations many a time and I really think he’s going to do a number on Tony Bellew.”

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Parker: Hughie Fury Is The Perfect Preparation For Joshua

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Joseph Parker has stated his WBO heavyweight title defence against Hughie Fury will prepare him well for a future fight against Anthony Joshua.

The date and venue for the mandatory title defence against Fury is yet to be determined, with purse bids set to be announced for February 1.

Duco Events, who promote Parker are pushing to have the fight in New Zealand, but the boxer believes a fight in Britain would be an ideal scouting mission for a possible unification fight against IBF champion Anthony Joshua.

Asked about a future fight with Joshua, Parker said: “This could be the perfect lead-up to those bigger fights. Getting used to it, testing it out. Looking for a place over there, where we could stay and get comfortable with.

“Whatever happens, I’ll be comfortable.”

On whether Fury demands a big payday, after both parties failed to agree on financial terms.

“He’s the mandatory, but he’s never headlined his own card. He’s never fought on PPV, so I’m not quite sure.

“It’s a world title, so he thinks he deserves a lot more money than I think he does deserve, but it’s up to them what they come up with.”

The unbeaten 25-year-old has already fought away from home on a number of occasions and is not worried about being given a hostile reception, if the fight is stage in Fury’s preferred location in Manchester.

“I don’t care where the fight is,” said Parker. “Most of my fights have been in New Zealand, but people forget I’ve fought in America twice, I’ve fought in Germany, fought in Samoa, so it doesn’t matter where the fight is. I’ll be comfortable fighting anywhere.

“It will be a new experience and I’m sure it will feel a bit different. Over here in New Zealand, I have everyone supporting me, but I guess if I train hard, I’m comfortable wherever it is.

“It will probably give me more motivation to knock him out.”

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Gerrard: Coutinho Is Key To Liverpool’s Success

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Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard has hailed Philippe Coutinho as a magical player and believes he is key to the Reds winning silverware in the future.

The Brazil international signed a long-term contract with Liverpool this week ending speculation of moving to Barcelona.

And, speaking at the launch event this week for the Star Sixes tournament, to be held at the O2 Arena in London in July, Gerrard said of Coutinho: “I think for any team you have always got to try and keep your best players and Philippe has been instrumental over the last couple of years.

“He has grown and become a world-class talent.

“I have trained against him on a daily basis and played with him and he is a phenomenal footballer. He can do magical things with the ball.

“He is the type of player you want to build your team around. And if Liverpool are to be successful in the coming years then I am sure he will have a big part to play in it.

“He is a magical player.”

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Rashford: Mourinho The Right Fit For United

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Marcus Rashford has backed Mourinho as the manager to lead Manchester United to greatness after a couple of underwhelming seasons for the club.

The Red Devils have struggled to challenge for any title since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson and Rashford is confident Mourinho can turn them into a force to reckon with again.

United’s 17-game unbeaten streak was snapped by Hull City in the EFL cup with a 2-1 loss, but still progressed to the final with a 3-2 aggregate win.

“I definitely think Mourinho is the ideal manager to help Manchester United win important trophies again,” Rashford told Marca. “He is recognised worldwide for his coaching abilities.

“His decision to join United transmitted confidence to the players and the fans.

“We are taking things one game at a time, but I think Mourinho is ideal for United.”

Rashford broke into the first team under Louis van Gaal last term and he is looking to build on that under Mourinho this campaign, though he has only made eight league starts under the Portuguese.

“Jose has been telling me to remain calm and try to approach games the same way as training,” he added.

“He tells me the same things he tells everybody else.”

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