Month: February 2018

Romelu Lukaku ‘expects a bit more respect’ for goalscoring record

Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku believes he deserves ‘a bit more respect’ for his consistent goalscoring record throughout his career.

The 24-year old Belgian international has scored 27 times in 43 appearances for club and country this season, with his goal on Sunday against Chelsea coming as his 22nd in 40 games for United.

“I started playing when I was 16,” Lukaku said. “Year in, year out people expect 20 goals from me. I’ve been doing it for 10 years straight so I think I’ve proved myself.”

“You expect a bit more respect but it’s the situation we’re in. I don’t listen to it. I just want to improve and show the people what I can do on the pitch.”

Asked how he might receive more respect, Lukaku said: “If I win. I want to win [trophies]. As long as I win and lead my team to winning that’s when I will be really satisfied.”

Lukaku might have joined Chelsea in the summer instead of United when leaving Everton but he has since claimed that he has no regrets over his switch to United.

“When I make a choice it’s with my head and my heart,” he added. “I made the right choice for me. As you can see, I’m in a good situation. I’m with a manager and players who push me every day. The challenge is there to win and it’s something I wanted.”

“I can still improve everything about my game. I’m 24 and I think I have a lot of years ahead of me before my prime, so I’m never satisfied. I always want to improve and it’s a nice challenge.”

“We are still in the fight in two competitions. It’s not going to be easy but it’s a nice challenge.”

Pep Guardiola: defiant City boss keeps yellow ribbon despite charge

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has been charged by the English Football Association for “wearing a political message, specifically a yellow ribbon”, but insisted he will keep wearing it even in the face of potential touchline bans.

Two key members of the Catalan independence movement were held without bail after an independence vote in October, which the Madrid government deemed illegal.

Guardiola said in November he wears the ribbon to support those imprisoned politicians in his native Catalonia, which FA determines to be in breach of their kit and advertising regulations.

The charge was then triggered when he again wore it pitchside — he is free to wear it elsewhere — during City’s shock FA Cup loss against Wigan on Monday.

However, the Catalan native proved defiant against the FA, in the wake of the charge leveled against him.

Guardiola continued to wear the ribbon at Wembley on Sunday as City won the League Cup final over Arsenal, and he said that, even if he was banned from the touchline by the FA, he would continue to do so.

“They [the FA] know I will wear it always,” he said. “I can wear it somewhere else. UEFA have another opinion. They say you can wear it as long as it’s with respect. Here [in England] it’s different apparently.”

“I have empathy for the people who have no freedom, those guys in Spain who are in jail. They haven’t been proven guilty. Anyone can be in that situation. Before being a football manager I am a human being and this is for humanity.”

“There are four guys in prison and other guys, they don’t have weapons, just votes in the ballot. I said this is always with me and it always will be until the last. I will accept whatever they [the FA] decide about my behaviour. It’s not a lack of respect, it’s being part of humanity.”

Roberto Firmino: Liverpool will make Porto suffer

Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino says that the Reds could make Porto “suffer” in their Champions League last-16 first-leg tie.

The Merseyside club will play against the Portuguese club at the Estadio do Dragao in Liverpool’s first match in the knockout stages of the competition since 2008-09, after topping their group by scoring 23 goals, a record for an English club and a total surpassed only by Paris St-Germain’s tally of 25.

They were also one of four teams to remain unbeaten in this season’s Champions League group stages, alongside Tottenham Hotspurs, FC Barcelona and Besiktas.

“I don’t know if Porto are going to be afraid but we are going to make their life difficult and make them suffer,” said Firmino, who has scored 20 goals in all competitions, including six in the Champions League.

Midfielder Emre Can is suspended for the tie, although defender Joe Gomez has travelled with the squad after missing the last two matches with a knee injury and £75m record-signing Virgil van Dijk is also set for his first appearance in the competition for the club.

Keeper Loris Karius will be also be starting ahead of Simon Mignolet

Liverpool manager Klopp insists his side can compete with the continent’s elite after having beaten “Europe’s strongest football team” Manchester City 4-3 in the Premier League in January.

“I know it already, we can compete with them, I don’t have to look at them,” Klopp said. “Now we have to show that we are not only part of the competition, we are quite ambitious. That is how it is and we have to take it seriously.”