Chelsea: It’s business as usual

first_imgChelsea insisted Thursday was just another normal day at Stamford Bridge after Rafael Benitez’s rant at the Blues support and his title of interim manager. Press Association Sport understands Benitez was set to take training at the club’s Cobham base on Thursday morning and, at this stage, expected to be in charge for Saturday’s Barclays Premier League clash with West Brom. Benitez’s comments seemed unlikely to go down well with owner Roman Abramovich, although the Spaniard seemed unconcerned as he stated he would be leaving the club at the end of the season. Benitez said on Wednesday night: “I have a title. Someone decided the title would be ‘interim’. Why? Just in case? If they want to blame me for everything that is wrong and then they say, ‘We will put interim just in case’, fine, that is your decision. “I don’t agree, but it’s your decision and now everybody has to take responsibility. If we are in the Champions League, I will be the happiest man in the world. “But next year, I will leave anyway because I have finished my contract, so they (his critics) don’t need to be worried about me. What they have to do is concentrate on supporting the team. I have a contract until the end of the season, that’s it, so they don’t need to be worried about me.” Benitez insisted the Chelsea fans who once again chanted against him at the Riverside Stadium were in the minority, but urged them to look at the bigger picture. He said: “It’s a team in transition – they don’t realise. In the past, we had (Didier) Drogba, (Michael) Essien, (Salomon) Kalou. These players, it was a very strong squad, players with experience in the Premier League. It’s a time of transition. But they don’t realise it was a time of transition when I came here.” Press Associationcenter_img Benitez launched an impassioned monologue following the holders’ 2-0 FA Cup win at Middlesbrough on Wednesday night, which set up a quarter-final tie with Manchester United. His criticism sparked suggestions his tenure in caretaker charge could come to an end as soon as Thursday, rather than as scheduled at the end of season. A Chelsea spokesperson said: “It’s business as usual.” last_img read more

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Second-year Lakers forward Brandon Ingram vows he has ‘more to show’

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error SACRAMENTO — With his own family across the country in North Carolina, second-year Lakers forward Brandon Ingram had a plan to secure a home-cooked meal in Los Angeles.Maybe more than one.“I’ll be traveling to a couple of my teammates’ houses, trying to pick up plates,” he said following the Lakers’ 113-102 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.Hey, he’s 20. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersIt’s a fact that can’t be repeated enough as the Lakers eagerly await the breakout they expect from the former Duke star and 2016 No. 2 overall pick who has taken a backseat in the pressure department since the arrival of rookie point guard Lonzo Ball.And as much as the lanky Ingram plans to spend the four days before the Lakers’ next game on Monday enjoying a brief break, he also will be “trying to reflect on these first 19 games, seeing where I can get better.”It’s an ongoing question for Ingram. Everyone keeps waiting for him to take a big step forward, perhaps missing the fact it’s already happening.In his second season, Ingram’s scoring has climbed from 9.4 points per game as a rookie to 14.7. His supporting numbers – rebounds, assists, steals – are all up, as well, and he’s shooting 45.1 percent from the field. His 33.8 minutes per game have spiked from the 27.7 minutes he averaged through the first 53 games last season, before he replaced veteran Luol Deng as the full-time starter.Ingram showed up for training camp with more muscle packed onto his frame, a challenge from Magic Johnson to score 20 points per game and a seemingly enhanced self-confidence.center_img “I think I have some more to show,” Ingram said. “This summer I was super confident in what I wanted to do this season, and I don’t think it’s all came yet.”While Ball has commanded most of the attention from media, Ingram is the one causing problems for opposing coaches. Over his last four games, he has emerged as an improved distributor, averaging 5.25 assists.The Lakers took Thanksgiving off and will use Friday as a rest day as well before practicing Saturday and Sunday. They face the Clippers in a designated road game on Monday.“We’ve got a lot of young guys who have never done this before,” Coach Luke Walton said, “and even guys who did it last year, second-year, B.I.’s playing huge minutes … So it will be good for them to physically and mentally shut it down for a few days.”AWKWARD TRANSITIONWalton knew that the decision to emphasize getting out in transition to a young team would come with some growing pains.But he’s ready for them to transition into being better in transition.“We know there’s going to be turnovers,” Walton said. “I think our guys are good enough that those numbers should start coming down now, it’s been a long enough time that we should be a little more clean in the way we do our transition game.”The Lakers are committing 17.3 turnovers per game, second-worst in the NBA, ahead of only Philadelphia.“It will be something we will keep focusing on and addressing in film sessions, “ Walton said.Against the Kings, the Lakers committed 17 turnovers that led to 23 points for Sacramento and scored just 10 fast-break points despite forcing 17 turnovers of their own, including eight steals.“We have a lot of turnovers,” Ball said. “Especially in transition. Those are even double negatives because you’re supposed to get buckets with those and it kind of, puts the defense, demoralizes them.”He added: “We’re getting opportunities, we’re not converting.”One particularly glaring moment came with 7:16 left in the fourth quarter on Wednesday. Kyle Kuzma had just hit a 3-pointer to cut the Kings’ lead to 14 and the Lakers, who recovered from a 19-point deficit to win a night earlier, looked poised to make another late comeback.Kuzma intercepted a pass from Frank Mason III and pushed the ball the other way, but overthrew a wild, cross-court pass intended for Julius Randle. The ball sailed out of bounds and the Kings scored the next five points, putting an end to the rally.“I think we’re going for home runs every time when we can just make a pass and make a layup,” said Ball, who was responsible for four turnovers. “We’ve just got to execute better.”last_img read more

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