Players need winter break – Mancini

first_imgManchester City manager Roberto Mancini has revived calls for a winter break after England boss Roy Hodgson criticised club attitudes towards internationals. Press Association Hodgson has suggested current international breaks are not being treated seriously by some clubs because they use them as an opportunity to rest players. Hodgson’s remarks came after Rio Ferdinand controversially withdrew from the England squad for last month’s World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro. Mancini thinks such scenarios might not occur if players were given some time off during the winter. The Italian said: “I think in England you need to have a break in December for the national team because we play a lot of games. The moment that they decide to give players one week off in December it will be good for the teams and national team.” center_img Hodgson is also concerned that City and Chelsea are travelling to the United States after their domestic season ends in May to play two friendlies against each other. Mancini is worried about the workload of his players, many of whom will have to report for international duty on return from America. He said: “It is incredible. These players don’t have the time to recover very well. When we finish the championship, we go for one week in New York and after they come back there are some players that play in the Confederations Cup and qualification for World Cup. I think that is incredible.” Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said: “International football interferes with the clubs’ ambitions. Friendly games for a start. They have been doing it for the last decade, playing a friendly in the week before the season starts. Tell me the sense of that. “It doesn’t matter what way you look at it. Club managers are always in disagreement with international football, particularly in friendly situations. I have no issues at all about the competitive part. The players should always be available for the European Championship and the World Cup. But you can’t tell me that should apply itself in friendly games.” Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez said: “There are too many games in a season. I will not say international or what kind of games. Too many games, though. Reduce the number of games: simple.” QPR manager Harry Redknapp feels Hodgson does not have much of a case to argue when it comes to clubs resting players. “I don’t know what Roy is saying there,” he said. “International friendlies are quite often meaningless games.” Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has assured Hodgson he will have no problems with him resting players during international breaks. Hodgson said: “We have only got Steven Taylor, so he hasn’t really got to worry about us – and there’s no way I am going to be able to rest him. He would crawl to the England camp if he could.” last_img read more

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Soprano primed to hit right notes

first_imgPaul Deegan believes star mare Midnight Soprano could take her game to another level this season ahead of her return to action in the Cork Racecourse Mallow Noblesse Stakes. The six-year-old won five races, including two Listed prizes, during a superb 2012 campaign and looks to have a fine opportunity to open her Pattern-race account in this mile-and-a-half Group Three. From what he has seen at home, Deegan thinks there are signs Midnight Soprano is in better shape than she has ever been. “It’s a good Group Three but she won’t mind the ground and gets the trip well. She’s fit and she’s well and I’m looking forward to getting her started. She has been an absolute star for us over the past few seasons, a beautiful natured mare and a pleasure to have in the yard,” said the trainer. “She has done better over the past winter than any before, and has really strengthened this time around. Hopefully it brings about another bit of improvement in her. “She won the Saval Beg on really soft ground last year but she seems to go on most types of ground. Her sister (Celtic Soprano) got a bit sharper as she got older and this mare might be the same. A mile and a half is probably her optimum trip. She takes very little work and gets naturally fit. Her last few pieces of work have been very pleasing.” The Kevin Prendergast-trained Majenta takes a significant step up in class, just a week after winning in handicap company at the Curragh. Prendergast said: “She’s run three times and won twice, and we’d like to get her some black type. Her owner Joerg Vasicek is a breeder and he got the record price of 215,000 euro at the Goffs Land Rover Sale for a three-year-old during the week. “She’s come out of the Curragh race very well. It looks a hot contest but she’s getting weight-for-age, and we’ll be hoping to get her into the placings.” A field of 10 has been declared, with Dermot Weld’s Ribblesdale heroine Princess Highway the highest rated filly in the field. There are two challengers from Britain in Ralph Beckett’s Cubanita and Testosterone from Ed Dunlop’s yard. Beckett said: “She’s in good form and I think the trip and ground should be in her favour, which is why we’re travelling over with her. She’s obviously got her work cut out to beat Dermot Weld’s filly, but she’s in great shape and we’ll give it a go.” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

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