Matija Nastasic: ‘I told Pellegrini it was better for everyone if I left City’

21-02-2019

The defender’s career in Manchester ended in frustration but he has flourished at Schalke and is confident his current side can upset his old one in their Champions League meetingIt is with matter-of-fact delivery, rather than obvious emotion or regret, that Matija Nastasic recounts the meeting that in effect brought about his departure from Manchester City. He had made a rapid impact after arriving from Fiorentina as a 19-year-old in 2012 but, two and a half years on, had fallen off Manuel Pellegrini’s radar with no obvious explanation bar some niggling injuries he had long since overcome.“I was thinking a lot: ‘What is the problem?’” he says. “After some time I spoke with Pellegrini and he explained I had to wait for my chance. In the end there were not so many opportunities to play. There was no issue between us but I couldn’t understand why it was like that and told him that I felt I could help the team more, that I should have more playing time at that moment and that, if it was not possible at City, then it would be better for everybody that I changed club.” Continue reading...



Laurina shows Champion Hurdle potential after flu jab cuts short training

21-02-2019

• Willie Mullins’ mare now 7-2 shot for Cheltenham race• Trainer to send around 40 runners to meeting next month“Job done,” declared Willie Mullins after watching Laurina score a bloodless success here that set her up for what still seems an ambitious tilt at the Champion Hurdle, for all that she is third-favourite for the Cheltenham contest.The Carlow trainer used this same prep-race to ready Annie Power on her way to Champion Hurdle glory three years ago and the question now is whether Laurina can follow up against the top-class pair Buveur D’Air and Apple’s Jade. Continue reading...



Formula 1 testing 2019: Williams describe delayed start to testing as 'embarrassing'

21-02-2019

Williams say it was "embarrassing" for the team to miss the first two days of pre-season testing because their car was not ready.



Wales’s George North happy to win ‘ugly or pretty’ against England

21-02-2019

Winger has been impressed by England’s performances in the Six Nations but believes Wales can meet the challenge‘It does not get any bigger than this” is a catchphrase of a television programme for aspirational cooks, but it will do at the Principality Stadium on Saturday when the ancient rivalry between Wales and England is seasoned by the prospect of the Six Nations title in World Cup year.A third successive victory in Cardiff would leave England needing to self-destruct to miss out on a third championship in four years under Eddie Jones with home fixtures against Italy and Scotland to follow, while Wales probably need to match Warren Gatland’s final year in charge with his first one and secure the grand slam. Continue reading...



Kilmarnock’s Steve Clarke furious after sectarian abuse at Ibrox

21-02-2019

• Kilmarnock manager says Rangers support ‘in the dark ages’• Clarke also savages referee over red card in 5-0 defeatA furious Steve Clarke accused the Rangers support of living in the dark ages after being targeted with sectarian abuse during his Kilmarnock side’s Scottish Cup pummelling by Rangers.Chants of “sad Fenian bastard” echoed round Ibrox as the home side booked a quarter-final against Aberdeen with a 5-0 win. Alfredo Morelos struck four times on his return from suspension but Killie’s hopes were over as soon as the goalkeeper, Daniel Bachmann, was dismissed for an off-the-ball clash with Glen Kamara. Continue reading...



Why the future of the World Club Challenge must be secured

21-02-2019

Sunday night was a big success. The Super League and NRL should be working together to ensure this contest lives on By Gavin Willacy for No Helmets RequiredAnyone doubting the status of the World Club Challenge should have seen the evidence in Wigan on Sunday evening. Giant flags, a serious burst of fireworks, and the NRL and Super League trophies greeted the players as they walked out at the DW Stadium. Amid all the ceremony, it felt as if there were more people on the pitch before kick-off than have been in the stands at some League One games this season. Wigan’s hotels were full and there were even half-and-half scarves for sale outside, for goodness’ sake.Yet after an interminable wait to collect their medals from Martin Offiah – looking like Cluedo’s Reverend Green in an extraordinary outfit - the victorious Roosters players seemed faintly embarrassed to be on stage after a ‘trial game’, looking at the strategically-placed bottles as if to say, “Champers, after that - really?”. But their achievement sunk in and they were still in their dressing room celebrating 80 minutes after the final hooter. Continue reading...



Pep Guardiola: Newport were chanting 'Who are you?' It was nice – video

21-02-2019

Pep Guardiola praised his Manchester City players, in particular Phil Foden, as they beat Newport County 4-1 to reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.Newport had beaten both Leicester City and Middlesbrough on their way to the fifth round of the tournament, and contained the Premier League leaders well for significant spells of the game.  Continue reading...



Georginio Wijnaldum insists clean sheet could be a boon for Liverpool

21-02-2019

• Defender believes result was good for Liverpool and Bayern• Goalless draw was achieved without key personnel in defenceGeorginio Wijnaldum has rejected the idea that Bayern Munich hold the advantage in their Champions League tie with Liverpool, insisting a clean sheet at Anfield could prove decisive for Jürgen Klopp’s free-scoring team in the second leg.Liverpool travel to Munich in three weeks’ time without the commanding first-leg lead that characterised their run to last season’s Champions League final following the goalless draw with the German champions. Mats Hummels, the Bayern defender, said the last-16 tie was balanced but that Niko Kovac’s team were satisfied with the result and their gameplan. Continue reading...



Giménez and Godín put Atlético Madrid in charge against Juventus

21-02-2019

For Atlético Madrid it was the perfect finale and it left them dreaming of the perfect final. Two late goals from their two Uruguayan centre-backs, first José Maria Giménez and then Diego Godín, sent a gigantic roar round this stadium, the kind of noise this place has never heard before. The Wanda Metropolitano, Atlético’s home for just over a year, will host the 2019 Champions League final and, as they sang long and loud, they did so in the hope that their team will be there too, invited to the party they host. Related: Raheem Sterling gives Manchester City crucial advantage over Schalke Continue reading...



Schalke 2-3 Manchester City: Raheem Sterling snatches late win for City

21-02-2019

Raheem Sterling scores a last-minute winner as 10-man Manchester City come from behind to beat Schalke in the Champions League.



Sport on the BBC: Best of this week's TV & radio coverage

21-02-2019

This week's sport on the BBC includes the Six Nations, Premier League football and the Track Cycling World Championships, plus much more.



Who is the greatest F1 driver ever?

21-02-2019

After Lewis Hamilton won his fifth world title on Sunday, BBC Sport is asking you just who is the greatest F1 driver ever?



Where is Gordon Taylor’s PFA review? No doubt he’s beavering away | Marina Hyde

21-02-2019

The world’s highest-paid union official promised a review in November but it appears to be moving at a glacial paceI don’t know the Latin for “look busy and it’ll die down” – but whatever it is, it could do with being carved above the lintel of the Professional Footballers’ Association’s office in Manchester.This is the stronghold of the organisation’s chief executive Gordon Taylor, who has been in charge for just the 40 years so far. That is slightly shy of someone like Cameroonian dictator Paul Biya, who has notched up 43 years of tireless service to his subjects. But as far as comparisons with other bosses in the humanitarian sector are concerned, there’s really no one to remotely touch him in terms of longevity. Certainly not since Mother Teresa left us. Continue reading...



Joe Marler has no regrets over England absence despite pull of Wales tussle

21-02-2019

• Prop has had no call from Eddie Jones despite Vunipola injury• Marler happy out of England fray but Wales is ‘incredible’ gameJoe Marler has admitted he would love to be playing for England against Wales on Saturday but insists he has no regrets over his international retirement despite Mako Vunipola’s injury-enforced absence.England head to Cardiff light on experience at loosehead prop after Vunipola was ruled out for the rest of the Six Nations with an ankle injury, leaving Eddie Jones to choose between Ben Moon and Ellis Genge, who have five Test starts between them. Marler revealed Jones has not been in contact about coming out of retirement and, while he did not completely close the door on doing so in the future, he said adding to his 59 England caps was “highly unlikely”. He did concede that England versus Wales was his favourite fixture to play in because of the hostility of the Welsh supporters. Continue reading...