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Chelsea

It is generally believed that success is correlated with the amount you spend in every transfer window and for that reason every bid side, especially in England, tries to hire as many players as they can to strengthen their side at least on paper and if you are a defending champions it holds ever truer for you. But Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is not someone who doesn’t seem to have trust on this theory as he did not impart in last summer window aggressively. Yet, he knows that it is not going to be an easy task for him to defend their league title especially after his rivals spent millions of dollars to bring in finest talents of contemporary soccer. Copying the same approach he used in the last season, Portuguese wants to plan a systematic strategy for every game they play and it will generally include opponents, their strength, and how to restrict their forward line to gain maximum benefit in the first half itself. Despite all this, second term serving boss understands the mood of today’s soccer where everyone is ready to replace you on the top and Mourinho is confident his side can offer a tough resistance to other title contenders including Manchester duos along with Liverpool and Arsenal.

Talking about the upcoming season, former Everton boss said, “I think what is difficult is to win a title and when you win one, it’s more difficult to win it twice. Why has no team won the Champions League twice in a row? There is a reason for this and it is because you have a lot of teams, economically powerful, institutionally powerful teams, they want to react. They are disappointed not to win a competition and come back stronger.

“You win the title in a country where you are almost lonely or the opposition doesn’t reach the level — you win once, two times, three times, four times, no problem. You do it because the other teams have no conditions to react.

“You win the Champions League, how many teams can react to the fact that they did not win the Champions League? A lot of them can react. In the Premier League if you win the title, how many teams are able to react against that? A lot of them can react. Here, Man City won and Chelsea was not happy, Man United was not happy, Arsenal was not happy and Liverpool was not happy. Chelsea sign Diego Costa, Fabregas, Courtois. Arsenal sign Alexis Sanchez.”

Every manager wants to recover each penny of the amount they shelled out on any new player especially if he is a high profile youngster who used to be on the radar of several sides. Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling is one such player who recently made a switch to Manchester from Anfield at some £49 million fee and manager Manuel Pellegrini, who has ever been the fan of Englishman, wants him to justify each of the Dollars City spent over him. The first major challenge for the 20-year-old Jamaican born is upcoming showdown between Man City and Chelsea where he is expected to show his full strength after persisting criticism in the media for his infamous switch out of Anfield. Fact wise, Sterling is the most expensive English player in the history hence performance pressure would of course be over him and everyone expects him to prove he is a true professional who does not let pressure overtake his concentration. If we look at his performance playing for the Brendan Rodgers side, he scored 23 goals out of his 129 appearances which is not bad but not good as well for a player of his caliber.

Talking about their latest entrant and what they expect him to do in season’s first major showdown, Chilean mentor said, “I am sure he will score more goals than he did before. I think last year he scored 11 in all competitions. I am sure this season he will improve. I think that he will be a very dangerous player. Maybe we were criticised for the amount we played for him but I am sure he will demonstrate during the year, especially against the big teams, why he was valued so much.”

Further adding the importance of quality colleagues in any side, 61-year-old said, “It is always important for young players to play with good players. You can improve, the same way he did with Luis Suarez or Gerrard for Liverpool, here he will play with David Silva, Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure — players that will make him improve in a lot of ways. Young players always learn from important players. It is very important for them to play with him.”

Nonetheless, no matter what others say about him, it is now up to Sterling how he plans his gameplay for first major challenge playing for Manchester giants and fans would like him to deliver as he had been playing alongside players like Suarez at Anfield.

Louis van Gaal is not kind of a manager who easily gives up on any player of his choice that is why despite continuous refusal from hosts of sides, Dutchman tries untired. Bayern Munich duos Thomas Muller and Mario Gotze are two such players who have recently been in the news for their apparent aspire towards the league giant even though they never revealed anything in public. Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has now clearly refused to entertain any offer from the Manchester side – no matter what the price tag may be. Actually, he believes there is no price which can justify players like Muller or Gotze and as far Gotze is concerned, his transfer rumors could be powered by lack of his presence in the first team last year and for that reason he could have reportedly been in touch with number of sides including Red Devils and Juventus but Rummenigge is determined to retain their players in the side. Rummenigge talked about them during a press meet at PR event in Munich on Thursday where he said, “Louis van Gaal is very stubborn, but there is no price for Thomas Muller. He has informed the club that he wants to stay, and wants to assert himself here. If there’s no new initiative from him, it’s the end of this story.”

Team coach Pep Guardiola also copied his boss statement and explained his team’s composition in upcoming season along with other players, he said, “I have known it for two, three weeks. Thomas will stay, and Mario will stay. He was our best player against Barcelona, the best fighter. Everything. But Xabi needs midfielders who pass the ball back to him. We had players who chase the ball, who run. I don’t doubt Xabi’s qualities. He needs a full squad. I want the best for Xabi.

“I want the best for the team. That’s sometimes because of the opponent, or sometimes it’s how well they have trained, or how they got along with their teammates. Yes. When someone does not feature in the last game, and trains well, then they have a chance. It’s always about what is best for the team. I sometimes make many mistakes, and sometimes fewer mistakes, but I always play with the players I consider best for the team at that point. They all deserve to play. They all trained well, and when they don’t train well, they are not good for this club.”

Real Madrid

Whenever a new manager takes the responsibility of a big side, first and biggest challenge that comes ahead of him is how to convince players and keep them in tact coz this is the time most of the switches happen. Real Madrid is one such side who recently fired its manager to bring Rafael Benitez after their dismissal show in the last season and ever since former Napoli boss has joined the Spanish giant he is facing a new challenge every other day – from rumors of his spat with Ronaldo to convincing unsettled players to stay at Bernabeu. Rumors were in the air off late that captain Sergio Ramos and striker Karim Benzema could move out of Spain amid their recent linkup news with Manchester United and Arsenal. Likewise, Red Devils goalie David De Gea was reportedly also keen to join the Spanish giant. Amid these reports, 55-year-old Spanish mentor only wants to keep a hold over his own players hence revealed his desire to keep Sergio and Benzema during a press meet after 4-1 International Champions Cup win over Manchester City in Melbourne and said, “Sergio has known from day one that I want him to stay and I’m sure that he’ll stay with us. I don’t know, he is not here and I don’t know. I don’t speak to Van Gaal every day. At each match we have a goalkeeper in each goal and with that I am satisfied.”

While adding about Benzema’s reported switch to Gunners, former Liverpool, Chelsea, and Inter Milan boss expressed his stiff confidence 27-year-old French would be with them in the next season and said, “I don’t know, he is not here and I don’t know. I don’t speak to Van Gaal every day. At each match we have a goalkeeper in each goal and with that I am satisfied. People are asking me about different players that maybe we will buy and I always say the same thing, ‘he’s not our player, I will not talk about that.’In this case Karim is our player so I will not talk about that. I hope, I’m sure, that he will stay with us.’”

Looking at high tuned actions happening at Santiago Bernabéu, it is obviously not going to be an easy affair for Benítez to secure all his firing weapons especially when Van Gaal is after few of his players, yet 55-year-old is confident he can settle everything with his performance in the first half of the next season itself.

Wayne Rooney

Spanish sides have ever been the top soccer brands in world soccer especially Real Madrid and Barcelona who enjoy the biggest share of fans following from around the world and their supremacy is as well accepted by English sides – which is uncommon to see these days. Anyways, Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney is known for his honest opinion about anything he likes the most and Barcelona is of course one of the side he has ever been fond of. Both ManU and Barca played a friendly at Santa Clara on Saturday and Rooney took the opportunity to exhaust his fond for the Red Devils. He praised the side for its treble last season and says there is no doubt Blaugrana are the finest soccer club in the world. He although did not accept that they are doing magic only now, in fact, he said Barca has ever been a threatening opponent for any side in world soccer today. Experts are calling Camp Nou side’s current rule a result of Luis Enrique’s improvised field spread while there are many who are still fond of Pep Guardiola’s management when Barca used to be the master of holding the ball and pressuring its opponents.

Talking about his favorite side, 29-year-old Three Lions captain said, “Barcelona are a fantastic team and, after Real Madrid winning the Champions League, they wouldn’t have liked that and they’ve come out again and been incredible really, probably as good as they have been over the last 10 years, I believe.” He added about Barca’s improved play style and said, “It’s a different way of playing — they’re defending a little bit deeper and not going and closing down teams the way they did and they’re hurting teams on the counter-attack.

“You can see there’s a change in the way they play but, with the players they have got, obviously Messi, Neymar and Suarez, they are a massive threat to anyone.”

He also talked about last Championship league when Red Devils were not playing and said, “I think as a player, and hopefully one day going into coaching, then you’re always trying to pick up things, what teams are doing and, especially as you get a little bit older, you are trying to see how different teams are playing the game and how you feel you could counteract that. It’s a different way of watching football and learning from it.

“You’re so close to winning it and to lose twice to Barcelona is hard to take really,” he said recalling 2009 and 2011 Champions league finals. “I think you sometimes have to hold your hands up and say they were the better team — the best team in Europe — and it was going to be difficult for us to win the game. I’d say probably the game at Wembley, being there, it would have been nice to have won the Champions League there.”