Koeman relaxed over Lukaku
Everton manager Ronald Koeman believes Romelu Lukaku will continue to do his best for the club despite the uncertainty over whether the striker will sign a new contract.
Reports said Lukaku had rejected a new long-term deal from Everton last week that would have made him the best-paid player in the club’s history.
“Everybody knows he is a professional and he will do everything for the club until his contract is ended,” Koeman said.
“We like to keep our best players because we need them to make the next step.”
Pique blasts fans for booing Gomes
Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has urged supporters to stop booing midfielder Andre Gomes, who scored his first goal for the Catalans in Sunday’s 4-2 win over Valencia after 36 appearances.
The Portuguese player bore the brunt of the criticism for the team’s 4-0 thrashing by Paris St Germain in the Champions League last-16 first leg and was loudly booed in the team’s next game against Leganes.
“I’m in total disagreement with the people who boo players,” Pique said.
“It’s intolerable and I think treating any player like that before they come on the pitch doesn’t help anyone. People need to take a good look at themselves.”
Bernardeschi and Gabbiadini out
Strikers Manolo Gabbiadini and Federico Bernardeschi have been ruled out of Italy’s internationals against Albania and the Netherlands due to injury.
Gabbiadini, 25, sustained a groin injury in Southampton’s 2-1 defeat by Tottenham.
Bernardeschi, 23, who plays for Fiorentina, did not play at the weekend due to ankle pain.
Italy coach Gian Piero Ventura has called up uncapped 21-year-old striker Andrea Petagna from Atalanta as a replacement.
Antonio to miss England duty
Michail Antonio’s hopes of earning a first England cap have been dashed by a hamstring injury that has forced the West Ham United winger’s withdrawal from the squad for fixtures against Germany and Lithuania.
The 26-year-old reported the injury following West Ham’s 3-2 Premier League defeat against Leicester City on Saturday.
“Antonio was withdrawn after being assessed by both the Hammers’ and the England medical teams and will remain at Rush Green during the international break,” the club said.
England, who have no plans to replace Antonio, are scheduled to play Germany in a friendly in Dortmund tomorrow before facing Lithuania at Wembley in a World Cup qualifier on Sunday.
Derry City captain passes away, aged 27
Derry City have paid tribute to captain Ryan McBride, who has died at the age of 27.
McBride is understood to have died at home on Sunday. A cause of death is not yet known.
The defender will be remembered as one of the League of Ireland Premier Division side’s all-time greats, the club said.
“Ryan was a player and a great captain but he was also their friend and team-mate. They are deeply shocked and will miss his inspiration and his leadership,” the club said.
“In the hearts and minds of all of us and long into the future Ryan McBride will be remembered as one of the greats of Derry City Football Club.”
Allardyce shrugs off Wilfried Zaha talk
Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce has dismissed reports linking Wilfried Zaha with a move away from Selhurst Park.
Zaha, whose contract runs until the end of 2019-20 season, has yet to agree on a new deal and Allardyce is hoping Palace chairman Steve Parish can persuade the Ivorian international to extend his stay at the club.
“That’s the chairman’s responsibility,” Allardyce told the reporters when asked whether he will be able to retain Zaha.
“Spurs were always mentioned because agents or somebody decided to stir the pot. We all know who stirs the pot, behind the scenes, who do it, even though they deny it, but we know they do it.”
Mourinho eyes ELeague glory
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho said he would rather win the Europa League this season than finish in the top four of the Premier League, even if his side will be fighting their hardest to do both.
United, who won the League Cup last month, moved up to fifth in the league, four points behind fourth-placed Liverpool, with a 3-1 league win at Middlesbrough on Sunday. They face Anderlecht next month in the Europa League quarter-finals.
“If I can choose, I will choose the Europa League rather than to finish fourth because it gives us the same – Champions League football,” the 54-year-old said.
“It is a trophy, it is prestige, it is Europe and it also means playing a European Super Cup fixture next year.”