Friday, January 31

Daily WHUFC News - 31st January 2014

Hammers snap up Razak
West Ham United have signed Ivory Coast international Abdul Razak on a
short-term contract

West Ham United are pleased to announce the signing of Ivory Coast
international Abdul Razak on a short-term contract. The 21-year-old is a
highly-rated midfielder who began his career with Manchester City and most
recently played for Russian Premier League side Anzhi Makhachkala. Razak,
who made his Premier League debut at 18, will add athleticism and ability to
Sam Allardyce's squad. The midfielder was born in the city of Bouaké, which
is also called home by his former Manchester City team-mates Yaya and Kolo
Toure, before moving to England as a boy. He quickly established himself in
City's Development Squad before forcing himself into Roberto Mancini's
plans, making a first-team debut at 18 in a Premier League fixture with West
Bromwich Albion on 5 February 2011. A maiden start arrived in September of
the same year, when Razak helped City to a 2-0 League Cup third-round win
over Birmingham City. He also featured in subsequent victories over
Wolverhampton Wanderers and Arsenal in the same competition. The youngster
joined Anzhi, initially on loan, in September 2013, and made eleven
appearances for the Russian side in all competitions, including two starts
against Tottenham Hotspur in the UEFA Europa League. At international level,
Razak has been capped five times by Ivory Coast since making his senior
debut in a 3-0 friendly win in Austria in November 2012. He also started the
Elephants' 2-2 group-stage draw with Algeria at the 2013 CAF Africa Cup of
Nations in South Africa.

Hammers pair head out on loan
Jordan Spence and Paul McCallum have joined MK Dons and Hearts on loan

Jordan Spence has re-joined Sky Bet League One side Milton Keynes Dons on
loan until the end of the season.. The West Ham United defender played 12
games for Karl Robinson's side in his first spell at stadiummk earlier this
season, and will now look to help the Dons push up from tenth in the table..
The versatile right-back or centre-back could feature for his loan club on
Saturday, when MK Dons host Tranmere Rovers. The defender will link up with
former Hammers winger Luke Chadwick in the squad at MK Dons, where the
first-choice goalkeeper is David Martin, son of West Ham great Alvin Martin.
The one-time Chigwell School pupil has totalled 80 first-team appearances
for West Ham, Leyton Orient, Scunthorpe United, Bristol City, Sheffield
Wednesday and MK Dons, including ten for the Hammers. - Meanwhile, striker
Paul McCallum has joined Scottish Premiership side Heart of Midlothian on
loan until the end of the 2013/14 season, subject to international
clearance. The 20-year-old will hope to score the goals to help Hearts pull
off a miraculous escape from relegation - the Edinburgh side currently sit
bottom of the table, 19 points adrift of safety, after being deducted 15
points in the summer. He could also help Hearts to reach the Scottish League
Cup final, with the Jam Tarts facing Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the
semi-finals in February. A strong, hard-working striker, McCallum enjoyed a
fine pre-season that saw him score in the first-team's 6-2 victory at Cork
City and make further appearances against Boreham Wood and AFC Bournemouth.
The former Dulwich Hamlet youngster also scored four times in five
pre-season matches for the Development Squad and has featured seven times
for the Barclays U21 Premier League title-chasers. The forward joined League
Two side Torquay United on loan in October 2013, scoring three goals in six
appearances in all competitions. McCallum also enjoyed two productive loan
spells with League Two clubs last season, scoring seven goals in 18 matches
combined for AFC Wimbledon and Aldershot Town.

Tonks hails defensive effort
James Tomkins was proud of West Ham United's rearguard action at Chelsea

James Tomkins says West Ham United can take a lot of pride from Wednesday's
goalless Barclays Premier League draw at Chelsea. The centre-back returned
to the starting XI after missing the home defeat by Newcastle United through
suspension, helping the Hammers to achieve a superb clean sheet and collect
a vital point. Talking to West Ham TV, Tomkins said he and his team-mates
would take confidence from their performance and the result they achieved.
"I think we can definitely take a lot of pride from our performance," said
the No5. "I thought we defended really well on the day. Chelsea are on form
at the minute, as well, and the Bridge is always a hard place to come and
get a result, let alone a clean sheet, so it was nice. "Hopefully we can
take this performance forward, which is the main thing, because we now have
confidence going into the next game. "All of the team were rocks - Matty
Taylor and all the back four were getting blocks in everywhere and that's
what it takes when you go there. Sometimes you need the rub of the green to
stop the net from bulging, but it was our day and we all deserved it because
it was a good performance. "I am proud of how I played, because I've had a
couple of niggles in my groins and that's behind me now and hopefully I can
put in performances like that - as I feel like I have most of the season. "I
thought we looked really good defensively and solid, while up front the Big
Man is back and that gives us a lot of belief as well. It's nice to see him
able to play 60 minutes. "Obviously the Italian lads have bulked the squad
up a bit, which is good, so we're looking up now."

With Winston Reid's return to the squad imminent and Roger Johnson having
joined the Club on loan, competition for places at centre-back is now
fierce. With James Collins also fit and performing well, Tomkins knows he
will need to continue to produce the goods if he is to retain his spot in
the starting XI. "I think that's always been the case when all three of us
have been fit, and now we have Roger here as well. It's important that we
keep putting performances in, because I think all four of us are capable of
playing. "Competition for places is always good because you have to prove
yourself every time you play."

Tomkins will now hope to keep his place for Saturday's visit of Swansea City
to the Boleyn Ground. West Ham have kept clean sheets in their previous two
clashes with the Swans, including a goalless draw at the Liberty Stadium in
October, but the defender knows the Hammers will need to be on their game if
they are to record their first home win since 30 November. "We didn't have
many chances on Wednesday - just a couple of efforts - but hopefully we'll
create them a bit more often at home against a team we're looking to beat.
"A lot of people wrote us off before Wednesday's game but we put in a good
performance and hopefully we can put in another one on Saturday and the
crowd will get behind us."

Howes starts in England loss
West Ham United keeper Sam Howes played the 90 minutes as England U17 lost
to Belgium

Hammers Academy goalkeeper Sam Howes was involved as England U17s were
defeated 2-1 by Belgium on Thursday. The 16-year-old stopper played the 90
minutes as Belgium gained revenge for their defeat by the same scoreline
earlier in the week. In drizzle at St George's Park, England started slowly
and fell behind on 19 minutes when Belgium's Dylan Damraoui lashed in a shot
from 20 yards which left Howes with no chance. The Young Lions hit back at
the start of the second period, Manchester United's Demetri Mitchell
knocking over stranded goalkeeper Quintijn Steelant with 48 minutes played.
England pressed for a winner, but it was Belgium who took the honours when
Matthias Verreth knocked home after the home defence struggled to clear
eight minutes from the end.
Despite still being a schoolboy, Howes has been a regular between the posts
for the Hammers' Under-18s this term, playing 14 games for Steve Potts'

Jose Mourinho: Chelsea boss wrong on 19th-Century football
By Professor Matt Taylor

Football historian Jose Mourinho is an intelligent and articulate man and a
talented manager, but he is not a historian. He said West Ham played
"football from the 19th Century" after the Hammers' defensive approach
secured a 0-0 draw on Wednesday. Mourinho's remarks were clearly meant more
as a general slur alluding to the dark, unenlightened pre-Premier League
days of English football than an accurate comparison to the game's Victorian
past. But he might be interested to know that 19th-Century football was
actually characterised as much by attacking and sportsmanship as by dour,
defensive play. How did a 19th-Century football team play? Well, it varied.
It depended on what sort of team it was and at what point in the 19th
century. From the foundation of the Football Association in 1863 to the
early 1880s, British football at the highest level was dominated by teams of
gentleman amateurs, many of whom had learnt the game at public school and
university. Football in this period was a game to be played rather than
watched. Players dribbled up the field until they lost the ball. Team-mates
would back the dribbler up and then continue to try to move the ball to the
opponents' goal. But they were not there to be passed to. When an England
colleague in the 1877 match against Scotland complained to the Hon Alfred
Lyttleton that his dribbling was excessive, and that he was not passing to
team-mates in space, Lyttleton is said to have replied: "I am playing purely
for my own pleasure, Sir!"

As football became more popular, and spread to the working classes, the
passing game gradually replaced the dribbling game. Teams from Scotland and
the north of England were influential in developing a new style of play
based on passing combinations. In the 1883 FA Cup final, Blackburn Olympic
perplexed the Old Etonians by hitting long cross-field passes from wing to
wing. They had also caused a stir by preparing for the match at a training
camp in Blackpool, something that shocked the Etonians and their supporters.
Olympic won 1-0, took the cup north for the first time and changed the game
forever. Professionalism was legalised in England in 1885. The best clubs
became businesses and from 1888 began to compete in the Football League.
Spectators and the press wanted to see good play but increasingly they also
demanded a winning team.

A match from 1885 A picture from 1885, the year the Football Association
formally legalised professional football. Three years later a league was
How defensive were these teams? During the 1870s, it was not unusual for
teams to line up with six or seven forwards. Their main priority was to
attack, with defending left predominantly to two backs. Over time, many
teams chose to move one of their centre-forwards into a deeper position.
This became the centre-half, who was to be the pivotal figure in a 2-3-5
formation - the so-called 'pyramid' system - that became standard from the
late 1880s.

West Ham line-up - 19th-Century style?
In the 2-3-5 formation favoured in Victorian times:


Collins, Tomkins.

Diame, Nolan, Noble.

Downing, C Cole, Carroll, J Cole, Jarvis.

Some traditionalists bemoaned the move away from all-out attack. One
Scottish writer condemned those clubs who kept two defenders close to their
own goal merely, he suggested acerbically, "to keep the goalkeeper in chat".
Another team from Ayrshire was reproached for only attacking with nine men.

Defensive tactics such as the 'one-back game', in which a full-back would
drop into a deep defensive position to limit long forward passing, were
considered unattractive and even unsportsmanlike. But they were defended by
club directors and officials, such as Blackburn's John Lewis, who reminded
critics that the main objective of league clubs was to win rather than
please the spectator. And even the so-called 'defensive' teams, we should
remember, were generally playing with five forwards.

Football in the 19th century was also characterised by a moral code - often
associated with amateurism - that decried cheating or even play that was
contrary to the spirit of the game. The famous Corinthian club, for
instance, opposed the penalty kick when it was introduced in 1891, and are
said to have actively resisted the new law by deliberately shooting wide
when they were given a penalty and withdrawing their goalkeeper if one was
That is not to say gamesmanship and time-wasting did not take place, of
course. It almost certainly did. But football in the 19th Century was varied
and complex and changed over time. The best teams were described as
"scientific". Being scientific was not only about being skilled and
technically proficient but also about employing successful strategies and

The first great football tactician was William Suddell, manager of the
Preston 'Invincibles' who won the first league and cup double in 1889. He
used a blackboard, and sometimes chess pieces on a billiard table, to devise
tactics and communicate them to his players. The Preston team were known for
their systematic style of play - not particularly fast but methodical and
consistent. They were described as "machine like… in working the ball along
the ground" during a match in 1885.

In the 1889 FA Cup final, the Wolves forwards were characterised by their
"very hard and determined play", whereas the Preston team "plodded away with
a distinct system", and ended up winning 3-0. As a manager synonymous with
pragmatism in the way he strives for success on the field, Mourinho would
surely have approved of that.

Professor Taylor is a historian at De Montfort University's International
Centre for Sports History and Culture and also an author of sports history

West Ham v Swansea
KO 12:45
30 January 2014
Last updated at 16:43
By Steve Wilson
BBC Match of the Day commentator

Venue: Upton Park Date: Saturday, 1 February

West Ham will be without Joey O'Brien for several months after he dislocated
his shoulder at Chelsea. New signings Abdul Razak and Marco Borriello may
make their Hammers debut, while Antonio Nocerino is vying for his first

Swansea remain without injured striker Michu, who could return for next
week's derby with Cardiff. Jonjo Shelvey, Nathan Dyer and Jonathan de Guzman
all returned after injury in midweek and came through unscathed.


Once West Ham's players have tied up their steeds, disembarked their Hackney
carriages, doffed their top hats and waxed their moustaches they'll hope to
display a different side to their game from the one which left that 21st
century boy Jose Mourinho glowering in frustration on Wednesday night . At
home, they will need to be more expansive and, with their treatment room as
quiet as it's been all season, should have the confidence to be so. After
all, West Ham's solitary defeat to Swansea on home soil came back in 1956,
which is not quite 19th century but certainly from another era. Now they
need to attack and provide some excitement for their fans and some
ammunition for Andy Carroll to feed off. As someone said only recently: "I
think boring is a team who plays at home and cannot score a goal. That's
boring, because you go to your stadium and fill your stadium to see
victories." That someone was Mourinho, by the way. The same Mourinho whose
team couldn't score at home on Wednesday…

A point at Stamford Bridge might be fantastic result, but it's still only a
point and West Ham need wins to haul themselves out of the bottom three,
especially as both Crystal Palace and Sunderland are showing that reports of
their deaths have been greatly exaggerated. Sam Allardyce's move to add the
nous of seasoned Italian internationals Nocerino and Borriello looks
sensible, and may even prove to be a masterstroke similar to the
Hartson/Kitson signings which West Ham fans will recall saved their bacon in
1997. Swansea are supposed to be struggling to replicate their stellar
campaign of last season, yet are 11th in the table and still in the Europa
League and FA Cup, where Napoli and Everton respectively stand in their way.
You'd hardly describe that as a calamity.
I'm certain that they have no need to worry about relegation and if, and I
regretfully expect when, Michael Laudrup moves on in the summer, I'm
confident that the Dane will be another Swans manager leaving with his head
held high and as a hard act to follow.

Swansea's only win in 22 previous league trips to Upton Park (D5, L16) was a
2-1 triumph in the old Second Division in August 1956.
Half of the 46 league games involving these sides this season have been
level at half-time, including 19 that have been goalless at the break (41%).
The two clubs drew 0-0 at the Liberty Stadium at the end of October.

West Ham
West Ham have picked up nine points from a possible 33 at Upton Park this
season, the lowest home tally in this season's Premier League.
The Hammers are without a home win in four games (D2, L2) since a 3-0
victory over Fulham at the end of November.
Sam Allardyce's men have conceded three goals in each of their last three
games at Upton Park, and in six of their last nine at home. They kept clean
sheets in the other three matches.
Adrian has been called upon to make six saves per game in the Premier League
on average this season, more than any other goalkeeper.
Andy Carroll is yet to record a shot on target in three league appearances
since he returned from injury.

Swansea's midweek win over Fulham ended their longest ever Premier League
run without a victory (eight matches).
They have only only earned two points from five away matches since beating
Fulham 2-1 in November. Michael Laudrup's side have scored just twice during
this run.
Five of Swansea's six league wins this season have come when they have kept
a clean sheet.
Wilfried Bony has scored six goals in his last six competitive appearances
for Swansea.

Transfer window: MK Dons re-sign West Ham's Jordan Spence

MK Dons have re-signed West Ham defender Jordan Spence on loan until the end
of the season. The 23-year-old returned to Upton Park earlier this month
after a 12-game spell with the Dons, helping them keep six clean sheets. He
will add central defensive options for boss Karl Robinson, who saw Shaun
Williams join Millwall this week. Robinson has been told he can use the
funds from the Williams sale to strengthen his League One side.

Transfer window: Abdul Razak joins West Ham

West Ham have signed former Manchester City midfielder Abdul Razak on a
short-term contract from Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala. Razak, 21, who has
won five caps for Ivory Coast, began his career at Crystal Palace before
joining City. But he did not start a Premier League game and had loan spells
at Portsmouth, Brighton, Charlton and Anzhi, joining them on a full-time
deal in October. The signing is Sam Allardyce's fourth of the January
transfer window.
West Ham, who are 18th in the Premier League, have also signed three players
on loan this month - Wolves defender Roger Johnson, Roma striker Marco
Borriello and AC Milan midfielder Antonio Nocerino.

Transfer window latest
Filed: Thursday, 30th January 2014
By: Staff Writer

With little more than 24 hours to go before the January transfer window
closes, West Ham are continuing to monitor the situation of several players.

Although he's already brought in six new faces since the beginning of the
month - including Abdul Razak earlier today - Sam Allardyce is eyeing at
least one or two more potential deals as the deadline rapidly approaches.

One player currently in Big Sam's thoughts is Napoli wing back Pablo Armero.
The 27-year-old Columbian has been strongly linked with a £15million move to
Milan, but West Ham are understood to have expressed an interest since
losing Joey O'Brien for the rest of the season in last night's goalless draw
at Chelsea.

Armero, who can also operate at full back moved to Italy via Brazil in 2010
when he joined Udinese from Brazilian Serie A side Palmeiras. He marked his
first full season in Europe by being selected in the Serie A Team of the
Year for the 2010/11 season. West Ham are interested in taking the player on
loan until the summer.

* Young striker Paul McCallum is set to join Scottish Premier League club
Hearts on loan for the remainder of the 2013/14 campaign. The 20-year-old
forward is yet to make his first team debut for West Ham and has previously
enjoyed spells on loan at Rochdale, Wimbledon, Aldershot and Torquay.

* West Ham are once again being linked with a move for former Leeds United
star Max Gradel. The 26-year-old wide man was the subject of serious
interest from West Ham three years ago but opted to move to St Etienne
instead. Gradel has made nine appearances for the French club this season.

* Another player linked with a pre-deadline move to east London is Sporting
Lisbon's Islam Slimani. The 25-year-old Algerian striker, who has made 12
appearances and scored three goals for the Portuguese club so far this
season is not a first team choice at the Estádio José Alvalade and could be
available for a loan move.

Hammers land sixth signing
Filed: Thursday, 30th January 2014
By: Staff Writer

West Ham have announced the signing of former Manchester City youngster
Abdul Razak on a free transfer. The 21-year-old midfielder becomes West
Ham's sixth signing of the January transfer window and could go straight
into the squad to face Swansea at the Boleyn this Saturday. Razak, who was
born in Abidjan first came to England to join Crystal Palace's youth Academy
before becoming part of Manchester City's Development squad in 2010. He made
his first team debut for the Citizens as a 62nd minute substitute in a 3-0
win over West Brom in Februry 2011. After a couple more appearances for
City's first team Razak spent the remainder of the 2011/12 campaign on loan
at Portsmouth and Brighton, both of whom were in the Championship at the
time. Five more appearances followed in 2012/13 - as did a month-long loan
spell at Brighton in the Championship. In September 2013 Razak joined
Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala on a season-long loan with view to a
permanent deal - a clause that was activated following his first appearance
for the Eagles in a goalless draw with CSKA Moscow. However just four
months later he has returned to England to become part of Sam Allardyce's
squad at West Ham.

Up yours Jose, says Big Sam
Filed: Thursday, 30th January 2014
By: Staff Writer

Sam Allardyce has laughed off criticism from Chelsea Joe Mourinho regarding
West Ham's perceived negative style , telling reporters "I don't give a
Allardyce, speaking after the 0-0 draw at Chelsea last night was responding
to earlier comments from the Portuguese manager who described West Ham's
style as "football from the 19th century". When told of Mourinho's comments
regarding West Ham's style of play, Allardyce retorted: "I knew he would! He
can't take it,can he? He can't take it because we've tactically outwitted
him! He can't cope can he, so there you go. "He can tell me all he wants, I
don't give a shit to be honest with you. I love to see Chelsea players
moaning at the referee, trying to intimidate him, Jose jumping up and down
saying we play crap football. It's brilliant when you get a result against
him. "Tactically we got it right, in two areas particularly," continued
Allardyce. "Stopping Hazard, Oscar, William and Eto'o scoring goals and
stopping them scoring from set plays which they're very, very good at.
"They deliver really good balls in there with the big players they've got.
On those two counts we nullifed them and limited them to a few chances. We
did a fantastic job."

West Ham hopeful of signing Max Gradel from St Etienne
Last Updated: 30/01/14 4:19pm

Sky sources understand that West Ham are "hopeful" of signing of Ivory Coast
international Max Gradel. The St Etienne winger has reportedly rejected
offers from former club Leeds United and Hull City in favour of a move to
Upton Park. Gradel moved to St Etienne from Leeds in 2011 after refusing to
sign a new contract but he has struggled to cement a first-team place,
making just nine league appearances in each of the last two campaigns. The
26-year-old impressed during his time at Elland Road. Having initially
joined on loan from Leicester City in 2009, he helped the club to promotion
from League One and scored 18 goals in the Championship the following
season. St Etienne manager Christophe Galtier confirmed earlier this month
that Gradel would be allowed to leave the club. 'We have several positions
where we have double players in, sometimes even more than that," said
Galtier. "Max-Alain Gradel also needs to play for the upcoming World Cup, so
we will not oppose any departure of his." Having already secured the
services of Italian duo Marco Borriello and Antonio Nocerino, West Ham boss
Sam Allardyce had previously indicated that he will not be making any more
signings during the January transfer window. However, with the club in the
bottom three after winning just one of their last 10 Premier League games,
Allardyce may seek to further strengthen his squad.

West Ham weighing up Sporting Lisbon's Islam Slimani move ahead of deadline
Jan 30, 2014 14:39 By Darren Lewis
The Mirror

West Ham are keen to sign Sporting Lisbon striker Islam Slimani ahead of
Friday's transfer deadline. The 25-year-old Algerian international has 17
caps for his country and has scored nine goals for the African nation.
Slimani has been on the periphery this season for his club side, scoring
three goals in 12 League appearances from the bench. His latest strike came
in an away win at Arouca on January 18. West Ham are ready to listen to
offers for a number of players as they bid to clear the decks and free up
space in their 25-man Premier League squad for Slimani. Despite claims from
boss Sam Allardyce that the club have completed their business, Mirror Sport
understands the Irons will accepts bids for midfielder Mo Diame. Fulham boss
Rene Meulensteen expressed an interest in the 26-year-old earlier this month
and could yet return ahead of the window closing. But any move may have to
wait after the 26-year-old fell over advertising hoardings during Wednesday
night's draw against Chelsea. West Ham are also open to offers for misfiring
strikers Modibo Maiga and Ricardo Vaz Te.

Jose Mourinho's criticism of West Ham's defensive tactics bring three words
to mind: pot, kettle and black
Chelsea's manager accused Sam Allardyce of playing "football from the 19th
century" in their 0-0 draw, yet Mourinho is all too familiar with employing
such tactics
Ben Bloom By Ben Bloom1:27PM GMT 30 Jan 2014

"West Ham need points, to come here and not play and do it the way they did,
is it acceptable? Maybe yes. I cannot be too critical because if I was in
this position, I don't know if I would do the same. This is football from
the 19th century. This is not the Premier League. This is not the best
league in the world."
So said Jose Mourinho after Chelsea had no fewer than 39 attempts on goal
during his side's 0-0 draw against West Ham United on Wednesday night.

Sam Allardyce, whose side countered with just one shot of their own, went
home from Stamford Bridge with a crucial point in his side's relegation
battle and Mourinho's words ringing in his ears that: "The only thing I
could use was a Black and Decker to destroy the wall" erected by West Ham.
Hold on, is this the Mourinho whose Chelsea team during his first spell at
the club prided themselves on 1-0 victories to the extent that they managed
11 of them as they lifted the Premier League trophy in 2004-05? The Mourinho
who nullified the attacking flair of Barcelona with all-out-defence tactics
on his way to winning the Champions League with Inter Milan in 2010? The
Mourinho who set his Chelsea side up for nothing more than a point at Old
Trafford and The Emirates earlier this season?

Mourinho's first Chelsea side was one that lacked a true playmaker, with the
result that the team often targetted three points at any costs and at the
expense of aesthetics. It is difficult to criticise a side that won 95
points on the way to winning the league at a canter, but, for such
dominance, Chelsea did not set the world alight with their exciting brand of
football. Their defensive prowess was almost unrivalled in recent times (and
is something to be applauded), setting a Premier League record for the most
clean sheets in a season and the fewest goals conceded. Yet only one Premier
League-winning side since the turn of the century have scored fewer goals
than the Chelsea of 2004-05. This is not a criticism of Mourinho and his
side. Merely an observation that tactics must be catered to the situation -
something that the manager did expertly 10 years ago.

Inter Milan v Barcelona, 2010
What do you do when playing against a team that is better than your own
(part one)?
Protecting a 3-1 lead in the Champions League semi-final at the Nou Camp,
Mourinho's Inter Milan side produced a defensive masterclass. Playing more
than an hour with 10 men, Inter held their Spanish opponents to a 1-0
victory in what Mourinho described as "the most beautiful defeat of my
The Portuguese manager's tactics were an utter success, halting the
attacking threat of the likes of Xavi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Lionel Messi
to book a place in the Champions League final. Reacting to criticism
(similar to his own of Allardyce on Wednesday night) of such a defensive
approach, Mourinho replied: "It is a style of blood not skill. When the
moment of leaving everything on the pitch arrives, you don't leave the
skill, you leave the blood.
"We were a team of heroes. We sweated blood. It's a pity I could not play
because I have got the same blood."
Which makes little sense to the outside world, but shows Mourinho is not
afraid to resort to whatever tactics are necessary to win.

Real Madrid v Barcelona, 2011
What do you do when playing against a team that is better than your own
(part two)?
Taking on arch-rivals Barcelona for the fourth time that season, Mourinho
had a Champions League semi-final first leg at the Bernabeu to contend with.
In a bad-tempered game that saw Pepe sent off and Mourinho banished to the
stands, the Portuguese manager even managed to upset his own players with
his defensive tactics as Real slumped to a 0-2 home defeat. Having been
asked to operate as a lone striker with little support from team-mates,
Cristiano Ronaldo then switched to the right to take on an out-of-position
Carles Puyol yet continued to be starved of the ball.
When asked if he liked Madrid's style of football in the defeat, an unhappy
Ronaldo said: "No, I don't like it but I have to adapt to what is asked of
me. This is the way it is. We have a strategy."

Barcelona held Madrid to a 1-1 draw in the second leg and went on to lift
the Champions League trophy.

Chelsea v Arsenal and Manchester United, 2013
What makes Mourinho's comments about Allardyce so hypocritical is the way he
set his side up at against top-four rivals Arsenal and Manchester United
earlier this season. Chelsea's third Premier League match saw Mourinho's
side travel to face the reigning champions at Old Trafford. The Portuguese
manager, starting his second spell in charge of the club, decided to leave
Fernando Torres and Romelu Lukaku on the bench, keep Demba Ba out of the
squad altogether, and start without a recognised striker. Result = 0-0.

A couple of months later Chelsea took on Arsenal at the Emirates in a 0-0
bore draw that left Telegraph Sport's Henry Winter with this as his opening
paragraph to his match report: "This was mission accomplished by Chelsea,
and a not particularly pretty mission. Judging by their players'
celebrations at the final whistle, Chelsea departed with what they came for,
a point, from a Premier League match that was a five-star advertisement for
late-night, last-minute Christmas shopping."

When asked about his side's defensive tactics, Mourinho said: "We came to
win, but it was very important not to lose... we are not unhappy with the
You see Jose, even Special Ones have to resort to "19th century football"

Armero in West Ham talks
By Football Italia staff

Napoli left-back Pablo Armero is reportedly in negotiations with West Ham
after missing out on Milan. The Colombian had been on the verge of joining
the Rossoneri in an exchange of six-month loans with Kevin Constant, but the
move collapsed when the Milan man rejected the transfer. According to Sky
Sport Italia, Armero is now a prime target for West Ham United. The
27-year-old's agent is flying in for a summit with the Partenopei. He only
joined Napoli from Udinese in July and played 18 games in all competition
for them this season.

St Etienne winger Max Gradel's move to West Ham in doubt
Last Updated: 30/01/14 11:09pm

Sky sources understand that talks between West Ham and Ivory Coast
international Max Gradel have broken down. The St Etienne winger travelled
to London for further discussions with the Hammers, but they had failed to
reach an agreement by Thursday night. Gradel moved to St Etienne from Leeds
in 2011 after refusing to sign a new contract but he has struggled to cement
a first-team place, making just nine league appearances in each of the last
two campaigns.
The 26-year-old impressed during his time at Elland Road. Having initially
joined on loan from Leicester City in 2009, he helped the club to promotion
from League One and scored 18 goals in the Championship the following
season. St Etienne manager Christophe Galtier confirmed earlier this month
that Gradel would be allowed to leave the club. "We have several positions
where we have double players in, sometimes even more than that," said
Galtier. "Max-Alain Gradel also needs to play for the upcoming World Cup, so
we will not oppose any departure of his."

Having already secured the services of Italian duo Marco Borriello and
Antonio Nocerino, West Ham boss Sam Allardyce had previously indicated that
he will not be making any more signings during the January transfer window.
However, with the club in the bottom three after winning just one of their
last 10 Premier League games, Allardyce may seek to further strengthen his

West Ham make late bid to sign Greece international Kostas Mitroglou
Last Updated: 30/01/14 11:28pm

Sky sources understand that West Ham have made a last-gasp bid to sign
Fulham target Kostas Mitroglou. Fulham reportedly agreed a fee with
Olympiakos for the 25-year-old, but their London rivals are attempting to
hijack the move. The Hammers have been the busiest side in the January
transfer window, bringing in six players, and the signing of Mitroglou would
be a major boost to their Premier League survival hopes. The Greece
international has been in scintillating form for Olympiakos this season,
scoring 17 goals in 19 games. Fulham have been holding talks with Olympiakos
throughout the week and edged closer to a deal on Wednesday after settling
on a fee, believed to be in the region of £12.5m. However, they now appear
to be locked in a tense Deadline Day battle with West Ham for Mitroglou's

West Ham plot Kostas Mitroglou transfer gazumping on deadline day AFTER
Fulham agree £12.4m fee for him
Jan 30, 2014 22:31 By Darren Lewis
The Mirror

West Ham are set to hijack Fulham's £12.4million swoop for Olympiacos goal
machine Kostas Mitroglou. And the Hammers' dramatic move could wreck
Tottenham's deadline-day bid to re-sign Dimitar Berbatov from the Craven
Cottage club. Spurs chairman Daniel Levy is set to finally make a move for
the Bulgarian on Friday, but the Cottagers' manager Rene Meulensteen wants a
replacement before allowing Berbatov to go. Sam Allardyce's daring act of
piracy emerges with Fulham ready to offer 25-year-old Mitroglou a four-year
deal after intense negotiations with his Greek club. Big Sam has been
gazumped himself this window, losing Monaco striker Lacina Traore to Everton
at the last minute. The Hammers boss has also suffered frustration after
Everton defender John Heitinga decided not to move to Upton Park at the 11th
hour - having already agreed terms. Now Allardyce, who earlier this week
described this transfer window as the most ruthless he has known, is ready
to commandeer a rival's transfer target himself. West Ham are set to fund
their bid for Mitroglou by selling midfielder Mo Diame to Queens Rark
Rangers, with the Hoops' ex-Hammers boss Harry Redknapp making his move on
Thursday night, and striker Modibo Maiga to French side St Etienne.

Before Thursday's developments, Greece international Mitroglou was set to
replace Berbatov as Fulham's star striker as the west Londoners had agreed a
£12.4million fee for him. Action ImagesFulham v Aston Villa - Barclays
Premier LeagueStroll on: Tottenham won't get Berbatov if Fulham don't sign a
replacement We revealed earlier this week that Meulensteen was keen on the
25-year-old, who hit 20 goals in all competitions last season. This time
around, he has already struck 17 times to help his club to the top of the
Greek Super League and into the knockout stages of the Champions League -
where they face Manchester United next month. West Ham have also launched an
ambitious bid to take Napoli left-back Pablo Armero, 27, on loan for the
remainder of the season. Meulensteen has cancelled his Friday press
conference ahead of Fulham's weekend Premier League home game against
Southampton in order to complete his transfer business. He is in advanced
talks to sign another Spurs player, midfielder Lewis Holtby, after QPR
loanee Adel Taarabt left the Cottage to join AC Milan. Meulensteen is
determined to keep Mitroglou from the clutches of West Ham - who are among
Fulham's rivals in the battle to avoid relegation from the Premier League


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