Saturday 20 January 2018

Soccer in brief: Lennon cool on Norwich link

Neil Lennon
Neil Lennon
Pepe Mel
Kevin Phillips
Clarence Seedorf
Charlie Austin
Adam Le Fondre

Neil Lennon is "flattered" to be linked to Norwich -- but the Celtic manager insists it is speculation he can't prevent.

According to reports, the Hoops boss is a candidate for the Canaries job should Chris Hughton's position become untenable -- although that possibility lessened with their 1-0 win over Hull yesterday.

Lennon was speaking following Celtic's 3-0 home Scottish Premiership win over Motherwell where Kris Commons took his goal tally for the season to 19 with a double before former Hoops captain Stephen McManus scored an own goal. Anthony Stokes saw red late on. "I cannot help the speculation, I'm flattered but Chris Hughton is a good man and a good manager in that job," said Lennon.

BAGGIES BOSS KNOWS SCORE

West Brom's top brass are adamant they have not hung out new head coach Pepe Mel to dry before the Spaniard's first game in charge.

Mel, however, goes into the final 17 games of the season without any Spanish-speaking support staff and no money to spend in the transfer window, whilst Shane Long has been sold to Hull ahead of tomorrow's clash against Everton.

But sporting and technical director Richard Garlick insisted: "When Pepe looked at the squad and club he was very pleased with it. We've assessed it and gone through that when we appointed him. He is more than happy with the options we've got. He's aware of our transfer policy, which is well documented."

PEARSON HAILS PHILLIPS IMPACT

Leicester boss Nigel Pearson believes new signing Kevin Phillips will have a major impact on his side's bid to reach the Premier League for the first time in 10 years.

Phillips, 40, marked his Leicester debut, after signing until the end of the season this week, by stepping off the bench in the second half to help set up David Nugent's late winner in a 1-0 success at Leeds. The Foxes secured a sixth straight league win for the first time in 21 years and extended their lead at the top of the table to seven points.

"He has a presence. When you get older, to still have that desire and hunger to play is quite remarkable," said Pearson. "There won't be too many players of his ilk and I'm delighted that we've got him. He showed an awful lot of intelligence out there. Hopefully that will be important for us in the second half of the season."

SEEDORF WANTS POSITIVE MILAN

Clarence Seedorf has promised a more attacking style of play for AC Milan on the eve of his first match in charge of the ailing giants at home to Hellas Verona today.

The former Dutch star midfielder returned to Milan, where he played for a decade, to take over from Massimiliano Allegri with the team lying 11th in Serie A, 10 points away from the European places.

"It's not a question of one, two or three attackers, it's about a philosophy of how to play. My plan will be to have lots of players in the opposition area," claimed Seedorf. "Milan's best performances in recent years, for example against Barcelona, took place when we were able to stay in the opponent's half."

ANDERSON EYES EUROPEAN SPOT

Brazilian midfielder Anderson wants to help Fiorentina qualify for next season's Champions League after sealing his loan move from Manchester United.

"I was happy at Manchester for seven or eight years, it was a big club for me . . . but now it's a new challenge and the time to change," the 25-year-old said. "Fiorentina only missed out on Champions League qualification by two points last season, so this year I want to help them get into the Champions League."

BOND STRESSES AUSTIN'S WORTH

Assistant boss Kevin Bond admitted QPR would be "very vulnerable" without Charlie Austin after the striker's brace secured a 2-1 win at home to Huddersfield.

Austin took his tally for the season to 14 after opening the scoring and then restoring Rangers' lead after Nahki Wells' equaliser.

"We haven't scored as many goals as we ought to have. You would become very vulnerable if anything happened to Charlie. It's there for all to see," said Bond.

LE FONDRE KEY IN ROYALS ROUT

Adam Le Fondre scored a first-half hat-trick as rampant Reading thrashed Bolton 7-1 to move into the Championship play-off spots.

Pavel Pogrebnyak added a fourth from the penalty spot just before the break as Reading all but had the points sewn up by the half-time interval.

The Royals piled on the agony after the break with goals from Kaspars Gorkss, Hope Akpan and Nick Blackman adding further pain for the visitors before Bolton netted a consolation strike through David Ngog late in the game.

Irish Independent

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