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Mauricio Pochettino must restore Tottenham’s confidence after Inter collapse

It is strange to think that just three weeks ago Mauricio Pochettino’s biggest concern was overconfidence, after a winning start to the campaign culminated in a 3-0 triumph at Old Trafford.

Now, after suffering three straight defeats for the first time in his Tottenham tenure, the Argentine finds himself trying to repair damaged morale and inject some belief.

“At 46 years old, loving this game, I understand that some tough periods can arrive,” he said after Tuesday’s 2-1 loss against Inter Milan. “Of course, I am so disappointed because I told you after Manchester United, ‘be careful, be careful,’ and the tough period arrived after beating Manchester United at Old Trafford.

“It is my responsibility to try and change that dynamic, but when the dynamic is not good the most important thing is to work harder than before and be strong.”cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

After 2-1 defeats against Watford and Liverpool — the latter a scoreline that flattered Spurs, masking the gulf between the sides — it seemed the North Londoners had encountered a vulnerable Inter Milan side at the ideal time. While the Italians have great European pedigree, they are a shadow of their former selves and have lost two of their opening four Serie A fixtures, winning just once. They were placed in Pot 4 for the Champions League draw for a reason.

Tottenham, seemingly scarred by their chastening experience against Liverpool, looked anxious in possession for most of the opening 45 minutes but got away with it. Jan Vertonghen, Davinson Sanchez and Eric Dier all gave the ball away dangerously deep in their own half. Ben Davies, skittish throughout, lost the ball under his feet and over the touchline. Serge Aurier sent a backwards header out for a corner rather than to Michel Vorm.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Anthony Martial must build on his fine display vs. Young Boys

Martial has an unusual relationship with fans, who hear little from him. He rarely talks to the media yet remains popular — especially with younger supporters — and has achieved almost cult-like status among some who call themselves “Martial FC.”

Those he stood before on Wednesday were generally longer in the tooth but his acknowledgment of their praise following a good performance will have done him no harm in the eyes of match goers; Mourinho himself has found that out in recent weeks.

Martial still being on the pitch at full-time was a rarity. He has had few chances to thank fans properly at the end of a game, having failed to go 90 minutes in last season’s Champions League and managing it just six times in the Premier League. That he got stronger as this latest game went on showed he is not going to tire easily.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

A photo I tweeted of Martial applauding quickly went viral, accompanied by many positive messages. An hour later, I showed him my phone in the post-game mixed zone after he left the dressing room. “Nice!” he said. “I like it.”

He has not always been content at Old Trafford and, earlier this year, his agent let it be known he wanted to leave. Martial wanted to play more and to be happier than he was, yet United had no intention of selling a player with the potential to be one of the best attackers in the game.

One game will not make everything perfect. Before Wednesday, he had started only once this campaign, lasting an hour in the capitulation to Brighton. He was poor that day and has shown signs that he lacks interest, to the ire of his manager. However, Martial remains a fine sight when running at and trying to go past opponents. His first touch, even when controlling a ball hit at speed, is usually faultless.

Young Boys Bern are not Juventus or Valencia, United’s other Group H opponents, but Martial looked like he had a point to prove and did enough to keep his place against Wolves side on Saturday. But will he or will Alexis Sanchez, the team’s top earner, be recalled instead? Despite a couple of promising pointers in preseason, the Chilean forward is yet to spark this term and will get more chances to come good.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

The good news is that, with games coming thick and fast either side of the next international break in mid-October, both should get opportunities and possibly in the same line-up; it is not like they cannot play in the same team, given each man can operate on the left, centrally and the right.

How the ESPN Fantasy Soccer tier system works

Each week, you’ll select a Tier 1 and Tier 2 forward; a Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 midfielder; and a Tier 1 and Tier 2 defender, in addition to your goalkeeper. The best players available obviously will be in Tier 1. Tiers 2 and 3 will feature less heralded players, mostly from teams that are not championship contenders, testing your knowledge of the entire league.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Makes sense, right? But remember, you’ll want to pick a new team of players every week — taking advantage of lopsided-looking matchups, for instance. When Manchester City plays Huddersfield Town, for example, you’ll probably want to stock up on City players.

But it’ll also be important to take a close look at the tiers each week, because there will be changes. Players could move up or down a tier, depending on their current form. Fulham midfielder Jean Michael Seri might have been a Tier 3 midfielder at the start of the season, since he plays for a newly promoted side. But Seri already has a goal and an assist, and is sixth in the league in passes completed, so he’s a Tier 2 midfielder this week.6

Players could change positions, too. West Ham’s Marko Arnautovic had generally played as a midfielder prior to last season, but he then was shifted to center forward over the course of the campaign. He’s playing at center forward again this season, so he’s a Tier 2 forward this week, rather than being listed among the midfielders.

As you’ll see, the tiers aren’t exhaustive — there are nine Tier 1 forwards available for selection in the Premier League this week, for instance. There will be more players available in the lower tiers, but not that many more. We want to give you plenty of options, but not overwhelm you.

And some players will be added or dropped from the game altogether due to injury, form, etc. Man City’s Kevin De Bruyne is expected to be out for at least a couple more months, but once he’s back, you can bet he’ll be a Tier 1 midfielder every week for the rest of the season, as long as he’s healthy.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

So, don’t forget to check your team, and the list of players in each tier, before every round of games begins. Because the tiers can be adjusted any given week, and that could really impact your results. Your team from the previous week will roll over automatically, but if one of your players changes tiers or drops out of the game altogether, you’ll be left with a blank spot and earn no points at that position.

Why goals and assists aren’t everything in ESPN Fantasy Soccer

The first weekend of fixtures since ESPN Fantasy Soccer launched is quickly approaching! Since our game allows you to pick new players each week, strategy is going to be very important. You can’t just study up for a draft at the start of the season, like with fantasy NFL, and ride that team all year long. You’ll probably get left in the dust.

We’ll all be learning about this game together, as the season unfolds. But certain lessons can be learned from studying the numbers from last season, nike nfl jerseys cheap china as if ESPN Fantasy Soccer had launched one year ago. And one of those lessons is, don’t just focus on goals and assists!5

It sounds simple, I know. But there will be a temptation to concentrate on those two categories when making your selections each week. And that’s natural. They offer the biggest rewards — 10 and 5 points, respectively — and they’re the easiest to spot, too.

But they’re also pretty hard to come by. Only nine Premier League players scored more than 12 goals last year, in a 38-game season. Think about that. Every other player in the league, at best, averaged less than a goal every three games.

And that number was only slightly higher in Spain. Thirteen La Liga players scored more than 12 goals last year, also in a 38-game season. And two of those players finished with exactly 13.

Assists are even less common than goals. Only nine Premier League players finished in double-digits in assists last season, and seven of those nine finished with 10 or 11. Kevin De Bruyne was the league leader with 16, and that’s just half the number of goals scored by Mohamed Salah.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Only four La Liga players finished in double-digits in assists. Lionel Messi was tied for the league lead with 12, which is nearly a third of the number of goals he scored, 34.

Knee won’t limit what Aaron Rodgers does best: throw it quick

Then consider that Rodgers is the NFL’s master improviser, the quarterback who has thrown more touchdowns from outside the pocket than anyone else since 2009. And it’s not even close. He has 62 in 127 regular-season games, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Coming into this season, Matt Ryan, who sits No. 2 on the list, had 35 in 16 more games.

That Rodgers might not have the kind of mobility needed to make big plays out of the pocket for a while — assuming he doesn’t miss any games because of the left knee injury he suffered in Sunday night’s season-opening win over the Chicago Bears — could seem problematic. It’s also a misnomer.4

“I’ve always thought he was at his best in the pocket and getting the ball out of his hands quickly,” a longtime NFL scout said Monday.

That’s exactly what Rodgers did in his post-injury return Sunday against the Bears. His only two passes from outside the pocket came before his second-quarter injury. Both fell incomplete.

His other 28 passes came from inside the pocket, according to ESPN Stats & Information data. He completed 28 of them for 286 yards and three touchdowns.

“Obviously being more of a statue back there, had to deal the ball on time and make sure we had guys getting open,” Rodgers said after the game. “I thought the protection was really good, and guys made plays.”

“They were doing nothing offensively the first couple of series because he was doing that old stuff — run around, try to extend plays,” the scout said. “I’ve seen it over the years when he was banged up and couldn’t run, he’d just carve people up in the pocket. When he’s just using his arm and getting the ball out quickly, I’m telling you the guy’s unique. He’s a much better quarterback when he’s getting the ball out quickly.”

To be sure, some of what makes Rodgers special is his ability to extend plays and improvise. It’s what he did in the 2016 playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys on the roll-out pass to Jared Cook in the final minute, for just one example.

Manchester United’s Diogo Dalot ready to repay Jose Mourinho for faith in him

Diogo Dalot stood in the tunnel at Old Trafford after his first 78 minutes in a Manchester United shirt.

There is an ice pack strapped to his right knee — “precaution,” he says with a smile — having played a game of football for the first time in more than five months.

Since his last appearance — a 2-0 win for Porto over Boavista in March — he has undergone knee surgery, joined United in a £19 million deal and been hailed as “the best young full-back in Europe” by Jose Mourinho.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

It has been a meteoric rise for a 19-year-old who has still only made eight senior appearances. “It has not been easy,” he tells ESPN FC when asked about how life has changed in the last few months.9

“It has felt like a dream. You have to be prepared mentally for these things and I think I have done that. I have prepared for all the challenges I could face and I think I’m ready.

“I have had my friends and my family to help me. They are the reason I have come so far so quickly and the reason why I am here.”

Dalot’s dad and sister were among the family members who flew to Michigan in the summer to watch the preseason game against Liverpool in the Big House even though they knew he would not play, walking around Ann Arbor with “Dalot 20” proudly plastered across their backs.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

He has enlisted friends and relatives to help him settle in Manchester after jetting off to the United States almost immediately after signing with the club in June.

“I like to keep my family close,” he said. “I keep switching from friends, family and cousins so there are a lot of people here to help me. They go everywhere with me.

“It has been good. I’m settled. I like the city and I like the people. The people are nice. I think I’m a nice guy too so hopefully we match!”

U.S.’s 9/11 match against Mexico ‘powerful, emotional, exciting’ – Wil Trapp

United States captain Wil Trapp said the team’s Sept. 11 match against rivals Mexico will be “powerful, emotional and exciting” for the team.

On Tuesday, the U.S. will face Mexico in a friendly that will take place at Nashville’s Nissan Stadium (8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN). The day will mark the 17th anniversary of the terrorist attack that saw two jetliners crash into the towers that comprised the World Trade Center, resulting in the collapse of both buildings.

Another plane was also flown into the Pentagon on the same day and a fourth plane crashed in Somerset County, Pennsylvania after passengers thwarted an attempted hijacking. In total, 2,996 people were killed in the attacks.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

“Any time you get to play Mexico it’s a special day,” said U.S. captain Wil Trapp. “To be playing on 9/11 is even more powerful, emotional, exciting I think for all of us as players because of what that day means to our country, what it symbolizes in terms of what happened as well as the heroism that came out of it. It will be an exciting game for us as players, there will be a lot of emotions wrapped into it.”4

In a bid to drive home the day’s significance, U.S. caretaker manager Dave Sarachan took the players to the 9/11 Memorial in New York City prior to last Friday’s friendly against Brazil.

“It was very powerful,” said Sarachan about the visit during Monday’s news conference. “We all know the ages of these guys, some of them were one year old…some were under the age of six. But I think they walk away from that with a greater understanding of the sacrifice that took place that day, and the game [Tuesday] on 9/11 wont’ be lost on the players.”china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Trapp said that visiting the memorial was “an emotional rollercoaster in a lot of ways.” The team was accompanied by first responders who shared their memories of the day, and for Trapp hearing their stories was the most powerful aspect.

“Policemen that were in the rubble, digging people out, it was incredible to talk to them,” said Trapp.

Jurgen Klopp is under no pressure to rush Fabinho into his Liverpool team

With two-thirds of Liverpool’s midfield failing to shine in Saturday’s battling 2-1 win at Leicester City, it was almost inevitable that there would be a clamour from some supporters for summer recruit Fabinho to be brought into the side sooner rather than later.

Jurgen Klopp, however, is seemingly in no hurry to throw his £43.7 million signing from Monaco in at the deep end, and he’s absolutely right not to do so. The Brazilian can’t even make the substitutes bench at present, let alone the starting lineup. Eyebrows have been raised at that, but it makes perfect sense.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

Klopp can only name 18 players, and he has six midfield players competing for three spots — seven if you count the versatile Swiss army knife Xherdan Shaqiri, who might prove to be a useful midfield option based on his showings in preseason. They can’t all be involved, so someone has to miss out, and it’s hardly surprising that it’s the man least familiar with the system.

Why should Fabinho just walk straight into a side that reached the Champions League final last season? What has he done to deserve a spot ahead of James Milner, Georginio Wijnaldum or the skipper Jordan Henderson? The answer is nothing. That’s why he’s also behind Adam Lallana and Naby Keita. For the moment, at least.

Just because Fabinho cost a lot of money doesn’t mean he has to play immediately, and just because he isn’t playing immediately shouldn’t make anybody question the wisdom of the signing. There are some managers out there who would not be brave enough to sit such an expensive signing, but price tags are irrelevant to Klopp.10

There is plenty of time for Fabinho to make his mark, and being held back until he is ready will do him no harm. In fact, it should help him. It certainly helped others, including Andrew Robertson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

The Reds are in a strong position currently, which means that Klopp has the luxury of being patient with Fabinho. That patience paid off last year with both Robertson and Oxlade-Chamberlain, both of whom needed time to learn the intricacies and nuances of Klopp’s system before they were unleashed on unsuspecting opponents.

Robertson may have been ready long before his opportunity eventually came along, but the newly announced Scotland captain had to wait until Alberto Moreno suffered an ankle injury in December before getting a run in the team. He’s been an automatic selection ever since.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

Oxlade-Chamberlain’s situation was a little different. He was eased into it gradually with some appearances off the bench and the occasional start in cup competitions. Initially he was mostly deployed in the somewhat less complex wide position, but when he was fully versed in Liverpool’s high press, he was given the opportunity to play in the midfield role he had always wanted. He was positively thriving until suffering an injury in March.

Perhaps like Robertson, Fabinho will also have to bide his time and wait for someone to get injured. That’s a throwback to how it used to be when the Reds were at their most successful back in the ’70s and ’80s. New signings would often not be seen for months, sometimes even years.

Mexico interim boss Ricardo Ferretti won’t betray Tigres for national team job

Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti began his second stint as interim coach of the Mexican national team on Monday, but stressed his contract with Tigres impedes him from taking over on a permanent basis.

The Brazilian has previously stated he doesn’t want to be put forward as a candidate for the national team, even with the 64-year-old enjoying widespread support for the position.

“The reason [for not wanting to be Mexico coach] is that last month I started a new three-year contract [with Tigres],” said Ferretti in a news conference on Monday. “Continuity in a Mexican team is almost impossible and Tigres have given it to me and with with these three years I’ll complete 11 years in the same institution.

“Do you remember if that has ever happened in Mexican football? That loyalty between us is very important,” he continued. “Every coach would like to be here in my place, managing the national team, but they’d also want what I have in Tigres.cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal

“It’d be betraying [Tigres], stabbing them [in the back] after the institution supported me in the bad and the good times.”9

“I don’t have any doubt that this team will do well, I like coming up against tough opponents and for the players to start getting experience,” he said, adding that the young group should be given time to develop and not be too focused on results in friendlies.

“What I hope for is that over these six games the youngsters are able to convince whoever comes in that they deserve to be here.”

Established Europe-based players like Andres Guardado, Javier Hernandez and Hector Herrera were left out of this current squad, with Ferretti suggesting that he already knows what they are capable of.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

“Naturally they are great players who will always be welcome, depending on the need to call them up or not,” said the former Pumas manager. “We already know them and using them again would be more of the same, I don’t have any doubts they’d do well.”

Inter Milan have a point to prove in Serie A and UCL after Luka Modric disappointment

Inter Milan are back in the Champions League after six long years in the wilderness, but Thursday’s draw only confirmed that this season is off to a difficult start already.

According to the front page of La Gazzetta dello Sport on Friday, Juventus and Roma are “in heaven,” while Inter are “in hell” after AC Milan legend Riccardo Kaka and former Inter flop Diego Forlan placed them in a group with Barcelona, Tottenham and a PSV side that has won every game in the Eredivisie this season.

“We have to think positive,” Inter’s vice-president Javier Zanetti said, while also defending his club from Real Madrid president Florentino Perez’s latest attack for daring to try and sign Luka Modric.nfl nike jerseys cheap china

Watching Modric beat Cristiano Ronaldo to the UEFA Player of the Year award must have led many Interisti to ponder what might have been: principally because the need for an imaginative playmaker to make their team’s play less predictable is so great.9

Inter may have a few regrets, but the big picture is, as the club’s chief executive Alessandro Antonelli wished to make clear, that “we are back where we belong.” Memories of Jose Mourinho running under the sprinklers, arm out-stretched, his finger pointing to the jubilant away fans at Camp Nou is enough to crack a smile on every Inter supporter’s face.

Their return to the Champions League eclipses, in emotional terms, the trepidation caused by the daunting prospect of facing Lionel Messi and Harry Kane. It is a source of considerable pride for the club and fanbase. While much of the international focus was of course centred on Juventus and their chances of winning the Champions League this year, alongside Cristiano Ronaldo’s reunion with Manchester United, Antonelli couldn’t resist reminding everyone: “We are the last Italian side to win it…”

Zanetti struck a slightly different tone. Rather than hark back to the past, he stayed firmly rooted in the present, acknowledging that “we have been drawn in a very difficult group.” The Argentine just hopes the level of competition will provide the necessary inspiration for Inter to raise their game and smash through another ceiling in the team’s development. “When you face sides like Barça and Spurs you have the chance to improve,” he added. “And that could be important for us.”cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

If there’s one major takeaway from the opening fortnight in Serie A it’s that Inter need to be better. A lot was expected of Inter after a summer transfer campaign rated 9/10 by Gazzetta and encouraging preseason in which they went to places like Atleti and Lyon and won against full strength sides.