Messi deal “impossible” – Holland

first_img The Barclays Premier League leaders have been linked with Messi following claims in Spain this week that the 27-year-old’s relationship with Barca coach Luis Enrique has broken down. Assistant-coach Steve Holland believes the sums involved in luring Messi away from the Nou Camp make the transfer impossible for any club. Facing the media in place of absent manager Jose Mourinho, Holland said on Friday: “Jose has made it quite clear that in this window his expectation is that nobody comes and nobody goes. “I recall him this time last year saying a similar thing, but a couple of things happened that made us reactive. Manchester United made a huge bid for Juan Mata. Sometimes you have to react. “But the hope and expectation is that nobody leaves and nobody comes. We’re happy with what we have. “This club conforms with financial fair play – we’ve brought one or two players in over the last 12 months but it’s quite clear that players have been sold to balance the books. “When you look at the numbers being mentioned around the Messi deal, I think it’s almost an impossible deal for any club working within the restraints of financial fair play.” Holland spoke to the media after Mourinho had withdrawn from the press conference to preview Saturday’s Premier League clash with Newcastle at Stamford Bridge in response to be being charged with misconduct by the Football Association. Mourinho faces possible disciplinary action for the comments made about match officials after last month’s 1-1 draw with Southampton, in which he spoke of a “clear campaign” against Chelsea. The Portuguese claimed the campaign is being orchestrated by “people, pundits, commentators and coaches from other teams” and labelled the booking of Cesc Fabregas for diving at St Mary’s on December 28 a “scandal”. Holland insists Mourinho has not been affected by the possibility of facing disciplinary action and insists he has the full support of the club. “Jose has been fine, very focused on the game against Newcastle, as we all are,” Holland said. “There is a frustration with all of us, it’s not just Jose but the coaching staff and players, at the accumulation of events that surfaced at the Southampton game with the decisions over Cesc. And to compound that he received a booking. “The scrutiny managers are under these days… I spoke to another manager the other day about a different matter and he said he couldn’t remember there being such an intensive period of games as this season. “That’s a view I’d share. The amount of games has been relentless and there has been a small period of time between the games. “At Chelsea every match is high profile with many live on TV. It’s human nature that at times the leader has those moments. Jose’s had the right influence on the players and is a highly-experienced manager.” Chelsea have seen an eight-point lead at the summit of the Premier League reeled in by Manchester City and now top the table on alphabetical order alone ahead of Newcastle’s visit. “When you have a lead like we had, people make a lot of it. And when that lead goes, people make a lot of that,” Holland said. “Nobody here felt it was ever a conclusive margin that meant the story was over. This is the most competitive league in the world. At any moment points can be dropped. “We’re disappointed we don’t have more of a cushion now, but at the same time the players have had an incredible first half of the season.” Chelsea have distanced themselves from the prospect of making a £500million move for Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi. Press Associationlast_img read more

Trojans hope to rebound after rare loss

first_imgThe USC men’s water polo team will make its long anticipated return to the Uytengsu Aquatics Center on Saturday with a doubleheader against No. 11 Princeton and Whittier College.Brick wall · Even though USC let up a season-high nine goals versus UCLA, USC senior goalie James Clark has averaged just 5.0 goals against. – Daily Trojan file photoThe Trojans are coming off a loss to UCLA in the NorCal Tournament, their first in 42 games. Their 9-8 defeat pushed them down to the No. 2 ranking nationally.“It was one of those games where things just didn’t go our way,” head coach Jovan Vavic said. “Our effort was there all the way down until the wire.”The game against Princeton, one of the better schools historically in water polo, will be the Trojans’ first chance to start a new winning streak. Their loss to UCLA ended their impressive 41-game streak, the longest in the nation and just 5 short of the USC record.Vavic, for the record, seems proud of the way his team is currently handling a rare defeat.“We’ve had a couple of good days of practice and team meetings, and I’m encouraged by the way the team has handled it,” Vavic said.One issue for the Trojans in that defeat, and all season really, has been the up-and-down health of freshman Jon Walters, one of the newcomers who was expected to become a key contributor for the five-time champions this fall.“Walters has been injured since the beginning of the season,” Vavic said. “He only played five minutes (against UCLA).”Luckily, with Vavic’s expert touch, the Trojans have been turning this severe negative into a positive.“Not having him is giving other guys an opportunity to step up and play,” Vavic said. “We’re getting to try out some other players that we otherwise wouldn’t.”Those newcomers off the bench, and the team in general, certainly will enjoy returning home following a grueling three weekends that saw the Trojans play 11 games on the road, including multiple games against ranked opponents.Following the Princeton match, the Trojans will take a quick break before returning to the pool and playing the Whittier Poets. That game will mark the second time this season that the Trojans have gone up against the Poets. The two met earlier in the month at the Inland Empire Classic, and USC dominated whistle to whistle, winning 21-4 to improve their record to 3-0 all-time against Whittier.The Trojans will enter this game at the unusually “low” rank of second nationally. USC had held the top mark in the nation since November 2011 before this week, and will be looking to regain the top spot as soon as possible. Vavic, for one, is hoping that the loss can recenter his team.“Time will tell and I certainly hope it will increase their focus … make them more hungry,” Vavic said.Vavic’s son, standout senior Nikola Vavic enters this weekend second on the USC all-time scoring list, just 16 goals away from taking over the top spot, which is currently held by Jurai Zatovic, who compiled 220 goals in his four seasons for the Trojans.Following this weekend’s matchups, the Trojans will wait a week before hosting UC Irvine on Oct. 5, their last tune-up before heading to the Anteaters’ home pool for the SoCal Tournament. Follow us on Twitter @dailytrojanlast_img read more