This week’s Say What sees a number of managers already looking ahead to the following season. Jose Mourinho is searching for a nailed-on forward in order to rotate less up front, Brendan Rodgers is desperate to shore up his defence, Sam Allardyce and Arsene Wenger will be shopping for attacking options, whilst Mark Hughes is hoping to keep his on-loan wide man at the Britannia after a switch to 4-3-3 saw Stoke send Fulham tumbling into the Championship:
After his side threw away a three-goal advantage at Selhurst Park on Monday evening, Brendan Rodgers conceded he’s looking to strengthen in defence for the following campaign. Liverpool’s title bid looks to have all but ended after their capitulation at Palace – whilst credit is due for their 99 goals scored, the Reds have conceded 49 in return; the same number as West Ham and three more than Tony Pulis’ side:
“We gave away the full three points having played so well. But if you defend like that, you’re going to concede goals and that was the disappointment. We got the three goals and we could have had more, but it’s not good enough, the management of the game in those 12 minutes. And that’s something going forward that we will need to look at, because you can’t do it. That’s 99 goals we’ve scored this season, so to come here and be 3-0 up and concede three goals, as a coach, that’s what you have to look at. The players gave everything, as they do. But we just didn’t defend well enough. It’s an area that we know we need to be better at. We’ve improved a lot in many aspects of our game and that will be an area I’m sure we’ll look at – and nobody more so than myself.”
Brendan Rodgers is keen to address Liverpool’s porous defence.
Jose Mourinho is already looking ahead to next season after a weekend to forget at home to Norwich. Chelsea have taken just a single point from their last two home games after Sunday’s goalless draw and with not one of his current forwards reaching double figures this season, the Blues boss reckons his summer spending spree may allow a new forward to become another one of his new batch of “Untouchables”.
“In management the ones that you really mean by the untouchables, or the spine, are the ones where you know the stability is there. I think Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry and Azpilicueta were a spine and a strength during the whole season. With the strikers, I was trying to go from moment to moment, from quality to quality, and I think we were very successful in that. The other three positions are positions where it’s easy to change between Hazard, Schurrle, Salah, Oscar and Willian. If next season we have, for example, a number nine that we decide deserves to be the first choice, plus the stability that Matic can give by being always available, and with Ramires hopefully getting fewer bans – hopefully then we can have more stability.”
Jose Mourinho discusses his selection process this season.
Mark Hughes discussed his decision to bench Peter Crouch for last weekend’s win over Fulham. The Stoke boss opted for a tactical tweak and opted for fit-again Oussama Assaidi and Marko Arnautovic on the flanks, with Peter Odemwingie moved into the lone forward role in Crouch’s absence – the latter two bagged a goal and assist, whilst the on-loan Assaidi was also amongst the goals and is a player Hughes is desperate to retain:
“We finished the game against Spurs with Peter Odemwingie, Assaidi and Arnautovic as a three and I just wanted to see them from the start to see if they could affect the game as I thought they could. And because Peter Crouch could be unavailable for certain games next season I think we possibly surprised them with the front three and it was difficult for the lad Burn to go up against Ossie in the first half. There’s a hope we will be able to keep him here and a lot of that is down to the player himself. We are hopeful, but it’s out of our hands to an extent and dependent on what Liverpool value him at”.
Mark Hughes on his change of tactics last weekend and his future hopes for Oussama Assaidi.
Felix Magath explained the reason behind his withdrawal of Lewis Holtby with just 34 minutes on the clock at the Britannia. The 4-1 defeat means that, with one more game remaining, the Cottagers have shipped 83 goals – the highest tally since 2007-08 – whilst their record of 24 losses is the worst in the top-flight since 2009-10 – judging by their manager’s words, it’s even to see why:
“I think the player (Holtby) is very skilful but he doesn’t get any of the ball or fight – there was nothing for him today…There was no fighting spirit there. I think they felt too much pressure – we cannot run, we cannot pass, we cannot play and we have never been in the game.
Felix Magath seems to have little faith in Lewis Holtby or any of his current Fulham squad.
With a 2-0 win over Tottenham finally securing his side’s survival, Sam Allardyce was quick to acknowledge West Ham need to improve their attacking options next season. Andy Carroll has scored just twice in an injury-blighted campaign and with top scorer Kevin Nolan notching only seven times in 32 appearances, the Hammers boss is ready to scour the market:
‘We need to add a bit more flair, a bit more finishing power in the final third. You don’t want to go through next season with some of the phases like this season and that boils down to making a bigger and better squad. As good as the players have done since I have been here sometimes that hasn’t been good enough. My job is always to improve and you can’t stand still in this league.’
Big Sam is determined to boost the Hammers’ attacking options.
Arsene Wenger also has one eye on improving his offensive options. The Gunners have struggled to deal with injury stints for Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski and Aaron Ramsey this season and, whilst Olivier Giroud has finished the season strongly with three goals and an assist in his last four appearances, the Arsenal manager is looking to bolster his options – a concern, perhaps, for Giroud’s game time, after the forward started all but two of his side’s first 37 matches:
“To bring one more offensive player in, yes, who can play in different offensive positions. We have to see, because what you want is not to buy just to buy. It is one who can play with Giroud as well because (Mesut) Ozil was out, (Lukas) Podolski was out.
Arsene Wenger outlines his priorities for the summer shopping window.
United’s interim-manager Ryan Giggs shocked the Fantasy fraternity by making eight alterations to his starting line-up for last night’s win over Hull. Despite the absence of Wayne Rooney, the Welshman benched the likes of Juan Mata and Robin Van Persie and explained handed James Wilson the lone forward role, with Marouane Fellaini tucked in behind – Giggs discussed his team decision after the duo bagged two goals and a pair of assists respectively:
“I wasn’t happy with Saturday’s result [against Sunderland] and the performance. I wasn’t angry, I was just gutted after doing so well the week before. I just wanted to freshen things up a bit. The fans recognise young players and will give them a chance if they make a mistake and they took their chance. James (Wilson) didn’t surprise me. I wanted to play Marouane Fellaini up with him to add a bit of presence and take the pressure off him a little bit. It worked well, they linked up for the first goal and it was great to see James score the two goals.”
Ryan Giggs explains his reasons for “that” team selection last night .