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Yesterday, 12:15 PM

Ibrahimovic: My injury was worse than people know


Manchester United star Zlatan Ibrahimovic has revealed his knee injury was worse than previously known, saying people would be shocked by his return to the field if they knew the full extent of the problem.The Swedish striker made his first appearance since April after coming off the bench in his side's 4-1 Premier League thrashing of Newcastle United on Saturday.

"If people knew the real injury, they would be in shock that I was even playing. It was more than the knee but I will keep it personal — that's why I choose not to talk of it," he told UK newspapers.

"In my recovery I have not rushed anything. I have been out for six-and-a-half months. I have been following protocol and my schedule day by day.

"The only secret has been working hard. Those close to me know what I have been doing. I was working five, six hours a day."Ibrahimovic scored 28 goals in all competitions for United last season before being released, only to sign a new one-year deal in August.

The 36-year-old veteran may be out of contract again at season's end, but he is unconcerned about his future."At the moment I am just thankful I can run and push it and play football again," Ibrahimovic said."I don't know what the future brings but what happens, happens. I am at the age where I can choose what I want to do.

"I don't sign five- or 10-year deals, I am just happy to be back playing and doing what I am good at.

"It's fantastic to be playing. Jose [Mourinho, United manager] said, 'Do whatever you want, I trust in you and you know what you have to do', so I was not worried.
"The contract is all paperwork and I do the physical work."
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Yesterday, 12:16 PM

Kompany: Stones can bounce back stronger


Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany hopes his own injury battles can act as an inspiration to John Stones during the England defender's potential six-week lay-off.Stones pulled his hamstring in the first half of City's comfortable 2-0 win over Leicester City on Saturday and looks set for a prolonged spell on the sidelines.

Kompany, who has endured a torrid time with injuries over the past few seasons, made his latest comeback in the game at the King Power Stadium after almost three months out and put in a commanding display.

The Belgium international believes he has learned enough from his own injury experiences to know that if you put the work in, you can come back stronger — advice he is keen to share with Stones."Stonesy was one of the outstanding performers so far," Kompany told reporters after the game.

"If there's one thing I can give him it's that it's something you have to go through in your career at times and there's no reason why you shouldn't come out stronger for it."Hopefully it's not too bad and when he comes back we'll need him as much as we'll need anyone — otherwise we won't achieve all these targets we have."

Kompany escaped with a yellow card after hacking down Jamie Vardy in the third minute of a game that made it 10 league wins in a row for Pep Guardiola's side.The City skipper was adamant his challenge was no more than a bookable offence.

Kompany said: "I knew it was a yellow, it was early doors, it was a good run from Vardy and I thought, 'Just use my joker now'.

"But then afterwards as well, what was positive was that I still managed to play virtually the entire 90 minutes with a yellow card in the back and still do what was needed for the team, put in some good challenges, put in some good tackles.
"So overall I was happy with my performance, especially after coming back."
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Yesterday, 12:19 PM

Inter 2 Atalanta 0: Icardi brace sends Spalletti's side second



Mauro Icardi's second-half brace helped Inter seal a comfortable 2-0 win over Atalanta and climb up to second in Serie A.

Argentina striker Icardi, who scored a hat-trick in a 7-1 battering of Atalanta in last season's corresponding fixture, was denied an opener by a smart save from Etrit Berisha during a mundane first half at San Siro.But Icardi would not be denied shortly after the break as he opened the scoring with a simple header to bring the home fans to their feet.


Inter's captain came up with the goods again on the hour with another header to essentially put the game to bed and take his tally in a prolific season up to 13 league goals, two behind Serie A's leading scorer Ciro Immobile.

The double ensured Inter took full advantage of Juventus' surprise 3-2 defeat to Sampdoria earlier on Sunday and Luciano Spalletti's side, who remain unbeaten through 13 matches, are just two points adrift of table-topping Napoli.


Ivan Perisic and Antonio Candreva threatened during a bright start from Inter, but it was the visitors who carved out the first clear sight of goal after 15 minutes.Hans Hateboer threaded a clever pass into the path of Josip Ilicic and the Slovenian's low drive was repelled by his compatriot Samir Handanovic at the near post.Inter were seemingly rattled and spent the next 10 minutes trying to regain their footing. When they did eventually settle back into their rhythm they should have taken the lead courtesy of Icardi.

Borja Valero's flick through the middle released the Argentinian, who had brilliantly spun his marker, but his effort was too close to Berisha, who was able to get his leg to the initial shot and then scoop the ball up at the second attempt.

Five minutes before the interval, Icardi thought he should have had a penalty after being held back in his attempts to reach another dangerous cross, only for his protestations to be waved away by the referee.Icardi headed straight at Berisha moments after the restart, but he did not have to wait long to get on the scoresheet as he evaded his marker to head home Candreva's free-kick from six yards in the 51st minute.

The 24-year-old grabbed his second just nine minutes later, steering a superb header into the bottom corner from Danilo D'Ambrosio's right-wing cross.

Any hopes Atalanta had of finding a way back into the game were all-but extinguished by that goal, and Hateboer was on hand to prevent Icardi wrapping up his hat-trick from Perisic's fizzed pass, although the offside flag was raised anyway, as Inter comfortably saw out the three points.
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Yesterday, 12:21 PM

Moyes 'expected' West Ham defeat in debut game


David Moyes believes West Ham's miserable defeat at Watford was to be expected and recognises they must improve in order to avoid relegation.

The Hammers find themselves in the Premier League's bottom three after Moyes' first game in charge, with Will Hughes and Richarlison securing a comfortable 2-0 win for the Hornets at Vicarage Road.

Although the new manager, taking charge of a Premier League match for the 500th time, was not surprised by his side's poor display, he was still left disappointed that West Ham could not take their chances when they did come."Most people would have expected something like that, because that's what it's been before," he told Sky Sports."I was disappointed that we didn't do better, but we missed a couple of big chances - one at 1-0, we missed a couple just before half-time as well.

"The better team won the game - don't let me say different than that - but there was a chance to change the outcome of the game and we didn't do it. We're going to have to improve."But Moyes retains belief that West Ham can turn their season around and pull clear of danger.

"We've got to try to find a way of winning," he said. "The important thing is to always have the chance to be in the game and when we lost the second goal that was much more difficult."I believe we will [pick up results] but we need to play much better than we did, because that performance wouldn't be good enough."

On the players' lack of confidence, he added: "I found that out actually. I was only ever going to find out what they were like once I worked with them during the week and, more importantly, during the game.

"I could see that. They needed a couple of things to go for them and, in the big moments we had, when they didn't go for us, I could see the confidence draining away from them."
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