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05-16-2016, 10:25 AM

Wenger hails departing Arteta and Rosicky



Arsene Wenger paid tribute to the impacts made by Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky as they said farewell to the Arsenal fans after the 4-0 win over Aston Villa on Sunday.

Arteta came on as a late substitute and it was his shot that forced goalkeeper Mark Bunn into an own goal for the Gunners' fourth goal, with he and Rosicky - who was not in the squad - given a rapturous reception after the match as the midfield duo prepare to leave the club as their contracts expire.

A positive day for Arsenal saw them finish second in the Premier League for the first time since 2005 after Tottenham's shock 5-1 defeat at relegated Newcastle United, and the manager was keen to praise the departing stars.
"They are extremely respected in the dressing room and it shows that in football there are still positive emotions," Wenger said at his post-match media conference.
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05-16-2016, 10:27 AM

Police: Old Trafford 'bomb' was dummy device left over from training exercise



A bomb scare which led to Manchester United's final match of the season to be abandoned has taken a farcical turn after it was revealed that the device which led to a controlled explosion was a dummy bomb forgotten by a private company after a security training exercise.

A bomb disposal unit was called to Old Trafford to deal with a suspicious package that Goal understands resembled a pipe bomb and was found in an executive-suite toilet before kick-off.

The discovery of the item led to the evacuation of the stadium and the abandonment of the game, which has been rearranged for Tuesday evening.After initially describing the 'bomb' as a hoax, Greater Manchester Police have now revealed it was accidentally left behind after a recent training exercise.

“I am grateful to the Manchester United and Bournemouth supporters for their support and assistance today,” assistant chief constable John O'Hare of the Greater Manchester Police said.

“Following today’s controlled explosion, we have since found out that the item was a training device which had accidentally been left by a private company following a training exercise involving explosive search dogs.

“Whilst this item did not turn out to be a viable explosive, on appearance this device was as real as could be, and the decision to evacuate the stadium was the right thing to do, until we could be sure that people were not at risk.

“Everyone remained calm, followed instructions, and worked with officers and stewards to ensure that a safe evacuation was quickly completed. Those present today were a credit to the football family and their actions should be recognised.

“I would also like to thank all those involved in the operation today for such a professional response, which includes police officers, stewards, MUFC staff, media representatives and commentators and the Bomb Disposal Team.”

United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward added: “The safety of fans is always our highest priority.“I’d like to thank the support from the police which was first class and the impeccable response from fans of both teams.

“The Club takes security very seriously and staff are regularly trained with the police and emergency services to identify and deal with these incidents.“We will investigate the incident to inform future actions and decisions.”
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05-16-2016, 10:28 AM

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Police: Old Trafford 'bomb' was dummy device left over from training exercise

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05-16-2016, 10:29 AM

Klopp unsure if Henderson will start Europa League final


Jurgen Klopp is yet to decide if Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson will start in the Europa League final against Sevilla on Wednesday.

Henderson returned from a month-long lay-off with a knee injury to play just under half an hour as Liverpool rounded off their Premier League season with a 1-1 draw at West Brom.

The 25-year-old's return is a timely boost for Liverpool, and for national manager Roy Hodgson, ahead of the Europa League final and Monday's announcement of England's Euro 2016 squad.

But Klopp, who also welcomed back Danny Ings after seven months out with an anterior cruciate ligament injury, will not rush a decision on Henderson's involvement against Sevilla.

"I don't know [if Henderson will start] at this moment, hopefully nothing else happens with the other players and we have to make decisions," he told Sky Sports.

"It's very good that he's back for him and for us too. We'll see what shall happen, it's very good, no more problems anymore.

"It's the same for Danny Ings after his long break, he has no chance to be in the team for Wednesday but I think he's the happiest person in the stadium at this moment because after this long time to be playing again Premier League football it was nice to watch."

A fine individual goal from Jordon Ibe cancelled out Salomon Rondon's strike to earn Liverpool a point at West Brom and Klopp was delighted with the way his side managed to put the Europa League final to one side and maintain their focus on domestic matters on Sunday.

"I'm sure they are excited but I'm satisfied with the way they pushed it away, this squad was only [concerned about] West Brom, that's really good.,” continued Klopp.

The Reds finish the season eighth and Klopp, who replaced Brendan Rodgers in October, believes a hectic fixture list prevented them from improving their league position.

"It's not my dream position to be honest but it is what it is," he added. "We have 60 points, everybody knows about the games where we lost the points, it was not today, it was other games.

"We are not the biggest difference to European football, there have a few moments where we could have thought the gap is too big for us, but we were always in the race. There were a lot of games it was not easy for the boys."
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05-16-2016, 10:30 AM

Old Trafford 'dummy bomb' has happened before



Many around the football world have been left astounded by the events at Old Trafford on Sunday, as Manchester United's match with Bournemouth was abandoned by what was thought, at the time, as a suspicious package.

Then, with fans evacuated and bomb disposal experts sent to the stadium, it transpired that the device was a dummy, giving rise to the theory that the 'bomb' was a hoax. But in a remarkable twist, it has now emerged that the so-called bomb was a training device left over from safety excercises earlier in the week.

And perhaps even more remarkably, this is not the first time such a scenario has presented itself in English football, with Wolverhampton Wanderers having to evacuate part of their Molineaux stadium in 2014 while police investigated what turned out to be a training device left over in the Steve Bull Stand.

While the match, in Wolves' case, went ahead, with 30,000 fans in attendance to see the club claim the League 1 title against Carlisle, West Midlands Police were forced to issue an apology for panicking fans who found the "imitation explosion device".

At the time Chief Inspector Ian Marsh, Silver Commander for the match, said: "An imitation explosive device was found in an executive box at Molineux Stadium on Saturday during the match against Carlisle United. It had been placed there during a training exercise.

"Whilst the device posed no danger to anyone we appreciate it may have caused concern for the supporters who found it and we apologise for any distress it caused.

“We’ve received a complaint and will respond to this in due course.“The matter has been referred to West Midlands Police Professional Standards Department who will look into the incident and advise on any learning that may arise."
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05-16-2016, 10:31 AM

Man United fans group together to help visitor after Sunday's bomb scare



Sunday's bizarre events at Old Trafford may have eventually resembled a comedy of errors, but the debacle also featured a more heart-warming side thanks to the solidarity of Manchester United fans.

The decision to abandon the Red Devils' clash when a suspicious device - later confirmed to be a 'dummy' bomb left by a security company - left thousands of supporters disappointed.

Perhaps none more so than 'Moses', who had been invited from Sierra Leone by the Manchester United Supporters' Trust to take in the game against Bournemouth.

But there is a happy ending, as MUST offered to change their guest's return ticket to the west African nation and send him to the FA Cup final for good measure.

"We were at the MUST House having a few drinks before the game when news came out there was a suspect package and the game would be delayed until 3.45pm," the Trust's vice chair Ian Stirling explained.

"That was unusual but no real concern, but then when we heard the game was abandoned we had to tell Moses and the poor lad was distraught - being so close to the ground and not being able to go in, not knowing when he might get this chance again.

"We had a quick discussion between us and we've agreed to rearrange his flight - so he'll fly home next week instead of tomorrow - and sort him out with a ticket for the FA Cup final. A couple of friends will put him up in Manchester as well."He's still distraught at not getting into Old Trafford - that was his dream - but we're trying to do the right thing for a friend."
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05-16-2016, 10:32 AM

Madrid down to two Liga teams as Getafe & Rayo are relegated



The city of Madrid has been left with only two teams in La Liga after both Getafe and Rayo Vallecano were relegated on Sunday evening.

Getafe, Asturias side Sporting Gijon and Rayo were all fighting for survival on the final day, with only one of the three able to avoid the drop.

Sporting secured survival by beating Villarreal 2-0, while Getafe (in 17th place at the start of the day) lost 2-1 at Betis and Rayo's 3-1 victory at home to already-relegated Levante saw Paco Jemez's side sent down as well on a dramatic day.

So Getafe's 12-year spell in Primera Division comes to an end as the Azulones ended up in 19th spot, having been in a position to stay up after taking eight points from their previous four fixtures to depend on themselves going into the final day.

But they were unable to find a result as Betis won the match in front of the watching Gustavo Poyet, who now takes over as coach of the Seville-based side.

Getafe coach Esnaider was asked about Villarreal's performance afterwards and said of Marcelino (who spent spells at Sporting as both a player and a coach: "Marcelino? He will be happy. He'll be happy."

However, had Villarreal beaten Sporting, Rayo - and not Getafe - would have stayed in La Liga.

Sporting coach Abelardo (a former Barcelona and Spain defender and friend of Luis Enrique) was in tears after the final whistle after leading his side to safety in their first season back in the top flight since 2011-12.

"What a great day! Sporting Gijon! Congratulations Pitu!" the Barca boss tweeted in reference to his friend, with a photo of himself in a Sporting shirt and wearing a huge smile too after earlier enjoying a parade through the Catalan capital to celebrate the 24th Liga title his team had won on Saturday.
For his part, Abelardo said: "I'm shattered after two really hard seasons. I want to thank Betis for being so professional."

At Vallecas, meanwhile, there were emotional scenes as Rayo were relegated despite beating Levante 3-1, with the players crestfallen following the final whistle but back out to thank their vocal supporters after initially leaving the pitch.

"It's a sad moment, but also a proud moment," Jemez said afterwards. And he revealed he hopes to stay at the club he has coached for the past four years. "The president has my word and I will stay if things are done how I want them to be," he said.

Rayo's club chief Martin Presa confirmed as much: "We are going to return the team to Primera Division," he said. "If Paco wants to, he will stay." And he also hit out at Villarreal. "They didn't prepare for the game," he complained. "They didn't even have a shot on goal. From the first minute, that wasn't a game of football."

However, Villarreal striker Roberto Soldado hit back on social media as he tweeted: "Martin Presa... please! Respect."

The relegation of both Getafe and Rayo means Madrid now has only two teams, Real and Atletico, in La Liga. However, the city looks likely to have three clubs in Primera Division next season as Leganes top the table in Segunda and are four points clear of third-placed Gimnastic Tarragona with four fixtures remaining.
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05-16-2016, 10:33 AM

Neil “likely” to stay at Norwich


Alex Neil says it is "likely" he will stay on as Norwich City manager as the club looks to bounce back in the Championship next season.

The Canaries were relegated from the Premier League in midweek and their misery was compounded as they fell to a 3-0 defeat against Everton in their final game of the season on Sunday.

Neil initially said he couldn't answer whether he would remain in charge of Norwich until he held discussions with the club's hierarchy in the aftermath of them dropping down to the second tier.

But the former Hamilton boss says he has since held brief talks with the board and looks set to lead Norwich in the Championship next term, but insists more meetings are still to follow.He told The Pink 'Un: "There have been brief discussions. I'll have more tomorrow but it looks likely I will be here next season.

"I still have a few discussions to be had. It's a big job because we have a number of players who have been here for a number of years for a start. We've got a team that is getting older - a lot of players 27, 28 and above.

"It is whether we deem we need to freshen it up and how much, and if we have got the resources available to us to do that."I think we have the basis of a squad because I don't think you can have that much churn between two seasons," he added.

"There might be some changes in the summer and it depends on what we can and can't get done. I think we have got a lot of decisions to make. There is going to be a lot of discussions over these next few days. Then we'll see who is coming with us."

Norwich showed little of the attacking flair and spirit that had earned them a 4-2 victory over Watford on Wednesday in their loss at the hands of Everton at Goodison Park.

Everton raced into a 2-0 first-half lead thanks to a strike from James McCarthy and a Leighton Baines penalty, before Kevin Mirallas wrapped up the points for the hosts shortly after the interval.

And afterwards Neil pinpointed Norwich's inability to contain Romelu Lukaku as a key part of their downfall.He added: "To be honest, the first goal pretty much summed us up this season.

"We had a good chance and Cameron (Jerome) has a header from seven or eight yards out. The keeper mops it up comfortably and 20 seconds later the ball ends up in the back of our net. Three or four occasions we could have stopped it getting to that point."It is a good strike from McCarthy but I think we have to look at how we defended it.

"We played some reasonable stuff without being overly threatening and when they went forward they looked decent at times. We couldn't deal with Lukaku."
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05-16-2016, 10:34 AM

Di Natale 'cried like a baby' during final game



Antonio Di Natale admits he "cried like a baby" after playing his final game for Udinese on Sunday.Di Natale, who made almost 450 appearances for Udinese since joining in 2004, announced in April he will leave the club at the end of the season.

The 38-year-old came on in the 78th minute with Udinese 2-0 down against Carpi in the final day of the Serie A season but the home side won a penalty just 60 seconds after his introduction.

Di Natale converted the spot-kick to mark just his second goal of an injury-hit campaign but Udinese eventually went down 2-1 at the Stadio Friuli.The veteran striker said he was relaxed about his final game, up until he reached the locker room of the stadium.

"I think in the end 12 years was a great journey together," Di Natale told Sky Sport Italia. "I want to thank my team-mates and the club, everyone who was with me during this time.

"I hurt myself in training, but I wanted to play those 20 minutes and the doctors allowed me to do it."Until yesterday I was relaxed, but when I sat in the locker room tonight I was crying like a baby. I saw 12 years flash before my eyes.

"I scored 227 goals. I did many things for this club, scored many goals, so I hope to remain in the history of this club.He added: "The president [Franco Soldati] is a great man, he puts everything at our disposal and this beautiful stadium is down to him. He was like a father to me and helped me throughout this career."

As for what is next, Di Natale admits he has yet to call time on his playing career."Right now I want to go home, spend some time with my family and then I'll decide what to do next," he said. "I know any day I can call the president and we'll talk.

"It was pleasing to receive so many messages, but most of all I want to thank [former Udinese boss] Francesco Guidolin. We reached the Champions League together and are very close."
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05-16-2016, 10:35 AM

Pellegrini predicts bright future for Iheanacho



Manuel Pellegrini has backed Kelechi Iheanacho to enjoy further success at Manchester City after the teenage striker netted in his side's 1-1 Premier League draw at Swansea City.

Iheanacho's 14th goal of an impressive breakthrough season gave the visitors an early lead at the Liberty Stadium but they were pegged back by Andre Ayew's free-kick on the stroke of half-time.

Top scorer Sergio Aguero and Iheanacho were both culpable for spurning chances to secure a City win after the break but to all intents and purposes the point secured a top-four finish and entry into the Champions League for when Pep Guardiola arrives as Pellegrini's successor next term.

And the Chilean believes the incoming Bayern Munich boss is inheriting an exceptional prospect in Iheanacho."I think he demonstrated how important he [Iheanacho] is," Pellegrini told a post-match news conference.

"He is a very good player but he also must improve a lot. But a player of 19-years-old who scores so many goals and not playing all the games, I think has a brilliant future. I think all the fans of City will be delighted with him in the next years."

Sections of City's fanbase have criticised Pellegrini for not blooding other young prospects within an ageing squad this term, while Guardiola's decorated spell in charge of Barcelona won him a reputation as one of the premier developers of youth talent in football.

Pellegrini pointed to the fact that City remain in a relatively early stage of development following Sheikh Mansour's transformative 2008 takeover and believes the club's age-group sides are only now moving towards elite level."I think maybe in the next years you will see some players from the academy," he said.

"It's not easy, you must remember that this club started a real process to be a big team in the last eight years. "So when you are trying to have a big squad, maybe at the beginning the young players must be a bit postponed.

"But I think now they are working very well in all the young divisions. We reached the [FA Youth Cup] final against Chelsea this season, so I'm sure with the way that this club wants to continue improving and growing in the future you will see young players in the first squad soon."
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