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of pre-game pleasantries. On the teams bench sat a

in News & Regeln 10.07.2019 05:56
von smith bonnie • 565 Beiträge

MANCHESTER, England - While he rotted away on Chelseas substitutes bench this season, Juan Mata could see his chances of playing for Spain at the World Cup slip away. Mata had already been dropped from Spains squad once this season and with the country blessed with so many playmakers, he was in real danger of being overlooked for the trip to Brazil to defend their title. That was one of the key reasons why Mata pressed for a move away from Chelsea once Manchester United registered its interest in signing him. "It was really important," said Mata, who completed his 37.1 million pound ($61.2 million) switch to United on Saturday. "The Spain squad is really difficult to get into, there are a lot of players fighting for positions to be in the last 23 going to Brazil. "I hope this is a great chance for me to keep playing, keep fit and show the manager of the national team I want to be there, I have to be there. I dont know what would have happened if I had stayed at Chelsea." The likelihood was that Mata would have remained on the bench, playing second fiddle to Chelsea manager Jose Mourinhos preferred attacking trio of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Willian. Even Andre Schuerrle was seeing more game time than Mata, whose last match for Chelsea was on Jan. 1 against Southampton — when he was substituted just after halftime and showed his displeasure at being taken off. At United, however, Mata is sure to play more regularly. "Now I am here, now the moment is here," Mata said Monday at his official presentation by United. "Now Im trying to play as much as I can to help the team and if things are good in the final part of the season, the World Cup is going to be closer for me, for sure." United manager David Moyes is still pinching himself that he managed to lure Mata from Chelsea, where the playmaker wasnt just the clubs player of the year for the past two seasons, he was also one of the Premier Leagues best players. "I got wind a month or two ago that it could be a possibility," Moyes said, "but I never believed we would pull it off. I have been saying that I didnt think we would get a chance to do much business in January — I didnt think the players we would be interested in would be available. But when we got the sniff that Juan would be available, we went after it right away." Moyes now has to decide where to play Mata, whose best position is undoubtedly in a central role behind the striker rather than out on the wings. He has big competition at United for the "No. 10 role," though, in Wayne Rooney, who has been Uniteds best player this season. Thats for Moyes to decide. For now, Mata is solely concentrating on making an impact at United and linking up as best he can with Rooney to restore Uniteds fortunes after a demoralizing first half of the season. "I cant wait to play alongside him," Mata said of Rooney. "For me, he is one of the best players in the history of this country, he is unbelievable." As well as being the most expensive player in Uniteds history, he is also being seen as the cure to Uniteds current ills. After romping to the Premier League title by 11 points last season, the team is seventh in the standings this campaign — 14 points behind leader Arsenal and six off fourth-place Liverpool. Mata says he can handle the expectations. "I like the pressure. I think it is good for a footballer to try and improve when you have pressure and people are expecting big things from you," Mata said. "And I am really looking forward to it, to try my best and help the team and make these amazing fans happy." At least he will be spared the pressure of wearing the mythical No. 7 shirt at United made famous by George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo. United announced Monday he would be wearing the No. 8 jersey, taking it over from Anderson following the Brazilians move to Fiorentina this month. Swell Black Friday . With the win, the Marlies complete a three-game series sweep of the Admirals and move on to the second round of the Calder Cup playoffs. T.J. Brennan added an empty netter with less than 25 seconds remaining for his second of the playoffs. Swell Cyber Monday Sale . -- Brad Gushue of St. http://www.waterbottleblackfriday.com/. GQ Lundqvist quite well.Three rounds, and nearly two months later, will the Kings have the strength to reach the summit of the Empire State to claim the cup?Truer words have never been spoken. Hydro Flask Cyber Monday .Y. -- Nothing seems to phase No. Swell Black Friday Sale .Johnny there, who knew he had that speed? teammate Tommy Wingels said.Scott and Matt Irwin were unlikely goal-scorers Tuesday night as the previously stingy San Jose Sharks finally sprung a leak or two, blowing a pair of three-goal leads before coming away with a 6-5 shootout victory over the Washington Capitals.TORONTO - As Rudy Gay took to the Air Canada Centre court for the first time since being traded, moments after being introduced to a chorus of tepid boos, he approached each Raptors starter, slapping hands with his former teammates. They reciprocated, but none of them initiated the round of pre-game pleasantries. On the teams bench sat a quartet of former Sacramento Kings, but you wouldnt know it. Their focus mirrored that of the starters. They meant business. "We all have friends on that team," acknowledged Patrick Patterson, one of the former Kings that came to Toronto in the seven-player trade completed on December 9. "Going into this game, we have to treat it as if theyre the enemy. We have to treat them like theyre the villain and were the superhero, pretty much. We cant be friendly with them. As soon as the game starts, you have to put your hard hat on." The Raptors learnt that lesson the hard way. A month earlier, the two teams faced off in Sacramento, their first meeting since the early-season swap. "I thought the way that we approached the game last time was too friendly, too cool, too lackadaisical, too laid-back," Patterson said, looking back at his return to California. Emotions were high, on both sides, as players embraced their friends and old teammates prior to tip-off, laughing and joking around, having also shared a meal the night before. Only the Kings were laughing 48 minutes later. Embarrassed, the Raptors - a post-trade feel-good story - left with their tail in-between their legs. Dwane Casey questioned his teams disposition and professionalism, Chuck Hayes called it their worst performance since the trade and John Salmons conducted his entire post-game interview head down after a 109-101 loss. Round two would be different, Casey promised leading up to the rematch in Toronto on Friday. From the moment his club took the floor, coming face-to-face with Gay and the Kings, it was clear that message had been received. "I thought the roles were reversed this time," Patterson after his new team closed out their 99-87 win. "I thought we came out the right way, with the right intensity." "Guys were professional, very professional, workman-like, not disrespecting their friends on the other team, but yet still knowing we had a job to do when you walk out between those lines," Casey echoed. "After the game is over you can shake hands, hug, kiss, whatever you want to do, but once the game starts those guys have a different colour jersey and weve got to have that razor-like focus every time we walk on the floor." Like the Kings had done in Sacramento, the Raptors jumped on the visitoors right out of the gate, taking a 29-19 lead into the second quarter.dddddddddddd Although the Kings dominated the paint and lived at the free throw line once again, Toronto neutralized their best player early. DeMarcus Cousins, who has owned the Raptors over his career, played just eight first-half minutes, saddled with foul trouble. After losing some ground in the second frame, the Raptors came out in the third quarter and - like they did in the first - outscored Sacramento 29-19, effectively repaying their old friends for last months debacle. "I think we let go of the personal stuff," said Salmons, who has been preaching forgiveness over the last couple days. "We thought we were doing that the first game, clearly we didnt. This time we just let it go and played basketball." Returning from an ankle injury, Terrence Ross scored half of his team-leading 18 points, hitting half of his six threes in the third. Patterson also added seven of his 15 points in the quarter. "Ill tell you what, hes been a godsend for us, as far as stretching the floor," Casey said of Patterson, who hit three of his four attempts from long range Friday. "Not only that, just his intensity, his work ethic, how hard how plays. Hes got a reputation around the league of playing hard. Hes one of our best pick-and-roll defenders because he uses his quickness and then he can go down and stretch the floor out. Its a big plus, not a lot of guys can do that and he does an excellent job of doing it. The boos for Gay were faint, mostly, but consistent every time he touched the ball. The former Raptors forward scored 15 points on 5-of-13 from the field, a shooting percentage reminiscent of his time spent in Toronto. Gay has shot 50 per cent or better in 23 of 38 games as a King after doing so just once in 18 contests with the Raptors this season. Again, the Raptors won as a team. They got double-digit scoring from five players and although DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry struggled from the field - shooting a combined 6-for-24 - the Raptors backcourt duo totalled 13 assists, one fewer than the entire Kings team. Salmons added eight points off the bench, Greivis Vasquez chipped in with four and, although Hayes was scoreless in 10 minutes, his defence on Cousins changed the game in the third quarter. "He has that old man stretch," Casey said of Hayes. "Youve got to be strong to hold your ground against Cousins. Hes a beast in there and now they bring Reggi

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