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Gerrard discovers selection dilemmas after victory over Real Madrid

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Steven Gerrard: 'fear and panic' reason for Rangers crashing out of Champions League

After discovering the “magic” touch in a 2-1 friendly triumph over Real Madrid, Rangers boss Steven Gerrard noted the selection issues posed by his players.

Summer signing Fashion Sakala and substitute Cedric Itten scored in the second half to give Rangers a big boost ahead of their title defense, which begins next Saturday at Ibrox against Livingston.

Rangers were beaten to a goalless draw by Brighton on Saturday, but Gerrard was pleased with his team’s “dominant” performance, and they stepped up a gear against the Spanish giants in front of a crowd of over 12,500 at Ibrox.

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Gerrard said on his club’s website: “First and foremost, we deserved the win and we have been excellent over the whole weekend.

“Obviously, it was two different teams for obvious reasons, but every single person over the course of the two 90 minutes has been excellent and they have given me a lot to think about in the two days in terms of picking teams for real next week.

“That is the problem I wanted – to challenge the team, and could they build on yesterday’s performance, and to be fair, they have backed it up.

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“It shows the quality and the strength in depth we have got around the dressing room, so I am really happy and content, but at the same time, it is important we stay calm.

“We have two down days now just to recover and get ready, and from Wednesday, it is important that everyone’s focus is top and ready for Livingston.

“We have got valuable minutes into important players and we have shown a level out of possession that I really like – our speed across the grass, our aggression and moving together as a unit in our shape, I am really happy with that and yesterday, we did a lot of things right but we missed a little bit of magic in the final third in terms of our outcomes, but today, we found that magic.

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“It was two great finishes from the boys and they will get a lot of plaudits, but for me, I am more pleased with the two performances from everyone over the weekend.”

Celtic FC

Ange provides injury report and welcomes home Scottish Cup draw

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Ange provides injury report and welcomes home Scottish Cup draw
Image Credit: Reuters

Ange Postecoglou got the job done against Alloa Athletic in the Scottish Cup fourth round on Saturday.

A 2-1 win against League One side ensured advancement to the showpiece final at Hampden Park later this season.

The goal was to get through, but despite accomplishing that goal, injuries forced Callum McGregor and Yosuke Ideguchi to leave the Indodrill Stadium.

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Ange Postecoglou spoke exclusively to Celtic TV about the duo’s fitness and the fifth round, which includes a match versus Raith Rovers at Celtic Park.

The Celtic manager said: “Callum is better today. He wasn’t in great shape after the game but I’ve exchanged messages with him and he feels a bit better, which is great.

“Knowing the type of character Callum is, for him to come off was something significant. Hopefully, his recovery doesn’t take too long.

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“Yosuke is not great. I think I said after the game it didn’t look too serious but it’s still pretty painful now.

“I was optimistic it wouldn’t be too bad, but as everyone saw in the footage it was a tackle that shouldn’t have happened and should have been addressed on the day.

“It was a terrible tackle and one he hasn’t come of too well and will be missing for a little bit as well.

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“The pitch wasn’t great in the last round against Alloa and they’re the type of things you want to avoid. The fact we’re at home in front of our supporters and on our pitch, I think is a good advantage.”

On the plus side, the team put in a strong performance on Saturday, led by Giorgos Giakoumakis, who scored his second goal for the green and white Hoops.

“It was good for him and more important it was good to get 90 minutes,” he said. “He’s had an interrupted first half of the year but he’s worked awfully hard.

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“We gave most of the guys a week off in between games but he stayed at Lennoxtown with a few other boys and put in the work.

“He got through the 90 minutes pretty strong and scored his goal, so it’s a good foundation for him.”

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Everton

Everton senior board members fume as Farhad Moshiri talks with Vitor Pereira in Monaco

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Everton senior board members fume as Farhad Moshiri talks with Vitor Pereira in Monaco
Image Credit: Sky Sports

According to the Daily Star, senior Everton officials are furious with Farhad Moshiri over his weekend meetings with Vitor Pereira.

Moshiri met with the contender for talks in Monaco, according to the newspaper’s print copy (25/01).

Given how disastrous the move to appoint Rafa Benitez was, board members at Goodison Park are thought to have strong opposition.

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“Board and on the senior executive, especially given the disastrous appointment of Rafa Benitez,” the piece concluded.

Moshiri appeared to be going in headfirst and making the decision without engaging anyone.

This just goes to show that, while he may be a terrific businessman, his football brain is still lagging behind and causing serious problems at Goodison Park.

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The owner is in desperate need of advice because some of his recent actions have been comical.

The fans are grateful to those senior board members who opted to stand up and be counted on this occasion, preventing a catastrophe.

Pereira may have won awards during his career, but he did so in nations like China, Greece, and Portugal, where it is expected.

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Hopefully, Moshiri will listen to his board members more often, and they will assist him in making the best decision possible to move the Toffees ahead rather than backward.

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Newcastle table £10m loan offer, player out of contract in the summer

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Newcastle table £10m loan offer, player out of contract in the summer

Newcastle have reportedly made a £10 million loan approach for Jesse Lingard in the final days of the January transfer window, according to 90Min. According to the report, despite the fact that conversations have lasted a month, they ‘anticipate’ this offer to be ‘accepted.’

Lingard, who is 29 years old, has only started two of his 14 league and cup games this season. That’s following a brilliant loan spell with West Ham last season, in which he netted nine goals and contributed five assists in 16 appearances. In June, his contract will expire.

Newcastle, as well as West Ham and Tottenham, have been heavily connected with Lingard. However, according to the source, Newcastle has offered United a £10 million loan fee for Lingard after extensive discussions.

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Image Credit: Sky Sports

Unless he accepts a new Old Trafford contract, such a deal would likely put an end to his United career. It’s unknown whether Lingard wants to transfer, but it’s been said that Newcastle would have to pay him twice as much as he is now.

Lingard still needs to be persuaded. Newcastle triumphed over the weekend, which is crucial not only in terms of staying up but also in terms of attracting players this month. It provides those who are being hunted a better chance of surviving.

Lingard possesses the ability to increase Newcastle’s hopes of remaining in the Premier League significantly. If he joins on loan, Newcastle will have six months to persuade him to sign a permanent contract – and it could work out.

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