Chelsea ace Morata: I’ve only played 15 minutes and the critics are already killing me!*

Alvaro Morata believes critics are already “killing” him at Chelsea, although the striker accepts his price tag invites extra scrutiny.

The Spain international made his competitive debut as a 74th-minute substitute in the clash with Arsenal at Wembley and missed from 12 yards as his side lost 4-1 to the Gunners in the shoot-out following a 1-1 draw.

Morata, who joined from Real Madrid for a reported initial fee of £58million, had only made two International Champions Cup appearances for Chelsea prior to last Sunday’s encounter following a lengthy transfer saga.
“I admit it’s a very important amount but I have the personality to play calmly and to stay on my path,” he told Marca. “I’ve only had two pre-season games, 15 minutes officially and a missed penalty, and they’re already killing me, so I know what’s ahead.

“It’s the price you have to pay for such a big transfer. It’s something that motivates me and makes me work harder every day. I know that twice as many people are looking at me now.”

Conte hits back at Wenger: I’m not looking for sympathy over Chelsea squad

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has told Arsene Wenger he is not looking for sympathy over the size of his squad.

Amid the Italian’s reported frustration with Chelsea’s performance in the transfer market, Wenger claimed he appreciates his counterpart’s situation at Stamford Bridge, but does not feel sorry for him.
The Arsenal manager suggested Conte could bring back some of the host of players who have been loaned out if he wants a bigger squad.
Conte, though, insisted he endorses Chelsea’s decision to loan out emerging talent and would not get drawn into a debate about the club’s level of success with transfers.
“I’m not looking for sympathy from coaches in this situation, that is my message,” Conte said ahead of Saturday’s Premier League opener at home to Burnley.
“The situation is clear and I stop. I’m not looking for sympathy. If the club decide to send the players on loan for their development it is because these players are not ready to play for Chelsea.

Wenger: Arsenal not super optimistic Alexis will sign new contract

Arsene Wenger has conceded Arsenal are not “super optimistic” of star man Alexis Sanchez signing a new contract.

The Chilean, 28, has less than a year remaining on his current deal as contract negotiations continue to rumble on between both the player and the club.
But while Wenger insists Arsenal have the “firm intention” of keeping hold of Alexis this summer, the Frenchman is not hopeful of the forward remaining in north London beyond the 2017-18 campaign.
In an interview with SFR Sport, he said: “He’s an Arsenal player in the short term. Now, will we manage to extend his contract?
“We didn’t manage to do that last season so I’m not super optimistic in that regard, but we have the firm intention of not selling him.”

Brazil Announce Squad For Qualifiers Against Colombia & Ecuador

Brazlian Coach Tite announced on Thursday the squad for World Cup Qualifiers against Ecuador and Colombia on August 31 and September 5. The Selecao have already qualified for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Squad:  Goalkeepers:   

Alisson (Roma)   

Cássio (Corinthians)   

Ederson (Manchester City)
Defenders:   

Rodrigo Caio (São Paulo)   

Marquinhos (PSG)   

Miranda (Inter Milan)   

Thiago Silva (PSG)
Full Backs:   

Daniel Alves (PSG)   

Fagner (Corinthians)   

Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid)   

Marcelo (Real Madrid)
Midfielders:   

Casemiro (Real Madrid)   

Fernandinho (Manchester City)   

Paulinho (Guangzhou Evergrande)   

Renato Augusto (Beijing Guoan)   

Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)   

Willian (Chelsea)   

Luan (Gremio)   

Giuliano (Zenit)
Attackers:   

Taison (Shakhtar)   

Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City)   

Neymar (PSG)   

Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)

​’To that kid it is the moon’ – Mourinho explains why he gave UEFA Super Cup medal to fan

Jose Mourinho said he gave a Manchester United fan “the moon” when he handed him his UEFA Super Cup runner-up medal.
United lost out on the prize on Tuesday in a 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid in Skopje through goals from Casemiro and Isco, while a late strike from Red Devils striker Romelu Lukaku kept the game competitive right to the end.
Mourinho has made the gesture before, having thrown his 2006 Premier League winners’ and Community Shield losers’ medals into the crowd.
“Look, sometimes even when I win I don’t keep the medals so imagine when I lose?” he said.
“For me, the medal would go to some place in my house and for that kid it is the moon. For that kid, it is for sure something that he is going to keep and to remember.” 

​Nemanja Matic a ‘great loss’ to Chelsea after Man United move – Antonio Conte

Antonio Conte has conceded that Nemanja Matic’s move to Manchester United is a “great loss” for Chelsea and reiterated that more signings are required for the Blues to have any hope of defending their Premier League title this season.

Matic completed a £40 million transfer to Old Trafford at the end of last month, having been excused from Chelsea’s preseason tour of the Far East when it became clear that he wanted to leave the Premier League champions in search of regular first-team football elsewhere.

“Matic knows very well what I think about him — the importance for me about this player, who is a really good player, a top player, very important for our team,” he said.
“But sometimes you must accept this crazy transfer market, and sometimes you must accept different decisions. But he is a great loss for us.”

Chelsea have made four signings — Alvaro Morata, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Antonio Rudiger and Willy Caballero — this summer, while allowing Matic, Nathan Ake, Asmir Begovic, Nathaniel Chalobah, John Terry, Kurt Zouma and Ruben Loftus-Cheek to leave either permanently or on loan.

Asked if Chelsea need more signings in order to successfully defend their Premier League title, Conte replied: “Yes, for sure.”

No £109m Coutinho to Barcelona deal agreed as Liverpool maintain not for sale stance


Liverpool have not agreed a £109 million deal with Barcelona for Philippe Coutinho, nor have they held a meeting to negotiate with a delegation from the Catalan club, as they maintain the Brazil international is not for sale this summer.

Reports in Spain and Brazil suggesting a transfer for the 25-year-old is entering its final stages have been entirely refuted by the Anfield side, who slapped down the only formal offer received for their highest-paid player without hesitation.

Barca have not improved their £72m bid, tabled and rejected 20 days ago, having been told Coutinho is unavailable – at any price – and that they would only be wasting their energy.

Talk of Barca officials Raul Sanllehi, Oscar Grau and Javier Bordas arriving on Merseyside for a meeting to wrap up negotiations with Liverpool on Tuesday has been rubbished, as no forum was held or even proposed.

The Reds insist they do not need a face-to-face sit down to reiterate that Coutinho is not on the market, a stance they’ve already made abundantly clear.