EPL

Ronaldo apologises after appearing to smash fan's phone following Man Utd loss

By Sports Desk April 09, 2022

Cristiano Ronaldo apologised after he appeared to smash a fan's phone following Manchester United's 1-0 loss at Everton on Saturday. 

Anthony Gordon's deflected first-half strike consigned United to a second straight Premier League away defeat for the first time since January 2020. 

It was a significant blow to the Red Devils' hopes of qualifying for the Champions League, with Tottenham's victory over Aston Villa later in the day leaving Ralf Rangnick's side six points adrift of the top four. 

Following the final whistle, a video emerged on social media which claimed to show Ronaldo breaking an Everton supporter's phone by throwing it into the floor. 

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner subsequently took to Instagram to explain his actions and offer to host the fan at Old Trafford "as a sign of fair play and sportsmanship". 

"It's never easy to deal with emotions in difficult moments such as the one we are facing," Ronaldo wrote. 

"Nevertheless, we always have to be respectful, patient and set the example for all the youngsters who love the beautiful game. 

"I would like to apologise for my outburst and, if possible, I would like to invite this supporter to watch a game at Old Trafford as a sign of fair play and sportsmanship." 

United have now triumphed in just eight of their 17 Premier League games under Rangnick, with the German's 47 per cent win ratio the club's worst under any manager in the competition. 

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  • Kane calls for calm but accepts England not good enough Kane calls for calm but accepts England not good enough

    Harry Kane called for some perspective following England's 1-1 Euro 2024 draw against Denmark but accepts his side were not good enough.

    England failed to build on a 1-0 win over Serbia in their Group C opener as they saw Kane's opener cancelled out by Morten Hjulmand in Thursday's match in Frankfurt.

    Gareth Southgate's side once again failed to push on after taking the lead in a game and supporters made their frustrations known.

    The draw means England have still yet to ever win their first two matches at a European Championship, with their place in the last 16 not yet certain.

    And Kane - the third man to score at four different major tournaments for England along with Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney - admits an improvement is needed.

    "We're struggling with and without the ball," he told BBC Sport. "The pressing in both games hasn't been quite right, and with the ball we haven't been good enough – that's from top to bottom, from me to Picks (Jordan Pickford). 

    "It was tough out there with the heat and the pitch. It wasn't our greatest game but we got away with a draw.

    "There's no easy games at major tournaments and I think that's being shown. There are levels we can reach, with and without the ball, but it’s a sign of a good team that you can get results when you’re not playing well."

    England sit top of Group C with four points from two matches and will guarantee a place in the knockouts with a draw against Slovenia on Tuesday, while a win sees them through in top spot.

    "We're top of the group and we've all but qualified," added Kane, who was substituted with 20 minutes to go. "I know there’ll be loads of noise and a bit of disappointment at home, but we experienced this when we drew with Scotland in the last Euros. 

     

    "It's a time to stay calm, reflect and try to improve. Step by step, we'll get there."

    Kane's opener was his fifth goal at the Euros, making him the first England player and the eighth from any country to score five or more in both this competition and the World Cup.

    However, Hjulmand levelled 16 minutes later with a shot from 30 yards - his first goal for Denmark in all competitions on what was his ninth appearance - and England could not find a response of their own.

    Southgate's side dropped deep after going in front, as they did against Serbia and have done in recent tournaments, and Kane believes that is an area that needs working on.

    "It’s not just when we score that [we drop deep]," he said. "It's something we need to get better at. When the teams drop a few players deeper, we're not sure how who's supposed to be pressing. 

    "In the second half we tried to change it a bit with me and Jude [Bellingham] playing in front of their two midfielders and then trying to get up. But it was difficult. Credit to Denmark, they’re a really good side and they carried a threat."

    England have now won just two of their past eight competition meetings with Denmark, and this most recent result means they are unable to rest up against Slovenia.

    Reflecting on the disappointing performance, Southgate told BBC Sport: "The performance was not what we would have hoped. At the moment we're not using the ball well enough, and if you do that you'll suffer as we have at times tonight. There's another level we have to find.

    "There's a huge amount of work to do - that's evident. We have to stay tight. We understand people will be disappointed with the performances, and rightly so. We've got make them better."

  • Walker defends Southgate's tactics following England draw Walker defends Southgate's tactics following England draw

    Kyle Walker was quick to defend Gareth Southgate and his tactics following England's 1-1 draw with Denmark. 

    The Three Lions took the lead in the 18th minute through Harry Kane after a nervous start in Frankfurt, but as it played out against Serbia, were unable to build on their lead. 

    A criticism of Southgate during his England has been the defensive nature of his team when scoring the opening goal, despite the plethora of talent at his disposal. 

    But unlike their Group C opener, this time his side were punished when Morten Hjulmand took aim from distance and fired an effort beyond the grasp of Jordan Pickford. 

    "The manager has expressed that he wants us to play free, attacking football," Walker told BBC Sport when asked if Southgate's instructions were to sit back after taking the lead. 

    "Sometimes, in tournament football, you have to manage the game, it is what it is that is why it is so hard to win tournaments, just like the Champions League. 

    "It's tough when you come to these grounds and in hostile environments, but we know that we can do better. But, we are top of the group, so let's move on to that."

    Walker, who made his 85th appearance for England against Denmark, is one of the more experienced heads in the Three Lions' ranks and is vice-captain to former team-mate Kane. 

    When asked what he would say to the squad following the result, Walker: "They will know as individuals and as a team collective, we all know that we have another gear, but we have not lost the game. 

    "Obviously, everyone wants us to come and steam roll teams three or four nil, but it's not football, it's not football these days. 

    "We have got a point, we will move on. We are top of the group, and we just keep going like that."

  • Turkiye v Portugal: Resilience and belief crucial for Selecao, says Martinez Turkiye v Portugal: Resilience and belief crucial for Selecao, says Martinez

    Roberto Martinez praised Portugal's resilience in their Euro 2024 opener against Czechia, and believes that will be key to beating a confident Turkiye side. 

    For both, it was their rising stars who took centre stage during matchday one in Group F, as substitute Francisco Conceicao spared Selecao's blushes with an injury-time winner against Ivan Hasek's side. 

    Earlier that day, it was Real Madrid's Arda Guler who helped Turkiye beat a tough Georgia display, scoring an exceptional goal to earn his nation their first opening day win at the tournament at the sixth attempt. 

    Portugal came from a goal behind to ensure their victory, but decisions will be made on who starts up front, with Cristiano Ronaldo failing to score on his landmark European Championship appearance. 

    The veteran forward has never scored against Turkey, despite playing three matches against them. Only against Albania has he ever played more matches (four) without finding the back of the net for his country. 

    Martinez's side won a game from a losing position for the first time under his stewardship and is hopeful his squad can show the same personality against Turkiye in Dortmund.

    "Today it's not about assessing this game from the technical or tactical point of view," said the head coach.

    "We won because we showed resilience, willpower and belief. It's the first time we've come from behind to win [under my tenure]. We believed, we showed incredible personality.

    "It's a game where we had 13 corners; the Czech Republic had none. If we scored early we could have won by three or four goals. The atmosphere was incredible. Our fans did not deserve to lose this game.

    "Nuno Mendes in a back three? He has the physical attributes to play in a three-man defence. It's important to have symmetry in the middle block. The Czech Republic are a physical team. The important thing is not the starting eleven, but how the game ends. We showed we had prepared well."

    Meanwhile, Turkiye head coach Vincenzo Montella celebrated his 50th birthday in style at the Westfalenstadion, 

    While the Italian was keen to enjoy the moment of Turkiye's landmark success, his attention quickly turned to the task of facing Portugal, a side they have only won two of their nine matches against (L7), with their last triumph coming in an international friendly in 2012. 

    "Our dreams were very much focused on this match," Montella told reporters following that game. "We managed to win [our first game of the tournament] for the first time, so there will be a lot of first times."

    A victory would secure qualification to the knockout stages of the competition for Montella's side, and when asked about his chances against the Selcao's star-studded line-up he said: "Then more dreams will emerge."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Turkiye - Hakan Calhanoglu

    While the praise for Turkiye's young stars was warranted, it overshadowed the impressive display of Calhanoglu at the heart of their midfield against Georgia.

    The Inter man completed 88 passes against Georgia last time out, the most by a Türkiye player in a European Championship game, with a passing accuracy of 92.6 per cent. 

    Portugal – Vitinha

    Another midfield maestro had yet another impressive display in their Group F opener, with Vitinha completing more passes under high-intensity pressure (59) than any other player in the opening round of games at Euro 2024.

    Only Toni Kroos (30) made more line-breaking passes than the Paris Saint-Germain midfielder on MD1 (21). 

    MATCH PREDICTION – PORTUGAL WIN

    While Selecao were not at their dazzling best in their Group F opener, they ultimately found a way to win, and that is what title-winning teams always manage to do. 

    And Portugal has often got the better of their opponents when they have squared off at the European Championships. Portugal have won all three of their previous encounters in the tournament, without conceding a single goal.

    Martinez's side are also the only team to reach the knockout stages of the Euros at each of the last seven editions, having only lost one of their last nine group stage games at the tournament (W4 D4), with that defeat coming against Germany in 2021. 

    But Turkiye proved in their opener against Georgia they are not here just to take part, and will be looking to win their first two games at a major tournament for the first time in their history. 

    Montella will be keen to continue his 50th birthday celebrations when he returns to Dortmund on Saturday, with the possibility of equalling their most victories in a single edition of the European Championship (two in 2008). They have only managed more at a major tournament in the 2002 World Cup (four).

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Turkiye - 17.8%

    Draw - 20.3%

    Portugal - 62%

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