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Roberto Martínez: “Hazard has had very, very bad luck”

first_img“I am convinced that Hazard will be decisive at the end of the season” 10 “The Euro? This summer was a perfect time for a major tournament.” How is the communication with the players?We have taken the opportunity to look at all the accumulation of data that we had about them, which are now more in club dynamics, with their detailed and specific programs.What do you think of the postponement of the Euro Cup?We had the UEFA congress and saw the need not to press for domestic competitions. Periods had to be opened to end the domestic leagues. It was a decision of necessity, of force majeure. After two years of work, with a perfect classification and the group in a good psychological and team moment, the tournament was in a good moment for us. But it was the right decision. Now, to focus on the League of Nations.For his 30 points out of 30 and the accumulation of stars in top clubs, was this your great opportunity?We wanted to get more prepared after the 2018 World Cup and it was achieved, gaining depth of squad, team play and experience, with a tight-knit group. It was a perfect time for a major tournament, but we have to try to improve, not to think that we cannot reach the level that we thought we would reach this summer. Are you in contact with Zidane?Not lately. We have it when there is need, such as when Eden arrived and was injured in the first international break. The relationship with Madrid is very good. Also with the other clubs, and that is not easy. It helps me to have been in clubs for many years to understand both positions.The one who was doing very well was Courtois.It has always been clear that he was aware of what it takes to be the ‘1’ of Madrid. It came at a time of change, quite difficult, but he was always very focused to demonstrate what it is. Since Galatasaray in Champions has been seen, from there it has been essential in the results. He is still very young and can undoubtedly break all records in Madrid’s goal. It is with that confidence and with that illusion and desire to demonstrate what is inside.Did you have more affection for him in September and October?No, he is a person who is far above emotions. It knows how to focus a lot on what it can control and it closes tightly on the highs and lows. He has probably been the most consistent in Belgium in the last 46 games, never reflecting any emotional state that might come from his club. His maturity is well above his years. The most positive thing is for Hazard?We were very confident that he would get well because he does not need, when he is discharged, much time to reach his level. The deadlines were good enough for him to play for Madrid the last few days and come with Belgium. Now we are concerned with players who may have a team change, a game change elsewhere, or the older ones, with specific cases such as defense. They have a lot of experience, they have been playing together a lot, also at those ages because of their performance, not because there are no other options, because there are young people who can help the team.What did Hazard say to him?It is very sensible, calm, familiar. Is always happy. He is focused on recovering as soon as possible to miss the minimum number of games. He was very focused on recovering well and soon for the European Championship; Now all he has to do is focus on whether he can play a very important role with Madrid this season, which I am sure he does.Trust him a lot.It has the perfect character to be able to react as needed when there are situations such as the operation or the postponement of the Euro.Did you ask for advice on whether to have surgery?No. That had to go from the medical side and there was always great communication between Madrid and us. Madrid have led him with excellence, very close to the doctors who have followed Hazard in his career. How do you reconcile it with the family?I have a seven-month-old girl and a six-year-old girl. I did not know the first months of my first daughter for being in charge of a club, and this period at a human and home level is being very beautiful. I have the opportunity to be my daughter’s teacher, something that tests you because it is much more difficult than you can imagine.What do you miss the most?You have to adapt, I have never been wanting what I do not have. I only remember the people who are affected and those around them. I see myself privileged because I am with the family; it would be very hard, almost impossible, separated. Hopefully we all get the best out of this and realize that we as humanity were not prepared to face a pandemic. We have to be prepared for when normalcy returns.What is the first thing you will do then?Gather the whole family in one room, a normal dinner. My parents are over 75 years old, they are a population at risk, and that requires discipline. The lack of contact, also with those of my wife, is missed. A normal dinner. Soccer teaches you to expect what is not expected and to survive. How much talkHe is the captain and there is always contact at essential and important moments for the future of the team. He is at the perfect age to take responsibility at a club like Madrid and Belgium, number one in the world.He has defined his first white season as bad.It is fully adapted to the League and Madrid. His only problem has been injuries. You have been very, very unlucky. Luck plays a huge role in any component of football and he has missed more games this season than he has in eight years at Chelsea. That is bad luck and I am convinced that very soon that luck will change, and he will be able to be a decisive and stellar player. There are no equal days in quarantine, but how is your routine?15 years ago it would have been very very difficult. Now are very hard times, but with the internet there is a lot of help to work and structure everything. Every morning I can be connected with the Federation and work on the different projects that do not depend on soccer. From there I spend many hours. “We all know that Courtois is going to mark an era in Madrid” It is the best in the world?Definitely. The World Cup was the reflection: it was the best. Being the best in the World Cup, reaching Madrid and its qualities and size allow it to do things that others cannot.Has it been good this year to remove the debate with Keylor?He is a player who understands, and very well, that when you don’t win a match in a team that demands Madrid, you have to be very mature and improve to do the next one. It is very troublesome when you are not ready for that, but Courtois is, it does not affect his confidence and his level. It has constantly adapted and improved. We all know that it will mark an era, an era, in Madrid.You finish contract in June. How is the renewal?We have had contacts and talked a lot about the ideas for the future of the Federation and the team. They were quite positive. We will wait at the end of the June break to see if it develops, and we will announce the result. 1 STORY OF A CONFINEMENT: FROM BELGIUM TO WIGAN“We started learning about the coronavirus from the first cases, in China. With the monitoring of our players we are presented because football is canceled there, where we had still to Carrasco, Fellaini and Dembélé. It was clear that there was a problem. When he arrives in Italy, the consequences were much closer. I kept traveling, but the last game was Leipzig-Tottenham. On the return of that all were canceled and covered Spain. There I decided to isolate ourselves with the family in the United Kingdom and be more aware of the complex situation. of the community. I chose England because we are closer to my wife’s family and the family’s risk groups in general. It is a more comfortable isolation because it is in an area between Liverpool and Manchester, in the north, in the town of Wigan, on the outskirts, very rural, with only 460 inhabitants. Here I learned the British language, football and culture. I won the FA Cup. People are very fond of me. I was very happy. They are stories that are not forgotten … “.last_img read more

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Its the Battle of the Birds Sunday night the

first_imgIt’s the “Battle of the Birds.”Sunday night, the Arizona Cardinals (6-2) visit the Seattle Seahawks (4-4) at CenturyLink Field in the first of back-to-back Football Night in America appearances.The Seahawks won both meetings between the teams last season — 19-3 in Seattle and a 35-6 blowout win in Glendale, a game in which Seattle rolled up 596 yards and Ryan Lindley played quarterback for the Cardinals. Comments   Share   The last time Arizona’s Carson Palmer faced Seattle — Week 16 of 2013 — the Cardinals scratched out a 17-10 win, breaking the Seahawks’ 14-game home winning streak.Both teams are coming off of their bye week, and the Cardinals can really make things difficult on Seattle in their quest to win a third straight NFC West title. An Arizona win would give them a three-game bulge over the Seahawks with just seven regular-season games.All week, we’ll keep you updated on everything going on in Seattle as the Seahawks prepare for the Cardinals.Friday, November 13• Earl Thomas’ job description: Own two routes, and don’t get greedy (ESPN.com)Thomas will be in the spotlight Sunday evening when the Seahawks host the Arizona Cardinals at CenturyLink Field. Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer is averaging an NFL-best 9.18 yards per attempt, and the Cardinals have produced 37 pass plays of 20 yards or more, third most in the league.• Five reasons the Seahawks can beat the Cardinals (ESPN.com)According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, the Seahawks currently have a 12 percent chance of winning the division. With a win, that number would bump up to 22 percent. But with a loss, it would fall all the way down to 3 percent. Tuesday, November 10• Is Seahawks’ defense playing at Super Bowl-caliber level? (ESPN.com)The group up front has been consistent and productive each week. The Seahawks have posted a sack rate of 7.3 percent, which ranks fifth in the NFL. Last year, that number was 6.6 percent (11th), and in 2013 it was 7.3 (fifth).Michael Bennett has been disruptive all season and has a team-high 6.5 sacks. Defensive end Cliff Avril has been arguably the team’s most consistent defender with 3.5 sacks. And LB/DE Bruce Irvin has also done a good job with 4.5 sacks.• What’s slowing Seahawks’ Marshawn Lynch down this season? (ESPN.com)There are plenty of theories floating around Seattle about why Lynch’s production has slowed. Has it simply been the result of poor blocking? Is the sample size (103 carries) too small to draw any conclusions?• Assessing the Seattle Seahawks’ playoff odds at midseason (Seattle Times)By doing nothing last week, the Seattle Seahawks’ odds of making the playoffs got better.That’s the way numberFire.com sees it, anyway, giving the Seahawks a 23.74 percent chance to make the playoffs this week, which is 5.08 percent higher than last week (the losses by St. Louis and Atlanta surely played into that). • Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch gives $500 to McDonald’s worker in Dallas (ESPN.com)Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, after a win against the Cowboys on Nov. 1, stopped at a Dallas-area McDonald’s where an employee offered him a compliment.• Seahawks’ matchup with Cardinals could signal sea change in NFC West (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)At 6-2, the Cardinals enter the contest with a two-game lead on the Seahawks in the division race. A win would give Arizona a three-game lead with seven to play. It would also drop the Hawks’ in-division record to 1-2 while elevating the Cards’ NFC West mark to 2-1. (A team’s division record is the second playoff tiebreaker, following head-to-head matchups.)• Seattle Seahawks give cornerback DeShawn Shead a little money and a lot of faith (Seattle Times)A $25,000 bonus given by the Seahawks to cornerback DeShawn Shead this week showed the team’s faith in his ability and appreciation for his value.• Richard Sherman: Points more important than interceptions for Seahawks’ defense (MyNorthwest.com)It must be killing cornerback Richard Sherman that Seattle’s defense has only picked off three passes through eight games, tied for fewest in the NFL. Sherman has more interceptions than any player in the league since 2011 yet he has none since Week 15 of last season, the longest stretch of his career. That’s got to be eating at him, right? Wednesday, November 11• Seattle Seahawks need more from offense in second half (ESPN.com)A look at the highs and lows from the first half of the season for the Seattle Seahawks and what to expect in the second half.• Time for Seahawks to show they are contenders? (ESPN.com)Every weekday morning, we’ll round up local and national Seattle Seahawks-related links.• Seahawks work out seven, make moves to practice squad (ESPN.com)After practice Monday, the Seattle Seahawks worked out the following seven players (with former colleges): QB Jake Heaps (Miami), TE Cameron Clear (Texas A&M), TE Chase Coffman (Missouri), DB Jonathan Dowling (Western Kentucky), DE Glenn Foster (Illinois), DB Keon Lyn (Syracuse) and TE Harold Spears (New Hampshire).• Even with Jimmy Graham, Seahawks’ red-zone struggles persist (Seattle Times)The Seahawks are in a position that was hard to imagine when they traded for Graham this offseason: They are the NFL’s worst team in the red zone, scoring touchdowns on a league-worst 29 percent of their trips inside the 20-yard line.• November is usually turning point for Seattle Seahawks (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)Those searching for reasons to think the Seattle Seahawks are ready for a second-half resurgence can take solace in the darkness and gloom that accompany these next few months in the Pacific Northwest.Pete Carroll is 9-2 in November over the past three seasons. In December during that span, he’s even better — 12-2. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo The Seattle Seahawks will go back to Patrick Lewis at center for Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals ahead of Drew Nowak, who began the season as the starter.• Seattle Seahawks excited to add Paul Richardson to offense (Seattle Times)The Seahawks will welcome back receiver Paul Richardson Sunday against Arizona hoping to revive a passing game that has lagged at times in recent weeks.• Seattle Seahawks – Looming Showdown With Arizona Will Make Or Break Their Season (Seattle Post Intelligencer)With eight weeks remaining in the 2015 season, Seattle currently sits two games behind 6-2 Arizona and a half game behind 4-4 St. Louis. If Seattle wins this Sunday coupled with a Rams’ loss, the Seahawks have a chance to go above .500 in their division record, overall record, and potentially leapfrog the Rams in to second place in the NFC West, and pull within one game of the division lead with seven weeks to go and a second matchup with all three division rivals to strengthen their lead.• Game of the Week: With Palmer back, Cardinals will give Seahawks run for their money (FoxSports.com)A year later, and that Cardinals offense may be as different as any unit in the NFL (offense or defense) since that point. In the chaos of a season ago, the Cards were forced into one of the ugliest brands of offensive football, but they now play as proficient offensively as any team in the league. This weekend’s matchup between these two NFC West foes is a prime example of the potential uselessness of historical stats between football teams — this is a completely different Arizona offense. Top Stories Seattle’s chances of winning the division also went up slightly, by 0.72 percent, to 6.88 percent, according to numberFire.• Seattle Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane returns to practice after gruesome injury in Super Bowl XLIX (Seattle Times)Lane was officially listed as returning to practice Monday after having spent the first eight weeks of the season on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list while recovering from knee and wrist injuries suffered in Super Bowl XLIX.• Seattle Seahawks’ Michael Bennett on being fined by NFL: ‘It never makes any sense’ (Seattle Times)Seattle’s star defensive end wasn’t real happy with a fine he received for a hit at the legs of Cowboys QB Matt Cassel. Meanwhile, Dallas’ Jeff Heath was not fined for his hit on Ricardo Lockette.• Seattle Seahawks’ midseason grades (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)Writer Adam Lewis hands out marks for the two-time defending NFC champs.• Pointed comparison: Where the Seahawks’ offense struggled the most in the first half of the season (MyNorthwest.com)Through eight games, the Seahawks are averaging more yards than at the midpoint in any of Russell Wilson’s three previous seasons as Seattle’s quarterback. Yet Seattle’s offense has scored fewer points than any season since 2012, when the coaches were trying to limit the amount of weight being placed on their rookie quarterback for fear that everything would cave in around him. But this is about more than just Wilson. This is about an offense that turned over three starters on its line only to then deal with a hamstring injury to running back Marshawn Lynch while also working in new tight end Jimmy Graham.• Michael Bennett says Bruce Arians is a coach he’d want to play for (ProFootballTalk)Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett said Monday that Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians is one of the few coaches in the league he’d like to play for. Thursday, November 12• Russell Wilson, Seahawks having major issues vs. the blitz (ESPN.com)It’s a touchy subject for a reason: Russell Wilson and the passing game have produced disastrous results when opposing defenses have sent pressure this season. That’s a major storyline this week with the Arizona Cardinals coming to town. The Cardinals have blitzed on 44 percent of pass plays, according to ESPN Stats & Information. That’s second-most in the NFL.• Marshawn Lynch, Chris Johnson battle for NFC West’s top running back (ESPN.com)Beast Mode. CJ2K.They’re two of the best nicknames in football and they call the NFC West home. Arizona’s Chris Johnson is having a resurgent season and has already surpassed his rushing total from 2014, while Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch has slowly returned to the form he’s terrorized the Arizona Cardinals with in past years.• Seattle Seahawks’ Jeremy Lane set to return after long recovery from Super Bowl injuries (Seattle Times)Cornerback Lane could play Sunday night against the Arizona Cardinals, though the Seahawks have three weeks before they must put him on the 53-man active roster.• Seattle Seahawks to start Patrick Lewis at center against Arizona Cardinals (Seattle Times) Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img read more