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21
Sep
2020

Tandem puts it all together

first_img Press Association Tandem was the best horse on show at Navan and showed all of his Flat quality in the navanracecourse.ie Maiden Hurdle. “We’ll look for a winners’ of one and go from there. He was unlucky not to win in Galway. He’s a big powerful horse, a very strong horse. We still have homework to do on his jumping. It was satisfactory today, but will get better.” Icy Reply had to pull out all the stops to justify 15-8 favouritism in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Hurdle. Dessie Hughes’ grey seemed in trouble as the front-running Urtheoneiwant quickened clear two out, with Mark Enright working hard on the market leader. But she eventually knuckled down and improved to jump the last in unison with the long-time leader, and stuck her neck out to pass the post three-quarters of a length to the good. Hughes said: “It’s a nice race to find for her. We were going to run in the beginners chase at Kilbeggan last night and she has been schooled over fences. “She jumped a bit scatty there and maybe didn’t know what we were doing. We saw this race and the conditions looked right. She’s done well for a four-year-old. She’ll go chasing now as she’ll get great allowances.” Brand Ambassador (12-1) had been sidelined for two years heading into the Navan Welcomes Owners Today Maiden Hurdle, but he lacked nothing in the way of fitness and registered a six-and-a-half-length success for Gordon Elliott and Barry Geraghty. Jarob (12-1) came up short over the larger obstacles at the Galway Festival but was a different proposition in the Racing Again Saturday 27th September Handicap Hurdle and after taking up the running before the last, sped away to beat Tico by eight lengths. Coldstonesober (8-1) quickened into a clear lead between the last two in the Follow Navan On Facebook Handicap Hurdle and the move proved decisive as he held Blue Ridge Lane at bay. center_img Sent off the 1-2 favourite to atone for a defeat at Galway on his jumping bow, the Dermot Weld-trained five-year-old was always to the fore and hardly broke sweat to score by three and a quarter lengths. His trainer said: “He did it impressively. He just missed the last and still has plenty to learn. When he puts it all together he’s potentially a very high-class hurdle horse. last_img read more

20
Sep
2020

Costa barely training – Mourinho

first_img Press Association Mourinho celebrated his 250th match in charge of the Blues with goals from Oscar and Willian either side of Costa’s eighth goal in his first six Premier League games, a tally second only to Micky Quinn’s 10 with Coventry 22 years ago. That is despite the £32million summer signing from Atletico Madrid having a hamstring injury which limits his involvement in training to “almost nothing”. Mourinho said: “I don’t care about Diego’s goals. For me it’s important that the team score enough goals to win. “I know a striker scoring goals is always nice for him and for his confidence, especially for a player like him who is not training as he should, because we are protecting him in certain situations. “He cannot be on top of his game, but even so scoring a goal is good for his confidence. “He’s doing almost nothing (in training). He’s just resting and recovering from the tight muscle he has. Every time he accumulates fatigue.” Mourinho believes Costa will only be fully fit if he is given leave from the Spain squad for next month’s matches with Slovakia and Luxembourg and fears a hamstring tear if his call is ignored. “If he doesn’t go to the national team and if he stays here 15 days just on treatment, he has the perfect chance to be top for Chelsea and top for the national team,” Mourinho added. “If he doesn’t have this period, will be always, plays one game, the other is in trouble, the muscle is tight, the muscle is danger to rupture.” Mourinho has no plans to speak to Spain boss Vicente del Bosque about the striker, who he hopes to select to play Sporting Lisbon in Champions League Group G on Tuesday night. The Portuguese added: “I want to. Let’s see what happens.” Costa has clearly made a big difference to Chelsea. Mourinho, comparing his side to this time last season, said. “We are a different team. We went in another direction. “It’s a different type of striker we have. He can move, he can come out, he can go to the sides, he can hold the ball. We are a different profile of team.” Mourinho is not aware of Quinn’s prowess – “Niall Quinn. He’s my generation,” the Blues boss said – with Costa top of the Premier League goalscoring charts and his team top of the standings. Mourinho, chasing his third Premier League title and Chelsea’s first since 2010, is refusing to get ahead of himself and believes his side’s rivals will not be too concerned by the Blues’ position at the summit. He said: “We go match after match. The next one for the Premier League is Arsenal (next Sunday). “We have a lead of three points over Southampton, which is a guarantee that next weekend we will still be top of the league. “Is this very important? It’s not crucial because it’s too early, but it’s a little bit of a space that gives you that good feeling that you’re top of the league. It’s good to be there. “Everybody knows the everybody is going to lose points. I don’t think any team is scared or convinced that Chelsea’s going to keep this run for 10, 15, 20 matches, always getting positive results. “We know this is the Premier League. Every game is really possible for a top team to lose points.” Chelsea never looked like losing against Villa after Oscar’s opener. Mourinho added: “We kept control of the game all the time. Even when the result was 1-0. “The second and the third goals obviously killed everything. Overall it was a very good performance.” Villa boss Paul Lambert was content despite a second straight 3-0 loss after the defeat to Arsenal. “We were well in that game,” Lambert said. “I couldn’t fault my own team. We gave it a right good go. “When you come to places like this, when you get a chance, you’ve got to score. “With Nathan’s (Baker) header, Fabian’s (Delph) couple of shots, (Aly) Cissokho at the back post, you’ve got to score. “If you get beat, you’ve got to leave here with your confidence intact, which we certainly are. “Performance-wise, other than trying to get a goal, I couldn’t ask for any more. “If somebody said to me you’d take three points from Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, I’d certainly have taken it. “We’re up against Man City next week. Those four teams will be there or thereabouts when the title gets handed out.” Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho revealed Diego Costa is barely training, yet the Spain striker is still tearing Barclays Premier League defences apart after netting his eighth of the season in the 3-0 defeat of Aston Villa. last_img read more

20
Sep
2020

Keane: Mourinho was a disgrace

first_img The Scot suggested at one point that the hardest part of the midfield enforcer was his tongue, a barb which produced a cutting response. A smiling Keane said: “Well, what do you think? I kick pretty hard. “I think it was a cheap dig. He was never critical when we were winning trophies and he was getting his new contracts, getting this after him, Sir this. “He was not pulling me or other players, saying, ‘Listen, you need to relax a bit’. That was the game and I appreciate the game. The game finished, but it was all the carry on afterwards.” While Keane moved on to Celtic to finish his playing days before himself heading into management, Ferguson rebuilt once again at Old Trafford before retiring in a blaze of glory, leaving the club in a period of transition which created issues for successor David Moyes that are currently being addressed by Louis van Gaal. However, Keane does not blame his former manager for what he left behind. He said: “I wouldn’t be critical of Ferguson, but sometimes when you’re leaving, it gives the manager a chance to make their own mark. He (Moyes) brought in one or two players, didn’t get the players clearly that he was after in the summer. “But I don’t think that’s the manager, it’s the chief executive (Ed Woodward) who can probably look at himself. I’m sure if you ask the chief exec, he will say, ‘Yeah, we missed out on a few deals’. There were two or three lined up that fell through, and they ended up getting one or two on transfer deadline day, (Juan) Mata in January. “But maybe the damage was done then. I was going to Old Trafford and there was a lot of negativity around. They got no momentum and it was as if David Moyes was snookered from the first few weeks. “That negativity can get into the dressing room, and that’s why I felt it was a weak dressing room. They should have dealt with that and the players should have done better. “I saw a number of games and whatever has gone on – politics, managers leaving, lack of players coming in – they should have done better and they did let him down, without a shadow of a doubt.” In the book, Keane talks candidly about his issues with alcohol and anger, and the mistakes he has made during his career to date, and it has proved a cathartic exercise. However, asked if it has been hard work being Roy Keane at times, and if he now likes himself more, he replied with a smile: “That’s a bit heavy. I’m contented and comfortable with who I am, yeah.” Roy Keane has warned Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho he would be “knocked out” if he tried to shake hands before the final whistle in Sunday league football. Press Association “I’ve seen him doing it to other managers, it is a disgrace. The game is still going on. You wouldn’t do that on a Sunday morning, you would get knocked out.” But while Mourinho found himself in the firing line, it was Keane’s former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson upon whom the spotlight fell as Keane discussed the falling-out between the pair as his time at Old Trafford drew to a close in 2005. The relationship between the two men deteriorated beyond the point of no return with the then United captain’s infamous MUTV interview and his reference to Ferguson’s involvement with the syndicate which owned racehorse Rock of Gibraltar helping to bring matters to a head. Keane, who insisted he only ever had ” five, six” one-to-one talks with the Scot during his 12 and a half years at United, was nevertheless not afraid to have his say, but admitted other managers were intimidated by Ferguson. He said: “I think a lot of managers would probably be intimidated by him, probably bow to him. I think a lot of managers are heavily influenced by him, of course. “I think (Everton boss Roberto) Martinez reckons he was misquoted a few years ago (saying) that Ferguson had his disciples. He obviously does. “When a manager takes players away from being on loan – I think it was Preston when Ferguson was manager – when his son (Darren) got the sack, and, all of a sudden, the players are coming away on loan.” Ferguson used his own autobiography, published last year, to settle his own scores with Keane and Beckham among those to come in for criticism, a move described as “ridiculous” by the Irishman. Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert refused to take Portuguese’s hand as he prepared to head down the tunnel before the end of his side’s 3-0 defeat by the Blues at Stamford Bridge on September 27, and his assistant Keane’s reaction was even more withering. Asked about the incident as he launched his new autobiography, The Second Half, in Dublin on Thursday afternoon, Keane said: “It’s disgraceful. last_img read more

20
Sep
2020

Coleman and McCarthy recalled

first_imgSeamus Coleman and James McCarthy have been recalled to the Republic of Ireland squad after injury for next month’s Euro 2016 qualifier in Scotland and the home friendly against USA. However, Norwich midfielder Wes Hoolahan, who is nursing an ankle ligament problem, has not been included. O’Neill said: “I am looking forward to assembling the squad for the last time this year in preparation for our final games of 2014. “I am absolutely delighted with the courage and determination we showed in our last two qualifiers, and hope we can continue this run next month against Scotland and the USA.” O’Neill resisted the temptation to call rising Aston Villa star Jack Grealish into the squad despite speculation that he could be handed a first senior cap against the USA on November 18. The Villa midfielder is at the centre of a tug of love between the Republic and England, and O’Neill is adopting a delicate approach as he, with the help of assistant and Villa number two Roy Keane, attempts to woo the 19-year-old. Hull’s 20-year-old full-back Brian Lenihan was included among the 36 – which will be whittled down before it meets up on November 10 – after being drafted in last month because of a lack of defensive cover. Ireland currently sit in joint first place in Group D with Poland, having taken seven points from a possible nine after trips to Georgia and Germany either side of Gibraltar’s ill-fated visit to Dublin. That record will be put to a stern test at Celtic Park on November 14 with the Scots also having enjoyed a promising opening to their campaign, with the two sides, along with the Poles and the Georgians, seemingly battling it out for second place behind the world champions. Joachim Low’s men remain favourites to top the group despite losing 2-0 in Poland and then failing to beat Ireland last month. Provisional squad: David Forde (Millwall), Shay Given (Aston Villa), Keiren Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday), Darren Randolph (Birmingham), Rob Elliot (Newcastle); Richard Keogh (Derby), Marc Wilson (Stoke), Seamus Coleman (Everton), John O’Shea (Sunderland), Alex Pearce (Reading), Brian Lenihan (Hull), Stephen Kelly (Reading), Paul McShane (Hull), Damien Delaney (Crystal Palace), Shane Duffy (Blackburn), Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa), Stephen Ward (Burnley); James McCarthy (Everton), Jeff Hendrick (Derby), Glenn Whelan (Stoke), Darron Gibson (Everton), Paul Green (Rotherham), Aiden McGeady (Everton), Anthony Pilkington (Cardiff), James McClean (Wigan), Robbie Brady, Stephen Quinn, David Meyler (all Hull); Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Shane Long (Southampton), Daryl Murphy (Ipswich), Jon Walters (Stoke), Kevin Doyle (Crystal Palace), Anthony Stokes (Celtic), Simon Cox (Reading), Conor Sammon (Ipswich). The pair missed last month’s 7-0 demolition of Gibraltar and creditable 1-1 draw in Germany with hamstring and thigh injuries respectively, but both have since returned to action and were included in a provisional 36-man Ireland party announced by manager Martin O’Neill on Wednesday afternoon. There was a place too for Stoke midfielder Glenn Whelan, who suffered a minor leg fracture during the clash with the Germans in Gelsenkirchen which was expected to sideline him for between four and six weeks. center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

20
Sep
2020

Lambert: We’re not a dirty team

Press Association Christian Benteke was also sent off in November after clashing with Ryan Mason against Tottenham – but Lambert has defended his side. “We’re not a dirty team, we don’t have anyone really who is a dirty player,” he said. “Look at the lads who have been sent off – they are not malicious at all. “It doesn’t look great but the lads are committed to the challenge. Gabby’s one wasn’t that but Kieran’s I understand because his studs were showing. Benteke was provoked as I said at the time.” And Sunderland boss Gus Poyet, who worked with Delph when he was assistant manager at Leeds, sympathised with the England international. “It’s Fabian Delph, it’s the way he plays football and maybe his reputation,” he said. “Sometimes players can make three or four fouls and get a yellow and Fabian makes one tackle and if it looks a little dangerous he gets a red. “It’s unlucky but saying that if you see it and stop the video and see the studs in his ankle, if it’s another three inches up it could be a broken leg. “It’s dangerous. Sometimes you get away with those tackles. He brings something extra to the pitch and sometimes that could get a red card. “At Leeds I can tell you Dennis Wise received a few from Fab in training. I really like him and I feel sad for him but it was a little bit dangerous and we need to be fair to the referee.” Boss Paul Lambert insisted Aston Villa are not a dirty team – despite their third red card in four games. Midfielder Fabian Delph was sent off in the second half for a rash tackle on Jordi Gomez as Villa held on for a 0-0 draw against Sunderland in the Barclays Premier League. Kieran Richardson and Gabriel Agbonlahor have been dismissed this month, although Agbonlahor’s red against Manchester United was rescinded. But Poyet, who again called for a winter break, was disappointed his side failed to make the breakthrough against 10 men. Gomez hit the post from 20 yards late on with the best chance of a dour game which rarely looked like sparking. “We draw too many games,” he said, after Sunderland’s 11th draw of the Barclays Premier League season. “We lost a good opportunity to take the three points, especially after the sending off. It was a great opportunity to win it. “We tried too hard, we went a little crazy, we lost the shape and we didn’t do the right things – but we tried.” Lambert added: “I’m satisfied with a point under the circumstances. It’s hard enough playing against 10 men any time but with two games in two days the lads were running on empty. “All credit to the lads, we could have won it and had chances at the end.” read more

20
Sep
2020

Shackell could boost Clarets

first_img Zarate had fallen down West Ham’s pecking order behind Diafra Sakho, Enner Valencia and Andy Carroll, despite a bright start in east London after joining from Velez Sarsfield last summer. West Ham boss Allardyce defended his decision to allow Zarate to leave on loan, saying the striker “wasn’t good enough”, but the former Lazio man hit back on completing terms with QPR. “I am happy. I need this, I need to play and Queens Park Rangers have given me this chance to show what I can do,” said Zarate. “The Premier League is the best in the world at this moment. “Does my style suit the Premier League? Maybe. We will see! “When I met the manager he told me he wanted to sign me for Portsmouth before, but in that moment I went to Lazio. But now I am here and will play for him. “I will try to do different things with the ball, some skills to make the difference for the team, for me and for the other players. I am fit and I hope I can be involved on Saturday.” Rangers boss Harry Redknapp cannot yet call on Sandro, with the Brazil midfielder still several weeks away from fitness. Senior stars like Rob Green and Mauricio Isla should return to the starting line-up after the 3-0 FA Cup defeat to Sheffield United. Press Association Burnley captain Jason Shackell could be back in contention for Saturday’s Barclays Premier League clash with QPR at Turf Moor after a calf injury. The centre-back’s return would ease defensive problems following the loss of Kevin Long, who has had successful anterior cruciate ligament surgery this week, and with Michael Duff (calf) probably not quite ready for action. David Jones is fit after a bout of sickness this week but fellow midfielder Matt Taylor (Achilles) and defender Stephen Ward (ankle) remain on the sidelines. Manager Sean Dyche feels his strikeforce is thriving as the club prepare to welcome back the ace goalscorer they lost – Charlie Austin – this weekend. Austin, who left the Clarets for QPR in 2013, is now one of the Premier League’s form strikers having struck 12 times for the Londoners this season. But Dyche has no interest in what might have been and is happy enough with the forwards he has at his disposal in the fight against relegation. The highly-rated Danny Ings and Ashley Barnes have impressed in recent weeks, while Sam Vokes marked his return after a nine-month injury lay-off with the equaliser in Monday’s FA Cup third-round draw against Tottenham. Dyche said: “The performance level is good, it is rising. I think we are becoming more clinical at the top end of the pitch. That is always where it is at, across football, any division. That is why strikers are always talked about. “We think we have got a good group, a healthy group of strikers. We think they are all vying and all slightly different, which gives us a chance to play in different ways. “We want them to be fit and active and scoring goals, and all be ready. There are good signs.” On-loan West Ham striker Mauro Zarate is expected to make his QPR debut. last_img read more

20
Sep
2020

Swan bidding farewell

first_imgCharlie Swan will be hoping Drumlee can help him bid a victorious farewell to the National Hunt scene in the Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Breeders Fund Rated Novice Chase at Thurles. Press Association Swan is set to relinquish his training licence at the end of the week and while he has a couple of entries on the level at Dundalk on Friday, Drumlee will be his final runner over obstacles in this two-mile event. The seven-year-old has got his head in front since last March but his second place last time out combined with a joint-top rating of 116 means there is every chance he can strike gold for his retiring handler. center_img Elsie, the other runner rated at 116, is an obvious threat along with the likes of wide-margin Tramore winner Davinia’s Tip and Limerick third Benrouge. Shamiran heads the field for the feature race of the day, the Thurles Handicap Hurdle, as he drops back to the smaller obstacles after a couple of unsuccessful chase outings. Really Unique and Shuilamach will surely be popular selections, with the latter having claimed victory at Cork earlier in the month. Our Katie chased home the classy Vroum Vroum Mag in a Grade Three on her latest outing and is a likely favourite in the Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Mares Beginners Chase. The Willie Mullins-trained Totally Dominant heads the runners in the thurles.ie Maiden Hurdle with the dual bumper winner on something of a retrieval mission after finishing only fourth on his hurdles bow. Mullins saddles Listen Dear in the closing Fethard INH Flat Race with the mare having placed second on her only point to point outing to date. Spacious Sky in the Follow Us On Facebook Handicap Hurdle and Jim Dreaper’s mulitple point to point winner Venitien De Mai in the I.N.H. Stallion Owners European Breeders Fund Maiden Hurdle are others to note on a busy afternoon of action. last_img read more

20
Sep
2020

McCoy mount to return next year

first_img Cantlow was sixth in the Irish National at Fairyhouse on Easter Monday, when If In Doubt was pulled up, while Cause of Causes was eighth in the Grand National. “Everything is up in the air in that department at the minute. We’ll see tomorrow what’s happening,” said Berry. Already assured of a 20th successive title, McCoy has taken a short break from the saddle. He could return to action on Tuesday at either Exeter or Carlisle ahead of the two-day midweek meeting at Cheltenham, as the countdown continues to McCoy’s final farewell on the last day of the season at Sandown on April 25. The fairytale did not come to fruition at Aintree on Saturday, despite a typically brilliant ride by the everlasting champion. Sent off the 6-1 favourite in the hope of making racing’s dream come true, Shutthefrontdoor had every chance but his bid for glory flattened out in the closing stages and he faded into fifth place behind Many Clouds. Shutthefrontdoor, Tony McCoy’s 20th and final ride in the Crabbie’s Grand National, could go back for more next year with a different jockey aboard. Press Association Shutthefrontdoor, trained by Jonjo O’Neill and owned by McCoy’s boss, JP McManus, who gave him his one National triumph with Don’t Push It in 2010, will now go on his summer break before starting afresh next term. “Shutthefrontdoor has come out of the race very well,” said McManus’ racing manager, Frank Berry. “He’s run a blinder, jumped great. He got a great ride and everything went well, but he just didn’t get home. “He had every chance, but just wasn’t good enough on the day, I’d say. “That’s it for the season for him now. We will try again next year, but I wouldn’t make any excuse for him on Saturday.” Though McCoy has failed to add an Irish or an Aintree National to his tally this season, he might get the chance to give racing fans north of the border something to cherish with victory in the Coral Scottish Grand National at the weekend. His sole triumph in the Ayr feature came on Belmont King in 1997. McManus currently has three entries – Cantlow, Cause Of Causes and If In Doubt. However, all three have been in action in the past week. last_img read more

20
Sep
2020

Dawson goal earns Hull deserved win

first_img Press Association The Tigers captain timed his move to perfection to power home a cross from Ahmed Elmohamady and ultimately take his side four points clear of the relegation zone with four games to play. And the few Liverpool fans who ignored boycott calls over the £50 ticket price must have wished they had stayed away as they saw their own side’s slim Champions League hopes effectively end. But Dawson’s effort capped a magnificent effort from the hosts who dominated from start to finish and successfully built on their 2-0 win at Crystal Palace on Saturday. Steve Bruce’s men surged forward from the opening minute when an Elmohamady cross from the right was hooked clear by Dejan Lovren. And for a large part they looked simply unrecognisable from a side whose run of six games without a win looked to have left them relegation certainties as recently as last week. It was Liverpool, without Steven Gerrard whom boss Brendan Rodgers indicated was being rested for the increasingly inconsequential run-in, Liverpool looked rudderless and ill-equipped to cope with the hosts’ attacking intent. Dame N’Doye, Hull’s two-goal hero on Saturday, headed a sixth-minute chance straight at Simon Mignolet from a Sone Aluko cross when he perhaps should have done better. The visitors did briefly threaten through the energetic Glen Johnson down the left, while Philippe Coutinho came close when he scythed a shot which forced a fine reflex save from Steve Harper. But the sporadic threat summoned by Rodgers’ men did not faze Hull in the slightest as they once again showed the character that had got them priceless points at Anfield, the Etihad and the Emirates this season. Mignolet punched away a dangerous Robbie Brady free-kick and was grateful for a poor follow-up by James Chester, before Mario Balotelli tried a pointless back-heel 20 yards from Harper’s goal which summed up his dismal contribution to first-half proceedings. Michael Dawson’s first-half header sunk woeful Liverpool at the KC Stadium and lifted Hull to the brink of Barclays Premier League safety. Mignolet pulled off a superb double-save to deny first Jake Livermore then Aluko in a mighty goalmouth scramble, then had to pluck a dangerous Stephen Quinn cross from the air as the hosts continued to press. The goal the Tigers richly deserved arrived in the 36th minute when Elmohamady lofted the ball back into the box and Dawson timed his move to perfection to spring the offside trap and belt a firm header past the visiting keeper. Hull’s only frustration must have been that they were not ahead by more, and that danger was highlighted in first-half injury time when Johnson skipped unchallenged in from the left and rolled the ball across the goal-line where unfathomably no visiting front men were on hand to tap it into the net. Despite a quieter start to the second period, it was still City who were showing the greater desire and Mignolet had to be alert to pluck the ball off the head of N’Doye after another fine cross from the left by Elmohamady. Again as if to serve a timely reminder that the points were far from safe, Liverpool came close just past the hour mark when Jordan Henderson picked up Coutinho’s ball into the box and hit a low shot on the turn which was palmed out for a corner by Harper. Aluko was almost sent clear on goal before stumbling into Martin Skrtel, while Henderson – the only man who looked remotely capable of coming to Liverpool’s rescue – had another good chance for the visitors when his low shot stung the hands of Harper. The inevitably nervy last few minutes saw Sterling shoot straight at Harper while Tom Huddlestone could have sealed it with a long-range rocket which flashed just wide before referee Lee Probert’s whistle sparked jubilation. last_img read more

20
Sep
2020

Man City boss Manuel Pellegrini hits out at Belgium for playing Vincent Kompany

first_img Kompany was called up for international duty despite missing City’s last five games with a calf injury. Pellegrini had insisted that his influential skipper would not be fit for either of the games against Andorra or Israel but Belgium coach Marc Wilmots fielded him in the latter. The 29-year-old came through 58 minutes of action unscathed but Pellegrini was not happy, even though he accepts Wilmots acted within his rights. Pellegrini said: “I was not pleased because we sent Vincent with some medical report that he was not able to play but, as the manager of Belgium said, he can do what he wants in the international break. He can use the players and he wanted to use him. “But for me, when you don’t send a player to the national squad and you cannot use him for your club, I think the other sense must be the same. If a player didn’t play the last three games for his club he cannot play for the national squad. “But these are the rules. I think some day clubs will protest about that.” Pellegrini insisted this had not led to a problem between him and Kompany, but would not confirm whether the defender would return to his starting line-up for Saturday’s Barclays Premier League clash against Bournemouth. He said: “There is not a problem with him. I think it was important for Vincent to work a complete week before he played and he couldn’t do it because he played for Belgium. He had to recover here Wednesday and Thursday. “We will have to see in the future when he can return to his position. Tomorrow we will see the starting XI.” Pellegrini, speaking at a press conference, also confirmed that star striker Sergio Aguero was likely to be out at least a month. Aguero, who scored five goals on his last City appearance against Newcastle, suffered a hamstring injury on international duty and had said he feared such a lay-off. Pellegrini said: “Sergio has a muscle injury. I think it is an important injury, so I don’t think he will be back before one month.” It proved a costly international break for City with playmaker David Silva and left-back Aleksandar Kolarov returning injured. Both are likely to be out for a fortnight. City will hope to maintain their advantage at the top of the table against the Cherries but Pellegrini is wary of the vibrancy of the promoted side. The Chilean said: “I hope that we can win that game but I think the only way to win it is to be absolutely sure you play with 100 per cent of intensity. “They are good players, they are the same players that won promotion last season. I have seen the last three games that they play and they really try to play as a team.” Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has hit out at Belgium after captain Vincent Kompany featured in their final Euro 2016 qualifier this week. Press Associationlast_img read more