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King of Manchester turns Devil of Manchester!

»Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has poured scorn on critics who he says have made a "devil" of him after one defeat in his new job.

United's 2-1 home defeat by Swansea City was the shock result on the opening weekend of the new Premier League season.

"Two weeks ago I was the king of Manchester and now I am the devil of Manchester," he said ahead of their second game against Sunderland.

"It's the football world and it is especially the media in this football world.
"I think the fans of Manchester are intelligent. I've already said that it shall be difficult in the first three months, for the players and also for the fans."

Former United hero Paul Scholes said in a newspaper column this week that he was "scared" for United's immediate future, to which Van Gaal responded: "I can imagine the fans are scared.  They have to believe. Paul Scholes has to believe.

"The club have hired me because of my philosophy, not because I am nice. Although I am. I am not hired to be fired. I am hired to build up a team. That process needs time."

Platini set to stay away from the FIFA race

»They play for high stakes in the casinos of Monte Carlo, but in the latest round of soccer politics UEFA president Michel Platini looks increasingly likely to stay away from the tables, preferring instead to bide his time before showing his hand.

The Frenchman is to make a much-anticipated announcement next Thursday after deciding whether to stand against long-term incumbent Sepp Blatter in an election to become president of world soccer's governing body FIFA.

But as it is clear this is a race he is unlikely to win, every indication now is that the 59-year-old will take the pragmatic option and keep his chips in his pocket.

Senior sources who know Platini well have told Reuters they cannot see him running, even though he was once seen as the natural successor to the current long-term FIFA president.
One, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: "The key point is, he is doing a good job as president of (European soccer's governing body) UEFA and the European associations want him to remain as president.”

Liverpool game is worth six points for Pellegrini

»The match between Manchester City and Liverpool, the top two teams in last season's Premier League, will effectively be worth six points to the winners, City's manager Manuel Pellegrini has said.
The Manchester club, who finished two points clear at the top of the table after Liverpool faltered in the last month of the campaign, have home advantage and their Chilean manager said they must make it count.

"I always say to the players these games are games of six points, especially when you play at home against one of the most important squads in the Premier League in Liverpool," he said.
"I cannot know whether Liverpool will be affected by last season or not. My way of thinking is that last season is finished and we are not thinking about it anymore.

“These are different games and different moments but it is important for our team to start winning points at home."

Negi set for challenge outside the squares

»He played a stellar role in India’s bronze winning effort in the recently concluded Chess Olympiad in Tromso, Norway but GM Parimarjan Negi feels that there’s more to life than just ‘64 squares’ as he gets ready for a new innings which will require the same effort or even more from the immensely talented young man, reports PTI.

The 21-year-old, who has got a chance to pursue an undergraduate (UG) programme at the prestigious Stanford University will be leaving for the US in September and in the next four years won’t be very active on the circuit.

“Well, chess will take a backseat for the time being. I will have to concentrate on my UG programme. I passed my plus two examination three years back.

“Then I didn’t enroll myself in any college although I could have got through on sports quota. I wanted to crack into top-100 and decided to concentrate on chess. Now I am in top 80 and I feel there’s a time for everything. Now academics will be my priority,” Negi said on the sidelines of a felicitation function.

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