Benitez’s Tactics Baffle Chelsea Players, Express Says: Roundup

The following is a roundup of soccer stories from U.K. newspapers, with clickable links to the Web.

Baffling Benitez

Chelsea players are becoming baffled by the detailed tactics of manager Rafael Benitez, the Daily Express reported.

Benitez is known for his attention to detail and his obsession with getting things right in both training and in matches has confounded players, the Express said. Some players have also questioned his use of substitutes, feeling he makes moves too late in games, the newspaper said.

With the F.A. Cup and Europa League the only trophies to play for, unhappy Chelsea officials have told the Spaniard his main job is to finish in the top four in the Premier League to ensure Champions League qualification next season, the Express said.

Eye Test

Nottingham Forest manager Alex McLeish is considering his future with the club after the owners rejected a transfer move for Peterborough winger George Boyd over a failed eye test, the Telegraph reported.

Chairman Fawaz Al-Hasawi pulled out of the purchase two hours before last night’s transfer deadline, the Telegraph said. Boyd passed a medical after a 500,000-pound ($791,300) fee was accepted, but was then made to take the eye exam, which he failed, the newspaper said.

Forest offered to take Boyd on loan, which Peterborough rejected, leaving McLeish furious and contemplating whether to remain at the team, the Telegraph said.

Suarez’s Pledge

Luis Suarez said he will stay at Liverpool even if the club fails to qualify for the Champions League, the Daily Mail said.

The Uruguayan, who’s scored 43 goals in his two years at Anfield, has a contract until 2016 which he says he will honor, the Mail said.

“If you want to know what will happen to me if we don’t qualify for the Champions League, then I will say this, I have a contract with Liverpool and I am very happy here,” the newspaper quoted him as saying. “I will stay.”

Graham’s Vow

Danny Graham has vowed to win over Sunderland fans who booed him after his 5-million pound move yesterday from Swansea, the Daily Mirror said.

Graham, who is a fan of rival Newcastle, was jeered three days ago when he came on for Swansea during a Premier League match at the Stadium of Light three days ago.

“I totally understand that some fans might need convincing about my commitment to Sunderland because of my roots, but I’ve always given 100 percent no matter what team I play for and no matter who I play against,” the Mirror quoted Graham as saying. “It’s up to me to show people I deserve to wear the Sunderland shirt.”

Cole’s Century

England manager Roy Hodgson wants the home fans to salute Ashley Cole if he makes his 100th national team appearance against Brazil next week, the Guardian said.

Cole is set to become the seventh player to get 100 England caps during the match at Wembley Stadium and Hodgson wants the fans to recognize the Chelsea defender for his ability rather than his reputation for controversy, the Guardian said.

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