Paper News and Gossip: Moyes and Rooney on New Deal, Ozil 'Rested' by Arsenal
There will be no surprise that the news of Wayne Rooney signing a bumper new contract at Manchester United dominates the headlines on Saturday.
The England striker put pen to paper on Friday evening in a five-and-a-half-year deal, which is reportedly worth up to £300,000 a week (BBC Sport).
Elsewhere in the newspapers, Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil is set to be rested for the Premier League visit of Sunderland, while Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has thanked the Anfield fans for standing by him.
But who else is making the headlines on Saturday? Read on to find out more.
Wayne Rooney Claims Manchester United Heading Back to the Top After New Deal
Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney insists the team will return to the top after signing his new deal at the club, reports David McDonnell of the Daily Mirror.
The England international has committed himself to the club until 2019 with his new contract, but he is convinced the current disappointing season at the club is merely a blip when asked about the possibility of missing out on the Champions League this year, according to the article:
It's not a massive concern for me.
This is because I know the direction this club is going in and if we don’t make it this season then we will come back stronger and claim a Champions League spot next season.
Let's not forget we still have a chance this year. Some of the other teams are playing well, but we have a strong squad here and if we have a positive end to the season then who knows what can happen.
The future is bright for Manchester United, this is still one of the world's leading clubs. We've seen this with the signing of Juan Mata in January.
People have been saying that we may have trouble attracting the world's best players, but I think the fact Mata came here shows this isn’t true.
Martin Blackburn of The Sun (subscription required) reports that Moyes told Rooney he had "gone soft" before he joined the club in the summer.
Before I’d actually come in here, I’d met Wayne privately a couple of times, to talk about his situation.
I remember when he came to see me. He came up to my house. I said to him ‘If you ask me what’s missing... I think you’ve gone a bit soft’.
I thought he hadn’t been the hard-working, aggressive player he was. But now in games people are saying ‘look at the effort he’s putting in’.
It’s his work-rate, not just for himself, but for the team.
However, Ben Jefferson of the Daily Express claims Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp is being viewed as a future replacement for Moyes.
Mesut Ozil 'Rested' for Arsenal's Premier League Clash with Sunderland
Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil will be rested for the Premier League visit of Sunderland on Saturday, reports Charlie Wyett of The Sun (subscription required).
The Germany international missed a penalty in a disappointing display against Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Wednesday.
And Gunners manager Arsene Wenger is quoted as saying:
What is important is the team. You never want to hurt any player but you don’t want to give him any favour.
We must rotate. When you look at the challenges in front of us, it’s vital. They are only human.
It is our job and the players’ job to adapt and not think too much about individual cases.
Manuel Pellegrini Apologises for Referee Outburst After Barcelona Defeat
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has apologised for his outburst against Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson after the Champions League defeat to Barcelona, reports Jeremy Cross of the Daily Star.
The Etihad Stadium boss had criticised the appointment of the match official after the game, but Cross claims the apology will not prevent him facing disciplinary action from UEFA.
Pellegrini is quoted as saying:
When you lose the game in the way we did, you are angry and frustrated.
Maybe I said something that I don’t think.
I apologise for what I said.
City have been linked with a move for Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel in the summer if the Reds miss out on the Champions League, claims Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail.
Former City manager Roberto Mancini has tipped Pellegrini to lead his team to the Premier League title this season, reports Michael Wade of the Daily Mail.
Liverpool Striker Luis Suarez Thanks Anfield Fans for Their Support
Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has credited the Anfield supporters for helping him to rediscover his love for the club, reports James Dickenson of the Daily Express.
The Uruguay international had voiced his intention to leave the Reds in the summer but performed a U-turn when he signed a new deal at the club before Christmas after playing a pivotal role in the team's improved form under Brendan Rodgers this season.
Suarez is now relishing life at Liverpool, though, and is quoted as saying:
The fans have helped me so much.
Everyone knows that I had some difficult times last summer.
But they have always supported me and always had confidence in me. I really feel that support in my heart.
I think this has been the best season of my career so far. It’s my job to score goals and create goals, and help the team.
When you have really good team-mates and a manager who believes in you then it helps so much with your job.
For me, stepping on to the pitch knowing I have the confidence of the supporters means everything to me as a player. They help me to give my best.
Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois Will Be at Chelsea Next Season, Says Jose Mourinho
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho expects goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to be back at Stamford Bridge next season, reports Matt Law of the Daily Telegraph.
The Belgium international has been on loan at Atletico Madrid since 2011, and Law notes that the 21-year-old does not want to return to Chelsea as second choice behind Petr Cech.
When asked if Courtois would be back at Chelsea next season, Mourinho is quoted as saying:
I believe so, I don’t think he will be loaned out.
We don’t struggle to keep him because he has two more years on his contract. I don’t need to give any assurances to any player.
A player that has a contract with Chelsea has a contract with Chelsea.
Chelsea has Petr Cech, Courtois and (Mark) Schwarzer. We are in a good condition.
Mourinho has also been linked with a £25 million summer move for Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane, reports Ben Jefferson of the Daily Express.
But Inter Milan veteran Javier Zanetti has played down links between him and a move to Chelsea, reports David Wright of the Daily Express.
Tottenham Striker Roberto Soldado Says Sorry over Europa League Blunder
The Spaniard missed an open goal from just three yards out as Spurs fell to a 1-0 defeat in Ukraine, but the forward is determined to prove his worth to the fans.
Soldado is quoted as saying:
I’m sure if I had scored my chance we would have won the game.
I know people expect a lot from me and they still haven’t seen it yet.
I will keep working hard for those people and I will get there.
Jan Vertonghen has also backed Soldado to come good, after former Tottenham owner Sir Alan Sugar branded the forward a "donkey" on his Twitter feed, according to Jiggins:
It’s very difficult for players to settle in England, especially strikers.
He’s getting less chances than he did in Spain and they are different chances.
He has to adapt his game and we have to help him get more chances. I don’t think he has had two or three one-on-ones all season and we have to assist him better.
He is a very smart guy and there is nobody who wants to score more than him. It is his life. He is practising after training all the time.
Missing that chance feels harsh for him but he will come back. He is determined to prove himself.
Bits and Pieces: Wilfried Zaha Backed for World Cup Spot, Rickie Lambert, Villa
Cardiff City manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has backed Wilfried Zaha to claim a place in England's World Cup squad, reports Ian Gordon of The Sun (subscription required).
The former Crystal Palace winger is on loan with the Bluebirds after failing to break into the Manchester United first team this season.
But Solskjaer is quoted as saying:
This was probably the first time in his career that he has not played regularly.
But he has come in here, been really bright in training and taken on board what we have said.
If we perform, he will be able to shine.
He has got a couple of caps but he is still young so there will be plenty of ups and downs.
It is a chance for him. He has got to show he is what everyone has been speaking about.
Aston Villa defender Alan Hutton is desperate to leave the club after being sidelined by manager Paul Lambert, claims Mike Allen of the Daily Mirror.