The £10million England midfielder’s sixth goal in as many games secured the win – the Black Cats’ first in the league in six attempts at the Stadium of Light – and in the process eased them out of the relegation zone for the first time since August. Johnson struck from close range with 17 minutes gone after Potters keeper Asmir Begovic had spilled Fabio Borini’s effort, to the delight of the bulk of a crowd of 34,745. Stoke, who handed a debut to new signing Peter Odemwingie, were simply not in the game during the opening stages and found themselves defending for dear life. However, they gradually eased their way into it and would have gone in at half-time level had Sunderland keeper Vito Mannone not pulled off a stunning 39th-minute save to keep out Ryan Shawcross’ point-blank header. But their hopes of mounting a fightback were dealt a fatal blow within eight minutes of the restart when midfielder Steven Nzonzi was sent off for a second bookable offence, although Shawcross looped a header against the bar with six minutes remaining. Stoke manager Mark Hughes, who saw Glenn Whelan and Marc Wilson dismissed in a 5-1 drubbing at Newcastle on Boxing Day, was less than impressed by referee Robert Madley’s decision, but his protests counted for nothing. Gus Poyet’s men have now lost just two of their last 13 games, and will head into Saturday’s derby trip to Newcastle brimming with confidence. By contrast, Stoke have now gone six league games without a win and have been dragged firmly into the fight for survival. Lee Cattermole’s absence from the 18 caused raised eyebrows on Wearside after days of speculation that he is a transfer target for Stoke, although injury was later cited as the cause. Only he and Steven Fletcher of the men who had started the Capital One Cup semi-final at Old Trafford a week earlier were missing as the Black Cats went in search of a first league victory at the Stadium of Light since November 10. Poyet had demanded a much better start that the one he saw in their last outing, when his side trailed 2-0 to Southampton within 31 minutes, and he got it as his players took the game to the Potters from the off. Less than seven minutes had elapsed when midfield Sebastian Larsson warmed Begovic’s hands from distance after Jozy Altidore and Borini had linked well. Mannone had to pluck Oussama Assaidi’s deflected cross from under his crossbar three minutes later, but it was the home side who dominated the opening stages with full-back Phil Bardsley sending a looping shot tamely over the bar and then blasting a 15th-minute volley just wide of the far post. They got their reward two minutes later when Begovic failed to hold Borini’s well-struck shot and Johnson pounced on the rebound before rounding him and sliding the ball home from an acute angle. With Altidore far more effective in holding the ball up than in recent weeks, the Black Cats pinned Stoke back, and it was not until Odemwingie was shifted from the right side of midfield into closer contact with lone striker Peter Crouch that the visitors found their feet. Charlie Adam almost caught Mannone out with a rasping strike which flew just wide of the far post, and the Italian very nearly handed Crouch an open goal when he spilled defender Geoff Cameron’s cross as he collided with team-mate John O’Shea, but recovered in time to make a vital block. Cameron headed wastefully over after Adam’s 37th-minute corner had been helped on to him beyond the far post, and the Scotland international was the provider once again six minutes before the break. He picked out Shawcross unmarked outside the six-yard box with a driven cross, but Mannone somehow kept out the central defender’s bullet header with Sunderland in disarray. However, Stoke were dealt a major blow eight minutes into the second half when Nzonzi was adjudged to have felled Altidore and having been booked before the break for a foul on the same man, he was dismissed. The United States international could have effectively finished the game as a contest when he ran through unopposed, but was denied by Begovic’s legs three minutes later. Johnson fizzed a shot across the face of goal and Larsson tested the keeper from distance once again as the Black Cats tried to kill the game off. But Odemwingie had a glorious opportunity to level 16 minutes from time when he slipped the ball between Wes Brown’s legs, but then shot straight at Mannone, and Shawcross was denied by the woodwork amid a late desperate flurry. Adam Johnson continued his mission to single-handedly fire Sunderland to Barclays Premier League safety as his goal secured a 1-0 victory over 10-man Stoke. Press Association
And Hughes sees bettering those numbers as “attainable and realistic” this term if his side keep playing the way they are. “There are a number of things we can achieve if we have a good finish to the season,” Hughes said. “There is the highest position Stoke have ever finished in the Premier League, and that is still within our grasp. “There is the biggest points total as well, and we could still do that. “So there are a number of things we can look ahead to and think ‘yes, that is attainable and realistic’ – so why not have a real push between now and the end of the season and see how many things we can achieve in this campaign? “I think it is there for us if we recognise that and push on now. “I sense the players themselves recognise where we are in our season and it is up to us now to kick on and finish strongly, because if we do then we will achieve a lot. “There are a lot of things we can hit for the first time as Stoke City in the Premier League, and we will use that to motivate us.” Following his appointment as manager last summer, Hughes has been trying to get Stoke playing a more flowing brand of football than in previous seasons and Saturday’s 3-1 victory over West Ham, with the manner in which it was achieved, indicated things are now really starting to come together on that front. “In terms of what we are producing at the moment, we are delighted,” Hughes said. “What is particularly pleasing from everybody’s point of view is that we are both performing well and getting rewards for that. “I think there have been periods during the season where we have performed okay but haven’t got the points on the board, but at the moment we are able to go into games with confidence, play well and get points. “All in all, we are in decent shape. I always said I felt the team would be stronger in the second half of the season, and that seems to be bearing up.” Winger Oussama Assaidi could make his return to action on Sunday, when Stoke will be looking for only their second Premier League win of the season. Assaidi, on loan with the Potters from Liverpool, has been working his way back to fitness after a knee injury and will be checked ahead of the trip to Villa Park along with defender Erik Pieters, who limped off in the West Ham match having taken a knock to the leg. Robert Huth (knee) is out for the rest of the season and both Charlie Adam and Jon Walters remain suspended, while Stephen Ireland will also have to miss the game under the terms of the contract he signed when his loan with Stoke from Villa was turned into a permanent deal in January. Press Association The Potters are in decent form with eight matches of their campaign to go having lost only once in their last seven, and they are currently 11th in the table, level on 34 points with 10th-placed Aston Villa, who have nine games left and are their hosts on Sunday. Since their promotion to the division in 2008, Stoke’s highest finish has been 11th place in 2009/10, which is when they also achieved their biggest overall points haul of 47. Stoke boss Mark Hughes is feeling optimistic about the chances of 2013/14 ending up as a season of significant Barclays Premier League personal bests for the club.
Rory McIlroy admits his Masters record is a source of disappointment and he cannot imagine ending his career without a green jacket. McIlroy is the bookmakers’ favourite for the year’s first major championship, although the former world number one’s best finish at Augusta National remains his share of 15th in 2011, when he held a four-shot lead going into the final round but collapsed to a closing 80. “I’d be disappointed if I ended my career and wasn’t able to go up and have breakfast in the champions’ locker room,” McIlroy told reporters during last week’s Shell Houston Open. “The way I play golf, the way my game is, Augusta does set up well for me. And for me not to have a top-10 coming into my sixth Masters…” McIlroy already has two major titles to his name after winning the US Open in 2011 – just two months after his Masters meltdown – and the 2012 US PGA Championship, both by eight shots. And the 24-year-old would love to take the third step towards a career grand slam by winning a Masters title that has evaded greats of the game like Greg Norman and Ernie Els. “You can look at someone like Greg Norman, or the person that I look at is Ernie Els,” McIlroy added. “He sees Trevor Immelman winning, he sees Charl Schwartzel win. He sees all these young South Africans; Louis Oosthuizen (losing) in a play-off. “He should have won it in 2004 when Phil Mickelson birdied two of the last three. Mickelson was due a major at that point but he had never finished like that to win one, and all of a sudden he does. I think Ernie probably goes back every year and feels like that is the one that got away. “I don’t want to get to that point but I am 24, not 44. It would be great to win one sooner rather than later. It is the same with every competition; you don’t want to wait too long for these things to happen. You want to take control of them yourself. “Five players have won the career grand slam, I was looking at that the other day. I was looking at the ages; Tiger Woods was 24, Jack Nicklaus was 26. I think three people have done it in their 20s. “There is no timescale, I have a lot of years left. I would love to do it. It’s something that would be a huge achievement, to put yourself on that list.” Press Association
Romelu Lukaku’s agent believes it is too soon to tell if the striker has a future at Chelsea. Lukaku’s agent Christope Henrotay told the Evening Standard: “For the moment, Romelu belongs to Chelsea. “He has two years left on his contract. It’s going to depend on Chelsea. “After that, we’ll see together what the best options are if Chelsea decide to let him go. “That they want to bring in a big-name striker has been well-documented. “But Chelsea need lots of great strikers. And if there are too many, they’ll choose to allow Romelu to leave. “But if they think there aren’t enough forwards, perhaps Romelu will say, ‘I’m interested in prolonging the adventure’. “But it’s still too soon.” Press Association Lukaku, who is 21 next week, moved to Stamford Bridge from Anderlecht in August 2011 in a reported £20million deal and has spent the last two seasons on loan – at West Brom and Everton, where he has scored 17 goals this term. It emerged earlier this season that Lukaku had asked to leave Stamford Bridge permanently, resulting in Jose Mourinho compromising and sending Lukaku to Goodison Park, where he could end up on a permanent basis, depending on the wishes of Chelsea.
Glazer, whose family have been in control of United since he became owner in 2005, passed away on Wednesday at the age of 85. His tenure with the Red Devils had been an uneasy one, with many United fans unhappy at the level of debt his takeover had put on the club, although the team have largely continued to prosper. “He was special in my life. I loved the family atmosphere he set for the Bucs.” Former players who were involved in the Buccaneers’ Super Bowl success also took to Twitter to leave messages. Warren Sapp said “one time for my owner & great man #RipBoss”, while Derrick Brooks wrote: “Deeply saddened by passing of Mr Glazer. “So many good memories of him as my owner of the only team I played for @TBBuccaneers. #ripmrglazer” Current Tampa Bay players had their say as well. Defensive end Da’Quan Bowers wrote: “RIP TO MALCOM GLAZER, a man and family that gave me an opportunity to live out a dream and has been in my corner since DAY 1 RIP BOSSMAN.” Tributes also came from some of Glazer’s fellow franchise owners. Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said in a statement: “I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Malcolm Glazer. “He was a Super Bowl champion, a true innovator and pioneer that cared about his family, the community and his team.” New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said: “Malcolm Glazer was a very good man who I admired. He was known as a great businessman. He made everything he ever invested in better, including his community, where he invested in many philanthropic endeavours. “I was always inspired by his love and devotion to his wife, Linda, and his commitment to his family. He was so proud of his children, Avie, Kevin, Bryan, Joel, Darcie and Edward. I loved that he always put his family first. “I offer my sincerest sympathies to Linda, his six children and 14 grandchildren, as well as the many friends and extended family who are mourning his loss today. He will be missed dearly.” The Buccaneers have announced a private family funeral service will be held in due course. A statement from the Barclays Premier League outfit on Wednesday said ”the thoughts of everyone” at United were with the Glazer family, to whom the staff extended “deep and sincere condolences”. And on Thursday morning, a message appeared on Holland international Van Persie’s official Twitter account which said: “My condolences go out to the Glazer family and friends.” The news Glazer had died was announced by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the National Football League (NFL) franchise he took over in 1995. The Buccaneers went on to achieve seven play-off berths, five play-off victories and their only Super Bowl triumph, which came 12 years ago. A host of tributes have been paid to Glazer by figures connected with the Tampa Bay franchise and from within the wider NFL community. Jon Gruden, who was head coach at the time of the Super Bowl triumph, said: “He was a friend and a trailblazer. I’ll miss him and I thank him for believing in me. “My condolences to the Glazer family and to the Bucs organisation.” Tony Dungy, Gruden’s predecessor, wrote on Twitter: “A very sad day for me learning of passing of Malcolm Glazer. Manchester United striker Robin van Persie is among those to have extended their condolences to the family of Malcolm Glazer following the American businessman’s death. Press Association
The 30-year-old Republic of Ireland striker left PPL Park in Philadelphia during the early hours of Saturday morning bloodied after Gonzalez had been sent off for elbowing him during a 1-1 draw which stretched the sentiment of the term “friendly”. Things came to a head when the pair, who had become embroiled in an increasingly physical battle, challenged for a high ball and the defender blatantly lashed out to leave Doyle bleeding heavily and referee Raul Castro reaching for a red card. Press Association The Irishman said: “If you are going to get that angry that quickly and do that, it’s not ideal in a World Cup. I think he just lost his head. “He was upset about an earlier challenge. He tried to win a ball down the side of me by ducking in with a header, and I have caught him totally accidentally. “I said ‘Sorry’ to him at the time and I thought that was the end of it. “A minute earlier, he had tried to do the exact same thing and missed, so he had gone back for a second go. “I was a little bit ready for it, but I didn’t protect myself. But I am glad he was sent off because he deserved to be.” Doyle left the stadium nursing a nasty cut, although not one which will prevent him from playing against Portugal in New Jersey during the early hours of Wednesday morning, if selected. He said: “It was very sore. It’s fine now, the doctor has numbed it up so I can’t feel a thing.” For all his discomfort, Doyle was able to reflect upon an impressive individual display and his first international goal for almost two years. He could also raise a smile about his injury when he was reminded that the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art made famous worldwide by the Rocky films, were just a few miles away. Doyle said with a smile: “It probably looked worse than it was, I don’t know. I haven’t been up to the steps.” The Republic weathered a lively start by the Costa Ricans, who were playing their final warm-up game before heading for Brazil, to take the lead when Doyle powered home a long-range header from full-back Marc Wilson’s inch-perfect cross. It was his first goal for his country since the 4-1 friendly victory over Oman in September 2012 and marked the latest stage in his rehabilitation after slipping out of the reckoning under previous manager Giovanni Trapattoni. Doyle, who was starting for the first time since O’Neill’s appointment said: “It was a great ball in from Marc Wilson, a brilliant ball. “He looked up and he saw me, and a lot of the time, they can see you and they don’t play it. He put in a great ball and I managed to get a big header on it, plenty of power. “They don’t go in all the time, but that one did. It was nice, it was nice to start. “When you come away at the end of the season, it’s obviously nice to get a start and great for me personally to score a goal.” However, Costa Rica showed their mettle after Gonzalez’s 41st-minute dismissal and got back into the game despite their numerical disadvantage when Celso Borges converted a 64th-minute penalty. Robbie Keane, back in the Ireland team after missing the last four friendlies, could have won it two minutes later when presented with a similar opportunity, but his spot-kick was well saved by substitute keeper Patrick Pemberton. Doyle said: “It was actually quite competitive. They were putting it about and you can understand it. “If we were going to a World Cup tonight and looking to play – from their point of view, it was a big game, I suppose, for a lot of the players wanting to be in the team in a week’s time. “They came out in the second half and even with 10 men, they played excellently, they really did, so it was probably a fair result with us missing the penalty, and we had a few chances as well.” Kevin Doyle insisted Costa Rica defender Giancarlo Gonzalez got exactly what he deserved after leaving him with five stitches in his head.
The Baggies are still looking for a successor for Pepe Mel, who left the club at the end of the season just four months after taking over from Steve Clarke. But having rejected Derby’s offer to sign George Thorne – who signed an improved three-and-a-half-year deal in January – after the 21-year-old spent a successful loan spell with the Rams, the club felt it necessary to publicly state their position. Managerless West Brom have warned rivals they have no intention of selling players and will fend off all approaches as they seek to keep their squad intact. Press Association “George has progressed through the academy into the first-team squad and we have high hopes for him,” said technical director Terry Burton in a statement. “He underlined his potential while on loan at Derby and we have no intentions of selling him. “We have told Derby he is not for sale and that is the end of the matter as far as we’re concerned. “The same goes for all of our players. We are not looking to sell anyone. “Our only aim is to strengthen our squad this summer – not weaken it.”
“The whole squad is always so keen to learn and never satisfied. From the manager right through the coaching staff to the players, everybody wants to improve. “We will have to treat this season with respect – it is going to be very different with the Europa League and there are a lot more games. “But I’m sure the manager will have his plans for that challenge ready and I’m looking forward to it. “It is good to be in the dressing room alongside so much young talent and whilst they are young, they are ready now and that is fantastic. “There is a lot of experience here already and if I can add something to that, it is great. “It is (going to be) good to get back to training on Thursday now I’m signed.” Martinez was delighted to have secured a player he believes has a key role to play in their future. “We all know the type of footballer that he is and the type of person that he is and he will fit perfectly well into what we are at Everton,” he said. “Gareth is a model professional. He sets high standards in everything he does and that is the perfect model you want for your young players. “Add to that his experience on the football pitch and knowing how to win big games; he has that winning mentality and it is something I am delighted to bring into the side on a permanent basis. “It was not just about what he brings with his own performances, which are of the highest level, it is the influence he has with the other players. “We have got a very talented group of young footballers with big roles in the team already but you need direction and good guidance and leaders – Gareth fits into that group. “It is an exciting time with us involved in Europe, two domestic cup competitions and the league so we need a player of Gareth’s experience and know-how. “We enjoyed having him as a loan player, but we will be enjoying having him even more knowing he is an Everton player.” Press Association The former England international is Martinez’s first signing of the summer as the Spaniard looks to bolster his squad with possibly six new arrivals as he prepares for the additional demands of a Europa League campaign. “I was really keen to get this sorted before the lads come back to training on Thursday. I’m delighted now that everything is signed and that I’m going to be spending the next few years at Everton,” Barry told evertontv. “When you are on loan, it is never the same as being a signed player. I was really settled last year – but now I am an official Everton player and it feels really good. “From the moment I signed last year I settled in straight away. T here is a fantastic history here and it was brilliant working with the manager. “I have learned so much from him, it is a great set of players and the fans were fantastic last year – just everything about Everton feels right. The training ground, the facilities, the history – there is so much that is positive about the club.” Barry believes the 10 months he spent working with Martinez were among the best of his career and he is looking to push on again. “In terms of a whole season, last season has to be one of my best – the performances the team put out, the club record points total in the Premier League, the big wins, there were so many positives,” he added. “But that is last season. Now we try to improve on that and if we do improve then we are going to be going to some very good places. Everton have completed the permanent signing of Gareth Barry after the midfielder signed a three-year deal. The 33-year-old spent last season on loan at Goodison Park and became an integral figure for manager Roberto Martinez, making 36 appearances. Barry was out of contract after his deal with Manchester City expired and had been considering a number of offers but has decided to make his stay with the Toffees a longer-term arrangement, with the contract announced on the club’s website.
“That will be another picture of the grandkids off the wall at mum and dad’s house!” Lynam said: “Stupidly I watched the race on the inside of the track and I couldn’t see anything. They were all just running up in a blur, but I knew he was up in the front of the pack and I’m delighted with the result. “It was a muddling, messy sort of race and it wasn’t ideal for him. “I’ve always spoke of him very highly and thought he was very good. “I’m looking forward to taking him to Melbourne. The last race of his career will be in the VRC Sprint in Melbourne in November. “I think today he’s proved he’s the best sprinter in Europe and the obvious step now is to try and make him the best sprinter in the world. What better place to go than Australia and try to beat them on their own patch, which won’t be easy, but we’ll give it a go. “Ideally, we’ve about eight weeks between now and Haydock and then eight weeks between Haydock and the VRC Sprint. “Haydock is a maybe, nothing else.” Ivory was thrilled with the effort of Tropics, said: “I’m absolutely over the moon. It doesn’t get much better than this. It was a phenomenal run. “The way this horse won his Group Three last year, there was so much more to come but the yard just took a long time to get going this year. “We had a bug in the yard and one thing and another, but we’ve come through that and the horses have started to run a lot better. “You’ve got to keep believing in them. You’ve got to keep getting up every morning and say ‘there’s more to come’. “He’s in the Haydock Sprint Cup and at the end of the year we might end up abroad somewhere.” Slade Power successfully followed up his Royal Ascot triumph with a dominant display in the Darley July Cup at Newmarket. Eddie Lynam’s five-year-old was a heavily-supported 7-4 favourite following his maiden Group One victory in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes last month and although he got warm before the off, it clearly had no effect on his performance. Racing in the far-side group and given a nice lead by Spanish challenger Noozhoh Canarias, Slade Power was ridden to lead entering the last of the six furlongs and was well on top as he passed the post a length and a half clear under Wayne Lordan. Tropics, a 66-1 outsider, ran a massive race to fill the runner-up spot for Dean Ivory, with the John Gosden-trained Gregorian finishing strongly to grab third ahead of American runner Undrafted. Lynam and the owners David and Sabena Power were due to be double-handed in the race but Slade Power’s fellow Ascot hero Sole Power, winner of the King’s Stand, was taken out due to the ground. David Power said: “We always said this horse needed time and this was always going to be his year. “That (sweating) was never a concern. It would be a concern if he didn’t sweat up. It’s part of his nature.” Sabena said: “I was disappointed when Sole didn’t run, but I think Slade will give him an awful time when he gets home! “We’re terribly lucky.” The owners are the parents of leading bookmaker Paddy Power, who made a match bet of £5,000 with Undrafted’s owner, Wes Welker, a leading American Football player, earlier this week. But Power revealed: “Because Sole Power didn’t run, we’re both going to give £5,000 to the Injured Jockeys Fund. Press Association
Press Association Barclays Premier League newcomers Burnley have signed striker Lukas Jutkiewicz from Middlesbrough. “I still think there is development in Lukas. He’s 25 and has been around a little bit now and he finished last season very strongly.” Jutkiewicz impressed during a loan spell at Bolton at the end of last season, scoring seven goals in 20 games, and Wanderers were also reported to be after his signature. Jutkiewicz began his career with Southampton before moving on to Swindon, where he caught the eye of Everton. A £1million move to Merseyside followed but he made just a single appearance for the Toffees and eventually left in 2010 to join Coventry before moving on again to Middlesbrough. Jutkiewicz is Dyche’s sixth summer signing ahead of Burnley’s return to the Premier League, with Matt Gilks, Michael Kightly, Steven Reid, Matt Taylor and Marvin Sordell also joining the Clarets. Sordell and Jutkiewicz will provide competition up front for Championship player of the year Danny Ings and January signing Ashley Barnes, as well as Sam Vokes when he returns from a knee ligament injury. Jutkiewicz will join up immediately with his new team-mates at their pre-season training camp in Austria, and Dyche said of his new signing: “I feel there is even more to come and he’ll be hungry for that. “He’ll be working with a good group who are all hungry to not only achieve things but to keep pushing themselves as individuals. That’s a big part of our mentality and he’ll fit into that very nicely. “He’s a physical presence who can hold the ball up very well and link play. We think there is goals in him and it is very similar to the Sam Vokes story where he’s always done well and we’re looking for him to build on what he’s done. “There is a nice demand now in that area of the pitch as all the players offer something different to the team so we’re happy with how that is developing.” The 25-year-old joins for an undisclosed fee from the Sky Bet Championship side and has signed a three-year deal at Turf Moor. Burnley boss Sean Dyche said on burnleyfootballclub.com: “We’re looking forward to getting him into the group and making him feel welcome here.