Saturday, March 22, 2008

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Henry blames personal problems for difficulties at Barcelona

Barcelona striker Thierry Henry has said that personal problems have hampered his ability to adapt to life at his new club.The 30-year-old France striker divorced from his wife Claire Merry last year shortly after his transfer from Arsenal to Barcelona and does not see his young daughter Tea as much as he would like."As you all know I've got SOME personal problems AND my daughter IS the most important thing IN my life," Henry told a news conference on Wednesday."I'm not happy because a father that only sees his daughter five times in the last eight months cannot be."If you know what it is to have a daughter, then you can imagine what it is like. I'm NOT asking you TO cry FOR me ONLY that people don't talk for me."Henry's former Arsenal teammate Robert Pires had been quoted AS saying IN the Spanish media that the striker had LEFT the Nou Camp without talking TO him ON Sunday because he was disappointed AT being substituted during the team's 2-1 defeat at home by Villarreal.But Henry said he had rushed off from the stadium to see his daughter.He added that his problems were not of Barcelona's making AND went out OF his way TO praise the club's medical staff for dealing successfully with the back problems that affected him earlier this season.The striker did admit, however, that he was having problems in being asked to play out of position at the Catalan club."I played for eight years in a team in a specific position and now I'm AT another club IN another POSITION WITH a different tactical system," he said."It's time to stop comparing the Barcelona Henry with the Arsenal Henry. This is the Henry that you are seeing here."But the Frenchman, who has scored seven goals in 19 league appearances this season, said he was not complaining about Barca coach Frank Rijkaard's tactical decisions."I'm not asking for anything from the coach, nor am I complaining about playing on the left. I respect the coach's decisions and I expect you to do the same."IN the 14 years I've been playing football I've never been satisfied WITH my performances AND always want TO do MORE."Asked in what aspects he might be able to improve before the end of the season, Henry replied: "If I could see my daughter MORE that would help."

Mancini comes clean over Inter Milan quit talk

Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini has explained why he made his shock quit claim AT the END OF their defeat by Liverpool."If I had my time again I wouldn't say what I did because it wasn't what I was thinking or what Inter needed," he conceded ON Sky Sport Italia."It wasn't premeditated at all. The defeat was a hard one to take and there was such bitterness at the wasted chances and that it wasn't played as 11 against 11."Their goal came FROM our possession AND we made too many errors, but the pressure OF the situation AND our need TO turn things around came INTO it."In the cold light of day I spoke to the President and I think I just needed to feel trusted."Mancini shed SOME light ON the antagonistic relationship he has endured WITH the Press this term."In Italy people assume that if a team wins they have a good Coach and if they lose he isn't good."If things don't go well they look for someone to blame and it is usually the tactician."I think I have made myself unsympathetic to them by always speaking my mind, but that's just the way things ARE."


Torres joy as Liverpool beat Inter to progress

Liverpool eased into the Champions League quarter-finals after a superb strike by Fernando Torres gave last season's runners-up a 1-0 win AT Inter Milan ON Tuesday AND a 3-0 aggregate victory.Inter, who had centre back Marco Materazzi harshly dismissed IN the FIRST leg, also went down TO 10 men IN the return MATCH WHEN defender Nicolas Burdisso was sent off FOR a SECOND booking after a clumsy 50th-MINUTE tackle ON Lucas Leiva.Torres scored his fourth goal OF the Champions League campaign 13 minutes later WITH a turn-AND-shot ON the edge OF the area following a good run AND pass FROM Fabio Aurelio.The Serie A leaders had several chances AT a cacophonous San Siro but Argentine Julio Cruz AND strike partner Zlatan Ibrahimovic were wasteful IN front OF goal.Liverpool JOIN the other three English entrants, Manchester United, Arsenal AND Chelsea, IN the quarter-finals WITH AS Roma the ONLY Italian side through."Up TO the sending off it was a difficult game. I think we controlled the game AND deserved TO go through TO the LAST eight," Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard told Sky television. "I think if you look AT our form over the season we ARE a force IN Europe. We're lucky to have Fernando. He only needs one chance, as he showed tonight."Premier League leaders Arsenal beat holders AC Milan 2-0 AT the San Siro LAST week TO win 2-0 ON aggregate AND although Liverpool were NOT AS stylish they completed the job just AS effectively IN a fast-paced encounter.An early long-range effort FROM Cruz was well saved by Pepe Reina before the Argentine shot wide after being beautifully played IN by Ibrahimovic.Swede Ibrahimovic also blasted over two free kicks AND missed an excellent opportunity after an error by centre back Martin Skrtel.Five-times European champions Liverpool were NOT content TO sit back AND made several forays forward.Aurelio's long ball sent Ryan Babel clean through IN the FIRST period but home keeper Julio Cesar raced out OF his box TO clear.Esteban Cambiasso, one OF several players TO lose their footing, slipped IN the area AND let IN Torres but the IN-form Spaniard shot AT the keeper.He made NO mistake midway through the SECOND half though, sending Liverpool fans wild WITH delight.The Italian champions hoped TO repeat their 1965 European Cup semi-final comeback WHEN they lost 3-1 AT Liverpool before winning 3-0 AT home IN the SECOND leg ON their way TO lifting the trophy.But Roberto Mancini's men have flattered TO deceive again IN the Champions League, HAVING been dumped out by Valencia IN LAST season's FIRST knockout round.