Martinez ducks ‘media war’ over duo

first_imgEverton manager Roberto Martinez is refusing to get involved in a war of words with predecessor David Moyes over the futures of Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini. Moyes, now manager at Manchester United, has suggested the careers of the pair could be damaged if they are not allowed to move to Old Trafford. Everton this week rejected a joint £28million bid for left-back Baines and midfielder Fellaini as “derisory and insulting”. “I don’t think it is the time to talk about the window when you have just played a game and we have another game around the corner. I am not going to go along with the circus the transfer window can become.” Martinez certainly had no concerns about playing Baines and Fellaini against the Baggies. Both performed well and Fellaini went the closest to scoring with a late shot that hit the post. Martinez said: “They are true professionals. They are true ambassadors of Everton and they have been here for a long time and they know how to perform and give everything they have.” Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard also praised the professionalism of Baines and Fellaini and is keen for them to stay on Merseyside. The American, himself a former United player, said: “It is entertaining. You look around at all the managers (saying) who is for sale, who is not for sale, then there is a fire sale at the end, all the big names. “It entertains me who is going to Real Madrid, who is going to Chelsea, who is going to Man Utd. “There is nothing we can do about it. What I will say is that Felli and Baines have been brilliant. “Other clubs have got some idiots who don’t turn up to training or train with the reserves. These guys (Fellaini and Baines) train so hard, they are out there working as hard as anyone else. “What goes on in the boardroom is not down to me. “Of course I want them to stay. They have been brilliant for us. “Hopefully that will last a long time but guys a lot smarter than me are making those decisions, so I don’t know.” Martinez, speaking after his side’s goalless draw with West Brom in the Barclays Premier League, said: “I think my comment is quite clear. “If managers start talking about players who are registered at other clubs, that is the end of the whole thing. I think everyone should look after their own things internally. “I am sure they have got many issues in the same manner and I could easily come out and give my opinions about these players but I will be more respectful than that. “Everyone has got a price (but) when you invest money in a player and five years later you get offered the same money after performing really well, that becomes a little bit of a nonsense. “The last thing I want is to get into a media war with a manager I really respect.” Baines joined the Toffees from Wigan for £6million in 2007 with Fellaini arriving from Standard Liege for £15million the following year. Everton are now bracing themselves for an improved offer from United for the pair but Martinez is determined to keep them and insists there is no set price where they will begin talks. He said: “No, no. Remember that the position we have got is we don’t want to sell, so then you haven’t got a figure. Press Associationlast_img read more

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Panthers defense helping fuel 2-0 start

first_imgPittsburgh running back James Conner (24) score his second touchdown of the first quarter in an NCAA college football game against Delaware on Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)PITTSBURGH (AP) – Turns out there’s life after Aaron Donald for the Pittsburgh Panthers, after all.While the all-everything defensive lineman is now making a splash with the St. Louis Rams, the youngsters he left behind are learning on the job.Pitt (2-0) enters Saturday’s game at Florida International (1-1) second in the country in interceptions (five), fourth in fewest passing yards allowed (82.5 per game), fourth in total defense (170 yards per game), 11th in points allowed (10 per game) and 22nd in rushing defense (87.5 yards per game).And while Delaware and Boston College aren’t offensive powerhouses like Oregon or Baylor, the Panthers know they had to start somewhere. The early returns are promising.“There was a stretch . the first game, we pitched a shutout,” Pitt coach Paul Chryst said. “And in the second game, there was a good long stretch where nothing much was happening for them. And what I really like about the group is when there is something that happens, they talk about it, regroup and play.”The Panthers have one of the youngest defenses in the country, with 15 freshmen or sophomores on the first or second string. The kids rely heavily on fifth-year seniors Anthony Gonzalez, the strong-side linebacker, free safety Ray Vinopal and end David Durham to take charge both on and off the field.“I think this is our second year in this scheme, so we’re more confident with some of the things that he did last year,” Durham said. “We’re running the same stuff, but we had a whole spring and whole camp, and just as a team we’re more confident and playing together.”Senior wide receiver Manasseh Garner isn’t complaining.“We’ve forced some turnovers and they’ve given us some short fields,” Garner said. “So, we appreciate the work that they’ve done. I’m just glad we’ve been able to make those pay off with touchdowns.”The offense is doing its part, chewing up yards and time behind running back James Conner. Given plenty of time to rest between series, the Panthers have attacked the field. It’s heady territory for a unit in search of an identity after Donald’s departure.However, thanks to players like Durham and junior tackle Darryl Render, Pitt’s defensive line has been one of the team’s most pleasant surprises.“Sure, we lost some big-play guys, obviously, like A.D.,” Durham said. “Those are some big-play guys. Not that we don’t have some this year, but I think we’re more cohesive, just because we trust each other more and are more comfortable with the scheme.”The 6-foot-2, 240-pound Durham had four tackles in each game with a sack in the opener, the first in his collegiate career. Durham didn’t do a sack dance of any kind, but he pretended to brush dust off each shoulder. Unfortunately for Durham, he did it in front of an over-officious referee and was assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for taunting.“Yeah, you won’t be seeing that again,” Durham said. “(And) I’m taking a different approach. It’s all business for me, and I want to stay focused. ”He said the Panthers won’t be getting ahead of themselves even with their solid start.“We won two games, but there’s a lot left to play,” Durham said. “We feel good about it, gained confidence from it and have had fun with it, but we need to understand that . we can beat anybody. But, at the same time, we can get beat by anybody.”last_img read more

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