Allardyce: We have to stop Lukaku

first_imgSam Allardyce has placed West Ham’s defence on alert for Everton striker Romelu Lukaku in Saturday’s Barclays Premier League clash at Upton Park. “It was always going to be settled at the end of the season. Whether I’m staying or going, that hasn’t been decided yet,” Allardyce said on Thursday. “Nearly two years ago when we finished 10th in the Premier League, I signed a contract on May 29, which was probably a good two weeks after the season had finished. “At the end of this season we will sit down and negotiate. The outcome will be made known to everyone once those negotiations have finished. “Speculation about the club not being happy with me or me not being happy with them is bound to happen.” Allardyce admits his desire to stay at Upton Park is dependent on him receiving a number of assurances. “It depends on the contract. There’s a lot of areas to negotiate, not just my contract but the staff, new players and the budget. As well as that it’s about the direction we think we’re going in,” he said. “We’re going in the right direction, it’s a question of how fast we want to move. All that needs to be discussed and agreed.” West Ham are likely to start Alex Song against Everton. Song made his comeback from a back injury as a substitute against Aston Villa and is in line to play the full 90 minutes. Everton manager Roberto Martinez will gamble on his younger players should the side qualify for the early stages of the Europa League. Saturday’s match at West Ham is being billed as a decider for a place in Europe’s second-tier tournament after England were awarded another place via the Fair Play League. Liverpool top the table but as they are likely to earn their spot via their league position the Hammers and Everton, second and third respectively, are next in line. Whoever gets the place faces the prospect of playing a competitive match on July 2, a time when the first-team squad will have barely returned from their summer break. There is the added complication of pre-season preparations, with Everton due to play in the Barclays Asia Trophy in Singapore in mid-July, but Martinez is confident should his side qualify for the Europa League it will not affect his long-term planning as a number of the club’s promising youngsters will be asked to step up. “The Fair Play position is that there are two games to play and we will see where that will take us but I would welcome whatever comes our way,” he said. “All the younger players will be available to compete in the earlier rounds and it would show the good work we are doing behind the scenes with the youngsters. “It would bring terrific experience and from that point on we would see how far we can progress. “The preparations in pre-season wouldn’t change for the first team. “We are well-prepared either way; if we have a qualifying game at that point we have the team of a younger generation ready to face that and they would embrace that. “We are talking about something that is not in front of us – but we have to put these things in place.“ Left-back Leighton Baines has been ruled out of Everton’s final two matches after undergoing ankle surgery, so Luke Garbutt is likely to deputise at West Ham. Midfielder Steven Pienaar is still not ready to return from a muscle injury so misses a fifth successive match, meaning Martinez will select from the same players – minus Baines – who lost at home to Sunderland last weekend. Press Association West Ham have two wins from their last 14 matches, leaving them in 10th place with 47 points having occupied the Champions League places at Christmas. “We want to get over the 50-point mark. We’re all hugely disappointed that we haven’t managed it yet and we should have done it by now,” Allardyce said. “We could easily be in the mid 50s but due to a few lapses in concentration we’re not quite there. “Hopefully on Saturday the boys will go out and put the chances that we will create away. We want to win our last home game and try and to enjoy the game. “We’ve been able to enjoy the majority of the season. We haven’t brushed with relegation this season at all, not for a minute. We’ve scored more goals and got more points.” Meanwhile, Allardyce insists his West Ham future has yet to be decided with negotiations over a new contract beginning only once the season is finished. Hammers owners David Sullivan and David Gold are reported to view Slaven Bilic and David Moyes as potential successors to Allardyce, whose contract expires this summer. Allardyce is unpopular among supporters while the club’s end of season slide down the Premier League table has done little to strengthen the 60-year-old’s hand when talks begin. Lukaku has scored twice already against the Hammers this season and Allardyce fears the threat he poses to his team’s hopes of halting their slide down the table. “We have to make sure we stop Lukaku because he always scores against us, that’s something we have to do. He scores every time we play them,” Allardyce said. last_img read more

No. 7 Syracuse’s defense holds strong but can’t finish in 13-8 loss at No. 9 Cornell

first_img Published on April 10, 2018 at 10:59 pm Contact Josh: jlschafe@syr.edu | @Schafer_44 ITHACA, N.Y. — Syracuse’s Dom Madonna did what he could, sprawling low to deflect a fast break opportunity. With SU already set to go a man-down following a Tucker Dordevic penalty, Madonna denied the initial scoring chance but failed to maintain possession. Instead, the ball bounced to the corner, and the Big Red’s possession continued.Again, on the next feed, Syracuse seemed to stop Cornell. An Orange long pole deflected a pass, leaving the ball on the carpet for SU defender Nick Mellen. The ball took an off-bounce, Mellen bobbled the pickup, and Cornell’s Clarke Petterson buried another Cornell goal.“We didn’t play absolutely terrible,” Mellen said. “They got a bunch of goals off broken plays and passes that somehow went to the ground and somehow went to their stick.”On Tuesday night at Schoellkopf Field, No. 7 Syracuse’s (6-4, 3-0 Atlantic Coast) defense held strong at times but couldn’t finish in a 13-8 loss to No. 9 Cornell (8-3, 3-1 Ivy league). The Big Red’s offense entered riding a four-game winning streak in which it averaged more than 20 goals. It ranked first in goals per game (15.30), assists per game (10.50), points per game (25.80) and shooting percentage (.418). Yet Syracuse held it scoreless for more than 13 minutes in the second quarter and more than eight minutes in the third.Still, Cornell finished enough. In a game with nearly equal shots on goal and an even faceoff distribution, the Big Red hammered SU on the ground. It scooped 43 groundballs to the Orange’s 30. Five of Cornell’s goals came off second-chance opportunities where it had already shot earlier in the possession.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“Just going into this game I think we knew it was going to scrap; it was going to be a battle,” said Cornell attack Jeff Teat, who had six points. “I think we scraped off second-chance opportunities and finished plays when we need to.”Cornell dumped in four goals before 10 minutes had ticked off the clock. After the Big Red saved a Bradley Voigt shot, the agonizing possessions began for SU. With the Orange trailing by two goals at the time, Teat scooped up a ball off what could’ve been a Cornell turnover a minute into the possession. Then he fired a shot off an SU defender, but Cornell’s Connor Fletcher nabbed the groundball.The ball eventually worked its way back to Teat. He was covered tightly but whipped a behind-the-back pass into traffic anyway. The ball jostled through a crowd of SU defenders before bouncing on the ground. Cornell attack John Piatelli scooped the ball off the hop, making it appear as if the bounce pass was intentional. Moments later, Piatelli’s low crank shot dribbled in after deflecting off the goalkeeper.“I thought it was OK considering how much they had the ball,” Syracuse head coach John Desko said. “We just can’t let them get the inside stuff.”Throughout the night, Syracuse’s defense looked like a football defense that was excellent on the first two downs but faltered on the third, or a basketball defense stellar at contesting shots but horrible at boxing out.Syracuse’s version of those came when the defense flashed a glimmer of hope. Mellen caused a turnover on Teat behind the cage, simply poking the ball right out of the nation’s leading point scorer’s stick. On SU’s next possession, Cornell did the same, forcing David Lipka into a turnover.Again, Mellen forced a turnover. Mellen rode Teat down the right hash marks, the same place he had been beaten for a goal in the first quarter, and swatted the ball out of Teat’s stick. With Teat falling to the ground, Mellen scooped the ground ball and gave SU a possession, which led to a goal.Then came another lengthy possession. Syracuse denied Cornell for more than two minutes. Madonna’s save once again left the ball loose. Cornell missed the net on its next shot. Then, with Teat standing nearly flat-footed at the top of the X, he fed an open cutter for a Cornell goal.“You have to understand that’s just the way it goes,” Mellen said. “Sometimes we’re going to get a couple big stops and we try to clear it and turn it over or we get down to the offense and they just get a quick turnover. That’s just something we need to work on.”Moments before Mellen spoke, explaining how SU’s defense hadn’t played as bad as the scoreboard may have portrayed, Cornell’s players celebrated.The Big Red players gathered in front of the entrance to Schoellkopf Field, rose their hands and hooted and hollered in celebration as their photo was taken. In Cornell’s best win since 2014, it didn’t matter how well Syracuse’s defense had played. The scoreboard didn’t reflect it. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more