And neither are the Baylor Bears after Hurts and the Oklahoma Sooners beat them in the Big 12 Championship Game — a 30-23 overtime thriller Saturday at Jerry’s World in Arlington, Texas.
“These are hard to win,” Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley told reporters post-game. We found a lot of ways to win football games. We certainly did today.”
“People act like it’s supposed to be easy,” Hurts told reporters post-game. “It’s not supposed to be easy. Winning championships is hard.”
With this hard-fought win, the Sooners are most likely headed to the final four but have to await official word from the College Football Playoff selection committee, which is slated to announce the post-season combatants Sunday (noon ET, TSN2).
“I hope they see the Big 12 champions,” Riley told reporters post-game. “They’ve got a job to do — I get that. We’ve had a job to do as a team, which was continue to improve through the year, trust the things that we could and ultimately win the Big 12 championship. We’ve done that.”
Hurts has been the major reason why.
While Baylor has shown remarkable resilience in rebounding and rebuilding from a program-debilitating sexual assault scandal a few years back, Hurts rebuilt his college career with Oklahoma after losing his starter’s job with Alabama in the second half of the national championship game in 2018.
The dynamic QB used the transfer portal last summer to join Riley’s squad, and his subsequent stellar play has made him a likely Heisman Trophy finalist.
“I’m blessed to be where my feet are,” added Hurts, who’s now headed to his fourth straight College Football Playoff, while ‘Bama missed out with two-losses during the regular season. “How crazy it is to be here after starting as a true freshman for (Alabama) and winning the SEC championship and going to the national championship to be a Big 12 champion?”
The answer was in his performance Saturday, throwing 17-of-24 for 287 yards — teaming up with superstar receiver CeeDee Lamb on 173 of them — and running for another 38.
“I wrote a note to (Lamb) before the game, and I handed it to him when I shake everybody’s hand,” Hurts told Fox post-game. “I told him, ‘I said it’s time to let the dog off the leash and he’s loose. Yes, sir. Yes, sir.” It didn’t help Baylor that it lost its dual-threat QB, Charlie Brewer, to an early-game injury and was forced to turn to its two backups.
Nonetheless, the never-say-die Bears rebounded from two 10-point leads built up by Oklahoma. Redshirt freshman QB Gerry Bohanon proved ineffective for Baylor after an early TD throw, bringing on true freshman QB Jacob Zeno, who hit for two long majors to force OT.
But Hurts found Lamb and Rhamondre Stevenson rumbled for the five-yard TD to put Oklahoma up after its possession in overtime.
Then the Sooners defence slammed the door on Zeno and the Baylor offence to score the victory for the conference crown and — likely — the fourth and final berth in the CFP.
Well-deserved, for sure.
“There’s a narrative out there that the SEC is a different animal,” Hurts told reporters. “But the Big 12 is tough.”
It’s Oklahoma’s fifth-straight Big 12 crown.
SECOND & LONG No. 5 Utah (11-2) blew its chance to shine on the big stage Friday night — and along with it lost what might be its best shot ever to make the final four. Utah got steamrolled early in a 37-15 drop to No. 13 Oregon (11-2) in the Pac-12 finale in Santa Clara, Calif. Oregon played its best game of the season, building a 20-0 halftime lead and getting 208 rushing yards game-long from CJ Verdell to slice apart a vaunted Utah defence. The decision gives Oregon its third conference title and sends it to the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day, while Utah misses out on a golden opportunity to make the CFP. A win by Utah coupled with Georgia’s loss to LSU would have put Utah into the playoff … Anybody still doubting No. 2 LSU (13-0) after the SEC championship game isn’t paying attention. Heisman frontrunner Joe Burrow shredded arguably the country’s best defence for 349 yards and four TDs through the air in a 37-10 takedown of No. 4 Georgia (11-2). Saturday’s result should push LSU to No. 1 in the final CFP rankings, while Georgia misses out on a return to the final four. UGA had the inside track but needed the victory in Atlanta. LSU is just too good, though. “Just so proud of my football team and my coaching staff,” LSU head coach Ed Orgeron told CBS post-game. “But we said tonight, ‘This is not our final destination.’ Wherever they tell us to play next, we’re going to be ready.” … No. 1 Ohio State (13-0) took it on the chin early but rallied to dump No. 8 Wisconsin (10-3) 34-21 for the Big Ten title in Indianapolis late Saturday … Nothing wrong with the defending champs, as No. 3 Clemson (13-0) destroyed No. 23 Virginia (9-4) 62-17 in the ACC finale in Charlotte, N.C., to become the first team ever to win a fifth-straight conference championship game.
THIRD & GOAL Give No. 17 Memphis (12-1) a conference crown and the Group of Five’s New Year’s Day berth in the Cotton Bowl after a 29-24 defeat Saturday of No. 20 Cincinnati (10-3) in the ACC finale. A six-yard TD pass from QB Brady White to Antonio Gibson with 74 seconds remaining proved to be the difference from host Memphis in what was a rematch from last week’s regular-season wrap-up. Now, Memphis awaits its official invitation to the Cotton Bowl … Same teams, same result, as No. 21 Appalachian State (12-1) topped Louisiana-Lafayette (10-3) for the second straight Sun Belt championship game. Saturday’s final in Boone, N.C., saw App State hold on for a 45-38 victory in a game during which it never trailed … No. 19 Boise State (12-1) topped Hawaii (9-5) 31-10 in the Mountain West Championship Game, getting bend-but-don’t break defence on the blue carpet Saturday in Boise … The MAC finale saw Miami-Ohio (8-5) upset Central Michigan (8-5) 26-21 Saturday in Detroit.
FOURTH & INCHES Lane Kiffin is climbing the college football coaching ranks again, as he’ll join Ole Miss as the head coach fresh off Saturday’s Conference USA title take with Florida Atlantic. FAU (10-3) dominated UAB (9-4) in the conference finale in Boca Raton, Fla., with UAB allowing season highs in points and yards allowed (585) … Watch for Memphis head coach Mike Norvell to be named sidelines boss of Florida State on Sunday … Penn State likes what James Franklin’s done, going 55-23 during his tenure so far, inking the head man to another six seasons. It’s believed to be a contract worth $5.3 million per year plus bonuses.
Kovacic will certainly remember the night, with Terry having left his mark on the Croatian as he went to shake hands with the Villa assistant after the match.
The Chelsea midfielder grimaced as he grabbed hands with Terry, shaking his hand in pain as he walked down the tunnel, while Terry held out his hand as an apology as he walked off.
Chelsea uploaded the clip on Instagram and tagged their former skipper, writing: ‘Easy on the handshake, John!’
He obviously found it very amusing, replying with both a laughing face emoji and flexing arm emoji, as well as tagging Kovacic and writing, ‘Sorry mate’.
After almost pulling off Kovacic’s hand, Terry enjoyed a touching moment on the Stamford Bridge pitch as fans applauded a legend of the club, though he admitted it was rather surreal to be back.
Asked about his emotional return to Stamford Bridge, he told ChelseaTV: ‘Really strange actually, obviously being back for the first time since I stopped playing. A great reception from the supporters.
‘It’s a difficult one, because obviously we lost the game and you don’t want to go out but I needed to show my appreciation and the fans done that at the end of the game as well, which was amazing for me.
‘So really humbled to be back and get the reception after a couple of years, so big thank you to all the supporters that sung my name today.’
MORE: Jose Mourinho reacts to Chelsea transfer ban being lifted ahead of January window
MORE: John Terry raves about Chelsea youngsters after Stamford Bridge return
Now that Khari Jones is returning as the Alouettes’ head coach — the two sides reached agreement on a three-year deal during Grey Cup week in Calgary, the Montreal Gazette has learned — and until the team’s ownership situation is settled, the next order of business will be hiring a general manager.
It would be easy for the Als to hire someone with experience. Should the Canadian Football League team go that route, the three leading candidates could be Eric Tillman, Brendan Taman and Danny Maciocia.
Tillman has experience with British Columbia, Toronto, the Ottawa Renegades, Saskatchewan, Edmonton and, most recently, Hamilton. He has won three Grey Cups and, at the very least, deserves to be interviewed by president Patrick Boivin.
Taman, currently out of football, was the GM at both Winnipeg and Saskatchewan, while Maciocia is a former Edmonton GM and head coach. Now the coach at Université de Montréal, Maciocia has led the Carabins to three Vanier Cup appearances, and one title, since 2014. The Carabins lost Saturday’s championship game to the University of Calgary.
But it’s also possible Boivin and the organization will think outside the box and hire someone with vast CFL experience, but who has never been a GM.
It shouldn’t be forgotten Boivin has enlisted the services of Wally Buono, the former B.C. GM and head coach, in an advisory role. Buono will probably recommend former colleagues Neil McEvoy and/or Geroy Simon — perhaps a combination of the two — for the job.
Those two seemingly would work well with Jones — a key component in this scenario, because the Als have hired a coach before the GM — who came to Montreal after being the Lions’ offensive coordinator.
McEvoy, the Lions’ director of football operations, has held that position five years, but has been with the organization for 24. He handles many of the daily football operations activities, including player contracts, training camp and travel logistics and scouting preparation. He also plays a key role in the evaluation of Canadian talent for the CFL draft.
Simon, the former standout receiver, is the Lions’ director of Canadian scouting and draft coordinator. He has spent five seasons in football operations and, in 2018, said he was ready to become a GM.
Two members of the Grey Cup champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers also deserve consideration.
Danny McManus is the Bombers’ assistant GM and director of U.S. scouting. A former CFL quarterback for 17 seasons, McManus has been with Winnipeg since December 2013.
He scours the U.S. for talent while working closely with GM Kyle Walters in helping shape the roster and the team’s negotiation list. McManus also organizes the team’s free-agent tryout camps held throughout the U.S. during the winter.
Before joining the Bombers, McManus worked as a scout with Hamilton from 2009-13. He originally was hired as a regional scout before becoming the Tiger-Cats’ head U.S. scout. He was an offensive assistant coach with the team in 2008.
Ted Goveia also serves as an assistant GM with Winnipeg along with being the team’s director of player personnel. He has been with the Bombers for six years. He held the same role with Toronto between 2010-13.
Ottawa assistant GM Jeremy Snyder and Jean-Marc Edmé, the Redblacks’ director of player personnel, both spent time with the Als.
Snyder joined the Redblacks in March 2013 as the director of football administration along with serving as a pro and college scout. He was promoted to assistant GM in May 2017.
He began his CFL career with the Als in 2010, working under former GM Jim Popp as a scouting assistant. He became a full-time employee the following season, assuming many key roles in the team’s scouting department. Snyder also has NFL experience with the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles.
Edmé, meanwhile, spent eight years with the Als under Popp, where his duties included scouting university and pro players. He also served as a defensive assistant under former head coach Marc Trestman.
Edmé has spent 13 seasons in the CFL, including the last four with Ottawa. He joined the Redblacks in January 2016 as the player personnel coordinator before being promoted to the director of player personnel. He’s also bilingual.
The Als’ GM position, however, won’t be for everyone. Normally, the manager is hired first and his responsibility is to find a coach with whom he can work. Because the Als have gone about this unconventionally, any potential GM will want to know how the power will be divided and who will answer to whom. If the GM doesn’t have full autonomy, that could eliminate many potential candidates.
Ederson will be back in goal for Manchester City against Chelsea tomorrow, in the clash between fourth and third at the Etihad. Some good news for Chelsea too, with Christian Pulisic back after a groin problem. However Callum Hudson-Odoi is unlikely to feature after tweaking a hamstring.
Across the city, Steven Gerrard is busy bigging up Glen Kamara. The midfielder has just helped Finland to qualify for Euro 2020, their first-ever major tournament, while his recent displays for Rangers have attracted interest from Leeds.
We haven’t heard of any interest down south, we’ve read tons about it though. But I wouldn’t be surprised if there was interest in Glen Kamara because he’s an outstanding footballer. He’s been outstanding since he walked in the door. Sometimes I still have to pinch myself for how we got him and what we got him for. [He cost £50,000 from Dundee.] He’s in good form and playing well. The message for Glen and the other players is we always reward our players for consistent performances over a long period of time. Glen will be treated no different. All he needs to worry about is bringing success back to the club and I’m sure he will be well looked after.
Scotland! And the champions and league leaders Celtic welcome Leigh Griffiths back to their squad ahead of the visit of Livingston on Saturday. The striker has been out since late August due to personal problems, then niggling injuries and a virus. He’s unlikely to start the match, but boss Neil Lennon is preparing to give him some much-needed game time.
He will be involved with the squad. Slowly but surely. He had an hour on Tuesday, he looked good so he will be in and around it. He is good, he is happy. He needs to stay there now and improve his conditioning. It is bit by bit but we have seen enough now to think he may make a contribution. We have 11 games between now and the end of December and we will be using the squad and Leigh obviously is a part of that. When he is ready and if he is in the groove he will be a real asset for Scotland, there is no doubt about that.
Second-placed Leicester, then, and Brendan Rodgers is certain the international break will have no adverse affect on his side’s momentum. Since the last break in October, the Foxes have won every game they have played, and go to Brighton tomorrow looking to make it six victories on the bounce.
We lost against Liverpool before the last international break and then refocused and have played very well in the games in between up until now. I think it is important that when players come back from international duty to press the reset button again, because lots are coming back from playing different styles and different ways. So when they come back it is important they come back into the Leicester way and how we work, and the players have been excellent in training since they came back and we will be ready for the game on Saturday.
James Maddison has recovered from a calf injury and will be fit to pull on his boots.
Bournemouth winger Ryan Fraser has recently been linked with a move to Liverpool. That may or may not explain why the 25-year-old Scotland international is, according to his manager Eddie Howe, “keeping his options open” regarding a new contract with the south-coast club. “In terms of his contract, that’s obviously for him to decide what he wants to do with his future,” said Howe. “We would love him to stay and commit to us but, if not, we need to get the best out of him between now and the end of the season. We’ve had conversations with Ryan to try and persuade him to stay but, at the moment, he’s keeping his options open.”
Howe also addressed a recent interview in which Fraser admitted to being a “loner” ever since his friend Marc Pugh left the club. “I think those comments were probably taken slightly out of context. I think people jump on things like this. He’s got some really good friends in the squad, as he mentioned in the interview, Dan Gosling, Nathan Ake, he’s very close with those guys, always socialising in and around them so I think it’s a story that isn’t entirely accurate. I think Ryan’s just very honest when he speaks and probably he’s given the impression that he’s lonely but I can guarantee you he’s not.”
And here’s a bit more from Norwich boss Daniel Farke. He’s flatly refusing to change his easy-on-the-eye footballing style, despite the Canaries’ current predicament at the bottom of the Premier League.
You have to be convinced by your style. We built the squad in that way, so you can’t expect us to just park the bus or put the balls in the river. We have plans B, C, D and E – so we have to be flexible within our philosophies. We have to adapt to each opponent. You have to remember players are human beings, not just the young lads. They were used to winning games and being praised. We responded to every loss last season with a win, so there was no crisis. On this level, you have difficult periods. We have to learn because we are not experienced in a relegation battle.
Some more words from Roy Hodgson ahead of the visit of his former club Liverpool tomorrow. His mind-games sensor is going haywire, and he’s not convinced that so-called injury doubts Andrew Robertson and Mo Salah will miss the match at all.
We are counting on them playing so until such time when I pick up the team sheet and they are not playing, then I’ll think about it, but I think both will be fit to play. I am presuming we will face what Jurgen Klopp has seen as his strongest team in recent weeks because I believe he has enough respect for us and what we are capable of doing not to make unnecessary changes if it is not forced upon him through injury. I am certainly very anxious that we will make it very difficult for them. We aren’t going to sit back and help them win the title; we want to win the game. We are fully prepared and fully ready for that and if we lose, it will be because they have played exceptionally well and we were unable to match them.
Ah, Roy at Anfield. What a ride that was. This is always worth another read.
As previously mentioned, Granit Xhaka could well return for Arsenal against Southampton tomorrow. With this very much uppermost in mind, his team-mate Hector Bellerin is attempting to engender some positive vibes. Let’s see what happens should Xhaka play, and Ralph Hasenhüttl get the fast start he’s hoping for (12.40pm).
It’s Friday afternoon, you’re just counting the minutes until cocktails o’clock. This should help you run down an hour of your boss’s time: the very latest edition of Football Weekly Extra! Includes a blissed-out soliloquy by Elis James, who appears to have reached a state of higher consciousness in the wake of Wales’ qualification for Euro 2020.
Of course, other podcasts are available. In the old-fashioned collective internet spirit, please allow us to recommend Rock’n’Goal. The edition with Mersey troubadour Pete Wylie is a fine starting point. There, that’s nearly all the afternoon sorted for you now.
BREAKING NEWS: Frank Lampard will not take over as manager of Tottenham Hotspur in 2029. The current Chelsea boss has been asked if he could ever envisage managing Spurs, and he replied in the categorical style: “I can firmly say no, and you can replay that again in 10 years. It wouldn’t happen but I think things are different for me.”
That firm stance hasn’t stopped him wishing his old boss all the best in his new role across town. “We had a couple of messages just to wish him well in his new role as he has always done for me. I think history and results speak for themselves; the trophies, titles he’s managed to win at clubs, they are not surprises, they are for the hard work he’s put in. He’s done that consistently. People will hold up his record and expect big things from him.”
Thanks Luke. Harry Maguire returns to Sheffield United on Sunday afternoon with his new club Manchester United. Blades boss Chris Wilder is already excited.
I usually say it’s just the next game but perhaps this one does have a little more to it. It’s Manchester United – one of the most iconic and powerful clubs in the world, and one of our former players will be playing for them. I’m sure Harry will get a great reception, he’s already been back once with Leicester, but I don’t want it to be ‘the Harry Maguire Show’. I want it to be the Sheffield United show. I want us to show how good we are. I’m sure when his name gets called out before the game he will get a round of applause but make no mistake about it he’s an opposition player, along with the other 10, and he is in the enemy camp for an hour and a half.
The Blades will have to do without keeper Dean Henderson, on loan from Old Trafford and barred from playing against his parent club. Simon Moore will deputise. Meanwhile John Egan will require a check-up after the centre-half suffered a head injury while on Republic of Ireland duty.
As for my earlier trivia question – who scored Tottenham’s injury-time winner in the 4-3 victory against West Ham in 2007? None of you got it right, because none of you responded. Regardless, the answer is Paul Stalteri, which of course we all knew anyway.
Scott is back now to take you through the rest of the press conference news, and other Friday afternoon footballing delights. Over to you Scott.
Marco Silva’s full press conference is available to watch on Everton’s Twitter feed.
On injuries: “Fabian Delph is not in condition for tomorrow’s match, he’s still a big doubt. Bernard is in the same situation, he has started working with the team. Cenk Tosun is OK. [Jean-Philippe] Gbamin is long-term, I don’t know [when he’ll be back], I don’t have a date. Andre Gomes, we must take it step-by-step … he is doing his rehabilitation but it will be a slow recovery … Possibly he will play this season. We have to be patient and supportive with him.”
On Mourinho’s return at Tottenham: “It was longer than I expected, to be honest [Mourinho’s spell out of work]. It’s really good for him to be back, it’s really good for the Premier League for him to be back in charge … and for sure one manager, to achieve what he’s achieved, it’s really good to have him back. He’s my friend as well. Mauricio Pochettino should be really proud of what he achieved at Tottenham.”
Lampard on tomorrow evening’s test against the champions: “Tomorrow’s game at Man City is a great test to see where my team are at, but I won’t be making big judgements based on the result, given how early it is in the team’s development.
Chelsea FC on Twitter: “Lampard reports that Christian Pulisic returned to training this midweek and is in contention for a place tomorrow. Callum Hudson-Odoi has a hamstring issue picked up with England so there is a question mark over his participation.”
And a little more about Mou from Lampard: “Mourinho is taking on a team with quality players and will be working at a club with good structure, so Spurs are a threat and in the top-four race.”
Quotes from Man City manager Pep Guardiola right here:
What will Mourinho bring in his new role at Tottenham? “I think you know him better than me. He was here many years with different clubs. He is an incredible manager and I am pretty sure he will do a good job.”
On Pochettino: “I was a little surprised [Spurs sacked him] because Mauricio has done an incredible job … but the decisions are made, and nothing else to say.”
On Raheem Sterling’s recent clash with Liverpool’s Joe Gomez while on England duty: “We are good. I spoke with him, he’s fine, Joe Gomez is an excellent guy and they have a good relationship.
On Bernardo Silva’s one-match suspension for a racially aggravated tweet: “He has been accused for something he’s not … He will be careful to use social media [in future]. But if this can help to do a better society, OK, I am pretty sure Bernardo can accept this punishment, but he is not what he’s been accused of.”
On Lampard’s early success at Chelsea: “I am happy for him, I don’t know him quite well … he’s an excellent person and I think for English football it’s so nice, it’s perfect for English football.”
Lampard coming right up when my keyboard stops smoking.
Meanwhile, ahead of a trip to Everton, Norwich manager Daniel Farke has bad news about the fitness of striker Josip Drmic:
“He was injured in our last game. It’s a serious muscle fibre injury. Physios think he’ll be out for eight weeks,” Farke said.
“Grant Hanley hasn’t been able to train with us. I hope he can return to team training soon. Jamal Lewis is not available for tomorrow. He came back injured from the national team. He doesn’t feel comfortable so we’ll have to do without him.”
“However, we have some positive news,” Farke goes on. “Kenny McLean is okay and Christoph Zimmermann is back in team training and available. Teemu Pukki is also fine to play.”
Hot off the press from Liverpool’s website, and following his earlier quotes about José Mourinho’s return and other things, Jürgen Klopp has been talking about the Premier League leaders’ sports psychologist, former Chesterfield manager Lee Richardson:
“I think around about 20, 25 years ago there were no goalie coaches in football and the head coach did the goalie training by himself. You had no athletic coaches, it was all our job pretty much. So, the teams around the team became bigger,” Klopp said.
“The next thing was, of course, with psychology … With Lee Richardson especially, the good thing is he was a player himself, a manager himself and then he decided to become a sports psychologist. It is a really interesting career, he’s a fantastic person, which is important because then I don’t have to convince the boys to talk to him.”
The Copa Libertadores final between River Plate and Flamengo will be televised live on the BBC tomorrow evening. It’ll be the first one-off decider in the competition’s history, and it’s had a troubled birth …
Southampton have lost their last three matches, a run of misery that began with that 9-0 humiliation against Leicester. But they impressed in defeat at champions Manchester City, and Ralph Hasenhuttl is hoping that performance will stand them in good stead at Arsenal tomorrow.
A fast start always helps against every opponent, because then you feel more comfortable. We had a good start against Manchester City and then you saw how difficult it was against us to turn the table for them. We were only a few minutes from taking something there. We know in away games we can start fast and score, then we are not easy to beat. Especially against big opponents, you have nothing to lose. If you go in the game and be brave, believe in yourself, then you have a big chance to get something and this is what we have to do to at the weekend.
Mourinho will be hoping for a fast start to his Tottenham reign at West Ham tomorrow lunchtime. But opposite number Manuel Pellegrini has his own urgent agenda, his side having failed to win since swatting aside Manchester United back in September.
I trust a lot in the players because I know they have demonstrated a lot of times they can do it against big teams. I think that this international break was good for us, maybe we had time to talk a lot of things. So I hope that especially in a derby game – we know that for our fans it’s the most important game of the season playing against Tottenham at home – so I hope that tomorrow we see the West Ham that we saw at the beginning of the season. The table is very tight, we must try to recover our performance as individuals and as a team and I hope this will be a good game to return to winning ways.
Pellegrini has also called on fans to show mercy to the hapless Roberto, who has struggled badly in goal while standing in for the injured Lukasz Fabianski. “Every player when they are in bad moments needs the support of the fans behind them, especially in a special position like goalkeeper. Roberto has a lot of experience, in different countries. He knows maybe he is not playing his best performance but all of us, the fans, the staff and players, must trust in him.”
We haven’t mentioned Jose Mourinho for 29 minutes. Many apologies. Here’s the man himself, upon being asked whether this new Spurs gig would be his last in England. “I would love that to be the case. I would love to stay for many years. I say many years but I know realistically how football is. If I could do a Mauricio for five-and-a-half years, it would be amazing. I would be 61 – then 10 more years. Vitoria Setubal in Portugal maybe the last job.” Current Vitoria boss Julio Velázquez is permitted a quick shudder. And Ole Gunnar Solskjaer thinks he’s got problems dealing with an out-of-work Poch.
EFL v Bolton Wanderers. The EFL has appealed against Bolton’s “too lenient” suspended five-point penalty for failing to fulfil two fixtures. The Trotters cancelled a game against Brentford towards the end of last season, and another against Doncaster in August. An independent disciplinary commission penalised them two points for the first transgression and three for the second, with deductions only to be made should the club cancel any more matches in the next 18 months.
However the EFL is “disappointed … and it is the firm view of the League that the sanction imposed is too lenient when consideration is given to all the circumstances of the case. Given the potential for postponements to have a significant impact on competition integrity and, following receipt of advice overnight on the reasons provided, the League will appeal the outcome in the strongest possible sense.” Bolton – who have already been whacked with a 12-point deduction for entering administration – will “vehemently defend” any appeal.
Scotland boss Steve Clarke has delivered his verdict on the Euro 2020 play-off draw. Talking to Sky Sports, he said: “The draw is what it is. I never get too carried away about who we’re going to get. We will be familiar with Israel because we played them in the Nations League group stage, and hopefully we can get a positive outcome. We had two close games, lost away and won at Hampden. It would be nice to repeat that. We’re not disappointed that the final is away from home. You have to take what you get.”
Klopp had less interest in discussing the recent stramash between England pals Joe Gomez and Raheem Sterling. “Joe is good, better than good. The people involved were fine pretty quick. Things like this happen in football. Absolutely nothing to say about it. The FA dealt with it how they saw right and I cannot judge that as I was not aware of the circumstances.”