Mourinho stance strengthens squad

first_imgChelsea manager Jose Mourinho’s unequivocal public support of his players in the face of criticism can only galvanise the squad for the challenges ahead, according to former Blues defender Frank Sinclair. Sinclair, an ambassador for the Prostate Cancer UK Men United Campaign, believes Mourinho’s stance will only serve to make the Chelsea dressing room stronger. “Jose is a master of mind games, and the one thing he likes to have within his group is a siege mentality. He has always been like that and gets his group of players behind him, and makes sure they are all pushing in the right direction,” Sinclair told Press Association Sport. “When he has a press conference, he protects his players and that shows he is 100 per cent behind them and wants the players to be the same with him. When you speak to the players, that is the spirit they have got.” Chelsea host Manchester City on Saturday evening, looking to extend their five-point lead at the top of the table. While Sinclair, 43, believes the Blues have what it takes to see off a City side beaten at home by Arsenal in their last league match, he warned against any complacency over what the run-in could yet bring. “It will be a tough game, but on the back of a great win in midweek, I would fancy Chelsea to get the result against Manchester City,” said Sinclair, who played more than 160 games for Chelsea between 1990 and 1998. “As for the title, Manchester City have already pegged back a nine-point lead earlier in the season, so all it takes is for Chelsea to have another blip and all of a sudden City are back in the ball game. “However, if Chelsea do win on Saturday, then you would not bet against them going on to win the championship with that advantage.” Chelsea will face Tottenham in the Capital One Cup final at Wembley on March 1. Sinclair feels while the west London club have more pressing targets, to get a trophy back in the Stamford Bridge cabinet would only serve to inspire the players for the bigger challenges which await. “It can breed confidence and be a spring board to what the main aims are for the season,” said Sinclair, who was part of Ruud Gullit’s Chelsea side which won the FA Cup in 1997 and then also the League Cup the following season under new Blues manager Gianluca Vialli before joining Leicester. “The priority will, of course, be to win the Premier League and go as far as possible in the Champions League, but for the likes of people like Diego Costa, who have come to the Premier League for the first time to play in such a big game at Wembley will stay with him for the rest of his life.” One of the latest initiatives from Prostate Cancer UK will see The Anchor Bankside pub, on London’s South Bank, be temporarily known as ‘The Men United Arms’ from where activities will be run to help celebrate and inspire male friendships. Sinclair lost his uncle to prostate cancer seven years ago, and is determined to help beat the disease. He said: “When you are in the sports industry, you almost feel you are invincible. You live the life of keeping fit naturally, training and playing, you kind of take it for granted, but at the same time you can’t be aware of something that is not visible, so it is important to get the check-ups, especially if there is a history in the family.” :: Visit to sign up for Prostate Cancer UK’s movement for men. Mourinho has been fined £25,000 and warned over his future conduct by the Football Association for claiming there was a “clear campaign” against Chelsea earlier in the season. Following the Capital One Cup semi-final second leg win over Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night, the Portuguese manager vehemently defended striker Diego Costa, who could face an immediate three-match suspension after subsequently being charged for an apparent stamp on Reds defender Emre Can. Press Associationlast_img read more

Syracuse relies on guard Cornelia Fondren to make up for depth issues in rotation

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Cornelia Fondren pursed her lips, scrunched her eyebrows and threw her hands down to her side.She started jogging back on defense after committing a charge and one possession after shooting an air ball.Fondren scored 11 points in the first half of Syracuse’s last game, but only scored five and committed two turnovers after the break as Wake Forest took the lead for good.“In the first half we kind of let Fondren go too much left,” WFU head coach Jen Hoover said after beating SU on March 5, “and so we talked about that a little bit at halftime, that we really had to force her to her right and take away that left side a little bit.”While the Orange’s loss in the second round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament likely affected its seed in the NCAA tournament, it showed Fondren’s transformation. Wake Forest created a plan to stop the junior, and when it did, the Demon Deacons stopped the entire SU team.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textFondren is Syracuse’s (21-9, 11-5 ACC) most versatile player and her emergence throughout the year has provided head coach Quentin Hillsman with lineup flexibility. With depleted guard depth due to torn ACLs for Brittney Sykes and Diamond Henderson, Fondren’s role may be more important than ever.Eighth-seeded SU will face ninth-seeded Nebraska on Friday in the first round of the NCAA tournament and Hillsman said he expects Fondren to continue to be a player that SU counts on.“She’s playing good for us,” Hillsman said. “Obviously playing all those minutes and playing multiple roles and positions, that’s been big for us. I think she’s really been effective in whatever role we’ve put her in.”Last year, Fondren was a player that came off the bench and averaged three points and 12 minutes a game. This year, she is third on the team in minutes per game (28.7), second in assists per game (2.7), second in steals per game (2.1) and second in rebounds per game (5.5). In 18 of 30 games, Fondren has led SU in assists, steals or rebounds.Fondren’s combination of quickness, athleticism and aggressiveness has allowed the 5-foot-8 junior to play at every position on the floor this season except for center. But despite being so reliable, Fondren said she doesn’t feel any added responsibility. “I just have to do my job,” Fondren said. “Keep doing what Coach keeps asking of me.”Against Wake Forest and for much of the season, Syracuse was at its best when forcing turnovers in the full-court press. Backcourt-mate Alexis Peterson leads the ACC with 2.4 steals per game and the duo sparks the Orange in transition.As the two guards SU counts on the most, Hillsman looks for more of the same from Fondren and Peterson against Nebraska.“There are a lot of things we need to do to take care of our own business,” Hillsman said. “I think it does start with Cornelia and Alexis up front (in the press).”In 14 of the first 15 conference games Fondren failed to score double digits. Now though, in the past two games she’s scored 13 and 16 points, respectively.With limited depth and only do-or-die games left, Fondren’s contributions are needed.Said center Briana Day: “I think once she gets going, everyone will get going.” Comments Published on March 18, 2015 at 12:11 am Contact Paul: [email protected] | @pschwedslast_img read more