Blind turns thoughts to Burnley

first_img “In the end, we are disappointed in the dressing room that we didn’t take all three points,” Jones said. “We have not lost, which is a plus, but we could have gained some ground. It was not to be. “We have got another big game on Wednesday night now and we need to win that one as well. “The manager said in the dressing room after the game that he couldn’t fault our spirit. “If we had shown that more in the first half then we might have come away with a victory. “We need to address and evaluate this game. Then we will move on to the Burnley game.” West Ham, meanwhile, will hope to respond from a result which felt like a loss by recording a victory at Southampton. Midfielder Stewart Downing told whufc.com: “We needed the win to go back above Liverpool, but we didn’t lose the game and got a point, so we can go to Southampton and look to win.” Hammers boss Sam Allardyce questioned United’s long-ball tactics afterwards as Marouane Fellaini caused havoc, leading to Blind’s leveller. Downing added: “We’re frustrated because we thought we were the better team. “They played a lot more direct than I thought they would, but we dealt with it and it’s the only real chance they’ve had.” Left-back Aaron Cresswell praised Cheikhou Kouyate, the midfielder who was deployed in defence and scored a superb goal to put the Hammers in front. “I don’t think he quite knew what he was doing,” said Cresswell, tongue in cheek. “It was a great finish. He has come into centre-half and he did an excellent job and deserved man of the match.” The late concession did not dent the Hammers’ belief too much. “We are still full of confidence and we know we deserved the full three points over the 90 minutes and it was not to be,” Cresswell added. “We are full of confidence for Southampton on Wednesday and we are looking forward to it.” “I like that there’s an early game already because we can forget this one,” Blind told MUTV. “We have to keep looking up and three points is important in the next game. “We showed a fighting spirit and the character we have and we tried to win the game in the end, but we have to do with the draw and one point. Of course, we wanted more. “We had to score earlier in the game and not at the end. I think we could have done that. We had the chances, but not the finish. “It’s good that we’re creating chances and it’s good that we keep possession.” United boss Louis van Gaal, who will be without Luke Shaw against Burnley after his late dismissal, was particularly disappointed with the first-half showing, but pleased with the reaction as the leveller came from the direct route. Van Gaal said: “I think in the first half we have a lack in confidence. Otherwise I cannot explain how bad we were.” Defender Phil Jones, like Van Gaal, felt the visitors could have claimed victory after a late bombardment. The Dutchman scored a stoppage-time equaliser as United rescued a 1-1 draw despite being second best at Upton Park. The Red Devils missed the chance to move within three points of second-placed Manchester City and remained fourth ahead of the Clarets clash at Old Trafford. Manchester United saviour Daley Blind wants to forget his point-saving heroics at West Ham and focus on claiming victory over Burnley on Wednesday. Press Associationlast_img read more

Trojans look to rebound against Cal

first_imgA season ago, USC’s defensive unit lined up opposite Zach Maynard and intercepted the California quarterback three times.Completing less than 58 percent of his passes, Maynard was chased, hurried and rattled by the Trojans’ front seven. In total, they forced five turnovers against the Golden Bears en route to a 30-9 win at AT&T Park in San Francisco.Familiarity · Linebacker Hayes Pullard and the Trojan defense held quarterback Zach Maynard and Cal to just nine points at AT&T Park during the teams’ 2011 meeting. Maynard would throw three interceptions. – Carlo Acenas | Daily TrojanFast forward 11 months later and the Trojans insist they’re facing a different Maynard — a Maynard who is more polished, more collected, and, perhaps most importantly, more careful.Cal (1-2) travels south to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Saturday to face No. 13 USC (2-1, 0-1) in the 100th meeting between the two schools.“[Maynard’s] decision making has improved,” said sophomore linebacker Dion Bailey, who intercepted the signal caller twice during last season’s meeting. “He’s a little more accurate than he was last year. We expect him to bring his ‘A’ game.”In Maynard’s last outing, a seven-point loss at No. 16 Ohio State, the left-handed senior completed 26 of 37 passes, with just one interception. Through three games this season, his completion percentage stands at 67 percent — a far cry from the 57 percent mark in 2011.“He’s really grown,” said Cal coach Jeff Tedford during the weekly Pac-12 conference call Tuesday. “Last year, early in the year, he struggled just managing the game and turning the ball over and the speed of the game.”Maynard’s improvement, as Tedford points out, started in the month of November. Cal finished with a 3-1 mark in the month, and Maynard posted a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 5:1 while passing for 736 yards, taking the leap many had expected.And that — at least thus far — has carried over to 2012. Part of that is talent, as Cal boasts a returning 1,000-yard rusher in senior Isi Sofele and 1,000-yard receiver in junior Keenan Allen. But Maynard has also matured.“He’s just grown each week and is comfortable with the offense, the speed of the game and protecting the football,” Tedford said.Tedford’s counterpart, USC coach Lane Kiffin, hasn’t hesitated from offering a similar assessment.“[Maynard] played his best game I’ve seen on film last Saturday,” Kiffin said. “He played really well in a tough game, on the road, early kickoff, packed house, good defense. You can tell he’s improved.”In the wake of the Trojans’ first loss of the season, they’re looking for improvement as well.Against Stanford, the offensive line allowed four sacks, exactly half the number it gave up in 2011, which tied for the fewest in the country.Since then, Kiffin gave freshman Max Tuerk the chance to compete for the starting left tackle spot against sophomore Aundrey Walker over the course of three days of practice from Tuesday through Thursday. No final decision has been made, though.“You’re going to make mistakes,” Kiffin said, “but we won’t tolerate a lack of great effort. Not when you put on these jerseys all these great players have worn before.”Looking for marked improvement, Kiffin and the Trojans are also hoping to see senior center Khaled Holmes, who was sidelined for the team’s Pac-12 opener against the Cardinal, return to the lineup. The 6-foot-4 Rimington Award candidate as the nation’s top center sustained a leg injury during the Trojans’ Sept. 8 game against Syracuse in East Rutherford, N.J. and was carted off the field. Neither specifics nor a timetable for a return are known due to USC’s policy of not disclosing injury information.Holmes, though, was listed as USC’s starter on the depth chart released Sunday.Either junior Abe Markowitz or redshirt freshman Cyrus Hobbi will replace Holmesat center should he be unable to play.As evidenced by their recent performance, USC’s offense would be aided by a healthy offensive line. Against the Cardinal, the unit looked stagnant and was held scoreless over the final 40 minutes. The offense also committed three turnovers, two of them interceptions from senior quarterback Matt Barkley, prompting Kiffin to call them “two of the worst decisions” he has made in a game since the two reunited in 2010.“Yeah, I made some poor decisions,” Barkley said. “But that’s why you watch film and learn from it.”And so the Trojans, after dropping more than 10 spots in both the Associated Press and USA Today coaches’ polls and seemingly falling out of the BCS national title race for the time being, will look to learn and avoid a similar letdown against Cal, a team they have had succes against as of late. USC has held Cal to an average of 10 points in their last three meetings.“They just came out and won,” said sophomore defensive tackle George Uko, referring to last Saturday’s loss to Stanford. “We lost. There’s nothing more than that. We move on from there and keep on going.”Kickoff on Saturday is scheduled for 3 p.m. and will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.last_img read more