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Sky Sports Today - Thursday 11 April


    Welcome to Sky Sports Today. Throughout we'll be building up to the start of the Masters at Augusta and taking a look at the key figures in the running for a Green Jacket. We're also looking ahead to the Chinese Grand Prix and will bring you what is sure to be an interesting Drivers' Press Conference later. We've reaction to the Lionel Messi show at the Camp Nou plus teams news from this evening's Europa League clashes.
    4/11/2013 6:47:37 AM

    We were waiting for the Drivers' Press Conference ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix with Sebastian Vettel hoping to move on from the controversy in Malaysia. The world champions has admitted he put himself "above the team" in disobeying orders from the Red Bull pitwall to win the Malaysian GP. in an interview released by Red Bull's title sponsor Infiniti, Vettel has expressed regret that the Sepang controversy had overshadowed Red Bull's impressive on-track performance. Vettel also insisted he would make no apology for his racing to win mentality. 
    Obviously what stuck to their [people's] heads is the way the race ended, but I think as I said there's not much more to add than what happened. I told the team straight after, I apologised for putting myself above the team, which I didn't mean to do, but there's not much more to say really. I don't apologise for winning - I think that's why people employed me in the first place and why I'm here. I love racing and that's what I did.
    4/11/2013 7:00:51 AM

    [pt]Plenty of Champions League reation in the morning papers but here are some of the other key lines:
    THE SUN: Arsene Wenger is finally ready to break the bank to end Arsenal's trophy drought, according to David Dein while Brian McDermott is set to be named the new manager of Leeds.
    DAILY MIRROR: Manchester United have joined Manchester City and Chelsea in the chase for Atletico Madrid's £50million-rated Radamel Falcao, placing another question mark over the future of Wayne Rooney.
    DAILY STAR: Manchester United are watching Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane with a view to a summer swoop.
    DAILY MAIL: Brian McDermott is locked in talks to succeed Neil Warnock as manager of Leeds United.
    DAILY EXPRESS: Sir Bobby Charlton fears England will never again win the World Cup due to the number of foreign players in the Premier League.
    4/11/2013 7:07:08 AM

    [ssn]The drivers are being questioned at the press conference ahead of the Grand Prix. Attention is on Mark Webber who is speaking for the first time since the controversy in Malaysia. He admits he is looking forward to getting back in the car and putting Sepang behind him. 
    The team and everything is fine. Obviously it was interesting in Malaysia. We have proved the car is pretty competitive in the first two races.
    4/11/2013 7:11:26 AM

    [skybet]Sheffield United are searching for a new manager and Chris Morgan is 6/4 favourite with Sky Bet to be in charge of the Blades on the first day of the 2013/14 season after taking over for the rest of the current campaign. Morgan has been handed the responsibility of guiding United's League One promotion bid after Wilson and his assistant Frank Barlow parted company with the club. Former Blades chief Neil Warnock is 5/1 second-favourite to make a return to the club he managed between 1999 and 2007 after leaving Leeds last week. Paul Dickov and Paul Jewell are both available as 10/1 shots, while former United midfielder Stuart McCall, now in charge at Motherwell, is available at 12/1.
    4/11/2013 7:17:23 AM

    We're just hours away from the first round at Augusta after the traditional per-three contest provided plenty of entertainment. Ernie Els, Nick Watney and Bo van Pelt go into the first round with their hopes of claiming a first Green Jacket very much alive after throwing the 'curse' of winning the tournament opener, knowing that no winner of the event has ever gone on to become Masters champion in the same week since its inception in 1960. Van Pelt took no chances after reaching the ninth green at five under par, letting his sons - who were acting as his caddie - to take a putt each and therefore ensure his score could not count. That left Els, Watney, Ted Potter, Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar all tied on four under par, but Els and Watney - who had fired a hole-in-one on the ninth - declined to compete in a sudden death play-off. Kuchar, Potter and Mickelson returned to the eighth hole and three-time Masters winner Mickelson was eliminated when he could not match the birdies of his opponents, and Potter then clinched the unwanted title with another birdie on the ninth.
    4/11/2013 7:25:02 AM

    [ssn]Craig Bellamy has been speaking to Sky Sports News and insists that being promoted with Cardiff City this season will be the biggest achievement of his career. Cardiff are currently top of the Championship - six points ahead of second placed Hull City - and they look odds-on to join Welsh rivals Swansea City in the top-flight.
    I honestly am not trying to think about it, if it happens it happens, I am not concentrating on this present moment about it. It would probably be the greatest height in football terms, but it would be nice to do it first. Then I can sit here in a month's time and let you know how good it feels but until then it is very difficult to say what is going to happen.
    4/11/2013 7:28:04 AM

    More from Mark Webber in China who is still being questioned about Sepang and Sebastian Vettel's refusal to apologise for his winning mentality.
    What happened in Malaysia there was plenty of interest but for me it was not an unusual situation and I'm looking forward to getting back to racing here. I think the rawest emotion for me was the first few laps after the incident. Regarding Seb's comments - if that's what he thinks then that's what he thinks.
    4/11/2013 7:36:03 AM

    Here is some more reaction to last night’s Champions League action, and assistant boss Jordi Roura has paid tribute to the ‘irreplaceable’ Lionel Messi after he came on to inspire Barcelona past Paris St Germain.
    We had agreed that he would play from the moment things started to go wrong for us, and that moment arrived. He came onto the pitch and once again participated in a goal.
    Read more on Barcelona assistant boss Jordi Roura speaking about Lionel Messi.
    4/11/2013 7:49:46 AM

    Paul Lawrie admits his preparation for the Masters has been a little unusual this year... he's taken a month off! The Scot, 44, insisted he needed a break to recharge his batteries after a hectic few months following Europe's Ryder Cup win at Medinah and is hoping his time off brings some impressive results at Augusta.
    I think the wee break is just what I needed. You're never sure how having that time will work out. I've never ever had three weeks when I've hardly hit a shot or swung a club but I didn't feel rusty, I felt sharp so here's hoping it will be all right.
    Read more on Lawrie and his Masters thoughts here
    4/11/2013 7:54:19 AM
  • [bn] Betting has been suspended in Sky Bet's next Leeds manager market with reports suggesting Brian McDermott is set to be given the job.
    4/11/2013 8:17:53 AM
  • As that first tee shot looms ever closer, Sky Sports gets out and about to ask the players what it's like as they take to the first tee at Augusta

    4/11/2013 8:18:32 AM

    [jamieredknapp] Our Sky Sports experts were full of praise for super sub Lionel Messi after he came off the bench to inspire Barcelona to an away goals win over PSG and help them into the semi-finals. Jamie Redknapp said:
    It was as if Messi came onto the pitch and said 'listen - relax; everything is going to be ok, just give me the ball and something will happen' and that's pretty much what happened.
    Read more of what Jamie had to say about the game, plus the views of Graeme Souness and David Ginola - and Steve McClaren's thoughts on Bayern Munich's win at Juventus - here. 

    And remember - you can see the draw for the semi-finals of the Champions League and Europa League live on Sky Sports News HD on Friday from 11am.

    4/11/2013 8:23:59 AM

    Gareth Barry is confident that more top players will come to Manchester City after Yaya Toure signed a new deal to lift everyone at the club.
    When a player like him gets a new deal, it is a lift for everyone. You don't want to see players like that leaving. You want others like him coming in.
    Read the full story as Gareth Barry speaks about Yaya Toure's new Man City deal.
    4/11/2013 8:32:23 AM

    There was an upset in the first round of the US Men's Clay Court Championship in Houston as former world No 1 Lleyton Hewitt was eliminated by Argentina's Martin Alund. Hewitt made a tiring trip over from Uzbekistan following a Davis Cup tie and said he was not at 100 per cent.

    It's tough to get back from there to play the next week. I just didn't feel close to 100 per cent. It was a stomach thing and it's frustrating. If I could have gotten through this match, I could have felt better as the week goes on. It wasn't to be.
    4/11/2013 8:34:42 AM

    Here's the full story on the news that Brian McDermott is set to be named the new Leeds United manager with Sky Bet suspending betting on who will replace Neil Warnock at Elland Road.
    Whatever price we went to was backed by a different account which is the usual sign that a possible appointment is imminent. We suspended betting after McDermott reached 1/7 and was still being supported.
    Read the full story on Brian McDermott as Sky Bet suspend betting on the next Leeds manager.
    4/11/2013 8:36:52 AM

    More from Mark Webber, who has refused to criticise his Red Bull team after Sebastian Vettel ignored orders to hold station behind him at the Malaysia Grand Prix. The Australian says his relationship with team-mate Vettel is a little more fraught, however.
    Obviously the relationship has been strained and it's not the first time. At the moment we will just focus on our individual performances and go from there. I think the team did not a bad job in Malaysia actually. They tried to do what they could do for the first time in a while. It was a very awkward situation for a lot of people.
    4/11/2013 8:44:27 AM

    Leeds United fans, what do you make of the news that Brian McDermott is set to be named as the new man in charge at Elland Road? Is he the right man for the job? Can he guide Leeds back into the Premier League? Where does the team need to be strengthened? Have your say on Twitter using #skysportstoday and we'll publish a selection of the best.
    4/11/2013 8:46:47 AM

    Gloucester flanker Akapusi Qera has been quick to deny reports that he will be leaving Kingsholm at the end of the season. The Fiji international had been linked with a move to France but insists he will see out his contract, which ends in 2014, at the Aviva Premiership club.
    I'm really surprised about that, because I don't know anything about that at all. I'm sticking with my word from the start, that I will stay with Gloucester, and then see how it goes.
    4/11/2013 8:51:10 AM
  • #skysportstoday news that Brian McDermott looks set to be Leeds manager tastes a bit sour when Di Matteo and O'Neill have been in the frame Joe MurkinMan Hudson via Twitter at 9:53 AM
    @SkySports McDermott would be brilliant as Leeds manger. He would finally bring some stability and consistency to the team #skysportstoday Walter White via Twitter at 9:51 AM
    Brian McDermott is the perfect replacement for Neil Warnock #skysportstoday faruuq salami via Twitter at April 4 at 8:54 AM

    4/11/2013 8:54:20 AM
  • My first choice since Warnock left. Hope it gets finalised today and he can help us avoid the absolute nightmare of relegation and begin building an actual football squad for next season.
    4/11/2013 9:03:49 AM
  • [twtr]
    Brian McDermott is a fine manager, however, I don't feel he suits the Leeds job!! Strengthen defensively first and foremost #skysportstoday Sam McGrath via Twitter at 9:54 AM

    4/11/2013 9:05:04 AM
  • 4/11/2013 9:05:50 AM

    Paul Lawrie, one of Europe's victorious Ryder Cup contingent in Medinah last year, has opted for a total break from competition in the run-up to the Masters at Augusta. The former Open champion has not played a competitive tournament since March 10 but is confident the absence will have had a positive effect.
    4/11/2013 9:06:40 AM

  • @SkySports great choice Leeds Utd, @ReadingFC never should have got rid of him! GOOD LUCK BMc #skysportstoday Paul Gooch
    via Twitter at 9:54 AM

    #SkySportsToday Happy with #BrianMcDermot at #Lufc Plays a good style of football !! Tactically good with a younger approach to the players andrew warters
    via Twitter at 9:53 AM

    4/11/2013 9:10:52 AM

    Sebastian Vettel has also been talking about his strained relationship with Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber. The triple world champion has come under fire for ignoring team orders at the Malaysia Grand Prix last time out but he claims Webber has also been guilty of putting his own interests first in the past.
    I've had a lot of support from the team, I think the team has supported both of us in the same way. In terms of my relationship with Mark - I respect him a lot as a racing driver, but I think there was more than one occasion in the past where he could have helped the team and he didn't.
    4/11/2013 9:16:34 AM

    West Ham boss Sam Allardyce has confirmed on-loan striker Andy Carroll will be available again for Saturday’s trip to Southampton after being ruled out of Sunday’s draw with parent club Liverpool, but Carlton Cole could keep his place in the side.
    Andy Carroll missed last week because of the loan rules and he's available again. Whether I select Andy or keep Carlton in is a little dilemma for me because I thought he did well last week.
    4/11/2013 9:17:50 AM

  • The excitement is building towards the start of The Masters. Here are Butch Harmon and Mark Roe looking ahead to the first day's play at Augusta
    4/11/2013 9:27:01 AM

    After the drama of the UEFA Champions League over the last two nights, the Europa League takes centre stage with Chelsea, Tottenham and Newcastle all chasing a place in the last four.

    4/11/2013 9:31:08 AM

    Sebastian Vettel has been facing the press this morning ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix. Despite apologising for disobeying team orders to win in Malaysia last time out, the reigning world champion said that he would "probably" repeat his actions if confronted with the same situation again. Read what Vettel had to say about Mark Webber in our full story here.
    4/11/2013 9:33:49 AM

    Former Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein believes that Arsene Wenger is ready to invest in his squad this summer, despite a previous reluctance to spend big.
    The fact is he has to strengthen the team and I know he will do that. He is one of the best managers in the world, he's been coaching for 30 years and knows what he is doing.
    Read the full story as Dein backs Arsenal boss Wenger to make transfer moves.
    4/11/2013 9:36:55 AM
  • @SkySports brian mc dermott the best available candidate for leeds job. Got reading promoted on a small budget. #skysportstodaymartin mullenvia twitter on Apr 11, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    4/11/2013 9:37:57 AM

    Antonio Valencia admits Manchester United are still 'worried' about the threat posed by Manchester City to their Premier League title bid.
    Last year, having eight points with seven games to go, we lost the league and now we have seven games, 12 points and we don't want this to happen again.
    Click here for the full story as Valencia talks about Manchester City's threat to Manchester United.
    4/11/2013 9:42:02 AM

    Today is the second day of the new LV= County Championship season. The opening day saw Dan Housego and Hamish Marshall both hit centuries for Gloucestershire, while Yorkshire were skittled for just 96 on their return to the top flight.
    Division One fixtures after day one:
    Durham (250 - Trego 3-59, Kirby 3-58) v Somerset
    Nottinghamshire (278 - Cowan 61, Taylor 55, Roland-Jones 6-63) v Middlesex (12-0)
    Warwickshire (14-0) v Derbyshire (226 - Palladino 68, Patel 3-37, Wright 3-48)
    Yorkshire (96 - Jordan 6-48) v Sussex (104-3 - Nash 80)
    4/11/2013 9:51:03 AM

    Division Two fixtures after day one:
    Essex v Gloucestershire (300-3 - Housego 124*, Marshall 120*)
    Glamorgan (134 - Crook 4-30, Hall 3-18) v Northamptonshire (108-3 - Peters 60*)
    Hampshire (286-4, Bailey 93, Vince 77*, Ervine 57*) v Leicestershire
    Lancashire v Worcestershire (227-6, Ali 78)
    4/11/2013 9:52:58 AM

    England have slipped to seventh place in the latest FIFA world rankings, while Wales are one of the bigger risers as they move up from 71st to 49th. Scotland plunge 11 places to 77th but the most chastening fall is for Northern Ireland, who drop from 98th to 119th.
    Click here to read the full story on the latest FIFA world rankings.
    4/11/2013 9:55:34 AM

    Wigan boss Roberto Martinez has defended the club's failure to sell their entire ticket allocation for Saturday's FA Cup semi-final against Millwall.
    It's not about the numbers. The numbers need to have a meaning. Back in 1995, when I arrived at the football club, we had gates of 2,000 people.
    Read the full story as Roberto Martinez looks ahead to Wigan's FA Cup semi-final.
    4/11/2013 9:59:42 AM

    Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers admits missing out on a place in Europe next season may not be a bad thing.
    You could argue that a season free of European football would give us a greater chance of finishing in a much higher position in the league - of competing for the top four which is a really difficult task with the teams up there and the finances involved.
    Click here to read the full story from Liverpool boss Rodgers on European football.
    4/11/2013 10:05:00 AM
  • Sebastian Vettel says there have been occasions in the past when Mark Webber has also put himself before the team.

    4/11/2013 10:08:52 AM

    It's only the second day of the new LV= County Championship season but we already have our first rain delays of the campaign. Warwickshire v Derbyshire, Essex v Gloucestershire, Glamorgan v Northamptonshire and Hampshire v Leicestershire have all been delayed.
    4/11/2013 10:19:54 AM

    [philclarke] Phil Clarke has blogged on his concerns about the future of Super League this week.
    Unless we do something soon we will lose the majority of our best players, we will get to a point when we can't call it a Super League.
    Read Phil Clarke's blog here - and see what solutions he has come up with.
    4/11/2013 10:22:10 AM

    Stoke boss Tony Pulis has been speaking to the press ahead of Sunday’s Premier League clash with Manchester United, which you can see live on Sky Sports 1HD, with the Potters having slipped into the relegation scrap in recent weeks.
    I accept that in life and in football, you have good times and bad times. It's how you deal with it that is important. Hopefully, with the background I have had, I will be able to see this through. It is a great challenge.

    4/11/2013 10:24:56 AM
  • [twtr]

    because Champions League is out of the way I'd much rather us not have Europa so we can carry on fighting next season! #LFC #skysportstoday Daniel Benson via Twitter at 11:24 AM

    #skysportstoday ha,ha ha..... No pressure then ! just Finnish mid table every season ! John Newman via Twitter at 11:23 AM

    4/11/2013 10:26:29 AM
  • GOLF

    [ssn] Fancy yourself as the next Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy or Bubba Watson? Then tune into Get Involved on Saturday for Darren Clarke's golfing masterclass.

    The show will air on Sky Sports News from 7am - check out our preview here - but don't forget to watch the golfing elite tee off at the Masters, from 7pm tonight on Sky Sports 1 HD.
    4/11/2013 10:26:57 AM

    Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has been added to the list of names which will be competing at the AEGON Championships at Queen's Club this year. The Frenchman will be playing in the pre-Wimbledon grass-court event for the fourth time.
    4/11/2013 10:34:12 AM
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