OptiNews - Friday 08 to Thursday 14 September 2017

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Optimus trousers posted this 08 September 2017

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Optimus trousers posted this 08 September 2017

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Tickets for #SaintsFC's trip to #SCFC are now on general sale. Secure your seat here: http://sfcne.ws/SCFC300917

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Optimus trousers posted this 08 September 2017

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Summary of non-mainstream articles: 08/09/2017 08:17:19

Southampton team news: Watford (H) READSOUTHAMPTON
Le Tissier: 'Van Dijk has Southampton future' SPORTSMOLE

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Optimus trousers posted this 08 September 2017

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Watch as #SaintsFC's @OriolRomeu previews tomorrow's game against #WatfordFC: http://sfcne.ws/ORPreWFCH

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Optimus trousers posted this 08 September 2017

Sourced from Daily Echo article

Pellegrino urges Van Dijk to knuckle down

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MAURICIO Pellegrino has urged Virgil van Dijk to knuckle down and show his commitment to Saints after the St Mary’s chief ended the Dutchman’s exile from the first team.

Van Dijk had been training alone after telling the club he wanted to leave and later handed in a transfer request in a protracted saga that lasted the summer months.

But he has now been welcomed back in to the first-team fold and Pellegrino wants the 26-year-old centre-back to demonstrate his commitment to the Saints cause.

“He has to show it on the pitch because I cannot show my commitment talking,” he said. “I have to show my commitment working on the pitch, working every single day, working on the pitch and outside the pitch.

“The best thing in football is every single game you have to show who you are. You have to defend your performances, your level.

“This is the best thing in football. The past does not matter. The money does not matter. Nothing. Everyone has the opportunity and you have to show it. Players with history in the past you have to keep showing.”

Van Dijk pushed for a move away, with Liverpool and Chelsea both monitoring his situation throughout the transfer window.

However, Saints were always adamant that he wasn’t for sale and the summer window closed with the Netherlands international very much still at St Mary's.

Although Van Dijk is now back in training, he remains unavailable for tomorrow’s game against Watford. Pellegrino explained his current situation.

"We know that he’s coming from a long period of time without playing a game and he needs to train and to play games," he said.

"I will decide this [when he comes back] in the future. The best thing in football you have to show on the pitch how you are but now everything is normal. This is good news for us."

The St Mary's chief admits keeping the 26-year-old defender is a big statement.

“It’s a message in this moment that we don’t need to sell players,” he said. “We need to keep our best players to be more competitive.

“It’s a message from the owners, from the board, the chairman and the director and it’s really good because we are now in a difficult moment to make a smaller step.

“To achieve this step we had to keep our best players, to work with them and now to build a team. This is the most difficult thing.”

Pellegrino says he met with Van Dijk and stated that "everything is normal".

He said: “I always talk with my players but also with Virgil but it’s something private and I will repeat now that everything is normal. He’s training with the team.”

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Optimus trousers posted this 08 September 2017

Sourced from Daily Echo article

Pellegrino gives his verdict on transfer business

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MAURICIO Pellegrino admits he is satisfied with Saints’ summer transfer dealings – but revealed the club won’t stop looking for potential recruits between now and January.

Saints brought in three new signings in the window, although the best piece of business is arguably keeping the club’s key players at St Mary’s amid intense speculation.

The likes of Virgil van Dijk, Ryan Bertrand, Cedric Soares stayed put on the south coast and in a £36m player shopping spree, Saints brought in Jan Bednarek (£5m), Wesley Hoedt (£15m) and Mario Lemina (£16m).

“I am happy with the squad that I’ve got in this moment,” Pellegrino said. “For me now this group of players is together until January at least.

“They are the best players for me and I will try to work with them and be together in this period of time and try and improve the team on an individual level and as a team on and off the pitch.

“But I’m happy with the squad. I think it’s really competitive. But always we can improve the squad.

“We’ve got really competitive people working in the scouting area and I think we always have to be prepared for the future, but we’ve got a squad which is young and is full of quality.

“I think we are prepared to make that next step this season.”

Now that Saints have managed to keep their squad together, and make a few additions, Pellegrino is eager to continue to imprint his ideas on to the squad.

The Argentine wants to play attacking, high pressing football.

“Every single week is an opportunity to improve but the thing we were doing in the last few weeks, because sometimes a session for the team is really complex, sometimes you change one player and everything changes,” he said.

“For this reason you need time to connect the player to try to put them in the position that they will be comfortable on the pitch and be at their best for the team.

“Sometimes it can look really simple but I repeat, the best thing is the spirit of the team and how we are training. The approach every single day with this spirit and attitude is easier for me.”

Pellegrino was a little frustrated that with many Saints players away on international duty he was unable to really stamp his ideas on the full squad.

Saints had Bertrand, Cedric, Dusan Tadic, Mario Lemina, Maya Yoshida, Jan Bednarek, Shane Long, Steven Davis and Wesley Hoedt all away on duty.

That's a significant chunk of the first-team, but Pellegrino was still keen to press on with coaching the remaining players at Staplewood.

“In this type of week we have to switch on quickly to be focused, to review some concepts, simple things,” he said about the break.

“We have to be 100 per cent focused on Southampton but it is not easy for them when you go to an international obligation.

“They give 100 per cent and a lot of pressure but they have to handle this. The question is how they will arrive mentally and physically for Saturday?”

Such is the Argentine’s commitment to getting his ethos across that he set up a behind-closed-doors friendly for those players not on international duty during the break.

“It wasn’t a normal week for us because we were working with eleven players. We got ten or eleven international players and in the future it could be more, if we think about Sofiane and Virgil are international players normally," he said.

“But at the same time we were working really well. We play a game against Brentford.

"This is the question mark when you have a lot of international players how they will arrive, how they will be prepared for Saturday because some of them haven’t arrived today.

“Some players arrived yesterday and others arrive tomorrow. It’s not so easy to manage this situation.”

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Optimus trousers posted this 08 September 2017

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Summary of non-mainstream articles: 08/09/2017 10:18:19

Southampton vs Watford: Combined XI READSOUTHAMPTON

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Optimus trousers posted this 08 September 2017

Sourced from BBC article

MOTD: What next for Philippe Coutinho, Virgil van Dijk & Alexis Sanchez?

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Watch highlights of seven Premier League matches, including Manchester City v Liverpool and Arsenal v Bournemouth, on Match of the Day at 22:30 BST on Saturday night on BBC One and the BBC Sport website.

I believe Southampton captain Steven Davis 100% when he says the rest of the Saints squad do not have any issues with Virgil van Dijk.

Like Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho and Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez, the Netherlands defender failed to get the move he wanted this summer.

All three players were denied transfers and must stay - and, presumably, play - at their clubs until January at the earliest.

But although they may well get some grief from fans, they will not have any problems at all from their team-mates as long as their attitude is right from now on.

Each individual case is different, but for all three of the players mentioned above, the question is less about how they fit back in when they return to the dressing room and more about whether they can hit the heights and play to the levels we know they can.

For that to happen, they have to lose any feelings they might have that their clubs have let them down by not letting them leave, because anger will not help them now.

I know Davis from our time together at Fulham and when he said Van Dijk would be welcomed back, I was not surprised that he talked about how popular he was in the dressing room, as well as the quality he has as a player.

The kind of relationship the Dutchman had built with his team-mates before he fell out with the club is a hugely important thing in making his scenario work out now.

Occasionally, some of the lads are glad to see the back of players for whatever reason.

But that is not the case with Van Dijk, or Coutinho and Sanchez for that matter. From the players I have spoken to who know them, they are all decent guys who train well and work hard.

They are all very good players too, of course. That is another reason their team-mates will want them back in contention for selection.

With Coutinho at Liverpool, for example, his team-mates will know that when he has played for the club he has always given his all and the fact that it was Barcelona who were in for him completely justified his desire to leave.

None of them would have begrudged him one bit for going there and it was not about the money for Sanchez, either. If it was, he would have signed the new contract he was offered.

For me he is the Gunners' best player by a mile. He seems to work harder than everyone else and he gets frustrated that not all of his team-mates have the same standards or work ethic.

He wants to move on to win trophies and, if he was my team-mate, I would understand why he was unhappy.

I don't think Arsenal fans should worry about Sanchez's attitude now either, because he has the kind of character where he has to give 100%.

He cannot play any other way and, from what I know about Coutinho, he is exactly the same.

It sounds really cynical but football players generally are quite selfish.

You want to be doing well personally - which means you are in the team, the manager likes you, your contract is sorted and you are happy at your club.

If one of your team-mates is not particularly happy about something then you don't get too bothered about it, as long as his behaviour is not affecting the group in training, and he is not kicking off with the manager every five minutes.

Normally, what a manager will do in a situation like that is make them train elsewhere, which is what happened to Van Dijk when he asked to leave earlier this summer, although he returned to train with the first team this week.

Even then, his team-mates might have some sympathy with him - mine did when something similar happened to me.

A few weeks before I joined Tottenham on transfer deadline day at the end of January 2006, I was bombed out by Charlton manager Alan Curbishley and told to train with the kids - although to this day I cannot understand why that decision was made.

The difference with my situation and the ones I have been talking about, was that the original trigger point was nothing to do with me.

It did not come about because I was angling to join Spurs, but because I found out that Curbishley was trying to manufacture a swap deal involving me going to Newcastle for two of their players.

When I brought it up and asked, in a very civil way, what was going on, he denied it.

Then we lost our next game, against Everton at the start of January, and neither myself nor the team played particularly well.

That was it. Next thing I knew I was in the youth team. If he had just dropped me then there is no way I would have done anything but tried my best in training.

I felt I had been treated unfairly but it was probably thought that I had the potential to be a bad influence on the other lads if I carried on working with them.

The thing was that at Charlton, four or five of my team-mates were really good pals of mine and they were absolutely fuming for me but I just said "get on with it - do your own thing and my problem will resolve itself".

It was actually nice in a way because I got to help the young lads a bit and work with Mark Robson, who is an excellent coach, but I knew I had to leave the club.

Tottenham then came in for me during the transfer window but the move only happened very late on deadline day.

I had made it clear I wanted to join Spurs but I would never have refused to play for Charlton while transfer discussions were taking place. My attitude would have changed, however, if that move had not gone through.

Myself and Curbishley are fine now by the way. These things happen in football and you move on.

But it was the only time in my career that my head had gone. I felt I had not caused the problem but I was the one suffering.

If I had stayed, I would have downed tools and spat my dummy out - the lot.

A month later I might have been fine, but I was prepared to go full tilt on that because I felt so strongly about the way I had been treated.

I cannot say for sure that I would have carried it out, because in the end I didn't have to. But the way I was feeling then, I would have behaved like an absolute nuisance.

Will Coutinho, Sanchez or Van Dijk do the same, and refuse to play? I don't know, but if they are fit then I would expect Coutinho and Sanchez to feature this weekend.

Van Dijk is slightly different. He is back training with the Saints first team now, but for a while his situation seemed the most contentious of the summer transfer sagas.

Even so, as with Coutinho and Sanchez, his team-mates will completely understand why he wanted to join Liverpool. He does not just want to go there to win trophies, he wants to secure his family's financial future.

Every player with an ounce of intelligence knows that is what they are all trying to achieve anyway.

Southampton have made something of a rod for their own back by selling all their best players in recent years so Van Dijk was bound to be saying "why aren't you letting me go?".

But, while I can understand why he is aggrieved with the situation, he must put those feelings to one side.

It is the same for all three of them. If they do return to the first team then they will have to keep the fans happy because if the team does not do well or they play badly individually, they will be the first to be criticised.

The bottom line is they have all got a really tough challenge coming up, mentally and physically. They were not allowed to make the moves they wanted but what they do next is down to them.

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Optimus trousers posted this 08 September 2017

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@SouthamptonFC - Southampton FC

1️⃣ day until #WatfordFC!

Look back at #SaintsFC's win over the Hornets in the 2003 FA Cup semi-final:

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Optimus trousers posted this 08 September 2017

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Video: Romeu on Watford

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Optimus trousers posted this 08 September 2017

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Transfer window will be more chaotic after changes, says Mark Schwarzer

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Transfer window will be more chaotic after changes, says Mark Schwarzer

Mark Schwarzer has warned the summer transfer window will be "even more chaotic" after Premier League clubs voted to bring forward the deadline.

Fourteen top-flight clubs voted in favour of an early closure, meaning the window will now close at 5pm on the Thursday, August 9, before the opening weekend of the 2018/19 campaign.

It's a move designed to end disruption and allow clubs to focus on their football but, with the World Cup taking place in Russia next year, Schwarzer fears bedlam will ensue.

"Next season is going to be even more chaotic as players will be going off and preparing for the World Cup," the former Middlesbrough, Fulham, Chelsea and Leicester goalkeeper told The Debate.

"While they're at the World Cup, very few players will want to transfer because they will want to concentrate on the tournament.

"The players are then back at their clubs in July and, with the season starting earlier next season, there is going to be a month of just chaos."

The new rules relate to the buying of players, so Premier League clubs will still be able to sell players to other leagues whose transfer windows remain open into as far as September.

The transfer window for the English Football League also remains unaffected, with clubs able to sell to lower division sides unless the EFL decides to bring its window in line with the top flight.

A lack of consistency across the divisions, coupled with the shortening of the window when a major tournament is staged every two years, raised concerns for Stuart Pearce, who joined Schwarzer on The Debate.

"It's a problem because, at this moment in time, a lot of business takes place on the last few days of the window," he added.

"The uncertainty created by the early deadline will drip down into the EFL, who will not be able to make their moves.

"When the window is condensed due to a major tournament, there will be little movement until the top players move, and then the next rung and then the next rung."

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Optimus trousers posted this 08 September 2017

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Everything you need to know for Southampton vs Watford

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Southampton and Watford have made near-identical starts to the season: both are unbeaten, recording a win and two draws each. New Saints boss Mauricio Pellegrino is clearly an appointment in the Pochettino mould, at least on the face of it: both are former Argentina defenders, both share the same first name, and both are notorious tactics obsessives.

Pellegrino is known for his tactical pragmatism; he is willing to alter formations and approaches whenever necessary (and perhaps when unnecessary, at times). This contrasts somewhat with Claude Puel, whose sacking – whether justified or not – ultimately boiled down to his perceived rigidity and overly negative brand of football.

New Watford manager Marco Silva has already made a favourable impression on his squad, meanwhile, with goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes comparing him to Guus Hiddink, no less. His spell at Hull was highly thought-of despite their relegation, with Silva prioritising defensive organisation and positional awareness in his sides.

Silva’s two deadline day buys, left-back Marvin Zeegelaar and goalkeeper Orestis Karnez, are in contention for their debuts at St Mary’s. Meanwhile, the situation of Southampton’s wantaway defender Virgil Van Dijk is unclear, with speculation in some quarters that he will, after all, be offloaded in January.

When the two sides met last term, they drew 1-1 in August, with the Saints beating the Hornets 4-3 in a thrilling return fixture in March. If current form is anything to go by, there won’t be so many goals this time. But with the sides making such similar starts to their respective campaigns, it will certainly be a competitive clash.

Here's everything you need to know about the Premier League clash.

Southampton vs Watford kicks off at 15:00 on Saturday September 9th.

Highlights will be shown at 22:30 BST on BBC One.

The £18m striker and club-record signing is yet to open his Hornets account in the Premier League – a goal would boost his confidence no end.

11: Watford’s biggest-ever defeat was an 11-0 loss to Southampton, in the FA Cup in 1902.

Saints beat Watford 2-0 to reach the 2003 FA Cup final, courtesy of a Brett Ormerod strike and an own-goal from Paul Robinson.

The £13m buy from Fluminese has already impressed with his archetypally Brazilian trickery, and scored a poacher’s goal against Bournemouth in mid-August.

Southampton to win: 5/8

Watford to win: 23/5

Draw: 11/4

(Odds provided by 888 Sport)

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Optimus trousers posted this 08 September 2017

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Southampton vs Watford: Team news

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Ahead of this weekend's Premier League action, Sportsmail will be providing you with all you need to know about every fixture, with team news, provisional squads, betting odds and Opta stats. Here is all the information you need for Southampton's home clash with Watford.

Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino reported no fresh injury worries ahead of Saturday's Premier League match against Watford.

Defender Virgil van Dijk has rejoined first-team training after remaining with the club at the end of the transfer window, but is short of match fitness.

Fellow Dutchman Wesley Hoedt could make his debut having been an unused substitute in the goalless draw at Huddersfield before the international break following his move from Lazio.

Watford could be boosted by the return of Younes Kaboul and Daryl Janmaat for their Premier League trip to Southampton.

The defensive duo were both injured in the club's opening-day draw against Liverpool. Sebastian Prodl will be assessed on Friday after he limped off in Austria's World Cup qualifier against Wales.

Miguel Britos (suspended), Craig Cathcart and Mauro Zarate (both knee) are unavailable.

Southampton are unbeaten in their last five Premier League matches against Watford (W3 D2), since losing their first PL encounter, 2-3 at Vicarage Road in December 1999.

The Hornets haven’t beaten Southampton in any of their last seven league encounters (D3 L4), since winning 3-0 at St. Mary’s in a Championship fixture in October 2008.

Watford have used 21 different players in their opening three Premier League games of 2017-18, more than any other team in the competition.

Southampton have failed to score in eight of their last 11 Premier League matches, including two of their three games so far in 2017-18.

In fact, since the start of 2015-16, Southampton have recorded more nil-nil draws than any other Premier League team (12).

The Hornets have kept a clean sheet in their last two Premier League games and have restricted their opponents to just four shots on target overall in this period – the last time they kept three clean sheets in a row in the competition was October 2016.

This will be the fifth consecutive league meeting at St. Mary’s between these sides in which a different manager has been in each dugout – Aidy Boothroyd and Jan Poortvliet in October 2008, Sean Dyche and Nigel Adkins in October 2011, Quique Flores and Ronald Koeman in January 2016, Walter Mazzarri and Claude Puel in August 2016 and Marco Silva and Mauricio Pellegrino this season.

Marco Silva will be looking to win back to back league away games as a manager for the first time since April 2016, whilst boss of Greek side Olympiakos.

In their 0-0 draw with Brighton on MD3, Heurelho Gomes kept his 50th Premier League clean sheet; the first South American goalkeeper to reach this landmark.

Nathan Redmond has had a hand in five goals in his last three Premier League games against Watford, scoring four goals and assisting one.

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Optimus trousers posted this 08 September 2017

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#SaintsFC are back in action tomorrow, and we've been getting the thoughts of manager Mauricio Pellegrino ahead of… https://twitter.com/i/web/status/906137163322019841

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