Jonas: Valencia want to go one step further

Jonas Gonçalves - Valencia CF

Jonas Gonçalves – Valencia CF

Valencia’s attacking midfielder Jonas has spoken of his club’s desire to build on their third-placed finish in last season’s La Liga campaign.

The 28-year-old Brazil international has already made a positive start to the season after scoring a crucial equaliser against Real Madrid in Sunday’s 1-1 draw.

“We are working to go one step further than last season, we have all started very motivated and we have to continue like this until the end”, Jonas told reporters.

“President Manuel Llorente is pushing us to achieve our objectives, he was excited about the draw against Real Madrid.

“I am happy to have scored the first goal of the season, helping the team to earn a point at the Bernabeu, where it is difficult before the champions. It would only be a really good point, though, if we win against Deportivo [next weekend].”

Vilanova hungry for Supercopa glory ahead of Real Madrid clash

Tito Vilanova - Barcelona

Tito Vilanova – Barcelona

Tito Vilanova has defended the Supercopa after Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho claimed that the trophy was the least important he would contend this season.

The famous rivals go head to head for the first time this term on Thursday night and the Barcelona trainer was also quick to play down the pressure of his first managerial encounter against Madrid.

“I couldn’t do my job well if I’m thinking the world will collapse if we lose,” he said.

“Madrid has very good players on the break. Pepe is a very quick player, who allows the Madrid defence to play more advanced.”

“We have to be aware of Madrid’s counter attack, but we play at home and everybody knows our strengths”, he added.

The 42-year-old remains unsure of his starting 11 for the clash, with a trip to Osasuna high on the horizon, just three days later.

“Alexis could play tomorrow. I haven’t yet decided who’ll play alongside Messi,” he continued.

“We will decide tomorrow if Song plays. He has quality and could play.”

“There are some rumours about [Carles] Puyol having discomfort. Can he play tomorrow? No problem, he can play.”

Modric transfer to Real Madrid imminent, claims Mamic

Tottenham midfielder Luka Modric’s move to Real Madrid is certain to be completed shortly, according to Dinamo Zagreb director of football Zoran Mamic.

Modric joined Spurs from the Croatian club for 20.9 million in 2008 and the north London side are now reportedly demanding over double that for the diminutive playmaker.

Negotiations over his move to the Spanish giants have been ongoing through the summer, but Mamic insists they will conclude in time to meet the transfer deadline.

“You read many things in the media but from the information I have, Luka will move to Real Madrid for sure,” Mamic told 24sata.

“I’ve heard it’s almost done, so I don’t have any doubts Luka will play for Real Madrid next season,” Mamic continued.

“It is just a question of when the official announcement will be.”

Modric has made 127 league appearances for Tottenham, contributing 13 goals and 21 assists over four seasons.

Mourinho backs Sahin for Premier League switch but remains coy on Carvalho move to QPR

Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho has admitted he expects Nuri Sahin to join a Premier League club before the close of the transfer window but has remained noncommittal on the futures of Ricardo Carvalho and Kaka.

Turkish midfielder Sahin has been strongly linked with a loan move to both Liverpool and Arsenal but could yet be used as a makeweight in the deal for Tottenham playmaker Luka Modric.

But, amidst suggestions that the Portuguese boss was eager not to allow Sahin to join a Champions League rival, Mourinho has insisted he does not care where the midfielder ends up.

“I want him to play, for him to go somewhere to play. The Premier League could teach him new aspects of his game but I don’t mind where he goes,” he told reporters.

“It’s not at all true that there’s any one club to which I would prefer that he went. It doesn’t matter to me, I just hope that it’s sorted for him soon.

“It’s absolutely fine with me whether he goes to Arsenal, Liverpool or Tottenham.”

Mourinho also revealed open to offers for Brazilian playmaker Kaka, though the former AC Milan man has received considerably less interest than Sahin.

“They’re different situations – with Nuri there are several options but nobody has made an official bid for Kaka like they have for Nuri,” he continued.

Another player reportedly bound for the Premier League is Ricardo Carvalho, but Mourinho insists that he is unaware of any bid from QPR for the Portuguese centre-back, nor does he anticipate Mark Hughes needing both Carvalho and Michael Dawson.

“I can’t confirm anything with QPR,” Mourinho added. “I don’t even know if the information is correct or not because they’ve told me that Dawson has signed for QPR for £9 million – if they’ve signed Dawson, I don’t know if they’ll be interested in Carvalho.”

Barcelona and Real Madrid are given preferential schedule, says Malaga's Pellegrini

Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini is unhappy with the hectic schedule of his team, hinting that Barcelona, Real Madrid and Valencia are given preferential treatment.

The Andalusians are preparing for the first leg of their Champions League play-off with Panathinaikos on Wednesday night, but have been scheduled to play an 11pm fixture with Mallorca in La Liga on Sunday, just two days before the return game in Greece.

Speaking at a press conference, Pellegrini was clearly frustrated with the timing of the match, and hinted that Spain’s other representatives in Europe’s elite competition are being given precedence.

“Unfortunately, the programming is so strange to us, because we are playing at 11pm and will finish at 1.30am, and on Tuesday we play in the Champions League.

“We’ll see if Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia have the same treatment and play at that time,” he continued.

“Our recovery is more complicated. Let’s see if during the Champions League another team involved in that would have to play at 11pm on the preceding Saturday and only have 48 hours to recover.”

“I don’t think there is intent to hinder Malaga. They [the authorities] unfortunately did not take into account the Champions League. The four teams represent Spain, and I think we should have the same conditions.”.