The Sport Matrix: Wednesday 29 October 2014


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Ashton steps in to help out Lancaster

Former England coach Brian Ashton yesterday joined Stuart Lancaster’s squad to pass on his wisdom ahead of the autumn internationals. “Brian has been a big influence on my coaching,” Lancaster said. “He’s played a part in shaping the philosophies of a lot of coaches. His creativity has been his point of reference and it’s good to bounce ideas off him. I’m pleased he accepted the invitation.”

Lambert keen  to start scoring

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has admitted his side’s lack of goals – the club have not found the net in almost nine hours – is a problem that needs sorting, with another tough match, against Tottenham, to come on Sunday. “If you don’t put the ball in the net, you’re not going to win games,” he said. “It’s a concern when you don’t win football games and that losing streak has to stop.”

Pochettino: Spurs’ pitch is too small

Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino claims his side are struggling for form due to the small pitch at White Hart Lane. “Our style means we need a bigger space,” the Argentine said, after three home defeats in five league games this season. “We play a positional game. White Hart Lane is a little bit tight. It is better for the opponent to play deep.” The club host Brighton in the League Cup tonight.

Overzealous winner loses prize-money

Chinese player Zhang Jike has been fined £35,500 after a furious celebration following a win at the Liebherr Men’s World Cup.

Zhang upset top seed Ma Long in the final, but failed to take home any prize-money after following in the footsteps of Newcastle United footballer Temuri Ketsbaia and destroying an advertising hoarding.

The International Table Tennis Federation withheld his prize-money after the outburst and Zhang, a London 2012 gold medal winner, later apologised.

“I am very sorry,” he said. “It was not acceptable behaviour. I have been under a great deal of pressure, with people questioning my form.”

Sports minister calls for equal pay

Sports Minister Helen Grant has reiterated calls for women to be rewarded as handsomely as men in professional sport. “There is a gap, it needs to be closed but it’s not going to happen overnight,” she said. “We need more media coverage and more commercial investment.”