The Sports Matrix: Friday 23 March 2012


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The Independent Online

Nasri: City still confident of winning title

Samir Nasri, whose late winner kept Manchester City's title hopes alive on Wednesday, said that confidence is high and they are "sure" they can win the league.

"We have believed in ourselves since the first game of the season," said the French midfielder, above. "It's a signal to United that we are here and we will be here until the end."

"You know what, I hope they [Manchester United] win all their games, and that we win all of ours, so we can play a final here [on 30 April]. It will be fantastic for the fans, and for us as well. I am sure we can win the last nine games. It's as simple as that. And if we do it, we will be champions."

Bryan Robson said that Manchester United will have the advantage because of Sir Alex Ferguson: "He has this winning mentality. He does man-management really well. That can be the biggest difference."

Robson pointed to Ferguson's dropping Rooney for disciplinary reasons. "Those little things," he said. "Ferguson always keeps right on top of them and doesn't allow them to happen. When you look at certain managers, you ask whether they would have left Rooney out." MORE

Serena returns with a victory

Former world No 1 Serena Williams marked her return from two months out with a comfortable victory over Zhang Shuai in the second round of the Miami Masters. The five-time champion won 6-2 6-3 in Florida to set up a meeting with Roberta Vinci.

Uefa agrees to scrap August friendlies

A deal yesterday between Uefa and the European Clubs' Association (ECA) means the end of the August friendly, with nine international double-headers over two years. Uefa will also pay €100m (£85m) of Euro 2012 revenues to the ECA and €150m in 2016. MORE

Coyle: Now I know how fragile life is

Owen Coyle has spoken about watching Fabrice Muamba's cardiac arrest last Saturday. "It was horrendous," the Bolton manager said. "It showed you how fragile life can be at any given moment – it can all be taken away. It's a lesson we should all heed. MORE

Friedel tells Spurs to relax and focus

Tottenham goalkeeper Brad Friedel said that there is no need for panic after taking one point from four games: "It's definitely not doom and gloom. We'll continue to do what we've been doing all season long and again in these last few games." MORE

Patel scores 72 in England victory

England chased down 360 to win their second warm-up game against a Sri Lankan XI yesterday by four wickets. Matt Prior top-scored with 84 and Samit Patel hit 72 to bolster his case to start in Monday's first Test, as Ravi Bopara has hurt his side. MORE

Hartley to face bite charge next week

England hooker Dylan Hartley will attend an independent disciplinary panel on Tuesday, facing charges of biting Ireland's Stephen Ferris last Saturday. If guilty, it will end his season and threaten his chances of touring with England this summer. MORE

Oxx reviews colts' Classic options

John Oxx, whose Born To Sea is a favourite for the 2,000 Guineas, may also give Akeed Mofeed a run over a mile in the Leopardstown Trial on 15 April. The Irish trainer said: "He's matured into a fine horse, and made big physical improvement." MORE

McLaren expect Mercedes threat

McLaren chief Martin Whitmarsh is wary of Michael Schumacher's Mercedes at this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix: "Mercedes are quick, we thought they were going to be much stronger in Australia. They were very quick, but they can do a better job." MORE

Meeting my hero

Rob Brydon and Dermot O'Leary face the difficulties that come with meeting your sporting heroes. Brydon talks to Jonathan Davies and O'Leary sees Thierry Henry, and they both reveal just what happened.