The Sports Matrix: Friday 6 January 2012

 

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The Independent Online

Mancini bemoans 'problem' of spending freeze

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has admitted to his frustration at not being able to spend in the transfer window. "Yeah, yeah, this is the problem," Mancini replied when asked whether he had been told he could not buy. Uefa's new Financial Fair Play rules will likely hinder his plans to make the additions he sees as necessary. "But if we don't have the players, it's tough for us," Mancini said. "We are not United. The difference is this. United and Chelsea have won trophies for many years. So they are quiet. They understand that they can play without pressure. For us it's different. This could be the first championship for many years and we need to do everything we can to win it." Mancini did insist City "could take in one player", with the club interested in Roma's Daniele de Rossi. For now, though, they are down to two available central midfielders and one fit striker for Sunday's FA Cup game with Manchester United. Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko are both struggling with injuries, while Yaya and Kolo Touré have to go to the African Cup of Nations. MORE

Finn could replace injured Bresnan

Tim Bresnan gave England a scare ahead of their first warm-up match in Dubai, hurting the elbow he had surgery on in November. He is unlikely to feature against an ICC XI tomorrow; Steven Finn, Chris Tremlett and Graham Onions are battling for his spot. MORE

Liverpool seek Suarez discussions

Liverpool are considering asking Manchester United to help reduce the prospect of Luis Suarez facing too much abuse when the two clubs meet in the Premier League on 16 February. It may only be Suarez's second match back after his eight-game ban. MORE

Pardew 'staying at Newcastle'

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has tried to end talk of his possibly being the next England manager. "My future is very much here," he said. "I'm absolutely loving it at the moment. I haven't considered any other issue outside this football club and I won't." MORE

Warnock attacks FA over Barton ban

QPR manager Neil Warnock has criticised the Football Association following its decision to uphold Joey Barton's suspension. "You look at all these decisions, you do feel a bit hard done by," he said, while also suggesting referees were "star-struck". MORE

South Africa close in on series victory

South Africa are on the brink of recording a 2-1 home series win over Sri Lanka. The visitors start today's fourth morning in Cape Town still 203 runs behind, and four wickets down, having followed on after being bowled out for 239 yesterday. MORE

Federer recovers to make semi-final

Roger Federer stuttered to a 20th successive victory in beating Andreas Seppi in three sets to reach the Qatar Open semi-finals. His opponent started brightly but Federer recovered to win 6-3, 5-7 6-4 and set up a meeting with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Returning Ashton must prove himself

Northampton's Chris Ashton returns from suspension for the match with Harlequins this evening. The winger, who has been linked with a move to Saracens, must prove his worth to new England coach Stewart Lancaster for the Six Nations. MORE

Scotland fight Wales for Shingler

The inclusion of Steve Shingler in Scotland's 36-man Six Nations squad was controversial yesterday: the Welsh Rugby Union said that the Welsh-born and -raised back was tied to Wales after an Under-20 appearance; Scotland insist he is eligible for them. MORE

Farah returns to Birmingham

Mo Farah will race over two miles at the Birmingham Grand Prix next month as he prepares for the Olympics. Farah returns to the National Indoor Arena where he broke the British and European 5,000m records. MORE

Opinion: Sam Wallace

Set against the earlier defeats to Manchester City, Crystal Palace, Basle and Blackburn, Manchester United's loss to Newcastle on Wednesday was arguably the least surprising; the players seemed almost to accept it. MORE

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