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Dikgacoi hoping to face Southampton

spanien-suedafrikaCrystal Palace midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi is hopeful of featuring against Southampton despite withdrawing from international duty this week.

Dikgacoi declared himself unavailable for South Africa’s glamour midweek friendly against Brazil in Johannesburg due to a back problem.

However, he has not ruled out being able to play for his club when Southampton visit Selhurst Park on Saturday.

“I’ve been struggling with my back, so I had a chat with the physio and he advised me not to travel so I don’t aggravate the injury,” Dikgacoi told Palace Player.

“It’s best for me to stay behind, get treatment and hopefully be fit for Saturday.”

Regardless of whether he is involved, Dikgacoi believes Palace, who sit 16th, can take a big step towards Premier League survival by beating Mauricio Pochettino’s team.

“They are a good side and they’ve got quality players in their team. But we’ve got home-ground advantage and I believe we’re going to get maximum points,” added the midfielder.

“I’ve never seen the Premier League this tight, especially at this time of the season. We still have got a long way to go, but we just have to go out there and enjoy our football, get points and help the team to not go down.

“Especially in home games it is important that we get points.”

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Rangel expects break to benefit Swansea

Angel-RangelSwansea City full-back Angel Rangel has welcomed an opportunity to “recharge the batteries” after a gruelling run of fixtures.

A 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace last weekend represented Swansea’s eighth game in 30 days, with a two-legged UEFA Europa League tie against Napoli and an FA Cup clash with Everton having been sandwiched in between Premier League action.

Defeats to Napoli and Everton mean Swansea, who sit 14th, can apply full focus to ensuring top-flight survival.

And Rangel expects his team to benefit from a welcome two-week break, with this Saturday’s scheduled league game against Arsenal having been postponed due to the London club’s continued involvement in the FA Cup.

“It’s been a busy period,” said Rangel. “We’ve played in the Premier League, Europa League and FA Cup, so it is a good moment for us to rest.

“We can recharge the batteries and then we have 10 games left and they are all cup finals.

“We need to make sure we work hard and stay up which is the main target. The target is always 40 points but we’ll try to win as many games as possible.

“We have got a lot of games at home against the teams around us, which is the most important thing.

“The next one is against West Brom (on March 15) and that’s a massive one for us now. Let’s start from there and see what happens.”

 

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Van Gaal warns of Pogba threat

Louis-van-GaalNetherlands coach Louis van Gaal has warned his side of the quality possessed by France’s Paul Pogba ahead of their friendly in Paris.

Van Gaal’s men will be in action at the Stade de France on Wednesday in one of the week’s standout international friendlies.

With both Netherlands and France playing their first fixture of 2014 and beginning their final preparations for the FIFA World Cup, Van Gaal has warned of the threat Pogba will likely pose.

The former Manchester United man has scored six times in 25 league appearances for Serie A leaders Juventus this season and Van Gaal feels he is one of the best players in the world.

“Pogba is in a category of his own. Paul’s physically strong, very fast and technically superb,” he explained.

“I don’t know many players with all these qualities.

“He’s the type of player who could fit in any team in the world.”

Pogba has seven caps to his name, scoring once for his country in a 4-2 win over Belarus in September.

 

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Inter confirm Vidic signing

Nemanja-VidicInter have confirmed Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic will join the club ahead of the 2014-15 Serie A season.

The 32-year-old centre-half confirmed last month that he would leave Old Trafford when his contract expires at the end of the season, and was strongly linked with a move to San Siro.

Inter have now confirmed Vidic’s impending arrival, with club president Erick Thohir labelling the Serbian “one of the world’s best defenders”.

A statement on Inter’s official website read: “Nemanja Vidic will wear the black and blue of Inter next season.

“FC Internazionale is delighted to announce that negotiations to bring the Manchester United captain to the club have reached a successful conclusion.”

Thohir added: “Vidic is a world-class player. I’m extremely happy to have completed this deal to bring Nemanja to Milan.

“He’s one of the world’s best defenders and his qualities, international pedigree and charisma will be an asset to the team and help bring through our younger players.

“He will bring added value to the club and is another piece of the great Inter side we are building.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Manchester United, Nemanja and his entourage for the professional and cooperative approach they have shown throughout the negotiations.”

Vidic joined United from Spartak Moscow in December 2005 and has gone on to win 10 major trophies during his time at the club, including the UEFA Champions League in 2008.

He succeeded Gary Neville as United’s captain in 2010, but has been hampered by injuries in recent seasons.

Inter have yet to disclose the length of Vidic’s contract.

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Kompany: Belgium, Ivory Coast can cause World Cup surprise

Kompany-BelgiumBelgium captain Vincent Kompany feels his country and Wednesday’s opponents Ivory Coast could be surprise packages in the FIFA World Cup.

The sides meet in Brussels in what will be the first of a series of friendlies building up to the competition in Brazil next year.

The likes of Kompany, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku are among Belgium’s brightest stars, while Ivory Coast can call on Yaya Toure, Didier Drogba and Gervinho.

Manchester City captain Kompany believes both countries could cause an upset against the bigger names in Brazil.

“The World Cup favorites are the usual suspects – Germany, Spain, Argentina and Brazil. Behind them I see a group of countries, which sometimes cause a surprise,” he told Het Laatste Nieuws.

“I reckon (these) include Colombia, Chile and Japan as well as Belgium. Ivory Coast also has a very strong team. They may also be a surprise at the World Cup like a lot of other countries.

“There are teams that have more talent than Belgium. Based solely on our talent, I do not think that we will win the World Cup. That can only be done with some luck, if everyone plays very strongly and if we have a strong team spirit.”

Marc Wilmots’ side will be fancied to progress from Group H ahead of fixtures with Algeria, Russia and South Korea.

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