Solskjaer provides Martial & Shaw fitness update ahead of Man Utd’s clash with PSG

The Norwegian boss is putting the finishing touches on his squad before a crucial Champions League showdown against the French champions

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed the progress Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw are making in terms of their fitness ahead of Manchester United’s clash with Paris Saint-Germain.

United will welcome PSG to Old Trafford on Wednesday night for a crucial Champions League group-stage showdown which will likely have a huge bearing on who qualifies from Group H.

Solskjaer’s men are sitting top of the standings on nine points after four fixtures, with their French opponents three points further back in second.

RB Leipzig are only behind PSG on goal difference at the moment, and they will be expected to pick up a victory away at Istanbul Basaksehir as they aim to put more pressure on PSG to get a positive result in Manchester.

United only need a point to qualify for the round of 16, but Solskjaer has been sweating on the availability of Martial and Shaw, both of whom sat out Saturday’s comeback win at Southampton.

Martial was struck down with a bout of illness 24 hours before the trip to St Mary’s, while Shaw has been out of action since suffering a hamstring injury against Everton on November 7.

Solskjaer has confirmed that he will be able to call upon the former against PSG, but he is delaying making a final decision on the full-back until the last minute.

“Anthony got through the session and felt okay, so he’s available for selection,” the Norwegian said during a pre-match Q&A session for MUTV. “Luke is probably the biggest doubt but the rest of them are holding their hands up saying: ‘I’m ready’.

“Luke isn’t too far away so let’s see what we do with him for tomorrow. Then, of course, Phil [Jones] has been away for a long time but now we’re getting more and more players ready to participate in every game.”

Solskjaer also delivered a fresh update on first-choice goalkeeper David de Gea, who was forced off at half-time against Southampton after sustaining a knock to his ankle.

“David trained well today, as did the rest of the group. It was a good session,” he said.

The last time United played host to PSG on Europe’s biggest stage they were beaten 2-0 in a last-16 first-leg tie, before producing a stunning turnaround in the second leg at Parc des Princes to book their place in the last eight.

Solskjaer is expecting his team to provide the French champions with a far greater challenge almost two years on from that meeting, as he added: “I feel we are ready for this game and I feel better prepared for the occasion. I think some of these boys learnt harsh lessons against PSG and then, home and away, against Barcelona that season.

“The Champions League is what we all want to be part of, playing against the best players in the world. You’ve got the likes

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Medical groups clash over insurance coverage of herbal medicine


By Lee Hyo-jin

A pilot program rolled out by the government to include several types of herbal medicine in treatments covered by national health insurance was welcomed by practitioners of traditional Korean medicine. It, however, immediately provoked backlash from Western medical doctors.

As the government has plans to expand the coverage for more herbal medicine in the future following the progress of the trial program, the mixed reactions of the two medical groups may deepen into another dispute.

Under the pilot program, which started on Nov. 20, patients at traditional Korean medicine clinics who are prescribed treatments for menstrual pain, facial paralysis, or the aftereffects of cerebrovascular diseases, pay only half of the fee for the herbal medicine, as the rest is covered by state insurance.

The three-year test run is aimed at reducing the financial burden of patients and establishing a verified system to ensure the safety and effectiveness of herbal medicine, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

Around 8,700 clinics providing traditional Korean medicine treatments across the country ― approximately 62 percent of the total ― have agreed to participate in the program.

Why Western medical doctors oppose

The announcement was immediately met with strong backlash from the Korea Medical Association (KMA), the largest Western medical doctors’ group in the country with more than 130,000 members. The association strongly condemned the government’s decision through a press release, calling it a “nationwide clinical trial using unverified medicine.”

They argued that easing public access to traditional Korean medicine and related herbal therapy will pose a risk to people’s health as they claim the safety of the treatments have not been adequately verified and there is no scientific evidence for their efficacy.

The association also pointed out that the program may lead to poor quality of herbal medicine, due to a shortage of certified herbal medication dispensaries and lenient control over them. While most small traditional Korean medicine clinics have own dispensaries, some large ones have outside dispensaries make the medicine.

“There are only five outside herbal medication dispensaries in the country certified by the government. This means that those five facilities will be preparing all the herbal medicines for over 8,700 clinics during the pilot program period,” KMA member Kim Gyo-woong said at a press conference, Nov. 23.

“The mass production system may lead to failure in quality control and safety issues, and considering the current lax control over dispensaries, the system may lead to illicit manufacturing of drugs,” he added.

In addition, the KMA stressed that the health authorities should focus more on the unresolved issues surrounding the side effects of traditional medicine.

More than half of medical disputes reported in relation to traditional medicine treatments were about herbal medicine, followed by Chuna manual therapy, acupuncture, and skin care, the association said, citing recent data from the Korea Consumer Agency.

“The government must immediately retract the policy which only puts public safety at risk, and launch a full investigation on all herbal dispensaries and prohibit the operation

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Frank Lampard provides positive Kai Havertz fitness update ahead of Rennes clash

Frank Lampard is hopeful that Chelsea midfielder Kai Havertz will travel to France for their Champions League clash against Rennes on Tuesday.

Havertz has been out after he tested positive for coronavirus earlier this month prior to the home win against Rennes. 

He returned to individual training this week and has been building up his fitness following a short period on the sidelines. 

But Lampard is hoping to have the 21-year-old available for their trip to France and that he’s available to get some minutes.

“I hope he is available [for Rennes]. He’s been in for a few days now doing some individual work and he’s looked pretty good,” said Lampard. 

“Kai is a naturally fit boy so I hope to have him travelling with us to Rennes and maybe he’ll get some minutes. I’m not sure exactly how many because it was a two-week isolation but he looks in good shape.” 

On any further injury news ahead of Tuesday’s clash, Lampard added that he will closely monitor the rest of the squad before making any selection decisions.

“I’ll make a decision whether to make changes or not depending on how the recovery looks. We have people like Ben Chilwell, who has had a back problem, and players who played a lot of international minutes so we’ll have to see how they are.”

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Bloemfontein Celtic goalkeeper Mabokgwane in fitness race ahead Orlando Pirates clash

Bloemfontein Celtic coach John Maduka is fretting over the fitness of goalkeeper Jackson Mabokgwane and midfielder Lantshene Phalane, ahead of meeting Orlando Pirates in Wednesday’s Premier Soccer League (PSL) match at Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium.

Mabokgwane might not face his former club after lasting 66 minutes in Sunday’s 1-1 MTN8 semi-final, first leg draw away at SuperSport United on Sunday.

It was a double injury blow after Phalane played just 28 minutes of the match and before being taken off complaining of pain on his groin.

“I have not met the medical team yet and I am not sure of [Phalane’s] situation. I just heard that Jackson has been taken to hospital but Phalane is still with the team‚” said Maduka as per Sowetan Live.

“I have not gotten the [medical] reports yet to see how bad the injuries are. Yeah we will first check you know if there might be some few knocks here and there.

“It is very important for us to introduce the fresh legs. We have been playing every three days‚ so it is very important to go to the game against Pirates also refreshed a little bit.

“There might be some changes‚ one or two or three so that the team can be able to compete on Wednesday [against Pirates].”

Given Mashinkinya came on for Phalane on Sunday and could step in again if the midfielder fails to recover in time for the Pirates match.

A 1-1 draw against Golden Arrows and a 1-0 defeat by Swallows FC characterise Celtic’s PSL campaign so far.

Celtic host the Buccaneers who arrive in Bloemfontein on a high after convincingly beating Kaizer Chiefs 3-0 in the MTN8 semi-final, first leg match on Saturday.

Pirates are expecting forward Frank Mhango to be back after the Malawi forward missed the Chiefs match due to injury.

They will be without coach Josef Zinnbauer who has been granted leave to travel back to Germany to attend to his hospitalised son.

The Soweto giants are yet to win a league match after drawing their two matches games against AmaZulu and Stellenbosch on 1-1 scorelines.

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Hibs cup hero Lewis Stevenson in desperate fight for fitness ahead of Hearts clash

Hibernian’s Lewis Stevenson is in a race against time to prove his fitness ahead of Saturday's Scottish Cup semi-final derby. Photo by Craig Foy/SNS Group
Hibernian’s Lewis Stevenson is in a race against time to prove his fitness ahead of Saturday’s Scottish Cup semi-final derby. Photo by Craig Foy/SNS Group

Lewis Stevenson, who was part of the League Cup winning side in 2007 and one of the men who will go down in history after he helped end the Leith side’s 114-year Scottish Cup drought, in 2016, hobbled away from Rugby Park in a protective boot after he rolled his ankle in the 1-0 triumph over Kilmarnock last weekend.

Jack Ross, who won one and lost one of his first two derbies as Hibs manager, had hoped that the injury would improve in time for the trip to Hampden, but the prognosis is not looking good and the 32-year-old left-back looks set to miss out on the Capital derby.

Overshadowed by young Josh Doig when the Premiership season got under way, the veteran defender had forced his way back into the starting line-up at the beginning of October.

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But, in what could be the only derby of the season against Championship Hearts, Scotland U-19 starlet Doig now looks likely to step back in.

In more positive news, the Hibs boss is hoping to have at least one of his wingers back to bolster his attacking options.

Drey Wright and Jamie Murphy, who are recovering from groin and hamstring niggles respectively, came close to being in contention for the game with Kilmarnock, but it was decided not to risk them due to the plastic pitch. Their rehabilitation remains on track, though, and there is an expectation that at least one of them will feature against Robbie Neilson’s Hearts side.

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Simeone gives update on Atletico star Suarez’s fitness ahead of Champions League clash with RB Salzburg

Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone said Luis Suarez could still start the club’s Champions League fixture against Salzburg, despite training away from the squad.

Suarez trained individually ahead of Tuesday’s Group A showdown with Austrian visitors Salzburg in Madrid.

Simeone – whose Atletico were routed 4-0 by defending champions Bayern Munich on matchday one – provided a fitness update on Suarez, telling reporters on Monday: “He’ll be in the squad.

“We agreed with the doctor that it was best for him to work away from the group [on Monday] and then, according to what we see tomorrow, he’ll [either] start or be on the bench.”

Suarez has been in red-hot form since swapping embattled La Liga giants Barcelona for Spanish rivals Atletico at the start of the season.

The 33-year-old has scored four goals in five league games, including the second goal in last week’s 2-0 victory at home to Real Betis.

Suarez also scored his 150th La Liga goal earlier this month, becoming the second fastest player to reach that milestone in the competition this century – quicker than Lionel Messi and only behind Cristiano Ronaldo.

Asked if he was surprised by Suarez’s impact, Simeone replied: “Surprised, no.  I’ve found a player who I listened to on the phone when we first made contact in that first chat to see if there was a chance he could join us.

“He wanted to be here and he’s proving it. Let’s hope we can help him.”

Simeone also hailed Atletico attacker Joao Felix, who has impressed during the early stages of 2020-21.

Joao Felix arrived from Benfica for a club-record €126 million fee last season but injuries hampered the Portuguese after a solid start.

He has a goal and one assist through five La Liga appearances and Simeone added: “It’s always the same. For me, he’s had some very good games since the start of the season. Granada, Huesca, Villarreal despite being tired, the whole game in Munich…

“He’s looked dangerous on a number of occasions. The other day [against Real Betis], when he came on in the 25th minute, the team had a good fluidity.

“I’m happy with his work, except for a few minutes against Celta [Vigo], which weren’t the best. We’re always looking for a situation to find him [on the pitch]. He’s a boy who’s in good form, like many of his team-mates.”

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Ancelotti makes U-turn on Rodriguez fitness ahead of Southampton clash

(Reuters) – Everton coach Carlo Ancelotti is hopeful playmaker James Rodriguez will be fit in time for Sunday’s Premier League clash at Southampton, a day after saying he expected the Colombia international to miss the match.



Carlo Ancelotti that is standing in the water: Premier League - Everton v Brighton & Hove Albion


© Reuters/JAN KRUGER
Premier League – Everton v Brighton & Hove Albion

Rodriguez sustained an injury during a challenge from Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk early in last weekend’s Merseyside derby draw at Goodison Park, although he stayed on for the full 90 minutes.

Ancelotti had earlier suggested Rodriguez would be unable to face the Saints but on Friday confirmed the player had resumed partial training.

“He is not definitely out,” Ancelotti told reporters. “Fortunately his recovery was really good and he trained today, just a partial training session.

Video: Liverpool’s Van Dijk to undergo knee surgery (Reuters)

Liverpool’s Van Dijk to undergo knee surgery

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“I hope he trains tomorrow and is in condition to play on Sunday. We are really confident he can maybe play.”

Ancelotti said centre back Ben Godfrey, who made his Everton debut against Liverpool, will be deployed at right back against the Saints, with Jonjoe Kenny yet to recover from an ankle injury.

League leaders Everton are unbeaten this season, having recorded four wins and a draw against reigning champions Liverpool.

“The start was good, now there is a consistency to show every game,” Ancelotti said.

“They (Southampton) are trying to play without the ball with high intensity, they are really compact. We have to be smart, we have to be clever with the ball. If we are, we could have chances to win the game.”

(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Chennai; Editing by Toby Davis)

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Football: Ancelotti makes U-turn on Rodriguez fitness ahead of Southampton clash

LIVERPOOL: Everton coach Carlo Ancelotti is hopeful playmaker James Rodriguez will be fit in time for Sunday’s Premier League clash at Southampton, a day after saying he expected the Colombia international to miss the match.

Rodriguez sustained an injury after a challenge from Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk early in last weekend’s Merseyside derby draw at Goodison Park, although he stayed on for the full 90 minutes.

Ancelotti had earlier suggested Rodriguez would be unable to face the Saints, but on Friday (Oct 23) confirmed the player had resumed partial training.

“He is not definitely out,” Ancelotti told reporters. “Fortunately his recovery was really good and he trained today, just a partial training session.

“I hope he trains tomorrow and is in condition to play on Sunday. We are really confident he can maybe play.”

READ: Pickford criticism for van Dijk injury is over the top, says Everton’s Ancelotti

READ: Cinema football screenings show contradictions of COVID curbs, says charity chief

Ancelotti said centre-back Ben Godfrey, who made his Everton debut against Liverpool, will be deployed at right-back against the Saints, with Jonjoe Kenny yet to recover from an ankle injury.

League leaders Everton are unbeaten this season, having recorded four wins in addition to the draw against reigning champions Liverpool.

“The start was good, now there is a consistency to show every game,” Ancelotti said.

“(Southampton) are trying to play without the ball with high intensity, they are really compact. We have to be smart, we have to be clever with the ball. If we are, we could have chances to win the game.”

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Crucial Kevin De Bruyne and Aymeric Laporte fitness updates provided ahead of West Ham clash

Manchester City have revealed two major fitness updates for the first-team squad ahead of Saturday’s trip to the London Stadium to face West Ham United in the Premier League.

There had been doubts over whether certain players currently ruled out injured would return to training ahead of the trip south, however as per photos revealed by the club’s official Twitter account, Pep Guardiola looks to have received two major boosts to his squad at just the right time.

Kevin De Bruyne and Aymeric Laporte have both returned to training with the first-team after their respective injury problems sustained in the run-up to the clash with Arsenal after the international break.

The Belgian midfielder had sustained a slight niggle in his country’s narrow defeat to England in their final international fixture before the players returned to their usual club duties. Laporte on the other hand appeared to have sustained a minor injury himself in the hours leading up to City’s 1-0 victory over Arsenal, with the squad partaking in a light session on the day of the game.

Other positive news for Pep Guardiola will be Gabriel Jesus edging closer to a return, with the Brazilian striker revealing on Instagram that he had returned to the City Football Academy to partake in some on-field work with the coaching staff.

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Christian Pulisic sends message to Frank Lampard over his fitness ahead of Man Utd clash

Christian Pulisic is working his way back to full fitness following a serious hamstring injury (Picture: Getty)

Christian Pulisic insists he is back to full fitness and ready to play a full 90 minutes having recovered from the hamstring strain which ruled him out of the opening weeks of the new season.

The America international enjoyed an eye-catching first season in English football and emerged as a key component of Frank Lampard’s new-look side before he was forced off during the FA Cup final against Arsenal.

Lampard embarked on a major summer spending spree, recruiting the likes of Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech to reinforce Chelsea’s already formidable looking forward line.

Pulisic made his comeback as a late substitute during a 4-0 win over Crystal Palace earlier this month and got further minutes under his belt against Southampton last weekend, while he was taken off late on during last night’s Champions League stalemate against Sevilla.

Chelsea travel to Old Trafford this weekend looking to kick-start their Premier League season having won just two of their opening five fixtures and Pulisic believes he is now ready to offer his manager a boost and go the whole distance.

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‘Fitness-wise I feel great, I’m getting back to where I was, I feel strong, I feel like I can play 90 minutes,’ he said. ‘So yeah, I’m happy. ‘

After some noteworthy defensive lapses in recent weeks, Pulisic was pleased to see his side record a rare clean sheet, particularly against such difficult opponents, but admits his team must strike a balance if they are to achieve a positive result on Saturday.

He added: ‘It was definitely a tough game, it was definitely kind of one of those where there were not a lot of chances in the game. We did a lot of good defending and we can walk away proud with a point today.

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‘It’s a strong team absolutely, they definitely put us to the test, moved the ball really well we definitely defended a lot today and we are going to continue to work to improve as a team.

‘It’s everyone’s job to be behind the ball at times we have to help out defensively and I think it will give us some confidence today going away from the game with a clean sheet is not all bad. I think it’s not bad for the guys.

‘That’s the goal we’ve got to find the balance. Obviously we’ve got to create more chances and I want to help with that. We’ve got to find a way to do both.’

MORE: Joe Cole convinced Chelsea trio will make huge difference for Frank Lampard after Sevilla draw

MORE: Frank Lampard reacts to Manchester United beating PSG ahead of Chelsea’s trip to Old Trafford

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