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Townsend: Points on board best thing for Newcastle

Andros Townsend scored the winner against Crystal Palace. Credit: PA

Andros Townsend would rather have points on the board than games in hand as the Premier League survival race approaches its climax.

Townsend's superb free-kick eased Newcastle out of the drop zone last weekend as a 1-0 win over Crystal Place, coupled with Sunderland's draw at Stoke and Norwich's defeat at Arsenal, provided another twist.

The Magpies are only a point better off than the Black Cats and two ahead of the Canaries having played a game more as they head for Aston Villa on Saturday, but the former Tottenham midfielder is happy to be in that position.

You'd rather have points on the board than playing catch-up with games in hand.

We have our points on the board. It's now down to Norwich and Sunderland to get their points in their game in hand.

We have done our job and hopefully we can go to Villa on Saturday and do it all again. We need to get three points then leave it to the others.

– Andros Townsend


Phillips to join Sale Sharks next season

Mike Phillips is returning to the UK. Credit: PA

Mike Phillips will play in the Aviva Premiership next season after signing a deal with Sale.

The 33-year-old former Wales scrum-half has played for Llanelli, Cardiff, Ospreys, Bayonne and his current club Racing 92.

He is likely to feature for the Paris side in next week's European Champions Cup final but will then head to England and the Sharks.

Pellegrini: Man City didn't deserve to go out

Manuel Pellegrini has managed his last City game in Europe. Credit: PA

Manuel Pellegrini bemoaned Manchester City's luck after a deflected Gareth Bale strike ended their Champions League dream.

Fernando diverted Bale's shot into his own net after 20 minutes of the semi-final second leg at a deafening Bernabeu, sending City crashing to a 1-0 defeat both on the night and on aggregate.

It was no less than the Spanish side deserved after creating a host of chances while City struggled to create any momentum after captain Vincent Kompany - yet again - was forced off injured early in the match.

But City boss Pellegrini did not agree with official statistics that said Real had 15 attempts on goal to his side's four and claimed defeat was harsh on the visitors.

I think we didn't deserve to lose this game. I think Real were very lucky with their goal, or we were very unlucky because it was a deflection that put the ball in the top corner.

None of the teams deserved to win and we should have gone to penalties. It is not that we saw Real Madrid better than us, but with the ball we were not creative enough to damage their defence.

I think we worked very well the whole game, that is why Real couldn't create many chances - but after that we needed creative players who could make the difference in the last third and we couldn't (do it).

I don't think they had 15 attempts. I don't know what the statistics make as attempts.

– Manuel Pellegrini

Funeral for Army Captain who died after marathon collapse

David Seath collapsed just three miles from the finish. Credit: JustGiving

The funeral of Afghanistan veteran David Seath, who died after collapsing during the London marathon, will be held on Thursday.

The 31-year-old serving army officer collapsed just three miles from the finish after suffering a suspected cardiac arrest and later died in hospital.

Captain Seath, originally from Cowdenbeath in Fife but based in Plymouth, Devon, was a fire support team commander in 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery.

He will be laid to rest following a funeral in St Margaret's RC Memorial Church, Dunfermline, led by parish priest Father Chris Heenan.

More than £100,000 has been donated to a JustGiving page in his memory while about £80,000 has been raised for the charity on his own page.


Liverpool striker 'cost as much as Villarreal turnover'

Benteke cost £32.5m. Credit: PA

Villarreal manager Marcelino tried to ramp up the pressure on Liverpool by claiming striker Christian Benteke cost as much as the Spanish club's turnover last season.

The Reds' second-most expensive ever signing is only likely to be on the bench for Thursday's Europa League semi-final second leg but that did not stop the Yellow Submarine boss using him to attack his opponents.

"Liverpool as a club have an extraordinary squad of footballers when you consider Benteke cost 50million euros (about £39.5million - he actually cost £32.5m), which equates to the whole turnover of Villarreal as a club," he said.

"We come here full of hope, we are going to give everything we have got and we will enjoy ourselves.

"Our main aim is to be competitive. We feel we have the capabilities we can make it through to the final

"This group of players needs to be proud of what they have achieved as we are already qualified for the Champions League.

"This is an occasion to be celebrated. In no way whatsoever will we be affected negatively by the atmosphere, if anything we will be affected positively and galvanised by it.

"We will suffer at moments in the game, we will find it tough but we can cause them trouble.

"The game will be decided by the team who are more assured at key moments in the game."

Starting line-ups: Real Madrid v Man City

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