Sunday, 24 May 2015

Tennis; Andy Murray's French Open bid gets pilates boost

Andy Murray & Amelie Mauresmo
Twelve months ago, at 21:40 BST on the first Saturday evening of the French Open, Andy Murray's third-round match with Philipp Kohlschreiber was suspended due to darkness at 7-7 in the final set.
Murray had been a break of serve up in all five of the sets they played, but needed a total of four hours and seven minutes to close out the decider 12-10 early on Sunday afternoon.
There was a similar tale when Murray met Gael Monfils in the quarter-final. A two-set lead evaporated very quickly and he was forced to play a brilliant final set to wrap up victory as the sun was setting behind the Philippe Chatrier court.
The rout that followed in the semi-final should have come as little surprise. Murray won only 10 points on Rafael Nadal's serve as he was beaten 6-3 6-2 6-1 in what he described as a "bad, bad day". He blamed himself for not finishing his earlier matches off more quickly, something which he has done much more efficiently this year in a hugely encouraging clay-court campaign.
Murray has won all 10 of the matches he has contested on the surface this year. In Madrid, where he beat Milos Raonic, Kei Nishikori and Nadal to win the title, he dropped only one set and did not once have to resort to a tie-break.
He rightly points out that winning at Roland Garros would be a "very, very difficult thing to do," but there is no doubt he is playing the best clay-court tennis of his life.
Murray is very likely to have to beat either Novak Djokovic or Nadal just to reach the final, but he is playing extremely well as the triumph in Madrid and his run to the final of the Australian Open and the Miami Masters prove.
His coach Amelie Mauresmo, who is expecting her first child in August and could conceivably be preparing for her final Grand Slam with Murray (she is unsure whether she will be able to join the team at Wimbledon, and open minded about her long-term future), deflects any credit towards the world number three.
"I think he is the one who should be proud of himself because the amount of work he's putting into his tennis, and in achieving his goals, is huge," she told BBC Sport.
"His game is coming together really well and I think the confidence that he's been building since the beginning of the year is also one explanation for him feeling good on clay so far."
And there is one other crucial difference this year: Murray's reconfigured back is no longer hampering him.

Andy Murray's potential route to the final

Round one: Facundo Arguello (Argentina, ranking 139)
Round two: Vasek Pospisil (Canada, ranking 51)
Round three: Nick Kyrgios (Australia, seeding 29)
Round four: John Isner (US, seeding 16)
Quarter-final: David Ferrer (Spain, seeding 7)
Semi-final: Novak Djokovic (Serbia, seeding 1) / Rafael Nadal (Spain, seeding 6)
Final: Roger Federer (Switzerland, seeding 2)
Even last year - eight months after surgery - his back was not as strong and as supple as it needed to be for clay, a slower surface which requires the body to generate a lot of torque to power the ball.
Murray was able to enjoy a very profitable training block in Barcelona, which proved perfect preparation for the back-to-back titles he won in Munich and Madrid.
"I had a gyrotonics - a pilates - teacher come over from America," Murray told me at the Rome Masters earlier this month.
"She came over to Barcelona so I did a lot more work on my movement and my range of motion in my body. I feel physically much healthier with my back than I did at this time last year. It's not just that - my tennis has been good as well - but it's been a big, big factor for me."
With the exception of his 2010 US Open defeat by Stan Wawrinka, Murray has not lost to a player from outside the top 20 in a Grand Slam since turning 21. Nick Kyrgios could test that proud record if they meet in the third round, and both John Isner and David Ferrer - who has won all four of their meetings on clay - may be challenging second week opponents.
But if Murray is to reach a maiden Roland Garros final, he is very likely to have to deny Nadal a 10th title or Djokovic a first. If the players live up to their seedings, then Murray will face whomever emerges victorious from a quarter-final between the world number one Serb and Nadal.
Nadal & Djokovic
Rafael Nadal is seeded sixth, which puts the Spaniard in the same side of the draw as world number one Novak Djokovic
In the final in Madrid, Murray exposed Nadal's brittle confidence when confronted by the very best. But should the nine-time champion make it through to the semi-finals this year, then he is likely to be a frightening proposition on a court where he can make the ball rear up above shoulder height, and on which he has so much space to defend.
Djokovic must still be the favourite, though. In 2015 alone, he has won all four Masters Series events he has contested - not to mention the Australian Open. His current streak of victories stretches to 22, and he has not lost a match at Masters or Grand Slam level since October of last year.
His desperation to win at Roland Garros and complete the career Grand Slam may have hindered him in the past, though, and an early meeting with Nadal may not be in the best interests of either player.
There is no sense of inevitability this year about the destination of La Coupe Des Mousquetaires.

Taiwo Awoniyi, Kelechi Iheanacho top Nigeria U20 World Cup list

Taiwo Awoniyi, Kelechi Iheanacho top Nigeria U20 World Cup list

Manu Garba did not spring any surprises with his selection for New Zealand, with the likes of Iheanacho, Awoniyi, Muhammed & Success making the cut
Nigeria U20 coach Manu Garba has named his 21-man squad players for the Fifa U20 World Cup in New Zealand.
The reigning African youth champions will be hoping to emerge world champions for the first time and have been drawn in the same group with Brazil, Hungary and North Korea.
Regular suspects such as Musa Muhammed, Taiwo Awoniyi, Joshua Enaholo and Akinjide Idowu who were part of the Senegal 2015 African Youth Championship made the final list, while Manchester City wonder kid Kelechi Iheanacho, Granada’s Isaac Success and Tottenham’s Musa Yahaya make a return to the team.
There are three goalkeepers, six defenders, seven midfielders and five strikers.
The Flying Eagles face Brazil in their first game of the championship against six-time world champions Brazil on June 1.

Goalkeepers: Joshua Enaholo (MFM FC); Dele Alampasu (Football College Academy); Olorunleke Ojo (Giwa FC)
Defenders: Musa Muhammed (FC Heart Academy); Mustapha Abdullahi (Spotlight FC); Zaharaddeen Bello (Dabo Babes Academy); Wilfred Ndidi (KRC Genk, Belgium); Izu Omego (Apapa Golden Stars); Chidiebere Nwakali (Manchester City, England)
Midfielders: Akinjide Idowu (Nigeria Young Academy); Ifeanyi Ifeanyi (Water FC); Kingsley Sokari (Enyimba FC); Ifeanyi Mathew (El-Kanemi Warriors); Musa Yahaya (Tottenham FC, England); Bernard Bulbwa (Esperance ST, Tunisia); Godwin Saviour (FC Sports)
Forwards: Taiwo Awoniyi (Imperial Academy); Chidera Ezeh (FC Porto, Portugal); Kelechi Iheanacho (Manchester City, England); Moses Simon (KAA Gent, Belgium); Success Isaac (Granada FC, Spain)

Taiwo Awoniyi, Kelechi Iheanacho top Nigeria U20 World Cup list

Taiwo Awoniyi, Kelechi Iheanacho top Nigeria U20 World Cup list

Kelechi Iheanacho scores brace in Manchester United U21 defeat

Kelechi Iheanacho scores brace in Manchester United U21 defeat
The Flying Eagles star was on target twice for the Citizens youth team in their 3-1 defeat of Manchester United in a league game on Saturday afternoon
Nigerian youngster Kelechi Iheanacho scored twice in Manchester CityU21 3-1 win over Manchester United U21 in a league game played at the City Football Academy on Saturday. The 17-year-old who was handed a starter’s shirt by manager Patrick Viera inspired his side win against the U21 Premier League champions who took the lead into the half time break.
Andy Kellett took advantage of a lapse in concentration from the home side just before the break to cross for Ashley Fletcher to slide the ball in.
Iheanacho levelled the game before the hour mark, beating his man and slotting the ball past Kieran O'Hara for another fine goal. City continued to press, with Barker now a real handful on his favoured left touchline.
And they were rewarded when Angelino's effort from a short corner was deflected in. Callum Gribbin test Angus Gunn's goal with a long-range effort, but the former Golden Eaglets forward finished off the visitors.
Iheanacho is expected to join with the rest of his colleagues preparing for the 2015 Fifa U20 World Cup on Monday.

Ferdinand stunned by tributes

Rio Ferdinand: Still dealing with the death of his wife
Queens Park Rangers defender Rio Ferdinand has been astounded by the levels of support he received from football fans following the death of his wife.
The former England captain said Rebecca Ellison's battle with cancer was and extremely testing time for his family and paid tribute to her courage.
A host of football's star names, including Sir Alex Ferguson and former Manchester United team-mate Nemanja Vidic, turned out for the 34-year-old funeral.
"It has been the most difficult period of my life, what with managing the emotions of our three children and watching such a great woman as my wife Rebecca die without being able to do anything about it," Ferdinand wrote in his Sun column.
"After Rebecca died, we held a service on a lovely sunny day which was arranged to perfection.
“Rebecca was an organisational freak and planned much of it herself while the kids picked the music.
“She wanted it to be celebration of her life rather than a morbid occasion and it went just the way she would have liked."
Ferdinand thanked the world of football for its good wishes, including fans at his former clubs West Ham and Manchester United as well as Liverpool.
"The day it was announced the Rebecca had died, we were overwhelmed by message of support...the kids saw it all and were telling me, 'Look Dad, have you seen what they are doing for Mum?' Those are good memories for them," he said.
"It was refreshing to see such compassion in the game, with tribalism removed."
The couple married in August 2009 in the Caribbean on Peter Island in the British Virgin Islands. The footballer rented the entire 1,800-acre resort for their nuptials.
They have three children - Lorenz, nine, Tate, six, and four-year-old Tia.
According to reports, Ms Ellison died after a battle with breast cancer.
The 36-year-old also said he felt "guilty" about not being able to play a full part in QPR's season, during which they were relegated from the Premier League.
His wife's battle was only known within an intimate circle of family and friends and other players at the club were unaware why he was unavailable for selection, the player said.

Echiejile in, Enyeama out of European club competition

Echiejile in, Enyeama out of European club competition
The Super Eagles duo recorded contrasting fates as the French Ligue 1 2014/2015 season came to a close on Saturday night
Nigeria internationals Vincent Enyeama and Elderson Echiejile were on parade for their respective Ligue 1 outfits as the French topflight 2014/2015 came to a close on Saturday.
Enyeama put up a five-star performance as Lille harassed Metz 4-1 away at the Stade Saint-Symphorien while Echiejile came on as a second half substitute to help Monaco pip Lorient 1-0 courtesy of Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco’s first half strike.
Monaco’s victory ensured they finished third on the log with 71 points from 38 games and will now feature in the Champions League qualification.
On the other hand, Lille’s massive away win could not help them seal a place in the Europa League after losing the slot to Olympic Marseille and Saint-Etienne who ended fourth and fifth respectively.
Echiejile’s side were bounced out of this season’s Champions League in the quarter-final by Juventus, while Enyeama’s Lille did not make it past the Europa League group stage after finishing bottom of the zone which had Everton, Wolfsburg and Krasnodar.

Van Gaal targets Carrick cover

Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal
Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has made signing a defensive midfielder a priority for next season.
The Dutchman believes the team lacks sufficient depth in that area of the pitch, and expects to address the situation.
While Michael Carrick has been dependable in the role throughout his nine-season at Old Trafford, United have been forced to play without the 33-year-old at stages in the current campaign because of injury.
And as a result Wayne Rooney and Ander Herrera have both been utilised in the role.
When asked about his plans, Van Gaal said: "No.6 is a key player, yes. I have more key roles – the no.6 is just one of those key roles.
"You have seen this season, for example, because Michael Carrick is injured and I don't have another, I have to play with Ander Herrera there. He did it very well, but it is not his speciality.
"I have played Wayne Rooney there also, but it is not his favoured position. I had to do this because I don't have another right-footed holding midfielder like Carrick.
"That is why it is a key role, but I cannot discuss other positions because then I show too much."
Van Gaal has reiterated his desire to complete United’s business long before the window closes on 31 August.
The former Netherlands coach would be happy for that deadline to be brought forward to before the new Premier League season begins.
"It is always ending on 31 August, which, in my opinion, is ridiculous,” added Van Gaal. “I have many times strived to change the transfer window because it has to be out of the competition.
"You have to be finished before your prepare your team for the season.
"Last year we had the World Cup and a lot of players came in later. We made a lot of purchases at the last moment, on 31 August, so we had to prepare our team in the Premier League and that cost us a lot of points.
"That's the difference with other teams. I hope we shall finish that much earlier."

Gunners target Vidal move

Arturo Vidal: A long-time target for Manchester United
  • Paris Saint-Germain have made a move for Manchester United misfit Angel Di Maria.
  • Liverpool will demand an astonishing £60million to let Raheem Sterling leave for Manchester City.
  • Austria defender Kevin Wimmer confirmed he is joining Tottenham.
  • Dwight Gayle is a target for Bournemouth as they look to bolster their attack for the Premier League.
  • Sunderland want to sign veteran keeper Robert Green and save him from relegation misery at QPR.
  • Nikica Jelavic will look to leave Hull on loan and move to a Premier League club if the Tigers go down today.
  • Arsenal are Raheem Sterling's top choice if and when he leaves Liverpool.
  • Louis Van Gaal is backing Ryan Giggs to succeed him as manager of Manchester United - and make a success of the job.
  • West Brom want Manchester United striker James Wilson on loan - on the recommendation of former Red Devils midfielder Darren Fletcher.
  • Arsenal have put Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal, 28, high on their summer wanted list.
  • Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino is checking out Celta Vigo midfield player Michael Krohn-Dehli as an ideal summer signing.
  • West Ham are weighing up an approach for former Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas.
  • Real Madrid have asked super-agent Jorge Mendes for a meeting this week - and David De Gea will be at the top of the agenda.
  • Roberto Martinez is confident he is not on a Raheem Sterling-style collision course with the new agent representing Romelu Lukaku.
  • Chris Ramsey has two weeks to sell his vision of QPR's future to his key players - or see his squad ripped to pieces this summer.
  • Nigel Pearson is desperate to strengthen his squad this summer - because he doesn't want to go to hell and back again next season.
  • Paul Clement will become the highest-earning manager in the Championship when he takes over at Derby - after agreeing to take a pay cut.
  • Chelsea are set to move for Stoke's Asmir Begovic - and that will spark a goalkeeping merry-go-round.
  • Edin Dzeko holds the key to Manchester City winning the race for Raheem Sterling.
  • Sunderland saviour Dick Advocaat wants to stay for another season at the Stadium of Light.
  • Manchester United youngster Tyler Blackett might be heading to Everton this summer if Roberto Martinez cannot land fellow Old Trafford defender Jonny Evans.
  • Robin van Persie will be offered an £18million deal to sign for Lekhwiya.
  • Manchester City, Barcelona and Real Madrid are now in a three-way hunt for Paul Pogba after Paris Saint-Germain pulled out of the running.
  • Tottenham will listen to offers of around £5million for striker Emmanuel Adebayor.
  • Eddie Howe is pressing ahead with plans to lure hot-shot Jermain Defoe.
  • New York Red Bulls have made an approach to take Wigan winger James McClean across the pond.
  • Crystal Palace striker Marouane Chamakh wants to rejoin Bordeaux.
  • Swansea will listen to offers for defender Dwight Tiendalli this summer.
  • West Brom have checked out Cesena striker Gregoire Defrel as the Italian club lost its fight to stay in Serie A.
  • Liverpool have put a £60million price on Raheem Sterling's head after the England star insisted he wants to leave Anfield this summer.
  • Gareth Bale will be staying at Real Madrid next season, according to those close to club president Florentino Perez, meaning yet another Manchester United transfer target has fallen by the wayside. United have responded by stepping up their efforts in the summer transfer market, pursuing Nicolas Otamendi, the Valencia centre-half.
  • Liverpool contract rebel Raheem Sterling will be sold if any interested club comes up with a £50million offer.
  • Dick Advocaat flies back to Holland tomorrow to beg his wife to allow him to stay on at Sunderland for 12 more months.
  • Manchester United have been offered Costa Rican international keeper Keylor Navas as a sweetner in a bid to take David de Gea to Real Madrid.
  • Liverpool are plotting a recruitment drive, spearheaded by the £30m capture of Christian Benteke, that they hope will enable them to make up ground at the top of the Premier League - and help Raheem Sterling to sign a new contract.
  • Celtic are set to cut their losses and offload Dutch flop Derk Boerrigter.
  • Cup Final boss Peter Houston has revealed Falkirk will be his last job in management.
  • Scott Allan last night insisted he'll stick around to mastermind another Premiership push for Hibs.

It would hurt if Arsenal sold me; says Wilhere

Wilshere: It would hurt if Arsenal sold me
 jack Wilshere says he would hurt if Arsenal sold him but admits he is yet to discuss with future with Arsene Wenger.

The midfielder recently made his return after yet another injury setback, which has restricted the 23-year-old to just 13 Premier League appearances this season.

In his absence, Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey have continued to impress while Mesut Ozil has rediscovered his best form and Francis Coquelin has established him in the first team.

Wilshere expects to be at Arsenal come the start of next season and says he would find it hard to play for another club, but accepts he has a tough task on his hand with Arsenal's competition for places.

"I would be hurt if they sold me," he told the Sportmasta. "I want Arsenal to want me. If they didn't want me, it would hurt. It would be strange playing for another club. I went to Bolton on loan and that was strange.

"I feel like I'm ready to play now and that's not going to change. I want to play more minutes before the end of the season and then I'll have to wait until next season and see what the boss's plans are for me.

"I want to play first-team football. I want to play in the Premier League, the Champions League and I want to continue playing for England.

"If I'm going to do that, I have to play for my club and put in good performances for my club because there are other English midfielders who are doing that in the Premier League.

"You can't stop the speculation or do anything about it. I have not spoken to the boss about it at all. He has not mentioned it to me. I've not mentioned anything to him.

"At the moment, I need to get back in the team. The speculation about my future started when I was injured. You just want to get back out there and get back to what you love doing and concentrate on that."

Selling Sterling a 'no brainer' for Reds

Raheem Sterling: Poor performances this season?

Selling Raheem Sterling for £40m this summer is a "no brainer" after an underwhelming season at Liverpool, according to the Sunday Mirror's Andy Dunn.
The 20-year-old's future at Anfield is very much in doubt after the club cancelled scheduled contract talks on Friday.
Sterling has two years left on his contract but reports have linked several clubs with a move for him, with reports indicated Manchester City would be interested in a move if he becomes available.
The papers have suggested figures ranging between £40m and £60m for Liverpool to part with Sterling - and Dunn believes his performances this season mean the Reds should cash in.
"His finishing, for me, is not very good, or hasn't been very good this season," he told the Sunday Supplement.
"Last season I thought he was outstanding, but there were factors that contributed to that. He had Luis Suarez creating the space - unremittent, hard work, brilliant - he had Daniel Sturridge fit, and he had Steven Gerrard who basically had his last season of showing his majesty.
"It gave Sterling the environment in which to flourish on the football field, and he did.
"This season those things, for one reason or another, haven't been there to support him. Basically he hasn't produced as much, or kicked on as much as I hoped he would.
"I say £40m, some newspapers are saying Liverpool want £60m. Well, £60m is an absolute no-brainer for me.
"When Brendan Rodgers talked him up earlier in the season, saying he was the best young player in Europe, I do wonder if they just had one eye on the fact he might go at the end of the season and they want to get the best possible fee for him."
The Daily Telegraph's Henry Winter believes people shouldn't judge Sterling on his blip in form and understand he wants to play at the top, but admits money has become the overriding issue.
"Let's rewind a year - there were very few bright spots for England during the World Cup and Sterling was good there," he said.
"He is a good player. He's been distracted, clearly, over the last two months. It's self-inflicted - I don't think there's much sympathy for him.
"I think it's 80 per cent about money, but there's also 20 per cent about ambition and wanting to play in a Champions League team, and you can't blame him for that.
"The facts is there are big clubs interested in him. Why are they interested in him? It's because he's English, because he's young, because he's quick, because he's shown he can play in a variety of positions.
"There's a good player there who's having a very bad - and badly handled - two months."

Drogba to leave Chelsea at the end of the season

Drogba to leave Chelsea at the end of the season Didier Drogba has announced Sunday's clash with Sunderland will be his last as a Chelsea player as he will leave the club at the end of the season.

The Ivorian made a surprise return to Stamford Bridge last summer on a one-year contract and has chipped in with crucial goals against Manchester United, Tottenham and Leicester City to help Jose Mourinho's men secure a first Premier League title since 2010 - and Drogba's fourth of an illustrious career.

And while Drogba insists he is not yet ready to hang up his boots just yet, the 37-year-old has confirmed he is once again calling time on his Chelsea career - though he expects to return to the club in a non-playing capacity.

"I want to play for at least one more season and in order to play more football I feel I need to go to another club," he told the club's official website.

"All the fans know my love for Chelsea and I hope to be back here in the future in another role."

Drogba first left Chelsea in the summer of 2012, having scored the dramatic equaliser and winning penalty in the club's miraculous Champions League final triumph over Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena.

As reward for his career with the Blues, Drogba will captain the side against Dick Advocaat's team before the team get their hands on the Premier League trophy at full-time.

Football; 'Pogba wants to join Real Madrid'

'Pogba wants to join Real Madrid'
Former goalkeeper Francisco Buyo claims the France international has alerady expressed his desire to join the club in a conversation with president Florentino Perez
Paul Pogba wants to join his France international team-mates Karim Benzema and Raphael Varane at Real Madrid, according to former goalkeeper Francisco Buyo.
Juventus ace Pogba is being heavily linked with a move away from the Italian champions this summer, with the likes of Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain reportedly considering big-money moves for the 22-year-old midfielder.
However, Buyo, who made over 500 league appearances for Madrid, has now claimed that club president Florentino Perez has already sounded out the former Manchester United man over a move to the Santiago Bernabeu.
"Perez loves good players, he praised Pogba and asked him if likes Real,” Buyo told Telefoot and Sportmasta.
“If you ask a player if he loves this team and he says he does, it means he wants to join, and in the near future.
“In addition to the favourable financial deal on offer, Real Madrid also present the prospect of joining his friends Karim Benzema and Raphael Varane. And [B team coach and former Juventus midfielder] Zinedine Zidane would be provide they spirit of Juve.”
Madrid will face stiff competition for Pogba's signature, however, and PSG defender David Luiz believes Pogba should join him in the French capital.
"I hope that he will play with us,” the Brazilian said.
“I speak about him with [PSG and France midfielder Blaise] Matuidi, who told me it is a great guy and a great warrior, so I want him to play in my team."

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Chelsea champions for first time since 2010

Eden Hazard

Chelsea secured the Premier League title by beating Crystal Palace at an ecstatic Stamford Bridge.
Jose Mourinho's side needed three points to complete the triumph that has become an inevitability in recent weeks as they moved out of sight of their rivals to reclaim the crown from Manchester City, who are 13 points adrift despite their win at Tottenham.
Victory was secured by Eden Hazard's goal on the stroke of half-time, the Belgian heading past Julian Speroni after the Palace goalkeeper had saved the PFA Player of the Year's penalty.
Play media
Mourinho feels 'happy, proud and tired'
That gave Mourinho his third title as Chelsea manager, and the first of his second spell in charge. It is the club's fifth top-flight title and comes five years after their last and 60 years since their first.
The celebrations that swept around Stamford Bridge at the final whistle were fully deserved for a Chelsea side who have set the pace since the start of the season.
They played with flair and verve to make an all-conquering start then showed the ruthless efficiency that is the hallmark of all Mourinho sides after losing leading scorer Diego Costa for a crucial closing phase of the campaign.

Total Premier League title wins (since 1992)

13: Manchester United
2: Manchester City
4: Chelsea
1: Blackburn Rovers
3: Arsenal
At the head of it all was the master strategist Mourinho, adding the title to the Capital One Cup won against Tottenham at Wembley and vindicating Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich's decision to turn, once again, to the manager who brought him his first successes with titles in 2004-05 and 2005-06.
Banners were draped from the Shed End at Stamford Bridge in honour of Mourinho, bearing slogans such as: "The Special One - He's One Of Us." And while the Portuguese may be a divisive figure elsewhere, there is no doubting his heroic status at Chelsea after the successes he has engineered.
The statistics back up Mourinho's brilliance as this was his eighth title in 12 years with Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid.
This decisive victory over Palace may not have been achieved with sparkling football but the title win was closed out with the nerveless professionalism of a team that knew what needed to be done and did it - as they have so often.
Chelsea were previously champions in 1955, 2005, 2006 and 2010
And when it was done and hundreds of blue streamers littered the Stamford Bridge turf before Chelsea's elated players took a lap of honour with Abramovich looking on, the challenge was laid down to the chasing pack to respond to the domination Mourinho has now re-established in west London.
Play media
Five reasons why Chelsea won the Premier League
Chelsea's title win has been built on a mixture of the old guard, such as inspirational captain John Terry, who has rolled back the years magnificently, and the newer breed, such as the brilliant Hazard and those key summer signings Cesc Fabregas and Costa.
The chants of "Boring Boring Chelsea" - started by Arsenal's fans and repeated here by Palace supporters - carry a hollow ring as Mourinho's side have proved without question that they are the Premier League's outstanding side led by the Premier League's outstanding manager.
They were forced to make a late adjustment to their starting line-up when Ramires was taken ill and Juan Cuadrado was drafted in.
For all the energy on the pitch and expectation off it, the first half was a non-event until Hazard's penalty - apart from some wayward handling from Palace keeper Speroni, who fumbled Didier Drogba's free-kick having almost let in Nemanja Matic with a wild punch.

Mourinho's front-runners

Chelsea have spent 253 days at the top of the Premier League table to date this season
Only Chelsea in 2005-06 (257 days) and Manchester United in 1993-94 (262 days) have been at the top of the table for longer in a single Premier League campaign
The deadlock was broken right on half-time when Hazard surged into the area before tumbling theatrically under James McArthur's challenge.
Palace clearly felt Hazard made the most of slight contact - which he certainly did - and their frustration increased when the Belgian reacted first after his penalty was saved by Speroni, heading the rebound past the stranded keeper.
Play media
Penalty decision tough call - Pardew
There was the sense of the inevitable about proceedings as Chelsea moved towards a triumphant conclusion after the break, with only a Jason Puncheon shot that flew inches wide and a Wilfried Zaha effort that was blocked by Thibaut Courtois threatening to delay the coronation.
All the tension and pressure of the final few weeks were released when referee Kevin Friend blew his whistle, the normally impassive Abramovich punching the air as Chelsea returned to the pinnacle of the domestic game.
Roman Abramovich
Chelsea have won four Premier League titles since Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003
Jordon Mutch and Branislav Ivanovic
Jordon Mutch and Branislav Ivanovic were involved in a first-half confrontation
Alan Pardew and Jose Mourinho
Alan Pardew had won five of his previous six away league games as Palace boss
Eden Hazard
Eden Hazard headed in the rebound after his penalty had been saved
Eden Hazard
Eden Hazard had scored each of his previous nine league penalties for Chelsea

Lineup, Bookings (4) & Substitutions (6)


  • 13 Courtois
  • 02 Ivanovic Booked
  • 24 Cahill
  • 26 Terry Booked
  • 28 Azpilicueta
  • 04 Fàbregas
  • 21 Matic
  • 23 Cuadrado (Mikel - 45' )
  • 22 Willian (Zouma - 85' )
  • 10 Hazard (Filipe Luis - 92' )
  • 11 Drogba


  • 01 Cech
  • 03 Filipe Luis
  • 05 Zouma
  • 06 Aké
  • 12 Mikel
  • 18 Remy
  • 36 Loftus-Cheek

Crystal Palace

  • 01 Speroni
  • 03 Mariappa Booked (Kelly - 60' )
  • 06 Dann Booked
  • 27 Delaney
  • 02 Ward
  • 42 Puncheon (Sanogo - 71' )
  • 18 McArthur
  • 28 Ledley
  • 11 Zaha
  • 22 Mutch (Murray - 61' )
  • 07 Bolasie


  • 04 Hangeland
  • 09 Sanogo
  • 13 Hennessey
  • 15 Jedinak
  • 17 Murray
  • 24 Lee Chung-yong
  • 34 Kelly
Ref: Kevin Friend
Att: 41,566

Match Stats

Possession38%62%90minsChelseaCrystal Palace


17 8

On target

7 1


3 6


12 13

Live Text Commentary

Full time
Full Time Match ends, Chelsea 1, Crystal Palace 0.
90:00 +4:08 Full time
Full Time Second Half ends, Chelsea 1, Crystal Palace 0.
90:00 +2:22 Foul by Didier Drogba (Chelsea).
90:00 +2:22 Martin Kelly (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
90:00 +1:55 Delay over. They are ready to continue.
90:00 +1:53 Substitution
Substitution Substitution, Chelsea. Filipe Luis replaces Eden Hazard.
90:00 +0:35 Delay in match John Terry (Chelsea) because of an injury.
89:41 Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by John Terry.
89:01 Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Kurt Zouma.
88:59 Attempt blocked. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Yaya Sanogo.
88:20 Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Nemanja Matic.
87:54 Foul by John Terry (Chelsea).
87:54 Glenn Murray (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
86:19 Attempt missed. Eden Hazard (Chelsea) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by César Azpilicueta.
84:25 Substitution
Substitution Substitution, Chelsea. Kurt Zouma replaces Willian.
82:51 Attempt missed. Yannick Bolasie (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Glenn Murray.
82:10 Attempt missed. Willian (Chelsea) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Cesc Fàbregas.
81:22 Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Thibaut Courtois.
81:21 Attempt saved. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Yaya Sanogo.
81:20 Attempt missed. Yaya Sanogo (Crystal Palace) with an attempt from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Yannick Bolasie with a cross.

Premier League: Jose Mourinho's record in numbers

Jose Mourinho Premier League
In guiding Chelsea to their fourth Premier League title, manager Jose Mourinho has secured the 22nd trophy of his career.
Following his latest triumph, Mourinho now averages a trophy every 34 matches as a manager.
Since taking charge of Porto in 2002, the self-proclaimed 'Special One' has swept all before him - both domestically and in European competition.
Jose Mourinho's trophies in English football
While still well behind Sir Alex Ferguson's record of 13 Premier League titles, the range of silverware in Mourinho's trophy cabinet is no less impressive.
The Chelsea boss has won the league in four different countries, lifted the European Cup with two clubs, won a Uefa Cup, an FA Cup and three League Cups, as well as securing an array of domestic cups in Portugal, Italy and Spain.

Best ever?

Combining his two spells in England, Mourinho's win percentage is better than any manager in Premier League history.
He has won 135 of 193 Premier League games in charge of the London club, which comes to a win percentage rate of 70%. Under Mourinho, Chelsea have lost fewer than one in 10 league games.
Mourinho's Premier League record

Favourite opposition?

Chelsea's victory at Anfield last season to halt Liverpool's march to the title was just one of the eight wins Mourinho has notched up against the Merseyside club in the Premier League.
The Chelsea manager has enjoyed more success against Liverpool than any other club in the league, losing just once in 10 games.
Mourinho v Liverpool record

Big-game dominance

Mourinho's record against his title rivals is what sets him apart from the opposition.
Out of 40 league games against Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal, Mourinho has lost just three times.
While the Portuguese manager enjoys an impressive record against sides challenging for the title, surprisingly he has not fared as well against clubs from the north east.
Newcastle United are the only team to have defeated Mourinho's Chelsea three times and just one of two sides to have taken all three points from them this season.
Middlesbrough beat the Blues twice in 2006, while Aston Villa and Tottenham are the other two teams to have taken maximum points from Mourinho on more than one occasion.
Mourinho bogey teams


Arsene Wenger's failure to beat Mourinho has received plenty of attention recently, but Arsenal are certainly not the only Premier League side to have struggled against the Chelsea boss.
The Gunners are just one of 19 clubs that have not recorded a single victory against the Special One.
Mourinho undefeated

100% record

Of the 19 teams Mourinho has not lost to in the league as Chelsea boss, he has a 100% record against eight.
This includes seven wins out of seven against Portsmouth, who were in the Premier League during Mourinho's first spell in charge.
Graphic showing clubs Jose Mourinho has a 100% record against

Away losses

The Portuguese manager has tasted victory against every team he has played in the Premier League and lost just once against nine clubs, including the losses to Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City mentioned above.
Of these defeats, all but one has come away from home. The only loss Mourinho has suffered at Stamford Bridge in the league came in a 2-1 defeat by Sunderland last season.
Graphic showing clubs Jose Mourinho has lost once to

Mourinho's 'bogey teams'


27 wins in 29 games - Brilliant Barcelona in best form since Guardiola era

27 wins in 29 games - Brilliant Barcelona in best form since Guardiola era
 Luis Enrique's side thrashed Cordoba 8-0 on Saturday in their latest comprehensive win ahead of Pep's return to Camp Nou with Bayern Munich next week
 Barcelona are peaking at just the right time. As Pep Guardiola prepares for his Camp Nou return with Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Wednesday, Barca are now enjoying their finest form since the Catalan coach left the club in 2012.
The semi-final tie against Bayern is the toughest test for Luis Enrique since he took over from Tata Martino last summer, but the Blaugrana look as ready as they can be after hitting a purple match over the last few months.

Following some unconvincing performances earlier in the season and constant changes to the starting XI, Luis Enrique left many observers and fans wondering what he was doing.

But not now. Barca's brilliant 8-0 win at Cordoba on Saturday was the team's latest exhibition of attacking football and featured a first hat-trick in the club colours for summer signing Luis Suarez, as well as two goals from Lionel Messi and one apiece for Ivan Rakitic, Gerard Pique and Neymar.

The six for Barca's fantastic forward line means Messi, Suarez and Neymar now have 108 for the season combined, a formidable total with either six or seven games still remaining for the Catalans in 2014-15.

Overall this term, Barca have won 45, drawn three and lost five of their 53 fixtures in all competitions, scoring 159 goals and conceding only 31, while they have kept 30 clean sheets. And since losing to Real Sociedad at the beginning of January, the Blaugrana have lost only one more, drawn another and won the other 27 of their 29 matches.

That sole defeat came in a surprise home defeat to Malaga in late February and afterwards Luis Enrique said: "I would like to say that this was an accident, but time will tell."

It was. Barca won 11 games in a row before losing to Malaga and have not lost since, their only blemish a 2-2 draw at Sevilla last month when they let a two-goal lead slip after playing perhaps their best 35 minutes of the season.

Leading La Liga from fierce rivals Real Madrid, facing Athletic Club in the final of the Copa del Rey later in May and in action against Bayern in the last four of the Champions League, Luis Enrique's side remain on course for a stunning treble like the one claimed by Guardiola's great side in 2008-09.

"I'm happy," the Asturian coach said afterwards. "We were especially effective in the second half (in which they scored six times). We have won three vital points." And defender Javier Mascherano added: "We can't relax now, but we are in good shape and that's down to our coach."

Nothing has been won yet, of course, and Luis Enrique knows he will be judged on titles - not on his side's record between January and early May. But as they gear up for the return of Pep on Wednesday, Barca are currently in their finest form since the Catalan coach's remarkable reign ended in 2012 with 14 out of a possible 19 trophies in four fantastic seasons.

Perfect preparation for their toughest test yet.

Jose Mourinho: Chelsea manager close to new Blues deal

Jose Mourinho
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is close to agreeing a new contract after securing a third Premier League title.
Mourinho, 52, is halfway through a four-year deal signed on his return to Stamford Bridge in June 2013.
And further talks are expected in the coming weeks with the club and the Portuguese keen on a long-term option.
In his first spell at the club between 2004 and 2007, Mourinho won consecutive Premier League titles and succeeded this season with three games to spare.
Play media
How Mourinho devised 'genius' defence
The 2005 title was Chelsea's first top-flight success in 50 years and he also delivered two League Cups and an FA Cup.
But he left the club to eventually join Inter Milan after falling out with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.
Since his return after a six-and-a-half-year absence, which included three seasons at Real Madrid, Mourinho has spoken of his desire to stay as long as the Russian billionaire wishes to keep him.
The Blues boss repeated that after Sunday's 1-0 defeat of Crystal Palace, which secured Chelsea's first title since 2010 and the eighth of his prolific career.
"As I was saying since the beginning of the season, I stay here until Mr Abramovich wants me to stay. The day he tells me to go, I go," said Mourinho.
Mourinho is still to win the Champions League with Chelsea, a competition he has won with Porto and Inter Milan.
Jose Mourinho's trophies in English football

Bayern decimated, Barcelona at full strength

Bayern decimated, Barcelona at full strength - Luis Enrique's rotation is paying off
 January was a watershed month for Luis Enrique's Barcelona. The Asturian coach resolved never to leave Lionel Messi on the bench again after his side lost at Real Sociedad, while his team began to produce their most promising performances of the season.

But January was also significant for the Barca boss because he finally picked the same side twice. For the first 29 games of the season, Luis Enrique fielded 29 different line-ups, before choosing the same XI in back-to-back victories over Atletico Madrid and Deportivo La Coruna.

Many of the coach's calls before that had angered fans and bemused his own players as well. Messi had been unhappy to start on the bench against Real Sociedad, while the decision to leave out Luis Suarez and Neymar nearly cost the team dearly at Almeria in November, before both came on to turn it around in the second half in a 2-1 win.

"The players are not machines," Luis Enrique said after a disappointing 1-0 win at home to APOEL in the Champions League in September. "They need to be fit. But we have to improve."

By January, the pressure was mounting. Barca were winning most of the time, but had fallen behind in-form Real Madrid in La Liga, while the coach's constant tactical tweaks and rotation saw press, players and supporters all losing faith in the 44-year-old coach.

But four months down the line, Luis Enrique's Barca side sit in an enviable position: on top of La Liga with three rounds remaining, in action against Athletic Club in the final of the Copa del Rey later in May, and preparing to meet Bayern Munich in the last four of the Champions League this week. It is a dream scenario for the former Spain midfielder.

Previously perceived as part of the problem as Barca struggled to gel in the autumn and winter months, Luis Enrique's rotation has helped Barca to avoid injuries and keep players fresh for the most important matches of the season.

"He has received criticism for his handling of the rotations," Javier Mascherano said after Barca thrashed Cordoba 8-0 on Saturday. "But to arrive at the end of the season with the group intact and all 23 players available (note: Jeremy Mathieu has since picked up an Achilles tendon injury) is down to the coach. People should recognise that."

He is right: Barca are indeed in excellent shape compared to their rivals. Madrid have seen a number of their finest footballers - among them Luka Modric, James Rodriguez, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema - sidelined in recent months.
Wednesday's Champions League semi-final opponents Bayern have been hit by an injury crisis described by boss Pep Guardiola as the worst he has ever seen, with the likes of Arjen Robben, David Alaba and Franck Ribery among a host of players sidelined. Barca, meanwhile, have kept players away from the treatment table thanks to the coach's clever policy of giving rest and recuperation to his squad.

Messi is the exception, of course. Like Cristiano Ronaldo at Real, the Argentine attacker wants to be involved in every single game and his formidable fitness allows him to do so. Luis Enrique also knows that resting the 27-year-old will only lead to negative press coverage and unwanted scrutiny of their relationship.

But apart from Leo, every other player accepts he will have to spend some time on the bench in 2014-15 - and they have all been told it is for their own good.

Neymar reacted angrily as he was substituted by Luis Enrique in the recent 2-2 draw at Sevilla, but the Brazilian was right to be frustrated: he was Barca's best player that afternoon and in his absence, the home side drew level late in the game.

That proves Luis Enrique is not perfect, but nor is any coach, and Barca can thank their brave boss for sticking to his guns with his rotation policy this term because it has left the players fresh and free from injury at the business end of 2014-15 - and that could just be the difference between success and failure when the titles are handed out.

Daniel Sturridge: Liverpool striker has hip surgery in USA

Daniel Sturridge
Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge has had "successful" surgery on a hip injury in the United States.
The 25-year-old England international has played just twice since he picked up the injury in the 2-1 loss to Manchester United on 22 March.
"Just want to let the world know I've had a successful operation on my hip and I want to thank God for allowing that to be possible," Sturridge said.
"Onwards and upwards from here. Thanks for the support."
Sturridge scored 24 goals from 33 appearances last season but has been blighted by injuries this term, appearing in only 18 matches.
It is the second time this season he has travelled to the States in an attempt to rectify his fitness problems.
Towards the end of a five-month absence with a thigh problem sustained on international duty in early September - which was then followed by a calf strain - he spent 10 days in Los Angeles as part of his rehabilitation.
The striker has not featured since playing 85 minutes of the FA Cup quarter-final replay at Blackburn on 8 April.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers last week said the club's medical team believed they had made a breakthrough in the diagnosis of Sturridge's injuries, which the player has previously suggested may be hereditary.
"I think we have found some underlying issues that maybe relate to Daniel's problems this season and the ongoing ones he's had," Rodgers said.

Stopping Messi is impossible.says Guardiola

Stopping Messi is impossible - Guardiola
Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola has warned his players that they have no chance of stoppiong Lionel Messi if the Barcelona star is in the mood.
The 44-year-old coached the Argentine at Camp Nou for four years and enjoyed great success by moving him from the flank to a central attacking role.
The former Spain international will return to the club he represented as player and coach in the Champions League semi-finals on Wednesday and is worried about the impact his old charge could have.
"If Messi is in top form, no defence can stop him," Guardiola said at a press conference.
"There is no system to stop Messi. He's too good. You just have to try to limit him in another way - stop the ball reaching him, but even then, you can't stop him."
However, Guardiola was also keen to stress that focusing on only Messi could prove to be the undoing of his troops.
"It's very difficult to find any weaknesses with talent like this," he added.
"We're going to try to perform as well as we can. We're going to try to better than we usually are. You know the level of respect I have for these players and for Barcelona.
"I think that they have the advantage because I know them but when you think you might know what these players are going to do they do something different.
"I know that from a defensive standpoint it's really impossible to stop them. We can't stop them."

Juventus aim for first final since 2003

Carlos Tevez

Juventus will travel to Real Madrid with a one-goal lead in their Champions League semi-final second leg after securing a deserved home victory.
Juve went ahead when Alvaro Morata slotted in against his old club after Carlos Tevez's effort was spilled.
Real levelled when Cristiano Ronaldo nodded in James Rodriguez's cross.
But the holders looked out of sorts and slipped behind again as Dani Carvajal tripped Tevez after the break and the Argentine dispatched the spot-kick.
Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri signalled his contentment with the scoreline as he brought on central defender Andrea Barzagli just after the hour and his side limited Real to a clutch of half chances.
Whether Juve's advantage is enough to survive the return leg at the Bernabeu is yet to be seen, but it was a result to relish for the noisy home support as captain Gianluigi Buffon led the celebrations at the final whistle.

Team over individual talent

Juventus made 27 passes in the build-up to Alvaro Morata's goal - a record in the Champions League this season.
Real's goal took Cristiano Ronaldo back ahead of Lionel Messi in the all-time Champions League top-scorer charts. The Portuguese has 76 goals in the tournament to Messi's 75.
Juventus have lost just once in 18 European matches at the redeveloped Juventus Stadium, but this victory, days after they clinched their fourth successive Serie A title, marks the headiest days since they left the Stadio delle Alpi.
Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti - whose position is subject to the usual end-of-season speculation in the Spanish capital - will know that his side will need to be better in both attack and defence to get through to the final.
Real looked powerless to resist Juve's early momentum and were picked apart even before falling behind.
Arturo Vidal had found a large gap in the visitors' rearguard in the opening minutes, but failed to get a shot off, before Tevez repeated the trick, but not the mistake.
Having shaken off marker Raphael Varane, the Argentina striker shot hard and low across Iker Casillas and the Real goalkeeper could only paw the ball into the path of Morata to finish from a couple of yards.
Even if they were collectively out of sorts though, Real's star-studded line-up always carries danger.
That threat was realised as Colombia international Rodriguez ghosted free of Patrice Evra and lifted a precise cross onto the head of Ronaldo as the Juve back four appealed in vain for an offside flag.
Rodriguez then headed against the bar from close range when he should have done better, but Juve's cohesion and determination wrestled back the initiative after the break.
Tevez coolly converted from 12 yards to put them back in front and his side could have been further clear had substitute Fernando Llorente showed more composure over two late chances.
Giorgio Chiellini
Giorgio Chiellini was booked for an injury-time foul on Cristiano Ronaldo
Juventus Stadium
The most recent of Juventus's two European Cup triumphs came in 1996
Arturo Vidal and Alvaro Morata
Morata (right) chose not to celebrate his goal against his former club
Carlo Ancelotti
Real boss Carlo Ancelotti managed Juventus for two years between 1999 and 2001

Lineup, Bookings (7) & Substitutions (5)


  • 01 Buffon
  • 26 Lichtsteiner
  • 19 Bonucci Booked
  • 03 Chiellini Booked
  • 33 Evra
  • 08 Marchisio
  • 21 Pirlo
  • 23 Vidal Booked
  • 27 Sturaro (Barzagli - 64' )
  • 10 Tévez Booked (Pereyra - 86' )
  • 09 Morata (Llorente - 78' )


  • 07 Pepe
  • 14 Llorente
  • 15 Barzagli
  • 20 Padoin
  • 30 Storari
  • 32 Matri
  • 37 Pereyra

Real Madrid

  • 01 Casillas
  • 15 Carvajal Booked
  • 03 Pepe
  • 02 Varane
  • 12 Marcelo Booked
  • 10 Rodríguez Booked
  • 04 Ramos
  • 08 Kroos
  • 23 Isco (Hernández - 63' )
  • 11 Bale (Jesé - 86' )
  • 07 Ronaldo


  • 05 Fábio Coentrão
  • 13 Navas
  • 14 Hernández
  • 16 Borges
  • 17 Arbeloa
  • 20 Jesé
  • 24 Illarramendi
Ref: Martin Atkinson
Att: 41,011

Match Stats

Possession53%47%90minsJuventusReal Madrid


12 13

On target

7 4


1 5


21 13

Live Text Commentary

Full time
Full Time Match ends, Juventus 2, Real Madrid 1.
90:00 +3:08 Full time
Full Time Second Half ends, Juventus 2, Real Madrid 1.
90:00 +2:46 Toni Kroos (Real Madrid) wins a free kick on the right wing.
90:00 +2:46 Foul by Roberto Pereyra (Juventus).
90:00 +2:02 Booking
Booking Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
90:00 +1:59 Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) wins a free kick on the right wing.
90:00 +1:59 Foul by Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus).
90:00 +1:11 Raphael Varane (Real Madrid) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
90:00 +1:11 Foul by Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus).
90:00 +1:08 Attempt saved. Fernando Llorente (Juventus) header from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Andrea Pirlo with a cross.
90:00 +0:20 Foul by Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid).
90:00 +0:20 Arturo Vidal (Juventus) wins a free kick on the left wing.
89:19 Hand ball by Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid).
85:30 Substitution
Substitution Substitution, Real Madrid. Jesé replaces Gareth Bale.
85:19 Substitution
Substitution Substitution, Juventus. Roberto Pereyra replaces Carlos Tévez.
84:28 Booking
Booking James Rodríguez (Real Madrid) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
84:26 Foul by James Rodríguez (Real Madrid).
84:26 Fernando Llorente (Juventus) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
80:57 Offside, Real Madrid. Pepe tries a through ball, but Javier Hernández is caught offside.
78:33 Foul by Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid).

Madrid not worst team in the world all of a sudden

Marcelo: Madrid not worst team in the world all of a sudden
Real Madrid defender Marcelo has warned people not to write off the Santiago Bernabeu side after their 2-1 Champions League loss against Juventus on Tuesday.
Carlo Ancelotti's men were widely regarded as the favourites ahead of the first leg of the semi-final tie, but their poor performance in Turin sees them in real danger of missing out on a spot in the final in Berlin.
Nevertheless, Marcelo remains optimistic ahead of next week's second leg and feels Madrid still have every chance of turning things around.
"We weren't the best team of all time before this game nor are we the worst after it," the Brazil international told the official Madrid website.
"It was a bad result because we wanted to win, but it's still wide open and we'll do better in the second leg.
"Juventus are a great side, they wanted to have the ball. We didn't have the best performance, but we'll have to wait for the second leg.
"Our fans always get behind us and support us. We know that the boss has confidence in our ability, we know what we're capable of doing in each match."
The return at the Bernabeu will take place on May 13.