The Chilean was entering the final year of his previous deal but has now agreed an extension to 2017 in a move that could quell speculation linking Bayern Munich’s Pep Guardiola with his position. Guardiola, out of contract next summer, is long thought to have been a target for City having previously worked under the club’s chief executive Ferran Soriano and director of football Txiki Begiristain at Barcelona. Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini admits he now has to deliver titles after signing a new-two year contract at the Etihad Stadium. Pellegrini, 61, won the Barclays Premier League in his first season at City in 2013 but, after last year’s disappointing campaign, he accepts improvement is necessary. Pellegrini said: “It is very important for the club to trust in our work. I am very happy here at Manchester City so if both parties are happy we can continue. The support the club gives me is important. “But you know in this profession you need results, so it is very important for me to have a good season and get good results. “For me a good season with a big team is that you must win a title (trophy). You cannot say it is a very good season if you win nothing.” Speculation over Pellegrini’s future was rife towards the end of last season as it became apparent the club would not catch Chelsea in the Premier League and they went out of the Champions League. It eased as City ended with six successive wins but could return if the team again perform below par. Pellegrini accepts this but insists it will not bother him. He said: “I was used last season to the speculation. I’m not talking about Pep Guardiola. He is a manager that every team will want to manage them because he is a great manager. “Maybe he is linked with this team more because of the relationship with Txiki and Ferran but I trust in them and I am sure if they want to bring in him, they will tell me. “I have no problem with my relations inside the club. I know exactly how the owners think. Maybe it is better for the outside media.” Soriano believes the new contract will allow Pellegrini to concentrate on business on the field. He said: “This agreement allows Manuel to focus on the challenge of guiding a team capable of both fighting for domestic titles and competing for European honours.” City’s main business during the summer has been the signing of England’s Raheem Sterling in a club record £49million deal from Liverpool. Sterling’s conduct towards the end of his time at Anfield attracted much negative criticism but Pellegrini expects the 20-year-old forward to settle quickly and provide plenty of excitement. Asked how good Sterling can be, Pellegrini said: “Very, very good. I trust a lot in him. “Maybe some of the media are talking about the price we paid for him, but an English player at 20 with such quality, speed and good technical ability – I think he will continue improving a lot every year. “Playing with players like Yaya (Toure) or (David) Silva or Kun (Sergio Aguero) will help him to improve. I trust you will see Raheem scoring a lot more goals than he scored in other seasons for Liverpool.” Another new signing, midfielder Fabian Delph, will miss Monday’s season-opener at West Brom with a hamstring injury while defender Gael Clichy is out with an ankle problem. Press Association
Player of the game: Luke SwanWhile there is no denying the game Tyler Donovan had was exceptional, throwing for 284 yards and three touchdowns and scoring another on the ground, the Fennimore Flash, Luke Swan, gets the nod. The fifth-year senior keyed numerous drives with first-down receptions on the third down, and really exhibited his playmaking abilities with catches of 43, 30 and 38 yards. For the game, Swan not only set personal bests in touchdowns (2), receptions (8) and yards (170), he cemented his name in the UW record books. He now ranks tied 11th all-time in single-game receiving yards with Pat Richter.Overall: BThe offense put up 42 points and 486 yards against an untested secondary. Although that doesn’t negate what was accomplished, the Badgers weren’t challenged on offense like they will be in future weeks. Still, Donovan’s ability to read the defense and make checks at the line is a positive sign heading into the rest of the season. The defense didn’t play like a top-5 defense and has some chinks to sort out. A portion of special teams, especially Ken DeBauche, had a bad day. All in all, however, it wasn’t bad for the season opener.Offense: A-In his first game as the primary signal caller, Tyler Donovan could do just about no wrong (minus a few misfires). He completed 19-of-29 passes for just fewer than 300 yards and found pay dirt four times, as well as made some outstanding checks at the line to keep the WSU defense guessing. Luke Swan had a career day, as did replacement tight end Garrett Graham, who stepped in for the injured Andy Crooks and recorded his first career catch and touchdown on the same play. P.J. Hill, while not his usual dominant self, proved effective, collecting 84 yards and two touchdowns. Lance Smith chipped in with 60 yards.Defense: C+After looking a bit unsettled in the first quarter, some of it due to a terrific catch by WSU receiver Brandon Gibson and a blocked punt that was recovered for a first down, the defense composed itself and put together a strong showing. Against an offense that ranked No. 1 in the Pac-10 last season in passing yards per game and at the top in points and total yards per game, Wisconsin’s defense held its own. After allowing 160 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter, the Badger defense gave up just 168 total yards and 7 points the rest of the way.Special Teams: CSpecial teams were an enigma Saturday. At times they were brilliant, blocking a punt, disrupting a long field goal try, picking off a pass and recording four touchbacks despite kickoffs being moved back five yards. At other times, they left Bret Bielema scratching his head. Both Luke Swan and David Gilreath fumbled as punt returners, reminding fans and coaches of last year’s problems in that department. Additionally, punter Ken DeBauche booted a pooch kick an incredible 1 yard and committed a 15-yard penalty on the same play.Up next: UNLVUNLV came away with a 23-16 victory in its season opener against Utah State. Tailback Frank Summers capped a late-game drive with an 11-yard scamper to give the Rebels the come-from-behind victory and their first road win in 15 tries. Quarterback Travis Dixon ran for 108 yards and a touchdown last week and could pose a problem on the ground for the Badgers defense, which struggled to stop the Cougars’ running attack.
Through USC’s first two games, one thing has been clear: No matter how poorly the offense plays, the defense can be dominant enough keep the team in the game.Breaking free · Junior wide receiver Marqise Lee (9) provided the Trojans’ with their longest offensive play of the season in the second quarter when he shook off a defender en route to an 80-yard touchdown romp. – Ralf Cheung | Daily TrojanOn Saturday against Boston College, the Trojan defense again delivered, but this time the offense finally broke through. Instead of finding itself in a close game, USC enjoyed a 35-7 blowout victory at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.“The energy on the sideline was awesome today,” redshirt junior defensive back Josh Shaw said. “It’s great knowing your offense is moving the ball. The best place for a defensive player to be is on the sidelines.”After struggling mightily in its first two games, particularly in the loss to Washington State, the USC offense erupted on Saturday, racking up 521 yards of total offense, including 264 passing yards, a drastic improvement from last week’s woeful 54-yard performance against the Cougars.On defense, the Trojans again were stout, allowing only 184 total yards to the Eagles. Boston College running back Andre Williams, who averaged 160 yards per game entering this week, was held to just 38 yards on 17 carries.“We were number one worried about their running back,” USC head coach Lane Kiffin said. “We hadn’t played against a power-I offense yet. It’s very much a Stanford-like offense. Our guys really tackled well.”Through three games, USC has allowed 131 total rushing yards and just one rushing touchdown, which came late in the game Saturday when the Trojans had most of their second-team defense on the field.COMFORT ZONEAfter being named the team’s starter for the remainder of the season, redshirt sophomore quarterback Cody Kessler seemed more relaxed and played with a confidence level that he did not have in the team’s first two games.“The first two weeks, and I’m not making excuses, but you can’t really take control and be that guy to lead when you’re sharing reps,” Kessler said. “I had a whole new sense of confidence [this week]. Coach Kiffin has been talking to me all week and trusting me. I felt comfortable and relaxed, and I had a blast doing it.”Kessler finished the day with 15 completions on 17 pass attempts for 237 yards and two touchdowns and did not have a single turnover. Entering the week as the starter, his newfound confidence was apparent to the entire team.“Cody came out and had a great week of practice,” redshirt sophomore running back Tre Madden said. “You could just see it in his eyes, the energy he brought to the offense.”“Just having that quarterback in there and working with him the whole week, not having to guess which quarterback is gonna be in, it really helped,” redshirt senior offensive tackle Kevin Graf said. “It definitely gave him a lot of confidence. He seemed a lot more relaxed today and really led us very well.”friendly confinesConsidering the ineffectiveness of the passing game against Washington State, fans’ expectations for Saturday were understandably low. But after throwing a deep pass that fell incomplete on the first play of the game, the crowd’s reaction caught many off guard.“[The crowd cheering] was surprising,” junior wide receiver Marqise Lee said. “But then again, I know what they were cheering about. The fact that we were taking shots downfield, that’s all they wanted to see.”Kiffin’s conservative playcalling against Washington State had been criticized all week, so seeing USC take a chance on a deep pass was an encouraging sign to many.“That was [President C.L.] Max Nikias’ play,” Kiffin said of the game’s first play. “He said throw deep, and they’ll cheer no matter what. So that was for President Nikias.”With all the negativity from the fans following last week’s loss, Kiffin was encouraged by the fans’ reaction to the team’s play.“I felt like there was an effort by the fans,” Kiffin said. “We felt they came out today saying they were really going to support this team. I felt it on the Trojan Walk and down on the field. That just shows how special our fans are.”“It wasn’t an easy week on our fans, with how passionate they are and what they had to deal with last week,” Kiffin said. “I’m happy for them to feel good today. We had good Trojan football for the most part today.”ONE-TWO PUNCHFor the first time since 1981, a USC running back has opened the season with three consecutive 100-yard games. Madden finished the game with 102 yards on 16 carries and one rushing touchdown, and also had two catches for 32 yards and a touchdown.That accomplishment is impressive in and of itself, but even more so when considering Madden has played only three collegiate games at running back.“I’m definitely getting more comfortable as the weeks go by,” Madden said. “Everything is slowing down more as the season goes on.”Joining Madden in pacing USC’s rushing attack is freshman tailback Justin Davis, who finished the game with 96 yards on just 10 carries and one touchdown. After rushing the ball 32 times against Washington State, Madden was relieved to split carries more evenly against Boston College.“[Davis] is a great running back,” Madden said. “In splitting our carries, we were fresh today. That definitely helped us out.”Davis, who enrolled in school early and participated in spring practice, had his first taste of success in front of the home fans, but believes he can still do more to impress them.“Not really yet,” Davis said when asked if he felt he had a breakout game. “I’m planning on improving every game. I’m never satisfied with a performance, so I’m gonna try to top every performance the next game.”QUOTE WORTHY“The thing about the fans is, it’s USC — they’re used to winning,” Lee said. “I can’t blame them if they’re booing because we lose, because around here, winning is all they know. Once we bring that winning back, the fans, they’re gonna love it.”Follow Nick on Twitter @NickSelbe