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Sport CONCACAF Director of Football thrilled with MLS competitiveness in new CCL format

23:45  13 march  2018
23:45  13 march  2018 Source:   goal.com

MLS teams must produce more in Wednesday's must-see CCL matches

  MLS teams must produce more in Wednesday's must-see CCL matches The quarterfinals are the kind of matchups the tournament is supposed to generate. Now Canadian and American teams have to pull their weightThat's what the CONCACAF Champions League has needed people to say since the Champions Cup was rebooted a decade a go. It's how the tournament needs people to talk if it's ever going to get anywhere near the level of the UEFA Champions League or even the Copa Libertadores any time in the semi-near future.

CONCACAF Director of Football Manolo Zubria is encouraged by the increased attention the tournament has gotten after MLS teams won the first legs of "I think the gap is closing and I think with this new format obviously it’s tougher to just go into a knockout round right away rather than having a

CONCACAF Director of Football Manolo Zubria is encouraged by the increased attention the tournament has gotten after MLS teams won the first legs of "I think the gap is closing and I think with this new format obviously it’s tougher to just go into a knockout round right away rather than having a

People are talking about the CONCACAF Champions League.

After the three remaining MLS teams in the tournament topped their Mexican opponents in last week's first legs, the continental championship is getting an unprecedented amount of attention on both sides of the border ahead of the second legs Tuesday and Wednesday. That hasn't always been the case, with interest difficult to generate in a tournament that has been dominated by Mexican clubs.

It's clear MLS teams' first-leg success has added a jolt to the competition this season, and CONCACAF Director of Football Manolo Zubria said he's encouraged by the extra buzz.

MLS has banner day in CCL but must get results next week to keep flag flying high

  MLS has banner day in CCL but must get results next week to keep flag flying high Toronto FC and the Seattle Sounders topped their Liga MX visitors but have work to do to make the semifinals of the tournamentAll three teams remaining in the CONCACAF Champions League beat their Liga MX opponents in the first legs with Toronto FC topping Tigres 2-1 and the Seattle Sounders getting a 1-0 result over Chivas. The New York Red Bulls did it on the road, withstanding a furious effort from Tijuana to escape Estadio Caliente with a 2-0 victory on Tuesday.

"However, we are so focused on our current situation. "If you want to look out beyond your own nose, there is a World Cup after the season. But the new Bundesliga or club season is so far away, so it does not yet play a part in our daily thinking."

CONCACAF Director of Football Manolo Zubria is encouraged by the increased attention the tournament has gotten after MLS teams won the first legs of "I think the gap is closing and I think with this new format obviously it’s tougher to just go into a knockout round right away rather than having a

"I think the gap is closing and I think with this new format obviously it’s tougher to just go into a knockout round right away rather than having a group stage to see how your team’s doing and see how the other teams in the competition are doing," Zubria told Goal. "Now you kind of go into things with, 'Let’s see what happens.' Obviously teams are going in full steam ahead as we see by the lineups. The teams are putting out their top teams, they’re not taking any chances. With the group stage, perhaps you had more chances to have a bad game and still recover. Here there’s no room for error.

"The Mexican teams still are taking it very seriously. You could just see from the media reaction in Mexico, humiliated by the fact that three teams had lost. It’s always good when you have that kind of reaction from the fans in general and the media because you want that, you want a healthy competitive balance and you want these rivalries, not just U.S-Mexico, I think we’re starting to see other participants stepping up."

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CONCACAF Director of Football thrilled with MLS competitiveness in new CCL format .

Confederation of Africa Football had set Saturday, March 17 as match day, but Esperance announced on a tweet that the game will take place on Sunday before reverting to Friday.

Zubria is responsible for the department of the confederation charged with "providing overall management and execution of CONCACAF’s tournaments, major events, as well as football development programs," according to a news release announcing his hiring in summer 2017.

CCL is now a 16-team tournament with each round played over two legs and the winner advancing. Previously there was a group stage before the knockout round, but many of the clubs from Central America and the Caribbean who would've been part of this round are instead taking part in the CONCACAF League. The winner of that tournament, this year Honduran giant Olimpia, get a berth in the Champions League.

The confederation has tried a number of tweaks since a 2008 overhaul of what was previously CONCACAF Champions' Cup. This year's changes were by far the most drastic, and while Zubria left wiggle room for future modifications, he said CONCACAF is sticking with the current format for the foreseeable future.

Michy Batshuayi happy to sign permanent deal with Dortmund

  Michy Batshuayi happy to sign permanent deal with Dortmund Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi, who is currently on loan at Borussia Dortmund, says he is happy in Germany but insists that any discussions about his future should be left to the two clubs involved. Antonio Conte decided to let the Belgian international go out on loan in January and he has made an instant impact in Dortmund, scoring seven goals in nine games. The Bundesliga side would be thrilled to keep Batshuayi on a permanent deal but his performances have been so good that his price tag could continue to rise, thus pricing them out of a move. As reported by journalist Kristof Terreur, when asked about the possibility of signing a permanent deal with Borussia Dortmund, Batshuayi said: “I’m feeling very good here at the moment, but that’s something between Dortmund and Chelsea.” Chelsea signed Oliver Giroud in January and could be in the market for a striker in the summer too, so there is every chance that they could sell Batshuayi in the summer, so they’ll hope he continues his good form so that they can ask for a large transfer fee.

Antonio Conte has continued to use the Belgian playmaker in a central forward role despite calls from the player himself to be utilised out wide. The players who are not playing all the time, they see a chance for a new coach and you get a little bit of a strange environment in the locker room.

Gianfranco Zola was speaking at the Geneva International Motor Show, on behalf of Yokohama Tyres, the principal partner of Chelsea Football Club.

"I think now, based on the results we’re seeing, you could say that it’s working, but it’s too soon to say, 'OK, we nailed it. It’s going to stay for 20 years.' Obviously there’s going to have to be a lot of evaluation at the conclusion of the tournament," he said. "We know we’re locked in with this format for a couple of years, but like I said we’re always working to constantly prove and we take very seriously the feedback from the teams, the leagues, the federations and our partners to try to find the best format for the competition."

One frustration for MLS fans is the timing of the tournament, with Mexican and Central American teams generally approaching the midpoint of their spring short tournament while MLS teams are still in preseason when the tournament begins. However, the American and Canadian league also has taken a step past Liga MX in helping its teams prepare for CCL, giving them the option of having a bye week between rounds and trying to accommodate their clubs still in the tournament.

"The league (is) helping the teams by not making them play, working around the schedule and respecting the fact hat there’s a lot of things that take a toll on the teams, traveling across the region and then you’ve got to come back and play another match in 48 hours and then get back on the road to have to play another match. It puts a lot of strain on the teams, and it makes for difficult decisions for the coaching staff and also the players," said Zubiria, who took his current post with CONCACAF after serving as AS Roma's Head of Team Operations.

West Ham to hire a Director of Football this summer

  West Ham to hire a Director of Football this summer West Ham United will look to hire a Director of Football as co-owner David Sullivan, who has been directly involved in transfers, will take a step back, as per a report from Ken Dyer of the Evening Standard. Sullivan has apparently held talks with fellow co-owner David Gold and vice-chairman Karren Brady and the trio have agreed that they will bring in an experienced director to deal with the club’s recruitment strategy. West Ham supporters have a lot of issues with their current owners and transfers are high on that list. Whilst they’ve singed some decent players under the current owners, the Hammers have also made some huge errors in the transfer market and they’ll hope that hiring somebody with experience in the market could help them make better additions to the squad. According to the report, the Hammers will wait until the end of the season to make a decision on who will fill the role as they want know which division they’ll be playing in before they make a hire.

Injuries just belong to a footballer career. What others make of it is their thing, but it is very important that you are stable in your mind. "You should not just say: I have to enjoy football now, you should really enjoy football ."

CONCACAF Director of Football thrilled with MLS competitiveness in new CCL format .

a football player on a field © Provided by Goal.com

Zubria also believes MLS relaxing roster restrictions, with the introduction of Targeted Allocation Money helping teams acquire players who may previously have been out of reach, is putting American and Canadian teams closer to finally lifting the CCL trophy.

"I think MLS has done a great job finding new players, talent, players with experience on the international level for their rosters," he said. "The deeper that rosters get with MLS will allow them to be competitive in the league and in regional competition. I think that’s going to make a big difference going forward. We’re already seeing that things are going shift in how MLS has been bringing talent, maybe shifting away from players who are older, retiring players to younger talent that can definitely give you more hours on those legs during the season with the quick rotation between regional competition at the international level and home competition. I think going forward the league has definitely done a good job giving the opportunity to bring in players and I think it’s only going to get better and better and better."

MLS would like to prove it can compete now, with this week setting up to be a critical one for the league. The matches kick off at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday with the New York Red Bulls hosting Club Tijuana before Tigres faces Toronto FC at 10 p.m. ET. Chivas and the Seattle Sounders play at 10 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

More: One Dos Santos brother not enough for LA Galaxy to knock off NYCFC | CONCACAF Champions League Review: Toronto and Seattle take first-leg leads | Toronto FC out to prove MLS worthy of Liga MX attention | Red Bulls teenager Ben Mines shines in MLS debut

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