Sunderland in talks with Gus Poyet, but who else would fit the bill?

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Reports emanating from England on Wednesday suggest Sunderland are holding talks with former Brighton and Hove Albion manager Gus Poyet, as the search for Paolo Di Canio’s replacement continues at the Stadium of Light.

Poyet, 45, has proven his abilities in League One and the Championship since entering management in 2006, and many believe the Uruguayan coach would be a good fit.

Like Di Canio, Poyet is passionate and charismatic, but he manages to keep a lid on his temper and limit his outbursts, despite several instances while in charge of the Seagulls. First, we must talk about Poyet’s controversial dismissal from Albion, as he was first put on gardening leave, then sacked for gross misconduct while live on TV working as a pundit. Brighton claim Poyet actively pursued and applied for jobs with Premier League clubs without their consent, seems like he he could have been sniffing around the Sunderland job for quite some time.

(MORE: Fired – Sunderland has parted company with Paolo Di Canio)

That said, the former Chelsea and Tottenham midfielder worked wonders with Brighton as they narrowly missed out on promotion from the Championship last season, losing to Crystal Palace in the playoff semifinals. His teams play attractive, patient soccer but are also very hard to break down.

Sounds like Sunderland could use a bit of that.

But Poyet aside, who else would be a hit for the Black Cats?

Right now, the bookies still have Gianfranco Zola, Roberto Di Matteo, interim-boss Kevin Ball and Steve McLaren amongst the front-runners. I would rule out Zola and Di Matteo right now, as I don’t think the Italian duo really want the job. Zola is building an impressive squad at Watford and trying to take them to the Premier League, while Di Matteo surely deserves a better job than a PL struggler (no disrespect to Sunderland) after winning the Champions League with Chelsea in 2012. As for Ball, he is a great coach but many would argue he shouldn’t be thrown in at the deep end with no previous head coaching experience.

(MORE: Sunderland players revolt prompted firing of Di Canio)

McLaren would be an interesting option. He built things from the bottom up at Middlesbrough, as they won the League Cup and regularly finished in the top half of the Premier League. But despite a good spell with FC Twente when they won the Dutch League, McLaren has struggled in charge at Wolfsburg, Nottingham Forest and a second spell at Twente.

Poyet, out of work and hungry to prove himself in England’s top flight, would be the best option. He would have no qualms about taking over the current squad and stamping his own authority and fluent style of passing play. But then again, he’s only played in the PL and has never managed at the top level. There’s a big difference there. Not to mention the fact that changing a playing philosophy and players’ mentality after the season has already begun has proved to be extremely difficult in the past. At least Poyet, or whoever comes in, will get 33 games to try and rectify the situation.

Over the coming days, we will found out how these talks with Poyet went. I’m still not convinced that the South American manager is the right man for the job, that said, he’s probably a better option than Di Canio ever was.

Roma boosts bid for 2nd in Serie A by beating Pescara 4-1

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PESCARA, Italy (AP) Roma boosted its bid for second place in Serie A and automatic entry into the Champions League with a 4-1 win at Pescara, which was mathematically relegated on Monday.

[ MORE: Newcastle joins Brighton in promotion to Premier League ]

Roma moved four points clear of third-placed Napoli, which drew against Sassuolo 2-2 on Sunday. Third place in Serie A receives a Champions League playoff.

Pescara remained 15 points behind Empoli. There are only five matches left and Empoli has the better head-to-head record, which is the deciding factor if two teams finish level on points.

There were 48 goals in total in the 33rd round, matching the record set in October 1992.

Roma took control shortly before halftime, with Kevin Strootman breaking the deadlock after Stephan El Shaarawy unselfishly rolled the ball across the area.

Radja Nainggolan, who earlier hit the bar, doubled Roma’s lead two minutes later.

Mohamed Salah extended Roma’s advantage three minutes after the break and the winger doubled his tally on the hour following a swift counterattack.

Ahmad Benali got a consolation for Pescara and a Cristiano Biraghi free kick also hit the post for the home side.

Frank Yallop resigns as Phoenix Rising coach shortly after Drogba arrival

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The timing is a bit sudden and certainly leaves many questions up in the air, but Phoenix Rising will have to look for a new manager.

[ MORE: Chicharito talks heating up with LA FC ]

On Monday, head coach Frank Yallop resigned from his position with the United Soccer League (USL) club less than one day after former Chelsea legend Didier Drogba joined the organization as a player-owner.

With Phoenix seen as one of several lower-level clubs with ambitions of making the leap to MLS over the coming seasons, Yallop’s departure is surely a shock to many.

According to ESPN FC, Rising lead owner Berke Bakay was quite surprised by Yallop’s decision to step down, as was Drogba.

“Didier was as surprised and disappointed as we were that Frank is unable to continue coaching our Club,” Bakay told ESPN FC. “But, we all respect his decision to put his family first.

“Didier’s focus will remain on improving our team as a player and assisting our MLS expansion team ownership group as a co-owner. Frank will be helping with our international search for a new head coach.”

Rick Schantz, the current Rising assistant coach, will head the team’s managerial duties for the interim while the club completes a full search for a new manager.

Conte praises Hazard’s style, wouldn’t want him to be “more selfish”

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Antonio Conte made two bold decisions on Saturday afternoon as his Chelsea side prepared to take on Tottenham in their FA Cup semifinal.

[ MORE: Oriol Romeu shines with Saints as he prepares for Chelsea return ]

The Italian manager has been known for his innovation and risk-taking in the past, but many were critical of the 47-year-old when his team sheet came out ahead of the match.

Conte left key attacking duo Eden Hazard and Diego Costa on the bench, allowing out-of-favor striker Michy Batshuayi and Pedro to get the starting nod.

Although Hazard nor Costa saw the field for the opening hour, the former made his presence known when he was summoned by Conte in the second half.

Often times Hazard has been known as a facilitator, someone that can pick apart defenses with his tremendous foot skills and clever passing. But the Belgian international has also shown his capabilities of scoring on a regular basis as well, which has prompted great interest from other giant clubs around Europe.

When Conte was asked about Hazard and if his attacker should be more selfish, the Italian gave an emphatic “NO” as his response.

“No, no, no, absolutely not,” Conte said. “I don’t think that a player like Messi is a selfish player. The first target for every great champion is to play for the team and to put your talent into the team. If you do this, the team [increases] your talent.

“The best players in the world don’t exist without a team. For me, it’s sad to listen to this, that a player must ‘be more selfish’ to reach the top level. That’s very sad. It’s not my idea of football and I will never understand this. Never, never. In my team, I don’t want selfish players.

“I prefer to lose a game than to have a selfish player. For me, I don’t want this and I can’t accept this. I don’t want my club to buy me a selfish player one day. Never. No.”

Newcastle joins Brighton in promotion to Premier League

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Two sides have now booked their trips to England’s top flight after Newcastle United rattled off its 27th win of the season.

[ MORE: Oriol Romeu — The perfectly poised destroyer ]

The Magpies earned a decisive 4-1 victory over Preston North End on Monday afternoon at St. James’ Park as the second-place side ensured its finish inside the top two in the English Championship.

Newcastle joins already-promoted club Brighton & Hove Albion, who currently sit atop the Championship on 92 points.

Ayoze Perez paced the hosts with goals on both sides of halftime, while Christian Atsu and Matt Ritchie also converted for Newcastle.

U.S. Men’s National Team defender DeAndre Yedlin was on the bench for the Magpies but didn’t feature in Monday’s match.

The third and final team to be promoted from the Championship will be decided by the league’s annual promotion playoff, which is held at the end of the season and contested by four sides that finish third through sixth position.

As it stands, Reading, Sheffield Wednesday, Huddersfield Town and Fulham occupy the four playoff positions.