Coutinho to be assessed after Brazil duty

first_imgNiko Kovac is not willing to take any risks with Philippe Coutinho and will assess the Bayern Munich star’s condition when he returns from international duty ahead of facing RB Leipzig.Coutinho, signed on loan from Barcelona in the recent transfer window, made his first Bayern start as he played over an hour against Mainz before heading off to meet up with Brazil.But with a key match against early Bundesliga leaders Leipzig coming at the weekend, the midfielder is facing a race to be available, having started against Peru in Los Angeles on Tuesday as he builds fitness in the opening weeks of the season. Article continues below Editors’ Picks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Are Chelsea this season’s Ajax? Super-subs Batshuayi & Pulisic show Blues can dare to dream Given Bayern’s other options in the form of Thomas Muller, Kingsley Coman and Corentin Tolisso, Bayern coach Kovac wants to ensure Coutinho is up to scratch before throwing him in again.”Now we have to wait for [Coutinho] to come back, then we’ll see how he feels,” Kovac told a news conference on Thursday.”It was important that he played two games [for Brazil] but, of course, such a long journey is exhausting and we have a very good alternative with Thomas.”I cannot say what that will mean at the weekend. I have to wait and see the status of Philippe.”Every player has to be at 100 per cent. We need physically fresh and motivated players. We will talk to the players and we will also have King [Coman] and Coco [Tolisso].”If someone feels they are not [ready], it would be reckless not to say so.”Niko Kovac Bayern Munich 2018-19Preparations this week are particularly key with Bayern eager to not fall too far behind Leipzig – two points clear at the top of the table – even at this early stage.Kovac added: “[Julian Nagelsmann] is a very good, young coach. Leipzig were already very good. Now, Julian brings with him some other knowledge that will make the team even better.”Leipzig are still top – after the match, we want to be.”At the beginning of the season, there is one game week after week and we have started well, although I’m annoyed by the two points we lost against [Hertha] Berlin.”We want to position ourselves at the top and that’s what the game against Leipzig is all about.”The past three games last season were all narrow results; 1-0, 0-0 and the DFB-Pokal final was only 1-0 up to 75 minutes [Bayern won 3-0]. These are tight matches. It’ll be like that this weekend, too.”We are facing good players, but we are the German champions and will play with the confidence that we want to win.”Meanwhile, Bayern midfielder Leon Goretzka underwent successful thigh surgery on Wednesday but Kovac was reluctant to place a timescale on his return.”He’s fine, the operation went well,” the coach said. “We hope he’ll come back as soon as possible, but we cannot name an exact day or week.”last_img read more

Yellen says Fed is monitoring softer economic data to see if recent

AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Yellen says Fed is monitoring softer economic data to see if recent slowdown is temporary WASHINGTON – Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen noted Thursday that some recent economic data have pointed to weaker-than-expected gains in consumer spending and job growth. She said the Fed will be watching to see whether the slowdown proves only a temporary blip caused by severe winter weather.Yellen told the Senate Banking Committee that the Fed will be alert to upcoming data to make sure that the U.S. economy keeps strengthening.“We have seen quite a bit of soft data over the last month or six weeks,” Yellen said. “We need to get a firmer handle about how much of the softer data can be explained by the weather.”Responding to a question, Yellen repeated the Fed’s assurances that its pullback in stimulus for the economy is “not on a preset course” and could be modified if there was a “significant change” in the Fed’s outlook. The Fed is gradually reducing its monthly bond purchases, which have been intended to keep long-term loan rates low to encourage spending and growth.Yellen said that while she was open to changing the pace of the Fed’s reductions in bond purchases, “I wouldn’t want to jump to conclusions” that such a change will be needed.Yellen repeated remarks she made to a House committee earlier this month that the job market’s recovery is “far from complete.” She said she expects Fed policies to favour low interest rates “for quite some time.”Yellen’s appearance Thursday completed her first twice-a-year report to Congress since becoming Fed chair this month. Her Senate appearance had been postponed by a snowstorm that shut federal offices in Washington on Feb. 13.In both her House and Senate appearances, Yellen sought to emphasize policy continuity with her predecessor, Ben Bernanke, who stepped down last month after eight years leading the central bank.Yellen said that she, like Bernanke, believed the economy is strengthening enough that the Fed can gradually pull back its monthly bond purchases.The Fed has cut the pace of bond purchases at both its most recent meetings. It reduced the original $85 billion monthly pace in December and again in January in $10 billion steps to a current level of $65 billion.Many economists think that as long as the economy keeps improving, the Fed will keep cutting the bond purchases by $10 billion at each meeting this year until ending the program in December.The Fed has stressed that it’s standing by a plan to keep a key short-term rate at a record low near zero for an extended period. At the past two meetings, it has said short-term rates will remain low “well past” the time unemployment drops below 6.5 per cent. The unemployment rate is now 6.6 per cent.Many economists think the first rate hike won’t occur until late 2015. But minutes of the Fed’s last meeting showed that “a few” policymakers felt it might be appropriate to make the first move to raise short-term rates “relatively soon.”The Fed has held its benchmark for short-term rates near zero since December 2008.The discussion revealed in minutes of the Jan. 28-29 meeting, released last week, drew the attention of financial markets. The “few” Fed officials who raised the possibility of a rate hike weren’t identified.But some Fed officials have worried that all the moves to provide support for the economy through trillions of dollars in bond purchases and ultra-low rates could eventually spark inflation pressures.But economists believe this Fed group remains in the minority. Yellen and many other Fed officials say the economy still needs support from the Fed until the job market and economic growth improve further. They note that inflation remains well below the Fed’s 2 per cent target. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, before the Senate Banking Committee to deliver the semiannual Monetary Policy Report to Congress. Yellen noted that some recent economic data have pointed to weaker-than-expected gains in consumer spending and job growth. She said the Fed will be watching to see whether the slowdown proves only a temporary blip caused by severe winter weather. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) by Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press Posted Feb 27, 2014 11:47 am MDT read more