Rory predicts tough new-year for Spieth

LONDON - Rory McIlroy has warned rival Jordan Spieth that "self-inflicted pressure" will make it difficult to follow up his blockbuster 2015 season with an equally successful 2016 campaign. World number three McIlroy knows how tough it is to maintain peak form for a sustained spell. McIlroy won two majors in 2014 and was considered the man to beat in 2015, only to get derailed by a slowish start to the season and an ankle injury that kept him out of the British Open in July. Spieth took over as world number one, producing a magnificent season as he captured the U.S. Masters and U.S. Open titles. "It will feel completely different for Jordan (in 2016). If you look at the stats at how those who have had a double-major season have performed the next year ... it's hard to back up.”–Reuters

Kompany suffers fresh injury setback

MANCHESTER - Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany faces another spell out of action after aggravating a calf injury just eight minutes into his comeback, manager Manuel Pellegrini revealed after his side's 4-1 thrashing of Sunderland. Belgium’s Kompany had missed eight successive matches with the problem before returning as a substitute in 62nd minute. However, he was forced to leave the pitch soon afterwards, leaving Pellegrini with a significant defensive problem ahead of Tuesday's trip to title rivals Leicester. "Vincent is not the best news. He was ready to return, but I did not want him to play the whole game," Pellegrini said. "He worked the whole week with normality. We will see tomorrow what the doctor says, but it is the same injury to the same calf."–AFP

I could quit Man Utd: Van Gaal

STOKE-ON-TRENT - Louis van Gaal said that he could jump before he is pushed after his position as Manchester United manager became even more precarious following a fourth successive defeat. The under-fire Dutchman, 64, looked like a condemned man throughout United's sorry 2-0 loss to Stoke City on Saturday and then in the inquest that took place afterwards. When grilled about the firestorm of speculation surrounding his likely sacking and the possible appointment of Jose Mourinho, Van Gaal intimated that he may be about to walk away from a job. While refusing to confirm or deny whether he has received assurances from the United board, he did state: "I have said already in former press conferences that it is not always that the club has to fire or sack me. Sometimes I do it by myself.”–AFP

National Club beat Capital Gym

ISLAMABAD – National Cricket Club thrashed Capital Gymkhana by 104 runs in a friendly match on Sunday. Capital Gym skipper opted to field first after winning the toss. National Club started the proceedings on a very disappointing note, as they lost both openers without opening the account. Saeed Khan steadied the ship with a polished unbeaten 40 while M Salman made 36. Umair Abbasi’s 27 and skipper M Shabbir’s 21 runs also helped National to post highly competitive 196-8 total in allotted 30 overs. Mustafa clinched 3 for 34. Chasing 197 runs, Capital Gymkhana were bundled out for 92 runs in 21 overs. Jamil was the only batsman to score 20 runs for the losers. M Usman ripped through top order grabbing 4 for 15, Bilal Ahmed also captured 3 for 16 and Saboor picked 2 for 10.–Staff Reporter

PTF to hold coaching course

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan Tennis Federation would hold 4-day coaches’ education programme, pre-ITF Level-I, play & stay coaches workshop at the National Coaching Centre, Karachi from 6 to 9th January, in collaboration with Pakistan Sports Board. Pakistan Tennis Federation secretary M Khalid Rehmani said: “Pakistan's ITF level-3 coach/tutor, Kamran Khalil, Shahid Islam, Deputy Director (Academic PSB) and Nasrullah Rana qualified and renowned physical trainer would be the resource persons while selected guest speakers would also share their experience of modern coaching techniques with the students.” A course kit would be provided to each coach. The interested coaches may register their names with Rehmani, course director latest by January 2. The registration fee is Rs 700.–Staff Reporter