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Thursday 14 December 2017

Given delighted with win as handshake saga dominates

Shay Given likes to play a straight bat when he has to deal with anything uncomfortably controversial but even he could not avoid the endless palaver around John Terry and Wayne Bridge -- never mind the fact that Manchester City took a big step forward when they walloped Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

"We were delighted. It's a tough place to go, Stamford Bridge. They're going for the title and are top of the league. It was a great boost for everyone and it gave us a great lift. We were delighted with the three points and hopefully it's a platform to finish the season on a high. It's given us a belief to kick on."

That was the standard rent-a-quote answer but everyone wants more these days. Specifically about the handshake that never was and the furore around Bridge and his former friend Terry.

"For Wayne, I don't know what his thoughts were but to me he looked pretty focused. We were there to play football, that's why we were at Stamford Bridge, no other reason," he said -- but nobody believed the keeper.

"He was going back to his old club, obviously. I think he was looking forward to that, as Shaun Wright-Phillips was. It's always good to go back to your old club. The focus was on the game. It was a massive game for us. That was the only focus we had.

And the handshake -- or lack of it?

"It was his own decision. It's up to him what he wants to do. You can't make someone do something they don't want to do.

"I had an idea, yeah," he said when asked about Bridge's decision to snub Terry. "But we were there to play football and I wouldn't want to talk about anything else. It's none of my business to be honest."

Back in harness for Giovanni Trapattoni, Given wants to put Paris firmly behind him and move onto the next challenge.

"The manager just had a quick word with us and, as he said and as we're all aware, it's all about looking forward and not looking back. You can't change the past. It is nice to meet up with the lads, the last time I saw them was in the Stade de France and we all went out separate ways. It's nice to get together again and hopefully get a positive result against Brazil," said Given before running the rule over the serious business of Euro 2012 qualification.

"It's going to be tough enough. There are never any easy ones. There are teams we should be winning against, home and away. There are also teams which will be very tough, like Russia and Slovakia. They're going to be interesting to see in the World Cup. We'll get a real good look at them there.

"I know Vladimir Weiss is at our club and he's a very good player. They topped the group in qualifying so they are a strong team. Russia as well, it's always been a tough place to go as we all know."

"I think playing France gave a lot of the players and even the fans more belief with the way we played. I think we can continue that and bring it into qualifying. I'm not taking away from what happened but we had some great chances to win the game and we played a lot better than France.

"But the key is qualification. How we do it, no-one really cares. We would love to top the group but it's way too early to talk about that, we haven't even kicked a ball yet. If we can keep everyone fit we'll be alright."

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