OAKLAND, California (AP): Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr is sorry he swore more than once at a referee. He knows how hard that job must be. Kerr was fined US$25,000 by the NBA yesterday for his outburst directed at official Bill Spooner late in the third quarter of Golden State’s three-point overtime loss at Sacramento on Saturday night. “I knew I was going to get fined. I deserve it,” Kerr said. The reigning NBA Coach of the Year yelled profanities and was held back on the court by assistant coach Mike Brown during the 109-106 defeat. He became irate after a pair of loose ball fouls on Kevon Looney 18 seconds apart, pointing and gesturing in Spooner’s direction. Kerr said he had apologised to Spooner through NBA Executive Vice-president of Basketball operations Kiki VanDeWeghe and would do so in person the next time Spooner is assigned to work the Warriors. “It was totally inappropriate and I deserve to be fined,” Kerr said. “It didn’t surprise me how I angry I was, but the word choice was very poor.” The league said Kerr was verbally abusive to officials and failed to leave the court in a timely manner following his ejection with three minutes and 34 seconds left in the period. To those who get into officiating, Kerr said: “God bless you. Those guys have miserable jobs. We yell at them, every coach yells at them every game. Part of being a good ref is you understand it’s not personal. That’s why I don’t think this will be any issue. Bill’s a really good ref. He’s been in this league a long time. I’ll apologise and I’m sure he’ll be fine. Like I said, they’re kind of used to the abuse. It’s never personal.”
2 2 Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal will go head-to-head with rivals Liverpool in the January transfer window for Hoffenheim midfielder Roberto Firmino, according to reports. Firmino scored twice and played a part in another. In a free-roaming role under Markus Gisdol, Firmino is given the license to operate across the attacking third of the pitch and his performance against Koln highlights his ability to influence games from the right, left or centre.What’s the latest?Liverpool have been long time admirers of the midfielder, however reports suggest the Red Devils will make a £25m bid in January for the former Figuerense star.Real Madrid, Chelsea Borussia Dortmund, Juventus and Zenit St Petersburg are also believed to have tracked the midfielder and his impressive performances are making him one of the most sought after players in Europe.There have been some suggestions that work permit complications could scupper any potential move. As per the FA website, footballers from non-EU countries must “have participated in at least 75 per cent of his country’s senior competitive international matches where he was available for selection during the two years preceding the date of the application.”QPR’s move for Henrique Almeida, Brazil’s 2011 FIFA U20 World Cup golden ball and boot winner, collapsed in 2012 after the forward was denied a work permit.However, Firmino would qualify via the “exceptional talent” visa which is how Chelsea signed Willian from Anzhi Makhachkala.Did you know?Firmino was dropped from the Hoffenheim first-team squad along with team-mate Chinedu Obasi in November 2011 for showing up late to training. The club’s general manager at the time, Ernst Tanner, said the two were “employees who are not badly paid but come late to work.”VerdictFirmino is a remarkable talent who can score, create, dribble and play multiple positions.His record in the highly competitive Bundesliga reinforces his potential and it comes as no surprise that he has attracted some of Europe’s top clubs.Given United’s attacking threat and the need to address their defensive woes, a move for Firmino seems left-field but if a transfer did materialise Spaniard Juan Mata would likely be sacrificed to accommodate the Brazilian.Van Gaal has often spoken of the need for versatility from his players and this season the Dutchman has used a range of formations, with Angel Di Maria played out wide and through the middle; Firmino’s ability to play anywhere across the middle would certainly fit Van Gaal’s philosophy.Man United fans, do you think the club needs another attacking midfielder? Should the Red Devils move for Firmino? Comment below… Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal will go head-to-head with rivals Liverpool in the January transfer window for Hoffenheim midfielder Roberto Firmino, according to reports.The £25m-rated Brazilian, who recently earned his first cap for the Brazil national side, is widely regarded as one the best young talents in European football and United are thought to keen to beat Liverpool to his signature.Is another attacking midfielder what the Red Devils need given their investment in attackers already this year? talkSPORT takes a look at Firmino.Roberto FirminoDate of birth: 2 October 1991 (age 23)Born: Maceio, BrazilClub: 1899 HoffenheimHonours: Bundesliga Breakthrough of the Season- 2013/14Firmino moved to Hoffenheim from Brazilian side Figueirense in December 2010 and agreed a new three-year deal with the German club earlier this year in March.The Brazil international, who has been dubbed the new Kaka, is a playmaker who can play as no.10, on the wing or as a striker and he is a good finisher blessed with technique and agility.Firmino enjoyed a fine campaign last season, notching 22 goals and 15 assists from 37 appearances in all competitions, picking up the Bundesliga Breakthrough of the Season award in the process.The midfielder has carried on his good form into this season, with five goals and five assists from just 12 matches and he was rewarded by Brazil head coach Dunga, who gave the 23-year-old his first senior international cap in the Selecao’s 4-0 friendly win over Turkey on Wednesday.Below is a Squawka representation of Firmino’s pass completion against FC Koln in Hoffenheim’s 4-3 loss in their previous league game.