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Whitecaps manager Carl Robinson reminisces over the events that followed his appointment as manager and the struggles that followed.
Carl Robinson Gets his Fairytale of New York
Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinbson

Carl Robinson was officially appointed Vancouver Whitecaps' new head coach on December 16th. It's safe to say that his first three months in charge have been eventful and not ideal, but what's past is past.

All that is important now is that 82 days after taking charge, the Welshman got his first win as a manager under his belt, in his first competitive game in charge and it came against one of his former clubs, in a 4-1 win against New York Red Bulls on Saturday.

Like much of what has happened off the pitch since the Whitecaps season ended last October, it couldn't have been scripted better. Robinson got his fairytale ending, describing the whole occasion as being "written in the stars".

Now the hard work really begins.

Taking charge of the Caps following a highly scrutinized hiring process, a season of much failure, lots of questions surrounding how the team were run and, with the fallout from Darren Mattocks' controversial interview on Jamaican TV still fresh in people's minds, it was a lot to take on for your first head coaching gig.

Robinson soon didn't have his troubles to seek, with the Camilo saga, the Lewis/Cosmos debacle and the lack of signings getting unwanted headlines.

But what doesn't break you, only makes you stronger and Robinson came through it all unscathed and still with a smile on his face.

" It's not troublesome, it's a learning curve. It's my first job, but all the preparation I've done over the last seven years to get my qualifications through UEFA and things like that have stood me in good stead for this. "
-Carl Robinson-

Back in January, he was already thoughtful on the challenge ahead. 

"I didn't realize it would come this early, but it has. I've dealt with it, professionally and honestly. So I'm sure I'll be a better person for it and a better head coach for it moving forward." 

That attitude, and with everything that has happened, seems to have had a number of neutrals rooting for the former Welsh international to succeed. Only time will tell what this season will have in store for him but at least he's got off to a positive and winning start.

What did it mean to him to get his first win as a manager out of the way in his first game and after everything that's happened?

"My first game as a head coach, in front of a sell-out crowd, I think it was just fitting that we got the reward. It was the players reward, and the supporters as well, because it's been a tough offseason. But we've got things to look forward to now."

That's one game down, there's still 33 games to go, in what will be an even more competitive Western Conference. There isn't time to rest on their laurels and Robinson isn't getting carried away.

"I want to be successful this year. One performance doesn't make a season and it certainly won't. It's important we got off to a good start, and we did. We played some excellent football.

"I won't get carried away and I'll certainly make sure that the players don't get carried away, but it was a very important win."

The hard work is now just beginning but at least it's got off to the perfect start.

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14 hrs. ago

M'Baye Niang put the nightmare of the Paris terror attacks firmly behind him with two goals and an assist as AC Milan crushed a sorry Sampdoria 4-1 at the San Siro on Saturday.

Niang admitted last week the events of the past fortnight had left him worried for the safety of family and friends in and around the French capital.

But the 20-year-old from the Paris suburbs produced a confident performance for the Rossoneri, first delivering for Giacomo Bonaventura's opener on 16 minutes and then beating Emiliano Viviano from the spot after the Milan winger had been hauled down in the area seven minutes before the interval.

Niang secured Milan's seventh win of the campaign when he fired under Viviano four minutes after the restart after the 'keeper's fluffed clearance.

When he was replaced by Luiz Adriano 15 minutes from the whistle it took the Brazilian just four minutes to find the net after volleying Alessio Cerci's intelligent cross past Viviano.

The only blot on Milan's copybook was Gianluigi Donnarumma's failure to stop Luis Muriel from the spot after Andrea Pioli had tugged on Eder in the area in the closing minutes.

Milan moved up to fifth place at seven points behind leaders Inter ahead of the remainder of the weekend matches, with Sampdoria's second successive defeat under new coach Vincenzo Montella leaving them 14 points adrift.

"It was an almost perfect performance," said Milan coach Sinisa Mihajlovic, who gave a special mention to Niang.

"He's a big player for us, he was doing really well in pre-season then he got injured. Now he's back in form and he's doing well, but he already showed at Genoa (loan) what he was made of."

For the fifth consecutive match Mihajlovic opted for teenage goalkeeper Donnarumma over the more experienced Diego Lopez but the 16-year-old had to dive low to parry after his messy clearance fell to Roberto 

Soriano 30 yards out in the opening minute.

From then on, it was all Milan with Niang the main protagonist before making way for Adriano on 74 minutes.

Having spent the last half of last season on loan at Genoa, the striker said he in enjoying playing in a pure 

striker's role under Mihajlovic.

"I'm really happy because I've been waiting for this for a longtime, the hard work's paying off and I hope it continues like this," said Niang.

"I played as a centre-forward, the position I prefer and I think that along with our win over Lazio this was our best display this season."

Milan broke the deadlock on 16 minutes with Alessio Cerci, whose eighth minute goal was ruled offside, involved before Niang burst down the right to fire in a weighted delivery that Bonaventura slid in to meet at the back post.

Milan built on their momentum and Niang almost doubled the lead when he collected Juraj Kucka's short delivery on the right to drag his angled shot inches wide of Viviano's far post.

Sampdoria were struggling to find any rhythm and Milan's movement in the final third of the pitch was causing huge problems for the visitors.

Niang left Edgar Barreto behind to burst down the right and fire across the bows, but Bonaventura's first-timer from the six-yard line blasted over.

Samp's only real chance came when Luis Muriel dribbled his way into the area but despite turning Milan's defence his promising strike was blocked by Alessio Romagnoli.

Niang came close twice with flicks that inched wide of Viviano's post just after the restart.

But when the 'keeper fluffed a clearance, Niang collected and strode confidently into the area to fire under his body and secure the second brace of his Serie A career, after hitting a double for Genoa against Verona last season.

A tiring Niang soon made way for Adriano and only four minutes later Cerci was given time and space to the right of the area to pick out the Brazilian with a pinpoint pass which he controlled before firing past a helpless Viviano.

Earlier, Torino moved up to seventh place with a 2-0 home win over Bologna thanks to second-half goals from Andrea Belotti and Giuseppe Vives.