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Total Football Podcast: Spurs are the new Newcastle - the nearly team

Another week another frightening Manchester City victory. Telegraph Sport's Luke Edwards joins the Total Football podcast to tell host Thom Gibbs just how much better this City side are than all of their rivals. Luke and Thom pick over the bones of the Premier League weekend, taking in eye-catching wins for Crystal Palace and Huddersfield, a concerning defeat for Mark Hughes's Stoke and Chelsea's chances of ending the season with silverware.  Then it's off to Merseyside where Chris Bascombe gives his verdict on Liverpool's trouncing of Bournemouth, before looking ahead to Everton vs Swansea on Monday night. Finally Luke gives us the latest on the Newcastle United takeover saga, and answers your questions about the latest developments. Here's how to listen: iTunes - https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/id1266640345 Android - http://totalfootball.telegraph.co.uk/feed/ (link must be pasted into a podcast app) Online - https://totalfootball.telegraph.co.uk/

Manchester City's manager Pep Guardiola looks on before the English Premier League football match against Tottenham Hotspur December 16, 2017

Everton ‘crying out’ for Yannick Bolasie’s return, says Sam Allardyce

Yannick Bolasie, centre, on the bench for a Premier League 2 match. He has played in two Under-23 games in the past week and could feature against Swansea.

Pep Guardiola to be offered long-term contract as Mancheter City look to establish Sir Alex Ferguson-like era of dominance

Manchester City will open talks with Pep Guardiola about a new contract at the end of the season, with the club’s Abu Dhabi owners eager for the manager to build a Sir Alex Ferguson style dynasty at the Etihad Stadium. City recorded an extraordinary sixteenth successive Premier League victory on Saturday when a 4-1 hammering of Tottenham Hotspur maintained their stranglehold over England’s top-flight and intensified the debate over whether Guardiola’s rampaging side can finish the season unbeaten. Guardiola is at the halfway point of his three-year contract, worth up to £20 million annually, and City’s hierarchy have agreed to sit down with the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach in the summer, confident of thrashing out the terms of a new deal. A one-year contract extension has previously been suggested but City’s powerbrokers would like to tie the 46-year-old to a longer-term arrangement and hope to persuade the Catalan to buy into their vision of him creating a legacy at the club. They recognise the impact Ferguson had over a 27-year tenure at Manchester United and believe that, in Guardiola, they have a similar rarefied talent capable of building his own dynasty over the next 10 years, during which time they hope to have won multiple domestic and European titles. Ferguson spent 27 successful years at Old Trafford Credit: Getty images Guardiola spent four years at Barcelona before taking a 12-month sabbatical and had three years at the Bayern helm before leaving for City. However, City feel managing City is a very different situation to managing Barcelona and the accompanying political pressures that were likened to “being in an oven” and stress the freedom Guardiola has been given in Manchester. Since Sheikh Mansour’s takeover at City in 2008, the club have insisted on implementing a robust management structure that is not beholden to the manager, and despite a huge influx of staff from Spain in the lead up to and following Guardiola’s appointment, City reject any suggestion that a vacuum will be left if and when the Catalan departs. It has previously been assumed that chief executive, Ferran Soriano, and director of football, Txiki Begiristain, both of whom worked with Guardiola at Barcelona, would leave if the manager ever went but the pair are not thought to regard their futures as being inextricably intertwined with Guardiola’s position. Guardiola has been challenging at times to man-manage but the club have been dazzled by the improvement his coaching has brought across the full age range of the squad and that was apparent once again on Saturday evening as Spurs were crushed by the runaway league leaders. Sport tweets of 2017 Whereas Tottenham ultimately resorted to kicking Guardiola’s players in a bid to thwart them, City refused to rise to the bait. The sight of the game’s marvel, Kevin De Bruyne, gingerly getting back to his feet after a sickening studs-up challenge from Dele Alli and two minutes later surging forward to thunder home City’s second goal spoke volumes for what this team stand for. Alli could do worse than pay close attention to the Belgian’s performance. The England midfielder’s form has nosedived since his two-goal salvo in Spurs’s 3-1 victory over European champions Real Madrid on Nov. 1 and he seemed more intent with hurting his opponents physically than figuratively at the Etihad. He was lucky he had not already earned two yellow cards for studded tackles on Ilkay Gundogan and Fernandinho in the first half before his appalling challenge on De Bruyne. Referee Craig Pawson, who should be stood down next weekend after an inept performance, had already missed an awful studs-up challenge from Harry Kane on Raheem Sterling by the time Alli left his mark for all the wrong reasons. It is understandable that the Football Association do not want to be seen to be “re-refereeing” games but, in serious cases such as these, there is something inherently flawed about a rule that prevents any retrospective disciplinary action against players who have been booked. City centre-half Nicolas Otamendi might also have been fortunate to escape with a yellow card for catching Kane in the face with a high boot. Harry Kane could have been sent off Credit: Reuters To his credit, Guardiola refused to be drawn on Tottenham’s approach and was similarly reluctant to start demanding greater protection for his players, preferring instead to focus on a bewitching display that yielded another two goals for Sterling and one for the impressive Gundogan. Christian Eriksen’s late consolation was scarcely deserved. “Sometimes the situation is hard and aggressive so with that there’s always a risk,” he said. Guardiola believes City set out as they meant to go on in the swashbuckling 3-0 pre-season win over Spurs in Nashville in July and have not deviated from that template since. “We all saw together then that is the way we have to do it and since then we’ve maintained that level,” he said. The only hint of a problem for Guardiola was Sergio Aguero’s petulant reaction to being substituted, when the Argentina striker threw down his gloves in disgust and trudged off, head bowed, but the manager said he was unconcerned. “I can understand him – he wants to play,” he said.

Mauricio Pochettino: I will talk to Dele Alli about Kevin De Bruyne tackle and his lack of form

Mauricio Pochettino has admitted he will have talks with Dele Alli in the wake of the Tottenham Hotspur midfielder’s collapse in form and disgraceful studs-up challenge on Kevin De Bruyne. Alli was fortunate not to be sent off after careering through the Manchester City midfielder in the second half on a day when the 21-year-old’s form again deserted him. He had earlier caught Ilkay Gundogan and Fernandinho with his studs in poor tackles. The England midfielder’s performance level has dropped sharply since scoring twice in Tottenham’s 3-1 victory over European champions Real Madrid on Nov. 1, since when he has failed to score in nine matches. Alli, who scored 22 goals last season, has only netted once in the Premier League since August and Pochettino, while reluctant to criticise the youngster, does plan to speak with him. “I am not going now to talk about individual players,” the Tottenham head coach said. “You can assess, people can assess. I’m going to say what I need to do and try to help him and help everyone.” Pochettino wants to see more from Alli Credit: Reuters There has been a 29-point swing between Spurs and City since the end of last season, but while Pochettino acknowledged his side were struggling in the league, he waved away concerns and also insisted that he was unfazed about Tottenham’s travel sickness in big games. Since he took charge in 2014, Spurs have won just one of 18 league away matches against the established elite. “You see me concerned?” he said. “Not really, no. It’s about how you finish in the league and the position in the table. Last season we were above Manchester City in the table. This season we are below. Maybe we need to improve our results not only away from home but at home. The expectation was massive during the season but yes we struggled maybe with different competitions but in the Champions League we are doing fantastic. In the Premier League we are not in the position we wanted but we are fighting for the top four.”

Roy Hodgson on the road to redemption with Crystal Palace with England criticism still raw 

Crystal Palace are on course to avoid a bleak winter but Roy Hodgson still cannot escape the chilling memories of Iceland. Hodgson’s rehabilitation as a manager continues after Palace climbed out of the relegation zone and extended their unbeaten run to seven games with this Saturday stroll at Leicester. Christian Benteke is also back scoring again and it seems Hodgson’s appointment as Palace manager is a virtual guarantee of Premier League survival. It ensures he is firmly on the road to redemption after arguably the worst result in England’s football history, the 2-1 defeat against Iceland which dumped them out at Euro 2016. Hodgson resigned shortly afterwards, left with little option after such embarrassment. But the 70-year-old has rounded on his critics, insisting his reputation in this country does not deserve to be tarnished by one result. England crashed out of Euro 2016 in humiliating fashion Credit: Getty Images “I’m afraid the criticism is going to be enormous there but I don’t regard that as being indicative of the four years. I regard it as being indicative of a game nobody expected us to lose but we did because we didn’t play well enough,” he said. “We weren’t too heavily criticised when we went 20 games with 16 wins and four draws. We didn’t get an awful lot of criticism there. “Knockout football is knockout football. Unfortunately we were in a tournament and we were not playing that badly in that tournament and then we have one game where we play badly and the team goes out.” Hodgson’s achievements at Palace are already impressive, however, and this victory demonstrated the qualities he is renowned for: team organisation and defensive resolve. This was their third clean sheet in a row on the road and only underlines the mess Hodgson inherited from Frank De Boer, for this is clearly a decent Premier League squad. Christian Benteke bounced back from his penalty debacle with a goal at Leicester Credit: Getty Images Hodgson is refusing to get carried away. "I don’t spend my time thinking about the bottom three. I think how far divorced are we from a pack of clubs who have got the spectre of relegation looming in some way? How far ahead of us are they?  "If we are creeping close enough to get within 3-4 points of these teams that’s a massive step forward. But I've enjoyed this from the start and it's satisfying to see the players get the rewards from their hard work." Benteke is certainly one of them. He secured his first goal in 1,106 minutes to open the scoring here, heading in from Andros Townsend's brilliant cross. The strike also ended Palace's long wait for an away goal in the league. It represented a rapid turnaround for the £32m forward, who infuriated Hodgson, his team-mates and Palace supporters by missing a penalty against Bournemouth the previous weekend. Towards the end, Palace fans were loudly chanting his name to ensure he is firmly back in credit. "That’s football. Last week they were swearing and they were laughing at me," said Benteke. "Obviously it is important to score because I am a striker.   I didn’t feel  sorry for anything, I just took my responsibilities.   Sport tweets of 2017 "I didn’t hide myself, I knew that my time was going to come.  I had a good chat with him [Hodgson] after what happened last weekend and he just said keep playing and work hard for the team." Benteke missed at least two other decent chances but Palace were in cruise control for most of the afternoon, with  the outstanding Wilfried Zaha adding a second after another speedy counter-attack. Leicester were unexpectedly dreadful, ending a run of four successive wins, and midfielder Wilfred Ndidi was also sent off on his 21stbirthday. The second caution was for simulation as the home team pursued a route back into the game. Bakary Sako, a substitute, completed the rout to leave Leicester now facing a daunting Carabao Cup quarter-final against Manchester City on Tuesday. Marc Albrighton, the midfielder, said: “They are as good a team as I’ve played against or seen so it’s going to be difficult. “We’re in a great position in that competition to progress and hopefully we can put in a good performance against Manchester City and do what nobody is doing at the minute. “It’s alright saying ‘it’s just one of those days’ and ‘we’ve won four on the bounce’ but we’re disappointed because we should be picking up wins and defeats aren’t good enough. “We need to pick ourselves up after this, go again on Tuesday in the cup and then against Manchester United at the weekend.  You want to test yourself against the best."

Roy Hodgson on the road to redemption with Crystal Palace with England criticism still raw 

Crystal Palace are on course to avoid a bleak winter but Roy Hodgson still cannot escape the chilling memories of Iceland. Hodgson’s rehabilitation as a manager continues after Palace climbed out of the relegation zone and extended their unbeaten run to seven games with this Saturday stroll at Leicester. Christian Benteke is also back scoring again and it seems Hodgson’s appointment as Palace manager is a virtual guarantee of Premier League survival. It ensures he is firmly on the road to redemption after arguably the worst result in England’s football history, the 2-1 defeat against Iceland which dumped them out at Euro 2016. Hodgson resigned shortly afterwards, left with little option after such embarrassment. But the 70-year-old has rounded on his critics, insisting his reputation in this country does not deserve to be tarnished by one result. England crashed out of Euro 2016 in humiliating fashion Credit: Getty Images “I’m afraid the criticism is going to be enormous there but I don’t regard that as being indicative of the four years. I regard it as being indicative of a game nobody expected us to lose but we did because we didn’t play well enough,” he said. “We weren’t too heavily criticised when we went 20 games with 16 wins and four draws. We didn’t get an awful lot of criticism there. “Knockout football is knockout football. Unfortunately we were in a tournament and we were not playing that badly in that tournament and then we have one game where we play badly and the team goes out.” Hodgson’s achievements at Palace are already impressive, however, and this victory demonstrated the qualities he is renowned for: team organisation and defensive resolve. This was their third clean sheet in a row on the road and only underlines the mess Hodgson inherited from Frank De Boer, for this is clearly a decent Premier League squad. Christian Benteke bounced back from his penalty debacle with a goal at Leicester Credit: Getty Images Hodgson is refusing to get carried away. "I don’t spend my time thinking about the bottom three. I think how far divorced are we from a pack of clubs who have got the spectre of relegation looming in some way? How far ahead of us are they?  "If we are creeping close enough to get within 3-4 points of these teams that’s a massive step forward. But I've enjoyed this from the start and it's satisfying to see the players get the rewards from their hard work." Benteke is certainly one of them. He secured his first goal in 1,106 minutes to open the scoring here, heading in from Andros Townsend's brilliant cross. The strike also ended Palace's long wait for an away goal in the league. It represented a rapid turnaround for the £32m forward, who infuriated Hodgson, his team-mates and Palace supporters by missing a penalty against Bournemouth the previous weekend. Towards the end, Palace fans were loudly chanting his name to ensure he is firmly back in credit. "That’s football. Last week they were swearing and they were laughing at me," said Benteke. "Obviously it is important to score because I am a striker.   I didn’t feel  sorry for anything, I just took my responsibilities.   Sport tweets of 2017 "I didn’t hide myself, I knew that my time was going to come.  I had a good chat with him [Hodgson] after what happened last weekend and he just said keep playing and work hard for the team." Benteke missed at least two other decent chances but Palace were in cruise control for most of the afternoon, with  the outstanding Wilfried Zaha adding a second after another speedy counter-attack. Leicester were unexpectedly dreadful, ending a run of four successive wins, and midfielder Wilfred Ndidi was also sent off on his 21stbirthday. The second caution was for simulation as the home team pursued a route back into the game. Bakary Sako, a substitute, completed the rout to leave Leicester now facing a daunting Carabao Cup quarter-final against Manchester City on Tuesday. Marc Albrighton, the midfielder, said: “They are as good a team as I’ve played against or seen so it’s going to be difficult. “We’re in a great position in that competition to progress and hopefully we can put in a good performance against Manchester City and do what nobody is doing at the minute. “It’s alright saying ‘it’s just one of those days’ and ‘we’ve won four on the bounce’ but we’re disappointed because we should be picking up wins and defeats aren’t good enough. “We need to pick ourselves up after this, go again on Tuesday in the cup and then against Manchester United at the weekend.  You want to test yourself against the best."

Rob Elliot supports decision to cancel Newcastle Christmas party amid winless run

Newcastle United's Rafalution is in danger of turning into a Rafarendum to decide the future of manager Rafael Benitez, with owner Mike Ashley's sale of the club potentially hampered by the side's collapse into the relegation zone. The Spanish coach got Newcastle promoted back to the promised land for this season, but they have crashed from sixth to the bottom three of the Premier League table since reports of a takeover by Amanda Staveley's PCP Partners surfaced at the end of October. This Mesut Ozil-inspired defeat marked Newcastle's eighth loss in nine games, but it could so easily have been a second draw in that run against a nervous Arsenal. And while Benitez still has the supporters and seemingly owner (current and future) onside too, he is turning to his more experienced players to get the season-changing victory he believes will send them hurtling back up the table before January reinforcements arrive. One of five changes to his starting line-up featured the recall of goalkeeper Rob Elliot, who revealed afterwards the unique pressure of playing for a one-town team and how he is happy to help Benitez restore confidence. The Ireland international, 31, said: “I’ve got to take more responsibility in that area, Along with Jamaal [Lascelles] who has been excellent since coming back, we’ve got to make sure that we are helping the young lads along because it is easy to get disheartened. Rafael Benitez has been opting for experience in bid to halt Newcastle's poor form and remains confident of turning the tide Credit:  Action Images via Reuters “When you come to a club like Newcastle, when we have such an amazing following, you don’t lose on a Saturday and then nobody thinks about it until the following week – it’s every day and every minute. “We need to make sure we take care of that responsibility because that is part of playing for the club, not just on the pitch but off it as well. “To play for Newcastle is tougher than other clubs because you know you carry the momentum of the city and we need to make sure we can use that to end the run and push on. We’ve seen that in seasons before you can have a good Christmas or a bad Christmas and it can change the table." Talking about Christmas, Elliot confirmed he was one of the players who supported cancelling the team's festive party amid a run of vital matches. He added: “It was a decision that we made because it’s not right to go out and celebrate. I think there are more important things to worry about. We have great togetherness, so I think it’s an appropriate time when the club is not where we want to be that we knuckle down and we think about football, concentrate solely on that and make sure that every focus is on the game. It showed against Arsenal that I don’t think you can question the commitment or the effort of the players.” Benitez and team are back in London this weekend to face resurgent West Ham, still only two points above them at the bottom. The Spanish coach restated his desire to make signings, reassured supporters he can get the team winning again and used an amusing reference to explain his outlook. He said: “Luis Aragones the famous Spanish coach was always saying: ‘You cannot go to the fifth floor of John Lewis and buy confidence.’ You have to buy confidence by winning games, working hard and one of the main things is being lucky.” Newcastle had no luck going for them in this match apart from sub-standard refereeing that denied Arsenal a penalty soon after Ozil's brilliant 23rd minute volley that won the match. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who insisted he had seen enough from Benitez and Newcastle to believe they have nothing to fear, has his own worries in what appears to be a losing battle trying to persuade Ozil to stay when his contract expires this summer. With Manchester United one of a few interested parties watching the in-form German, Wenger updated supporters on the state of negotiations. He reported: “I believe he wants to stay. He is not to be convinced. You want nobody to leave and see where we stand on that. But at the moment, it’s very difficult. Until the end of the season we know what he is, but after that, I cannot tell you.”

Antonio Conte claims his Chelsea achievements deserve more respect

One of Manchester City’s achievements this season has been to make every other club in the Premier League measure themselves against Pep Guardiola’s team. And of course, they all fall short by comparison. Antonio Conte, the Chelsea manager, pointed out after victory over a stubborn Southampton side that eight wins and a draw from ten games would certainly be regarded as a good run, except that “we see that there is another team that is winning every game.”  And it was hard to escape the sense that the Italian feels aggrieved that his own achievements, both last season and this, have been overlooked while the football world lauds Guardiola’s. Chelsea are the reigning champions, face Bournemouth in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday, are in the Champions League knock-out stages and on course to finish in the top four. Yet all he hears are rumours about his impending replacement.  “Every day there is speculation about my future,” he said. “It’s not right because I think I deserve a bit of respect for what I did last season, for what I am doing this season. To read every week: ‘Next season the club contacts this coach or this coach’ - for me this is not a problem. But it can create problems with the players because the players believe we could [drift] apart.  “I have another year on my contract, so in this moment my focus is total, to improve my players, to try to improve the team, to try to improve the club. If you understand a bit [about] football there is a moment you must have great patience, to know that someone is working very well.  Marcos Alonso's goal was enough for three points at home to Southampton Credit: Reuters “I think last season we did a fantastic job but this job is continuing this season. We are trying to change the average age of our team. I think for a club like Chelsea it is very important to start to do this, if you want to create a new base and face the future with confidence.”  It could, of course, be argued that City have allowed Conte the luxury of thinking long-term about rebuilding by relieving him of the pressure of trying to catch them – something he admitted was no longer possible after last weekend’s defeat away to West Ham. But he could still face City in three competitions and even made a consideration of their spending sound like a plea for more Chelsea signings in January.  “I think when you have this opportunity to go in the market to spend a lot of money, I think it is right to do this,” he said. “You must obviously be very good to spend your money in this way. You must be clever to understand the positions, the roles you have to improve.”  Sport tweets of 2017 Among his targets could be Virgil van Dijk, the Southampton defender dropped as one of six changes to the Saints team after their 4-1 home humiliation by Leicester last week, but City – inevitably – are also thought to be interested and Conte made the intriguing suggestion that rival clubs at home and abroad should try to prevent Guardiola and company from acquiring him.  “Every team, every club, must pay great attention,” Conte said. “Because if a club like Manchester City takes all the best, it will be very difficult for us to fight. Not only in England but in Europe. If they can do this it is right for them to do this.”  The reshaped Saints defended stoutly but better Chelsea finishing could have resulted in another rout, but midfield player James Ward-Prowse was understandably pleased with only a narrow defeat. “The most important thing was the character we showed after a disappointing result in midweek.” 

Roy Hodgson on the road to redemption with Crystal Palace with England criticism still raw 

Crystal Palace are on course to avoid a bleak winter but Roy Hodgson still cannot escape the chilling memories of Iceland. Hodgson’s rehabilitation as a manager continues after Palace climbed out of the relegation zone and extended their unbeaten run to seven games with this Saturday stroll at Leicester. Christian Benteke is also back scoring again and it seems Hodgson’s appointment as Palace manager is a virtual guarantee of Premier League survival. It ensures he is firmly on the road to redemption after arguably the worst result in England’s football history, the 2-1 defeat against Iceland which dumped them out at Euro 2016. Hodgson resigned shortly afterwards, left with little option after such embarrassment. But the 70-year-old has rounded on his critics, insisting his reputation in this country does not deserve to be tarnished by one result. England crashed out of Euro 2016 in humiliating fashion Credit: Getty Images “I’m afraid the criticism is going to be enormous there but I don’t regard that as being indicative of the four years. I regard it as being indicative of a game nobody expected us to lose but we did because we didn’t play well enough,” he said. “We weren’t too heavily criticised when we went 20 games with 16 wins and four draws. We didn’t get an awful lot of criticism there. “Knockout football is knockout football. Unfortunately we were in a tournament and we were not playing that badly in that tournament and then we have one game where we play badly and the team goes out.” Hodgson’s achievements at Palace are already impressive, however, and this victory demonstrated the qualities he is renowned for: team organisation and defensive resolve. This was their third clean sheet in a row on the road and only underlines the mess Hodgson inherited from Frank De Boer, for this is clearly a decent Premier League squad. Christian Benteke bounced back from his penalty debacle with a goal at Leicester Credit: Getty Images Hodgson is refusing to get carried away. "I don’t spend my time thinking about the bottom three. I think how far divorced are we from a pack of clubs who have got the spectre of relegation looming in some way? How far ahead of us are they?  "If we are creeping close enough to get within 3-4 points of these teams that’s a massive step forward. But I've enjoyed this from the start and it's satisfying to see the players get the rewards from their hard work." Benteke is certainly one of them. He secured his first goal in 1,106 minutes to open the scoring here, heading in from Andros Townsend's brilliant cross. The strike also ended Palace's long wait for an away goal in the league. It represented a rapid turnaround for the £32m forward, who infuriated Hodgson, his team-mates and Palace supporters by missing a penalty against Bournemouth the previous weekend. Towards the end, Palace fans were loudly chanting his name to ensure he is firmly back in credit. "That’s football. Last week they were swearing and they were laughing at me," said Benteke. "Obviously it is important to score because I am a striker.   I didn’t feel  sorry for anything, I just took my responsibilities.   Sport tweets of 2017 "I didn’t hide myself, I knew that my time was going to come.  I had a good chat with him [Hodgson] after what happened last weekend and he just said keep playing and work hard for the team." Benteke missed at least two other decent chances but Palace were in cruise control for most of the afternoon, with  the outstanding Wilfried Zaha adding a second after another speedy counter-attack. Leicester were unexpectedly dreadful, ending a run of four successive wins, and midfielder Wilfred Ndidi was also sent off on his 21stbirthday. The second caution was for simulation as the home team pursued a route back into the game. Bakary Sako, a substitute, completed the rout to leave Leicester now facing a daunting Carabao Cup quarter-final against Manchester City on Tuesday. Marc Albrighton, the midfielder, said: “They are as good a team as I’ve played against or seen so it’s going to be difficult. “We’re in a great position in that competition to progress and hopefully we can put in a good performance against Manchester City and do what nobody is doing at the minute. “It’s alright saying ‘it’s just one of those days’ and ‘we’ve won four on the bounce’ but we’re disappointed because we should be picking up wins and defeats aren’t good enough. “We need to pick ourselves up after this, go again on Tuesday in the cup and then against Manchester United at the weekend.  You want to test yourself against the best."

Mauricio Pochettino: I will talk to Dele Alli about Kevin De Bruyne tackle and his lack of form

Mauricio Pochettino has admitted he will have talks with Dele Alli in the wake of the Tottenham Hotspur midfielder’s collapse in form and disgraceful studs-up challenge on Kevin De Bruyne. Alli was fortunate not to be sent off after careering through the Manchester City midfielder in the second half on a day when the 21-year-old’s form again deserted him. He had earlier caught Ilkay Gundogan and Fernandinho with his studs in poor tackles. The England midfielder’s performance level has dropped sharply since scoring twice in Tottenham’s 3-1 victory over European champions Real Madrid on Nov. 1, since when he has failed to score in nine matches. Alli, who scored 22 goals last season, has only netted once in the Premier League since August and Pochettino, while reluctant to criticise the youngster, does plan to speak with him. “I am not going now to talk about individual players,” the Tottenham head coach said. “You can assess, people can assess. I’m going to say what I need to do and try to help him and help everyone.” Pochettino wants to see more from Alli Credit: Reuters There has been a 29-point swing between Spurs and City since the end of last season, but while Pochettino acknowledged his side were struggling in the league, he waved away concerns and also insisted that he was unfazed about Tottenham’s travel sickness in big games. Since he took charge in 2014, Spurs have won just one of 18 league away matches against the established elite. “You see me concerned?” he said. “Not really, no. It’s about how you finish in the league and the position in the table. Last season we were above Manchester City in the table. This season we are below. Maybe we need to improve our results not only away from home but at home. The expectation was massive during the season but yes we struggled maybe with different competitions but in the Champions League we are doing fantastic. In the Premier League we are not in the position we wanted but we are fighting for the top four.”

Pep Guardiola to be offered long-term contract as Mancheter City look to establish Sir Alex Ferguson-like era of dominance

Manchester City will open talks with Pep Guardiola about a new contract at the end of the season, with the club’s Abu Dhabi owners eager for the manager to build a Sir Alex Ferguson style dynasty at the Etihad Stadium. City recorded an extraordinary sixteenth successive Premier League victory on Saturday when a 4-1 hammering of Tottenham Hotspur maintained their stranglehold over England’s top-flight and intensified the debate over whether Guardiola’s rampaging side can finish the season unbeaten. Guardiola is at the halfway point of his three-year contract, worth up to £20 million annually, and City’s hierarchy have agreed to sit down with the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach in the summer, confident of thrashing out the terms of a new deal. A one-year contract extension has previously been suggested but City’s powerbrokers would like to tie the 46-year-old to a longer-term arrangement and hope to persuade the Catalan to buy into their vision of him creating a legacy at the club. They recognise the impact Ferguson had over a 27-year tenure at Manchester United and believe that, in Guardiola, they have a similar rarefied talent capable of building his own dynasty over the next 10 years, during which time they hope to have won multiple domestic and European titles. Ferguson spent 27 successful years at Old Trafford Credit: Getty images Guardiola spent four years at Barcelona before taking a 12-month sabbatical and had three years at the Bayern helm before leaving for City. However, City feel managing City is a very different situation to managing Barcelona and the accompanying political pressures that were likened to “being in an oven” and stress the freedom Guardiola has been given in Manchester. Since Sheikh Mansour’s takeover at City in 2008, the club have insisted on implementing a robust management structure that is not beholden to the manager, and despite a huge influx of staff from Spain in the lead up to and following Guardiola’s appointment, City reject any suggestion that a vacuum will be left if and when the Catalan departs. It has previously been assumed that chief executive, Ferran Soriano, and director of football, Txiki Begiristain, both of whom worked with Guardiola at Barcelona, would leave if the manager ever went but the pair are not thought to regard their futures as being inextricably intertwined with Guardiola’s position. Guardiola has been challenging at times to man-manage but the club have been dazzled by the improvement his coaching has brought across the full age range of the squad and that was apparent once again on Saturday evening as Spurs were crushed by the runaway league leaders. Sport tweets of 2017 Whereas Tottenham ultimately resorted to kicking Guardiola’s players in a bid to thwart them, City refused to rise to the bait. The sight of the game’s marvel, Kevin De Bruyne, gingerly getting back to his feet after a sickening studs-up challenge from Dele Alli and two minutes later surging forward to thunder home City’s second goal spoke volumes for what this team stand for. Alli could do worse than pay close attention to the Belgian’s performance. The England midfielder’s form has nosedived since his two-goal salvo in Spurs’s 3-1 victory over European champions Real Madrid on Nov. 1 and he seemed more intent with hurting his opponents physically than figuratively at the Etihad. He was lucky he had not already earned two yellow cards for studded tackles on Ilkay Gundogan and Fernandinho in the first half before his appalling challenge on De Bruyne. Referee Craig Pawson, who should be stood down next weekend after an inept performance, had already missed an awful studs-up challenge from Harry Kane on Raheem Sterling by the time Alli left his mark for all the wrong reasons. It is understandable that the Football Association do not want to be seen to be “re-refereeing” games but, in serious cases such as these, there is something inherently flawed about a rule that prevents any retrospective disciplinary action against players who have been booked. City centre-half Nicolas Otamendi might also have been fortunate to escape with a yellow card for catching Kane in the face with a high boot. Harry Kane could have been sent off Credit: Reuters To his credit, Guardiola refused to be drawn on Tottenham’s approach and was similarly reluctant to start demanding greater protection for his players, preferring instead to focus on a bewitching display that yielded another two goals for Sterling and one for the impressive Gundogan. Christian Eriksen’s late consolation was scarcely deserved. “Sometimes the situation is hard and aggressive so with that there’s always a risk,” he said. Guardiola believes City set out as they meant to go on in the swashbuckling 3-0 pre-season win over Spurs in Nashville in July and have not deviated from that template since. “We all saw together then that is the way we have to do it and since then we’ve maintained that level,” he said. The only hint of a problem for Guardiola was Sergio Aguero’s petulant reaction to being substituted, when the Argentina striker threw down his gloves in disgust and trudged off, head bowed, but the manager said he was unconcerned. “I can understand him – he wants to play,” he said.

Rob Elliot supports decision to cancel Newcastle Christmas party amid winless run

Newcastle United's Rafalution is in danger of turning into a Rafarendum to decide the future of manager Rafael Benitez, with owner Mike Ashley's sale of the club potentially hampered by the side's collapse into the relegation zone. The Spanish coach got Newcastle promoted back to the promised land for this season, but they have crashed from sixth to the bottom three of the Premier League table since reports of a takeover by Amanda Staveley's PCP Partners surfaced at the end of October. This Mesut Ozil-inspired defeat marked Newcastle's eighth loss in nine games, but it could so easily have been a second draw in that run against a nervous Arsenal. And while Benitez still has the supporters and seemingly owner (current and future) onside too, he is turning to his more experienced players to get the season-changing victory he believes will send them hurtling back up the table before January reinforcements arrive. One of five changes to his starting line-up featured the recall of goalkeeper Rob Elliot, who revealed afterwards the unique pressure of playing for a one-town team and how he is happy to help Benitez restore confidence. The Ireland international, 31, said: “I’ve got to take more responsibility in that area, Along with Jamaal [Lascelles] who has been excellent since coming back, we’ve got to make sure that we are helping the young lads along because it is easy to get disheartened. Rafael Benitez has been opting for experience in bid to halt Newcastle's poor form and remains confident of turning the tide Credit:  Action Images via Reuters “When you come to a club like Newcastle, when we have such an amazing following, you don’t lose on a Saturday and then nobody thinks about it until the following week – it’s every day and every minute. “We need to make sure we take care of that responsibility because that is part of playing for the club, not just on the pitch but off it as well. “To play for Newcastle is tougher than other clubs because you know you carry the momentum of the city and we need to make sure we can use that to end the run and push on. We’ve seen that in seasons before you can have a good Christmas or a bad Christmas and it can change the table." Talking about Christmas, Elliot confirmed he was one of the players who supported cancelling the team's festive party amid a run of vital matches. He added: “It was a decision that we made because it’s not right to go out and celebrate. I think there are more important things to worry about. We have great togetherness, so I think it’s an appropriate time when the club is not where we want to be that we knuckle down and we think about football, concentrate solely on that and make sure that every focus is on the game. It showed against Arsenal that I don’t think you can question the commitment or the effort of the players.” Benitez and team are back in London this weekend to face resurgent West Ham, still only two points above them at the bottom. The Spanish coach restated his desire to make signings, reassured supporters he can get the team winning again and used an amusing reference to explain his outlook. He said: “Luis Aragones the famous Spanish coach was always saying: ‘You cannot go to the fifth floor of John Lewis and buy confidence.’ You have to buy confidence by winning games, working hard and one of the main things is being lucky.” Newcastle had no luck going for them in this match apart from sub-standard refereeing that denied Arsenal a penalty soon after Ozil's brilliant 23rd minute volley that won the match. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who insisted he had seen enough from Benitez and Newcastle to believe they have nothing to fear, has his own worries in what appears to be a losing battle trying to persuade Ozil to stay when his contract expires this summer. With Manchester United one of a few interested parties watching the in-form German, Wenger updated supporters on the state of negotiations. He reported: “I believe he wants to stay. He is not to be convinced. You want nobody to leave and see where we stand on that. But at the moment, it’s very difficult. Until the end of the season we know what he is, but after that, I cannot tell you.”

Pep Guardiola to be offered long-term contract as Mancheter City look to establish Sir Alex Ferguson-like era of dominance

Manchester City will open talks with Pep Guardiola about a new contract at the end of the season, with the club’s Abu Dhabi owners eager for the manager to build a Sir Alex Ferguson style dynasty at the Etihad Stadium. City recorded an extraordinary sixteenth successive Premier League victory on Saturday when a 4-1 hammering of Tottenham Hotspur maintained their stranglehold over England’s top-flight and intensified the debate over whether Guardiola’s rampaging side can finish the season unbeaten. Guardiola is at the halfway point of his three-year contract, worth up to £20 million annually, and City’s hierarchy have agreed to sit down with the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach in the summer, confident of thrashing out the terms of a new deal. A one-year contract extension has previously been suggested but City’s powerbrokers would like to tie the 46-year-old to a longer-term arrangement and hope to persuade the Catalan to buy into their vision of him creating a legacy at the club. They recognise the impact Ferguson had over a 27-year tenure at Manchester United and believe that, in Guardiola, they have a similar rarefied talent capable of building his own dynasty over the next 10 years, during which time they hope to have won multiple domestic and European titles. Ferguson spent 27 successful years at Old Trafford Credit: Getty images Guardiola spent four years at Barcelona before taking a 12-month sabbatical and had three years at the Bayern helm before leaving for City. However, City feel managing City is a very different situation to managing Barcelona and the accompanying political pressures that were likened to “being in an oven” and stress the freedom Guardiola has been given in Manchester. Since Sheikh Mansour’s takeover at City in 2008, the club have insisted on implementing a robust management structure that is not beholden to the manager, and despite a huge influx of staff from Spain in the lead up to and following Guardiola’s appointment, City reject any suggestion that a vacuum will be left if and when the Catalan departs. It has previously been assumed that chief executive, Ferran Soriano, and director of football, Txiki Begiristain, both of whom worked with Guardiola at Barcelona, would leave if the manager ever went but the pair are not thought to regard their futures as being inextricably intertwined with Guardiola’s position. Guardiola has been challenging at times to man-manage but the club have been dazzled by the improvement his coaching has brought across the full age range of the squad and that was apparent once again on Saturday evening as Spurs were crushed by the runaway league leaders. Sport tweets of 2017 Whereas Tottenham ultimately resorted to kicking Guardiola’s players in a bid to thwart them, City refused to rise to the bait. The sight of the game’s marvel, Kevin De Bruyne, gingerly getting back to his feet after a sickening studs-up challenge from Dele Alli and two minutes later surging forward to thunder home City’s second goal spoke volumes for what this team stand for. Alli could do worse than pay close attention to the Belgian’s performance. The England midfielder’s form has nosedived since his two-goal salvo in Spurs’s 3-1 victory over European champions Real Madrid on Nov. 1 and he seemed more intent with hurting his opponents physically than figuratively at the Etihad. He was lucky he had not already earned two yellow cards for studded tackles on Ilkay Gundogan and Fernandinho in the first half before his appalling challenge on De Bruyne. Referee Craig Pawson, who should be stood down next weekend after an inept performance, had already missed an awful studs-up challenge from Harry Kane on Raheem Sterling by the time Alli left his mark for all the wrong reasons. It is understandable that the Football Association do not want to be seen to be “re-refereeing” games but, in serious cases such as these, there is something inherently flawed about a rule that prevents any retrospective disciplinary action against players who have been booked. City centre-half Nicolas Otamendi might also have been fortunate to escape with a yellow card for catching Kane in the face with a high boot. Harry Kane could have been sent off Credit: Reuters To his credit, Guardiola refused to be drawn on Tottenham’s approach and was similarly reluctant to start demanding greater protection for his players, preferring instead to focus on a bewitching display that yielded another two goals for Sterling and one for the impressive Gundogan. Christian Eriksen’s late consolation was scarcely deserved. “Sometimes the situation is hard and aggressive so with that there’s always a risk,” he said. Guardiola believes City set out as they meant to go on in the swashbuckling 3-0 pre-season win over Spurs in Nashville in July and have not deviated from that template since. “We all saw together then that is the way we have to do it and since then we’ve maintained that level,” he said. The only hint of a problem for Guardiola was Sergio Aguero’s petulant reaction to being substituted, when the Argentina striker threw down his gloves in disgust and trudged off, head bowed, but the manager said he was unconcerned. “I can understand him – he wants to play,” he said.

David Moyes: 'I feel for Mark Hughes at Stoke. I know how it feels to have people turn against you'

Even as he was revelling in the moment his new West Ham side executed his game plan almost flawlessly to achieve their first away win of the season, David Moyes could hear the chants rising from the home end and the dark days of his own career were suddenly in his thoughts. Mark Hughes guided Stoke to their highest Premier League finish in each of his first three seasons as manager but his team are struggling now and the tide of popularity has turned in a way that Moyes knows only too well. “I have been there before and know what it is like,” Moyes said. “Stoke City were in the game the whole way. But goals change the way it goes and they were doing everything they could to score, and we did everything we could to keep it out. “I am sure Mark will think he didn’t deserve it. He is a really good manager – look at the level he works at and the time he has been the in the job and to do that is a big achievement. “But sometimes the way the result goes football can do that. Sometimes it is cruel to you.” Moyes knows he is a long way from gaining the full acceptance of West Ham’s own sceptical supporters but this performance, following on from the win over Chelsea and the point against Arsenal, without a single goal conceded, will help him hugely. He has even managed to light a spark under Marko Arnautovic, who was beginning to look like a £24 million dud under Slaven Bilic.  The Austrian tormented the club he left controversially in the summer and scored West Ham’s second goal, his second in his last three games under Moyes, where for Bilic he had not managed one. Mark Hughes wasn't impressed with Marko Arnautovic Credit: Reuters Not that there has been any pampering of ego involved. “We simply said ‘you’d better run around because if you don’t you won’t play’,” Moyes said. “And I think in reply he actually said ‘okay I’ll do that’.” Arnautovic milked the support of the West Ham fans and goaded a home crowd already on a short fuse after an electrical failure kept them locked outside the stadium for an hour. His antics further darkened the mood of his former manager, who made his feelings known as the striker walked past him on the touchline after being substituted. “I’ve got to be careful because it will sound like sour grapes,” Hughes said. “But I felt he should have risen above any criticism or abuse. “He has had enough at other places, but this place was actually very, very good for him. The fans loved him here, so to burn all your bridges after just one game I thought, well – you don’t need to do it.” The Arnautovic goal, 15 minutes from time, followed a contentious first-half penalty won by the otherwise impressive Manuel Lanzini, with substitute Diafra Sakho adding a late third with Stoke desperately trying to prevent a fifth defeat in six, leaving them in danger of slipping into the bottom three. Hughes, meanwhile, has a tough enough skin to soldier on even in an atmosphere turning toxic. “I don’t take exception to it,” he said. “I don’t feel aggrieved (by the chanting) because it is part and parcel of the job. “It is what it is and the only way you make the noise go away is by winning games and that’s what we have to do.”

Antonio Conte claims his Chelsea achievements deserve more respect

One of Manchester City’s achievements this season has been to make every other club in the Premier League measure themselves against Pep Guardiola’s team. And of course, they all fall short by comparison. Antonio Conte, the Chelsea manager, pointed out after victory over a stubborn Southampton side that eight wins and a draw from ten games would certainly be regarded as a good run, except that “we see that there is another team that is winning every game.”  And it was hard to escape the sense that the Italian feels aggrieved that his own achievements, both last season and this, have been overlooked while the football world lauds Guardiola’s. Chelsea are the reigning champions, face Bournemouth in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday, are in the Champions League knock-out stages and on course to finish in the top four. Yet all he hears are rumours about his impending replacement.  “Every day there is speculation about my future,” he said. “It’s not right because I think I deserve a bit of respect for what I did last season, for what I am doing this season. To read every week: ‘Next season the club contacts this coach or this coach’ - for me this is not a problem. But it can create problems with the players because the players believe we could [drift] apart.  “I have another year on my contract, so in this moment my focus is total, to improve my players, to try to improve the team, to try to improve the club. If you understand a bit [about] football there is a moment you must have great patience, to know that someone is working very well.  Marcos Alonso's goal was enough for three points at home to Southampton Credit: Reuters “I think last season we did a fantastic job but this job is continuing this season. We are trying to change the average age of our team. I think for a club like Chelsea it is very important to start to do this, if you want to create a new base and face the future with confidence.”  It could, of course, be argued that City have allowed Conte the luxury of thinking long-term about rebuilding by relieving him of the pressure of trying to catch them – something he admitted was no longer possible after last weekend’s defeat away to West Ham. But he could still face City in three competitions and even made a consideration of their spending sound like a plea for more Chelsea signings in January.  “I think when you have this opportunity to go in the market to spend a lot of money, I think it is right to do this,” he said. “You must obviously be very good to spend your money in this way. You must be clever to understand the positions, the roles you have to improve.”  Sport tweets of 2017 Among his targets could be Virgil van Dijk, the Southampton defender dropped as one of six changes to the Saints team after their 4-1 home humiliation by Leicester last week, but City – inevitably – are also thought to be interested and Conte made the intriguing suggestion that rival clubs at home and abroad should try to prevent Guardiola and company from acquiring him.  “Every team, every club, must pay great attention,” Conte said. “Because if a club like Manchester City takes all the best, it will be very difficult for us to fight. Not only in England but in Europe. If they can do this it is right for them to do this.”  The reshaped Saints defended stoutly but better Chelsea finishing could have resulted in another rout, but midfield player James Ward-Prowse was understandably pleased with only a narrow defeat. “The most important thing was the character we showed after a disappointing result in midweek.” 

David Moyes: 'I feel for Mark Hughes at Stoke. I know how it feels to have people turn against you'

Even as he was revelling in the moment his new West Ham side executed his game plan almost flawlessly to achieve their first away win of the season, David Moyes could hear the chants rising from the home end and the dark days of his own career were suddenly in his thoughts. Mark Hughes guided Stoke to their highest Premier League finish in each of his first three seasons as manager but his team are struggling now and the tide of popularity has turned in a way that Moyes knows only too well. “I have been there before and know what it is like,” Moyes said. “Stoke City were in the game the whole way. But goals change the way it goes and they were doing everything they could to score, and we did everything we could to keep it out. “I am sure Mark will think he didn’t deserve it. He is a really good manager – look at the level he works at and the time he has been the in the job and to do that is a big achievement. “But sometimes the way the result goes football can do that. Sometimes it is cruel to you.” Moyes knows he is a long way from gaining the full acceptance of West Ham’s own sceptical supporters but this performance, following on from the win over Chelsea and the point against Arsenal, without a single goal conceded, will help him hugely. He has even managed to light a spark under Marko Arnautovic, who was beginning to look like a £24 million dud under Slaven Bilic.  The Austrian tormented the club he left controversially in the summer and scored West Ham’s second goal, his second in his last three games under Moyes, where for Bilic he had not managed one. Mark Hughes wasn't impressed with Marko Arnautovic Credit: Reuters Not that there has been any pampering of ego involved. “We simply said ‘you’d better run around because if you don’t you won’t play’,” Moyes said. “And I think in reply he actually said ‘okay I’ll do that’.” Arnautovic milked the support of the West Ham fans and goaded a home crowd already on a short fuse after an electrical failure kept them locked outside the stadium for an hour. His antics further darkened the mood of his former manager, who made his feelings known as the striker walked past him on the touchline after being substituted. “I’ve got to be careful because it will sound like sour grapes,” Hughes said. “But I felt he should have risen above any criticism or abuse. “He has had enough at other places, but this place was actually very, very good for him. The fans loved him here, so to burn all your bridges after just one game I thought, well – you don’t need to do it.” The Arnautovic goal, 15 minutes from time, followed a contentious first-half penalty won by the otherwise impressive Manuel Lanzini, with substitute Diafra Sakho adding a late third with Stoke desperately trying to prevent a fifth defeat in six, leaving them in danger of slipping into the bottom three. Hughes, meanwhile, has a tough enough skin to soldier on even in an atmosphere turning toxic. “I don’t take exception to it,” he said. “I don’t feel aggrieved (by the chanting) because it is part and parcel of the job. “It is what it is and the only way you make the noise go away is by winning games and that’s what we have to do.”

Valencia Cedera, Mourinho Salahkan Jadwal Premier League

Manajer Jose Mourinho menyebut cedera yang dialami Antonio Valencia disebabkan faktor padatnya pertandingan Premier League.

Kalahkan Bournemouth, Liverpool Tembus 4 Besar

Liverpool menang 4-0 atas AFC Bournemouth pada laga pekan ke-18 Premier League.

Susunan Pemain Bournemouth Vs Liverpool

Berikut ini adalah susunan pemain Bournemouth dan Liverpool pada laga pekan ke-18 Premier League.

Guardiola Ungkap Rahasia Sukses Manchester City

Manchester City meraih kemenangan 4-1 atas Tottenham Hotspur dalam lanjutan Premier League di Stadion Etihad.

Susunan Pemain Bournemouth Vs Liverpool

Berikut ini adalah susunan pemain Bournemouth dan Liverpool pada laga pekan ke-18 Premier League.

Wayne Rooney Tidak Yakin dengan Potensi Manchester City

Wayne Rooney sebut Manchester City belum layak masuk dalam kategori klub terbaik di Premier League.

De Bruyne: Target Manchester City Juara, Bukan Tak Terkalahkan

Manchester City meraih kemenangan 4-1 atas Tottenham Hotspur dalam lanjutan Premier League di Stadion Etihad.

Premier League - West Bromwich Albion vs Manchester United

Soccer Football - Premier League - West Bromwich Albion vs Manchester United - The Hawthorns, West Bromwich, Britain - December 17, 2017 West Bromwich Albion's Salomon Rondon in action with Manchester United's Chris Smalling REUTERS/Darren Staples EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Premier League: Jose Mourinho backs Lukaku's muted goal celebration

18e j. - Mourinho: "Nous ne voulons pas de vacances"

Après la victoire de Manchester United sur le terrain de West Bromwich Albion (2-1), ce dimanche lors de la 18e journée de Premier League, l'entraîneur José Mourinho estime que le combat pour le titre est loin d'être terminé. Les Red Devils occupent actuellement la 2e place du classement avec 41 points, à 11 longueurs du leader Manchester City.

18e j. - Mourinho: "Nous ne voulons pas de vacances"

Après la victoire de Manchester United sur le terrain de West Bromwich Albion (2-1), ce dimanche lors de la 18e journée de Premier League, l'entraîneur José Mourinho estime que le combat pour le titre est loin d'être terminé. Les Red Devils occupent actuellement la 2e place du classement avec 41 points, à 11 longueurs du leader Manchester City.

18e j. - Mourinho: "Nous ne voulons pas de vacances"

Après la victoire de Manchester United sur le terrain de West Bromwich Albion (2-1), ce dimanche lors de la 18e journée de Premier League, l'entraîneur José Mourinho estime que le combat pour le titre est loin d'être terminé. Les Red Devils occupent actuellement la 2e place du classement avec 41 points, à 11 longueurs du leader Manchester City.

18e j. - Mourinho: "Nous ne voulons pas de vacances"

Après la victoire de Manchester United sur le terrain de West Bromwich Albion (2-1), ce dimanche lors de la 18e journée de Premier League, l'entraîneur José Mourinho estime que le combat pour le titre est loin d'être terminé. Les Red Devils occupent actuellement la 2e place du classement avec 41 points, à 11 longueurs du leader Manchester City.

18e j. - Mourinho: "Nous ne voulons pas de vacances"

Après la victoire de Manchester United sur le terrain de West Bromwich Albion (2-1), ce dimanche lors de la 18e journée de Premier League, l'entraîneur José Mourinho estime que le combat pour le titre est loin d'être terminé. Les Red Devils occupent actuellement la 2e place du classement avec 41 points, à 11 longueurs du leader Manchester City.

18e j. - Mourinho: "Nous ne voulons pas de vacances"

Après la victoire de Manchester United sur le terrain de West Bromwich Albion (2-1), ce dimanche lors de la 18e journée de Premier League, l'entraîneur José Mourinho estime que le combat pour le titre est loin d'être terminé. Les Red Devils occupent actuellement la 2e place du classement avec 41 points, à 11 longueurs du leader Manchester City.

Jose Mourinho: 'Manchester United will fight for the title until the very last match'

Jose Mourinho insisted Manchester United would continue to fight for the Premier League title, despite Manchester City’s ominous lead of 11 points. Mourinho is still targeting a dramatic final-day shoot-out with United’s city rivals after this hard-earned win at the Hawthorns. United have made their best start to a season since Sir Alex Ferguson left Old Trafford yet City hold a commanding lead and appear nailed on for the title. But Mourinho said: “We want to play until the last match, Watford at Old Trafford in mid-May, and until then every match we go. Every match we try to win. If you ask us that question and then you ask it to the third and the fourth and to the fifth and to the sixth, probably they disappear. Probably they want to go on holidays. We don’t want to go on holidays. “The context is one game, we try to win, we are happy to win, we are not happy to lose. We will be like that.” Mourinho also defended Romelu Lukaku after the striker refused to celebrate his 15th goal of the season. Lukaku headed in the opening goal but produced a subdued reaction, in stark contrast to Jesse Lingard who added the second. Mourinho also defended Romelu Lukaku after the striker failed to celebrate another goal Credit: PA “I didn’t celebrate, too. Nobody was happier than me. Fifteen years ago, I look at myself celebrating goals. With maturity you go into levels that you control your emotions better,” said Mourinho. “Romelu was a happy kid at West Brom [on loan during the 2012-13 season] – maybe at the back of the mind it was his love for the club. “Why don’t I celebrate? Because you get more experienced, you get more balanced. You don’t go crazy when you win. You don’t get depressed when you lose. You are much more stable with experience. Some other managers, they are different, and they don’t change.”  West Brom remain in the bottom three after their run without a win was extended to 17 games. Alan Pardew has recorded only one point since his appointment last month, though Gareth Barry’s 77th-minute strike was the first goal of his tenure. Albion face a trip to struggling Stoke next weekend in what feels like a potentially pivotal afternoon at the bet365 Stadium. Pardew said: “We’ve got an 18-game season coming up now and it’s up to us to get ourselves up and running. If there were six or seven games left I’d be worried but the goal here was psychologically important. “There are some good managers at the bottom of the league and some good squads and we’re not going to make it up playing like we did in the first half.”

Jose Mourinho: 'Manchester United will fight for the title until the very last match'

Jose Mourinho insisted Manchester United would continue to fight for the Premier League title, despite Manchester City’s ominous lead of 11 points. Mourinho is still targeting a dramatic final-day shoot-out with United’s city rivals after this hard-earned win at the Hawthorns. United have made their best start to a season since Sir Alex Ferguson left Old Trafford yet City hold a commanding lead and appear nailed on for the title. But Mourinho said: “We want to play until the last match, Watford at Old Trafford in mid-May, and until then every match we go. Every match we try to win. If you ask us that question and then you ask it to the third and the fourth and to the fifth and to the sixth, probably they disappear. Probably they want to go on holidays. We don’t want to go on holidays. “The context is one game, we try to win, we are happy to win, we are not happy to lose. We will be like that.” Mourinho also defended Romelu Lukaku after the striker refused to celebrate his 15th goal of the season. Lukaku headed in the opening goal but produced a subdued reaction, in stark contrast to Jesse Lingard who added the second. Mourinho also defended Romelu Lukaku after the striker failed to celebrate another goal Credit: PA “I didn’t celebrate, too. Nobody was happier than me. Fifteen years ago, I look at myself celebrating goals. With maturity you go into levels that you control your emotions better,” said Mourinho. “Romelu was a happy kid at West Brom [on loan during the 2012-13 season] – maybe at the back of the mind it was his love for the club. “Why don’t I celebrate? Because you get more experienced, you get more balanced. You don’t go crazy when you win. You don’t get depressed when you lose. You are much more stable with experience. Some other managers, they are different, and they don’t change.”  West Brom remain in the bottom three after their run without a win was extended to 17 games. Alan Pardew has recorded only one point since his appointment last month, though Gareth Barry’s 77th-minute strike was the first goal of his tenure. Albion face a trip to struggling Stoke next weekend in what feels like a potentially pivotal afternoon at the bet365 Stadium. Pardew said: “We’ve got an 18-game season coming up now and it’s up to us to get ourselves up and running. If there were six or seven games left I’d be worried but the goal here was psychologically important. “There are some good managers at the bottom of the league and some good squads and we’re not going to make it up playing like we did in the first half.”

Wayne Rooney Meremehkan Manchester City

Mantan pemain Manchester United, Wayne Rooney, menilai Manchester City belum masuk dalam daftar tim terbaik Premier League.

Premier League - AFC Bournemouth vs Liverpool

Soccer Football - Premier League - AFC Bournemouth vs Liverpool - Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth, Britain - December 17, 2017 Liverpool's Danny Ings shoots at goal REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

UKPremier League - AFC Bournemouth vs Liverpool

Soccer Football - Premier League - AFC Bournemouth vs Liverpool - Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth, Britain - December 17, 2017 Bournemouth's Asmir Begovic makes a save from Liverpool's Mohamed Salah REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

Premier League - AFC Bournemouth vs Liverpool

Soccer Football - Premier League - AFC Bournemouth vs Liverpool - Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth, Britain - December 17, 2017 Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho shoots at goal REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

Premier League - AFC Bournemouth vs Liverpool

Soccer Football - Premier League - AFC Bournemouth vs Liverpool - Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth, Britain - December 17, 2017 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah in action with Bournemouth's Charlie Daniels Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

Premier League - AFC Bournemouth vs Liverpool

Soccer Football - Premier League - AFC Bournemouth vs Liverpool - Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth, Britain - December 17, 2017 Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs