Mauricio Pochettino believes Tottenham's 4-0 thumping of Crystal Palace was proof his squad were previously "unsettled".

Spurs made an unconvincing start to the season prior to the international break but put on a show at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday.

Son Heung-min scored twice, either side of an own goal from Patrick van Aanholt, and Erik Lamela rounded off the rout before the break.

Pochettino issued a rallying cry to his team when addressing the media earlier this week, after close-season disruption that saw Christian Eriksen, Danny Rose, Victor Wanyama, Serge Aurier and Danny Rose all linked with moves and rumblings over the futures of Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen.

However, the European transfer window passed with none of the supposed wantaway stars leaving and Pochettino showed a hint of frustration, while expressing relief the focus is now on the pitch.

"I think it [thrashing Palace] showed that the team was unsettled [before]. When the team is unsettled, when the squad is unsettled, it is so difficult to perform in the way you want to perform," Pochettino said. 

"I'm not complaining or blaming anyone. The focus wasn't on playing football and it wasn't on trying to improve. The focus wasn't on the places we wanted it and it's not easy to perform that way.

"Of course we have quality, enough to win games without focus, but when you are focused it showed, in that first half the performance of the team ... the intensity, the concentration.

"We know what we need to do and when you are able to do that, the quality we have appears. We have tremendous quality in our squad, unbelievable players. If we show that intensity in all our games, for sure we are going to fight for big things."

Aurier has struggled to nail down a starting spot since arriving from Paris Saint-Germain in August 2017 and only made his first start of the campaign against Palace despite the sale of fellow right-back Kieran Trippier to Atletico Madrid.

The Ivory Coast full-back impressed against the Eagles, but Pochettino says it is on Aurier and his team-mates to show more consistency.

"He's very happy, we were very happy too, I think the performance was great. First half was fantastic, his concentration and focus," Pochettino added.

"Now he needs to show and be consistent. It's not only one game and the second game the focus and intensity start to drop.

"That is the key in our team, not only him but all the players. All the players need to be consistent and understand that every time we are going to compete we have to give our best. Give like a collective our best and for sure we have the quality to beat any team."

Opposition boss Roy Hodgson admitted his Palace side were simply outplayed in north London and had no qualms about the result.

"Son's performance was outstanding in that first half and it was quite interesting that in the last seconds of the game he was the one sprinting back to try to tackle and stop us scoring at 4-0 up," Hodgson said.

"Technically they were very good today and the quality of the passing from their two centre-backs was outstanding, but they probably won't get the credit for that because centre-backs don't.

"We were well beaten that's for sure, I thought they started so well and with such an incredible tempo that we couldn't deal with it."

Tammy Abraham hit his first Premier League hat-trick as Chelsea routed Wolves, while Liverpool extended their 100 per cent record at the top of the table.

The England striker became Chelsea's youngest hat-trick scorer in the Premier League era and also netted at the wrong end as Nuno Espirito Santo's side crumbled to a 5-2 loss at Molineux.

There was a heavy victory for Tottenham, who hammered Crystal Palace 4-0 at home, and Harry Maguire helped Manchester United beat his old club Leicester City 1-0 at Old Trafford.

Elsewhere, Southampton triumphed 1-0 at 10-man Sheffield United and Burnley struck late to claim a 1-1 draw at Brighton and Hove Albion on another busy Saturday of Premier League action.


FIVE IN A ROW FOR REDS

Newcastle United took a shock early lead at Anfield thanks to a thunderbolt from left-back Jetro Willems, but that proved as good as it got for Steve Bruce's men as they went down 3-1 to leaders Liverpool.

Sadio Mane was inspirational as the Senegal star scored twice to turn the game on its head, his second thanks to poor goalkeeping from Martin Dubravka, before Mohamed Salah wrapped things up.

With a perfect record from their five fixtures in 2019-20, Liverpool are up to 14 straight wins in the Premier League – and they are the first team in the competition's history to do so scoring more than once in each game.

This result moved them five points clear at the top, although Manchester City are at a depleted Norwich City later in the day, and the European champions could hardly be in better shape ahead of beginning their Champions League defence away to Napoli on Tuesday.


SPURS AND CHELSEA RUN RIOT

At half-time, Spurs were 4-0 up at home to Crystal Palace while Chelsea were 3-0 up away to winless Wolves, Fiyako Tomori netting a stunner with Abraham scoring at least twice for the third Premier League game in a row.

He went one better after the break to set a record for the Blues, though a touch of the shine was taken off his performance when he put through an own goal to hand Wolves a consolation, which they added to through Patrick Cutrone.

Abraham, now the top scorer this season with seven strikes, is the first player in the history of the Premier League to score a hat-trick as well as an own goal in the same game, with fellow England talent Mason Mount also on target late on.

Son Heung-min proved unstoppable for the Eagles, with the South Korea star involved in Spurs' first three goals before Harry Kane set up Erik Lamela to make it four.

It was a much-needed three points for Spurs, who were on a three-game winless run, with a trip to Olympiacos in the Champions League to come next for Mauricio Pochettino's side.


RASHFORD PENALTY SEES UNITED BOUNCE BACK

Like Spurs, United had failed to win any of their three league games going into the international break, but they showed resilience to edge a slim victory at home to Leicester despite being without Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial, Luke Shaw and Jesse Lingard.

Rashford won an early penalty when he was clumsily brought down by Caglar Soyuncu and, unlike in their 2-1 loss at home to Palace, this time he converted from 12 yards to condemn the Foxes to their first defeat of the season.

Moussa Djenepo's excellent goal earned Southampton a 1-0 win at Bramall Lane, where the Blades were cut down to 10 men when substitute striker Billy Sharp was dismissed for a challenge on Stuart Armstrong.

Brighton looked to be heading for their first home league win since March 2 thanks to Neal Maupay's controlled volley but Burnley substitute Jeff Hendrick marked his 100th Premier League appearance with a stunning late equaliser.

In the first minute of added time, the Republic of Ireland midfielder collected a lay-off from Matej Vydra to rifle a first-time drive into the bottom-right corner from 25 yards.

Son Heung-min starred in the North London sunshine as his double inspired Tottenham to a 4-0 rout of hapless Crystal Palace.

Mauricio Pochettino's side have not been at their most fluent in the early throes of the Premier League season but from the moment Son scored a classy 10th-minute opener Spurs ran riot.

Spurs scored all their goals in a devastating opening 45 minutes at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with Patrick van Aanholt turning Serge Aurier's low ball into his own net, Son adding an expertly taken volley and Erik Lamela finishing a clinical move.

A failure to add to their tally in the second half was no reflection of their play and Pochettino can reflect on Spurs' most enterprising performance of the season.

Spurs made the breakthrough when Son brilliantly controlled Toby Alderweireld's punt over the top before checking onto his left foot and picking out the bottom-right corner.

Son was influential in Spurs' second, picking out Aurier - making his first start of the season - and his cross hit Van Aanholt before wrong-footing Vicente Guaita.

The best was still to come. Aurier again had space on the right and his deep cross was met with a blistering left-foot volley from Son.

A relentless first half culminated with Lamela slotting Harry Kane's excellent cross under Guaita at the end of a devastating break.

Harry Winks dragged a daisy-cutter narrowly wide almost immediately after the restart and Son saw a clip over Guaita after chasing down a Mamadou Sakho mis-control fall agonisingly wide of the post.

Spurs were unable to inflict further damage but the hosts ran down the clock in the most comfortable fashion.


What does it mean? Spurs find some rhythm 

A low-tempo start to the season had some pundits questioning whether Spurs had gone stale under Pochettino. Their home performances thus far – a late comeback win over Aston Villa and a loss to Newcastle United – did little to quieten those opinions but Spurs were energetic, slick and clinical on this occasion to spark some life into their season.

Super Son a menace for Palace

Spare a thought for Palace's usually stoic backline, who were run ragged by the South Korea international. As well as his goals, Son - who has scored in all four of his home games against Palace - was full of running and creativity. He never gave the Eagles' defence a moment's peace. 

Sakho struggles on comeback

Palace, who had conceded just twice this term prior to Saturday's clash, were a collective shambles at the back. Sakho, playing for the first time since February due to a knee injury, was thrust back into action due to Martin Kelly being unavailable and was well off the pace. Son was superb for the opener, but Sakho should have done more to defend Alderweireld's long pass – it was a moment that summed a torrid outing.

What's next?

Tottenham were runners-up in the Champions League last term and start their bid to go one better with a trip to Greece to face Olympiacos on Wednesday. Palace welcome Wolves to Selhurst Park a week on Sunday.

David de Gea has finally committed his long-term future to Manchester United.

The goalkeeper was out of contract at the end of the season, with plenty of speculation regarding his future at Old Trafford.

But the Spain shot-stopper has now agreed to a new deal.

 

TOP STORY – DE GEA FINALLY SIGNS MAN UNITED DEAL

De Gea has signed a long-term contract with Manchester United, according to the Daily Record.

The 28-year-old's five-year deal is worth more than €15million per season, the report says.

De Gea has been linked with a move away amid the ongoing contract saga, with Juventus among those reported to be interested.

ROUND-UP

- Christian Eriksen's Tottenham future remains up in the air, but the Premier League giants seem eager to keep the midfielder amid apparent interest from Real Madrid and Juventus. Football Insider reports Spurs have offered the Denmark international a new deal worth £60m in total.

- Mario Mandzukic appears to be nearing a Juventus exit. The Croatia striker has rejected Qatari club Al-Gharafa, according to CalcioMercato, but is evaluating offers from elsewhere, including MLS, with the 33-year-old seemingly not in Maurizio Sarri's plans in Turin.

- Napoli are to chase Atalanta playmaker Josip Ilicic again in January, according to CalcioMercato. The 31-year-old was considered by Napoli during the close season and they are set to intensify their interest again at the start of 2020.

- Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha missed out on a move before the transfer window closed, and he is reportedly on the look-out for a new agent. The Daily Mail reports Mino Raiola is one of several agents circling the attacker, who is unhappy about not getting his move from Selhurst Park.

- Keita Balde enjoyed his season on loan at Inter in 2018-19, but the Serie A side opted not to use their buy option on the Monaco attacker. CalcioMercato reports the Senegal international wanted to stay in Italy and AC Milan are now considering the 24-year-old.

Mauricio Pochettino warned the Tottenham players who wanted off-season moves to refocus or face being dropped.

Spurs endured a close season of uncertainty amid talk over several of their players, with Christian Eriksen, Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen among those spoken about as each entered the final year of their contract.

After all that talk, the Champions League runners-up made a slow start to the season, collecting just five points from their opening four Premier League matches.

Now, Pochettino – whose side host Crystal Palace on Saturday – wants to see his players concentrate, or be prepared to watch from the sidelines.

"I think we are all agreed that Tottenham always have more rumours than other clubs," he told UK media.

"In one month, I think it will start again with the rumours, for sure, because the situation of the squad is going to help those rumours appear. I think we talk a lot.

"Now it is a time to be positive. Victor Wanyama is in my plans. Christian is in my plans. Now they are going to have the same possibility as another player to play.

"Before, I understood that they were in a difficult situation and of course always we try to help them, to help the club, to do their business. But I said to you, it's not easy.

"When it's one player [who wants to leave], OK, but when it's a few players, who start to make it difficult to create a good dynamic, a positive dynamic... but now it's time to be positive.

"Now we need to start to win games. That is our objective. Be refocused, and who is not refocused is going to be out."

Tottenham are reportedly still keen to re-sign Eriksen, who extended his previous deal in 2016.

But Pochettino expects the Denmark midfielder to remain committed to Spurs regardless of whether he extends his contract.

"When you sign the contract, like Christian who signed for five or six years, you need to be committed from day one to the last day," he said.

"He isn't not going to show the commitment because there's only one year left. The difference is whether he wants to extend the contract or not. Different players have different goals."

It has been a whirlwind 12 months for Milos Degenek, who played an influential role as his boyhood club Red Star Belgrade snapped a 26-year European drought last season.

Not since 1992 had Red Star qualified for Europe's premier club competition. But Degenek's looping header helped the Serbian champions to a dramatic play-off win over RB Salzburg in 2018.

In the international wilderness since soon after winning the European Cup in 1991, it awoke a sleeping giant. A memorable win over eventual champions Liverpool and an impressive draw with Napoli in a difficult group including Paris Saint-Germain whetted their appetite for Champions League football.

But after the highest of highs and bringing Red Star back to the pinnacle of European football, Degenek opted for a new challenge in January – Saudi Arabian powerhouse Al-Hilal. The 25-year-old defender played alongside Sebastian Giovinco, Bafetimbi Gomis and Andre Carrillo. While it was a positive experience with one of Asia's biggest clubs in the Far East, the lure of Red Star and another Champions League campaign proved too strong.

"Playing Champions League then going to Saudi Arabia and coming back to the Champions League again, you couldn't imagine that," Degenek, who returned to Red Star on loan in July before signing a four-year contract, told Omnisport. "You dream about it and you sacrifice a lot for it to happen.

"Last year it was me that helped Red Star a lot in the qualifiers against Salzburg but it wasn't just me. It's a team effort. It's never just down to one player."

The Socceroos defender – who fled the war-torn Balkan region with his family in the 1990s, relocating to Australia – added: "I had the six months playing Champions League and then it was time for me to go to Saudi Arabia to Al Hilal, where I had a good stint. I played in the Asian Champions League and played with some unbelievable players. I had a lot of fun there, it was a good experience.

"But eventually things turned around and I ended up coming back to Red Star. I wanted European football again. I'm 25 and I believe I still have a lot to offer in Europe and I can show that to the world, that's why I'm very excited to be back. It's my home, it's the club I love."

Degenek is preparing for another Champions League campaign, this time involving Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, last season's runners-up Tottenham and Greek giants Olympiacos in Group B.

Like last season, Degenek played a big role in the play-offs. He scored a priceless goal as Red Star drew 2-2 at Young Boys before prevailing over the Swiss side on away goals last month.

"Obviously, we broke that drought last year. To do it two years in a row is something phenomenal. None of us could have dreamt that," he said. "Things like that don't come that often or easy. There was a lot of sacrifices made, a lot of difficult games and trips against big clubs. It's a testament to the club, players, fans, staff and coaching that we stuck together and achieved this unbelievable thing.

"Playing with the some of the greatest clubs in European competition with the greatest history. Obviously last season with Liverpool. Napoli and PSG don't have the greatest European tradition and history, but Liverpool does. This year again with Bayern Munich, it's something spectacular.

"Bayern are massive, Spurs are massive, Olympiacos are massive. I look forward to it. It's something I'll cherish like I did last season. Hopefully we can go one step further this season [and finish third]. With God's help and a good plan, we can achieve things. Experiences of last year can possibly help us achieve an even better run in the group stages."

"Zvezda has a rich history," Degenek added. "It's a big club, they used to be even bigger but we're getting there. We're helping the club and fans to dream again and still love the game. It's very important that we're improving every season."

Degenek and Red Star will be relying on their fanatical and daunting support in Belgrade, where Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool lost 2-0 in November at Rajko Mitic Stadium – also known as the Marakana.

"It's unbelievable, [our fans] are like a 12th man on the pitch," the Australia international said of the support. "For us playing at home it's unbelievable. I don’t know if a lot of people in this world understand what it means. If you've never been out on the pitch, you never will but I guess Liverpool understood and PSG and Napoli did."

As for Stephen Warnock and the former Liverpool defender's incorrect claims that Red Star were "part-time" with "plumbers", for which he apologised after the team's Champions League qualification, Degenek is using it for motivation.

"It shows how much people don't care about us and that people think we're an unimportant team in Europe," the former 1860 Munich defender said. "That's why I'm excited and happy that we're bringing Zvezda back to the world stage. It motivates you. It's embarrassing an ex-footballer doesn't know about the 1991 European champions."

Mauricio Pochettino claimed his preference to keep Kieran Trippier was "so clear" despite the defender appearing to accuse Tottenham of keeping him guessing over their transfer plans.

England right-back Trippier moved to LaLiga side Atletico Madrid in July, bringing an end to a four-year stint in north London.

The 28-year-old endured an underwhelming final season with Spurs but last week said he had "wanted to stay" and might have done so had the club not "got rid" of him.

"I tried to speak to the chairman about it and I spoke to the manager about his plans and I didn't get a yes and I didn't get a no. So you get the impression," Trippier was quoted as saying.

Pochettino offered a different version of events and revealed the former Burnley player made contact through Harry Kane in an attempt to clarify his comments.

"He believed his words were twisted - I don't know anything more," said Pochettino, who did not receive a text message from Trippier due to recently changing his phone number.

"Kieran translated this message to me through Harry Kane. He wanted to tell me. But I've got no problem with Kieran.

"In football decisions happen and players move from one club to another. What happened happened, and we need to move on and he needs to think of Atletico Madrid and be happy there."

Pochettino added, according to several English newspapers: "The only conversation when he arrived after the summer was when he came to see me.

"He asked me for a meeting and said, 'Gaffer, I think I have a good possibility and for different reasons I would like to accept the offer from Atletico Madrid'.

"He didn't ask me nothing. He only communicated whether the club were going to accept the offer. Nothing more.

"It wasn't a conversation - 'Do you want me or don't you want me?'. It was so clear.

"He played the final of the Champions League, when I had plenty of different options, with Serge Aurier, Davinson Sanchez, Kyle Walker-Peters. But he played the final of the Champions League. My actions speak louder than my words."

Trippier joined Tottenham from Burnley in 2015 and went on to star at the World Cup three years later.

"We all feel proud to help him to achieve his dream and to reach a level that he wasn't at before he arrived at Tottenham," Pochettino said.

"That speaks very highly about Tottenham, very highly about him, and we are more than happy that he is enjoying the new experience in Spain.

"I hope he has a good life there."

Arrigo Sacchi believes the Premier League is enjoying a "golden age" of coaching with Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino.

Former AC Milan boss Sacchi, who won the European Cup in 1989 and 1990 with the Rossoneri, is seen as one of football's great innovators, yet he is watching English football with great admiration for the top managers.

Guardiola has guided Manchester City to consecutive Premier League titles, winning a treble last season, while Klopp's Liverpool defeated Pochettino's Tottenham in the 2018-19 Champions League final.

Sacchi told the Daily Mail: "[Guardiola, Klopp and Pochettino are] my favourites and all three have the same philosophical system, even though they are very different.

"England has a crazy, brilliant championship. It is experiencing a golden age."

The Italian, now 73, also drew comparisons between City, Liverpool and his great Milan side.

"Their football is similar to mine and I really appreciate their values, culture and mentality," Sacchi said. "My Milan team innovated, the teams of Guardiola and Klopp continue to innovate.

"They think like me. We have the duty to make the public enjoy football, to be excited by it. Making great football is more difficult than talking about it.

"I like the desire they have to dominate. Football must be domination and beauty, music and culture.

"I enjoy watching them. The problem in the Premier League is that they play too often and there is too much competition. Perhaps this is why the [England] national team never achieves great results."

Mauricio Pochettino says Christian Eriksen remains happy and appreciated at Tottenham following months of speculation over the midfielder's future.

The Denmark international voiced a desire to pursue a new challenge after the Champions League final in June.

Eriksen's admission prompted links to Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Manchester United and Real Madrid, but a move failed to materialise before the end of the transfer window.

Interest is sure to be reignited when the playmaker enters the final six months of his contract in January, though Pochettino is not worried about his commitment to the cause.

"He's happy, he's always been happy," the Spurs coach said.

"Of course, everyone has aims and challenges and goals. I said before the Arsenal game he was in the right frame of mind, that's why I selected him.

"He's an important player for us, a player we appreciate a lot. His qualities are there and are important for the team. He's happy.

"Whether he plays is not because there is one year or less than one year on his contract. Always the decision is based on performance. We felt he was in the right place to compete."

Eriksen started and scored in the 2-2 draw at Arsenal and will have an important part to play in the weeks following the international break, with fellow midfielder Giovani Lo Celso ruled until the end of October through injury.

The Argentina international sustained a hip problem in a friendly against Chile in the United States, his first start of the season for club or country.

Spurs had been careful with easing their loan signing into the new campaign following his involvement at the Copa America, but Pochettino refrained from criticising the Argentine Football Association.

"The reality is we are all disappointed," Pochettino said. "The first, of course, the national team of Argentina. We're all really sad.

"We cannot change the situation. That is why it is so important to have good relationships with all the national teams. The situation is not to blame someone.

"It's bad for the player and our priority is always to try to anticipate the problems."

Tottenham could regain Tanguy Ndombele for Saturday's match against Crystal Palace, but Davinson Sanchez is in doubt with an ankle issue.

Tottenham midfielder Giovani Lo Celso has been ruled out until late October after suffering a hip injury on international duty.

The 23-year-old was the target of several heavy challenges during Argentina's bruising 0-0 friendly draw against Chile in Los Angeles last week and had to be withdrawn in the 53rd minute.

Charles Aranguiz caught the Spurs loanee with a crude studs-up challenge but Lo Celso later claimed the blow to his ankle was "nothing to worry about".

A statement on Tottenham's official website on Tuesday read: "He will now undergo a period of rehabilitation and is expected to return to training with the first team towards the end of October."

Lo Celso joined Spurs from Real Betis on August 8 on an initial loan deal which can be made permanent at the end of the season, but has been restricted to just three substitute appearances so far in the Premier League.

Speaking a fortnight after his signing, boss Mauricio Pochettino said he was "still so far away from what we expect from him" and "we won't expect too much from him".

Tottenham midfielder Giovani Lo Celso has been ruled out until late October after suffering a hip injury on international duty.

Christian Eriksen – the name that will not go away, even with the transfer window closed.

Eriksen wanted to leave Tottenham for a new challenge as Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Juventus and Inter reportedly circled.

A move did not materialise, much to his disappointment, but a transfer could be on the horizon.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID LOOK TO ERIKSEN AMID POGBA DOUBTS

Sky Sports News claims Real Madrid will make a move for Tottenham star Christian Eriksen at the end of the season if Paul Pogba extends his Manchester United deal.

Zinedine Zidane has made no secret of his desire to reinforce his midfield, with Tottenham's Eriksen, Pogba and Ajax sensation Donny van de Beek linked to the Santiago Bernabeu.

While Los Blancos remain keen on Pogba, they are eyeing a move for Eriksen – whose contract expires at the end of the campaign.

 

ROUND-UP:

- According to Tuttosport, Paris Saint-Germain and Tottenham are set to go head-to-head for Juventus attacker Paulo Dybala in January. Both clubs were reportedly interested in signing Dybala prior to the transfer deadline, and with Dybala set to struggle for regular game time PSG and Spurs are poised to fight it out.

- Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea is close to finally signing a new £290,000-a-week contract at Old Trafford, claims The Guardian.

Inter are keeping tabs on Borussia Dortmund attacker Mario Gotze, says Welt. Gotze is out of contract at the end of the season and negotiations over a new deal are reportedly not progressing.

- The Serie A side, meanwhile, will not sell star defender Milan Skriniar in January. That is according to Tuttosport amid growing speculation Manchester City are targeting the Inter centre-back.

- According to Sky Sports News, Wolves are still interested in signing AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie. Wolves tried to prise Kessie from Milan before the transfer window shut, but the 22-year-old knocked back the move.

Arsenal could make another attempt to sign Belgium international Yannick Carrasco from Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang, reports The Sun. The Gunners have long been linked with Carrasco and Dalian's supposed interest in Napoli star Dries Mertens could make a deal possible.

Virgil van Dijk is set to remain with Liverpool until the end of 2025.

Netherlands international Van Dijk, 28, headed to Anfield from Southampton for a reported £75million in January 2018, signing a deal until 2023.

But the superstar centre-back is rumoured to be ready to recommit to the reigning European champions.

 

TOP STORY – VAN DIJK AGREES SIX-YEAR LIVERPOOL DEAL

Van Dijk has agreed a new contract with Liverpool, according to the Mirror.

The defender will earn close to £200,000 per week with his new deal, up from his current £125,000 per week wages, the report says.

It comes just a month after Van Dijk lost his title as the world's most expensive defender when Manchester United signed Harry Maguire from Leicester City for a reported £80m.

ROUND-UP

- David de Gea could be set to leave Manchester United. Coming out of contract at the end of the season, the goalkeeper has told friends he is willing to turn down a deal from the Premier League club, according to The Sun. The Express reports Serie A giants Juventus want to sign De Gea on a free transfer at the end of the season.

- Paulo Dybala almost left Juventus in the close season and the playmaker is set to be at the centre of talk again in January. Paris Saint-Germain want to beat Tottenham to the signing of Dybala when the transfer window reopens, according to the Express.

- Edwin van der Sar could be set for a return to Old Trafford. The Mirror reports the former Netherlands goalkeeper and Ajax chief executive is on Manchester United's list as they search for a director of football.

- Staying at Old Trafford, Manchester United's stars are happy Alexis Sanchez has left on loan to Inter, according to The Sun.

- After the emergence of 16-year-old forward Ansu Fati, Barcelona have set up a plan to look after the teenager. Sport reports the LaLiga champions consider Fati a first-team player and want to protect him as he gains plenty of attention.

Moussa Sissoko claims he never considered quitting Tottenham despite feeling "hurt" by team selections by Mauricio Pochettino that affected his international career.

The midfielder is a key member of Pochettino's Spurs side and has started all four of Tottenham's Premier League matches in 2019-20, but two years ago it was a different story for Sissoko.

While preparing for France's Euro 2020 qualifier with Albania, the 30-year-old reflected on a 2017-18 campaign in which he started just 15 league games for Spurs and missed out on a place in Didier Deschamps' World Cup-winning Les Bleus squad.

"Not being at the 2018 World Cup was of course a disappointment, but not an end in itself," Sissoko told Le Parisien.

"I was aware of having a complicated year with my Tottenham club. The coach's choices hurt me, but it's the law of football. The only thing to do was to redouble efforts. To abandon everything would have been a descent into hell.

"I did not want to stay on a failure. I never thought of leaving Tottenham, it gave me even more the desire to do well.

"I have a winning mind, it has been like that throughout my career. I do not make any noise, I do not come in the media to say that I had to play."

Sissoko bounced back in 2018-19, starting 27 league games and playing a vital role in Spurs' run to the Champions League final, where they lost to Liverpool.

He has found his home in Tottenham's midfield this season as one of two deep-lying players alongside Harry Winks, but he admitted he needed time to adapt to Pochettino's desired style of play.

"Perhaps I have never felt as strong as today," said Sissoko.

"I am comfortable, fulfilled, confident. It is often said that the best form of a player is between 28 and 30 years old. I did not believe it before, but I have certainly had my best season since playing football. I must continue to ride this wave.

"Last season, I played 95 per cent of the games as an axial midfielder. This is where I have the most success, where I express myself best.

"I have assimilated our possession game. It took time, but I like it there a lot."

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