Mauricio Pochettino was delighted to hear Jose Mourinho thinks Tottenham are Premier League title challengers - even if he also backed Manchester City's "B team".

Former Manchester United and Chelsea boss Mourinho stated last week that reigning champions City can only realistically be stopped by Liverpool or Spurs this season.

He even suggested City's second-string XI would be strong enough to contest for the Premier League, such is the quality in Pep Guardiola's squad.

The comments amused Pochettino ahead of Spurs' trip to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, although he was nonetheless grateful to hear Mourinho has such a high opinion of his players.

"I love Mou! He's so clever, he is so sarcastic sometimes. That's why he's one of the best managers in the world. I respect his opinion," Pochettino told a news conference.

"Of course, [I'm] grateful because a manager like Mourinho believing we have the potential to be a contender, I think it's important. We have our faith and our belief in us, but that compliment helps us to believe a little bit more, of course."

Spurs knocked City out of the Champions League quarter-finals last season on away goals after a dramatic second leg saw VAR rule out a potential winner from Raheem Sterling.

However, Pochettino's men finished 27 points behind City in the Premier League table, a gap the former Southampton boss feels is important to bridge.

"We are going to fight again this season against ourselves to try to improve our balance," he said.

"If we analyse the last five years, we always improve every season in different things but, in the Premier League, I think we decrease in our performance or in the points we got.

"That is our challenge: to improve ourselves, to improve our numbers in the Premier League. Of course, in Europe we have improved and become more competitive and got to the final of the Champions League.

"In the Premier League we decrease and that is the point today: that we want to improve and to try to reduce the distance to City and Liverpool, who were the two best teams in the Premier League [in 2018-19]."

Mauricio Pochettino admits he does not know if Christian Eriksen will still be a Tottenham player by the end of the European transfer window.

The Premier League's transfer window may have shut, but clubs in Italy and Spain still have time to complete their business, with Eriksen linked to Juventus and both Madrid clubs.

The Denmark playmaker is out of contract at the end of the season and in June confirmed his eagerness to "try something new".

Tottenham have since signed two midfielders, Tanguy Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso, to further cloud Eriksen's uncertain future.

"I don't know," Pochettino told reporters when asked whether the 27-year-old would stay in London.

"My point is to help all of the players, my job is to support them all until they maybe decide to take a different way in their career."

Eriksen was used as a substitute during last weekend's come-from-behind win over Aston Villa and will be considered for a starting XI berth against Manchester City on Saturday after impressing Pochettino during training.

The Tottenham boss denied Eriksen's contract situation would have any influence over his team selection at the Etihad Stadium.

"For me it is the same between a player who has one year on his contract and one who has five years," he said.

"The selection is not for the length of the contract, it is for the performance. 

"After five years you should know to avoid this question, because you know I will take the decision based only on performance and not personal situation with the club."

Argentina international Lo Celso could make his Spurs debut against City after skipping the Villa clash, but Dele Alli remains sidelined by a hamstring injury.

Son Heung-min is set to serve the final game of a three-match ban imposed towards the end of last term.

Rodri and Tanguy Ndombele made their Premier League debuts on the opening weekend of the new season and two of the division's biggest new arrivals will go head-to-head when Manchester City take on Tottenham.

Ndombele came to Tottenham's rescue against Aston Villa, his equaliser paving the way for a late Harry Kane double as Mauricio Pochettino's side came from behind to win 3-1.

Two-time defending champions City, meanwhile, had a far easier outing against West Ham – Raheem Sterling scoring a hat-trick in a 5-0 triumph, with club-record signing Rodri fitting straight into Pep Guardiola's engine room.

Now, the two midfielders will do battle on the pitch on Saturday, as two of the Premier League's elite clubs lock horns in Manchester.

 

CITY TO CONTINUE STERLING RECORD AGAINST SPURS?

Sterling was outstanding in the Premier League in the 2018-19 season, scoring 17 goals and providing 10 assists.

The 24-year-old thought he had sealed a magnificent Champions League victory over Pochettino's side back in April, only for his stoppage-time goal to be disallowed by VAR, though Phil Foden's header ensured City got their revenge in the league three days later.

England forward Sterling picked up where he left off with a sublime hat-trick against West Ham, with Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero also finding the net.

Sterling has been involved in six goals in his last six games for City against Spurs in all competitions (five goals and one assist), including netting four in his last three meetings with them at the Etihad.

City have won their last four Premier League games against Tottenham, who looked set to be frustrated by Villa in their opening fixture.

Spurs amassed 31 shots in total – more than any other Premier League side on matchday one – though it was through the unlikely source of Ndombele that Tottenham finally restored parity.

Kane did the rest, securing the points by striking twice. Though the England captain failed to score in any of his first 14 Premier League games in August, he has since netted in his last three top-flight outings in the month.

City, of course, have a deadly striker of their own. Aguero has scored 96 league goals at the Etihad - one more will see him go joint-third with Alan Shearer (St James' Park) for the most Premier League goals scored at a specific stadium.

HEAD TO HEAD: RODRI V TANGUY NDOMBELE

Tottenham are not known for spending big money on new players, but Pochettino received the backing his managerial efforts have deserved when chairman Daniel Levy paid up for France midfielder Ndombele.

Spurs paid Lyon a reported £55million (€62m) to secure the 22-year-old, who made an instant impact for his new employers.

City, meanwhile, brought in a club-record signing of their own, Rodri arriving from Atletico Madrid as Fernandinho's heir apparent for a cool sum of £62.8m (€70m). 

While Rodri will likely be tasked with shielding City's defence, Ndombele will almost certainly be given more freedom at Spurs, as was the case at the weekend.

Ndombele had two shots against Villa and created one chance. However, Rodri made more passes (72 to 55), with a passing accuracy of 90.3 per cent, with Ndombele managing an 83.5 per cent accuracy.

Tottenham's man made more tackles, though surprisingly it was Rodri who made more successful dribbles – three compared to Ndombele's zero.

Looking back on last season, Ndombele was more creative for Lyon, making 47 chances across 34 league games, compared to Rodri's 17 for Atleti. The former also had seven assists, while his Spanish counterpart managed just one, despite making 1,031 passes in the opposition’s half.

FORM GUIDE

City lost just once in pre-season – to Wolves on penalties – and after a shoot-out win over Liverpool in the Community Shield, hardly broke sweat against West Ham.

Guardiola's side remarkably won their last 14 league games of the campaign last season and the victory over West Ham means they are just three wins short of matching their record winning streak of 18 from 2017.

Spurs' season ended on a low note with their Champions League defeat to Liverpool, but they enjoyed notable wins over Juventus and Real Madrid in pre-season, as well as a shoot-out triumph against Bayern Munich.

Their opening fixture against Villa proved a tricky one but they eventually found a breakthrough. It was just their second win in their last six matches in the Premier League.

HISTORY SAYS...

Tottenham have taken just four points from their last nine Premier League visits to the Etihad Stadium, losing on seven occasions.

City, meanwhile, have not lost their opening home league match in a top-flight season since 1989-90 – they are unbeaten in 24 matches since that reverse against Southampton.

Spurs lost their last six away Premier League matches of the 2018-19 season. Not since 2000 have they lost seven in a row on the road.

Pochettino was, however, the first opposing manager to win away from home against Guardiola in a league match, doing so in February 2009 with Espanyol when Pep was in charge of Barcelona.

The only manager to win two away league games against Guardiola? Jose Mourinho, of course!

What does the future hold for Neymar?

That remains unclear. Though it is certain that the world's most expensive player wants to leave Paris just two years on from his €222million arrival in the French capital.

A return to former club Barcelona and a blockbuster move to Real Madrid are both options as this transfer saga drags on.

 

TOP STORY – TUCHEL WANTS DEMBELE IN NEYMAR DEAL

According to le10sport, Paris Saint-Germain head coach Thomas Tuchel wants Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele included in any deal for wantaway star Neymar.

Neymar has been linked with a return to LaLiga champions Barcelona, as well as Real Madrid before the European transfer window shuts.

Having already splashed the cash on Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong, Barca are unable to meet PSG's demands in cash, so players and a sum of money has been mooted.

Philippe Coutinho is one played reportedly in the mix to move to PSG, though Tuchel wants to reunite with former Borussia Dortmund star Dembele.

 

ROUND-UP 

- Real Madrid will give up on signing Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba if they manage to sign Neymar from PSG, says The Sun. Los Blancos are desperate to beat Barca to Neymar's signature, reportedly willing to offer Isco, Marcelo or Raphael Varane plus cash for the Brazilian.

- Tottenham are ready to double Christian Eriksen's wages with a £200,000 per-week offer, according to the Daily Mail, as Juventus and Real Madrid continue to monitor the Denmark playmaker. Eriksen's current deal with Spurs expires at the end of this season.

- According to Gianluca Di Marzio, Ligue 1 side Monaco have joined the hunt to sign Inter outcast Mauro Icardi. Roma and Napoli are also interested in Icardi, however, Sportitalia claims the Argentina international only wants Juventus.

Napoli are eyeing former Tottenham striker Fernando Llorente, says Sky Sports. Llorente is a free agent after leaving Spurs. It comes as Napoli close in on PSV winger Hirving Lozano, with Corriere dello Sport reporting the Italian team have offered €60million for Icardi.

- The Corriere dello Sport also says AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma is close to leaving San Siro. PSG are the favourites to land Donnarumma thanks to sporting director Leonardo, who left Milan for PSG at the end of 2018-19.

Bayern Munich are interested in Barcelona playmaker Coutinho, reports Mundo Deportivo. A transfer depends on whether Coutinho is included in a deal to bring Neymar back to Camp Nou.

Harry Kane believes Tottenham can go all the way this season and win the Premier League after strengthening their squad during the transfer window.

Champions League runners-up Spurs opened their Premier League campaign with a 3-1 win over newly promoted Aston Villa at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday.

Tottenham, who were fourth last season, have gone close to conquering the Premier League under Mauricio Pochettino – a runners-up finish in 2016-17 sandwiched between third in 2016 and 2018.

Spurs, however, have bolstered their squad after two consecutive windows without a signing – club-record recruit Tanguy Ndombele, who scored against Villa, Giovani Lo Celso and Ryan Sessegnon headlining the arrivals.

And Spurs star Kane is confident Tottenham can push champions Manchester City and Liverpool all the way this term after his brace in the win over Villa.

"We kept with them for a while last year but they blew ahead after January," Kane said. "We have to make sure we get off to a good start. Liverpool set the standard on Friday night and City on Saturday afternoon, so it's important that we stay in touch as long as we can. 

"We have full belief that we can go all the way but there's a long road ahead. That's why we buy players: to strengthen the squad and have more competition for places. That's what we've got.

"We've got a good, hungry squad. Everyone's fit and ready to go. The players that came on have to try to make an impact and they did. It's important for us if we're going to have a good season. Of course, it's just the start now but throughout the winter time when loads of games are popping up we need everyone to contribute as much as possible.

"I think it's definitely going to help us when we start getting into the thick of it, with games midweek. I haven't really had a chance to see Ryan and Gio train yet but I obviously look forward to that next week, settling them in and I'm sure they'll want to come and make a big impact as well. Everyone here is trying to move in the right direction and that's what we're trying to do."

Tottenham trailed Villa 1-0 at half-time but Christian Eriksen – who has been linked with a move away – came off the bench to inspire Spurs.

Eriksen reportedly opted against a move to Manchester United as the Denmark international holds out for a switch to LaLiga, where Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid are believed to be interested.

Despite uncertainty over Eriksen's future, Kane added: "Obviously I've been playing with Chris now for five or six years and we all know the qualities he has: the assists, the passes, the goals. Whether he starts or is on the bench, the most important thing from all of our points of view is that he gives everything for the team.

"Obviously, there's been speculation about his future but as long as he's training hard and playing as hard as he can when he's here, that's all we can ask for. What will be will be but we're happy to have him.

"That's all the fans ask for as well: commitment. We're happy to have them. We'll see what happens but from our point of view we've got a strong squad and we'll use that throughout the season."

Manchester City started the defence of their Premier League title with a resounding 5-0 win over West Ham.

Raheem Sterling was in sparkling form, plundering a hat-trick, with Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero also on target in a game that suggests the rest of the league will have their work cut out stopping Pep Guardiola's side marching to a third consecutive title.

Liverpool, who pushed City so close last season, also picked up where they left off, scoring four first-half goals to defeat promoted Norwich City 4-1 at Anfield.

Marcus Rashford scored twice as Manchester United thumped Chelsea 4-0 at Old Trafford, while Harry Kane was at his ruthless best as Tottenham came from behind to see off Aston Villa 3-1.

 

STERLING TREBLE SETS CITY ON THEIR WAY

City laid down an ominous marker in their opening game of the season, sweeping aside West Ham with apparent ease.

The result means they have won their last 15 Premier League games – three short of their own record of 18 set between August and December in 2017.

Central to their success was Sterling, who became just the eighth player to score a hat-trick on the opening weekend of a Premier League campaign, and the first since Didier Drogba in 2010.

Jesus was a surprise starter ahead of Aguero but the Brazilian repaid his manager's faith with the opener – his 13th goal in his last 10 starts.

West Ham, meanwhile, have now lost their last four opening fixtures to a Premier League season, including each of the last three by an aggregate score of 0-13.

LIVERPOOL'S FIRST-HALF BLITZ DOWNS SORRY CANARIES

Norwich experienced a baptism of fire on their return to the top flight on Friday, with Liverpool racing into a four-goal lead by half-time.

The Reds scored three goals in the opening 30 minutes for the first time since February 2014 when they were 4-0 up after just 20 minutes against Arsenal.

One of those goalscorers, Mohamed Salah, extended his impressive opening-day record, which has seen him score in Liverpool's first Premier League match of the past three seasons.

Trent Alexander-Arnold was typically impressive at right-back and his assist for Divock Origi's goal means he is the first player to register an assist in five consecutive top-flight games since Mesut Ozil in 2015.

It should perhaps come as little surprise that Norwich left Merseyside with nothing given their woeful record on the opening day – they have won their first match of the league season in just one of the last 17 seasons.

UNITED RUN RIOT AGAINST BLUES

Manchester United's resounding Premier League win over Chelsea on Sunday was their biggest top-flight victory over the Blues in 54 years.

United were not at their best against Frank Lampard's side but they proved lethal in front of goal, with strikes from Rashford (2), Anthony Martial and Daniel James enough to secure all three points.

The last time the Red Devils beat Chelsea by such a margin in the league was in March 1965 under Matt Busby, when they also won 4-0.

As well as suffering the joint-heaviest defeat of his brief managerial career to date, Lampard was dealt the biggest reversal by a Chelsea boss in their first game in charge since Danny Blanchflower oversaw a 7-2 loss at Middlesbrough in December 1978.

The defeat also means Chelsea ended a day in the Premier League relegation zone for the first time since September 2000.

KANE COMES TO SPURS' RESCUE AGAIN

Tottenham once again were indebted to Kane's clinical finishing as they claimed all three points against Villa.

The England captain's two late goals mean he has now scored six goals in as many Premier League games against the Villains.

Mauricio Pochettino's side had earlier cancelled out John McGinn's opener courtesy of Tanguy Ndombele's strike from distance, making the Frenchman the first player to score on his Spurs debut since Eric Dier in August 2014.

Defeat for Villa, meanwhile, continued Jack Grealish's unfortunate run, which has seen him lose each of his last 19 Premier League games – the longest run of consecutive defeats suffered by a player in the history of the competition.

Jose Mourinho believes even Manchester City's "B team" is strong enough to win the Premier League this season, but he does not expect Manchester United, Chelsea or Arsenal to contend for the title.

Reigning champions City cruised to a resounding 5-0 victory in their opening game against West Ham on Saturday, with Raheem Sterling plundering a hat-trick.

Sergio Aguero surprisingly started on the substitutes' bench, where he was joined by Bernardo Silva, Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden, Nicolas Otamendi, Claudio Bravo and Joao Cancelo, City's new signing from Juventus.

Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of Manchester United's clash against Chelsea on Sunday, Mourinho highlighted the pool of talent available to Pep Guardiola.

Asked how many teams can win the title this term, Mourinho replied: "Four. Manchester City, Tottenham, Liverpool and City's B team.

"When I looked at the bench yesterday [Saturday] and the players that were not even involved, I believe even their B team could fight for the title."

Mourinho was dismissed by Manchester United in December after a torrid run of form and the Portuguese does not expect his former side to challenge City, Liverpool or Tottenham.

"I want to say the obvious thing: we would love United, Arsenal and Chelsea to be at that level," he added.

"Sometimes in football unbelievable things can happen, but we are speaking about a team that last season won everything, we are speaking about the European champions, we are speaking about the European runners-up.

"We are speaking about United that finished sixth and Arsenal that finished fifth."

Mauricio Pochettino insisted he has "no issue" with Jan Vertonghen after leaving the defender out of his squad for Tottenham's 3-1 Premier League opening-day win over Aston Villa.

Belgium international Vertonghen started 22 of Tottenham's league games last season but was overlooked against promoted Villa, with Davinson Sanchez and Toby Alderweireld getting the nod ahead of him and Serge Aurier on the bench.

After John McGinn's early opener gave Villa a lead they held until the 73rd minute, an equaliser from Tanguy Ndombele and a double from Harry Kane helped Spurs to victory.

Pochettino said Vertonghen's omission was purely tactical, telling Sky Sports: "With all the players fit, in the future we're going to struggle to find the starting 11. We have more than 25 that are knocking on the door of the first team.

"We have plenty of very good players in all the positions. We cannot play with 13 or 14. It's always the judgement of the manager and coaching staff. If we lose, my decisions were so bad; if we win, we keep going.

"I'm going to play the players who I believe deserve to play. There's not any issue.

"Jan for sure, like any other player who didn't play today, is going to have to work hard for the opportunity to play, and show me that I was wrong when they didn't play."

The introduction of Christian Eriksen as a second-half substitute seemed to lift Spurs nine minutes before Ndombele scored with a superb long-range strike on his debut.

Pochettino admitted his first-half game plan did not work, saying: "We were a little bit confused but it's always my fault because I'm the manager.

"Our positional game ... it didn't work in the first half, to be honest. We started to make rash decisions and found positions that didn't help us. That was my fault.

"Second half we fixed that problem. We helped the team to move the ball better.

"Adding Christian fresh helped the team to achieve the victory, but we are talking about a top-quality player."

Opposite number Dean Smith handed debuts to four of his 12 summer signings, with Tom Heaton, Bjorn Engels, Trezeguet and Wesley all featuring for the first time in competitive action for Villa.

Smith dismissed the suggestion his new signings might have struggled to gel, saying: "It's not that hard, actually.

"I've worked with five of the players before so the integration has been quite seamless. They've all adapted and now we've learned the standard of what we need. Anybody who comes here is going to find it tough against the team Mauricio has got. It's a great learning curve."

Looking ahead to his side's clash with Everton at Villa Park, Smith added: "We always looked and thought Villa Park would be massive for us this season.

"We'll go and put in performances for the fans at Villa Park and I hope we can be a threat."

Harry Kane described Christian Eriksen's impact off the bench as "perfect" as he helped Tottenham come from a goal down to beat Aston Villa on Saturday.

Spurs were trailing 1-0 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium when Eriksen, whose future remains uncertain, was brought on as a substitute.

The Denmark international impressed in attack and it was his cross that eventually led to debutant Tanguy Ndombele firing in a debut goal to level the scores.

Captain Kane struck twice in the closing stages to secure a 3-1 victory and ensure a positive start to the season for last term's Champions League finalists.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Kane praised the way Eriksen, who has long been linked with a move to Real Madrid, controlled Spurs' attacking tempo.

"We know what Christian's like," he said. "I've been playing with him for five, six years now. 

"His quality on the ball, assists and goals... He came on and dictated the pace and for me it's perfect.

"We started the second half with a high tempo, and when Tanguy got his goal it was full throttle until the end. We stayed in the game, created a few chances and thankfully a few came to me and I put them away."

Spurs had been trailing through John McGinn's well-taken first-half goal, although Villa ultimately could not keep up their impressive defensive effort as fatigue seemed to take its toll.

"We'd have swapped it for a different result," said McGinn. "We gave a good account of ourselves, but we need to be a bit braver going forward and stop the mistakes. A team like Tottenham punishes you."

Speaking of his goal, the former Hibs man admitted: "It's surreal. It's been quite a nice journey for me - a few years ago I was playing in the Scottish Championship, so to score at a stadium like this for my first Premier League goal was obviously an incredible moment for me.

"We had confidence, it's just a bit of an eye-opener that the jump up to the Premier League is massive. You can't let Harry Kane go free in the box. The whole team is to blame; it's not just individual mistakes."

For Kane and Spurs, the focus now is on building a run of results at the start of the season, so they can challenge for a first trophy since the 2008 EFL Cup.

"It's the first game but it's always nice to win, at home as well," he said. "We know we have the quality, we have been in big games. It's down to us players to perform on the pitch."

Tottenham fans have a new hero in Tanguy Ndombele.

The France midfielder marked his Premier League debut with a goal to help Mauricio Pochettino's side defeat Aston Villa on Saturday.

With Spurs struggling to break down Villa after going behind to John McGinn's goal, Ndombele levelled matters with an expertly taken strike from 20 yards out that left the excellent Tom Heaton with little chance.

The goal proved to be the catalyst for Spurs, who went on to win 3-1 thanks to two late finishes from captain Harry Kane.

Seventeen players have now scored a debut goal in the Premier League for Spurs, stretching back to Steve Sedgley in 1992, but only five have done so on the first day of the season.

The question is, will Ndombele follow a similar career path in north London?

Jurgen Klinsmann: Sheffield Wednesday 3-4 Tottenham, 20/08/1994

Klinsmann swan-dived his way into the hearts of Spurs fans with a goal in this opening-day thriller 25 years ago.

The visitors had surrendered a 2-0 lead at Hillsborough, but Nick Barmby put them back ahead and Klinsmann made sure of the win with an emphatic far-post header.

The Germany star had a fine season in England, but he left for Bayern Munich less than a year after this famous moment.

 

Sebastien Bassong: Tottenham 2-1 Liverpool, 16/08/2009

Spurs ended the previous season with a 3-1 loss at Anfield but earned some measure of revenge thanks to Bassong.

Steven Gerrard's penalty cancelled out Benoit Assou-Ekotto's opener, only for Bassong to head Luka Modric's delivery into the net and send White Hart Lane into raptures.

The centre-back did not have too many moments to celebrate in a Spurs shirt for the next three years, eventually heading to Norwich City, where he had a more positive time of things.

 

Roberto Soldado: Crystal Palace 0-1 Tottenham, 18/08/2013

Spurs owed their opening-day win and London derby bragging rights to Soldado, who scored the only goal here at Selhurst Park.

The striker, the man tasked with filling the void left by Gareth Bale's €100million move to Real Madrid, netted from the penalty spot to mark his debut in style.

The goals did not exactly flow for Soldado after that. Just six more followed in 52 Premier League appearances before he left for Villarreal in 2015.

 

Eric Dier: West Ham 0-1 Tottenham, 16/08/2014

Debut goals do not get much better for anyone in a Tottenham shirt.

With the game goalless in the third minute of injury time, and with Spurs having had 10 men since Kyle Naughton's 29th-minute red card, Dier ran on to Harry Kane's pass, moved beyond Adrian and slotted home.

It was a fine finish from a young defender signed for a lowly reported fee of £4m from Sporting CP, who has gone on to enjoy a positive Spurs career - even if regular starts are now sometimes hard to come by.

Tanguy Ndombele scored a sensational debut goal as Tottenham came from behind to beat Premier League new boys Aston Villa 3-1 thanks to Harry Kane's late double.

John McGinn's ninth-minute goal seemed set to mark Villa's return to the top flight in style, with Champions League finalists Spurs – playing without the benched Christian Eriksen for over an hour – struggling to break down Dean Smith's side.

Eriksen's introduction sparked urgency into Tottenham's attack and, after Tom Heaton had made a fantastic stop to deny Davinson Sanchez, Ndombele slammed home a brilliant equaliser at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. 

Another terrific Heaton stop kept Eriksen at bay, but Villa's resistance was ended when Kane capitalised on a mistake from Jack Grealish before excellently tucking in his second to add gloss to a hard-fought win.

Raheem Sterling scored a hat-trick as Manchester City made a stunning start to the defence of their Premier League title by hammering West Ham 5-0.

City watched last season's runners-up Liverpool romp to a 4-1 win over Norwich City on Friday and answered with an emphatic triumph of their own.

Saturday's top-flight action also saw Burnley and Brighton and Hove Albion cruise to victories over Southampton and Watford respectively.

Crystal Palace and 10-man Everton played out a goalless draw, while Sheffield United grabbed a late equaliser to claim a point at Bournemouth.

Tottenham will host Aston Villa in the last game of the day.

STERLING GIVES CITY IDEAL START

Sterling's treble inspired a five-goal away win as City commenced their quest for a third straight league crown. The England star's goals all came in the second half after Gabriel Jesus prodded the champions ahead in the 25th minute of a one-sided affair.

Sterling's well-worked first goal came six minutes after the interval and though a VAR review found he was offside before Jesus tapped in, City did get their third when he struck 15 minutes from time.

The former Liverpool player could have added the third from the spot after Issa Diop fouled the excellent Riyad Mahrez but he gifted the penalty to Sergio Aguero. The substitute's initial attempt was saved before he converted a re-take due to VAR showing Declan Rice encroached before clearing the rebound.

Sterling was not to be denied the match ball, though, as he raced clean through to convert a pass from Mahrez in added time.

MISERABLE STARTS FOR SAINTS AND WATFORD

Ashley Barnes' double was key as Burnley scored three times in the space of 12 second-half minutes to stun Southampton in a 3-0 win at Turf Moor, Johann Gudmundsson's impressive solo goal putting the icing on the cake.

New signing Neal Maupay, who arrived for a reported £20million, scored on his debut to help Brighton defeat Watford by the same scoreline at Vicarage Road.

The former Brentford striker followed fellow substitute Florin Andone by netting in the second half, Abdoulaye Doucoure's dreadful own goal after 28 minutes having set Graham Potter's new side on their way.


SHARP GRABS LATE POINT FOR BLADES

Substitute Billy Sharp finished off a goalmouth scramble with two minutes remaining to earn newly promoted Sheffield United a 1-1 draw away to Bournemouth.

Chris Mepham had earlier put the hosts in front when he converted a close-range rebound, but Sharp ensured the Blades got something from their first Premier League game since 2007.

There was also a draw as Crystal Palace held Everton at Selhurst Park, with the visitors having Morgan Schneiderlin sent off with 14 minutes remaining.

The midfielder picked up a second yellow card for a high foot Luka Milivojevic, while Wilfried Zaha - who reluctantly had to stay at Palace having been heavily pursued by Everton in the transfer window - played the last 25 minutes after coming off the bench.

Mauricio Pochettino admitted Tottenham were still "vulnerable" with transfer windows across Europe's other top leagues open.

Spurs signed the likes of Tanguy Ndombele, Giovani Lo Celso and Ryan Sessegnon during a strong window, which closed in the Premier League on Thursday.

However, they face losing players – including Christian Eriksen – to clubs in Spain, Italy, Germany or France, with those markets remaining open.

Pochettino, whose team host Aston Villa on Saturday, said closing the window earlier in the Premier League had left Spurs exposed.

"I think that makes Tottenham more vulnerable," he told UK newspapers.

"That's between the club and the players, and there are different personal situations that will happen until the end when the windows shut across Europe."

Eriksen and defenders Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen have entered the final years of their deals and could leave for free at the end of the season.

Departures would hurt Spurs' chances of success in 2019-20 and Pochettino is desperate to win his first trophy since taking over in 2014.

"My personal feeling, now I'm about to start my sixth season, is that a good season for us is to lift a trophy," he said.

"Carabao Cup, FA Cup, Premier League, Champions League, you know. It's not to put pressure on the team or the club but if you ask me to be successful this season it's not [just] to finish in the top four.

"For me, it's to win some title. Because if not, after last season and the [Champions League] final, the semi-final of the Carabao Cup, it's like 'come on, we are always there but we cannot touch the glory'."

Lucas Moura has extended his Tottenham contract through to 2024, the Premier League club have announced.

The Brazilian attacker inked a 12-month extension to his existing deal on the eve of the club's Premier League season opener at home to Aston Villa.

Lucas joined Spurs from Paris Saint-Germain in January 2018 and the London outfit have seen fit to reward him with fresh terms following his starring role in the run to last season's Champions League final.

An exceptional second-half hat-trick inspired a remarkable second-leg comeback against Ajax in the semi-finals as the 26-year-old finished an impressive European campaign with five goals from 12 appearances.

He also notched 10 times in the Premier League, having occasionally filled in at centre-forward amid Harry Kane's injury enforced absences.

"I feel really like [the squad is] a family here," Lucas said.

"My team-mates have been fantastic since my first day here. That's why I think the adaptation was really fast.

"I am so happy here, I hope to stay here a long time and to be happy always."

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino fears the early end to the transfer window in England could create a "mess" for Premier League clubs.

Tottenham squeezed Ryan Sessegnon and Giovani Lo Celso through the door on deadline day and kept hold of Danny Rose after reportedly rejecting an offer from Watford.

Pochettino confirmed left-back Rose remains a "very important part" of his plans but did not delve into Christian Eriksen's situation.

Linked to both Madrid clubs, the creative midfielder could still leave for LaLiga as the transfer window in Spain does not shut until September 2, consistent with France, Italy and Germany.

"It is not right to talk about personal situations. It is all rumours. We cannot waste time talking about every single rumour," Pochettino told reporters when asked about Eriksen.

"The players who are here, I am more than happy to have.

"Of course, we are at this point where European clubs have 20 days more and I think that was a big mistake.

"We open the door to other clubs to cause a confusion within your squad. I think we need to go back and change to operate in the same way [as the rest of Europe].

"The Premier League cannot give this advantage to the European clubs. It can create a mess in clubs in England."

One of the clubs said to be interested in Eriksen, Atletico Madrid, took Kieran Trippier away from Spurs last month.

That deal and the loss of Juan Foyth to an ankle injury until September leaves Pochettino with a decision to make at right-back, not that the manager is concerned.

"We can create players who can play in different positions," he said. "We try to find the best solution and I love the challenge to try and create that dynamic."

Tottenham begin their Premier League campaign at home to Aston Villa on Saturday.

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