UCL Review: Spurs send City crashing out of Champions League, Liverpool through

By George Davis,Chris Taylor& Lance Whittaker April 17, 2019

Tottenham and Liverpool advanced to the semi-finals of the Champions League in high-scoring affairs on Thursday.

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  • Celades confident in Valencia despite tough circumstances Celades confident in Valencia despite tough circumstances

    Valencia coach Albert Celades backed his squad ahead of their Champions League clash against Chelsea, although he admitted their situation was far from ideal.

    The LaLiga club stunningly sacked Marcelino, who helped them win the Copa del Rey in May, as coach last week.

    No Valencia player attended a pre-match news conference alongside Celades on Monday, but the former Real Madrid assistant – in his first senior coaching job – backed his squad to get through a difficult period.

    "I'm the coach here and I take the decisions," he told a news conference.

    "The players have to adapt to the coach, it's a two-way street.

    "I have experience of situations like that which they are going through. It isn't ideal, but I'm convinced that we will get through it well."

    Valencia make the trip to Stamford Bridge on the back of a slow start to the LaLiga season, having won just one of their opening four games.

    However, Celades, who played for Barcelona and Madrid, believes his side will perform in the Group H clash.

    "I'm the one taking decisions here. Some may like them, some may not. I'll take the decisions I see fit. I've no fear, I'm completely calm," he said.

    "Whenever a coach changes it is a process of adaptation for everyone. There is a need to gel, but it is a fantastic challenge.

    "I'm sure we're going to do well."

  • Liverpool not favourites against 'cheeky b*******' Napoli, says Klopp Liverpool not favourites against 'cheeky b*******' Napoli, says Klopp

    Jurgen Klopp insisted Liverpool were not favourites for their Champions League clash against "cheeky b*******" Napoli on Tuesday.

    The Premier League giants begin the defence of their European title at the Stadio San Paolo, where they were beaten in October last year.

    Reflecting on that 1-0 defeat, Klopp said Liverpool's failure to adjust tactically was the reason for their loss in Naples.

    "We talk a lot about intensity. The Napoli game last season was not intensity, Napoli was an organisation problem," the Liverpool manager told UK newspapers.

    "All the things we tell the boys, it is all about intensity and how much we have to invest, but before that it is all about information. What do you have to do in these moments?

    "And Napoli play a specific style. To make it very simple, we played against them in our defending like they had one number six but they had two number sixes, the cheeky b*******. We knew before.

    "We told them they had two number sixes but then everyone came too late. We tried to change it in the game and nobody listened and nobody could change and in the end, we were lucky it was only 1-0. It was really this kind of off day."

    The loss to Napoli was one of three away defeats Liverpool suffered in the group stage last season, although they improved on the road on their way to the title.

    Despite being the defending champions, Klopp said his side were underdogs heading into the clash.

    "We will have to invest whatever we have in the game and then we have a chance but we don't go there as a favourite," he said.

    "Yes, we won the competition last season but it is difficult against the runner-up in Italy for the last few seasons, who is really close to Juventus this year and a really strong team.

    "They are different to last year, not too much, but enough to have a view on it."

  • Cheery Klopp dismisses weather talk but cuts through Liverpool hype Cheery Klopp dismisses weather talk but cuts through Liverpool hype

    Jurgen Klopp dismissed his agent's talk of the weather in Liverpool as a joke that had been misunderstood, clarifying he would not leave Merseyside simply for a warmer climate.

    The Reds boss' future was brought up as friend and agent Marc Kosicke complained to DAZN of the gloomy weather during Liverpool winters, suggesting it had hindered contract talks in the past.

    But Klopp, facing the media ahead of playing Napoli in the Champions League, sought to set the record straight.

    While making repeated light-hearted comments about the temperature of the sweltering media room in Naples, Klopp explained: "He wanted to make a joke so I have to be serious.

    "I could make a lot of jokes about the weather - especially sitting here sweating like crazy... I'm not sure I could work here.

    "It was obviously the German humour and nobody got it. The weather was never a reason for me to choose a city.

    "Liverpool is not always nice but, between March and September, it's nicer than I imagined. I came in October and you could say not to move to Liverpool in October because, until March, it's not too cool.

    "It was a bit harsh and I spoke a lot about the weather, but it was long ago. Now, when I speak about the weather, I speak about the wind, which has an affect on football, but that is not allowed as well in England.

    "It's not a reason for me to leave the country. I'm fine with the weather. Maybe, at the moment, it's the most healthy weather in the world - we have enough rain, wind is there, it's pretty much the opposite of this room.

    "I enjoy that quite often. There's nothing in that story. Obviously it was a bump - he said something and they all went for it.

    "He's not only my agent, he's my friend; friends say what they want and he did that and nobody got his joke. That's how it is."

    Meanwhile, preparing for the first match of Liverpool's title defence, Klopp remained in jovial mood as it was put to him that his side might be the best in Europe.

    Laughing as he heard the question, the manager said: "We cannot be the best team in Europe as Man City are the best team in the world. That's the same planet, I heard.

    "There are a lot of good teams out there and you have to prove it constantly. Last year, we were really good. I'm not sure we were the best team in Europe, but we were really good at the right moments. That's why we won the Champions League."

    Captain Jordan Henderson similarly was not interested in talk of being considered favourites for the Champions League.

    "It's too early to be saying stuff like that," he said. "We have started the season really well and just want to continue that.

    "We still feel we can improve and get better - that's what we will try to do tomorrow night. We will try to give everything and start the campaign off really well."

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