After months of speculation, Bayern Munich confirmed on Wednesday they had smashed the Bundesliga transfer record to sign Lucas Hernandez from Atletico Madrid for £68million (€80m).

The versatile defender had emerged as a target towards the end of last year, with Bayern not making any secret of their desire to bring him in.

A January move was not possible, and Atletico attempted to ward off Bayern's interest by offering him a new contract at the Wanda Metropolitano.

However, Lucas' head had already been turned and he will join up with the Bavarian giants at the end of the season.

Bayern are paying almost double the previous Bundesliga transfer record of £35m (€41.5m), which they shelled out on Corentin Tolisso, but Lucas is not quite the most expensive defender of all time...

 

VIRGIL VAN DIJK - Southampton to Liverpool, £75m

Liverpool were fended off Van Dijk in June 2017 after being accused of tapping him up by Southampton, but the defender's absence from several matchday squads thereafter meant a departure was never far away.

The Reds gave their fans a late Christmas gift in December of the same year, confirming the Netherlands international's arrival and he has looked worth every penny since making the switch to Anfield.

LUCAS HERNANDEZ – Atletico Madrid to Bayern Munich, £68m

Having featured as France's first-choice left-back in their triumphant 2018 World Cup campaign, it did not take long for other clubs to begin being linked with Lucas. Bayern were reported to have things tied up with the defender by the end of the year, though it was said they were trying to avoid paying his full release clause.

As it happened, Atletico received the €80m required to trigger Lucas' exit at the end of the season, meaning Bayern have secured themselves a player who could cover two positions at the very top of the sport for the next decade. 

 

BENJAMIN MENDY – Monaco to Manchester City, £51.75m

Pep Guardiola broke the record for a defender when he signed Mendy from Monaco in July 2017, the left-back having quickly established himself as one of Europe's most exciting attacking full-backs as his side won the 2016-17 Ligue 1 title and reached that season's Champions League semi-finals.

His arrival was part of a spectacular overhaul of the City backline, which saw them spend close to £165m on three defenders and goalkeeper Ederson, but two serious knee injuries curtailed what looked to be a promising start to life in England. 

 

DAVID LUIZ – Chelsea to Paris Saint-Germain, £50m

Paris Saint-Germain paid a whopping fee to sign Brazil international David Luiz from Chelsea in 2014.

He won Ligue 1 in both of his seasons at PSG and made it three top-flight titles in a row after he surprisingly returned to Chelsea for £34m in August 2016, claiming his first Premier League winners' medal.

 

KYLE WALKER – Tottenham to Manchester City, £50m

When Walker joined Spurs from hometown club Sheffield United for £5m in 2009, few would have guessed he would one day become the most expensive English player ever.

He quickly established himself as a key component at the back following his July 2017 arrival and has won two EFL Cup titles and the Premier League. The Champions League and FA Cup could yet be added to that list this season.

 

JOHN STONES – Everton to Manchester City, £47.5m

City have certainly shown a willingness to pay large amounts for English talent, with Stones having joined the club from Everton in 2016.

The 24-year-old had a difficult first campaign as Guardiola's side under-performed, but his displays have since improved considerably, despite a few injuries. 

 

EDER MILITAO – Porto to Real Madrid, £42m

Another transfer set to go through at the end of the season, Madrid caught many by surprise when it was announced earlier in March they had paid the release clause of Porto's Brazil international Militao.

The 21-year-old was only brought to Europe from Sao Paulo in 2018 and appears to represent something of a gamble by Los Blancos.

 

DAVINSON SANCHEZ – Ajax to Tottenham, £36.6m

Spurs waited several weeks to make their first signing of the close-season transfer window in 2017, but they did so in some style, smashing their club record to bring Sanchez to north London.

The former Atletico Nacional man reportedly caught Barcelona's attention during Ajax's run to the Europa League final in 2016-17 and has looked a solid addition to the Premier League since arriving.

 

LEONARDO BONUCCI – Juventus to AC Milan, £35.2m

A row with Juve head coach Massimiliano Allegri led to Bonucci being allowed to join Serie A rivals AC Milan in 2017, who splashed the cash in a bid to return to the Champions League.

Bonucci won six Serie A titles at Juventus but such success did not follow at San Siro. His form suffered until he secured a return to Turin just a year later.

 

SHKODRAN MUSTAFI – Valencia to Arsenal, £35m

Arsenal are not normally known for their big spending, with former boss Arsene Wenger one of world football's more parsimonious managers, but they forked out £35m to sign Mustafi from Valencia in August 2016.

The Germany international had a solid first campaign at Emirates Stadium, but the Gunners missed out on Champions League qualification for the first time in 20 years in 2016-17. He seems to have regressed since, often receiving criticism from supporters.

 

(*Prices are as reported at the time of transfers being completed.)

Danny Rose admits Tottenham's character will be tested as they attempt to cling on to third place in the Premier League, but he said Mauricio Pochettino will relish the challenge of ending the season on a high.

Spurs are winless in their last four Premier League matches after suffering defeats to Burnley, Chelsea and Southampton and being held to a 1-1 draw in the North London derby against Arsenal.

Their sudden dip in form has allowed fourth-place Gunners to close the gap on their rivals to just one point as Pochettino's men prepare for a gruelling run of fixtures that includes matches against Liverpool and Manchester City.

Rose accepts their "crazy" recent run has altered the complexion of a domestic season that promised so much, but he insists his team-mates are well aware of the importance of the next few weeks.

"It's just crazy," said Rose, as quoted by Sky Sports.

"Three weeks ago, we were 10 [points] clear of Arsenal and it's just funny how a week in football can seem like it lasts forever, especially when you are on the back of two defeats and fighting for a draw against Arsenal.

"The season is obviously not how it was looking three weeks ago, especially when you have got to travel to City and travel to Anfield. And, as well as that, there are no easy games in the league.

"We know what's at stake."

Tottenham are due to play their first game at their new stadium against Crystal Palace on April 3 and Rose said the switch from Wembley will give the club a lift.

"It's nice we have got some good news that we are going to be moving into our new stadium," he said. "I hope that can give us all a boost.

"If you'd ask the manager, he'll be relishing this. He'll get to see what type of players he is working with now, who's ready to fight.

"I think everybody's character now is going to be tested between now and the end of the season."

The full-back will be at Wembley on Friday for England's Euro 2020 qualifier with Czech Republic, ahead of a trip to Montenegro three days later.

Rose is enthused by the mood in the camp as Gareth Southgate's men aim to build on their positive World Cup and Nations League campaigns.

"Winning is contagious," said the 28-year-old. "Once you have got a happy camp - like we always do - there is no end to what we can achieve.

"We're all full of confidence going into the games on Friday and Monday. And not only them, the games in the summer as well [at the Nations League Finals]."

Kieran Trippier admits he has struggled to match his World Cup form for Tottenham this season, although he insists injuries have played a part.

The 28-year-old remains a key member of Mauricio Pochettino's Spurs side despite enduring a season in which he has been short of his best.

A groin injury kept Trippier on the sidelines for much of last November and he has only just recovered from a gluteal strain in time to figure in the England squad for the forthcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Montenegro.

Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate showed faith in Trippier, selecting him despite his struggles for form and fitness, and the full-back hopes to repay that trust.

Trippier said: "I've picked up a lot of injuries and there's been games when I've looked back and watched, and thought, 'I could have done this better', 'I could have done that better'.

"It's all about learning, but I admit I could have done a lot better. I am here now, and I need to try to impress to try and start for England and try and do the best I can with every opportunity I get between now and the end of the season."

The euphoria of Trippier's goal for England in the World Cup semi-final against Croatia seemed a distant memory when he scored an own goal in Tottenham's 2-0 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in February.

A month earlier, he missed a penalty in a 2-0 defeat to Crystal Palace that sent Spurs out of the FA Cup, but he does not think his efforts in Russia last year have cast a shadow over his season.

"Obviously, it's a long World Cup getting to the semis and stuff," said Trippier. "The Premier League comes around straight away, but it's what we do. It's our job.

"People can say the World Cup is the reason why, but for me personally I don't think it was. I think it's just one of those things - you pick up injuries."

England defender Danny Rose says fellow players were "over the moon" when Raheem Sterling made his public criticism of how the media covers black footballers.

Last December, after he was the subject of alleged racist abuse during Manchester City's Premier League game at Chelsea, Sterling posted on Instagram, offering his reflections upon the incident.

He drew parallels between the contrasting tone of two stories detailing how City youngsters Phil Foden and Tosin Adarabioyo bought expensive houses, pointing out that such uneven treatment could help to "fuel racism".

"Raheem was only saying what we all say in the dressing room," left-back Rose told BBC Sport. "It's sad really but he's 100 per cent spot on with what he said.

"The stick he used to get from the media was bang out of order. When he put the post up about the media we were all over the moon with that because we all agree. Fair play to Raheem.

"One of the few positive things about social media now is you have a voice and you can influence people.

"Now it's not just boys in the dressing room talking about the media targeting Raheem, the general public have now seen it.

"We hope it changes but it doesn't affect Raheem in any way, which we are all grateful for."

Chelsea teenager Callum Hudson-Odoi joined up with Gareth Southgate's England squad for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Czech Republic and Montenegro on Monday after receiving a maiden call-up.

However, he joined up with his new international team-mates after Chelsea complained to UEFA that Hudson-Odoi had been racially abused by Dynamo Kiev supporters during last week's Europa League tie.

Rose, who expressed scepticism over the capacity of the football authorities to address racism ahead of last year's World Cup in Russia, offered support to the 18-year-old.

"I was only reading this morning about what Callum had gone through. It will not be solved overnight," he added.

"There will be one or two further cases in the future before we get to a solution. I wouldn't like to say I don't have faith in the authorities to deal with it as that would be worrying but it is sad.

"I hope Callum has not been affected by it and if ever he needs to talk, I'm here."

Raheem Sterling would be a worthy winner of any player-of-the-season awards, according to England captain Harry Kane.

Sterling has enjoyed a superb campaign with reigning Premier League champions Manchester City, scoring 19 goals in all competitions and netting the decisive penalty as Pep Guardiola's team retained the EFL Cup with a shoot-out triumph over Chelsea at Wembley.

Kane and Sterling are set to combine in England's forward line for the opening Euro 2020 qualifiers against Czech Republic and Montenegro over the coming week, before they take their places on either side of a Champions League quarter-final showdown between Tottenham and City.

"Raheem has had an amazing season again," Kane told a news conference at England's St George's Park training base. "They've won one competition, they're still in all the others and Raheem has been a big part of their success so far.

"He's a great lad, great player and I'm looking forward to playing with him in the games for the next week or so.

"He'll definitely be in with a shout for player of the year."

Despite established City and Liverpool contingents in Gareth Southgate's squad as a nip-and-tuck Premier League title race reaches boiling point, Kane insists focus on international matters is unwavering for last year's World Cup semi-finalists.

"Obviously we've had a bit of banter and stuff. I think the great thing about this team and this England camp is we have a bit of fun and a laugh and a joke," he said.

"But we know that when we're here it's all about England and we put that to one side. Even with the Liverpool and the City boys, when we're here it's 100 per cent England.

"When we go back I'm sure there'll be a couple of text messages and group messages flying about.

"We've got a great bond here and we're good friends, whether we play for one club or the other. We all get on very well.

"When we're at our clubs it's 110 per cent to try and beat each other but we have that respect where we can talk after and be friends."

Tottenham had threatened to play a part in a three-horse title race for large parts of the season but a run of one point from their past four top-flight games has dropped them back into a scrap for the Champions League qualification places.

Nevertheless, with the long-awaited move to their new stadium finally arriving after the international break, Kane is relishing the fight ahead.

He added: "It's going to be a tough battle. The top six are so strong now. We're three points clear [of Arsenal in fifth] in the top four. It's in our own hands.

"If someone had said third place and the quarter-final of the Champions League, with everything that's surrounding the club, it's not a bad position to be in so far."

Mauricio Pochettino does not think he has "missed the Real Madrid train" but reiterated he is happy to stay at Tottenham.

Pochettino, who signed a contract running to 2023 last year, was strongly linked with the LaLiga giants after the shock resignation of Zinedine Zidane following Madrid's third consecutive Champions League title.

After Julen Lopetegui's short reign Pochettino was reportedly again a top target for Madrid president Florentino Perez, but he remained with Spurs.

Zidane is now back at the Santiago Bernabeu after Lopetegui's successor Santiago Solari also failed to see out the season with Madrid, the Frenchman signing a deal to June 2022.

But Pochettino, who has also regularly been connected with Manchester United, indicated he believes the chance to manage Madrid may come his way in the future.

"I don't have the feeling that I missed the Madrid train," the Spurs boss said at an event in Barcelona on Monday. 

"I don't look at the long term, I'm very happy and I still have four years left on my contract."

Asked directly if Madrid have shown interest in giving him the job, Pochettino replied: "You put me in a compromising position...

"There are always rumours, not only with me but with other colleagues, but 90 per cent are false. I'm very happy at Tottenham."

Last week's Champions League draw paired Spurs with Premier League rivals Manchester City, who they will now face three times in April.

Manchester United will take on LaLiga leaders Barcelona with Pochettino hailing the fine form of captain Lionel Messi, who scored a stunning hat-trick in Sunday's 4-1 win at Real Betis.

"Barca have excellent players, extraordinary players and then a genius," Pochettino added of his fellow Argentinian. "He is different, he does things that nobody expects and continues to surprise.

"What surprises is his regularity, his consistency. He does it in every game, every three or four days, during the last 11 or 12 years, leading in the first team.

"I've been lucky to have seen him and I''ve also suffered against him, it's a shame not to have had a player like that on my team."

Pep Guardiola insists it is business as usual for Manchester City amid speculation that alleged Financial Fair Play (FFP) breaches and a subsequent UEFA investigation could result in a transfer ban for the Premier League champions.

UEFA announced last week that its Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) is investigating City following reports from German publication Der Spiegel, which drew upon documents purportedly obtained by whistleblowers Football Leaks.

It was claimed that City topped up multi-million pound sponsorship deals with Abu Dhabi companies in order to circumvent rules around how much money owner Sheikh Mansour could put into the club.

A City statement, in response to the announcement, welcomed the opening of proceedings, hoping to "bring to an end the speculation".

Speaking ahead of City's FA Cup quarter-final with Swansea City on Saturday, Guardiola said there is little he can do about the situation and remains firmly focused on delivering positive results for the club.

"I am not the right guy to talk about what the club says," he said. "They [the owners] don't call me and explain what they are doing.

"I am concerned about what I have to do, I cannot speak every day about this. What is going to happen is going to happen."

When asked if City's squad would be strong enough to withstand a transfer ban, Guardiola responded: "Of course. It is good, it's really good."

City were drawn against Premier League rivals Tottenham in the Champions League quarter-finals on Friday and Guardiola knows his side will have to be at their best to control their potent attacking threat.

"Any team has strong and weak points, the same with us," he explained. "We are strong is some areas and weak in some other ones.

"Never in my life have I said that it would be better [to play Tottenham] in this situation.

"What I want is my players to come back fit after the international break and ready to play.

"I know them [Tottenham] quite well, the different systems they can use, how good they are up front with Son [Heung-min], [Harry] Kane, Dele Alli and [Christian] Eriksen, but if you talk about any other team in the Champions League it would be the same."

Manchester City and Tottenham were drawn together in the Champions League quarter-finals on Friday, a tie that follows a rich history of all-English clashes in the knockout phase of the competition.

City came through a straightforward last-16 meeting with Schalke, hammering the Bundesliga side 7-0 at home in the second leg to progress 10-2 on aggregate.

Spurs were also fairly comfortable in the round of 16, running out 4-0 victors across the two legs against Borussia Dortmund.

Both teams will be expecting a gruelling tie, with all-English occasions in the Champions League rarely disappointing.

Below, we examine five classics from the knockout stages...

 

2004-05 semi-final: Liverpool 1-0 Chelsea (agg)

En route to lifting the 2004-05 crown in an unforgettable final against AC Milan, Liverpool squeezed past Chelsea in one of the most memorable Champions League ties ever. The whole 180 minutes came down to an early Luis Garcia goal in the second leg, though it was a controversial decision to say the least. The Spaniard nudged the ball goalwards after Petr Cech was caught out of his goal and, although William Gallas appeared to have just stopped it going over the line, what would come to be known as the 'ghost goal' was allowed to stand.

2007-08 final: Chelsea 1-1 Manchester United (aet, 5-6 on penalties)

Just two points separated them at the Premier League summit and, just as they did domestically, United pipped Chelsea to the trophy. First-half goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Frank Lampard saw the match go to extra-time, in which Didier Drogba was sent off for slapping Nemanja Vidic. The match ultimately went to a shoot-out and Chelsea looked set to win after Ronaldo spurned his kick, but John Terry slipped and missed what would have been the clincher, and Edwin van der Sar saved from Nicolas Anelka to leave the Blues' captain in tears.

2008-09 quarter-final: Liverpool 5-7 Chelsea (agg)

It all started so well for Liverpool, as Fernando Torres put them 1-0 up just six minutes into the first leg at Anfield, but Chelsea overpowered them – Branislav Ivanovic heading in twice, before Drogba sealed the 3-1 win. The Reds began the return game brilliantly as well, finding themselves 2-0 up inside 28 minutes, but again Guus Hiddink's men rallied, pulling level just shy of the hour-mark as the game finished 4-4 in a thriller, sending Chelsea into the semi-finals.

2008-09 semi-final: Manchester United 4-1 Arsenal (agg)

A matter of weeks later, Alex Ferguson's United side produced a classic display of counter-attacking football to get past Arsenal. A 1-0 first-leg defeat was kind to the Gunners, but at the Emirates they were completely undone, as Park Ji-sung put the visitors one up early on after an incisive break. Manuel Almunia then failed to keep out Ronaldo's 40-yard free-kick, before the Portugal star got United's third after another devastating counter. Robin van Persie's controversial penalty was a mere consolation, but the Red Devils were unable to reproduce their performance in the final against Barcelona - Darren Fletcher's red card for conceding the spot-kick that saw him miss the showpiece was arguably a factor.

2017-18 quarter-final: Manchester City 1-5 Liverpool (agg)

City may have been running away with the Premier League, but any hope of also conquering Europe for the first time was emphatically ended by Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp's side blew their visitors away in the opening 31 minutes of the first leg, astonishingly racing into a 3-0 lead, which was how the game ended. In Manchester, Pep Guardiola's slim chances were temporarily improved with Gabriel Jesus' second-minute goal, but the Reds surged home in the second half – goals from Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino sealing a famous two-legged victory on their way to the final.

 

The draw for the Champions League quarter-finals is:

Ajax v Juventus

Liverpool v Porto

Tottenham v Manchester City

Manchester United v Barcelona

 

The first legs are due to take place on April 9 and 10, with the return matches a week later.

 

The draw for the semi-finals is:

Ajax/Juventus v Tottenham/Manchester City

Liverpool/Porto v Manchester United/Barcelona

 

The first legs will be played on April 30 and May 1, while the second meetings are to be played the following week.

 

Barcelona and Manchester United will face each other in the pick of the Champions League quarter-final contests.

United defied the odds in reaching the last eight, as they progressed past Paris Saint-Germain on away goals after a 3-3 aggregate draw despite losing the first leg at home 2-0.

If they are to get to the semi-finals they will certainly have done so the hard way, as they are due to face LaLiga champions Barcelona and Lionel Messi in the quarter-finals.

Ernesto Valverde's men trounced Lyon 5-1 on Wednesday – Messi starring with two goals and assists – to ease into the next round, having played out a goalless stalemate in France.

Whoever progresses from that repeat of the 2008-09 and 2010-11 finals will play either Liverpool or Porto, having defeated Bayern Munich and Roma, respectively in the round of 16.

Jurgen Klopp's Reds are among the favourites having gone all the way to the final last year before losing to Real Madrid.

Ajax impressively beat the defending champions 5-3, owing much of that to a virtuoso display from Dusan Tadic in the 4-1 win at the Santiago Bernabeu last week.

Their reward is another major challenge, as they prepare to go up against Juventus and Cristiano Ronaldo, who inspired their turnaround against Atletico Madrid – scoring a second-leg hat-trick to secure a 3-0 win as they battled back to progress 3-2.

The other tie is an all-English affair, with Manchester City and Tottenham set to tussle for the right to play against either Ajax or Juve in the last four.

 

Champions League quarter-final draw:

Ajax v Juventus
Liverpool v Porto
Tottenham v Manchester City
Barcelona v Manchester United

 

Jose Mourinho hopes Barcelona and Juventus are kept apart in the Champions League draw, describing it as a "waste" to see Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo meet in a quarter-final tie.

Once regular rivals in LaLiga, the duo could do battle once again after both their teams qualified for the last eight.

Ronaldo hit a hat-trick on Tuesday to help Juventus overturn a 2-0 first-leg deficit against Atletico Madrid, with Messi admitting he was "impressed" by the Portuguese forward's performance.

The Argentina star dazzled 24 hours later in Barcelona's crushing 5-1 win over Lyon, scoring twice at Camp Nou, but Mourinho feels the two legendary names should not meet in the competition until at least the last four.

"I wouldn't like Juventus against Barcelona [in the quarter-finals] because I think it would be something really special Barcelona against Juventus in a possible final or semi-final," Mourinho told RT.

"Two great teams that are not being successful in the Champions League for a few years, of course Juventus so much more than Barcelona.

"And led by two big players Cristiano and Messi is something I wouldn't waste on a quarter-final, I would wait a little bit more."

Instead, Mourinho favours seeing two all-English ties in the next round, with Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham all still in contention.

The Portuguese also revealed his desire to see Ajax - who ended Real Madrid's Champions League reign in the last 16 - and Porto paired together, meaning one of those clubs is certain to be in the semi-finals.

"I would like English teams to play against each other, without any kind of preference," the former Chelsea and United boss said.

"But I would do two matches between English teams, which would mean two teams would be in the semi-finals.

"I think if the draw gives something like Manchester City versus Manchester United, or Tottenham against Liverpool, for example, I think would be absolutely fantastic matches.

"My second choice would be not by tactical or emotional reasons but by what I think would be fantastic extra motivation I would do Ajax v Porto, as that would mean one of them reach the semi-finals.

"They are doing so, so well during the competition that I think it would be amazing for one of them. It would be amazing for Portugal as a country, Netherlands as a country, to have a team in the semi-final."

Mauricio Pochettino admits he is worried about Tottenham's future trophy credentials due to the mentality they showed in Saturday's 2-1 loss to Southampton.

Harry Kane put the visitors ahead in a first half at St Mary's Stadium that the visitors controlled, with Maya Yoshida also turning the ball against his own post and Christian Eriksen rattling the crossbar with a free-kick.

However, Spurs failed to live with an improved Southampton after the break and goals from Yan Valery and James Ward-Prowse condemned them to a third defeat in four Premier League games.

Pochettino, who served the first of a two-game touchline ban, struggled to understand his side's second-half display at the end of a week in which they secured a Champions League quarter-final spot at the expense of Borussia Dortmund.

"Reaction? Mine is like yours," he told a news conference. "Difficult to understand. The way we started the second half, the way we gave the belief to Southampton... So disappointed. I don't understand why we changed the way that we changed. Too difficult to accept. It's a thing that worries me.

"I am so critical with myself and critical with my team. We want to fight for these things. Quarter-final of a Champions League – fantastic. But if you play like that in the first half, then play like that in the second half, we're not in the best eight of Europe. I am so, so, so disappointed. We are now going to have three weeks. It's difficult to take the feeling we've got today."

The result means Manchester United will join Spurs on 61 points if they beat Arsenal on Sunday, while Chelsea can also move level if they win their two games in hand.

"It's good, a lot of people now are going to realise we are level and maybe start to talk about perception," said Pochettino. "It's important now to know that we need to fight a lot until the end of the season.

"I'm going to tell what I told before: I am a little bit worried [about] this change. From the first half to the second half, it changed too much. It's only one reason - it's mental. I don't want to blame someone, I want to blame all of us, the club.

"We are in a very good position but we're disappointed in the last few games, but we are still in a position since the beginning of the season. Maybe we need to understand it's our limit to be there, but of course if that's our limit we need to make some decisions in the future.

"If we want to keep our position in the top four, we want to fight in the quarter-final, we need to give more in the future if not we are going to struggle. We can't only compete for 45 minutes and then after 45 minutes say, 'okay, we are going to lose'. Southampton will punish you."

Pochettino feels the result shows Spurs must accept they are not yet among the top sides in the world, with the club announcing this week that their new stadium will finally be ready to host matches next month.

"That shows that we still have a lot of work to do. That shows we're not mature enough. That showed that to be in the last level like a club, we need more effort, we need more quality, [to] increase your capacity of commitment," he said.

"Everything you need to increase on the last level to be the best team, the best club in the world. That's why we're talking a lot in the last four and a half, five years. It's not easy to build a plan, strategy, to arrive and to be one of the best clubs in Europe or England.

"It's so easy to talk when we have good performances that we are the best team. I think we need to be careful at how we assess ourselves. In the last few years, we are living more in perception of reality, now to say is reality. To be consistent, you need time, if you want to be a real contender in the future."

Tottenham have now gone four games without a win in the Premier League following a 2-1 defeat to Southampton at St Mary's Stadium.

Harry Kane's first-half goal looked likely to give the visitors all three points, as Mauricio Pochettino, serving a two-game touchline ban for confronting referee Mike Dean after losing to Burnley two weeks ago, watched from the stands.

But Yan Valery, who scored his first senior goal against Manchester United last week, scrambled home an equaliser with 14 minutes of normal time left before James Ward-Prowse's stunning free-kick snatched the win.

Some wayward shooting from Kane underlined a scrappy opening 20 minutes, before Maya Yoshida fortunately saw the ball strike the Southampton post when he cut out the England striker's cross.

Christian Eriksen then rattled the crossbar with a free-kick, but Kane at last broke the deadlock 26 minutes in, gathering Dele Alli's fine floated pass and slotting the ball beyond Angus Gunn for his 200th career goal.

Saints improved after the break and should have levelled through Nathan Redmond, the winger shooting into the side-netting after finding space to the right of Hugo Lloris' goal.

Redmond then wasted another good opening by clipping the outside of the net on the other side of the box, but Valery at last bundled in an equaliser when Danny Rose allowed Stuart Armstrong's cross to go through his legs.

Ward Prowse then completed the unlikely turnaround with a strike from 25 yards out that curled away from Lloris and into the net, just a week after a similar strike eluded David de Gea at Old Trafford.

 

Mauricio Pochettino would welcome a return to LaLiga and the Tottenham manager says speculation he could take charge of Real Madrid shows he is doing a good job.

Pochettino has long been linked with Madrid, although he signed a new long-term contract to commit his future to Premier League side Spurs last year.

Santiago Solari is reportedly set to be sacked after Los Blancos lost back-to-back Clasico matches at home to Barcelona, then suffered a shock Champions League exit at the hands of Ajax.

Jose Mourinho is rumoured to be a strong contender to return to the Santiago Bernabeu, but Pochettino has similarly been mentioned as a potential candidate.

Meanwhile, Manchester United's rampant form under caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has lessened the appetite for Pochettino to take on Mourinho's previous role at Old Trafford

And the former Espanyol coach has indicated he is unconcerned by speculation he could leave Tottenham to join Madrid.

"I take it as something positive," Pochettino said to RTVE. "It means someone has noticed that we are doing something right.

"My relationship with Spain will always be great and I would love to return one day and oversee a style of football that could win games and excite people.

"Of course I would come back to Spain, I'm always open to new experiences and projects."

Tottenham reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League by knocking out Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund this week.

Tottenham have confirmed plans with Brighton and Hove Albion, Crystal Palace and the Premier League to ensure they play one of their top-flight rivals at their new stadium before a home Champions League quarter-final.

Spurs booked their place in the last eight of Europe's elite competition with a 4-0 aggregate win over Borussia Dortmund this week.

And with Mauricio Pochettino revealing afterwards that he was hopeful of playing at the redeveloped White Hart Lane in the next stage, the club have worked to make sure that will be the case, provided they receive a safety certificate after two test events.

Tottenham are keen to play a league match at the stadium ahead of that European fixture, which could be played the week commencing April 8 if Spurs are drawn at home first.

Therefore, if Brighton lose their FA Cup tie at Millwall next weekend and are available for their scheduled fixture on April 6/7, the Seagulls shall visit Tottenham as planned.

If Chris Hughton's men progress, rivals Palace will instead be the first visitors at the new venue on April 3.

Whichever side does not make the trip to Spurs that week will instead do so on April 23/24.

Meanwhile, Tottenham have planned a pair of test events in order to obtain the required safety certificate. An under-18 match against Southampton on March 24 will allow for a 30,000 crowd, with 45,000 tickets available for a Tottenham Hotspur Legends encounter on March 30.

Only after coming through the tests unscathed will Spurs be able to face Brighton or Palace at their new home.

The club have denied claims that a sponsorship deal has been agreed with kit manufacturer Nike for the naming rights to the new stadium.

Tottenham have been playing home matches at Wembley since the start of the 2017-18 season due to the redevelopment of their traditional home.

Page 1 of 22
© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.