Mauricio Pochettino says winning a trophy this season is a purely personal objective and not a barometer for Tottenham as a club.

On the eve of his sixth campaign in charge, Spurs boss Pochettino admitted the time had come for him to deliver silverware.

The comments contrasted with his previously held view that a trophy was less important than cementing a place in the Premier League's top four.

Tottenham achieved that top-four aim last term while reaching the Champions League final, which they lost 2-0 to Liverpool.

Pochettino claims his goals have not changed since that result and are not necessarily an accurate measure of success.

"Of course it was always my priority [to win trophies], but it was a big priority to help the club," Pochettino told Sky Sports.

"It doesn't change that. Always my priority is to win, to win games and trophies.

"I think a few days ago someone asked me what my aim was for this season.

"My personal objective is to win a trophy, but that doesn't mean that winning a trophy is compulsory, or that it will be an unsuccessful season if we do not win a trophy.

"But personally, if at the end we do not win a trophy, for myself that is going to be an unsuccessful season.

"But that does not mean that it will be unsuccessful for the club. That is for myself, not the collective."

After his third incredible assist of the night, Kevin De Bruyne's raw emotion spilled out in an outburst part-gladiatorial and part, well… odd.

"This is our house, our house! This is our house!" he exclaimed repeatedly, pointing at the Etihad Stadium turf after Sergio Aguero put Manchester City ahead on aggregate for the first time in a helter-skelter Champions League quarter-final.

Unfortunately for De Bruyne and City, Fernando Llorente snuck in through the back door before Aguero triggered the hyper-sensitive alarm that is VAR, meaning Raheem Sterling's apparent last-gasp winner was ruled out.

The heartache continued in that weekend's Premier League rematch as the Belgium midfielder hobbled out of a knife-edge 1-0 win – a result pivotal in them claiming back-to-back Premier League titles.

While De Bruyne performed "beyond the normal situations", in the words of Pep Guardiola, during City's dominant 2017-18 campaign, last term failed to get off the ground. He seemed to be at full flight during that undulating Tottenham clash, only for a fourth injury of the season to bring him back to earth.

The table beside Messi

Guardiola has never been short of warm words for the player he inherited as a record signing from Manuel Pellegrini in 2016.

His first season in Manchester was one of struggle, in terms of bringing a squad in need of an overhaul in certain positions up to speed with his demands. De Bruyne was never a concern.

"Messi is on a table on his own. No-one else is allowed. But the table beside, Kevin can sit there," he said after watching his star turn open the scoring in a 4-0 win over Bournemouth in September 2016.

De Bruyne's exploits over the next two years lived up to that lofty status until he was halted by medial knee ligament damage in August last year. A further knee setback before the turn of the year gave way to muscular problems during his subsequent returns.

Guardiola seems keen not to apply too much pressure upon what essentially amounts to the third act of his City career.

"I think Kevin has the same motivation as always. What happened last season, it does not mean it will happen this season," he said before Tottenham's latest visit to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

"Every midfield player has his own qualities. Of course, Kevin has special qualities that [other players] don't have."

Mentally done

De Bruyne has rarely lacked confidence in those qualities, to the extent he was unfairly labelled as a troublemaker during formative years with Gent and Genk.

But the 28-year-old conceded his seemingly unshakable belief was tested by last season's trails.

"After the Tottenham injury, mentally I was done," he told BBC Sport. "Four injuries in a year is a lot."

Those comments came after De Bruyne re-announced himself with a blistering cameo in the 6-0 FA Cup final demolition of Watford in May.

"I feel somewhat blessed to end the season in this way and show everyone that I am still the same and hopefully next season will be better," he added, having scored City's third at Wembley before cutting their beleaguered opponents to pieces.

Boring, boring City

There were complaints over the perceived sterility of City's domination following the cup final, with a similar tone accompanying some reaction to a comparatively emphatic opening Premier League win at West Ham last weekend.

Such an analysis obviously gives little weight to the suffocating pressure of last season's title race, where three clutch 1-0 wins in the final five games helped to get City over the line. It ignores the beguiling brilliance of the Silvas, Bernardo and David, Sterling's blossoming into a world-class talent, Vincent Kompany's piledriver and that Tottenham game.

However, look at the Gabriel Jesus goal disallowed for a marginal offside at London Stadium last time out and you will find the nub of frustration.

It featured slick, quick exchanges of passes, a burst towards the byline, a cutback and a tap-in. One of those City goals. A Guardiola goal. Wonderfully crafted but also somewhat formulaic.

Key creator

Expect to see plenty more of those, potentially this weekend if Mauricio Pochettino elects to expose Tottenham's flanks with a midfield diamond. But De Bruyne is the man who brings something more urgent, more direct and more visceral to the most talent-stacked creative department in world football.

According to Opta numbers, De Bruyne averaged 5.8 long passes per 90 minutes in 2017-18, with the number climbing to 6.1 last season. All the other players frequently selected in Guardiola's playmaking positions attempted fewer than three in each match of the 100-point campaign.

Bernardo Silva hit 3.6 in 2018-19, with Ilkay Gundogan's return of 4.3 owing much to his deployment in the holding role when injuries hindered Fernandinho during the second half of the season.

De Bruyne's successful long passes in each match (3.8 for 2017-18 preceding 4.2) are also the highest figures for every midfielder in the past two seasons.

Since August 2017, he and David Silva are level in creating 2.2 chances from open play per 90 minutes, although the Belgian's 218 minutes per assist leave him out in front. His "big chances" created in each match reads 0.7, with the elder Silva next on 0.5.

Those numbers are illuminated by every scything, rapier throughball and each driving run with bad intentions.

Such special qualities will be Tottenham's concern when De Bruyne returns to his house for the first time this season. It will be reasonable to ask, "are you not entertained?".

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino joked he would like to face Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola in the boxing ring.

Pochettino's Tottenham will travel to Manchester for Saturday's Premier League blockbuster against reigning champions City at the Etihad Stadium.

Spurs boss Pochettino has enjoyed success against Guardiola after dramatically knocking out City in the Champions League quarter-finals last season.

Pochettino said he is ready to go head-to-head with Guardiola, though he insisted football is a collective sport.

"For me, the best thing to see who is the best is to go there, brave managers, put like [heavyweight boxer] Anthony Joshua and create a ring and fight," Pochettino said.

"I don't know [who would win]. He is strong. You don't know. That is a joke. But it is not me with another coach.

"It is not me and Pep. I am so brave on the touchline because I know that is never going to happen, so I shout and everything.

"That is the point – I love to compare my team with another team. Football is a collective sport. It's not a personal competition.

"Maybe another way is to put the ball in the middle with two goals and play one-on-one. Maybe we need a competition between the 20 managers."

 

 

 

Pep Guardiola sees no reason why Raheem Sterling cannot break through the 30-goal barrier for Manchester City this season.

England winger Sterling has started the new campaign in sparkling form, opening the scoring against Liverpool in the Community Shield before netting a hat-trick in last weekend's 5-0 demolition of West Ham.

The 24-year-old hit 17 Premier League goals last season and 25 in all competitions as City won an unprecedented domestic treble.

Sterling's West Ham treble brought up 50 top-flight goals in City colours, 38 of which have come since the start of the 2017-18 campaign.

Guardiola has no desire to set targets for his forward line but has no doubt the ex-Liverpool man's numbers can improve further.

"Yeah, hopefully. It will be good for him and for the team," he said, ahead of Saturday's keenly anticipated home game against Tottenham.

"When he's in front of the goal, he puts it in the net. So, he can do it, yeah. He scored 25 [last season] and 25 to 30 is only five goals. He can do it.

"But I don't know. I never spoke with Sergio [Aguero] or Gabriel [Jesus] or Raz, with any of the people up front, about what are their dreams and targets and these kinds of things. I don't know, honestly. They are happy when they are scoring goals.

"I think goals are a consequence of the way we play - their mood, how the team's playing, no injuries. 

"I wouldn't judge him if he scored 30 goals, or 35 or 20. When he scores goals, I'm happy. But if he does what he has to do for him and the team, it's enough."

 

Guardiola has experienced a number of enjoyable tussles with Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino, dating back to the Argentinian claiming his first senior coaching win at Espanyol with a victory over mighty city rivals Barcelona in 2009.

When that rivalry transferred from Catalonia to the Premier League in 2016, new City boss Guardiola won his first six straight top-flight games before his side were ransacked in a 2-0 defeat to Spurs at White Hart Lane.

City have not lost a league game to Tottenham since, winning the past four, but were dumped out of the Champions League in April when Pochettino's men prevailed in a dramatic quarter-final.

"About Tottenham, I think my colleague can speak better about his team," Guardiola said. "I said from the first day when we played at White Hart Lane and lost 2-0, I never said a wrong word about the capacity, quality and possibilities of this team, the manager and the club.

"I said many times, it is not necessary to repeat again. They are a strong team, a good team."

It was not hard to detect a slightly terse tone to the praise of a man who took umbridge at Guardiola labelling Tottenham as "the Harry Kane" team in 2017.

Asked how good a job Pochettino had done in north London, Guardiola indicated his praise might fall on deaf ears.

"Overwhelming, extraordinary, I said many, many times," he added,

"I don’t know if Pochettino receives many compliments as other managers like me, I don’t think so.

"My opinion about him is high standards, even if he doesn’t believe me. He’s a top, top, top, top manager."

Manchester City take on Tottenham in an early-season Premier League blockbuster on Saturday, pitting two of English football's surest things against one another.

Harry Kane typically stepped up when Spurs needed him on the opening weekend, netting a second-half brace to see off freshly promoted Aston Villa.

The fact City's 5-0 rout of West Ham featured a hat-trick from Raheem Sterling also felt somewhat par for the course.

Two leading lights in Gareth Southgate's England team, Kane and Sterling have operated at an increasingly prolific level over recent seasons – something that undoubtedly bodes well for the Three Lions with Euro 2020 on the horizon.

Here we look at the rise and rise of two phenomenal forwards.

 

2014-15

After doing his time in the loan ranks, Kane flourished during Mauricio Pochettino's first season in charge at Spurs. His 21 goals placed him second behind Sergio Aguero in the Golden Boot standings. Add in four assists and Kane averaged a goal involvement every 103 minutes.

The year after Liverpool's close-shave in a title race with City (sound familiar?), Sterling chipped in with seven goals and seven assists – a goal involvement every 218 minutes as Brendan Rodgers' Anfield tenure ran into problems and speculation mounted over the winger's future.

2015-16

Sterling sealed an acrimonious move to City and endured a mixed campaign. Six goals and just two assists meant his goal involvement average dropped to 241 minutes.

Kane, meanwhile, was going from strength to strength as he claimed the first of back-to-back Golden Boots.

He only supplemented his 25 goals with a solitary assist, however, for a goal involvement every 130 minutes. This placed him below Leicester City's title-winning heroes Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez in the overall league standings for goals and assists.

 

2016-17

Kane bolstered his all-round game and hit a sublime level as Spurs spent a large chunk of the campaign as Chelsea's most credible title challengers. He hit 29 goals and seven assists, giving him the most goal involvements in the division – two ahead of Alexis Sanchez – at an astonishing average of one every 70 minutes.

Sterling scored seven and set up six for a goal involvement every 193 minutes. But Pep Guardiola was in town and things were heading in the right direction.

 

2017-18

City stormed to the title with a record-breaking haul of 100 points, made possible by a succession of crucial late strikes by Sterling. He doubled his previous best Premier League campaign to finish with 18 goals, while 11 assists meant he was involved in a goal every 89 minutes.

That edged Kane's average of 96, but 30 goals and two assists meant the Spurs star hit greater numbers overall, before collecting the World Cup Golden Boot playing in an England attack alongside Sterling that reached the semi-finals of Russia 2018.

2018-19

Sterling and City retained their remarkable levels of consistency to go back-to-back, the 24-year-old scoring 17 and laying on a further 10. His 27 goal involvements were the fifth-best in the division.

Despite an injury-interrupted campaign, Kane also scored 17 times and assisted four. His excellent goal involvement average of 116 minutes was shy of Sterling's superb 103.

Pep Guardiola does not believe the Premier League title race will be contested between just Manchester City and Liverpool, adamant Tottenham will be challengers.

Champions City host Mauricio Pochettino's side on Saturday, with both teams having got their respective campaigns off to a winning start on the opening weekend.

Phil Foden's early goal handed City a 1-0 win in their last meeting with Spurs, which came three days after Tottenham – with the help of VAR – had edged their way past Guardiola's side in the Champions League quarter-finals.

City's 5-0 triumph over West Ham last time out has led some critics to suggest the back-to-back champions will dominate once more this season, though Guardiola does not buy into the argument, insisting Spurs are among those capable of mounting a challenge.

When asked at the pre-match news conference if he had learned anything from his recent meetings with Spurs, Guardiola said: "How good they are.

"I have spoken many times about Tottenham, you know my words and my opinion on them. They're the second best team in Europe. For me, that's enough.

"Since I came here to England, every season they were a real contender. First season, finish second. Last two seasons, always they were there. Always they were tough, tough games.

"All of the [big six are title contenders]. I'm impressed with how Chelsea played against tough teams like United and Liverpool.

"They didn't win but I am surprised at how well they played. Frank Lampard's team. We saw United, the quality they have up front with a new mood.

"Arsenal bought good players, with [Nicolas] Pepe, David Luiz and people in front like [Alexandre] Lacazette, [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang. [Dani] Ceballos is incredible. A top player, quality. Tottenham are the same. They are really good contenders."

Raheem Sterling shined in City's demolition of West Ham, scoring a hat-trick while VAR chalked off a Gabriel Jesus goal which the 24-year-old assisted.

Despite Sterling having picked up where he left off last term, though, Guardiola has demanded even more from the England forward.

"There are many [great players], he is one," Guardiola said.

"Look at the top six teams and you will find many, many players. The Premier League has incredible players.

"We have many, but Raheem still. I didn't watch all the other games but he's playing so good from the beginning, being clinical, but we want more, he wants more. It was just the first game of the Premier League season."

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."

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