Pep Guardiola believes Ronald Koeman "needs a little more time" to get Barcelona playing the way he wants as the first Clasico of the season looms this weekend.

There was a time when Guardiola and Koeman were team-mates and room-mates for away trips with Barcelona, going their separate ways in 1995 when Koeman left for Feyenoord,

They are said to have remained close and Guardiola wants Koeman to turn Barcelona back into a winning machine in Spain after the turbulence of the 2019-20 season.

On Saturday, Koeman will take charge of his first Clasico as a head coach, making him the seventh Dutch boss to lead Barcelona into the prestigious LaLiga fixture.

Of those six Dutchmen who have preceded him, only Louis van Gaal was able to win his first Clasico - a 3-2 victory at the Santiago Bernabeu in 1997, for which captain Guardiola was absent through injury.

An early season stumble from Barcelona has seen them fail to win either of their last two LaLiga games, drawing 1-1 with Sevilla before losing 1-0 to Getafe last weekend.

Yet Guardiola, who coached Barcelona to 14 trophies in four years from 2008 to 2012, believes the circumstances are so abnormal this season, with last term having been heavily disrupted and the close season cut short, that any new boss would deserve time to implement his plans.

"Sometimes you need a little bit of time to get everything," Guardiola said. "Especially with Barcelona with Ronald, that being new he needs a little bit more time.

"But I'm pretty sure they will get it to where they want."

Guardiola does not expect to catch Saturday's match, given it clashes with his Manchester City team's return from their lunchtime trip to face West Ham in London.

"At 3pm we are flying back to Manchester!" Guardiola said.

The last time Barcelona went three LaLiga games without a win was early in the 2018-19 season under the leadership of Ernesto Valverde.

They will be taking on a Madrid side who are going through their own problems, having lost to Cadiz in LaLiga last weekend before slumping to a 3-2 Champions League defeat against Shakhtar Donetsk.

"Normally at the beginning of the season the big clubs maybe struggle a little bit," Guardiola said.

"But they will get their own rhythm, their own path, and I think sooner or later, both teams will be winning games in a row, and they will be getting back in normal positions that every season they are in all competitions."

Jose Mourinho is optimistic in-form Tottenham forward Son Heung-min will sign a new long-term contract in the near future.

Son has made a magnificent start to the season, scoring nine goals and providing four assists in eight matches for Spurs.

The South Korea captain, who is the joint-leading goalscorer in the Premier League with Dominic Calvert-Lewin on seven, is contracted to the London club until the end of the 2022-23 season.

Tottenham boss Mourinho has no concerns over Son's future and expects the 28-year-old's exploits to be rewarded before too long.

Asked about Son signing a new deal, he replied: "I would love that. Son has three years of contract so it's not like we're in an extreme situation of everybody being worried.

"It's more that Son loves it here. I believe that he would like to commit his future to the club for a long time. Everybody at the club is totally in love with this player and this boy and is trying also to make him feel part of the furniture.

"It's normal the club tries to go from three years to four or five or six, I don't know. It's normal."

Mourinho added: "But it’s a very calm situation because Sonny has three more years of contract.

"But I wish [that he signs a new deal]. He deserves one. The club knows that and sooner or later, without any pressure, they will arrive into a decision."

Mourinho says Son is a model professional, who is maximising his potential.

"He cannot do more than what he does," Mourinho said as Spurs prepare to face Burnley at Turf Moor on Sunday. "Season after season after season, Sonny is showing how good he is.

"Of course, the better the team is, the easier it is for the players to emerge. But Sonny is Sonny and everyone knows what he needs to do now to go to the next step: nothing.

"Or he starts doing s*** socially and becomes famous and becomes in the big headlines because of some weird, silly or naive social behaviour.

"Because he's such an incredible kid, also at that level. It's up to you to tell how good he is."

Pep Guardiola believes Premier League teams with no European commitments have a "huge advantage" this season as Manchester City prepare to face in-form West Ham.

The likes of Everton and Aston Villa have made fast starts and teams such as City are now entering hectic schedules with the Champions League and Europa League group stages under way.

City sit 11th in the table heading into the weekend, with seven points from four games but, having played one fewer match than most, it can be regarded as a false position.

Wins in the last week over Arsenal and Porto have given the impression that City have settled following a rocky start to the campaign.

However, in West Ham they face a team who have hit a startling run of form, following up a 4-0 home win against Wolves by beating Leicester City 3-0 and drawing 3-3 at Tottenham thanks to a sensational late comeback.

Results that would have felt outlandish in any other season are becoming commonplace, with behind-closed-doors football in the time of the pandemic dancing to an unfamiliar beat.

"It's why this league was always so difficult and everyone can lose everywhere," said Guardiola, assessing the strains on the teams with European commitments.

"It's for this reason, some guys have seven or eight days to prepare, a huge advantage for the other team. Teams who can compete, entitled to be top. We can adjust, accept, handle the situation if you are a player or manager.

"All the teams playing in Europe have the same problem. The schedule is crazy for everyone. For three, four games in a row maybe I decide to use the same squad and other ones I make changes."

As to whether the fixture congestion, among other factors, could lead to the most open title race in recent times, Guardiola was keen to stress it was too soon to make such a call.

"I don't know. It's too early to know it," he said. "It looks like it because there are results not expected, but the situation we are in around the world – not just in this training centre, in our normal lives, is taking an influence in the game. We've played four, five games, it's not much."

He pointed to his team and Liverpool dominating recent seasons, but suggested that has been out of keeping with the normal scheme of things, saying: "I think before I came here, the Premier League is the most open league in the world, many teams can win it."

Speaking in a pre-match news conference on Friday, less than 24 hours before his side were due to take to the field at West Ham, Guardiola admitted he was yet to decide on his starting XI.

Kevin De Bruyne, Nathan Ake and Aymeric Laporte could be in the frame to return from injury but Guardiola has had a long list of recent casualties and would only go as far as to say that "some of them will be involved, some of them no".

The London Stadium has been a happy hunting ground for City in recent seasons, with five successive wins having come by an aggregate of 22-1, West Ham shipping at least four goals in every game.

Such numbers illustrate the progress City have made, given they only scored 22 goals in their last 20 visits to West Ham's previous ground, Upton Park.

But Guardiola knows his team's heady run of high-scoring trips to east London could be halted this weekend. For the first time since West Ham beat City 1-0 in March 2009, the London side head into the game higher up the table than their Mancunian opponents.

"The past is the past. We've had good results but it's the past," Guardiola said. "They played really well against Tottenham – not just the last minute or the second half; they played with a lot of personality. They are in good form, in a good moment for them."

A quirk of West Ham's recent run of form is that their results so far correspond to the last time, back in 1928, that they scored three or more goals in four consecutive league games.

West Ham are up to three in a row now – with a 4-0 home win, 3-0 away win and 3-3 away draw – and that is exactly how their 1928 run progressed, with the fourth match in the sequence being a 4-1 home victory.

Antonio Conte is confident he will be given time at Inter and highlighted the work of Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp as an example of what can be achieved with the right backing.

Inter have gone three games without a win heading into Saturday's league trip to Genoa, including a chastening 2-1 loss against bitter rivals Milan last weekend.

The Nerazzurri finished a point behind Serie A champions Juventus in Conte's first full season and lost to 3-2 to Sevilla in the Europa League final.

But Conte is happy with the progress made by his side and hopes to take inspiration from "war machine" Liverpool, who were rewarded for constant improvement under Klopp with the Champions League title in 2019 and Premier League crown in 2020.

"We must always give 110 per cent to try to get a good result, in addition to the performance," Conte said at Friday's pre-match news conference.

"We need to work hard. As an example I take Klopp's Liverpool. It was four years without winning - now they are a war machine.

"We are building something important. I don't know if it will lead to winning something in the short term, but I know for sure that it is a right path.

"Even from the outside, seeing Inter, you get the idea of ​​a solid structure unlike in other years. This gives me happiness."

Inter have conceded eight goals at this stage of a Serie A campaign for the first time since 2011-12 and let in two more in Wednesday's 2-2 Champions League draw with Borussia Monchengladbach.

Conte accepts Inter have to shore up at the back but reiterated he is content with the overall performances of his players, arguing his side have yet to be second best in a game.

"If we look at what we are trying to do, how we are trying to involve the whole squad, then it's inevitable that the characteristics of some performers change from last year," he said.

"We scored many goals and could have scored more. We conceded avoidable goals and often due to individual situations that we can improve.

"We will continue to work, to play games. Up to now, there hasn't been a single team that has been superior to us."

Inter's trip to Genoa is their third match in eight days and they have a trip to Shakhtar Donetsk to come on Tuesday, before the visit of Parma four days later.

"It is important we manage the situation and preserve the players as best we can, while playing in the best possible way," Conte said.

"The two things have to be combined. Some players are always playing so we need to protect them from a physical and phycological point of view."

Inter have won their last four Serie A meetings against Genoa by an overall score of 16-0, and only once in their Serie A history have they won five in a row without conceding against a single opponent - versus Atalanta from 1951 to 1953.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp complained on Friday that his comments about the state of the Ajax pitch had been misrepresented to Erik ten Hag.

Speaking after his side's 1-0 Champions League win in Amsterdam, which was settled by a Nicolas Tagliafico own goal, Klopp said the "muddy" playing surface had left players from both sides "exhausted".

In response, Ten Hag told reporters, "Let's hope we get a better pitch at Anfield, then" after disagreeing that the turf was unsuitable.

Ahead of Saturday's Premier League game with Sheffield United at home, Klopp suggested he had been misquoted and had been left in an "embarrassing" situation.

He said: "I liked the game from a performance point of view against Everton [a 2-2 draw at Goodison Park] much more than the game against Ajax. But you have to win the games.

"By the way, it's always a bit disappointing when I hear people confronted Erik ten Hag with what I said after about the pitch, and then he has to respond to that, it's really a bit embarrassing.

"I didn't blame the pitch for our performance; I said it was not a good pitch and it didn't help both teams. But who is interested in the truth nowadays?"

Klopp also denied there was any problem with confidence within his squad as a result of the disappointment at not beating Everton in the derby in a game in which Virgil van Dijk suffered knee ligament damage that could keep him out for the season.

"One week ago, we played a sensational game in really difficult circumstances and I liked that a lot, so we don't struggle with confidence or whatever, it's just we have to make sure we are ready for this game physically and mood-wise and that's what we do for years now," he said.

"That's our biggest challenge: to make sure we are always ready. This is the next one, it's Anfield, against Sheffield United, it's tough, make sure you're ready and we have a chance.

"Sheffield United are doing really well and it's not unlikely that something like what happened to them result-wise – they had a pretty tough start, fixtures-wise – it's normal and I'm pretty sure Chris [Wilder] is calm enough to know that all the good things they did are still good and they just have to keep them going and that's what they will try and that makes it a very intense game."

Klopp was uncertain whether goalkeeper Alisson, midfielder Thiago Alcantara or defender Joel Matip would be fit for the game, but he did not appear overly concerned by injuries.

"We have training after the press conference so we will see who is out there. You can only be in contention if you are training," he said.

"In my situation, I don't want to rule anybody out until someone tells me, and so far, nobody told me. Maybe I should have listened better. For me, everybody apart from the three I mentioned are in contention until somebody tells me different."

Kepa Arrizabalaga has been ruled out of Chelsea's trip to Manchester United but Petr Cech will not be drafted in as the Blues eye a long-awaited Premier League win at Old Trafford.

Spain goalkeeper Kepa made yet another mistake in a 3-3 draw with Southampton last weekend after stepping in to replace Edouard Mendy, who missed out with a thigh injury.

Mendy returned for a goalless Champions League draw with Sevilla in midweek instead of Kepa, who will not travel north to face United on Saturday due to a shoulder injury.

Chelsea surprisingly added club legend Cech, who retired last year, to their Premier League squad but the 38-year-old keeper is not in the squad to take on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side.

The Blues have not won in seven top-flight away matches against United – their longest run without a league victory at Old Trafford since 1957 – and Frank Lampard will be eager to avoid setting an unwanted record.

Lampard lost his first two league games against United last season and would be the first Chelsea boss to suffer three defeats in a row if they slip up again this weekend.

The former England midfielder knows United are on a high after a 2-1 midweek Champions League win at Paris Saint-Germain, but he is relishing the challenge.

He said: "It certainly does feel like a big game. They are a quality team, they went to Paris and got a fantastic result. It's an opportunity to get some hard-earned points."

Lampard says it is premature to be discussing the race for the title, with Everton and Aston Villa the only unbeaten teams.

He added: "It's too early to assume anything. It's early. The games of teams around you will always be big. There are games where you have to grind out."

Only Arsenal (15) have dropped more points from winning positions in the Premier League than the 13 Chelsea have missed out on this year, Saints having rallied from two down to salvage a draw last weekend.

Lampard was encouraged to see his side keep Sevilla at bay, though, and hopes that is a sign of things to come.

"Clean sheets gives confidence, but it's a simplistic view to say that everything goes wrong when you concede goals," he said.

"The finer details of how we want to be off the ball is something we want to work on."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has praised Axel Tuanzebe for his display against Paris Saint-Germain and backed the defender to have a long and successful career at Manchester United.

Academy product Tuanzebe earned rave reviews for stifling Angel Di Maria, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar in Tuesday's 2-1 Champions League win at the Parc des Princes.

The 22-year-old was playing for the first time in 10 months after battling back from injury and started on the right of a three-man defence, alongside Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw.

He made an unrivalled seven clearances – Layvin Kurzawa and Scott McTominay's four being the next best total on the pitch – and won both of his aerial duels in an impressive defensive performance in Paris.

Solskjaer has now challenged Tuanzebe, who has previously spent time on loan at Aston Villa, to maintain that level to become a first-team regular at Old Trafford.

"It was a great performance by a kid who's not played for 10 months," he said. "I'm delighted for him because he is such a professional character.

"He wants everything, he works really hard, has been really, really thorough in his rehab, and I am very pleased for him.

"Now it's about getting consistency in his performances – he's also got to stay injury-free, so we have to manage that.

"That's my job, his job and the physio staff's job, of course. But I think he can kick on."

Tuanzebe has made 10 Premier League appearances for United since his debut in January 2017 and has averaged 2.19 interceptions per game in that time.

That is more than any other current United player, with Eric Bailly (2.11) and Harry Maguire (1.93) next best from 44 and 42 games respectively.

He also tops the charts in terms of his tackle-success rate, albeit from far fewer matches than his team-mates, all of which Solskjaer believes stands him in good stead.

"He can do most things and is such a leader," Solskjaer said ahead of Saturday's home league meeting with Chelsea.

"He can play right-back, centre-back, central midfield – he can play many positions and he's a boy who takes responsibility for his own development 

"I'm sure he's doing everything he can to have a long career at United. So hopefully we can get that consistency."

Donny van de Beek is another who will be hoping to start this weekend as United look to win three straight top-flight meetings against Chelsea for the first time since 1965.

The Netherlands international has been restricted to four substitute appearances in the Premier League so far and Solskjaer reiterated the importance of giving him more time to settle.

"Donny is fit enough but of course it's about competition for places," he said. "It's about giving him time to settle in and adjust to his new team-mates. It's a new league.

"He's an absolutely top footballer and top personality. So humble and hardworking, but also he's of course eager to play more. 

"You'll see him throughout the season – it's going to be a long, long season and you'll see him. He has impressed me."

Juan Mata feels a win over Chelsea would take on added importance for Manchester United as they continue to fight back from a difficult start to the season.

Away victories against Newcastle United and Paris Saint-Germain have boosted Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side as they look to put the 6-1 home humbling against Tottenham behind them.

United host Frank Lampard's team on Saturday and are looking to win three consecutive top-flight meetings against Chelsea for the first time since September 1965 under Matt Busby.

The Blues are winless in their last seven Premier League outings at Old Trafford, but Mata is aware of the threat posed by his former club, particularly after adding Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Ben Chilwell, Hakim Ziyech and Thiago Silva in a busy transfer window.

"Of course we are aware of their dangers, as we know they have signed many very good and important players," Mata told the Pitch to Post podcast.

"Attacking-wise, defending-wise they have got a great squad. So we know what they are capable of and we need to be ready for that.

"But also we need to think we are playing at home and if we play our football hopefully we'll have chances and create scoring opportunities to get the three points. 

"And of course, they're a big rival for us because they're challenging for what we're challenging. A victory against them will be important, although we know it's difficult."

Mata also praised his old team-mate Lampard, adding:  "You could feel from the first day that I arrived to Chelsea's dressing room that he was a very intelligent man.

"He knew a lot about football and he understood the game really well as a player. You could imagine that he would be a very good manager, like he's showing now."

Only once in their league history – in 1930 – have United lost each of their opening three home league games, but Mata is more confident after wins in the top flight and on the continent.

"It was exactly what we needed after the defeat at home," he said about the Newcastle and PSG triumphs.

"You want the next game to come quickly but unfortunately there was the international break, so we prepared really well, we trained hard over that week and then we got two very good performances.

"So we're very happy with the week – but we want to keep this momentum going."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has denied reports that young forward Mason Greenwood has been overlooked for selection recently after repeatedly turning up late for training.

Greenwood was not part of the squad for United's victories over Newcastle United and Paris Saint-Germain, owing to what Solskjaer put down to a "niggle".

The 19-year-old was sent home from England duty last month for breaching coronavirus protocols and subsequently dropped by Gareth Southgate for this month's triple-header.

Reports suggested Solskjaer had grown frustrated with the teenage academy product and warned the youngster about his punctuality.

However, speaking ahead of Saturday's clash with Chelsea, the United boss dismissed those claims and took aim at the media.

"I'm not concerned at all with Mason making a target for himself," Solskjaer said. "He came in, played fantastic, played in the league for the first time against Tottenham and was brilliant. 

"He kicked on and he makes a mistake for England and suddenly the English press go after him. He's never ever late for training. I've seen some ex-United players talking about him and they don't know what they're talking about. 

"He's got a good family behind him and he's a good trainer. I cannot believe all these stories about him not being professional. That's something we have to deal with many players, many other players at United have had that."

Greenwood has made 37 Premier League appearances for United since his debut in March 2019, scoring 10 times, assisting one and laying on 10 chances for his team-mates.

Solskjaer confirmed the youngster is back in contention to face Chelsea this weekend, while new signing Edinson Cavani is in line to make his debut and Harry Maguire is also fit again after missing the trip to PSG.

"I hope and expect all three of them to be available," he said. "We've got a training session this morning which is the last chance of preparation. They've all got a chance.

"Edinson needs to tick all the boxes that he's gone through in his programme to be ready and make an impact. I'll have a discussion with him, Mason and Harry today."

United are playing at Old Trafford for the first time since losing 6-1 to Tottenham three weeks ago – their joint heaviest defeat in the Premier League.

They have since beaten Newcastle and PSG in back-to-back away games, but Solskjaer admitted nothing will exorcise the demons from the humiliating loss to Spurs.

"I don't think anything will erase that memory – it'll always be in the history books and we have always got to live with having that result," he said. 

"You can look back at different reasons why we had that result but we have got to move forward.

"It's happened so many times at this club that you have results out of the blue or setbacks, so far we have bounced back well.

"It's very important for players that if you lose games you're determined to win, to bounce back, and I saw that focus at Newcastle and PSG.

"It gives you more belief and confidence, two good performances and results but the next game is what we're focused on."

United are unbeaten in their last seven league meetings with Chelsea and won this corresponding fixture 4-0 on the opening weekend of last season, but Solskjaer is anticipating a difficult game.

"We know it’s gonna be tough against Chelsea – two teams that know each other really well," Solskjaer said.

"Addressing our home form is key. The whole lockdown period has made us do things differently at home so we may need to find a different way to beat them."

This most peculiar of Premier League seasons resumes this weekend with leaders Everton facing Southampton – and a notable nemesis.

Champions Liverpool tackle an out-of-sorts Sheffield United and last season's runners-up Manchester City meet West Ham, who produced that utterly amazing comeback against Tottenham last week.

Spurs are good value to bounce back against Burnley, particularly given Harry Kane's recent record, and Hugo Lloris might fancy a first clean sheet of the season.

There's also the small matter of Manchester United versus Chelsea, where Bruno Fernandes will hope to keep racking up those fantasy points. He's just one of our Opta-powered tips for you this week.

HUGO LLORIS

Spurs will want to get that collapse against West Ham out of their system swiftly, and a trip to Burnley might just be exactly what they need.

The Clarets have only beaten Spurs twice in 12 Premier League meetings and Jose Mourinho has never lost to them in nine games as a manager.

Lloris will hope this is the moment for a first shutout of the season. He's certainly earned one: of Premier League keepers to play at least 10 games since August 2018, only Emiliano Martinez (81 per cent) has a better save percentage than Lloris (75.4 per cent). Lloris has saved 193 of the 252 most recent shots on target he has faced.

 

AARON CRESSWELL

If you're looking for full-back value, look no further than Aaron Cresswell.

Okay, West Ham are likely to concede at least one goal against Manchester City, but Cresswell has more assists (three) and more chances created (12) than any other Premier League defender in 2020-21.

And City are not exactly impregnable at the back – they have already conceded seven times this term.

 

ANDY ROBERTSON

Andy Robertson is probably the safest swap for those having to take Virgil van Dijk out of their defences.

Liverpool's left-back has more assists (three) and more overall goal involvements (he's also scored twice) since the restart in June than any other Premier League defender.

The Reds face Sheffield United, who have looked decidedly shaky of late.

 

BRUNO FERNANDES

It might be a stretch to predict another 4-0 win for United at home to Chelsea as it was at Old Trafford last season, but few would bet against Bruno Fernandes being involved in the thick of it.

Since his debut in the Premier League, Fernandes has scored 11 and assisted nine goals, and no other player has reached 20 goal involvements in the competition in that time.

Chelsea have also conceded three goals in two of their past three league matches.

RAHEEM STERLING

Simply put, Raheem Sterling loves playing against West Ham.

The City forward has six goals and five assists in his past six league starts against the Hammers, a run that includes a hat-trick in a 5-0 win at London Stadium last season.

In fact, Pep Guardiola has won all nine games against West Ham as a manager, his joint-best record against a single opponent alongside Watford and Bournemouth.

 

DANNY INGS

Everton are tough opponents for anyone right now, but that does not change the fact that Danny Ings has always rather enjoyed facing them.

The Southampton striker has scored in four of his five appearances against the Toffees in all competitions, including in both games last season.

Only against Spurs (five) has he scored more goals for Saints.

 

HARRY KANE

Harry Kane has been flying this season and there is every chance his form continues against Burnley on Monday.

Kane has managed six goals and two assists in his past four Premier League games against the Clarets and hit a hat-trick at Turf Moor three years ago.

Spurs have also scored 11 in just two away games in the league this term.

Zinedine Zidane led Real Madrid to LaLiga glory last season as Los Blancos dethroned bitter rivals Barcelona.

But, Zidane's position is far from certain amid a run of consecutive defeats in 2020-21.

Madrid are reportedly willing to part with their head coach if he cannot arrest the club's slump.

 

TOP STORY – ZIDANE FACING SACK

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane could be sacked if results do not improve in the team's next two games, according to L'Equipe.

Zidane is under mounting pressure following back-to-back defeats after Madrid were stunned by newly promoted Cadiz in LaLiga and shocked by Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League.

The Frenchman – in his second spell in charge of the Spanish capital club – is facing a crucial period ahead of Saturday's Clasico against Barcelona and a Champions League date with Borussia Monchengladbach.

Madrid great Zidane has guided Los Blancos to two LaLiga titles and three Champions League trophies during his time in charge.

 

ROUND-UP

- Calciomercato says Barcelona are ahead of Serie A titleholders Juventus in the race to sign Wolves star Adama Traore. The Spanish speedster has also been linked to Premier League champions Liverpool and Manchester City.

Manchester United and Chelsea are set to rival Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich for Gladbach midfielder Denis Zakaria, reports Bild.

- Calciomercato reports Milan are looking to sign Dinamo Zagreb midfielder Lovro Majer. The 22-year-old has already been linked with Borussia Dortmund, Fiorentina, Leeds United, Valencia and Sevilla.

Hakim Ziyech is willing to play wherever Chelsea boss Frank Lampard needs him after enduring a frustrating start to his career at Stamford Bridge.

The Moroccan playmaker has yet to start a game for the Blues since arriving from Ajax, though he has only just recovered from a knee injury suffered during a pre-season friendly.

With his move announced in February, the 27-year-old was the first signing of a busy transfer window for Lampard, who also added Timo Werner and Kai Havertz to bolster his attacking options.

Ziyech knows the competition for places will be fierce having been impressed by his fellow new additions, as well as "crazy" winger Christian Pulisic.

"I have two different options [over where to play], or maybe three. It depends on where the coach needs me," said Ziyech.

"For me, it doesn't matter where I'm playing. It's just the way that I love to play the game, it doesn't matter where I'm playing.

"Kai and Timo, they are two big talents and they already proved it in the past, what they did for their club before. Christian is also one of the biggest talents. They have enough quality.

"For Christian, he's already been here longer than us. If you see what he is capable of doing on the pitch, he's just a crazy winger.

"For me, it's really exciting to work with them. I can't wait to be on the pitch, fully fit, and just doing our things."

Ziyech has not started a game since March 7, with his Ajax career cut short when the the Eredivisie season was called off due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, he made his Chelsea debut off the bench in the 3-3 Premier League draw with Southampton last Saturday, followed by a cameo appearance in the Champions League clash with Sevilla in midweek.

"The season stopped last year for me a bit early, so I didn't play for a while," Ziyech said ahead of Sunday's trip to Manchester United, which could see him up against former Ajax team-mate Donny van de Beek.

"Like I have said before, the injury came at an unlucky time. For me, it's just important to get the rhythm back and to build up everything again.

"I know it will take some time but, for me, it couldn't be sooner. As soon as possible, but it is what is it is right now.

"It's most important to build again and come in with 100 per cent fitness, and that's what we're working on right now."

Donny van de Beek will bring quality to Manchester United if they give him enough time to settle, former Ajax team-mate Hakim Ziyech says.

The Red Devils signed the midfielder for an initial £34.7million (€39m) in September, but the 23-year-old has found playing time hard to come by at the start of his career in England.

His two starts have come in the EFL Cup against Luton Town and Brighton and Hove Albion, and he has managed only 60 minutes in total off the bench in the Premier League.

Van de Beek was also only a late substitute in Tuesday's 2-1 Champions League win at Paris Saint-Germain, with Fred and Scott McTominay preferred in central midfield behind Bruno Fernandes.

The Netherlands international, who recorded 40 goals and 29 assists in 133 games over his final three seasons at Ajax, has managed just one shot, one chance created and two passes into the attacking third in his short Premier League career.

 Ziyech, who has also struggled for game time – mostly due to fitness – since joining Chelsea from Ajax this year, says Van de Beek must "stay calm" and wait for his chance.

Speaking ahead of Chelsea's trip to United on Saturday, Ziyech said: "We spoke at the beginning when he moved to Manchester, and in the last [few] weeks, we didn't speak a lot. And I didn't speak with him about his situation.

"I think he will need time as well. You come from a different country, a different style of play. And I know for sure, it will take some time for him as well to get used to everything, and then I know for sure he will bring quality to the squad over there. For him, the most important [thing] right now is to stay calm."

Ziyech, who made his long-awaited Chelsea debut in the 3-3 draw with Southampton last week, also faces a battle to get a starting spot.

Chelsea spent in the region of £222m in the transfer window and Ziyech is now competing with Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Christian Pulisic and Mason Mount for a spot in Frank Lampard's attacking midfield positions.

"For us, it's everything new and we're excited to work with each other and the rest of the team, and bring each other competition," he said.

"I think it's good for everybody to make each other better, helping each other. I think that's the most important and for us now, when we arrived, it's time to improve and to perform for the things we came for."

Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti insists Jordan Pickford had no intention of hurting Virgil van Dijk, with the goalkeeper "really sad" over the injury suffered by the Liverpool defender.

The reigning Premier League champions face the prospect of being without the centre-back for the majority of the season after he damaged knee ligaments during the Merseyside derby.

Van Dijk was caught by a heavy challenge from Pickford in the early stages of the game at Goodison Park, though the England international received no punishment from the officials - both those on duty at the game and also the video assistant referee watching on from afar - following the incident.

Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum branded the tackle as "completely stupid" before the Champions League game with Ajax in midweek, but Ancelotti has defended his player.

Speaking ahead of Everton's game at Southampton, the Italian wished Van Dijk well in his recovery from surgery but made clear any suggestions of premeditation on Pickford's part are wide of the mark.

"To be clear, we are really sorry for the injury of Virgil van Dijk," Ancelotti told EvertonTV. "Every one of us hopes he can recover soon and well.

"There was this contact with Jordan Pickford: it was mistimed contact. But the fact the Premier League is so fast, it is not so difficult to arrive a little bit later.

"Jordan arrived a little bit later but his intention was to try to reach the ball. It was not to hurt Virgil van Dijk.

"To say it was premeditated, and this and that, in my opinion, is too much. Virgil van Dijk knows this.

"Jordan is really sad, really disappointed [that Van Dijk is injured]. It was a strong contact, maybe mistimed, but sometimes in football it can happen."

Ancelotti also revealed that James Rodriguez is set to miss the game against the Saints with an injury suffered in a challenge with Van Dijk before the Dutchman was substituted.

Both James and captain Seamus Coleman - who came off during the 2-2 draw with the Reds - are likely to sit out Sunday's trip to the south coast, though Jonjoe Kenny is available again.

 "Unfortunately, James had a problem during the game [against Liverpool]," Ancelotti said.

"He had a mistimed tackle with Virgil van Dijk at the beginning of the game and I think he will not be available for the game against Southampton."

James has been outstanding since moving to the Premier League from Real Madrid, scoring three goals and providing a trio of assists for his new employers.

The Colombian playmaker has created 15 chances in total for his team-mates, while also completed 87.55 per cent of his attempted passes.

Pep Guardiola is optimistic Manchester City can "seduce" Eric Garcia into extending his contract at the Etihad Stadium despite previously telling the club he wants to leave.

Spanish defender Garcia made City aware back in August that he would not sign a new deal, with the 19-year-old's present contract expiring at the end of June 2021.

A return to Barcelona, whose academy Garcia was at before joining City in 2017, has been suggested as the most likely destination and Los Cules were linked with a move in the previous transfer window.

But Garcia was selected to start City's 3-1 Champions League win over Porto alongside Ruben Dias in the absence of Aymeric Laporte and Nathan Ake on Wednesday, with John Stones on the bench.

Guardiola explained his reasoning for starting Garcia and also expressed hope he may yet be convinced to stay in Manchester long term.

"I'm so happy. I know he wanted to leave but he's going to stay and maybe we can seduce him in this year to extend the contract with us," said Guardiola. 

"He's a guy who is so stable in many, many things and we are so happy."

Garcia made five clearances, one interception and gained possession four times for City in their Group C triumph over Porto.

Only Dias (110) had more than his total of 108 passes, 101 of which were completed for a pass success rate of 93.5 per cent. 

He had 116 touches of the ball in total, as well as contesting three duels and two aerial duels.

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