Harry Kane has two iconic Premier League strikers in his sights after he plundered his 20th top-flight goal of the season in Tottenham's clash with Everton on Friday.

The England international's clinical half-volley in the 27th minute at Goodison Park took him to 20 Premier League goals in a campaign for the fifth time in his career.

Only Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer (seven) and Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero (six) have achieved the feat more often in the history of the competition.

The clinical strike also saw him overtake Jermain Defoe to move joint-seventh with Robbie Fowler on the all-time list of Premier League scorers, the pair sitting on 163.

Everton have suffered more than most when up against Kane, with the 27-year-old one of only three players to score 10 Premier League goals against the Toffees, after Les Ferdinand and Shearer (16 each).

Meanwhile, only Jimmy Greaves (seven) has scored 20 or more goals in a top-flight season for Spurs more times than Kane, who had failed to reach that number in both 2018-19 and 2019-20.

Jose Mourinho refused to get hot under the collar regarding jokes made at Tottenham's expense by a new sponsor on social media.

Spurs announced Dulux as their new "official paint supplier" in a Twitter post on Thursday morning, with the decorating company's brand ambassador – an old English sheepdog – pictured inside Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

While Spurs will have presumably expected jokes to be made by fans of other clubs, such is Twitter, they may not have predicted Dulux's own social media team to make a dog's breakfast of the situation by getting involved themselves.

One tweet from Dulux suggested the dog would be a better option than any of Spurs' current centre-backs, another said the club's trophy cabinet was too dusty to paint – both posts have since been deleted.

Dulux later released a statement to say it is investigating the circumstances behind the tweets and issued an apology to Spurs fans.

Jose Mourinho was asked about the incident at a news conference on Thursday. After being initially shut down by Spurs' press officer, the dogged reporter dug his heels in and again pressed Mourinho for a response, pointing out the Portuguese coach had called the media out at the weekend for failing to ask pertinent questions of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer following disparaging comments about Son Heung-min.

But still Mourinho could not make heads or tails of the Dulux incident as he claimed ignorance, essentially telling the journalist he was barking up the wrong tree.

"I don't know what you're speaking about," Mourinho replied. "But maybe it's an amazing strategy move.

"So maybe, if I'm going to criticise something and then I realise it was a strategic commercial situation, then I'd be in a bad situation.

"In any case, it's not a football-related thing. I don't know."

Spurs return to action in the dog-eat-dog Premier League on Friday at Goodison Park, as they continue to chase down the top four.

Jose Mourinho insists Tottenham's hopes of a top-four Premier League finish will not be over if they fail to beat Everton on Friday. 

Sunday's 3-1 home defeat to Manchester United left Spurs in seventh, six points adrift of fourth-placed West Ham. 

That result meant Tottenham have dropped 18 points from winning positions in the Premier League this season, with only Brighton and Hove Albion (20) losing more. 

They will hope to bounce back from that disappointment against an Everton side who are also in the hunt for a Champions League qualification spot, with Carlo Ancelotti's men just a point and a place behind Spurs, having played a game less. 

Mourinho acknowledged it is an important game for both sides, but the Portuguese believes there is ample time for Spurs to claw their way back into top-four contention if they do not return to London with all three points. 

"We are very close, but there are more clubs around, with a few more points, some others with a few less," he said.

"With more than 20 points on the table, it's still open. The winner gets the points and stops the loser. 

"Understandably, I don't think anything is going to be decided but if one of the two teams wins and gets an advantage that can be important in the direct duel, not in relation to all the others around.

"This match is very important as the distance between the two teams is very short. Of course, they have one match in hand. 

"The distance is short. They have similar objectives. They are going to fight with us to try and get the best possible position and see if we and them can get a European position. It's an important match."

Tottenham are unbeaten in their last seven away league games against Everton (W3 D4), while the Toffees have won just one of their last eight Premier League home games (D2 L5).

Despite this, Mourinho is well aware of the threat they pose to his side. 

"They are going in the right direction," he added. "They've got a big coach; one of the best in the world. They've got important players and they've got a very good squad. It's just the beginning for them. 

"Of course, this Everton is different from previous seasons. Nobody better than Carlo. I see a very good future. They have everything. They didn't play in Europe, they had complete weeks to work and develop. 

"They can play in different systems. They have talent in attack. Quality in midfield. Physicality behind. They have a tactical culture. They have a very good combination."

Jesse Lingard has been in blistering form during his six-month loan spell at West Ham.

As a result, speculation is rife over the 28-year-old England international's future.

Lingard is contracted with parent club Manchester United for one more season.

 

TOP STORY - EUROPEAN GIANTS CIRCLE FOR LINGARD

European powerhouse clubs Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Inter are all interested in Lingard, claims ESPN.

Lingard has scored eight goals in nine games for the Hammers, who are surprisingly sitting fourth in the Premier League.

ESPN reports those clubs are monitoring Lingard's situation, with West Ham keen to sign him permanently and the player yet to declare a preference, although it is believed he wants to play  Champions League football.

 

ROUND-UP

- Serbia international Sergei Milinkovic-Savic has garnered interest from European giants Manchester United, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. The midfielder is contracted with Lazio until 2024.

- Manchester United may have missed out on Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho last off-season but they are set to revive their interest, says the Manchester Evening News.

- Calciomercato reports that French winger Ousmane Dembele is open to joining Juventus from Barcelona in the next transfer window.

- Tottenham are making their move to sign off-contract Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng, reports Sky Germany.

- Arsenal have joined the race to sign Celtic forward Odsonne Edouard, alongside Leicester City, according to the Telegraph.

- Tuttosport says Torino's Italy international forward Andrea Belotti is being courted by Chelsea, Everton, AC Milan and Atletico Madrid.

- Fiorentina want to hire Gennaro Gattuso from Napoli as their next coach, claims Sky Sport Italia. Gattuso is out of contract at Napoli at the end of the season.

Harry Kane has been linked with a move away from Tottenham this upcoming transfer window.

But the England forward has another three years on his contract and a deal will not come easy for suitors.

Manchester City are the latest club to be linked with Kane, as they assess their options if they cannot land Erling Haaland this close-season.

 

TOP STORY - TOTTENHAM WARD OFF KANE INTEREST

Tottenham have placed a £175million price tag on Harry Kane amid reports of interest in their star captain.

The Sun has reported Tottenham are unwilling to sell Kane, let alone to a Premier League rival such as City.

Kane is understood be content to stay at Tottenham and the price tag will likely deter any continental interest.

 

ROUND-UP

- Real Madrid are willing to sell one Norwegian Martin Odegaard, who is on loan at Arsenal, to generate the funds required to land his compatriot Haaland, according to The Times. The Gunners are understood to be keen to sign Odegaard permanently.

- Barcelona are lining up Inter's Lautaro Martinez as a possible signing if they fail to win the race for Haaland, reports Spanish publication Sport.

- Tuttosport claims that Juventus are readying a move to bring Moise Kean back to Turin from Everton after starring on loan at Paris Saint-Germain.

- Spanish outlet ABC is reporting that both Manchester United and Chelsea are keen on Real Madrid winger Lucas Vazquez.

James Rodriguez has revealed he held talks with Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone last year, but Real Madrid blocked a transfer from going through.

The Colombia international joined Premier League side Everton from Real Madrid in September after struggling for playing time under Zinedine Zidane last season.

He was linked with a number of high-profile suitors before completing his eye-catching switch to Goodison Park for what later transpired to be a free deal.

Atletico were among the sides tipped to sign James at the time and the 29-year-old has revealed he was close to joining Real's city rivals.

"It was nearly a done deal to got to Atletico," he told ESPN. "I spoke with Simeone, he said I could be important, but Real didn't let me go. 

"[President] Florentino Perez knew that with Zidane there I wouldn't play much. It was a bad year and I wanted to come to Everton to play and show what I can do.

James has scored five goals and registered four assists in 18 Premier League appearances this season.

That puts him level with Richarlison for the second-most goal involvements of any Everton player in the league this term, behind only ​striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin (14 goals).

No Everton player has created more chances than his total of 31, meanwhile, with 23 of those from open play - another team high.

James has enjoyed a positive first campaign in English football, but he would not have considered joining Everton without the presence of three-time Champions League-winning coach Carlo Ancelotti.

"I'll say it with all sincerity that if Carlo wasn't here, I wouldn't have come," said James, who has not featured since February because of a thigh injury. "I'll say it with all my heart, he was one of the reasons for which I came.

"I have started to get to know the club, how they work, how they want to work, win things, play in Europe. The fact that Carlo is here was fundamental to come here, where I am learning every day.

"In these remaining [league] matches, I want to perform well. I had some physical problems for a month, but I have overcome them and it's my goal to get a European spot, hopefully in the Champions League."

Everton are eighth in the Premier League, five points behind fourth-placed Chelsea with a game in hand.

Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City's form over the past four months is one of the "greatest achievements" since he joined the club in 2016. 

City claimed a 2-0 win over Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday to reach the FA Cup semi-finals for the third season in succession – the first time they have achieved the feat since between 1931-32 and 1933-34.

The result marked a new club record of 17 consecutive away matches unbeaten, breaking the record previously set between January and September in 1999. 

Since City's defeat to Tottenham on November 21, they have won 29 of their 33 matches across all competitions, losing just once – to neighbours Manchester United in the Premier League earlier this month. 

And Guardiola attributed his side's stunning form to their ability to adjust to different challenges. 

"We have to adapt; every game is different," he told a media conference after the win at Goodison Park. "Managers know what they have to do.

"But when you win a lot of games like we have in the last four months, it's because you can adapt. That pleases me the most. It's not just tactics, it's mental; being ready every game.

"What we have done is more than remarkable. It's incredible. One of the greatest achievements we have done together.

"We haven't won anything yet, so we will be focused and we will see how far we arrive in the competitions.

"In this period, playing every three days, with incredible commitment in every competition, I don't have any words to express that."

While City dominated proceedings against the Toffees – restricting the hosts to their lowest possession figure (26 per cent) in all competitions since March 2018 – they had to wait until the 84th minute to make the breakthrough. 

It came courtesy of Ilkay Gundogan's 12th goal in all competitions since the turn of the year, which is more than any other Premier League player. 

Kevin De Bruye added a second six minutes later, and Guardiola was pleased with his side's patience against dogged opponents.

"We knew how tough it would be; the FA Cup, away, against Everton," he added. "They defend incredibly well and have pace with Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

"Every throw is like a corner and they have big players, like [Yerry] Mina. These games need patience. We knew the team who scored would win the game.

"All the players were fantastic and Riyad [Mahrez] and Kevin in the last minutes could change the rhythm. We found the goal and we are in the semi-final.

"We knew it would be one of the toughest games we would face."

Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has warned his team-mates that opponents will try to derail their quadruple bid with negative tactics.

City claimed a 2-0 win over Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday to reach the FA Cup semi-finals for the third season in succession – the first time they have achieved the feat since 1931-32 and 1933-34.

The victory, courtesy of goals from Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne, was hard fought as a defensive-minded Everton side packed men behind the ball, happy to surrender the majority of the ball to City. 

Indeed, Everton's total possession of 25.9 per cent was their lowest since a fixture against Pep Guardiola's side in March 2018 (18 per cent).

Midfielder Gundogan praised City's patience against the Toffees and predicted matches of this ilk will become common as they chase an unprecedented clean sweep of trophies.

"There will be a few more games like this I think," Gundogan told BT Sport.

"But we have to be ready for them. If you want to win trophies and fight for everything, you have to find a way to win.

"We don't always make the best kind of football but it's about staying in the game and finding the right moments, being patient.

"Everton did really well, they defended well and they are a great team, so it's not easy. We knew that we could struggle before the game but we overcame it and we did really well."

Gundogan has scored 12 goals in 2021, more than any other Premier League player in all competitions, as he bagged his first headed goal for City since December 2018 against Crystal Palace..

The Germany international, who has also netted in three consecutive matches for City for the first time, is relishing his current goalscoring form.

He added: "I just tried to be there waiting for the rebound. I think the timing was perfect - it was a great win. 

"I'm enjoying it at the moment, everyone put in the hard work. This is not a given, it's not granted, so we need to make the right decisions.

"I think we struggled a little bit to find spaces in the first half. We weren't all together in the right positions. We tried to stay in the game and thankfully it turned out well for us.

"The next target now is to come back healthier and in the best shape from the international break - and then having a big game at Leicester."

Late goals from Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne clinched Manchester City's place in the FA Cup semi-finals after a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday.

The Toffees packed men behind the ball in an attempt to nullify City's attacking threat and chances were rare for both sides.

The deadlock was eventually broken six minutes from time when Aymeric Laporte's shot rebounded off the crossbar and Gundogan reacted quickest to nod the ball home.

De Bruyne added a second in the 90th minute when he fired into the roof of the net after he was put through by Rodri.

Pep Guardiola proclaimed Erling Haaland to be one of the best strikers in the world, though he refused to be drawn on transfer speculation linking Manchester City to the Borussia Dortmund star after the two teams were drawn together in the Champions League. 

Haaland appears to be the main threat as Guardiola seeks to avoid a fourth consecutive quarter-final exit in Europe's top competition, while there will also be a reunion with ex-City youngster and England winger Jadon Sancho. 

As Sergio Aguero's contract runs down and City's all-time leading goalscorer struggles for minutes, rumours linking the Premier League leaders and Haaland – whose father Alf-Inge captained City at the start of the century – have mounted. 

Speaking after Friday's Champions League draw, which also mapped out a route to the final that will see the winner of City v Dortmund face either holders Bayern Munich or Paris Saint-Germain in the semis, Guardiola conceded this season's hectic schedule had not granted him too much time to watch BVB. 

However, he is well aware of their main man. 

"The numbers speak for themselves, of course he is one of the best strikers in the world right now at his age," he said at a news conference to preview Saturday's FA Cup quarter-final trip to Everton. 

"I saw few games, honestly, I didn't have much time. But I saw the highlights and the numbers in the Champions League and the Bundesliga are impressive. 

"Dortmund, I know [Mats] Hummels, [Raphael] Guerreiro, Emre Can with good experience, [Axel] Witsel, the quality of their players, Jadon Sancho and [Giovanni] Reyna. 

"There are many, many young players with quality. In the last years they to invested in young players, paying good wages and good salaries for the agents and they have a lot of quality there. 

"They were able to go through against Sevilla. Sevilla, in knockout competitions, is one of the strongest teams ever. They won three Europa Leagues in a row and last season won it again. Always they are so strong, and Dortmund were able to beat them." 

Only Bayern Munich superstar Robert Lewandowski (39) has more goals across all competitions in Europe's top five leagues than Haaland's tally of 31 in 2020-21. 

Among players to have netted 15 or more times, the Norway international has the best shot conversion rate (32.3 per cent) and averages a goal every 82.3 minutes. 

They are the sort of returns to ignite a bidding war, although not one that Guardiola was keen to fuel. 

"He's a player from Borussia Dortmund. I don't like it when people talk about our players," he replied when asked whether he would like Haaland at City from next season. 

"He's a player for Borussia Dortmund. You understand I cannot answer this question."  

Before tackling potentially Europe's strongest force of the coming decade in Haaland, Guardiola must first deal with one of the continent's most revered coaches in the form of Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti. 

The City manager paid a warm tribute to his opposite number, reflecting upon when Ancelotti offered guidance to him at the start of his coaching career. 

"I don’t know how many years he has been a manager but at some of the best clubs in Europe – Madrid, PSG, Chelsea, Milan, Juventus, Napoli and now Everton," he said. 

"He has been abroad and everywhere and all the places he had success. 

"I know when people talk about him as manager and as a person… especially how he took care of me when I started. 

"I visited him when he was in Milan in my first years. He was so kind, we spoke a little bit about life and football. 

"You feel when people take care of you, they are good people, and he's one of them, for sure."

What does the future hold for Sergio Aguero?

With his Manchester City contract expiring at the end of the season, Aguero is no closer to re-signing.

Premier League rivals Chelsea could be ready to pounce…

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA KEEPING TABS ON AGUERO

Chelsea are tracking Manchester City star and soon-to-be free agent Sergio Aguero, according to the Daily Mail.

Aguero is out of contract at the end of the season and the City forward has been tipped to join LaLiga giants Barcelona.

But Premier League rivals Chelsea are reportedly eyeing a move for City's all-time leading goalscorer.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Daily Mail reports City and Chelsea are both interested in Borussia Dortmund midfielder Mahmoud Dahoud. Tottenham and Everton have also been linked with the Germany international.

Juventus are eyeing a move for star Atalanta wing-back Robin Gosens, claims Calciomercato. Gosens has starred for Atalanta, who value him between €35-€40million.

- FootMercato says Paris Saint-Germain want Tottenham full-back Serge Aurier as former Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino seeks a reunion.

- Fabrizio Romano reports Manchester United have not made a bid for Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovic. United have also been linked with RB Leipzig centre-back Ibrahima Konate, Sevilla's Jules Kounde, Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly, Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos and team-mate Raphael Varane, as well as Brighton and Hove Albion defender Ben White.

- In-demand Dortmund star Erling Haaland has a "crush" on Madrid but El Chiringuito insists no club is close to signing the Norwegian. Haaland has been linked with Madrid, Barca, United, City, Chelsea, Liverpool, PSG and Juventus.

Jordan Pickford has been ruled out of England's World Cup qualifiers this month due to an abdominal injury.

Pickford was forced off shortly before half-time during Everton's 2-1 Premier League defeat to Burnley last weekend.

Everton confirmed the 27-year-old had undergone a scan that revealed damage to his oblique abdominal muscle.

Pickford will also miss Everton's FA Cup quarter-final against Manchester City at Goodison Park ion Saturday.

England face San Marino, Albania and Poland as their campaign to reach Qatar 2022 gets underway.

Manager Gareth Southgate has kept faith with Pickford as his first-choice goalkeeper, the former Sunderland man having impressed during the Three Lions' run to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals in Russia.

Burnley's Nick Pope and Manchester United's Dean Henderson are the most likely replacements for Pickford.

In all competitions this season, Pope has made 105 saves compared to Pickford's 73 and boasts a better save percentage of 75.9 to 69.5

Pickford has made four errors leading to goals this season, compared to two from Pope, while only Aaron Ramsdale (11) has conceded more than his 10 goals from outside the box among all Premier League goalkeepers.

Pope and Henderson have each been beaten twice from beyond their 18-yard box.

Henderson has enjoyed a recent run in the United first team but is usually back-up to David de Gea and has made a total of 17 appearances this season.

However, the former Sheffield United loanee's save percentage of 81.13 is the highest of any goalkeeper from the English top flight to have played 10 or more games this season.

Sam Johnstone, like Henderson a product of the Manchester United youth set-up, could now push for a place in Southgate's squad.

Johnstone has made more saves than any Premier League keeper (115) but also conceded the most goals (55) for relegation-threatened West Brom.

Paris Saint-Germain is homing in on Manchester United's French midfielder Paul Pogba.

Pogba has been linked with a move away from United since his agent Mino Raiola said he had no future at the club in December.

The 27-year-old has been at United since 2016 but struggled for impact over the past two seasons.

 

TOP STORY - POGBA'S PARISIAN PLAY

PSG have made contact with Pogba's agent and placed him on their list of transfer targets, according to Foot Mercato.

The report claims PSG sporting director Leonardo has recently been in touch with Raiola.

The 27-year-old World Cup winner has never played in Ligue 1 in his native France.

ROUND-UP

Manchester United goalkeeper uncertainty persists with the Daily Star claiming the Premier League giants have added Burnley's Nick Pope to their transfer list, although Tottenham are interested too.

- The Sunday Mirror is reporting United are set to offer manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a new deal.

Tottenham are lining up Southampton's Jannik Vestergaard, according to the Sunday Mirror too.

- Football Insider claims that a deal for Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum to go to Barcelona this close season is "95 per cent done".

- Milan midfielder Ismael Bennacer is hot property right now and Algerian publication Competition claims Paris Saint-Germain are leading the race for his signature, ahead of Manchester City.

- TeamTalk has reported Arsenal and Everton are interested in Fulham centre-back Ibane Bowat.

Arsenal and Tottenham are both keen on Sheffield United's Sander Berge, according to Jeunes Footeux.

All eyes will be on Emirates Stadium on Sunday when Tottenham chase a first league double over Arsenal in the north London derby since 1992-93.

Premier League leaders Manchester City are also in the capital, giving struggling Fulham a tough task at Craven Cottage in Saturday's late kick-off.

The most intriguing tactical battle of the weekend could come at Elland Road, where Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds United host Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea, while West Ham are likely to face a thorough examination of their top-four ambitions at Manchester United.

Here, we give a few pointers on which players could come up trumps in fantasy football terms.

DEAN HENDERSON

England goalkeeper Henderson has not played too frequently since opting to make a go of things with parent club Manchester United.

But when he has featured for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side, the 24-year-old has generally impressed, even if his midweek outing against Milan in the Europa League contained an unwanted sting in the tail.

If David de Gea is absent once more against West Ham, Henderson's 19 saves from 22 shots faced in the Premier League this season suggests the United goal is in safe hands. His save percentage of 86.4 is the best of any goalkeeper to have played more than one game this season.

AARON CRESSWELL

Given the dearth of natural left-back options available to England manager Gareth Southgate, a strong season at West Ham for Cresswell could turn out to have been perfectly timed.

The full-back is also a threat in opposition territory, with his seven assists more than any other defender in the division. It is a left-back dominated list, with Lucas Digne up next on six from Andy Robertson, Luke Shaw (both five) and Southgate's first choice Ben Chilwell (four).

Seven assists also matches the most productive season of Cresswell's career in that regard, having provided the same number in 2017-18.

CESAR AZPILICUETA

Tuchel has overseen a defensive transformation since taking over from Frank Lampard, tightening up an unhelpfully leaky backline.

Club captain Azpilicueta has been a pillar of this turnaround. His eight clean sheets are the most for any Premier League defender in 2021.

Azpilicueta is one ahead of rejuvenated club-mate Antonio Rudiger, while Manchester City centre-backs John Stones and Ruben Dias and Manchester United duo Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka similarly have seven apiece.

WILFRIED ZAHA

Relegation-haunted West Brom would be forgiven for dreading the sight of Crystal Palace winger Zaha.

In his past four outings against the Baggies, the Ivory Coast international has scored four times.

That run includes a second-half brace from when Palace hammered the Baggies 5-1 at The Hawthorns in December – a result that would prove influential in Slaven Bilic's sacking later that month.

RAHEEM STERLING

England forward Sterling sat out City's 5-2 win over Southampton in midweek after his latest disappointment in the derby against United.

His native London is a far happier hunting ground, with the 26-year-old amassing 16 goal involvements (10 goals and six assists) in his previous 16 Premier League starts in the English capital.

Sterling continued that streak last time out at Emirates Stadium, heading the only goal early on in a 1-0 win over Arsenal.

GARETH BALE

This weekend, another wide forward on a hot streak will be foremost in Arsenal's thoughts.

A revitalised Bale scored twice in a 4-1 win over Palace last weekend, meaning he has had a hand in six goals in his past four top-flight appearances (four goals and two assists).

And, if you believe the form book stays on this side of the window on derby day, the Wales star has five Premier League goals against Arsenal – more than against any other side in his career.

DOMINIC CALVERT-LEWIN

As the battle for a top-four finish hots up, sides in the chasing pack will need players to weigh in with 'heavy' goals.

Thankfully for Everton, no player's goals in the Premier League this season have been worth more in terms of points gained than Calvert-Lewin's.

The centre-forward, who was rewarded with an England breakthrough following a sensational start to the campaign, has netted 13 times in the league this season – strikes that have won a total of 14 points.

Burnley, this weekend's visitors to Goodison Park, could be the next team to add to his tally.

James Rodriguez will miss Everton's matches with Burnley and Manchester City while Abdoulaye Doucoure has been ruled out for up to 10 weeks.

Everton host Burnley in the Premier League on Saturday before hosting City in a crucial FA Cup quarter-final ahead of the international break.

And James will not play in either match. The Colombia international has not featured since the Merseyside derby win over Liverpool on February 20 and was already playing short of full fitness because of a calf injury.

"There are a lot of rumours about James - he played well, really well, against Man United and against Liverpool but he was not 100 per cent fit," said manager Carlo Ancelotti.

"We decided to give him a proper recovery and not let him play at 70 or 80 per cent. We have taken this decision together. The player agrees.

"No problem with the player. He wants to play, but he played against Liverpool and after 60 minutes I took him out.

"It's better for him to solve his problem and be ready for the end of the season. That can be, I think, after the international break, as it is not a big problem.

"Doucoure had a small fracture on his foot. I don't know how long, maybe eight weeks or 10 weeks. I hope he can recover before the end of the season. 

"We are not happy for this but we are not the only club that has to manage injuries. In this period there are a lot of injuries and we have to manage this."

Everton are sixth in the table, four points behind Chelsea in fourth with a game in hand. Burnley sit 15th, four points clear of the bottom three.

The Toffees have won five of their six Premier League home games against Burnley, but Ancelotti heaped praise on opposite number Sean Dyche, comparing his team's style to that of iconic Milan coach Arrigo Sacchi.

He added: "I can say that I like a lot the style of play of Burnley. Why? Because they are a clear 4-4-2. 

"I was born in 4-4-2 as a player with Sacchi. Burnley explains really well how you have to play 4-4-2. He is a good guy, I respect him for the style of play that I like a lot. 

"They are not inventing a new football, but play a really good 4-4-2. Football was invented a long time ago, and I think that managers who think to reinvent football are wrong.

"Football is evolving. I had the luck to train with Sacchi in Italy, where it was only defence, and Sacchi was able to bring a new philosophy to Italian football with more pressing, intensity and different methods of training. 

"It's still changing. Now you can play from the goalkeeper where you couldn't in the past. But to invent is really complicated."

In an unusual sequence of results, five of Burnley's past seven Premier League games have ended level (W1 L1), though their most recent six away matches have not produced a draw (W2 L4).

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.