Could Harry Kane land in Paris?

With Kylian Mbappe tipped to join Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly eyeing replacements.

Mauricio Pochettino has a familiar face in mind…

 

TOP STORY – POCH WANTS KANE IF MBAPPE LEAVES

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Mauricio Pochettino wants to sign Tottenham striker Harry Kane, according to El Chiringuito de Jugones.

That is if PSG star Kylian Mbappe leaves the Ligue 1 champions for LaLiga holders Real Madrid.

Pochettino coached Kane for five years at Tottenham before he was sacked by Spurs in November 2019.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sky Sport Germany claims Bayern Munich star David Alaba will not decide on his future until he has spoken to Barcelona. Marca reported that Madrid had struck a deal to sign Alaba on a free transfer at the end of the season. However, Alaba is reportedly holding out for Barca as the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United and PSG try to lure the Austria international.

Martin Odegaard has asked to leave Madrid on loan due to his lack of game time, reports Marca and Diario AS.

Romelu Lukaku has no intention of leaving Inter for City, says Express Sport. Lukaku spent two years at United before moving to Italy in 2019. Pep Guardiola's City have also been linked with Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland amid doubts over Sergio Aguero's future.

- Mundo Deportivo claims Manchester City defender Eric Garcia could join Barca this month or at the end of the season.

Milan are eyeing Barca's Junior Firpo on loan, while Serie A rivals Napoli are also interested, according to Calciomercato.

- Eurosport reports Tottenham are looking to prise Danny Ings away from Southampton. Ings is reportedly stalling on a new contract as he eyes a Champions League club.

Tottenham will have an easy decision to send Gareth Bale back to Real Madrid at the end of the season unless the forward improves, according to Dimitar Berbatov.

Bale returned to Spurs on a season-long loan deal in September amid huge fanfare, but he has failed to live up to the hype thus far.

The 31-year-old has only made one Premier League start and is yet to play a full 90 minutes in any competition amid issues with injuries, fitness and form.

After reports suggested Spurs had already decided not to extend his loan for a second season, manager Jose Mourinho insisted last week there has not been "one second of discussion" over the issue.

But former Spurs star Berbatov believes the outcome is clear unless the Wales international embarks on a rapid turnaround in the second half of the season. 

Berbatov told Stats Perform News: "I was expecting a lot of him coming to Spurs, to shake things up and for him, Son and Kane to make it a trio up front that can rival the Liverpool attacking trio, for example.

"For the moment it is 100 per cent not working.

"There are still games until the end of the season, enough for him to show what he can do, in the [EFL Cup] final they play as well.

"So hopefully he can get back to 100 per cent and start playing. If not, in the end it is an easy decision – he can go back to Madrid."

Bale was an unused substitute in the 3-1 win at Sheffield United on Sunday.

Berbatov added: "In a way, it is disappointing that he is not being given more time to play. 

"But if you are not given more time to play, there are two reasons for that. Either are you injured and not in good shape to play or you are not performing well in training.

"Whatever the reason [for his lack of games] Gareth Bale is injury free now is because he's on the bench for the team.

"But he's not playing from the from the first minute so it means that obviously he's not producing the right level of football Jose Mourinho wants from him, which is a shame because I like him a lot."

With the EFL Cup final against Manchester City coming up in April, Berbatov feels Bale – along with Mourinho and captain Hugo Lloris – can play a huge role. 

Spurs were unable to win a trophy despite five and a half otherwise productive years under Mauricio Pochettino.

Berbatov – who won the League Cup with Spurs in 2008 – underlined the importance of lifting silverware.

"Jose Mourinho has led them to the final but let's not celebrate now because you need to make one more step," said Berbatov.

"I remember the game before we qualified for the final. We played against Arsenal and we beat them 5-1, everybody was celebrating like we won the final. And I'm like, 'People we are not there yet'. 

"We need to wait, we have one more step to make and then we can celebrate."

Berbatov continued: "The person who brought them there is Jose Mourinho. I think this is the reason they brought him into the club – to win trophies.

"It doesn't matter how [they get there] – the Premier League title, the cup, something – they need one so they can get that winning mentality going. 

"Although they have a world champion in their team, the goalkeeper, he should know how things are won – especially [having lifted] the World Cup. 

"So him, Jose Mourinho, Gareth Bale – who is coming from winning mentality – will run with it. Those three are very important, they can teach them in a way how to win things and then get that winning feeling.

"And after get that feeling, trust me, you don't want to let it go."

Real Madrid have reportedly agreed a deal with Bayern Munich defender David Alaba.

With his contract expiring at the end of the season, Alaba, 28, has been linked with Europe's biggest clubs.

And the Austria international looks set for the Santiago Bernabeu.

 

TOP STORY – ALABA AGREES FOUR-YEAR DEAL WITH MADRID

Alaba has agreed a four-year deal with Real Madrid, according to Marca.

The Bayern defender will make the move to the LaLiga giants ahead of 2021-22, the report says.

Alaba was also linked to the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea.

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Real Madrid and the news is not so good when it comes to Lucas Vazquez. AS reports the midfielder has rejected the club's first contract offer, with his current deal expiring at the end of the season.

- Dele Alli is wanted by Paris Saint-Germain. The Sun reports the Tottenham midfielder is confident of getting a loan move to the Ligue 1 giants in January.

- Jesse Lingard's future at Manchester United is uncertain. ESPN reports the midfielder wants regular game time but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is eager to keep him at the Premier League club. Lingard has made just three appearances in all competitions this season.

- After leaving the club in 2017, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar looks set to return to Schalke. SPORT1 reports the Ajax striker has undergone a medical ahead of a return to Schalke, who are bidding to avoid relegation from the Bundesliga.

Willy Boly had an eventful derby and there was a penalty double for Matheus Pereira as West Brom boss Sam Allardyce maintained his unbeaten record against the team he used to support as a boy.

Albion claimed a huge victory in their bid to avoid relegation from the Premier League at Molineux on Saturday, beating bitter rivals Wolves 3-2.

There was no such entertainment at Anfield on Sunday, with a hugely hyped clash between Liverpool and leaders Manchester United ending goalless, while Antonee Robinson's red card was costly as Fulham were beaten by Chelsea.

Ilkay Gundogan matched his best Manchester City goal tally for a season in a 4-0 rout of Crystal Palace, while Tottenham captain Harry Kane made his mark in Yorkshire yet again 

With the help of Opta data, we take a look at some of the quirkiest stats from the top-flight action over the weekend.

 

Boly in thick of the action as Wolves pay the penalty 

West Brom ended an eight-match winless run to claim three precious points against their big rivals Wolves.

Defender Boly became the first Wolves player to concede a penalty, provide an assist and score in a Premier League game since Adlene Guedioura in May 2011 - which was also against West Brom at Molineux.

Baggies midfielder Pereira was on target with two spot-kicks, becoming the fifth player to score a brace of penalties in a top-flight game this season. The last time there were so many penalty doubles was back in the 2010-11 campaign.

Allardyce was a Wolves fan as a youngster, but his allegiances have long gone out of the window, as the Albion head coach has not lost in 12 Premier League games against Wanderers - his longest unbeaten streak against any side.

 

Gun firing on all cylinders

Kevin De Bruyne sparkled once again as in-form City hammered Palace to go second in the table.

The midfield maestro laid on one of two goals for John Stones, taking his tally of assists for City to a landmark 100.

Gundogan is another midfielder who has caught the eye this season and the Germany international was on target with a sublime long-range finish at the Etihad Stadium.

The former Borussia Dortmund playmaker has scored four goals in his past six Premier League games, as many as he could muster in his previous 55 matches in the top flight. His tally of six for the season is the joint-most he has scored for City.

 

Kane comes up smelling of White Roses again

Prolific Spurs skipper Kane led by example yet again in a 3-1 win at bottom-of-the-table Sheffield United.

Kane scored his 19th goal of what is proving to be another outstanding season in Tottenham's first league win at Bramall Lane since 1975, having failed to secure maximum points in their previous seven visits.

England captain Kane has scored in each of his past six Premier League games in Yorkshire, a run that former Leeds United striker Mark Viduka was the last to achieve in 2003.

Leeds will have to be wary of the talismanic striker when Jose Mourinho's men return to the White Rose county for a clash at Elland Road on May 8.

 

Dire States: Rash Robinson costs Fulham

Fulham full-back Robinson was sent off late in the first half of the London derby at Craven Cottage for a rash lunge on Cesar Azpilicueta.

Chelsea had to be patient as they pushed for a winner, but Mason Mount struck to consign Scott Parker's relegation-threatened side to a 1-0 defeat.

Robinson was the eighth player from the United States to be given his marching orders in the Premier League.

The former Wigan Athletic left-back's dismissal also made Fulham the first club to have two players from the USA see red, Carlos Bocanegra being the other.

Real Madrid star Sergio Ramos' future appears no closer to being sorted.

Ramos, 34, is out of contract at the end of the season and reportedly turned down a one-year deal from Madrid.

And the Spain international's future remains uncertain.

 

TOP STORY – RAMOS, REAL MADRID NEGOTIATIONS AT A STANDSTILL

Negotiations between Real Madrid and Sergio Ramos are at a standstill, according to Le 10 Sport.

Amid the uncertainty over his future, Ramos has been linked with numerous European giants.

But Telefoot reported there had been no contact between Ramos and Paris Saint-Germain.

 

ROUND-UP

- Starting to find form again for Borussia Dortmund, Jadon Sancho is set to be the subject of transfer speculation ahead of 2021-22. But Sky Sports reports talks about a move for the reported Manchester United target are unlikely in January, with an off-season switch possible.

- PSG seem keen to land Dele Alli in January. Fabrizio Romano claims the midfielder is pushing to join the Ligue 1 giants on loan and Mauricio Pochettino's PSG will not give up on a deal.

- Milan appear set to add depth to their squad. The Serie A leaders have agreed a deal with former Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic, according to CalcioMercato.

- Staying at Milan and they are also reportedly set to land Fikayo Tomori from Chelsea. Romano says Tomori is set to join on loan with an option to buy for €30million (£26.7m).

Jose Mourinho says Tanguy Ndombele is a prime example that "the door is always open" for players to come in from the cold after the midfielder scored a sublime goal in Tottenham's win at Sheffield United.

Ndombele endured a disappointing first season at the London club following his big-money move from Lyon, scoring just two goals and providing four assists in 29 appearances.

The French midfielder has shown what he is capable of in the current campaign, finding the back of the net four times and laying on three goals across all competitions for a Tottenham side battling for honours on all four fronts.

Ndombele produced a moment of magic with a clever lobbed strike to score his third Premier League goal of the season – his best tally in any league campaign - in a 3-1 victory at Bramall Lane on Sunday, with Serge Aurier and Harry Kane also on target.

The classy Ndombele made 38 passes in the Blades half, more than any of his team-mates, and misplaced only nine of his 78 passes in the match, also winning 75 per cent of his duels and making three interceptions in an impressive all-round display.

Dele Alli and Harry Winks were not in the squad for the clash with the bottom-of-the-table Blades, while Gareth Bale was not called upon from the bench, but Tottenham boss Mourinho pointed to Ndombele as proof that there can always be a way back for out-of-favour players.

"I have coached for so many years, had so many players, and I have enough experience to say and to feel that when a player is not playing very well, it's his responsibility, and when a player turns things around and brings his performance level to a very high level, it's also his responsibility," said Mourinho.

"It's a great example that with me the door is always open. The door of the team is always open, and when a player is not playing he has to try to understand why and he has to try to understand how can he walk through that door. He understood, he understood.

"The goal is amazing, but I don't care about the goal, I care about the performance and the performance was magnificent and I'm really pleased that he's come to this level. He's playing very, very well."

Spurs are unbeaten in seven games and four points behind leaders Manchester United, who drew 0-0 with champions Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday, and Mourinho says it is all to play for.

"We have to do our season, we have to play our matches. We are in four competitions, we have a final [against Manchester City in the EFL Cup] to play," he said.

"Unfortunately we cannot do that [showdown with City] next month, we have to wait until end of April, we are going to fight in Europa League, we are going to fight in the FA Cup, we have a lot to take.

"I think at the end of the season, with the right results, you realise how good your season was, how better it could be, how worse it could be, and where you can improve."

Harry Kane marvelled over a "truly special" goal from Tanguy Ndombele in a "fantastic" display from Tottenham as they beat Sheffield United 3-1 at Bramall Lane.

Serge Aurier headed Spurs in front in the fifth minute and Kane clinically doubled their lead late in the first half with his 19th goal of the season late in the first half on Sunday – the sixth time he has scored from outside of the area in the league this season.

David McGoldrick appeared to have got the bottom-of-the-table Blades back in it with a header just before the hour mark, but Ndombele nonchalantly beat David Ramsdale with an exquisitely lob as he ran away from goal inside the penalty area three minutes later.

There was no way back for Chris Wilder's side as Spurs moved into fourth place in the Premier League, although Manchester City have the opportunity to move back above them when they take on Crystal Palace later in the day.

Kane hailed Ndombele after the French midfielder scored his third goal of the season – his best tally in a league campaign – in sublime fashion.

The Tottenham talisman told Match of the Day: "It was a fantastic performance from everyone today – started really well, aggressive with our press and were clinical to go 2-0 up. Even in the second half, when they scored, we didn't panic. Tanguy scored a fantastic goal and we saw the game out well, which we haven't done in the past few weeks."

He added: "Tanguy's goal was incredible, the technique he had to flick that ball back over the keeper was truly special.

"There were a couple of chances I could have done better with, the most important thing is winning games. Anyone who can put a good spell together [can stay in the title race], that's why it has been disappointing and frustrating for us dropping points from winning positions."

Spurs, who have dropped 10 points from winning positions this season, have been criticised for seemingly shutting up stop to try and protect slender leads on several occasions, but Kane said boss Jose Mourinho should not take any blame for that.

"It's never been the manager saying that [they should sit back after going in front] it's been us on the pitch having a mentality where we want to drop and hold on to to the win," the England captain said.

"The most important thing is us as players to go and take responsibility, and we did that today."

For 172 seconds on Sunday, it appeared that Tottenham's second-half frustrations could be set to continue.

Serge Aurier and Harry Kane had put Jose Mourinho's team in complete control at Bramall Lane – where Spurs lost 3-1 last season – but David McGoldrick's header in the 59th minute hauled one back for lowly Sheffield United, hunting just their second Premier League win of the season.

Spurs have dropped 10 points from winning positions this season, and Mourinho has previously cited a lack of "desire" and "ambition" after the interval as reasons for his side failing to hold onto results against Fulham last time out and Wolves on December 27.

However, within three minutes of McGoldrick giving the Blades hope, Spurs struck back.

Steven Bergwijn prodded a ball in behind the hosts' defence, and the industrious Tanguy Ndombele turned on the style to lob a sublime finish over the hapless Aaron Ramsdale and all but seal the points.

Mourinho, asked before the game if his team sat back and invited pressure in the second half of matches, told Sky Sports: "My reaction is to say that is completely true.

"What is not true is that in the second half, we do what I ask the players to do. It's true that we have lots of chances to win matches in the first half, we are not scoring enough goals in relation to what we do and then in second halves opponents dominate us and it looks like we are accepting that dominance, and we pay the price for mistakes we make defensively.

"I agree totally, but that is not what we want to do. What am I telling them at half-time? Play attacking football, be dominant, do not accept dominance [from the opponents]."

Across their 17 league games prior to Sunday's clash, Spurs had scored just 11 of their 30 goals in the second half.

However, despite Mourinho's claims, it had not been for a lack of trying. Their tally of 103 shots in the second period of matches was 10 more than they had accumulated in the first half of games.

Of their attempts, 40 had been on target, at an average of 2.35 per game, with 38 off target and a further 25 blocked.

Spurs had, on average, played 11.7 passes per match into the penalty area after the break in their opening 17 games, creating 76 chances in total, with 17 of these opportunities counting as 'big chances', according to Opta.

Once again, these numbers are close to their first-half equivalents – some higher, some lower – but there was no doubting Spurs seemed to have hit a mental block when it came to seeing out leads.

Perhaps aided by a lack of cutting edge from a blunt Blades team, Tottenham managed to overcome that hurdle.

They only managed two attempts on target in the second half – slightly below average – but unlike Son Heung-min against Fulham last time out, Ndombele took his chance.

Their second-half passing accuracy was also up on the early-season average of 78.49 per cent, with Spurs completing 83.4 per cent of their passes after the interval at Bramall Lane.

A duel success rate of 57.4 per cent after the break was also higher than their 17-game match average (47.21), suggesting Spurs were more aggressive in their individual battles – a statistic which will satisfy Mourinho's clamour for "dominance".

Spurs fed on their opponents' weaknesses on Sunday, and though they ultimately managed only 14 attempts compared to United's 15, they displayed the clinical nature which had fans dreaming of a title challenge earlier in the campaign.

With the top of the table so congested, Mourinho's men cannot be discounted if they have finally found a way to rediscover a much-needed ruthless streak, though they must now ensure it is not another false dawn.

Harry Kane scored his 19th goal of the season and Tanguy Ndombele struck with a sublime finish as Tottenham beat bottom of the table Sheffield United 3-1 on Sunday.

Jose Mourinho's side were held by Fulham in midweek, but secured all three points at Bramall Lane to go fourth in the Premier League - although Manchester City could go back above them when they face Crystal Palace later on Sunday.

Serge Aurier opened the scoring with an early header and Kane added a second to put Tottenham in command at half-time.

David McGoldrick halved the deficit, but Ndombele scored one of the goals of the season to give the London club breathing space as they extended their unbeaten run to seven games and left the beleaguered Blades on just five points.

Spurs were rewarded for starting so positively when Aurier capitalised on slack defending by nodding in a whipped corner from Son Heung-Min inside five minutes.

Son ought to have doubled their lead when he dinked the ball over Aaron Ramsdale, but struck the outside of the post after being sent clear by Kane.

Kane was causing the Blades all sorts of problems and the captain put Tottenham two up with a clinical finish five minutes before the break, turning sharply as he took a pass from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and beat Ramsdale with a measured right-foot strike from 20 yards out.

Ramsdale denied Kane a second goal when he tipped the striker's rasping long range drive over the crossbar early in the second half.

The Blades were back in it just before the hour mark, with McGoldrick heading home John Fleck's inviting cross, but Ndombele restored Spurs' two-goal advantage with a moment of magic three minutes later.

Steven Bergwijn played a one-two with the French midfielder, picking him out with a clever chipped pass, and Ndombele found the far corner from inside the penalty area with a cheeky flicked lob running away from the goal.

Kane blazed over the bar at the end of a slick Tottenham move in stoppage time, but the victory had long been wrapped up by then.
 

Jose Mourinho has hinted Dele Alli might not be doing enough to turn around his situation at Tottenham.

England international Alli has been confined to the margins of Mourinho's squad this season, with only one of his four Premier League appearances coming as a starter.

Those top-flight outings total a meagre 74 minutes overall and, although he has been a more frequent fixture in midweek cup line-ups, reports that the 24-year-old is unhappy hardly come as a surprise.

A reunion with former Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino at Paris Saint-Germain has been touted, although Mourinho insisted having disgruntled players in a dressing room is a fact of life for any coach.

However, when distinguishing between unhappy players who "work, work, work and work" and others who think such toil is "not his job", he tellingly did not specify a category for Alli.

"In every dressing room are unhappy players," he told reporters ahead of Sunday's match against the Premier League's bottom club, Sheffield United.

"For sure. If any one of us, of my tribe, tells you that in his dressing room are only happy players, I don't think it's true. Or somebody is so, so lucky to have a miracle in his hands.

"Then you can have [an] unhappy professional and the unhappy professional is the one that is unhappy but feels that his duty is to work, work, work and work.

"And there is the unhappy [player] that believes that it’s not his job to fight and to work every minute for the squad and for the club."

Nevertheless, Mourinho suggested he would probably be reluctant to let Alli leave if Spurs are unable to source a replacement during this transfer window.

"The question is if I let Dele go without getting a player in exchange and I'm not going to answer that," he said.

"It’s not a question that I am comfortable to answer. Of course, I would know how to answer.

"But I am not ready to answer. I am not ready to make public my vision of the situation."

Manchester United and Chelsea are set to do battle for the signing of West Ham star Declan Rice.

Rice, 22, is being touted for a move in the close season, with Chelsea having reportedly led the race for the midfielder's signature.

But United could be ready to fight for the England international.

 

TOP STORY – MAN UTD TO CHALLENGE CHELSEA FOR RICE

Manchester United are prepared to challenge Chelsea to sign Rice ahead of 2021-22, according to ESPN.

The report says United are eyeing a forward, centre-back and defensive midfielder as priorities at the end of the season.

Rice is contracted at West Ham, where he arrived as a youth player from Chelsea in 2014, until 2024.

 

ROUND-UP

- Eric Garcia looks set to finish the season with Manchester City. Marca reports Barcelona cannot afford a transfer fee for the defender and the delay of the LaLiga club's presidential elections, now scheduled for March 7, mean Garcia will have to wait for a move.

- Also at Barcelona and backup goalkeeper Neto has asked for a January move, according to Sport. It comes as he struggles for game time behind Marc-Andre ter Stegen and amid links to Arsenal.

- Eder Militao is facing an uncertain future at Real Madrid. Goal reports Bayern Munich have joined the list of clubs who have asked about the defender, with Juventus, Tottenham and Borussia Dortmund also reportedly interested in Militao, who has played just three times this season.

- Milan want Chelsea's Fikayo Tomori. The Daily Mail reports the Serie A leaders have discussed a loan with the option to make the move permanent for €30.4million (£27m) at season's end.

Jurgen Klopp believes it will be tough to programme Premier League stars to change goal celebration habits overnight as football tightens up its social distancing rules.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters this week wrote to clubs to advise that players should cut out unnecessary contact including hugs, handshakes and high fives.

Those can take place at any time but are particularly likely when a goal is scored, when there is typically a rush to congratulate any player who finds the net.

Out goes the norm this weekend, however, as clubs have been reminded in follow-up calls to captains and managers that such behaviour must be avoided.

Football authorities are determined to stick to coronavirus era protocols as keenly as possible, to avoid further rises in cases among players and to ensure the leagues can continue during lockdown.

Klopp, boss of champions Liverpool, believes so many new measures have been introduced and respected that risks on the field are already low, saying his players have done "an incredible job to be disciplined".

He said: "We stick to the rules, and if now somebody says if you do this again we have to stop the game I wouldn't understand to be honest, but I'm not the decision maker."

Liverpool face Manchester United on Sunday at Anfield in the biggest game of the Premier League season so far.

Klopp said: "I understand rules have to be strict … but we have to learn from the things that have worked in the past few months and football worked."

When goals go in across the country this weekend, the instinct of many players will be to embrace team-mates, and there seems likely to be cases where the new advice is forgotten.

"If there's something to celebrate it will be in an appropriate way, but it's difficult," Klopp said.

"Football is an emotional game and what we should not forget in the discussion about this is these players are tested two or three times a week. During the week we reduce contract to a minimum."

He added: "If we would think and feel we would threaten one or two of our team-mates [with a goal celebration] we would never do it, it would just not happen."

Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho, whose side take on Sheffield United on Sunday, said the north London club were "very, very strict with what the Premier League asks us to do".

But his stars, including the likes of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, are not being coached on how to avoid celebrations.

"We're not training not to celebrate goals," Mourinho said.

His suggestion is that a scorer should celebrate as exuberantly as before, unleashing the emotion that a goal can stir, and that others should stand off.

"For players on the pitch, it's a very individual thing," Mourinho said. "My advice is maybe the guy who scores express the emotion of the team by himself, alone.

"Maybe he can express all the emotions of the team and then of course share a walk with mates and happiness. And we try to make things the best we can."

Jose Mourinho has suggested he is not responsible for the high number of penalties being awarded to Manchester United.

United forward Marcus Rashford revealed the club's increase in favourable penalty decisions seemed to coincide with advice handed down by Mourinho during his spell as manager at Old Trafford.

Amid the debate over United penalties that was recently reignited by comments from Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, Rashford told the Football Writers' Association: "There's been times when we have not got penalties. 

"I remember when Jose was manager, there were five or six times I can remember where I should've had a penalty.

"Jose ended up saying to me if you're not savvy about the way you do it then you're not going to get it.

"After that we started to get a few – in terms of development, you have to learn it and understand it."

Mourinho was asked about Rashford's comments when he faced the media on Friday ahead of Tottenham's away Premier League game against Sheffield United on Sunday.

The Spurs boss claimed he did not want to make headlines ahead of the huge clash between Liverpool and United on the same day his team are at Bramall Lane.

But he suggested Opta statistics would come out in his favour on the topic.

"Look, first of all, Liverpool versus Manchester United is a big match that doesn't need me to make it bigger, " Mourinho said.

"Or it doesn't need me to do any headlines before such a big match that I know means so much for both clubs and supporters' population, so I'll leave comments for later not for now.

"But if you feel the need to write something about it, do it in a very simple way. 

"Stats, go to Opta, stats, go to my history as a manager in my more or less 10 Premier League seasons. Compare numbers and take your conclusions."

United win more penalties under Solskjaer

Opta statistics show United won seven penalties in all competitions under Mourinho in 2016-17 and six in the following campaign (four and three respectively in the league).

Mourinho's United were then awarded six in 24 games before he was fired in the 2018-19 season, the spot-kick rate rising to nine in 29 when Solskjaer took charge - initially on an interim basis.

United have continued to be awarded more penalties under Solskjaer since he became permanent boss.

They had an astonishing 22 in the 2019-20 season, 14 of which came in the Premier League.

This season, United have already racked up six Premier League spot-kicks in 17 matches and 11 in all competitions.

United lead the league in more ways than one

Since Solskjaer took over from Mourinho, United have won 27 penalties in 76 Premier League games.

That is far and away the most in the league, ahead of Leicester City (20 in 76), Manchester City (18 in 75) and Liverpool (16 in 76).

Chelsea (14), Arsenal (10) and Tottenham (eight) do not fare as well, while Everton have been awarded just five spot-kicks in 76 top-flight matches over the period.

Mourinho was awarded just 26 penalties from 212 Premier League games during his Chelsea tenure.

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho says there has not been "one second of discussion" over the decision on whether to extend Gareth Bale's stay.

Bale re-joined Spurs to much fanfare on a season-long loan deal from Real Madrid in September.

But his return has not yet met expectations, with Bale only making one Premier League start and yet to play a full 90 minutes in any competition amid issues with injuries, fitness and form.

Spurs are said to have an option to sign Bale for a second year on loan, but reports have suggested the Wales forward, who has scored only three times since his return to north London, is instead poised to head back to Madrid at the end of the season.

Asked if the decision not to extend his loan was made, Mourinho said: "There was not even a second of discussion about that.

"Gareth is a player on loan until the end of the season.

"Not one second of discussion. We are speaking about, of course, Gareth, himself, Real Madrid, Tottenham, but I promise you, not one second of discussion.

"Of course, you know that he arrived injured. And he was injured before, I believe, the first month. And then, step by step, Europa League matches were helping him to get his condition.

"Europa League group phase is a different level than the Premier League. The knockout round is a different story. But the group phase is a different intensity, a different rhythm, a different quality.

"So, in the Premier League, he didn't play many minutes. Then another small injury at Stoke City [in the EFL Cup] where he was having a good first half. It is not an easy process.

"Everybody knew that in the past couple of seasons, in Madrid, they were not easy for him. So, let's go, step by step, and try to get the best out of him."

Spurs were held to a 1-1 draw by Fulham on Wednesday, though they are on a six-game unbeaten run across all competitions.

They face Sheffield United, who have only just recorded their first win of the Premier League season, at Bramall Lane on Sunday.

Mourinho added: "Gio [Lo Celso] of course is not [available] and we still have two training sessions before the game. But I believe no more problems in principle.

"They [Sheffield United] are not the worst team in the Premier League at all. They're a much, much, much better team than what the table says.

"You analyse their matches and many times the opponent was not better than them. I don't look to the table. Of course, I look but I go deeper than that.

"Many times, it was one of the small big details that decides the points, decides the score, decides the table.

"Many times, they lose 1-0, they draw 1-1, they are a very good team. If in our mind we are going to play the worst team in the Premier League, we are going to be in big trouble."

Dayot Upamecano is set to leave RB Leipzig – but not just yet – while Eric Garcia is getting closer to joining Barcelona.

Upamecano has been linked with several European giants after impressing for the Bundesliga club.

But the defender looks set to stay at the Red Bull Arena until the end of the season.

 

TOP STORY – UPAMECANO SET FOR €42M MOVE

Leipzig are not considering selling Upamecano in January even though he can leave for £37.4million (€42m) at the end of the season, according to The Guardian.

Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea have each been linked with a move for the France international.

Upamecano has made 21 appearances in all competitions for Leipzig this season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Garcia is seemingly getting closer to a Barcelona move. Sport reports the Manchester City defender is a step away from joining the Catalan giants on a five-year deal and Barca are hopeful a move can happen in January.

- Coming out of contract at the end of the season, Hakan Calhanoglu's future has been a talking point. Sky Sport reports negotiations are ongoing between Milan and the midfielder, who has been linked to United.

- Mauricio Pochettino seems eager to get Dele Alli to Paris Saint-Germain. The Guardian reports the Tottenham midfielder is PSG's main target this transfer window.

- Arkadiusz Milik is set to leave Napoli. CalcioMercato reports Marseille want the striker and had an offer of €8m rejected.

- With Frank Lampard under pressure, Chelsea were reportedly considering bringing back Avram Grant to support the head coach. However, The Sun reports the Premier League giants are not lining up such a move.

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