Jose Mourinho joked about a bizarre incident ahead of Tottenham's Europa League qualifier with Shkendija, when it was spotted the goalposts were too small.

Spurs ran out 3-1 winners in North Macedonia on Thursday, with Son Heung-min and Harry Kane scoring after Valmir Nafiu had cancelled out Erik Lamela's opener.

Things may have been different, however, had Spurs' goalkeepers not spotted something was off with the frame of the goal.

"Before the game was a funny situation because my goalkeepers told me the goal was small. I went to see and it was small," Mourinho told a news conference.

"The goalkeepers spend all their time in them so we know. I felt immediately something was wrong and we got the UEFA delegate to come in and it was five centimetres too small.

"We asked for goals of the right dimensions."

Son followed up his four-goal showing at Southampton with a goal and two assists, though Spurs made hard work of the tie until Kane came on from the bench, replacing the ineffective Dele Alli.

"We didn't play magnificently but we did the job," said Mourinho, whose side face Newcastle United in the Premier League on Sunday.

"We started very strongly and the thought was that we would kill the game but we didn't. They gave us a difficult match and the fear we felt after the equaliser was fundamental to the team's reaction.

"In the second half, after our changes, we [played better], and I like to see players come in and make an impact and the players who came on made a difference."

Spurs must now see off Maccabi Haifa at home next week to seal a place in the group stages.

Lorenzo Colombo is glad that his hard work has paid off after marking his full debut for Milan with a goal in Thursday's 3-2 win over Bodo/Glimt.

The academy product put Milan 2-1 ahead in their Europa League third qualifying round victory with a close-range finish at the back post.

In doing so, at the age of 18 years and 200 days he became the youngest player to score for the Italian giants since M'Baye Niang in 2012.

Lorenzo was brought into the side in place of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who tested positive for coronavirus ahead of the match, and believes he made the most of his chance to shine.

"It was a great opportunity for me to demonstrate all the work I did to get here," he told DAZN. 

"I wanted to play for the team because it took a collective performance to go through. It was very difficult, but now we have to quickly recover.

"It is a unique emotion for me. I have always worked for this. There is also a lot to do - I have not done anything yet. 

"I am happy for the goal and for the passage to the next round but tomorrow we will go back to work on the training ground."

Colombo has been linked with a move away to gain some first-team experience, having been restricted to two substitute outings last term, but he ruled out an exit this window.

"I want to stay, absolutely," he said. "I was at Milan as a child and have always worked for this. I want to stay here for a long time."

Asked if head coach Stefano Pioli has taken him off the transfer market, Colombo replied: "I had taken myself off it before him. I want to stay here."

Milan were pushed all the way by Bodo/Glimt, with the in-form Norwegians taking the lead through Kasper Junker before Hakan Calhanoglu and Colombo hit back for the hosts.

Calhanoglu gave Milan a two-goal cushion but Jens Hauge set up a nervy finish and Bodo/Glimt wasted a glorious chance to take the game into extra time right at the death.

Pioli admitted his side had to work hard for their place in the play-off phase, where Rio Ave - surprise winners against Besiktas on Thursday - now await next week.

"Suffering is part of these games," the Milan boss said. "We faced a well-placed side. We were good at staying in the match and didn't drop our heads when they went ahead.

"As we have seen, all games are difficult. We knew it would be a very challenging match today with some important players out.

"Now we have a game on Sunday before preparing for the play-off which is also an important goal for us."

Pioli also reserved some praise for teenage forward Colombo after only learning of Ibrahimovic's absence on the morning of the game.

"He was very excited and it showed. We are talking about an 18-year-old boy called in at the last moment," he said.

"He is an exceptional boy with his head on his shoulders, who has a great desire. He's a very young boy and I'm happy he scored on his first start as he did in all the friendlies."

Steven Gerrard's Rangers thrashed Eredivisie side Willem II 4-0 to set up a Europa League qualifying play-off with Turkish giants Galatasaray.

James Tavernier's 50th goal for the club got Rangers up and running early on and the visitors hardly looked back at Koning Willem II Stadion on Thursday.

Tavernier's landmark strike came from the spot, with the defender lifting a fine finish into the net in the 22nd minute.

Ryan Kent won the penalty and the Leeds United-linked winger doubled Rangers' tally three minutes later when he capitalised on Robbin Ruiter's error from Alfredo Morelos' shot.

Kent's brilliant performance continued when his corner teed up Filip Helander to head in a third early in the second half, with Connor Goldson getting in on the act when he turned home Tavernier's cross.

Rangers' reward for their emphatic victory is a home tie against Galatasaray on October 1, with the winner securing their spot in the group stages.

Lorenzo Colombo scored on his full debut in the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic to help Milan overcome Bodo/Glimt 3-2 in the Europa League third qualifying round.

The teenage forward was brought into the side in place of Ibrahimovic, who tested positive for coronavirus ahead of Thursday's one-legged tie at San Siro.

Milan were given a scare as Kasper Junker fired the Norwegian visitors ahead after 15 minutes but it took just 106 seconds for Hakan Calhanoglu to equalise from long range.

Colombo put Milan in front and Calhanoglu appeared to give the hosts breathing space, only for Jens Hauge to pull another back, but the Italian giants held on to set up a play-off with Rio Ave.

Bodo/Glimt entered the game unbeaten in 20 matches and took the lead through Junker's crisp finish from eight yards following some good play from Hauge out wide.

Calhanoglu promptly hit back for the home side with a powerful drive from range after being allowed to spin and drive forward 30 yards from goal.

A moment to remember followed for Colombo as the academy product rounded off a flowing team move after Calhanoglu flicked the ball into his path at the back post.

Not content with a goal and an assist, Calhanoglu smashed in a third for Milan with a low volley from outside the box at the end of a well-worked corner routine.

Hauge beat Gianluigi Donnarumma from 25 yards with a stunning effort to give Bodo/Glimt hope and Kjetil Knutsen's charges nearly took the game to extra time late on.

After Milan substitute Rade Krunic was denied by covering defender Brede Moe on the line, Ulrik Saltnes flashed a shot over from a good position at the other end in one final scare for the hosts.

What does it mean? Milan one step closer to group stage

For a club boasting seven European titles – only Real Madrid (13) have won more – the Europa League feels like a bit of a comedown for Milan.

Pioli's men are taking the competition seriously, though, and now have just one more hurdle to overcome if they are to reach the group stage.

Bodo/Glimt pushed them all the way, but Milan were the better side overall – as evidenced by their 58-per-cent possession and eight shots on target – and a tougher test now awaits against Portuguese side Rio Ave in the play-offs.

Colombo takes his chance

The full debutant was brought into the side as Pioli's only change from last week's win over Shamrock Rovers and made his mark with his close-range finish to put Milan ahead.

In doing so, Colombo – who managed two shots on target from his 16 touches of the ball – became his side's youngest goalscorer in all competitions since M'Baye Niang against Reggina in December 2012.

Milan caught out at the back

Hauge's strike for Bodo/Glimt was impressive but Milan's players perhaps could have done more to close him down. The first goal was definitely avoidable, with the same player getting away from Davide Calabria and Franck Kessie with ease.

Calabria made up for his defensive deficiencies with some positive attacking play, however, boasting a better passing accuracy (92 per cent) in the opposition half than any Milan starter.

What's next?

Before next week's showdown with Besiktas, Milan first travel to Crotone in their next Serie A outing on Sunday, the same day Bodo/Glimt host Valerenga in the Eliteserien.

Mohamed Elyounoussi scored a 90th-minute winner to dig Celtic out of a hole and clinch an underwhelming 1-0 Europa League qualifying victory at Riga, securing a spot in the play-off round.

Neil Lennon's men were poor for long periods of the match, struggling to make the most of their superiority and undoubtedly greater quality, but substitute Elyounoussi finally found the breakthrough right at the end.

A collection of Riga fans in open-top buses behind one of the goals will not have been enough to intimidate Celtic, but the Scottish champions were significantly lacking invention for much of the game, managing only two shots on target in the first period.

Jeremie Frimpong, brought on for the injured James Forrest in the opening 45 minutes, showed some initiative and was unsurprisingly the one to craft Elyounoussi's goal, which secured a clash with either Sarajevo or Buducnost in the final qualifying round.

It took Celtic – who were eliminated from Champions League qualification by Ferencvaros – 36 minutes to begin offering any kind of attacking threat on top of their control of the ball, with Olivier Ntcham's 30-yard piledriver forcing Roberts Ozols to tip over.

The goalkeeper had a slightly easier save to make soon after, pouncing on Nir Bitton's disappointingly tame effort from the centre of the box.

Celtic endured a slow start to the second period as well but went close with an hour played, Frimpong finding Ryan Christie in the area for a shot at Ozols after skipping past a challenge.

Frimpong was again the chief threat to Riga's defence with a little over 15 minutes to go, but Albian Ajeti – introduced a few moments earlier – met his cross and somehow appeared to block his own shot from point-blank range.

Celtic eventually found the winner late on, Elyounoussi meeting Frimpong's low delivery and guiding it into the bottom-left corner.

Tottenham again made hard work of Europa League progress as a scrappy 3-1 win at Shkendija took Jose Mourinho's men into the play-off round.

Spurs had survived a major scare in the previous qualifying stage last week, coming from behind to beat nine-man Lokomotiv Plovdiv with two late goals in Bulgaria.

And the trip to North Macedonia threatened to prove similarly troublesome when Valmir Nafiu cancelled out Erik Lamela's fifth-minute strike.

A visiting team including debutant Joe Hart and the returning Dele Alli toiled for a time until Son Heung-min - fresh from a four-goal salvo at Southampton - restored the lead and then turned provider for Harry Kane, whose goal ensured a play-off with Maccabi Haifa.

Lamela's opener looked to have teed up a straightforward evening for Tottenham, found completely free by Son on the right side of the area to slide a calm finish inside the bottom-left corner.

Spurs dominated but did not threaten again until Toby Alderweireld headed narrowly wide in the 26th minute, with Kostadin Zahov then saving Alli's scruffy eight-yard effort.

Further Tottenham openings followed in the second half without causing Zahov undue concern and Shkendija were level against the run of play after 55 minutes.

Ljupco Doriev fizzed a pass right to Nafiu, who arrowed a sensational effort high past Hart into the top-right corner.

Kane, Giovani Lo Celso and then Lucas Moura were called from the Spurs bench, yet the England captain followed Lamela in squandering a big headed chance with the goal gaping.

Son was clinical when his chance came, though, controlling as Zahov parried Lucas' shot and firing into the roof of the net.


What does it mean? Spurs forced to turn to stars

Having repeatedly bemoaned Tottenham's tough schedule, Mourinho would have been frustrated to see a team missing Kane, Lo Celso and Lucas fail to get the job done.

He was therefore forced to call on the rested trio just three days before the visit of Newcastle United. It paid dividends, but the starting XI - Son apart - did themselves and their coach few favours.

Son the Spurs star

Given the focus Mourinho is placing on the Europa League, Son's display here might even be considered more important than his stunning performance against Southampton.

His poise in the area had already prompted the breakthrough goal for Lamela, but two more telling contributions were required in the final 20 minutes to advance. The winger created four chances in all.

Dele disappoints

Mourinho said this week Alli - back in action for the first time since his half-time substitution in the defeat to Everton - held "99 per cent" of the responsibility for the improvement he required.

The coach did not appear overly enthused by this display, expressing his frustration with Alli on a couple of occasions, as the midfielder missed a big first-half chance and won just one of his six duels while failing to register a tackle or interception before he was replaced by Kane.

What's next?

Spurs must now travel back to London ahead of hosting Newcastle at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday.

Kane created each of Son's four goals in their previous Premier League game, but the roles were reversed as Tottenham made sure of their place in the next round, a cross from the left met with a firm downward header.

Mohamed Elyounoussi scored a 90th-minute winner to dig Celtic out of a hole and clinch an underwhelming 1-0 Europa League qualifying victory at Riga, securing a spot in the play-off round.

Neil Lennon's men were poor for long periods of the match, struggling to make the most of their superiority and undoubtedly greater quality, but substitute Elyounoussi finally found the breakthrough right at the end.

A collection of Riga fans in open-top buses behind one of the goals will not have been enough to intimidate Celtic, but the Scottish champions were significantly lacking invention for much of the game, managing only two shots on target in the first period.

Jeremie Frimpong, brought on for the injured James Forrest in the opening 45 minutes, showed some initiative and was unsurprisingly the one to craft Elyounoussi's goal, which secured a clash with either Sarajevo or Buducnost in the final qualifying round.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic showed his sense of humour remains intact after taking to social media to respond to the news of his positive coronavirus test.

Milan confirmed on Thursday the veteran striker had returned a positive result following a second round of swab testing ahead of the Europa League third-round qualifying tie with Bodo/Glimt at San Siro.

The Rossoneri immediately notified the relevant authorities and Ibrahimovic is now quarantining at home.

And the Sweden great provided a typically witty message in response to the news, while giving a friendly warning to the virus.

"I tested negative to Covid yesterday and positive today. No symptoms what so ever," he wrote on Twitter.

"Covid had the courage to challenge me. Bad idea."

Ibrahimovic returned to Milan in January, scoring 10 goals in 18 Serie A appearances as Stefano Pioli's men finished sixth.

On Monday, Ibrahimovic scored twice as Milan started their new league campaign with a 2-0 triumph over Bologna.

UEFA has confirmed clubs will be allowed to make up to five substitutions per match in the Champions League and Europa League throughout 2020-21.

The Executive Committee of European football's governing body met on Thursday to rule on a variety of matters for 2020 and 2021.

Arguably the biggest decision made was to extend the rule alteration relating to substitutions, which allowed teams to make up to five in-game changes after the coronavirus crisis forced top-flight football to a halt earlier this year.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB), rule-makers for the sport, initially implemented the change in May and extended it two months later for club competitions set to be completed by July 31, 2021 and international tournaments scheduled in July/August 2021.

While some domestic competitions, such as England's Premier League, have opted to revert to three substitutions allowed per team in each match, UEFA believes it is necessary to permit five "in order to alleviate the burden on players caused by the condensed international match calendars 2020-21 due to the COVID-19 pandemic".

The five substitutes rule will be extended to Euro 2021 qualifying playoffs, Women's EURO qualifiers, the Nations League group phase and the Women's Champions League for the rest of the season.

Among the other decisions communicated on Thursday, UEFA – having reached an agreement with the European Club Association and the European Leagues – will stretch the March and September international match windows in 2021 to allow for three fixtures instead of two.

UEFA says this will allow it to "recover the dates lost due to the cancellation of the March 2020 window and the postponement of Euro 2020".

It was also confirmed that the format of the UEFA Youth League has been temporarily altered – rather than beginning with a group phase, the competition will start at the round of 64 in March as a straight knockout competition.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has tested positive for coronavirus, Milan have confirmed.

The veteran striker returned the result following a second round of swab testing ahead of Thursday's Europa League qualifier against Bodo/Glimt.

A Milan statement said Ibrahimovic is now quarantining at home and the relevant authorities have been notified.

The club added that no other player or staff member returned a positive result ahead of the game at San Siro.

Ibrahimovic returned to Milan in January and scored 10 goals in 18 Serie A appearances as the Rossoneri finished sixth.

He started the new domestic campaign with a brace against Bologna in a 2-0 win for Milan on Monday.

Jose Mourinho has outlined his ambition to coach a national team at some point in his career, though the Tottenham boss is not certain taking charge of Portugal would be a wise choice.

Mourinho has spent all of his managerial career to date at clubs, having spells at Benfica, Porto, Chelsea, Inter, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Spurs.

Though he is in no rush to call time on his time in club management, the 57-year-old disclosed he does wish to step into international coaching eventually.

"Yes I want to coach a national team, I want to have the experience of a World Cup and European Championship, the emotion of the short competition," Mourinho told a news conference ahead of Spurs' Europa League qualifier against North Macedonian side Shkendija.

However, Mourinho is not convinced coaching his home nation would be the best choice.

"Is Portugal the one I want do do? On one side yes as it is my heart," he added. "But it is very difficult to do it with the country you were born in."

Mourinho, who returned to his news conference to field a question from a Macedonian journalist whose late father idolised him, is also anticipating a tough test for Spurs on Thursday.

"My experience in football, I celebrate the 20th anniversary of my career, lots of experience, played lots of teams that nobody knows in top football," he said.

"They can be very dangerous, same way it was difficult in Plovdiv."

Jose Mourinho will name a strong Tottenham team at Shkendija on Thursday, rather than calling on the players who were set to face Leyton Orient.

The compact nature of the new season has provided Spurs with a frantic fixture list, with three matches scheduled for this week.

However, the EFL Cup meeting with Orient was called off after the League Two club announced a number of positive coronavirus tests in their first team.

That development gave Tottenham an unexpected night off on Tuesday ahead of the trip to North Macedonia for their Europa League third qualifying round match.

Mourinho will not simply send out the same side that had prepared for Orient, however, explaining the gap between Sunday's win at Southampton and this fixture was far more manageable for his big names.

Indeed, having required a late turnaround against nine men to beat Lokomotiv Plovdiv in the previous round, the coach is wary of taking Shkendija lightly.

"The team that was supposed to play last night is different than the team that plays tomorrow," Mourinho said.

"The main reason is we played Sunday against Southampton and one thing is Sunday-Tuesday, another thing is Sunday-Thursday.

"It is a normal situation for a football player of this level to play on Sunday and have three days rest and play again Thursday. That's normal.

"It's not normal to play Sunday and then Tuesday, so obviously the teams are going to be different. The main reason is the health and conditions to perform.

"Is the Europa League a competition that we want very, very much to go to the group phase? Yes, it is.

"I think from my experience, and even you without experience in this chair, as a journalist, you can perfectly feel it's much more difficult this knockout than the group phase of four teams and six matches.

"The six matches give us a little space for a mistake - for example, at [Manchester] United, we lost two matches in the group phase, we won four and we progressed - so we cannot take many risks with these matches.

"Even playing with a very strong team like we did in Bulgaria, we were 15 minutes away from a defeat and being knocked out."

Mourinho had previously professed his frustration at the EFL Cup schedule and also bemoaned a "world of contradictions" after West Ham played Hull City despite their own COVID-19 cases.

He said: "In relation to the EFL Cup, my initial feeling was when people don't respect us, why should we respect the competition?

"But in the end, it is a competition where I have a history, Tottenham have a history. It is the last trophy that Tottenham won. It is another competition where we think we have the same rights as others to try to compete.

"In relation to testing and COVID and all this situation, there are so many contradictions that I don't want to go into, this world of contradictions.

"I see so many contradictions, the way different countries react to it, the way football authorities in different countries react to it.

"There are so many contradictions that, honestly, I just do what I'm told to do. I don't want to get into that."

Dele Alli is set to stay at Tottenham and will get his chance in the Europa League qualifier against Shkendija but must now perform, says coach Jose Mourinho.

England international Alli has not featured since he was substituted at half-time of Spurs' Premier League opener at home to Everton, a 1-0 defeat.

Alli, who scored nine goals in 38 games in all competitions last season, did not even make the bench for subsequent victories over Lokomotiv Plovdiv and Southampton.

The 24-year-old's future has appeared uncertain as links to Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain emerged while Mourinho offered no assurances.

Spurs will soon welcome Gareth Bale into the group as he recovers from injury amid his return to the club from Madrid, but Alli first has an opportunity to impress in North Macedonia on Thursday.

"Dele Alli will make the trip," Mourinho told a news conference ahead of the third qualifying round match. "I always said that Dele will have a chance. He's coming.

"He'll have a chance to perform and it's important that he does. It's important that every player does."

Mourinho does not expect Alli to leave but insists it is up to the player to improve.

"I see him staying," the coach added. "There is a tendency now, when a player performs or doesn't perform, to give responsibility to the coach because they gave him the right stick or didn't.

"I always feel that 99 per cent of the responsibility is the player. I, and the staff who work with the player, have one per cent."

Jose Mourinho described the hectic schedule facing Tottenham as a "total joke" ahead of Sunday's trip to Southampton for a midday kick-off.

Spurs laboured to a 2-1 Europa League qualifying win against Lokomotiv Plovdiv in Bulgaria on Thursday, securing a trip to Macedonia to face Shkendija next week.

That will come two days after taking on Leyton Orient in the EFL Cup, while victories in both of those knockout ties would ensure a similarly packed run of fixtures the week after.

While Mourinho wants to be fighting for silverware on multiple fronts, he is not happy with the governing bodies who organise the calendar.

"I hope it is [a busy schedule], because I wouldn't like to be knocked out of the Europa League or even the Carabao Cup," he said.

"But the people who make these decisions...forgot this situation is not possible, this is a joke, a total joke.

"We were very, very lucky that Leyton [Orient] beat Plymouth, because Plymouth would be very, very far for us.

"We're in Bulgaria, then Saturday in Southampton, then Wednesday we will be again flying to Macedonia, and so on and so on.

"It's quite dramatic but I prefer the drama of being in these competitions, so let's fight while we can."

Southampton head into this weekend's Premier League clash having lost back-to-back matches.

Following defeat to Brentford in the EFL Cup, boss Ralph Hasenhuttl cited the squad's disrupted preparations for the new campaign as a factor in their slow start.

It is something Mourinho identifies with, having seen his Spurs side suffer a lacklustre 1-0 opening-game loss to Everton before leaving it late to overcome nine-man Plovdiv.

"I read Ralph's comments after the game and I would say my words are very similar to his words," said the Portuguese.

"A lot of players that are not at the top of their game, at the top of their condition. The pre-season was not good, many of the players didn't even have a pre-season.

"And we're using these matches also for the evolution of the players and the team.

"But the reality is we are playing for big things. If you lose a match in the Premier League, you lost three points; if today we lost, we would be out of the Europa League.

"It's difficult to manage both things at the same time. We are going to try to recover the best we can.

"The game could be five or six o'clock to give us a bit more time, but no it's 12 o'clock – that's another great decision.

"In this moment, to prepare is to recover."

Stefano Pioli was pleased to see Milan come through a potentially tricky test at Shamrock Rovers in Europa League qualifying.

The Rossoneri were clear favourites in Ireland and progressed 2-0 following goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Hakan Calhanoglu.

But head coach Pioli felt Rovers represented tough opponents, particularly with Milan's season just starting.

"I'm satisfied because it was not easy," Pioli told Milan TV. "The first official match always involves many difficulties.

"I knew we had prepared well, but they are a good team and they were better prepared than us. It was a positive game to improve our condition. There were more good things than bad things tonight.

"We knew it could be the match of their lives for them, but it could also be for us. If we don't reach the Europa League, what we did last season would be partially nullified.

"We played well and won the game; it was just the first. I liked the team on the pitch. I am satisfied. We have to grow, improve, yes, but it was a tough game and we faced it well."

He added: "Victory was our goal and we did it, in my opinion, by playing good football.

"We weren't lucky in the draw, Shamrock were first in the standings, the next opponents [Bodo/Glimt] will be even stronger. They are 14 or 15 points ahead in the Norwegian league."

Bodo/Glimt currently sit 13 points clear of their nearest Eliteserien rivals, Molde, and are unbeaten in their 17 league matches this season.

Milan, by contrast, are undefeated in 14 games, their longest run since 2008.

"We will have to find another performance of another level. The pressure was all on us, we will have to be good at managing it and knowing how to live with it," Pioli said.

Calhanoglu spoke of his joy at starring again in tandem with Ibrahimovic, for whom he provided a first-half assist before netting himself.

"I hope to continue like this," the midfielder said. "We have a great feeling together. Thanks also to the team that we are so strong. We must continue like this."

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