Harry Kane is ambitious and wants to win trophies, but Daniel Levy will not let Tottenham's prized asset leave unless the price is right, according to Brad Friedel.

Kane reached 20 Premier League goals for a fifth season with the first of his brace against Everton last week, though the striker was forced off late in the 2-2 draw on Merseyside with an ankle injury.

The England international sat out Spurs' 2-1 home win over Southampton on Wednesday – the first outing with temporary boss Ryan Mason in charge – and it remains unclear if he will recover in time to feature in Sunday's EFL Cup final against Manchester City.

That game offers the chance to secure a first trophy during his Tottenham career; he was part of Mauricio Pochettino's squad that lost the 2019 Champions League final to Liverpool, while the north London club finished as runners up to Chelsea at the end of the 2016-17 Premier League season.

Kane has said he will assess his future after the delayed Euro 2020 tournament, though former Spurs goalkeeper Friedel reckons a move will happen if a suitor matches chairman Levy's valuation, as happened when Gareth Bale and Luka Modric ended up moving to Real Madrid.

"He will want to win trophies, no doubt about it," Friedel, who spent four seasons at Tottenham, told Stats Perform News.

"He's a very ambitious player, obviously one of the best and everyone can see his goals tally and watch him play to say that. Anyone who signs a contract at Tottenham leaves when [Levy] reaches a deal he wants to get. It didn't matter if you were Gareth Bale or Luka Modric, or you are Harry Kane.

"When the deal is right and you have multiple years left on your contract, that is when you'll be sold or renew your contract.

"Sorry to put a dampener on speculation but it is only Harry's representatives and Daniel and the board who know when that is going to be right. Anything other than that is us wasting our breath, to be honest.

"I think there is a figure and once that figure is met, Daniel will allow that sale to go through. But I do think it will end up happening before Harry Kane's career is over providing, god forbid, there's no injury. Levy is the one who will decide that. Nobody else.

Kane's two goals at Goodison Park lifted him to 164 for his career in the Premier League, good enough for seventh on the competition's all-time list. Thierry Henry (175) and Frank Lampard (177) are next in his sights, while Alan Shearer sits top on 260.

Tottenham also face a decision over the long-term future of captain Hugo Lloris, whose current contract expires at the end of the 2021-22 season.

"Hugo is still, in my opinion, one of the best around," Friedel said of the France international.

"The thing you get with Hugo is if he makes a mistake on the big occasion he knows how to bounce back. That's the one when you go out and buy a foreign goalkeeper who is not used to the Premier League, then you might have that bedding in period. If you go for a younger goalkeeper, you're definitely have some patches that go up and down.

"So as long as Hugo is fit, there's no reason why you should go out and get a new goalkeeper to replace him. That's my opinion right now.

"My opinion is you know what you have – a very good professional and goalkeeper and there's not a big need to change. If you want to purchase someone go and purchase a young outstanding goalkeeper while you have Hugo and see if that young goalkeeper can perform better than Hugo."

Tottenham coach Jose Mourinho says he is expecting the upcoming off-season transfer window to be "strange" in light of the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic of football clubs.

Spurs have attracted speculation around potential off-season transfer activity revolving around goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and forward Harry Kane.

Mourinho played down any talk of Kane exiting, insisting they have not spoken about his future and that he expects this off-season to be unusual although he would not be drawn on Spurs' transfer priorities.

"We know what we want, but at the same time we can all expect a strange summer," Mourinho said ahead of Tottenham's Premier League match with Newcastle on Sunday.

"I believe that it is going to be a bit strange in the sense of a different transfer window than in previous seasons, but in this moment I don’t think it is about anyone fighting for his future.

"I think it is about everyone fighting for the points we need to finish the season the best that we can."

Kane is a regular topic of transfer speculation with Manchester City the latest club linked with the England forward.

"No. He works so well every day," Mourinho said when asked if the pair had spoken about his future.

"He is such a professional, committed with the team, performing well. I've nothing to speak with him.

"Three years of his contract [left]. I have nothing to speak with him about. Unless he wants to speak with me about it and until now he never approached me in relation to anything."

On Lloris, who has just over 12 months left on his Tottenham contract, Mourinho added: "You know I don’t want to offend anyone and I hope that people just accept my opinion.

"We have, in my opinion, the best goalkeeper in England and the best English goalkeeper [Joe Hart].

"So I am so happy with that that I don’t think about what can happen or not happen. Hugo has a contract, Joe has a contract. I'm so happy with both."

Didier Deschamps insists winning is the only thing that matters in World Cup qualifying after acknowledging France's first-half display in their 1-0 win over Bosnia-Herzegovina was below par.

Les Bleus were well off the pace during the opening 45 minutes in Sarajevo, but the 2018 world champions ultimately sealed all three points thanks to Antoine Griezmann in the 60th minute. 

The Barcelona forward met Adrien Rabiot's left-wing cross with a superb header that brought up his 35th international goal. 

An eighth consecutive away win - the longest winning streak on the road in their history - moved them four points clear of second-placed Ukraine at the summit of Group D. 

While accepting his side's first-half performance was not good enough, Deschamps was largely pleased with how his players battled through a third game in eight days.

"Our first-half display is below what we are capable of doing," he told M6.

"It was better in the second half. It is not easy. All matches are complicated. There are things that I have seen us do that I haven't seen in a while. The main thing is victory. 

"We did more in the second half even if I take the opponent into account as well. I found that the start was quite difficult. I don't want to find excuses for the players. I am very demanding with them, even if the trips and the time differences are difficult. 

"The three matches we will have in September will be against our three direct opponents. Nothing is done but we have put ourselves in the best place with seven points from three games."

Hugo Lloris, whose 123rd appearance moved him level with Thierry Henry as France's second-most capped player, attributed their ability to grind out a result to their robust mentality. 

"It was a bit laborious, especially in the first half," the Tottenham goalkeeper said. 

"We struggled with the use of the ball especially. They put us in danger on the counter-attacks and on the set pieces with the quality of [Miralem] Pjanic. But the state of mind is remarkable. Honestly, we played badly today, but we won with the state of mind. 

"It's something you can build on. This is not the first time, but we must continue to move forward, to improve because there are important deadlines in June and July. After Antoine's goal, we managed the result.

"We could have scored a second goal, but we got the win and we are moving forward."

Didier Deschamps acknowledges a five-hour time difference and a synthetic pitch will make life difficult for France in Kazakhstan, but believes the world champions "have an obligation to get a result".

Sunday's early World Cup qualifier takes Les Bleus to Astana four days on from a disappointing 1-1 home draw against Ukraine.

France can ill afford another slip up but face potentially tricky opponents in Kazakhstan, who have not yet played their first match but enjoyed their most successful European Championship qualifying campaign to date ahead of Euro 2020.

That included a dominant 3-0 home win over Scotland, who ultimately qualified for the finals, in which Kazakhstan had just 41 per cent of the possession but mustered 10 shots - including six on target - and their expected goals total (1.2) was double that of the visitors (0.6).

The jeopardy of Sunday's qualifier goes beyond just the threat of the hosts for France, however, as Deschamps' side also contend with travel, jetlag and an unfamiliar surface.

"With my staff, we know this opponent well," the coach told a news conference. "But the difficulty is the lag, because it can be difficult to find sleep, and a pitch different from those on which players are used to playing.

"It's up to us to make sure we're at our level. A trap? I don't know, but there are additional difficulties, yes."

 

Although Bosnia-Herzegovina and Finland drew, meaning France lost no ground in midweek, a response is required following their frustrating outing in Paris.

Les Bleus had 63 per cent of the possession and 18 shots but only three on target, including Antoine Griezmann's spectacular opener.

Ukraine mustered a meagre three attempts, one of which decisively deflected in off Presnel Kimpembe for an own goal.

"Even with a better result, we would have had the same obligation [in Astana] against an opponent who has nothing to lose," Deschamps said.

"It's up to us to do the job, and more than pressure, we have an obligation to get a result.

"The pressure was greater in the Euro qualifiers, when we went to Andorra just after our defeat in Turkey, with the same specificity of the synthetic pitch.

"On what they have done in recent matches, Kazakhstan are solid and concede few goals. It's never simple anyway."

Meanwhile, captain Hugo Lloris highlighted the potential positives of playing on a synthetic pitch for a France side who trailed only Spain in passes (7,360), successful passes (6,571) and average possession (72 per cent) in Euro 2020 qualifying.

"It promotes the short passing game," he said. "We are going to try to get our bearings as best as we can in the training later [on Saturday].

"And tomorrow [Sunday] we'll try to play and have the maximum of fun.

"We expect a match like against Ukraine, to have the ball in front of a low block. We must put intensity in our passes, in our running.

"The use of the ball will be so important, so to adapt to the synthetic pitch will be very important for tomorrow."

France coach Didier Deschamps lamented his side's lack of energy in the second half of Wednesday's 1-1 draw with Ukraine but says they should have put the game to bed in the first half.

The reigning world champions started their road to Qatar 2022 in unconvincing fashion in Paris, although they seemed on track for three points in the first half.

Antoine Griezmann fired in a 19th-minute opener before multiple chances were spurned including Olivier Giroud's close-range header which sailed over.

Ukraine found a fortunate way back into the match via Presnel Kimpembe's 57th-minute own goal from Serhiy Sydorchuk tame shot.

"We should have secured the win in the first half, we had the opportunities, it was more difficult in the second half," Deschamps told TF1 post-game.

"There was certainly less juice, the goal that we conceded was avoidable, we pushed to the end.

"I had decided to have a team focused on the offensive but this was not the case. It was not necessarily a match where we got the most chances. We needed more precision and movement.

"We are obviously disappointed, the ideal result would have been to win. It proves that Ukraine is a good nation."

Les Bleus captain Hugo Lloris agreed they should have been more than one goal up at the break.

"We missed this second goal. We should have done a lot more to get it; we came back with a lack of intensity," the Tottenham goalkeeper told TF1.

"We were faced with a lower block and we struggled. We had good intentions but, at half-time, we should have been 2-0 and secured the win. It is insufficient for this first match."

France return to action on Sunday away to Kazakhstan before another trip on Wednesday to face Bosnia-Herzegovina.

"We have two other matches which will not be easy," Deschamps said. "We lacked energy in the second half. We can do better."

Could Harry Kane end up at Real Madrid?

Borussia Dortmund forward Erling Haaland is one of Europe's most sought-after and expensive players, while Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe also commands a hefty fee.

With that in mind, Tottenham's Kane has reportedly emerged as a transfer target in the Spanish capital.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID ADD KANE TO LIST

Real Madrid are interested in signing Tottenham star Harry Kane, according to SER Deportivo.

Madrid have been heavily linked with in-demand Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland and Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe.

But Madrid's hierarchy reportedly feel a deal to prise Kane from Tottenham may be easier.

 

ROUND-UP

- Wednesday's Marca and Diario AS newspapers are dominated by Cristiano Ronaldo. Marca claims Ronaldo would exit Juventus to return to Madrid, who he left in 2018. Diario AS says Juve are ready to listen to offers for the five-time Ballon d'Or winner. Ronaldo has also been linked with former club Manchester United.

- Sport reports Manchester City defender Eric Garcia will join Barcelona on a five-year deal. It will be the first major signing under new president Joan Laporta as the LaLiga giants also eye Haaland and look to re-sign superstar captain Lionel Messi, who has been tipped to join either PSG or City on a free transfer at season's end.

- TV3 claims Ronald Koeman will continue as Barca head coach in 2021-22 following talks with Laporta. RB Leipzig's Julian Nagelsmann and club great Xavi had been linked.

Inter are ready to reignite their interest in Udinese star Rodrigo De Paul, claims Calciomercato. The Serie A leaders have previously been linked with the Argentina midfielder. Antonio Conte's Inter are also tracking Madrid outcast Isco, according to Sport.

- L'Equipe claims United are considering a move for Tottenham captain and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris amid doubts over David de Gea. Milan star Gianluigi Donnarumma has also emerged as a possible target.

Bayern Munich are in talks to sign Madrid attacker Lucas Vazquez on a free transfer, according to AS.

Liverpool, Juventus and Roma are among clubs interested in Madrid defender Nacho Fernandez, says AS. The 31-year-old is out of contract at the end of 2021-22.

The understanding between Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud will be key to a successful World Cup qualifying campaign for France, according to boss Didier Deschamps. 

Reigning world champions France start their Group D campaign against Ukraine on Thursday before taking on Kazakhstan and Bosnia-Herzegovina on Sunday and Wednesday respectively. 

Les Bleus are expected to comfortably book their place in Qatar next year and Deschamps expects his forward trio to shine again after their heroics won the 2018 tournament. 

"I'm not going to separate them from the rest of the team, but when you look at the number of goals and assists that the three provide, that's what allowed the France team to be world champions," he told a media conference.

"They know each other; it is automatic. The experience they have is something important. It is up to them to maintain this level of performance."

Mbappe has enjoyed another fine season for Paris Saint-Germain and is Ligue 1's top scorer with 20 goals in 21 starts.

He has also laid on six goals for his team-mates – second behind only Angel Di Maria (eight) for Mauricio Pochettino's side. 

Mbappe largely plays on the left of a front three for his club and Deschamps revealed he has spoken to the 22-year-old to ensure his position for France brings out the best in him.

"Kylian has the ability to play in all offensive positions," Deschamps said. "In his club, he is mainly used in a position on the left, even if he has a lot of freedom. 

"Sometimes he plays in the middle, where he is also efficient. On the right, he plays less. I discuss it with him to make sure he is happy [where he plays]."

Trying to force his way into Deschamps' forward line will be Ousmane Dembele, who has not featured for France since November 2018.

Deschamps handed the Barcelona man his full debut back in September 2016 and, after injuries wiped out the vast majority of the 2019-20 season, he has returned to form this term. 

Captain Hugo Lloris is pleased to see the 23-year-old back on the international scene and is hopeful he is in the right condition to make a positive impact. 

"He has a fairly strong history with the France team as he was part of the World Cup group in Russia," the Tottenham goalkeeper said. 

"He was held back by injuries, but we know all his qualities. We hope that his injuries are behind him and that he can look ahead. 

"He is doing very good things with Barca. We know what he can bring and what he is capable of doing."

Harry Kane says there are "no words" that will make amends for Tottenham's dismal week. 

Spurs had the chance to move on from their north London derby defeat to Arsenal last weekend by securing a place in the last eight of the Europa League, having taken a 2-0 lead over Dinamo Zagreb into the second leg in Croatia on Thursday.

But an insipid performance saw Tottenham crash out of the competition as Mislav Orsic's hat-trick inspired a stunning 3-0 home win after extra time.

That led to captain Hugo Lloris labelling Spurs a "disgrace", while the World Cup-winning goalkeeper also hinted at deeper issues within the club.

Jose Mourinho's beleaguered men have the chance to return to winning ways on Sunday when they visit Aston Villa in the Premier League, but they will need to improve on a poor record on the road.

They have lost four of their last five top-flight games away from the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium - as many as they had in their previous 20. 

Kane - who has scored five goals in his last three Premier League appearances against Villa, netting braces in his last two matches – made no excuses for Tottenham's recent form and says the players need to do their talking at Villa Park. 

Posting on his social media channels, the England captain said: "Time to bounce back tomorrow after a very disappointing week. No words will atone for the last two games, we just have to show our response on the pitch!"

Tottenham are eighth in the Premier League, six points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea, although the Blues have played a game more.

 

Tottenham captain Hugo Lloris labelled Spurs' stunning Europa League elimination a "disgrace" and hinted at deeper issues within the club following their 3-0 loss to Dinamo Zagreb.

Spurs sensationally bowed out of the Europa League 3-2 on aggregate following Thursday's defeat to Croatian champions Dinamo after extra time in Zagreb.

The match went to extra time with Mislav Orsic completing his memorable hat-trick in the 106th minute to clinch Dinamo's last-16 triumph, with Spurs never in control after winning the opening leg 2-0.

"We are all more than disappointed. It's just a disgrace," Spurs goalkeeper Lloris told BT Sport.

"I hope everyone in the changing room feels responsible because it's a disgrace. The taste of the defeat tonight is more than painful. We are all responsible for that."

In a remarkable interview, the 34-year-old France international added that the defeat reflected further issues within the club, although he refused to elaborate specifically.

"I think the team at the moment is a reflection of what's going on at the club," Lloris said.

"We have a lack of basics and fundamentals, all our performances are in relation of that.

"Mentally we should be stronger, we should be more competitive. Today I didn’t feel that on the field.

"When you're not ready at this level, you pay straight away. It doesn’t matter with the opposition, there's quality everywhere in Europa. Full credit belongs to the opponents.

"They played the game full of belief. the blame is on us, all the team, all the club. we are guilty."

When probed further, he added: "I don't have to go deeper. It's not possible. The way we play is not enough.

"One thing is to come in front of the camera and say we're ambitious. the other thing is to show it every day in training and every time on the pitch."

It is the third time under-fire head coach Jose Mourinho lost a match in European competition by a three-goal margin, with two of those coming with Spurs (also against RB Leipzig via the Champions League in March 2020) and another with Real Madrid (versus Borussia Dortmund in April 2013).

Tottenham have failed to keep a clean sheet in 13 of their last 14 away games in the Europa League, including conceding in all five such games under Mourinho.

Mourinho's Tottenham will look to rebound in the Premier League against Aston Villa on Sunday.

Harry Kane was substituted against Dinamo Zagreb in the Europa League with a knee issue but should be fit to face London rivals Arsenal on Sunday, according to Tottenham head coach Jose Mourinho.

Spurs star Kane had scored both goals in Thursday's 2-0 Europa League last-16 first leg win over Croatian giants Dinamo at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

An effort in either half turned the tie in Tottenham's favour and took the England captain's club tally to 26 for the season, the most of any Premier League player.

But Kane's hopes of improving his scoring record further this weekend were dealt a blow as he went down under a challenge from Arijan Ademi with eight minutes remaining.

Mourinho swiftly replaced his main man, having also seen Tanguy Ndombele exit the field shortly after the second goal.

But Mourinho is confident both players will be keen to recover quickly and get ready for this weekend's Premier League derby.

Asked if there was any concern for Ndombele, Mourinho told BT Sport: "I don't think so really. Even Harry, I don't believe it's anything big.

"There is a match that everybody wants to play and little things are not going to stop them playing, I believe."

Mourinho added: "I don't have that feeling [Kane is injured]. As I was saying, everybody wants to play the game on Sunday. I believe they are going to be okay."

Kane, who had three shots and created two chances, has now been involved in six goals (four goals, two assists) across Tottenham's past two games.

The goalscorer also won five of his seven duels, earned four fouls – including the kick from Ademi – and even blocked Rasmus Lauritsen's goal-bound header 13 minutes from time.

Tottenham captain Hugo Lloris said: "He even saves the ball on the corner in front of me. No, he's just enjoying his football. As you can see today, he attracts the ball.

"The first action Erik Lamela made an amazing job. I think he deserved the goal, but unfortunately it hit the post and Harry was there at the right time, at the right moment to score.

"And the second goal gives a little bit of relief to the team before the second leg."

Kane has made 36 headed clearances and 38 total clearances in all competitions this season, the most of any forward in the Premier League.

Mourinho said: "He is doing everything. He's doing the striker's job of scoring goals, he's doing the team work of creating space and assists and linking the play, he's doing the extra work that not many strikers do - the defensive one, the pressing, the coming behind, on set-pieces.

"He has very good timing to attack the ball on defensive set-pieces. He helps us a lot. We have his stats; he has an incredible number of clearances from crosses and corners.

"We couldn't be happier. I gave a rest to many of the players - and I'm so happy with that Vinicius is giving us - but the truth is when we have Harry on the pitch, it's a different story for us.

"This is a very important match and we want to qualify for the quarters. We decided for him to play and of course he was happy to do that for us."

Manchester United lost further ground to Premier League leaders Manchester City as they played out a 0-0 draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. 

The Red Devils are now 12 points behind Pep Guardiola's seemingly unstoppable side, who are well on their way to a third title in four seasons. 

Elsewhere, Liverpool returned to winning ways against Sheffield United and Arsenal came from behind to beat Leicester City at the King Power Stadium. 

A Gareth Bale-inspired Tottenham cruised past Burnley 4-0, while Crystal Palace and Fulham played out a dour 0-0 draw.

Chelsea 0-0 Manchester United: Red Devils' 'big six' struggles continue

While this result stretched United's unbeaten away run in the league to a whopping 20 matches – the joint-fifth-longest run in top-flight history – there was still a sense of disappointment at full-time. 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side have now failed to score in their last six league meetings with Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City or Tottenham, with each of their last four such matches finishing goalless. 

This fixture has now finished 0-0 in both matches in a single league campaign for just the second time, the other occasion coming back in 1921-22. 

It marked the first time Chelsea have drawn 0-0 against an opponent home and away in the Premier League in the same season for the first time since 2008-09 against Everton, while United last did so against Aston Villa in 1996-97.

Thomas Tuchel can at least toast becoming just the second coach to not concede a single goal in his first four home matches in the Premier League after Brendan Rodgers in 2011-12 with Swansea City. Including his final two such matches in charge of Paris Saint-Germain, Tuchel has gone six games without conceding at home in league competition.

Sheffield United 0-2 Liverpool: Klopp's men get back on track

After four consecutive top-flight defeats champions Liverpool got their top-four bid back on track at Bramall Lane. 

Curtis Jones opened the scoring with his second goal for the Reds. In doing so, he became the youngest Liverpool player (20 years and 29 days) to score an away Premier League goal since Raheem Sterling in December 2014 against Burnley (20y 18d).

Their second – an own goal by Kean Bryan – was their 7,000th in the English top-flight, becoming only the second team to reach that tally after Merseyside rivals Everton (7,108).

Adrian was in goal for Jurgen Klopp's men and the Spaniard has now been on the winning side in 10 of his 12 Premier League starts for the club, although this was only his third clean sheet. 

The Blades, meanwhile, have now lost 21 games this season. They are the first side since Newport County in the fourth tier in 1970-71 to lose as many as 21 of their first 26 matches in an English Football League season.

Tottenham 4-0 Burnley: Brilliant Bale torments sorry Clarets

Bale was at his best as Tottenham registered their biggest Premier League home win since they thumped the Clarets 5-0 in December 2019. 

His first came after just 68 seconds, which was the fastest goal Burnley have ever conceded in a Premier League match. The previous quickest was a Yerry Mina effort after 99 seconds for Everton in December 2018.

Harry Kane doubled Spurs' advantage to continue his fine run against Sean Dyche's side. No player has scored more Premier League goals against Burnley than Kane (eight, level with Riyad Mahrez), with the England striker involved in 10 goals in his last six league appearances against them (seven goals, three assists).

Lucas Moura added a third before Bale wrapped up the scoring to take his goal involvements to seven in his last four appearances in all competitions. 

At the back, Hugo Lloris celebrated his 100th clean sheet in the competition. He became the 16th goalkeeper to reach that landmark, while he is the ninth quickest to reach it (285 games).

Burnley, meanwhile, have now lost 12 of their last 15 away top-flight matches against Spurs, shipping 48 goals and conceding at least four goals in seven games.

Leicester City 1-3 Arsenal: Gunners storm back to end 'top three' hoodoo

Arsenal ended a four-game winless run against the Foxes in the Premier League, securing their first victory against them in the competition since October 2018. 

It started poorly for Mikel Arteta's side, though, with Youri Tielemans scoring his sixth goal of the season early on. That is as many as he had scored in his first two seasons at the club combined. 

David Luiz pulled the Gunners level before Alexandre Lacazette put them ahead from the penalty spot. The France international has converted all five of his penalties for Arsenal across all competitions, while only Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (13) has now netted more goals for the Gunners than Lacazette (11) this term.

Nicolas Pepe sealed the three points and has now equalled his Premier League goal tally from last season, scoring five this campaign in 13 fewer appearances (18 this term, 31 last season).

The result marked Arsenal's first away victory against a team starting the day in the top three of the Premier League since January 2015 (2-0 v Manchester City) – they were winless in their last 14 such games ahead of this clash (D3 L11).

Crystal Palace 0-0 Fulham: Lucky Eagles escape with a point

It should come as no surprise that this game ended goalless given Fulham's penchant for draws this season. 

Just one of the Cottagers' first 21 Premier League games under Scott Parker ended level, but the stalemate at Selhurst Park was their 10th draw in their last 15 top-flight matches. 

They were comfortably the better side and attempted 16 shots. Fourteen of those came in the second period – the most they have had in the final 45 minutes of a Premier League away game since 2003-04 without scoring.

Palace, meanwhile, have somehow managed to pick up four points from their last two league games despite attempting just six shots (facing 41), having only nine touches in the opposition box (compared to 70 by their opponents), and completing just 442 passes (compared to their opponents' 1065).

Indeed, they managed just 33 attempts in their five Premier League matches in February – the lowest recorded by a team in a single month of at least five games since the start of the 2003-04 campaign.

What does the future hold for Andre Silva?

Silva has scored 18 Bundesliga goals this season, second only to Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski.

He could find himself at Manchester United if Eintracht Frankfurt reportedly pursue a permanent deal for Luka Jovic.

 

TOP STORY – SILVA BOUND FOR MANCHESTER?

Manchester United could be offered the chance to sign Eintracht Frankfurt star Andre Silva if Edinson Cavani leaves Old Trafford, according to The Sun.

Silva is taking the Bundesliga by storm this season, but Eintracht are reportedly looking to raise funds to re-sign Luka Jovic – who is currently on loan in Frankfurt – permanently from Real Madrid.

Portugal international Silva could become available if veteran forward Cavani departs after the former Paris Saint-Germain star arrived on a one-year deal at the start of the season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Eurosport claims Chelsea are growing increasingly confident of winning the race to sign Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland. The Norway international forward has been linked with Madrid, BarcelonaManchester City, Liverpool and United, as well as Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus.

Everton have joined United and Bayern Munich in trying to sign Norwich City full-back Max Aarons, reports Fabrizio Romano.

Tottenham will target Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope if PSG make a move for Hugo Lloris, says the Daily Mail.

- The Sun claims United veteran Juan Mata is being tracked by Serie A trio, Juventus, Inter and Roma.

Jose Mourinho has offered his backing to Tottenham captain Hugo Lloris, who he believes ranks among the finest goalkeepers in the world.

Lloris shipped eight goals last week, with his performance in a 3-0 defeat to Premier League leaders Manchester City coming under scrutiny after Spurs came out on the wrong side of a 5-4 FA Cup thriller at Everton.

Joe Hart is expected to return for Thursday's Europa League round-of-32 meeting with Wolfsberger, although Mourinho does not feel Lloris' status as first choice is under immediate threat from the ex-England number one.

"When a player is a top player, one or two or three mistakes does not make him not a top player. That is the most important thing," Mourinho told a pre-match news conference before highlighting some of Alisson's recent struggles at Liverpool.

"I shouldn't speak about it because he's not my goalkeeper, but I don't think he will take it on the wrong side: for me Alisson is one of the top five best goalkeepers in the world and in the previous matches he made big mistakes.

"But he is one of the top five in the world, in my opinion, and Hugo is the same. He is an amazing goalkeeper who is performing super consistently since he recovered from that fracture.

"During all my time here he is playing so, so well. If he had responsibility on one or another of the goals we conceded recently he is still the same goalkeeper, he is my number one choice and has all my trust and confidence.

"In Joe Hart's case I am happy he played already nine matches this season. He's a goalkeeper that I totally trust too."

Among goalkeepers to have played five or more games in the Premier League this season, Lloris ranks fifth in terms of save percentage (74) behind Nick Pope, Emiliano Martinez, Robert Sanchez and Ederson.

He has only made one error leading to a goal and is outperforming his expected goals on target (xGOT) conceded of 19.7, as per Opta, having let in 17 goals excluding penalties and own goals.

Lloris' cumulative goals prevented figure of 2.7 comes thanks to 71 saves from 88 shots on target faced in the top flight.

Dwindling form either side of Christmas left Spurs languishing ninth in the Premier League.

Yet they are still only six points shy of fourth-placed Chelsea with a game in hand and Mourinho rejected the suggestion that the Europa League represents his team's best hope of securing Champions League qualification.

 "It's difficult in any case but it's possible in both cases," he said. "Fourth position in the Premier League is, of course, very difficult but is not mathematically impossible.

"Last season we were in a very, very bad position to get in the Europa League spots. In the end we made it in the last minute of the last game, but we made it.

"Our motivation last season was that, while it was mathematically possible, we had to go. We chased it until the last game which is the same thing we are going to do."

He added: "In the Europa League there are an incredible number of matches. We are only in the last 32. It is a strong competition with very good teams.

"But it is open. We are one of the 32 teams who have a chance to win and we are going to try."

Thursday's match has been moved to the Puskas Arena in Budapest due to COVID-19 restrictions in Austria.

There was more penalty drama for Manchester City as the Premier League leaders visited reigning champions Liverpool on Sunday.

Gundogan skied his spot-kick at an empty Anfield, although it would not prove a costly miss as City ran out 4-1 winners to extend their advantage at the summit.

Pep Guardiola will no doubt be keen to correct a remarkable failing in his outstanding side's game, however.

City's record from 12 yards features in our quirky facts from the weekend's top-flight action.
 

Sterling's penchant for pens wasted at City

As Gundogan, who later scored twice, blazed over in front of the Kop, it meant City have now accounted for four of the past six Premier League spot-kicks to miss the target - including three against Liverpool (also Riyad Mahrez in October 2018 and Kevin De Bruyne in November 2020).

City are five points clear at the top of the table with a game in hand but could be in an even more commanding position if they were more clinical from the spot.

In Raheem Sterling, City boast the player who has won more penalties (21) than any other in Premier League history, the latest seeing Fabinho trip the former Liverpool forward.

Sterling is unlikely to ease his side's penalty woes, however, having scored just one of his four attempts in the competition.

Only two players in Premier League history have a worse record after taking at least four penalties, with Mike Newell and Juninho Paulista each missing all their four attempts.

Nick Barmby, like Sterling, netted one of four. No player in the competition has ever taken five or more penalties and converted fewer than two.
 

Lloris longevity leading Ronaldo and Messi

Tottenham captain Hugo Lloris made his 500th top-flight appearance in the 2-0 win over West Brom, keeping his 173rd clean sheet.

Since his Ligue 1 bow for Nice in March 2006, no player has appeared more often in Europe's top five leagues than the World Cup-winning France goalkeeper.

Second on the list over that span is another goalkeeper still going strong in Inter's Samir Handanovic on 493 games, coincidentally also registering 173 clean sheets.

And the two biggest names of all sit third and fourth, Cristiano Ronaldo on 484 appearances just ahead of Lionel Messi's 480.

Karim Benzema (463) makes the top 10, while David Silva (448), Sergio Ramos (446) and Sergio Aguero (443) are all in the top 20.
 

Saints star not quite the free-kick king

James Ward-Prowse's latest free-kick goal came in a losing effort for Southampton at Newcastle United, but he nudged further up the all-time Premier League standings.

The spectacular effort at St James' Park was the England international's 10th direct free-kick strike in the competition, becoming the ninth player to that mark.

Ward-Prowse has scored with 13.9 per cent of his 72 direct free-kick shots, while 37 per cent of his 27 Premier League goals have come via this method.

Only Laurent Robert (11 of 23 goals for 47.8 per cent) and Sebastian Larsson (11 of 26 goals for 42.3 per cent) netted a greater share of their goals in the competition direct from set-pieces.

Ward-Prowse still has some way to go to match David Beckham's record of 20 free-kick goals, however. Thierry Henry (12), Gianfranco Zola (12) and Ronaldo (11), along with Robert and Larsson, are the others still above the Southampton star.

His tally of four this term trails only Beckham in 2000-01 and Robert the following season (both five) over a single campaign.

Manchester City are reportedly planning a bid for Harry Kane, while United are still interested in Jack Grealish.

City have been linked with numerous forwards amid uncertainty over Sergio Aguero's future.

And it seems the Tottenham star is among their targets.

 

TOP STORY – MAN CITY PLANNING £88.7M BID FOR KANE

Manchester City are planning an £88.7million offer for Tottenham star Kane ahead of next season, according to Bild.

Kane, 27, is contracted at Spurs, where he continues to star, until 2024.

The England international has scored nine goals in 15 Premier League games this season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United remain interested in signing Aston Villa star Grealish, according to the Daily Mail. The midfielder was heavily linked with a move to United in the close season, but ended up staying at Villa, who are in action at Old Trafford on Friday.

- Eric Garcia has seemingly made a decision on his future. The Guardian reports the Manchester City defender has agreed personal terms on a five-year deal with Barcelona. Garcia is contracted at City until the end of the season.

- With Mauricio Pochettino reportedly set to take over at Paris Saint-Germain, Tottenham apparently have worries over Hugo Lloris. The Sun reports Spurs fear the goalkeeper could join former boss Pochettino in Paris and they are eyeing West Brom's Sam Johnstone and Manchester United's Dean Henderson as potential targets.

- Yet to play for Arsenal this season, Mesut Ozil's future remains a talking point. Bild reports the playmaker wants to see out his contract, which runs until season's end, with the Premier League outfit.

- Also coming out of contract, Sami Khedira looks set for a Juventus exit. The Daily Mail reports the midfielder is set to hold talks with Everton over a potential move.

- Struggling for game time at Manchester United, Jesse Lingard has had the one-year option on his contract at the club triggered, according to Sky Sports. Lingard's deal now runs until 2022.

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