Mohamed Salah played like Lionel Messi in training at Chelsea and Jose Mourinho failed to get the best out of the star forward, according to former Blues team-mate Filipe Luis.

Chelsea bought Salah to the Premier League in January 2014 after striking a reported £11million fee with Swiss side Basel.

But it was an unhappy spell for the Egypt international under Mourinho, with Salah starting just 10 games, scoring twice and supplying three assists before being shipped off on loan to Fiorentina a year later.

A spell at Roma followed his time with the Viola and it was his impressive performances in Serie A that convinced Liverpool to give him a second chance in English football.

With the Reds, Salah has become a Premier League and Champions League winner, and Filipe Luis – who similar difficulties forcing his way into Mourinho's plans – said his talent was always evident at Stamford Bridge.

"I won the league with him [Mourinho]. But he didn't get the best out of me, just as he didn't with Salah," the former Brazil international told the Guardian.

"When he went Fiorentina, I said: 'Why are you going, Momo? This is Chelsea.' And he said: 'I need to play.' I thought: 'This kid's good.' He never went for money or to win more; he went to show he could play. In training he was like Messi. Really, like Messi. Ask anyone."

Filipe Luis arrived at Chelsea in July 2014 having just won LaLiga with Atletico Madrid, a club with whom he was also a Copa del Rey and Europa League winner and a Champions League runner-up prior to moving to London.

Despite his reputation as one of the best left-backs in the world at that time, Mourinho afforded him just 26 appearances in all competitions and nine starts in the Premier League.

However, reflecting on that time in his career Filipe Luis insists he harbours no ill will towards Mourinho and accepts the form of Cesar Azpilicueta meant he could have few complaints.

"I haven't told anyone this but the first game I knocked on [Jose] Mourinho's door," he said. "'Can I talk to you?' 'Come in.' 'Why did you bring me here? You took me from a place I was happy, where I played every week. You signed me to play. And the first day against Burnley I'm on the bench. Why not leave me at Atletico? Why bring me here not to play?' 

"He said he didn't think I was playing well and Azpilicueta was, that he didn't feel as secure with me. I had to win my place; I couldn't expect to be first choice on reputation. And looking back, he was right.

"He played so well he never gave me a chance. Mourinho rotated so I did get chances but I didn't start big games because the team was playing perfectly. We had great players. Eden Hazard, [Cesc] Fabregas, Diego Costa."

Hazard, a modern-day Blues great, was a player who Filipe Luis was particularly enthralled by.

"Alongside Neymar, Eden's the best I've played with. He's up there with Messi, winning games alone. 

"He didn't run to defend much, didn't train well, and five minutes before games he'd be playing Mario Kart in the dressing room. He trained and warmed up laces untied. But he'd go out and no one could take the ball. He'd dribble three or four. If opponents got too close, he'd just pull away, so powerful.

"So intelligent: one-two, combine, go alone; assist, score, everything. Maybe he lacks the ambition to say 'I'll be the world's best', because he could be. For talent, the best. 

"Cesc had an extraordinary season too. And Costa. Then the defence was incredible. John Terry's one of the best captains I've had. Even the bench: Oscar, Obi Mikel, Mohamed Salah, [Andre] Schurrle, Kurt Zouma, [Didier] Drogba, Loic Remy. Some team."

Jose Mourinho insisted he and his coaching staff remain the best in the business after his Tottenham tenure took another wrong turn in the 2-1 loss at West Ham.

Mistakes early in each half allowed Michail Antonio and Jesse Lingard to score for David Moyes' side, who are riding high in fourth position.

Lucas Moura pulled one back from a Gareth Bale corner, with Wales star Bale also hitting the crossbar as Spurs failed to claim a share of the spoils.

Tottenham have now lost five of their past six Premier League games, with a 2-0 win against relegation-threatened West Brom the only moment of encouragement during this slump.

Mourinho has never endured such a poor six-game sequence during his decorated career, but he balked at the post-match news conference when it was suggested he might question his own methods.

"No. No, not at all. Not at all. Zero," he replied. "Sometimes the results are a consequence of multiple situations in football.

"Mine and my coaching staff's methods are second to nobody in the world."

Spurs are ninth in the table having been beaten eight times in 24 outings this season. That is the highest number of league defeats Mourinho has suffered since the nine that led to his sacking at Chelsea midway through the 2015-16 campaign.

The West Ham match was his 50th Premier League outing in charge of Tottenham, with those games yielding 23 wins, 12 draws and 15 defeats.

Those 81 points overall are 14 fewer than Mourinho has amassed during his first 50 league games with any other club over the course of his career.

A haul of 95 from 50 at Manchester United is his next worst return, with all of his other posts having yielded in excess of 100 points.

The 15 defeats are more than twice as many as the ex-Porto, Chelsea, Inter and Real Madrid boss has suffered during an initial half-century of matches before now.

Gareth Bale would start every game for Tottenham if his fitness allowed, according to Jose Mourinho.

Bale came off the bench at half-time for Spurs at West Ham on Sunday, delivering the corner for Lucas Moura to head home before hitting the crossbar himself.

However, he was not able to avert a 2-1 defeat for Mourinho's men – their fifth loss in six as part of a dismal run in the Premier League.

Real Madrid loanee Bale has been restricted to two top-flight starts since making his Tottenham return last September and Mourinho felt unable to add to that number despite the Wales star's goalscoring contribution against Wolfsberger in the Europa League on Thursday.

"I know his quality. I cannot say everything to you, I shouldn't. I don't want," he told Sky Sports when discussing Bale's performance after the match.

"I believe as a coach I don't have to speak so much about the situation, but with a Gareth Bale completely fit and ready to play 90 minutes of every game, of course he would [play].

"We are trying everything with him to recover him to be at a good level. To play 65 minutes like he did Thursday then today he couldn't start the game today, he wouldn't have 90 minutes to give us.

"But I am happy because we know what he brings, he brings his quality.

"[He was] very unlucky [when he hit the crossbar] because in that situation we had a double shot to score but we didn't."

Spurs are languishing in eighth position, with West Ham now nine points better off in fourth having played a game more.

"Before the game I was not looking to the table, I was looking to the game and the objective was to win," Mourinho said, having seen Tottenham's hopes of Champions League qualification suffer another body blow.

"It is very difficult to think about the top four. The top four, five, six teams are getting points. It will be very, very hard. The Europa League is a great motivation to get a Champions League spot and a trophy at the same time.

"The boys fight and when the team fights you can believe good things can happen."

Goals inside the first five minutes of either half from Michail Antonio and Jesse Lingard scuppered Spurs at London Stadium but Mourinho felt fortune did not smile on his side.

"I feel the result should have been a different one, especially in the second half," he added. "That is my feeling and a little bit of deja vu.

"Their defensive line was brilliant. Their centre-backs gave us a very difficult match. We started the game with a mistake and started the second half with another one.

"The team in the second half was trying absolutely everything. We had the chances, hitting the post, great crosses across the face of goal. We had easy shooting positions to score so we should have scored more goals.

"We were the team that tried to play but the boys were not lucky."

David Moyes finally got the better of Jose Mourinho at the 16th time of asking and the West Ham boss was delighted to beat one of the game's "elite managers".

The Hammers ran out 2-1 winners at the London Stadium on Sunday, with Michail Antonio and Jesse Lingard on target for the hosts.

It moved West Ham up to fourth and it was also significant for being Moyes' first win over Mourinho after 15 failed attempts.

"There is always a first for everything and Jose Mourinho has had great teams wherever," the Scot told Sky Sports.

"He is up there with elite managers but sometimes football can get you results like it did today. A great win for us. A tough opponent."

Lucas Moura's header made it a nervy finish for the hosts, with Spurs twice hitting the woodwork late on.

But Lingard's cool finish ultimately proved decisive, with the midfielder having scored three goals in four league games under Moyes at West Ham, as many as he managed in his 36 matches under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United.

Reflecting on the career trajectory of a man who spent a decade in the first-team fold at Old Trafford, Moyes said: "Jesse has been a very good player, we shouldn't take that away.

"He has had a difficult year. He has given us something else and helped us get better."

Champions League qualification is firmly on West Ham's radar now, but Moyes does not want his side to get carried away, with so much work still ahead of them.

"We have only done half a job," he said. "If we continue this way we will be close. I don't want to be negative in any way.

"We are enjoying it but are also not going to be daft. We will keep calm about it and hopefully keep pushing the teams at the top.

"West Ham have always had bits where they've won some big games but what they want is consistency and I think we have consistency.

"This club badly needs a level where they are not around the bottom. This time last year you were asking me if we can avoid relegation so it is a great feeling that is gone."

Tottenham fell to a fifth defeat in six Premier League games as David Moyes ended his Jose Mourinho hoodoo in West Ham's 2-1 win at the London Stadium.

Moyes enjoyed his first victory over Mourinho at the 16th time of asking, spoiling the under-fire boss' 50th top-flight game at the Spurs helm as the Hammers climbed to fourth.

Michail Antonio gave the hosts the lead after just five minutes and they were even quicker out of the blocks in the second half, the in-form Jesse Lingard on target.

Spurs, who squandered a 3-0 lead with 10 minutes remaining to draw the reverse fixture 3-3 in October, hit back via Lucas Moura's header but Gareth Bale struck the crossbar as a comeback failed to materialise.

Antonio put Moyes' side ahead, prodding home from close range after Hugo Lloris had repelled his initial effort from Jarrod Bowen's cross.

Harry Kane blasted wide at the end of a swift Spurs counter-attack as the visitors sought a quick response.

A sickening clash of heads between Tomas Soucek and Davinson Sanchez saw the former head off after his face was bloodied, leaving West Ham down to 10 men for a spell which they weathered without consequence.

Craig Dawson's bullet header forced Lloris to tip over his bar before half-time, with Lukasz Fabianski smartly denying Erik Lamela at the other end.

Spurs' woes deepened just over a minute into the second half as Lingard raced through to slot confidently past Lloris, leaving Mourinho looking glum on the touchline.

Kane, who had scored 11 goals in 15 league games against the Hammers prior to Sunday's clash, sent a long-range effort narrowly wide of Fabianski's left-hand upright around the hour mark.

Lucas' near-post header from Bale's corner gave Spurs hope and Kane went close to an equaliser with a low strike that flashed just wide.

Bale's spectacular attempt from the edge of the box cracked against the bar, with the woodwork again struck following a stoppage-time deflection off Son Heung-min, as West Ham ultimately stood firm in the face of significant late pressure.


What does it mean? Champions League ambitions fading for Spurs

While West Ham are eyeing a seat at European football's top table, Spurs' own Champions League aspirations are fading fast.

Mourinho's men are now nine points behind the Hammers, albeit with a game in hand, with the Europa League perhaps offering their best route back to the big time.

Mourinho's half century a damp squib

With 50 top-flight games in the Spurs dugout now under his belt, Mourinho's impact can be meaningfully measured, and the results are not great.

The Portuguese has won 23, drawn 12 and lost 15 of those matches, giving him a points-per-game return of 1.62 – the lowest such ratio at the club since Juande Ramos between 2007 and 2008 (1.17).

Lingard's impressive revival

Lingard took his goal, which proved decisive, with the confidence of a man in form.

He has scored three goals in four league games under Moyes at West Ham, as many as he managed in his 36 matches under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United.

What's next?

Tottenham host Wolfsberger in the second leg of their Europa League last-32 tie on Wednesday, boasting a 4-1 advantage, and then welcome Burnley in the league on Sunday. The Hammers head to runaway league leaders Manchester City on Saturday.

Manchester United's opening-day 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace was a chastening reminder of the team's frailties, but there was a somewhat surprising voice behind the subsequent call-to-action for the club's hierarchy.

Luke Shaw provided undoubtedly the most honest assessment of the situation among United players, this from a player who had rarely come across as a natural leader during his time at the club.

"We have a very good group, but personally I think we need more players to strengthen the squad," he told Norway's TV2. "It can give us a boost. When you look around at how other teams are strengthening their teams, then we must also do it to keep up with the others."

Perhaps the fact he wasn't speaking to a British outlet resulted in a more relaxed, open response from Shaw, who then also went on to criticise their pre-season.

But it was a new, authoritative look for a player who has always seemingly preferred to keep away from the media spotlight, and few United fans would have disagreed with him.

What happened next, however, he probably didn't expect – among the four players signed on deadline day in October was a new left-back, a Brazil international with the kind of attack-minded profile many had hoped Shaw would develop at United.

While Shaw definitely showed signs of progress in 2019-20, Alex Telles' arrival was the clearest sign that his position was no longer assured – he needed to respond.

 

A SHAW THING

The fact Telles has made just six Premier League starts in his debut season at Old Trafford is as good a starting point as any when highlighting Shaw's improved standing, and in fairness to the new signing, he's hardly put a foot wrong.

Telles has looked a solid acquisition and certainly fits the bill as a forward-thinking full-back who is also capable defensively, but Shaw has reached a level he has arguably never shown before in his career.

As an attacking outlet, Shaw's output has improved almost across the board, as such he has made himself almost undroppable.

 

His five assists is already a personal high for a Premier League season, having only managed seven in total before 2020-21, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. He is creating 2.3 chances per 90 minutes, which is up from one last term and well clear of his previous best of 1.2 each game for an entire campaign.

Undoubtedly one reason for that is the fact he is taking more set-pieces, yet his average of 1.4 open play chances created per 90 minutes remains a frequency he has never matched before over the course of a season, proving his increased familiarity with dead-ball duties isn't skewing the data.

A quick glance at his average position activity maps shows his involvement in the left-hand channel of the attacking third is up on each of the past two seasons, as well as his final year with Southampton.

 

This shows Shaw is embracing greater attacking responsibility, and where that is reflected most is the number of passes (including crosses) he is playing into the box each game (7.4). His last season with Saints had been his best in this regard (4.4), yet he's way up on that, and his productivity here is more than two-and-a-half times what it was in 2019-20 (2.9).

Shaw's early days with Southampton appeared to promise much. Finally, he appears to be back on track, not that it's been smooth sailing.

 

COPING, OUTLASTING, PROGRESSING

Shaw's relationship with Jose Mourinho became something of a distraction at times during the Portuguese's ill-fated reign.

Granted, Shaw wasn't the only player Mourinho seemed to have a problem with, but his treatment of Shaw in particular did leave a sour taste.

In two-and-a-half years playing for Mourinho, Shaw only made 33 Premier League appearances. While he did have injury and fitness problems, the manager's attitude seemingly did little to endear himself to the player.

Mourinho publicly criticised him after a 2016 defeat to Watford, saying: "For the second goal, [Nordin] Amrabat on the right side, our left-back is 25 metres distance from him, instead of five metres. But even at 25 metres, then you have to jump and go press. But no, we wait."

Mourinho then used Shaw's positive performance against Everton in 2017 against him. He said: "He had a good performance, but it was his body with my brain. He was in front of me and I was making every decision for him."

This isn't to say Shaw has been faultless this season. In fact, his defensive focus has been questionable at times in 2020-21, such as against Tottenham and Manchester City, for example.

But it's fair to say the greater attacking impetus he is showing this term compared to under Mourinho means he is more than making up for the occasional defensive lapse, and it's not like he's being beaten time after time – on average Shaw is dribbled past once every two games, the second lowest frequency for a single season in his entire career.

The difference? Well, according to the man himself, belief and competition.

"I feel really good, obviously big credit to Ole for that for believing in me and pushing me," Shaw said last month. "Alex [Telles] as well, we have a great relationship and he pushes me each day in training. We get on really well. It's nice to have that type of competition, but we push each other to get the best from ourselves. When he plays, I want the best for him, and it's the same the other way round. It's a positive way for both of us to look at it and push each other."

 

THE BEST?

There was a time – not even that long ago – when the very suggestion of Shaw being among the Premier League's best full-backs would have drawn a chuckle of derision in response.

Granted, across the four seasons prior to 2020-21, Shaw's best record of open play chances created per 90 minutes was 0.2, but there can be no doubt he is now at least in the conversation.

 

Liverpool's Andy Robertson is generally seen as the standard-bearer for left-backs in England's top flight, and Shaw compares well from an attacking sense with the Scotland international.

Shaw's 40 chances created this term is one more than Robertson, while the latter is just ahead in terms of key passes in open play (29 to 24) – though the United man has made 20 appearances to his rival's 24.

Robertson is proving a more regular source of service, with his 213 passes into the box and 201 total crosses/corners far more than Shaw's respective numbers (129 and 105), but the United left-back's deliveries are far more reliable.

Shaw's 37 successful crosses/corners is just five fewer than Robertson despite playing almost half the amount of overall deliveries.

But what really highlights Shaw's growth is his xA (expected assists) figures. His xA per 90, so the amount of assists he would ordinarily be expected to get per game, is 0.21 in 2020-21. Not only is that better than his previous best by some distance (0.12), Joao Cancelo (0.24) is the only full-back doing better here this term.

 

Shaw has made himself almost indispensable to United, his influence all the more important given Aaron Wan-Bissaka isn't particularly refined as an attacking outlet and they very rarely play with conventional wingers on either flank.

Therefore, Shaw offers the kind of threat from the wings that arguably no one else in the United squad does – and as his xA record shows, he is proving a consistent danger that marks him out as one of the league's best.

After being plagued by questions relating to his mentality for years, it's fair to say he is responding in the ideal fashion, with Telles' signing seemingly an important catalyst.

While it might be a little early to declare him outright the Premier League's best, his current trajectory at least shows that to be a realistic aim.

Manchester City are reportedly yet to begin talks over a move for Lionel Messi, while Erling Haaland is Barcelona's ideal signing.

Messi's future continues to be a major talking point as the star's contract at Barcelona expires at the end of the season.

City have been one of the clubs most strongly linked with a move for the six-time Ballon d'Or winner, but it seems the Premier League giants are waiting.

 

TOP STORY – MAN CITY YET TO BEGIN MESSI TALKS

Manchester City are yet to open talks with Lionel Messi, according to ESPN.

The report says City will wait until the Argentina international has decided his Barcelona future before considering negotiations.

It comes after claims the Premier League side had already tabled an offer to Messi.

 

ROUND-UP

- Erling Haaland is wanted by numerous European giants. Mundo Deportivo reports the Borussia Dortmund star would be Barcelona's ideal signing, but the LaLiga side are considering more affordable options.

- Manchester United were seemingly keen to land Barcelona forward Ansu Fati last year. Mundo Deportivo says a £129.7million (€150m) bid from United for the 18-year-old was rejected ahead of 2020-21.

- With Tottenham slipping to ninth in the Premier League, Jose Mourinho has come under fire. ESPN reports Spurs chairman Daniel Levy will wait until the end of the season to make a decision on the head coach.

- Out of contract at the end of the season, Gianluigi Donnarumma is yet to agree to a new deal with Milan. 90min claims the 21-year-old wants to succeed Manchester United shot-stopper David de Gea as the highest paid goalkeeper in the world, although he is prepared to take reduced terms at Milan.

- Thierry Henry could be set to take over at Bournemouth. talkSPORT reports the Championship club have requested permission from CF Montreal, where Henry is currently in charge, to talk to the Arsenal great.

Jose Mourinho has told his Tottenham players to "make me look good" in Sunday's clash with West Ham and insists a top-four finish can still be achieved this season.

The Spurs boss has never lost to a David Moyes team, having won nine and drawn six of his past meetings with the West Ham manager.

Moyes has also never faced a manager so many times and not registered at least one win. Yet with West Ham currently six points ahead of a faltering Tottenham in the Premier League, there may never be a better chance for the former Everton and Manchester United chief to end that long wait.

Tottenham have lost four of their last five Premier League games, as many defeats as they suffered in their previous 28 games in the competition, and head into the weekend sitting ninth in the table.

Questions linger over how long Tottenham will be patient with Mourinho, and another setback at the London Stadium would be a major blow to hopes of playing Champions League football next season.

It will be Mourinho's 50th Premier League match in charge of Tottenham Hotspur and his points-per-game average of 1.65 is the lowest of any Spurs boss since Juande Ramos (1.17).

"The table always gives you what you deserve, and I think it's very premature to think about the definition of the table," said Mourinho.

"We have to fight and we have to wait until the last match to see what happens, because anything can happen.

"We can finish in the top four, we can finish in the top six or we can finish outside the top six. We must make sure the best possible thing is going to happen."

Tottenham won 4-1 in Budapest against Wolfsberger in the Europa League on Thursday evening, a timely boost ahead of a big London derby for Mourinho.

The former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss said: "Special teams win lots of matches. We coaches are as good and as bad as our players make us. We depend a lot on that, especially coaches with lots of experience and long histories.

"We went through every possible experience and go through stages in our career where we feel much more stable and much more humble, and we realise with all the experience we have that the ones who are really responsible for our career are the ones who play for us.

"Hopefully this weekend the guys have a great performance and can make me look good, because they're the ones who make us look good or bad."

Tottenham made Mourinho look good for a long while against West Ham in October, surging into a 3-0 lead inside barely quarter of an hour before West Ham hit back sensationally with three goals in the final 10 minutes to snatch a 3-3 draw.

Such fallibility reflects negatively on the team and the coach, and Mourinho felt that afternoon was to some extent an encapsulation of Tottenham's campaign.

"The first game against West Ham was a little bit a reflection of our season and a reflection of some of our problems," Mourinho said.

"We played really, really well in that match, but we didn't win it. I think the team played so well but made mistakes.

"This team many, many times plays very, very well and should get different results, but for different reasons we don't get it."

Jose Mourinho wants Harry Kane to "play every minute of every game" but says the Tottenham talisman was handed a rest on Thursday to manage his current fitness concerns.

Kane suffered an ankle problem in Spurs' defeat to Liverpool on January 28, and seemed set to miss several weeks, only to be brought back into the fold ahead of schedule to face West Brom on February 7.

It was a move which paid off, Kane scoring in a 2-0 win – Spurs' only league victory from their last five top-flight matches.

After coming on in the FA Cup defeat to Everton and playing against Manchester City last week, Kane did not travel to Budapest for the first leg of Spurs' Europa League round of 32 tie with Austrian side Wolfsberger on Thursday.

Tottenham did the job without their star forward, as Son Heung-min, Gareth Bale, Lucas Moura and Carlos Vinicius secured a 4-1 win and aggregate advantage heading into the reverse fixture.

"He knows I want to play him every minute of every game so it is never a question of a choice," Mourinho told a news conference when asked about Kane.

"I wanted to come here with the best team and the players to give us more opportunities to have a good result but he made the decision based on his feelings which was that to play in this game was a risk with the accumulation of minutes after the injury he had. 

"Myself and the medical department agreed with him, to give him this opportunity to take care of his condition. But I believe Sunday he will be okay and ready."

Kane is Spurs' joint top-scorer in the league this season – alongside Son – with 13 goals, while the England captain has also provided 11 assists.

He has created a total of 32 chances, second only to Son, while 29 of them have come from open play – six more than his South Korean team-mate.

Of the opportunities Kane has crafted for team-mates, 12 of them are big chances, once more a team-high, and his big chance conversion rate is 60 per cent.

Spurs did not miss him against Wolfsberger though, and one player to step up was Bale, who teed up Son's opener before adding a brilliant second.

It was the first time Bale has scored and assisted for Spurs in a match since April 2013, when he did so against Manchester City, and Mourinho – who took the 31-year-old off with just over an hour played – suggested the Real Madrid loanee could be in line for a third Premier League start of the season against West Ham on Sunday.

"One of the reasons why Gareth left the pitch by 64 minutes was to try to have him available for the next match because one of the things that is not easy in relation to his condition is the accumulation of minutes," said Mourinho.

"I believe he has a chance to play the match on Sunday."

Jose Mourinho acknowledged Tottenham's 4-1 win over Wolfsberger was not "incredible", but insisted it will bring positivity to his squad.

Son Heung-min, Gareth Bale, Lucas Moura and Carlos Vinicius scored in an ultimately routine win in Budapest on Thursday, as Spurs took a huge stride towards reaching the last 16 of the Europa League.

 Michael Liendl's 55th-minute penalty complicated matters slightly for Mourinho, but his side were comfortable as they earned just a second win in their last seven games across all competitions.

With a London derby up against West Ham next up for Spurs, Mourinho – who has been eliminated from just one of his 17 previous European knockout ties when winning the first leg, going out in the 2006-07 Champions League semi-final against Liverpool – conceded the performance was not perfect, but believes the victory provides a much-needed boost.

"We had to come and play with ambition which we did. The score should have been more than 3-0 at half-time," Mourinho told reporters.

"In the second half we made that mistake that gave them life. There were some similarities with [the FA Cup tie with] Everton.

"If you're in control and make a mistake you give the opposition life and the game can change – here it didn't change, but the 3-2 was not far from happening.

"We had good control of the game. Lots of chances. I believe the last goal put almost a period on this tie. 4-1 away is a very good result.

"I don't consider this an incredible victory, just a good victory that brings good feelings. By flying back, the plane will be a different plane than after a defeat. Tomorrow morning in training, the same."

Bale turned in an impressive display in the first half, setting up Son's opener before arrowing in Spurs' second himself.

The Wales forward's five goals this season have all been at different stadiums – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Linzer Stadion, bet365 Stadium, Adams Park and Puskas Arena – while it was the first time the 31-year-old has both scored and assisted in a game for Spurs since April 2013.

Son, meanwhile, moved onto 18 goals for the season in total with his opener, matching his tally from last season in all competitions, and the South Korea star, who has enjoyed a supreme relationship with Harry Kane this season, revelled in playing alongside an in-form Bale.

"I have a really close relationship with him," Son said.

"I'm very happy he's getting game time and scored a goal and got an assist. I really enjoy playing with him."

Tottenham took control of their Europa League round-of-32 tie against Wolfsberger with ease as Gareth Bale impressed in a 4-1 victory in Budapest on Thursday.

On the same ground where Liverpool beat RB Leipzig in the Champions League on Tuesday, Spurs dismantled their Austrian opponents with a superb first-half display.

Bale was integral, teeing up Son Heung-min's opener before doubling Spurs' lead with a fine finish.

Lucas Moura put Spurs further ahead and even though Moussa Sissoko's lapse amid a disjointed second-half performance from Spurs allowed Michael Liendl to pull one back from the penalty spot, substitute Carlos Vinicius restored the three-goal cushion.

 

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.

Manchester United are making plans for Paul Pogba's departure and may have already identified the Frenchman's replacement in Real Madrid's Federico Valverde.

The 22-year-old has struggled with injuries this season, while veteran midfielders Luka Modric and Toni Kroos have been in vintage form for LaLiga's champions.

Valverde has only started 12 games in all competitions this season, but the Uruguayan has impressed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer enough for United to step up their efforts to bring him to Old Trafford this off-season.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED EYE VALVERDE TO PLUG MIDFIELD

Valverde has shown his class while featuring in 89 games during his three seasons in the Spanish capital and has turned heads at United.

The Red Devils are said to admire his energy and box-to-box qualities as they seek a long-term solution to lock down a place in the centre of Solskjaer's midfield, according to The Sun.

One snag in the recruitment drive could be the Uruguay international's buy-out clause of a staggering £148million, though United can offer him a major improvement on his current £120,000 per week wage.

Liverpool lost a third successive top-flight game under Jurgen Klopp for the first time and Manchester City extended their record winning run in Saturday's Premier League action.

The Reds conceded three goals in a seven-minute spell as they went down 3-1 to Leicester City - managed by their former boss Brendan Rodgers - at the King Power Stadium.

Klopp's men are now 13 points adrift of City, who brushed aside Tottenham 3-0 at the Etihad Stadium later in the day for their 16th win in a row in all competitions.

Burnley also scored three unanswered goals at Crystal Palace to move further clear of the relegation zone, while Brighton and Hove Albion and Aston Villa played out a 0-0 draw.

Leicester City 3-1 Liverpool: No Vardy party for Klopp after latest setback

Liverpool's trip to Leicester marked Klopp's 300th game in charge of the club, though the German had little to celebrate come full-time after his side capitulated late on.

Klopp became the ninth manager to reach that landmark figure for the Reds and the day initially got off to a good start for his side.

Mohamed Salah gave the visitors the lead with his 10th away league goal of the season - the first player in the division to reach that mark - but then came a Leicester onslaught.

James Maddison made it eight goal involvements in his last nine league outings, before Jamie Vardy put Rodgers' side ahead.

It was the former England international's eighth Premier League goal against Liverpool - only against Arsenal (11 goals) has he found the net more times.

Harvey Barnes then rounded off the scoring with his eighth Premier League goal of the season, making him the highest-scoring English midfielder in the division this term.

The last time Liverpool lost three league games in a row was in November 2014 under Rodgers, who is the first ex-Reds manager to beat his former side since Roy Hodgson did so with West Brom in April 2012.

Manchester City 3-0 Tottenham: Goal-crazy Gundogan shines again for Guardiola's juggernaut

After setting a record for the number of successive wins for an English top-flight club in all competitions with their midweek FA Cup win at Swansea City, the Citizens picked up from where they left off in a straightforward victory against Tottenham.

City have now won 16 games in a row and are unbeaten in 23 in all competitions since losing 2-0 to Spurs in November's reverse fixture, conceding just six goals during that record-breaking run.

Incredibly, Pep Guardiola's men have not trailed for a single minute in any of their 15 league games since that loss at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium - only Arsenal, 19 games between December 1998 and May 1999, have embarked on a longer run.

Ilkay Gundogan has been City's star performer across their perfect streak, with his brace here taking him to nine Premier League goals in 2021 - the most of any player across Europe's top five major leagues since the turn of the year.

Rodrigo had earlier given the home side the lead from the penalty spot after getting the nod over goalkeeper Ederson, who may not have got on the scoresheet but did at least register an assist - the third goal he has set up for City in all competitions.

On the back of their 5-4 extra-time loss to Everton in the FA Cup last 16, Spurs have now shipped eight goals in their last two games - the most a Jose Mourinho-managed side has conceded in a two-game period in all competitions.

Crystal Palace 0-3 Burnley: Zaha-less Eagles fail to fly

The result at Selhurst Park had a sense of inevitability about it before a ball was even kicked due to Wilfried Zaha being ruled out with a hamstring injury.

Palace have now lost 18 of their last 20 Premier League games in which star man Zaha has been absent, failing to score in 16 of those 18 defeats.

What was surprising, though, is the fact Burnley netted three times, matching their tally from their previous 10 away league matches combined.

Johann Berg Gudmundsson opened the scoring after five minutes - the first time he has netted in back-to-back Premier League appearances in what was his 108th game in the competition.

Jay Rodriguez's fifth league goal against Palace - only against Nottingham Forest (six) has he bagged more - had Burnley two up and Matt Lowton rounded off the scoring.

It was the right-back's first top-flight strike since April 2013, a run spanning some seven years and 313 days.

Brighton and Hove Albion 0-0 Aston Villa: Martinez repels Seagulls in stalemate

Brighton were held to a goalless draw by Villa but it was not for the want of trying as they attempted 26 shots, which is the most they have ever managed in a Premier League game.

Villa keeper Emiliano Martinez had another inspired game with nine saves in total on his way to keeping a seventh away clean sheet in the Premier League this season - only Brad Friedel in 2009-10 (eight) has kept more in a single campaign for the club.

Brighton continued to push for a goal right until the end and were helped in their pursuit of an opener by substitute Adam Lallana, whose four chances created was the highest of any player on the pitch, despite only playing 28 minutes.

A point for Brighton does at least extend their unbeaten run to six top-flight matches, something they last achieved in November 1981 with a run of eight.

This is perhaps a fixture the neutrals should steer clear of in future, given that the last seven league games in which Brighton have hosted Villa have seen just eight goals scored, with neither team netting more than once in a match.

Jose Mourinho was not surprised to see his "very tired team" lose at Manchester City, although he felt Tottenham were in the match before conceding a "modern penalty".

Spurs have won once in six matches in all competitions after suffering a 3-0 defeat at City in the Premier League just three days on from an extra-time FA Cup exit against Everton.

Tottenham have conceded eight goals this week, having shipped five at Goodison Park, the worst two-game total of Mourinho's coaching career.

Despite having just seven shots to City's 15 and only three on target - all of them in the second half - the Spurs head coach was pleased with his side's effort and frustrated with the circumstances surrounding the 23rd-minute opening goal.

Tottenham had had the best effort to that point, as Harry Kane's free-kick hit the crossbar, but Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg fouled Ilkay Gundogan for a penalty that Rodri dispatched.

The result never appeared in doubt thereafter and Gundogan added a brace, swelling his 2021 total to nine - the most of any player in Europe's 'top five' leagues.

"It's a fresh team against a very tired team, but a team that started the game very, very well, with the game completely controlled," Mourinho told Sky Sports.

"We hit the post - 1-0, that could give us that fuel that you need when you are especially tired like the boys were.

"And then one more of these 'modern penalties' - I call them 'modern penalties' - to put us in a difficult situation.

"I'm very, very happy with the players' attitude. I had guys on the pitch that played two hours a couple of days ago; they gave everything.

"Of course, we have guys in difficulty. Lucas [Moura] was the one that I took off at half-time, but I had other guys on the pitch in such a difficult situation.

"But brave attitude, great dignity. Of course, losing 3-0, a team that is not united, a team that is not together would give up and would probably be punished in a way that the team didn't deserve at all.

"But I saw guys like Harry, like Pierre, Ben [Davies], just to tell three names - I could give you five, six or seven - giving everything.

"I have nothing to say against my players, not even a couple of defensive mistakes that are always present. I cannot complain of the attitude of the boys."

Asked to expand on his suggestion of "modern penalties", Mourinho replied: "A 'modern penalty' is the penalty where even if you touch with the nail inside the box, it can be a penalty.

"Of course, it depends on the opponent, it depends on the team. But for some, you touch with the nail, it's a penalty.

"Then you go to the VAR and the VAR cannot deny that there was a touch, sometimes with a toe, sometimes with a nail, sometimes with a nose.

"You cannot deny that there was contact. That's what I call 'modern penalties'."

Only Leicester City (10) have won more spot-kicks than City's seven this season (level with Manchester United and Chelsea), although the league leaders have only converted four of them.

Rodri was tasked with this latest penalty after misses for Gundogan, Raheem Sterling and the injured Kevin De Bruyne this term.

De Bruyne (twice) and Gundogan have also found the net from 12 yards in the Premier League in 2020-21, although it has been a long-term issue for City.

Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, beaten on this occasion, has saved three City penalties since moving to England in 2012, his most against any one club in this time.

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