Brahim Diaz's first goal since October gave Milan a 1-0 victory over Tottenham in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie.

Diaz had gone 12 games without a goal for the Serie A champions but stunned Spurs with an early header on Tuesday.

Tottenham saw plenty of the ball but were unable to come up with an equaliser on former Inter boss Antonio Conte's return to San Siro.

Milan had been without a win in seven matches before beating Torino last Friday, but Diaz gave them back-to-back victories and a slender advantage to take into the second leg at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on March 8.

San Siro erupted when Diaz opened the scoring in the seventh minute, diving to nod in on the goal-line after Fraser Forster produced a brilliant double save to deny the Spaniard and Theo Hernandez.

Spurs responded well to that early blow, though did not create a clear-cut opportunity until Harry Kane rattled the crossbar just before the break, but an offside flag against Son Heung-Min meant the striker's effort would not have counted if it had found the back of the net.

There was concern for Milan when goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu appeared to go over on his ankle before Eric Dier was shown a yellow card that will rule him out of the second leg.

Conte introduced Richarlison with 20 minutes to go before Charles De Ketelaere and Malick Thiaw wasted glorious chances to extend Milan's lead with headers from close range.

Tottenham applied some late pressure, but lacked the quality to salvage a draw and have work to do next month.

Kingsley Coman netted another vital Champions League goal against his former club Paris Saint-Germain as Bayern Munich claimed a 1-0 lead from the away leg of their last-16 tie.

Paris-born Coman scored the only goal when Bayern beat PSG in the final three years ago, and he repeated the trick at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday.

The first-leg victory was no more than Bayern deserved, and the Bundesliga giants will hope they do not pay the price for winning by just the one goal against a PSG side who played without Kylian Mbappe until the 57th minute.

Mbappe, returning from injury, was introduced soon after Coman's goal and could not inspire a turnaround – seeing a late equaliser disallowed – but his involvement in the return match in Germany could yet be decisive.

Without Mbappe from the outset, PSG were completely outclassed, albeit Coman's strike early in the second half was their first clear-cut opportunity.

The winger's finish from substitute Alphonso Davies' cross was close to Gianluigi Donnarumma, but it crept beneath the goalkeeper, who still has not kept a clean sheet in the Champions League this season.

Mbappe's introduction did little to slow Bayern, and Donnarumma was far more impressive in keeping PSG in the tie, making instinctive stops from Eric Choupo-Moting and Benjamin Pavard.

Finally, with 17 minutes to play, Mbappe got in at the other end, but Yann Sommer blocked bravely, and the PSG forward was still in an offside position when Neymar's subsequent shot was spilled at his feet.

That was a straightforward call for the linesman, but the VAR was required when Nuno Mendes dashed in behind and squared for Mbappe to score. The celebrations were cut short as replays showed the left-back had strayed offside.

Although Pavard was sent off for a second bookable offence in stoppage time, Bayern have control heading back to Bavaria.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson wants the report into the incidents at the Champions League final to represent a "turning point" after "inadequate organisation" by UEFA.

The May 28 European showpiece between Liverpool and Real Madrid was twice delayed before kick-off at the Stade de France, with fans unable to enter the ground and tear-gassed by police.

UEFA initially blamed Liverpool fans attempting entry with "fake tickets" before an independent review, commissioned by European football's governing body, placed the blame at the door of the organisers.

The report released on Monday apportioned "primary responsibility" to UEFA, while also criticising the actions of the French Football Federation and local police authorities.

On Tuesday, Liverpool demanded action from UEFA following what the report described as a "near miss", and Henderson is determined the events of last year must not be repeated.

"The Paris report needs to be a turning point for the treatment of football fans," Henderson wrote on Twitter, sharing Liverpool's response. "No one should have their safety jeopardised by inadequate organisation."

Comparisons were drawn by Liverpool supporters between Paris 2022 and the fatal events at Hillsborough in 1989, which resulted in the death of 97 supporters, with the report concurring that UEFA risked a repeat.

It stated "the parallels between Hillsborough 1989 and Paris 2022 are palpable", with incidents at both stadiums "preventable" and "caused by the failures of those responsible for public safety". 

Liverpool urged UEFA to "fully and transparently" fulfil the report's 21 recommendations, which included putting safety and security at the forefront of planning and having matches managed with a "facilitation and service" approach towards supporters, rather than viewing them as a potential public order problem.

The Premier League club added action must be taken "to ensure there are no more 'near misses'", and Henderson expects to see progress as soon as possible.

"The sooner action is taken, the better," he added.

Graham Potter rounded on former players who have questioned his experience and edge as the Chelsea boss insisted he chooses the right moments to show anger.

Former England stars Rio Ferdinand and Joe Cole have been among those to speak out about Potter's leadership.

Both expected a more forceful response from the former Brighton and Hove Albion head coach after Chelsea were denied a penalty at the weekend when Conor Gallagher's shot hit the arm of Tomas Soucek in a 1-1 draw at West Ham.

Cole said there should have been someone on Potter's staff to "cause a bit of an uproar", while both men suggested Potter missed a chance to lay the blame for a disappointing result at the door of the match officials, thereby taking heat off his struggling team.

Ferdinand suggested the likes of former Blues boss Jose Mourinho, plus Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, would have swiftly jumped at a chance to deflect incoming criticism.

Their verdicts on BT Sport came as Potter gave a reasoned reaction to the broadcaster, saying Chelsea needed such things to go for them, adding there was "nothing to complain about there".

Asked about whether he shows anger and in what circumstance, Potter addressed the matter on the eve of his team's Champions League last-16 clash with Borussia Dortmund.

"Of course I get angry. I'm a human being just like you," he told reporters in Tuesday's press conference. "It's just I choose to conduct myself the way I think is the right way to conduct myself on the side.

"That's not to say we don't all lose our temper, because we do, because it's an emotional thing, but I think I have a responsibility to myself, to Chelsea and the game to act in a way that I think is the right way for me; not for anyone else, for me.

"if you think you can start a coaching career in the ninth tier of English football, in the Northern Counties Division One, and get to this point now with Chelsea in the Champions League without getting angry or being nice, then I would suggest you don't know anything about anything."

Potter said the Dortmund away game on Wednesday would be a "wonderful occasion" and he is "really excited for it".

He also spoke about perceived problems between Mykhaylo Mudryk and Marc Cucurella, with reports claiming new signing Mudryk gave a 'like' on Instagram to a post critical of the Chelsea left-back.

They need to forge an alliance on the flank if Chelsea are to blossom, and Potter looked to defuse the situation, saying: "There's no problem in terms of anything sinister at all.

"If anything, it's just team-mates understanding each other. It's quite a common problem: when to pass and at what point and what time.

"There's no problem, it's more just an understanding challenge, which is quite easy to understand when you recognise the context we're in."

Potter added: "We've got a squad we're really excited about, but we know there are challenges and work you have to do. If all of us started working together we'd have to take some time, understand each other, understand what makes us tick and understand how we can help each other.

"That's the impression I get when I see the boys on a daily basis: good spirit, good harmony. They're pushing each other in a good way."

Potter knows Chelsea's vast spending spree, in the region of £600million since Todd Boehly came in as owner, means they have to perform at a high level.

"Of course there's more pressure and expectation when you spend money," he said.

He spoke of how it was difficult to see any club sweeping to consistent trophy success without major investment, but suggested five per cent might find a formula without lavishing huge sums in the transfer market.

"It's like warfare," Potter said. "Sometimes guerrilla warfare can win. You don't have to have the big guns and the big ammo, but sometimes it helps as well."

Kylian Mbappe was named among Paris Saint-Germain's substitutes for Tuesday's Champions League last-16 first leg against Bayern Munich.

The France forward was initially ruled out of the match when sustaining a hamstring injury against Montpellier on February 1 that was expected to sideline him for three weeks.

However, after returning to training on Monday, Mbappe was deemed fit enough to start on the bench for PSG at the Parc des Princes for the visit of Bayern.

Since making his PSG debut in 2017, Mbappe has recorded 57 goal contributions (34 goals and 23 assists) in 50 Champions League appearances.

Lionel Messi, who missed Saturday's 3-1 Ligue 1 loss at Monaco, was among the starters for the hosts alongside Neymar and 16-year-old academy graduate Warren Zaire-Emery.

It was a first start in the competition for Zaire-Emery, with his only other appearance coming off the bench in a 7-2 win over Maccabi Haifa in the group stage.

As for Bayern, Thomas Muller dropped to the bench, with Leroy Sane and Jamal Musiala providing support for Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting.

January recruits Joao Cancelo and Yann Sommer both started in the French capital.

Edin Terzic has not discussed the future with Jude Bellingham and is focusing on improving the midfielder – along with Borussia Dortmund's latest 'next big thing' in Jamie Bynoe-Gittens.

Bellingham is set to be the most sought-after player in Europe when the transfer window opens at the end of the season.

Liverpool have been widely linked with the England international but are set to face competition from rivals in the Premier League and Champions League.

Dortmund have not given up hope of keeping Bellingham, sporting director Sebastian Kehl said this week, but that is not head coach Terzic's concern.

"He still has a long-term contract with us, and I never spoke about that with him," Terzic told The Telegraph.

"The only thing we talk about is improving his performance and to try to push him to find his limits. The rest – there will always be rumours, especially if you are a young, talented English player not playing in England."

Terzic is not yet sure of that limit – "he can achieve everything if he stays hungry," the coach added – but he is confident Bellingham will not be the last young player to trust Dortmund with his development.

Indeed, Bynoe-Gittens, another English teenager, left Manchester City for Dortmund in 2020 and broke into the BVB first team at the end of last season.

This season, winger Bynoe-Gittens has played just 281 Bundesliga minutes, but he has scored three goals – all as a substitute – and provided five secondary assists in that time.

Dortmund sit just three points behind leaders Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga, and they come up against Chelsea in the Champions League on Wednesday.

"We have to produce the next big thing," Terzic said. "It's our way, and you see it started with Ousmane Dembele and Christian Pulisic, who stepped into this role, and then we created our own chain reaction.

"When you are ready to sign Jadon Sancho, he sees that Ousmane Dembele had a great time at the club. Then it makes it a bit easier to sign Erling Haaland.

"If you have Erling, you sign Jude, and if you have Jude, it's easier to sign Jamie."

Terzic is comfortable discussing Bynoe-Gittens in that company, adding of the 18-year-old: "Every time he's on the pitch, he's capable of making the difference, and at 18, it's something special to do that.

"We are sure he's going to be the next one we enjoy on the pitch."

The second set of Champions League last-16 fixtures to take place this week is full of intrigue, with the continent's biggest-spending club of the January transfer window in need of a result.

Graham Potter's Chelsea forked out an estimated £291million to reshape their squad last month, but the misfiring Blues have won just one of their eight games this calendar year. 

For all his struggles on the domestic front, Potter has yet to suffer a Champions League defeat with Chelsea, and maintaining that record at Borussia Dortmund would give them an excellent chance of reaching the last eight.

Potter is not the only under-fire English boss to take centre stage on Wednesday, with former Fulham and Bournemouth head coach Scott Parker overseeing Club Brugge's clash with Benfica.

With just one win in nine games since the World Cup, Brugge will be considered outsiders against the Lisbon giants, who were outstanding as they finished above Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus in Group H.

Stats Perform has taken a look at the key Opta numbers ahead of Wednesday's first-leg match-ups. 

Borussia Dortmund v Chelsea

Somewhat surprisingly given their statuses as European regulars, Dortmund and Chelsea will do battle for the first time in continental competition on Wednesday.

The omens are not particularly good for either side, as a BVB team without a win in their last 10 European meetings with English opponents (D2 L8) face a Chelsea side with just three victories in 11 previous away games in Germany (D3 L5).

Dortmund's last win over Premier League opponents came against Tottenham in the Europa League in 2016, with current Chelsea striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netting twice in a 2-1 triumph.

Aubameyang will not be welcomed back by the yellow wall on Wednesday, however, having been left out of Chelsea's Champions League squad following their huge spending spree.

Instead, Germany international Kai Havertz may lead the line as he bids for a first career goal against BVB – his seven appearances without netting against Dortmund are more than he has managed against any other club.

Dortmund, meanwhile, could hand Sebastien Haller his first Champions League appearance for the club following his recovery from testicular cancer. The former Ajax man has more goals in his first eight games in the competition (11) than any other player.

Additionally, Haller has averaged a goal every 61 minutes of Champions League football, the best ratio in the competition's history (minimum 250 minutes played).

Should Chelsea keep Haller quiet en route to victory, Potter would become the first English manager to win five consecutive Champions League matches, with a 1-1 draw against Salzburg in his first game at the helm the only blot on his European record with the Blues.

Club Brugge v Benfica

Two of the group stage's surprise packages meet in Belgium, with Brugge having escaped Group B at the expense of Bayer Leverkusen and Atletico Madrid, while Benfica bested PSG and Juventus.

Brugge boss Parker has struggled since replacing Carl Hoefkens, but he will join an exclusive club on Wednesday as just the third English coach to lead a non-English team in the Champions League, after Bobby Robson (Porto and PSV) and Gary Neville (Valencia).

In Parker and Potter, meanwhile, two different English managers will coach in the same Champions League campaign for the first time in the competition's history.

Benfica are sure to make things difficult for Parker's team. The Portuguese giants are unbeaten in their last seven Champions League games (W4 D3) and are chasing three consecutive wins in the competition for the first time since the 2005-06 campaign.

In the group stage, Benfica generated more shots (14) and scored more goals (five) following high turnovers (open-play sequences starting within 40 metres of the opponent's goal) than any other team, showing their devastating counter-attacking abilities.

Benfica also have the highest conversion rate of any team, netting with 20 per cent of their shots in the Champions League this term (16/80).

Home goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, then, could be in for a busy outing. Fortunately for Brugge, he has prevented more goals than any other goalkeeper in the Champions League this season (6.3) – being beaten four times from 10.3 expected goals on target faced.

Borussia Dortmund sporting director Sebastian Kehl remains hopeful Jude Bellingham could sign a new contract with the club, but he admits that may be "wishful thinking" on his part.

Bellingham is widely expected to leave Dortmund in the near future, with the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester City and Liverpool heavily linked with the 19-year-old.

The England midfielder's Dortmund deal expires in 2025, but reports have suggested a sale in the next transfer window is likely, in order to allow his club to extract a bigger transfer fee.

Kehl, however, has not given up hope of keeping Bellingham at Signal Iduna Park for the long term.

Asked if there was any update on Bellingham's future, Kehl told Ruhr Nachrichten: "There has been no new development. We'll have to be patient for a little longer. 

"But of course we're trying to keep Jude Bellingham at Borussia Dortmund as long as possible, because he's an incredibly important player who has shown once again this season how he identifies with this club and makes the team better.

"I would also like to still have Erling Haaland or Jadon Sancho at Borussia Dortmund. Because you can only imagine if we had managed to keep all three players in one team, what opportunities would then arise.


"Things develop due to market mechanisms. So of course, I have my thoughts and also have my wishful thinking. I can't say whether that will happen in the end. 

"From Borussia Dortmund's point of view, the wishful thinking would be to keep a player of this quality at this club for as long as possible. 

"We will always try everything to keep players of this quality at BVB – because we are ambitious, because we want to win titles. For this, we need not only good but outstanding players."

Bellingham leads his Dortmund team-mates for goals (10), tackles (70) and duels (388) this term, with the midfield all-rounder only seeing his tally of six assists bettered by Raphael Guerreiro (seven).

Dortmund host Chelsea in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday, looking to end a 10-match winless run against English teams in European competitions dating back to 2016 (D2 L8).

Liverpool have called on UEFA to enact the recommendations of a report which found the governing body "primarily responsible" for the "near-miss" at last year's Champions League final in Paris. 

UEFA commissioned an independent review after dangerous scenes marred Liverpool's meeting with Real Madrid at the Stade de France in May, with English fans targeted with tear gas by French police as they struggled to enter the venue.

European football's governing body initially blamed delays to kick-off on thousands of supporters using "fake tickets", with a similar narrative pushed by French government figures.

The review's findings were published on Monday, with the report holding UEFA responsible as event organiser while also criticising the actions of the French Football Federation and police.

The report outlined 21 recommendations for avoiding similar incidents in the future, including for safety and security to be at the forefront of planning and matches to be managed with a "facilitation and service" approach towards supporters, rather than viewing them as a public order problem.

Liverpool urged UEFA to heed the report on Tuesday, saying: "Liverpool FC welcomes the report into the chaos at the UEFA Champions League final in Paris, which fully vindicates Liverpool fans while finding UEFA primarily responsible for organisational failings.

"We implore UEFA to fully enact the recommendations as outlined by the panel – no matter how difficult – to ensure supporter safety is the number one priority at the heart of every fixture.

"Even before the delayed kick-off was announced, we called on officials at the top of UEFA to delay kick-off and take control of the chaos. We also called on UEFA to launch a full independent and transparent investigation.

"We knew that it was critical to understand why both Liverpool and Real Madrid supporters found themselves in the situation where their safety was put at risk.

"Shocking false narratives were peddled in the immediate aftermath of that night in Paris; narratives that have since been totally disproven.

"It is shocking that more than 30 years after the Hillsborough disaster, any club and our group of fans would be subject to such fundamental safety failings which have had such a devastating impact on so many.

"But even more concerning is the realisation that for families, friends and survivors of Hillsborough, Paris has only exacerbated their suffering.

"As a football club with proud history in Europe, we call on UEFA to do the right thing and implement the 21 recommendations to ensure the safety of all football supporters attending any future UEFA football match."

Jurgen Klinsmann heaped praise on Tottenham striker Harry Kane ahead of the Champions League last-16 tie against Milan.

Kane has been in excellent form for Spurs this season, scoring 17 goals in 23 Premier League games, though he only managed to find the net once in six Champions League group outings.

Klinsmann, who had two spells with the club in the 1990s, called Kane a "symbol" for club and country, and hopes he can win some silverware at some point in his career.

Speaking to Stats Perform, Klinsmann said: "Harry Kane is exceptional. He dedicated all his career to Tottenham and he is not only their symbol, but the symbol of English football.

"He breaks one record after the other, but unfortunately he didn't win anything so far and this is a bit sad because a player like him has to quit with at least a couple of trophies in his pocket.

"For Tottenham he is very important, he can energise the team, keep the spirit up in the changing rooms. He never hides away, as you could see in the World Cup when he stepped up on the second penalty [in England's quarter-final defeat to France]. He missed it but he always takes responsibility. Always. He has character and dedication to his club."

The former Germany striker believes the clash with reigning Serie A champions Milan will be "50-50", though also pointed to Spurs boss Antonio Conte's knowledge of his opponents as a potential difference maker.

"Milan are trying to get themselves together in this difficult period but their squad have quality with great players who need to bounce back," he said. "This game v Tottenham is 50-50, especially because Antonio Conte knows everything on Serie A and Milan, so that gives him the edge."

Neither team arrive in ideal form, with Milan's 1-0 win against Torino on Friday their first victory in eight games, while Spurs were on the end of a 4-1 hammering at Leicester City on Saturday.

"It must all come together, the spirit of the squad and the history of the club," Klinsmann added. "For example a couple of months ago we were all praising Milan's spirit and [head coach, Stefano] Pioli, underlining how that club has understood how to build a great team and now they are in a trough. It happens in football and it happens fast, like for Milan.

"Same thing for [Spurs] in England. You always have to be on the same page with the board, the manager and the squad. If they have any problem, and we don't know from here, so it is difficult for us to have an opinion."

Another of Klinsmann's former clubs, Bayern Munich, also play the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday when they travel to face Paris Saint-Germain, and he predicts it could be a contest decided by individual brilliance.

"When you hear those two names, you expect a show... especially with PSG and [Kylian] Mbappe, who is back training and so maybe he will play," he said.

"And [Lionel] Messi, of course, who is back from winning the World Cup, and then Neymar. You can't beat that as offensive players.

"But Bayern are always the same strong squad. Their spirit is always in their great belief in themselves. Even after a couple of bad games, it is not a problem because eventually they always find a way to be successful.

"It will be a very interesting fixture that can be decided by a small detail like a set piece or a corner. Or maybe a moment of brilliance from Messi, Neymar or Mbappe, or even from Thomas Muller who can smell something in the box and slashes it in the back of the net.

"Never underestimate Bayern Munich, they always find a way to advance in the Champions League. Just like Milan v Tottenham, this is another game of 50-50 where anything can happen."

Sergio Ramos believes eliminating Bayern Munich from the Champions League would send out a huge message to Paris Saint-Germain's rivals for European glory.

PSG are still waiting for their first European crown, with last season's capitulation against Real Madrid in the round of 16 the latest in a series of continental humiliations for the French giants.

Bayern thwarted PSG's best run in the competition when they emerged with a 1-0 win in the 2020 final, though the Ligue 1 side avenged that defeat by winning a quarter-final tie the following campaign.

Indeed, among teams to have faced Bayern at least 10 times in the Champions League, PSG have the highest win percentage against them after six victories in 11 meetings (55 per cent).

Ramos believes another victory in the first leg of their last-16 tie on Tuesday would serve as a signal of their intent.

"When I think about Bayern, I think about the day I scored against them [for Madrid in a 2014 semi-final]," he told "Of course, we know they're one of the best teams we could come up against, a huge challenge.

"But getting past them would be a very positive message to send out to the world. To win the Champions League, you have to win against the best and Bayern are among those every year."

Ramos won the Champions League four times during his distinguished spell with Madrid, and he hopes his European experience can help Christophe Galtier's star-studded team get over the line this term. 

"Marriages are always based on a dream, and in a perfect partnership everything will go great," he said. "Football doesn't always work out. The best teams don't always win. 

"But what I can say is that I'm where I want to be and at a club with so much hunger to win the Champions League. I want to make the most of what remains of my playing career."

Ramos' second season in Paris has been much more successful than his first, with the Spaniard making 27 starts this term after only managing nine during an injury-hit 2021-22 campaign.

Recalling his arrival in France, Ramos said: "At first, having taken that leap, everything went wrong. I got injured, had a hard time recovering and adapting to the new system, to the new team and new coach. 

"You begin to doubt whether or not you've done the right thing, but my career has been defined by consistency, perseverance and hard work. You keep fighting and it will give things more meaning in the future.

"Leaving Real Madrid was obviously a very big change. My goal is always to continue winning. I won a lot with Real Madrid, but I thought this was a good opportunity for a change of scenery, to try to help a team like PSG."

Borussia Dortmund host Chelsea for the first leg of a Champions League tie that sees two of the world's best prospects go head-to-head.

Jude Bellingham and Enzo Fernandez have a combined age of just 41. Between them, the pair have already stacked up 278 senior club appearances.

Bellingham has played 161 times for Dortmund and Birmingham City, while Fernandez has racked up 117 appearances across spells at Defensa y Justicia, River Plate, Benfica and now Chelsea.

As good as the duo have been for their clubs, they elevated themselves into the "must buy" category for Europe's elite sides with their performances at last year's World Cup.

Fernandez was named the tournament's best young player as he played a key role in Argentina claiming their third world crown, and Chelsea were determined to get their man.

While their efforts early in the January window were frustrated, Chelsea eventually agreed to pay Benfica the full amount of Fernandez's £106.8million (€121m) buy-out clause as he became the crown jewel of their spending spree.

Bellingham, meanwhile, asserted himself as a crucial player in Gareth Southgate's England side, with the 19-year-old's displays in Qatar reminiscent of when Wayne Rooney starred at Euro 2004.

Liverpool, Manchester City and Real Madrid are said to be battling it out for Bellingham, should Dortmund decide to cash in on their talisman at the end of the season.

Should Bellingham be destined for a move back to England, then Wednesday's clash between Dortmund and Chelsea at Signal Iduna Park could just hint at what is to come from two potential Premier League staples.

Lighting up the world stage

While Bellingham was always likely to be on the radar of Europe's biggest sides regardless of whether he had a great World Cup or not, his performances for England will likely do Dortmund's bank balance no harm.

If Bellingham's fine showings in the groups had hinted at his immense talent, then his performance in England's 3-0 victory over Senegal in the last 16 was a coming of age performance on the international stage.

Bellingham did not score but was heavily involved in all three of England's goals to mark him becoming the only teenager, after Michael Owen in 1998, to start a World Cup knockout game for England.

He went off in the 76th minute of that tie having provided an assist – the youngest player to do so for England in a World Cup game since 1966 – and completed 30 of his 33 passes (91 per cent), with eight of those attempted in the final third.

Across the tournament, only Luke Shaw (16) contributed to more open-play shot-ending sequences than Bellingham (15) did for the Three Lions.


Fernandez, on the other hand, has certainly had the limelight thrust on him due to his excellent World Cup.

Not that he had not been excellent at Benfica. However, his stunning goal in Argentina's group stage win over Mexico led to him being a constant starter for the rest of the tournament.

In the final, Fernandez led all players for touches (118), successful passes (77) and tackles (10). His tally of tackles was the most of any player in a World Cup showpiece match since Gennaro Gattuso in 2006 (15).

Combative off the ball, Fernandez won 40 of his 68 duels in the tournament (58.8 per cent), and also proved dependable in possession, completing 410 passes, with his accuracy of 87.6 bettered by only six of his team-mates to play at least 90 minutes in Qatar.

Fernandez played more successful long passes (16) than any other Argentina player, while only Nicolas Otamendi, Cristian Romero and Rodrigo de Paul played more forward passes than his 116.

Thriving at club level

As previously noted, Fernandez had impressed with Benfica before carrying that form into the World Cup.

Only Ricardo Horta (126) had been involved in more open-play shot-ending sequences than Fernandez (122) in Portugal's Primeira Liga prior to the latter's move to Stamford Bridge.

Fernandez ranked third in the competition for goal-ending sequence involvements (14), second for expected goals (xG) sequence involvement (18.8) and second for goal build-up involvements (eight).

From a role at the left-side of Benfica's central midfield, Fernandez was also key to starting moves during his half-season in Portugal. In the Primeira Liga alone he started 23 shot-ending sequences (league rank third), four goal-ending sequences (second) and accumulated 4.8 xG from moves he started (first).

Fernandez has taken little time to settle into the Premier League. He assisted Joao Felix's first Chelsea goal with a wonderfully weighted ball in Saturday's 1-1 draw with West Ham and his tally of 171 passes across the last two games – only four top-flight midfielders attempted more.


No Chelsea midfielder won more duels (12), tackles (nine, six of which he won), touches (209), carries (43), or forward passes (29). Just Fred, of Manchester United, has won more tackles in the last two league games.

The 22-year-old might have a huge price tag to live up to, but he has certainly proved to be one of the most efficient all-round midfielders in Europe this term.

Right up there with him in that regard is Bellingham, who has been let off the leash somewhat from an attacking standpoint at Dortmund this season.

With BVB no longer able to rely on Erling Haaland goals, Bellingham has been tasked with arriving into the box late to supplement their attack.

Bellingham has featured 27 times for Dortmund this season, second only to Nico Schlotterbeck. He is their top scorer with 10 goals, second for assists (six) and third for chances created (28). He boasts an impressive 19.2 per cent shot conversion rate and has outperformed his xG (7.6).

More of an attacking threat than Fernandez, Bellingham has the other side of the game too: 388 duels is 172 more than any of his club-mates, and he has won 225 of them (Schlotterbeck ranks second with 144); the same goes for tackles, with the teenager attempting 70 and winning 39 – both team highs.


A sign of what's to come

Fernandez is the most expensive signing in Premier League history, and should Bellingham join him in England's top tier next season, it seems likely as though the Birmingham boy would take that record.

They don't play the same role and shouldn't be expected to. Bellingham's game has gone up another level since he was given the freedom and responsibility to provide more attacking threat, and Fernandez can pull the strings from deep.

Bellingham's all-action style mixed with his sharp turn of pace makes for a player that would seem perfectly suited to Liverpool or City, while Graham Potter will be expected to build around Fernandez for years to come – the Argentine did, after all, sign an eight-and-a-half-year deal with Chelsea.

One thing is clear. Bellingham and Fernandez are already outstanding players and both are destined to reach the very top.

Reece James expects Chelsea to become "one of the best teams in the world" after the Blues' new signings combine and gain more experience together.

Chelsea spent a reported £294.8million in the January transfer window, with headline arrival Enzo Fernandez becoming the Premier League's record signing on deadline day from Benfica.

Mykhaylo Mudryk, Benoit Badiashile, Andrey Santos, David Datro Fofana, Joao Felix, Noni Madueke and Malo Gusto all also arrived as Graham Potter's squad were boosted by a plethora of new arrivals.

While the Blues have won just one game in all competitions in 2023, James warned once those players gel, Chelsea will be a fearsome presence in both the Premier League and Europe.

The England right-back told Sky Sports News: "You know because the January period is always so busy with many games and then you've got transfer noise as well and it's just all a bit too much in one month. So I just don't really listen to too much of it.

"I quite enjoy playing with new players, you don't really know what to expect from them. They all come in from different places all over the world, you know different teams, they're all here to help at the end of the day. The quicker they're comfortable and settled, the quicker they can help.

"I don't think there's a trophy we can't win. When that happens? I don't know. With the team we're building, with the structure, with all the young players, once we play together for a longer period of time and everyone gains more experience, we're gonna be one of the best teams in the world."

James endured a difficult 2022 after missing the World Cup with England in November due to a knee injury and repeated fitness issues last year.

The 23-year-old is keen to learn from those experiences and utilise those challenges to grow under Potter this year.

"Sometimes you have a bad game and then you think, 'oh I'm annoyed, I had a bad game, but I'm also happy that I'm fit," he said of last year. "There's always pros and cons to football.

"With time I gain experience, I learn how to deal with different things, that helps with character building and growing as a person."

Chelsea sit 10th in the Premier League, a sizeable 20 points behind leaders Arsenal, but their next challenge awaits in the Champions League at home to Borussia Dortmund in the last 16 on Wednesday.

UEFA is "primarily responsible" for the "near-miss" at last year's Champions League final, where "the parallels between Hillsborough 1989 and Paris 2022" were "palpable".

Those findings from an independent review, commissioned by UEFA, were released on Monday after investigating incidents at the Stade de France showpiece between Liverpool and Real Madrid on May 28.

The report cited a lack of "Plan B when things went wrong" and concluded UEFA and French authorities were wrong to blame thousands of Liverpool supporters with "fake tickets" for the concerning ongoings.

French police were criticised for their treatment of fans, which included using tear gas, while demanding UEFA takes responsibility for issues, along with the French Football Federation and policing authorities.

"The dangerous conditions on the concourse outside the turnstiles were compounded by the police deploying tear gas at disorderly groups of locals, as well as using pepper spray on supporters trying to gain entrance with valid tickets," the report said.

"It is remarkable that no one lost their life. All the stakeholders interviewed by the panel have agreed that this situation was a near-miss: a term used when an event almost turns into a mass fatality catastrophe.

"The late change of venue meant that the normal timetable for organisation had to be truncated, and planning for the event had to be adapted to the circumstances.

"Compromises could be made to many areas of the event, but safety and security were not among them. Whereas there could be no bidding process or development of a concept, full attention should have been paid to the formulation and agreement of venue and event risk assessments, and proper operational plans. That did not happen.

"Senior officials at the top of UEFA allowed this to happen, even though the shortcomings of its model were widely known at senior management level, as acknowledged to the panel."

Comparisons were drawn by Liverpool supporters between Paris 2022 and the fatal Hillsborough events in 1989 in which 97 supporters died, with the report concurring that UEFA risked a repeat last year.

It added: "The parallels between Hillsborough 1989 and Paris 2022 are palpable. The similarities include the fact that both events were preventable, and both were caused by the failures of those responsible for public safety. Neither was a 'black swan' event, or the result of a 'perfect storm'."

Allegations ticketless Liverpool fans caused the issues outside the ground were found to be "wrongly inflated and exaggerated".

"The panel draws the inference that they have been made [ticketless fans claims] primarily to deflect from responsibility for planning and operational failures," the report added.

"This is reprehensible and has involved UEFA, UEFA Events SA, FFF, the Prefecture de Police, Government Officials and French Ministers.

"Both events were foreseeable. In the judgment of the panel, the different outcomes were a matter of chance: in one nearly a hundred died, the other none, but through no merit of those in charge."

The review expressed concerns lessons have not been learned, with France set to host the Rugby World Cup later this year, and questioned Michel Cadot, the French government official responsible for major sporting events.

"Despite Mr Cadot's willingness to accept that mistakes had been made [at the final], the panel is concerned that there remains a misconception about what actually happened and complacency regarding what needs to change," the report continued.

"This is particularly acute given the proximity of the Rugby World Cup and Olympic and Paralympic Games and the importance of the Stade de France to both events."

The report also made 21 recommendations for improvements, including for safety and security to be at the forefront of planning and matches to be managed with a "facilitation and service" approach towards supporters rather than viewing them as a potential public order problem.

UEFA promised to announce a "special refund scheme for fans" and said it was "currently analysing the findings of the review and assessing them against its own analysis of the organisation of the event and facts that occurred around it" after the review was released.

Antonio Conte urged Tottenham to find "stability" as his side search for a response to their Premier League hammering when they face Milan in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Spurs overcame second-placed champions Manchester City in the English top flight but were stunned 4-1 by strugglers Leicester City a week later on Saturday.

Tottenham's next challenge sees them go to out-of-form Milan in the Champions League last 16 and Conte called on Spurs to recover at San Siro.

"I think we will get this answer tomorrow; it will be much easier finding the right answer tomorrow," Conte said at his pre-match press conference when asked why Spurs have struggled.

"Trying to forecast the future today is impossible. I think we are lacking that stability, which is always crucial. You need stability, you need consistency, you can't have these ups and downs.

"I am trying to work on this and focusing on not having ups and downs. England is not like Italy, the Premier League is not like Serie A, we have different cultures in these two leagues.

"In England, it is much more difficult to be focused and stay focused for every game. In Italy, it is easier.

"This stability is lacking this year. I always talk about it with my players. It is tough to keep concentration, it is challenging to stay focused all the time.

"We are working on that. Playing under pressure all the time is good for some players and bad for others. Sometimes players feel motivated other times feel so much under pressure that they can't perform.

"Maybe for a period they have a good performance, and then they collapse all of a sudden if they feel too much pressure."

Head coach Conte said his side are "working on" dealing with the increased pressure, though injuries are another crucial factor to Tottenham's success.

"We want to make our players more resilient but there are also external factors like injuries for very important players for us," Conte said after losing Rodrigo Bentancur, Yves Bissouma and captain Hugo Lloris to injury.

"Those injuries influence the team, influence the growing evolution of the league.

"You can be prepared for everything, you can be a tactical man, good strategies, good line-ups, you can have high-quality players but then if those high-quality players get injured then you need to change things. Every manager wishes to have the best players available."

Milan ended a seven-game winless run across all competitions with a 1-0 league victory over Torino on Friday to somewhat ease the mounting pressure on coach Stefano Pioli.

However, an unfavourable result in Europe will only add to calls for the removal of Pioli, who ended Milan's 11-year wait for the Scudetto last season with triumph in Serie A.

Conte believes managing in England and Italy comes with many different challenges and pressures, given his home country consider football not only a sport but as "war".

"I sometimes think also in my previous experience with Chelsea, the pressure is different between Italy and England," he added. 

"In Italy, you speak about football from Monday and you finish on Sunday. You speak only football and then you have a lot of television that speaks football and puts a lot of pressure.

"You are born in this way and you grow in this way, with this pressure, and you are used to living with this type of situation.

"In England, I think that there is an atmosphere that brings to enjoy football without a lot of pressure, because football is a sport and in Italy sometimes football is not only a sport, it is a war between the teams and the fans."

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