Guardian

Udgiv indhold The Guardian
Read the latest Tottenham Hotspur news, transfer rumours, match reports, fixtures and live scores from the Guardian
Opdateret: 44 minutter 36 sekunder siden

'The result is open': Mourinho on RB Leipzig tie and angry Dele Alli – video

3 timer 54 minutter siden

José Mourinho's Tottenham Hotspur find themselves with a tough task ahead after suffering a 1-0 defeat at home to RB Leipzig. Mourinho, however, thinks Spurs are capable of producing a comeback when they visit Julian Nagelsmann’s side on 10 March. '1-0 is 1-0,' the Spurs manager said. 'It is not 10-0. The result is open. It is as simple as that. We wouldn’t be first team to lose 1-0 at home and to win the tie away. Why shouldn’t we do it?' Mourinho played down Dele Alli angrily throwing a water bottle and one of his boots to the turf after being taken off midway through the second half. 'I think he was angry with his performance, not with me,' he said. 'I took him off and the team improved'

Continue reading...

José Mourinho says shorthanded Spurs improved after Alli went off

14 timer 24 minutter siden
  • Spurs lose 1-0 at home in Champions League last-16 first leg
  • Mourinho says Tottenham are still capable of winning tie

José Mourinho refused to write off Tottenham’s hope of reaching the Champions League quarter-finals after their defeat by RB Leipzig, insisting that his team’s spirit will give them a chance of overcoming their selection crisis in attack.

Spurs could be without Son Heung-min and Harry Kane for the rest of the season, leaving them desperately short of options, and they played without any strikers against Leipzig. The German team dominated throughout and won the first leg thanks to a second-half penalty from Timo Werner.

Related: Spurs fall to Leipzig's Timo Werner but are grateful for Hugo Lloris heroics

Continue reading...

Lack of history no hindrance to RB Leipzig's dominance of Spurs | Jonathan Liew

14 timer 40 minutter siden

Leipzig are a young club with a young manager, Julian Nagelsmann, who has drilled his team to a very high standard

It was the fans that were the most puzzling part. Thousands of them, packed into the north-east corner of the ground, all immaculately bedecked in Leipzig white and red, all loud and fierce and partisan, all of them singing about a club that barely even existed a decade ago. What had so hastily stoked their passion? At what point in their effortless rise through the divisions had these previously unattached men and women decided to commit to this strange new project, essentially hitching their identity to a can of energy drink?

Related: Spurs fall to Leipzig's Timo Werner but are grateful for Hugo Lloris heroics

Related: José Mourinho on Spurs' attack against Leipzig: 'It is like a gun without bullets'

Continue reading...

Tottenham 0-1 RB Leipzig: Champions League last 16 – as it happened

ons, 19/02/2020 - 23:37

Leipzig outplayed Spurs as Timo Werner’s second-half penalty gave the upwardly mobile Germans the win and a precious away goal

12.50am GMT

Related: Lack of history no hindrance to RB Leipzig's dominance of Spurs

12.50am GMT

Related: José Mourinho on Spurs' attack against Leipzig: 'It is like a gun without bullets'

10.37pm GMT

And so the evening ends with another man-management masterclass from Jose Mourinho. If you squint really hard, and peer between the lines, you may conclude that he’s not totally happy with his lot. Should Chelsea beat Spurs at the weekend, his post-match interview could be the most riotous thing transmitted live on television on a Saturday lunchtime since the days of Tiswas. You’ll join us for that one, yes? See you soon!

Related: Spurs fall to Leipzig's Timo Werner but are grateful for Hugo Lloris heroics

10.30pm GMT

It’s not quite up there with his famous Chelsea-Southampton soliloquy, but Jose Mourinho’s post-match interview is quite something. BT Sport’s Des Kelly tries to get proceedings off to a positive start, asking whether we “saw the real Spurs in the last 20 minutes”. A glance is shot, Mourinho’s steely gaze lingering longer than is strictly comfortable. “Come on. What do you mean by the real Spurs? Come on. Tch. Come on. Let’s be loyal to the boys and tell they did everything they could do. Lamela? You know how many training sessions he made with the team? Zero. Direct from injury to recovering on the pitch with the physios, to 20 minutes of a game in the Champions League. That is our team. You can see it from two perspectives. One perspective is, it’s an amazing group with amazing guys. They try everything. By another side you see how we are in this moment. You look to the other guys, they play with Schick and Werner and Nkunku. Nkunku is tired, come out, there’s Forsberg. Schick is tired, come out, there’s Poulsen. This is our situation, it’s like going to a fight with a gun but without bullets. You can tell me we had luck in some moments. I disagree. We had a great goalkeeper, that is not luck, that is a great goalkeeper. We had our chances and tried everything. I thank the fans. What worries me is,these are our players for the next, I don’t know how many matches. In the next few matches we could see Lucas dead, Bergwijn dead, Lo Celso dead. I am so proud of them. But we are really in trouble. Don’t tell me that Lamela and Ndombele could start the game, because they could not. But I could not be happier to have guys like them with the limitations we have, but here we go! Chelsea are drinking sparkling water with lemon while watching the game on TV, and Saturday morning, thank you very much, we are there again.”

10.13pm GMT

Jacob Steinberg was our man at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this evening. His verdict is in ... and here it is!

Related: Spurs fall to Leipzig's Timo Werner but grateful for Lloris heroics

10.09pm GMT

Hugo Lloris speaks. “I want to stay positive, especially after the last 20 minutes. Obviously if we started the game in the same way, the score would be different. But there is a second leg, we still have a chance. We are still alive. We were a bit more proactive with the ball. But we have to give a lot of credit to Leipzig, they press very high and are a very good team. We have to stay positive, not give up, not try to find excuses, and fight to the end. We are not really happy, but we have to deal with that. Let’s hope we can create another story.” He’s then given the man-of-the-match award, and doesn’t look particularly pleased to receive it. “Er, OK, but I’d have preferred a win.”

10.01pm GMT

Spurs depart for the dressing room looking glum. They were second best for most of that game. The match winner, Timo Werner, was excellent. So was Patrik Schick, though he missed one glorious chance to put Spurs in all sorts of trouble. Tottenham can take heart from the performance of Giovani Lo Celso, who sparkled in attack, and their performance during the last 20 minutes, when Lo Celso and Erik Lamela finally asked a few questions of Leipzig. But they’ve got a big job on in Saxony in three week’s time. The visitors stay on the pitch and celebrate with their fans. After this half-match (© Jose Mourinho) they’re halfway to the quarter finals.

9.55pm GMT

Bergwijn nearly beats Ampadu to a long ball down the middle, but the young Welsh defender holds firm, and that’s that. Spurs have been outplayed at home and are reasonably fortunate to have limited the damage to a single goal. But all is not lost. They’ve been here before. Two words: Ajax Amsterdam.

9.53pm GMT

90 min +4: Lamela is booked for leaving a stiff arm in Sabitzer’s startled coupon.

9.53pm GMT

90 min +3: Bergwijn slips a pass down the inside right, forcing Ampadu into a desperate interception, sliding the ball out for a corner. But Lo Celso’s delivery is overcooked and flies out the other side for a goal kick.

9.51pm GMT

90 min +2: Winks tries to guide a shot towards the top right from the best part of 30 yards. It’s weakly struck and easily snaffled by Gulacsi.

9.50pm GMT

90 min +1: Leipzig knock it around the middle. Sixty seconds fly by.

9.49pm GMT

90 min: Ampadu goes down with cramp. Mukiele needs a couple of swabs up a bloody nose. The clock ticks on. There will be five extra minutes.

9.48pm GMT

89 min: Some pinball on the edge of the Leipzig box. Davies loops a cross in from the left. Halstenberg mistimes his jump, missing the ball and gifting Moura a free header, six yards out. He’s got to work the keeper at the very least, surely, but slaps his header over the bar. What a chance.

9.46pm GMT

87 min: Forsberg and Werner combine well down the left and earn a corner off Alderweireld. Leipzig don’t commit many players upfield, and the set piece is easily cleared.

9.45pm GMT

86 min: The corner is hit deep. Moura does well to rise highest, but can’t get a header on target. A melee, in which a couple of Spurs players fall over. Nobody claims for a penalty.

9.45pm GMT

85 min: Leipzig are beginning to ask for trouble, sitting deep and allowing Spurs to come at them. Moura comes racing down the middle and is upended by Forsberg. A free kick from a central position, 30 yards out. Lamela takes, curling one towards the bottom right. It’s going wide, but Gulacsi turns it around the post anyway. A free corner for Spurs.

9.43pm GMT

84 min: Some space down the right for Aurier, who whips a cross into the mixer. It’s easy meat for Gulacsi.

9.42pm GMT

83 min: Emil Forsberg takes Konrad Laimer’s place.

9.42pm GMT

82 min: Laimer goes down clutching his shoulder. He’ll be replaced. He takes his own sweet time to leave, in the grand clock-management style.

9.40pm GMT

80 min: Halstenberg clearly obstructs Aurier as the Spurs man looked to break clear down the right. No foul, according to the referee. That’s a preposterous decision, and no wonder Jose Mourinho, on the touchline, performs the internationally recognised jig of fury, throwing his arms about, spinning around, effin’ and jeffin’ into the cool night air.

9.38pm GMT

79 min: A lot of frantic nonsense in the midfield. Both teams fully aware of how important the next 11 minutes, plus stoppages, could be.

9.36pm GMT

77 min: Spurs have enjoyed most of the possession during the last ten minutes, so Nagelsmann makes another switch. Yussuf Poulsen replaces Patrik Schick.

9.35pm GMT

75 min: Lamela puts himself about in the Argentinian style, a sly block here, a cheeky clip there. That’s also got the crowd shouting again. Plenty of noise as Spurs look for a precious equaliser.

9.33pm GMT

74 min: Leipzig make their first change of the evening. Christopher Nkunku is replaced by Amadou Haidara.

9.32pm GMT

73 min: Lo Celso curls one towards the top left. It’s a wonderful free kick, sailing in, but it’s tipped onto the post by Gulacsi and out for a corner. Nothing comes of the set piece, but that’s got the crowd going for the first time in ages. Lo Celso has been seriously impressive this evening.

9.31pm GMT

72 min: Lo Celso runs hard at Leipzig again. He’s clearly being tugged back by Nkunku, and earns a free kick, just to the right of the D. Nkunku is booked. A promising position, this, though before the whistle blew for the foul, Lo Celso had Aurier in acres to his right. But this is where we are.

9.29pm GMT

70 min: Leipzig sit back and stroke it around with great confidence. Time is already on their side.

9.27pm GMT

68 min: Lo Celso has been Tottenham’s best player this evening, their only hope in attack. He dribbles elegantly down the inside-right channel, momentarily threatening to tie Leipzig up in knots. But he can’t find the killer pass.

9.26pm GMT

66 min: Dele Alli is seething. But Mourinho had to do something. Here’s Peter Crosby: “Ah Ben Davies. Ah, Serge. We’re back to the glory days of my youth when Dean Austin and Justin Edinburgh were tearing up and down the flanks letting in goals left, right and centre.”

9.24pm GMT

64 min: Spurs make a double change. Off goes Gedson Fernandes and an affronted Dele Alli; on come Erik Lamela and Tanguy Ndombele.

9.22pm GMT

62 min: Leipzig nearly score after a wonderful sweeping move. There’s acres for Angelino down the left. He rolls a pass inside for Werner, who throws Alderweireld off the scent with a sensational dummy, letting the ball roll to Schick, free on the penalty spot. He has to score, but flashes his shot straight at Lloris. Great save, but he should never have been allowed to make it. What a lovely move that was. Werner is living up to his billing.

9.20pm GMT

61 min: A little space for Bergwijn down the left. He drifts inside then checks back and tees up Lo Celso, who pearls a decent strike towards the bottom right from 20 yards. It’s well read and easily gathered by Gulacsi, though.

9.19pm GMT

60 min: Spurs try to bounce back immediately, Lo Celso bursting down the right into space. But there’s nobody near his pullback, and the visitors can clear with ease. There’s a break on, with the livewire Werner romping down the left, but he’s well marshalled away from the danger zone by Sanchez.

9.17pm GMT

Werner, as cool as a pickled cucumber, fires a low penalty into the bottom left. Lloris had guessed correctly, but even at full stretch couldn’t get anywhere near it. A crucial away goal for the Germans.

9.16pm GMT

57 min: Laimer took a bit of a whack. Looks like he’ll be OK, but there’s a pause before Werner can take the spot kick.

9.15pm GMT

56 min: Leipzig stroke it around the back awhile, then suddenly spring forward, triangulating at speed down the right. The ball’s switched to the other flank. Werner glides inside and slips a pass down the middle for Laimer, who takes a touch, enters the box, and is upended by a crude block by Davies. Foul, booking, penalty. No question.

9.12pm GMT

54 min: A simple ball down the middle causes Sanchez all sorts of problems. He heads it straight into the air and back down towards Werner, who accepts the gift and purchases a cheap corner. Nothing comes from the set piece, but after a slow start to the second half, Leipzig are beginning to reestablish their earlier control.

9.11pm GMT

52 min: Nkunku tries to whip one over the wall and into the top left. It’s not a good effort, the ball sailing serenely over the crossbar.

9.10pm GMT

51 min: Schick bursts down the left and is cynically clipped from behind by Aurier. Not exactly sure why the Spurs full-back hasn’t gone into the book, but there we are. It’s a free kick in a dangerous position, though, 25 yards out, just to the left of the D.

9.09pm GMT

50 min: Leipzig loop crosses into the Spurs box from the left and then from the right. The home defence holds firm, though Werner was again buzzing around their heels with great purpose. It’s very odd that this game remains goalless.

9.08pm GMT

48 min: Spurs launch their first meaningful attack of the evening. Aurier swings a low cross in from the right. Moura extends a leg and forces Gulacsi into a parry from close range. Bergwijn hoicks the rebound harmlessly wide left. But that’s so much better from the hosts, and the home fans respond accordingly.

9.06pm GMT

And we’re off again! Spurs get the second half underway, and there have been no half-time changes. Not long after the restart, the Leipzig fans fling on a few toilet rolls. Everyone’s a critic. They unfurl a banner which reads STAND UP FOR A FAIR PRICE CAP. Applause from all four corners of the stadium. After a clean-up operation, the game eventually restarts.

9.04pm GMT

Spurs weren’t great in that first half, but their fans remain four-square behind the team. “The way I see it, Tottenham have no striker, no defensive midfield, and are keeping a clean sheet against a team in form,” argues Gregory Greene. “Our attackers aren’t fluffing chances (they aren’t getting any honestly), and I’ve seen Tottenham defend worse. I can’t really be mad.” Meanwhile James Hopkin thinks a happy ending is written: “The big question in tonight’s game (apart from which minute with Spurs score a late smash and grab winner) is why do a couple of the RBL players (e.g. Timo Werner) have all-white logos on their shirts and others have full colour red bulls?” I have no idea. To get us all talking about everybody’s favourite nerve-end-bothering beverage?

8.50pm GMT

Half-time entertainment. There have been goals in tonight’s other match. Simon Burnton has the details. But don’t forget to come back, y’all.

Related: Atalanta v Valencia: Champions League last 16 – live!

8.49pm GMT

Alli busies himself down the left, flatly refusing to give up possession and winning a corner off Halstenberg. The same Leipzig defender heads the corner clear, and there’s that whistle. Spurs will be pleased to get to the break without conceding. Leipzig have been by far the better side, and will wonder how they haven’t bagged a crucial away goal. Some work for Mourinho to do during the break.

8.47pm GMT

45 min: And that half-time whistle will be heard in roughly 60 seconds time.

8.46pm GMT

44 min: Werner probes again down the left. Aurier just about holds him up. Spurs could do with the half-time whistle, though in retrospect that’s been the case since the 26-second mark.

8.44pm GMT

42 min: Here comes Werner again, down the left, winning another corner off Sanchez. The corner, once again, is not worthy of our time or consideration.

8.43pm GMT

41 min: Werner whizzes down the left and nearly finds Schick in the middle, six yards out. Schick would be slamming home a sidefoot, but Sanchez slides in to bundle the ball out for a corner. What a glorious saving tackle. The resulting corner is a complete non-event.

8.42pm GMT

39 min: Mukiele is back on. Good news for Leipzig, as he’s been involved in a lot of their best attacks. Out on the other flank, Fernandes drops a shoulder to get past Angelino, and whips a cross to the near post, but Alli can’t get his head on the ball. Tottenham’s best half-chance of this half-match.

8.41pm GMT

38 min: Mukiele is down in some pain, having taken an accidental whack to the left knee. That knee’s already covered in tape, so he could have aggravated an existing problem. He grimaces an awful lot as he limps off for more treatment.

8.39pm GMT

36 min: Leipzig should be leading. Schick and Halstenberg bus the ball right to left, and find Werner free, just inside the area. Werner’s one on one with Lloris, but slams it straight at the keeper. The resulting corner is a waste of time. That’s a poor effort from the much-heralded Werner, who is on a run of five matches without scoring.

8.37pm GMT

34 min: They kind of have a point, but then Sabitzer, already in the book, gets away with a blatant clip on Fernandes. A free kick, nothing more. The Leipzig captain wants to watch himself here. One more clumsy one and he could be walking.

8.35pm GMT

33 min: Winks shoves Schick in the back but gets away with it and races off up the left touchline. Werner sticks out a leg. There’s no contact, but Winks goes over, and Werner goes into the book. Several Leipzig players, plus the manager, wear affronted looks.

8.34pm GMT

32 min: The corner is sent long and half cleared. From 25 yards, Fernandes slaps a wild shot deep into the stand behind the goal.

8.33pm GMT

31 min: Yet more space for Angelino down the left, sent away by Werner. But there’s nobody to cross to, so he buys a corner off Sanchez. The same defender clears the set piece, and suddenly Lo Celso is tearing down the left in sensational style. He slips a pass forward to Bergwijn, who wins a corner for Spurs. Good end-to-end fun.

8.31pm GMT

29 min: Spurs are struggling to keep hold of possession. Moves consisting of more than two or three passes are at a premium right now. The home fans are getting a little concerned.

8.29pm GMT

27 min: Schick slips a ball down the left for the relentless Angelino, whose low cross is only just missed by a lunging Werner, hoping to poke home from six yards. The flag goes up for offside, belatedly and correctly, but Spurs are giving Angelino so much space on the left. They need to sort this out, because at some point the Leipzig attack is going to click in the final third.

8.28pm GMT

26 min: Spurs enjoy a little possession for the first time in the game. They don’t go anywhere in particular, but that should give them a little confidence in midfield, where they’ve been thoroughly out-passed so far.

8.27pm GMT

24 min: The right wing-back Mukiele flashes a crossfield ball towards his opposite number Angelino, whose cross-cum-shot is blocked. Leipzig are switching the play time and again, in the style of the reigning champions Liverpool. Julian Nagelsmann less Baby Mourinho, more Baby Klopp.

8.25pm GMT

22 min: Atalanta have taken an early lead in their tie with Valencia. Hans Hateboer with the opening goal on 16 minutes in that one. Simon Burnton is all over that one.

Related: Atalanta v Valencia: Champions League last 16 – live!

8.23pm GMT

20 min: The Tottenham plan is obviously to play on the break. Moura gets the better of Ampadu under a long ball, but can’t see off Halstenberg. For a second, it looked as though he might break free. But the defender purchases a cheap free kick and Leipzig are off back up the other end, pinging the ball around once more.

8.21pm GMT

19 min: Werner bursts down the left and finds Schick in the middle. Schick can’t get either a header or shot away, and a combination of Sanchez and Winks manage to half-clear. Angelino comes again, sending a fizzer down Lloris’s throat from a tight angle on the left. Spurs are getting mauled at the moment.

8.19pm GMT

17 min: Schick rises miles above Davies and sends a downward header inches wide of the bottom right. Had that been on target, it was a goal; Lloris was rooted to the spot. Leipzig are getting closer and closer.

8.18pm GMT

16 min: An awful lot of space for Werner down the left. He nearly frees the overlapping Sabitzer with a cute pass, but Sanchez reads play and pokes out for a corner. From which ...

8.16pm GMT

14 min: Ampadu sprays a pass wide left for Angelino, who hits a first-time volleyed cross down the corridor of uncertainty. Nobody in black, red and blue dashes has taken a gamble, and there are no scares for Spurs.

8.15pm GMT

12 min: Laimer tries to send Werner clear down the left. The striker’s in space, but the pass is poor and sails out harmlessly for a goal kick. Spurs try to counter, but Bergwijn is clipped from behind by Sabitzer, and it’s now one yellow card apiece. There’s little sense that this fast, open game will end goalless, and it might not end with a full complement of players either.

8.12pm GMT

10 min: Lo Celso is booked for a late trip on Sabitzer, who was hoping to burst off down the left. The Spurs man doesn’t bother complaining, he was bang to rights. A long evening on a yellow, one poor challenge away from an early shower, stretches out ahead.

8.11pm GMT

9 min: Angelino dinks a little pass down the inside left for Schick, who whistles a shot towards the bottom left. Lloris is behind it all the way.

8.10pm GMT

8 min: Perhaps the best form of defence is attack. Lo Celso slips a ball down the left that forces Mukiele into conceding a corner. The set piece is only half cleared, but Spurs come back again down the left, Lo Celso finding Bergwijn, who curls towards the bottom right. Gulacsi sticks out a strong hand, and the flag goes up for offside. But that’s better from the home side. Somewhere, in a parallel universe, it’s 1-1.

8.08pm GMT

6 min: Mukiele drives down the right and finds Werner on the edge of the box. Winks throws himself in the way of a shot. Great block, but once again Leipzig opened Spurs up with ease, and Spurs surely can’t keep making last-ditch blocks and saves all night.

8.06pm GMT

4 min: Such an electric start by the visitors. Four efforts on goal within the first 120 seconds. Three of them very decent chances. Some decent last-ditch defending by Spurs, but that’ll have rattled them. Leipzig coming at them from all angles.

8.05pm GMT

2 min: What a start this is by Leipzig! Werner’s snap effort from six yards is blocked by Sanchez. The ball breaks left to Angelino, who hammers a shot straight at Lloris from a tight angle. Lloris deflects the ball onto the post and away. The visitors recycle possession, Mukiele and Werner buzzing down the inside right and forcing Lloris to turn the ball around the post. The flag goes up for offside to release the pressure. But wow.

8.03pm GMT

And we’re off! Leipzig get the first leg of this round-of-16 tie underway. A huge roar crackles the north London air. And after 26 seconds, Schick juggles the ball down the middle and sends a decent effort bouncing inches wide of the right-hand post.

8.01pm GMT

The teams are out! A cracking Champions League atmosphere at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Spurs wear their famous lilywhite, while Leipzig sport their bespoke European away shirt, a cascade of black, red and blue dabs and dashes that wouldn’t look out of place in Claude Monet’s garden. In other shirt news, Harry Kane has presented Hannah and Danny Greaves, granddaughter and son of the absurdly brilliant former Spurs striker Jimmy, with a Spurs top to celebrate the living legend’s 80th birthday tomorrow. On the back: GREAVES 80. If you get a chance to watch the new BT Sport documentary about Greavsie, snatch it with both hands. A marvellous celebration of the greatest English striker of all time. Anyway, we’ll be off in a minute!

7.37pm GMT

Julian ‘Baby Mourinho’ Nagelsmann, who at 32 is only 22 years older than the club he manages, talks to BT Sport. “It is the first time at this stage for Leipzig, so we are all excited. We are a young team, perhaps a bit nervous, but we will try to do our own style. It is a great stadium and it’s a pleasure to be here. It is the same for Tottenham and Leipzig, we have injured players. But I think Ethan Ampadu will do well. This is not a tactical battle between the managers, it is about the players, the performance of the guys. The emotional things are the more important, if you can deal with the pressure.”

7.32pm GMT

If Spurs win this evening, Jose Mourinho will break the all-time record for victories as a manager in the knockout stage of the Champions League. He’s currently tied on 27 wins with Sir Alex Ferguson, Carlo Ancelotti and Pep Guardiola. A 28th knockout victory will catapult him to the top of that particular tree, though of course Ancelotti has won the competition three times, as opposed to everyone else’s two. Ancelotti also has two European Cup wins as a player to his name (Pep has one) so his medal haul knocks the other three into a cocked hat.

7.22pm GMT

A pre-match chat with Jose Mourinho. “This is a half-match. Too many matches in the knockout stage of the Champions League are thought of emotionally as one match. But this is only a half-match. So we need to be very intelligent in our approach, knowing what we have and what we don’t have, and be positive with a good feeling. We are going to play against a team that normally play with five at the back, are very consistent and very fast. So I think a very difficult match. But we know what to do. Emotional control. It is not about fighting and running. We need to be clinical with our chances, but also knowing how to manage the game and the tempo. It is February, we are fighting for the top four, we are in the knockouts, and the last 16 of the FA Cup, so it is a big effort from the boys to be here. I think the crowd will be with them.”

7.10pm GMT

Gedson Fernandes makes his Champions League debut for Spurs. His presence allows Giovani Lo Celso to move upfield in the space left by the injured Son Heung-min.

Leipzig’s defensive crisis means a start for Ethan Ampadu, on loan from Chelsea. One-time Everton striker Ademola Lookman is on the bench.

6.59pm GMT

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Aurier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Davies, Winks, Fernandes, Lo Celso, Alli, Bergwijn, Lucas Moura.
Subs: Vertonghen, Lamela, Dier, Gazzaniga, Ndombele, Skipp, Tanganga.

RB Leipzig: Gulacsi, Mukiele, Klostermann, Halstenberg, Angelino, Laimer, Ampadu, Sabitzer, Nkunku, Schick, Werner.
Subs: Haidara, Poulsen, Forsberg, Lookman, Wolf, Olmo, Mvogo.

5.41pm GMT

Only three teams have ever lifted the European Cup the season after tasting defeat in the final: Milan in 1994, Bayern Munich in 2013 and Liverpool last year. Three in 63 seasons; that’s a one-in-21 hit rate. If history counts for anything, Tottenham Hotspur have their work cut out if they’re to go one better than last season. On behalf of all Spurs fans: bah.

But hold on! Spin it another way, and the feat has been achieved twice in the last seven seasons. It’s far from a pipe dream in the modern game. So on behalf of all Spurs fans: yay!

Continue reading...

Spurs fall to Leipzig's Timo Werner but are grateful for Hugo Lloris heroics

ons, 19/02/2020 - 23:06

The good news for Tottenham? They recovered from this position when they broke Ajax’s hearts and reached the Champions League final last season. Last May, however, Spurs had the option of bringing Fernando Llorente off the bench and spreading chaos with an aerial bombardment.

This time there is no target man to unleash in emergency situations and José Mourinho, who has been joking about bringing Peter Crouch out of retirement, is painfully aware the attacking crisis is not going to ease any time soon.

Related: José Mourinho on Spurs' attack against Leipzig: 'It is like a gun without bullets'

Related: Lack of history no hindrance to RB Leipzig's dominance of Spurs

Related: Atalanta produce a night to remember with decisive defeat of Valencia

Continue reading...

We Spurs fans must watch our language | Letter

ons, 19/02/2020 - 19:01
While some Tottenham Hotspur supporters use the Y-word as an act of reclamation, Ya’ir Klein urges fellow fans to drop it in favour of less loaded terms

While I commend Lynne Murphy for pointing out that a conversation is happening about what dictionaries can do better (It’s not the role of the OED to police language, Journal, 17 February), it reminds us Spurs supporters that we need to do better too in watching our language.

I have stopped using the Y-word at matches when a cousin told me she was traumatised hearing it being employed now as a badge of identity, as it still reminded her of being beaten up as a child in the East End by blackshirts who were shouting the term at her and her father. I have since been encouraging fellow supporters to drop it in favour of the simpler “come on, you Spurs”, when being goaded by opposing fans.
Ya’ir Klein
London

Continue reading...

José Mourinho v Julian Nagelsmann: yesterday's man v force of the future?

ons, 19/02/2020 - 11:00

At 32, RB Leipzig’s coach is 25 years younger than his Spurs counterpart – their Champions League meeting feels like a battle of two eras

On Wednesday night, as Tottenham take on RB Leipzig, José Mourinho might look across at the opposing bench and recognise something very familiar. In Julian Nagelsmann, the coach of RB Leipzig, he will see a driven man who desperately wanted to be a footballer whose career ended prematurely, somebody who quit a university business course to focus on sport, somebody who from a remarkably early age has been marked out as one of the brightest coaches of their generation.

He will see, in other words, a version of his younger self. Tim Wiese, the wrestler and former goalkeeper, even nicknamed Nagelsmann “Mini-Mourinho” during his time as assistant coach at Hoffenheim. And perhaps in that, Mourinho will feel a pang of mortality. At 32, Nagelsmann is 25 years younger: he is the future while Mourinho is repeatedly battling suggestions he may be the past.

Related: Mourinho fears Son will miss rest of Spurs' season with arm fracture

Related: As Klinsmann dives for cover, Hertha and Nouri are left to find feet | Andy Brassell

Continue reading...

Mourinho fears Son will miss rest of Spurs' season with arm fracture

tir, 18/02/2020 - 14:36
  • With Kane also out manager says ‘situation couldn’t be worse’
  • Mourinho calls on crowd to help players in ‘incredible fight’

José Mourinho expects Son Heung-min to miss the rest of the season with a fractured arm and has said that Tottenham’s selection crisis in attack could not be worse before they host RB Leipzig in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Son hurt his right arm during the early stages of Spurs’ win over Aston Villa on Sunday and although the forward completed the game and scored twice, he requires surgery on an injury which leaves the club desperately short of options up front. Harry Kane is not expected to return from a torn hamstring until mid-April and Mourinho struggled to hide his disappointment as he prepared for Wednesday’s first leg against Leipzig, saying the bad news about Son had left his players with broken hearts.

Related: Barcelona's Braithwaite move shows up inequality of a broken system

Tottenham's José Mourinho jokes about signing Peter Crouch after latest injury setback pic.twitter.com/L2BqY8fRey

Continue reading...

The point of dictionaries is to describe how language is used, not to police it | Lynne Murphy

man, 17/02/2020 - 10:00

Tottenham Hotspur’s protests about the OED’s definition of the Y-word may be understandable, but are misplaced

Protests against dictionaries are nothing new. In the 1960s, distaste for the treatment of “non-standard” vocabulary such as “ain’t” in Merriam-Webster’s Third International Dictionary was so vociferous that a hostile takeover of the company was attempted, and after that failed a competitor dictionary was founded. The price of used copies of the 1934 Second International Dictionary skyrocketed as customers rejected the dictionary’s approach to controversial usages.

These days dictionary protests come and go with less drastic effects but greater regularity. Critiquing dictionary definitions gives social and political campaigns focus and attention – as in a 2019 campaign by the animal-rights organisation Peta calling on Dictionary.com to revise its definition of “animal”. Publishers’ PR departments can also catalyse controversy. The most innovative and zeitgeisty dictionary additions are highlighted in quarterly press releases about dictionary revisions, perhaps in hope of viral attention. It works. When the Collins Dictionary added plant-based foods, including “veganaise”, last year, the Times asked if readers thought such words “desecrat[e] the way we speak”.

Related: Africa’s colonisation of the English language continues apace | Afua Hirsch

Continue reading...

Premier League, Championship and Europe: weekend talking points

man, 17/02/2020 - 09:39

Arsenal look stronger at the back, Saints may regret some of match programme content and QPR bring the excitement

It says a lot about the reign of Unai Emery that, until Sunday, it had been almost 11 months since Arsenal kept successive clean sheets in the league. Burnley and Newcastle are not the sternest tests of a side’s defence – and Arsenal rode their luck in both instances – but there is no doubt David Luiz and co have begun to look notably more assured. Fourteen years after the departure of the club’s last top-class centre-back in Sol Campbell, could this be the beginnings of a new, level-headed Arsenal backline? Mikel Arteta’s first 11 games in charge have seen his side concede eight goals; the equivalent figure from Emery’s final 11 games was 23. Goals at the other end have declined, too, by about a third, but that’s a small price to pay if it lessens the embarrassing clownishness at the back. Arteta was recruited because of his affiliation with thrilling possession football. His best work so far has been to revive the old spirit of “boring, boring Arsenal”. Alex Hess

Football League roundup: Barnsley shock Fulham

Match report: Barcelona 2-1 Getafe

Continue reading...

Mourinho jokes his 2018 Manchester United team could be champions after City sanctions – video

søn, 16/02/2020 - 19:29

José Mourinho joked on Sunday that the 2017/18 title should be awarded to his Manchester United side if Manchester City are found guilty of breaching Financial Fair Play rules. Mourinho lead United to their highest Premier League finish in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era. Manchester City have been handed a two-year ban from European competitions by Uefa, however they are appealing the ban

Continue reading...

Chaos replaces control at José Mourinho's anarchic Tottenham

søn, 16/02/2020 - 19:07

Spurs’ win at Aston Villa was the fourth 3-2 victory over the Portuguese’s brief tenure and the unlikely entertainer is upwardly mobile in fifth place in the Premier League

Go back a year and, briefly, the Ole Gunnar Solskjær table became a thing. It showed Manchester United rubbing shoulders with Liverpool and Manchester City in the standings since he assumed the reins. If it doubled up as an indictment of his sacked predecessor, now the José Mourinho table can make for pleasant reading. Only Liverpool have more points during his time in charge of Tottenham.

The figures alone speak of a transformative impact: 26 points later, 14th position has become fifth, which could now carry the carrot of Champions League football. The performances paint a murkier picture. Spurs rode their luck so often when beating City it could scarcely be called a Mourinho masterclass. This was anything but classic Mourinho; yet a game of 41 shots provided the fourth 3-2 of his embryonic reign. Strange as it sounds, it is the most common scoreline of his tenure. Lacking the spine of a traditional Mourinho side, Spurs were altogether different.

Related: Tottenham go fifth as Son Heung-min punishes late Aston Villa error

Related: Aston Villa 2-3 Tottenham: Premier League – as it happened

Continue reading...

Aston Villa 2-3 Tottenham: Premier League – as it happened

søn, 16/02/2020 - 17:28

Son Heung-min scored a 94th-minute winner to earn Tottenham a third successive win and deflate struggling Aston Villa

Spurs soar to fifth as Son punishes Engels error

4.28pm GMT

Read Paul Wilson’s report from Villa Park:

Related: Tottenham go fifth as Son Heung-Min punishes late Aston Villa error

4.03pm GMT

How about that, then? Jolly good fun. Son Heung-min’s goal after 93 minutes and 34 seconds is Spurs’ latest winning goal in the Premier League since August 2009, when Aaron Lennon netted after 94 minutes and 24 seconds against Birmingham. Fancy some more entertainment? Look no further:

Related: Arsenal v Newcastle: Premier League – live!

4.00pm GMT

Some Spurs reaction. “We have a big week, Wednesday we have Champions League [against RB Leipzig] and I think it was important to get three points today,” says Toby Alderweireld. “It was not my best performance. It was a beautiful week for me, with the birth of my son, I had to travel like eight hours and my legs were not sharp. But the lads helped me a lot today.” Son, the match-winner, adds: “We were 1-0 down, and then 2-1 up, to 2-2, and I think we showed our character. I felt really bad because I missed a couple of chances to score the goal but then finally I did with a few seconds to play and it makes me very happy.”

3.55pm GMT

José Mourinho cannot conceal his delight, smiling as he embraces John Terry at the final whistle. Bjorn Engels, who conceded a penalty, scored an equalised and then cocked up with seconds left to play, is consoled by Kortney Hause. Spurs climb into fifth place, while Villa remain precariously above the relegation zone.

3.54pm GMT

90+5 min: Vertonghen replaces Bergwijn for the final seconds.

3.54pm GMT

Engels fails to trap a simple ball, Son runs through on goal and effortlessly bends the ball beyond Pepe Reina. Mourinho instantly calls for Jan Vertonghen. Mission shut up shop.

3.52pm GMT

90+4 min: We’re into the final minute at Villa Park ...

3.52pm GMT

90+3 min: Marvelous Nakamba is booked for a not-so-marvellous challenge on Bergwijn. Villa clear the free-kick and then Lo Celso wallops it into Row L.

3.51pm GMT

90+2 min: Reina punches it clear but the pressure is not over. Spurs continue to probe and Lo Celso gets a snapshot away after being fed by Aurier. It lacks conviction and Pepe Reina coolly gathers. Anyway, back come Spurs ...

3.49pm GMT

90+1 min: Engels does well but concedes a corner ...

3.49pm GMT

90 min: There will be four added minutes.

3.48pm GMT

88 min: Spurs push for a winner but Son is flagged offside. That’ll take the sting out of their latest attack.

3.47pm GMT

85 min: Reina denies Son! Spurs work the ball into the box from a corner and Baston’s first touch is to nudge the ball straight into the path of Son, who fires at goal, only for his strike to cannon into the Aston Villa goalkeeper. Spurs could have scored a dozen goals. As brilliantly as they began, Villa will be grateful for point.

3.44pm GMT

84 min: Spurs pass up another golden chance! Tottenham fizz in a corner, the ball hangs for Moura to power at goal but it’s a powder-puff effort. Lucas Moura should do a lot, lot better. His scruffy header bobbles wide.

3.42pm GMT

83 min: Gedson Fernandes replaces Dele Alli, who should have left the pitch with the match ball. Borja Baston is on for his Villa debut, replacing Samatta.

3.41pm GMT

81 min: Villa squander a half-chance! Aurier does superbly to get round on the cover and snuff the ball away from Trezeguet, who was picked out by a marvellous ball by, you’ve guessed it, Jack Grealish. It was a delicious, curling cross but Trezeguet took too long to react and an alert Aurier hoovers it up.

3.39pm GMT

80 min: ... Lloris punches clear Targett’s corner.

3.38pm GMT

79 min: Trezeguet selfishly goes for goal 25 yards out, despite the unmarked Douglas Luiz screaming for the ball to his right. Samatta was again influential in that move. Villa settle for a corner ...

3.35pm GMT

77 min: There’s plenty of life in this one but do pop over and get the team news from the Emirates when you get chance to catch your breath. Eddie Nketiah will lead the line for Mikel Arteta’s side:

Related: Arsenal v Newcastle: Premier League – live!

3.34pm GMT

76 min: ... it comes in low and Son clears.

3.34pm GMT

75 min: Winks is pulled up for a foul on Grealish. Villa earn a free-kick out on the right flank. Twenty-odd yards out. Targett and Grealish are stood over it ...

3.33pm GMT

74 min: The chances keep coming for Tottenham, but again Alli is denied! He storms on to a through ball and bears down on goal but Reina makes himself big and Konsa eats away at the Spurs forward to make life difficult. Villa come away unscathed but they could do with stopping Tottenham at source.

3.31pm GMT

70 min: Spurs go close! Nakamba flings himself in the way of Bergwijn’s strike after Tottenham pour forward. Aurier ghosts in behind Matt Targett, darts into the box and supplies an inviting cross. Reina punches clear but only as far as Hause, who inadvertently helps the ball on to Bergwijn. The forward leathers it at goal – but across comes a sprawling Nakamba to get in the way. Backs-to-the-wall stuff.

3.29pm GMT

69 min: “The keeper got his Engels all wrong,” emails Andrew Champney. Keep ‘em coming. Meanwhile, back to the action ...

3.28pm GMT

68 min: Kortney Hause keeps another Villa corner alive before Sanchez wellies it clear. Spurs clear their lines and Trezeguet replaces Anwar El Ghazi.

3.24pm GMT

64 min: Grealish’s corner drops at the far post, where Villa are queuing up. Spurs’ marking is selective at best. Engels gets something on it before El Ghazi nods at goal. Lloris clambers down to his right to scoop it up. Spurs have been all at sea defensively, as have Villa. That ensures plenty of fun, if nothing else.

3.21pm GMT

63 min: Grealish buys a corner out of Alderweireld ...

3.21pm GMT

61 min: Another chance goes begging for Spurs. Moura makes inroads down the right flank, driving inside before passing the baton over to Son. He steadies himself inside the box but his effort is tame, too central and comfortably gathered by Reina. Son slaps his thighs in frustration. Villa look dodgy in defence.

3.19pm GMT

60 min: Giovani Lo Celso replaces Dier.

3.18pm GMT

59 min: Bergwijn sends a rasping strike at Pepe Reina! The Dutchman has been lively for Spurs, who have not exactly struggled to carve out chances. Reina calmly collects. Meanwhile, Marvelous Nakamba replaces Drinkwater, who has been below par.

3.16pm GMT

57 min: Engels off the Marx, says quick-witted colleague Tom Bryant. I’m loving Engels instead etc etc. Any more for any more?

3.15pm GMT

55 min: But back come Spurs – they could have scored a tonne on another day. Winks whips in a dangerous cross towards the back post, where Dele Alli is lurking. Alli nods the ball into the path of Eric Dier but Villa manage to intervene before its too late. Douglas Luiz was guilty of switching off, but Villa survive and clear.

3.12pm GMT

And now Engels redeems himself. Grealish’s corner spins into the six-yard box and Engels rises above Alderweireld to nod in. That was oh so easy. Villa Park inevitably erupts.

3.10pm GMT

51 min: El Ghazi stings the palms of Lloris! The Spurs goalkeeper is called into action after El Ghazi lets rip inside the box, latching on to a clever knockdown by Samatta, who has proved a handful for the Spurs defence. There’s at least a goal in this.

3.09pm GMT

49 min: Spurs break, Son tries to wriggle free and get a shot away but his indecision allows Villa to get bodies back behind the ball. Bang, and the dirt chance is gone.

3.07pm GMT

48 min: “Wonderfully entertaining game of football so far, with composure nowhere to be seen,” tweets Bobby Moore. “Reina, who won a few shootouts in his Liverpool days, was rightly furious that there were only white shirts chasing the penalty rebound. Looking forward to more fun in the second half.”

3.07pm GMT

47 min: The second half starts similarly to the first, with Grealish floored by a crude Moura challenge. Moura is booked for chopping down the Villa captain but Spurs steamroller forward on the counterattack. Bergwijn brushes off Danny Drinkwater and surges downfield to bear down on Pepe Reina. Guilbert ends up making a crucial interception. Spurs look lethal in the transition.

3.04pm GMT

46 min: Douglas Luiz gets us back started.

2.55pm GMT

Earlier Celtic moved 13 points clear at the top:

Related: Late Kristoffer Ajer winner forces Celtic past plucky Aberdeen

2.54pm GMT

Some red-hot action to be abreast of:

Related: Juventus v Brescia, Cologne v Bayern and more: European clockwatch – live!

2.50pm GMT

Son gives Spurs the lead on the brink of the interval. Toby Alderweireld made amends for an early own goal by smashing in an equaliser and Spurs had been knocking on the door ever since. Into three minutes of first-half stoppage time, Son stepped up to take a penalty after Engels was adjudged to have played the man and not the ball when he went to ground on Bergwijn.

2.48pm GMT

Pepe Reina saves the initial penalty low down to his right but Son pokes in the rebound from close range. Reina is livid at the lack of Villa helping hands, with Son and Alli charging into the box to feed on any rebounds. In the end Son is the beneficiary, nudging home after his spot-kick was saved.

2.46pm GMT

45 min: Penalty to Tottenham! Engels is penalised. “It’s not football anymore,” is the chant from unhappy Villa fans. Son will take ...

2.45pm GMT

44 min: Engels slides in on Bergwijn, but the Villa defender appears to make precious little contact with the ball. VAR check ...

2.44pm GMT

41 min: Spurs are denied again! Dele Alli and Steven Bergwijn go close, and now it is Villa that are very much on the ropes. Alli tamely passes the ball at Hause after latching on to a low cross by Davies and then Bergwijn attempts to slam home the rebound from close range. There is a VAR check to assess whether Bjorn Engels handled Bergwijn’s volley but the Villa defender is not penalised. In the end Harry Winks scoops over from outside the box. A flurry of opportunities, but Spurs fail to find the net.

2.39pm GMT

38 min: Lloris makes a wild, and slightly erratic, save from El Ghazi! The Villa man tried his luck from distance and Lloris seemed caught in two minds but shoves the ball to safety. Spurs look mustard on the counter, but not much cop in defence.

2.37pm GMT

36 min: Spurs should take the lead! Villa are caught ball-watching and Dele Alli picks up a wonderful hooked pass by Son out on the right flank. Alli gallops into acres of space behind the Villa back line and tries, with the outside of his right boot, to beat Pepe Reina. Alli may have been better off trying to locate a team-mate, or perhaps going for a more routine finish. Nice try nevertheless.

2.34pm GMT

33 min: Spurs jet up the other end on the counterattack but Kortney Hause makes a thudding block to deny Lucas Moura taking aim. Brilliant defending, but another reminder of Tottenham’s threat on the break.

2.34pm GMT

32 min: Hugo Lloris makes a meal of a corner, eventually clawing the ball to safety after Eric Dier nodded the ball high into the air in the six-yard box! Davinson Sanchez had cut out a delicious ball into the box by Matt Targett and Villa know they can get at this Spurs defence, which has been unconvincing at best.

2.31pm GMT

30 min: “Football is so cruel,” emails Mary Waltz. “Villa completely dominate the first 27 minutes and against the run of play we are all even.” A half-decent summary of events at Villa Park. It has been lively, that’s for sure.

2.29pm GMT

29 min: “You’re going down with the West Ham,” sing the Spurs fans.

2.27pm GMT

Redemption for the Spurs defender – and what a sweet strike. Alderweireld nonchalantly swivels in the box after picking up the scraps of a corner and coolly thrashes the ball into the roof of the Villa net. The ball pinballs around in the box and Alderweireld slams home. Spurs have been dire defensively but they have looked a threat at the other end. Matt Targett did brilliantly to intercept a slick move, nicking the ball away from Aurier but Spurs strike from the subsequent corner.

2.25pm GMT

24 min: Eric Dier erupts, up in arms at the state of the Spurs defending! His team is being run ragged, particularly by Jack Grealish. This time Matt Targett nudges the ball into the path of Grealish, who is played onside. Grealish unselfishly tries to pull the ball back for Samatta, but Dier intervenes. What a mess.

2.23pm GMT

22 min: Samatta goes close! Villa play some neat triangles down the right flank and a crisp move culminates with El Ghazi delivering a wonderful ball into Hugo Lloris’s front post. Tottenham are caught cold but Samatta is alert to it and gets across Davinson Sanchez to connect. But Sanchez eventually does just enough.

2.21pm GMT

20 min: Spurs recover from that shambles by countering at speed, with Bergwijn serving up a delicious cross towards the back post. Alli bursts into the box and attempts a diving header – but it drops off target. Alderweireld, meanwhile, requires some treatment after getting caught up in that defensive chaos a moment ago.

2.19pm GMT

18 min: A mammoth block by Ben Davies denies Villa a second! Magnificent work by Grealish, who effortlessly carries the ball upfield down the left. Grealish rolls the ball across the six-yard box where Villa are queuing up. Douglas Luiz is among those lurking towards the far post and Douglas Luiz smacks the ball goalwards. Davies – somehow – gets rid. Spurs are at sixes and sevens defensively.

2.17pm GMT

17 min: Lucas Moura is invited to shoot on the edge of the box, with Engels backing off in the Villa defence. Moura arrows a shot a couple of yards wide.

2.16pm GMT

14 min: Kortney Hause makes a timely block to deny Dele Alli! Spurs seize possession after El Ghazi’s pass is loose and Lucas Moura had weaved his way through before laying the ball off to Alli inside the box. Alli did everything right, steering the ball across goal – but there was Hause to intervene.

2.14pm GMT

13 min: Aurier gives away another free-kick, again giving Grealish an unceremonious bump. But somehow the Spurs defender avoids a booking. The free-kick comes to nothing but Spurs are rattled.

2.12pm GMT

11 min: Trademark Grealish as the Villa skipper cuts inside on to his right foot and lashes a curling effort towards the far corner. Narrowly wide. That own goal has really revved up the hosts and deflated the visitors. Spurs are all over the place at the back.

2.09pm GMT

Alderweireld gets his bearings all wrong, making a mess of an El Ghazi cross from the right and inadvertently prods the ball beyond Hugo Lloris. El Ghazi easily eluded his marker, Ben Davies, raced towards the byline before whipping in a lovely curling cross from the right. The bouncing ball flummoxed Alderweireld, who was busy keeping Samatta at bay. But in the end the Spurs defender does the Villa’s striker’s work for him.

2.07pm GMT

6 min: Douglas Luiz inadvertently stands on Moura’s hand and, moments later, we have round two of Aurier v Grealish. Aurier left a little on the Villa captain. That ticking off by Martin Atkinson seems to resemble something of a final warning.

2.05pm GMT

5 min: Anwar El Ghazi takes. It curls a yard or two over Lloris’s goal.

2.04pm GMT

3 min: Villa pour forward down the right through Samatta but Martin Atkinson is alerted to Serge Aurier crudely getting to grips with Jack Grealish on the opposite flank. After a quick whinge and moan, Villa earn a free-kick 25 yards from goal ...

2.01pm GMT

1 min: Ezri Konsa makes a meaty but fair challenge on Son as the Spurs forward tries to break forward. The Tottenham man requires some early treatment but is soon back on his feet, shaking his head in the direction of the Villa defender.

2.00pm GMT

Dele Alli gets the ball rolling at Villa Park.

2.00pm GMT

Room for one more. “There’s a negotiating technique where you try to consciously mirror the other person’s mannerisms, but I fear Mourinho has taken things a bit too far in his quest to have Levy spend more money on transfers,” emails Gustav Björklund. We’re about to get under way in the west Midlands ...

1.59pm GMT

Here we go! The teams trudge out at Villa Park ...

1.55pm GMT

Dean Smith talks about Mings’s absence. “It’s a blow because he is a very good player for us and he is adapted really well to the Premier League but he was ill yesterday so we knew he would be missing,” Smith says. “We’ve got Bjorn Engels who has recently been called up by Belgium so we have strength in depth in that area. Time will tell if he [Mings] is missed or not. We’ve had a half-decent season so far, we have had a big turnaround of personnel and I feel we’re getting better now.” Asked about picking assistant John Terry’s brains for tips on how to get one over on José, the Villa head coach adds: “I’ve been leaning on his knowledge for the last 18 months, but he certainly knows what makes José tick.”

1.48pm GMT

More from Mourinho. “We recovered [Ben] Davies, who played with me just one match,” he says of the boon of the winter break. “[Giovani] Lo Celso is not ready to start the game but ready to help. [Steven] Bergwijn could not play in the cup replay but no problem from now so we have some more options. Other guys have had the opportunity to play but Ben is a proper left-back in his way of playing and I think we need him. In this moment we have more options than before going into a very difficult period where we play three different competitions at the same time. Next week hopefully we will have [Érik] Lamela back, and then we will have only [Moussa] Sissoko and [Harry] Kane in the injury list.”

1.44pm GMT

Twenty minutes until kick-off, so now is as good as time as any to address the big talking point: José Mourinho’s hair, or lack of. “The reason behind the haircut is the barber was bad!” the Tottenham Hotspur manager said. “He did a bad job and when I looked at myself in the mirror, I looked at him and said ‘come on, bring out the [number] one and shave it.’ I know it will take a little longer but it will grow and come back to normality.”

1.37pm GMT

Pepe Reina is again between the sticks for Villa but Tom Heaton, who is out for the season with a knee injury, has been talking candidly to the BBC about the pressure that comes with pulling on an England shirt. “When you’re England’s number one, you’re held to a different standard to the other keepers,” he says. “When you’re a striker, if you miss three chances but score a goal then everyone says how good the goal was. When you’re a keeper, you can make three world-class saves and let one in, and that’s what they’ll talk about. It comes with the territory, it’s no surprise when that scrutiny comes when you’re England’s number one. Pickford knows that, he’s aware of it and he’ll be able to deal with it.”

1.31pm GMT

Dean Smith has had his two pennies’ worth on the winter break, and reckons it might have revitalised Villa. “It’s a tough league, one in which it is difficult to build consistency because of the quality of the other teams in there, but I feel we’ve just started to build that consistency,” he says. “As everybody knows, we had a big turnaround [of players] in the summer and they’re starting to gel. For the first time we’ve had a mini break and we’ve seen a positive side to it. It gave everybody a chance to have some time away from the place, and to clear their heads.”

1.22pm GMT

Essential pre-match reading:

When I heard Appie [Nouri] had brain damage, I just can’t describe my feelings. At that time I didn’t sleep so much. In the first weeks I was scared to play, scared to go on the pitch because Appie was a young boy and out of nowhere … It was difficult. I speak to his brother every day but it’s still difficult.

Related: Steven Bergwijn: ‘His brother said you will score for Appie … I did it’

1.20pm GMT

We’re off to a good start. “Looking at that pic gracing the MBM has me wondering when the hell Dominic Cummings took over Spurs,” emails Speakeasy Ray. Any more for any more?

1.15pm GMT

Team news news: Aston Villa’s frail defence will again be put under the spotlight, and they will have to cope without Tyrone Mings who is absent with tonsilitis, according to Sky. Bjorn Engels is promoted to the Villa starting lineup, while Danny Drinkwater also returns in place of Marvelous Nakamba. As for the visitors, Ben Davies returns to the Spurs starting XI, with the Wales defender making his first appearance since November after recovering from an ankle injury. Davies and Eric Dier both start as Giovani Lo Celso and Japhet Tanganga drop to the bench.

1.04pm GMT

Aston Villa (3-4-3): Reina; Hause, Konsa, Engels; Guilbert, Douglas Luiz, Drinkwater, Targett; El Ghazi, Samatta, Grealish

Subs: Nyland, Elmohamady, Taylor, Nakamba, Hourihane, Trezeguet, Baston

12.48pm GMT

Tottenham travel to a rainsoaked Villa Park in search of enhancing their push for Champions League qualification. Spurs start the day in sixth, behind Sheffield United. Spurs have not exactly been swashbuckling under José Mourinho but they are picking up points – only Manchester City and Liverpool have yielded more since the Portuguese returned to work in Enfield. Now then, Storm Dennis has already put paid to Witton Station, meaning home and away fans have been piling in via Aston, and a few car parks are flooded but the game is set to go ahead as planned. Fittingly, Danny Drinkwater is set to return to the Villa squad, while the visitors are primed to welcome back Ben Davies and Giovani Lo Celso. Exhilarating fare is unlikely in such conditions but it will at least be entertaining and, if nothing else, expect riveting weather updates.

Kick-off: 2pm (GMT)

Continue reading...

Tottenham go fifth as Son Heung-min punishes late Aston Villa error

søn, 16/02/2020 - 17:25

Fifth place might be important this year and Tottenham climbed back above Sheffield United to claim it, though it took a last-gasp winner from Son Heung-min in the fourth minute of added time to overcome a plucky and resilient Aston Villa.

The home side scored first and came back to level the game in the second half after the visitors had taken an interval lead, but by the end of the match they were becoming dangerously reliant on Pepe Reina’s reflexes as he produced a string of saves to keep the scores level.

Related: José Mourinho says FA should not punish Dele Alli over coronavirus video

Continue reading...

English quartet prepare for drama on a stage we must enjoy while we can

søn, 16/02/2020 - 09:00

Liverpool, Manchester City, Spurs and Chelsea face differing challenges in a Champions League knockout stage that is likely to be one of the last in the competition’s current format

The Champions League returns on Tuesday with Liverpool back at the stadium where they won their sixth European crown last year. Atlético Madrid will represent a formidable obstacle as Jürgen Klopp and his players attempt the unlikely feat of reaching a third successive Champions League final in addition to claiming a first English title in 30 years, though of the four English teams aiming for a place in the last eight it could be argued that Liverpool have been best favoured by the draw.

It is true that Tottenham’s opponents, RB Leipzig, have the least impressive European pedigree, but Julian Nagelsmann’s side are keeping Bayern Munich company at the top of the Bundesliga. Chelsea and Spurs find themselves pitted against the top two teams in Germany, while Manchester City must play Real Madrid, top of La Liga and with a very impressive European pedigree indeed.

Related: RB Leipzig's Emil Forsberg: 'We’re not here to buy Mbappé and Messi. We're here to develop players'

Related: Pep Guardiola claims he could be sacked if Manchester City lose to Real Madrid

Continue reading...

Steven Bergwijn: ‘His brother said you will score for Appie … I did it’

lør, 15/02/2020 - 23:30

Tottenham’s £25m signing from PSV Eindhoven is a childhood friend of Appie Nouri, the Ajax youngster who suffered permanent brain damage in 2017

Steven Bergwijn was running in celebration before his debut goal for Tottenham against Manchester City hit the net, the one with which he announced his £25m arrival from PSV Eindhoven at the start of this month and sent jaws crashing to the floor all around his new club’s stadium.

“If you look at the highlights, you can already see me run,” the 22-year-old says. He knew from the moment he took the perfect touch on his chest and certainly from when he made the sweetest of volleyed connections. But, really, Bergwijn knew before the game. He knew because of a promise he had made.

Related: Abdelhak ‘Appie’ Nouri: ‘We are with him 24/7, talking to him, praying for him’

Related: José Mourinho says FA should not punish Dele Alli over coronavirus video

Continue reading...

Aston Villa v Tottenham: match preview

lør, 15/02/2020 - 10:00

Tottenham have a formidable record at Villa Park – they have not been beaten on their last nine visits and they have won their last five away trips at Villa with a combined scored of 14-1. How they would love for that trend to continue on Sunday. Back-to-back wins have reignited Tottenham’s hopes of a top-four finish but Villa are on the right side of the dotted line – just – and have developed a habit for unexpected wins at just the right time. John Ashdown

Sunday 2pm Sky Sports Premier League

Continue reading...

Dele Alli is not racist, says Mourinho after coronavirus controversy – video

fre, 14/02/2020 - 17:30

José Mourinho says he is satisfied with Dele Alli’s apology for posting a video about the coronavirus outbreak. Alli is facing a possible Football Association charge over the video he filmed in an airport departure lounge that appeared to suggest an Asian man could be infected with the coronavirus. ‘The last thing that Dele is, is anything connected with racism or disrespect,’ Mourinho said. ‘The best thing, for me, is regret and [to] apologise. For me, [it] is end of story’.

Continue reading...

José Mourinho says FA should not punish Dele Alli over coronavirus video

fre, 14/02/2020 - 15:30
  • Tottenham manager says Alli made a ‘young guy mistake’
  • Mourinho says ‘it was never his intention to offend’

José Mourinho says he has spoken to Dele Alli about the recent online controversy in which the Tottenham Hotspur midfielder became embroiled and that it was an “easy conversation”.

Alli is facing a possible Football Association charge over a video he filmed in an airport departure lounge in which he appeared to mock an unsuspecting Asian man and claimed the man might be infected with the coronavirus. The FA has written to Alli and asked for his observations.

Related: ‘It wasn’t funny’: Tottenham’s Dele Alli apologises over coronavirus video

Continue reading...

Football around Europe: 10 things to look out for this weekend

fre, 14/02/2020 - 02:55

Farke faces defensive dilemma for Liverpool, Forest need their best XI, Chelsea’s women eye treble and a six-pointer in Austria

Leeds are falling apart. Maybe. But here’s the thing: anyone who beats them ends up falling apart too. None of the eight teams who have got the better of Marcelo Bielsa’s men in Championship this season have won their subsequent match – seven of them have lost it. Nottingham Forest were the latest to find that beating Bielsa’s side takes a heavy toll, as on the back of last weekend’s 2-0 win at the City Ground, they flopped to a home defeat by Charlton. But they are still only two points off the automatic promotion places and could foil West Brom’s attempt to pull away at the top again by winning at the Hawthorns on Saturday. To do that, Sabri Lamouchi would be well advised to reverse the changes he made for the Charlton game and deploy the lineup that beat Leeds, assuming Lewis Grabban, Samba Sow and Sammy Ameobi have overcome the knee problems that forced them to miss the midweek match. PD

Related: Sacking managers often doesn't work – just look at the Premier League | Eni Aluko

Related: Reiss Nelson: 'It was always, Reiss and Jadon Sancho, who's better?'

Related: Miedema double sees off Liverpool and keeps Arsenal in WSL title race

Related: Hasenhüttl’s death-or-glory rejig revives Southampton’s menace | David Hytner

Continue reading...