Mauricio Pochettino hailed Tottenham after 2-2 draw with Juventus

Mauricio Pochettino

 

Mauricio Pochettino commended his side after Tottenham Hotspur overcame a nightmare start with Juventus and ended with a 2-2 draw in last night’s Champions League.

“A fantastic game,” said Pochettino.

“We were sloppy and conceded two goals in nine minutes, but the character we showed was fantastic. I want to congratulate the players — 2-0 down in Turin to a team so difficult to break down. We deserved a victory more than a draw.”

“We are more mature now. In the last few weeks, the team are growing and have stepped up. It’s a good example of the capacity we have. The team was amazing in how they reacted.

“You need some luck always in football. The tie is open, Juventus are a massive team. We have the hope we can win [the second leg] in Wembley.”

Harry Kane

 

Harry Kane scored the goal which helped him to create more results.

“We could have [capitulated], away from home in the Champions League. It showed character,” Kane said.

“It was an excellent performance after that and we take two away goals to Wembley. Great result.

“I should have scored the header, but you have to be ready for the next one and I finished it off.”

Adding to their draw, Tottenham manager David Pleat added that Juventus paid a price for becoming over confident.

“Juventus were complacent in the first half after going two goals up. It was probably the worst thing that happened to them, because they sat a little bit and Tottenham had no option but to push on. As the game developed they made their ascendancy count,” Pleat said.

“Juventus were a little disappointing when you consider their results over the past three months in Italy, it is quite incredible. They faded in the second half in Cardiff when they played Real Madrid in the final last year, they’ve got some ageing players in the squad and were missing some players. They may well have players back maybe, maybe Paulo Dybala, the clever midfielder, will be back for the second game. And they’ve had a good look at Tottenham now, so they know what they are up against, this will be a titanic battle.”

 

Jurgen Klopp admits delight over Virgil van Dijk feature against his former club Southampton

Virgil van Dijk

 

Virgil van Dijk played against his former club Southampton on Sunday afternoon and Jurgen Klopp admitted his delight on how the new defender for Liverpool handled himself.

The 26-year-old played the full 90 minutes at St Mary’s and was featured against his former club after transferring from Southampton on January.

Van Dijk has played regularly in the first team at Anfield since his £75 million transfer to Liverpool from Southampton.

The Netherlands International made a great performance on Sunday and helped his side win 2-0.

Virgil van Dijk

 

Liverpool FC boss Jurgen Klopp admitted that he was thrilled by Van Dijk;s attitude although the defender amidst the boo in the crowd.

“We had a little talk before the game and I asked, ‘What do you think?’ He said, ‘No, I’m fine boss’.

“I don’t want to make him nervous if he isn’t nervous and obviously he wasn’t and that’s good.

“I understand everything in football; the crowd is there to make life difficult for the opponent but I think it was not too difficult for him from this point of view and I’m happy about it.”

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte credits Olivier Giroud after win against West Brom

Olivier Giroud

 

After a series of disappointing losses, Chelsea beat West Brom 3-0 and Olivier Giroud was deservingly praised for his great play.

Eden Hazard was the star performer of the game, but Antonio Conte showered praised on new signee Giroud who also made a sensational fulltime debut for his side.

Chelsea made three points from their game against West Brom with the help of Hazard and Victor Moses. The victory also eased pressure on Conte who had a series of unfortunate losses against Watford and Bournemouth.

“We must be pleased for Giroud’s performance. It was the first time he has played from the start for us.”

“Giroud is coming back from a muscular problem so it’s important he goes into our idea of football, into the right position. The first goal was a clear example of our idea.”

Hazard was still the man of the match as he was able to score in the 25th minute from Giroud’s pass and scored again in the 71st minute when he capitalized on a ball from Morata before curling it past the goalkeeper.

Leicester City hit Riyad Mahrez with £240,000 fine after failed move to Manchester City

 Riyad Mahrez still on Leicester strike
Riyad Mahrez still on Leicester strike

 

Leicester City have fined Riyad Mahrez for his two-week absence after his club failed to move him to Manchester City.

Mahrez will get a fine of £240,000 which is worth two weeks of wages as he was also absent for two weeks from the club.

Mahrez has been extending his strike and has been reported to be spending time with family and close friends in Algeria.

Because of the situation, the big bosses of the club has decided to hit the pocket of the 26-year-old with two weeks of wages.

Claude Puel press conference

 

In a press conference with Claude Puel yesterday, he was unable to confirm or deny whether he has already spoken with Mahrez and if he knew where he was.

The Frenchman also did not get a date on when the player would return but said that he will not be involved in tomorrow’s night game against Manchester City where he failed to sign on deadline day.

“I hope Riyad can get his head right and come back with us, to hard work,” said Puel.

“Riyad is a magnificent player, he loves football, he loves his relationship with his friends, his team-mates. He enjoys his football.

Riyad Mahrez

 

“I think he needs to come back to play, to touch the ball. It’s important.

“I hope he can come back and work hard with the team sooner rather than later.

“We will see. I don’t want to give details about our relationship. It is important that remains inside the club.”

Mahrez also submitted a written transfer request on Tuesday to force Leicester to move him to Man City.

The club demanded £80 million for Mahrez which Man City denied paying. Talks between Mahrez’s representatives and Leicester are still ongoing and the club are hopeful that he will return soon.

 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is not another Alexis

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is not an Alexis Sanchez clone and should be left to do what he does best, according to Ian Wright.

The Gunners saw their 2016-17 top goal scorer left them for Manchester United and landed Henrikh Mkhitaryan as an exchange during the January transfer window.

Arsene Wenger, however, took Aubameyang for £55 million to replace Sanchez.

Wright says that the 28-year-old should use his predatory instincts instead of replicating the work rate of Sanchez.

Ian Wright

 

“It’s been mentioned about Aubameyang not having enough touches in matches,” Wright said.

“He can get away with that.

“If he stays right at the top there and let him get on with it, then why do you want touches when you’ve got [Mesut] Ozil, Mkhitaryan and all those players?

“You can stay on the edge and not touch it.

“If Arsenal can play to his strengths, he’s that kind of player who could have four touches and score four goals.”

Wenger will be hoping that his predictions are right. Aubameyang’s classy finish on his debut against Everton proves that he will bring more in the future games with the club.

Arsenal may be forced to sell Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck

Arsenal may be forced to sell Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck less than 18 months before their contract ends.

Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck transfer

 

The club may sell the duo as they may also take excessive demands in their salary following Mesut Ozil’s new £350,000 per-week-deal.

The German signed a new contract at Arsenal last week and became the highest paid player in the club’s history.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who is a new signee for the club becomes the second with £180,000-a-week.

Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck

 

Those deals have also ruined the wage structure at Arsenal as there are fears in management that the players whose contracts are up for renewal may make unreasonable wage demands.

Ramsey is Arsenal’s top scorer and has greatly impressed this season. Welbeck, on the other hand, has been struggling this season due to a number of injuries.

Arsenal may opt to sell the pair to avoid having the same situation they had with Sanchez and Ozil.

Antonio Conte defends himself and says he is not over-working his players

Antonio Conte

 

Antonio Conte dismisses accusations that he is over-working his players as he pointed the relatively low number of Chelsea players who are injured.

The Italian boss will also have a difficult selection during their Watford game tonight as Alvaro Morata will not be able to play and new signee Olivier Giroud is not yet ready.

Chelsea have four players out compared to the 19 Premier League clubs that have more absentees.

“If you compare to the other clubs, we have fewer injuries,” Conte argued.

“The only problem is that, this season, we are playing a lot and our squad wasn’t big enough to give them the right rest. We are working less, less than last season. A lot less.

“But, for sure, you have to change your plan, your work. When you play every three days, it’s impossible to give intensity in these two days between one game and another.

“Sometimes, when I had the possibility, I tried to give the opportunity… a little window of work for the players I decided to rest. But, in this country, with a lot of competitions – four competitions, and with the intensity of every game – you have to face a season with a big squad. This is very, very important.

“I think it’s very important to try to understand and find the best solution for the future.”

Antonio Conte

 

When asked how long it would take Chelsea back to the top as they are 18 points off Manchester City.

“I don’t know this. Also because you can see the other teams are working very hard, very strong to improve their squads. It’s not simple, not simple. I think a club like Chelsea must have more patience than other teams.

“If you compare it to the past, the situation has totally changed. Yes. But especially for this reason, you have to understand that only through great work, big work, can you go and try to be closer to these teams who maybe don’t have this type of financial problems.

“In this case, the value of the coach is important. We have a lot of young players. Our average age is very low now, don’t forget.

“Whoever knows football understands very well that, now, we need a lot of patience, to understand a new situation and not complain, but only be realistic. And be strong and to work, work, work. Only through work can you solve problems. Not by complaining or just by buying.”

Olivier Giroud revealed his disappointment with Arsene Wenger

Olivier Giroud revealed that he was disappointed with Arsene Wenger as he had a difficult half-season at Arsenal.

Olivier Giroud

 

Giroud fell down the pecking order following the signing of Alexandre Lacazette last summer.

The striker also revealed that with the arrival of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, it would have reduced his playing time at the Emirates if he stayed with them.

Giroud has now moved to Chelsea and admitted that he was unhappy with the events that led to his move away from his club.

“The fact is that the coach wanted to recruit a new striker and with Aubameyang’s signing at Arsenal, there were three top strikers, and that’s why I decided to leave,’ the 31-year-old said.

“It made sense for me to take a new direction in my career.

“There was a bit of disappointment, even though I spent five wonderful years there.

“I could have stayed, but I needed a solution to get back in.

“I wanted to stay in the Premier League and Chelsea was a great opportunity for me.”

Mesut Ozil rejected Manchester United for Arsenal extension

Mesut Ozil Arsenal

 

While a couple of great players left Arsenal during the January transfer window, but Mesut Ozil who has been rumoured to wanting to leave Arsenal has now stayed.

The Arsenal striker penned a new three-and-a-half year deal with a £350,000-per-week salary at the Emirates.

Ozil had just six months to run in his contract and has been reported to be moving to Manchester United together with Alexis Sanchez.

But in a turn of events, Ozil told United that he is staying in north London and will not make the move.

Ozil snubbed the possibility of changing clubs in favour of staying at Arsenal.

Barcelona, PSG and Guangzhou Evergrande also wanted Ozil, unfortunately, the 2014 World Cup winner did not succumb to their bids.

Arsenal fans will expect great plays from Ozil and they can probably count on it.

 

 

Barcelona signed Arsenal midfielder Marcus McGuane

Marcus McGuane

 

Barcelona snatched Arsenal starlet Marcus McGuane for an undisclosed fee.

The young McGuane was a product of the Arsenal academy aged 6 and became a mainstay for the under 23’s.

Barcelona intend for the 18-year-old to place in their B team with a three-year contract amounting to £21.9 million.

The move represents a major role reversal since the Spanish giants are more familiar to losing their best young players to the Premier League. However, fans are hoping that Arsenal will not regret this in the long run.