Guardiola: No Champions League win at City would be judged a ´failure´

Pep Guardiola believes he will be judged as a “failure” at Manchester City if the club do not win the Champions League before he departs.

While City appear certain to cede their Premier League crown to runaway leaders Liverpool this season, Guardiola’s impact at the Etihad Stadium has been undeniable.

Since his arrival in 2016, the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss has won two Premier League crowns, the first with a record haul of 100 points and the second with 98, an FA Cup title and two EFL Cups.

In addition, City’s football has often been exhilarating during Guardiola’s tenure, yet the Catalan knows that will not be enough to satisfy some observers if one further objective is not met.

“Winning a certain way is what helps you to win the titles,” he said ahead of Sunday’s Premier League meeting with Tottenham. “We believe we can play in that way. But we will see at the end.

“Of course, here we will be judged not for the certain way [we play] but for the titles we win. That is the truth. It is as simple as that.

“We believe in this way. Last season was an extraordinary season for us and the people say, ‘yeah, but you didn’t win the Champions League’.

“That is why I will be judged – if we don’t win the Champions League it will be a failure in my period here in Manchester. I know that.”

City have yet to progress beyond the Champions League quarter-finals under Guardiola. They face Real Madrid in this season’s last 16, with the first leg scheduled for February 26 at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Alli: Tottenham will miss ´worldie´ Eriksen

Dele Alli admitted Tottenham have lost an “unbelievable player” in Christian Eriksen.

Eriksen, 27, finalised a long-awaited move to Inter on Tuesday in a deal reportedly worth €20million (£16.8m).

Spurs accepted the cut-price offer after the Danish playmaker entered the final six months of his contract.

Jose Mourinho claimed Eriksen lacked motivation but England international Alli had nothing but praise for his former team-mate, who spent six-and-a-half seasons in north London.

“He’s a worldie,” Alli told Sky Sports. “I sent him a sad face on message, but I’m sure I’ll speak to him.

“He’s an unbelievable player. Yeah, he’ll be missed here, but this is a different step in his career.

“Since the start of the season there’s been a lot of speculation and now it’s gone through I wish him all the best, because he’s a great friend and a great person.”

Eriksen struggled to cement a regular place in Mourinho’s starting side but Alli has had no such trouble, fast becoming a favourite under the former Manchester United manager.

The 23-year-old’s form has improved since Mauricio Pochettino made way in November and he said was “feeling good” after a difficult start to the campaign.

“The more mature I’m getting, the more I’m playing and learning not just about football but about life,” Alli said.

“It’s nice to be praised, but the same people can be waiting to shoot you down. So you keep working hard, and listen to the right people. Whoever you choose to listen to is the main thing – the manager, players, team-mates and people around the club, their opinion is important.

“I think I can always do better. I’ve played well in some games, and in others I know I haven’t played good enough.”

Kylian Mbappe Reacts Angrily to Being Substituted in PSG’s 5-0 Thrashing of Montpellier (Video)

The future of Kylian Mbappe is always a hot topic in the football press. But while when he’ll leave Paris Saint-Germain and where he’ll go may still be unknown, it has become quite obvious that he isn’t happy with the way Thomas Tuchel is managing his game-time. This is not the first time we’ve seen a reaction like this from the 21-year-old star.

As his team strolled to victory at the Parc des Princes against Montpellier on Saturday in which he scored their fourth goal, he was replaced after 68 minutes by Mauro Icardi and he was far from happy with the coach’s decision.

Leicester 2-2 Chelsea: Top four thriller at King Power

Fans were always expecting fireworks when Leicester City and Chelsea met at the King Power Stadium, and in the end, that’s exactly what we got as the two top four contenders played out a fascinating 2-2 draw last night.

Back and forth

These two sides came into this game in third and fourth place respectively, knowing that their closest rivals Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers were playing one another this weekend – with Tottenham Hotspur having to take on reigning champions Manchester City. As such, this was a golden opportunity for one of the two to really stamp their authority on the top four race.

The first half of the game wasn’t exactly dull with both teams going for it on the counter, but nobody was able to massively bloody the nose of their opponent. In the second half, however, Antonio Rudiger was quick to inject some life into the game with a lovely header from Mason Mount’s corner that gave Chelsea the lead. It didn’t last too long for the hosts though as Harvey Barnes’ strike deflected in off of Reece James and flew into the top corner of the net.

Honours even

Leicester quite clearly had their tails up from that point on and Ben Chilwell made the momentum count with a nice finish from a Youri Tielemans corner. Again, though, the resilience of this Chelsea team was able to shine through as they avoided another defeat courtesy of Rudiger heading in his second goal of the day. Once more, the assist came from none other than Mason Mount.

The expectation was that United, Wolves and Tottenham would be the teams they’d have to look around at for the next few months and certainly this weekend, but at the end of the day it was Sheffield United who were able to close the gap on the top four courtesy of their win over Crystal Palace. With the winter break coming up the next game for Leicester will be a visit to play Wolves on Valentine’s Day, whereas Chelsea have a big task ahead of them as they prepare to avenge their 4-0 loss that they suffered against Manchester United at the start of the campaign.

Match Report

Leicester: Schmeichel (6), Chilwell (7), Soyuncu (7), Evans (6), Pereira (6.5), Choudhury (7), Barnes (7), Maddison (7.5), Tielemans (7.5), Perez (6.5), Vardy (7), Iheanacho (6), Praet (6)

Chelsea: Caballero (6), James (7), Christensen (6), Rudiger (8.5), Azpilicueta (7), Kante (7), Jorginho (6.5), Hudson-Odoi (6.5), Mount (7.5), Pedro (6.5), Abraham (6.5), Barkley (6), Kovacic (6.5), Willian (6)

Referee: Lee Mason

Goals: Barnes, Chilwell :: Rudiger x2

Yellow Cards: Evans, Maddison, Jorginho, Kovacic

Red Cards: N/A

Cavani move to Atletico failed because demanded fee wasn’t met – agent

The brother and agent of Edinson Cavani,Walter Fernando Guglielmone, has opened up on the striker’s failed move from Paris Saint-Germain to Atletico Madrid in January.

Giving his view on the matter after the Madrid Derby on Saturday, Atletico president Enrique Cereza said that the club weren’t ‘there to be messed about with’, indicating that the player and his agent were not happy about the figures they saw before them. However, as quoted by Marca, Guglielmone told Cadena SER that was not the case.

The agent was repulsed by the suggestions that he had let his brother not play for a month for him only to give up on the deal and his brother’s dream because of his commission. He said that if he and Cavani had been in it for the money, they would have been working on a deal with the likes of Manchester United or Chelsea, not Atletico.

In the end, he threw the ball back into Cereza’s court by revealing that the deal actually fell through because Atletico wouldn’t pay the fee demanded by PSG, and the Ligue 1 champions refused to lower it.

Giovani Lo Celso relishing positive progress at ´big club´ Tottenham

Giovani Lo Celso has said he now feels completely comfortable at Tottenham following a bumpy introduction to the Premier League.

The Argentina international lost almost two months to a hip injury in the early part of his Spurs career and the manager who brought him in on loan from Real Betis, Mauricio Pochettino, was sacked in November.

Yet suggestions crafty left-footer Lo Celso might not fit under new boss Jose Mourinho have been quashed through a run of four consecutive starts.

Tottenham turned his temporary stay into a permanent, long-term contract on Tuesday, enabling the midfielder to look forward with optimism.

“Right now I’m really enjoying the moment of being at such a big club like Spurs,” Lo Celso told the Guardian.

“In the beginning it wasn’t so easy for me. I was coming to a new league, a new language, a new culture, and then I got injured shortly after arriving. But right now I couldn’t feel better.”

The 23-year-old’s ability to unlock opposition defences became more valuable to Spurs when Christian Eriksen finally completed a long-rumoured move to Inter.

Lo Celso distanced himself from comparisons with the Danish playmaker and instead set his focus on beating Manchester City on Sunday.

“We know that it’s going to be a really difficult match against a team with fantastic players who have been at the top of the game for the last few years,” he said.

“But for us it’s really important to win and to put a good performance out there and take home the three points.

“We’re at a big club. We’ve got high expectations. We go out to win all our matches.

“Now, of course, we are coming up against a big opponent but we know we have all the weapons to hurt them and win the match.”

Guardiola unworried about Sterling form amid goalless run

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola backed Raheem Sterling despite the forward’s dip in form to begin 2020.

Sterling is without a goal in seven games this year, having last netted against Wolves on December 27.

The forward has scored 20 goals in all competitions this season and Guardiola said he was unconcerned about Sterling’s form heading into Sunday’s trip to Tottenham.

“Raheem defended incredibly well against [Aaron] Wan-Bissaka in the last game and he had the clearest chances that no other player can create for himself and unfortunately he could not score a goal,” he said.

“But he was there and so I am more than delighted with the performance he made against United.

“A month ago, people were talking about his statistics, the goals, the assists, but I always said that I was not just judging Raheem on those points. It was important, but not the only one.”

Sterling has already made 34 appearances for City this season, having played 51 games for the club in 2018-19.

But Guardiola, whose team are 22 points adrift of league leaders Liverpool, played down any suggestions Sterling needed a break.

“Does he need a rest? I don’t think so,” he said.

“He’s a guy who recovers quicker than anyone I have ever seen before – he is incredible and he could play every two days.

“The more he plays the better he feels, but all players feel like that.”

If you do, I´ll match your donation – Logan Paul wants Antonio Brown fight

Antonio Brown and Logan Paul teased a potential fight on Twitter on Saturday.

Having apologised over issues that have kept him out of the NFL since September, Brown asked if he should fight Paul.

A YouTuber, Paul lost to KSI in a bout which attracted plenty of interest in Los Angeles in November last year.

On Saturday, Brown tweeted: “Should I fight @LoganPaul for 4.1m with possibly 8.2m raise?! I’ll donate proceeds to charity…he keep coming at me about this non-stop.”

Paul responded: “If you do, I’ll match your donation.”

Brown apologised to the NFL following a series of alleged off-field incidents as he played just one game in the league in 2019.

Wide receiver Brown has been without a team since he was cut by the New England Patriots after just 11 days in September amid allegations of sexual assault and rape, which he strenuously denies.

The seven-time Pro Bowler played just one game for the Patriots, who he joined from the Oakland Raiders after leaving the Pittsburgh Steelers in March last year.

An arrest warrant was issued for the 31-year-old last week on charges of burglary with battery and criminal mischief, with a judge freeing Brown from house arrest on Tuesday.

Marseille 6/5 to beat Bordeaux in Sunday’s Ligue 1 matchup

Competition: Ligue 1

Market: Marseille win

Odds: 6/5 @ Bet 365

Handed a golden opportunity to make another statement and extend on their remarkable run, a high-flying Marseille will make the trip to the Matmut Atlantique on Sunday night.

Starting with the hosts, while Bordeaux may have managed to pick up what was a much-needed 1-0 win away at Nantes last weekend, it does not cover what has been a woeful start to 2020 for Les Girondins. On the verge of losing their top half status and falling away from the European spots, Head Coach Paulo Sousa has seen his side lose four of their last five Ligue 1 matchups, a run that stems back to the 3rd of December. Also hit with a 3-1 defeat when they faced off against Marseille last month, fans around the Matmut Atlantique will be most concerned by their side’s recent performances on home soil. Losing back-to-back matchups against Lyon and Strasbourg, Sunday could prove to be another tough test for Bordeaux.

As for the visitors, putting in what was another dominant display and booking their spot in the quarter-finals of this year’s French Cup thanks to a 3-1 win over Strasbourg, Marseille are enjoying what has been a stellar purple patch. Now sat in pole position to land a Champions League return for this year, André Villas-Boas’s men have won 11 of their last 13 matchups across all formats and are in the midst of an unbeaten run that stems back to the 30th of October. With the mood in their camp at a season-high, there is no doubt that the former Chelsea boss will be most impressed by his side’s performances on the road. Including a 1-0 win away at Rennes earlier in the month, Marseille have not tasted defeat away from the Orange Vélodrome in over three months.

Bet: Marseille 6/5 to beat Bordeaux in Sunday’s Ligue 1 matchup @ Bet 365

Guardiola: Mourinho needs time to make ´aggressive´ Tottenham tick

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola hailed Jose Mourinho as an “incredible manager” and said it will take time for Tottenham to get going under the Portuguese.

The pair, who know each other well from their time in Spain and England, are set to renew acquaintances on Sunday when City travel to Tottenham in the Premier League

Mourinho has endured a largely underwhelming tenure since succeeding Mauricio Pochettino in November, winning eight and losing five of his first 17 games in charge.

Spurs are 17 points behind second-placed City and were held 1-1 by Southampton in the FA Cup fourth round last weekend, but Guardiola can already see a difference in their playing style.

Asked how Tottenham differ under Mourinho compared to Pochettino’s time in north London, Guardiola told reporters: “They are incredibly aggressive. 

“I saw the last game against Southampton and I saw a team completely alive. 

“They conceded in the last minutes but I saw a team that I think is there. Every manager has different ideas. Both are incredible managers. 

“Pochettino was five or six years there and Mourinho just months, so every manager needs time to make their team play the way they want. It is still too early.”

Guardiola has already conceded City are out of the Premier League title race, with runaway leaders Liverpool opening up a 19-point lead by winning at West Ham in midweek.

But the Spaniard insisted it is not for him to determine whether his fourth season at the Etihad Stadium will be considered a failure if they also miss out on winning the Champions League.

“It is down to you lot to judge my season,” he said. “It is a perfect season if you win all the titles, a nice season if you win the biggest title.

“I’m proud of my team and we’re still competing every single game. We won the first title in the summer and now we’re in another final against Aston Villa. 

“We are far away from Liverpool because they would be champions in Timbuktu, Australia and everywhere. 

“We’re not close but are in a good position to qualify for the Champions League and now face the kings of the cup – Real Madrid have won it 13 times – so we will see.

“If you ask for my opinion on the season, I would tell you let us finish and after we will see.”