Antonio Conte thinks improving Tottenham are “going up and up” and has thanked “amazing” Harry Kane for setting the example for his team-mates.
Tottenham moved up to fourth in the Premier League table and piled the pressure on the Gunners with a thumping 5-1 comeback win at home to Newcastle.
Arsenal – who now have two games in hand – can reclaim their top-four spot if they pick up a point at Crystal Palace on Monday Night Football, but the yet-to-be-rearranged postponed derby between the two rivals is shaping up to be potentially decisive.
It was a man-of-the-match display from Kane against the Toon, despite being a surprise absentee from the scoresheet.
“He was a big example for his team-mates,” Conte said of Kane.
“When you see him work this way, for sure you have to show the desire to continue to work very hard. For this reason I want to tell him thanks because he’s a big example for everything. And I hope to give him satisfaction. Now he is enjoying to play this type of football and we have to try to continue together because I’m seeing many players with great improvement. Every player is improving and for this reason Tottenham is going up and up.”
Conte added: “His performance was amazing. I said to him it was a shame he didn’t score but he played in a fantastic way. To have a player like him in your team makes you strong. To know we have him in our side is very important because he can score and create chances.
“First of all I like the person. Some players with talent don’t want to work hard. I have found a player who is a great man. He set the example from the very first day. This isn’t normal because usually when you are top player you can work less, sometimes you are a bit lazy. He is a big example for his teammates. I have seen his desire to be competitive in every competition.”
It’s the first time Spurs have been in the Champions League qualifying spots since September and – with three Premier League wins on the spin – Conte’s previously painfully inconsistent side look like they are hitting form at just the right time.
He said: “I’m seeing great improvement in many aspects. The technical, tactical aspects, the mentality.
“We know very well that in this race there are other teams that may in this moment have an advantage. Arsenal has to play two games. Don’t forget Manchester United. Don’t forget West Ham and Wolverhampton is having a fantastic season. This league is very difficult. I’m happy because hard work is paying off.
“This is very important for the players. I’ve found a group of players who have given me great commitment. They give me credit for my past I think but now they’re understanding this is the right way and they trust me and I trust them.”
Howe: We chased the game
Newcastle played what appeared to be an ideal away day performance for 43 minutes but they fell away badly in the second half. They’ve now lost their last three but remain nine points clear of the relegation zone.
Eddie Howe admitted he was dissapointed with how his team played after the break.
He said: “We produced a very good performance up until the moment Fabian Schar scored. It was hugely disappointing going in at 1-1.
“Bar a few nervy moments at the start I thought we controlled them.
“The key goal is the second goal – the manner of it from our perspective.
“Then we chased the game in a very aggressive way and played in a way we shouldn’t have done. We became expansive, took risks with the ball and then got punished by a top-level team. Some of the goals they scored on transitions were very good. We didn’t manage that part of the game at all.
“It’s a massive period coming up for us. We’re aware this run of games we’ve just exited out of was difficult for us, a lot of away games. I’ll be pleased to return home where form has been good. We need the crowd and stadium united to make the atmosphere as intense as we can for our opponents. This is going to be a massive spell which will go a long way to dictate our fate this season.”
Tottenham travel to Aston Villa in the Premier League on Saturday, April 9 live on Sky Sports; kick-off 5.30pm.
Up next for Newcastle is a home match against Wolves on Friday, April 8 also live on Sky Sports; kick-off 8pm.
Chelsea FC: Brilliant Badiashile leading way for new signings as Thiago Silva partnership blossoms
His promising early form at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea will hope, hint at better times to come through their new signings.
The arrival of French centre-back Badiashile at the start of last month kick-started a record January spending spree of more than £300m.
After Chelsea were sent spiralling into crisis with defeats by Manchester City and Fulham, Badiashile made his debut in a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.
After the Blues claimed a further two clean sheets in 0-0 draws away at Liverpool and at home to Fulham, he is building an impressive partnership with Thiago Silva.
Badiashile was one of five new signings to feature in Friday’s 0-0 draw with Fulham. He started alongside £106.8m Enzo Fernandez, who started well but faded over 90 minutes, £89.5m Mykhailo Mudryk, who struggled over 45 minutes while carrying a cold, and £30m Noni Madueke, who was bright after being brought on at half-time.
“What a waste of money” was the regular chant from the Fulham fans in the away end.
That felt harsh in Badiashile’s case. With his size and speed, he looks like a perfect partner for 38-year-old veteran Silva.
In addition, he showed the ability to play brilliantly out of Fulham’s well-drilled press and he coped in his duels against Aleksandar Mitrovic.
There is still adaption to be done, as Graham Potter barked instructions about his positioning in relation to Silva.
However, using French to communicate with the former Paris Saint-Germain captain, Badiashile has helped steady the ship in the absence of the injured Wesley Fofana, and with Kalidou Koulibaly out of form.
While still only averaging just 1.05 goals per game in the Premier League, Chelsea will draw more than they win unless their new midfielders and forwards step up.
Arriving in the weeks after Badiashile, the likes of Fernandez, Joao Felix, Mudryk and Madueke have not had as much time to adapt to their surroundings.
With Chelsea still in 10th place and increasingly falling behind in the race to qualify for Europe, they must follow Badiashile’s lead and hit the ground running before time runs out.
Reporter’s notebook: Jesse Marsch’s Leeds side showed encouraging signs at times but lack of points cost him his job | Football News
Jesse Marsch was approaching his one-year anniversary as Leeds United head coach before the decision was taken on Monday to relieve him of his duties.
The defeat to Nottingham Forest a day earlier had been the final straw for the Leeds board, who were all aligned in the view that a change was necessary after almost three months without a Premier League win.
The recent statistics paint a grim picture for Leeds. Seven Premier League games without a win and just two wins in the last 17 league games. And against Forest, although they dominated in the first half and created the better chances, a worrying pattern had started to develop which had become a huge concern for fans. Leeds were producing performances with lots of positives, but not enough points.
There is little doubt that a large proportion of the fan base had lost patience with Marsch, and they made their frustrations clear at the full-time whistle on Sunday with calls for a change of head coach.
What is very evident is that Leeds have not kicked on this season. At times there have been really promising signs, but the fans and the board at Leeds wanted more. Marsch will feel that with time he could have delivered more, but he was also realistic enough to know that he was walking a tightrope.
I got to know Jesse well during his 12 months at Elland Road and it was abundantly clear he cared passionately about the club. He understood what it meant to be head coach of Leeds United and what the club meant to the city and the fans. And he has to be given great credit for keeping Leeds in the Premier League last season.
Although it hasn’t worked out for Marsch this season, there is a strong argument to suggest that the next Leeds boss will be in a great position to move the club forward.
Patrick Bamford and Luis Sinisterra are now fit, and the January additions should make the starting line-up stronger. The club has also invested heavily in young players and one of those, Willy Gnonto, has emerged as one of the shining lights of the season.
Those factors have created an expectation that Leeds are better than their current league position, and that means a reluctance to accept another season fighting to avoid the drop. It also means that there are reasons to be optimistic about the future.
The process of finding a replacement for Marsch is already underway and Leeds hope to make a swift appointment. A move for Marcelo Bielsa is highly unlikely, but West Brom boss Carlos Corberan, who worked under Bielsa, is a candidate, while Ange Postecoglou at Celtic has also been linked.
It is also worth noting Leeds have a track record of leftfield appointments, so as they work through their list of targets, there is a good chance that a candidate emerges that could surprise everybody.
In the meantime, Michael Skubala, Paco Gallardo and Chris Armas will take training at Thorp Arch, and will be in the dugout for Wednesday’s Premier League fixture against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
February 8: Manchester United (A) – kick-off 8pm
February 12: Manchester United (H) – kick-off 2pm, live on Sky Sports
February 18: Everton (A) – kick-off 3pm
February 25: Southampton (H) – kick-off 3pm
March 4: Chelsea (A) – kick-off 3pm
March 11: Brighton (H) – kick-off 3pm
March 18: Wolves (A) – kick-off 3pm
Tom Brady in his underwear is taking over Twitter
It’s Super Bowl week, and if you thought Tom Brady was going to let this week go by without being all up in your timeline…well. Just a week after announcing he’s retiring from football (you’ll never convince me he didn’t play an extra year just to stick it to Adam Schefter), Tom Brady has dropped his first thirst trap on Twitter. Or, attempted thirst trap. Actually, IS this a thirst trap?
As will many things Tom Brady, the attempt to be cool and edgy just winds up being sterile, boring, and kinda sad. A beige man in a beige room in beige underwear with a “pleass clap” look on his face.
And because OF COURSE:
Yes, Tom. We all knew the plug as coming. I’m not sure what color “heather crimson” is supposed to be, but I believe this is what we used to call “puce,” which… meh. The fact that there is something called the “Brady Boxer Brief” is enough to make me want to stick my head in the oven, because you know there are guys in New England burning up the internet right now to wear the same undies as their hero. And even more so because no amount of refusing to mask during COVID, vouching for Antonio Brown, stumping for Donald Trump, or getting a PPP loan during a nationwide pandemic is enough to get people to stop buying what this guy is selling. He’s even gotten to Jane Fonda, for crying out loud.
Of course, this entire thing was set up by Brady’s own brand:
So…whatever. It’s Super Bowl week and everyone is talking about Tom Brady, which is exactly how he wants it to be.
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