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Son Heung-min set to carry out national service in South Korea during shutdown

tor, 02/04/2020 - 14:24
  • Spurs forward faces mandatory four-week military service
  • Son recovering from broken arm and flew home last week

Son Heung-min is hoping to carry out his mandatory four-week national service in South Korea during football’s coronavirus shutdown.

The 27-year-old Tottenham forward travelled back to his homeland last week as he continues his recovery from a broken arm, but is waiting for confirmation that the Premier League suspension will be extended this week beyond 30 April.

Related: Daniel Levy calls on Premier League managers and players to take pay cuts

Stay safe#hometeam @adidas

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Pay cuts, furlough or deferrals: what are the Premier League clubs doing?

tor, 02/04/2020 - 13:00

From Arsenal to Wolves, we look at what the clubs are doing regarding pay for players, non-playing staff and casual staff

Arsenal continue to monitor the situation regarding player and staff wages and are playing an active role in the Premier League’s discussions. But there has been no decision taken and the focus has been on ensuring casual employees are looked after. All will be paid as normal until 30 April with the situation reviewed thereafter. Full-time employees were paid for the month on 27 March, as expected. For now there is little appetite to make redundancies. Nick Ames

Related: Premier League clubs fail the smell test by furloughing their staff | Paul MacInnes

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Premier League clubs accused of 'moral vacuum' over pay during virus crisis

ons, 01/04/2020 - 14:41
  • Politicians angry at cuts to non-playing staff wages
  • Players’ pay to be discussed on Wednesday

Premier League football has been accused of operating in a “moral vacuum” after clubs cut wages or furloughed non-playing staff but continued to pay players their full wage.

Before a meeting on Wednesday at which the Premier League, English Football League and Professional Footballers’ Association will continue talks regarding pay, there was outspoken criticism from politicians.

Related: 'Our players are afraid': Nicaraguan football ploughs on amid the crisis

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Daniel Levy calls on Premier League managers and players to take pay cuts

tir, 31/03/2020 - 13:19

Daniel Levy has called on Premier League managers and players to help English football deal with the financial problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic by accepting lower pay after revealing Tottenham have reduced the wages of their 550 non-football staff by 20%, in some cases by placing them on furlough.

The move came as accounts for the year to 30 June 2019 showed that Levy earned £4m – up from £3m in 2017-18 – as chairman plus a deferred bonus of £3m for the new stadium being completed.

Related: David Squires on … The English Premier League Game

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Papers that rub me up the wrong way | Brief letters

man, 30/03/2020 - 16:53

Derbyshire police | Spurs | Newspapers | Dominic Cummings

Yes we should keep away from crowded beauty spots, but I feel Derbyshire police may have overreacted to two walkers and a dog (UK police use drones and roadblocks to enforce lockdown, 26 March). Last week in a five-mile rural walk in the Chilterns we saw three other people. Then going to the local chemist we met six walkers on our road alone. Surely it’s about common sense.
David Lang
Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire

• I’d like to congratulate Derbyshire police on their sound strategy decision to pollute an entire lagoon to “discourage people gathering” (Coronavirus live blog, 29 March). What might we expect next? Flattening the Peak District? Razing Buckingham Palace?
Shashank Palety
Essen, Germany

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Harry Kane says he will not stay at Spurs 'for the sake of it'

søn, 29/03/2020 - 22:53

Harry Kane has revealed he will not simply stay at Tottenham “for the sake of it” and would consider his Spurs future if the north London club stopped progressing. He has also said that the Premier League season should be scrapped if it cannot be completed by the end of June.

The 26-year-old England captain, contracted until 2024, has previously suggested he could stay with his boyhood club for his entire career but in an Instagram Live chat with Jamie Redknapp he said: “I love Spurs, I’ll always love Spurs but I’ve always said if I don’t feel we’re progressing as a team or going in the right direction, I’m not someone to stay there for the sake of it.

Related: I know what we shouldn't have done last summer: what Premier League clubs would change | Jonathan Wilson

Related: Last league standing: Belarusian football basks in new-found popularity

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I know what we shouldn't have done last summer: what Premier League clubs would change | Jonathan Wilson

lør, 28/03/2020 - 22:00

Tottenham and Manchester City are among the clubs who would probably make very different decisions if they could reset the Premier League as if it were Football Manager

The season must be completed. The season must be abandoned now. As the arguments gabble on, only occasionally acknowledging their own hypothetical nature given how little we know about how the virus will proceed, how long the lockdown may last and whether there may be a second wave of infections when it is lifted, it’s tempting t o dip into another hypothetical. What if this were like a game of Football Manager? What if we could quit without saving and go back and start again last summer? What would Premier League clubs, given their time over, do differently?

Let’s start with the obvious one: Tottenham’s decision to sack Mauricio Pochettino and replace him with José Mourinho. Once a path has been embarked on, there is perhaps some logic in pursuing it to its conclusion, but would Daniel Levy really take that road again? Tottenham are without a win in their past six games. They’ve gone out of the FA Cup and Champions League. They’re seven points adrift of fourth. They’ve kept three clean sheets in 26 games under Mourinho. For Spurs, this season has been a shambles.

Related: From the archive: Rob Smyth on why Euro 96 was overrated

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From Mané to Ings: awards of the Premier League season so far

ons, 25/03/2020 - 17:00

With football on hold we select some of the highlights of the top-flight campaign until now – and the biggest flop

Jordan Henderson’s influence deserves acclaim but Sadio Mané is remarkably consistent and reaches heights that his captain cannot. The temptation for players who can do it all is to overdo it, but Mané is too smart for that. He is the purest epitome of this Liverpool team because he is supremely efficient. Sometimes that means doing something as simple as running on to a long pass by Virgil van Dijk and slotting the ball past the keeper in the way he did for the winning goal against Bournemouth in Liverpool’s last domestic game before the suspension of the Premier League; and sometimes it means producing supernatural flourishes like his stoppage-time headed winning goal at Aston Villa or the touch that enabled him to take down a pass by Henderson while pirouetting past a defender before ramming the ball into the net against Norwich. Having the athleticism and skill to play as he does is rare; having the presence of mind to use those gifts with such effectively and selflessly is rarer still.

Related: Watford offer NHS use of their stadium in fight against coronavirus

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When football played on during world war one and inflamed a London derby

tir, 24/03/2020 - 19:40

The 1914-15 season, which was played out to the backdrop of a world war, is one of the most controversial in history

By Richard Foster for the Guardian Sport Network

These are unprecedented times, but the Football League also had to face the prospect of postponing or cancelling the season when war was declared on 4 August 1914. The league’s management committee met a few days later and concluded that it was business as usual, with one caveat: a number of grounds would be used for mobilisation purposes. White Hart Lane was requisitioned as a site for manufacturing protection equipment, such as gas masks, so Tottenham had to play their home matches at Highbury.

Many people believed the war would not last for longer than a few months. So, on 1 September, the Division One season kicked off with two fixtures. Manchester City beat Bradford City 4-1 in front of 9,000 fans at their Hyde Road ground while a crowd of 12,000 saw The Wednesday (they did not become Sheffield Wednesday until 1929) overcome Middlesbrough 3-1 at Hillsborough. On the same day, there were Division Two games at Arsenal, Clapton Orient and Grimsby.

Related: How WG Grace, my imaginary friend and mentor, helped me score my greatest run

Related: The evolution of football nutrition: from chocolate to 'Kevin Carbonara'

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Tottenham's Harry Kane two to three weeks from being fit for full training

tir, 24/03/2020 - 15:23
  • ‘I’m at a good stage, pretty much doing everything,’ he says
  • Striker reflects on ‘strange situation’ with coronavirus

Harry Kane is on course to be fit when the Premier League resumes. The Tottenham striker has been out with a hamstring injury since New Year’s Day and says that in normal circumstances he would expect to resume training with the team in two to three weeks.

There will be no matches played until 30 April at the earliest because of coronavirus and Premier League clubs are due to discuss the situation again next week.

Related: Premier League clubs urged by Gillingham to give £50m to struggling teams

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Coronavirus 'my most serious hurdle at Spurs', says Daniel Levy

tor, 19/03/2020 - 00:25

Daniel Levy has described the coronavirus pandemic as the greatest challenge he has faced during his 19 years in charge at Tottenham as the club announced their most recent financial figures and said they had spent £184m on new signings since last July.

Related: Premier League clubs expected to push for season to be completed

Fifa has agreed to delay the first edition of its revamped Club World Cup, due to be held in 2021, to make way for the Euro 2020 and Copa América tournaments which have been postponed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Related: EFL announces £50m relief package for clubs in response to coronavirus

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Jan Vertonghen's family robbed at knifepoint while Spurs were in Leipzig

søn, 15/03/2020 - 14:21
  • Player’s wife and two young children were at home in London
  • Police are investigating but have made no arrests

The family of Tottenham Hotspur’s Jan Vertonghen were robbed at knifepoint inside their London home on Tuesday night while the defender was in Leipzig on Champions League duty. Police have confirmed they are investigating the incident but have made no arrests.

Related: In persisting with Joséfication Spurs are the architects of their own downfall | Jonathan Wilson

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In persisting with Joséfication Spurs are the architects of their own downfall | Jonathan Wilson

lør, 14/03/2020 - 20:46

In half a season, José Mourinho has dismantled Tottenham’s style and denounced players – and it will only get worse

I n a crisis there is need for extreme measures. In a crisis there is need for a people to have faith in their leader, the only man who can save them. In a crisis the usual norms must be forgotten as the emergency is combated. Tottenham, in case you hadn’t noticed, are facing a crisis. Treacherous agents of the counter‑revolution are targeting their forwards, which is why everybody must be grateful José Mourinho is there to take the hard decisions. And speaking of enemies of the people, have you seen how Tanguy Ndombele’s been playing recently?

There are still those, after everything, who maintain faith. Of course the great leader will save them, if only critics would stop talking Tottenham down. Joséfication must go on. So what if all the principles, all the good practice, all the goodwill generated under Mauricio Pochettino end up being jettisoned along the way? Those are necessary sacrifices on the road to a José future. So what if Joséfication was always a short-term measure that left a toxic residue even when it worked, which it hasn’t for five years? And the only future is José. Don’t ask why: Daniel Levy has spoken.

Related: Leipzig leave Lloris squirming and hurry Mourinho's stale Spurs to the exit

Related: Spurs ponder where it all went wrong but this is as vital a moment as ever | Jonathan Liew

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Spurs ponder where it all went wrong but this is as vital a moment as ever | Jonathan Liew

ons, 11/03/2020 - 19:48

Tottenham’s future is hazy as players and fans pick over the post-mortem but no one factor lead to the failure in Leipzig

One by one the Spurs players filed past, clutching their vanity bags and refuelling snacks, politely spurning all interview requests. “I don’t want to talk,” Érik Lamela said with an apologetic expression as he bit into a cream cheese bagel. “Sorry,” whispered Japhet Tanganga, taking a swig of his energy drink. Even Harry Winks, normally such a keen and fluent talker, simply burrowed his face into his hooded tracksuit and looked straight ahead.

To a man they looked bereft, distraught, stunned. As if they had just lost a final in injury time, rather than been pinged 4-0 on aggregate by a far superior team. Which on one level felt slightly surprising, given what they must have suspected would happen here in Leipzig after losing the first leg at home. Given also that for weeks their manager has been telling everyone who will listen how weak they are.

Related: All players on Leipzig bench would play in my Spurs team, says José Mourinho

Related: Leipzig leave Lloris squirming and hurry Mourinho's stale Spurs to the exit

Related: Farewell not just to a Champions League campaign but also a Spurs era | Jonathan Liew

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Who should play attacking midfield for England at Euro 2020?

ons, 11/03/2020 - 18:45

Jesse Lingard was England’s creator in chief at the World Cup in 2018. Who should take his place this time around?

By Martin Laurence for WhoScored

While the FA work out whether England will play their scheduled friendlies against Italy and Denmark later this month – or in the continent-wide Euro 2020 in the summer – Gareth Southgate faces a few big decisions of his own. The England manager is sweating on the fitness of forwards Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford, but he has no such concerns when it comes to attacking midfielders. Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard started for England in the World Cup semi-final in 2018, but Alli is clinging on to his place in the squad and Lingard will almost certainly miss out. Southgate is facing a conundrum: who should come into the squad and who should start in that slot behind the forwards?

Related: How a football shirt number is being used to oppose homophobia in Brazil

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Mourinho: no club in the world could cope with Spurs' injury crisis – video

ons, 11/03/2020 - 12:17

José Mourinho has bemoaned Tottenham Hotspur's injury crisis after RB Leipzig knocked his team out of the Champions League with a 4-0 aggregate win. 'I think of course the best team won,' Mourinho said. 'A really strong team against a team that is in trouble ... we have lots of problems.'

Spurs were without Steven Bergwijn, Ben Davies, Harry Kane, Davinson Sánchez, Moussa Sissoko, Harry Kane and Son Heung-min against Leipzig. Mourinho said: 'You can cope for one or two matches, we cannot cope for three or four months. It's too much.'

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All players on Leipzig bench would play in my Spurs team, says José Mourinho

ons, 11/03/2020 - 02:04
  • It will be ‘very difficult’ to return to Champions League next year
  • Tottenham beaten 4-0 on aggregate by RB Leipzig in round of 16

José Mourinho warned that Tottenham will find it “very difficult” to qualify for the Champions League next season after RB Leipzig ended their participation in this year’s competition by winning their last-16 tie 4-0 on aggregate.

Spurs were no match for Leipzig, who reached the last eight with a 3-0 win at the Red Bull Arena, and there is no sign of their injury problems easing before they host Manchester United on Sunday. The season is in danger of fizzling out for Mourinho’s side and their poor form in the Premier League has left them lagging behind in the race to secure Champions League football.

Related: RB Leipzig leave Lloris squirming and hurry Mourinho's stale Spurs to the exit

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Farewell not just to a Champions League campaign but also a Spurs era | Jonathan Liew

ons, 11/03/2020 - 02:00

Only 10 months after Tottenham reached the European Cup final they hit the buffers in Leipzig – it looks like a long way back

So farewell then, Tottenham. Who knows when our paths will cross again? A fixture they embarked upon with a puncher’s chance and plenty of underdog spirit ended merely in crippling defeat and more questions. A broken team that under the joyless stewardship of José Mourinho has been broken still further, they looked here exactly what they are: the eighth‑best team in the Premier League, exhausted and error-prone, bad in defence and bad in attack, with no discernible long-term strategy and no identifiable short-term plan.

Related: RB Leipzig leave Lloris squirming and hurry Mourinho's stale Spurs to the exit

Related: Champions League return a tall order for Tottenham, admits José Mourinho

Related: Josip Ilicic scores four as Atalanta beat Valencia to continue European dream

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RB Leipzig 3-0 Tottenham (4-0 agg): Champions League last 16 – as it happened

ons, 11/03/2020 - 00:34

Hugo Lloris could have done better with both Marcel Sabitzer goals in the first half before Emil Forsberg sealed a 4-0 aggregate win

12.10am GMT

Related: Farewell not just to a Champions League campaign but also an era

12.10am GMT

Related: Champions League return a tall order for Tottenham, admits José Mourinho

11.06pm GMT

Related: Josip Ilicic scores four as Atalanta knock Valencia out in empty occasion

10.34pm GMT

I’ll leave you to chew over that fine soliloquy. I’m sure plenty of those words will be examined from all angles over the next few hours, days and weeks. Anyway, in lieu of all that, a reminder that Jacob Steinberg was in Germany to witness a sorry end to Tottenham’s Champions League campaign. Here’s his report ... and thanks for reading this MBM. Nighty night!

Related: RB Leipzig's Sabitzer leaves Lloris squirming and hurries Spurs to exit

10.32pm GMT

But of course that’s not it. Does this exit cause Spurs problems going forward, asks BT Sport’s Reshmin Chowdhury. “I think probably it is good. Sometimes difficult moments are ones that can prepare the future in a better way. There is nobody to blame when it looks in every match like we have a traumatic injury, that ends with months and months. We lost Son, we lost Bergwijn, and I don’t want to speak about the ones we lost so long ago. And that’s the history of this season. This season started with problems, look at the position we were in the table when I arrived. It is non-stop. Look to our bench. It’s very hard. I can’t blame the players.” So are transfers afoot? “This summer, unless something happens during the Euros, we have Sissoko, Kane, Son, Bergwijn, so that is massive.”

10.27pm GMT

Mourinho’s take. “Of course I was very positive yesterday, and that’s the way I have to be all the time ... but we know that in this moment, it is very difficult, Leipzig are a very strong side ... we start the game, we had an opportunity that I thought it was almost an own goal, if you look to us lately, it was Rudiger that scored for us, it was a penalty, it’s hard ... then they come, our first couple of mistakes, they score, and after that it is very difficult ... their physicality is very impressive ... we cannot hurt people, but they can hurt us all the time ... but if I can be critical, some of my players with some mistakes, I keep for us ... they tried to give what they can give, and that’s it ... we made mistakes that we have analysed in previous matches but when you don’t have more to give, you give what you can ... it is more difficult for me to work with players who cannot express their potential than ones who play within their limits and I cannot ask more from them ... so I am with the boys, and that’s it.”

10.12pm GMT

Jose’s verdict to come. But in the meantime, Jacob Steinberg’s report from Germany has landed. Here it is!

Related: RB Leipzig's Sabitzer leaves Lloris squirming and hurries Spurs to exit

10.10pm GMT

A grim-faced Dele Alli bravely faces the music on BT Sport. “It’s devastating. We had belief before the game, but this is the Champions League, and if you don’t step up, you’re going to be punished. After last year, it was a great run, so it is disappointing to go out like that. After the first goal went in, it didn’t change much because we knew we had to score two to go through. But we conceded too many chances as a team and were punished. It’s hard to come back when you’re on top and then concede two goals. We had to show maturity and fight, and we didn’t do that. We can’t use [the absence of Kane and Son] as an excuse, we still have quality on the pitch, some good players. But that’s football. We have to apologise to the fans who came out here all this way. We have to fight. We can’t be in the position we’re in in the league. We can’t give up. Confidence is obviously gone, but it’s a big game at the weekend and we have to pick ourselves up and turn this around. We have to stay together, it’s not down to one player to score goals and another to stop them. It was the whole team. We know it’s not good enough.”

10.03pm GMT

Baby Mourinho 4-0 Mou Classic. To Mourinho’s credit, he goes straight over to Julian Nagelsmann and offers his opposite number warm congratulations. He then defiantly strides down the tunnel, his arm thrown around Lucas Moura. On BT Sport, Gary Lineker suggests that might be some sort of this-is-all-I’ve-got-left signal to Daniel Levy, but let’s not try to read too much into it. Though it is clear that last year’s runners-up need a serious rebuild. If they can’t turn their abysmal form around in short order - and Manchester United visit N17 on Sunday - this could be their last Champions League match for a wee while. Leipzig, by contrast, will take some stopping. For all Tottenham’s faults, they’ve been magnificent in both legs, and fully deserve to make the quarters for the first time in their short history.

9.56pm GMT

Leipzig - to the sound of the Beastie Boys - celebrate their advance to the quarter-finals. They’ve fought for their right to party. Fully deserved. They’ve been magnificent. Last year’s losing finalists, by contrast, are knocked out with barely a whimper.

9.54pm GMT

90 min +5: And to think it’s been something of an off night for Timo Werner. Small mercies for Spurs.

9.53pm GMT

90 min +4: Fernandes has a dig from distance. His effort rolls into the arms of Gulacsi. The Leipzig faithful cheer sarcastically, somewhat cruelly given the gap in quality on display tonight.

9.51pm GMT

90 min +3: “Grim as all this is, it will be as nothing as to Mourinho’s performance-art piece of a post match interview where he basically turns the entire history of Tottenham Hotspur into a dirty protest,” predicts Dom, who is currently perched “on a window ledge in Tunbridge Wells”. It’s been one of those nights for Spurs fans.

9.49pm GMT

90 min +1: Aurier is replaced by Malachi Fagan-Walcott, who will be 18 tomorrow. A bittersweet early birthday present for the academy centre-half.

9.48pm GMT

90 min: Spurs and an ashen-faced Mourinho just want this over. But there will be six added minutes.

9.47pm GMT

89 min: Spurs have been better in this second half. But it was a low bar. Overall, they’ve been thoroughly outplayed by Leipzig over both legs.

9.46pm GMT

Angelino crosses from the left. Aurier slides in to clear, but can only tee up Forsberg, who slams home from eight yards with his first touch, 32 seconds after making it onto the pitch!

9.45pm GMT

86 min: Leipzig want a penalty, arguing Tanganga went in with unnecessary force. But the ref’s not interested, and we play on. But not before Leipzig’s two-goal hero is replaced by Emil Forsberg.

9.43pm GMT

84 min: Upamecano romps down the middle, one-twos with Haidara, and nearly gets a shot away. Lloris comes out to claim. Tanganga comes across and gives the big defender the mother of all shoulder barges. Tanganga goes down having been clattered with some force.

9.40pm GMT

82 min: Angelino makes ground down the left and feeds Werner, who wins a corner off Dier. Angelino takes. Spurs half clear. Upamecano chests down and blooters a volley straight into Tanganga’s ribcage. That’s winded the young Spurs defender, and play is stopped so he can catch his breath.

9.38pm GMT

80 min: Spurs replace Lo Celso with Gedson Fernandes, the visit of Manchester United on Sunday now uppermost in Jose Mourinho’s mind.

9.36pm GMT

78 min: Leipzig stroke it around the back for a while, a textbook example of game management.

9.34pm GMT

76 min: Adams zips down the right. His cross is deflected off Sessegnon and out for a corner. Werner’s set piece is nothing to write home about. “Is that Mourinho managing Alli and co., or is it Mourinho’s brother?” Ladies and gentlemen, please be upstanding for Mr Phil Grey.

9.32pm GMT

74 min: Moura drives down the left, beats Upamecano and pulls back for Alli, who whistles a first-time shot straight down the throat of Gulacsi. Alli goes over Sabitzer’s leg after shooting, and VAR has a look, but it’s never a penalty.

9.31pm GMT

73 min: Schick dribbles down the middle. He’s got options to the right ... but weirdly passes to nobody on the left.

9.29pm GMT

71 min: Mind you, Leipzig are putting it around as well. Sabitzer is booked for bowling Alli to the ground. Everyone’s getting a little tetchy.

9.28pm GMT

70 min: Alli is booked for a mist-down swipe at Angelino’s ankles. Frustration seems to have taken hold of Tottenham.

9.26pm GMT

69 min: Tanganga is booked for giving Werner a rugby-style cuddle.

9.26pm GMT

68 min: Some good news on the stricken Mukiele: he was briefly unconscious, having swallowed his tongue. But thankfully he’s reportedly recovered and all is now well.

9.24pm GMT

66 min: Upamecano and Haidara combine down the right with Spurs light at the back. Werner’s in the middle, and really should be found, but his team-mates over-elborate on the flank and the chance is gone.

9.23pm GMT

64 min: Lamela goes in clumsily on Sabitzer. He stands on one of his ankles. Lightly? Certainly. Deliberately? It’s not clear, so the referee takes no action other than to award a free kick.

9.22pm GMT

63 min: Lo Celso fires a fine pass down the left, releasing Sessegnon into space. But there’s nobody in the centre. The resulting cross, however, is put in a dangerous enough position to force Halstenberg into the panicked concession of a corner. Sadly, Lo Celso’s delivery is not all that. But there have been some recent signs of Tottenham belatedly sparking into life.

9.20pm GMT

62 min: Laimer works his way down the left but can’t quite find Werner in the middle with his low cross. Spurs are able to clear.

9.20pm GMT

61 min: Moura is illegally blocked by Halstenberg out on the Spurs left. Lo Celso swings a free kick into the mixer, but it’s not all that, and easily cleared by Leipzig. One first-half Lo Celso shot apart, Spurs have failed utterly in their attempts to work Gulacsi in the Leipzig goal.

9.18pm GMT

60 min: A second change for Leipzig, as Amadou Haidara replaces Nkunku. The game restarts, and Werner glides in from the left before rasping a rising shot inches over the crossbar.

9.17pm GMT

58 min: Moura tries to give Spurs some momentum, shooting ambitiously from distance. The shot just about stays in the arena. “Now that your good self and others have cited the Ajax comeback, if Spurs don’t do that now it means Liverpool won’t repeat their Barcelona trick tomorrow,” argues Perspective’s Ian Copestake, who may or may not be losing his mind with worry. “Come on Spurs!”

9.15pm GMT

57 min: Werner slips a pass down the inside left for Schick, who balloons a wild effort yards over the bar from the left of the D. A decent chance, that, and Spurs are still clinging onto hope by their fingernails. But they need something to happen soon.

9.14pm GMT

56 min: Mukiele can’t continue, he’s in some pain and distress. He lies back on the stretcher and is carted off, holding his head. God speed young man. Meanwhile on comes 21-year-old US midfielder Tyler Adams in the big Frenchman’s stead.

9.13pm GMT

54 min: Worrying scenes here as the stretcher comes on for Mukiele. It’s not clear what’s happened to the big man. Thankfully he’s soon sitting up, but he looks pretty groggy. He might have taken a whack in the face from the ball.

9.11pm GMT

52 min: Lamela plays a long pass down the middle for Moura, who can’t quite get the better of Klostermann in a footrace. For a split second there, Leipzig were in trouble, but that’s staunch defending.

9.09pm GMT

50 min: Laimer is booked for a check on Lamela. Replays suggest it was the nearby Upamecano who put in most of the physical work, but it’s his team-mate who cops the flak.

9.08pm GMT

49 min: Moura turns neatly in the midfield. There’s acres in front of him ... and options ... but he overruns it, allowing Leipzig to counter. Werner sashays in from the left and takes far too long to get a shot away. Spurs regain possession, thankful Werner was so uncharacteristically ponderous.

9.05pm GMT

47 min: Spurs start the second half on the front foot, probing down both flanks. They annoy the hosts enough for Werner to clip Tanganga to the floor. Leipzig’s star striker escapes with a ticking-off.

9.03pm GMT

Leipzig get the second half underway. Spurs had been sent out early, presumably in disgrace, by man-management guru Mourinho. They were waiting alone for a good couple of minutes. Let’s see how they respond to this motivational technique.

8.58pm GMT

Half-time catharsis. It’s fair to say the Tottenham faithful aren’t in the best of moods. The floor’s yours, folks. Better out than in ... and who knows, you might even tempt fate into serving up another Ajax-style miracle. “Surely this is the end for Mourinho at Spurs?” asks Niall Sheerin. “There is nothing there. No structure or shape; no discernible tactics or style; no spirit or spunk. In ditching Poch for Mou, Levy implicitly acknowledged that he failed in his mission to ship out the deadwood and refresh the squad in the summer. Surely it’s now time for him to acknowledge the error and #bringbackPoch.”

“Mourinho is already working on his post match interview where he contrives to blame tonight’s performance on Ndombele, Luke Shaw and Eva Carneiro,” zings Stephen Carr.

8.49pm GMT

And that’s the end of a miserable first 45 for Spurs. On the touchline, as his troops trudge back to the dressing room, Mourinho engages the fourth official in some heated debate. Not sure what he’s unhappy about. Not sure what he’s unhappy about in particular, that is. Spurs need something approaching an Ajax-style miracle. They’ve done it before.

8.47pm GMT

45 min +1: Winks is booked for cynically clipping Laimer, who was looking to break from a nondescript Spurs attack. He doesn’t bother complaining. He had to take one for the team.

8.46pm GMT

45 min: Spurs nearly concede a farcical third. Some slapstick shenanigans in their area. Dier tries to punt clear. The ball twangs off Schick’s standing leg and slowly rolls towards the bottom right. It should never go in, though Lloris nearly lets it. The keeper scoops away just in time.

8.45pm GMT

44 min: Aurier bustles down the right. He thinks he’s run the ball out for a goal kick, but the ball clipped Angelino and the officials give Aurier a pleasant surprise. Lo Celso takes the corner. A chance to change the picture just before the break? Nope. Gulacsi claims with ease.

8.43pm GMT

43 min: There won’t be much hope if Spurs concede another. Werner and Schick advance on the Spurs box. The visitors are fortunate that the pair get in each other’s way, allowing Tanganga to clip the ball away from danger.

8.42pm GMT

41 min: This is better from Spurs! Sessegnon dinks into the box from the left. Leipzig half clear. Lo Celso cuts in from the right and curls a splendid low shot towards the bottom left. It’s heading in, but Gulacsi sticks out a strong hand to parry and Upamecano mops up without panic. So close to a precious away goal, so close to some precious hope.

8.40pm GMT

40 min: Upamecano tries to release Mukiele down the inside-right channel with a glorious Beckenbaueresque rake. Just a bit too much on the long-distance pass, and it’s a goal kick. Mukiele applauds his team-mate’s ambition nonetheless.

8.39pm GMT

38 min: Upamecano carelessly gives the ball away to Lamela, but then, with Moura hoping to advance towards the box, charges it down and regains possession for Leipzig. Wonderful defending. At the moment, Leipzig are in that sweet spot where they end up impressing even when they make the odd mistake.

8.37pm GMT

36 min: The free kick leads to a corner. The corner leads to a throw. The throw leads to an extended passing sequence. Spurs can’t get hold of the ball at all. This is painful viewing from a Tottenham perspective.

8.35pm GMT

34 min: Sessegnon is correctly booked after overrunning the ball and raking his shoe down the back of Mukiele’s leg.

8.34pm GMT

33 min: Angelino is getting a ruinous amount of space down the left. He sets in motion a move which ends in Lloris punching clear under pressure from Schick and Mukiele. “Red Bull look like they’ve had their Red Bull tonight, while Mourinho’s men have had an early Horlicks,” quips Justin Kavanagh, because somebody had to.

8.32pm GMT

31 min: Leipzig look uber-relaxed at the moment, much as you’d expect them to, the state of the tie. Werner glides in from the left and tries to curl one into the top right. Too high and wide, but a decent effort nonetheless. “It seems some substitutions could do Spurs good here. I suggest Wanyama in the middle, Llorente in attack.” Sports satirist Eivind Krohg, ladies and gentlemen.

8.29pm GMT

29 min: Alli bursts down the left and is clipped from behind by Upamecano, who really should be booked. But it’s just a free kick. Spurs waste their set piece in short order, and suddenly Leipzig are breaking at speed, yet again. Werner is found just inside the box to the right. He takes a touch and lashes a shot straight at Lloris, presumably having decided that anything might happen. This time Lloris parries with strong hands.

8.27pm GMT

27 min: Werner crosses from the right, but his ball is too high for Schick in the middle. Spurs are hanging on.

8.26pm GMT

26 min: The hosts do very little with their corner. This is such an open game, though. The chances of it ending 2-0 tonight look extremely slim.

8.26pm GMT

25 min: But it’s Leipzig who look most likely to score the next goal. Angelino is afforded yet more space down the left, and he wins a corner off Aurier. Tottenham were ludicrously light at the back there, with Werner in the middle lurking. Spurs clear the corner and try to break through Alli and Lamela, but Mukiele wins the ball back, Leipzig spring back upfield, and win another corner.

8.24pm GMT

23 min: Spurs are really up against it now. But again, let us remember: this is exactly where they were in Amsterdam last season, and look what happened there. It’s a straw-clutching exercise, of course it is, but this is all Tottenham have got right now. An away goal before half-time could change everything.

8.23pm GMT

What a stunning goal this is! From the centre circle, Laimer sprays a ball down the right for Angelino, who crosses towards Sabitzer at the near post. Sabitzer powers a header down towards the bottom-left corner and in! There were a couple of Spurs mistakes - Aurier missed a header from Laimer’s pass, while Lloris was again weak of wrist - but take nothing away from the wonderful sweep of the move.

8.20pm GMT

19 min: Leipzig have the ball in the net again. Some space for Angelino down the left. His low cross flies across the face of goal, and is tapped in with great ease by Werner. But Werner had needlessly gone early, and it’s clearly offside. Werner, overly eager, let Spurs off the hook there.

8.18pm GMT

18 min: Moura works some space down the right and forces Upamecano into conceding a corner with a low cross. Nothing comes from the set piece.

8.17pm GMT

17 min: Dier and Tanganga hesitate, nearly allowing Werner to nip between them and race goalwards with the ball. Dier makes a last-ditch tackle to save the situation, before rollocking his young team-mate in the trenchant style. Spurs need to gather themselves, and quick.

8.16pm GMT

16 min: A shot of Mourinho responding to the goal pictures him gesticulating with one outstretched arm before turning away in disgust. It’s a textbook performance of the internationally recognised mime for See What I Have To Work With?! He’s not a happy man.

8.15pm GMT

14 min: But that goal has understandably deflated Spurs, while putting a fresh blast of wind in Leipzig’s sail. Momentum’s shifted. Mukiele ripples the side netting from a tight angle, though the flag belatedly goes up for offside.

8.13pm GMT

12 min: Spurs fans shouldn’t get too disheartened yet. Their team started well. And the narrative arc of this tie is following last year’s semi-final against Ajax. If history is to repeat, another goal for Leipzig before half-time and it really is on!

8.11pm GMT

Laimer scampers down the right and cuts back for Werner, whose shot from just inside the box is blocked. Werner recycles possession and tees up his captain Sabitzer, who arrows a low shot towards the bottom left. It’s a decent effort, though Lloris should tip it round the post. A weak hand and it’s in. A tale of two captains, and now Spurs are really up against it.

8.09pm GMT

8 min: During that last attack, Alderweireld had his arms wrapped around Schick, who made a half-arsed plea for a penalty kick. There wasn’t enough in it, though the Spurs defender will need to stop that if he doesn’t want to risk needless bother.

8.07pm GMT

6 min: Leipzig respond with their first serious attack of the evening. Werner presses down the right. Spurs are on the back foot. The ball’s worked towards Angelino, just inside the box, on the left. Leaning back, Angelino tries to whip a diagonal shot towards the bottom right, but gets it all wrong. It’s open.

8.06pm GMT

5 min: Some space for Alli out on the right. He swings a low cross into the box, hoping to find Lamela. Klostermann is on point and able to clear. Beforehand, Moura nearly got on the end of a long ball, only to be denied by Upamecano. This is a lively start by the visitors.

8.05pm GMT

4 min: Sessegnon makes himself known down the left, and looks to have won a corner, but the flag goes up for offside. For a split second there, the home team looked exposed. An encouraging moment for Spurs.

8.04pm GMT

3 min: Not that Leipzig have started much better themselves. Angelino takes a throw that sails infield and curls straight back out of play. Werner, hoping he’d be found on the half-way line, out on the left, gives the it-doesn’t-matter thumbs-up.

8.02pm GMT

2 min: And on that very subject, Dier overhits a simple backpass and concedes a ridiculous corner. Angelino to take from the right. Moura clears at the near post. In the dugout, Jose doesn’t look particularly impressed at what he’s just witnessed, but he soon gathers himself and reaches the touchline for an encouraging clap.

8.01pm GMT

And we’re off! The visitors get this second leg underway. It’s the very first Champions League knockout game at the RB Arena, and the home crowd aren’t disappointing. A fine noise .. and a hectic, pinball start. A few nerves on display, but not much control.

7.57pm GMT

The teams are out! Leipzig line up in their white shirts with red trim, while Spurs are resplendent in second-choice navy blue. A cracking atmosphere at a packed, Coronavirus-defying RB Arena, the 2,300 travelling Spurs fans making themselves heard as best they can. It’s time for the official Uefa remix of Zadok the Priest, the coin toss, and some pre-match pleasantries. It won’t be long before the game is underway!

7.47pm GMT

Jose Mourinho speaks. “We have nothing to lose. We are already losing. I believe we are going to do it. We go with everything. It is not much that we have. But we go with everything.” That’s from a pre-record from yesterday with BT Sport. No word from him this evening, though he has been spotted exchanging elbow-taps (damn this virus) with his opposite number Julian Nagelsmann.

7.27pm GMT

Pre-match presents. At first glance, you could be forgiven for thinking little or no effort had gone into the bland pennant Marcel Sabitzer will hand over before kick-off. But squint a little harder: it’s been designed to look like a polo shirt. Full marks for busting tapered-flag convention wide open, if nothing else.

7.03pm GMT

Leipzig make one change to the side sent out at the all-new Spurs stadium three weeks ago. The 21-year-old French defender Dayot Upamecano replaces Ethan Ampadu, the 19-year-old Welsh loanee from Chelsea, at the back.

Tottenham make four changes to the side defeated in the first leg. Davinson Sanchez, Ben Davies, Gedson Fernandes and Steven Bergwijn make way for Japhet Tanganga, Ryan Sessegnon, Eric Dier and Erik Lamela. Of those dropped, only Fernandes is named as a sub. Sanchez meanwhile failed a fitness test; youth-team defender Malachi Fagan-Walcott, 18 tomorrow, gets a surprise call-up to the bench as a result.

6.53pm GMT

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

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Alderweireld, Dier, Tanganga, Aurier, Winks, Lo Celso, Sessegnon, Lamela, Lucas Moura, Alli.
Subs: Vertonghen, Gazzaniga, Ndombele, Skipp, Fernandes, Parrott, Fagan-Walcott.

1.49pm GMT

This looks like an uphill battle for Spurs, who at the halfway point of this Champions League round-of-16 tie, are trailing to knockout new boys RB Leipzig after a 0-1 loss at home. Jose Mourinho’s men have lost four of their last five fixtures in all competitions, drawing the other slightly fortuitously at Burnley on Saturday. They need to snap that run with victory tonight, though their record this season of four wins in 21 away matches in all competitions won’t fill them with too much confidence. Nor will the fact they’ve lost all three of their matches against Bundesliga opposition in this campaign: the first leg of this tie, plus 3-1 and 7-2 defeats to Bayern Munich in the groups.

But all is not lost. In-form Leipzig may have won three and drawn two of their last five games, but they’ve already lost at home in the Champions League this season, to Lyon. The 0-2 scoreline that evening is exactly the one Spurs require to get through. Additionally, while Tottenham’s 2019-20 record against German teams is abysmal, they brushed aside Borussia Dortmund at this stage last season. And it’s impossible to forget their last knockout tie in which they lost the first leg 0-1 at home. Spurs may not have won the competition last season, but they’ll always have Amsterdam.

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Leipzig leave Lloris squirming and hurry Mourinho's stale Spurs to the exit

tir, 10/03/2020 - 23:57

If any positives are to emerge from Tottenham’s humbling by RB Leipzig, perhaps it will force this drifting club to rethink a strategy which is failing them at the moment. This is not just about José Mourinho, even if he increasingly looks like a manager whose best days belong in the past. It is also about Daniel Levy taking the easy way out when results dipped and not having the vision to stick with Mauricio Pochettino, who should have been given the opportunity to build again after losing the Champions League final to Liverpool last season.

Related: Farewell not just to a Champions League campaign but also an era

Related: All players on Leipzig bench would play in my Spurs team, says José Mourinho

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