Here’s Jamie Jackson on Pep Guardiola’s defence of the suspended Bernardo Silva.
Ederson will be back in goal for Manchester City against Chelsea tomorrow, in the clash between fourth and third at the Etihad. Some good news for Chelsea too, with Christian Pulisic back after a groin problem. However Callum Hudson-Odoi is unlikely to feature after tweaking a hamstring.
Across the city, Steven Gerrard is busy bigging up Glen Kamara. The midfielder has just helped Finland to qualify for Euro 2020, their first-ever major tournament, while his recent displays for Rangers have attracted interest from Leeds.
We haven’t heard of any interest down south, we’ve read tons about it though. But I wouldn’t be surprised if there was interest in Glen Kamara because he’s an outstanding footballer. He’s been outstanding since he walked in the door. Sometimes I still have to pinch myself for how we got him and what we got him for. [He cost £50,000 from Dundee.] He’s in good form and playing well. The message for Glen and the other players is we always reward our players for consistent performances over a long period of time. Glen will be treated no different. All he needs to worry about is bringing success back to the club and I’m sure he will be well looked after.
Scotland! And the champions and league leaders Celtic welcome Leigh Griffiths back to their squad ahead of the visit of Livingston on Saturday. The striker has been out since late August due to personal problems, then niggling injuries and a virus. He’s unlikely to start the match, but boss Neil Lennon is preparing to give him some much-needed game time.
He will be involved with the squad. Slowly but surely. He had an hour on Tuesday, he looked good so he will be in and around it. He is good, he is happy. He needs to stay there now and improve his conditioning. It is bit by bit but we have seen enough now to think he may make a contribution. We have 11 games between now and the end of December and we will be using the squad and Leigh obviously is a part of that. When he is ready and if he is in the groove he will be a real asset for Scotland, there is no doubt about that.
Here’s one star definitely on the move, though.
Never change, Diego. We love you just the way you are.
Second-placed Leicester, then, and Brendan Rodgers is certain the international break will have no adverse affect on his side’s momentum. Since the last break in October, the Foxes have won every game they have played, and go to Brighton tomorrow looking to make it six victories on the bounce.
We lost against Liverpool before the last international break and then refocused and have played very well in the games in between up until now. I think it is important that when players come back from international duty to press the reset button again, because lots are coming back from playing different styles and different ways. So when they come back it is important they come back into the Leicester way and how we work, and the players have been excellent in training since they came back and we will be ready for the game on Saturday.
James Maddison has recovered from a calf injury and will be fit to pull on his boots.
Bournemouth winger Ryan Fraser has recently been linked with a move to Liverpool. That may or may not explain why the 25-year-old Scotland international is, according to his manager Eddie Howe, “keeping his options open” regarding a new contract with the south-coast club. “In terms of his contract, that’s obviously for him to decide what he wants to do with his future,” said Howe. “We would love him to stay and commit to us but, if not, we need to get the best out of him between now and the end of the season. We’ve had conversations with Ryan to try and persuade him to stay but, at the moment, he’s keeping his options open.”
Howe also addressed a recent interview in which Fraser admitted to being a “loner” ever since his friend Marc Pugh left the club. “I think those comments were probably taken slightly out of context. I think people jump on things like this. He’s got some really good friends in the squad, as he mentioned in the interview, Dan Gosling, Nathan Ake, he’s very close with those guys, always socialising in and around them so I think it’s a story that isn’t entirely accurate. I think Ryan’s just very honest when he speaks and probably he’s given the impression that he’s lonely but I can guarantee you he’s not.”
And here’s a bit more from Norwich boss Daniel Farke. He’s flatly refusing to change his easy-on-the-eye footballing style, despite the Canaries’ current predicament at the bottom of the Premier League.
You have to be convinced by your style. We built the squad in that way, so you can’t expect us to just park the bus or put the balls in the river. We have plans B, C, D and E – so we have to be flexible within our philosophies. We have to adapt to each opponent. You have to remember players are human beings, not just the young lads. They were used to winning games and being praised. We responded to every loss last season with a win, so there was no crisis. On this level, you have difficult periods. We have to learn because we are not experienced in a relegation battle.
Some more words from Roy Hodgson ahead of the visit of his former club Liverpool tomorrow. His mind-games sensor is going haywire, and he’s not convinced that so-called injury doubts Andrew Robertson and Mo Salah will miss the match at all.
We are counting on them playing so until such time when I pick up the team sheet and they are not playing, then I’ll think about it, but I think both will be fit to play. I am presuming we will face what Jurgen Klopp has seen as his strongest team in recent weeks because I believe he has enough respect for us and what we are capable of doing not to make unnecessary changes if it is not forced upon him through injury. I am certainly very anxious that we will make it very difficult for them. We aren’t going to sit back and help them win the title; we want to win the game. We are fully prepared and fully ready for that and if we lose, it will be because they have played exceptionally well and we were unable to match them.
Ah, Roy at Anfield. What a ride that was. This is always worth another read.
As previously mentioned, Granit Xhaka could well return for Arsenal against Southampton tomorrow. With this very much uppermost in mind, his team-mate Hector Bellerin is attempting to engender some positive vibes. Let’s see what happens should Xhaka play, and Ralph Hasenhüttl get the fast start he’s hoping for (12.40pm).
It’s Friday afternoon, you’re just counting the minutes until cocktails o’clock. This should help you run down an hour of your boss’s time: the very latest edition of Football Weekly Extra! Includes a blissed-out soliloquy by Elis James, who appears to have reached a state of higher consciousness in the wake of Wales’ qualification for Euro 2020.
Of course, other podcasts are available. In the old-fashioned collective internet spirit, please allow us to recommend Rock’n’Goal. The edition with Mersey troubadour Pete Wylie is a fine starting point. There, that’s nearly all the afternoon sorted for you now.
Mourinho’d out yet? Hopefully not, because this playful take on the joy of photographing Jose mid-brouhaha, penned by our very own Tom Jenkins, is a highly entertaining read.
BREAKING NEWS: Frank Lampard will not take over as manager of Tottenham Hotspur in 2029. The current Chelsea boss has been asked if he could ever envisage managing Spurs, and he replied in the categorical style: “I can firmly say no, and you can replay that again in 10 years. It wouldn’t happen but I think things are different for me.”
That firm stance hasn’t stopped him wishing his old boss all the best in his new role across town. “We had a couple of messages just to wish him well in his new role as he has always done for me. I think history and results speak for themselves; the trophies, titles he’s managed to win at clubs, they are not surprises, they are for the hard work he’s put in. He’s done that consistently. People will hold up his record and expect big things from him.”
Thanks Luke. Harry Maguire returns to Sheffield United on Sunday afternoon with his new club Manchester United. Blades boss Chris Wilder is already excited.
I usually say it’s just the next game but perhaps this one does have a little more to it. It’s Manchester United – one of the most iconic and powerful clubs in the world, and one of our former players will be playing for them. I’m sure Harry will get a great reception, he’s already been back once with Leicester, but I don’t want it to be ‘the Harry Maguire Show’. I want it to be the Sheffield United show. I want us to show how good we are. I’m sure when his name gets called out before the game he will get a round of applause but make no mistake about it he’s an opposition player, along with the other 10, and he is in the enemy camp for an hour and a half.
The Blades will have to do without keeper Dean Henderson, on loan from Old Trafford and barred from playing against his parent club. Simon Moore will deputise. Meanwhile John Egan will require a check-up after the centre-half suffered a head injury while on Republic of Ireland duty.
As for my earlier trivia question – who scored Tottenham’s injury-time winner in the 4-3 victory against West Ham in 2007? None of you got it right, because none of you responded. Regardless, the answer is Paul Stalteri, which of course we all knew anyway.
Scott is back now to take you through the rest of the press conference news, and other Friday afternoon footballing delights. Over to you Scott.
Marco Silva’s full press conference is available to watch on Everton’s Twitter feed.
On injuries: “Fabian Delph is not in condition for tomorrow’s match, he’s still a big doubt. Bernard is in the same situation, he has started working with the team. Cenk Tosun is OK. [Jean-Philippe] Gbamin is long-term, I don’t know [when he’ll be back], I don’t have a date. Andre Gomes, we must take it step-by-step … he is doing his rehabilitation but it will be a slow recovery … Possibly he will play this season. We have to be patient and supportive with him.”
On Mourinho’s return at Tottenham: “It was longer than I expected, to be honest [Mourinho’s spell out of work]. It’s really good for him to be back, it’s really good for the Premier League for him to be back in charge … and for sure one manager, to achieve what he’s achieved, it’s really good to have him back. He’s my friend as well. Mauricio Pochettino should be really proud of what he achieved at Tottenham.”
More from Lampard ahead of the mouthwatering clash with Man City tomorrow:
“I am so pleased for Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount scoring their first England goals. I remember from when I was a player what a confidence boost that is.
“Having Kante, Jorginho and Kovacic all fit and playing well is a positive. I hope to carry on with a fluid midfield. They can all carry out different roles.”
“Wales, golf, Madrid,” as the old saying goes.
Sid Lowe has filed a story in which Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane plays down Gareth BaleWalesFlagGate:
“There are a lot of comments outside but I’m not interested. I know a lot of people are, but I’m not,” Zidane said.
Let’s head back to London, where Roy Hodgson has roared that his team won’t roll over for Liverpool at Selhurst Park tomorrow:
“There’s no way we’re going to sit back and help Liverpool win the title. We don’t go into the game with any inferiority complex whatsoever.”
Meanwhile, back in Manchester, Guardiola says goalkeeper Ederson is training again, but Leroy Sané is going to be out for two-three months.
“Same situation, players fit after Liverpool are fit, those injured are still injured a few more months.”
Everton manager Marco Silva is also speaking now.
He insists Moise Kean – who he recently dropped from the squad for poor timekeeping – is ‘the present and the future.’
Lampard on tomorrow evening’s test against the champions: “Tomorrow’s game at Man City is a great test to see where my team are at, but I won’t be making big judgements based on the result, given how early it is in the team’s development.
Chelsea FC on Twitter: “Lampard reports that Christian Pulisic returned to training this midweek and is in contention for a place tomorrow. Callum Hudson-Odoi has a hamstring issue picked up with England so there is a question mark over his participation.”
And a little more about Mou from Lampard: “Mourinho is taking on a team with quality players and will be working at a club with good structure, so Spurs are a threat and in the top-four race.”
I thought I was watching a live feed on Twitter of the Lampard press conference, but it turns out it was just a video of him sitting down, on loop. Oh well.
Breaking: Lampard wishes his old boss Mourinho well at Spurs.
Quotes from Man City manager Pep Guardiola right here:
What will Mourinho bring in his new role at Tottenham? “I think you know him better than me. He was here many years with different clubs. He is an incredible manager and I am pretty sure he will do a good job.”
On Pochettino: “I was a little surprised [Spurs sacked him] because Mauricio has done an incredible job … but the decisions are made, and nothing else to say.”
On Raheem Sterling’s recent clash with Liverpool’s Joe Gomez while on England duty: “We are good. I spoke with him, he’s fine, Joe Gomez is an excellent guy and they have a good relationship.
On Bernardo Silva’s one-match suspension for a racially aggravated tweet: “He has been accused for something he’s not … He will be careful to use social media [in future]. But if this can help to do a better society, OK, I am pretty sure Bernardo can accept this punishment, but he is not what he’s been accused of.”
On Lampard’s early success at Chelsea: “I am happy for him, I don’t know him quite well … he’s an excellent person and I think for English football it’s so nice, it’s perfect for English football.”
Lampard coming right up when my keyboard stops smoking.
Meanwhile, ahead of a trip to Everton, Norwich manager Daniel Farke has bad news about the fitness of striker Josip Drmic:
“He was injured in our last game. It’s a serious muscle fibre injury. Physios think he’ll be out for eight weeks,” Farke said.
“Grant Hanley hasn’t been able to train with us. I hope he can return to team training soon. Jamal Lewis is not available for tomorrow. He came back injured from the national team. He doesn’t feel comfortable so we’ll have to do without him.”
“However, we have some positive news,” Farke goes on. “Kenny McLean is okay and Christoph Zimmermann is back in team training and available. Teemu Pukki is also fine to play.”
It’s all kicking off, press conference-wise. Guardiola, Farke, Hodgson, the lot.
Here is Eagles manager Hodgson speaking ahead of the visit of league-leading Liverpool:
“We have no injuries and a full squad to choose from, which is incredible. To have every player to choose from is fantastic.”
And on wing wizard Wilfried Zaha, Hodgson added: “Wilf’s fine. The injury that forced him out of the Ivory Coast game is fine and he should be in the squad tomorrow.”
On the subject of Chelsea – who have won six Premier League matches on the bounce – Jacob Steinberg has been speaking to their former goalkeeper and now technical and performance advisor Petr Cech:
Chelsea boss Super Frankie Lampard™ is due to speak at 1.30pm ahead of their visit to Manchester City tomorrow evening.
I’ll grab quotes from him ASAP, and am keeping my ear to the ground for all the press conferences.
Over on Twitter, ahead of West Ham v Tottenham tomorrow lunchtime, Spurs are enjoying the memory of being 3-2 down to the Hammers with a minute left, only to win 4-3.
The match in question took place on Sunday 4 March 2007. Can you remember who scored the winner, though?
By the way, what odds a seven-goal thriller with José Mourinho taking charge of Tottenham for the first time?
Afternoon all and thank you Scott.
Hot off the press from Liverpool’s website, and following his earlier quotes about José Mourinho’s return and other things, Jürgen Klopp has been talking about the Premier League leaders’ sports psychologist, former Chesterfield manager Lee Richardson:
“I think around about 20, 25 years ago there were no goalie coaches in football and the head coach did the goalie training by himself. You had no athletic coaches, it was all our job pretty much. So, the teams around the team became bigger,” Klopp said.
“The next thing was, of course, with psychology … With Lee Richardson especially, the good thing is he was a player himself, a manager himself and then he decided to become a sports psychologist. It is a really interesting career, he’s a fantastic person, which is important because then I don’t have to convince the boys to talk to him.”
Read the full story here.
And with that, I’m away to get fed and watered. Back in a bit. In the meantime, Luke McLaughlin will be your guide.
While we’re on the subject of Southampton, here’s the epic story of their south-coast rivalry with Portsmouth. A tale of war, tragedy, violence and football. Enjoy, enjoy.
The Copa Libertadores final between River Plate and Flamengo will be televised live on the BBC tomorrow evening. It’ll be the first one-off decider in the competition’s history, and it’s had a troubled birth …
Southampton have lost their last three matches, a run of misery that began with that 9-0 humiliation against Leicester. But they impressed in defeat at champions Manchester City, and Ralph Hasenhuttl is hoping that performance will stand them in good stead at Arsenal tomorrow.
A fast start always helps against every opponent, because then you feel more comfortable. We had a good start against Manchester City and then you saw how difficult it was against us to turn the table for them. We were only a few minutes from taking something there. We know in away games we can start fast and score, then we are not easy to beat. Especially against big opponents, you have nothing to lose. If you go in the game and be brave, believe in yourself, then you have a big chance to get something and this is what we have to do to at the weekend.
Eni Aluko predicts that things are going to get ugly fast at Tottenham. And there’s nothing wrong with that whatsoever. If anything, it’s about time.
Mourinho will be hoping for a fast start to his Tottenham reign at West Ham tomorrow lunchtime. But opposite number Manuel Pellegrini has his own urgent agenda, his side having failed to win since swatting aside Manchester United back in September.
I trust a lot in the players because I know they have demonstrated a lot of times they can do it against big teams. I think that this international break was good for us, maybe we had time to talk a lot of things. So I hope that especially in a derby game – we know that for our fans it’s the most important game of the season playing against Tottenham at home – so I hope that tomorrow we see the West Ham that we saw at the beginning of the season. The table is very tight, we must try to recover our performance as individuals and as a team and I hope this will be a good game to return to winning ways.
Pellegrini has also called on fans to show mercy to the hapless Roberto, who has struggled badly in goal while standing in for the injured Lukasz Fabianski. “Every player when they are in bad moments needs the support of the fans behind them, especially in a special position like goalkeeper. Roberto has a lot of experience, in different countries. He knows maybe he is not playing his best performance but all of us, the fans, the staff and players, must trust in him.”
We haven’t mentioned Jose Mourinho for 29 minutes. Many apologies. Here’s the man himself, upon being asked whether this new Spurs gig would be his last in England. “I would love that to be the case. I would love to stay for many years. I say many years but I know realistically how football is. If I could do a Mauricio for five-and-a-half years, it would be amazing. I would be 61 – then 10 more years. Vitoria Setubal in Portugal maybe the last job.” Current Vitoria boss Julio Velázquez is permitted a quick shudder. And Ole Gunnar Solskjaer thinks he’s got problems dealing with an out-of-work Poch.
EFL v Bolton Wanderers. The EFL has appealed against Bolton’s “too lenient” suspended five-point penalty for failing to fulfil two fixtures. The Trotters cancelled a game against Brentford towards the end of last season, and another against Doncaster in August. An independent disciplinary commission penalised them two points for the first transgression and three for the second, with deductions only to be made should the club cancel any more matches in the next 18 months.
However the EFL is “disappointed … and it is the firm view of the League that the sanction imposed is too lenient when consideration is given to all the circumstances of the case. Given the potential for postponements to have a significant impact on competition integrity and, following receipt of advice overnight on the reasons provided, the League will appeal the outcome in the strongest possible sense.” Bolton – who have already been whacked with a 12-point deduction for entering administration – will “vehemently defend” any appeal.
Scotland boss Steve Clarke has delivered his verdict on the Euro 2020 play-off draw. Talking to Sky Sports, he said: “The draw is what it is. I never get too carried away about who we’re going to get. We will be familiar with Israel because we played them in the Nations League group stage, and hopefully we can get a positive outcome. We had two close games, lost away and won at Hampden. It would be nice to repeat that. We’re not disappointed that the final is away from home. You have to take what you get.”
Klopp had less interest in discussing the recent stramash between England pals Joe Gomez and Raheem Sterling. “Joe is good, better than good. The people involved were fine pretty quick. Things like this happen in football. Absolutely nothing to say about it. The FA dealt with it how they saw right and I cannot judge that as I was not aware of the circumstances.”