Son Heung-min was lost for words with which to hail Harry Kane after the Tottenham duo set a Premier League record in the 4-0 thrashing of Leeds United.

First-half goals from Matt Doherty, Dejan Kulusevski and Kane had Antonio Conte's side in cruise control at Elland Road on Saturday.

Not satisfied with just a goal to his name, Kane delivered an inviting pass over the top of Leeds' shaky defence in the 85th minute, with Son racing through before finishing with ease.

It was the 37th time that the Spurs pair have directly combined for a top-flight goal since Son's arrival from Bayer Leverkusen in 2015.

That link-up saw them surpass the long-standing Premier League set by Chelsea pair Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba.

It was also the 20th time Kane and Son have directly combined away from home in the Premier League, Thierry Henry and Freddie Ljungberg their nearest challengers in second with a tally of 16.

South Korea international Son struggled to find the words to describe his attacking partner after another masterful performance.

"What can I say more about Harry? I think any compliment, I'm gone,” he said. "I can't say any more words about him. You can say 'superb'. You can say 'phenomenal'. It's not enough for me.

"I've played together with him for a long time and I'm still looking at him and thinking, 'Wow, this is unbelievable', you know?

"So I think the words are not enough for me. He's just an unreal player. I'm really happy to work with him every day and playing together is a big honour."

Kane endured a lean spell of scoring form at the start of the 2021-22 season after seemingly having his head turned by interest from defending top-flight champions Manchester City.

The England captain found the net just once in his first 13 games of the new Premier League season, but has since returned seven goals in his last 11 league outings and Son continued in his praise for his team-mate.

"When you think a striker is always scoring goals and a number 10 is also making assists, he can do both for two or three seasons," he added.

"He wants to improve for himself. This is his ability, he's so good to watch. He can play number 10, number nine. Whatever we need. To have a striker like this is massive.

"He's doing so well, we're glad to have him and we can still help him as well to get many goals.

"He's a striker and he's still hungry for goals and big things as a team. We need to help him as well, work for him, create chances for him. This is a team thing."

Kane and Son, though, are yet to lift a trophy with the north London club, with Spurs currently sat seventh in the Premier League - five points behind fourth-placed Manchester United, who have played twice more.

Conte's side are still in contention for the FA Cup, in which they face Middlesbrough away in the fifth round on Tuesday, and Son acknowledged his side will have to battle.

"It's not just Harry, everyone wants to win. Everyone does," Son continued. "To win a trophy you need to suffer a lot.

"I play for the win. Obviously I want to enjoy playing football but at the end of the day, there’s a winner and a loser.

"This game is a long way from the FA Cup final but everyone, every team wants to win. But who suffers more I think wins.

"It means a lot for me. I'm going to work hard and play hard for the team, for myself, for the club. I think it means a lot. I can't say what it means to win a trophy for this club. It's going to be incredible.

"But we need to suffer a lot."

Leeds United have parted ways with Marcelo Bielsa, in the wake of their 4-0 thrashing by Tottenham on Saturday.

The defeat came at the end of a dire week in which Leeds suffered a 4-2 home defeat to rivals Manchester United and a 6-0 hammering by Liverpool at Anfield, leaving them mired in a battle to retain their Premier League status.

Leeds are winless in six Premier League matches since beating West Ham United in mid-January, having lost five of those games, conceding 21 goals, meaning fan favourite Bielsa's reign has been brought to an end, after over three-and-a-half seasons in the Elland Road dugout.

The news was confirmed on Sunday in a statement released on the club's official website.

"This has been the toughest decision I have had to make during my tenure at Leeds United, taking into account all the success Marcelo has had at the club," said Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani.

"With Marcelo as our head coach, we had three incredible campaigns and the good times returned to Elland Road. He changed the culture of the club and brought a winning mentality to us all.

"The moments created, particularly in the 2019-20 season and winning promotion to the Premier League, will of course live long in all our memories, myself and the fans included.

"However, I have to act in the best interest of the club and I believe a change is required now in order to secure our Premier League status. Recent results and performances have not met our expectations.

"We find ourselves in a precarious league position and I feel now is the right time to bring in a new head coach, in order to have an impact in the decisive stage of the season.

"Naturally, myself, along with everyone else at the club would like to thank Marcelo for his efforts and achievements and we wish him the very best for the future."

Bielsa had earlier insisted that he was the right man to keep Leeds in the division despite the run of heavy defeats, telling BBC Sport: "I always have confidence in what I can do."

However, Leeds' dire defensive record, which has seen them ship 60 goals in just 26 league outings, has forced Radrizzani to act, with former RB Leipzig boss Jesse Marsch widely considered a leading candidate to replace Bielsa, who according to director of football Victor Orta has "created a legacy" at the club.

Leeds are aiming to make an announcement on the new appointment on Monday.

Bielsa enjoyed success in his first three seasons at Elland Road, narrowly missing out on promotion to the Premier League at the end of the 2018-19 season, before ending their 16-year absence from the top flight by securing promotion one year later.

Upon their return to the big time, Leeds' swashbuckling style of football saw them secure a surprise ninth-placed finish, but Bielsa's team found the going far harder this campaign, with injuries to key players including Kalvin Phillips and Patrick Bamford not helping.

It was another frustrating day for Manchester United against Watford on Saturday, while their rivals – and next opponents – Manchester City left it late at Everton.

Watford were, of course, the team that inflicted the defeat that cost Ole Gunnar Solskjaer his job at United in November, and Ralf Rangnick will have been similarly frustrated, even if he is safe in the knowledge that he will not be getting the sack.

The same cannot be said for Marcelo Bielsa, however, who looks destined to see his stay at Leeds United brought to an end after a crushing defeat to Tottenham.

Following Saturday's Premier League action, Stats Perform delves into the key Opta facts from some of the day's games.

Manchester United 0-0 Watford: Red Devils revert to type

Man Utd's 4-2 win at Leeds United last week was a little more tense than Ralf Rangnick would have liked, at least for a while, but it was also a rare example of them getting a big goals haul.

It seemed to say more about Leeds than it did United, however, as Rangnick saw his side struggle in front of goal once again despite dominating visitors Watford.

 

Chances weren't an issue: they had 22 shots, but only three were on target. Their opportunities amounted to 2.7 expected goals (xG), just no actual goals.

That was the highest xG accumulated by any side who failed to score in a Premier League game this term, and the biggest negative differential between goals and xG recorded in 2021-22.

It was the fifth time United have failed to score in 14 Premier League home games this season, their worst record since 2013-14 (six).

Up next? The Manchester derby.

 

Everton 0-1 Manchester City: Champions breathe sigh of relief as Toffees' points tally makes grim viewing

Phil Foden rescued City at Goodison Park on Saturday, scoring eight minutes from time to seal a 1-0 win over Everton.

That goal ensured Liverpool can only cut the gap behind City to three points if they win their game in hand, with Pep Guardiola undoubtedly relieved.

He surely always had faith, however, as Guardiola had won each of his previous nine games against Everton – this victory took him to 10 on the bounce, making it his joint-longest winning run against a single opponent in his managerial career.

Everton's outlook is rather bleaker.

Defeat leaves them with just 22 points from 24 Premier League games this term. It is their lowest tally at this stage of a league campaign (if we assume three points have been awarded throughout history) since 1929-30 (also 22), when they were relegated from the top tier.

Frank Lampard's men certainly showed enough spirit at times in this game to suggest their fate will not be the same, but their nine points since the start of October is the fewest of every team in the Premier League.

Leeds United 0-4 Tottenham: Defensive woes leave Bielsa on the brink

It would seem Marcelo Bielsa could well be on his way out at Leeds after another grim defeat, this time at the hands of Spurs.

This loss took Leeds to 20 goal concessions in February, which is the most any Premier League team has ever let in during a single calendar month and worst since any top-flight side since April 1986 (Newcastle United – 21).

As such, they became only the second side in Premier League history to three or more goals in five successive games – four of those have been defeats, making it their worst such run in the top tier since December 2003-February 2004.

For Spurs it was a welcome change of pace after losing to Burnley in midweek, a defeat that led to an emotional outburst from Antonio Conte that made it seem the Italian's days at the club were numbered.

A major highlight for them saw Harry Kane and Son Heung-min combine for the 37th time in the Premier League, overtaking Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard as the duo with most goal combinations in the competition's history.

 

Brentford 0-2 Newcastle United: Bees' woes continue but Eriksen return puts struggles into perspective

The form of Brentford and Newcastle could not be much more different.

Brentford are now winless in eight Premier League games, seven of which have been defeats – Newcastle are unbeaten in seven, their best such run since 2011 (14 games).

Josh Dasilva's red card certainly did not help matters for the home side, with his 11th-minute dismissal the second-earliest in a Premier League game this term after Newcastle's Ciaran Clark (ninth minute against Norwich City in November).

But the match did give all fans and neutrals a reason to smile as Christian Eriksen made his return to the football pitch.

The playmaker suffered a cardiac arrest while playing for Denmark at Euro 2020, and he came on in the second half for his first competitive appearance since his medical emergency.

It was also marked his return to the Premier League, having last appeared in the competition 766 days earlier for Tottenham.

Antonio Conte believes he saw signs of Tottenham looking like one of his teams for the first time as they beat Leeds United 4-0 on Saturday.

Spurs cruised at Elland Road, racing into a 2-0 lead through Matt Doherty and Dejan Kulusevski inside 15 minutes before Harry Kane got their third before the half-hour mark as Leeds looked beaten even prior to the break.

Kane then set up Son Heung-min to complete the scoring late on, Spurs' star duo combining for the 37th time in the Premier League as they set a new record.

It was undoubtedly a timely boost for Spurs, given their midweek defeat to Burnley was followed by an emotional outburst from Conte that had many thinking his days at the club were numbered.

Yet his post-match comments on Saturday were a far cry from that.

"For the first time I have seen my mark, about this system," Conte told reporters. "The creation from one wing-back and the other wing-back scoring – it means that the work is starting to work. It was a good performance for us against a strong team that is not simple to play against.

"We played a really good game, good football. What I wanted to see today was the right spirit, the right character to fight and win the ball and duels, against a team that are masters in this situation.

"I asked this of my players. I wanted an answer not only in football aspects but also in these aspects, which are very important in my opinion.

"Usually, my teams are not only strong on the pitch but mentally in their desire and spirit. The opponent that plays us has to know this. We are also working on this aspect.

"I asked for this answer, especially after the Burnley defeat. We lost that game because the opponents had more desire."

It is not the first time Conte has lauded his Spurs team, though. The Italian was highly complimentary after last weekend's win at Manchester City, yet that was followed by the shock loss at struggling Burnley.

As such, Conte is demanding consistency rather than showing spirit on an "episodic" basis.

"Sometimes I use soft words, sometimes with strong words, but only with one target: to improve," he continued.

"We need to improve in many aspects. Today I have seen a great desire to fight in every zone. This needs to be the start, not just episodic.

"My words were very clear. I repeat, I am a coach that for me it's not enough to play the game and to enjoy the game, to come back in England and enjoy to play in the best league in the world.

"I want to create something important, to fight, to win. I want this. My words were very clear."

Marcelo Bielsa insisted he remains the right man at Leeds United after watching his side slump to a 4-0 home defeat to Tottenham on Saturday.

Harry Kane inspired the visitors to a comfortable victory at Elland Road as Leeds suffered a fourth consecutive Premier League defeat for the first time since a run of six in 2003-04.

Their latest loss came after a 6-0 thrashing by Liverpool on Wednesday and a 4-2 home defeat to Manchester United last Sunday. Indeed, Leeds have conceded 20 league goals in February, which is the most by a top-flight team in a calendar month since Newcastle United conceded 21 times in April 1986.

Leeds are in real danger of being dragged into the relegation zone if results do not improve, and there are reports that the club are seriously considering replacing Bielsa with former RB Leipzig boss Jesse Marsch.

However, when asked if he were confident he can keep Leeds up this season, Bielsa told BBC Sport: "I always have confidence in what I can do."

Bielsa did accept his side were outplayed by Spurs and acknowledged the importance of sharpening up a defence that has conceded 60 times already this season. The only time in Premier League history they have let in more in a single 38-game campaign was when they were relegated in 2003-04.

"It was a fair defeat," the Argentine said. "The difference should have been smaller, however – not so much due to how we played but because of the goals we could have scored.

"The feeling of dominance over the game was for Tottenham. We know clearly how [Antonio] Conte's Tottenham play and obviously, what we tried to do, you can perceive it.

"The way they played was not surprising for us and we tried to overcome them but we couldn't manage to take the ball off them in the build-up, nor could we neutralise the influence of their forwards. We couldn't manage to put them at risk when they built up the play and they managed to find their forwards.

"We need to defend better. We need to make the opponents feel more worried when they have the ball and to try and manage to be able to attack without defending poorly and defend without it preventing us from attacking.

"We would get back and defend quickly after attacking and then attack quickly after defending but we have lost that virtue.

"Evidently there are factors that had a positive influence before but are not having the same impact."

Tottenham responded to their setback at Burnley with a comfortable 4-0 win over struggling Leeds United on Saturday.

Spurs boss Antonio Conte had called his own future into question after they slipped to a fourth defeat in five Premier League games at Turf Moor, and his players produced the response he would have wanted at Elland Road.

Goals from Matt Doherty, Dejan Kulusevski and Harry Kane effectively settled the contest within the first 30 minutes as the visitors breathed new life into their Champions League aspirations.

Kane teed up Son Heung-min for Tottenham's fourth as they combined to make Premier League history, leaving Leeds, who have now lost three consecutive home games in the top flight for the first time since November 2003, in no doubt that they are in a relegation battle. 

After Pascal Struijk glanced a good chance wide, Tottenham took early control of the game and broke the deadlock after nine minutes, Doherty providing a fine side-foot finish to Ryan Sessegnon's low cross.

The home fans, quietened by that early blow, fell eerily silent just six minutes later after Kulusevski bustled his way into the box from the right and drilled a shot past Illan Meslier at the near post.

Robin Koch hit the base of the post as Leeds sought a way back into the contest, but they were 3-0 down before the half-hour mark, Kane expertly turning home Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg's simple ball over the top, with Meslier rooted to his line.

Marcelo Bielsa made two changes at half-time, but it did little to disrupt Spurs' control. Kane slid in Doherty for a second goal but Meslier saved well, before Son's follow-up was blocked by Koch.

Leeds' one clear chance of the second half summed up their recent fortunes: after Hugo Lloris made a mess of sweeping up a long ball, Stuart Dallas strode towards the unguarded net but dithered for too long and saw his shot closed down by Ben Davies.

Emerson Royal should have scored from a Kane throughball, but Son made no mistake with five minutes remaining as he latched onto Kane's long pass and fired beyond Meslier.

It was the 37th time those two have combined for a goal in the Premier League, overtaking the record held by Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard.

What does it mean? Spurs ease tensions around Conte

Conte apologised for his outburst after the Burnley loss but admitted he had expected Spurs to be "more ready to fight and to win" when he arrived.

They certainly shrugged off a difficult few days in impressive style here, killing the contest within half an hour for just their second league win in six.

Spurs are now four points outside the top four with a game in hand, while Leeds could be dragged into the bottom three depending on Saturday's other results.

Wing-back wizardry

Conte's 3-4-3 system caused persistent problems for Leeds, particularly through the runs of Doherty and Sessegnon.

They combined for the opening goal and set up a further three chances between them, Doherty also assisting Kulusevski with a one-two.

Llorente led a merry dance

Diego Llorente endured a dreadful outing in which he managed to make life easier for Spurs' attackers.

After stepping over the ball when it seemed he would stop Kulusevski cutting in and scoring, he played Kane onside for the third goal and fell in the move that saw Sessegnon come within inches of adding a fourth.

What's next?

Spurs are in FA Cup action at Middlesbrough on Tuesday before their next league game at Everton on March 7. Leeds have a week to prepare for a trip to Leicester City.

Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min have set a new Premier League record after combining for Tottenham's final goal in their 4-0 rout of Leeds United.

Having scored Spurs' third in the first half, Kane dropped an exquisite pass over the top of Leeds' floundering defence in the 85th minute, with Son racing through before finishing coolly.

It was the 37th time that the Spurs duo have directly combined for a Premier League goal since Son's move from Bayer Leverkusen in August 2015.

That surpassed the long-standing English top-flight record set by Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba during their time together at Chelsea.

It was also the 20th time they have directly combined away from home in the Premier League; their nearest challengers being Thierry Henry and Freddie Ljungberg's tally of 16 combinations.

The landmark moment came almost five-and-a-half years after their first successful link-up against Stoke City in September 2016. 

In fact, there are only five player combinations that have produced over 25 goals since the establishment of the Premier League in 1992.

Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min – 37, Tottenham Hotspur (2015-present)

After they combined on Wednesday, Kane and Son have now scored 231 goals between them since the start of the 2015-16 season.

In 2020-21, they directly linked up 14 times; a record tally for a single Premier League campaign.

Last season also saw the England captain win the last of three Golden Boot awards, while he topped the assists chart and Son reached goalscoring double figures for a fifth successive year.

Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba – 36, Chelsea (2004-2012)

A combination that helped bring three Premier League titles to Stamford Bridge, Lampard and Drogba were central to Chelsea's success at the beginning of the Roman Abramovich era.

After arriving from Marseille in 2004, the powerful presence of Drogba landed two Golden boots that included an impressive haul of 29 during the 2009-10 season.

That year also saw the prolific Lampard chip in with 22 from midfield as the Blues claimed a third domestic crown in seven campaigns.

Thierry Henry and Robert Pires – 29, Arsenal (2000-2006)

Providing flair on the wing and elegance up front, the iconic French duo brought two Premier League titles to Highbury during the early 2000s.

The second of which came during the 'Invincibles' season of 2003-04, when they scored 44 goals between them as the Gunners completed the campaign without defeat.

Henry won four Golden Boots in the space of five years, while Pires reached double figures in three successive seasons.

Sergio Aguero and David Silva – 29, Manchester City (2011-2020)

The mercurial skills of Silva and clinical finishing of Aguero was always going to provide a recipe for success at City.

Indeed, their combination went on a long way to securing four Premier League titles in the space of nine seasons at the Etihad.

They also left their mark individually. Aguero scored 184 times in the English top flight – a tally only bettered by Alan Shearer (260), Wayne Rooney (208) and Andy Cole (187) – while just five players have recorded more assists than Silva's 93. 

Teddy Sheringham and Darren Anderton – 27, Tottenham (1992-1997, 2001-2003)

While they did not land any domestic silverware, Sheringham and Anderton formed part of an exciting attacking Spurs line-up during the mid-1990s that also featured the likes of Jurgen Klinsmann.

Sheringham top-scored in the inaugural Premier League season of 1992-93 with 22 goals, while he also reached double figures in the following three years.

The two linked up for goals 27 times in the top flight, notably assisting each other in an entertaining 4-3 win at Sheffield Wednesday on the opening day of the 1994-95 campaign – and what was Klinsmann's Spurs debut.

One topic sure to take up plenty of column inches at the end of the season will be the appointment of Manchester United's next permanent manager, but one front-runner may be out of the race already.

Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino has been heavily tipped to make a sensational return to the Premier League to take over at Old Trafford.

However, the former Tottenham manager may have already turned down the opportunity while he waits for what he considers to be a better offer from elsewhere.

TOP STORY - POCHETTINO HOLDING OUT FOR REAL MADRID

Pochettino has been linked with the manager's role at Man Utd since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked in November, but has turned the opportunity down as he waits for Real Madrid, according to Sport.

Ralf Rangnick was appointed as interim manager at the Premier League club after Solskjaer's departure and will play a role in deciding on the next permanent Red Devils boss at the end of the campaign.

However, it seems the Argentine may have ruled himself out of contention as he believes he could have an opportunity waiting for him at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The report claims that Los Blancos president Florentino Perez has Pochettino "in mind as one of Madrid's future coaches", and that should the Spanish giants decide to dismiss Carlo Ancelotti at the end of the season, he would be one of the leading candidates to replace the Italian at the helm.

ROUND-UP

- PSG are considering an off-season move for Chelsea star N'Golo Kante, whose contract at the Blues expires in 2023, according to the Telegraph.

- The Daily Express reports that Harry Kane may once again try to force a move away from Tottenham if manager Antonio Conte does leave the club.

- Georginio Wijnaldum could leave PSG after only one season, with West Ham, Atletico Madrid and Aston Villa among those interested in the former Liverpool midfielder, says Calciomercato.

- The same publication also believes that RB Leipzig left-back Angelino could leave Germany at the end of the season, with Barcelona, Arsenal and Tottenham all interested in the former Manchester City man.

- Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen will not join another Premier League club when his contract expires at the end of the season, but could move to either Barcelona or Bayern Munich, according to Fabrizio Romano.

- Romano also reports that PSG are "really convinced" to make the loan move of left-back Nuno Mendes from Sporting CP permanent for a fee of around €40million.

Tottenham manager Antonio Conte says when he took over at Spurs in November he expected to find a club "more ready to fight and to win".

Conte's side are eighth in the Premier League but have lost four of their past five league games to slip seven points behind fourth-placed Manchester United.

The Italian was emotional post-game following Tottenham's midweek 1-0 defeat to lowly Burnley, with the honeymoon period of his first few months long gone.

"Maybe in my heart, mind and head I thought to find a situation, not better, but [a club] more ready to fight and to win," Conte told reporters ahead of Saturday's league game with Leeds United.

"And instead now I found a situation where we have to work. To work a lot, much more than was my expectation to do, but I am not scared about the work as in my life only through work have I reached important level in my career.

"When I arrived here I did not ask anything. But at the same time I know that if I arrive here and they know that you are taking an important coach, not a medium coach."

Conte had earlier apologised for his emotional outburst following the Burnley defeat and backtracked on comments that hinted his future at Spurs was uncertain.

The former Inter and Chelsea boss met with chairman Daniel Levy and insisted they're on the "same page" but Conte also offered no guarantees that he would still be at Spurs by the end of the season.

"We are starting to build something important for the club," Conte said. "This is the most important thing. I always say, when I arrive in a place, when I have to go away from this club, I have to leave this club much better than I found it. I have done this with every club I have worked at.

"For sure, it will be the same for this club. If you ask me in four months, one year, two years, three years. Now it is very difficult to [offer guarantees]. But for sure, I am working to improve the club in every aspect.

"In this moment, I repeat, I am totally committed to Tottenham and I have a good relationship with the club, especially with Daniel."

Antonio Conte has apologised for his emotional outburst following the defeat to Burnley that left his Tottenham future looking uncertain.

Spurs were beaten 1-0 by Burnley at Turf Moor on Wednesday, their fourth defeat in five league matches.

Conte, who replaced Nuno Espirito Santo in November, was unbeaten in his first nine top-flight matches in charge of Spurs, but that honeymoon period was followed by a frustrating few weeks.

In the wake of the loss to lowly Burnley, Conte suggested Spurs were exhibiting relegation form, that the club needed to make an "assessment about me" and that he was unsure if he was good enough to improve Spurs' fortunes.

But speaking ahead of Saturday's trip to Leeds United, Conte appeared to back-track, his comments seemingly just made in the spur of the moment.

"For sure, when I lose a game I am not the person to go and have a dinner. I think that I am not the right person, when I lose a game my mood is very bad and I prefer to stay alone and live the defeat, to stay alone and metabolise the defeat," he said.

"I need one day to recover, at least. This is me. It is me. I don't like to lose. If you ask me what I hate in life, it is to lose games. My mentality is to prepare myself, to prepare the players and to avoid this type of situation.

"There are many coaches that don't suffer [after a defeat]. I wanted to be a little soft but at the same time to be this way makes me a person that in his career I won as a player and then as a coach.

"For sure, when I lose, if you expect that I am happy or to come to a press conference and laugh, I am not this person.

"I am sorry if I show my disappointment because maybe it would be good to keep this inside and not show my emotion. I am an honest person it is difficult for me to lie or hide the truth and for this reason."

Conte also confirmed that he has since spoken to Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, and it would seem both men are on the same page.

"Yes, I spoke to Daniel Levy. Our chairman knows very well that I'm here to help the club in every moment. I will do that until the end," Conte continued.

"That's the reality and he knows that we're working hard. He has great consideration about our job and the job of my staff.

"I repeat I want to help the club with every aspect. He shows me great consideration every day and for this reason I'm committed for this club much more because I know the consideration for me is very high.

"The club confirmed to me that they know the reality. The club is very happy about my work and what we're doing with my staff, the change that we made in four months in the environment.

"I think the club is appreciating very much what we're doing in this moment. The problem is that I'm a perfectionist. I'm a person that wants to get to a result quickly."

Spurs head into the weekend in eighth, seven points behind fourth-placed Manchester United, who have played two games more.

But bitter rivals Arsenal may well be the club they need to focus on catching, given they are just a point behind United and also have two games in hand on Ralf Rangnick's men – Conte, however, stressed the need to concentrate on the immediate future.

"I'm a realistic person and for now the most important thing is the present and not look forward too much," he said.

"We have to finish this season. We are working very hard and we deserve much more. The players at the club, especially our fans, deserve the best and for us to make them happy.

"It's important to be focused now. We're working well and we've started to go in the right direction despite negative or positive results. Also for the future, there is more clarification. To clean the situation and then to continue to build."

Sure, relying on Mohamed Salah every week is a decent fantasy football strategy, it's certainly good enough for most, but what happens when the Egyptian magician isn't in Premier League action?

With Liverpool in EFL Cup final duty against Chelsea, the Reds' fearsome front-line and creative full-backs are suddenly off limits to fantasy football managers across the land, while Arsenal and Chelsea are also out of league action.

However, courtesy of Opta-powered data, Stats Perform has managed to pick out some of gameweek 27's potential stars, featuring the England captain, an in-form Burnley new boy, and one of the Premier League's most lethal defenders.

HARRY KANE (Leeds United v Tottenham Hotspur)

Despite Antonio Conte's team lurching to a fourth loss in five Premier League games at Turf Moor in midweek, the England captain remains the perfect pick for managers who need a big-hitter in Salah's absence.

Kane has been involved in seven goals in his last 10 Premier League appearances, registering six goals and an assist in that time. Meanwhile, five of those contributions, including four goals, have come on the road.

If that isn't enough to make managers' minds up, Kane will be facing a Leeds team which has already shipped 56 league goals this term, and has scored 10 goals in his eight Premier League appearances in Yorkshire. 

DAVID DE GEA (Manchester United v Watford)

For those looking for an adequate replacement for the likes of Allison or Edouard Mendy between the sticks, Red Devils stopper De Gea looks to be the perfect choice, ahead of a kind home fixture with Watford.

When looking at Opta's Expected Goals on Target data, no Premier League goalkeeper has prevented more goals than the Spaniard this season, with De Gea conceding 32 Premier League goals from 39.09 xG on target faced.

Although De Gea did ship four times when Watford ended Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Red Devils reign earlier this season, United have never lost a home league game against Watford, recording 11 wins and two draws against the Hornets at Old Trafford. They have not faced any other side in more home games during their league history without losing (also 13 unbeaten vs Hull City).

CRAIG DAWSON (West Ham United v Wolves)

The best fantasy football managers are those that find themselves looking for marginal gains, and what better way to do that than to pick one of the division's most lethal defenders?

Since the 2014-15 season, no Premier League defender can match Dawson's tally of 14 headed goals, and the big centre-back has now netted in successive games, against Leicester City and Newcastle United.

West Ham's next Premier League clash sees them take on Wolves at the London Stadium. For all their good form, the visitors are averaging under a goal per game this season, so Dawson could also be in with a chance of a clean sheet.

WOUT WEGHORST (Crystal Palace v Burnley, Burnley v Leicester City)

Finally, Burnley's towering Dutch striker Wout Weghorst stands out as an appealing under-the-radar selection, ahead of the Clarets facing two games in four days.

Since Weghorst made his move from Wolfsburg to Turf Moor, he has weighed in with a goal and two assists, meaning only Salah (three goals and one assist) has registered more goal involvements amongst Premier League players since his arrival.

Although Burnley's weekend opponents Crystal Palace have been buoyed by a 4-1 win over Watford, they then host a Leicester team which has conceded 40.61 expected goals this season, a tally worse than all but three Premier League teams, so another Weghorst contribution could be on the cards.

Even if not quite the force they once were, Manchester United still like to show their fans their ambitions match up, especially in the transfer market.

Interim manager Ralf Rangnick has the job of ensuring the Red Devils qualify for next season's Champions League and is currently on course, with them sitting fourth in the Premier League.

However, the club supposedly remain confident of adding big names at the end of the season regardless of a top-four finish.

 

TOP STORY – MAN UTD WANT MORE ENGLAND STARS

Manchester United believe they can attract big names to Old Trafford at the end of the season, even if they may not have Champions League football to offer.

According to ESPN, the Premier League club have an ambitious list of targets that includes England pair Declan Rice and Harry Kane, and they believe the 2016 signing of Paul Pogba – when they were in the Europa League – is proof the name of the club is enticing enough.

It remains to be seen what that means for whomever the incoming permanent manager is by then, but they will likely not say no to additions of that calibre.

ROUND-UP

Atletico Madrid are plotting a move for Georginio Wijnaldum from Paris Saint-Germain, according to Fichajes.

- Calciomercato claims Inter wish to add Torino defender Bremer to their ranks next season and may already have an agreement with the player.

- Meanwhile, Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele is being pursued on a free transfer by both Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain, 90min reports.

- The Catalan giants could get one in return though as they have offered a two-year deal to Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta, according to Sport.

- Marca is reporting Tottenham are looking at Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Unai Simon as a potential long-term replacement for Hugo Lloris.

Roma could reignite their interest in Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka at the end of the season, Calciomercato says.

Antonio Conte has questioned his future at Tottenham, admitting discussions will have to take place following Wednesday's 1-0 defeat to Burnley.

Spurs missed the chance to close the gap on the Premier League’s top four as Ben Mee headed the only goal at Turf Moor.

Defeat was a fourth in five league matches for Conte's side, who are seven points adrift of fourth-placed Manchester United.

The Italian, who replaced Nuno Espirito Santo at the start of November, went unbeaten in his first nine league games in charge at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

But the former Chelsea and Inter boss has cast doubt over whether he should remain in charge following Spurs' recent slump.

And the 57-year-old acknowledged that an assessment of the club's situation must be made.

"In the last five games, we are playing like we are in [the] relegation [zone]; this is the reality," he said.

"I came in to improve the situation but at this moment, I'm not so good to improve this situation. We are working hard; we are trying to get the best out of every single player. 

"It means there will be an assessment about the club, about me. The club changes coaches, the players remain the same, but the result doesn't change.

"For me, it's very frustrating to lose four games in the last five games.

"We are doing everything to change situation, but it's not enough. 

"Maybe, I'm not so good. Tottenham called me to change things, but I'm too honest. This is unacceptable.

"For sure, we'll make an assessment with the club. It’s not right; it's not good for everybody to continue to lose. I can't accept this; it's not good for no-one."

Tottenham missed the chance to close the gap on the Premier League’s top four after they were beaten 1-0 by relegation-threatened Burnley.

Ben Mee headed the only goal 19 minutes from time at Turf Moor to boost the hosts' survival hopes, moving them to within two points of safety.

For Spurs, it was a case of being brought back down to earth with a bump following Saturday's thrilling 3-2 win over champions Manchester City.

Antonio Conte's side remain eighth and seven points adrift of fourth-placed Manchester United, but still with two games in hand on the Red Devils.

Burnley had only won one of their 12 previous Premier League meetings with Tottenham; a 2-1 success here in February 2019.

Sean Dyche's side went close to breaking the deadlock when Josh Brownhill tested Hugo Lloris from the edge of the penalty area after 14 minutes.

Despite enjoying the greater share of possession, Spurs could only register two off-target shots during the first half, while having another blocked. Cristian Romero dragged an effort wide from inside the box, while Emerson wildly blazed over from distance.

The visitors cranked up the pressure after the break. Harry Kane's header rattled the crossbar from an inviting Son Heung-Min cross, while Nick Pope reacted quickly to deny Ben Davies from close range.

Dejan Kulusevski then curled just wide after Lloris did brilliantly to keep out Jay Rodriguez's header at the other end.

But the France international was helpless as Burnley snatched all three points in the 71st minute, with Mee ghosting in at the far post to nod home Brownhill's free-kick.

Rodriguez somehow shot over from inside the six-yard box later on, while Pope held the onto Steven Bergwijn’s effort as the hosts saw out a vital win.

Kylian Mbappe to Real Madrid has often felt like a never-ending transfer saga, but it appears a resolution might now be in sight.

Los Blancos are apparently confident of getting the Paris Saint-Germain star in 2022 even though their performance did not impress him in the Champions League.

However, Madrid do have a back-up plan.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID CONFIDENT ON MBAPPE BUT MANE IS PLAN B

Real Madrid believe they will win the battle to sign Kylian Mbappe on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain in 2022.

Carlo Ancelotti's side are preparing to announce the deal at the end of the season, according to Goal.

However, should their efforts to sign Mbappe or Erling Haaland fail, Madrid have a back-up plan: Fichajes claims they will submit an offer for Sadio Mane.

ROUND-UP

Arsenal are interested in signing Joao Felix from Atletico Madrid, according to television show El Chiringuito.

Manchester United have been quoted €75million (£62.5m) for RB Leipzig star Christopher Nkunku, Bild says.

- Meanwhile, United striker Edinson Cavani is ready to listen to an offer to join Botafogo when his contract expires, Goal claims.

- According to Sport, Tottenham have submitted the firmest offer to sign Paulo Dybala from Juventus, but Barcelona and Inter are also interested.

Milan are resigned to losing Franck Kessie after this season and could replace him with Renato Sanches, Tuttosport says.

UEFA has decided to move the Champions League final from St Petersburg, according to the BBC. The game could be held in London.

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