Manchester City showed few signs of slowing as they recorded another win at Arsenal on Sunday.

The runaway Premier League leaders remain 10 points clear of both Manchester United and Leicester City, who each enjoyed victories of their own.

West Ham complete the top four, meanwhile, after a long-awaited triumph for manager David Moyes.

We start at the London Stadium in recapping the best of Sunday's action with the help of Opta data.
 

West Ham 2-1 Tottenham: Moyes ends miserable run against Mourinho

Moyes finally got the measure of Jose Mourinho as West Ham climbed into the top four with a 2-1 home win against Tottenham.

This was Moyes' first victory over Mourinho in 16 attempts in all competitions, halting his worst winless record against any one coach.

Michail Antonio's fifth Premier League goal against Spurs and 42nd in total - all of which have come from inside the box - opened the scoring early on, before another swift strike in the second half took the game away from Tottenham.

Scorer Jesse Lingard, whose best spell of his United career came under Mourinho, has netted as many goals (three) for Moyes in four league games on loan at West Ham as he did in 36 appearances for Red Devils manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Although Lucas Moura's header halved the deficit, Mourinho has now suffered 15 defeats and picked up only 81 points from his first 50 league games as Tottenham coach - the worst such returns of his career.
 

Aston Villa 1-2 Leicester City: More Villa Park joy for Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers maintained his 100 per cent winning record away to Aston Villa as Leicester won 2-1 at Villa Park.

Rodgers has won all six of his Premier League games at Villa Park as manager, the past two with Leicester ensuring the Foxes have enjoyed back-to-back away top-flight wins against Villa for the first time since October 1960.

James Maddison's eighth Premier League goal of the season broke the deadlock and made this his best scoring campaign in the top tier, before Harvey Barnes added his 13th in all competitions in 2020-21 - second only to Jamie Vardy (14) among Leicester players.

Bertrand Traore got a goal back and has now been involved in eight in the league for Villa since his debut, but the absent Jack Grealish, the only man at the club this season to better that tally (10), was sorely missed.

0.9 - Under Dean Smith, Aston Villa have averaged 1.5 points-per-game in league competition when Jack Grealish has featured compared to 0.9 points-per-game without him, losing all three Premier League matches without the Englishman since the start of last season. Centrepiece. pic.twitter.com/QafEdQ7IKY

— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 21, 2021  

Arsenal 0-1 Manchester City: Records stacking up for Pep's class of 2021

City equalled their own record for consecutive away wins across all competitions by a team from England's top flight, landing a 1-0 success at Arsenal.

An 11th straight victory on the road - tying their 2017 run - also made City the first visiting team to ever enjoy four league wins in a row at Arsenal without conceding.

In all, Arsenal have lost eight league matches on the bounce to City, tying Leeds United's benchmark streak against the Gunners from 1973 to 1976, and a familiar foe proved their undoing.

Raheem Sterling has scored in three consecutive league games at Emirates Stadium and no player in the division has more than his 20 on the road since the start of last season.

City stood firm at the other end with a 15th league clean sheet of the campaign and more achievements might be on the horizon, as a 25th game without defeat across all competitions takes them closer to their best run under Pep Guardiola of 28 in 2017.
 

Manchester United 3-1 Newcastle United: Red Devils dominate Magpies again

United's dominant home record against Newcastle United only briefly looked at risk as they won 3-1 in Sunday's final match.

Newcastle have won on just one of their past 36 league visits to Old Trafford, where Marcus Rashford's 40th goal in all competitions since the start of last season broke the deadlock - his tally is only bettered in that time by Mohamed Salah (47), Harry Kane (45) and Sterling (44).

Allan Saint-Maximin soon equalised - his fifth goal involvement of the campaign - but Dan James restored the home advantage from Bruno Fernandes' pass.

Fernandes secured the points from the penalty spot and now has 15 goals and 10 assists in the Premier League this season, the third player to reach double figures in both goals and assists in Europe's 'top five' leagues (also Kane and Thomas Muller).

United, who have just one defeat in 19 in the league, have now scored 53 times in 25 league matches, their best return at this stage of a season since their title-winning 2012-13 campaign (60).

Jose Mourinho insisted he and his coaching staff remain the best in the business after his Tottenham tenure took another wrong turn in the 2-1 loss at West Ham.

Mistakes early in each half allowed Michail Antonio and Jesse Lingard to score for David Moyes' side, who are riding high in fourth position.

Lucas Moura pulled one back from a Gareth Bale corner, with Wales star Bale also hitting the crossbar as Spurs failed to claim a share of the spoils.

Tottenham have now lost five of their past six Premier League games, with a 2-0 win against relegation-threatened West Brom the only moment of encouragement during this slump.

Mourinho has never endured such a poor six-game sequence during his decorated career, but he balked at the post-match news conference when it was suggested he might question his own methods.

"No. No, not at all. Not at all. Zero," he replied. "Sometimes the results are a consequence of multiple situations in football.

"Mine and my coaching staff's methods are second to nobody in the world."

Spurs are ninth in the table having been beaten eight times in 24 outings this season. That is the highest number of league defeats Mourinho has suffered since the nine that led to his sacking at Chelsea midway through the 2015-16 campaign.

The West Ham match was his 50th Premier League outing in charge of Tottenham, with those games yielding 23 wins, 12 draws and 15 defeats.

Those 81 points overall are 14 fewer than Mourinho has amassed during his first 50 league games with any other club over the course of his career.

A haul of 95 from 50 at Manchester United is his next worst return, with all of his other posts having yielded in excess of 100 points.

The 15 defeats are more than twice as many as the ex-Porto, Chelsea, Inter and Real Madrid boss has suffered during an initial half-century of matches before now.

Gareth Bale would start every game for Tottenham if his fitness allowed, according to Jose Mourinho.

Bale came off the bench at half-time for Spurs at West Ham on Sunday, delivering the corner for Lucas Moura to head home before hitting the crossbar himself.

However, he was not able to avert a 2-1 defeat for Mourinho's men – their fifth loss in six as part of a dismal run in the Premier League.

Real Madrid loanee Bale has been restricted to two top-flight starts since making his Tottenham return last September and Mourinho felt unable to add to that number despite the Wales star's goalscoring contribution against Wolfsberger in the Europa League on Thursday.

"I know his quality. I cannot say everything to you, I shouldn't. I don't want," he told Sky Sports when discussing Bale's performance after the match.

"I believe as a coach I don't have to speak so much about the situation, but with a Gareth Bale completely fit and ready to play 90 minutes of every game, of course he would [play].

"We are trying everything with him to recover him to be at a good level. To play 65 minutes like he did Thursday then today he couldn't start the game today, he wouldn't have 90 minutes to give us.

"But I am happy because we know what he brings, he brings his quality.

"[He was] very unlucky [when he hit the crossbar] because in that situation we had a double shot to score but we didn't."

Spurs are languishing in eighth position, with West Ham now nine points better off in fourth having played a game more.

"Before the game I was not looking to the table, I was looking to the game and the objective was to win," Mourinho said, having seen Tottenham's hopes of Champions League qualification suffer another body blow.

"It is very difficult to think about the top four. The top four, five, six teams are getting points. It will be very, very hard. The Europa League is a great motivation to get a Champions League spot and a trophy at the same time.

"The boys fight and when the team fights you can believe good things can happen."

Goals inside the first five minutes of either half from Michail Antonio and Jesse Lingard scuppered Spurs at London Stadium but Mourinho felt fortune did not smile on his side.

"I feel the result should have been a different one, especially in the second half," he added. "That is my feeling and a little bit of deja vu.

"Their defensive line was brilliant. Their centre-backs gave us a very difficult match. We started the game with a mistake and started the second half with another one.

"The team in the second half was trying absolutely everything. We had the chances, hitting the post, great crosses across the face of goal. We had easy shooting positions to score so we should have scored more goals.

"We were the team that tried to play but the boys were not lucky."

David Moyes finally got the better of Jose Mourinho at the 16th time of asking and the West Ham boss was delighted to beat one of the game's "elite managers".

The Hammers ran out 2-1 winners at the London Stadium on Sunday, with Michail Antonio and Jesse Lingard on target for the hosts.

It moved West Ham up to fourth and it was also significant for being Moyes' first win over Mourinho after 15 failed attempts.

"There is always a first for everything and Jose Mourinho has had great teams wherever," the Scot told Sky Sports.

"He is up there with elite managers but sometimes football can get you results like it did today. A great win for us. A tough opponent."

Lucas Moura's header made it a nervy finish for the hosts, with Spurs twice hitting the woodwork late on.

But Lingard's cool finish ultimately proved decisive, with the midfielder having scored three goals in four league games under Moyes at West Ham, as many as he managed in his 36 matches under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United.

Reflecting on the career trajectory of a man who spent a decade in the first-team fold at Old Trafford, Moyes said: "Jesse has been a very good player, we shouldn't take that away.

"He has had a difficult year. He has given us something else and helped us get better."

Champions League qualification is firmly on West Ham's radar now, but Moyes does not want his side to get carried away, with so much work still ahead of them.

"We have only done half a job," he said. "If we continue this way we will be close. I don't want to be negative in any way.

"We are enjoying it but are also not going to be daft. We will keep calm about it and hopefully keep pushing the teams at the top.

"West Ham have always had bits where they've won some big games but what they want is consistency and I think we have consistency.

"This club badly needs a level where they are not around the bottom. This time last year you were asking me if we can avoid relegation so it is a great feeling that is gone."

Tottenham fell to a fifth defeat in six Premier League games as David Moyes ended his Jose Mourinho hoodoo in West Ham's 2-1 win at the London Stadium.

Moyes enjoyed his first victory over Mourinho at the 16th time of asking, spoiling the under-fire boss' 50th top-flight game at the Spurs helm as the Hammers climbed to fourth.

Michail Antonio gave the hosts the lead after just five minutes and they were even quicker out of the blocks in the second half, the in-form Jesse Lingard on target.

Spurs, who squandered a 3-0 lead with 10 minutes remaining to draw the reverse fixture 3-3 in October, hit back via Lucas Moura's header but Gareth Bale struck the crossbar as a comeback failed to materialise.

Antonio put Moyes' side ahead, prodding home from close range after Hugo Lloris had repelled his initial effort from Jarrod Bowen's cross.

Harry Kane blasted wide at the end of a swift Spurs counter-attack as the visitors sought a quick response.

A sickening clash of heads between Tomas Soucek and Davinson Sanchez saw the former head off after his face was bloodied, leaving West Ham down to 10 men for a spell which they weathered without consequence.

Craig Dawson's bullet header forced Lloris to tip over his bar before half-time, with Lukasz Fabianski smartly denying Erik Lamela at the other end.

Spurs' woes deepened just over a minute into the second half as Lingard raced through to slot confidently past Lloris, leaving Mourinho looking glum on the touchline.

Kane, who had scored 11 goals in 15 league games against the Hammers prior to Sunday's clash, sent a long-range effort narrowly wide of Fabianski's left-hand upright around the hour mark.

Lucas' near-post header from Bale's corner gave Spurs hope and Kane went close to an equaliser with a low strike that flashed just wide.

Bale's spectacular attempt from the edge of the box cracked against the bar, with the woodwork again struck following a stoppage-time deflection off Son Heung-min, as West Ham ultimately stood firm in the face of significant late pressure.


What does it mean? Champions League ambitions fading for Spurs

While West Ham are eyeing a seat at European football's top table, Spurs' own Champions League aspirations are fading fast.

Mourinho's men are now nine points behind the Hammers, albeit with a game in hand, with the Europa League perhaps offering their best route back to the big time.

Mourinho's half century a damp squib

With 50 top-flight games in the Spurs dugout now under his belt, Mourinho's impact can be meaningfully measured, and the results are not great.

The Portuguese has won 23, drawn 12 and lost 15 of those matches, giving him a points-per-game return of 1.62 – the lowest such ratio at the club since Juande Ramos between 2007 and 2008 (1.17).

Lingard's impressive revival

Lingard took his goal, which proved decisive, with the confidence of a man in form.

He has scored three goals in four league games under Moyes at West Ham, as many as he managed in his 36 matches under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United.

What's next?

Tottenham host Wolfsberger in the second leg of their Europa League last-32 tie on Wednesday, boasting a 4-1 advantage, and then welcome Burnley in the league on Sunday. The Hammers head to runaway league leaders Manchester City on Saturday.

Real Madrid, Manchester United, Barcelona, Manchester City, Chelsea and Juventus.

Europe's elite are lining up to sign Erling Haaland, but who will he join?

Whoever it is, Haaland is set to command a mammoth contract.

 

TOP STORY – HAALAND ASKING FOR LUCRATIVE DEAL

Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland wants a contract in the region of £78million (€90m) as speculation intensifies over his future, according to the Daily Star.

Haaland is a player in demand following his exploits for Bundesliga side Dortmund, linked with the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester United, Barcelona, Manchester City, Chelsea and Juventus.

The report claims Haaland wants a five-year deal worth around £300,000 (€346,000) per week.

 

ROUND-UP

- Should Kylian Mbappe leave for Madrid, Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain want to replace him with Tottenham star Harry Kane, claims the Mirror.

- Bild says Chelsea, Liverpool and United are interested in signing RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate. His centre-back partner Dayot Upamecano is set to join Bayern Munich at the end of the season, having been linked with the Premier League's elite.

Liverpool are preparing a £40m bid for Brighton and Hove Albion defender Ben White, reports Football Insider. Jurgen Klopp is desperate to bolster his injury-hit defence amid a difficult 2020-21 campaign.

- The Daily Mail says United are considering a move for Everton youngster Jarrad Branthwaite. The 18-year-old defender has impressed since joining the Toffees.

Leipzig lead the race to sign Ajax sensation Brian Brobbey, according to Diario AS. United, Milan and Bayern have also been linked.

Milan and Inter target Odilon Kossounou – who plays for Club Brugge - is also wanted by Premier League duo Arsenal and Wolves, claims The Sun.

- Calciomercato reports Juventus are eyeing Leicester City winger Timothy Castagne, who arrived from Atalanta at the start of the season.

Manchester City are reportedly yet to begin talks over a move for Lionel Messi, while Erling Haaland is Barcelona's ideal signing.

Messi's future continues to be a major talking point as the star's contract at Barcelona expires at the end of the season.

City have been one of the clubs most strongly linked with a move for the six-time Ballon d'Or winner, but it seems the Premier League giants are waiting.

 

TOP STORY – MAN CITY YET TO BEGIN MESSI TALKS

Manchester City are yet to open talks with Lionel Messi, according to ESPN.

The report says City will wait until the Argentina international has decided his Barcelona future before considering negotiations.

It comes after claims the Premier League side had already tabled an offer to Messi.

 

ROUND-UP

- Erling Haaland is wanted by numerous European giants. Mundo Deportivo reports the Borussia Dortmund star would be Barcelona's ideal signing, but the LaLiga side are considering more affordable options.

- Manchester United were seemingly keen to land Barcelona forward Ansu Fati last year. Mundo Deportivo says a £129.7million (€150m) bid from United for the 18-year-old was rejected ahead of 2020-21.

- With Tottenham slipping to ninth in the Premier League, Jose Mourinho has come under fire. ESPN reports Spurs chairman Daniel Levy will wait until the end of the season to make a decision on the head coach.

- Out of contract at the end of the season, Gianluigi Donnarumma is yet to agree to a new deal with Milan. 90min claims the 21-year-old wants to succeed Manchester United shot-stopper David de Gea as the highest paid goalkeeper in the world, although he is prepared to take reduced terms at Milan.

- Thierry Henry could be set to take over at Bournemouth. talkSPORT reports the Championship club have requested permission from CF Montreal, where Henry is currently in charge, to talk to the Arsenal great.

Jose Mourinho has told his Tottenham players to "make me look good" in Sunday's clash with West Ham and insists a top-four finish can still be achieved this season.

The Spurs boss has never lost to a David Moyes team, having won nine and drawn six of his past meetings with the West Ham manager.

Moyes has also never faced a manager so many times and not registered at least one win. Yet with West Ham currently six points ahead of a faltering Tottenham in the Premier League, there may never be a better chance for the former Everton and Manchester United chief to end that long wait.

Tottenham have lost four of their last five Premier League games, as many defeats as they suffered in their previous 28 games in the competition, and head into the weekend sitting ninth in the table.

Questions linger over how long Tottenham will be patient with Mourinho, and another setback at the London Stadium would be a major blow to hopes of playing Champions League football next season.

It will be Mourinho's 50th Premier League match in charge of Tottenham Hotspur and his points-per-game average of 1.65 is the lowest of any Spurs boss since Juande Ramos (1.17).

"The table always gives you what you deserve, and I think it's very premature to think about the definition of the table," said Mourinho.

"We have to fight and we have to wait until the last match to see what happens, because anything can happen.

"We can finish in the top four, we can finish in the top six or we can finish outside the top six. We must make sure the best possible thing is going to happen."

Tottenham won 4-1 in Budapest against Wolfsberger in the Europa League on Thursday evening, a timely boost ahead of a big London derby for Mourinho.

The former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss said: "Special teams win lots of matches. We coaches are as good and as bad as our players make us. We depend a lot on that, especially coaches with lots of experience and long histories.

"We went through every possible experience and go through stages in our career where we feel much more stable and much more humble, and we realise with all the experience we have that the ones who are really responsible for our career are the ones who play for us.

"Hopefully this weekend the guys have a great performance and can make me look good, because they're the ones who make us look good or bad."

Tottenham made Mourinho look good for a long while against West Ham in October, surging into a 3-0 lead inside barely quarter of an hour before West Ham hit back sensationally with three goals in the final 10 minutes to snatch a 3-3 draw.

Such fallibility reflects negatively on the team and the coach, and Mourinho felt that afternoon was to some extent an encapsulation of Tottenham's campaign.

"The first game against West Ham was a little bit a reflection of our season and a reflection of some of our problems," Mourinho said.

"We played really, really well in that match, but we didn't win it. I think the team played so well but made mistakes.

"This team many, many times plays very, very well and should get different results, but for different reasons we don't get it."

Manchester City are counting the cost of the current financial climate and have slashed the budget assigned to lure Lionel Messi away from Barcelona.

The 33-year-old Barca captain could depart his boyhood team in the 2021 off-season after publicly trying, and failing, to force an exit from the Catalan club last August.

A reunion with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City has been the subject of much speculation, but Messi may have to compromise to make the move happen as the Premier League leaders' bargaining power has taken a hit.

 

TOP STORY – CITY FORCED TO LOWER MESSI CONTRACT OFFER

City had already tabled a five-year contract designed to tempt Messi to switch LaLiga for the Premier League – but the numbers have now changed, reports The Sun.

A package worth £600million (€693m) had reportedly been prepared in order to tie the six-time Ballon d'Or winner down for the rest of his career, should he opt to leave Barca at the end of the season.

But The Sun says City will now not match the terms set in August, and the offer has dropped to £430million (€496m), potentially opening the door for Paris Saint-Germain to swoop.

ROUND-UP

Chelsea have already made contact with winger Jonas Hofmann, according to Bild, as the Borussia Monchengladbach exodus threatens to begin following the news that coach Marco Rose is leaving for Borussia Dortmund next season. Hofmann played for Thomas Tuchel at Dortmund.

Milan midfielder Franck Kessie is also in Tuchel's sights, and the Blues could offer Fikayo Tomori to the Serie A giants on a permanent deal as part of a player-plus-cash exchange, reports Il Milanista.

- Everton loanee Moise Kean has netted 14 goals in 25 games for PSG and his parent club will not part with the Italy international for any less than £60m, says Fabrizio Romano, while Juventus want to bring the striker back to Turin, according to Le 10 Sport.

 

Everton 'will demand £70m for Moise Kean transfer' after impressing at PSG https://t.co/3PvjhBQ1rf

— Sun Sport (@SunSport) February 18, 2021

- 'If there are opportunities, I will have a look at them,' is what Wilfried Zaha told the Financial Times Business of Football Summit, reports The Sun. The Crystal Palace winger has been previously linked with Arsenal and Tottenham.

- Gunners midfielder Lucas Torreira, currently on the fringes while on loan at Atletico Madrid, is close to securing a move to Fiorentina for next season, claims Gazzetta Dello Sport.

Manchester City appear to be cruising towards the Premier League title and will look to extend a 17-match winning run away to Mikel Arteta's Arsenal.

While top spot is firmly in their hands, the chasing back have plenty to play for, with Manchester United in need of a win at home to Newcastle United and Tottenham heading to West Ham for a tough London derby.

Chelsea's winning streak under Thomas Tuchel has put them firmly back into top-four contention, and Timo Werner's welcome return to goalscoring could have come at a critical time.

That said, fantasy football managers would also be wise to consider Danny Ings, whose impressive scoring record will be of concern to Tuchel's men.

 

EMILIANO MARTINEZ

Aston Villa's reported £20million spend on Emiliano Martinez is a candidate for the best piece of Premier League business this season.

Martinez kept his 12th clean sheet of the season to help Villa grind out a draw at Brighton and Hove Albion last time out.

The former Arsenal man is just the fifth Villa keeper in the Premier League era to keep at least 10 clean sheets in a season and is only three short of Brad Friedel's tally set back in 2009-10. Leicester City's impressive attack could have met its match.

 

LUKE SHAW

Manchester United left-back Luke Shaw has enjoyed perhaps his best season for the club, with his form rarely affected despite his team's up-and-down recent results.

He has provided an assist in each of his previous three appearances, registering five in total this term, his best tally in a single league season.

Against a struggling Newcastle side, Shaw could become only the fourth United player to assist a goal in four consecutive games, after Ryan Giggs, Nani and Antonio Valencia.

LEWIS DUNK

Brighton have not conceded more than one goal in any game since drawing 3-3 with Wolves on January 2.

On Saturday, they host a Crystal Palace side who have failed to score in a higher share of their away league games this season (58 per cent) than in any other campaign in the competition's history.

A clean sheet for Brighton and Lewis Dunk looks likely, and given the centre-back has scored more goals (six) than any other defender except Virgil van Dijk (also six) since the start of 2019-20, he could be worth the captaincy this weekend.

 

RAHEEM STERLING

If Arsenal are to stop City's run, they will need to keep Raheem Sterling quiet.

The England forward has scored seven times in the league against the Gunners – he has only scored more often against Watford, West Ham and Bournemouth.

Sterling has netted in all three of his previous league meetings with Arsenal and has registered four goals and two assists in his most recent five games against them.

SON HEUNG-MIN

West Ham have rarely gone into recent games with Tottenham as favourites, but they are six points ahead of Jose Mourinho's men in the table, after playing a game more.

However, they will have to contend with Son Heung-min if that points gap is going to grow. The South Korea star has been involved in six goals in his past five league games with the Hammers and assisted in each of the last three.

In fact, he has assisted more goals (four) against West Ham than he has against any other side in the Premier League.

 

TIMO WERNER

Timo Werner ended his league goal drought against Newcastle United last time out, scoring exactly 1,000 minutes after his previous effort against Sheffield United in November.

Despite that much-publicised goal drought, Werner has actually been directly involved in more goals (10) in the league than any other Chelsea player this season, while only Mason Mount (105) has had a hand in more shots (73).

With his confidence beginning to grow, this could be a good time to back the Germany striker in your selection.

DANNY INGS

Southampton have lost six games in a row since knocking Arsenal out of the FA Cup in the fourth round, so backing a win over Chelsea would seem a little bold.

Still, expecting Danny Ings to be among the goals is usually a safer bet.

The striker has the best minutes-per-goal ratio of any Saints player with at least 15 in the competition, averaging one every 161 minutes.

Jose Mourinho wants Harry Kane to "play every minute of every game" but says the Tottenham talisman was handed a rest on Thursday to manage his current fitness concerns.

Kane suffered an ankle problem in Spurs' defeat to Liverpool on January 28, and seemed set to miss several weeks, only to be brought back into the fold ahead of schedule to face West Brom on February 7.

It was a move which paid off, Kane scoring in a 2-0 win – Spurs' only league victory from their last five top-flight matches.

After coming on in the FA Cup defeat to Everton and playing against Manchester City last week, Kane did not travel to Budapest for the first leg of Spurs' Europa League round of 32 tie with Austrian side Wolfsberger on Thursday.

Tottenham did the job without their star forward, as Son Heung-min, Gareth Bale, Lucas Moura and Carlos Vinicius secured a 4-1 win and aggregate advantage heading into the reverse fixture.

"He knows I want to play him every minute of every game so it is never a question of a choice," Mourinho told a news conference when asked about Kane.

"I wanted to come here with the best team and the players to give us more opportunities to have a good result but he made the decision based on his feelings which was that to play in this game was a risk with the accumulation of minutes after the injury he had. 

"Myself and the medical department agreed with him, to give him this opportunity to take care of his condition. But I believe Sunday he will be okay and ready."

Kane is Spurs' joint top-scorer in the league this season – alongside Son – with 13 goals, while the England captain has also provided 11 assists.

He has created a total of 32 chances, second only to Son, while 29 of them have come from open play – six more than his South Korean team-mate.

Of the opportunities Kane has crafted for team-mates, 12 of them are big chances, once more a team-high, and his big chance conversion rate is 60 per cent.

Spurs did not miss him against Wolfsberger though, and one player to step up was Bale, who teed up Son's opener before adding a brilliant second.

It was the first time Bale has scored and assisted for Spurs in a match since April 2013, when he did so against Manchester City, and Mourinho – who took the 31-year-old off with just over an hour played – suggested the Real Madrid loanee could be in line for a third Premier League start of the season against West Ham on Sunday.

"One of the reasons why Gareth left the pitch by 64 minutes was to try to have him available for the next match because one of the things that is not easy in relation to his condition is the accumulation of minutes," said Mourinho.

"I believe he has a chance to play the match on Sunday."

Jose Mourinho acknowledged Tottenham's 4-1 win over Wolfsberger was not "incredible", but insisted it will bring positivity to his squad.

Son Heung-min, Gareth Bale, Lucas Moura and Carlos Vinicius scored in an ultimately routine win in Budapest on Thursday, as Spurs took a huge stride towards reaching the last 16 of the Europa League.

 Michael Liendl's 55th-minute penalty complicated matters slightly for Mourinho, but his side were comfortable as they earned just a second win in their last seven games across all competitions.

With a London derby up against West Ham next up for Spurs, Mourinho – who has been eliminated from just one of his 17 previous European knockout ties when winning the first leg, going out in the 2006-07 Champions League semi-final against Liverpool – conceded the performance was not perfect, but believes the victory provides a much-needed boost.

"We had to come and play with ambition which we did. The score should have been more than 3-0 at half-time," Mourinho told reporters.

"In the second half we made that mistake that gave them life. There were some similarities with [the FA Cup tie with] Everton.

"If you're in control and make a mistake you give the opposition life and the game can change – here it didn't change, but the 3-2 was not far from happening.

"We had good control of the game. Lots of chances. I believe the last goal put almost a period on this tie. 4-1 away is a very good result.

"I don't consider this an incredible victory, just a good victory that brings good feelings. By flying back, the plane will be a different plane than after a defeat. Tomorrow morning in training, the same."

Bale turned in an impressive display in the first half, setting up Son's opener before arrowing in Spurs' second himself.

The Wales forward's five goals this season have all been at different stadiums – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Linzer Stadion, bet365 Stadium, Adams Park and Puskas Arena – while it was the first time the 31-year-old has both scored and assisted in a game for Spurs since April 2013.

Son, meanwhile, moved onto 18 goals for the season in total with his opener, matching his tally from last season in all competitions, and the South Korea star, who has enjoyed a supreme relationship with Harry Kane this season, revelled in playing alongside an in-form Bale.

"I have a really close relationship with him," Son said.

"I'm very happy he's getting game time and scored a goal and got an assist. I really enjoy playing with him."

Tottenham took control of their Europa League round-of-32 tie against Wolfsberger with ease as Gareth Bale impressed in a 4-1 victory in Budapest on Thursday.

On the same ground where Liverpool beat RB Leipzig in the Champions League on Tuesday, Spurs dismantled their Austrian opponents with a superb first-half display.

Bale was integral, teeing up Son Heung-min's opener before doubling Spurs' lead with a fine finish.

Lucas Moura put Spurs further ahead and even though Moussa Sissoko's lapse amid a disjointed second-half performance from Spurs allowed Michael Liendl to pull one back from the penalty spot, substitute Carlos Vinicius restored the three-goal cushion.

 

Kylian Mbappe's future is in his own hands after showing the world what he is capable of while scoring a hat-trick in Paris Saint-Germain's 4-1 Champions League demolition of Barcelona.

With his contract in the French capital set to expire in June 2022, Mbappe ultimately has the choice of either signing a new deal or leaving his hometown team – and the World Cup winner has been non-committal so far.

Should the 22-year-old sensation decide to take his career abroad, there will be no shortage of suitors, with four European giants ready to swoop.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL, MANCHESTER CITY, REAL MADRID, JUVENTUS EYE IN-DEMAND MBAPPE

If PSG cannot persuade Mbappe to sign a long-term extension, they will not want to lose a world-class talent without a fee, so the Ligue 1 champions have placed a €200million (£173m) tag on his head, according to Le Parisien.

Le Parisien reports the price may not deter the Frenchman's admirers, who include Premier League rivals Manchester City and LiverpoolReal Madrid and Juventus.

While those clubs may want him, it is unclear if all of them would be able to afford Mbappe, who is set to make more than €30m per year gross on his next contract. Reports claim PSG will aim to price their Champions League rivals out of a deal.

Jose Mourinho has offered his backing to Tottenham captain Hugo Lloris, who he believes ranks among the finest goalkeepers in the world.

Lloris shipped eight goals last week, with his performance in a 3-0 defeat to Premier League leaders Manchester City coming under scrutiny after Spurs came out on the wrong side of a 5-4 FA Cup thriller at Everton.

Joe Hart is expected to return for Thursday's Europa League round-of-32 meeting with Wolfsberger, although Mourinho does not feel Lloris' status as first choice is under immediate threat from the ex-England number one.

"When a player is a top player, one or two or three mistakes does not make him not a top player. That is the most important thing," Mourinho told a pre-match news conference before highlighting some of Alisson's recent struggles at Liverpool.

"I shouldn't speak about it because he's not my goalkeeper, but I don't think he will take it on the wrong side: for me Alisson is one of the top five best goalkeepers in the world and in the previous matches he made big mistakes.

"But he is one of the top five in the world, in my opinion, and Hugo is the same. He is an amazing goalkeeper who is performing super consistently since he recovered from that fracture.

"During all my time here he is playing so, so well. If he had responsibility on one or another of the goals we conceded recently he is still the same goalkeeper, he is my number one choice and has all my trust and confidence.

"In Joe Hart's case I am happy he played already nine matches this season. He's a goalkeeper that I totally trust too."

Among goalkeepers to have played five or more games in the Premier League this season, Lloris ranks fifth in terms of save percentage (74) behind Nick Pope, Emiliano Martinez, Robert Sanchez and Ederson.

He has only made one error leading to a goal and is outperforming his expected goals on target (xGOT) conceded of 19.7, as per Opta, having let in 17 goals excluding penalties and own goals.

Lloris' cumulative goals prevented figure of 2.7 comes thanks to 71 saves from 88 shots on target faced in the top flight.

Dwindling form either side of Christmas left Spurs languishing ninth in the Premier League.

Yet they are still only six points shy of fourth-placed Chelsea with a game in hand and Mourinho rejected the suggestion that the Europa League represents his team's best hope of securing Champions League qualification.

 "It's difficult in any case but it's possible in both cases," he said. "Fourth position in the Premier League is, of course, very difficult but is not mathematically impossible.

"Last season we were in a very, very bad position to get in the Europa League spots. In the end we made it in the last minute of the last game, but we made it.

"Our motivation last season was that, while it was mathematically possible, we had to go. We chased it until the last game which is the same thing we are going to do."

He added: "In the Europa League there are an incredible number of matches. We are only in the last 32. It is a strong competition with very good teams.

"But it is open. We are one of the 32 teams who have a chance to win and we are going to try."

Thursday's match has been moved to the Puskas Arena in Budapest due to COVID-19 restrictions in Austria.

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