Mikel Arteta should concentrate on Arsenal and not complain so much, according to Tottenham boss Antonio Conte. 

Spurs claimed a 3-0 victory over Arsenal in the Premier League on Thursday to stop the Gunners from getting the three points they needed to clinch a top-four finish, with the difference between the sides now down to one point with two games remaining. 

Son won the penalty that Harry Kane converted for the opening goal and a foul on the South Korea international saw Rob Holding receive his second yellow card in the 33rd minute. It was Arsenal's 13th Premier League red card since Arteta took over in December 2019, five more than any other side in that timeframe.

Kane doubled his tally and Son put Spurs 3-0 up early in the second half, with Arteta saying after the match he could not give an opinion on the refereeing decisions 

"He has to continue to work because he's very good. To hear someone complain all the time is not so good. If we want to complain, we have the possibility every game. 

"At Liverpool do you hear me complain about Fabinho and all the fouls? No. He can take my advice if he wants, but if not I don't care." or he would "be suspended for six months". 

Conte, however, felt referee Paul Tierney was right in his decision-making as Spurs won a third straight home league games against Arsenal for the first time since 1961.

"He complains a lot. He has to focus more on his team. He has to focus more on his work," said Conte. 

The fixture was originally scheduled to be played in January but was postponed upon Arsenal's request as they contended with absences due to COVID-19, injuries and the Africa Cup of Nations.  

Conte added: "[Arteta] complained about the fixtures and that was after Arsenal had an unbelievable postponement with just one COVID case. Now we're playing at 12pm on Sunday and they don't play until Monday. We can't always complain. 

"[Arteta] is a very good coach and I think can become a very important coach for the future, but in six months I have heard him complain a lot." 

Conte was quick to remind his players that failure to follow up their win over the Gunners with another victory against Burnley at the weekend would make their derby success meaningless. 

"For sure, it was a good performance. From the start until the end, our approach to manage the game was very positive," said Conte. 

"Winning this game gave us the possibility to continue [the fight] to take our place in the Champions League. I'm pleased with the commitment 

"I was clear with the players that it's alright to celebrate, but if we don't win on Sunday it doesn't mean anything." 

Mikel Arteta suggested he would be "suspended for six months" if he gave his honest assessment of key refereeing decisions made during Arsenal's 3-0 north London derby defeat to Tottenham.

Arsenal went into what many considered as the most important north London derby in Premier League history knowing victory would secure Champions League football for next season.

But they were blown away by Spurs at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with Rob Holding's 33rd-minute sending off for two bookings playing a big role – though the hosts were already 1-0 up thanks to a Harry Kane penalty.

Kane got Spurs' second shortly after Holding's dismissal and Son Heung-min put the game beyond the Gunners early in the second half, as Antonio Conte's men moved to within a point of Arsenal heading into the final two matchdays of the season.

Should Arsenal ultimately miss out on Champions League football again, many will point to this defeat as a pivotal moment, and Arteta seemingly laid the responsibility at the feet of the officials.

When asked for his "thoughts" on the game, Arteta told Sky Sports: "Well, if I say what I think, I'm suspended [for] six months, so I cannot say.

"I'm allowed to give my interpretation of what happened in the game, but I don't know how to lie so I prefer not to say what I think."

But it was unclear precisely which decision Arteta felt aggrieved by, as Holding was arguably lucky not to have been already sent off before his brutal barge on Son, which in itself could have potentially drawn a straight red.

That was his fourth foul of the game, more than he has ever committed in a single Premier League match despite playing just 33 minutes.

Similarly, the decision to penalise Cedric Soares for a shove on Son in the area appeared a clear-cut one by referee Paul Tierney.

Arteta initially refused to delve much deeper, as he reiterated the belief he would be banned if he was honest, but he did eventually call out the officials.

"You can ask the referee to come in front of the camera and explain his decisions," he said. "It's a shame because such a beautiful game was destroyed today."

Arsenal have two more matches to secure fourth – they face Newcastle United and Everton in their last games of the season.

 

Mikel Arteta and Arsenal now face a thorough examination of their mentality and focus after Thursday's morale-sapping 3-0 north London derby defeat blew the race for fourth wide open.

While the importance of Champions League qualification might feel exaggerated to some given the financial muscle of practically every Premier League club, regardless of finishing in the top four or not, the end of 2021-22 will undoubtedly have significant implications for both clubs.

A top-four finish would be Arsenal's best Premier League season in six years and simultaneously the first time since the same season that they'd finished above their bitter rivals.

Champions League qualification would also be vindication of the faith placed in Arteta and a clear sign of genuine progress since he replaced Unai Emery.

For Spurs, on the other hand, it's difficult to look at these final 10 days of the season being anything other than a sliding-doors moment.

Failure to return to European football's top table would plausibly see Antonio Conte call it quits, whereas the possibilities could be endless under him with the extra cash, exposure and lure provided by the Champions League, particularly when you consider the transformational effect he's already had in north London and elsewhere previously.

With those points in mind, it was no surprise to see Thursday's contest – the first with fans present at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – labelled the most important north London derby in Premier League history, and it's fair to say the hosts handled the occasion far better than the Gunners.

Perhaps that wasn't actually as shocking as it initially felt during the match.

The turning point came with just 33 minutes on the clock. While Tottenham were already ahead thanks to a Harry Kane penalty, it was just past the half-hour mark when Rob Holding's pushed his luck once too often.

Having already been booked – frankly, he could have been carded several times by this point – Holding cynically blocked off the relentless Son Heung-min with a combination of shoulder and elbow, deservedly earning himself a second yellow and subsequent red card.

It had been coming. Holding's early duels with Son had the South Korean showing signs of frustration – not because he couldn't get the better of his opponent, but because he was getting the better of him. He just kept getting fouled by the Arsenal defender.

Holding's wry smile when walking away from an angry Son after a tangle that wouldn't have looked out of place on a Judo mat belied a degree of arrogance and misplaced confidence.

It was ill-judged to say the least.

But of course, this is by no means the first time indiscipline's been seen as the scourge of Arsenal. Since Arteta's appointment, the Gunners have been shown five more red cards (13 in total) in the Premier League than any other team.

Granted, they are the youngest team in the Premier League, so perhaps a hint of indiscipline is to be expected as a consequence of inexperience – but that argument can't really be applied to 26-year-old Holding.

Arsenal had actually started the match quite well. Their pressing intensity was excellent, so much so that a Spurs passage of play consisting exclusively of passes between the defence and Hugo Lloris drew significant jeers of derision and frustration from the home crowd.

But Spurs identified they could find joy by playing direct, which was exactly how the opener arrived, with Cedric Soares – no, not Holding this time! – the one guilty of barging Son over at the back post as he looked to reach a deep delivery.

Just four minutes after Holding's red card, Kane – who had endured a career-worst derby drought of two matches prior to Thursday – exploited Eddie Nketiah's lack of awareness to stoop in at the back post to head home his second goal of the game, extending his all-time record as this fixture's top scorer.

Conte was a figure of calm after the first goal, but this time he wore his near-trademark terrifying jubilation with pride, presumably aware only a miracle would save Arsenal now.

The sparkling Son made sure any Arsenal hopes were thoroughly extinguished less than two minutes after the restart, pouncing on a loose ball in the area before steering beyond Aaron Ramsdale with the kind of expertise we've come to expect from a player only outscored by Mohamed Salah in the Premier League this season.

Arteta can console himself with the fact Arsenal remain fourth heading into their final two games of the season. Had you given him the option of being in that situation back in August, he'd have snapped your hand off.

But Thursday's ultimately crushing defeat once again raised questions of the Gunners' mentality and discipline, and their squad is becoming more depleted by the game. It's hardly an ideal combination when the pressure is on – and boy is it on now.

Tottenham – whose kind run-in sees them face Norwich City and Burnley – still need either Newcastle United or Everton to do them a favour at the very least.

But Thursday was evidence of Spurs keeping their cool when it matters. Arsenal didn't, and there's nothing to suggest they're too good to capitulate.

Tottenham secured a huge victory in the race for Champions League qualification by winning 3-0 against Arsenal, who played an hour of the north London derby with 10 men. 

A win for Arsenal would have been enough for them to clinch a top-four finish in the Premier League for the first time since 2016, but they are now just one point clear of Spurs with two games remaining. 

Harry Kane scored the opener from the penalty spot after Cedric Soares' foul on Son Heung-min and it was a coming together with the South Korean that resulted in Rob Holding being shown a second yellow card in the 33rd minute. 

Kane doubled his tally before half-time and Son put the result beyond doubt early in the second period, putting Antonio Conte's men firmly in contention for a Champions League spot. 

Tottenham were awarded a penalty in the 22nd minute when Cedric shoved Son over in the box and Kane showed great composure to send his spot-kick into the bottom-right corner.  

Holding was given his marching orders after catching Son in the head with his arm and Spurs doubled their advantage just four minutes later.  

Son's corner was helped on towards the back post by Rodrigo Bentancur, with Kane stooping to nod into the back of the net from close range.  

Things got worse for Arsenal just two minutes after the restart, with Son dinking the ball home through a crowd of bodies after Gabriel Magalhaes' tackle on Kane. 

Aaron Ramsdale made two saves in quick succession to deny Emerson Royal and Kane, while Son was unable to turn Ryan Sessegnon's pass on target despite being one-on-one with the keeper. 

Gabriel hobbled off late on with a hamstring injury for the Gunners, who were left to mull over a defeat that put a dent in their hopes of a return to the Champions League.

What does it mean? Gunners see red 

Arsenal were completely undone after Holding's dismissal, which was their 13th red card in the Premier League since Mikel Arteta's first game in charge in December 2019 – that is five more than any other team in the same timeframe. 

They were unable to keep things tight and consequently fell to a third straight away loss to Spurs in the league for the first time since August 1961.  

The Gunners must regroup ahead of a trip to Newcastle United and a clash with Everton, with Spurs still to face Burnley and Norwich City.

Another Kane-ing for Arsenal 

With his first-half double, Kane took his haul of top-flight goals against Arsenal to 13. The only team he has scored more against in the competition are Leicester City (17). Kane has now been involved in 52 goals in 69 London derby appearances in the Premier League, two behind Thierry Henry's record. 

No Holding on for Gunners 

While they still had their full complement, Arsenal had a chance of getting back into the game at 1-0 down. However, Holding managed to commit four fouls – the most he has made in a single Premier League appearance – in the opening 33 minutes and his red card ruined their hopes. 

What's next?  

Spurs entertain Burnley on Sunday, meaning Arsenal could be outside the top four when they play away at Newcastle United on Monday 

Mikel Arteta has denied he came close to joining Mauricio Pochettino's staff at Tottenham, even though the Arsenal boss considers the Argentinian a "football father".

The Spaniard is preparing to face Spurs on Thursday evening in a north London derby which could confirm a return to the Champions League next season for the Gunners.

It would cement an impressive turnaround under Arteta following a tough 2020-21 campaign that saw the club miss out on European football entirely.

Arteta is looking to burnish the reputation he has at Emirates Stadium, where he spent the end of his playing days before joining Pep Guardiola on the Manchester City coaching staff.

He was asked about having once been tipped to cross the divide and join rivals Spurs, when they were led by current Paris Saint-Germain boss Pochettino.

That was a reported possibility in 2016, but the Gunners boss has poured cold water on the suggestion it could have happened, albeit reinforcing the point that he shares a close bond with the former Tottenham manager.

"No," Arteta said when asked if there was truth to the rumours. "My relationship with Mauricio comes from when I was 18 years old."

As a teenager, Arteta went on loan from Barcelona to PSG, and Pochettino was a team-mate.

"I have always said, for me, he was like a football father," Arteta said. "I have an extraordinary relationship with him. But unfortunately, he was a coach at Spurs, and I was here at the time. That relationship hasn't changed, but that isn't the case."

Arteta touched on the relationship between his team and their fans following this season's resurgence, saying he hopes a derby victory will strengthen their bond.

"The players want to show them gratitude for the way they have performed with the team," he added. "That would be the answer – to say thank you.

"We're in this together, and now the journey is going to change us, and I think we are going to be more excited about the future."

Arsenal can secure Champions League football with victory over Spurs, while a failure to win for Tottenham would also assure Chelsea of a top-four finish.

When you think about the most iconic fixtures in English football, the north London derby is surely right up there.

Arsenal and Tottenham have played out some classic contests down the years, many of which have been goalfests.

But Thursday's clash at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is arguably among the most important derbies between Spurs and the Gunners in the Premier League era.

With three matches remaining, four points separate the two teams in the table – Arsenal occupy fourth, the final Champions League spot, while Spurs remain set on pushing them all the way.

Of course, Spurs will need Arsenal to drop points in one of their two remaining matches as well to have any hope of usurping them, but victory for Antonio Conte's men on Thursday will at least test the nerve of Mikel Arteta's young and inexperienced squad.

Ahead of that game, Stats Perform looks back on some previous Premier League classics between the two giants.

Tottenham 2-2 Arsenal - April 25, 2004

What could be more perfect than winning the title without losing a game? The answer is simple: winning the title without losing a game while clinching the championship at the home of your bitter rivals.

That is precisely what Arsenal did in 2004 – though the game initially looked as it would be more routine than it proved. Patrick Vieira finished off a fine counter-attack just three minutes in, before another incisive move allowed Robert Pires to make it 2-0. Spurs fought back, with Jamie Redknapp and a late Robbie Keane penalty denying the Gunners the three points, but still Arsene Wenger's men danced away on the White Hart Lane turf at full-time.

Tottenham 4-5 Arsenal - November 13, 2004

The scoreline says it all, really. There have only ever been six Premier League matches with more goals scored than this 2004 classic. Remarkably, only two of the nine goals here were netted in the first half, with Noureddine Naybet's volley cancelled out by Thierry Henry.

Spurs were constantly playing catch-up thereafter, with Jermain Defoe pulling one back after Lauren and Vieira increased the Gunners' lead. Freddie Ljungberg and Pires just about put the game beyond the hosts, though Fredi Kanoute capitalised on a Henry error two minutes from time to force a tense finale.

Arsenal 4-4 Tottenham - October 29, 2008

David Bentley's stunning early opener was a sign of things to come in what ended up being another Premier League classic. Arsenal ultimately found themselves 3-1 up in the second half thanks to goals from Mikael Silvestre, William Gallas and Emmanuel Adebayor, and just a few moments after Darren Bent seemingly got the visitors back in the contest, Robin van Persie smashed in to make it 4-2.

But back came Spurs. Jermaine Jenas' 89th-minute curler breathed life into their fightback and, deep into stoppage time, Aaron Lennon buried a rebound after Luka Modric's effort was deflected onto the post.

Arsenal 2-3 Tottenham - November 20, 2010

This was a momentous day for Spurs, who ended 17 years of frustration and torment by clinching their first win at Arsenal since 1993 – not that an away win always looked plausible.

Arsenal were seemingly on course to go top of the Premier League when Samir Nasri and Marouane Chamakh had them two up, but Gareth Bale's excellent strike halved the deficit and Rafael van der Vaart levelled from the spot following a blatant handball by Cesc Fabregas. Younes Kaboul was the unlikely hero, glancing home a late header from a Van der Vaart free-kick.

Tottenham 3-3 Arsenal - April 20, 2011

That's right, 2010-11 served up two courses of north London derby drama as Spurs dealt Arsenal's dwindling title hopes a near-fatal blow. The Gunners, just as they did at home a few months earlier, squandered a two-goal lead and were left facing the likelihood of another trophyless campaign.

Theo Walcott and then Van der Vaart struck in the first seven minutes, before Nasri and Van Persie ensured Arsenal were 3-1 to the good by the 40th minute, but Tom Huddlestone's typically thumping finish on the stroke of half-time had Spurs back in the hunt. Van der Vaart then sealed Spurs a deserved point from the spot in the second half.

A disappointing season to the season followed for the Gunners as their title aspirations ultimately faded, with fourth the best they could muster.

How times change – it's fair to say they'd have snapped your hand off at the start of the season if offered fourth this term, and Thursday's derby will likely be decisive in determining which of the two clubs takes it.

Paul Pogba's departure from Manchester United at the end of this season has been long assumed.

The French midfielder's 2016 arrival for a second spell at Old Trafford came in a world-record breaking deal, but he has not delivered on the expectations that accompanied the £89million price tag.

As a result, the World Cup winner could well make a return to Juventus, the club where he first came to serious prominence.


TOP STORY – JUVENTUS LINE UP POGBA RETURN

Juventus have made a contract offer they believe puts them in the box seat to sign Paul Pogba, according to the Mirror.

Pogba is set to leave Manchester United when his contract expires at the end of this season, and Juve have reportedly offered an £8million annual salary.

With Paulo Dybala and Giorgio Chiellini's impending departures freeing up salary room, the Pogba offer is also said to include a substantial signing-on fee and bonus package to complement the base deal.

The 29-year-old Pogba has missed the Red Devils' past four Premier League games due to calf trouble, and he was absent for two months earlier in the season with a hamstring injury.

ROUND-UP

- Paris Saint-Germain would want to trim their playing squad before considering any more for United's Pogba, RMC Sport is reporting.

- United will seek to replace Pogba by signing cash-strapped Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong, according to Spanish journalist Gerard Romero.

- According to the Telegraph, Tottenham are interested in Everton's RicharlisonAnthony Gordon and Ben Godfrey.

- In order to compensate for Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger's departures, Calciomercato reports Chelsea will look to sign Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly.

Antonio Conte acknowledged Tottenham must defeat Arsenal on Thursday, but rubbished questions over his team's success as he cited the struggles of Manchester United.

Spurs were languishing in ninth in the Premier League when Conte was appointed in November as the successor to Nuno Espirito Santo, who lasted just 17 league games at the club.

The Italian manager has overseen a change in fortunes at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with his side sitting fifth – four points behind fourth-placed Arsenal, who they host on Thursday.

Victory for Mikel Arteta's visitors would secure Champions League football next season, while a win for Tottenham would cut the Gunners' lead to just a point with two games left to play.

However, Conte told Sky Sports he does not believe qualification for the Champions League should be the defining factor of a successful campaign.

"This is not a question for me, it's a question maybe for the club," said Conte, who has won just one of his eight meetings with Arsenal in all competitions (D4 L3). 

"I don't know if the club's aspiration at the start was to fight for a place in the Champions League, honestly.

"To have only three games to go and to have the possibility to get a place in the Champions League, for us it means we have worked very hard and worked very well with my players.

"I don't think many people could imagine since my arrival that Tottenham could fight for a place in the Champions League. But with the great work of my players we are in a position where we can fight for a big achievement.

"When I arrived this team was ninth. I don't think the club was targeting a place in the Champions League, maybe in the Europa Conference League or Europa League, but we know very well in England that there is no easy game and to finish the season in a good place is not simple.

"There are many teams… Manchester United finished last season second and added players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane and maybe they can finish sixth or seventh, and you speak about Tottenham failure?

"I think this season is a great success, especially for the relationship created with the players and the achievement we have reached in my time here, but the job isn't finished, we have to finish this job."

Spurs are unbeaten in their last seven home league games against Arsenal (W5 D2), their longest such run against their north London rivals since a run of nine between 1960 and 1968.

Meanwhile, Arsenal are looking to complete their first league double over Tottenham since the 2013-14 campaign, after a 3-1 victory at the Emirates Stadium in September.

With the stakes so high for a spot at Europe's top table next term, Conte called for calm in the heat of the battle with Spurs' fierce rivals.

"These are important games for the table, first of all," he said. "It's a vital game for us because if we want to continue having an opportunity to play in the Champions League we need three points, we need to win. There is no other solution for us. 

"I also know very well the importance of this game. It's a north London derby, I understand the rivalry between the two teams very well, but the first thing for us is that we have to try and win and get three points for the table, and then because we want to give satisfaction to our fans.

"The game against Arsenal is an important game, it's a north London derby, it's important for the rivalry between the two teams, but the most important thing is the three points.

"With three points, it means we go very close to them and put pressure on them."

Should Arteta's side triumph, Arsenal will secure their highest Premier League finish since the 2015-16 campaign when they finished second. It will also be the first time since that season that they have finished above their north London rivals Tottenham.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was looking "to find an excuse or alibi" when criticising Tottenham's style of play following Saturday's 1-1 draw at Anfield, according to Antonio Conte.

Spurs became just the second side to stop Liverpool winning in their past 15 Premier League games, and the first at Anfield since Brighton and Hove Albion in October.

Luis Diaz's deflected 74th-minute strike cancelled out Son Heung-min's opener, but the draw inflicted a potentially fatal blow to the Reds' title hopes as they now trail leaders Manchester City by three points with three games to go.

Klopp took aim at Spurs' approach after the game, stating he "could not coach" Conte's defensive style as he implored Tottenham to do more with their talented "world-class players".

The German has since clarified that he intended those comments as a "backhanded compliment", and Conte says he can understand why his opposite number was frustrated at the weekend.

"Honestly, for the coach it's not simple or easy after the game. You have to try to keep a cool head. It's not easy or simple sometimes," Conte said at a news conference on Tuesday.

"If you remember this season it always happened to me, when I was disappointed after a bad result, like against Burnley.

"Sometimes we're a bit frustrated, especially when you arrive at the end of the end of the season and you understand a bad game and result can change the target for you.

"I repeat, I have great respect for Jurgen and I know he respects me a lot. This is a good chance for me and all the coaches to learn that during the game you never speak about your opponents.

"It's important to be focused on your team and the moments you can do better. And your own problems.

"Jurgen is intelligent, he was a bit frustrated after the game. At the same time, for us, for a top coach, it's important to be focused on your team, not your opponents. 

"To be focused on your opponents means you want to find an excuse or alibi because it means something in your job was wrong.

Tottenham managed just 35 per cent of possession against Liverpool, who outshot their opponents 22 to three – though the visitors registered as many shots on target (three each).

And while Conte can understand Klopp's frustration at the time, he believes the Reds boss should ultimately be pleased to have come away from the contest with a share of the spoils.

"After the game against Liverpool, the good answer I had like my players was we were disappointed at the end because we had the possibility to win the game," he said.

"We analysed the game the day after, and for sure if there was a team that deserved to win, it was Tottenham not Liverpool. In this game, I think Klopp understood he gained one point not lost two points."

Conte added: "Anyone who knows me, knows very well I want to win every game. I try to transfer this thought to my players. For sure, when I stay in one team, in a club, my aspiration and desire is to fight to win the title.

"To win the league in England is not easy. [Pep] Guardiola said Liverpool won one league in 30 years. It shows it's not simple. Maybe sometimes it's easier to win Champions League or Europa League than the league in England, where you have to face monsters."

While Tottenham were widely praised for their performance against Liverpool, the draw means they have now won just one of their past four matches ahead of hosting Arsenal.

Spurs trail their north London rivals by four points in the race for fourth place, making Thursday's showdown at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium must-win for Spurs.

"We are talking about an important game. Important for many different situations," Conte said. "First we are playing this game for an important target. For a place in the Champions League. This is first, to try to win this game.

"I also know the importance for our fans of this derby, the north London derby. This is the first time they're playing this derby in their stadium with all the fans.

"We have to try to get three points against Arsenal. We are talking about a good team, a really well organised team.

"Mikel Arteta is doing a really good job. He's had the possibility to work and improve his team. In this moment of the season it has to give us a big push."

Conte has won just one of his eight meetings with Arsenal in all competitions (D4 L3), with all of these coming as Chelsea boss between 2016 and 2018.

Of clubs he has faced at least five times in his managerial career, against no side does the Italian have a lower win rate than against the Gunners (12.5 per cent).

Jurgen Klopp has apologised for his outburst on Antonio Conte's tactics following the draw between Liverpool and Tottenham on Saturday, suggesting it was a "backhanded" compliment.

Liverpool dropped ground in the Premier League title race as they were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw at Anfield, Luis Diaz's deflected second-half strike salvaging a point for the Reds.

Spurs managed just 35 per cent of possession against the Reds, who outshot their opponents 22 to three – though the visitors registered as many shots on target (three each).

Having defended deep and relied on the counter-attacking prowess of scorer Son Heung-min and Harry Kane, Tottenham became the first team to stop Liverpool from winning at Anfield in the Premier League since Brighton and Hove Albion last October.

Klopp took aim at Spurs' approach after the game, stating he "could not coach" Conte's defensive style as he implored Tottenham to do more with their talented "world-class players".

However, the German manager has since retracted his remarks as he hailed the work that Conte and Atletico Madrid's Diego Simeone do in setting their teams up to defend. 

"No. It's what I think, it's just not what I should say because it's not appropriate," Klopp told reporters when asked if he would contact Conte to apologise. "We didn't lose and it felt like a loss.

"One of you guys asked how they defended and that was the moment it clicked. I mean it when I say I couldn't coach it – it was a backhanded compliment.

"I couldn't. What they do is incredible and so difficult for the opponent – they make it hard to score.

"When you don't score and then Harry Kane gets on the ball, it's not a brain f***, but what can you do in these moments? My main message is I can't coach it.

"Diego Simeone and Atletico Madrid, I can't wait to face them again. That’s what I mean, it's unnecessary I say these kinds of things. It came out before I was thinking."

Liverpool also attempted 46 crosses to Tottenham's 17, but Klopp refuted suggestions his side should not have relied on sending the ball in from the flanks, even if he bemoaned the Reds' build-up play.

"The crosses you can read easily are not right with the way they defend," he added. "They need to go back in the centre, get to the touchline and square it.

"It's just that the main challenge of a game like this is that you are in a creative mood, but every missed pass is a massive problem, it is hard to stay calm.

"If we chip the ball in behind the wing-back that’s great football, but we didn't anticipate it. If we had won 3-1 you wouldn't have asked me about all these crosses and that's the problem, not a perfect game but great things.

"The counter-press was amazing. I don't forget but we keep going. If we win 1-0 and there's no counter-press, we have only a few games left and I have to say 'Boys, what happened?'.

"Nothing is broken, that's how I see it so let's keep going from there. It doesn't always work out and that's the nature of it.

"We had the situations where we could have scored. Virgil [van Dijk's late header], he could have scored and it would have been perfect."

Liverpool will look to cut Manchester City's three-point lead at the Premier League summit when the Reds visit Aston Villa on Tuesday.

Jurgen Klopp has questioned why Liverpool would stop believing they can win the Premier League title and dismissed Pep Guardiola's claim that the entire country wants the Reds to be crowned champions.

Manchester City moved three points clear at the top of the table with three games to play by thrashing Newcastle United 5-0 on Sunday after Liverpool were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw at home to Tottenham.

A visibly angered Klopp heaped criticism on the defensive style of football Antonio Conte employed at Anfield and Guardiola also delivered a notable post-match interview the following day.

The City boss suggested "everyone in this country supports Liverpool" in a thrilling title race.

However, Klopp explained Guardiola may have been talking in the heat of the moment after the game, as was the case following the Tottenham stalemate when Klopp suggested he could not coach like Conte.

"I live in Liverpool, here a lot of people want us to win the league but even here it is only 50 per cent," he told a pre-match news conference ahead of Tuesday's clash with Aston Villa. 

"As managers, after a game, we're obviously massively influenced by games and situations. What I said after Spurs [the criticism of Conte], I wouldn't say it again.

"I said: 'they play like they play and are still only fifth', but that was just my feeling at the moment and I couldn't respect Antonio more.

"I don't know how Pep reacted after getting knocked out of the Champions League and of course, Liverpool made it to the final, we played Villarreal, they played Real Madrid.

"I have no idea if the whole country is supporting us, it is not the feeling when we go and play around the country. Maybe he knows more than me."

Liverpool are also four goals behind City on goal difference and Klopp says they must beat Villa, Southampton and Wolves to have any chance of dethroning City.

"It's easy to describe our situation. We drew, they won, the goal difference too. We can decide for ourselves how we see it. There are some facts but I try to help the boys see it like me," he added.

"I am not sure I said [the title race is still on] because it is obvious. We both have three to play, my concern is how can we win our games. We shouldn't add on points before games are played.

"Why should we stop believing? The perfect situation would be we were nine points clear, 30-plus goals but it's not possible, so let's go from here.

"Whatever happens tomorrow night if we win, it helps. If not, we train for the FA Cup final [against Chelsea on Saturday].

"Ideal world, we win them all. We have to respond. The only chance to win is to win all the games."

Klopp is looking forward to seeing how Liverpool respond after coming up against a well-organised Spurs side at the weekend.

"Having another game is cool but it's not that we have to overcome something," he continued. "When I said about it being a funeral, I meant the press conference, not the players.

"A draw was a normal result, especially against Spurs. We played a good game against a well-organised team.

"It's not possible to be perfect due to the part of the season we are in now. We have to keep going."

Tottenham supporters utilising unemployment and poverty to poke fun at Liverpool fans at Anfield on Saturday is unacceptable.

That was the message from the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust, who condemned their own visiting supporters that sang about the number of people out of work in Liverpool during the 1-1 Premier League draw.

Liverpool fans have long been mocked by rival supporters with songs dating back to the 1980s, when there was a severe economic recession.

The chant, sung on the riff of Liverpool's famous club anthem 'You'll Never Walk Alone', has also been directed at Merseyside neighbours Everton, and the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust says there is no place for it.

"Singing about the opposition has long been a feature of English football, and we are reluctant to tell fans how they should support the team," a statement on the organisation's website said.

"Nevertheless, we were disappointed to hear the 'sign on' chant at Saturday's away match at Anfield.

"Poverty and joblessness are not fair game for banter. There is a cost of living crisis throughout England, including in London. Our club represents an area and community with the fastest growing rate of unemployment in the country.

"We are rightly proud of our away support, and we want it to be noticed for positive reasons. For most of the game at Anfield our fans gave superb backing to a great team performance.

"Spurs fans have provided financial backing to Marine FC on Merseyside, and regularly contribute to food banks and community initiatives in London. This is what we are about.

"The 'sign on' chant is not what we are about. We're Tottenham Hotspur. We're better than that."

The Liverpool fan group 'Spirit of Shankly' responded to the statement being posted on social media, with the Reds supporters replying on Twitter: "Well said".

Gary Neville agreed with Jurgen Klopp's verdict on Tottenham under Antonio Conte, believing it shows the coach was not "the right fit" for Manchester United.

United have been linked with Conte on numerous occasions in recent seasons as they have moved from manager to manager since Alex Ferguson's retirement.

The Red Devils have not won the Premier League since Ferguson's final campaign in 2012-13, while Conte has claimed three league titles with three clubs in two countries over the same period.

Now he is seeking to guide Spurs back into the Champions League, frustrating Liverpool to earn a precious 1-1 draw at Anfield on Saturday.

But the manner in which Conte sets his teams up has been the source of some debate since that match, as Liverpool manager Klopp questioned the tactics employed by his opposite number afterwards. Tottenham had just 34.5 per cent of possession against Liverpool, relying on counter-attacking qualities.

"I don't like this kind of football," Klopp said. "But that's my personal problem. I think they're world class, and I think they should do more for the game."

 

Klopp has the backing of former United captain Neville, who shared a clip of the German's news conference on Twitter as he suggested Conte's style of football would not work at Old Trafford.

"I respect Conte and his football enormously, but this Klopp interview gives the clear reason why he wasn't the right fit for United," Neville wrote.

Former Liverpool man Jamie Carragher, Neville's Sky Sports colleague, replied with evidence of the ex-United man calling for the appointment of Diego Simeone, the Atletico Madrid coach whose tactics might also be considered negative.

But Neville insisted Conte and Simeone were not comparable, suggesting the Atletico boss would work well at United.

"Simeone 4-4-2 aggressive style. Proper United that," Neville responded. "Conte wing backs? No..."

Following their exit at the hands of Roma in the Europa Conference League semi-finals, Leicester City are at the fork in the road that faces every club their size following some success.

History says that sustainable progress will have to come at the expense of selling the players who got the club to such heights.

While James Maddison and Wesley Fofana have long been on the wish lists of bigger clubs, Youri Tielemans reportedly looks set to leave also.

 

TOP STORY – ARSENAL, REAL MADRID SET ON TIELEMANS

Arsenal are closing in on a £40million transfer for Leicester City and Belgium midfielder Youri Tielemans, The Sun is reporting.

Real Madrid are waiting to pounce, however, if Arsenal fail to qualify for the Champions League this season.

Leicester are now reportedly resigned to selling the 25-year-old, whose goal won the Foxes the FA Cup last term. 

Tielemans has made no secret of his desire to play Champions League football, meaning Manchester United have dropped out of the race.

ROUND-UP

- Fernandinho appears set to leave Manchester City, despite having a year remaining on his contract, citing a personal decision, per Fabrizio Romano.

Tottenham are looking to sign Villarreal's Pau Torres for a fee below his release clause of £55million (€64.3m), Football Insider reports.

- The Daily Star are reporting Nemanja Matic, who will leave Manchester United at the end of the season, is set to join Juventus.

- West Ham are leading the race to sign 23-year-old Chile international Ben Brereton-Diaz from Blackburn Rovers, according to The Sun.

 Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was not impressed with Antonio Conte's tactics after Liverpool were held to a 1-1 draw by Tottenham on Saturday.

The Reds struggled in possession against a side openly looking to exploit them as they dropped two points in the Premier League title race.

Following Son Heung-min's opening goal, Liverpool needed some fortune to equalise in the 74th minute, with Luis Diaz's tame attempt from distance deflecting off Rodrigo Bentancur and wrong-footing Hugo Lloris.

Liverpool moved top on goal difference, but Manchester City can go three points clear by beating Newcastle United on Sunday and Klopp was critical of Spurs' approach at Anfield.

"I'm sorry I'm the wrong person for that, I don't like this kind of football," he said. "But that's my personal problem. I think they're world class, and I think they should do more for the game.

"I think the game against Liverpool they had 36, 38 per cent possession, but it's my problem. I cannot coach it. So that's why I cannot do it.

"So yes, world-class players block all the balls, really difficult. Fine, whatever, fine, absolutely fine. I just can't. I respect everything they do, but it's not me."

With 67 per cent possession in the second half, the Reds generated a cumulative total of 0.17 xG from 11 shots, in comparison to Spurs' 0.69 from five shots.

Klopp took the positives out of what could be a costly result for the Reds four days after they reached the Champions League final with a win over Villarreal.

"It is an important point because it's one point more than before the game," he said. "We're top of the table. In this moment we're disappointed.

"The boys are more disappointed than I am, it might be because I'm older and I've seen more.

"Some good things tonight though, the counter-press. Just little moments, better decision-making. It's easy for me to say because I didn't run, like, I didn't run four days ago. We could have won, but also they could have won because of their insane counter-attacking."

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