Son Heung-min delivered the goods for Tottenham in the absence of Harry Kane as he sealed a 1-0 win over Premier League champions Manchester City in Nuno Espirito Santo's first match at the helm.

Kane, who has been strongly linked with a move to City, was reportedly deemed not sharp enough after only recently returning to training, but Spurs adapted well to the situation after a shaky start against a visiting side who handed a debut to British record signing Jack Grealish.

Spurs' reliance on counter-attacking football may have initially frustrated sections of the crowd at Tottenham Hotspur stadium, but it looked like the most realistic way of hurting City in the first half.

And that tactic bore fruit in the 55th minute, with Son rounding off a flowing move with a fine finish that even Kane would have been proud of, denying City the chance to set a new record of 11 successive opening-day wins in the Premier League.

Spurs looked to be in for a long day after a difficult opening that Pep Guardiola's men dominated, with Joao Cancelo and Riyad Mahrez both having presentable chances fall to them, but they weathered the early storm.

The hosts were set up to threaten on the counter and several times they looked bright bursting forward, though uncharacteristically meek play from Son twice saw encouraging moves peter out.

The South Korean looked a little more like his usual self just before the interval, though, seeing a curling effort deflected agonisingly wide by Cancelo after a rapid break.

Spurs began the second period much sharper than the first. Within five minutes of the restart, Ruben Dias had to be alert to prevent Son from having a tap-in and then Lucas Moura shot wide from 20 yards.

Son soon found his range, however, tucking a lovely effort inside the left-hand post from just outside the box after Nathan Ake failed to engage him at the end of a blistering break, setting up a fourth straight win for Spurs over City on home soil.

Spurs were pressed into defensive action in the latter stages, with Hugo Lloris becoming increasingly busy, but they held on to secure only their fifth win in 13 league games without Kane since the start of 2019-20.

What does it mean? Wasteful City need options in attack

While the £100million signing of Grealish will surely be worthy, it looks as though City are going to need more if they are to take themselves to the next level, with their inability to find the net despite their expected goals being almost double that of Spurs (1.0 v 1.8).

While Ferran Torres has occasionally done a job leading the line for City, he is not a central striker and Gabriel Jesus does not seem to have convinced Guardiola in that position either, otherwise he would surely have started.

Kane is the obvious option – perhaps after seeing this match play out, Guardiola will have renewed desire to get him in as soon as possible.

Son shines without Kane

In the past few years, a lot of the praise that has come Son's way has often related to his relationship with Kane, rather than the merits of his own quality. Although he seemed strangely subdued early on, he soon got himself on the front foot and proved a real nuisance to City, his five shots more than anyone else on the pitch, and one of those was the excellent goal.

Mendy makes a meal of defensive work

While there were a few situations early on where Benjamin Mendy's ability in attack looked useful, defensively he appeared a weak link throughout. He gifted possession back to Spurs in dangerous positions a couple of times, and was nowhere to be seen for Son's goal on the break.

What's next?

Spurs go to Pacos Ferreira for the first leg of their Conference League qualifier on Thursday before Nuno reunites with Wolves at Molineux next Sunday. City host promoted Norwich City in six days' time.

A Tottenham side deprived of the services of star man Harry Kane fought back after two Hakim Ziyech goals to earn a 2-2 draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Goals either side of half-time from Ziyech gave Chelsea a well-deserved two-goal lead but Lucas Moura and Steven Bergwijn cancelled out the Blues' advantage with second-half finishes of their own.

Having paraded their Champions League trophy in front of the near-capacity crowd prior to kick-off, Chelsea got off to an emphatic start with Ziyech blasting in low from the edge of the area to capitalise on Lucas' laziness in possession.

Timo Werner thought he had added a second after rounding Pierluigi Gollini, though the offside flag denied him – with no VAR in operation, the Germany forward could not argue with the decision, despite seemingly looking onside.

Tottenham, who were still without the absent Kane amid his apparent desire to leave, named a strong starting-11, including Son Heung-Min and Dele Alli, but fell two behind when Ziyech drilled in a second just two minutes after the break.

Lucas responded for Nuno Espirito Santo's side, netting a third in pre-season courtesy of a fortuitous looping deflection off Antonio Rudiger wrong-footing Edouard Mendy.

Bergwijn levelled things up 14 minutes later with a thumping finish past Mendy after smart link-up play down the left flank by Moura and Son.

Having dominated for large periods the draw may frustrate Chelsea, who next face Villarreal in the European Super Cup on August 11, while Tottenham round-off their pre-season preparations against Arsenal three days before.

A brace from Hakim Ziyech had Chelsea seemingly coasting to victory at Stamford Bridge before Tottenham fought back to earn a 2-2 pre-season draw on Wednesday.

Goals either side of half-time from Ziyech gave Chelsea a well-deserved two-goal lead but Lucas Moura and Steven Bergwijn cancelled out the Blues' advantage with second-half finishes of their own.

Having paraded their Champions League trophy in front of the near-capacity crowd prior to kick-off, Chelsea got off to an emphatic start with Ziyech blasting in low from the edge of the area to capitalise on Lucas' laziness in possession.

Timo Werner thought he had added a second after rounding Pierluigi Gollini, though the offside flag denied him – with no VAR in operation, the Germany forward could not argue with the decision, despite seemingly looking onside.

Tottenham, who were still without the absent Harry Kane, named a strong starting-11, including Son Heung-Min and Dele Alli, but fell two behind when Ziyech drilled in a second just two minutes after the break.

Lucas responded for Nuno Espirito Santo's side, netting a third in pre-season courtesy of a fortuitous looping deflection off Antonio Rudiger wrong-footing Edouard Mendy.

Bergwijn levelled things up 14 minutes later with a thumping finish past Mendy after smart link-up play down the left flank by Moura and Son.

Having dominated for large periods the draw may frustrate Chelsea, who next face Villarreal in the European Super Cup on August 11, while Tottenham round-off their pre-season preparations against Arsenal three days before.

Tottenham must make signings in this transfer window if they want to challenge for the top four in the Premier League, according to former Spurs star Chris Waddle.

Having appointed former Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo, Spurs will be looking for the Portuguese head coach to guide them to Champions League football for the first time since their fourth-place finish in the 2018-19 season.

Following Jose Mourinho's sacking in April, Ryan Mason steered his boyhood club to seventh at the end of last season to secure a position in the new UEFA Conference League before Nuno's appointment.

Amid continuing speculation surrounding talisman Harry Kane's departure, Nuno may be preparing for life in London without the England captain, who netted four times at Euro 2020 to finish behind Patrik Schick and Cristiano Ronaldo (five each) for the Golden Boot.

But Waddle feels it is the other end of the pitch that Nuno needs to focus on.

"Tottenham need to sort their defence out first and foremost," he told Stats Perform.

"Nuno had a good track record with Wolves defensively. But the football at Wolves wasn't probably what Tottenham fans would want to watch."

Tottenham shipped 45 goals last campaign, two fewer than they conceded in the 2019-20 season.

While Wolves' defence was breached 52 times last campaign – a season largely hampered by Raul Jimenez’s injury and the departures of Diogo Jota and Matt Doherty – Nuno's men conceded just 40 goals in 2019-20.

Up front, the situation with Kane, who finished as the Premier League's top scorer with 23 goals in the 2020-21 season before guiding England to their first major tournament final in 55 years, remains unclear.

 

With or without their star forward, Waddle feels Spurs have quality in their ranks, which could thrive with a few smart signings.

"[Pierre-Emile] Hojbjerg had a good tournament - good footballer, he's a good player," Waddle added.

"Son [Heung-min] is a good player we know that. It looks like [Nuno] is trying to buy, and it looks like he's trying to get a midfield player [to play] alongside Hojbjerg, which would be good.

"What I see, would it be a top-four team next season? At the present minute before the transfer market really kicks in. I would say well what they've got now - no.

"I would say they're probably going to be sixth or seventh. If they make four or five good signings - possibly top four, yes.

"Maybe they'll go into the pack, and they'll go into it with a chance, but at this minute in time no I wouldn't put Tottenham in top four."

With France out of Euro 2020, Kylian Mbappe has time to mull over his club future.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward has been linked with Real Madrid.

Liverpool have reportedly entered the frame too, while PSG are eager to re-sign him.

 

TOP STORY - MBAPPE REACHES PSG DECISION

Kylian Mbappe has informed PSG he is not planning to sign a new contract, according to L'Equipe.

The 22-year-old France international does not currently want to extend his current deal which expires in mid-2022, the sports daily reported.

Mbappe will respect the final year of his contract with PSG as suitors circle for his signature.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United have agreed terms with Jadon Sancho and now have set their sights on West Ham's Declan Rice, Villarreal's Pau Torres and Tottenham's Harry Kane. The Guardian claims they are all on United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's wish list.

- Bild claims United are also interested in Bayern Munich midfielder Leon Goretzka, who has one year remaining on the his current contract.

- Son Heung-min is expected to sign an extension with Tottenham regardless of Kane's decision on his future, claims Fabrizio Romano.

- Arsenal, Milan and Roma are all interested in RB Leipzig's Austria international Marcel Sabitzer who is set to be allowed to leave on a cut-price deal according to Bild.

- The Daily Mail reports Manchester City will open talks with Raheem Sterling on a new deal following Euro 2020 where he has starred with three goals for England. Sterling, who has two years left on his current deal, fell out of favour at City late last season.

Christian Eriksen remains in a stable condition in hospital pending further examinations, the Danish Football Union (DBU) said in an update to the midfielder's condition on Sunday.

The football world has rallied around Eriksen after he collapsed on the pitch during Denmark's Euro 2020 game with Finland on Saturday.

Eriksen fell to the ground with no other player around him during the first half in Copenhagen.

Team-mates and referee Anthony Taylor called for immediate help from medical staff, with the players forming a protective barrier around Eriksen while efforts were made to resuscitate him.

He was subsequently transferred to hospital, with UEFA saying Eriksen had been "stabilised". The DBU added that he was "awake" and set for "further examinations".

Following a lengthy suspension, the match was resumed and Finland went on to win 1-0.

A DBU statement read: "This morning we have spoken to Christian Eriksen, who has sent his greetings to his team-mates. His condition is stable, and he continues to be hospitalised for further examination.

"The team and the staff of the national team has received crisis assistance and will continue to be there for each other following yesterday's incident.

"We would like to thank everyone for the heartfelt greetings to Christian Eriksen from fans, players, the Royal Families from both Denmark and England, international associations, clubs etc.

"We encourage everyone to send their greetings to the Danish FA, where we will make sure they are all passed on to Christian and his family."

One of his Inter team-mates, Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku, showed his support for Eriksen after netting the opening goal in his country's 3-0 victory over Russia.

The striker shouted "I love you Chris" into a television camera having put the Red Devils in front.

And, following his decisive penalty in South Korea's 2-1 victory over Lebanon on Sunday, former Tottenham team-mate Son Heung-min ran to the camera and said "Chris, stay strong, I love you."

Denmark face Belgium in their next Euro 2020 game on Thursday.

Is Cristiano Ronaldo's time in Turin coming to an end?

Juventus reportedly feel the end could be nigh.

Paris Saint-Germain are waiting in the wings…

 

TOP STORY –  RONALDO HEADING FOR EXIT?

Juventus are convinced Cristiano Ronaldo is considering his future with the Serie A giants, according to Goal.

Ronaldo has been tipped to leave Juve amid growing speculation, with Diario AS reporting Paris Saint-Germain have opened talks with the superstar.

Juve and Ronaldo – also linked with his former clubs Manchester United and Real Madrid – reportedly met on Thursday following the return of head coach Massimiliano Allegri, who has replaced Andrea Pirlo.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester City are the team most interested in Tottenham's Harry Kane, says Fabrizio Romano. Kane is reportedly looking to leave Spurs and the England striker has been linked with Premier League champions City, United, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Barcelona. City are eyeing a replacement for Barca recruit Sergio Aguero, with Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland and Eintracht Frankfurt forward Andre Silva also targets.

Tottenham are in talks with Son Heung-min over a contract extension, reports Romano.

- BBC Sport claims Alisson is set to hold contract talks with Liverpool. The Brazil international goalkeeper's current deal does not expire until 2024.

- Football Insider reports Everton's Richarlison is on Madrid's radar following the appointment of ex-Toffees boss Carlo Ancelotti. Madrid have long been tipped to prise Kylian Mbappe from PSG.

Juventus and PSG are in the race to sign Sassuolo midfielder Manuel Locatelli, according to Gazzetta dello Sport. City and Inter have also been linked.

Memphis Depay is on the verge of completing a move to Barca on a three-year deal, per Diario Sport. Depay is available on a free transfer, with his Lyon contract expiring.

- The Yorkshire Evening Post claims Liverpool are among the teams interested in Leeds United's Raphinha. Manchester United and City are also believed to be among the possible suitors.

Time is running out to secure precious fantasy football points as the Premier League season nears an end.

Manchester City have the title in the bag, but it may still be all to play for in fantasy leagues heading into the penultimate weekend of the campaign.

With some teams still having three games to play in a hectic schedule, it will be vital to make the right picks and ensure points could potentially mean prizes.

Here are a few tips to help you out, powered by Opta, as always...

 

EDERSON

City travel to Newcastle United on Friday for their first match since being crowned champions.

They have won 11 consecutive Premier League away matches and a 12th victory at St. James' Park would see them break the all-time record in the top four tiers of English football.

City have kept 16 clean sheets on their travels in all competitions this season and are one away from equalling the record by a top-flight team in a season.

Newcastle have managed just 41 shots in seven Premier League games against Pep Guardiola's side, so another clean sheet could be on the cards for Ederson, who has more than any other goalkeeper in the division this season (18).

 

TRENT ALEXANDER-ARNOLD

Liverpool full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold was outstanding in the 4-2 victory at Manchester United on Thursday.

With England boss Gareth Southgate watching on, Alexander-Arnold caught the eye with an influential display as Jurgen Klopp's side claimed three precious points in the battle for a Champions League spot.

The Reds travel to relegated West Brom on Sunday knowing a win would leave them just a point behind fourth-placed Chelsea with two games to play.

Since he was omitted from the last England squad in March, Alexander-Arnold has created more chances than any other top-flight player with 21, making him a necessity for your XI.

 

LUCAS DIGNE

Everton full-back Lucas Digne has enjoyed another impressive season for Carlo Ancelotti's side.

The Toffees entertain bottom club Sheffield United at Goodison Park on Sunday as they hunt a place in Europe next season.

France international Digne can make an impact at both ends of the pitch, with his seven assists the joint-highest by a defender in the Premier League this season, along with Aaron Cresswell of West Ham.

Everton have kept four clean sheets in their previous six matches with Digne in the side too, so will be aiming to blunt the Blades on Merseyside.

 

MATHEUS PEREIRA

Brazilian forward Matheus Pereira has been a shining light in a poor season for West Brom.

The Baggies were unable to avoid an immediate return to the Championship, a defeat to Arsenal last weekend consigning Sam Allardyce to a first relegation from the Premier League.

Albion will be desperate to keep hold of Pereira, who has scored five goals in six matches ahead of the encounter with Liverpool.

He has been directly involved in 15 goals this season, with only Peter Odemwingie (22 in 2010-11) and Romelu Lukaku (21 in 2012-13) managing more involvements for the Baggies in a Premier League campaign.

 

SON HEUNG-MIN

Tottenham face Wolves at home on Sunday smarting from a 3-1 defeat at Leeds United last time out.

Son Heung-min scored Spurs' only goal at Elland Road, where the London club's slim hopes of securing a Champions League spot were all-but ended.

The South Korea forward has been directly involved in four goals in three games under caretaker boss Ryan Mason, scoring three and setting one up.

Son has found the back of the net in three consecutive Premier League games and will be a major threat to Wolves. He had managed just one goal in his previous seven outings in the competition during the final stages of Jose Mourinho's reign.

 

SERGIO AGUERO

City's all-time leading goalscorer Sergio Aguero issued an apology after his embarrassing Panenka penalty gave Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy the simplest of saves last weekend.

Aguero will be determined to make amends as he nears the end of his time with City and could take his frustration out on Newcastle.

The Argentina striker has scored 15 goals in 14 Premier League games against the Magpies, averaging one every 61 minutes, and it would be no surprise to see him add to that tally.

 

MICHAIL ANTONIO

West Ham head south to face Brighton and Hove Albion on the back of a 1-0 home defeat to Everton that left their chances of qualifying for the Champions League hanging by a thread.

They will need to respond on the south coast against a Brighton side who are safe now.

Antonio has been directly involved in 14 goals in his past 13 away Premier League starts, netting 11 times and providing three assists.

He can trouble the Seagulls and improve those numbers. Indeed, the forward has scored 24 times for the Hammers on the road in the competition, five more than any other player for the club.

Edinson Cavani shrugged off first-half VAR disbelief to head the winner as Manchester United stretched their unbeaten Premier League away run to 23 games with a 3-1 victory over Tottenham.

Spurs went ahead five minutes before half-time when Son Heung-min slotted home, just moments after Cavani's strike had been ruled out for a soft-looking foul by Scott McTominay on Tottenham's South Korean forward.

United were raging about the decision, but they bounced back in style in the second period with goals from Fred, Cavani and Mason Greenwood. 

The result moved second-placed United seven points ahead of Leicester City, who sit third, while Spurs remained in seventh, six points away from a Champions League qualification spot.

Lionel Messi has been tipped to leave Barcelona for either Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain.

Barca have also been linked with Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland.

But Haaland could reportedly unlock Messi's future.

 

TOP STORY – HAALAND TO CITY MEANS BARCA STAY FOR MESSI?

Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland could hold the key to Lionel Messi's future at Barcelona, according to the front page of Thursday's Diario AS.

Haaland is a player in demand, linked with Barca, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain.

City have been tipped to sign Messi, but should they step up their pursuit of Haaland, the Premier League leaders could reportedly drop their interest in the Barca captain.

 

ROUND-UP

- Mundo Deportivo says new Barca president Joan Laporta is preparing a contract renewal for Messi, who is set to become a free agent at season's end.

- Bayern Munich are eyeing a move for Tottenham star Son Heung-min, claims Football Insider. Son has reportedly been offered a bumper new contract by Spurs, but the former Bayer Leverkusen forward is wanted in Munich.

- Sporting CP's Joao Palhinha, Borussia Monchengladbach star Denis Zakaria and Sander Berge of Sheffield United are on the list of midfielders to replace City veteran Fernandinho, reports A Bola.

- Gazzetta dello Sport says Juventus and Barca are interested in Milan captain Alessio Romagnoli. The Italy defender is out of contract in 2022 and is reportedly seeking a €6million-a-year contract.

Napoli are eyeing Lazio head coach Simone Inzaghi and sporting director Igli Tare, claims Radio Kiss Kiss Napoli. Gennaro Gattuso has been tipped to leave Napoli at the end of the season, with ex-Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri, Luciano Spalletti and Hellas Verona's Ivan Juric among the possible replacements. But Lazio duo Inzaghi and Tare are being monitored to replace Gattuso and Cristiano Giuntoli in Naples.

United are interested in Lille defender Sven Botman, according to Fabrizio Romano. Sevilla star Jules Kounde has been on United's radar but the club's asking price of €80m (£68m) is too steep.

- Romano also says there is no agreement with United and Paul Pogba over a new contract. Pogba has been linked with former club Juve, Madrid and PSG.

Jose Mourinho has insisted he is happy with his striker options at Tottenham amid speculation linking the club with a move for Southampton star Danny Ings.

Ings is reportedly a top target for Spurs with his contract due to expire in 18 months and the England international seeking Champions League football.

Mourinho was adamant he would not directly respond to questions about Ings given he is employed by another club.

But the Spurs boss is happy with his options at centre-forward, which include on-loan Benfica forward Carlos Vinicius.

"Let's go bit by bit," Mourinho said.

"[We have] two strikers, we are not a team that needs a third striker because the third striker is Sonny [Son Heung-min]. 

"Of course we have the best [Harry Kane] and we are happy with Carlos.

"Carlos is not our player, he is a Benfica player, but he is a player we are helping to develop and he is helping the team so we are happy with the situation.

"Ings of course I refuse totally to say any word about him because he is a Southampton player and I respect that."

Mourinho was also asked about reports linking Gedson Fernandes with Torino, having previously said the player's 18-month loan with the club could end early.

Fernandes is, like Vinicius, on loan from Benfica, but the midfielder has not started a single Premier League game in a year at the club.

"We don’t speak with other clubs," Mourinho said of the Torino reports.

"We speak with Benfica. Since the moment where we felt that we were not giving to Gedson the possibilities of playing many matches, we felt that we didn't have the right to keep him. 

"If he stays, great. Every time he plays he does always well. But we never felt the right to keep a player that is not our player and is not playing. 

"Benfica knows we are open to cooperate with a friendly club like they are. If there is any other club involved, that I cannot confirm."

Spurs are away to Championship side Wycombe Wanderers in the FA Cup fourth round on Monday.

Manchester City reportedly believe they lead the race for Lionel Messi if the star leaves Barcelona.

Messi, 33, is out of contract at Barca at the end of the season and is linked with a move from the LaLiga giants.

The forward stayed at Camp Nou after sensationally requesting a transfer ahead of 2020-21, but it may have just delayed his exit.

 

TOP STORY – MAN CITY LEAD MESSI RACE IF STAR LEAVES

Manchester City believe they lead the race for Messi if he leaves Barcelona, according to The Telegraph.

City, Paris Saint-Germain and Inter have been most strongly linked with a move for Messi, who is expected to make a decision on his future at the end of the campaign.

Messi has scored 12 goals in 20 games in all competitions this season.

 

ROUND-UP

- With Gareth Bale injured, his chances of a longer stay at Tottenham appear slim. AS reports Real Madrid are expecting the attacker to return to the club at the end of his loan spell at the conclusion of the campaign, and that would hurt their chances of signing Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe with Bale contracted until 2022.

- Georginio Wijnaldum's future is no closer to being sorted. Sky Sports reports the midfielder and Liverpool have reached a stalemate over a new contract. Wijnaldum's deal expires at the end of the season and the Netherlands international has been linked with a move to Barcelona.

- Starring at Tottenham this season, Son Heung-min could be set for a new deal. The Telegraph reports Spurs are confident the forward, who is contracted until 2023, will re-sign.

- Mesut Ozil could finally be set to leave Arsenal. DHA reports the playmaker has agreed to a three-and-a-half-year deal with Turkish giants Fenerbahce.

- With Moise Kean impressing on loan at Paris Saint-Germain, Everton are expecting an offer for the forward, according to the Liverpool Echo. Kean has 10 goals in 17 matches for PSG this season.

- Diego Alonso is under pressure at the helm of Inter Miami, and Sky Sports reports the MLS side have approached Phil Neville, who is the coach of England's women's team, to take over.

Jose Mourinho labelled Son Heung-min a "special player" after Tottenham reached the EFL Cup final on Tuesday.

Moussa Sissoko and Son scored as Spurs recorded a 2-0 win over Brentford, who were reduced to 10 men after Josh Dasilva's late red card.

Only Harry Kane (17) has scored more goals in all competitions this season than Son (16) among Premier League players.

Mourinho lauded the forward, who had more key passes (three) and shots on target (two) than any other player against Brentford.

"That's the humility of a player. That's Sonny. That's the human nature. He's like that. Some other guys they are not like that. For him it's the team," the Spurs head coach told a news conference.

"For him, for [Harry] Kane, for Lucas [Moura], for many the team is first and of course we depend a lot on the characteristics of some players. Sonny is one of them.

"He had two chances. He had a good volley. I saw the ball in the net but unfortunately, I was wrong and the ball went out. Then he faced the keeper in a difficult moment of the game, where the game is open.

"The opponent is trying and pushing and he goes and he kills the game. So special player but also a special human being."

Spurs' next outing is a trip to non-league side Marine in the FA Cup on Sunday.

Jose Mourinho hailed a win of huge importance after Tottenham overcame Brentford 2-0 to reach the EFL Cup final.

Moussa Sissoko and Son Heung-min were on target to see Spurs past their Championship opponents, who finished with 10 men after Josh Dasilva was dismissed for a challenge that left Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg with a gashed shin.

Tottenham have not won a piece of major silverware since lifting this trophy back in 2008 and it is a competition Mourinho has won four times.

The last of those came with Manchester United in 2017, with his former club taking on holders Manchester City in Wednesday's semi-final.

"It's a game that takes us to a final. Probably, I hope not, but probably an empty Wembley final but a Wembley final," Mourinho told Sky Sports, casting doubt on the EFL's ambitions to have a crowd at its rearranged April showpiece.

"I'm very, very happy with that. Of course we had matches this year against the biggest clubs in the country, we had London derbies, but this one is one that got us in a final

"I would consider that a very important match for us. Now we have this final in the pocket for a few months.

"We have to forget it and focus on what we have to play in the FA Cup, the Premier League and Europa League."

Brentford fell foul of a marginal VAR offside call when Ivan Toney thought he had equalised after the hour and Mourinho conceded it was not a vintage Tottenham display.

"Solid enough to win," he said. "The game was way under control. They had an offside goal and one penetration on the right-hand side.

"We did not play brilliantly with the ball. Sometimes the wrong decision, sometimes one more touch and not that soft control that allows you to play fast.

"But the game was always under control against a team who are probably coming here next year to play in the Premier League."

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