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Bukayo Saka is a surprise omission from the Arsenal starting XI as Nicolas Pepe is given the nod by Mikel Arteta for the north London derby. 

Arsenal go to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium just a point above their hosts, and both will be hoping for a victory to boost faltering bids for European football. 

Arteta has once again chosen to go with the 3-4-3 formation that has largely proved dependable for the Gunners in recent weeks. 

However, the talented Saka must be content with a place on the bench despite setting up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the Gunners' 1-1 draw with Leicester City on Tuesday. 

Saka has been a shining light for Arsenal this term, with the 18-year-old setting up 12 goals across all competitions this season. 

Taking his place in the line-up is Pepe, who starts for the first time this month. After a shaky start, the Ivorian has gone on to have a relatively promising debut season with the Gunners, having a hand in 11 Premier League goals. 

There are few surprises in the Tottenham team, with Lucas Moura and Son Heung-min joining Harry Kane in attack, while Tanguy Ndombele is left on the bench yet again – the Frenchman is yet to start a Premier League match since its resumption last month. 

Juventus and Inter are reportedly ready to do battle for Roma star Nicolo Zaniolo.

Zaniolo, 21, made his return from a serious knee injury this month and has repeatedly been linked with a move away from Roma.

A pair of Serie A giants may be ready to fight for the midfielder's services.

 

TOP STORY – INTER, JUVE TO BATTLE FOR ZANIOLO

Inter are ready to challenge Juventus to sign Roma star Zaniolo, according to CalcioMercato.

Zaniolo is considered one of Europe's best young talents, and left Inter for Roma in 2018.

Roma reportedly want at least €50million for the five-time Italy international.

 

ROUND-UP

- Contracted at Manchester City until 2021, Sergio Aguero may yet stay at the Etihad Stadium a little longer. The Mirror reports City have not ruled out giving the star forward, 32, a one-year extension.

- With Neymar repeatedly linked with a return to Barcelona, it seems the LaLiga giants are wanting to distance themselves from the Paris Saint-Germain star. Marca says Barca are keen to see the rumours of a potential return for Neymar stop.

- Staying at Camp Nou and Barcelona apparently have interest in two players from Tottenham. The Daily Star says Barca want Ryan Sessegnon and Tanguy Ndombele. However, it reports Spurs will reject all offers for Sessegnon this close season.

- Philippe Coutinho's future remains unclear. Mundo Deportivo reports the playmaker, who is on loan at Bayern Munich from Barcelona until the end of the season, will not decide his future until after the Champions League next month.

- Plenty of talk continues to surround Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who is coming out of contract at the Premier League club next year. The Daily Star reports the forward will sign a contract extension with Arsenal – if no other club makes an official approach.

- After just two goals in 25 games for Real Madrid, Luka Jovic seems set for an exit. According to Mundo Deportivo, Juventus, Inter, Chelsea, Leicester City, Milan and Napoli are all considering moves for the forward.

Kieran Tierney is going nowhere after finally making his presence felt at Arsenal and proving to be "a great addition" to Mikel Arteta's team.

Arsenal paid a reported £25million to sign left-back Tierney from Celtic last August but he did not make his debut until the end of September due to a groin problem.

He then required surgery on his shoulder in December and was ruled out for three months, finally making his return when the Premier League resumed in June following its hiatus amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Arteta has deployed a three-man defence in the Gunners' past three matches, with Tierney gaining plaudits for his performances in a slightly more advanced role on the left.

Earlier this year the Scotland international was linked with a move away from Emirates Stadium due to his injury problems, but Arteta feels he can be an asset to Arsenal in the long term.

"I'm very impressed with him since I joined, just before he started to play games as well, just how he was acting and working on his rehab," said Arteta ahead of the north London derby against Tottenham on Sunday.

"Everyone loves him at the club and it's not a coincidence, he earns that every single day [with] the way he treats people, the way he walks around the club, the energy he brings to the place. Then with his performances, I'm delighted.

"He's adapted really well, he's a player that gives you everything in every session and every game, and the quality as well that he's added, he's still so young, still things to improve obviously, but he's been a great addition to the team.

"He's not going anywhere. He had a really difficult period because of the injuries, because he moved to a different city and a different context.

"Back in Glasgow he was with a club that was winning all the time and he was very settled. It was a challenge for him and he's been dealing with that in the best possible way – with some difficulties, he needed the club to support him and his team-mates to make life easier for him.

"We're all trying to help him, but you help him with pleasure because of what he brings and how willing he is all the time to work, improve and give his maximum to the team.

"I think Kieran has adapted really, really well. Obviously it's a collective game and you need the right structure, the right people around you, the right players supporting you, to play in your best position obviously, and we are learning where he feels most comfortable and how he can have a bigger impact on the team. It's a process we are in."

Arteta outlined the reason for his recent tactical shift, stating it was part through necessity and part due to a desire to add some unpredictability.

"Well, we changed a little bit our formation in the last few weeks, just adapting to the injuries we have and the issues that occur around the team," he said.

"We need to be more flexible and we need adaptability, and we cannot be so predictable as well.

"I think it's very important that we are able to dominate different areas, different formations to improve as a team."

Arsenal are unbeaten in five games since losing back-to-back matches against Manchester City and Brighton and Hove Albion upon the league's return.

"I think you learn from every performance, from every reaction that situations bring to the team. The Brighton team again, I never faulted their effort or how willing they were or how hard they fought, it was about competing," said Arteta.

"In this league you cannot switch off, you cannot give anything to an opponent. If we are able to do that in a consistent way, we will be very difficult to beat. I know that for a fact, and I can see the progression of it.

"But without that, it doesn't matter what we do for 85 minutes, we will give many games away. That's the difference between top teams and teams that are not fighting for anything."

Gerson has no interest in leaving Flamengo despite reported interest from Premier League duo Chelsea and Tottenham.

After an unsuccessful stint at Roma, Fluminense youth product Gerson returned to Brazil after an €11.8million deal was agreed with Flamengo in July 2019.

The 23-year-old has since won the Campeonato Brasileiro, Copa Libertadores, Supercopa do Brasil and the Recopa Sudamericana, while the Campeonato Carioca could be secured next week with Jorge Jesus' side taking on Fluminense in a two-legged final.

Gerson's displays have led to links to some of Europe's biggest clubs, but he insists he is happy at Flamengo.

"After a year with Flamengo, I can promise that I never spoke with another club. My focus is totally on Flamengo," he told Globo Esporte.

"I feel at home, I am happy, I am wanted and I am at a club that is on the level of European sides.

"We can't shut doors, football shows this, but today I am very happy and fulfilled to be in the club of my heart.

"I rediscovered myself here and I want to win yet more trophies in this shirt."

Jose Mourinho is ready to tolerate three more years without a trophy at Tottenham if his reign lays the foundations for future success.

The Portuguese has built his career and his reputation on being a man who delivers silverware to clubs, but he sees a huge task ahead with Spurs.

After breathtaking successes with Porto, Chelsea, Inter and Real Madrid, Mourinho found it altogether more challenging at Manchester United, but he nonetheless coaxed Europa League and EFL Cup triumphs out of his Old Trafford side.

Mourinho admitted Tottenham are a club gripped by unhappiness ahead of Sunday's north London derby, with hopes of earning a Champions League place for next season having long since hit the rocks. The club's last major trophy was an EFL Cup success in the 2007-08 season.

As Arsenal also strive for consistency under Mikel Arteta, the derby is a rarity in being a clash of mid-table neighbours in a state of transition, the Mauricio Pochettino and Unai Emery eras having expired late last year.

Mourinho pointed to Jurgen Klopp struggling to bring instant success to Liverpool but making a longer-term plan work, and he appears to see Tottenham in a similar state to the Reds side inherited by the charismatic German in 2015.

"How long did it take Jurgen?" asked Mourinho, whose contract runs to the end of the 2022-23 campaign. "Four years, buying one of the best goalkeepers, centre-backs in the world and so on.

"I'm focused on my three-year contract. I believe that in my three years we can win trophies and if we don't but the club does in a new era I will be happy with that."

Even if Tottenham improve exponentially in future seasons, Mourinho warned titles are not guaranteed, given Liverpool missed out on Premier League glory in 2018-19 despite losing just one match.

Mourinho believes the club are still suffering a hangover from the defeat to Liverpool in last season's Champions League final, while the verdict on the head coach from fans has been mixed since chairman Daniel Levy brought him to the club.

"Nobody in this club is happy," Mourinho said.

"If the fans are unhappy, [and] I am happy, Mr Levy is happy, then I think there would be a huge problem. Then our ambitions wouldn't fit with the desire of the fans. We all want the same, and that's the best message we can give.

"I want to say many, many big clubs pass through difficult periods. Sometimes long, sometimes short. But many times, big clubs have moments of transition, replacing players, players getting older and that's very obvious in so many clubs with so many rich histories.

"This is a process. My message to our fans that are of course not happy, is that the thing that keeps me strong and optimistic and 200 per cent loyal to the club, is to know that the club wants to improve. Next season is going to be different."

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard would not want to see his players engage in heated arguments on the pitch in the manner of Tottenham's Hugo Lloris and Son Heung-min.

In the 1-0 win over Everton on Monday, the duo were involved in a flare-up at half-time and had to be separated by team-mates.

Lloris later explained he had been frustrated with Son's failure to track the run of Richarlison, who came close to scoring for the Toffees, but insisted they had put it behind them quickly.

Head coach Jose Mourinho was encouraged by such a show of fighting spirit from his players and Lampard was asked whether he would like to see the same thing from his Chelsea stars, with Tammy Abraham having lost the ball and failed to track back in the closing seconds of the 3-2 win over Crystal Palace, which resulted in Scott Dann hitting the post.

Lampard admits there are certain qualities his young players must improve, but he believes any such disagreements between team-mates should be confined to the dressing room.

"Tammy gave the ball away and has to react better and yes, of course, I speak with the players when these things happen," Lampard said ahead of Chelsea's Premier League clash with Sheffield United on Saturday.

"It's part of the development but they can only go so far. Some things in football are basic and they need to do better. Tammy gets us the goal that wins the game, I know his intentions are good, all the players want to see out the game. It's a mistake that can happen to anybody.

"Reactions and work-ethic areas are where I would really come down hard, and I think generally with the players, we don't have that issue. But we do make mistakes maybe sometimes with the youthfulness and that's something we'll work on and get better at.

"In terms of issues on the pitch, I'm not mad on seeing players fight like that. I think those things should at least be held for the dressing room. It can happen on the training ground, in the dressing room. I'm not an advocate of saying, 'That's positive, it means they care'. Every situation is different and sometimes I feel with players pointing fingers at other players... they better make sure their game is right as well and that they're doing the right things.

"I think a good squad of individuals will push each other and it's more of an unspoken rule - you don't let each other down. I'm not mad on things being on show in front of everybody else like that, but we're all humans and sometimes it happens and how you deal with it after that is probably the important thing."

Chelsea are under pressure for a result against Sheffield United, with Leicester City just a point behind in the table and Manchester United only two adrift after their 3-0 win over Aston Villa on Thursday.

That game saw a controversial penalty awarded to Bruno Fernandes following a collision with Ezri Konsa, with referee Jon Moss awarding the spot-kick and VAR backing up his decision.

Lampard was surprised by the speed with which the penalty was given and allowed to be taken and wants more open dialogue with lawmakers to iron out VAR's problems.

"I only saw the Manchester United one and I was surprised how quickly it was dealt with and not looked over again," he said. "We had one at West Ham a couple of weeks ago when [Michail] Antonio was offside and pretty clearly interfering, and it took them a few minutes but they came to the right decision. [At Villa Park] it seemed to be that, by the time it came back, the penalty was being taken.

"So, I think there are probably issues to deal with, but I also sympathise with the referees then, the grey area of 'clear and obvious', because I've already heard a few different observations on the decisions of last night. But we need to open dialogue, we need to talk more, we need to try to get it as good as it can be. We may never be absolutely happy with this. I actually think that VAR, for the clarity it gives when it's gotten right and makes the right decision and helps the referee, then it works very well at times. What the referee needed with the Manchester United one, in my opinion, was help. In real time, I think it looked like it might have been a penalty; pretty clearly, when we had all the advantage of replays, it didn't look so."

The north London derby cannot be the same game without fans, according to Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta.

Arsenal travel to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday, aiming to extend a four-match unbeaten run in the Premier League.

Arteta is a veteran of nine north London derbies from his playing days at Emirates Stadium and remembers the encounters with a particular fondness.

"You could sense days before the game that the energy was rising, the expectations – how much it means for the people to defend the badge and the shirt that we are wearing and representing," he said.

"It's a rivalry but a very respectful rivalry and that created a very special atmosphere at the grounds. There wasn't big collisions and hate, but respect and will to win, which is a beautiful thing in sport.

"I was involved in some really good ones, there were a lot of goals and a lot of excitement. The players need to understand how much it means to people. If we win, we are going to make a lot of people happy."

As such, even though he has enjoyed the Premier League's emergence from lockdown, Arteta feels he and Jose Mourinho will tackle an altogether different encounter this weekend.

"It's going to be a completely different game," he said. "We are delighted we are back playing football but it's not the same experience, it's not the same memory and it cannot be the same game.

"The conditions, the context and the feeling that the players are going to have on that pitch is another story."

Arsenal are eighth in the Premier League table, a point and a place above Spurs, who have struggled for convincing form under Mourinho.

Arteta declared his opposite number to still be a "world class" coach and reflected fondly upon their time together at Barcelona in his youth, when Mourinho took charge of B team training sessions.

"He was great. He used to coach us with Barcelona B," he said.

"He had an incredible energy with young players. He was always very supportive and they all liked him."

Shkodran Mustafi appears to have responded with similar enthusiasm to Arteta's methods.

The Germany international was increasingly confined to the margins after a string of error-strewn displays under Unai Emery but he has featured in every Gunners match since the resumption – raising the prospect of a contract extension beyond the end of his current terms in June 2021.

"I'm really happy with him, as you clearly can see. The way he is playing, how committed he is with what we're trying to do, the level that he is showing in his performance every three or four days," Arteta added.

"That [a new contract] is something that the club has to address, but he knows my opinion on that."

Mikel Arteta says there is no doubt Jose Mourinho remains a world-class head coach and expects him to bring success to Tottenham.

The Arsenal boss will face Mourinho for the first time on Sunday when the Gunners head to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for the north London derby.

The reverse fixture, a 2-2 draw on September 1, saw Unai Emery's Arsenal fight back from 2-0 down to snatch a point against Mauricio Pochettino's Spurs.

Both clubs find themselves in a battle to secure European football for next season. Arsenal are eighth in the Premier League table, a point above Spurs and two adrift of the top six.

Spurs have only won two of their five matches since the league season resumed last month, but Arteta insists Mourinho is still "absolutely" a top coach and the right man to lead his side forward.

"He has a very clear way of playing, of how he manages games," Arteta said on Friday. "Clean sheets are a big thing that he wants to do but his teams, don't forget, always score a lot of goals.

"His teams have been really successful and they have been able to win titles because of that as well. In a long period, they have a lot of injuries. He hasn't had the chance to be consistent with his team. That's a big disadvantage that they have.

"I know that he has done it. I know people who have worked with him - he always finds a way to be successful. I'm sure he will do it again.

"They've had some ups and downs but overall you can clearly see what he wants to bring to the club. He manages the energy, momentum and establishes a really strong culture at every football club.

"As well he makes sure that he wins. He has won at every single club he has been. The situation, the timing when he arrived is different than starting a new project right from the summer.

"I'm sure he'll be successful; he's always been. He always finds the right way to do it. It will take him time but I'm sure he will do it."

Arteta is relishing the prospect of a first derby in charge of Arsenal, having savoured being involved in the fixture as a player.

"It's such a special occasion," he said. "Rivalry in football when you take it in a positive way brings energy, passion and a city together. It's such a beautiful thing. We are privileged to have big teams in the city.

"It's a shame we don't have the fans with us to enjoy it."

Gary Neville believes VAR officials are "frightened to death" to overturn on-field decisions following further controversial incidents in the Premier League on Thursday. 

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith was left fuming after Manchester United were awarded a penalty when Ezri Konsa was adjudged to have fouled Bruno Fernandes, who scored the opening goal from the spot in a 3-0 win following a VAR check. 

Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho was also stunned when Harry Kane appeared to be pushed over by Joshua King, but both referee Paul Tierney and VAR official Michael Oliver did not feel a foul should be awarded in a goalless draw. 

Former Manchester United and England defender Neville wants to see referees check pitch-side monitors rather than rely on verdicts from Stockley Park. 

"On VAR. Send the Ref to the screens for goodness sake! The "we know better" than Europe way is failing badly," Neville tweeted. 

"The officials off-site are frightened to death to overrule on-site colleagues." 

Villa boss Smith was left frustrated at the VAR call made in the defeat to United as they battle to avoid relegation from the top flight.

"It all changed round on the penalty. I can understand Jon [on-field referee Moss] getting it wrong on the pitch but VAR? I don't know what they're looking at. It's a disgraceful decision," he said.

"They've got a screen there they can go and look at, but they don't seem to be bothered now." 

Jose Mourinho was reluctant to discuss "you know who" after another VAR review went against Tottenham in their goalless draw at Bournemouth.

Spurs dropped Premier League points in their bid to secure European qualification as they were held by the relegation-threatened Cherries, failing to even muster a shot on target.

But Mourinho felt Tottenham should have had an opportunity from the penalty spot in the opening minutes as Harry Kane went down in the area under contact from Josh King.

No spot-kick was awarded and Spurs ended the game clinging to a point, this time grateful for VAR after a King handball was spotted as Callum Wilson scored.

Mourinho acknowledged Tottenham were below par, yet after fuming at decisions in games against Manchester United and Sheffield United, the officials were again the subject of the head coach's ire.

"The game had the most important moment, you know when, you know who," he told Sky Sports.

"I don't want to say anything more in relation to that, because everybody knows and I don't need to say much more in relation to that. Everybody knows."

And it did not escape Mourinho's attention that Michael Oliver, as against the Blades, when Kane saw a goal controversially disallowed, was the VAR.

"The same referee who did the VAR decision against Sheffield United, Michael Oliver," he said. "Opinions matter.

"It's not only mine, everybody knows that is a penalty, and when I say everybody, I mean everybody. Everybody."

Mourinho added: "The performance was not good enough but good enough to win. I'm not saying [it was] a strong performance, I'm not saying a sharp performance, but I say good enough to win.

"In a way, they surprised us with the way they played. Since Bournemouth were in the Premier League, I don't remember them playing the way they did.

"But that is an option for them because they have a point they wanted. They played direct, only direct, they didn't move the ball in the first phase like they used to do, and they made it difficult for us in their approach.

"But I think we were not sharp. We were dominant behind - it was an easy game behind - but then [there was a] lack of sharpness in attacking areas.

"I made changes, I think the changes helped improve the game in the last part of the game, but we didn't score goals and you don't win when you don't score goals."

Tottenham's hopes of achieving European qualification suffered a setback with a toothless 0-0 draw at relegation-threatened Bournemouth on Thursday.

Spurs beat Everton 1-0 on Monday but could not make it back-to-back wins for the first time since the Premier League resumed last month, failing to register a single shot on target at the Vitality Stadium.

Harry Kane felt aggrieved not to be awarded an early penalty and Jose Mourinho was visibly irked neither the referee nor the VAR spotted Joshua King's shove in the area.

Bournemouth, who saw Adam Smith and David Brooks go off injured, thought they had a winner in the 90th minute, but Callum Wilson's overhead kick went in off King's arm and was chalked off, leaving them three points adrift of safety.

Mourinho was heavily critical of VAR after a 1-1 draw with Manchester United in June and a 3-1 loss to Sheffield United last week, and he had more cause to be frustrated with the system inside five minutes on the south coast.

King appeared to push Kane over in the six-yard box at the back post from a corner and referee Paul Tierney's decision not to award a penalty was upheld by the video official.

Kane made an important intervention to stop Nathan Ake nodding home at the back post, before Hugo Lloris kept Junior Stanislas' skidding 18-yard effort out of the bottom-left corner on the stroke of half-time.

Bournemouth saw Smith leave the pitch on a stretcher after a clash of heads with Ben Davies and then Brooks hobble off, before having a potential win taken away from them following a VAR review of Wilson's late goal.

Lloris produced a stunning stop to deny Harry Wilson in a one-on-one situation in the sixth added minute, ensuring Tottenham avoided a surprise defeat.
 

What does it mean? More problems than VAR

Mourinho will no doubt once again feel hard done by due to the lack of a penalty that really should have been awarded, but Spurs were dismal throughout.

They managed nine attempts on goal and were unable to test Aaron Ramsdale with any of them.

After Son Heung-min and Lloris had to be separated during the victory over Everton, Mourinho has bigger issues to worry about than contentious VAR calls.

Vertonghen back on song

Handed his first start since the restart due to Eric Dier's four-game ban, Jan Vertonghen was solid at the back for Spurs. Few impressed across the 90 minutes, but the centre-back was impressive on the deck and strong in the air.

Lacklustre Lo Celso

It was unsurprising to see Giovani Lo Celso hooked at half-time. He gave away three free-kicks and had a passing accuracy of just 73.3 per cent during his time on the pitch.

What's next?

Tottenham have a north London derby against Arsenal to look forward to on Sunday, when Bournemouth's fight against the drop does not get any easier with the visit of Leicester City.

Jose Mourinho's fear of getting "in trouble" put the Tottenham boss on the defensive regarding the subject of Eric Dier's four-game ban.

Spurs midfielder Dier was hit with the sanction, along with a £40,000 fine, by the Football Association on Wednesday after his altercation with a fan following the penalty shoot-out FA Cup defeat to Norwich City in March.

The England international climbed into the stands having been angered by the actions of a supporter at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Dier was handed a misconduct charge in April and, though he denied his actions had been threatening, an independent regulatory commission found otherwise.

Asked to give his response to the punishment and whether the club would appeal, a guarded Mourinho said: "If I answer, I'm going to be in trouble and I don't want to be.

"I don't think [there will be an appeal], honestly, because if you appeal you have other risks. At least let's start next season without a suspension.

"And we all know how it works, you have access if you want to the record of appeals, successful appeals and unsuccessful appeals. I don't think so, I don't think we're going to appeal."

The suspension means Dier will be absent for all but one of Spurs' remaining five games, with Mourinho revealing a certain ambivalence towards the 26-year-old.

"I think he had a strange last season. A very strange current season," he said, admitting there was some debate over Dier's best position.

"We made a decision together, I told him immediately since my arrival, let's go together in a certain direction, but I think you are not ready.

"So, let's go back to a certain level of being a midfielder, but also with an eye to transforming to a centre-back, where he feels more comfortable.

"Even when we were working on Zoom, we were working with him, totally focused on being a centre-back, so he develops a number of skills, becomes much more adapted to that position.

"Then we decided [against] Manchester United, first match [after the resumption], we'd go with him in that position. Using this period to fight for points and objectives in relation to the table but also looking forward to the next season.

"And I think he played a very good match against Sheffield [United]. We all made a few mistakes but defensively the team was very consistent. And he was very consistent playing against some of the best strikers.

"I think he's doing very, very well, we look forward to next season, where we have no doubts that he's there as a centre back and I think an important player for us."

Jose Mourinho has told his Tottenham players that showing the right attitude is "not negotiable" as he looks to create a stronger sense of unity within the squad.

Mourinho accused his players of a lack of desire in a 3-1 Premier League loss to Sheffield United and claimed the sight of his team being beaten through a basic will to win "destroys me a little bit on the inside".

Monday's 1-0 victory over Everton at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium included a clash between Hugo Lloris and Son Heung-min shortly before half-time, in which team-mates had to keep them apart, although Mourinho insisted he was "very happy" to see such a level of passion.

Speaking ahead of Thursday's game against relegation-threatened Bournemouth, the Spurs boss says he has made it clear to his players that such displays of character are essential to "winning teams".

"I always say that in winning teams, and I told the players that I can speak about winning teams because I belong to some of them, that there are things that are not negotiable," Mourinho said.

"What is not negotiable is a certain attitude, soul, DNA, character. Then you can, in a better day or not, face an opponent who makes it easier or difficult for you.

"[There is] unpredictability in football games, sometimes you deserve to win and sometimes you don't, but some things are not negotiable. Character: being demanding with yourself, with each other. Sometimes [you must] be an external source of motivation for the guy who plays in the same team as you. That leads many times to disagreement, discussion, but I think it's a really, really important thing.

"So, I was very happy with the team attitude during the game. Of course, I would prefer the little discussion to happen inside the dressing room, not outside - people can interpret [it] a different way. But I think it was a new thing in the team, a thing players do more times internally, be demanding with each other and grow up together."

Part of the problem in modern sides, according to Mourinho, is it is too easy for players to isolate themselves on social media or using games consoles even when staying at team hotels.

The former Chelsea and Manchester United boss is determined to improve the communication between his Spurs stars, although he insists that will not involve lectures on his part.

"If I think overall, comparing examples of my time as assistant coach, Barcelona, Porto, 25 years ago or so, the players they used to be together all the time," he said.

"No Xbox, PlayStation, social media. Quite the beginning of mobile phones. But players used to spend all the time together. Even when you go to hotels, together all the time, [it is] much easier to develop intimacy, trust, build a certain dynamic in the group.

"In a hotel, every player has his own bedroom, they go there, they are not alone, they are on Zoom, FaceTime, they are on social media 'together' playing some Xbox or PlayStation, but they don't need to share the same space. Just a society thing - the interaction is different. But probably at a personality level, you don't get same kind of communication that you had.

"We need to stimulate it all the time, not to be closed in their own shell. It's a team effort, team group, team sport - you don't play alone. A team has to be more than the sum of the individuals. You need to interact, communicate, share ideas. You need to discuss what happened in the game, need to motivate each other. I believe this; I believe there are some managers that don't do that.

"I am upset with silence. I hate the silence in a dressing room, in a meeting, I hate monologues, I don't like to be in front of the players, speaking for 20 minutes without interaction. Something I stimulate, my way of being, my way of leading. My team the other day showed me the other day they need to improve at that level."

Eric Dier has been hit with a four-game ban and a £40,000 fine after his altercation with a fan following Tottenham's FA Cup loss to Norwich City in March.

The England midfielder climbed into the stands after Spurs' penalty shoot-out loss having been angered by the actions of a supporter at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Stewards intervened to separate Dier from the individual, with manager Jose Mourinho saying afterwards that his player had reacted to insults towards his younger brother.

Dier was charged with misconduct by the Football Association (FA) in April.

He denied his actions had been threatening, but an independent regulatory commission found otherwise, with the FA confirming his sanction on Wednesday.

"Eric Dier has been suspended for four matches with immediate effect, fined £40,000 and warned as to his future conduct following a breach of FA Rule E3," read an FA statement.

"The Tottenham Hotspur FC player admitted that his actions at the conclusion of a fixture against Norwich City FC in the FA Cup on March 4, 2020 were improper but denied that they were also threatening.

"An independent regulatory commission subsequently found Eric Dier's actions to be threatening."

The suspension comes into immediate effect, meaning Dier will miss all but one of Spurs' remaining five Premier League games, which includes the derby against Arsenal on Sunday.

 

Real Madrid are planning to make a splash in the transfer market.

Reports claim three of Europe's finest – Kylian Mbappe, Kai Havertz and Eduardo Camavinga – are waiting to make the move to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Could it happen?

 

TOP STORY – TRIO WAITING ON LOS BLANCOS

Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe, Bayer Leverkusen's Kai Havertz and Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga are holding off contract talks as they wait for Real Madrid, according to the frontpage of Wednesday's edition of Marca.

Mbappe is highly coveted by Zinedine Zidane and Madrid, Havertz has been linked to Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, while Camavinga is reportedly a Madrid target.

However, the trio may have to wait beyond this year to make the move to the Spanish capital, though Sport Bild claims Havertz has asked to leave Leverkusen before 2020-21.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sport reports Barcelona still want to sign Inter star Lautaro Martinez, despite his release clause expiring.

Borussia Dortmund have issued an ultimatum to United. Sport Bild claims United have been told if they want to bid for Jadon Sancho, the deal must be done by August 10. Sancho has been heavily tipped to move to Old Trafford.

Arsenal want to sign Lyon's Moussa Dembele if they lose Alexandre Lacazette or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, reports Foot Mercato. Lacazette has been linked to Atletico Madrid and Inter, while Barca, PSG and other clubs are reportedly interested in Aubameyang.

Inter are not David Alaba's first choice should he leave Bayern, says Sport Bild. Alaba has been linked to Madrid, Barca, PSG, Chelsea and Manchester City.

Sevilla are leading Juventus and Inter in the pursuit of Arsenal full-back Hector Bellerin, says the Express.

- According to the Express, Tottenham are confident of signing Kurt Zouma from London rivals Chelsea at the end of the season.

- Could Inter be about to hijack Napoli's bid for Lille forward Victor Osimhen? The Nigeria international has been tipped to join Napoli in a €80million deal, however, Le10Sport says Inter are making a last-ditch attempt to sign Osimhen.

- Chelsea full-back Emerson Palmieri has handed in a transfer request as he looks to reunite with Antonio Conte at Inter, reports Gazzetta journalist Nicolo Schira.

Milan are trying to hijack Inter's move for Brescia star Sandro Tonali, according to Gianluca Di Marzio. Inter have been favourites to land Tonali but Ralf Rangnick – who is tipped to become Milan's head coach in 2020-21 – has reportedly made the Italy international his top target.

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